Friday, August 23, 2013

Guest Author Interview - Taryn Kincaid

Today, I have Taryn Kincaid on my blog, a fellow Decadent Publishing author who calls herself boring but is far from that! It seems to be a common trend amongst authors to underestimate how interesting they actually are.

Taryn is a former award-winning reporter and columnist, covering everything from fires and homicides, to corrupt politicians and hero dogs. Nowadays, she haunts courthouses. Taryn reads genres and writes paranormal and historical romance. She is the author of Lightening, Thunder, Frost, and Heat Wave, sexy paranormal romances for Decadent Publishing's popular 1Night Stand series; a Regency romance from Carina Press, and Sleepy Hollow Dreams, an erotic paranormal romance from The Wild Rose Press.

Taryn answered some questions so here they are:

What is the best thing for you about being a writer?
I think Mark Twain summed that up nicely: “The best thing about being a writer is having written.”

What is the hardest thing for you about being a writer?

What genre/s do you write and what genre is your latest release?
Currently, I’m all about the erotic paranormal romance, especially my SLEEPY HOLLOW series of 1Night Stand stories from Decadent Publishing. The latest is the smoking hot HEAT WAVE!  Although I do have a Regency romance [HEALING HEARTS] and a contemporary erotic romance [BLIZZARD] out there! My Sleepy Hollow series (plus BLIZZARD) will be released by Decadent Labor Day weekend in a print anthology! (Early release 8/29, for those of you for whom Labor Day weekend has not meaning!) I’m so excited.

What essential things have you learned about writing in the last year?
KISS: Keep it short, stupid!

Who is your favourite heroine from your books and why?
Currently, I love Zena Night, the heroine of HEAT WAVE. She was a problem child. I introduced her in LIGHTNING, her sister Lily’s story, and she was an over-the-top, sexy bad girl. I had to redeem her for HEAT WAVE. Quite the challenge!

What type of hero do you like? Super alpha, wounded or somewhere in between? Or even something totally different? You could give an example from a movie or well-known book.
Oh, I definitely love reading about the super alphas. But not if they’re bullies or get off on humiliation and inflicting pain.  Rhett Butler, the archetype alpha.

Tell us about your journey in writing this book.
Well, as I said, I’d already introduced the Zena Night character in LIGHTNING. So I had to develop a backstory for her that showed why she was acting out so much and so promiscuous. I also wanted to giver her a softer, more vulnerable side.

Tell us three quirky or interesting things about yourself.
I am boring as can be. Also kinda snarky. Which is why I have imaginary friends!
Three things, huh?
I’m not sure I can come up with three.
Here’s one: I used to collect small Chinese figurines known as “mud men” because they were sculpted from mud, then given color ceramic glazes. I don’t acquire them anymore – haven’t for years – but they still collect dust on my book cases, in my cabinets and on bric-a-brac shelves.
Sorry. That’s about all I’ve got!

What rituals do you use to help you focus or get the words down on the page e.g. music or a snack?
Coffee. Lots of it.

Mention something unique about your books and your writing style.
I am fond of the metaphor and simile. Perhaps overly so, sometimes. I love to play with my words,  even more than I like playing with my food!

What book would you like to work on next?

I’m working on a couple of secret projects. One involves food. One involves werewolves. Both are kind of departures for me…so we’ll see what happens there!

Today, she's talking about her new release, Heat Wave.

Sent into the human realm to retrieve prodigal princess, Zena Night, Bhyrne Raines is shocked and unprepared for his carnal reaction to the sexy succubus. In service to the succubus queen, the rugged enforcer must stifle the instant passion exploding within him. Fulfilling his royal duty doesn’t allow for quickie dalliances. His biological clock is ticking, and he begins to enter breedspawn, an intense and unstoppable frenzy of mating all fire-demon males must endure. But the more he wants to avoid Zena, the more he’s drawn to her.

Reluctant to give up her carefree life of partying among the mortals when the hot-as-sin Bhyrne comes to fetch her for the queen, Zena uses her succubus wiles to entice him, or at least delay the inevitable trip to the royal court. Once in the demon stronghold, hidden deep within the Catskill mountains, she learns the reason for the summons: she must choose a consort within two days.

With time running out for both of them, they each turn to 1Night Stand. With time running out, can Madame Eve come to the rescue?

Here's an excerpt from the novel:

Holy freeze gun, Batman. The words died before she managed to expose them to air. Her mouth snapped shut.

One of the Queen’s guards stood before her, huge and tall, nearly twice the size of most of the other males in the joint, a hella hunka supernatural male. Clearly not human, although Hugo Boss’d to his Adam’s apple in an apparent bid to fit in among the humans trolling for hot sex, illicit drugs, watered-down booze and loud music. Beneath the fabric of the unstructured designer suit, the toned muscles of a demonic warrior rolled like tidal waves. Even without the small lapel pin the uninformed might mistake for the The Rolling Stones’ logo, she’d recognize him for a captain of the guard. Maybe the Queen’s own Captain.

Hellfire and cotton candy. Trouble. T-R-O-U-B-L-E.
But, by the goddess, whattahottie! Despite her certainty that his presence in the club corridor boded ill for her, the force of her sudden hunger shook her.
Like lightening.
A desperate bolt out of the blue.
Instant connection to him on the paranormal plane, as if he’d wrapped her aura in gold chains and tugged her to him. But did that fast lane to heaven run one way or two? A grim expression straightened the lines of what otherwise might have been a generous, sensuous mouth. A military buzz cut had weed-whacked hair the color of iron. And it didn’t stop there. Without doubt, metal fortified every single cell in the massive male’s body, pure titanium flowing in his veins. The stern planes and angles of a hard-edged, swoon-worthy face set grimly as cement. Though he lounged in the hallway like any Archie or Jughead waiting in line to discharge his rented beer in a urinal, he exuded authority, his carriage and bearing such that he made the others look like a pack of Twizzlers. Oh. Yeah. More than a mere guardsman, she guessed. An enforcer.


Taryn hangs around a lot on Facebook and Twitter with her trillions of fans and pops in at Goodreads from time to time. You can catch her on her website,, and her blog, where she lives for comments!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

You can buy Heat Wave here:

Decadent Publishing

Amazon: US | UK | Canada

 ARe | CTR | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Guest Author Interview - Cathrina Constantine

Two firsts on my blog today - firstly, I'm having a pre-release guest blog post. Cathrina's book comes out on the 24th August from Black Opal Books. In print and digital!! And secondly, she's my first author who writes another genre i.e. not romance.

As a teenager, I was fascinated by fantasy books about the battle between good and evil like Frank Peretti's book, This Present Darkness. There's nothing like that thrill of wondering how the good guys are going to overcome the overwhelming odds.

Cathrina Constantine's book, "Wickedly They Come" is a YA/Adult-paranormal thriller; a gripping, dark fantasy where the battle between heaven and hell is escalating, and earth is their battleground.

Cathrina's book is part 1 of a four book series, so for you series and adrenaline addicts, here is the cover and blurb:

Haunting visions, unusual strength, and special paranormal talents are the norm for Seeley and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Jordan. Their lives become perilous when the leader of The Black Order stalks them, trying to fulfill a prophecy to consecrate Jordan to his lord—Lucifer.

Previously homeschooled and naive, Jordan is inducted into the social culture of teendom at Elma High, where she encounters Mark, a mysterious new classmate who is hell bent on keeping her unscathed from the forces of evil.

I'm fascinated by the character, Jordan, as I homeschool my three kids.

Cathrina has answered a few questions about herself and her writing.

1. What is the best thing for you about being a writer?
I can work at home.

2. What is the hardest thing for you about being a writer?
The blocks, and then I over think and over write. I get wordy and dramatic. I need to tone it down and let it flow naturally.

3. What genre/s do you write and what genre is your latest release?
I write YA. My debut novel is a dark, paranormal thriller. It’s geared toward older teenagers to adults. I guess you could call it a YA Crossover.

4. What essential things have you learnt about writing the last year?
It’s time consuming and hard, mental work!

Who is your favourite heroine from your books and why?
I like the tenacious Jordan. She’s full of spitfire, and not afraid of anything—except the dating game.

6. What type of hero do you like? Super alpha, wounded or somewhere in between? Or even something totally different? You could give an example from a movie or well-known book.
I love Super Alpha with lots of wounds! Does that answer the question?
Of course, love that answer!

7. Tell us about your journey in writing this book.
It was a long journey from start to finish. Three years of writing, revisions, learning and honing my craft, and then composing countless queries. I was ready to give up when I started getting positive feedback. Then in two days time, I received three offers of representation.

8. Tell us three quirky or interesting things about yourself.
I don’t think of myself as quirky, more like plain and ordinary.

9. What rituals do you use to help you focus or get the words down on the page e.g. music or a snack?
I can’t listen to music. I tried, and found myself dancing and singing in the living room, neglecting my writing. Although, it was a nice break. I like complete quiet. I tend to drink too much coffee.

10. Mention something unique about your books and your writing style.
I think people will be somewhat surprised when they read Wickedly They Come. I wanted to inspire young people and adults by writing a powerful, action packed story with a message.

11. What book would you like to work on next?
I recently began a contemporary YA story with the main character being a boy, which is different for me.

12. Where can we buy your book?
My debut novel, Wickedly They Come will be released in print and digital on August 24, 2013. It will be available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more...

So, hold on for a few more days .... it's coming.

Here's a short excerpt from her book just to get that adrenalin pumping:

Evidently, Asa had finally decided the time had come to make their lives a living hell.

“Watch out!” Jordan cried.

The two goons knocked Seeley to the mat. They tied her wrists then hefted her to her feet, facing Jordan. The man with the bloody nose mopped his face and then, without warning, hit Seeley in the chin. Her head snapped back as Jordan screamed. Seeley held onto consciousness, though her head swirled and her throbbing chin began to swell.

“You bitch—” the man shrieked, glaring at Seeley. “I think you broke my nose.”He then walked over to Jordan, grasped her chin with bloody fingers, and drooled. “Young—tender—meat—”

The demon restraining Seeley sounded anxious. “Hank, we’re not allowed to kill her.”
Hank gestured to Seeley. “This lady’s fair game, there’s a high price on her head. We’ll be greatly rewarded.”

The other demons nodded with crooked smirks. “We’re allowed to stay and play as long as we bag souls for his gain. The more souls, the longer we get to stay.”

“Why? Don’t you like your fiery perdition?” Seeley said dryly.

Her remark infuriated them, returning Hank to gloat in front of Seeley. Using the distraction, Jordan subtly tried to weasel her way out of the chokehold.

With his left hand, Hank grabbed Seeley’s ponytail, tugging her face close to his red eyes. They looked like hot coals as he sneered. “We’re not ready to leave, not with all this fun we’re having. Souls are jamming the highway to hell—we just nudge them in the right direction.” A gawky sound rattled in his throat, forcing Seeley to breathe in his foul breath. “Your kind of souls are a pain in the ass.”

Hank dug a switchblade out of his pocket. With a decisive snap, he held the silver blade to Seeley’s throat.

A great, big thank you to Kathleen Bosman for featuring me on her blog today!!
It's a pleasure!

You can find Cathrina Constantine at these sites:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Giveaway of Cosmetic Heart

Cosmetics ... make-up ... looking glam. The fairer sex likes to glam herself up by painting her face. I envy those ladies with lovely dark eyebrows and eyelashes and clear complexions who don't have to plaster make-up on their faces just so they don't look ghostly or sickly. I'm one of those palefaces who has very fair skin so that you can see the veins under my eyes giving me dark rings. My eyelashes and eyebrows are invisible because they're almost white so I have to wear mascara and eyebrow pencil. But of course, working from home and yet being so busy means many days I don't bother to put make-up on.

My husband says it makes no difference whether I wear cosmetics or not. That takes the pressure off somewhat but doesn't make me feel comfortable going out. Although I like to wear make-up, I don't spend much money on it and normally look for bargains or mark-downs. The only time I will buy a brand name is when I need lipstick because I only like one colour - heather shimmer (I think it's Yardley.)

Cosmetics include face-creams and treatments. I've never really gone for the whole caboodle i.e. cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and anti-wrinkle cream. I simply wash my face with Dove soap and use a simple moisturizer bought at the grocery store. My skin is fussy and only seems to like this one type. I've even tried the expensive creams but my face either ends up feeling dry and taut like a leather purse, or itchy or greasy. I decided to go all natural this month and bought cocoa butter and coconut oil to make my own face cream. I'm very disappointed to say that it didn't work. Itchy, dry, and greasy - the whole lot in one!  So back to my usual I will go. One day, I will spoil myself with a beautiful facial when I don't have kiddies food, clothing, and school books to buy.

Anyway, that's enough of my very gory personal cosmetics details.

The heroine in my latest release started off being a make-up artist. Her father worked in the Durban Playhouse and she used to sneak out of his office and watch the actors practise their lines or even watch the make-up artists at the theatre do up the actors' faces. She wanted to transform people to feel beautiful so studied beauty technology. She obtained a position at a magazine to put make-up on the models for photo shoots but most of the time, she didn't have much to do. A dream she'd tucked away was to write articles for magazines but she didn't think she'd get promoted because of the chief editor's reputation for not granting internal promotions. Besides feeling frustrated career-wise, she's always felt like the black sheep in the family because her family all have degrees and top jobs.

When Daniel, her boss, asks her to pose as his fiancee who left him so that he may save face with his family, she agrees if he will change his promotions policy. Lisa doesn't realise how much her 'yes' changes her life and leads her on a path to face her fears and find answers to her deepest hidden desires.

You can buy Cosmetic Heart on Amazon or at Astraea Press.

I'm giving away a PDF copy of my book to a commenter of this blog post. Please put your email address in the comments block like this: joesoap(at)happymail(dot)com

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Super Sweet Blog Award

I was nominated by Tista Ray for the Super Sweet Blog Award. Thank you, Tista!

This award is a great way to discover new blogs. So, let’s share it around and have some fun with it.

So, the rules for those nominated are:

1. Thank and link to the Blogger who nominated you.
2. Answer five super sweet questions. See below…
3. Include the super sweet blogging award in your post.
4. Nominate a baker’s dozen (13) other deserving bloggers (if you can.)
5. Notify your super sweet nominees.

Here are my answers to the questions…

1. Cookies or Cake?

I don't eat cookies and cakes anymore as I'm on a gluten free diet. I suppose I still love cake more, especially chocolate and carrot cake but without the dreaded gluten.

2. Chocolate or Vanilla?


3. Favourite sweet treat?

Lots of different things: ice-cream and chocolate sauce and chocolate mousse, and a firm favourite is sago pudding.

4. When do you crave sweet things the most?

We have a ritual of pudding every Friday night. That's our treat night. I crave sweet things pretty often though.

5. Sweet nickname?

Don't really have a sweet nickname but one that's used by my hubby is "Leen."

These are my nominees:
Rae Rivers
Romy Sommer
Zee Monodee
Nana Prah
Cathrina Constantine
Kiru Taye

No obligation to take part but have fun if you do.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I Have a Confession to Make

I have to say how sorry I am for firstly forgetting to post Nana Prah's blog post on time and then in the rush of getting it up, for forgetting to put her rafflecopter giveaway link on the post. I have been through some health challenges lately but still feel really bad for letting her down.

So, here it is, a link to enter the giveaway for her book, Love Through Time. She is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to three lucky people who enter her giveaways.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Author Interview and New Release - Nana Prah

Today on my blog is Nana Prah, a super author friend who has gone out of her way to encourage, help, and befriend me. She also has signed a contract with Decadent Publishing for the Ubuntu Line. I love connecting with other African authors and Nana is truly one of the friendliest of all. Her new release with Black Opal Books is called Love Through Time and looks so unique and compelling. I can't wait to read her sweet romance with a paranormal twist.

Nana Prah was born in Ghana, West Africa, raised in the US, and currently resides in Ghana where she loves her job as a writer and nurse educator. She has been writing since she can remember (in her journal) and has been an avid reader of romance novels since the eighth grade. She has finally been able to utilize the years and years of inadvertent research into writing her own romance novels where love always conquers all.

Welcome Nana.

What is the best thing for you about being a writer?
Giving all of these ideas roaming around in my head a place to settle and allowing other people to experience them.

What is the hardest thing for you about being a writer?
Finding enough time in the day to write as much as I want.

What genre/s do you write and what genre is your latest release?
I write romance. My release Love Through Time is a paranormal romance. The past lives aspect, which is integral to the story, categorizes it as paranormal. No one should expect a vampire or a witch to pop up as they read.

What essential things have you learned about writing in the last year?
There are so many that I couldn’t list them all. One is that ‘said’ is almost invisible to the reader and so instead of using more flowery words to tell who is speaking, the word ‘said’ will suffice. I learned this from Kristen Lamb’s blog.

Who is your favourite heroine from your books and why?
I currently have only one book released, so I’m not betraying my unborn (unpublished) heroines by answering this question. Jasmine is my favourite. She is intuitive, beautiful, super-confident, intelligent, and knows what she wants out of life. Plus she can kick ass like no body’s business.

What type of hero do you like? Super alpha, wounded or somewhere in between? Or even something totally different? You could give an example from a movie or well-known book.
I like a hero who knows what he’s doing when it comes to whatever situation is at hand, but he knows how to ask for help when he needs it. A hero who is proud, but won’t let his pride get the better of him.

Tell us about your journey in writing this book.
The idea for the book popped into my head and I started writing. There was nothing dramatic about the journey. Once I was finished I changed it from the first person POV of the heroine to the third person POV of both the hero and the heroine. Those changes were  more work than writing the whole novel.

Tell us three quirky or interesting things about yourself.
1. If it’s sweet, I’ll eat it.
2. I don’t leave the house without wearing lipstick or lipgloss
3. My honesty can be a tad bit unsettling to some people (liars in particular)

What rituals do you use to help you focus or get the words down on the page e.g. music or a snack?
I sit down and start writing. Once I start, things flow. It’s getting my behind to sit in the chair to write that’s the problem, social media likes to call me away like a siren.

Mention something unique about your books and your writing style.
My writing style is direct, kind of like me. I don’t try to express more than what I am saying. There is not a hidden agenda, so I hope people can relate to it. Love Through Time is a multicultural novel, but the emphasis is on the relationships, not race.

What book would you like to work on next?
I am happy to announce that I have a contract with Decadent Publishing’s Ubuntu line, which consists of romances set in Africa (I’m following in your footsteps Kathy).  My editor has encouraged me to write a sequel so I’m working on that.

Love Through Time

Defending her family – no problem. Recalling past lives – maybe just a small problem. Taking a chance on love again – well…

Jasmine Gibson has her world turned upside down when she meets gorgeous Sean Taylor. He’s the first man she’s been attracted to since her fiancé dumped her two years ago. But when the disturbing daydreams start, Jasmine begins to fear that her actions in a past life may have finally caught up with her.

Sean finds it impossible to stay away from Jasmine even though he can’t shake the inexplicable feeling of betrayal, simmering deep inside him every time he sees her.

To complicate things, someone is out to hurt Jasmine and every time she and Sean are together, the police have to be called. Even if Jasmine can make Sean trust her, the two of them may not stay alive long enough to enjoy their love this time around.

You can connect with Nana on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.

Buy Links for Love Through Time: Black Opal Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Other Side by Zee Monodee

Today, I have Zee Monodee, versatile and prolific writer, wonderful editor, and fellow African writer friend. She lives in the beautiful island of Mauritius which is north east of the eastern South African coastline. A place I would adore to spend a summer holiday at one day. She's also the managing editor of the Ubuntu line series which are African stories published by Decadent Publishing - the series "Dragonfly Moments" was published under.

Her new release "The Other Side" is the Ubuntu Line's third release.

Here's a bit about Zee before we go into some juicy details about her new book:

Zee is an author who grew up on a fence – on one side there was modernity and the global world, on the other there was culture and traditions. Putting up with the culture for half of her life, one day she decided she'd stand tall on her wall and dip toes every now and then into both sides of her non-conventional upbringing.

From this resolution spanned a world of adaptation and learning to live on said wall. The realization also came that many other young women of the world were on their own fence.

This particular position became her favorite when she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of writing – her heroines all sit 'on a fence', whether cultural or societal, in today's world or in times past, and face dilemmas about life and love.

Hailing from the multicultural island of Mauritius, Zee is a degree holder in Communications Science. She is a head-over-heels wife, in-over-her-head mum to a tween son, best-buddy-stepmum to a teenage lad, an incompetent domestic goddess, eternal dreamer, and an absolute, shameless bookholic. When she isn’t penning more stories and/or managing the Ubuntu line at Decadent Publishing, you can bet you’ll find her with her nose in her tablet, ‘drinking in’ a good book.

Here is a blurb of The Other Side. It is Book 1 of The Island Girls Trilogy.

Divorce paints a scarlet letter on her back when she returns to the culture-driven society of Mauritius. This same spotlight shines as a beacon of hope for the man who never stopped loving her. Can the second time around be the right one for these former teenage sweethearts?

Indian-origin Lara Reddy left London after her husband dumps her for a more accommodating uterus—at least, that’s what his desertion feels like. Bumping into him and his pregnant new missus doesn’t help matters any, and she thus jumps on a prestigious job offer. The kicker? The job is in Mauritius, the homeland of her parents, and a society she ran away from over a decade earlier.

But once there, Lara has no escape. Not from the gossip, the contempt, the harassing matchmaking...and certainly not from the man she hoped never to meet again. The boy she’d loved and lost—white Mauritian native, Eric Marivaux.

Back when they were teens, Eric left her, and Lara vowed she’d never let herself be hurt again. Today, they are both adults, and facing the same crossroads they’d stood at so many years earlier.

Lara now stands on the other side of Mauritian society. Will this be the impetus she needs to take a chance on Eric and love again?

Some interesting facts about the book:
  1. Mauritius, where this trilogy takes place, is a small tropical island in the southern Indian Ocean. There are no natives, and the land has been entirely populated by immigrants. Under Dutch rule in the 17th century; French rule until 1810; then a British colony from 1810 to 1968 when it reached independence, the island is a mix of races and religions. Despite all races, cultures, and religions living together in harmony in what is termed ‘the rainbow nation,’an unspoken segregation still exists where descendants of colonizers (mainly the French who remained despite British rule) and descendants of African slaves, Indian indentured labourers, or Chinese traders. This is the backdrop Lara, of Indian descent, must face with Eric, whose ancestors were wealthy French plantation owners.
  2. Back in the year 2000 (when this story takes place), divorce was an almost-alien, shunned & vilified concept. People were still supposed to marry ‘for life’ and a wife left her husband’s home only in her coffin. Those who dared brave this silent edict did it at the risk of becoming marginalized and cast away. Like Lara, the author, Zee, divorced her British husband and returned to the island to face such drama. Much of the divorce angle in the book comes from her own experience.
  3. The theme of Second Chances is very prominent in Zee’s stories, because she herself, as a divorcee, found a second chance with a wonderful man she has now called her husband for over a decade.
  4. Zee started penning this story after reading the epic novel ‘A Suitable Boy’ by Vikram Seth. She wanted to write a magnum opus; something to showcase ‘her’ world in Mauritius the same way Mr. Seth chronicled ‘his’ India. Alas, she found she was totally fluffy and did not do well at all with a literary bent. The result was The Other Side, a popular romantic comedy that had notes of Zee TV/Bollywood dramas with an island vibe.
  5. The Other Side is Zee’s first-ever penned novel, written in the year 2005, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and thus decided to live her dream of writing a book. She drafted this book mostly during sleepless nights between chemotherapy sessions, the outpouring of this tale becoming her therapy to cope with her treatments.
  6. The book trailer features images of locations mentioned in the story. The second image, at 0.08, is of the Grand Baie beach, where Lara lives. At 0.58 is the Swami Vivekananda International Conventions Centre located inland in Pailles, that Zee used as the inspiration for the centre Lara manages in Grand Baie. 2.09 features the Coin de Mire Island, a visual that can be admired from the terrace of Eric’s residence in Cap Malheureux. You can watch the trailer at this link: The Other Side Book Trailer
Here is an excerpt:

Lost in her thoughts, she rounded a dead corner of the hall, slamming into someone’s side. Disoriented and dizzy with confusion at the jolting oomph of impact against a solid form, she stumbled, losing control over her legs. She saw the walls moving up rapidly, but a strong pair of hands grabbed her under the arms before the back of her head hit the floor.
“Bon sang, mademoiselle! Où courez-vous comme ça?” a rich, deep masculine voice asked on the sharp yet lilting accent of white Mauritian natives.
Where are you running to, miss? he’d asked, from what her rusty French could figure out.
Away from you. Something inside her acknowledged the danger before she could process his words. She knew that voice. Her head spun again, yet her mind was very alert.
Could it be…? No, it couldn’t. Her brain had to be playing tricks on her. The sound with its particular accent belonged to the very distant past. How was she hearing it at this moment? Had she fainted? That’s it. She wasn’t conscious, and since she’d probably worked herself to exhaustion, the condition had triggered all sorts of switches in her muddled consciousness.
The image of the man from the airport burned itself into her mind, and she gasped. No!
“Is everything okay?” The chuckle had gone from the tone, replaced by worry.
Solid strength still held her ribcage, the back of the hands warm and smooth where they touched her arms. The heat from them went to her head, churning all coherent thought into a jumble.
Her mind had to be playing a trick on her. He couldn’t be who she was imagining. When, after a few seconds, it didn’t appear like she’d come around, doubt invaded her heart.
Your eyes won’t betray you, they’ll see the truth.
She risked a glance up beneath her lashes. She had to be certain if this was real or not. To know this was all a trick of her imagination….
Lara encountered a tall form with broad shoulders outlined in a short-sleeved shirt. The lapels of the opened collar framed a strong jaw and a wide, full, and sensual mouth was set in a worried line above a square chin. A fine, straight nose sent faint shadows over his lips.
She had to gulp back the ominous lump wedged in her throat. Her heart beat a hammering throb in her chest, and her mouth went dry. Her suspicions looked dangerously close to being confirmed, and the nagging notion played havoc with her thoughts. She closed her eyes.
When she opened them, she found herself staring into a pair of blue irises. A blinding flash went through her head, plunging her heart to her knees. She’d recognize those irises anywhere. Deep-set, bright, and laughing eyes the colour of the deepest ocean. The heavy, golden locks brushing his forehead accentuated the frown knitting his eyebrows.
Locks that had somehow broken free from the thick, smoothed-back hair. She itched to sweep them back, to run the tips of her fingers along his smooth skin, like she used to in the past, onto the soft buzz of hair he used to keep so short….
Her mind went into a crazy spin, and all her senses reeled as everything became a vivid kaleidoscope of colours. Her stomach heaved, and her knees went weak as her body became limp. But the man’s strong grip was still on her, and he kept her steady on her feet.
“Are you okay? I think you better sit down here,” he said.
The voice made its way into her perception, and she couldn’t suppress the relief that flooded her. His voice had always had such power over her.
He still hasn’t recognised me.
She’d changed a lot in the past decade, and with her head still bent forward, her hair shielded her face. She wanted to escape. She wanted to close her eyes, and then open them to find it had all been a dream. Or a nightmare.
But this was real, and how long could she remain incognito? Lara swallowed painfully. Of all the people from her past, fate had had to choose that precise person to shove along her path.
All of this battled inside her mind as she allowed him to lead her to a sofa. After having lowered her into her seat with extreme care and gentleness, her saviour sat down next to her, turning to face her profile. The movement triggered the air to move around him, and the smell of his aftershave—fresh, spicy, and very elusive—filled her nostrils and made its way into her foggy mind.
He still smells the same. Like a cool sea breeze wafting through the unique musk of a man’s warm skin.
Lara took a deep breath and gathered her courage. She would have to face him sooner or later. A part of her had always known she ran the risk of coming across him on the island. She’d preferred to hide from the probability, but she couldn’t run anymore.
So she lifted her head. A frown marred the wide forehead on the face she encountered. As devastatingly handsome as ever. Or maybe, even more than ever. His features were arresting, masculine, adult. No longer those of a teenager.
Her mouth went dry again, and her heart beat faster when the straight line of his lips broke into a large smile a few seconds later. His eyes lit up as well, and widened.
“I’ll be damned! Lara? Is it really you?” he asked, switching effortlessly to English.
She forced a smile and took a deep breath. “Hello, Eric. How are you?”

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