Saddled – Once a Week at Woody’s, Book 1 – Chapter 2

The countdown is on!

Only five more days until Saddled is released!

In the days leading up to it, I’ll post Chapters 1 through 4 here, every other day.
April 21 – Chapter 1 – click here!
April 23 – Chapter 2 – today!
April 25 – Chapter 3
April 27 – Chapter 4
April 28 – Release day!!

Be sure to pre-order Saddled for 99 cents. The price goes up to $2.99 on April 28, 2020.

Enjoy the second chapter below!

Will an office no-dating policy stand in the way of love?

Since her breakup with her cheating ex, Sandra Weber has been just going through the motions as Sales Manager at Studletter Condom Company. But when Michael Thorne is hired as an assistant, sparks in the office begin to fly.

Though Michael, aka Saddle McFleshbomb, loves dancing at Woody O’Flanagan’s Pub, he’s looking to move up in the world. His schooling almost finished, he lands a plum job as the only man in an office filled with women: four so exasperatingly humorless that it’s funny, and one stunning beauty with a laugh that warms the cockles of his heart.

When Sandra shows up at Woody’s on a rare night that he’s dancing for men, she assumes he’s gay, and therefore the no-dating policy doesn’t apply. But he’s not. He’s intensely interested in her. And he’s afraid to tell her he’s straight.

If you like light romantic comedy, hot office flirtations, and a long slow burn, you’ll love Saddled, the first book in Linda G. Hill’s “Once a Week at Woody’s” series.

Score a seat at Woody O’Flanagan’s Pub today!

Chapter 2

Michael Thorne was no stranger to being objectified. It had gotten so bad at his last office placement, he’d had to leave. So when he discovered on Friday that his new job starting Monday would be in the marketing department at the local condom manufacturing company, he’d prayed all weekend that the offices would be staffed by a majority of men, at least in the management positions. And straight ones, at that—he was also no stranger to being objectified by gay men.

No such luck.

And yet at eleven in the morning, all seemed well. Aside from the woman in HR who had eyed him up and down like she’d won the lottery, despite her wedding ring, the ladies in the office seemed to barely notice him. None of them spoke to him, not even to say hello. His new boss, Cynthia, was the matriarchal type with a photo of a family on her desk that included the husband who had, he assumed, given her the numerous diamond rings on her fingers. His co-workers held the same air of professionalism inside the privacy of the office as the one he assumed they projected to the public. Knowing they were human beings, he expected at least a little light humor concerning the products they sold, but there was nothing but a sober, nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic. And so, he was surprised, just before lunch, to hear a laugh come from the corner office, from the occupant he hadn’t yet seen. She sounded young, but then so were at least some of his more serious co-workers.

It was an easy morning—Cynthia had him transcribing a lengthy marketing proposal, so all he’d had to do was type with headphones on. He got lost in his work, as often happened. There was something soothing about having a monotonous, time-consuming but mindless job to do. He wouldn’t have known it was lunchtime if one of his co-workers hadn’t tapped him on the shoulder.

“Hi,” she said, holding out one pudgy-fingered, moisture-less hand to be shaken. Her tight dark curls that were plastered to her head, combined with her dark floral dress with brocade at the buttoned-up neck, made her look like she’d stepped out of a 50s TV show. “I’m Myrtle. I sit over there.” She pointed at a desk at the back corner of the office like she was trying to poke it from afar. “A few of us are going out to lunch. Would you like to join us?”

Michael looked around and saw three more expectant faces studying him. He felt rather like a zoo animal.

“Sure,” he said with a smile, hoping friendliness might beget friendliness. It got a few tight smiles in return.

“What’s your name?” Myrtle asked.

“I’m Michael,” he said.

“Michael,” the three other ladies chorused, as if they’d never heard the name before.

He stood up and reached for his jacket, and all of them looked up at him.

“Do you like sandwiches?” one of the ladies—the oldest of the bunch, judging by the abundance of gray hair—asked him.

“I do,” he replied, wondering if they were just going to stand there all day. “Shall we go?” he asked after a long pause during which they all continued to stare.

“Yes,” said Myrtle. She started for the elevator and he followed her, the other three trailing behind him in single file.

Once they reached the reception area, the four women rushed for the door like they were all eager to be the one to open it for him. It was the older lady who had asked him if he liked sandwiches who made it there first.

Surprisingly, they all seemed to relax as soon as they were out in the bright, sunny early-May day. They led him down the sidewalk-less road to a small café with a pink sign above the door. Sandwiches Smandwiches wasn’t the sort of place he might take a date, but he made note of it since it was close enough to come to every day without having to take his car. He dreamed one day of getting an executive parking spot at a downtown marketing firm—which would be the day he wouldn’t have to consider a second mortgage on his condo just to pay city parking fees. For a small mid-eastern city, Bevershire acted in some ways like it was populated with tens of millions rather than tens of thousands. Still, the city was expanding. When he was a child, all this land had been a forest. He’d played here with his best friend, Cal, catching crayfish in a stream that no longer existed, at least not above ground.

He followed the ladies, as one, to a round table in the corner of the quaint, pink-walled restaurant, and each of them pulled out a chair and looked at him expectantly.

“Please, sit,” he said, and they did. He perched himself upon the remaining chair, ready to run if they decided to slice him up and put him in their sandwiches, for the feeling of being dissected like a new species of animal hadn’t abated.

“We should explain,” Myrtle said, her white handbag clutched in her lap. “We can’t talk in there in case ‘Sandra,’” she lifted her hands and crooked her pudgy fingers as though it was a label she wished she didn’t have to pronounce, “hears us and thinks we’re talking about her.”

Sandwich Lady spoke up. “I guess we should introduce ourselves. I’m Karen,” she said, holding out her hand for the shaking, “and this is Karen.” She pointed to a tall, dark-skinned woman with a blank expression who blinked and nodded but said nothing. “She’s our full-time receptionist. You can call me Quiet Karen, and her Phone Karen.”

Michael looked at Phone Karen and she nodded again.

“She’s saving her voice for answering the phone this afternoon,” Quiet Karen confided. Michael thought he’d always think of her as Sandwich Karen, which made him shudder to think about being sandwiched between the two Karens. They were far too serious for his tastes.

He tried not to recoil as he smiled and said, “Nice to meet you,” to them both.

He turned then to the other woman, who sat on the opposite side of the table. She blushed heavily and stared, grinning, at the paper placemat in front of her. Her forearms moved like she was wringing her hands on her lap.

“I’m Grace,” she muttered. “I’m actually under you …”

If she was blushing before, Michael thought she might start glowing neon, now.

“I—I mean I’m your data entry clerk,” she squeaked. “I’m sorry.”

“No. No need to be sorry. I look forward to working with you,” he said, holding his hand out over the table. She put three limp digits in his hand and lightly squeezed his forefinger with her thumb, then let go quickly and stuck her hand back under the table.

“So, who is this Sandra you’re all avoiding?” he asked to get the conversation moving.

“Oh, we’re not avoiding her,” Sandwich Karen said. “We just don’t like her. Because of what she did to Norma.”

“We can talk about Norma now, because she’s not here,” Myrtle interjected. “It was her turn to work at reception through lunch while Phone Karen has hers. You’ll be trained at reception too, so you can take your turn.”

“I’m not hungry,” Phone Karen said in a voice louder than any he’d ever heard come out of a woman’s mouth before. Quiet Karen it was. Phone Karen continued. “I was just curious about the new guy. Michael.” She stared at him as if he was a peculiar new breed of bug, and so did everyone else in the café, having been alerted to his presence by the woman’s booming sound box. A few of the restaurant’s patrons gawped at him: he’d been told numerous times that he should have been a model. His part-time job had a lot to do with that urging.

“Norma doesn’t like it when we talk about what Sandra the Commander did to her,” said Myrtle.

This Sandra woman must be some piece of work, Michael thought. “What did she do?” Obviously, she hadn’t fired the woman.

Quiet Karen leaned forward on the table. “Norma was dating one of the men out in the warehouse. It was true love, right from the get-go.”

Grace fanned herself with the menu and the other three rolled their eyes.

“It doesn’t matter what we thought about it,” Quiet Karen continued, “but The Commander decided to stick her nose in it and urged upper management to institute a policy that office romances were verboten—forbidden, if you don’t know the meaning of the word.”

Michael just nodded.

Grace fanned herself faster and sighed. “Forbidden love. So romantic.”

“Our opinions of their shenanigans don’t matter,” Myrtle reiterated, and Grace put her menu on the table.

“So, what happened?” Michael asked. “Did they break up? Stop dating?”

“Due to The Commandant’s idea, they were given a choice. Do that, or one of them quit,” Quiet Karen said.

Michael jumped when the other Karen’s voice boomed in his right ear. “Gerry gave up his job.”

Grace shook her head, put her hand on her menu, thought better of picking it up, and sighed again. “And then they lived happily ever after.”

“They’re not married,” Myrtle said with a frown, indicating to Michael that she thought they should be. Whatever they were doing in their off-work time demanded it. This was going to be a fun work environment, he thought wryly.

But if he wanted to get along and not get caught up in office politics, he’d have to play along.

“It sounds like this Sandra the Commander is someone I should stay away from, then,” he said.

They all seemed pleased by that.

“How tall are you?” Grace asked, completely out of the blue.

“I’m 6’4”.”

“That’s tall.” Grace blushed and held her menu up so he couldn’t see her.

A waiter came over with a tray full of water glasses and asked, “The usual?” The four ladies didn’t seem to mind the lack of small talk. They all muttered some sort of assent. “And you, sir?” the waiter asked.

Michael hadn’t had a chance to look at the menu what with all the office intrigue. He took a quick glance and saw a burger that looked enticing. Though he wasn’t one to be pushed around, he didn’t want to get on Quiet Karen’s bad side. “A club, please. And a coffee.”

“Coming right up,” the waiter said. He headed back to the long, pink lunch counter, taking the menus with him, leaving Grace with nothing to hide behind or fan herself with.

“You’re not going to be able to stay away from her.”

Michael looked at Quiet Karen and asked, “Who?”

“Miss Weber,” Myrtle answered. “Sandra.”

“Oh. Right. Because she works in the office. But will I have to interact with her much? I mean, it’s Cynthia I work for …”

“You’re bound to come into contact with her eventually,” said Myrtle. “The marketing manager and the sales manager have to work together sometimes.”

“But we’ve got your back,” Quiet Karen said with an assured pucker of the lips. “We’ll be watching.”

He made to say thank you, but Grace cut in. “Sooo … what do you do in your spare time?”

I take my clothes off in front of hundreds of women every other weekend as Saddle McFleshbomb, cowboy stripper. But that’s not what came out of his mouth. What did, was, “I read a lot.”

“Oh! Do you read non-fiction? Or …”

“Romance novels. I read romance novels.”

That got a new round of eye-rolling from the three that weren’t Grace. The one that was Grace picked up her paper placemat and fanned herself with it. She knew how to adapt. She’d be a good one to work with.

“I didn’t know men read romance novels,” said Phone Karen, and everyone in the café knew his reading preferences.

“My ex-girlfriend got me hooked on them. Now I can’t stop reading them. Love me a good romance.”

Grace and a few of the other patrons sighed audibly. It seemed Michael and the waiter were the only two males in the restaurant.

This male was starting to itch to get back to work. He’d had enough of his creepier-than-usual co-workers. And he’d had a lot of those since he’d started at the agency.

“So … You’re single now?” Grace asked. She blushed and crossed her legs under the table, kneeing it and almost upending all five glasses of water.

“Yeah,” Michael said. He picked up his glass and had a sip he didn’t really want, hoping the waiter would come back soon with his coffee and his lunch so he could get the hell out of there. “I’m guessing you don’t get many men working in the offices at Studletter.” Michael returned his glass to the table.

Quiet Karen answered. “It’s been four years. I’ve been there the longest.”

“Really. So you must know all the ins and outs of the bus … iness.” He let the sentence kind of trail off as he realized that innuendos—even accidental ones—were frowned upon. Literally. “I mean, you have to know by now all the inner workings … I mean … how all the departments work together.”

“Yes, I do. Cynthia is all business, and Betsy did a good job before she went on maternity leave.”

“Well, I’m a hard—Oh look! Here’s lunch,” he said to the waiter just as he was about to say he was a hard worker. That would have to wait until the weekends.

It was getting late, so they ate in a hurry. On the way back to the office, Grace positioned herself beside him. The two Karens walked behind, mumbling to each other; Michael assumed that Phone Karen only cranked up the volume button on her voice when she was inside a building. Myrtle walked on Grace’s other side.

Behind the reception desk in the enormous outer office sat a plump woman of medium height with red hair and dark green eyes. She gave up her seat behind the reception desk to Phone Karen.

“Hi,” the woman whispered to Michael on the way to the elevator. She introduced herself as Norma. “Are you really going to be here for six months?” she asked, still whispering.

“That’s the plan,” he answered.

“I don’t know if we’ll all survive that long,” she said, and with that cryptic message, she scurried to the back corner of the elevator.

Michael returned to his mirthless desk, wondering if she was on to something.

 

~*~*~*~

Pre-order now!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

See you on Saturday for Chapter 3.

Saddled – Once a Week at Woody’s, Book 1 – Chapter 1

Saddled is coming soon!

In the days leading up to it, I’ll post Chapters 1 through 4 here, every other day.
April 21 – Chapter 1
April 23 – Chapter 2
April 25 – Chapter 3
April 27 – Chapter 4
April 28 – Release day!!

Be sure to pre-order Saddled for 99 cents. The price goes up to $2.99 on April 28, 2020.

Enjoy the first chapter below!

Will an office no-dating policy stand in the way of love?

Since her breakup with her cheating ex, Sandra Weber has been just going through the motions as Sales Manager at Studletter Condom Company. But when Michael Thorne is hired as an assistant, sparks in the office begin to fly.

Though Michael, aka Saddle McFleshbomb, loves dancing at Woody O’Flanagan’s Pub, he’s looking to move up in the world. His schooling almost finished, he lands a plum job as the only man in an office filled with women: four so exasperatingly humorless that it’s funny, and one stunning beauty with a laugh that warms the cockles of his heart.

When Sandra shows up at Woody’s on a rare night that he’s dancing for men, she assumes he’s gay, and therefore the no-dating policy doesn’t apply. But he’s not. He’s intensely interested in her. And he’s afraid to tell her he’s straight.

If you like light romantic comedy, hot office flirtations, and a long slow burn, you’ll love Saddled, the first book in Linda G. Hill’s “Once a Week at Woody’s” series.

Score a seat at Woody O’Flanagan’s Pub today!

Chapter 1

Sandra Weber looked up from her seat at her desk over the rim of her glasses and knew immediately she was in trouble. She peered around her assistant, Myrtle, but the glimpse she’d caught of a strange, dirty-blond-haired man in a pink button-up shirt with straining fabric at the biceps was apparently all she was going to get.

“Who’s the hot new guy?” Sandra blurted out.

Myrtle pursed her lips and frowned like a mother whose teenager has just come home and announced she’s pregnant.

“Sorry. It just kind of fell out.” At least she hadn’t sworn. The last time that happened, Myrtle had put in a formal complaint.

“He’s the new temp.”

“What the hell, Georgia?” Sandra mumbled under her breath.

“Pardon?”

“Nothing. So, what have you got for me on this fine Monday morning?”

“I noticed you didn’t open the letter I drafted for you on Friday afternoon. You know, the one to the sales reps asking why sales at Drug World were down last month? Here’s a printed copy.” She held out the piece of paper, and it shivered with anger.

“Thank you. I had to duck out a bit early.”

“I noticed,” Myrtle snipped.

It was Sandra’s turn to purse her lips. Friday had been the start of a hectic and rather sad weekend, but Myrtle wasn’t on the need-to-know list of people in Sandra’s personal life, so she remained quiet.

“I’ll read it over and let you know if I need anything changed,” was all she said.

“Thank you.” Myrtle turned on her heel to walk out, only to turn back at the last second. She pulled a pink slip of paper seemingly out of nowhere and placed it on Sandra’s desk. “The committee called again about Mr. Roy’s retirement party. Do you want me to book your flight yet?”

“Yes, please. Just check to see when everyone else is going, first.” Knowing Myrtle, she’d take pains to make sure Sandra sat alone, just out of spite.

“I’ll email you the details when I have them,” Myrtle said with a tight smile.

Sandra turned back to the sales figures on her computer screen before she could swear again.

“Please close the door on your way out.”

Myrtle did, and Sandra immediately regretted asking. There was no window out to the main office. If Mr. Hotness walked by again, she’d be in the dark. Aside from her boss, male presence was rare in the office.

But finding out who he was without the judging opinions of the office staff was top priority. She picked up the phone and dialed the extension for HR. While she listened to the ring tone, she swiveled her chair around to take in the view the windows of her corner office afforded: a field behind the building with backhoes digging holes for new houses going up, and in the not-far-off distance on the east side, a few shops that had recently opened in anticipation of the new residents.

“You’re welcome,” the female voice answered.

“Oh my God, Georgia, who is he?”

“Just call him a present from me to you. A little eye candy to help you get over you-know-who.”

“That was months ago,” Sandra said to her best friend since elementary school. She’d helped Georgia get a job in human resources at the Studletter Condom Company, where they both now worked.

“You had to see Larry on the weekend, though. So the timing couldn’t have been better.”

“True.” Sandra sighed. “But you still haven’t answered my question. Who the hell is he, and why is he wandering around outside my office like some Adonis come to life?”

“His name is Michael Thorne, thirty-one years of age, smart, single, and can type eighty words a minute.”

“You found all that out from an interview?”

“Actually, no. He just came in and signed some paperwork this morning. The single part is totally made up, but it might be true. He’s not wearing a wedding ring. He seemed kinda reserved though.”

Sandra picked up a pen and stabbed her calendar mat that she used as a doodle sheet. “I couldn’t date him anyway. Stupid no-couples-at-work policy. What idiot came up with that idea?”

“You did. Idiot.”

“Ah well. Eye candy is good. I’m not in the market for a relationship anyway.” It wasn’t that she still pined over Larry. She just needed more time before she got her heart broken again. “Myrtle said he’s a temp. Is he only here while Betsy’s on maternity leave?” Betsy was the full-time assistant to Cynthia Bartlett, Marketing Manager.

“Yep, he’s a temp. But my connection at the agency said he’s got an eye on a permanent position in marketing. I just happened to be over there when Michael was trotting out on his gallant steed, and I nabbed him while the getting was good.”

“If he got a position here in marketing, women would be eating condoms out of his hand,” Sandra breathed.

“Or off his d— Oh, hi!” Georgia said, away from the speaker. “Gotta go. Someone’s here.”

“Probably just as well. Lunch?”

“Sure, bye.”

Sandra hung up and walked around her desk to open the door. She looked out, hoping to catch a glimpse of Michael Thorne, but no luck.

She went to work on the email Myrtle had sent her, but throughout the morning, her mind drifted to what she might do to tempt the new guy over to her side of the office. Maybe she could move the water cooler to a spot just outside her door to give Mr. Hotness a reason to come closer.

At noon, having had no further sightings, she went out, anticipating a glimpse of Michael. But the office was deserted. The support staff had taken him, likely for their own nefarious purposes.

~*~*~*~

Pre-order now!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

See you on Thursday for Chapter 2.

Saddled – Once a Week at Woody’s, Book 1 – Pre-order for 99 cents!

The first book in my romantic comedy series, “Once a Week at Woody’s” is almost here!

Will an office no-dating policy stand in the way of love?

Since her breakup with her cheating ex, Sandra Weber has been just going through the motions as Sales Manager at Studletter Condom Company. But when Michael Thorne is hired as an assistant, sparks in the office begin to fly.

Though Michael, aka Saddle McFleshbomb, loves dancing at Woody O’Flanagan’s Pub, he’s looking to move up in the world. His schooling almost finished, he lands a plum job as the only man in an office filled with women: four so exasperatingly humorless that it’s funny, and one stunning beauty with a laugh that warms the cockles of his heart.

When Sandra shows up at Woody’s on a rare night that he’s dancing for men, she assumes he’s gay, and therefore the no-dating policy doesn’t apply. But he’s not. He’s intensely interested in her. And he’s afraid to tell her he’s straight.

If you like light romantic comedy, hot office flirtations, and a long slow burn, you’ll love Saddled, the first book in Linda G. Hill’s “Once a Week at Woody’s” series.

Score a seat at Woody O’Flanagan’s Pub today!

Pre-order it before the release date of April 28th, 2020, and get it for just 99 cents!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

Saddled will be available at all other ebook retailers soon.

A New Book–The Magician’s Sire–Free!

The Magician’s Sire is here, and it’s FREE!

Tortured by the curse on his family and the looming death of his father, Tarmien Dagmar must juggle the family business and his father’s insistence that he find a bride.

Then he meets Stella, a hotel housekeeper in his employ who fully intends to hate him …

I’m excited to announce the prequel to my contemporary Gothic paranormal romance series! I had loads of fun writing this novella, uncovering the background of the magician, Stephen Dagmar’s, family.

The Magician’s Sire is a complete story that contains no spoilers for Book One of the series, The Magician’s Curse. And if you’ve already read the other books in the series, The Magician’s Sire will give you a better understanding of how the story came about.

You can have my new book in your hands within the next few minutes. Just click this link and let me know where to send it!

He’s a hotel CEO with a bad reputation. She’s a distant employee, hard-working and honest. Can she resist falling for his otherworldly charms?

Tarmien Dagmar has no love life. He’s too busy running a worldwide hotel chain. But when he comes home to preside over the details of his father’s imminent death, he meets a woman who takes over his dreams.

Stella is happy with her job as a housekeeper at the Quillmar Hotel. But when she meets the CEO after saving the hotel’s reputation, she’s taken on an unparalleled empathic journey.

As their connection grows stronger, Tarmien sets his sights on Stella. The only thing standing in the way of true love is that’s he’s her boss … and the descendant of an incubus.

The Magician’s Sire is the prequel in Linda G. Hill’s Gothic paranormal romance series, The Great Dagmaru. It’s available exclusively as a gift to her newsletter subscribers. If you love dark, suspenseful paranormal romance stories, then download The Magician’s Sire today!

I hope you enjoy it!

The Magician’s Blood is up for an award!!

I’m so excited! Not only has The Magician’s Blood been nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award by the Paranormal Romance Guild, my entire series is up for an award too!

The PNR Guild is arguably the place to go to find excellence in paranormal romance. I was so happy last year when The Magician’s Curse won in the category of Gothic romance. This year, they have me in Fantasy-Demons, Devils and Angels, which actually fits better with the sub-genre of the second book.

But in order to win, I need your help. All you have to do is be signed in to your Google account and then go to the following link and vote:

https://www.paranormalromanceguild.com/2018-prg-reviewers-choice-awards-ballot/

My categories are about a third of the way down the page. Make sure you vote in both categories: once for the book and once for the series. You only get one chance to vote…

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The Great Dagmaru – The Story Begins

The Magician’s Curse, Book 1

…. hard to put down … [The ending] made me hungry for more.” 5 Stars ~ Linda Tonis, Senior Reviewer for THE PARANORMAL ROMANCE GUILD

Winner of the 2017 Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewer’s Choice Award for Gothic/Mythology/Folk Tales

“… a very enjoyable read and highly recommended!!” ~ Donna Maguire, TOP 500 Reviewer on Amazon UK

Even true love can be cursed …

 

When Herman Anderson leaves home to make a better life for herself, she doesn’t expect to meet a tall, dark stranger with whom she’ll fall hopelessly in love.

Charming and mysterious, Stephen Dagmar is a stage magician seeking an assistant. The moment he sets eyes on Herman, he knows she’s the one. He brings her home to his Victorian mansion where they embark upon an extravagant romance. Yet a shadow hangs over their love. Will the curse on his family end Stephen and Herman’s happily ever after, before it really begins?
Amidst lace and leather, innocence and debauchery, The Magician’s Curse begins the Gothic tale of The Great Dagmaru.

 

Magic and romance await.

Join my mailing list for free exclusive short stories, outtakes from my books, excerpts from upcoming publications, and more.

 

 

 

Prologue

Tarmien Dagmar couldn’t sleep. The clock taunted him as it had for months, even before his first child was born.

At least Stella can rest, he thought, listening to the soft snores of his wife drift through the dark from the other side of their king-sized bed. Breastfeeding was taking its toll, but the mere mention of hiring a nanny or allowing the servants to help with diaper changes was met with a firm “no.”
Murmuring something incoherent, she rolled over to face him and his blood heated at the fleeting thought of impregnating her again. It was what he was made for, after all. The blood that coursed through his veins, handed down for centuries from father to son, contained that of a demon. An incubus. A creature whose sole purpose was to seduce women and to create offspring.

Tarmien was coaxed from his thoughts by the subtle but distinctive sound of a waking infant. He gently eased himself out of bed so as not to wake his wife and crossed the hall quickly.

“It’s okay, Stephen,” he whispered as he closed the door of the nursery behind him. “Daddy’s here.”

He reached into the crib and picked up the restless newborn who settled the moment he was cradled in his father’s arms.

What have I done? Tarmien asked himself for the thousandth time since the baby was born.

Apart from the insatiable desire to procreate, Tarmien hadn’t shown any of the demonic tendencies to which his father had confessed on his deathbed, just months ago. He hoped he could spare his son the knowledge of that horrible confession. At least the curse that tied the Dagmar family to their servants, the Currys, was a burden Tarmien could bear himself; he was determined this child would never have to carry out its twisted conditions.

As he lifted his precious son to kiss his fine, black hair and breathe in his potent baby scent, he prayed that the family’s demonic bloodline had run out, once and for all. Only time would tell.

Adoration – Talk About Romance Series

Love at first sight. It’s a controversial subject among romance readers. Also known as “instalust,” it seems as many readers accept it, as who avoid it at all costs.

But perhaps there are ways for a romance writer to depict it that are more believable.

When I think of love-at-first-sight movies, my mind immediately goes to “Serendipity.” I loved that movie; the fact that fate was ultimately on their side likely had a lot to do with the opening of my own novel, The Magician’s Curse, but I digress. Fate is often the backdrop, I believe, of the most successful love-at-first-sight plots. It creates a basis on which the reader can suspend disbelief.

I’m sure there are many other scenarios that work, but the risk of such a meeting between two characters seeming overly plotted and convenient is present no matter what.

“I adore you,” the hero says to the heroine, hours after they meet.

“I adore you too. Let’s get married and have babies,” the heroine replies.

Does it happen in real life? Reports say it does, though maybe not quite that fast. This sort of lack of hesitation leaves a lot of room for improvement. But if there’s a paranormal element to it? The bonding of two souls that are meeting again in this current life? Therein lies the romance.

What do you think? What works for you in fiction? Have you ever, in real life, seen a stranger across a crowded room who might have been “The One”?

Thanks go to Bee for the inspiration for this post.

#JusJoJan 5/18 – Memories

Ghostly faces cloud my reality in this moment of despair.. Eyes that squinted with insincere laughter, noses flared with what was not mirth, but instead sniffed out my insecurities … and the mouths–the cruelest of all–stretched into smiles of toothy hunger, ready to devour me should I flinch.

These memories have haunted me throughout my life, through childhood and my teenage years, and well into my twenties. And now, as I face the obstacle of my worst nightmare–standing upon the stage before my peers to receive the degree I earned alone in my basement, staring at a screen of solitary learning–I regret that my qualification may go unrewarded.

The life of an introverted scholar seems inconceivable.

This quick jot is part of Just Jot it January! The prompt today is brought to you by Cage Dunn – click here to check out her blog: https://cagedunn.wordpress.com/ and go here to join in JusJoJan! https://lindaghill.com/2018/01/05/jusjojan-daily-prompt-january-5th-2018/ It’s fun! 😀

Before and After

Author’s note: The following letter is from Herman, the heroine of my novel, The Magician’s Curse, to Stephen, the hero. It fits into the book about a week into her stay in his mansion. This letter is written completely stream of consciousness style and is unedited.

Dear Stephen,

Where do I start? I’m sitting here in my room–in the guest room in your house, I should say–waiting impatiently for you to get home from your trip. I can’t really say I’ve been bored–Margaret has been great at keeping me busy. And wow, the lifestyle you two lead. Having our pick of which car to take when we go out to buy props and stuff for your show, going to fancy restaurants all the time … it’s like nothing I ever dreamed my life would be like before I got on that train, what, days ago? It feels like weeks.

Not that I’m used to it or anything, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be, completely. Or will I?

So now the decision: should I write what I’m thinking, which will make this letter something I have to crumple up? Or do I keep it to myself and show you this when you get home? Ugh, it would be nice to have someone to talk to about how I feel. I guess I could talk to Margaret, but I’m sure she tells you everything. Have I given away what I want to say, just by rambling about it?

I think … Okay, I’m gonna say it and be damned, as my mother would say. I think I might be falling in love with you. Isn’t that crazy? I’ve known you all of a week, and … well let’s face it. You’re the first guy who’s stuck with me for a week and not gone running away. Why is that? And maybe you will too, which is why I probably (definitely) shouldn’t show you this letter. If that weird dream hadn’t happened two nights ago, maybe I wouldn’t even be worried.

Unlike the before and after of my real life–poor girl finds a rich boyfriend and never looks back … Yeah, unlike that, my dream made me feel like all this–THIS–is a dream. A dream within a dream. How strange is that?

Hardy-har-har … I’m asking if THAT’s strange, but that’s kind of relative, isn’t it? After you performed ACTUAL magic on me. So, like what is this new life I’ve moved into all about? Are you a true illusionist, and none of this is real? Is it any wonder I’m scared to say those three precious words that I’ve never said to anyone but my family before?

Oh Stephen. I just wish you’d hurry up and come home so we can spend some time together. Some REAL time together. Alone, even. I have no idea why you asked Margaret to chaperone us all the time. We are adults, after all. At least you are, and I will be in a couple of weeks. Officially. Not that I’m going to suddenly “mature” like toast popping up. DING! You’re done. You’re officially old enough to do stuff like vote. Old enough to have an opinion and have sex, south of the Canadian border.

Which brings me to …

Nah. I don’t even want to contemplate it. If you are some kind of illusion, starting to obsess over an intimate relationship is only going to disappoint me more when I find out I’ve been living in a rundown shack for a week and you’re actually a raccoon. Which is how my life has normally gone up until now.

So I guess now I have to crumple up this letter and eat it or something. Which is TOTALLY going to ruin my dinner. Apparently we’re eating at home tonight. Probably surf and turf on golden plates … Do I sound unappreciative? I’m not. I really do appreciate you taking me in and giving me a job. Even if nothing else ever comes of our employer/employee relationship, at least I have your beautiful face to look at.

I can’t wait to see you onstage. And I can’t wait for you to come back home.

I can’t wait to kiss you again, and hold you in my arms … so I can make sure you’re real.

With all my love,

Herman

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the following link to find the prompt, and read all the other entries: https://lindaghill.com/2017/12/15/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-16-17/

 

Ahhngel

heaven must have sent you
for how else could you be
with me
though your wings are invisible
i feel them when you hold me
wrap around me
shelter me
from the warm rain
cascading down your back
dripping from your hair
and from the tip…
of your seed
you truly are an angel
enwrapping me
in love