After a summer of hot sex with alligator rancher Rick Belleair, Amber Hill returns home to complete her graduate studies. As much as she wants to forget the dominating man who haunts her reckless fantasies, she must go back to him one last time. Her plan: is to get what she needs, then leave.
Dark family secrets keep Rick tied to his painful past and make him determined to protect those he loves, even if he has to hurt them to do it. When Amber returns to the Everglades, asking Rick to release her once and for all, he agrees to her request, but he has one of his own.
It only took Amber Hill one glance to realize how completely wrong she’d been. She stared at Rick Belleair’s powerful backside as he went through the simple motions of tossing feed bags out of his truck bed and fought against the swell of emotion threatening to weaken her resolve and good sense. Bright, southern Florida sunshine glinted off his blond ponytail, a mass of locks like some windblown pirate’s that hung halfway down his bare back. He looked and moved like the rogue she remembered, but he wasn’t some fantasy man she’d conjured up.
Tiny streams of water rolled across Amber’s skin, disappearing down the low neckline of her T-shirt. Each curve defined by the damp material was just as Rick remembered. As he traced the outline of her breasts with his gaze, his palms burned with the need to touch her warm skin. Her nipples would pucker. Soon he’d have her begging, then moaning.
Right, he mocked himself, like she’ll be moaning for her new husband.
He let go of her hand, jerked his gaze away from the tantalizing sight below him. All those months ago when she’d left him, he’d known he couldn’t have her, but to hear her say that she’d soon belong to another hurt more than he could’ve thought possible. He wiped the sweet taste of her off his lips. He shouldn’t have kissed her that second time but after the first one he’d had to be sure. Even though she’d given herself to another man she still wanted him. She did then, did now and always would.
At least he had that.
The rain let up as quickly as it had started. The first rays of sun slashed through the edges of the cloud, shinning on the fresh puddles. Steam drifted up the ground, evaporating into the thick, damp air.
All signs of the kiss were gone from her face. He could bring the fiery flush back if he wanted to. He touched her rounded chin, but as much as he wanted to, he didn’t take her mouth.
“I remember the summer storms,” she said softly, still turned out at the wet yard.
He pulled her face to his. “You remember a lot more than that.”
Her green eyes widened before she looked away, lifting her chin to escape his grip, back to the water drizzling around them. “That’s not why I came.”
June will start off with my first event of the summer, the Farmington Author & Book Festival book signing on Saturday, June 3 in Farmington Michigan. This will be my first time attending this festival. I hear its huge, so I'm planning to arrive early...so I don't get lost.
You are are in the metro Detroit area, come find us. The address is 33430 Grand River Avenue, Farmington, Michigan.
Later this month I'll be heading to the Ann Radcliffe Conference. This conference is the academic branch of the Horror Writers Association. I'll be presenting my paper on Friday, June 16, in Pittsburgh. I'll be presenting on what I refer to as the 'guilty' mom in horror films. This research came from my observation that mother characters in horror tend to be lumped together. I differentiate between the guilty mom and the bad mom. Curious? Take a look below. Note, its pretty dense and hefty academic type writing, so I tucked it under the monthly cocktail recipe.
Speaking of the monthly cocktail recipe, check out the festive video above. It shows the steps involved in making the daiquiri below.
The month won't be all structured events! I'll also be riding my bike, going for hikes, camping, and reading at the pool.
Recipe of the Month
The Daiquiri was supposedly invented in 1898 in the eponymous mining town of Daiquiri on the southeastern tip of Cuba by an American mining engineer named Jennings Cox. It was introduced in the United States a decade later, when a U.S. Navy medical officer brought the recipe from Cuba to Washington, D.C.
This three-ingredient gift has pleased millions of palates over the ensuing years, including household names like Ernest Hemingway and President JFK.
2 ounces light or dark rum
3/4 ounce simple syrup or demerara sugar syrup
1 ounce fresh lime juice
Place ice in serving glass and chill.
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake for 60 seconds.
Mothers in these films are often given the generic label of dysfunctional, but this broad term is not sufficient. We can assume if a mother is a main character, she is flawed and conflicted. If her role of mother is highlighted by the storyline, it is necessary that the conflict be connected to that aspect of her character. A mother character who is not conflicted by her parenting responsibilities would not be conflict worthy. This is to say, if she were fully functioning, her impact on the story’s narrative tension would be quite different. She herself would not be a source of conflict and tension, she would be a reactant to conflict and tension.
The ‘bad’ mother is either uninterested in performing her role as mother or so flawed in her approach that she is toxic. She may be reacting to toxic shame, unresolved trauma from her own childhood, or may be inherently ‘evil’, but in all cases her own needs, explicit or repressed, are her primary motivators. Within the context of the story, she misjudges or disregards the needs of her child and either feels little or no judgment by society or she doesn’t care about the judgement. Typically, this mother is not a sympathetic character; viewers don’t identify with her and thus experience her as a source of external tension. She creates tension that an alternate character, typically her child, is responding to and attempting to resolve. Margaret White, Carrie’s mother in the film Carrie is an example of a ‘bad’ horror movie mom.
By comparison, the guilty mom is for the most part reasonably attuned to the needs of her child and does want to meet them. Or at least she understands that she should want to meet them. Her guilt comes from her understanding that she is not sufficiently assisting the child, from the resentment she feels toward the child whose behavior or existence is a source of judgment, or a combination of both factors. Her guilt is a response to the self-awareness that acts she has or hasn’t done have negatively impacted her child. She also understands and cares about the judgments of her community or society in general. This exclusion from belonging or judgment by the larger group is an additional source of guilt and contributes to the story tension.
Creative projects: a dystopian, sci-fi sort of thing, A Christmas Cake, a Christmas novella, and a women's fiction novel.
Academic projects: editorial work for the next issue of the Washington Square Review and an writing chapter currently titled "Caveman for the Win: Power Dynamics and the Bootstrapping Narrative in Rocky."