Saturday, March 31, 2012

Flesh and Feathers

Thanks so much for having us!
Tell the readers a little about yourself.
Danielle: Complete animal lover! I have a dog named Ceazer, and a husband named Mike. I love them both very much. Writing is my passion, and it keeps me sane. And I’m a lot taller than my co-writer, April.
April: Let’s start with the basics; 5’6, blond chic who is apparently too PROUD. (As said by my co-author and best bud, Danielle. LOL.) I have three kids who are totally awesome and when my world doesn’t revolve around them, it revolves around writing. I grew up in a small town and still live there. Well, technically I live twenty minutes south of it – close enough. 
As an author, do you take time to read? If so, what do you like to read and who is/are your favorite author/s?
Danielle: As an author I know how critical it is to be an avid reader. I tend to purchase more books than I can read; I’m kind of a book whore. When I have time to read my favorite authors are Stephanie Meyers, Jane Austin and just about any book with mystery, romance or unexpected plots have my vote.
April: I watched a video once of Stephen King speaking at a university. His words were, “To be a great writer, you must be well read.” (Maybe not the exact words, but close enough.) I do believe to write, you have to read. This is for many reasons. But I do suggest reading something that is not closely related to what you are writing. You don’t want to subconsciously incorporate something that wasn’t yours into your own writing. You can list Stephen King on one of my favorite top ten authors. I have so many. I don’t know if I could name them all.
How do you stay motivated when the Muse is uncooperative?
Danielle: Coffee and lots of it. I have to be in the mood…so therefore  that is what I do. I ride in my car for inspiration. I will jam to some good tunes, or I watch a movie that I know will bolt my mind in creativity overdrive. If all else fails, then I don’t do anything until that mood comes crawling back to me.
April: No muse – no writing! Danielle and I have a pact. We don’t writing if it’s not happening for us. However, we do try to coax the muse. LOL. We tend to jump in the car and drive around for hours until something comes to us. And if it doesn’t we give up for the night. I will say, having a partner is truly a great motivation. We are constantly encouraging each other.
If you could go anywhere in the world on a romantic getaway, what would you do and where would you go?
Danielle: I would go to Paris. It screams sexy to me. What I would do is off the record. Lol!
April: A private beach with Edward Cullen. Anyone else agree? 
What is the hardest thing for you to write?
Danielle: Anything about myself. I know this seems silly from someone doing an interview, but the truth of that matter is that I have a hard time opening up. I have to force myself to be more social.
April: Anything technical or with moving parts. I don’t care about the mechanics of anything. I like the fluffy, sexy, fun stuff.
If you could live the life of one of your characters who would you be?
Danielle: I would have to say I would want to live the life of Jen. She lives with luxury and doesn’t take one day for granted. She is also beautiful and has a great best friend.
April: Az for sure! But only if I could stay in the shower with Gage every day!

What do you like to write about the most? The least?
Danielle: I like to write about love, romance, depression, unattainable love and mystery. I love to write anything, the only thing I cringe at writing are checks.  
April: I love to write about the sexual frustration… and then totally walk away. You get all built up and then are like… “Gonna need to go take a shower!” The least would be the scenes in between the steamy scenes. Just give me the hot and sexy!

The tag line on my blog is ‘Indulge Your Inner Romantic.’ What do you do to indulge?
Danielle: I indulge chocolate and cigarettes.
April: I dive into a good sexy romance. Cause let’s face it… real-life  romance is not nearly as interesting.

Azaleigh's life was simple. Then she meets Kale and Gage, two very different and charming men -- one she loves and the other she can't live without. As she struggles with her feelings towards them both, she begins to realize they are hiding a secret -- and to her surprise -- they aren't the only ones. Soon after, Azaleigh finds herself running for her life from a bounty hunter that is far from human, and with every narrow escape, she begins to unlock the secret that will change her life forever. In a world of good and evil, angel and fallen, Azaleigh must choose between fate or the one she loves. What do you do when hell won't let you win and evil just won’t die?

Author Bios
Danielle Hylton was raised in Virginia. She grew up having a huge appetite for daydreaming; always wanting to live in the spectacular worlds she created in her mind. She now lives with her husband and dog where she is pursuing a degree in literature. Danielle is a strong animal activist. She is currently co-writing the second book in the Flesh Series, "Flesh and Flames". 

April Fifer grew up in a small town in Virginia, where it was common practice believing that dreams could only be found in stories. At the age of seven she was diagnosed with dyslexia. She was told that she would struggle through life and would never pick up a book to read for pleasure. Although school was hard, she was able to find her way with the help of two teachers who taught her self-discovery. Ignoring what she was taught growing up, she turned it around and found that your dreams could become stories.
Contact information:

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Update

Well isn't this cozy. :-) I'm watching Star Trek for the umpteenth time. I just love that movie. In a moment or two I'm going to finish reading my latest WIP before I send it over to my editor and then I'm going to shoot off an email for a one page pitch. I think that's a solid morning. Let's not forget the promo and such.

I'm gearing up for Romantic Times Convention in Chicago. If you're in the area stop by and check it out. I'll  be there all week and participating in a few a of the promo opps. Like the book signing on Thursday and FAN-tastic Party on that Saturday.

In the meantime check out my latest post about who influenced me the most. I'll be at the Book Boost blog over the weekend. The date was changed due to an emergency. So if you stopped by today, be sure to stop by again and enter the drawing for a chance to win a $10 GC.

Until next time Indulge Your Inner Romantic.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hump Day Inspiration

Happy Wednesday! It's Hump Day and I'm on tour with Decadent Seconds. I'm blogging in a couple of places today. I've been interviewed at Tamaria Soana and Wickedly Sexy Writers. Stop by and say hello.

So here's today's inspiration: A little NCIS: Los Angeles

Yeah. I'm so there. Until next time Indulge Your Inner Romantic

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Memory of Roses

1-Tell the readers a little about yourself. 
I’m a retired university professor. live on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada, and I spend my winters on a small Dutch island in the Caribbean. I run a B&B in the former each summer. In the winter, I swim and read and write.
2-As an author, do you take time to read? If so, what do you like to read and who is/are your favorite author/s?
 I read every day. Generally at bedtime. I love Donna Leon’s series of books placed in Venice, featuring an Italian detective named Brunetti. I feel that I know the people in her books as well as my family and friends. She makes Venice come alive to her readers. And l love the books of Michael Dibdin and Andrea Camilleri. The latter two are detective story writers whose books are placed in Italy.
I also read every Nora Roberts.
 3-How do you stay motivated when the Muse is uncooperative? 
I’m not convinced there is a muse. I just keep plugging away. I think it’s mostly work ethic. I’m not happy unless I’m working, and my favorite work is writing. 
4-If you could go anywhere in the world on a romantic getaway, what would you do and where would you go?
 I am happiest at sea. I think a fairly large sailboat, with a crew to take care of the actual sailing and a cook in the galley, many days out of sight of land would be my destination of choice. My idea of a romantic getaway. I’d want my sailboat to follow the trade winds so we’d be in a warm climate all the way, from—perhaps Lisbon, to Barbados.
5-What is the hardest thing for you to write?
The first sentence of any book.
6-If you could live the life of one of your characters who would you be?
I love Ian McQuaid in The Memory of Roses. I’m not sure I’d want to live his life. It wasn’t a happy one. But he, more than any of my other characters, knew the value of true love. His story touched me in a way no other of my characters has.
I guess I don’t really want to be any of them though. I like being me.
7-The tag line on my blog is ‘Indulge Your Inner Romantic.’ What do you do to indulge? 
Travel. I love to travel. I’m a travel junkie. Greece, Italy, France. The Caribbean Islands. Australia. I love being in places where the people have different perspectives, where the food is more interesting, where the wine flows. 

Blair McDowell wrote her first short story when she was eleven and hasn’t stopped writing
since. After many years producing non-fiction professional books in her field, Blair decided to
exercise her rich imagination and write novels of mystery and romance set in places she knows and loves, peopled with characters drawn from her experiences in those locales.
One of her favorite places in the world is Greece, the setting for ‘The Memory of Roses’, Blair McDowell’s latest novel. While in Greece Blair was inspired by the ancient culture, friendly people and the picturesque settings, and the plot for the ‘Memory of Roses’ was born.
Blair has a home on a remote island in the Caribbean where the local lore of the ‘Jumbie’ (‘the dead who walk’) formed the basis for her novel of that name.
The setting for Blair McDowell’s book, ‘Sonata’, is the spectacular city of Vancouver with its
vibrant multicultural population and its rich musical life. In ‘Sonata’, Blair McDowell’s love of
music comes into play, and is intricately woven into this story of mystery and romance.
Blair is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of America (Greater
Vancouver Chapter), and the Romance Writers of America (Women's Fiction).

Monday, March 26, 2012

Creating Characters with Donneil D. Jackson

I am so pleased to have Donneil at Decadent Decisions today. She's on of the authors I found on Twitter and I just had to have her on my blog. So without further ado, here's Donneil, or Ms. Jackson...

When your light bulb goes off and a novel idea is born what preparation is taken when creating your heroine? How do you see her? Is she tall or is she short? Is she skinny or is fat? Is she smart or is she stupid? Do you create characters in images of yourself, people you know or do you observe strangers and create characters in those images?

The female characters I create are always my image of beauty. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Sexiness is a must; however keep in mind, in my head sexy is a state of mind. Intelligence is a requirement.   Give or take their role in the story determines the characteristics she will possess.  I think it’s important to show strong professional heroines, and then add a bunch of sass, a little bit of hood or any other ingredient that will help shape her into the character she is supposed to be. Basically, I create a character, name her and start writing. As I write she will tell me who she is, as well as her likes and dislikes.

For example, take Chante from Chante’s Song. When I began the novel, I had no character profile for her. I put her in a bathtub with some music and Chante came alive. She told me who she was and that was a Prada Princess in search of real love. And to this day she is one of my most favorite characters. You either love her or you hate it. But in the end you will say she is relatable and realistic.

Writing for me is fantasy. It’s like living in LaLa Land, and as a result I become the character. All the things I don’t or can’t do in real life, I can get away with in LaLa Land. So put yourself in the shoes of your character and step into LaLa Land. Create a name, put her in a situation/scene and let your heroine do her. You will be satisfied.

What's a girl to do when she's torn between two lovers? Does she grab her panties off the floor and vow to never drop them again? Or does she go back for seconds?

Chante Chambers is a self-proclaimed princess. She has it all: looks, a body women would pay for, a great career, all the material items a girl could want plus some…all of this maintained by her ex, Jason. Whatever mama wants, Jason makes sure mama gets. The one task he failed at was being faithful. With a toss of a Gucci pump Jason was history. Or so she thought.
In a pursuit for love, happiness, and monogamy sometimes mistaken for sex, Chante encounters an array of men, whom if you took the best traits from them all and combined them, it still didn’t create the perfect manJust as Chante was ready to admit defeat in her quest for love, settle for a battery-operated appliance, and give in to the bottle of brown juice in walks a caramel Adonis. 
Chante's new found love has the potential of being a lifelong love affair. Yet a lunch hour spent in between the sheets with a certain ex complicates things, as thoughts of starting their love anew begin running through her mind.  What's a girl to do when she's torn between two lovers? Does she grab her panties off the floor and vow to never drop them again? Or does she go back for seconds?


My smile vanished at the site of my unwanted visitor.
“What the hell do you want, Jason?” I folded my arms in front of my breast.
“Damn you look good.” I bet I did standing there topless.
“What are you doing here?” I couldn’t believe my eyes.
“Chante, I love you.” I tasted the alcohol on his breath when his lips pressed against mine, and his tongue moved around in my mouth.
I tried to push Jason away, but his finger felt so good in my love palace. His tongue was no longer in my mouth; it was slowly moving down my neck and on to my breast.
Chante. Chante. Chante! What in the hell are you doing? My eyes were closed and my neck was rolling around enjoying the chills that Jason was sending down my spine. My hands traced his body.
“I love you, Tae Tae.” He kissed my lips. “I never meant to hurt you.” He dropped to his knees and began to lick the palace.
Just then “I Wanna Love You” by Donell Jones played on the quiet storm. I had left the stereo on prior to falling asleep, and although the volume was low, it seemed like as soon as the song came on the volume got louder. I found myself telling Jason I wanted to love him. I dropped to my knees so that we could be face to face. Jason brushed my hair out of my face and kissed me.
“Chante, I want to try this again.”
I kissed him. At that moment I was not thinking about Keith. I waited years to hear the words Jason had uttered. All I could think about was feeling Jason inside of me. Without any protection, I straddled him and put him inside of me.
To learn more about Donneil check out her links below. She has a fab site.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

You Know You're a Book Addict When...

You know you’re a book addict when…
Your kids have ripped jeans and their shoes are too small but you have plenty of books on your e-reader.
It’s not unusual to find drool on your kindle in the morning.
If you totaled the amount you’ve spent on books in the last year, it’d be equal to or more than your mortgage payment.
Clicking the “buy now” button gives you a rush like a druggie getting their next fix.
Your e-reader gets more action than your partner.
Your kid’s first word was “kindle.”
You have a panic attack when your TBR pile gets low (by low I mean less than 20 books).
You catch yourself saying, “Oh that same thing happened to my friend Julie,” then freeze when you remember Julie is a fictional character in a book.
Your kids know if they touch mommy’s Nook her forehead gets all veiny.
You ask for gift cards (to Amazon, B&N, etc) for every holiday including your kid’s birthdays.
The countdown to a new release is more exciting than the countdown to the New Year.
You start reading a book then look up and realize it’s been hours and you’ve forgotten to cook dinner for your family. Oh and you’re still wearing your pajamas and haven’t peed all day.
Your e-reader is like your Mastercard – it’s everywhere you want to be.
You justify a new book purchase with excuses like “It’s on sale!” “I had a bad day!” and “It’s Tuesday.”
You can stop anytime. No really, you can.

There are some things in life you have to try before you know how they will affect you.
After 5 years of awful sex, I was ready. Bondage and spanking had always featured in my fantasies, and one day, I convinced my husband to try them. That day was a turning point.
Ice cream comes in many flavors and that’s us too – not vanilla, maybe not Rocky Road either. We can be a combination or make up our own and no one has the right to judge us.
But there will always be one question that tears at my soul: Will my husband, Nick, ever be happy with what I crave?
About Us: 31 Flavors is a book that is heavily based on a true love story. Although the sex scenes are obviously fictionalized, much of it really happened. This isn’t just another erotic BDSM story. We both felt (Leia and Cari) there was a place for a novel where the readers might draw parallels with their own      lives -- a story where idealistic, perfect people did not exist, where mistakes are made, and in particular, where the top or Dom is not some godlike creation and the submissive or bottom is just your average girl-next-door.
Cari Silverwood: Cari writes stories that leap from the page and blast you from your bed. Heroines who will come rescue you and    heroes who will drag you back to bed by your hair and ravish you endlessly. Did she mention there was sex and adventure in her stories? 
Leia Shaw: Insert one alpha male, one kick-ass female, a sprinkle of magic, a drop of steamy romance, and a pinch of darkness and you get the Shadows of Destiny, a bestselling paranormal romance series by    Leia Shaw.
Excerpt: (PG 13)
Looking up at me, Nick grins. “Well, maybe you could seduce me?”
I blink. “Me?”
“Yeah, like a little lap dance or a strip tease.”
Fucking A. Of course the pain in the ass would pick something completely out of my comfort zone. A strip tease and a lap dance? I’ve never had a single dance lesson. I’m awkward and clumsy and not the least bit sexy.
Don’t be a taker, I scold myself. He tied me up. He spanked me. He stepped out of his comfort zone, I can too.
Steeling myself for humiliation, I rise from the bed. As seductively as I can manage, I raise the hem of my blouse. “Like this?” I purr.
Nick puts his arms behind his head and his gaze rakes me over. A big grin stretches across his face. He likes it. Okay, I can do this. I pull my shirt up higher, exposing my bra. 
“Yeah!” Nick praises from the bed.
I give him a flirty smile then start to pull the blouse over my head. It’s a little tight and I tug harder. Buttons. The damn shirt has buttons, dummy. I bring my arms down to undo the top button, but something yanks on my ear.
Ow! Ow, ow, ow. I freeze, my arms over head, my shirt covering my face. The top button is stuck on the stupid hoop earrings I insisted on wearing to work today. I was trying to look sexy. Not so sexy now, am I?
“Honey? Are you okay?”
He doesn’t need to see my face to know I’m blushing. I’m sure it covers my entire body. But I can recover. I can still pull this off. Somehow, I will make this sexy. 
“Um.” My voice is muffled in my shirt. I go for a casual tone. “I’m fine. I’m just…going slow. So you can, you know, savor it.” I move my hips side to side in a seductive sway while simultaneously trying to untangle my earring.
The arm opposite the stuck earring is halfway in my shirt sleeve so I jerk my upper body to the side, trying to get it over to help. But it won’t quite reach where I need it. I’m panting with the exertion and getting a bit frantic that it won’t come loose. I wriggle my arms furiously trying to get them out of the sleeves. Every few seconds I stop and shake my hips toward Nick. Or somewhere. I’m not really sure which direction I’m facing anymore.
Oh God, how ridiculous do I look?
I hear a strangled snort from behind me. I spin around and freeze. Is he laughing at me? Except for the crinkling of the shirt over my ears, the room is silent. 
My arms ache and my ear hurts. I blow out a breath of air.
Nick clears his throat. “Do you need help?” The end of the sentence is choked off with a covered chuckle.
“Yes,” I say, defeated.
I hear him rise from the bed. Then his fingers are on me, unbuttoning my blouse.
“Careful,” I tell him from inside the cave of my shirt. “My earring is stuck.”
“I got it.”
His fingers work deftly, freeing my face and arms, and just the blouse is dangling from my earring. He works on getting that loose too, leaning in close to see where the earring and blouse entangle. I look up at him. Maybe it’s the lack of oxygen from being stuck in my shirt, but he’s never looked so handsome.
“Hi,” I say sheepishly.
He smirks. “Hi.” His breath touches my lips and lingers. 
Suddenly, I want to kiss him. Need to kiss him. I lean forward. “Ow!” Something tugs my earring.
“Stay still,” he orders softly. His arm wraps around my waist and pulls me against his body. Goose bumps rise along the skin on my belly and back. Am I getting turned on? I exhale a laugh.
Nick is rescuing me from an utterly unsexy and quite possibly life threatening strip tease. I probably looked like one those moles with the red tendril thingys on its head, clawing its way out of the ground. I should be digging a hole into the ground and hiding in humiliation.
Finally, the blouse falls to the floor and my ear is free. I pull both hoops out and place them on the dresser. Nick steps back and looks me over. His mouth is tight with a restrained grin.
I point a finger at him. “Don’t. Laugh.”
He covers his mouth with his hand and his shoulders shake. My eyes narrow and I launch myself at him, toppling him onto the bed. I straddle his hips as his hysterical laughter fills the room.
“Shut up.” I try to cover his mouth with my hand but he blocks me.
“That was cute, Sid,” he says between roars of laughter. “It was like a sea cucumber giving birth to an anemone.”
I gasp and try to smack him but he dodges my hand.
“A sexy sea cucumber,” he adds.
This time, I go for the jugular. He catches my wrists and holds them captive. “So violent. I may be new at this, but I’m pretty sure beating up your Dom is bad behavior. Should I punish you now?”
“No! I’m too mad.” I pout, pulling my wrists from his hands. “I won’t fulfill anymore of your fantasies if you make fun of me.”
He smiles. “Honey, you fulfill my fantasies every day just by being you.”
I chuckle nervously. “Sure.” But I’m touched, whether it’s true or not. 
We stare at each other silently for a moment, giddy smiles plastered on our faces. In a bold move, I get my retribution by snaking my hand up his chest and pinching his nipple.
“Ow!” He grasps my hand to free his nipple. “You’re not a very good sub,” he teases.
“Maybe you’re not a good Dom,” I counter with a saucy grin.
 “Probably.” Evil glittering in his eyes, he folds his arms around me, then yanks me down for a kiss. Our lips meet and he holds the back of my head as the kiss deepens. Not that I’m planning on leaving. The play of lips on lips, soft and hard, tongue and teeth, is a dance Nick has always done well. I snuggle closer, catch my breath when I can. My eyelids drift lower as I give in to the sensations. I sneak my hand onto his chest, palm flattened, and play with the hair above his shirt neckline. When he stops kissing me, I’m breathing hard and very conscious of his body beneath mine.
His gaze locks with mine. “So let’s just be us.”
I smile. Us. Nick and Sidney. Not vanilla. Not Rocky Road. Any kind of thirty-one flavors we want to be. I bite my lip and nod.
With both hands, he grasps my ass and squeezes. “Now let me tie you up so we can fuck and feel better.”
I laugh and shake my head. From Romeo to Jersey Shore in the span of a few seconds. “Typical. I should go next door and get the suave version of a husband.”
The amused glint in his eye gives me a millisecond warning. With a growl he rises and topples me sideways. “Get undressed. I’ll be back. With ropes.”

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Crossfire Of Love with Ella Jade

1-Tell the readers a little about yourself.
Hi! My name is Ella Jade and I'm a contemporary romance author. I've been writing for as long as I remember. The stories and plots have always played out in my head but I never knew what to do with them. That all changed when I discovered the eBooks industry. Now I'm penning novels at a rapid pace.
When I'm not writing, I'm busy with my two active boys. I also like to kick box, scrapbook and run around with my kids. I reside in NJ with my family.
2-As an author, do you take time to read? If so, what do you like to read and who is/are your favorite author/s?
Now that I'm published, I don't get a chance to read as often as I like, but some of my favorites are Nora Roberts and Stephen King. I read everything they write. I'm also thrilled to be finding so many new and exciting eBooks authors.
3-How do you stay motivated when the Muse is uncooperative?
I've been pretty fortunate because the Muse has been keeping me really busy. I have a list of stories dying to be told. But, when I feel like the words aren't flowing, I take a break. I throw in a load of laundry or take a hot shower. Once I sit back down, I can usually work it out.
4-If you could go anywhere in the world on a romantic getaway, what would you do and where would you go?
Every spring, my husband and I spend a weekend alone in NYC. We see a show, have dinner in the city, and reconnect. It’s a nice way to remember why we fell in love in the first place.
5-What is the hardest thing for you to write?
This is going to sound strange coming from an erotic fiction writer, but the steamy scenes are the hardest for me. I don't mind writing them and most times they are a crucial part of the scene, but I like to work out the plot and the dialogue before I go back and insert (no pun intended) the sexy stuff. It seems to work for me, so I go with it.
6-If you could live the life of one of your characters who would you be?
Hmm… all my heroines are pretty lucky;) If I had to pick one, I'd go with Gabriella from my newest release Crossfire of Love. She's been taken by Lorenzo for as long as she can remember. When they finally find one another and fall in love, it's almost like a fairytale. 
7-The tag line on my blog is ‘Indulge Your Inner Romantic.’ What do you do to indulge?
I like to indulge in my husband and kids. Life is hectic, so when we get to go to a movie or a vacation, those are some of my best memories. The kids grow up fast, so I try to indulge in the here and now.

Ella Jade has been writing for as long as she can remember. As a child, she often had a notebook and pen with her and now as an adult, the laptop is never far. The plots and dialogue have always played out in her head, but she never knew what to do with them. That all changed when she discovered the eBooks industry. She started penning novels at a rapid pace and now she can't be stopped.
Ella resides in New Jersey with her husband and two young boys. When she's not chasing after her kids, she's busy writing, attending PTO meetings, kickboxing and scrapbooking. She hope's you'll get lost in her words.
Crossfire Of Love
Can an arranged marriage lead to love?
Recent college graduate Gabriella has finally married the man of her dreams, the older, charismatic attorney Lorenzo Martinez. She's had a crush on him for as long as she can remember and always imagined they'd one day find their happily ever after. Unfortunately, they enter into a union arranged by their fathers.
Lorenzo is charming, protective, and loyal to his crime lord father Carlo. When Carlo asks Lorenzo to marry Gabriella he jumps at the opportunity. He's been drawn to her for many years and knows by marrying her he's helping to protect her father.
Gabby is resentful and won't be Lorenzo's charity case. But sparks fly and the couple soon gives into their desire, realizing they were meant to be together.
What happens when Carlo's enemies threaten their future? Will someone get caught in the crossfire?
Content Warning: graphic sex, some violence
Lorenzo walked up the porch steps, turning to stare at her. "Are you coming, Gabriella?" No one but Lorenzo and his father called her by her full name. She liked when Lorenzo said it. He'd always made it sound so formal and sexy.
These were the first words he had spoken to her since they left the courthouse. They were married in the chambers of the prestigious Judge John Cartwright. He'd been a family friend of the Martinezes for many years. He was their go-to man whenever they needed something done fast and legally. Well, legal in her new father-in-law's eyes anyway.
She hurried up the steps and followed Lorenzo inside their new home. It was built within a matter of months after she'd agreed to marry him. Carlo wanted them to have their privacy, but he also wanted to keep them close. He didn't trust she'd hold up her end of the bargain, and keeping her on the property was the best way to ensure she wouldn't run.
It was silly, really. How could she run from a family like this? They had ties all over the world. There wasn't any place she could escape to that they wouldn't know about. She was a woman of her word. She said she would marry Lorenzo and she did. She'd find a way to cope. She always had.
Lorenzo pulled his jacket off, poured himself a scotch, and then loosened his tie. "Would you like a drink?"
"No, thank you," she said.
Most brides would be dancing the night away and drinking champagne by this point in their wedding night. She didn't think that was part of Lorenzo's plan.
"I didn't think you'd go through with it." He sipped the amber colored liquid as he looked her over.
"I said I would."
"I know, but when push actually came to shove, I thought you'd run."
"You don't know me that well," she said. "I don't run."
"Good." He smirked as he put the glass to his lips.
Gabby couldn't take her eyes away from those lips. She'd never had the pleasure of having them on her own. Judge Cartwright hadn't asked him to kiss his bride. She hated herself for thinking about him that way.
"You could've stopped this. Why didn't you?" she asked.
As they stood in front of the judge, she kept hoping he'd put an end to the charade and stop the wedding. It didn't make sense to her why he had agreed to marry her. She didn't have a choice. Her father's gambling debts made sure of that. But she didn't understand why he'd allowed things to get as far as they had.
"I was just as trapped as you were." He downed the rest of his scotch.
She didn't believe that. She knew he respected his dad, but she didn't get why he wouldn't have put his foot down and said no to such a life-altering decision.
"You could've told your father no from the beginning. Why would you agree to marry someone if you didn't have to?"
"Look." He shook his head. "It's done now. We're going to have to make the best of it."
"Make the best of it?" She plopped down on the leather sofa. "I'm twenty-two years old. I just graduated from college, and you want me to make the best of it?"
"I know this isn't what you might have wanted, but it is what it is. You agreed, and now it's done. You can't go back on it now. My father won't forgive that."