Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Best of What`s Left by Mike Coyle




The Best of What’s Left by Mike Coyle





Tag Line:

Would an able bodied man choose a paraplegic woman . . . if he can look beyond the wheelchair and see the soul of the person in it?

Blurb:

When paraplegic Mandy Sorensen, who is an engineer for the Air Force, meets Lew Pecci she doesn’t expect love or adventure. His warning of a serious flaw on an experimental fighter plane sends them on an adventure to stop the first test flight and save the life of the pilot. They fail and the pilot is seriously injured. Mandy helps the pilot’s wife understand his predicament and reactions to the injury. As they work together they fall in love. Lew’s friends and family don’t understand his attraction to Mandy. His mother would prefer a South Philadelphia girl who is Italian and Catholic. Lew’s old girlfriend, Jessica Marrozi, fills the criteria and is more attractive. Mandy wonders if her limitations would prevent her from being the right choice for Lew. Will his tenderness and affection for Mandy let her choose The Best of What’s Left in her life?


Excerpt 1

       Mandy shook her head and looked at Victoria. “That’s when I thought he was an idiot. So many people just ignore me. But, after we talked awhile, I got the feeling he has a deep concern for the pilot. I like that.”
       Victoria waited momentarily before making up her mind. She seemed skeptical.
       “This time I’ll take a hunch. You’re a reasonable person. If you suspect something, I can ask for a test. I’m surprised he ignored you. I’d think you would be more attractive than a teenager.”
       “Most men ignore me. They just don’t see women in wheelchairs as real people. If they have to talk to us, they’re polite, but they never see potential dates. I’m used to it, but it bugged me.”
       “You thought he was a jerk, and you still believed him.”
       “It annoyed me that he couldn’t see that I was a twenty-seven-year-old woman. I wasn’t expecting a boyfriend. Life is lonely when nobody wants to date me because they think I’m helpless.”
       “You would like to have a boyfriend, wouldn’t you?”
       “I would, but I’ve adjusted to the idea I won’t.”
       “Could this guy be a prospect?”
       “I doubt it. He ignored me until he was told who I was. I expect Lew went back home to Philadelphia. He might call, but I won’t be seeing him again.”
       “Making a life for yourself is important. I tried marriage twice. Men don’t like women who are bigger than they are. My two husbands were both taller and stronger than me. They thought I should be a retiring little pipsqueak. I don’t want to be dominated. I want someone who will be an equal. I haven’t found it.”’
       “An equal sounds good, but I don’t know that I’ll ever find that either.”
       “Don’t underestimate yourself, Amanda. You’re an attractive young woman.”
       “Not to most men. They look over the girls, and if they see nice bodies, then they see date material. They can’t evaluate my butt because I’m in the chair, and I don’t have what you would call an ample bosom.”
       “You have a decent figure.”
       “I’m not ugly, but I’m not any spectacular beauty. My bra size sounds like it belongs in the Air Force museum, a B-34. There is nothing about me that makes them look past the wheelchair.”
       “You have a pretty face. It’s symmetrical. Symmetry is supposed to be the essence of beauty, isn’t it?”
       “Men aren’t into geometry. They don’t see me as a suitable partner.”
       “How did your game go over the weekend?”
       Victoria often changed the subject to relax her employees. Mandy knew the tactic worked with her.
       “The kids won.”
       “You never take credit for a win.”
       “The coach can lose a game, but the kids have to win it.”
       Mandy went back to her desk. In about two hours, Victoria was back with the letter. She had a few changes to Mandy’s letter.
       “I think you shouldn’t say why you want this done. Without proof, you shouldn’t accuse Quaker City of anything.”
       “You’re right. A subtle approach is better.”
       Later in the afternoon, she got a call from Lew.
       “How did you do?”
       “I put in a request to test the system. It will be awhile before I get an answer.”
       “What are you doing for dinner tonight?”
       “I was planning to fix something at home. Are you still in town?”
       “I’m staying at a motel. I’m going through the want ads. I need a job. Do you want to go somewhere to eat?”
       “Okay. Something light. Is there a restaurant near your motel?”
Mandy thought it might be fun. Lew had probably asked her because he was in town by himself and a little lonely.
       “I thought I’d pick you up at your place.”
       “It’ll be easier if I drive. That way I won’t have to transfer the chair.”
Although he seemed nice, Mandy preferred not letting him know where she lived. She wished she had used a better excuse than transferring the chair.
       “If it will make it easier, you can pick me up here. It’s off Interstate 675, near a college.  I’m across the street from their arena.”


Excerpt 2


       “Rose, you’re home at last,” Tony Pecci said to his wife. Lew and his sister, Ann, walked into the house behind their parents.
       “Take me up to the bedroom. I want to sleep in my own bed.”
       Tony lifted Rose off her feet. She put her arms around his neck and he had his left arm around her back and the right one under her knees as he ascended the stairs.
Ann and Lew went to the kitchen.
       “Dad looked like a newlywed carrying his bride over the threshold,” Lew said.
       “He is carrying his bride.”
       Lew laughed a little and said, “He is.”
       They sat across from each other at the kitchen table.
       “Mom told me you’re dating a handicapped girl.”
       “I am, but I wish people would stop looking at the wheelchair and see the person. Mandy is a delight. She’s kind and sensitive. You should have seen how hard she worked to try to save the pilot I was telling you about.”
       “Kind and sensitive describes you too, little brother. Be careful, Lew. Your compassion could get you into trouble. If you fall in love with her, make sure she fulfills your needs too. I remember Father Lebonte telling me that marriage is a sixty-forty relationship. You have to think you’re giving more than you’re getting if you are going to have it work out close to even. But if you think you’re giving all the time, you’ll get resentful. You have to be getting something for yourself.”
       “I remember when he first came to Saint Catherine’s. Mom was so upset that we had a Frenchman instead of an Italian.”
       “Stop avoiding the issue, Lew. I’m sure Mandy is a nice girl. You have always chosen the good girls over the sexy ones. I can see you being so concerned over this lovely girl with the handicap that you marry her without paying attention to all the consequences.”
       “Mandy takes good care of herself. She has her own condominium. She has a good job at the airbase. Mandy often tells me the same things you’re telling me. She cares more about my happiness than she cares about her own.”
       “I believe she’s a good person, Lew. Like I said, you choose the nice girls. Listen to what she says. Think about how her handicap will affect your everyday life. Will her limitations get to you over time? Be sure you want her enough to deal with all that.”
She looked up and said, “Hi, Dad.”
       “Keep talking,” Tony said. “You’re doing a better job than I do of putting my thoughts into words.”
       “Are you going to gang up on me? I should bring her back here so you can get to know her. We love each other.”
       “We aren’t against Mandy,” Tony said. “She seems like a good young woman. I liked her. It’s like Ann said. You need to get something out of this relationship. Just think it through. If Mandy is the girl for you, we will welcome her into the family. We want the best for you.”
       “Exactly,” Ann said. “I’d like to see my brother married to a woman who will be good to him. I want to meet her.”
       “She isn’t helpless. Mandy has done her own carpentry work to make a used table fit her. Dad can tell you what I told him about her swimming skills. She doesn’t need a caretaker.”


Buy Links:

Secret Cravings Publishing


All Romance ebooks


Amazon


Barnes and Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-best-of-whats-left-mike-coyle/1120864029?ean=2940046438864

Bookstrand


Smashwords

http://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=The+Best+of+What%27s+Left



Author Bio

Mike Coyle is retired from a career with the US Department of Defense. He lives in southwest Ohio with his wife. They have been married for 43 years and have two sons, two daughters-in-law, and one granddaughter.
He is an enthusiastic reader. He likes contemporary and classic fiction, history and science non-fiction. He is an avid skier and enjoys hiking, playing chess, and writing. The Best of What’s Left is his first novel.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Tuesday Tales - Stutter

Welcome back to Tuesday Tales!



It's time for more romance. Today we have issue seven of my multicultural romance serial Wind in White Birch. Our word prompt this week is 'Stutter.' Please check out the other wonderful writers after you`re done reading by clicking on the Tuesday Tales link at the bottom. Thanks for stopping in!

Wind in White Birch


As predicted, the drive from Clairton to Auburn was a little uncomfortable. To be honest the first hour was damned prickly. Rhett rode in the small cab seat behind the front seats. He had been quite animated for about sixty minutes after we left the church.
The young boy seemed oblivious to the tension that had erupted between his father and Jonah. How that was possible since he was in Rhick`s arms when Jonah got into Rhick`s smug face, I don`t know. I worried he was burying his reaction to the aggression he had witnessed. Jonah tried to be as upbeat as he could with the boy, but I could see the lines of frustration at the corners of his eyes and mouth.
Fatigue finally overtook Rhett about an hour into the road trip. Jonah had been listening to a classic rock station, so James Taylor was now singing about being someone`s friend as we drove along in the darkness. His long fingers were tight to the steering wheel, his left knee jumping not in tune to the song or the bumps in the road.
            I didn`t know what to say to open up a conversation that wouldn`t lead us back to the ugliness of racism. I peeled off my coat and wriggled around until I could place it over my sleeping son`s scrawny chest.
            “Those are the kinds of things I don’t want him to hear,” Jonah said unexpectedly. I stayed slightly sidesaddle in the big comfortable seat. The soft blue glow of the dash lights illuminated his face. He looked over at me quickly then returned his sight to the roadway. “I know the man is his father Dana, but he`s a bigot. I probably shouldn`t have gotten in his face like that, not with Rhett right there, I`m sorry for that.”
            “God, don`t be sorry. Rhick needed you to get in his face. He`s always been one of those guys who likes to poke fun at other`s expense, you know? Most people let that kind of backhanded insult slide, or just accept his douche-pickle snide comments as funny. Rhett should see someone standing up to bigotry.”
“Douche-pickle?” Jonah asked, a light tremble of laughter accompanying the query. I wrinkled my nose and nodded. “Well still, I should have just let it run off my back. Andy would have kicked my ass for acting like a hothead in that situation. I mean, surrounded by old women and nuns in a church wouldn`t be his idea of a good place to get your blood up.”
I didn`t say anything. Knowing Jonah`s grandfather I suspected he was right. Andy would be pissed about the near confrontation if he had seen it. I reached over to pat his bicep. The wool material of his coat was rough. He gave me another fast peek. Some of the anxiety lines had slipped away.
“I`m not dating you just because you`re white,” he said as the midnight DJ talked about some mid-winter festival somewhere.
“I didn`t think you were. I`m not dating you because you`re Native American, either. I`m dating you because I like the man you are. If you were purple with green dots I`d still date you.”
“Now see, I hate purple people with green dots. Yellow dots, yeah they`re fine, but green dotters? Man, they make my skin crawl,” he said so quickly I snorted and stuttered in surprised laughter. “I know why you`re dating me,” he said in a much lower voice that instantly erased the silly giggles.
“And why am I dating you, Mister Big Deer?” I asked primly.
“You`re after my body,” he countered, pulling off the highway into a convenience store. I sat there staring at him as he shifted the massive truck into park. Jonah glanced at me, his lips curling up into a devilish smile. “You`re not even going to deny it, are you?”
I raised a shoulder then let it drop. Just call me Madame Cool Cucumber.
“Fair enough, but what exactly are you planning on doing to my body once you get it, Dana?” he asked in a heated whisper before leaning in to peck me quickly.
Out into the cold he went, leaving me sitting there with my lips puckered and my mind awash with tawdry images. When he returned with two large cups of coffee, I was still sitting sideways with my lips pursed. He laughed, handed me a cup then kissed me properly. He had sipped his drink. His mouth was deliciously flavored with hazelnut and vanilla crème.
“Mom, I have to pee.”
Jonah drew away quickly, licked his plump lips and then placed his huge cup into the cup holder by the steering wheel. A long hot look passed between us, one that spoke of how much neither of us wanted that kiss to end.
“Okay, buddy, let`s go get the key for the men`s room,” I said. Jonah laid a hand on my thigh.
“I`ll take him,” he offered. I agreed and the two guys went back out into the cold. I ran my fingertips over my window to clear the steam. I watched them dash inside then come back out, huddled against the cold, to disappear around the side of the store.
“Thank you,” I whispered to whoever was responsible for creating Jonah Big Deer. Be the creator a god, a Seneca grandfather, or a fairy godmother they did one hell of a job making that man.

*~*~*

Turns out I should have used the little girl’s room when they used the boys. By the time we pulled into the doublewide Andy Big Deer calls home, I could barely move for fear of having an accident. Jonah had offered to pull over a hundred times. I had waved him off and drank more coffee. There was no way I was tugging down my pantyhose and urinating alongside the road in a three-foot high snow bank. Men just don`t have a clue at times.
My feet barely touched the gravel that lines Andy`s driveway and I was dancing. Jonah motioned me to go ahead and let him get Rhett. The lights on the outside of the tan home had come on the moment we pulled up. I raced over stones, snow, ice patches, and a pug dog that was trying to nip my ankles. Andy was at the front door, leaning on a cane. I grimaced at the huge man with the silver buzz cut. My smile had disappeared as my bladder inflated.
“First door on the left,” Andy pointed with his cane. Streaking past an end table as I ran through Andy`s toasty warm living room I heard Jonah stomping snow from his boots before entering.
“Dana Prescott always makes a hell of an entrance,” Jonah was saying. Whatever other snide comments that passed between the Big Deer men went unheard after I slammed the bathroom door closed.

Copyright 2013 ©by V.L. Locey

*~*~*

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Sneak Peek At My WIP!


I thought it was time to share a wee snippet from my current project. It`s an M/M mythological short for a submission call. The working title is Back to the Garden, and since I'm kind of digging on that title, it might stay the same. This is really rough, so if you find any mistakes, just pretend they don`t exist.

Just as a reminder, this snippet may contain bad words and man love. If this sort of thing bunches your bustle, feel free to move along. I will not be offended.




I shielded my eyes until the chariot was past, for looking into the eyes of the sun would blind even me. Once the chariot had rumbled to a stop, I ran over to join the sun god. Apollo leaped from the chariot, cast the reins aside, and jogged off. I gave the fire steeds a wide berth as I pursued the sun god. Most generally, I move in synchronicity with the beasts of farm and field, but those fire stallions are near as wild as Ares` warhorses. Getting my buttocks singed once by them was enough. It took nearly a fortnight for the hair on my tail to grow back.

"My lord Apollo, what causes you such haste this day?" I asked as I ran along beside him. He glanced down at me, his handsome face breaking into a joyous smile. 'Twas a fine sight. The sun god was a glorious male with stunning features, golden hair, and a form strong and lean.

"Ah, Pan, I am journeying to earth to join in a most amazing festival," he told me then, with a snap of his godly fingers, made a colorful scroll of parchment appear. "Look well upon this announcement, God of Shepherds." I took the scroll and unrolled it. My eyes went wide. Upon the paper was the image of a hand holding the neck of a stringed instrument, upon which sat a white dove. Many other words in a language not Greek filled the paper.

"I cannot read this, my lord. What does it say?" I asked as I handed back the scroll.

"Truly you must come to earth more often, King of the Satyrs," Apollo laughed. The wind tugged at his long hair. "That language is called English. `Tis a vexing language, true, but once one knows the basics `tis easy enough to decipher."

"Aye well, those upon earth would not favor seeing me as they do you, my lord," I muttered and glanced down at my goat-like lower extremities. Apollo patted my shoulder.

"Surely you do not think that we visit the mortals in our godly forms, do you?" he asked. I raised my sight from my hooves to look upon him. "We all disguise ourselves lest the mortals grow freaked out."

"Freaked out, my uncle?"

"Aye, `tis a saying I heard upon earth. Come with me to this festival, Pan. It claims to be an 'Aquarian Exposition' with three days of peace and music. I do so enjoy music!"

"I take it Lord Ares is not attending," I commented to the side. Apollo chuckled then threw the scroll into the air, where Zephyrus caught it and carried it back to Apollo`s temple on the hill.

"Nay, Pan, Ares is not attending. He is far too engrossed with the war that is taking place in the land known as Vietnam. Perchance we can lure Aphrodite to join us. She has been spending a great deal of time among the mortals trying to counter Ares` warmongering by spreading the ideal of loving all humanity."

"I wager that will not go well for the goddess of love," I sighed, my gaze on that mortal announcement growing smaller and smaller as it rode the wind.

"Nay, my nephew, her message is not heard over the battle cries of those in power most generally."

The sadness in my breast grew larger. I glanced from the paper to the brother of my father, Hermes, and smiled feebly up at him.

"I have never attempted to be but what I am," I professed. 

Apollo stepped back, his green cape flowing around his powerful legs, and studied me intently, his finger tapping the cleft in his chin.

"We shall find you a fitting guise, do not worry, Pan."

His smile should have alleviated my concern, but it did not. 


Sunday, January 25, 2015

An Erie Operetta Cover Reveal



It has been a long time, but we finally have a new tale from Templeton and Mikel! An Erie Operetta will release on 2/18 but we can enjoy the great cover art now as well as preorder your copy. We also have an exclusive excerpt from the second book in my Lake Erie M/M shifter series. You'll find the excerpt below the cover.

Just in case anyone who visits is not aware, I write erotic romance about straight and gay couples. Sometimes mature language and sexual scenes can be found on this blog. If bed play, adult language, or gay love offends anyone they are free to find another blog to frequent. We embrace all here.

So, now that we have that out of the way, let`s get to that cover and excerpt!




Blurb: Leave it to Templeton Reed to make a stink at the opera. Can everyone`s favorite skunk shifter figure out who, or what, is behind a series of gruesome deaths at the opera before the final curtain is dropped on him?



Excerpt:"Our carriage will be waiting," Mikel said. I nodded in understanding. The cold was bracing after the humidity of so many tightly packed bodies in the ship`s lounge. I inhaled to clear the overlap of perfume and cologne from my nose. We wasted no time in finding the Lupei carriage. It was a huge black and red carriage attached to four ebony steeds pawing at the cobblestone street.

"You higher breeds and your need to cling to the past," I said with a shake of my head as I climbed inside.

"It's not all of us," Mikel replied, sitting down beside me on a velvet-covered seat. "I would be just as happy to use a limo, but protocol must be adhered to. One does not arrive at the Osterman Opera House in anything less than a four-horse. It is simply not done." He mimed one of the old puma matriarchs we had chatted with during the boat ride. The way he wrinkled his patrician nose was quite adorable. I wanted to kiss him passionately, for his humor always appealed, but didn't. Dave and Eddie had seen us exchange goodbye pecks, but nothing more than that. I patted his thick thigh instead as I chuckled at the impersonation. The Halfling driver cracked a sharp-sounding whip. The carriage jerked as the horses took off into the night.

"Where exactly is the Osterman located?" I asked as we bounced along a road much older than I was. I knew that the opera house had been named after Oliver Osterman, one of the first of our kind to settle along the shores of Erie. Aside from that, I knew little, as it was intended. If we lessers knew nothing of the excesses of the aristocracy then we would not grow envious. Or so the elders had thought. Fools, the whole lot of them.

"If I told you I would have to kill you," the alpha replied. I turned my head to look deeply into his eyes. I quickly saw the humor.

"Funny," I said with a practiced eye roll. I removed my speckled glasses to dry them with my handkerchief.

"I try. Actually, I'm not sure of its exact whereabouts. I do know we're travelling north, but aside from that I couldn't say. Personally, I never cared to find out when I was younger. My father and mother were avid operagoer's who dragged my sister and me along to ensure we had culture to counteract our bloody natures. Thankfully, as I matured, I grew to love the classics."

Mikel grew wistful as he always did discussing his family. I knew enough to let him work out the taking of his sister's life in his own way. I did lean my head on his shoulder as I wiped my spectacles. He placed a kiss to my hair then fell into silence.

"So," I said to Dave and Eddie as I inspected my lenses, "you two are rather quiet. Did one of the cats get your tongues?" I snorted at my own wittiness.

"We don't fit in," Dave mumbled. I squinted at the two men across from us through highly smudged glasses. They looked miserable.

"Of course you do. You look quite dashing," I said as I rubbed a lens with more vigor. "Also, you're part of the Lake Erie pack. That gives you both standing far above what I have. Why, any wolven mama would be proud to mate her bitch pup to either one of you."

They were saved from having to reply by the slowing of the carriage. Cursing my need to wear glasses, I shoved the smeared spectacles back onto my face. The driver opened the door. Mikel waved off the man in fine red and black livery. I stepped down cautiously, not wanting to fall flat on my face in front of the famous Osterman...

"By the elders," I gasped when I lay eyes on the opera house.


If you liked this book you might like: Two Guys Walk Into An Apocalypse (Part of the He Loves Me For My Brainssss anthology), Two Guys Walk Into An Apocalypse 2:It Came From Birmingham, Love of the Hunter, Goaltender`s Penalty, All I Want for Christmas, Every Sunday at One (Part of the 2013 Charity Sip Anthology), Two Guys Walk Into An Apocalypse 3:He`s A Lumberjack And He`s Undead, An Erie Halloween, Night of the Jackal.

Coming soon . . . Early to Rise - A Toms & Tabbies Tale.




Writing Goals for 2015


I seem to be a few weeks late with my writing goals for 2015 post. I'll blame my tardiness on the two releases I had this month. I know it`s a flimsy excuse but it`s better than no excuse at all, right?



This year I hope to cut back a bit and only submit to one or two anthology calls. There are a few reasons for that. One is that I feel that a new book, or two, every month from one author is just too overwhelming for many readers. Also, it`s darn costly. I'm well familiar with having to pinch pennies and choose a select few books each month so you can stay within your budget. Another reason is that I feel with too many releases so close together you can`t promote the books properly. So, this year it`s down to one submission call, two if we include the next Seduced by the Game. What I'm doing for that is still up in the air.

I hope this is cool with everyone and that it makes it easier on your purses.

Now, onto the novellas/novels that I hope to write in 2015, God willing and the creek don`t rise as they say.


Two Guys Walk Into an Apocalypse 4- Zombies, Zendra, and Ziegfeld Follies
Venom Series Book #3- Tape to Tape
An Erie Garden Party
Venom Series Book #4-Angle Play
A new Toms & Tabbies Tale
Venom Series Book #5-Flow

*~*~*

Seduced by the Game 2015
M/M submission call

*~*~*

You may have noticed that I have the books scheduled so that I can jump from one genre to another. That helps to keep me fresh and entertained. Also, going from M/F to M/M is a good way to prevent getting burned out on the M/F hockey romances. Even when I work within a single genre and series, such as the Venom, I am trying to make sure that the readers get a good variation of ages and races from one book to another. I hope that makes the series more evenly balanced and therefore more entertaining for the fans.

Feel free to ask about any books that you wish to know about. I'm always happy to answer readers questions!