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You can reach me at KatieAshleyRomance at gmail dot com

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Atlanta, GA, United States
I am the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best Selling author of The Proposition, Proposal, Music of the Heart, and Nets and Lies. I am represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich for all books except for Proposition and Proposal.
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The Proposition

The Proposition



Monday, December 30, 2013


Music of the Soul, Runaway Train 2.5, is live on all channels, except iTunes. Here are the links! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Story with AJ and Mia from Beat of the Heart

I was in the middle of a very X-rated dream involving Mia wearing nothing but a sparkly red Santa’s hat. She was riding me hard and fast when a high-pitched squeal brought me out heaven and back into reality. In a matter of seconds, that squeal became a full on scream, and I knew it was time to get up and at it for my Bella. After I threw back the sheets, I staggered out of the bed, grinding the sleep from my eyes. Glancing over at the clock, I saw it was one in the afternoon. Mia had left Bella with me, so she could go Christmas shopping with Abby.

As I bent over the frilly, pink Pack N Play wedged into the corner of the bus’s bedroom, Bella’s tiny features were crumpled in rage. Her fists waved angrily back and forth, like at any moment she was going to knock the hell out of whoever she could get her hands on. She was truly Mia’s kid. Okay, fine, maybe she had inherited a little bit of both of our temperaments.

“Easy mi princesa.”

At my words, Bella popped open her once pinched shut eyes and stared up at me. “What’s wrong, mi amor?” I asked as I reached over to pick her up.

Her screaming quieted to snubbing as I took her in my arms. Kissing the top of dark head full of hair, I inhaled of her sweet baby smell. “It’s okay. Daddy’s here now.” I felt around on her diaper to see if she was wet. “Hmm, you feel dry to me.” Raising her above my face, I did the usual sniff test of her butt to see if there was another surprise lurking. “Nope, good to go there. So you must be hungry, huh?” At her hiccupped reply, I started for the bedroom door. “Let’s go get some of the milk mommy pumped for you before she left.”

When I got to the kitchen, I found Rhys seated at the table in boxers slurping on a bowl of cereal. “You slept in too, huh?”

“Yeah. Last night’s show was killer.” He motioned to Bella. “Not to mention her three a.m. scream-fest.”

I winced. “Sorry dude.”

He shrugged. “It’s okay. It’s not like we haven’t kept each other awake before with screaming chicks.”

I laughed. “True.”

Balancing Bella in one arm, I opened the fridge. I scanned the shelves twice, but I still didn’t see the container Mia always left. “Hey man, have you see Bella’s milk?”


“You know, the milk that Mia pumps for Bella.”

When I glanced up from the fridge, Rhys had paled. “Uh…is that it on the counter?”

Closing the fridge, I peered over to the counter to see the empty container. “Yeah, that’s it. But why is it empty?”

“Oh fucking hell,” Rhys groaned before bolting from the table. The next thing I knew he was in the bathroom heaving his guts up.

I glanced down at Bella. “Guess we know where your milk went, huh?”

The prospect of not eating didn’t sit well with Bella, and she decided the best way to let it be known was to start screaming again. “Shit!” I exclaimed as I started fumbling around in the cabinets for some formula. 

Thankfully, the bus door flew open, and Mia came clattering up the stairs. At the sound of Bella’s cries, Mia dropped her packages and hustled back to us. “What happened?” she asked as she took Bella into her arms.

“She’s hungry.”

“Why did you feed her the milk I left?”

“Um…” I rubbed the back of my neck and tried to think of how to explain what had happened. I knew Rhys would be even sicker if Mia knew he’d accidentally drunk her milk, and I was pretty sure she’d be absolutely mortified. “I…accidentally dropped it.”

Mia smiled. “You stugats.”

My eyes widened. “Hey, I know that one from The Soprano’s. But you’re right. I am a stupid dick.”

She reached up with her left hand to cup my cheek—the one that glittered with her engagement ring. “But I love you anyway.”

Bella squealed in rage, signaling it was time to get with the feeding program. Mia glanced over her shoulder. 

“Will you bring the packages back to the bedroom while I feed her?”

“Sure, mi amor.”

“Don’t peek.”

“I won’t.” I gathered up the bags and started for the bedroom. As I passed the bathroom, I rapped on the door. “You okay, man?”

“I’ll live,” Rhys moaned.

I grimaced as I went on into the bedroom. When I got inside, Mia was on the bed feeding Bella. I put the bags in the corner. “So you bought me something today, huh?”

Mia smiled. “Maybe.”

Eyeing one of the multicolored bags, I asked, “Is it something sexy for you to wear for my eyes only?”

She rolled her eyes. “You wish.”

“You know all I want for Christmas is you,” I teased as I sat down next to her.

“You have me. Always,” she replied.

“Best. Present. Ever,” I murmured, before learning in to kiss her. When I pulled away, I grinned. “You’re the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.”

Mia threw her head back and laughed. “You’re terrible.”

“But you love me anyway.”

“Yes, I do.” At Bella’s cooing, Mia glanced down and smiled. “So you think your naughty daddy’s pretty funny too, huh?” She closed up shop by bringing Bella to her shoulder to burp her.

“She finished already?” I asked, rubbing Bella’s back.

“I think she just wanted a snack.”

“More like she wanted to give her old man some hell by waking him up from a perfectly good sex dream.”

Mia’s dark eyes widened. “AJ!”

I laughed at her outrage. “It was about you, amorcito mio.”

“I don’t care. Don’t say sex in front of Bella.”

“Like she even knows what it is.”

“I don’t care,” Mia huffed.

I shook my head and grinned. “You’re so cute when you get riled.” At Mia’s, ‘You do not want to go there with me’ look, I held up my hands in defeat. “Fine, fine. You know, you haven’t told me what you wanted for Christmas.”

Mia sighed. “All I want is to be off this bus in time to get a live tree for Bella’s first Christmas.”

“Last show is the nineteenth. Then we head home.”

Mia quirked her brows. “You’ll take us to the tree farm the moment we get back to Georgia?”

I lifted my hand and swiped my chest. “Scout’s Honor.”

“And you promise to go with me to take Bella to see Santa Claus?”

Oh shit. That was something I sure as hell hadn’t bargained on. All I could see in my mind was a crowded mall with a line full of screaming kids—you know, a true hell on earth. “Um, well…”

“AJ, it’s her first time sitting on Santa’s lap. I know she would want her Daddy there for that.”

“Please, she can’t even sit up yet. I highly doubt she’s going to be sitting on Santa’s lap.”

“Fine. Be that way.”

At her tone, I knew I was in trouble. “If I don’t go with you to see Santa, I’m probably not going to be doing much decking of your halls this holiday season, am I?”

“Are you making some sexual innuendo with deck the halls?”

With a smirk, I said, “Don’t say sex in front of Bella.”

Mia shook her head. “AJ, you drive me crazy!”

“But you love me anyway, right?”

She huffed out a frustrated breath. “Yes, I do. More than you can ever imagine.”

“Aw, thanks, amorcito mio,” I said. After I gave her a smacking kiss on the lips, I winked. “You wore me down. I’ll go with you to take Bella to see Santa.”

Her dark eyes lit up. “Really?”

“Yeah, really.”

“Thank you, thank you!” she cried before kissing me. As she rubbed my cheek, she said, “I can’t wait to spend our first Christmas together as a family.”

“Me too.”  I took her face in my hands. “Thank you for coming out on the road with me. I know this isn’t how you saw your life or how you thought you’d be spending your first December with Bella.”

“It’s okay. All that matters is I’m with the two people I love most in the world—my amazing husband and my daughter.”

“I feel the same way. Always.” 
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Two Teaser Tuesdays from Music of the Soul in the Place of One!

Hey guys!

I know it's been forever since I have blogged. Things have been crazy with the holidays coming upon us and doing my last signing of the year.

Music of the Soul, Jake and Abby's novella, will be releasing on December 30th!

Here's two separate teasers to make up for the fact that it's been awhile!

“Oh shit, it’s after five? I’ve got to go get ready.” She handed her guitar to Gabe before bridging the gap between us. Glancing back at her brothers, she then asked in a low voice, “Did you get your errand done?”

“Yes, I did.”

She reached up on her tip-toes to plant a tender kiss on my lips. “I wish you would have let me go with you.”

I shrugged. “Just something I needed to do. Besides, you had enough to do here.”

Abby rolled her eyes. “Oh please. Between the wedding coordinator, the caterers and my mother, everything is taken care of. I seriously got shooed out of the kitchen when I tried to help. That’s why I got the boys together to rehearse.” A shudder rippled through her. “Too much nervous energy.”

As she started into the house, I couldn’t help asking, “Having cold feet?”

She skidded to a stop before whirling back around to wrap her arms around my neck. “Never, ever, Mr. Slater. You’re getting me as your lawfully wedded wife whether you like it or not.”

I grinned. “Oh, I like it. In fact, I fucking love it.”

“Good. I’m glad to hear that.” She kissed me again before pushing out of my arms. “Okay, I gotta go get presentable for this pre-wedding shindig of ours.” She eyed my ratty jeans and T-shirt. “I’d say the same for you, too.”

“You’re such a bossy thing.”

With a wink, she replied, “Get used to it, babe.”

A warm rush filled my chest as she started into the house. I didn’t care if she bossed me around for the next fifty years just as long as she was in my life. I’d never imagined loving anyone as much as I did Abby. Without flinching, she had reached into the very darkest places of my soul to bring me back to the light. She’d shown me what the true, unfailing love of a good woman was. I would be forever in her debt.

Close on her heels, the urge to show her just how much I loved and wanted her overcame me. My dick instantly swelled at the idea of being inside her. Just as she rounded the corner to go into the master bedroom, I grabbed her wrist, jerking her back to me. My other hand came around to press her body flush against mine. When I ground myself into her core, her eyes bulged. “Jake, what are you—” she questioned breathlessly before I crushed my lips to hers. My tongue danced along hers as I wrapped my arms tighter around her. Her little moan caused me to shiver.

When she felt my half-mast hard-on pressing into her stomach, she jerked away. “No, no, no!” she hissed. Her blonde ponytail flipped wildly back and forth as she shook her head at me. “We’re abstaining until our wedding night, remember?”

I groaned. “You’re the one who made that decision, not me.”

“You agreed to it,” she countered.

“Yeah, that was a week and a half ago when I was coming off of an all-day sexathon with you. I didn’t realize what I was agreeing to.”

Abby rolled her eyes. “It’s only twenty-four more hours, Jake.”

Reaching over, I nuzzled my lips against her neck. I wasn’t playing fair since I knew it was one of her sensitive zones. A little sigh escaped her mouth when I ran my tongue across her jawline to suck on her earlobe.  “I could explode by then.”

“I just want our first time as man and wife to be special, that’s all.”

I pulled away to arch my brows at her. “Do you really think tomorrow night is going to be the most amazing sexual experience of your married life?”

She jerked her chin defiantly up at me. “Maybe,” she countered.

My amused chuckle almost seemed to piss her off more. “Angel, we’re going to be exhausted from tonight’s party, jetlag, and the ceremony and reception. Bray and Lily didn’t even have sex on their wedding night—they passed out into an exhausted coma.” Taking her face in my hands, I grinned down at her. “By the flush on your cheeks and the way you just moaned into my mouth when I was kissing you, I can tell you really want to take me in that bedroom and have a quickie.”

Abby chewed on her bottom lip, and I could tell her resolve was slowly fading. “It’ll have to be fast. Everyone is supposed to be here at six.”

“We can shower together—you know, multitask.”

She grinned. “Oh, you say the most romantic things. Think you can whisper more sweet words in my ear?” she teased.

“Yeah, how about this? You’re such a sweet looking smartass,” I said before bringing my lips back to hers. 
Her eager tongue thrust into my mouth as she tightened her arms around my neck. Grabbing Abby by the ass, I hoisted her up to wrap her legs around my waist. We both moaned at the closeness. With my lips locked on Abby’s, I balanced her under the ass with one hand while my other groped blindly for the doorknob. When I finally found it, I flung it open and staggered into the room.

“Shit!” came a voice from the bed.

When my eyes flew open, I was a goner. One glance was all it took to kill my wood. On the bed, Mia scrambled to close the front of her shirt with one hand while she held Bella in her other arm. She pivoted on the bed to where her back was to us.

“Jesus,” I groaned as I glanced down at my crotch. Just that one glimpse of AJ’s breastfeeding fiancĂ©e was enough to completely obliterate my junk. My dick shriveled even further when Bella began shrieking and howling in protest that her meal had been interrupted.

Mia gave us an apologetic look over her shoulder. “I’m so sorry, guys. With all the catering staff and people buzzing around, I thought this would be the best place to feed her before we got dressed for the party. I should have gone in the bathroom.”

“Oh, don’t apologize, Mia,” Abby said.

When I didn’t respond, Abby elbowed me in the ribs. “Oomph,” escaped my lips before I could stop myself. “Yeah, uh, it’s fine,” I replied. Gently, I set Abby down on her feet. I jerked my chin towards the bathroom. “You go on and get a shower. I’ll use the one off the guest bedroom.”

“You don’t want me to come with you?” Abby asked coyly.

I scratched the back of my neck furiously. Part of me really wanted to shower with her, so we might finish what we started. But the other was so traumatized that I knew there would be no way I’d be ready. “Um, no. I better take a rain check.”

Teaser Two(from later that evening)

“So I guess this is goodnight, huh?”

I nodded. “Yep, the last night we’ll ever spend as single people.”

Cocking his head, Jake asked, “Remind me again why I didn’t have a swinging bachelor party?”

I smacked his arm playfully. “Because you’re marrying an insecure, overbearing shrew who couldn’t stand the thought of some fake breasted, plastic Barbie giving you a lap dance?”

A wicked gleam burned in Jake’s blue eyes. “Actually, I think it was more that I was a caveman who didn’t want some oiled dude in a banana hammock dry humping you.”

“Ew!” I cried while wrinkling my nose.

“I’m sure that with some hot, cute little number like yourself, all the Magic Mike douchebags would have wanted to rub up on you.”

“I would have happily declined since I’m very happy having you, and only you, rub up on me.”

Jake’s amused expression grew serious as he traced my cheekbone with his thumb. “Are you sure?”

My eyes widened. “Excuse me? Considering we’re getting married tomorrow I think that shows I’m pretty damn sure.”

“No, I mean, are you sure you’re okay with me being the only man you’ve ever slept with.” His brows furrowed in thought. “I mean, do you think you’ll look back one day and wish you’d had more experience?”

I shook my head furiously from side to side. “Never, ever.” Sliding my arms around his neck, I smiled. “I can’t ever imagine anyone being a better lover than you.”

“And since you have no one else to judge that by, I don’t—”

Bringing my hand to his chest, I silenced him. “Don’t go there, Jake. I know what I’ve felt with you, and I don’t want anyone else. I’m fully satisfied that you will be the only man I sleep with for the rest of my life.”

Although I wasn’t entirely sure he believed me, a pleased smile curved on his lips. “I’m satisfied that you’re the last woman I’ll ever sleep with for the rest of my life.”

“I sure hope so.”

“Give me a goodnight kiss, future ball and chain,” he teased. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Like the Hunger Games? Hope you enjoy my new book, Testament, coming this Friday!!

Are you as anxious as I am for Catching Fire's debut on Friday? I'm thinking I'll hit the midnight showing again just like I did for Hunger Games(at least this time I don't have to go teach in the morning!). Well, Friday is a special day for another reason. My Dystopian novel, Testament, will be debuting in honor of Catching Fire's release because I would have never written the book without having read and enjoyed The Hunger Games.

Here's the blurb:

Five years ago, catastrophic earthquakes, massive floods, and violent storms caused the collapse of the global economy and a massive political upheaval. In a world thrown into chaos after The Great Fall, greedy CEO’s enforce the Golden Rule—whoever has the most gold, rules the land. Any hint of rebellion against the domineering government ends in either death or imprisonment. 

Fiery and beautiful Cadence O’Bryant has trouble keeping silent against the new order, a trait that often lands her in trouble. Having lost her parents to rebellion, her life now is about survival. She despises the new political regime and wishes for time when life held order, and love was a possibility, not an impossible dream. Her worst nightmare comes in the form of the Emperor’s decree—all young women are to compete in a competition of beauty, intelligence, and most of all obedience, for his son, Kellan’s, hand in marriage. Cadence fears not only to lose herself to the male dominated society that now prevails, but also that hers and her brother, Griffin’s, secret will be revealed, which would be a death sentence.

Determined and handsome Micah Greene harbors an even deeper secret than the fact he is in love with his best friend’s sister, Cadence. The secret is one his father died to protect, but it’s also one that unites him to Cadence and their cause. On the eve of their separation, Micah reveals his heart to Cadence. But is it too late? Is it possible he might lose the woman he loves to his nemesis, Kellan Quinn, the Emperor’s son. 

Will Cadence be chosen by Kellan, or will she be able to choose her future? Will Kellan’s sexy good looks and promise of stability tempt Cadence to fall for the future Emperor and hurt her one true friend. Passion is burning, but for whom will it burn the brightest for?

As revolution brews in the province, love may need to take a back seat. Will Cadence have the option to love either man, or will she have to fight for everything she’s ever loved, including her freedom? 

Four years ago when I was writing Young Adult, my then agent asked me if I thought I could write a Dystopian novel since books like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner were so popular. Since I like a challenge, I said yes, and the novel, Testament was born. Originally, it was imagined as a trilogy, and when I sold it to a small publisher last fall, it was also intended as that. However, the book is now a stand-alone.

Here's a scene where Cadence is interacting with her older brother, Griffin, and his friend, Micah...There is a definite love triangle in Testament, so be forewarned...well, not with her brother, lol.

            When I swung open the door, I was relieved to find it was only Micah.
           “Hello again,” he bellowed cheerfully.
 “Evening. I see you’re just in time for dinner.” Micah was known to try to mooch off our table whenever he could. It was just him and his mother left at home, and she had suffered a mental breakdown after the Great Fall and barely kept a job.  
            A broad smile filled his face as he tried to nonchalantly ask, “Oh, were you guys eating this late?”
            He followed me back to the table. A few sniffs of the acrid smelling air and his smile faded. “You burned dinner again?”
            “I don’t recall asking for your input, Micah.”
            He wrinkled his nose as he eased into a chair across from Griff. “Well, it doesn’t matter because I didn’t come to eat.”
            “Oh?” Griff and I echoed at the same time.
            Micah quickly shook his head. “No, I wanted to know if you guys had heard the news.”
            “Of course we have. You and I were there, remember?”
            “No, no, no,” Micah said, waving his hand dismissively at me. “I’m talking about what happened after Richard met with his advisors.”   
            Griff looked at me, and I shook my head. “No, we haven’t heard anything about that.”
            Micah’s full lips curved into a knowing smile. Crossing his arms over his chest, he puffed himself up like he held the keys to the greatest secret in the land. As we sat waiting for him to speak, he took a long swig from Griff’s cup.
            I rolled my eyes. “Oh for pity’s sake, Micah, tell us the damn news.”
            “Well, Richard has decided not to replace Venessa with any of the girls from the neighboring provinces. After her show of defiance, he says he can’t be sure those girls have been instilled with the proper values necessary to be a bride of Kellan.”
“Ugh, spare me,” I muttered.
 “May I continue?” Micah asked.
He drew in a dramatic breath. “So, the plan appears to be for Kellan to choose his own bride.”
 “And just how does he plan to do that?” Griff asked.
            “Richard is demanding all the girls of seventeen to be brought to the palace. Once they are there, Kellan will pick by looking and talking to the girls.”
            Griff’s dark brows furrowed. “Why seventeen?”
            “Richard consulted his advisors—”
“His quack psychics and healers you mean,” Griff interrupted.
Micah ignored him and continued speaking. “The advisors said, when examining Kellan’s charts, that the numerology is perfect for a girl of seventeen to align with him. So, all that’s left is for him to a pick a girl of seventeen from a group of seventeen.”
I gasped. “You don’t mean to tell me it’s going to be like one of those beauty pageant things they used to perform?”
            Micah nodded. “Yep, he says he wants Kellan to have the most beautiful girl in the province and one that has a good head on her shoulders.”
            “You mean, one that has absolutely nothing in her head,” I replied.
            “It’s the way of the land now.”
            “It doesn’t mean it’s right. What kind of happiness will it make for Kellan to have a wife he can’t talk to and will only do his bidding like a slave?” I argued.
            Leaning back in his chair, Micah placed his hands behind his head and grinned. “Sounds good to me.”
            I smacked him on the head. “Ugh, you’re just as bad as the rest of the Neanderthal-minded men at the palace! A beauty pageant. What a ridiculous idea,” I huffed, grabbing up my half-eaten stew and taking it to the sink.
            “I imagined it would get those feminist sensibilities all riled up again,” Micah said, giving me a wink.
            “So what if I think the idea is archaic and completely sexist? It’s not any worse than what they’re doing now by having history repeat itself with the children of the CEO’s marrying off just like they were kings and queens.” I leaned back against the counter. “Besides, it’s not like Kellan is asking me.”
            Micah joined me at the counter. “But he might.”
            “Um, I think that’s highly unlikely.”
            “You did share quite the interlude this afternoon,” Micah said, wagging his eyebrows.
            Griff jerked his head up at me. “What’s this?”
            I crossed my arms over my chest and shot a nasty look at Micah. “Oh yes, china ground into my hand by his father’s boot heel sure makes for a romantic moment.”
            “That’s what happened to your hand?” Griff asked.
            I could feel his anger growing. Quickly, I waved my bandaged hand dismissively as if it was commonplace for the ruler of the land to inflict bodily harm on me. “Yeah, but it was an accident. Don’t worry about it.”
            Sensing Griff’s anger, Micah changed the subject. “Well, I still think you have a good a chance as any of the other girls at catching Kellan’s eye.”
            I snorted at the absurdity. “Oh yes, what a cliched romance that would be. I can see the headlines now, ‘Girl from the gutters charms Prince Charming, and they live happily ever after.’”
            Micah stared at me before glancing over his shoulder at Griff. “She just doesn’t get it, does she?”
            Griff grinned and shook his head.
            “And just what, supposedly, do I not get?” I demanded.
            It was Griff who answered me. “How old are you, Cady?”
            “Duh, you know exactly how old I am, brother dearest.”
            Griff raised his eyebrows at me. “So, you’re seventeen—the exact age Richard is requesting for Kellan.”
            “It’s not happening, Griff,” I insisted.        
            “It could,” he replied, his voice barely a whisper.
            Micah took advantage of my disbelief to reach around me for my bowl. When he’d stuffed his mouth full, he said, “And I think she has a pretty good chance, don’t you, Griff?”
            “Excuse me?” I demanded.
            Micah drug his shirt-sleeve across his mouth. “Oh come on, Cady, don’t you ever look in a mirror?” He leaned over, his lanky frame towering over me. “Or do you keep that pretty little head of yours in books all the time?”
            I shoved him away. “And just what are you trying to say?”
            Griff leaned back in his chair. “Hell, Cady, stop being such a shrew. Micah’s telling you that you are beautiful.”
            Shaking my head in exasperation, I said, “I must’ve done more than burn that stew because you two are acting positively drunk.”
            Griff grabbed my arm before I could whirl away from the kitchen. “Has it been so long that you’ve forgotten what our father and mother used to say?”
            I bit my lip as the tears stung my eyes. My parents had named me Cadence for the way I reacted to music and singing when my mother was carrying me. As the years went by, they said they should have named me Ashlynn, because in my mother’s homeland of Ireland, it meant beauty. Thinking of my parents sent a jagged knife of pain tearing through my chest.
            Griff was right. Not so long ago, I had been sort of beautiful. I mean, I’d worn pretty clothes and makeup, and my long, auburn hair shone. But all that was gone now.
            When I finally met Griff’s eyes, tears glistened in his. I nodded my head. “That’s ancient history…I’m a mess now.”           
            “Shoot, I’d say you’re the most beautiful mess I’ve ever laid eyes on,” Micah said, leaning over me.
            “Oh, please.” Even though I brushed him off, I couldn’t help the hot embarrassment that I was sure colored my cheeks at Micah’s response. For the last few months, it felt like things were changing between us—or at least they were changing for him. It didn’t help matters that behind Micah’s back, Griff claimed Micah didn’t come to the house to see him, but instead it was all about the fact he was in love with me. In the end, I didn’t know how I felt. I’d never had a boyfriend. Lost in the raging storms of loss and grief, I never could shake the dark clouds long enough to find my way to love.
            Sensing the awkwardness that hung in the air, Micah cleared his throat. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a mess now. Richard has offered his finest designers and stylists. You get the works for the pageant.”
            “But what if I don’t want Kellan? What if I want love and romance and not some deranged pre-arranged marriage?”
            “Well—” Griff started to argue, but I quickly interrupted him.
            “And has the whole world gone completely crazy now? Girls used to go off to college at eighteen, not sauntering down the aisle of a wedding chapel to become breeding machines. Does any of that matter anymore?”
            “You know it doesn’t, so why do you ask?” Griff replied, meekly. A defeated look settled in his eyes. It broke my heart.
            “Because as long as we voice why we hate it, we still have a voice—we have a reason to keep going and not accept the change!”
            Without another word, I whirled out of the kitchen and burst through the back door. Racing through the neighbor’s yards, I dodged fresh linens hung on the clotheslines. Washing machines and dryers were a thing of the past for working class people like us. Now, we resorted to a life before all those modern technologies.
            I flopped down on the hillside, overlooking a bleak canyon. Tears that I had been holding back started flowing down my cheeks. I didn’t bother wiping them away. Instead, I let them drop down onto the emerald grass peeking out from my shoes.
            Griff came to find me as soon as Micah left. “We need to talk about this.”           
            I wiped my eyes. “There’s nothing to talk about. I won’t do it.”
            “You heard what Micah said. Richard has ordered a decree, so there’s no way of getting out of it, especially with you working at the palace.”
            “Fine. I’ll just quit. I’ll hide out here in the canyons. You can tell everyone your crazy sister, who couldn’t cook, ran away.”
            “It won’t work, Cady.”
            I stared up at him. “This is about more than me being a feminist who doesn’t want an arranged marriage.”
            Griff stared down at his hands. “I know that.”
            “What if they were to find out about us?” I asked, in a hushed whisper.
            “How could they?”
            I arched my eyebrow. “If Kellan were to pick me, he’d eventually have to see me naked. I mean, that’s what husbands and wives do, right? And when he did, he would see the tattoo.” 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's the Great Pumpkin Aidan Fitzgerald: A Proposition/Proposal Halloween Story!

Here's a Halloween short story featuring the Fitzgerald's from The Proposition and Proposal

Tapping out the song’s rhythm with his thumbs on the steering wheel, Aidan Fitzgerald eased his Mercedes convertible through the streets of his subdivision. The crisp October air rippled through the strands of his blonde hair. He loved fall days like these when it wasn’t too cold to ride with the top down. Although there was a Volvo SUV in one side of his garage to highlight his new family man status, he had managed to keep his toy, aka the convertible, after Noah had been born.  Instead, Emma’s reliable, but older model Camry, had been traded in for a more family practical SUV. Although Emma had thought it was pretentious, Aidan had insisted on the Volvo for its safety record. He wanted to pull out all the stops to keep the loves of his life safe and protected.

As he neared 401 Ansley Park Drive, he did a double take. Actually, he drove straight past his house before realizing it. Although he’d been living there for over five years, nothing in the yard was familiar to him. Throwing the car into reverse, he peered wide-eyed and open mouthed at the spectacle before him. His yard and two-story Cape Cod had somehow been transformed into a Halloweenapoolza.

When he had left for work that morning, there was only a decorative fall wreath hanging from the front door and two pumpkins on the porch that had been bought at Burt’s Pumpkin Patch when he and Emma had taken Noah the week before. Now there were orange and black twinkling lights adorning the rails on the porch. A witch was ass-up in the yard to give the appearance she’d flown straight into the grass. Another was smushed up against the side of the porch along with her broom. Tombstones and hay bales also filled the yard while ghosts flitted in the oak trees.

“Christ almighty,” he muttered, as he eased the car into the driveway. Although his house looked like a lot of the other ones in the neighborhood, it was a completely foreign concept to him. After parking the car, he jerked out the keys and hopped out.

As Aidan threw open the door from the garage leading into the house, delicious aromas assaulted his senses. Wait, was that Grammy’s BBQ cooking? Surely not. That shit took a lot of time and effort. At the same time, Aidan’s stomach rumbled in hopes that it was actually some homemade BBQ.

His gaze flickered around the kitchen before honing in on Emma. She stood at the stove, humming along with the radio. Close by her, Noah sat in his bouncing saucer.  A grin stretched on Aidan’s face at the sight of the cackling baby. With Beau standing in front of him, Noah tried desperately to catch Beau’s tail that was thawping him in his face. Noah was laughing so hard he could barely catch his breath.

“I’m home,” Aidan called.

Beau barked happily as Emma whirled around. “Hey baby,” she said, a genuine grin spreading across her cheeks.

Aidan stooped over to pick up Noah who was holding his arms outs out patiently for his father. “Hey Little Man,” he said before bestowing a kiss on Noah’s cheek. He then turned his attention to his wife.  Emma beamed as he leaned in for a kiss. Tightening his arms around her, his lips found hers warm and inviting. Just as he thrust his tongue inside, Noah’s gurgle interrupted them. 

“Have a good day?” Emma questioned breathlessly.

“Pretty good. You?”

“Yeah. Busy, but it was great.”

Thinking of his now Thrilleresque yard, he blurted, “Em, what the hell happened outside?”

She grinned. “Patrick came over today and helped me decorate. Isn’t it amazing?”

“Oh it’s something all right. I’m just not sure it’s amazing.”

The corners of Emma’s lips turned down in a frown, and Aidan braced himself for some pregnancy mood-swings. “Don’t you like it?”

Aidan exhaled a wary breath. He desperately tried to decide what the best way to answer her question was without putting himself in the dog house. “It just seems like a lot when Noah isn’t even a year old.”

“Oh, but you should have seen him when we were decorating. He was grinning the entire time. And your dad had so much fun, too. Most of it was his idea.”

Great. If the other two Fitzgerald men that Emma loved most in the world were happy with the lawn debauchery, there was no point in arguing.  He’d just have to suck it up and smile. He just hoped none of his bachelor friends caught sight of it, or they would demand his man card be revoked.

Needing to change the subject, he sniffed the air. “Hmm, that is Grammy’s BBQ I smell, isn’t it?”

Emma smiled. “Yep, I made her recipe just for you. Having Patrick here to watch Noah really helped to free up more cooking time. Oh, there’s some apple pie, too.”

Adjusting Noah on his shoulder, Aidan eyed Emma suspiciously. “Okay, what’s going on?”

“What do you mean?” Emma asked innocently.

Aidan chuckled. “Oh no, don’t play coy with me, Em. You went through a helluva lot of trouble to do homemade BBQ. So what’s the deal?”

Nibbling her lip, she bent over to take out the steaming Dutch Apple pie, which happened to be Aidan’s favorite in the whole wide world, out of the oven. She’d made it from scratch, which was no easy feat. When she sat down the pie, she sighed. “Fine. There is something I wanted to ask you.”

With a smirk, he replied, “I knew it. You always try to win over my stomach or my dick when you want something.”

She rolled her eyes. “I wanted to see if you would dress up for Halloween with me. You know, kinda like a couple’s costume thing, but a theme for the whole family.”

“You’re shitting me, right?” He had never been a huge fan of the holiday. During high school and college, he enjoyed the parties that featured free flowing booze and chicks in scantily clad costumes. After he’d moved into his house, he had discovered with dismay that his subdivision attracted Trick or Treaters by the droves. Usually, he hung out at O’Malley’s on Halloween night, drinking beer and waiting for the pandemonium to die down before he went home.  Then just when he thought it was safe, Becky would arrive with her boys. He would usually have to give them granola bars or money because he didn’t have any candy in the house.

Putting on her best pouty face, Emma said, “It’s just I really, really wanted us to dress up as a family this year.”

“Babe, this all seems a little ridiculous considering Noah’s only eight months old. He has no idea about any of this hoopla, and he certainly won’t be eating the candy from Trick or Treating.” When she opened her mouth to protest, Aidan added, “And don’t even try to guilt me into this. I don’t think years later when Noah looks back, the fact his father refused to dress up for Halloween will not send him to therapy.”

“So you really won’t do it?” Her pouty face had disappeared and a more determined expression appeared. 
He knew that when Emma set her mind to something, she usually got her way. She had tried appealing to him with extreme kindness, and he knew from her fiery disposition, that his dick would be feeling the next repercussions of his actions. She might be pregnant again and in sex craved hormone city, but she wouldn’t let that stop her from giving him the cold shoulder.

Aidan exhaled nosily. “If, and that’s a big if, I said yes, I would have to approve of the costume. No tights under any circumstances.”

Emma grinned. “Okay, I think I can work with that.”

“But before your imagination runs wild with what costumes you’re going to stick us in, I want to be fed this magnificent meal you went to the trouble to bribe me with.”

“I’ll be happy to.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and then bestowed a warm, inviting kiss on his lips. “I’d planned to appeal to your dick later on, but now that you’ve consented, I’ll save that for another time.”

Aidan shook his head furiously from side to side. “Oh no, you can pull out all the stops. I won’t argue with you.”

She laughed before kissing him again. “All right. Once Noah is asleep, I’m at your mercy.”

“Mmm, I like the sound of that.”

“I thought you would.” She pulled away and smiled at him. “Now sit down and we’ll eat.”
After he’d inhaled two BBQ sandwiches and eaten a large piece of pie, Aidan sat back and rubbed his full belly. “Okay, Em, hit me with the costumes.”

She smiled and rose up from the table. After handing Noah off to him, she dug in one of the kitchen drawers. She returned with a thick catalogue full of couples and family costumes.  Tapping her finger on one of the pages, Emma asked, “How about this Star Wars one? You’d look very sexy as Han Solo while Noah would look pretty cute with some Yoda ears.”

While he had to admit that the “Baby Yoda” costume was pretty freakin’ cute, Aidan eyed the Han Solo and Princess Leia costumes contemptuously. He was still not onboard with this ridiculous couples costume thing. “Hmm, I’d much prefer you sporting the Leia Slave Girl costume to this one,” Aidan mused, with a wink.

Emma snorted before gazing down at her abdomen. “I don’t think with this belly it’s happening.”

Aidan reached out to rub Emma’s barely protruding bump. “Like you’re even showing yet.”

Shaking her head, Emma replied, “Oh whatever. With this baby, I practically started showing at conception.” She nudged him playfully. “Which confirms yet again that this baby is a girl.”

Aidan felt the familiar kick in the gut whenever the baby’s sex was mentioned. It wasn’t that he didn’t want a little girl—he loved all his nieces, especially his oldest one, Megan. It was just he knew that girls were trouble—the young ones and especially the older ones.  Hell, with four older sisters, he more than knew what he was talking about. Then of course, there was the red-headed beauty sitting next to him who continued to mystify him daily.

“Did you hear me, Aidan?”

“Hmm, what?”

Emma smiled. “I asked you what you thought of naming the baby, Caroline, after your mother?”

“That would be beautiful,” he murmured, his chest overcome with emotions. He couldn’t imagine a more perfect name for his daughter than the one that had belonged to his late mother. Just like Emma always knew him better than he knew himself, she reached over and squeezed his hand. When Aidan gazed up at her, she gave him a reassuring smile. “I love you.”

He leaned in to bestow a tender kiss on her lips. “I love you more.”

“Mmm!” Noah grunted between them.

Aidan laughed as he gazed down at his son. “What Little Man? Are you jealous that I’m giving mommy some loving?”

Noah grinned and waved his fist. Aidan lifted him up to blow raspberries on his tummy. Noah giggled and kicked his legs. Bringing Noah back down to face him, Aidan quirked his brows at his son. “You know, Little Man, if I hadn’t given mommy some loving, you wouldn’t be here.”

“Aidan!” Emma admonished, a red flush filling her cheeks.

He laughed. “It’s the truth.” With a wink to Emma, he added, “And I plan on giving her lots of loving after you’re in bed.”

She rolled her eyes. “You’re impossible," she huffed. 

“Mmm, and you’re the sexiest woman in the entire world when you’re flustered.”

Emma’s eyes stayed locked on his while her chest rose and fell in harsh pants. “W-We need to pick a c-costume,” she stammered.

Aidan shook his head. “That can wait. Let’s give Noah a bath and get him ready for bed.”

A shudder ran through Emma’s body, causing Aidan to shift in his chair. “If you insist,” she said, with a teasing lilt in her voice.

“Oh yes, I do.”

As she rose out of her chair, she pinned him with a look. “I guess this means I’ll pick the costume, and you’ll go along for the ride?”

“Oh, I’ll give you a real good ride—”

Emma shook her head. “Say it. I pick the costumes, and you’ll go along with it.”

Aidan held up his right hand as if he were swearing an oath. “Yeah. Fine. Whatever.”

“Good, I’m glad to hear it.” She reached and took Noah out of his arms. Glancing at him over her shoulder, she then proceeded to walk towards the stairs with an extra bounce and swish in her hips. When she threw him an expectant glance over her shoulder, he scrambled out of his seat and hurried to her side.

                                                                      Two Weeks Later
Aidan was just putting the finishing touches on a proposal when his buddy, Mike, stuck his head in the door. “Hey man. Wanna grab a beer at O’Malley’s?”

“Uh, no, I gotta get home.”

A knowing look came over Mike’s face. “Oh yeah, Trick or Treating with Noah, huh?”

“Something like that,” Aidan grumbled.

Mike gave him a mischievous grin. “Have fun. I’ll make sure to drink a beer or two in your absence.”

“Thanks a lot.”

With a laugh, Mike closed the office door back. Knowing that Emma was expecting him home a little earlier than usual, Aidan saved his documents and then turned off the computer. He put the pedal to the metal on the way home and managed to get home with time to spare. The sun was just beginning to set, and he knew it wouldn’t be long until the doorbell began ringing with candy seekers.

When Aidan trudged down the hallway, he found Beau lying outside the bedroom door. He sucked in a pained breath. Beau was outfitted in a Tin Man’s costume complete with tin cup hat on his furry, black head. 
“Not you too, buddy?”

Beau appeared to be resigned to his fate and wasn’t trying to chew off the costume. Instead, he just gazed up at Aidan with an expression like, “What was I going to do? I love her, and for reasons my doggy brain can’t comprehend, this shit makes her happy, so there.”

Bending over, Aidan patted Beau. “You’re a damn good dog, you know that?”

Beau thumped his tail in response. With a sigh, Aidan stepped over Beau to walk into the bedroom. Dread washed over him at the sight of the Scarecrow’s costume that was draped over the bed. Somehow among all the choices, Emma had decided on The Wizard of Oz since it was her favorite movie since she was a kid. She’d even played Dorothy in a high school production. And while there were worse things she could have picked, making him the scarecrow? Honestly.

“Aidan is that you?” Emma questioned from the bathroom.

“Yeah,” he mumbled.

She stepped to the doorway with Noah in her arms. Aidan’s heart melted at the sight of Noah’s Cowardly Lion costume. While most of the body was golden brown, the mane was varying shades of dark and light. A puffy tail trailed down Emma’s leg. Noah’s face peeked out from the mane to grin at him. “Looks like he’s enjoying his costume,” Aidan mused.

Emma laughed. “He is. I thought he might pitch a Fitzgerald fit when I got him inside it, but he’s been perfectly fine.” Gazing down at her son with a beaming smile, Emma said in a sing-song voice, “He’s Mommy’s sweetest and best tempered boy in the whole wide world. Aren’t you Noah?”

At that moment, Aidan’s gaze left Noah’s to take in his wife’s appearance. Damn, she even made a Dorothy costume sexy. Her long, auburn hair was swept back in the identical hair style of Judy Gardland’s. Her blue and white checked dress pulled tight across her breasts, making Aidan’s mouth run dry. While the dress came down a little longer than he would have preferred, he still got an eye-full of her fabulous legs down to where the ruby slippers glittered on her feet.

“Like what you see?” she teased.

His gaze snapped to meet hers. He gave her a seductive smile. “Yes, I do.” He took a step towards them. “I know what treat I want tonight.”

She giggled. “You’re impossible.” Leaning in, she bestowed a kiss on his lips. When she pulled away, she cocked her head, surmising him. “If you make it through tonight with whining or having that bored borderline pissed off expression of yours, I promise to come to bed tonight wearing nothing but these heels.”

Aidan snaked one of his arms around Emma’s waist. “Mmm, I’ll make sure to keep saying in my mind, ‘There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home!’” 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Are you strong enough to be my man?

So today's teaser isn't of the hot kind. It's more an insight to what AJ is facing with being with Mia, and in the same token, what Mia is trying to overcome to be with AJ. 

This scene takes place at Jake's farm down by the river and waterfalls on his grandfather's property. 

*Rough draft and subject to change*

With my thighs on each side of her hips, my weight kept her firmly underneath me. Seizing the opportunity, I snatched the keys from her hand. “Ha, gotcha.”

“Let me up, you ass!”

“Nope. Not until I hear you say ‘AJ, you are the master of the universe’.” I quirked my brows before looming over her—my face mere inches from hers.  “On second thought, you need to say, ‘AJ, you are the master of my universe and my master orgasm donor.’”

Even though my tone was completely lighthearted, Mia’s expression transformed into one of panic. Instead of squirming playfully beneath me like before, she began to thrash back and forth. Her eyes took on a wild gleam, like that of a trapped animal. And then something within her snapped. “Get off. Get off. GET OFF!” she screamed, pounding her fists against my chest so hard that she knocked the air from my lungs. 

Wheezing, I stared frozen in disbelief at her erratic behavior. I remained unblinking and unmoving until she sent a stinging slap so hard across my cheek that my jaw popped. Out of my stupor, I finally rolled off her. The instant she realized she was free she leapt to her feet and began sprinting away from me. “Fuck,” I groaned as I hauled up out of the grass to take after her. “Mia!”

She bypassed the four-wheeler, and instead, continued barreling down the overgrown path. “Mia, wait!” When I finally caught up with her, I reached out and grabbed her arm, causing us both to skid to a stop. I realized a second too late that it was the wrong fucking thing to do when she lunged at me, clawing and slapping my face, shoulders, and chest.

Defensively blocking her hits, I then grabbed her shoulders. “Mia, it’s me, AJ.” Her frenzied gaze darted around the clearing. “Look at me,” I commanded. “You’re safe here with me. Nothing or no one is going to hurt you. I swear.”

When her eyes finally locked on mine, the sheer panic in them caused my chest to ache. But slowly that look receded. It was the pain, coupled with embarrassment, shining bright in her eyes that followed that made my stomach muscles clench like I’d taken a physical kick to the gut, rather than an emotional one.

A shaky hand went to cover her mouth as tears streaked down her cheeks. Her head shook so wildly back and forth I feared she might get whiplash. “Oh God…Oh AJ, I…”

“Look, it’s—“

“I’m s-sorry. I’m s-so, so sorry,” she replied, her voice choking off her sobs.

“Baby, you have nothing to apologize about.” Tentatively, I reached out to cup her cheek. When she flinched, I dropped my hand. Feeling a fucking mess of confusion and helplessness, I kicked at a few stray pebbles and waited for her to give me some sign as to what the hell I should do.

“I’msorryI’msorry.I’msorry,” she kept mumbling absently.

“Mia, please don’t say that.”

“It’s just you had me pinned down like he…” A chill ran through her body, causing her to shudder so hard that her teeth chattered.

Closing the distance between us, I ached to wrap her trembling body in my arms.  “Amorcio mio, please talk to me. Tell me what I can do to help you,” I begged.

Her only response was to swipe the back of her hand across her running nose while making these pitiful hiccupping sighs. I started tapping my hands nervously against my short pockets when she became still as a statue. It seemed like she stared dead ahead of us for a small eternity before she finally whispered, “I never wanted you to have to see this side of me.”

This time when I reached out for her, she didn’t cower away from me. Trying to take it slow, I swept a strand of hair out of her face and smiled. “Mia, there isn’t a single side of you I don’t want to see. I want to know every inch of you—inside and out.”

Her lip trembled like she was about to burst out crying. “Trust me, you don’t want to know this.” Her expression then turned sour, like she had a bad taste in her mouth. Her emotions were ricocheting so fast I could barely keep up. “Dammit, we were just supposed to have that night together—then you wouldn’t have had to see me like this. It wasn’t supposed to turn into me being inadequate for yet another guy!”

My sympathy quickly turned over to frustration, and I threw my hands up in exasperation. “Would you stop lumping me with all the other assholes you’ve had the misfortune of knowing? That’s not me, Mia! Do you see me bailing or shrinking away like some pussy? Fuck no! I’m right here, right now, wanting to know what the hell just happened so I can help you—to comfort you emotionally and physically.”

She cut her eyes over at me, pinning me with a hard stare. “Yeah, I see right through your little ‘knight in shining armor’ routine. You think I’m broken, and by giving me a few moments of your precious time, you might be able to fix me. But trust me, you can’t do shit, AJ! I’m not broken—I’m fucking shattered into a thousand jagged pieces. Pieces that will slice a perfect, pretty boy like you in two.”