I am so happy to announce that another one of my books has made it to eXtasy’s best selling list. Thank you so much for everything. Your support means so much to me.
Tears. A woman’s most powerful weapon to make a man bend. Damn. Seemed like he upset her. What the hell. He’d offered the others money before, and they didn’t take offense. Given her accent, maybe she was an immigrant. That could be it. Maybe in her culture, it was offensive if a stranger offered them money.
From the doorway, he had a chance to observe her. She was barefoot. Her shoes were on the corner of the doormat. He thought it odd. Now, hearing her talk was even weirder. He really must talk to Bors and ask about her story. He hoped she wasn’t an illegal alien. With the immigration laws getting tighter now, she’d be back in the country where she’d come from in a hurry.
“I see this is really upsetting to you, but I’ve done this before. Bors had brought women here and I let them stay and gave them money so—”
“Bors brought women here and you gave them money?”
“And you think I’m one of those women?”
“I’m not a loose woman.”
“Loose woman? Most women I’ve let stay here…Oh, wait. You think the women who stayed here are loose and I paid them?” The woman wiped her tears with her fingers then squared her shoulder. Her posture was so straight she reminded Gawain of his old toy soldier. She looked ready to punch him. “No. Not all of them are paid women. The majority of them have all kinds of drama or issues going on with their lives. My brother is helping them. I support his cause, but within the bounds of reason.”
“I beg your pardon, Gawain, but what drama are you talking about?”
“Whatever it is you’re running from.” Damn, it. He should have taken two Tylenol capsules. He was hoping he’d just show this woman her room, offer her food and that was it. If she wanted to stay with a friend, he’d let Bors know. He didn’t need this.
“You thought I’m one of the women Bors is trying to help.”
“Isn’t that why you’re here? You need help, don’t you?”
“Yes, I need help. But not—”
“That settles it. You need a place to stay. I have a room you could use. If you’d rather that you stay with a friend, that’s fine. That’s after Bors gives me his permission.”
“Who are those women Bors is trying to help?” Alex shook her head. “Forget I asked. I shouldn’t pry.”
“Can’t tell you anyway.”
Damn. Now she sounded so proper and her accent disappeared. Could she stand any straighter? Didn’t matter.
At least she’d stopped crying. “All right.” Gawain raised his hands up in the air in a gesture that he capitulated. “We’ve started on the wrong foot here. You need a place to stay. I know, that.”
“And that is true, but I have to decline. It must have been difficult for you to have constant visitors. Like I said, Luke offered his place where I could stay when I get to the United States. I’ll stay with him.”
Obviously, she had education. Maybe she had money before and now found herself in a difficult situation. Thus, the pride. “No problem there.”
“Good. Now, please call Bors.”
The last woman Bors had tried to help tried to steal his wallet and gave him a shiner. This one might not do those things, but would drive you nuts with her pride. She was kind of shrewish, too.
Gawain looked at her ankle length dress. It had seen better days and was three sizes bigger than her. Her shoes were no better. She dressed like a transient wandering around in downtown Seattle. Well, at least she looked clean. Unlike a hobo who hadn’t showered in a month, she smelled nice. What was up with her hat…worn and practically covered her face. Was she hiding on purpose? Maybe she had rashes on her forehead she wanted to hide? Good God. He hoped she wasn’t contagious. Also, one minute she spoke fluently as if she was born here and then she’d talk like English was her second language the next. What the fuck was that about? Now, he regretted not asking Edmund about her.
Gawain took a deep breath. “Okay. Just hang on a sec.” He walked toward the window a few feet away from the woman. He fished his phone from his front pocket and dialed Bors’s number. He answered right away. “Bro, she wants to stay with her friend.”
Bors’s reply was brief. “No.”
“Butthead, she’s insistent.”
“She’s staying with you, Peewee. And don’t fucking let her out of your sight,” Bors snarled from the end of the phone.
Bors sighed. “Baskerville thinks so. What do you think about her?”
“What do you mean?”
Bors laughed. “Edmund said she could make any man’s cock come alive.”
“Not mine. Stop laughing.”
“Does she look familiar to you?”
“No. Can’t really tell. She’s wearing a hat.” Gawain looked at the woman.
“All right. Understandable. Snot, look at her and then call me. Remember, she’s staying with you. I don’t have all the facts, but for now, I want you to keep an eye on her.”
“Wait, are we talking about more than three days?”
“Fuck it, Bors. We have a deal.”
“She’s not going anywhere without you. And no one is supposed to know that she’s in Orcas.”
“You’re asking more than what I offered,” he hissed on the phone.
“And I know you’ll do more for her once you figure out who she is.”
“I’m supposed to know her?”
“Take care of her while I find more info.”
“Bro, I’m not an agent.”
“I know that, cuticle. Just listen to me. She’s not going anywhere. This one is not like the others.”
“Damn it, Bors.”
Bors chuckled. “Can’t believe you didn’t recognize her.”
Gawain turned to look at the woman. She stared back. I’m supposed to know this woman? “Who is she?”
“Breaking your own rule?”
“Damn it, Bors!”
“Listen, I’ll leave her to you. If she insists on leaving, use your cuffs you keep beside your bed.”
“I don’t have handcuffs—“
“I’ll call as soon as I talk to Baskerville.”
“—anywhere in this house. Wait…Baskerville is involved, too?”
“Yes. As much as you are now.”
Looking at the woman who was staring at him as if he’d just grown ten feet tall, he hung up the phone. “Sorry. I can’t let you stay with your friend.”
“Bors said so.”
“You always do what your brother tells you to do?”
“Well, given how you like your solitude, I think it’s best that I go someplace else. I am not interested in staying here anymore. I don’t care what Bors told you.”
Sighing, he raked his hair again, deliberately showing her his frustration. “I can’t let you leave. It’s for your own good.”
“Don’t be a brat.”
“You’re acting like one. I’m surprised you haven’t stomped your feet and screamed like a little girl.”
“You are rude!”
Gawain shrugged. “I’ll still give you three hundred dollars if you stay. How’s that?”
“Gawain, offer me your money one more time and I’ll forget my promise to Nanni to behave like a lady.” She walked toward the couch where Gawain noticed a small travel bag.
“Now, wait a minute.” He blocked her from going anywhere. “You can’t go out there. Bors said—”
“I don’t care.”
“You should. He’s only trying to protect you. Don’t be such a hard head.”
She put her hands on her hips the way Teta would when upset. “Let me ask you this, Gawain. If it weren’t for Bors, would you let me stay here?”
“What kind of question is that? If it weren’t for Bors, you wouldn’t be here and the other women would never have stepped foot here either.”
“Thought so. I’m leaving.”
“You’re being ungrateful, you know that. Bors put his life in danger to—”
“Danger? What in the world are you talking about? I came here to the US without talking to Bors. Why he would butt his head in my affairs, I have no idea. And Edmund said you are expecting me and will be happy to see me. Which we both know, now, is a lie. I can’t believe I listened to him. He lied! You don’t want me here more so than you hate celery in your salad.”
“Celery?” Yes, he hated celery, but how did she know that? Gawain watched the woman walk around him and pick up her bag. Whatever she had in it wasn’t much. It didn’t look heavy at all.
“I am thankful that Bors asked Edmund to pick me up at the airport to bring me here. I’m sorry that I bothered you, but I wouldn’t have come here if my godparents had not been sick.”
“You mean Ben and Susan Baskerville?”
“They are my parents’ friends.”
“God, Gawain. Life’s too short to hold grudges this long. I suspected you’d hate seeing me, but not this much.”
“Why would I hate seeing you?”
Who the heck is this woman?
“I think I know why you’re doing this. You hated me for what had happened in the past, and also, you most likely think an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. That I am like my mother once was.” She walked toward the door.
Shit. “Stop. You’re not making sense.”
What the hell was she talking about? They’d met? He would remember if they had. Why would he think she was like her mother? “Stop,” he repeated and followed her. He reached her in a few strides, then grabbed the doorknob before she could turn it. Standing this close, he could smell her scent. Fresh. Like vanilla.
Gawain tilted his head to the side to see her face better. God, even a scarecrow has a better looking hat than she does. And what the hell is she wearing? A flour sack? Gawain shook his head. She really had his attention now. Bors asked about what he’d thought of this woman. His answer…a shrew.
“I’m sorry, all right?”
After taking a deep breath, Gawain gave her his deadly charming smile, expecting a reaction he knew too well. The woman’s reaction surprised him, though. She only lifted her chin. She didn’t whimper or return his smile. Different. Yes. Different compared to the many women he had bedded in the past. All he had to do was grace them with his smile and they fell all over his feet. This one, though, was darn unusual.
The top of her head reached his chin. He tried to see her eyes, but she only pulled her hat down. This is stupid. “Let’s have a truce, all right?”
“A truce,” she said sarcastically.
“Have we met?”
“Of…course. You don’t know who I am?”
“No. I’m supposed to know you?”
“Oh, my God. You have no idea that I’m coming, do you?”
“Yes, I know you’ll be here.”
“But you didn’t know it’s me coming here today.”
”Well, I told Edmund not to tell me your name. It’s my rule, you see. I don’t want the names of those women who stay here. In your case, I’m breaking my own rule. You said Ben is your godfather and your dad’s best friend.”
Her dad was Baskerville’s friend? Gawain’s heart started pounding against his chest. Could this be…no. No way. This woman spoke with an accent. “Take off your hat.”
“I want to see your face.”
“What for?” She tried to lengthen the distance from him, but her back only hit the door.
“So I could point you to the cops if I find my silverware missing,” he teased.
The woman paled.
“I’m not lying. Call Baskerville. I need to talk to him anyway.”
Her accent was back. Cops made her nervous. Oh, hell. Bors was right. This woman was in trouble. “Babe, I didn’t say you’re lying.”
The woman’s accent became thicker this time. She dropped the th the way Agnes, his Filipino janitress spoke. Earlier though, she didn’t have an accent. Was it because he’d made her nervous? “Relax. I’m not calling the cops on you. I was just teasing when I mentioned them.” The woman’s shoulders visibly relaxed. “If you’re not hiding anything, why don’t you want to show me your face? I don’t care if you wear an eye patch. Or if you have a third eye on your forehead.” He saw a hint of a smile, but it was gone within a heartbeat. “Why do you wear a hat?”
“To avoid distraction.”
Is she bald? Nothing wrong with that, he told himself. “You have two heads in there?” he teased again. “So what?”
“You wouldn’t say that if you cause someone to tip his cart full of crabs and lose all his day’s work, or a driver who hit the cow’s rear end and had to replace the cow with his two calves. A man broke his ankle and couldn’t go to work to feed his family because I walked by him. I wear this hat at home because I bring bad luck. Here, I wear this just a precaution. I don’t want my old friends to recognize me.”
Gawain grinned. He wanted to ask more about the crabs, but didn’t think it would be a good idea. The woman looked uncomfortable already. “Pacify my curiosity.” Using his index finger, barely an inch, he lifted the droopy straw hat.
For long moments, time seemed to have stopped. Deep green eyes locked with blue. Gawain felt his jaw slowly slacken. Quickly, he closed his mouth feeling like an idiot. He didn’t know what to expect. But definitely not this. This woman was a knockout. Hell, he’d had a glimpse of her rosy lips, but to see the rest of her face…fuck. He could get lost in those eyes. Her blonde hair was loosely tied behind her neck. Tendrils had already escaped its confines. Despite the dark shadows beneath her eyes, she looked damn hot. There was something, though. She looked familiar. If they’d met before, he would never forget her, not this face with lips so full begging to be sucked.
He shouldn’t stare, but he did anyway. He couldn’t stop staring at her lips, cheeks, and pert nose. And those eyes…Jesus. Damn, he wanted to run his fingers on her smooth skin. Almost flawless if not for her freckles. He wondered if she had them on her shoulders too and her back, legs. His dick stirred. Down, boy.
I know only one person who has those pair of eyes and freckles. The imp.
Gawain shook his head. No way the little brat would grow up to be this gorgeous. Alex—or Princess, to her parents—was a twig! This woman, even with her oversized dress, showed curves and long arms that he could pepper with kisses and not get tired of doing it. The more he stared at her, the more he saw the resemblance.
No way this was his imp. Besides, this woman spoke with an accent.
“You don’t recognize me.”
Fuckin’ shit. “No. But I know someone with green eyes like you.” Gawain smiled. “A girl with braces, bony knees, sharp elbows. Super skinny and with freckles. I called her Imp because she was that. She’s one of those girls who gets what she wants and throws a fit if her parents says no. She gave the word brat a totally bad meaning.”
“I’m sure she’s not as bad as you think.” She scrunched her nose a little.
There it is again. The imp had a habit of doing that. “Maybe. I haven’t seen her in years.
“Did you miss her?”
“Very much.” The woman surprised him when she closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
Oh, my God!
“I’m sure she missed you, too. By the way, all girls are brats, I think. Especially when their daddy’s around.”
“Oh, but this girl is different. She’s a princess to her parents and she couldn’t do anything wrong. Rich, an only child, and annoying.”
“Hell, yes. She used to follow me around like a fly on a cinnamon bun. I think she was in love with me.”
“What made you think that?”
“The imp asked me to marry her.”
“She was just a girl who couldn’t even spell the word please.”
Alex. “I’m sure she fell in love with me,” he said, unable to believe he was facing the imp.
“What makes you so sure about that?”
“I’m a Knight. Girls, young ladies, women, grandmas. They all fall in love with me.”
“Well, they should all be institutionalized.” She raised a brow, her tone challenging.
“Only a crazy woman would fall in love with you. You’re a boor, arrogant, and self-centered.”
Gawain laughed. “You just described a Knight’s characteristics.”
“I don’t remember Bors being so arrogant. And neither Tristan or Percival.”
“Baby, you’re wrong. They were as arrogant as any man can get.” Damn. His fingers itched to reach out and pull her for a tight hug. Where had she been all these years. And what the fuck was the accent about?
“Well, he was nice to me and your other brothers. And I love your sister. Now, I’m leaving.”
“No. Because I said so.”
“My God! You’re a bully.”
“What can I say, I’m a Knight.”
“And you are getting on my nerves.” Crossing her arms, she raised her chin a notch and tapped her foot rapidly.
Once again, he saw the girl she once was. The attitude was still the same. Appearance, not so much. She looked like she’d been through tough times. What had happened to her? Edmund picked her up at the airport, but didn’t say where she came from.
Gawain’s heart soared. He was so happy to see her again. It had been eleven long years. She was just ten. Now, she looked like she could make any man fall in love with her.
Alex continued thumping her foot on the floor. Gawain wanted to laugh at her ridiculous posture. She reminded him of Thumper. Gad, he couldn’t tell if he wanted to strangle or kiss her. Those pouty lips were surely inviting. Good Lord.
Thinking he might just suffocate her with a kiss, he braced his hands on the door, trapping her.
“You’re staying here. And that’s that. If I have to chain you in your bed, I will.”
“I can make you go down on your knees.”
“Baby, I’m sure you can.”
“You changed, Gawain.”
“People change. Change is good.”
“Right. Now, since I am not welcome here, I’ll go. I’m sure we won’t be seeing each other again anyway.”
“Oh, honey. I doubt that.”
“Arrogant.” She pointed a finger at him. “Well, Mister High and Mighty, I may have had a crush on you, but that was long time ago. Now, I don’t anymore. I will not fall for your charms again. I. Am. Leaving.”
“You didn’t have a crush on me. You were in love with me, Alex.”
Alex closed her mouth tight. “You remember my name.”
“Of course. You’re the first girl to propose marriage to me.”
“A proposal that you laughed at, ridiculed, and made fun of. You and your girlfriend, Reina.”
“I never made fun of your proposal. Ever.”
Alex tilted her chin, her eyes shiny and proud. “Whatever happiness I’ve felt at the prospect of seeing you again is all gone now—replaced by a huge annoyance. I’m not your prisoner and Bors has no right keeping me here. Goodbye. Move.”
“Right this very minute, Gawain Knight, I don’t like you.” She raised her knee. As quick as lightning, he blocked her knee from hitting him in the groin. She raised a fist and tried to hit his face, but he grabbed her fist and held it above her head.
“You lie.” And then he kissed her.
Not a second later he realized what he had done. He shouldn’t have touched her. She was too soft and smelled so good. His body reacted instantly. Ah, hell.
In my book Wicked Proposal, Madeline was not a skinny model type heroine. She’s round and her ex broke up with her because of that.
Here’s a snippet:
Wolf’s brows creased. “What’s YFF?”
“You’re freaking fat. I was dumped because I’m getting wider, changing widthwise and boring.” Edward’s harsh words brought another round of painful pricks in her chest. She closed her eyes, willing herself not to cry again. She hated being such a ninny, for letting Edwards comment affect her. Why didn’t she see his superficiality and shallowness before? Anger, irritation, and frustration rose from deep inside her gut.
Now, what’s my point for sharing this infographic and telling you about my book? My answer is, a heroine shouldn’t be reed thin all the time. I always write my characters with flaws. They’re supposed to be that way. Someone criticized her having low esteem. Guess what? Because the media bombarded us with the idea of what a woman should look like, more and more women became dissatisfied with their image, which leads to depression, low self-esteem and other illness.. Anyway, check out the infographic.
INFOGRAPHIC: Eating Disorders and the Media
OFF-TOPIC: Just want to share this.
Thank you to the Teen Zone Writing Club of Colorado!
The kids from Teen Zone Writing Club under Ms Christina Nill of After School Care Programs
Thank you everyone! I’ve added the website on my Cool Links page.
Fiery Match hit eXtasy’s bestsellers list. Thank you so much for your continued support!
Fiery Match: A Rhynian Story
Now available from eXtasy Books
When two hearts connect, it doesn’t matter what planet they came.
Nikka was fooled by a man once. She wouldn’t let another fool her again. When a gorgeous man asked her out on their first meeting, she told him to go away. She couldn’t trust the green-eyed handsome and put her heart at risk again. Worse, he declared that he was an alien. And yet, when he touched her, she failed to fight the passions that broke the steel she wrapped around her heart.
Grab your own copy now!
Drop dead gorgeous veterinarian, Julian Ravenwood, has made a mistake–slept with a young virgin, Joanie Saint Claire. Forced to do the right thing, he marries her then leaves while she’s still in her wedding gown.
The fate of a young woman
Joanie finds herself facing an altered life after her one night with Julian. She’s left alone with a little bug who means the world to her.
The spirit of an abandoned wife
An opportunity to solve Joanie’s problems comes when Julian shows up to serve her. She agrees to sign the divorce papers on one condition–he pay her one hundred thousand dollars.
The unexpected love
Julian can’t believe it. His scrawny bride has grown into a seductive, attractive, and feisty woman he can’t stop lusting after. And the secret she has kept rocks his world