Sunday Sneak Peek: I Thee Wed by Savannah Leigh ~ #ASMSG #EroticRomance

Blurb:

Drew and Lily sitting in a tree (or a church garden)

K-I-S-S-I-N-G (and then some)

First comes sex

Then comes marriage

Then, well, we’re just not sure what comes next.

 

Lily Kramer accepted Drew Hamilton’s marriage proposal but

it wasn’t a traditional proposal. He wants her to marry him so his mother, who

has dementia, will know that he got married. Lily, an over-thirty wedding

planner, doesn’t see any other offers of marriage in her future so she accepts.

Now she has to plan a wedding that looks and feels like a real wedding, but

isn’t.  Drew doesn’t want a relationship,

but he wants it to look like he and Lily are married, including living

together, so that everyone believes.

 

Will they be able to pull it off? Will Drew’s mother succumb

to the dementia before the wedding? Will Lily be able to shield her heart and

still have the wedding of her dreams?

 

**This is the follow up novel to With This Ring.**

Excerpt:

When I reach my

room, I stop short at one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.

Lily is curled

up on my bed, her hair splayed out on the pillow, and she’s sleeping. She looks

so peaceful and content; my dick twitches at the thought of burying myself

inside her. My heart rate speeds up and I realize I really like this view. I

want to have it view every day. Fuck.

There go my plans to keep things simple. I’m falling in love with Lily. I

didn’t see that coming, but I kind of like the idea. As I change my clothes, I

wonder how this woman got under my skin so quickly.

I know I should

let her sleep, but I have to touch her to figure out if what I’m feeling is

real, if I want to put my heart on the line again and risk it being crushed. I

climb carefully on the bed and she rolls toward me, but doesn’t open her eyes.

I brush a few strands of hair away from her face and she smiles. That smile

pushes me over the edge. I know I want this woman in my life, and I’m going to

do what I can to keep her. It’s a foreign feeling, one I’ve fought for years,

but it feels right. I pull her into my arms. She makes a small moaning sound

and curls into me. She’s soft where I’m hard and we fit together like we were

made for each other. I relax and get lost in the rhythm of her breathing. Soon,

I’m dozing, too.

Buy Links: 

I Thee Wed

With This Ring

 

 

About the Author:

Savannah Leigh is a

small-town girl with big city dreams. She has always had a love of romance

novels and never thought she would actually be able to publish one of her own.

Savannah is inspired by photos of shirtless men on the internet, hot actors in

steamy scenes, and her own fantasies. A lover of wine and Bailey’s Irish Cream,

Savannah enjoys spending time with friends and reading steamy novels.

 

Connect with Savannah:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Savannah-Leigh-Books/511879988884673

Twitter: @savannahlbooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7173576.Savannah_Leigh

SUNDAY SNEAK PEEK ~ EXIT STRATEGY BY L.V. LEWIS ~ #DEC #EROTICROMANCE #ASMSG

Today’s Sunday Sneak Peek is from L.V. Lewis. She’s sharing her newest release, “Exit Strategy,” the hotly anticipated follow-up to Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever. Be sure to enter her giveaway to win one of two Amazon gift cards, and a limited edition CD set of the audio version of Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever!
ExitStrategy_LVLEWIS_Ecover_final

BUY LINKS for Exit Strategy:

SUMMARY

Ex*it Strat*e*gy (noun) 1. A preplanned means of extricating oneself from a situation that is likely to become difficult or unpleasant. 2. The method by which a venture capitalist or business owner intends to get out of an investment that he or she has made in the past.

Will Keisha and Tristan exercise their elaborate EXIT STRATEGY and end their unorthodox arrangement?

Assailed by demons she thought she had conquered, Keisha Beale has uttered the words to end her tumultuous relationship with Tristan White. Separated, they grapple for a time with their personal demons. However, when their lives apart become unbearable, a credible threat brings them back together prematurely.As they seek to discover who is responsible for the threats, several seemingly unrelated incidents throw them into a tailspin. Will Keisha’s youthful indiscretions or Tristan’s un-reconciled feelings for an ex derail their tenuous arrangement?In the meantime, trouble in Nathan and Jada’s paradise send dramatic ripples that hint of future difficulties in the idyllic pairing.

Nothing Ventured…

Tristan uses his vast wealth and connections to correct a gross miscarriage of justice, while Keisha makes herself utterly vulnerable to Tristan and fears he has chosen to exercise his own exit strategy.

…Nothing Gained!

Will this be the end of the indecent proposal that became a fairy tale? Or will Keisha and Tristan reveal the trauma from their pasts so they may heal and completely embrace their relationship?

Sensual, suspenseful, and still infused with the riotous levity of Triple-G and Fairy Hoochie Mama, the Ghetto Girl Romance Quadrilogy departs from full parody with a distinctive take on love, loyalty, sacrifice, redemption, and acceptance.

EXCERPT

“Tell me again why you can’t stay?” he says as we stand in front of the elevator.

“Because it’s just not a good idea. And I don’t have anything to wear.”

“Actually, you do,” he says. “Mrs. Naven found some things in the laundry after you left. Problem solved.” He takes both my hands and backs up into the sitting room.

“Tristan, we still have some things to sort out. Tonight was great, but I still don’t think I’m cut out to be your submissive.”

“Just my submissive?”

I drop my head. “No. Anyone’s.”

“You’re afraid you’ll have panic attacks again, aren’t you?”

I feel like I’m about to be swallowed up by the sincere blue eyes tracking and pinning mine so effectively I can’t look away. “Yes. And I’m no use to you if I can’t endure the scenes, particularly the occasional disciplinary consequences.”

“What if there was a way you could?” His finger traces a gentle path down my cheek.

“What do you mean?”

“Just what I said. If there was a way we could work around the panic attacks, would you come back? For good?”

“You mean until you perfect your exit strategy? That’s what you venture capitalists call it, don’t you?”

“Ah, someone’s been paying attention at our semiannual business meetings?”

“I have a rather exacting mentor who insists on being heard.”

“Asshole,” he says and pulls me close.

I place my hands on his chest in an effort to sustain some emotional equilibrium, but he doesn’t let me go. “I’m the one who’ll be ass-out when you lose confidence in your investment and decide it’s time to diversify your portfolio again.”

“I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon, Keisha.” He draws me closer, palming my hips, and I get his point. Pun intended. “I can’t seem to get enough of you.”

I slip out of his arms and put some space between us. “Chemistry has never been an issue for us, Tristan. I know your lifestyle is important to you, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up.”

The truth is, I’m hopelessly in love with a man who hasn’t given me any indication that he will ever want a real relationship. Nothing has changed on that front. He still just wants just a Dominant/submissive relationship, which might enjoy a longevity his other arrangements haven’t had, but it will eventually end.

Can I really do this? I certainly don’t think I’ll become any less in love with him over time. Reentering a sexual relationship with Tristan now would be exceedingly counterproductive to the reasons I left in the first place, but I am hard-pressed to make myself walk away again.

Tristan moves so close behind me that I can feel the warmth of his skin, his breath wafting over my ear as he speaks. “We’ll take things slow—again.”

He runs a finger along my arm, and gooseflesh sprouts like ivy in its wake. I feel a pull toward him that can only be described as magnetic—my body eager to be reunited to his. Even though it could conceivably be more painful for me this time around, I’m not sure if leaving him again is within the realm of possibility. I can’t rationalize staying, but leaving becomes increasingly more difficult with each second I remain in his presence.

I turn to face him. “Slow isn’t necessarily going to keep the attacks at bay.” Or guard my heart if he decides he’s done with me.

“We’ll figure out a way to do that together.” He takes me into his arms again. “These three weeks have been … just please stay.”

I look into his eyes, and all I want to do at that moment is kiss him senseless. He may not have given me a declaration of love, but somehow I know this is as close as I’m going to get with a man like Tristan White. For now.

As an answer, I stand on my tiptoes, throw my arms around his neck, and kiss him with everything in me.

      

 

GIVEAWAY

Giveaway Time

L.V. LEWIS’S CONTACT INFO

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

????????????????????????????????????????L. V. Lewis has one foot in South Georgia and the other in North Florida. She’s been blessed with a husband who’s put up with her for a lot of years and has given birth to four children, two of whom she has raised to adulthood and one to near adulthood. She delights in her almost empty nest status so much that she writes the kinkiest novels she can conjure up.

Visit her website at WWW.LVLEWIS.COM 

Sneak Peek Sunday with Jo Matthews, Bec Rose and NJ Cole ~ #31WriteNow #ASMSG


Sneak Peek with Jo Matthews, Bec Rose and NJ Cole’s 
Illicit Affairs.

After nearly a year of begging from readers, Jo Matthews, Bec Rose and NJ Cole teamed up to bring you a steamy anthology. Illicit Affairs is a compilation of forbidden tales. Each told in first person point of views, readers get to experience the feelings of the characters first hand. A common theme in these three tales is that of strong women who even though they may have been dealt a bad hand, have taken it upon themselves to find happiness.

SUMMARY:

Illicit Affairs is a compilation of three erotic tales with women giving into their darkest desires and pursuing the forbidden.
Unexpected Journey
Sarah thought she met her soulmate in Mitch Chandler. High school sweethearts, they married right after graduation. Eight years later, he is a stranger to her and their marriage is on the rocks. In a halfhearted attempt to placate her, Mitch suggests a trip to Hawaii, but schedules a business meeting to write off the expense.
Aaron Johnson, Mitch’s friend and business partner, agrees to help with the presentation and plans are made for all three to go. What happens when Mitch backs out at the last minute to spend a romantic weekend with his secretary, forcing Aaron’s hand so that he has to accompany Sarah alone?
Will an innocent friendship turn into something more as Aaron’s attraction for Sarah grows? How will Sarah manage when she realizes that Aaron is awakening feelings in her that she’s never felt before? The sexual tension burns hot as these two embark on an unexpected journey that neither are prepared for.
Hot Summer Nights


Annie Murphy had the picture perfect life. A beautiful home, two wonderful children, and a husband who adored her. It was every woman’s dream until her husband of over twenty years came out of the closet, leaving her a forty-five year old divorcee struggling to regain her confidence. Needing a distraction, she agrees to allow her son’s friend, Jamie, to spend the summer at her house while working as an intern. When Jamie, the cute female intern she’d been expecting turns out to be Jaime, the hot male intern with abs to drool over, it kicks Annie’s fantasies into overdrive. When she realizes that her desires are not one sided, it’s more than the temperature that causes some hot summer nights.
Second Chances
Calla Moretti married her college sweetheart, Bill. Married life was great at first, but as his career had her dropping out of college and moving away from her family and friends, Calla struggled with her role as a wife and homemaker. Stress due to infertility and Bill’s affairs, had the marriage on the brink of failure. When she drives home in the middle of a thunderstorm and spots first a broken down motorcycle, then the sexy rider, she decides to take a chance and offer him assistance. Realizing fate brought her together with a man who could give her the one thing her husband couldn’t—a baby—Calla decides to take a chance. One romantic night, one big lie, will it save her marriage or fill her heart with more emptiness? Will this be the answer to her prayers? In life, are there truly second chances?

EXCERPTS:

Unexpected Journey:
The flight to San Diego was quick, though the one to Hawaii was considerably longer. Somewhere over the Pacific, Sarah fell asleep; the day had obviously taken a toll on her emotions and exhausted her. I wasn’t really tired myself, so I grabbed a magazine from the caddy in front of me and started flipping through it. Not ten minutes later, she shifted in her sleep and leaned over, her head resting on my shoulder.
I froze in place, unsure of what to do. Part of me was screaming to wake her up or at least move her, while the other part of me—the part that tended to take over in any man when there was a sexy goddess nearby—wanted me to savor the moment. I must have warred with myself for three minutes straight until I decided it didn’t matter. There was no harm in letting Sarah sleep on my shoulder on a plane to Hawaii. No harm at all, considering her husband was the one who put us on the flight together.
Unable to resist any longer, I turned my head into her hair and breathed in her intoxicating scent. She smelled like wildflowers and sunshine, and I couldn’t help but inhale more deeply as I closed my eyes.
Hot Summer Nights:
 
It seemed like forever before he finally made his way back downstairs, and I heard him rummaging through the fridge for something before he walked into the den carrying some homemade chocolate mousse. I moved to the main sofa, sitting down next to him so we were both within reach of the dessert.
“I hope you don’t mind, but I made this before dinner. I have a bit of a sweet tooth.” He grinned at me as he took a bite. I smiled back and dipped my spoon in, groaning at the amazing taste that exploded in my mouth when I took my first bite.
“Oh, god, Jaime, you’re going to make me fat if you cook like this all the time,” I laughed. When I heard no reply, I looked next to me, seeing Jaime staring at my lips with—if I wasn’t completely misinterpreting it—a look of lust in his eyes.
“Oh, um, I’m sorry?” He seemed confused.
“I just said that you’re going to make me fat if you keep cooking like this.”
“You don’t have to worry about that, Annie. You have an amazing figure if you don’t mind me saying.” I was surprised by his comment. It had been a long time since anyone had complimented me like that.
“Oh, well, um…thank you, Jaime,” I replied, embarrassed.
We finished off the dessert, both of us silently deciding to stay on the couch next to each other by settling back as Jaime changed the channel to watch an old movie. It was nice to sit with someone and not feel the need to fill the air with unnecessary conversation. Jaime was easy to just be with, and I was once again glad it had turned out to be a male houseguest instead of a female.

Excerpt Second Chances:

I couldn’t believe it when she’d stopped the car. That was a very dangerous thing for a woman to do, but I was so glad she did. When she’d rolled down the window I could barely see her, but what I could make out from the illumination of the dashboard left me breathless. Her skin looked flawless under the soft glow and her hair seemed to reflect back the blue-green light. What intrigued me the most, though, was her voice—the soft sweet voice of an angel.


I was shocked that she had offered me a ride, but I was grateful to be out of the rain. I’d wanted to take her to a nice dinner, partly to thank her and partly to get to know her better, but with it being a small town, nothing was open. I’d settled for a fast food restaurant and would have probably left it at that if the dining area had been open. We would have eaten, she would have left, and I would have gone to the motel.  Fate, however, had a different idea and we’d ended up in my hotel room together.

Check it out on Goodreads!
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18371043-illicit-affairs

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Jo Matthews:

Jo Matthews is an Arizona native, where she lives with her husband and son. A stay-at-home mom since 2007, she only recently discovered her love and passion for the written word. When she’s not writing, she’s usually knee deep in editing—an aspect she thoroughly enjoys.
As an editor she has propelled quite a few authors into the published world, and with her skills, has landed several stories on Amazon’s Top Sellers lists. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jo-Matthews/584982844878100

Bec Rose:

Bec Rose is a budding author and mother of two. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys spending time with her son and daughter. Residing on the west coast of Australia, she possesses a subtle charm that carries through into her writing. In her debut novella, Bec Rose not only tugs on our heartstrings but leaves us panting for more.

NJ Cole:

NJ Cole is a mid-western girl with a kinky side. She works by day and writes by night, all while being a mother to her wonderful boys and serving her Sir. Unlike many of today’s authors, she chooses to write in first person, allowing the readers to experience life through the eyes of the unique characters that live in her head. Her love of those characters and respect for their stories come through loud and clear in her writing. Reaching Amazon’s top 100 list in Erotica with Midnight Caller and Landslide, NJ Cole promises to entertain and excite the reader with her newest tales of love, romance, and as always, hot, steamy sex. https://www.facebook.com/njcoleauthor

Sunday Sneak Peek ~ Only Her Heart by Olivia Linden ~ #31WriteNow

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Only Her Heart

By Olivia Linden

Holding the pieces of her drama riddled life, Jade decides to leave her disappointments in the past and move on. When her aunt opens up about a family secret, she realizes that everyone else seems to do what they please. Well, now so will she. Building life from the ground up isn’t easy, but with the right friends, she creates the life of her once forgotten dreams.

At the crux of an intense love tug-o-war, one question she must answer is which man will play the lead role? Will Julian, the ‘bad boy’ who mysteriously walks back into her life manage to win her heart? Will she find forgiveness and a happy ending with John, Mr. “almost perfect’? Maybe there is someone new on the horizon that she can start fresh with. Life is never simple for Jade, but when she listens to her heart, she begins to open doors to a whole new world.
With new friends, and new exciting adventures, Jade is growing into a woman that she is proud of. The real question she needs to figure out is? What does she want her life to become?

Excerpt

Next to me, John was visibly tense and his phone kept buzzing repeatedly until he placed it on Linden_Jadesilent. My stomach was so twisted that I could barely eat any of the succulent baked chicken or scalloped potatoes Aunt V had prepared. The forced and awkward conversations didn’t help either. I felt my chest tighten like all the air was being sucked out of the room. I had to get away from this circus. Startling everyone in the room, I shoved away from the table, the legs of my chair scraping loudly against the wood floors.

“I’m sorry,” I squeaked out. “I just…need some…air.” I stormed out towards the back patio, leaning up against the wall as I struggled to breath. It was weird because my mind was telling me there was no rational reason why I couldn’t breath, but my body felt like it was defective in the act of doing it. Sitting at the table, I felt like someone had put me in a coffin.

John came storming out the door a few moments later. He looked around frantically until he found me.

“Jade? What’s wrong?” He waited for an answer and when I remained pressed close to the wall, gulping in air, he moved closer.
“Jade?” He examined my stance, taking in my clenched fists and heaving chest. I shook my head, trying to communicate without words that I wanted to be left alone. Knowing John, that wasn’t happening. Concern flashed through his eyes as watched, waiting for me to snap out of whatever was happening to me. Then he gingerly gripped my shoulders and maneuvered me to a chair.

“Sit here,” he directed me. “Now, put your head between your legs. That’s it. Take deep breaths.”

The ringing in my ears lessened, and eventually I was breathing normal. I raised my head, immediately looking away from his sympathetic gaze, and then leaned back covering my face with my hands.

“Thank you,” I spoke between my fingers. John squatted down, resting one hand on my knees, and moving my hands away with the other.

“Was that a panic attack?”
“I guess, I don’t know.”
“Has it happened before?”
“John, don’t worry. It’s not a big deal.” I tried to push his hand away, but he refused to move.

“It’s not a big deal, that you just freaked out in front of your family? You scared us in there.”

Feeling much better, I sprang up out of my chair causing John to jump up quickly.

“Well, I didn’t really plan it John! Sorry, but I was more concerned with breathing than my dinner table manners.”

“Jade, talk to me. Please?”
“Not here. Not tonight.”
“When? I’ve tried to wait you out but, this is too much.”
“John!” I hadn’t meant to yell, but I couldn’t deal with him. His pleading was starting to break me down and I couldn’t deal. We just stared at each other until he blew out a deep breath, and ran his fingers through his hair. I loved when he did that.

Olivia Linden Bio:

Olivia Linden, a native New Yorker, was raised between Queens and San Antonio, TX. Currently living in Florida with her 10 year-old son, she decided it was time to follow her dreams of becoming a full time author. Her creativeauthor photo itch began when her elementary school principal posted one of her stories in the halls of her school. She was only seven at the time, but old enough to understand how integral writing would be to her future. From that moment on, reading and writing became her two greatest passions.
Olivia is a newbie to the industry, but she hasn’t stopped writing since she found her literary voice all those years ago. Jaded Hearts, her first published novel, mixes her big personality, with a sexy yet humorous tone. It is her philosophy that laughter is essential to making it through even the toughest situations.

Find your passion with Jaded Hearts by Olivia Linden.jaded_hearts_logo

Contact

email: olivialinden234@gmail.com
Website: http://olivialinden.com/
Amazon: http://ow.ly/mSyVj
Book website: http://jadedhearts.wix.com/tjhc#!bio/c1ktj
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6937959.Olivia_Linden
Book Trailers:
Jaded Hearts: http://youtu.be/iHsiPPaW8PM
Only Her Heart: http://youtu.be/eRB7fD11GRk

Sunday Sneak Peek ~ “Mountain Charm” by Sydney Logan

47724-bannera2aToday’s Sunday Sneak Peek comes from Sydney Logan’s upcoming release, Mountain Charm. 

mountain charmShe 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.” 

“Like what?” 

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.” 

So tempting

“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.

“Deal.”

Release Day – July 4
 
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.
 
Find Sydney Online




Author-to-Author Sunday Sneak Peek – Sophie Davis

Sneak Peek Sunday Banner

 

Author-to Author Sneak Peek Sundays brings you…

 Sneak Peek at Pawn, the upcoming release from author Sophie Davis!

 

Dreams and Nightmares,

Screams and Sighs,

Fate Wakes the Girl,

And Says she Dies…

When the Boy Gets in the Way,

Then the Nightmares Come to Play…

Photo: Who wants a sneak peek?? Pawn isn't released until the 26th, but maybe you want to read the beginning of this romantical, mythological, urban fantasy adventure...

For her eighteenth birthday, Endora Lee Andrews receives the gift of dreams.  Nighttime slumber brings her visions of the future, a preview of things to come.  Endora’s unsettling new ability is seemingly harmless, until her dreams turn to nightmares.

When she meets the mysterious and swoon-worthy Kannon, he knows things about her that he can’t possibly know, and seems to be the key to uncovering the source of her ominous prophecies.  But Kannon has many secrets, some the essential difference between life and death for Endora.

Can she discover the origins of her nightmares and how to prevent destiny, before the harbingers of death come for her?   

Woven with love, mystery and mythology, PAWN is the story of a girl who was once brought back from death, only to face it again.  Because Fate may give you a second chance at life, but that doesn’t mean it’s yours to keep.

**********************************************************************************

Sneak Peek!

My chest burned and my head was fuzzy.  The little air that remained in my lungs was quickly running out, but now that the creature was actively squeezing the life out of me, it hardly mattered.  I tried to dig my nails into the fingers around my throat; the creature’s skin was rubbery and my nails couldn’t find grip it.  My attempts were feeble at best.

Terrified by the hallucination and frustrated by my inability to save my own life, I began to thrash about wildly.  A sharp pain in the sole of my left foot temporarily cleared the cobwebs in my head and I doubled my efforts to break free.  My chest ached with the need for air, and my limbs were heavy, as if the blood had turned to lead in my veins.

I threw my head back, craning my neck in a last ditch attempt to sever my attacker’s hold.  A sharp point pierced the base of my skull.  Stars exploded behind my closed lids.  A melodic male voice whispered in my ear, “Welcome back.”  Then blackness consumed me and I felt nothing.

When I came to, I remembered how Devon was wealth of useless knowledge.  She had once told me that drowning was an excruciating way to die.  It wasn’t, though.  Floating, weightlessness.  That was what drowning felt like.

Tingling started around my midsection and the back of my knees.  At first, the sensation was pleasant.  But as feeling and awareness returned, it felt like barbed wire was wrapped around my stomach and legs, each barb pricking my skin over and over again.  A strange buzzing noise, like the hum of an old radiator, filled my ears.

I struggled weakly, and the wires tightened.

“You’re safe,” a voice assured me.

All concepts of space and time ceased to exist.  One minute the pins-and-needles feeling was all consuming.  The next it was gone, replaced by a coldness that seemed to seep through my pores and settle in my bones.  I trembled uncontrollably.  The shaking was so violent that my teeth clanged together.  I tried to speak, but my lips were too numb to form words.

“This should help,” the voice said.

Soft fabric was draped over me, forming a protective barrier between the chilly air and my exposed skin.  The scent of Old Spice filled my nostrils, triggering memories of my father, who used to wear that brand of aftershave.  Tears prickled behind my eyes for dad. I hadn’t talked to him today.  I always talked to him on my birthday.

“Shh, you are going to be okay, Endora,” the voice soothed.

Strong arms lifted me, one under my shoulders and one under my knees.  My cheek pressed against something hard and wet and the piney Old Spice smell intensified.  I inhaled deeply, breathing in the scent and thinking about how my father used to carry me to bed after I’d fallen asleep on the living room couch.

The sudden influx of air was too much for my oxygen deprived organs.  I began to cough, my stomach roiled, and my mouth began to water in that way it does right before you throw up.

“I’m gonna be sick,” I croaked through chattering teeth.

Hastily, the person holding me set me down on my side.  Cold fingers brushed my skin as they gathered clumps of wet hair clinging to my face as lake water spewed from my mouth.  Some part of me thought I should be embarrassed, but that part was overshadowed by the jolt of pain that shot through my right cheek.  In the next instant, the fingers released my hair, and their owner emitted an audible gasp.

“Sorry,” the voice mumbled.  Tentatively the person once again pulled the hair back from my face, this time careful to avoid skin-to-skin contact.

Even after all the water was out, my stomach continued to cramp uncomfortably and I continued to dry heave.  Despite the cold, sweat beaded along my hairline and under my arms.  The grass was cool and wet and I pressed my cheek against the blades, relishing in the refreshing feel of it.  Pounding started at the base of my skull; it felt like someone was hammering my head from the inside.  I moaned, immediately wishing I hadn’t when the pounding became louder and harder.

“You’re safe now, we just need to get you some dry clothes,” my savior said.

The situation was becoming clear.  This person holding my hair, promising me that I was safe, had pulled me from the water.  He’d saved my life.  I hadn’t drowned at all.

I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand and then rolled onto my back to glimpse the person I was forever indebted to.  Opening my eyelids felt like ripping off a scab. The ordinary act was extraordinarily painful, and I only managed small slits as I peered up into the most beautiful face I’d ever seen.  Two blurry, green irises returned my gaze.  I blinked several more times to bring them into focus.  The eyes were gorgeous, brilliant emerald lights in the darkness.

“Do you know your name?”

I nodded, too embarrassed to speak.  My rescuer, who’d just witnessed me emptying the contents of my stomach on the grass, was a boy about my own age.  Not even my mother had seen me this vulnerable, not since I was old enough to use the bathroom by myself, anyhow.

“What is it?” he prompted, refusing to let me off that easy.

“Eel,” I whispered.  My throat was raw, swollen and the single word was painful on my vocal chords.  The creature in the water that tried to drown me, tried to strangle me, came flooding back in one sharp burst of memory.  I shuddered.  The experience felt so real.  In my mind’s eye, I could see the dark eyes staring into mine, feel the bony fingers around my throat.

“Eel?”  The boy said my name like a question, like maybe he hadn’t heard me correctly.  “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” I snapped, edgy from the memory of the lake monster.  “Eel’s a nickname, though,” I explained in a softer tone.

As a baby, my father had christened me Eel ― like electric eel ― after the mobile that hung above my crib mysteriously stopped working every night.  Each morning, without fail, he replaced the battery.  He joked that I singlehandedly kept Energizer in business.  The nickname stuck around, even though my father had not.

I tried to sit up, but the effort was painful and I slumped back to the grass, defeated.  The boy wrapped the blanket tighter around my body before placing one hand on the small of my back and the other on my arm, helping me to a sitting position.

“Short for Endora Lee,” he muttered, more to himself than me.

I stared at him curiously.  How did he know that?  Then I realized it wasn’t the first time he had said my name.  He’d called me Endora when he’d first covered me with the blanket.

“How did you know my name?  Have we met?” I asked, an ominous feeling creeping up my spine.  I had the sudden urge to get away from him, very far away from him.

“You aren’t bleeding, so that’s a good sign,” he replied, dodging my question as he carefully examined the base of my skull.

He parted wet clumps of my hair until his fingers brushed the swollen goose egg protruding from my head.  A crackle of electricity sparked in the air, sending a jolt of pain ricocheting through my body.

“Owwwww!” I exclaimed, as I pulled away from him.

“Sorry,” he muttered, averting his eyes from my face to stare at his hand.  “Did that hurt?”

Of course touching the welt hurt, but that wasn’t why I’d pulled away.  The literal shock of his skin on my mine, the current of electricity that flowed from his fingertips to my head, had come as a very painful surprise. And judging by the way he was inspecting his hands, I surmised he hadn’t expected it either.

We sat in silence, both of us looking everywhere but at each other.  Water lapped the grassy bank, tree branches cracked in the distance, crickets chirped all around us.  The longer we were alone, the more uncomfortable I felt.  The boy gave me the creeps.  When I finally did look at him, I couldn’t tear my gaze away.  I admired the perfect slope of his straight nose, his golden brown hair dripping water, his full lips, and those intense green eyes. He was a magnet, a beautiful magnet, drawing me to him.

“Endora Lee?”  His face was so close to mine that his breath fanned my cheeks, warming the skin.

“Yes?”

“What happened in the water?”

“What?” I stuttered, surprised by his question.  I rubbed the spot on my neck where the creature had wrapped its slimy hands.  The skin radiated heat, a sharp contrast to the cold, clammy skin surrounding it.

“What happened in the water?” he repeated evenly.

*****************************************************************

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