Friday, March 30, 2018

Holiday Sale on Snap Shot!




For three days only - March 30 to April 1 - you can get Snap Shot, Cayuga Cougars #1, on sale for .99 cents! Grab your copy today before the price goes back up and fall in love with Mario and Lila tonight. 




#Trans #Bi #Hockey #Romance 












Mario McGarrity has been around the block – and rink – more than a few times.

He’s creeping up on retirement age, has some dings and dents, and says what’s on his mind. Not exactly what most would consider a luxury ride, but his beautiful Lila - the transgender woman who stole his heart - loves him like no other woman ever has despite a little rust here and there.

Everything is good - no, great - aside from the distance issue, until a surprise from Lila’s past crops up and moves in with her. Can Mario be the family man that Lila needs, or is this one game the old vet is unable to skate in? 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Hat Trick of Questions #3






Since I had a few days between books I finally have time to answer another three questions from the members of my readers group! I love doing these hat trick posts and hope you all enjoy them as well. So, let’s get right to this month’s trio of questions!


Do you have any pre-or post-writing rituals?

This could be a two-part sort of question for me when discussing the pre-writing rituals. Since I hardly plot, my pre-writing rituals are slim. I do jot down a fairly detailed character bio for each leading man and set up a playlist for my storyteller, to get a better feel for him and his personality and musical tastes. I do like to have my blurb and cover art done before I begin writing, so I suppose that could be part of the pre-writing ritual.

When I’m ready to write I’ll generally just flop down in my chair, bottle of water or coffee close by, open that Word document, and start writing. It’s a very organic experience for me.

As for the post-writing ritual, when I type “The End” on a book I leap out of my chair and engage in a funky author celebration dance.



How often does what you plan for a story conflict with the characters in a story?

Being an organic writer aka pantser, what I have planned for a story is never known to me beforehand, save for a few key points that I might want to touch on. If it’s the last book in a series, then I have to be a little stricter with making sure I wrap up any loose ends, but other than that, my characters have permission to take the story where they feel it needs to be.


What music do you listen to while writing - if you do, please let us have a sneak on that.

Generally, I don’t listen to music while I write as I find the lyrics too distracting. Same for TV’s being on or someone talking to me. I’m one of those grumpy authors who crawl into a cave and pull a rock in front of the entrance. That being said… since I saw Call Me by Your Name, I have been playing the soundtrack on a steady loop. And yes, even while I’m writing now. I still have to stop and listen to Sufjan singing when his songs come on, but other than that I’m finding the music highly motivational and not too disturbing.


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Pucks & Percentages - Issue #4








Happy Sunday! Hope you're ready for another issue of our new serial MM hockey romance! I know I'm eager for more. If you are as well, follow the link below to find this weeks post. Thanks for reading along!


Pucks & Percentages Issue #4


Friday, March 23, 2018

Story Spotlight - Snap Shot, Cayuga Cougars #1





#Trans #Bi #Hockey #Romance #Cougars 





Buy Links:


Blurb:

Mario McGarrity has been around the block – and rink – more than a few times.

He’s creeping up on retirement age, has some dings and dents, and says what’s on his mind. Not exactly what most would consider a luxury ride, but his beautiful Lila - the transgender woman who stole his heart - loves him like no other woman ever has despite a little rust here and there.

Everything is good - no, great - aside from the distance issue, until a surprise from Lila’s past crops up and moves in with her. Can Mario be the family man that Lila needs, or is this one game the old vet is unable to skate in? 


R-rated Excerpt:
“Every time I see you in my bed, I have to wonder what I did to get so lucky.”
Her hand wiggled between my legs, her warm fingers cupping my balls then squeezing. My legs spread for her of their own accord. The ice pack fell off my lower back. I figured she might pick it up and fuss, and I was right.
“I can’t imagine anyone thinking that having a washed-up hockey player in a kilt rolling around on their fancy pillows is lucky.”
My cock was pinned between my stomach and the bed. She began working on the muscles up by my shoulders after placing the ice pack back where it belonged.
“It takes a special man to come back to my bed,” she said while her strong fingers dug deeply into my flesh. It felt fantastic. “Most come once, pun fully intended, and then they leave, curiosity abated, never to be heard from again.”
I rolled onto my back to look at her. Her eyes widened slightly.
“Okay, that is total bullshit. Any man should be dropping to his knees and thanking God Almighty for a woman like you.”
“And I love that you think so.” Her gaze was tender for a moment, then it flittered from my banged-up face to my cock. The tip of her pink tongue moved over her lower lip, her eyes growing smoky and sensual. “I wish you’d keep ice on that nasty.”
“I’ll be fine. I’ve had much worse, trust me. Why don’t you lose that nightgown and shawl and plant that sexy ass right here?” I patted my thighs.
She struck a thoughtful pose, her long yellow fingernail tapping her chin, her red lips pursed. I wanted to roll her onto her back and laugh all at once.
“Come on, baby. I drove all the way from Cayuga for some sweetness.”
Her gaze flickered to me right before she reached up to push her hair from her face theatrically.
“That’s true.”
With that pronouncement, she stood. The shawl shimmied from her shoulders to the floor. I grabbed my cock and ran my thumb over the weeping head. A shudder ran through me. She stood with her back to me.
“You sure you’re up to this, Seamus?” she asked with a coy peek over her broad shoulder.
I tugged on my hard dick in reply.
“You do have a way with words,” she sighed humorously.
“You want a redhead with flapping gums, hook up with Kalinski.”
“If he and Daniel weren’t wed, I’d do so, and happily,” she teased, pushing one thin strap off her shoulder.
“Over my dead body,” I snarled, just as she wanted.
The other strap shimmied down her arm. I gave my dick another tug, my gaze locked on her as she wiggled free of her nightgown, slowly revealing her bare body.
“Fuck,” I moaned when she turned to face me, arms over her head in a pose aimed to titillate.
It worked. Oh man, how it worked. She was stunningly beautiful and as sexy as a fucking pagan goddess. I ached to get my hands on her, but I knew she had a wee bit more prancing to do.




Thursday, March 22, 2018

MM Goodness Book Review - See the Light (Safe Harbor Book #1) by Cassandra Carr





Hockey player Jason Monroe lives a double life—star defenseman and soon-to-be Olympian on the ice and closeted gay man outside the rink. A serious relationship is out of the question, and Jason makes do with anonymous sex in barroom bathrooms, not willing to take the chance on coming out as gay in a decidedly macho sport.

Adviser to the US Olympic hockey team Patrick Parker knows a thing or two about being a professional hockey player who’s not out. He’s fifteen years older than Jason, and when he senses the sexy younger man is interested, he knows he shouldn’t give in to the attraction. The two men can’t keep their hands off each other, though, and with each heated encounter it gets harder to hide their relationship. Then their world blows up around them, forcing them into the limelight. Will their love survive or be put on ice?




Amazon




We all have boxes. Sometimes we get lucky and get those boxes ticked. If your boxes are like mine, you’re going to want to grab a copy of See the Light by Ms. Carr as soon as you can! Let me share the boxes this book ticked for me—

Hockey -Tick

MM Romance – Tick Tick Tick Tick 

May/December – TICK

Erotic as Hell – Tick Tick

Romantic and emotional and touching and powerful – Tick Tick Tick


I loved everything about this book. The story, the characters, the hockey, the romance, and the sex were all perfectly penned. It will be a great addition to the books on your MM sports romance shelf.


5 out of 5 stars

Monday, March 19, 2018

Tuesday Tales - Pale





 It`s time for Tuesday Tales.



Today we have an excerpt from A Star-Crossed Christmas, which is a Cayuga Cougars short story being written for a hockey holidays anthology coming out later this year!

Our word prompt today is “Pale”. In today’s scene, our two new lovers are reconciled after a fourteen-day separation.

This story may have gay erotic scenes, strong social issues addressed and mature language. If those things offend now is the time to move onto another Tuesday Tales blog. Thanks for stopping by!




Those fourteen days were the longest fourteen days ever on record. Thankfully they were over now, and Shaun was sitting behind the Cougars bench, wearing one of my sweaters, looking so tan and so amazingly handsome I was crazed to get this stupid game over with. We’d had ten minutes at the airport to hug and kiss. That was it. Then I had to be here for the game which was taking so long. Oh my God. Why did we play three periods anyway? It wasn’t like we didn’t know we had this game locked down. We were ahead by a goal and this was our game, our two points. I glanced at the clock as the action was all down at the other end of the ice. Two minutes left. I heard the crack of a puck off the glass. My attention returned to the game, where it should be, and I saw Ron Plassy of the Broncos pick up the puck after it ricocheted off the glass. Ron was a defenseman, and generally not a big offensive threat, but he came down the ice like someone had strapped rocket boosters to his skates.

He threw his shoulder to the right, pulling me that way. I knew as soon as I moved in that direction it was a mistake. Ron’s deke was brilliant. I had hardly any time to recover, so I planted left skate to pipe and spread my legs wide, jamming my right skate into the iron as well. The puck bounced off my toe, rolling back at Plassy. He jumped on the rebound and took another shot. I threw my blocker up. The puck flew back over my head and down the back of the net. Play was whistled dead. I sat there on the ice, stunned that I’d pulled those two saves out of my ass. The Cougars fans were cheering my name. I couldn’t see Shaun from where I was seated in the crease, but I hoped he had been somewhat impressed.

An hour and another win later, I pushed out of the Cougar dressing room, tie dangling and jacket in hand, crazy mad to get to Shaun. He was hanging out with the press corps, chatting about his win in Aspen and his aspirations to be picked for the Olympic team again. The hallway was packed, and I wiggled past some fat guy in a polo shirt holding a phone in the air. Shaun was nodding at something one of the reporters had said when his gaze met mine. A smile that could melt the polar ice caps lit up his face. My feet felt big and stupid.

“There’s my friend, Mitch.” Shaun broke from the media, thanking them for their interest in his career, and walked to me, brown eyes sparkling.

We didn’t say anything to each other. I think we were kind of afraid to speak in case we got gushy or something. Walking side-by-side we played things off as casual until we rounded the corner. We both made a lunge at each other, bouncing off a Coke machine, mouths sealed. I pawed around behind me for a door as Shaun lapped at my mouth. I found a knob, turned it, and we fell into the room, pulling at each other’s clothes like starving jackals.

“Mind if we take pictures for later masturbatory use?”

Shaun and I leaped apart, lips wet and a little puffy, breathing jagged, and turned to look at Coach Kalinski sitting at his desk, smirking, as his husband lounged in a chair in the far corner. Dan looked like a cat who found his way into a budgie shop. I felt myself pale.

“I uh, we… he and I - it’s kind of… this is my friend.”

Victor smiled at my fumbling. “Yep, I can see how friendly you are. You catching all the friendship these two are sharing, babe?”

“Yep, lots of friendship,” Dan replied as he fought not to laugh.






Copyright 2018 ©by V.L. Locey

*~*~*

Click on the link below to return to the Tuesday Tales main blog for more great reads from the Tuesday Tales authors.



Sunday, March 18, 2018

Pucks & Percentages Issue #3




Happy Sunday! Hope you're ready for another issue of our new serial MM hockey romance! I know I'm ready for more. If you are as well, follow the link below to find this weeks post. Thanks for reading along!







Pucks & Percentages Issue #3

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Blue Line Venom #6 Release Day!








#MF #Hockey #Romance


Buy Links:





Blurb:

If there’s one thing that Helen Parat knows, it’s how to defend. Whether it’s her goalie or her bruised heart, the Venom’s top D-man isn’t about to let anyone get too close. While it’s an admirable thing on the ice, it’s left her alone for far too long in her personal life. Better lonely than taunted, the stately beauty decided years ago. That philosophy has served Helen well – until Bobby Fovea entered her defensive zone.

The energetic and handsome Wildcats captain is winning Helen over, one honest and loving smile at a time. Just when she thinks she’s blocked him out, Bobby finds a new way to work his way into her heart. As Helen and the Venom make their push for the championship, it’s going to take every ounce of dedication, grit, and passion she has to seize not only the cup but the happiness she’s denied herself for far too long. 


Monday, March 12, 2018

Tuesday Tales - Picture Prompt





It`s time for Tuesday Tales.



Today we have a snippet from A Star-Crossed Christmas, which is a Cayuga Cougars holiday shot that will be in a hockey holidays anthology at the end of the year.

This week is our picture prompt and all snippets must be 300 words or thereabouts.

This story may have gay erotic scenes, strong social issues addressed and mature language. If those things offend now is the time to move onto another Tuesday Tales blog. Thanks for stopping by!




“Remember when we were at that away game of yours and…”

That was how the whole meal went. Talking over the people we’d gone to school with, where they were now and what they were doing. Rehashing the good times, laughing over the stupid shit we’d done as teenagers. Our steaks came and were eaten, our wine arrived and was drank, the conversation never hitting a dip or skidding to a halt like with a stranger. We knew each other so well. We were friends, closer than friends, to be honest. I wasn’t sure what came after close friends on the intimacy scale. Lovers? Partners? Soul Mates? Would any of those ever apply to us?

“Hey, you drifted again.” Shaun reached around the candle and the empty plate that had held a slice of coconut cream pie. He placed his hand over mine. I smiled and turned my hand over, the back on the linen tablecloth, my palm touching his. “Where were you?”

“Just thinking about what comes next.” I studied our hands, the way our fingers were so similar. Long and strong, short nails, some scars. Masculine hands.

“We talk about some things.”

My sight lifted. His eyes were beautiful. “I’m negative and always use condoms even if the woman says she’s on the pill because I do not want kids now.”

“Okay, well, I was going to save that for a time when we weren’t surrounded by strangers, but cool. Me too except for the women and birth control pill bit.”

I threw a fast look at the people closest to us. No one seemed to have heard my announcement. Someone opened the front door, the cold air felt wonderful.

“Sorry, I just figured that was talk number one for gay guys.”

“It’s right up there. I was leaning more toward opening with how we think we can have more when I’m headed to Aspen tomorrow for a week-long competition while you go back to New York State.”

Copyright 2018 ©by V.L. Locey

*~*~*

Click on the link below to return to the Tuesday Tales main blog for more great reads from the Tuesday Tales authors.



Sunday, March 11, 2018

Pucks & Percentages Issue #2




Happy Sunday! Hope you're ready for another issue of our new serial MM hockey romance! I know I'm ready for more. If you are as well, follow the link below to find this weeks post. Thanks for reading along!





Pucks & Percentages Issue #2

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

MM Goodness Review - Helping Hand (Housemates #1) by Jay Northcote






#MM #NA #Romance 

Amazon

You know you have a just wrapped up a great book when you race to Amazon to buy the next novel in the series. I’d blush but hell, I’m not ashamed at all because I adore well-written MM romance. Don’t we all? Of course, we do.

This is a great read, overflowing with realism and superb characterization. We have two college students/roommates – Mac and Jez -who find themselves growing closer to each other as they slowly discover some truths about their sexuality and, of course, themselves and how they’re maturing. That’s a real draw for me, that slow progression to acceptance of who the character is as a person.

Mr. Northcote does an amazing job giving us accurately created young men finding that perfect person right under their unsuspecting noses. I couldn’t put this book down. Then I was sad because it was over. Good thing I have the next one to leap into, huh?


5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Tuesday Tales - Pocket





It`s time for Tuesday Tales.



Today we have an excerpt from A Star-Crossed Christmas, which is a Cayuga Cougars short story being written for a hockey holidays anthology coming out later this year!

Our word prompt today is “Pocket”. In today’s scene, the growing passion building between our leading men breaks free in the same place it did two years previously, the basement of Shaun’s grandmother’s quilt shop.

This story may have gay erotic scenes, strong social issues addressed and mature language. If those things offend now is the time to move onto another Tuesday Tales blog. Thanks for stopping by!






We parked in front of the quilt shop and Shaun unlocked the front door then relocked it after we were in. Not that crime was a big problem in Liberty.
“I keep telling her she needs a better security system,” Shaun said, flicking on a small light over the register in the corner. The shop was packed with bolts of fabric, ceiling to floor, shelves and shelves of them. There were racks that held more bolts all over the place, so walking through the store was always this kind of jig and dance, turn left, turn right, do-si-do and do not spin your partner round and round.
“Good luck with that,” I replied, padding to the tables by the front window to gather up several bolts of holiday material in my arms. Shaun joined me, and I handed mine to him and picked up eight more. A couple trips should do it. Then we could go to Shaun’s parent’s house and vegetate while enjoying Jabber and the gang. Sounded like a perfect way to end a perfect day.
“I know, but come on, someday some tourist punk kid is going to break in just to be a dick.”
“Probably.” There was no arguing that fact. “Still, I don’t see her installing anything without a fight.”
“That’s all truth. Watch the steps down, okay?” He kicked open the cellar door which sat behind the register. The hinges cried out. “They’re old and super steep.”
“I remember.”
I led, going down only after Shaun had hit the light switch with his elbow. The basement was dry, wide, and filled with material, sewing stuff, and a couple old sewing machines on equally old sewing machine stands. It always smelled a little off down here or something. Not super gross but just off. Dusty and dank. Like old dirt or something.
We stacked the bolts on a table, filled our arms with Valentine’s material, and climbed back up the stairs. We did that four times. On the final trip down, we paused and looked at each other across the long folding table heaped high with holiday colors.
“You think we’re ugly corporate types, hauling out Valentine’s Day stuff when Christmas isn’t even over yet?” I enquired.
“You know those quilting ladies. They like to get a head start.”
“Guess so.”
“Remember the last time we were down here?”
I shoved at a bolt trying to slip off the mound with my elbow since my hands were in my pocket as I looked at Shaun. “Like four minutes ago? Yeah.”
“No, not that time before. The time before two years ago.”
“Oh.”
The lonely naked bulb by the stairs threw Shaun into all kinds of shadow. It worked for him, giving his lush mouth and cheekbones some alluring valleys and accents.
“I was so happy then. Like, floating on air. I’d told my parents that I was gay, and they were so cool about it. And then you pulled into town with all your goofy smiles and those cute ears, and all the Hanna-Barbara love, and I got swept into the feelings that I’d been carrying around for you.”
“Got to love Jonny,” I nervously joked, plucking at my Jonny Quest t-shirt.
Shaun came around the table. I stood my ground; the dry and dank air now filling with heat and want. You could taste desire filling the cellar, feel it.
“I made a move and kissed you. You were so stiff, so scared, and I knew as soon as I’d done it that I’d ruined things for us.”
“No, you didn’t. I was just…that kiss confused me.”
He now stood in front of me, the smell of Shaun mingling with the hot pheromones slipping into my sinuses. Need coursed through me, plumping up my cock. I stared at his mouth.
“I know. I handled things badly. I just – it was just stupid of me to do that. I didn’t give you any chance to say no, or anything. I just kissed you. So, like, now, if you wanted to say no I would be fine with that. We don’t have to kiss now, or even ever. I mean, I’d like to kiss you now or maybe sometime later, and maybe date and talk about travel and hold hands and—”
“You’re talking too much.” I grabbed his face and pulled his mouth to mine. It was kind of funny to feel him stiffen momentarily, as I had a couple of years ago. Then the shock melted away and his arms slid around me. His lips were soft and pliant under mine, opening on a hot exhalation when I shifted my hip to the side a bit. I could faintly taste blood from my split lip.
         It was Shaun that touched the tip of his tongue to my lower lip, running it over the split, easing back on the pressure I was applying in my fumbling rabid need to get him close. I lapped at his tongue gliding over the injury. He tipped his head, my fingers still pressed to his cheeks. There was no hesitation on my part. I opened wide, twisting in his embrace, my body now thumping with lust.







Copyright 2018 ©by V.L. Locey

*~*~*

Click on the link below to return to the Tuesday Tales main blog for more great reads from the Tuesday Tales authors.



Free MM Hockey Romance Serial!




As a "Thank You, We Love You So Much!" to our wonderful readers, RJ Scott and I are teaming up on a free MM hockey romance serial called Pucks & Percentages








Pucks & Percentages is a sexy, sporty, sultry romance starring Michael Campbell, a statistician who goes to work for the Rush, the AHL feeder team for the Harrisburg Railers. Once in Carlisle, Mike meets Nick "Taz" Tazinski, the self-assured alternate captain. There's an instant attraction between our numbers man and our hockey player, but is desire and passion enough to keep them together or will this new relationship be a distant memory when Mike's time with the Rush is over?



You'll be able to dive into a new issue - starting today with issue #1 - every Sunday over at our lovely new MM Hockey Romance site which you can find by following the link below--

http://mmhockeyromance.com/


While you're there feel free to poke around and check into all the posts about the Railers, The Rush, and our upcoming collegiate team, the Owatonna Eagles.

We hope you enjoy this gift from us to you. We're having a wonderful time writing it! 


Love and hugs,

RJ and V.L. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Cover Reveal and Preorder Links for Blue Line Venom #6




I'm all wrapped up in bittersweet feelings as I share the final cover for the last book in the Venom series. I've loved writing these books and have grown to feel as if every woman on the team is a dear friend. I hope my M/F readers feel the same. This last Venom book is probably my favorite as Helen has grown on me throughout the series. I was so happy to be able to give her a love as pure and honest as Bobby Fovea. She deserved it. 

You can preorder Blue Line now to ensure Helen and Bobby are awaiting you on 3/14.






#MF #Hockey #Romance 


Buy Links:



Blurb:
If there’s one thing that Helen Parat knows, it’s how to defend. Whether it’s her goalie or her bruised heart, the Venom’s top D-man isn’t about to let anyone get too close. While it’s an admirable thing on the ice, it’s left her alone for far too long in her personal life. Better lonely than taunted, the stately beauty decided years ago. That philosophy has served Helen well – until Bobby Fovea entered her defensive zone.

The energetic and handsome Wildcats captain is winning Helen over, one honest and loving smile at a time. Just when she thinks she’s blocked him out, Bobby finds a new way to work his way into her heart. As Helen and the Venom make their push for the championship, it’s going to take every ounce of dedication, grit, and passion she has to seize not only the cup but the happiness she’s denied herself for far too long. 



Excerpt:


“Okay, so next week when we have a day off between games, we’ll meet up here and go to the Mennonite store to get fabric. I’m so excited!” Alicia bounced around her spacious kitchen as we cleaned up the patterns, coffee mugs, and a sticky honeypot Wren had been sticking her fingers into.
“I got a pink lily dress.” Wren informed us then took off in pursuit of a kitten that had wandered into the house from the goat barn.
“She insisted on pink.” Alicia told me when I joined her at the sink to dry the mugs she was washing by hand.
“She’ll look precious. And what about you? What’s your bridal gown like?”
She sighed a bit, as if in a dream, and then shook her head, her soft golden hair framing her face.
“We try not to boast about material things but, oh, Helen, it’s going to be so beautiful!”
I smiled at her. “He’s a lucky man.”
“We’re both lucky. The goddess has blessed us both in so many ways. And she’ll bless you too.” With that, she reached over to pluck the damp dishcloth from my hand. The others had filed out to explore the farm. “Why don’t you go outside and talk to Bobby for a bit.”
I crinkled my nose.
“He’s got a good soul, Helen. Even Dale and Sage have commented on that. Sincerity glows within him. What harm can come from being nice to him?”
A chicken began to cackle outside, which made the geese start honking. She had no idea. Alicia had probably never been laughed at by a drunken frat boy when he took off her shirt.
“Right, nothing. I’m off to talk to Bobby.” I left her standing at the sink with soapy hands and a wistful expression. Might as well just get this over with and talk to the man. When things went south then they’d all stop nudging me, and I could go back to my perfectly nice life.
The back of the farm faced the pastures. Along one fence were some beehives. I spotted my teammates over at the farm pond, seated along the bank, soaking their feet in the water by the looks. That looked like fun. But no. I had to go make small talk with Bobby. Pfft.
Following the fence, I came to the barn. There were no goats to be seen. One large gate had been removed from a massive post driven into the fertile ground. I slipped into the opening, stepped over the gate lying on the ground, and peeked into the barn. Nothing in there but mangers filled with hay and dust motes floating in slim streams of the summer sun.
“Hey!”
I spun around and there he stood. Smiling, as always, with his bare shoulders exposed to the sun. They were lightly freckled. Slick with sweat. I forbid my eyes to drop to his bare chest. Eye to eye contact only.
“Hi. I uh…” I waved a hand at the gate by my feet. “Came inside. Is that okay?”
“Sure, yeah. We’re around back working on a small pen that they use for the kids when they’re little.” He motioned me to the eastern side of the barn. I gave him an awkward smile then went around the old clapboard barn. Sage was sitting under a tree with his legs in a lotus, sipping cold tea. He lifted a hand in greeting and I did the same. A gusty wind whipped past, tugging on Sage’s long gray hair.
I had no idea what to say to the man. I kept my eyes on the ground. Bobby stepped around me, leaned his shoulder on the side of the barn and started talking. I slipped my hands into my pockets and bobbed my head as he chatted about fence staples, apple trees in the orchard, and how beautiful my eyes were. Wait. What?
“What?” I asked when the compliment sank in.
He cocked his head a bit to the left, his big shoulder dropped a little, and he gently reached out to touch the side of my face with his hand. His finger was rough, calloused, and gentle. That thick shank of soft red hair fell over his brow.
“You have beautiful eyes. So green, like the mountains. And skin white like homemade vanilla ice cream.”
“I’ll be thirty-four in August.”
“You want a party?”
“I – you – what? No. I’m not asking for a party. I’m telling you that because you stroking my face is stupid.” A bee flew by and landed on the side of the barn. Bobby was too busy trying to make up silly things to compare my eyes and skin to to take notice of a bug.
“You say that a lot. About me liking you or thinking that you’re pretty. Why do you think that?” He never moved closer, if anything he swayed back some. Perhaps he was worried that I’d bolt which was preposterous. Helen Parat was solid like a wall. Built like one too…
“Why do I think it’s stupid for you to have these romantic notions?”
“Yeah.”
A rivulet of sweat ran down the side of his face, through the bristles of his new beard, and down the side of his thick neck. Then the stupid thing slithered down his pectoral, leading my gaze down to a dark pink nipple surrounded by a few dark red hairs. Where would that sweat droplet go next? Downward over his hard stomach? Maybe. Hopefully. I was happy to wait here by the barn with the bee and see where it went. I had time. All day. And his stomach was quite nice with all those rippled muscles and a treasure trail of dusky red hair that—
“Helen, are you checking me out?” I heard the humor in his voice. My eyes leaped from that sinful trail to his twinkling brown eyes.
“I like coffee with muffins.” Oh, Helen, what kind of moronic statement was that? Dear God, woman. “I mean…your sister thinks that – I need coffee. Not muffins. Unless you want muffins then we could do muffins but they’re empty calories.”
“So, you were checking me out.” Well wasn’t he suddenly filled with masculine self-satisfaction? “I like coffee with muffins too.”
When I said nothing due to my brain literally drowning in estrogen, he flashed a smile filled with white teeth. His gaze locked with mine, a sultry hum of sexual attraction riding the wind like the sweet scent of bread baking in Grandma’s kitchen. He placed a hand on the side of the barn and locked his elbow.
“Blueberry are good.” I finally manage to reply.
“Yeah, they are good.” If he kissed me now I would…kiss him back. Slap him. Kiss him back. Slap him. No, kissing is nicer than slapping. Maybe a dirty look? No, dummy, no dirty looks. Just kiss him. But…kiss him back. Sigh. Fine. Kiss him back wins. I would. I’d regret it afterward but not during.