Megan's 5 star rated Contemporary Romance

Friday, 14 December 2012

Christine Young

A Warm Welcome to Christine
Born in Medford, Oregon, novelist Christine Young has lived in Oregon all of her life. After graduating from Oregon State University with a BS in science, she spent another year at Southern Oregon State University working on her teaching certificate, and a few years later received her Master's degree in secondary education and counseling. Now the long, hot days of summer provide the perfect setting for creating romance. She sold her first book, Dakota's Bride, the summer of 1998 and her second book, My Angel to Kensington. Her teaching and writing careers have intertwined with raising three children.  Christine's newest venture is the creation of Rogue Phoenix Press. Christine is the founder, editor and co-owner with her husband. They live in Salem, Oregon.

A Marriage of Inconvenience     by Christine Young      
When the duchess decides to wed her to a wastrel and a fop, Ravyn Grahm takes matters into her own hands and declares her engagement to another man. Instead of fessing up and telling her great aunt what she has done, she goes through with the pretense. Aric Lakeland is the bastard son of an earl and has a dangerous reputation. But Ravyn is willing to do most anything to keep the duchess from discovering the lie.

He'd bought land in America, looking to put down roots and end his life of adventure, but Aric Lakeland got more than he bargained for when he encountered a beautiful heiress who made a promise she didn't want to keep. But the promise could not be undone and standing between them were more obstacles than either ever dreamed. Aric had made plans to spend the rest of his life in America and that was at odds with Ravyn's plan of living in England and running her father's estate. Now, he'll have to choose between his dreams and the woman he loves more than life.
And Here's A Taste of Christine

She inhaled deeply, a deep and furious anger surfacing. She could survive. She would. She would show him she was strong.

"I am tougher than you think, Aric," Ravyn said unhappily, her voice too low for anyone but Aric to hear. "I’ve done nothing but get in your way, ruin your life. I wish we could go back to that day when you rescued me from Richy. Perhaps I could think of a different way to keep from wedding him. But we can’t, can we? I’m sorry for that too."
"You are meant for balls and wasting away the hours--for idle gossip--for trips to dressmakers. You will have that all once more when you are back in London."
"They have no dressmakers in Baltimore? Whatever do the poor people wear?" she asked softly, hoping to make him laugh and perhaps forget he meant to send her back to London in disgrace.
He rubbed his chin as if in thought. "Many make do with what they have, others make their own clothes, and I suppose a few who have the means have a dressmaker," he told her in all seriousness, refusing to laugh.
Unable to bear Aric’s eyes any longer, Ravyn looked away. She had no more energy to fight him or the pain slicing through her temples with each dip of the vessel. She wanted to pretend he didn’t think her worthless. She needed to tell him she had made and mended her own clothes more times than she could count. "You know nothing about me." Her shoulders squared and she sensed she was fighting a battle she could not win. Pain tugged at her, an anguish she longed to forget. Yet it wasn’t the anguish that drained her, it was the need to stave off the terrifying blackness of her unremembered dreams.
"I know what I’ve seen, Ravyn."
"You cannot--" She whirled, facing the window of the tiny cabin, searching for the words that were not there. He had seen only the worst of her. He had not seen her tend the sick, or deliver the babies of the women who lived on her father’s land. Somewhere deep inside her a child screamed terror into the wind… and was met with a greater terror, memories forming where none had been before.
"This ship is returning as soon as we make port in Baltimore. You will return with it."
Christine will be awarding a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $15.00 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn host.
Pleasure to host you, Christine!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Kelly Whitley (Lynn Crain)

                 A Warm Welcome to Kelly
First, a brief bio:
Once upon a time, Kelly dreamed of becoming an entomologist, then a gymnast, and then an architect. Instead, a career in healthcare became the chosen path. After years of devouring other people's books, she decided to give writing a try. An arduous journey and many hot fudge sundaes later, her first paranormal romantic suspense debuted in July 2012.
Now she writes a variety of fiction, spanning genres from humor to paranormal and flash fiction to full-fledged novels. An ideal day consists of coffee, no phone, and writing quirky characters for her fans to fall in love with. Stop by, where the paranormal is an everyday occurrence and get your fix for vampires, werewolves, shifters and more. Kelly loves visitors, human and otherwise.
Kelly lives in the Rocky Mountain West. Contact her at

Here's the blurb for Kelly's latest release: INTO THE RED
Human blood is an illicit and highly addictive drug--if you're a vampire. Known as Red, its side effects are insanity, and eventual death. A group of Red-addicted vampires known as Poisoners are killing women as part of an extortion plot involving a lost ancient vampiric tome, and they’re leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. The discovery of each new victim risks exposure of the entire vampire race to humans. Then one victim survives…

Dr. Evan Nichols, oncologist and vampire, lives a monk-like existence, by his own choice, focusing on patient care and research to benefit his vampire brethren. It’s been twenty-five years since his world turned upside down—the night he lost his fiancĂ©e and discovered his hidden vampire heritage. Now his government has ordered him to take a mate—or they’ll choose one for him. It’s a horrible prospect, and one that might push him over the edge—until Fate throws him together with a human female.

Wary of relationships, Tara West has poured her energies into work and inventing cutting edge climbing equipment. She doesn’t like the gorgeous Dr. Nichols, yet finds herself unaccountably drawn to him.

When a crazed vampire attacks and poisons Tara, Evan rescues her. With time running out, he has to create an antidote to the poison before he loses his chance at love.

In order to make the vaccine which might cure her, he has to find the bastards who poisoned her and take their venom—before they die of their addiction. If he doesn’t reach them in time, saving her will be impossible.

Thus the journey begins—into the Red!

Before treating us to an excerpt, Kelly Reveals:
Who controls the story – you or your characters?  The characters. If they would just do the editing, I’d be set!
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your books?   Satisfied they’d read a great book, and wanting more.

What do you think are the main ingredients for a successful book?   Memorable characters, and an engaging plot—in that order. Characters are what I remember years later—not so much the details of the plot.
What do you most enjoy about writing romance?   I like weaving the romance into the suspenseful plot—it’s tricky. Compared to mainstream fiction, I get more out of a romance—it’s like getting a twofer: mainstream fiction and a hot romantic plot thread.

What do you like best and least about writing?   Best: having one of those days where the words flow faster than I can type. Finding the perfect word to describe something. Inventing a great metaphor. Least: those days where every words is squeezed out with difficulty. Plot holes that loom like gaping defects in the fabric of the story.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?   Yes. I’d actually characterize it more as burnout. Too many arduous days with every free moment spent at the computer.

What would be your tips to overcome it?   For writer’s block—I hand write on paper. Play “what if…” and let myself get as outrageous as possible. Sometimes that shakes it loose. Burnout: avoidance is best. I ended up taking a few days off from the computer and work. Watched TV and did nothing.

Do you have a writing routine?   Yep. On non-day job days, I eat breakfast (which I highly recommend) while watching the morning news. Be at the computer by 8:30 or 9:00. Check email for things I’m expecting and personal emails. Social media if I need to get word out about a blog post/book, otherwise, I leave it alone. I’m not a big social media person, which I think is good.
On work days, generally I try to squeeze in a little writing before dinner, then write after dinner until 10 pm.

What can we look forward to from you in the near future?   Flash fiction and short stories! Next novel out within the year, I hope.
How do you like to spend your free time?   Reading. Otherwise, I occasionally watch DVD movies and football.

 What would you most like to accomplish this year?   I’m finishing third round edits on a MS now, and want to get it submitted. An acceptance would make an excellent Christmas present.
Now A Taste of Kelly:
The caged light above the emergency exit cast a pallid, purple glow over the alley and the pair coupling against the brick wall. Barely twenty feet away he watched, hunkered down in the murk of the shadows, thinking about the merits of killing them both, or waiting for the girl to be alone.

The bar catered to the darker element; men who came to drink, drug, and fornicate. Dangerous men. Men who committed violent crimes as easily as they breathed. Few women frequented this establishment. Most of the females present worked there as waitresses with benefits for purchase, for the men with sex on their minds.
Management took a cut of everything—the liquor, the drugs, and the sex. He also knew the management dictated who did what to whom and when, so it had been just a matter of time before a pair left the bar for the privacy of the alley.
The guy from inside the bar was clean, well-dressed in something other than biker gear and blue jeans, and wasn’t drunk or high.
Which was better than usual.
Hidden, he watched while the man finished and then disappeared back inside. The girl stayed in the alley. A match flared as she lit a cigarette and walked in tight circles by the back door. Based on his observations, he knew she wanted to attract a customer who didn’t come from the bar.
A quickie.
She didn’t realize she’d just sealed her own fate. It would be a quickie. A  hell of a quickie.
He separated from the shadows and approached her from the end of the alley. He wasn’t clean, well dressed, or sober.
Which was worse than usual.
But he did have fifty bucks. He bit back a laugh as he caught the expression on her face—half victory, half revulsion. She took his money, tucking it into her bra before turning to face the rough brick of the building. 
He leaned into her, pressing her chest against the alley wall and inhaling the smell of her neck as he yanked up her skirt and entered her from behind. He ran his hands over her body, relishing the feel of her soft skin as he plunged into her, ignoring her little yips of pain.
As he slammed into her and finished, the leech of his addiction demanded satisfaction, and he snaked an arm around her throat. For a moment she didn’t react, then the fragrance of her relief gave way to the smoky scent of panic. She lashed out, connecting with the unforgiving brick wall. Her struggles kicked his anticipation into overdrive, and he sank his teeth into the exploding pulse of her fear.
Within a few seconds, her legs gave out, leaving her limp against the wall; he supported her around the waist. Anyone encountering the scene would assume they’d not yet concluded their transaction. The ache of withdrawal eased its way into euphoria as the Red hit his bloodstream. With jerky movements, he laid the body out of sight behind the filthy packing boxes before grafting himself to the shadows.
Soon, another couple would exit the bar for an outdoor tryst.
And he’d be watching.

Review:  “Such a unique take on vampires, and Evan is a great hero. His love for the heroine is so intense it's palpable. Whitley's writing really throws you into each and every scene as she touches your heart with every word she writes. LOVED this!!”—Catch the Rush (on Amazon), Sept. 2012

LINKS: Website   Blog   Facebook   TwitterAmazon Author Page   BUY:    Muse It Up Publishing     Amazon 
Pleasure to meet you, Kelly!
Leave a comment for the chance to win an ebook copy of Into The Red (please remember to leave email address)

Friday, 7 December 2012

Penny Estelle

A Warm Welcome to Penny
Hi everybody!  My name is Penny Estelle.  I was a school secretary for 21 years and retired in 2009.  We moved to our retirement home in Kingman, AZ and we live on 54 acres in a very rural area.  Actually we live “off the grid”.  We live on solar and wind.  A real adjustment for a city girl.  I must say – I love it.  Nothing like walking out your front door and hear coyotes howling in the distance and seeing a sky bursting with stars.  It is breathtaking!

 I started writing for kids right before I retired.  There is always material when kids are involved.  I am pleased to say I have several MG/tween books out and my debut book for adults was just recently released.  I also have a non-fiction story out about our life with solar.

 Here's the blurb for 'At What Price?'

Katherine Gardner is awakened at 6:30 in the morning with a call from a strange woman who claims to have her granddaughter, Rio. This woman is calling the police if Katherine doesn’t make arrangements for somebody to pick this little girl up.

Katherine is a fifty-six years old woman and all alone, since her husband died over three years ago. Her life takes a dramatic turn when six-year old Rio comes to stay with her. Rio is a scared little girl whose life is filled with uncertainty and fear. 

In her grandmother, Rio finds a safe haven and an unconditional love that she has never known in her six short years and Katherine has found a love to fill the void that has been absent for way too long.

Unfortunately Katherine’s daughter, who deserted Rio, has other ideas.

Before treating us to an excerpt, Penny Reveals:

From where do you get inspiration and what inspired you to write At What Price?
I honestly can’t say where my inspiration comes from.  I get a hint of an idea and I just run with it.  I was talking to a friend who had a mother (in her 60’s) and had been an alcoholic for as long as she could remember.  I also had a brother that was a druggie, but he finally beat it.  Addiction is a horrible thing.  An idea come to mind for my story At What Price and I ran with it.

And the heroine? How do you relate to her?
I probably would have done exactly what my character Katherine Gardner did.  She took in her abandoned granddaughter and protected her every step of the way.  I have seven grandkids and would do the very same thing.

Who controls the story – you or your characters?
In the beginning of my stories I am in charge – BUT not long into the story, they always seem to take over.

What do you like best and least about writing?
I have several on both ends.  I really like thinking up a unique storyline that I don’t think/hope hasn’t been done, especially for my MG audience.  I like letting my mom read it before sending it in, knowing she is going to rave about it, because she would do nothing else, even if it sucked.  I like when my plot completely changes because the characters do it their way and I really like typing THE END!   

I don’t like proofing a story for the 10th time because maybe I should add this or that.  Patience is not a word in my dictionary and the waiting game that is involved in submitting, waiting for an editor to get in touch, etc. drives me crazy.  When an editor points out I am head-hopping when I go to huge lengths not to do that and yet, there it is in black in white (which means I should have proofed 11 times – LOL) And sometimes I really hate typing THE END!

Do you have a writing routine?
No I don’t but I surely do wish I did have one.  I am a very early riser, so when I’m up at 4 am I will write.  I am a horizontal writer with paper and pen.  I can’t seem to stick to a schedule for writing, even though I am retired.  I need help in this area!  Send me help Megan!

What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
I almost hate to say this out loud, but some 35 years ago I wrote a historical romance.  I was sure it was a best seller.  I had actually just started reading myself when I decided to try it.  It took me 5 years on a Brothers typewriter.  I thought it was FABULOUS.  I sent out 2 query letters and was promptly rejected.  I put it in a box and it has lived in my closet since.  I am thinking of taking it out and trying my hand at romance…for real.  I took it out and read a few chapters and actually groaned.  Thank goodness I never sent the manuscript out.  I am hoping I have learned a few things since then and it could be a good story!

What was your favourite book as a child/teen/adult?
I never read as a child or teen – only what was given as homework.  When I got married and had babies, then I was looking for an escape.  My very favorite author was Rosemary Rogers.  It might sound pathetic, but her books are still my favorite today.

How do you like to spend your free time?
I love working and doing things outside.  We live very rural, so we are always exploring and four wheeling.  I always look forward to that.

What is your culinary speciality?
Cooking was/is not a strong point of mine.  Thank goodness my hubby is a fabulous cook.  BUT – that being said, I make a mean green chilli and a dish called pasta bake.

In a few words, how would you describe yourself? How do you think your husband/partner would describe you?
I am not a disciplined person, unfortunately.  I will tell myself – tomorrow I am getting 5 chapters done – but if a better offer comes along, I’m out of there.  I like to play, travel, gamble, and I love being with family.
I just asked him and he said, “You’re a pain in the…” Then he restated.  This is a second marriage for both of us.  We have been married for 16 years.  He describes me as the person who has made his life the best it’s ever been.  Can I get an “OOOOHHHHH”?

And what can we look forward to from you in the future?
HMMMM – exciting?  I am finishing a 5th story for a book that will be titled The Wickware Sagas – Volume One.  It will consist of 5 short stories about kids of today doing a little time travel to meet some historical legends.  Miss Wickware is the history teacher and each student draws a name out of a box.  An oral report is due the next day.  Somehow, some way, one of these students travels back in time and comes nose to nose with their drawn subject.

Now A Taste of Penny:

When she first came to live with me, Rio was a frightened little girl who cringed at every loud noise. She chewed on her fingernails and was terrified to sleep by herself. After two weeks had gone by without hearing from Lacey, I decided school was in order.

We went to the school and, after explaining the situation, I was able to fill out the paperwork. Rio seemed excited about the prospect, but when it was time to take her to class, she was as pale as a hen’s egg and had a death grip on my hand. The fear in her eyes was heartbreaking. I gave some flimsy excuse about school already being in session for the day so we would start fresh tomorrow.

The receptionist said, “It won’t be easier tomorrow. I can assure you, she will be perfectly fine if you allow us to take her to class now.”

This bitch had no heart. “I’m aware and thank you for your concern. We will be back tomorrow.”

I took Rio to the store to buy school supplies and a few new dresses, but she seemed to retreat back to the scared little girl I found in the plane.  At dinner, I talked about the new friends she would meet and all the stuff she would learn in first grade. I was babbling about riding the school bus when she interrupted me.
“Mimi?” she whispered, “where will I go if nobody picks me up from school?” She bit her lip, as if to keep it from quivering, and her eyes seemed to fill her entire face.

I pulled my chair next to hers and ran my hand down her mass of tangled curls, physically hurting for my granddaughter. “Rio, as long as you are with me, I will pick you up – always! That’s a promise. I love you and you will always be safe with me.”

For  Hike Up Devil's Mountain click here  A Float Down the Canal   click here  Billy Cooper's Awesome Nightmare click here
Thank you so much Megan for letting me come by and visit with you.  I can always be reached on my website  or my blog  I am thrilled when people stop by and leave a comment. 
Pleasure to meet you, Penny!
Now leave a comment for the chance to win an ecopy of 'At What Price?' (don't forget to include your email address)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The Next Big Thing

I am delighted to be to participating in the Next Big Thing blog series thanks to Helena Fairfax at

And here are my responses to the Ten Interview Questions:
What is your working title of your book?
The title of my next book, to be released in Spring 2013, is 'A Shore of Secrets'
Click here for the blurb.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wanted to write a romance based in Italy, a country I find inherently romantic. When I transported myself there mentally, the culture, the scenery, the architecture, the people, the climate all played their part in inspiring me to write. To a point, the plot of 'A Shore of Secrets' evolved from the setting.It defined the context in which characters behaved and set a mood upon which to build.  

What genre does your book fall under? It’s a contemporary romance with a dash of women’s fiction
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Well, let’s see. For the hero, I would need a serious-minded, enigmatic Italian. Someone slightly brooding. I have been looking at Luigi Lo Cascio, whose background and dark good looks are eminently suitable for the role.
As for the heroine, Drew Barrymore’s looks are perfect, exactly how I see the character.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Can Abi learn to trust, and Giovanni to forgive, as they struggle with a bevy of difficulties in this clandestine Italian community?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It is being published by MuseItUp Publishing in spring 2013.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? The first draft probably took around six months, but it took much longer to refine it subsequently. A lot longer!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I admire Rosamunde Pilcher’s romances, the way she draws such intriguing characters and so cleverly and sensitively weaves problems into her romances.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A series of holidays in Italy inspired me to use it as the setting for a romance. Also, I have a close Italian friend whose family gave me insight beyond that of a tourist into the indigenous way of life.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I will quote my editor in answer to this:
What a great story! So romantic, and it also kept me on edge, wondering if those two would ever get together! Who am I to argue with that? LOL

And now here are the links to the next four participating authors. Please drop by and check out their blogs over the next few days.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Roseanne Dowell

A Warm Welcome to Roseanne
An avid reader, Roseanne Dowell writes various types of romance - paranormal, contemporary, and mystery. She has several books published as well as over 40 articles and short stories published in magazines.She  lives in Northeast Ohio and where she enjoys life as a wife, mother of six, grandmother of fourteen and great grandmother of one (another on the way).  Besides writing, Roseanne enjoys embroidery and quilting, especially combining the two. She also enjoys blogging, tweeting, facebooking and posting on various writers groups. 
Here's her latest release: Another Day

Never one to act impulsively, 42 year old Meg Baldwin succumbs to the seduction of the young, sexy bachelor next door.
Guilt-ridden, ashamed, and afraid her family will find out, she tries to convince him it was a mistake.
Refusing to be rejected, he begins to stalk her. Can she keep her secret?

Before treating us to an excerpt, Roseanne Reveals:

From where do you get inspiration and what inspired you to write Another Day?   Boy that’s a good question. This story actually started out to be a collaborative effort between me and three other people. Unfortunately, they thought sex sold and took a different turn with the book than I wanted to. Meg was my character and she didn’t care for the way they painted her. We left the group and Meg guided me onto the path she wanted me to take with her.

In a couple of sentences, describe the heroine’s character.     Meg Baldwin’s only dream in life was to grow up, get married, and have a bunch of kids. Her parents insisted she go to college, which she did and there she met the perfect man, got married and reached her dream. Well most of it. A difficult pregnancy only allowed them two children. But she was happy and content with life. At least she was until the kids reached their teens, became involved in extra curricular activities, her husband travelled a lot for work and suddenly she finds herself discontent.

How do you relate to her?      In some ways, I’m a lot like Meg – or rather, she’s a lot like me. My only dream was to grow up, get married and have a bunch of kids – Unlike, Meg, I accomplished that fete – with six kids. But I also found myself alone, much later in life than Meg. My children grew, married and established lives of their own. When my youngest son went off to follow in his father’s footsteps as a truck driver and went over the road, I found myself alone for the first time in fifty years. I went straight from my parents’ house to my husbands. Always with a house full of kids, I was never alone even when my husband was gone. I, however, followed a different path than Meg.
Who controls the story – you or your characters?            Always the characters.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your books?      I hope the satisfaction of a good story and being entertained.

What do you most enjoy about writing romance?       Probably the fairy tale Happy ever after.
What do you like best and least about writing?     I love the actual writing. It’s the promoting that’s most difficult and takes most time.

 Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What would be your tips to overcome it?     Unfortunately, yes. I started something else. I had one book sit for over two years, before I unblocked on it. In the meantime I wrote other things.
Do you have a writing routine?       No, I write when the spirit (my characters) move me.

What is the best writing advice you have ever received?       Write every day even if it’s only for fifteen minutes.
What can we look forward to from you in the near future?   I’m working on a book about deadbeat dads.  It’s another one that’s been sitting for several years, but it’s starting to come along.

How do you like to spend your free time?       With my family.
What would you most like to accomplish this year?        To finish Deadbeat Dads (working title)

Now A Taste of Roseanne:
Someone once said a hangover felt like a sharp spear of light, slicing your eyeballs out of their sockets and leaving every nerve rubbed raw, while a hundred drummers played in your head, complete with cymbals. I couldn’t remember who said it, but I could attest to the truth of it. The room spun. My stomach churned, and my mouth tasted like sour milk. I squinted against the bright sunlight. Darn, why hadn’t I pulled the shades? What time was it anyway?  Rolling over and lifting my head just high enough to look at the alarm clock, I tried to focus. My eyes hurt just looking at the digital numbers.
Ugh, eight o’clock already.

Slumping back down onto the soft mattress, I pressed my fingertips into my temples. Rotten headache, served me right. Had I really drank a half bottle of wine?  God, I had drunk so much and barely remembered anything from last night. Anything that is, except Paul’s hands all over me. Oh Lord, Paul. Memory of last night flashed through my mind.

What had I done? Trying to block out the memory, I pulled the sheet over my head, and inched my way to the other side of the king-sized bed, glad for the coolness of the soft cotton sheets. What had possessed me last night?  I wasn’t some sex starved teen. I was married for cripes sake.
Oh God, how would I face Andrew?

Tears stung my eyes. Suddenly, my actions from last night became all too clear. How could I have done this? Just because Andrew had been inattentive and away on business a lot didn’t justify having sex with another man.

I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and groaned. What attracted me to Paul anyway? He wasn’t even my type.  What the hell does a forty-two year old woman want with a twenty-eight year old? Hardly even a man. Still a kid.  Young enough to almost be my son.
Stupid, stupid, stupid! I hated that I had given in. Hated the guilt that seeped into me. I’d never be able to live with this.
Sexy though Paul was, with his black curly hair and tanned muscular body, we had absolutely nothing in common. Paul, single, athletic and outgoing, bordered almost on the point of being crude.
Oh, he treated everyone polite enough, and all the women at the club fawned all over him. Maybe that was the problem — he acted like God’s gift to women.

So what in the world made me give into his seduction?  Clearly, I hadn’t been thinking straight.
“Thinking straight?” I covered my head with the pillow. “Honey, you weren’t thinking at all.” My voice sounded harsh, raspy. I rolled over, eased myself up, sat on the edge of the bed, and pushed back the wave of nausea and dizziness. “Pull yourself together, girl. You have to think this through.” 

Think, I couldn’t even focus. And how was I going to face Andrew when he came home later? I wasn’t good at lying, never had been. Andrew would guess the minute he saw me. Damn, damn, damn, what had I done?
Worse, why?

I shuddered at the memory of last night. Paul hadn’t spoken a single word the whole time we were together. He wasn’t tender or gentle like Andrew. Our love making had been quick, fierce, almost animalistic. I held my head in my hands. Couldn’t even call it lovemaking? Nothing more than sex. Pure unadulterated sex. Stupid, that’s what it was, plain, old, every day stupid. My stomach turned over, and tears slid down my cheeks.
Shamed and disgusted, I lay back down, curled into a ball, and wanted to disappear. Go back to sleep. Make it go away, a bad dream. But it wasn’t a bad dream, and it wasn’t going to go away.
 I had to get up, move on, had to work through it. Forget it happened. Yeah, like that was possible. Never, in this lifetime. More importantly, I had to keep Andrew from finding out. Right now, I needed to get up. There was much to do today.  Lying in bed and hiding wouldn’t solve anything. Much as the thought appealed to me. There were errands to run and a dinner engagement with my friend Jenny.
 Oh, crap, Jenny.
 How could I even explain this to my friend?  Jenny, who knew everything wasn’t all peaches and cream between me and Andrew lately, certainly wouldn’t suspect ‘little prude, Meg Baldwin’ of anything like this. I really wasn’t a prude, but Jenny thought of me that way.
She held me up on some kind of pedestal. Seemed like everyone did. Heck, how had I earned that reputation anyway? I’d never been Miss Goody Two Shoes. I did the things most college students did. Drank too much, skipped classes sometimes. Shoot, there’d been a lot of skipped classes since I didn’t really want to go to college.

But, hadn’t I portrayed myself as the perfect wife with the perfect life? Nothing about me seemed perfect now. I had committed the ultimate sin, cheated on my husband. Cheated on my family. Cheated myself.
If someone had told me twenty years ago I’d be in this predicament, I would have laughed at them. Even a week, no two days ago, it would have cracked me up. Tears swelled in my eyes. I swiped them away. How was I supposed to act normal around my friend or, for that matter, around anyone? Nope, nothing else to do but postpone our dinner.
 What good would that do? I’d have to see Jenny eventually, and then what? May as well go. Get it over and done with. I’d muddle through somehow. Besides, confession was good for the soul,
Wasn’t it?
I didn’t have to tell Jenny everything.
In fact, I didn’t have to tell Jenny anything. Like that was possible. Jenny’d see right through me. Always had. She used to laugh at me in college. I had talked about nothing but marriage and having babies. That’s all I ever wanted.  If my parents hadn’t insisted, I wouldn’t have gone to college in the first place. My dream was to find the perfect man, have a dozen kids, and become the perfect wife and mother.
Well, I had found the perfect man — Andrew. We were the perfect match. Weren’t we? If Andrew found out, he’d never forgive me. Not that I’d blame him. I couldn’t even forgive myself.
I eased off the bed and stumbled to the shower. “Damn it!” I bumped into the rocker along the way. My head pounded with every step like it was going to explode. Stopping in front of the large mirror over the vanity and half afraid to look, my reflection stared back at me.
Other than a tangled mass of dark brown hair that desperately needed a color touch-up, I didn’t look any different. Even through my bloodshot eyes, my face looked normal. A bit pale, some dark circles, but under the circumstances that didn’t surprise me.
What had I expected to see anyway? A sign on my forehead – cheating wife? I rubbed some cleansing cream on the dark circles under my eyes, relieved to see most of the black came off.  Phew, just mascara.  I wiped off the face cream and turned on the shower.
It took a bit of effort to step into the tub - my whole body ached. Pulling the curtain, I shivered at the initial shock of cold water. Finally, a hot steady stream rushed over me, but all the scrubbing didn’t take the dirty feeling from my body. Didn’t take the feeling of Paul’s hands away. They’d be forever etched in my mind. Like an octopus he was. Couldn’t keep his hands off of me. The thought of it repulsed me. Why had I been so attracted last night?
Guilt ridden and red from scrubbing, I snapped off the water, took a deep breath, and swallowed the nausea, rising in my throat. I stepped out of the shower and heard my daughter’s voice in the hall.

“Mom, Jason and I are leaving now,” Julie yelled. “Don’t forget we won’t be home for dinner.”
Oh God, the kids. What if they found out?

I wrapped my robe around me, tied it at the waist, and hurried to the doorway.  Not only had I betrayed Andrew, I had betrayed my kids.
Hugging my fifteen–year-old daughter and giving her an extra hard squeeze, I barely got the words out. “Okay honey, you and Jason have fun. I’ll see you later.”

“Thanks, Mom.” Julie returned the hug.
The puzzled look wasn’t lost on me as Julie hurried off to join her brother. I wasn’t sure why I felt the need for the extra hug. Probably the guilt already eating at me.

What if the kids found out? What would they think of their mother? Why hadn’t I thought of all this before I so foolishly given in to a whim? It wasn’t like me to jump into things like this. I always thought things through. Why not this time? I had never done a spontaneous thing in my life.
Why now?

I shook the thought from my mind, ran downstairs to make coffee and thought about the errands I needed to run. Grocery shopping, dry cleaners, post office, something else — damn, I hated when I couldn’t remember. Why hadn’t I written it down? Lately, I’d been so forgetful it scared me.  Oh well, I’d think of it eventually.
Always one to get my errands done and out of the way early, today I dreaded going out. What if I ran into someone? I couldn’t face people. Not yet. One look at my face, and they’d guess. I went back upstairs, blew dried my hair and slipped into a light cotton blouse and capris. After one last look in the mirror, to assure myself I hadn’t really turned into a monster, I looked around the room — our room — mine and Andrew’s.
This was our sanctuary. We both loved this room. I loved the warm burgundy walls. Andrew had been leery of the color, but once he saw it he liked it too. He had given me a free hand with decorating for the most part - as long as I didn’t do anything too frilly. Of course, he insisted on picking out the massive cherry furniture, the sleigh bed and oversized armoire. It fit well in the large room. The only frill I allowed myself was the antique, pink floral rocker. The other chair, another over-sized, over-stuffed one, Andrew wanted. The burgundy and navy plaid chair fit well with the room. Gave it a homey feel. Tears stung my eyes.

 Why had I been so foolish?
How could I have crawled into bed after sex with another man?  I definitely needed to change the sheets, or more likely burn them. I yanked the sheets off the bed and got new ones from the closet, picked up the navy quilt from the floor, where I had kicked it, and made up the bed. Okay, enough of a delay, it was time to get on with the day.

After a quick cup of coffee, I was off. Hurrying through the grocery store, head down to avoid making eye contact with anyone, I prayed I wouldn’t run into anyone, especially a gossipy neighbor. Usually I loved grocery shopping. Loved planning dinners for my family, especially when Andrew came home from one of his trips. I always tried to make something special. But not today.
I threw only a few of the things from my list into the cart and cut my shopping trip short. This was too much to handle.  I had to get out of here. I could barely breathe. The risk of running into a neighbor or someone from the club was just too great. Besides, my head still ached something fierce. Served me right, but no way could I finish shopping.

Relieved not to have bumped into anyone, I paid for the groceries, hurried to my car, and pressed the remote to release the trunk. While unloading the grocery cart, a sense of dread came over me. Someone stood behind me.
Oh crap, why now?

Without looking, I knew it was Paul. I didn’t want to face him, not today, not ever again. How to explain to him this was a one-time thing, that there was nothing between us? I couldn’t bring myself to look at him.
“Hey, Babe, how are you today?”

Just the sound of his voice sent chills up my spine, and not the ones I experienced yesterday. Today, nothing about him excited me. Today, the thought of him repulsed me.
Heat burned my face, and I knew color crept into my cheeks. A wave of nausea formed a lump in my throat, making it difficult to speak. Without looking up, I put my groceries into the trunk and slammed it closed. I swallowed hard and cleared my throat.

“Hey, why the cold shoulder? What’d I do?” Paul grabbed my arm.
I cringed at the sound of his voice, pulled away, got into the car, and rolled down the window - just enough for him to hear me. Staring straight ahead, unable to look at him, barely able to even talk to him, I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. Something told me this wasn’t going to be easy.

“Paul, about last night... It was a mistake. It’s not going to happen again.” I started the car and forced myself to look at him. “I’m sorry...”  I just wanted this over and done with. Wanted to be rid of him.
“What do you mean a mistake?” Paul’s smile turned into a scowl. “You’re sorry...?”  His raised his voice and clenched his fist.

This wasn’t going well. “Look, Paul, it never should have happened. I lost control...” Think, darn it. There had to be something I could say to let him down easy. Some way to soften this.
“Paul, listen... You’re an attractive guy, but I’m married, please try to understand.” This was hopeless. The arrogant look on his face told me I wasn’t getting through to him. Something told me he wasn’t used to rejection, that he was the one who usually called it quits. Well, there’s a first time for everything. Looked like he found his first.

 “Hey, come on, Meg. You can’t mean that.”
 What had I seen in him? Right now he looked like a spoiled kid whose mother told him to get out of the cookie jar. He looked like he was going to throw a tantrum, and I wasn’t about to stick around and watch.

I started the car, put it in gear, and drove off, leaving him to stare after me.
Son of a bitch, who did she think she was sloughing him off like that? Dumb bitch. No way. He wasn’t done with her yet. There was still more fun to be had. Married, big deal. All of the women he played around with were married. Safer that way. No strings. He wasn’t looking for a permanent relationship for god’s sakes.
She’d been such an easy mark. So ripe for the picking – typical lonely housewife. Husband’s gone, kids almost grown. Yep, she was more than ready. A wasp’s nest what a story. But it worked. He didn’t care what excuse she used. It got him what he wanted. And what a night. He could hardly wait for a repeat performance. She should be dying for an encore.

What the hell? The nerve of her driving off that way. Who did she think she was, Queen of England or something? He decided when fun time was over. Not her. Stupid bitch. No way was she going to use him for a one night stand. He’d show her.
 Shit, bet it wouldn’t take long to convince her either. So she was feeling a bit of conscience today, she’d get over it. All he had to do was show up at her door a few times. She’d give in. She didn’t know how lucky she was. Hell, half the women at the club were after him, and he chose her.

Now, she was going to tell him no. No chance. He’d seduce her again. A lot of women had guilt trips. They always changed their minds. So would she. Playing hard to get, that’s all she was doing. Pretending it wouldn’t happen again.
Hell, last night she couldn’t wait until he took her. Didn’t even finish her drink, and he made it extra strong just in case she had an attack of conscience. Meg didn’t hesitate for a second. Nope, fell right into his arms. Hot little thing too, for a woman her age. Couldn’t get enough of him. 

Paul walked back to his car and got in.  A few phone calls, a couple chance meetings, she’d be right back where she was last night. Under his spell.  Why women reacted that way to him, he had no idea. Been that way ever since he was sixteen and one of his friend’s mothers came on to him.  Hadn’t stopped since. Not that he minded. Saved him a lot of trouble. Didn’t have to dodge those girls who were looking for marriage and babies. Not his style. Settling down with a bunch of brats wasn’t for him.  Too many fish in the pond for that.
He hardly ever dated single women anymore. Oh sure, he had to do it occasionally, just to save face. Certain events required he come with a date. Never lacked for any of them either. Usually teachers at school. But that got complicated sometimes.  They were looking for more, and dating someone you worked with made it all that much harder to end it. But, he managed all these years, and he’d continue to manage.

He already had his mark picked out when he was through with Meg. Another month or so, and he’d end it. He never stuck around long. Got what he wanted and got out before they started getting ideas about leaving their husbands and making it permanent.
He drove home smiling. Yep, Meg would come around.
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Reviews:      5.0 out of 5 stars Life's Choices Can Make You or Break You October 21, 2012         By G. R. Branan
All of us have choices. And yes, sometimes, the choice we make can change the course of your life. For better or worse? Well, that's up to you. Another Day explores the consequences of one choice made by a woman. Definitely, it could have wrecked her life. Instead, she changes it into something that enhances it. Thought-provoking and poignant, any woman will relate to this story.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Day, The Struggles and the Joys October 21, 2012         By Heather Haven
This is the 4th or 5th story I've read by the author, Roseanne Dowell. This book offers more than romance to the reader. Real life is given a prose treatment that becomes a full-bodied, truthful story with layers and dimensions. Ms. Dowell has a way of getting into the heart of her protagonist and this read is no exception. You cannot help but root for the characters and feel their deepest yearnings and fears. You are driven to turn the pages until you find out what happens to them. And what happens is always satisfying. Brava, Ms. Dowell! You've done it again.

Thanks for regaling us today, Roseanne. Pleasure to host you and great excerpt!