If I come in, I’m going to stay– Chances trilogy by Martha O’Sullivan

Today I welcome Martha O’Sullivan to share her Chances trilogy.

When I started writing Second Chance five years ago, a trilogy was the farthest thing from my mind.  But as Lindsay and Brian’s adventure evolved, I realized there wasn’t room in the book to do everyone else justice, not to mention the unrivaled beauty of the Lake Tahoe winter. And since Delaney and Mike’s Chance Encounter in San Francisco was dancing relentlessly in my head, I put Moira and Paul’s story on hold until Last Chance. I love them all, but Second Chance will always be the book of my heart.

Second Chance, the Chances trilogy opener, is a reunion/love triangle romance that keeps the shores of Lake Tahoe blazing hot long after the sultry summer sun has set. Chance Encounter, the trilogy’s second installment, heats up San Francisco’s chilly days and blustery nights with white-hot passion and pulse-pounding suspense. And in Last Chance, the conclusion of the trilogy, lifelong friends-turned-lovers melt the snow-packed Sierras into lust-fueled puddles despite the single-digit temperatures of the Lake Tahoe winter.

Here’s a short synopsis and steamy excerpt from Second Chance:

Lindsay Foster has convinced herself that marrying Paul Webster is the right thing to do. But now that Brian Rembrandt is standing in front of her again, undressing her with his eyes, she finds herself torn between the life she’s always wanted and the man she’ll always love.

Brian’s up for that fight; he’s used to getting what he wants. And he’s never met a rule, or a woman, that couldn’t be broken.

But it’s more complicated than that.

This love triangle has an extra side. Lindsay’s best friend Moira Brody has a game-changing secret.  And she’s not the only one.  Even Brian is no help for what happens next. The chain of events set in motion on the tranquil shores of Lake Tahoe come to an astonishing end on a foggy San Francisco night. And alters the course of four lives forever…

           “You missed your flight.”

Lindsay’s hand froze on the brushed nickel door handle and after counting to five to collect herself, she remarked neatly, “I left you a message.”

The hand attached to the voice gripped her arm and swung her around. “Your message thanked me for the flowers.  It said nothing about the flight. Or the weekend.”

The steel blue eyes staring back at her were as cold as the choppy gray peaks pummeling the shore. “I thought you understood. I couldn’t come.”

“You said you’d think about it.”

“And I did,” she attested, lifting her chin. “I decided it wasn’t a good idea.”

“I disagree.” Brian braced his hands on the door jam, trapping her between his arms, and spoke in a low growl. “Do you know how hard it was for me to get a flight to Reno on a Friday afternoon in July?”

She sucked a breath. “No.”

“I had to buy my way on or wait until morning. Luckily, I found an entrepreneurial minded college kid who likes to drive.” Hedging her in, he paused for a moment and then asked, “Do you know why I did that?”

Knowing he didn’t expect an answer, Lindsay merely gulped.

“Because I was already at the airport,” he continued satirically “And,” he slanted his mouth over hers, “I couldn’t wait until tomorrow to do this.”

Breath hitching, he crushed his lips to hers. They were white-hot. Burning as intensely as the fire he’d stirred within her.  Resisting glimmered, dulled, then dissipated in her mind. Instead her arms linked his neck and she melted into the heat.  He tasted rugged, felt rough, like the end of a long day. Their mouths collided, parted, rejoined, until they found that familiar crescendo and began the climb. The flame caught, flickered, combusted, as Brian’s tongue snarled with hers and his hands combed her back. And then a flare began to kindle in another chasm, deep within her.

Even through the denim, Brian was rising to meet it, fill it. Rigid against her, he released her mouth and buried his face in her hair. “When I told you I wasn’t giving up so easily this time, I meant it.” He stepped out of her embrace and taking her hands in his, demanded, “Should I leave?”

His eyes had softened to make room for his heart, she realized. And she could deny hers no longer. Throat swelling, she shook her head from side to side.

The corners of Brian’s mouth curved, but his expression remained tight. “Then we need to get something straight. If I come in, I’m going to stay,” he informed her in a disturbingly reasonable tone of voice. “And if I stay, I’m going to make love to you all night long.”

She should tell him to go. Ignore the ripples in her stomach, the way her heart was chasing them. Instead she surrendered to them. “Promise?”

He pushed away the windblown tendrils that had fallen into her face. “Promise.”

Pine cones screeched across the asphalt and winter’s forgotten leaves danced on the grass as he opened the door and led her up the stairs.  No words were necessary; he knew the way. To her bed, her heart, her soul.

Telling rain began beating against the roof as he laid her on the soft down. Sitting next to her, he swept his fingertips across her lips.  “I’ve never wanted anyone the way I want you,” he avowed with a kiss. “Even you.”

Pulse leaping to join his, she ordered in a husky voice, “Show me.”

They exchanged a look of portentous understanding. Then Brian rolled on top of her, seamlessly moving his body into hers. Positioning himself between her legs, he framed her face with his arms and in a voice as thick as honey, confided, “Linds, I haven’t been with anybody else.”

Lindsay was dumbfounded. “You haven’t?”

“No.”

“Neither have I.”

That seemed to shock, then please him. Immensely. “But what about…” he faltered.

She shook her head from side to side, noting the hint of prayer in his voice. “You were the last man to touch me,” she told him honestly.

The weight of her words filled his lustful eyes with delight and appreciation.  “I’ve waited sixteen months to make love to you again. I can’t wait much longer,” he gallanted.

She lifted her arms to his neck and skimmed her lips across his. “Who’s asking you to?”

The challenge registered in his eyes as his mouth pounced on hers.  He set his sights on her bottom lip and pulled, as if to tease, before kissing her with his whole body. His tongue meandered up and down her throat while his thumbs traced the thin cotton of her shirt until her nipples stood on point. Finally he unhooked her bra and slipped the v-neck over her head.

“You are so beautiful.” He allowed himself a few seconds to wallow in her heaving breasts. Then he cupping her, he gushed, “How have I gone this long without you?”

She’d lain in bed many a night dreaming about this. Remembering the way her head bowed back as Brian kneaded her breasts with his sure hands. The way her gut coiled into a spool of yen when his tongue did laps down her abdomen to her bellybutton and back again. The way the euphoric swooning in her head became a creamy deluge between her thighs.

He reacquainted himself with her curves as he inched her jeans down. Holding their weighted stare, he knelt above her, unbuttoning his tailored shirt from the top as she worked from the bottom. When their hands met, he stilled hers on this virility.

“Ooh,” she growled blissfully. He was as hard as she was wet. And she couldn’t wait until his billowing cock was between her legs.

Unbuckling his belt, he kicked off his jeans. Fully aroused, he glided all that separated them over her hips and crawled back to her. His seeping erection nudged at her as he scooped her dewy triangle. Every cell in her body was on high alert now, in anticipation of what was to come. She spread her legs in wholehearted invitation.

She whimpered when he found her moist creases. His fingers knew each tuck, each fold, each pleat of her center. His thumb settled on the fleshy nub at her core and he began to coddle her. She trembled, purred, pleaded, until finally he plunged into her saturated reservoir.  His fingers thrust in and out as she squirmed beneath him, digging her nails into his back as her sharp, short gasps of baiting pleasure filled the air.

But that was nothing compared to the drone that escaped Brian’s throat when he entered her. She tightened around him, dripping as he grew inside her, grinding against him as he rode her. She lifted her buttocks and brought him deeper still, raising her hips to increase the friction, pushing him farther into her as his abdomen sailed over hers. Lindsay could count her stable of lovers on one hand, and Brian was by far the best of the bunch, she recalled as the tip of him pounded the remotest part of her. The orgasm built, retreated, then roared back in full force. It ripped through her with such wielding power that she howled once, then again and begged for more.

And just before Brian filled her, he obliged.

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Author Bio: 

Martha O’Sullivan has loved reading romance novels for as long as she can remember. So much so that she would continue the story in her head long after the last chapter was read. Writing her own novels is the realization of a lifelong dream for this stay-at-home mom. Martha writes contemporary and erotic romances with traditional couples and happy endings. She is the author of the Chances trilogy available now from Red Sage Publishing. Her current work-in-progress in a Christmas novel set in Florida. A native Chicagoan, she lives her own happy ending in Tampa with her husband and two daughters.

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Why I don’t believe in goals

Yep, you heard me. I don’t believe in goals. In the first weeks of this new year, I have seen a lot of posts about peoples’ plans for 2014: what they hope to accomplish, resolutions they’ve made, all kinds of measurable and immeasurable goals. Not that goals can’t have a place in someone’s life (and I wish you all the best in reaching yours), but for me, no way. And here’s why: goals distract me from the present moment.

Annie Dillard said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” When I focus on goals, I am spending my days in the future–holding myself to some potential outcome that will presumably give me happiness, satisfaction, some inexpressible feeling of accomplishment that brings meaning to my life. But maybe, just maybe, all those things come not from some goal(s) to check off  a to do list. Instead, it is found by being fully present in each moment. By fully living my life.

Will I succeed in living in the present moment at all times? No. But to spend time in regret or self-flagellation is to live in the past. To strive to be better is to live in the future. The present moment just is. I accept that. And I accept it over and over. Can you?

I challenge each of you to embrace a life where there is no hope for the future, no reliance on that hope to give you happiness. Alan Watts wrote, “If to enjoy even an enjoyable present we must have the assurance of a happy future, we are ‘crying for the moon.’ We have no such assurance. The best predictions are still matters of probability rather than certainty, and to the best of our knowledge every one of us is going to suffer and die. If, then, we cannot live happily without an assured future, we are certainly not adapted to living in a finite world where, despite the best plans, accidents will happen, and where death comes at the end.”

I know setting goals isn’t the same as believing they will come to pass in the future, but there is such a temptation to give goals more power over our happiness than they deserve. Goals can have merit. They can give us the opportunity to evaluate what we value and how we wish to spend our time. But they are not a promise. They are not a measure of how good or bad our life is. They do not tell us how good or successful we are as human beings. They only carry the meaning we ascribe to them.

When my husband was helping me revise this post, he reminded me of a similar sentiment about goals shared by Leo Babauta at Zenhabits.net. If you are interested in another take on not goal setting, check out his wonderful post. A teaser quote: “I live without goals, for the most part. It’s absolutely liberating, and contrary to what you might have been taught, it absolutely doesn’t mean you stop achieving things. It means you stop letting yourself be limited by goals.”

So what are my writing plans for 2014?

  • I’m working on the third book in my Hidden Lines series. It’s almost completed, so there is a good probability it will be out this year.
  • Another story is in the works. Odds say I’ll finish it this year. I’m less confident that it will be published in 2014.
  • I recently found a bunch of old stories. Some are whispering in my ear to come back to them. That might come to pass.
  • Who knows what might inspire me in the next minute, day, month etc.? If it goes anywhere, I’ll probably talk about it here.

What I do know is the some things will happen–whether related to writing or not–and I want to be present in the moment that each of those things occur.

I wish you all a beautiful 2014 from moment to moment.

On finding the inner strength to change

I recently wrote a post on Brenda Whiteside’s Discover Yourself blog. It was for her Fearless Friday feature. With the new year upon us, I wanted to share this post on my blog too. Here’s how it begins:

Five years ago, I had a stable job that paid well and I could draw the arc of my career in a logical, ordered way. I had it all according to many people’s definition of success. The problem was I felt incredibly depressed, stressed and angry. My body couldn’t take the insomnia, the repression of negative emotions or the fact I like to eat when I’m upset. I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Thank the powers that be for my husband’s diligence to see me through, a supportive friend and some unknown inner strength to change…

You can read the whole post here.

Interviews, excerpts and giveaways

In celebration of my new release, I’ve got a lot going on today.

First, I’m visiting Anne Lange. I’ve used five words to describe myself, my main characters and my two novels in the Hidden Lines series. And I’d love to see you describe your favorite character or book in five words. Plus, there is a new excerpt from To Growl or to Groan!

Second, I have a craft interview up at Eclectic Writer. Tomorrow there will be an excerpt up.

Third, I’m participating in The Romance Studio’s Spookapalooza. I’m giving away a gift card, plus there are a ton of other prizes from other participating authors and TRS. I’ll be debuting different snippets throughout the week, so be sure to stop by.

Cherry Pie and Inspiration: An Interview with Janet Lane Walters

Today, I’m doing an interview exchange with Janet Lane Walters. You can see my interview by clicking here. An excerpt from my new novel To Growl or to Groan will be up on Saturday.

Katya: What is your favorite word and give us an example of how you have used it in your writing?

Janet: Would you believe I have no real favorite word? Just words in general. I fell in love with books and words when I was about three when my grandfather taught me how to read. From then I was off and running with reading. This led to writing and my love for words increased. I’ve spent ages with the thesaurus just seeing where one word will lead to the next.

Katya: What do you do to find inspiration?

Janet: Inspiration is the last thing I need. I watch people walking on the street. I see a picture that engages me. I listen to children and grandchildren talking. I remember things from the days I worked as a nurse. Just life in general inspires me. Music. I’m a classical fan and also like hard rock. Get inspired there, too. In art, I rather like Edward Hopper (his home is just a few blocks from mine). Sorting through all of life is and should be an inspiration to any writer.

Katya: What was the hardest part of writing your latest book?

Janet: For me the hardest part is the proofreading before I send the story off. How many question marks have I avoided to put in their place? How many of those real words aren’t the right words? I’m finishing a story right now that’s the second of my Moonchild series that I had to begin again when I realized this was the hero’s story since he had both the most to lose and the most to win if he didn’t change. Ripping out entire scenes was hard but necessary. Sometimes making the love scenes fresh is hard and they
may be re-written five or six times.

Katya: What was the easiest?

Janet: Plot is the easiest for me. My stories are more plot driven than character driven. Before I begin, in my head I know how the story will flow and then I begin to craft the characters needed to make the story work.

Katya: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Janet: Favorite author. There isn’t just one. There are many authors I like for different reasons. I bill myself as the eclectic writer and my reading habits are about the same. I don’t read horror or even attempt to write it. I’d like to write true science fiction or true action adventure but I don’t have the knowledge. I read Anna Karenina in third grade for a book report and really liked the convoluted plots of Tolstoy but I also like simpler plots. Jennifer Probst has great alpha heroes, Jane Toombs for just her way with words.

Katya: What is your favorite dessert?

Janet: Cherry Pie hands down–with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, especially if there’s just a hint of spice in the filling.

Blurb for her latest release: Born under a dark moon, Norna has to battle rumors that she is tainted by evil and unworthy of being anything more than a servant. Discarded by her mother, she runs away from her aunt, a priestess who wants her to enter the temple. Instead, Norna chooses to be a Healwoman, and a chance encounter with a novice hoping to be a priest helps her discover she has talents of water, air and fire at her disposal. With these gifts she is called on to battle treachery and attempts to prevent the promised prophecy of the god and goddess. As she battles evil powers, she loses her heart to Shandor, the man she met when her journey first began. She must come to grips with Britha who plots against her. Shandor has his own enemy Vorgan. When the pair of foes unite, the battles begin.
Connect with Janet:
* Website
* Blog
* Amazon Author Page
* Twitter