Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sexy Snippets #9: Be My Alien

Good morning and Happy Sunday one and all! Today's Sexy Snippet comes from Be My Alien, the first book in the Moonlit Skies series, brought to you by M.A. Church and myself. Taz is an alien, here on earth for what proves to be a disastrous first (and last) date with fellow Trygoshean Vorlod, and ends up being dumped at the Empire State Building. Reed Hatcher is an overworked businessman who has an upscale men's boutique with a naughty back room. They literally bump into one another and sparks fly. This takes place after Reed takes Taz home - and after he learns about his true origins, and gets past the idea he's hooking up with an alien. Reed seems to be struggling with alien technology in trying to get into Taz's pants. Enjoy! And don't forget to check out the rest of the blog hop here.

“Trying to find the magic words to open these damn pants of yours.” Reed laughed at the look on Taz’s face. “Little help here, please?”

Taz touched something and they came open easily. Shaking his head, Reed smoothed the material back. My, my. Seemed like going commando wasn’t just an earthling tradition.

Blurb: Reed Hatcher’s life is work, work, work. He owns a successful men’s boutique in New York City, but a love life is out of the question—for many reasons. It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and business is brisk. On an unexpected visit to the Empire State Building, a sexy man literally falls into Reed’s lap. His name is Taz and he’s just been dumped by his date. One look and Reed is hooked. He offers to buy Taz some coffee and they leave together.
Reed is attracted to Taz and takes him home to his apartment. But Reed discovers there’s more to Taz than he realized—especially when Taz’s stripes begin to show. And he has a tail? Turns out Taz is not quite like Reed. In fact, he comes from another planet, far far away, and he’s only on Earth for a vacation.
Reed never believed in aliens before, but he’s facing one now, and dear God, what is he going to do? Just when he decides he loves Taz and together they can handle anything, the alien that dumped Taz decides he wants him back and steals him away.

Can Reed live with the memory of what he almost had, and the love he found and lost? How can he ever face the moonlit skies again?

Be My Alien is available from Dreamspinner Press here

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Sexy Saturday #4: When Will I See You Again

Happy Saturday and welcome to My Sexy Saturday! Today I'm taking 7 paragraphs from an unpublished novel of mine which is finished and has been subbed to a publisher - and now I wait for their response! It's called When Will I See You Again, and it's about a werewolf named Raoul. In this scene, Raoul and Jamie, his boyfriend, have slipped away from a Halloween party at Raoul's parents' house on the beach, and gone to their own private place for some alone time. I hope you enjoy it!  Let me show you what Raoul looks like to me. Don't forget to see what's happening in the rest of the hop here!

They’d arrived at last. Raoul reluctantly released him and Jamie lowered his legs, stretching them out. He occupied his hands with stripping his boyfriend of what little remained of his costume. Raoul was equally busy with de-vampifying Jamie. Jamie had a wicked sense of humor—he’d deliberately chosen the vampire costume to play upon the supernatural rivalry between vampires and lycanthropes. He loved to get his werewolf lover’s goat every chance he got.  But in a loving way.

Jamie raked his fingers through Raoul’s long locks. “Let me curl your hair,” he begged, lovingly kissing the strands. “That would be so hot…”

Raoul growled. “Fuck no. Do you want me to look like a sissy?”

“Like you ever could.” Jamie laughed, brushing his lips along Raoul’s jaw line. “Mmm, someone needs a shave.”

“Hush, it’s not that bad.” They dropped to their knees, facing one another, fully naked, except for the matching rings on their fingers. The rings they’d exchanged when they’d promised to stay together forever.
Raoul pulled him close, inhaling the intoxicating scent that was one part the designer fragrance that he wore and nine parts Jamie. This was one of the perks of being a werewolf—his olfactory senses were sensitive beyond that of most men, and they seemed to connect directly to his cock.

He skimmed his hands lightly down Jamie’s bare back, feather light touches along the natural curve of his spine. He paused at the dip just above his ass, exploring the vertebrae; then he grasped his globes, squeezing them firmly. Jamie moaned.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great weekend! Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

Friday, June 28, 2013

Feature & Follow Friday

I haven't managed to do this for awhile, nice to get back to it!  Happy Friday one and all! This week flew by! Don't forget to see who else is hopping! Go here!

Q: What is your preferred reading format? Hardcover, eBooks, paperback etc?

Although I seldom buy them any more, because they are ridiculously expensive, there is just something about the feel of a hardback in my hands that I enjoy, especially an older one with a nice cover - not a jacket. I buy paperbacks because they're cheaper and lighter to carry, but now that I have  Kindle Paperwhite (thanks to my generous son!) I am getting used to that.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Starting With a Kiss Volume 1 Review

 Starting With a Kiss  

Author: Youka Nitta
Publisher: Sublime Publishing
American release date: August 14, 2012
Format/Genre/Length: Manga/Yaoi/192 pages, also emanga
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: M (Mature), Parental Advisory – Explicit Content
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★ (4.5 stars)

Tohru’s father, a Yakuza boss, sends him away to a family-owned island in order to keep him safe. Tohru has yet to take his place in the family business, although he’s desirous of doing so, but his slender build and pretty face hold him back, and no one takes him seriously. Shenya sends Matsumi, son of his second-in-command, Kiria, as Tohru’s bodyguard, with strict instructions not to return until someone comes for them. The only way on and off the island is the boat that only Matsumi can operate.

With no one but each other for company, the two young men ending up mutually masturbating one another. Tohru calls it boredom, but Matsumi feels that it’s more, and their relationship progresses during their enforced isolation—physically, that is. Emotionally, not so much. At least, that is what Tohru would have him believe.  Matsumi has been purposely kept away from the family business, and not only has never gotten into trouble, he’s pursued an education at Tokyo University. But now he’s suddenly ready to find a place in the business, and wishes to pledge his life and service to Tohru, who has no wish to accept his fealty.

Will Tohru accept what has happened, once they leave the island, or will he continue to deny his feelings for Matsumi—and why? What will Domoto do to Matsumi when he learns that Matsumi has soiled the young master but, despite his warnings not to touch him, is still doing it? And what is the Suki family secret?

Youka Nitta is one of my favorite yaoi authors, and I was thrilled to fibnd new books by her. Starting With a Kiss is typical Youka Nitta fare—two young attractive men who are thrown together and develop feelings for one another, which one or both of them fight against. Her drawing is awesome, even if the characters from one series strongly resemble those in another. But how can you complain when they’re so pretty?

Yes, there are certain yaoi tropes present here, such as the pretty uke, very effeminate and emotional. Also the dubious consent which, if written into a m/m romance novel would be considered a close cousin to rape. But in yaoi, seasoned readers know the difference. A protective bodyguard is another familiar figure in yaois that feature yakuza, and Domoto certainly fills the bill here.

That being said, even though these are familiar storylines, it doesn’t mean that some things can’t and don’t get on my nerves, because they do. The continual protestation by Tohru that he isn’t interested, right before he gives in, and his general whininess, and his helpless damsel in distress act he pulls when having sex. Some of the graphics go over the top (and some under, but that is the fault of whoever erased all the penii. Who are they kidding? You can still see the outline). There’s an aspect of the final scene that bugs me too, but I don’t discuss it here, as it’s a spoiler. Maybe with the review of the next volume.

That being said, I did enjoy this book, especially Matsumi, the seme. His character is more likable, and more believable. I can only hope for some character growth from Tohru as the series continues.

There is a great potential for romance here. We also get some back story on their fathers, that is not only interesting but probably relates to what is going to happen at some point. There is also a bonus story, Lol Theater, about a shy young man who works for a gaming company, and can only talk about the guy he likes to an online friend.

I love Youka Nitta’s artwork, and I hope to see a lot more of her in the future, as well as a return to translating some of her older works, such as Embracing Love. If you are a fan of hers, you will enjoy Starting With A Kiss. If not, you should get to know her.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: No Way Out #10

The weeks are just flying by! It's hard to believe June is almost over, and summer is here! And the work week is half done! Which means it's time for some flash fiction, right? This week's prompts are: "Don't move until I tell you" or "Your underwear is showing..." or "You're treading a fine line here..." or use: cart, prick, T-shirt or have a guest Frenchman in your story or have a hole in the ground or "wine, women, and song" or use a man with a brand new goatee or discuss either Mad men or Royal Pains in your story or use the big bang theory

In last week's No Way Out, if you'll recall, Shy met Wyatt clandestinely at the grocery store. So, what now? Find out in episode #10, and then don't forget to visit the other Briefers, whose links follow my tale. Enjoy!

No Way Out #10

They didn’t speak. Wyatt pushed the cart while Shy located the items on his list, carefully marking each one off once he placed it in the cart.

“Checking it twice?” Wyatt quipped.

Shy gave him a quizzical look.

“You know. Like Santa Claus?” Wyatt felt his joke fall flat, but forged ahead anyway. “He’s making a list, checking it twice.” That produced a small smile and Wyatt felt emboldened. “Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.”

The smile faded.

Damn, he felt stupid. Had he struck a nerve?

The next moment the mask was back in place, and Wyatt felt like the scum of the earth.  Be more careful, he cautioned himself.  You’re treading a fine line here...

“Um, do you cook?” He quickly changed the subject. They stood in the meat department.  Shy critically examined two packages of beef, comparing them. He selected one, set the other back. “Yes, I do all the cooking.” He began to riffle through the chicken parts, eyeing the thighs and the drumsticks in particular.

“I love to eat but I’m not much of a cook,” Wyatt confessed. “I practically live on ramen most of the time.”

“That’s not good for you. Too much sodium.”

“Yeah, well, it’s cheap.” Wyatt laughed. “Since I’ve been housesitting, I’m eating better, I have to admit. Mr. Masterson isn’t stingy at all with the food budget.”

Did Shy wince, or did Wyatt imagine that? Damn, he seemed to be hitting every one of Shy’s nerves today, clumsy oaf that he was. But it was difficult to know what might or might not set him off. And Shy wasn’t exactly being forthcoming either.

Wyatt was determined to get through to him, no matter how long it took. He was a patient man. He had to be—art wasn’t created in a day.

He held his tongue until he noticed that every item on the list had been marked off, then turned the cart in the direction of the snack area, which was empty at the moment. “What kind of soda do you drink?”

“I can’t drink soda. Just water.”

Wyatt tamped down on the desire to raise an eyebrow. “Oh, okay. Water it is.  Want some chips with that? Popcorn?” he hastily amended. He was finally catching on. Healthy only. For whatever reason. “No butter, no salt.”

Wyatt breathed a sigh of relief when Shy nodded. That was a start. They took the farthest table in the back, and set the cart out of the way. Wyatt watched Shy slide into the bench seat. Once he was fairly sure the blond wasn’t about to bolt, he went to the counter, bought their snacks and drinks, and carried the tray back, setting the contents on the table. He took the seat across from Shy, resisting the urge to sit beside him. That would not be a good idea, he realized.

Besides, he could watch Shy’s expressions better this way. Wyatt had a feeling he really needed to pay attention to those. He was feeling his way through unfamiliar territory, and he needed to see Shy’s reactions to know when he was keeping to the right path and when he was making a misstep.

He instinctively unscrewed the cap on the water bottle and handed it to Shy. “Thanks.” Shy took it and drank, peering at Wyatt over the bottle. Such beautiful blue eyes. Wyatt ached to get them on canvas.
Where to begin? Wyatt wanted to know everything, but what subjects were safe? The last thing he wanted was to make Shy uncomfortable. Or, worst case scenario, cause him to run.

“Have you lived in the neighborhood long?”

“Fifteen years.”

The response surprised Wyatt. And unsettled him. He began to do the mental math. Assuming Shy to be maybe twenty or twenty-one, that meant... he’d been just a little boy? What the hell. He swallowed his next words, rather than blurt out something harsh about Randy. He needed facts, not conjecture.

“Oh.” He kept his voice deliberately noncommittal. “Long time. “

Shy nodded.  He reached for the bag of popcorn, popped a swollen kernel between his lips with careful deliberation. Wyatt watched, fascinated by the grace in his motion. His cock gave a twitch.

“Where did you and Randy live before that?” Wyatt ripped open his bag of barbecue chips, releasing a spicy fragrance he could fairly taste. Shy’s eyes flickered briefly to the chips and away.

“Nowhere.” The reply was sharp and succinct. “That’s when we moved in with him. Fifteen years ago.”

Tread lightly... lightly...

“Hey, I’ll trade you some of my chips for some of your popcorn?” Not waiting for an answer, he placed a few of the crisp red treats in his hand and held it out to Shy, counting on instinct and desire to override whatever held him in check.  “Go ahead,” he encouraged him. You know you want to...

A moment passed that felt like a lifetime before Shy’s hand shot out and claimed the chips and practically inhaled them. After he chewed and swallowed, Shy tentatively licked his lips—whether to savor the flavor or remove a telltale trace of spice, Wyatt couldn’t be sure.

Shy stiffened and his cheeks flamed as he cast his eyes down on the table. Wyatt got the feeling he was waiting for something... but what? And then it hit him. Shy expected to be punished for what he’d done. Was Randy that strict about his diet?

Or was there more to the story than met the eye? Surely this wasn’t just because of a few grams of polyunsaturated fat?

Shy’s lower lip trembled. Wyatt had to resist the urge to brush his thumb over it, to reassure him that everything was all right. How could he when he didn’t know what was wrong.

He could barely hear the words that forced themselves out. He had to lean in, in spite of himself.

“Please... don’t tell... Randy...”

The agony in Shy’s eyes tugged at his heart.

to be continued

Now go see what the rest of the Wednesday Briefers are doing!

Lily Sawyer      
MC Houle     
MA Church     

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Virtual Book Tour: The Esposito Series

Please welcome author J.M. Griffin, who is talking about her newest release, The Esposito Series. J.M. will be awarding Tea and Chip Nuts to three randomly drawn commenters during this tour (U.S. and Canada only) and her Review Tour. The more you comment, the greater your chances of winning. To see the other stops on the tour, go here.

The Esposito Series
by J.M. Griffin



The Esposito Series Box Set:

Now you can own the first three books in the sassy and suspenseful Vinnie Esposito Series by J.M. Griffin!

By day, Lavinia (Vinnie) Esposito is a criminal justice instructor at a college in Rhode Island. By night, Vinnie is an amateur sleuth, solving murders while trying to avoid getting yelled at by her Italian father, her hunky protective boyfriend Marcus Richmond, and her sexy upstairs tenant, the mysterious Aaron Grant.

For Love of Livvy (Book 1)

Vinnie investigates the death of her beloved aunt, and a mysterious box is left on her doorstep.

Dirty Trouble (Book 2)

Someone is stalking Vinnie, and that’s just the beginning of her troubles.

Dead Wrong (Book 3)

Vinnie is out to save her brother from being framed after a valuable painting is stolen.



The front door knocker rapped twice after the door bell rang. I hustled from the rear deck of the gargantuan house to answer the summons. Someone seemed impatient, and I was curious as to who it was. My watch read just after eight o’ clock. I swung the heavy door open to find my prospective visitor absent.

It was so quiet, the town ghostly in its seemingly deserted state. Sundays were always lazy days in Scituate, once church was over. With a glance up and down the street of the small historic Rhode Island village, neat colonial homes stretched along the sides of the road in both directions. No one came into view.

On the doorstep, a package addressed to my recently deceased Aunt Livvy sat wrapped in brown paper. Again, I gawked up and down the street, but only empty sidewalks and barren roadway appeared in the waning light. The idea of a jaunt along the main drag entered my mind. I figured it would be senseless since the street was visible for about two hundred yards in either direction. Whoever had left the package was gone, long gone.

An eternity passed, or so it seemed, while my gaze locked onto the square, little box. Reluctant to touch it, I decided to call the local fire company to come take a gander. Call me paranoid, but as a criminal justice instructor, a recent audit of a class on bomb components remained fresh in my mind.

I quickly stepped to the living room and grabbed the phone. I dialed the private number of the fire station up the street. A grunt came across the phone line that could only be Bill MacNert.

“Hey Nerd, its Vinnie,” I said. “A package was just left on my doorstep, could you come down and check it out for me?”

“Sure, you got a secret admirer or somethin’?” He cackled, as only senior men can.

“Not likely, but you never know. This package is addressed to Lavinia Ciano, not Lavinia Esposito and is wrapped in brown paper. Nobody’s here to accompany this little surprise either.”

“I’ll be right down, Vinnie, don’t touch it.” He warned.


Anxious, I paced back and forth across gleaming hard wood floors in the spacious living room of my newly acquired colonial. My fingernails tapped the enamel on my teeth as I wandered to and fro. As irrational as it seemed, I finally leaned against the door jamb inside the entry to wait for MacNert to arrive.

It wasn’t long before the limber old guy came into view as he hot footed down the street with a stethoscope in his hand. This particular piece of equipment wasn’t quite what I’d expected, but then he wasn’t a bomb expert either.

When he arrived on the doorstep slightly out of breath, he glanced at the parcel, and then turned toward me.

“This was just delivered, you say?” MacNert squinted toward me with wizened brown eyes that twinkled all the time. It was as though there was a private joke going on inside his head.

“Yeah, someone knocked on the door, and when I got here to answer, there was nobody around. It didn’t seem prudent to mess with it, so I called you.”

“You just finished that bomb class, eh?” He chuckled and then sobered quickly. Since 9/11, everyone took stuff like this with a serious attitude. While he chuckled, I knew MacNert was no different.

The stethoscope ends plugged into his ears, Bill laid its diaphragm on top of the package. Removing it, he gingerly set it against the sides and listened again. I didn’t make a sound as he stood and glanced up.

“There’s no tickin’ but that doesn’t mean it’s not an explosive. You should probably call the state police barracks up the road. Have them send their bomb guys down for a lookie see, just to be on the safe side.”

“Geez, I hate to do that. I’ll feel stupid if it’s a joke,” I whined.

“It’s up to you, but if you were nervous enough to call me, then you should call them. It’s just my opinion, Vin.” He stepped over the box and wandered into the entryway. “Got anythin’ to eat? Wifey’s out of town visitin’ her sister and I’m starved.”

Bill didn’t seem over concerned, but then again, he hadn’t recently taken a bomb class either. My eyes never left the box as I answered him. “There’s food in the fridge, help yourself.”

I’d known the homely man and his family for years and respected his opinion. Tapping my fingers against my lips, I called after him, “You’re right. I’ll ring the state police now, but stick around okay?”

Unwilling to be nailed as over-dramatic by the staties, I reluctantly punched in the numbers. It was bad enough that the local cops had bugged the shit out of me for the first month after Aunt Livvy’s death. They still stopped by now and then, annoying me even more with stupid questions. Questions to which I had no answers.

After the trooper covering the desk answered, I explained what I’d found on the doorstep. He seemed unconcerned until I mentioned my name and address, and then he stated someone would be down momentarily. The swift change in his manner piqued my curiosity. I wondered why he’d suddenly capitulated when his initial response had been of disinterest.

In the living room, I paced while awaiting the arrival of the state police. Within minutes a sleek, grey Crown Victoria pulled up to the curb out front and a tall, lean trooper got out. Broad shouldered and well built, he walked with assurance and a certain amount of swagger. I stepped into the open door entry and watched him saunter through the front gate onto the walkway. He stared at the package and then at me.

“Did you call about this box, ma’am?” Keen hazel green eyes traveled over my face and down my body.

Craggy features, sculpted from granite, faced me and I felt my blood run hot as the breath caught in my throat. What was this about? I gazed at him admiring the neat package wrapped in the trim uniform.

“I did. Bill MacNert from the fire station thought it would be a good idea since it was mysteriously left on the doorstep. He checked to see if it was ticking, but it isn’t.”

“Are you Lavinia Ciano?” The trooper’s glance strayed from the name on the wrapper to me as his eyes showed a glint of humor and his mouth twitched.

Could that humor be over the name? I wondered, as I said, “No, my name is Esposito. Livvy was my aunt.” Our eyes held and my heart pounded. I licked my parched lips and then glanced away.

An oversized van idled up behind the patrol car and the trooper glanced back. Two men stepped from the vehicle dressed in heavy gear and acknowledged him. He turned to the lead man, mumbled a few words and then stared at me again. If this was an action film, I would have expected Bruce Willis to jump out of the truck announcing he was about to kick someone’s ass. This wasn’t an action film, but a real life situation instead.

The two guys angled through the front gate and hitched their gear as they hauled a peculiar looking lidded barrel toward the front door. By this time, a few neighbors had taken notice of the activities. Several people straggled along the sidewalk across the street to watch.

You’d think it was a freakin’ sideshow. I smiled and waved. Nobody responded, they just continued to gawk. A little excitement for them on an otherwise dull Sunday, I guessed. The trooper stood aside and watched the crowd, but said nothing.

The overdressed bomb guys corralled the box between them. With delicate finesse they lifted and stowed it into the metal container, loaded it into the truck and drove off. I stared in disbelief. Hell, I wanted to know what was in the package. I had a right to know, didn’t I?

The trooper turned to leave and I stepped forward.

“Uh, I’d like to know what’s in the box, if it’s not too much to ask.” My hand snuck up to my hip as my cocky Italian attitude slid into place.

Tall and Curious stiffened at my tone and turned to stare at me. It seemed he wasn’t used to being spoken to in this manner, which wasn’t any big surprise. Women tend to respond differently to men in uniform, especially a man such as this luscious creature. Well, not this chick. I teach guys like him all year long and the “I’m so wonderful” thing gets old fast.

“I’ll be sure to let you know, Miss Esposito. If we have any questions, you’ll hear from us right away.”

I gawked a moment and my eyes narrowed. His opened wide in contrast and he waited, his body tense. Maybe he thought I’d pitch myself off the steps onto his perfectly toned frame and pummel the daylights out of him or something. It was a thought, but I really wanted to know what was in the package. Besides, his muscles were bigger than mine.

In an effort to change tactics rather than be handcuffed and dragged off to jail, I smiled and spoke in as nice a manner as I could muster.

“I’d appreciate any information you could give me officer, since the package was left in such an alarming way. Should I call headquarters tomorrow?”

His look narrowed. I suspected he was unsure of where this was headed. There was a moment’s hesitation before he answered the question.

“Sure, that would be a good idea.” He gave a nod of the stiff brimmed campaign hat that covered cropped brown hair.

“All right then. I’ll call the colonel first thing.” My voice remained light and sweet, and the smile was charming, at least I hoped it was.

The colonel runs a strict police force and is a tough disciplinarian with an intense dislike for any impropriety, implied or otherwise. I’d gleaned that much from the cops in my criminal justice classes.

A tight lipped smile crossed his face. I figured he couldn’t decide whether I really knew the colonel or if this was a ploy. To be truthful, I lied by omission. I hadn’t said I knew the colonel, I just said I’d give him a call.

“That won’t be necessary ma’am. As soon as there’s any information, I’ll get in touch with you.” With a nod of his head, he turned and left.

Don’t you hate that ma’am thing? It makes me feel old. I know I’m thirty-something, but really.

Bill MacNert stood near the doorway sucking down a sandwich filled with sausage and peppers. My mother had sent the food home with me the day before. The smell of rich tomato sauce and fragrant sausage tantalized my taste buds.

“Guess it wasn’t that serious then?” Slurp noises preceded a sauce blob that dripped down his uniform shirt.

 I glanced at Bill’s shirt, snagged a tissue from my pocket and dabbed at the drip.

“I won’t know until tomorrow, but if I’m the town laughing stock you’re in for it and don’t forget it. By the way, did you leave me any food?” I chuckled at his expression.

Bill’s guilt ridden grin assured me that he hadn’t, but he swore that he had. He handed me the empty plate before he headed toward the fire station. I watched the stethoscope bob up and down from the back pocket of his pants. He trotted up the street, and I felt sure the story would make the rounds since Bill was an avid gossip.

The crowd had dispersed, and I was alone again. Livvy would have had a fit over the whole affair had she been alive, but I figured there was no sense in being stupid. I act that way often enough, thank you.

Mystery still surrounded Livvy’s non-violent death. While the police weren’t forthcoming with information, the state troopers’ attitude on the phone caused me to reconsider the promise to my father to not investigate on my own. I wandered through the house deep in thought over the situation.

Darkness had descended as I headed toward the bedroom. Changing into a t-shirt and boxer briefs, I climbed into bed with a notebook. The troopers’ attitude niggled at me. I leaned back against the pillows scribbling notes about the package delivery. Words ran across the page as the scene and the trooper came to mind. The trooper’s name wasn’t on his badge, but I remembered the badge number.

The pad propped against my knees, my mind drifted over the parcel and the officer’s attitude. Warm hazel green eyes along with the trooper’s cool manner had drawn my interest. It wasn’t really just his bearing that caught my attention either and it was a struggle to stay focused.

Intense eyes sat above a strong, chiseled nose and firm jaw. I sketched the features onto the pad of paper. His lips weren’t thin, not too wide, but just right for kissing. Wondering what it would be like to taste those lips, I gave myself a mental head slap. A cop is the last thing you want or need, my inner voice echoed. This voice always echoed dire warnings through my head. It had a bad habit of doing so at the worst possible moment. Just stay focused on Livvy, I lectured myself.

Snuggled under the lightweight blanket, thoughts about Livvy and our life played in my mind. Muscles relaxed, and I realized I needed to talk to her tomorrow. The graveyard was about two blocks away from the house. I often went to her grave for a conversation when I’d become involved in one issue or another. That’s what my life consisted of, one issue or another. Most of the time the issues were huge, never mundane, not ever.

I sighed, sniffed the sweet summer scents that wafted through the open window and wondered how this summer in Rhode Island would be. The pillow slipped lower and so did I as my mind wandered over life, the package and my aunt.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

As a humorous, cozy mystery writer, J.M. adds a touch of romance to every story. She believes in fairies, doesn't believe in coincidence, and feels life is what you make it. Believe in yourself and look at the positive, not the negative, to bring about success. AND. . .never stop trying.

J.M. lives in rural New England with her husband and two very mysterious cats


Twitter: mycozymystery


Buy Link:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Compulsion Review


Author: Meyer Levin
Publisher: Carroll and Graf Publishers
American release date: April 1996
Format/Genre/Length: Novel/Psychological Thriller/412 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: NR
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

At the time, it was touted as the crime of the century. In 1924, a child named Bobby Franks was kidnapped and held for ransom. His family was a wealthy one, and willing to pay what it would take to have Bobby returned unharmed. But even before the final ransom arrangements were made, Bobby was already dead. What was even more shocking was the identity of his killers—two young men, both geniuses, both born into privilege and wealth, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. Their story has been fictionalized and told in this novel by Meyer Levin.

In this retelling of their story, Leopold and Loeb become Judd Steiner and Artie Straus. They are both boy geniuses, and at the tender ages of seventeen and eighteen had already graduated from college. Compulsion is narrated by reporter Sid Silver, who is a fictionalized version of author Meyer Levin, who actually knew Leopold and Loeb. It begins with Sid accidentally being drawn into the case of the kidnapped boy, and follows the story through what was called the Trial of the Century,  when Steiner and Straus’s parents paid for the best legal defense money could buy, in the form of Jonathan Wilk (in real life, Clarence Darrow).

Prior to reading the novel, I’d known about the case for a long time, having an acute interest in murder, and especially in famous murders in history. But I’d never read much about it, and had thought it wasn’t a very interesting story.

How very wrong I was.

From the beginning of the novel, I found myself riveted by this tale. Levin brought to bear both his knowledge of the young men and his skills as a storyteller to weave a fascinating indepth psychological study of the two young men who killed Bobby Franks as nothing more than an intellectual exercise. We follow them as they make their ransom demands, despite the fact that Bobby is already dead, meticulously planning every step so that nothing can go wrong. When Bobby’s body is discovered before the ransom is delivered, things start to go wrong, but even so, they are sure that nobody can trace the crime back to them. Very cocksure they are. So much that Artie sticks his nose into the investigation, constantly demanding to know what’s going on.  And while Artie swaggers and postures, Judd begins an odd sort of relationship with Sid’s girlfriend.

Ultimately, Judd and Artie are caught and they confess and are put on trial, which is when the parents arrange for Wilk to defend them. Not to free them, but to fight for their lives. Everyone expects them to plead insanity, but Wilk doesn’t go that route. He doesn’t want to have a jury trial, calculates that he has a better chance of convincing one man—the judge—that these young men deserve to live, rather than twelve. If he declares them insane, then it automatically becomes a matter for the jury.

I was riveted from the start by their story. What was especially considered shocking at the time in which this took place was the relationship between Judd and Artie, who were not just best friends, but lovers. Homosexuality was far from accepted then and there. So much so that the boys were forced to hide their relationship in order to avoid the censure of their families as well as their friends, and society as a whole. One time they were caught together in flagrante, and the boy who caught them told, which was particularly hard on them. Their parents separated them. From that time, they made a pact between them concerning their relationship and knew they had to hide it.

At first, once the truth of their relationship came to light after the confession to the crime, everyone assumed that Judd was the mastermind, that he called the shots between them, but this was far from the case. Judd was the follower, Artie the leader. It was Artie that actually killed the boy, and not the first time he’d committed such a crime. That being the case, one has to wonder if these two had not become such fast friends, introduced by their families because each was a bit of a loner and they had a great deal in common, would Bobby Franks have been allowed to live a long and natural life?  We’ll never know.

I also have to wonder if Judd and Artie were not forced to hide their relationship, if they could have been open about it, and not subject to societal scorn and derisions, perhaps they could have channeled their energies into more productive outlets.

I was especially drawn to Judd, for he is undoubtedly the more sympathetic of the two boys. Left to his own devices, I don’t think he would have gotten into trouble. He was an avid birdwatcher, and actually discovered a species believed to be extinct. But the combination of these two boys, who were so advanced for their ages intellectually yet not so much emotionally, was a dangerous one. If it’s possible to fall in love with a fictional character, I fell for Judd/Nathan Leopold.

In school, both Judd and Artie studied Nietszche, and I can see where they came to embody his philosophy of the Superman—one who is so knowledgeable concerning life and people that he is above ordinary laws, because he knows what is best. I think Judd and Artie saw themselves in the same way. They bore no animosity toward Bobby Frank. In fact, it was dumb luck that he was chosen to be their victim.

There is so much depth to this novel. I loved it from beginning to end. Watching Jonathan Wilk/Clarence Darrow defend them was amazing. This was his last big case, and he went out with a bang.

The real Artie Straus/Richard Loeb was killed in prison in 1936. Judd/Nathan Leopold was paroled in 1958, and went on to marry and move to Puerto Rico, where he died in 1971. A visitor to his home remarked on the fact that there was a very prominent picture of Richard Loeb there. That speaks volumes to me.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sexy Snippets #8: Starry Starry Night (a Stan and Ollie WIP)

Happy Sunday and welcome to another sexy snippet. Today's snippet is coming from a WIP featuring Stan and Ollie, two characters I introduced in my Wednesday flash. This story takes place before that one, and will be the first book in the Dead Vibrations series.

Stan is a police offer who lives with his sister Gwin in the house that was once their mother's. Gwin is a big believer in helping people, and brings Ollie home to stay, along with his cat, Xylina. Stan isn't exactly thrilled... but as this scene shows, he isn't exactly unhappy either, when he and Ollie sort of bump into each other in the dining room.  Enjoy!

Zing! A jolt of electricity… or something… surges between us, producing a vibration similar to the feeling I experienced before but intensified a millionfold. I am literally shocked dumb and I can’t do anything but stand there like an idiot. Then the sensation passes and I shake myself back into some sort of sensibility.

For some reason, my sister’s still talking. And she gives no indication that she’s noticed anything strange. Not so the stranger. His grin is even more beautiful… I mean annoying… self-satisfied… sensual… I mean patronizing…


Let me show you what Stan and Ollie look like to me.

This is Stan Lawrence.

And this is Ollie.

Have a great day! And don't forget to visit the rest of those who are participating. You can find them here.

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Sexy Saturday #3: The Belgian Chocolate Remedy

Welcome to another My Sexy Saturday. I'm taking today's excerpt from my short story The Belgian Chocolate Remedy. The story is set in Lafayette, Indiana, where my daughter Katie lives. It's about not letting the things that happen get you down, and always remembering to live. Jesse was dumped by his lover, and has no interest in much of anything, so he goes to Lafayette at his friend Reggie's command. Milan is a chocolatier, left alone in Lafayette after a personal tragedy, and feeling unsure of the future and his ability to cope with it. Reggie has introduced the two, as she and Jesse work to help Milan prepare his candy for Lafayette's Pridefest. But Reggie is called away, leaving the two alone.

“This is your place, right?” Jesse encompassed the kitchen with his glance. He couldn’t help but feel a lot of love had gone into making this room the place it was. More than a kitchen, it was Milan’s haven.

“It is, yes. Mine.”

“When are you going to open, then? Reggie said you were going to open your candy store after Outfest, right?”

Milan paused in the act of retrieving a container of raisins from the refrigerator. It was a legitimate question. It’s what businesspeople did—they opened for business. So why was he so hesitant to set a date? Maybe because he didn’t see it ever happening without Ludolf’s guidance.

“I do not know,” he mumbled, setting the bowl on the table, not meeting Jesse’s eyes. “There is work that needs to be done, construction work and…and licenses…and I do not know what, I mean I just do not know…”

Jesse reached out his hand without thinking, but Milan had already turned away. Jesse’s heart ached for the other man—he sounded so alone, so lost. Jesse wanted to gather him up in his arms, comfort him, soothe him, stop his tears, and end his pain. And yes, he wanted to get naked with him, too—to touch him, feel him, and lose himself in Milan. He wanted to taste his lips and take away his misery.

His feet moved as though his thoughts had manifested themselves into action. His fingers brushed across the top of the table as he edged around it, toward Milan. He had no clear purpose, he simply needed to be closer to him. 

Blurb:  Milan, a Belgian chocolatier, has lost his beloved brother. Yet life goes on, and he must ready his booth for Outfest—Ludolf would have wanted him to carry on. Jesse is a rudderless soul, unable to cope with the rejection of his lover. He comes to Lafayette, Indiana at the request of his best friend, Reggie. She inveigles him into helping her friend Milan… a way to pass the time, or something more?

The Belgian Chocolate Remedy is available at MuseitUp Publishing, Amazon, and ARe.  Now, don't forget to follow the rest of the hop here!

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie