Today’s Sunday Sneak Peek comes from Sydney Logan’s upcoming release, Mountain Charm.
She was just running toward the goal for a layup when she heard a voice. “You look sexy in those shorts.” Angelina gasped, and the ball flew upward, hitting the bottom of the rim. So much for distractions.“You scared the crap out of me, and you made me miss my shot.” Dylan smiled and grabbed the rebound before passing the ball back to her.
“You play?” he asked.
“Play is a little strong. I shoot, and sometimes, if I’m lucky, it goes in the hoop.”
Angelina tossed the ball toward the net, and this time, her aim was perfect.
He nodded approvingly. “Nice shot. I played a little in high school.”
“Were you any good?”
“I was a good bench warmer. Does that count?”
She grinned and tossed him the ball. “In that case, I suppose you’re allowed to play with me.”
“That’s my dream come true, you realize.”
Her heart fluttered. Fluttered.
“Just shoot the ball, Casanova.”
Dylan haphazardly threw the ball, and she laughed when it completely missed the rim.
“Wow, you are terrible.”
Dylan glared at her and tossed the ball in her direction. Bouncing it twice, Angelina lobbed it into the air, banking it off the backboard and through the hoop. She caught the rebound and passed it back. Dylan moved to the foul line and took another shot. This time, he missed the entire goal.
“This is embarrassing,” he muttered, rubbing the back of his neck. “Maybe I just need some motivation.”
Dylan hoisted another awkward shot into the air. “Each time I score, you have to tell me something about yourself that nobody knows. Something I can’t find in my research.”
Angelina smirked. “Since you’ve yet to hit one basket, I think my secrets are pretty safe.”
“Maybe,” he said, shrugging. “And if you make your shot, I’ll tell you something nobody knows about me.”
“If, by some miracle, you happen to make a bucket or two, will my secrets be in your article?”
“No, Angelina. These secrets are just for me.”
The way he said her name made her spine tingle, but she shook it off. She had a basketball game to win.
Sydney Logan is an Amazon bestselling author and holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. With the 2012 release of her first novel, Lessons Learned, she made the transition from bookworm to author. Sydney has a very unhealthy obsession with music, and her iPod is filled with everything from Johnny Cash to Eminem. She is also the author of two short stories: “Mistletoe Magic,” available exclusively on Amazon Kindle, and “Stupid Cupid,” which is featured in the Romantic Interludes compilation. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys playing piano and relaxing on her front porch at her home in East Tennessee with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat.
A special sneak peek into a portion of the new edition of Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever . . .
“Fifty Shades meets Keisha from the block.”
Keisha Beale and her roommate Jada Jameson have half the money they need to start their dream business. A hookup from Jada’s well-connected father gets them a meeting with the elusive venture capitalist Tristan White. The only time slot he has available is the close of business on a Friday afternoon when Jada has a nonrefundable ticket for a sorority week in Sin City.
Keisha goes to the meeting alone and almost flubs their chance at getting the much-needed start-up capital they require. During this one chance meeting venture capitalist Tristan White discovers he wants a little coffee in his cream. Thus begins his pursuit of Keisha Beale, the only woman who can quench his raging case of Jungle Fever!
Saturday morning after breakfast, we have the first of many fencing lessons in Tristan’s gym. Once again, he’s well-prepared. Tristan’s gone overboard in my opinion and bought me three sets of fencing whites. I dress in my knickers, plastron, chest protector, jacket, socks, trainers, and glove and then carry my mask and foil out of the dressing room with me. I meet Tristan out on the floor. He’s already dressed and practicing. He stops when I enter the room, and his eyes rake over me with the same appreciation mine are showing him.
Damn! He’s fine in that getup, especially the tight breeches! my Fairy Hoochie Mama says. Triple-G even lets loose the type of whistle that men usually use on women when they’re making catcalls. I execute an extended mental eye roll at them.
“Seeing you dressed out gives me ideas, Ms. Beale,” Tristan says, his eyes bright.
“What if I don’t like fencing? Then these cute little outfits you bought will go to waste.”
“They’re not just cute little outfits, and believe me, once you get into it you’ll love it.”
“Says the man who’s probably been doing this since he could walk.”
He looks thoughtful. “Our mother did begin to teach us when we were five.”
Every so often, I learn something new about Tristan that underscores the differences in our upbringings. This is one of those moments. When I was that age, my mama was teaching me nursery rhymes, reading, and singing. However, knowing that his mother fenced makes me feel like I can do this.
“Then, in homage to the late Mrs. White, I’ll give it a good old college try.”
“Oh you’ll give it more than that.”
“How can you be so certain?”
“Physical fitness is part of your contract, and it will go a long way in helping you endure the rigors of our role-play weekends. I can tell from your muscle tone you haven’t been sedentary, and your lines suggest you could be really good at this. What sports did you enjoy in school?”
“I did track and field in high school. And even though my music major didn’t allow me to continue in college, I used DePaul’s track and gym whenever I could.”
“I’m impressed and happy to be the beneficiary of your diligence.”
“You have a weird way of giving compliments.”
“You’ll undoubtedly find many things weird about me, but I prefer the term eccentric.”
“Eccentric is more pleasing to the ear.”
Tristan brings me a shiny silver jacket that matches my mask perfectly. “Here, put this on.”
“What’d you do; rob Michael Jackson’s wardrobe?”
He tries to resist smiling but fails. “Funny. The answer is no. It’s an electric lamé or over-jacket. When our body cords are attached to it and plugged into the reel on either end of the fencing strip, it will register electronic scoring as targets on our bodies are hit.”
“So, this is kinda like what you like to do with the whips, crops, and floggers in the grotto?”
He pauses for a second. “Now you mention it. Yes.” His eyes shine with an elation that wasn’t there before, and he finishes getting us both outfitted with the equipment and in position. “The first thing you do is salute your opponent as a sign of respect.” He closes his mask. “Mask down, Ms. Beale.”
I feel like he’s ordering me around in a scene. He moves into a posture and stands still. “This is the en garde position. Front foot facing forward, and then your back foot at a ninety degree angle with your front foot, your feet are shoulder width apart and your knees are bent. Like so.”
I follow his instructions and manage to mirror his stance exactly after a few seconds.
I grin. How ridiculous is it that I crave his approval so much?
He points at the line next to him on the strip. “Don’t cross that line until you’ve been signaled to engage after completing the en garde stance.”
He approaches me in a sexy swagger made more pronounced by his fencing shoes, a literal rolling from his heels to the balls of his feet.
“This is a classic lunge.” He executes one. “It is how you attack your opponent.”
I mimic his movement until he deems I’ve done it right.
“You always want to block your target areas from your opponent during a lunge.” Tristan uses the foil to point to the areas he describes. “The arms, chest and head are targets, and there are three parries designed to block these targets.” He holds the foil horizontally at his shoulder. “This is the three parry to block your flank.” He moves the foil diagonally across his chest. “This is the four parry to block your chest.” Finally, the foil is horizontal at head level. “And this, is the five parry to block your head. There’s also a two and a one, but those aren’t used quite as often as the ones I’ve just shown you. As we progress and you have need of the others, we’ll learn them.”
“Now, for a bit of footwork,” he says. “I’ll show you advancing and retreating today. I’ll save some of the fancier stuff for later.”
He moves into en garde position. “Okay, here’s the advance. Watch my feet.” He does something that looks like a shuffling hip-hop dance move; he executes it with such lightning speed. “To slow it down for you, the advance is done in three distinct steps. Your feet should remain shoulder width apart at all times. The front foot moves first, beginning by lifting the toes. Straighten the leg at the knee, pushing the heel out in front. Land on the heel, and then bring the back foot up to en garde stance again.”
Tristan shows me again several times until I get it. Then I execute several advances until the movement feels natural to me.
“The final movement I’m going to show you today is the retreat, which is sort of a reverse of the advance. It’s a three-step process also. Back foot first to the ball of the foot. Down with the heel and then on the ball of the foot. Like so.” He retreats, advances, and then retreats until I’m able to follow him without a misstep.
We go through the parries, slowly again and again, all while advancing and retreating until I’m well familiar with them. “Now, these will be executed very quickly, but we’ll go slow until you get the hang of it,” Tristan assures me.
I find myself enjoying figuring out how to block his attacks. They are slow in the beginning so I’m able to think fast and position my foil so he doesn’t hit me every time. As he gathers speed, even though I parry to block, he hits my targets, particularly my chest. So much so, if I weren’t wearing the chest plate, I’m sure my breasts would be stinging right about now.
I see him smile when he gets three successive points against me, and I feel powerless against his lunges because they are executed so flawlessly. I retreat all the way off the strip.
“No fair! You have me at a complete disadvantage.”
Tristan stops, flips his hood back, folds his arms, and crosses a long leg at the ankle. He holds his foil in one hand and beckons me Mortal Kombat style with the other hand.
I push my hood back and shake my head. “You’ve got to be crazy if you think I’m lunging at you again right now.”
“You were doing well for a beginner if we discount the odd moments when you were whacking at me like you were trying to chop vegetables on a cutting board.”
“I’m a girl. We always resort to flailing when fighting, didn’t you know this?”
“I’ve seen you hit someone, remember? You don’t flail when you fight, so don’t do it while fencing. In fact, if you treat fencing the same way you do boxing, you’ll do fine. If you practice the moves enough, they’ll become second nature to you. Use the gym when you’re here and in a few months, you’ll be fencing like an amateur.” He grins at his own attempt at a joke.
I don a fake smile then show him my serious face. “Funny, White.”
“Okay, I’m going to use my left hand during this final bout. This should give you some advantage.” He moves to his place on the strip, and I do the same.
“En garde,” he says.
“En garde,” I respond, and we fight a near equal match, but he still gets the better of me in the end. In fact, he presses toward me, using some fancy sword play reminiscent of The Legend of Zorro. Then he makes a series of scores, all in the vicinity of my breasts and finally he relieves me of my foil and touches near the vee of my legs with his.
“I don’t recall that being a target area,” I say, my voice husky.
“It’s always a target for me,” he replies and drops his foil, pulls me into his arms, and kisses me till my knees get weak. Our tongues lunge and parry like they’re fencing and hitting all our target areas. We rack up so many points the bout is tied when we come up for air. The next to attack will score the winning touch, and it’s safe to say neither of us is concerned about who will come out on top.
Journey back in time to Tudor England with a tale of romance, intrigue, and the Celtic legends of the selkies.
Will Somers has spent his life alone, thinking himself unlovable. Emma is a selkie, one of the immortal fae-folk of the sea. When Will finds her sleeping on the beach, he seizes this unexpected chance to have a wife and family of his own. He steals her pelt, binding her to him until the day he willingly returns it.
Emma has never experienced life on land, and can barely contain her excitement and curiosity. She has to learn to adapt quickly to human customs, for Will is headed to the glittering, dangerous court of Henry VIII to serve as the king’s royal fool. It’s a world where a careless word can lead to the scaffold, and the smallest of gestures is loaded with political implications.Anne Boleyn is charmed by Emma’s naiveté and soothing selkie magic, and wants Emma for her own fool. Can Will protect her from the dangers which lurk in every shadow? Theirs is a vocation that provides them some protection, but in Henry VIII’s court, no one is safe. Circa regna tonat: Around the throne, the thunder rolls.
“Your majesty, Lady Pembroke, Master Richard Fermor and Will Somers.”
“Rise,” the king said. Will glanced at him quickly. He saw a large, but still muscular man with thinning reddish-blond hair, dressed in a dark brown velvet doublet, ornamented with pearls and gold frogs. The king had gained weight in the last few years and to disguise it, he had widened the shoulders of his surcoats. His eyes were small, a piercing blue-gray. Will caught a glimpse of them before he lowered his own eyes to stare at the floor.
“So, Fermor, you have brought me a fool.” The king’s voice was low and gruff and he didn’t sound terribly interested. The lady seated at his side wore a French hood and an initial pendant attached to her strand of pearls, the letters AB twined together. She wore a dressing gown of brilliant scarlet, trimmed in ermine. It was raiment that only the highest nobility was entitled to wear, but Anne Boleyn was now royal in all but name. Just weeks ago, the king had created her Marquess of Pembroke, the highest noble title in the land. She idly patted the small dog in her lap.
“Aye, your majesty,” Fermor said. “If it pleases your grace.”
“Well, fool, what can you do?”
Will was startled. He hadn’t expected the king to actually speak to him. “I – I can juggle, your majesty,” he croaked. “I can make jests, tumble, and sing a little.”
“Let us see it, then.”
Will’s hands trembled as he withdrew the balls from his bag. “If it pleases your majesty,” he started. He straightened his shoulders as best he could and said in his haughtiest tone: “I, Will Somers, am the best juggler in England.”
The king snorted and Will hoped it was from amusement. He fell into his act, bragging about his abilities while seeming to lose track of his juggling and keeping the balls in the air seemingly by accident alone. He was grateful that he had performed this particular act so many times because he thought he’d completely forgotten his lines, but they slipped from his mouth of their own accord and his limbs seemed to move themselves. The king guffawed a couple of times and he thought her heard Anne laugh at one point. He ended with one of the balls balanced on the tip of his nose before dropping it into his hands and sweeping low into a bow.
“Well done, Master Fool,” the king said, and he seemed a bit more jovial than he had when Will first entered the room, or perhaps it was simply wishful thinking on Will’s part. “But tell me this: I have fools already who can juggle and make jests. Why would I wish to have you at my court? What have you to offer they do not?”
The answer popped from Will’s mouth as though he had rehearsed it. “Because I will do something that none of your council, lords and ladies, ambassadors, servants nor soothsayers will do.”
The king lifted an eyebrow. “And what might that be?”
“I will tell you the truth, your majesty.”
Fermor gasped. Anne burst into laughter. “Oh, I do like him,” she said.
The king cast an amused glance at her. “Is that so, Master Fool? Then perhaps you are worth it after all.”
“But you must make an oath to me,” Will said.
The king flushed a little, but calmed when Anne giggled at Will’s audacity. “What?”
“You must swear it, as the word of a Christian king.” Will’s mouth was as dry as paper and his heart thudded wildly in his chest, but he continued. “You must swear to me, on your honor, that you will never hold it against me when I tell you the truth.”
The king stared at him, his mouth slightly agape, and then he burst into laughter. He slapped his knee and elbowed Anne, who laughed politely along with him, though she obviously didn’t find it as amusing as he did.
“You have my word,” the king said, as he accepted a perfumed handkerchief from one of his serving lords to wipe away the tears that had seeped from his eyes. “Or must I write it out and put my royal seal to it?”
“Your word is sufficient for me,” Will replied.
“I am flattered at your trust, Master Fool,” the king said solemnly, and burst into guffaws once again. “Go and have my steward find you rooms. Have you a wife?”
“I do.” Will thought quickly. He had to find a way to keep Emma away from court, but refusing lodgings offered by the king would be a gross insult.
The king waved a hand. “Bring her tomorrow. I wish to see what the wife of a fool looks like.”
“Much like every other wife in England,” Will said and that sent the king into laughter once more.
“Go, and come back on the morrow,” the king said. He waved a hand at the steward. “Find him some decent garb, and some for Milady Fool as well.”
Will bowed deeply and followed the steward from the room. “And for you, Fermor,” he heard the king begin before the door was shut behind them. Will’s knees gave out and he collapsed to the floor. His head swam in sick circles. He sat back on his heels and looked up at the steward. “Pray, pardon,” he rasped.
The steward smiled slightly. “You are not the first to react in such a manner.” He held out a hand and Will stared at it in surprise. The steward was a lord, and here he was, offering a hand to a baseborn commoner. Will took it gingerly and the steward helped him to his feet and drew him near.
“If ever a man needed to hear the truth,” the steward whispered, “it is that man in there.” He drew away again and his manner was once more brisk and officious. “Follow me.”
Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot … though only in her head. Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.
First, let me apologize, readers, for allowing this milestone to slip by without commemorating it on the day it actually happened. Yes, I now am officially over the 100 review mark on Amazon, but I’m still chipping away on GoodReads (I’m about 21 ratings short, and 61 reviews short).
I’d anticipated providing a bit of a sneak peek of the, as yet unnamed, second book in the quadrilogy to celebrate, but between traveling around the holidays and coming back to a very labor-intensive work schedule on my day job, I’ve had to let some things go. Because writing daily on the second book isn’t one of those things, sadly my promos and engagement with you on the social networks have truly suffered. It is my hope that this sneak peek of a scene in book two (between Tristan and Nate after Keisha leaves) will give you enough inspiration to send all your special thoughts and positive energy my way, so I can get this baby done!
Disclaimer: This has not been edited, so forgive any grammar, punctuation faux pas, and if this scene in its current form doesn’t survive the editor’s pen.
So without further ado, here’s the set-up: After Keisha packs her things and leaves, Tristan goes into his gym to work off some steam. He’s rather over-zealous and trashes a couple pieces of gym equipment in the process. He’s forgotten that Nathan comes by every Saturday he doesn’t have an away game for their fencing match. His brother finds him collapsed on the gym floor watching the sand cascade out of a heavy bag:
Chapter 2 – Book 2, Excerpt
Nathan is half-way across the gym floor when he sees Tristan’s expression and visually recoils.
“I’ve only seen that look on your face twice,” Nate says. “When Mom died, and after Aimee’s accident. What’s up?” He’s in his fencing whites, clearly having expected they would have their standing Saturday morning match since he wasn’t on the road.
“Nothing to the tune of those tragedies,” Tristan says, swallowing a bolus of denial. He stands up, glowering at his brother.
Nathan finally sees his hands. “Whoa. What the fuck? Tristan, you’d better clean that shit before it gets infected.”
When Tristan doesn’t move, Nathan sets his gear on the floor against the wall and grabs some peroxide, Neosporin and gauze off a shelf in a cabinet below the wet bar. “Plant your ass on this bench over here.”
Tristan gives Nate a baleful glare, but does as he says. Nate sits beside him, takes Tristan’s hands and quickly cleans them with the peroxide, applies the antibiotic and begins to wrap his hands to absorb the blood seeping from his thoroughly bruised knuckles.
Nate breaks the silence sooner than Tristan anticipates. “So, you want to tell me what’s got you beating the hell out of your gym equipment?”
“I’ve got to find another goddamn submissive,” Tristan says. “And I don’t have time for this shit. I’m leaving for Hong Kong next week.”
“Then why’d you end it now?” Nate finishes off the first wrap, secures it and begins on the next one.
Tristan contemplates letting him believe he ended the arrangement, but Keisha’s roommate is Nate’s submissive so that won’t fly. “I didn’t end it she safeworded.”
“No way! Jada says her roommate was really into your buttoned-down ass. How’d you let this shit happen?”
“I didn’t let anything happen. She started having anxiety attacks in the role-play room. It frightened her. I tried to get her to stay so we could work it out, but there was nothing I could do to convince her.”
“There is something you could’ve done.”
“You could’ve given her some hope.”
“What the hell does that mean?”
“You always follow the letter of the contract with your submissives, and you tell them up front it’ll never amount to anything more. Mine have stayed longer because they’ve believed, however, erroneously in most cases, that the relationship could eventually be more. Didn’t that shit that went down with Aimee teach you anything?”
Tristan jerks his hand away and clamps it around Nathan’s throat. His hand hurts like a bitch, and even more so when Nathan pries it away, grips the sore hand and squeezes it mercilessly for good measure. It’s like they’re ten-fucking-years-old again and squabbling like they did all the time.
“Fuck!” Tristan yells, and wrenches his hand away, scowling.
“Stop bitching and left me finish this.” Nathan reaches in and finishes the wrap. “There.”
Tristan eyes the gauze already soaked through on the hand Nate squeezed. “I knew I should’ve called Angel to do this. You don’t have a goddamn clue about ‘first do no harm.’”
Nate looks at the sad deflated speed ball, and the heavy bag still dripping sand. “This from a guy who just took out his frustration on his gym equipment? Dude, you better get Keisha back, because I don’t think your gym, or a new submissive can survive you going back to being the asshole you were after Aimee.”
Tristan stands and stalks away, throwing as much vitriol as he can into three parting words over his shoulder. “Fuck you, Nathan.”