CFO’s Affair (Rocking Summer Romances) by Tina Gayle

CFO Affair

Sylvia is a woman who has allowed life to beat her down. After the sudden death of her husband and the shock of discovering his secret, she reclaims herself by losing weight, then daring to try something new.



The door clicked open.

Wrapping his hand around the handle to keep from reaching for her, Vince Wilshire shoved the door wide. “Are you ready for this?”

Her face mere inches from his, he noticed a brief flash of panic in her eyes before Sylvia Donovan lifted her chin and stepped through the entrance. “Nothing I haven’t seen before. Or probably won’t see again.”

He understood she meant the task of doing a job, but for some reason his brain registered the sexual implications of the comment. “Oh, man, you’re brutal. Some things you know get better with age.”

Matching his steps to hers, he wrapped an arm around her shoulder and leaned in close. He whispered beside her ear, “It’s all a matter of knowing how to use what you’ve got.”

She shrugged and shifted away from him, eyeing him with a raised brow. “Yes and some people are amateurs, Mr. Wilshire. You, I take it, are an old pro who knows how to wield your sword with the best of them.”

Laughter bubbled up into his throat. He marveled at her sassy tone and didn’t relinquish his grip. “I must admit I’m very good at a few chosen tasks.”


CFO’s Affair by Tina Gayle



– How long did it take to write the book, Tina?

– Six months.

– Got a writing routine? Did you need to do any research?

– I work eight to ten hours a day. My writing schedule is to write three to four hours at the beginning of the day. Then I log onto the internet and write up blogs, twits, handle marketing demands and check email. In the afternoon, I return to my writing and edit my manuscript. The main research I did for the book involved blood types .

– What would you say’s the main thing you’re offering readers in CFO’s Affair?

-The joy of letting go of the past and moving on to the future.

– Speaking from experience (wink wink!)?

– I am. From a different context, but yes, I’m speaking from experience.


Lori’s Redemption (Rocking Summer Romances) by Pamela Thibodeaux

Loris Redemption

Lori Strickland has always been known as her father’s “wild child” with no desire to change until she meets ex-bull-rider-turned-preacher Rafe Judson. Her attempts to change her wanton ways come to naught until she realizes redemption only comes with true repentance.



Lori headed toward Recluse, Wyoming after another round of rodeos where the cash and prizes vaulted her to the next level of achievement. She hadn’t thought of Rafe in months. Hadn’t allowed herself to think of him, and wouldn’t indulge in useless fantasies now.

She’d made peace with the fact she was nothing more than a bad seed and there was no way around it. Oh she tried to be good. She stayed out of the bars for weeks on end, attended the prayer services before or after each rodeo when available, even visited with a group of supposedly devout believers who traveled a state-wide circuit within the national itinerary, but nothing seemed to help or make an impact on her life. Nor had she found the support she’d hoped for, only judgment and criticism. Answers to her questions only incited debates until she was scorned for her doubt and unbelief or shunned completely. Maverick was right when he said there was no in between and since she couldn’t succeed at being good, Lori figured she’d be bad.

Just as she had all of her life.

More than once she thought about calling Stanley or Amber or even Lexie for counsel, but was too ashamed to admit the total mess her life was in. She even considered quitting. Just give up and go home. But she was too close to making pro status, too close to the culmination of the dream that began in her heart nearly four years ago.

A dream she once thought came as a directive from God.

Now, she knew better.

God didn’t give success to losers; the devil lured them into it then left them to their own devices no matter how hard they tried to be good. Besides, even at her best, there was no way she’d ever be good enough for a preacher.



Goodness gracious: there are enough teases in there to keep me up all night, thinking. ‘There’s no in between’. I disagree. It’s all the smart Alecs convinced they’re on the right side of the fence, all that smugness and condemning that puts me off that lot in the first place. It’s faith, right? Not knowledge. You don’t know a thing. Lori’s full of doubt, but man oh man, she’s got guts. Doubt and fear: don’t mix them up.  Then: no way round being a bad seed? If she really believed that, why bother trying to be(come) good? Why try out-cunning your nature? I mean; if humans were not open, even susceptible, to change, then why the hell travel all around the globe meddling with other people’s cultures and mindsets with the promise to convert ‘bad’ seed to good?

God won’t give success to losers? Hang on: what was that about the first being last and vice versa? Is there a verse or two ripped out of the Bible I was given for my  Communion?

Me, I like my women ‘wild’. The only men who don’t are those who’re not up to scratch. Dinner party once. This loud-mouthed, pompous git to my right condescended to say: ‘my wife’s not the romantic type’. She shot straight back: ‘not with you, darling, but you’ll be astonished just how romantic I can be with a real man between my thighs’. Not a peep from him for the rest of the evening. And I gave her leg a squeeze under the tablecloth whilst the clattering of cutlery covered up the scene for a second or two. Don’t think they’re together any more.

Don’t know why women turn to the church. Don’t know what they can get out of it. Can’t imagine anything worse than being a vicar’s wife. More goodness than can ever be healthy for you. Having said that, I knew one who would beat his wife. Didn’t stop him from trying to correct us sinners from his pulpit. Strick (as in Strickland, as in Lori Strickland, our heroine) means noose in German. Just in passing.

I trust Pamela Thibodeaux to not let churchiness get the better of her heroine. I trust her to get closer to the truth. I can’t know, but I believe! (sorry, couldn’t resist that one!)


Lori’s Redemption, by Pamela Thibodeaux. Available at:

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Humming Birds

I don’t think I’m going too far by putting this exquisite story up there along with Steinbeck and Faulkner. Humming Birds, by Amy Jo Sprague


“Amy, you’re gonna get it,” Nikki tells me.  I’m hiding between the lilac bushes, Barbie’s head in my hand.  It’s our weekend at our father’s house.
“What’d you use?”
“Daddy John’s knife.”  I’m not afraid.  My father is harmless, even almost afraid of us.  It’s my stepfather I’m scared of.
“I’m telling!” And off she runs toward the farmhouse.  I fish for the knife in the pocket of my dirty overalls and slice at Barbie’s pretty blue eyes so they open.  I sit and poke little holes where her pupils are and then I saw at her ratty hair.  I lick my bottom lip, almost got it.  A pleasure fills me.

“Amy!  You get in here!”  It’s Grandma Helen, I can see her wiping her hands on her apron through the lilac branches.  The white house is blinding but filthy.  The shutters are falling off.  My Uncle Bob saunters up the dirt driveway and tosses a beer can near my hiding spot.  He doesn’t see me, I breathe.  His hands, I don’t like his hands.
I wait for him to get to the porch before I emerge.  I stuff the knife in my pocket and leave Barbie behind.
“Amy what are you doing?  Give your daddy his knife back, you don’t belong with that.  Come in it’s lunch time.”  I race up the stairs and into the kitchen where Grandpa Leo sits in his brown leather chair that spins and spins when you lay across it.  He’s next to the window, above the lilac bushes, watching the humming bird feeder as usual, sipping his Old Style.  I know it’s time to be a little more civilized so I toss the knife on the table and take my seat.  Nikki and Jodie are already eating their Spaghettios from the chipped blue China dishes I always loved to look at.
The kitchen is a dismal yellow place with large wooden silverware hanging on the walls.  There’s dishes and beer cans and paper bags all over.  The floor is a brown linoleum that slants down into the next room where grandma’s organ sits.  My sisters and I sing church hymnals with her on Sundays.  There are old jelly jars all over, filled with old fashioned candy, and lilacs fill white bubbly vases.  The floor then rolls into the dark living room.  On my tricycle I barely have to pedal around the rooms.  Grandpa’s torn, black leather chair sits in the corner against the gray paneling.  The first time he gave me a sip of his beer I was sitting on his lap in that chair, picking at the white stuffing coming out of the arm.
Daddy John walks into the kitchen on his long, faded denim legs.  He wears one of three shirts, this one the brown and white plaid one with the pretty white metal buttons.  He sits down at the little table and opens another beer.
“Jesus Christ, John.  You’re good for nothin’.  Good for nothing.  You got three babies here and alls you do is sit around and drink, piss your life away, can’t hold a job.  You’re a miserable failure dammit.”  My dad’s head bows a little and he’s quiet.  Grandpa shakes his bald head and Daddy John looks at us and looks away.  We smile and eat in the silence.  As I get up to go outside, I reach across and can barely reach the knife but I do, and I slide it towards Daddy John and say sorry.  He pinches my cheek.

Outside we race for the huge apple trees.  The pink blossoms fall across the yard like snow and if you stand beneath the two of them, they arch over you and it’s like being in one of those snow globes.  The swing Daddy John built is a board on one piece of rope.  Nikki gets there first and Daddy John comes out to push her.  I climb the tree, up the nailed-in boards my cousins pounded in for steps.  Fat bumble bees buzz all about in the pink honeysuckle fragrance.

“Daddy John, Daddy John, when’s it my turn?” Jodie and I take turns asking.  For the first and last time I see my father get angry.
“I’m not ‘Daddy John’ I’m your daddy!  He can’t take my place with you’s!” and just like that he stormed off into the field where the hay bales dot the horizon.

It’s getting dark and grandma tells Daddy John to put us in the tub.  All three of us strip down, shameless with the door wide open.  Daddy John, filling the tub, sees us and blushes, looking away.  He gets up and says, “Okay, okay you’s (he always calls us ‘you’s’), wash up,,” and he leaves, too embarrassed to stay, so grandma comes in to wash our hair.  She calls salt, pepper, and paprika because of our blond, brunette, and red hair.  It’s different at mom and Scott’s house, where we’re ashamed.
We march up the nappy green stairs to the room we share with our father.  It’s divided in two by an orange afghan. We crawl up into the high double bed we share, Jodie in the middle because she’s the smallest and might fall out.  It’s dark up here and my pajamas are still clinging to my wet body.  Daddy John kisses us good night saying “I love you’s” and he walks toward the light in the door and descends the creaky stairs.  I watch him disappear and then my eyes get caught, as they do every weekend I’m here, on the haunting picture of The Last Supper.  There are golds and silvers and glittery greens in it and it and it shimmers somehow, in the dark.  I stare at it, somewhat afraid and I don’t know why the terror, until I doze off.


Rogue’s Hostage (Rocking Summer Romances) by Linda McLaughlin


His hostage…

In 1758 the Pennsylvania frontier is wild, primitive and dangerous, where safety often lies at the end of a gun. Mara Dupré’s life crumbles when a French and Indian war party attacks her cabin, kills her husband, and takes her captive. Marching through the wilderness strengthens her resolve to flee, but she doesn’t count on her captor teaching her the meaning of courage and the tempting call of desire.

Her destiny…

French lieutenant Jacques Corbeau’s desire for his captive threatens what little honor he has left. But when Mara desperately offers herself to him in exchange for her freedom, he finds the strength to refuse and reclaims his lost self-respect. As the shadows of his past catch up to him, Jacques realizes that Mara, despite the odds, is the one true key to reclaiming his soul and banishing his past misdeeds forever.



Holding the towel to his shoulder, he walked over and stood by the bed to check on the woman, who was still in a faint. Despite her pallor, he noted that her skin was fine, her nose straight and thin. She had a lower lip just full enough to entice a man to taste it, and a stubborn chin that dared him to try. Under different circumstances….

She was perhaps not as lovely as he’d thought when he first saw her standing in the clearing—her hair, the color of corn silk, shining in the sunlight. Still, she was tall and fair, with slender curves and shapely ankles visible beneath the short skirts of a farm wife.

And now she was a widow. He stared down at the woman and silently vowed to see that no more innocents died today.

The woman gave a soft moan and opened her eyes. When she spotted him, she shrank back against the wall, arms folded defensively across her breast. His gut tightened. He didn’t enjoy terrifying women, but fear should make her easier to control. She had already proven unpredictable.

Terror, stark and vivid, glittered in her eyes. “Who are you?”

“My name is Jacques Corbeau, lieutenant in the army of France. And you are my captive.”

* * *

Mara inhaled sharply, panic building inside her. This couldn’t be real. It was all a bad dream. She would wake up soon and tell Emile about it, and they would laugh. And laugh and laugh and… She swallowed the hysteria engulfing her.

“Madame, are you listening to me?”

The Frenchman’s voice, sharp and insistent, demanded her attention. “There is not much time. My companions are not patient men. We must leave soon, but first I want you to bind my shoulder. Where do you keep bandages?”

Her mouth and throat were dry when she swallowed, but she choked out an answer. “The trunk. Under the bed.”

He squatted beside the bed, pulled out the trunk and rummaged through it. She watched his every move, unable to take her eyes off him, alarmed by the physical threat he represented.

He was a tall man who dominated the cabin as Emile never had, and his state of undress revealed nearly every inch of his lean and powerful form. Not only was he bare to the waist, but his breechclout and leggings failed to completely cover his thighs and buttocks. He had a wide-shouldered, rangy body and long, sinewy legs. He looked strong, virile, and infinitely dangerous.

A cold knot formed in Mara’s stomach. The French had killed her father and now her husband. What would they do to her?

She wrapped her arms around her waist. Her grandfather would say whatever happened was God’s will, but she rejected that idea. What kind of God allowed such awful things to happen?

Fearfully, she watched as the Frenchman shoved the trunk back under the bed and stood. He held out the bandages, and she froze. She couldn’t touch him, she just couldn’t.

The man’s heavy black brows drew together in a fierce frown, but his voice was without emotion. “Madame, I am all that stands between you and the men who killed your husband. I can be persuaded to act as your protector. It is to your advantage to do what I command.”


(Previously published by Amber Quill Press)



Fear should make her easier to control… How’s that for a fine definition of society, 1758 and beyond! She covers up her breasts, but of course she must know that by putting her hands there in the first place that’s precisely where his gaze will follow. Me? I’m a buttock man. I don’t care about your boobs; big boobs are for slobs anyway. Know a lot of guys go for blondes. I’ve had my fair share myself, but given a choice; redheads. Bet you didn’t know that women taste differently depending on the (natural) colour of their hair. That’s a fact Jacques Corbeau will or won’t find out, depending on how experienced he is. What else? And what could be the misdeed that’s had him on the run from himself till then? Wouldn’t be fair if I gave too much away…


Available at:



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Thought out. Fought back

We all have the answers to our questions, tho questions should not be confused with problems.

Problem: how sure are you that you’re asking the right questions?

If you’ve never asked the question, I guess you’ll never know…



JBS thinking in Berlin b:w(J.B.Simon by P.I. Copyright © 2014)


‘This is quite simply one of the most extraordinary and brilliant books I have ever read. Dark, disturbing, and forensically brilliant at dissecting twenty-first century sexuality. It has everything Anais Nin and Brett Easton Ellis have, wrapped up in the same incredible package.’

‘This goes beyond erotica, beyond the culturally censurable. It is sheer beauty as was Henry Miller at his most liberated.’

I don’t know what tablets you’re taking, but do, please, keep taking them. They seem to be working wonders. If you can get them on the NHS, please let me know.’

‘a D.H. Lawrence type moment.’


Count yourself lucky

Emily Thompson, Rose to her friends, emigrates from Jamaica to the Motherland, England, in search of a better life. James Dunbar. London lad. Jack is what he answers to. Picking his way through the muckier incidents of life, he consoles himself that things will get better. They happen to meet at a bus-stop, Emily and Jack.

Long Time Walk on Water; a tale of how the humble live whilst waiting for their dreams to come true.


“When did she go, then?”

“Oh, she left just before I got home from work yesterday. I dunno wot the hell she’s playing at.”

“Wot is it with you young people, James?” She had given him such a nice name; James Dunbar, she couldn’t bear the way he let everyone call him Jack, as though he were a commoner.  Or somefing. “I ask myself why you young people can’t get your act together, eh? I’m sure I don’t know.”

“Mum, you gonna stay wivva kids this evening till I get home from work, or ain’t ya?”

“Someone around here has to have a sense a duty…”

“See you this evening then. Oh, and mum-” quick peck on the cheek, “Taa.”

Nana Irene lived a few streets away in the upper half of a maisonette, although she had submitted numerous applications to the council’s housing agency to get them to move her down. On account of her legs, but that stupid young thing at the desk seemed more interested in her nails than in Irene Dunbar and tried to give her the impression she was being ungrateful. “I ain’t looking for charity!” Irene had tapped on the counter, indignantly. “My husband’s fought in two world wars and I’ve brought up four respectable kids, so I’ll not ’ave you reduce me to begging, you silly little tart, wot I want is my fair due!” But Irene had given in now. The only way she would be coming out of that maisonette was feet first. That’s how grateful society is. Do your duty, then they treat you like a sponger. The only ones to ever show any appreciation were the grand-children, Irene smiled as Nina and Ben pressed themselves lovingly against her, delighted by her surprise visit.

“You doing well at school, Ben?”

“Course I am!”

“And you, Nina, d’you like going a school now n having lots of boys and girls to play wiv?”

“Yeah!” Nina sing-songed. She liked to wear her hair in pigtails when she went to school.

“That’s good to hear! Now, go n put your clothes on then come n watch telly with Nana, okay?”

The pair pounded up the stairs to their bedroom, where there was a wardrobe for the two of them, a bunk bed squeezed in behind the door, and the table Monica had put by the window. For homework. Monica had likewise submitted several applications to the council’s housing agency, but the council said; two kids in a two-bedroomed flat? And both parents earning? Count yourself lucky.


            The phone booths were always pissy round here, and the doors too heavy to be kept ajar with your heel. Monica had to leave her overnight bag:

a pair of slippers

a hairbrush

two pairs of nylon tights

a bundle of underwear (her best ones)

a dress (she was wearing one already)

a skirt

two tops

a photo of the children in their school uniform

another one of the two, taken by the door-to-door photographer in August

outside on the pavement. She dialled the number; had wanted to laugh, to sound carefree, yet no sooner had the receiver been picked up at the other end, then shame, rage, helplessness and all sorts of other vehemently felt inarticulations raced in a salty flow from her eyes and nose, so that all she could splutter was Thanks, she knew she could count on her. Wot? Oh, just a couple o days, she said.


‘The most beautiful writing I have ever read.‘   (Christiane S, France)

‘Words dance, breathe, rejoice, titillate, pulsate, quiver in this brilliantly crafted volume of what may be her best-loved novel. Couldn’t put it down.’ (Amazon)

‘when I fell into an armchair at my gran’s place after work, in her over-heated, over-furnished council house where the telly was almost always on, and in between my gran would tell stories, I started looking at her anew. I discovered a singer. I looked closer. Saw the warrior. Looked closer still, and there she was; the heroine. Once she told me about this Englishman at the bus-stop, she was convinced he fancied her. It was out of the question. Of course. Me nevva even look at him twice, she told me. She never mentioned it again, either, and that would normally have been the end of it, had my mind not seized upon the potential of a Rose Thompson, Emily to her friends, and a James Dunbar (they call him Jack, from the 7th floor), unimpeded by the values transmitted by their respective cultural backgrounds. Long Time Walk on Water was born.’ (Joan Barbara Simon, interviewed by Lucy Walton for Female First)

Long Time Walk on Water, available at:

Waterstones    Barnes & Noble   The Book Depository   Smashwords

Amazon US   Amazon UK   Amazon France    Amazon Germany

The Visionary (Rocking Summer Romances) by Pamela Thibodeaux

Pamela S. Thibodeaux. Inspirational with an edge. Love the twist she gives to faith by taking passion into account. Like it so much, in fact, that I couldn’t get enough of her. I’ll be sharing three of her works with you as part of Rocking Summer Romances blog hop. First work: The Visionary. I’ll kindly ignore that close-up on the cover which makes me think of Jehovah Witnesses; smiley happy people who always:

  • turn up as a twin pack 
  • seem to have the better arguments up their sleeve

Give Pam a chance; don’t jump to conclusions. Now I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: me and the church? Tricky. With more like Pam around, things’d be better. More honest. Maybe ‘twist’ is the wrong word for what Pam does. More like: straightening out. More like:

noluckwiththefu@…: Sex is God-given, ladies!

flow.tite.ange@…: Hush! You can’t sit down God next to sex like that, makes people nervous!

noluckwiththefu@…: Well, it’s God-given, I don’t give a damn, and the fact that we all have trouble acceptin it don’t make it any less true. I swear, it was not God’s intention for us all to be like Mary, an if it was, a mean an ugly God he would be. (from Mut@tus)

Now, I know Pam will insist that the passion she writes about goes far deeper than sex, it’s a spiritually-inspired love manifesting itself in union, or at times a sinister, forbidden longing. I get you, Pam, but you get Tatar too, right? I know you do. You smell the perfume in your own way… Glad you do. Glad you dare.

Now back to the book:

‘A visionary is someone who sees into the future. Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as “a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique”, Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that’s disturbingly prevalent in today’s society. Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives?’



“Thank you for taking such good care of me.”

“I’m not through yet,” he mumbled, then slid off the couch and swung her up in his arms.

Fear snuck in, darkening her eyes. She stiffened and opened her mouth to protest. He brushed his lips over hers and silenced her objections.

“I just want to hold you,” he whispered and laid his forehead against hers. “That’s all. I promise,” he added, unable to camouflage the need in his voice.


He’d offered her another step to relinquish her fear and trust him. Triumph lit his expressive eyes when she wrapped her arm around his neck, smiled, and whispered, “Okay,” then snuggled her face against his shoulder and let him carry her to the bedroom.

With exquisite tenderness, he laid her on the bed, crawled up beside her, and took her in his arms. Taylor felt the strength of his need in the heat and tensed against the hardness of his body. He eased his grip and propped up on one elbow beside her. His eyes pleaded for grace when he stroked the hair off her face and said in a soft, husky voice, “Please don’t be afraid of me; please trust me. I will never force or even persuade you to give more than you’re ready to.”

They gazed at each other for a long, tender moment. She cupped his cheek in her hand, brushed her thumb over his mouth, then curled her fingers in his hair and urged his head down to fasten her lips to his. A low moan escaped his throat, yet he held himself taut.

Taylor ran her hand over his shoulder and back in a soft caress then wrapped her arms around his waist. “Hold me, Alex, I trust you.”

The emotions reflected in his tone caressed her heart when he thanked her in that beautiful velvety-rough voice. He rolled onto his back, pulled the covers over her, and held her while she slept.

 The Visionary


Someone I don’t like too much said at least one thing that stuck: civilization is built up on a renunciation of instinct… Someone else I dislike less said where there’s desire, the power relation is already present.  To which I’ll add; where there’s power, there’s struggle… and I’ll second someone else who saw sexuality as a dense transfer point (of power). Not that I’m trying to join the league of  great thinkers, I’m just saying honest reflection will take you to interesting places. Whether we focus on what’s done or desired, there can be nothing reproachable in my search for love and knowledge of myself. We even have the green light from the bloody Bible! And as for God’s forgiveness, course he’ll forgive. He has to. Forgive us our trespasses and all that. God’s an act, not merely a thought. Surely? Besides, the act Pam describes here’s not unforgivable (and even if it were. What’s the point in only forgiving what’s forgivable in the first place? It’s the rest that counts, or should, if the thought is to become an act. I mean, a sincere one. Shouldn’t it?) Loads more to say on the subject.  I’ll be back. By popular demand. Seems loads of you’ve been missing me after all. I  knew you would. Well, I’m back. Pam’ll be back. You’ll be back. Tatar.


The Visionary by award-winning Christian novelist, Pamela Thibodeaux. “Steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Available at:

Amazon    Create Space    Barnes & Noble    Nook    Smashwords  Deeper Shopping


also as hardback:

The Visionary by Pamela Thibodeaux

Hard Core: Min(e/d)

BROSNAN Forming Trust

Chains, now, there’s a topic for a prolonged conversation…

Yes, I’m into chains – more mental ones than real – and you are wrong to think that writing fiction does not enslave, does not shackle. It most certainly does, in no less a pleasurable/excruciating way. The one freedom it accords us is the liberty not to set our thoughts within the comparative contexts of other thinkers/scholars with a view to elaborating an argument. Writing fiction is my ‘self-inflicted pleasure’. You know of the risk/rupture/latent stress entailed in the move from one developmental stage to another, and echoed in the notion of growing pains. I find this risk, this danger, this pain, exhilarating, and yes, erotic, so that I must return to it again and again. It is a form of bondage…

I cannot tell you how hard it is to write the things I write. The battle as I wrench myself from my old developmental level; from received social, sexual, linguistic codes, propounding, instead, forging, instead, a new order; the move to Level 2. (…) but I shall have to ruminate further about the nature and purpose of the chains involved in both my writing activities. Right now, I’m just putting my nose to the idea. The few pages which comprise Papermate , for example, exacted as much discipline from me as any chapter in my doctoral thesis, that much is sure. My fiction is crafted, and crafts must bow to rules of harmony, stability; they should delight with a surprise, with insight, taking you further, as much as any (good) scientific paper. The melody, however, is another.
No idea of a title yet, but something will come to me. Now the fun and turmoil starts. I can already feel the clay under my nails, the spattered thoughts which must be tamed and brought into unison. I can feel this thing growing in me, compelling my thoughts back to it, and I anticipate with relish the ecstatic pain that is the price I must pay for daring to bring something beautiful to life.


(from my private correspondence with one of the few men who have had a brief impact on me. Illustration: Forming Trust, reproduced with the kind permission of Naomi Brosnan )


Morning’s Journey by Kim Headlee

The second half of my double feature on award-winning author, Kim Headlee, presents her story Morning’s Journey, a further title in her Arthurian series. Here’s what it’s about:

In a violent age when enemies besiege Brydein and alliances shift as swiftly as the wind, stand two remarkable leaders: the Caledonian warrior-queen Gyanhumara and her consort, Arthur the Pendragon. Their fiery love is tempered only by their conviction to forge unity between their disparate peoples. Arthur and Gyan must create an impenetrable front to protect Brydein and Caledonia from land-lusting Saxons and the marauding Angli raiders who may be massing forces in the east, near Arthur’s sister and those he has sworn to protect.

But their biggest threat is an enemy within: Urien, Arthur’s rival and the man Gyan was treaty-bound to marry until she broke that promise for Arthur’s love. When Urien becomes chieftain of his clan, his increase in wealth and power is matched only by the magnitude of his hatred of Arthur and Gyan—and his threat to their infant son.

Morning’s Journey, sequel to the critically acclaimed Dawnflight, propels the reader from the heights of triumph to the depths of despair, through the struggles of some of the most fascinating characters in all of Arthurian literature. Those struggles are exacerbated by the characters’ own flawed choices. Gyan and Arthur must learn that while extending forgiveness to others may be difficult, forgiveness of self is the most excruciating—yet ultimately the most healing—step of the entire journey.




THE CLASH OF arms resounds in the torchlit corridor. Blood oozes where leather has yielded to the bite of steel, yet both sweating, panting warriors refuse to relent.

Her heart thundering, Gyan grips her sword’s hilt, desperate to help the man she loves. Caledonach law forbids it.

Urien makes a low lunge. As Arthur tries to whirl clear, the blade tears a gash in his shield-side thigh. The injured leg collapses, and Arthur drops to one knee. Crowing triumphantly, Urien raises his sword for the deathblow.

Devil take the law!

Gyan springs to block the stroke. Its force jars her arms and twists the hilt in her grasp. She barely holds on through the searing pain.

Urien slips past her guard to slice at her brooch. The gold dragon clatters to the floor. Her cloak slithers to her ankles, fouling her stance. As she tries to kick free, Urien grabs her braid, jerks up her head, and kisses her, hard. Shock loosens her grip. Her sword falls. She thrashes and writhes, but he holds her fast, smirking lewdly.

“You are mine, Pictish whore.”

Urien’s breath reeks of ale and evil promises. She spits in his face. He slaps her. She reels backward, her cheek burning. He grabs her forearms and yanks her close.

“Artyr, help me!”

No response.

Her spirits plummet. Weaponless, she can do nothing—wait. A glint catches her eye.

When Urien kisses her again, she surrenders. He grunts his pleasure, redoubling the force of the kiss. Slowly, she works her hands over his chest until her left hand touches cold bronze on his shoulder. She snatches the brooch and rips it free, hoping to stab him with the pin.

Her elation vanishes with her balance as her tangled cloak thwarts her plans. Face contorted with rage, Urien lunges and catches her wrist. She grits her teeth as his fingers dig in to make her drop the brooch. Pain shoots up her arm. She pushes away. Together, they fall—


Gyan gasped and sat bolt upright, pulse hammering. Sweat plastered her hair to her head, which felt like the ball in an all-night game of buill-coise. Bed linens ensnared her legs.

Fingers grazed her shoulder. She recoiled and cocked a fist. Her consort ducked behind his hand. “Easy, Gyan!” She relaxed, and he wrapped his arm about her. “What’s wrong?”

She pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes. “A dream,” she replied, hoping that for once he’d be satisfied with a vague answer.

“Some dream.”

She sighed. “It was the fight—and yet not the fight.” Gently, she traced the thin red line at the base of his neck where she’d scratched him with Caleberyllus to seal his Oath of Fealty to her and to her clan. But dreams cared naught for oaths. “This time, Urien won.”

Arthur grimaced. “That’s no dream.” He hugged her, and she burrowed into his embrace. “I’d call it a nightmare.”

“Ha.” She bent forward to disengage the linens from her feet. The unyielding fabric ignited her ire. She pounded the straw-stuffed mattress, furious at Urien and even more furious at herself for allowing him to creep into her wedding chamber, if only in spirit. “Why must that cù-puc keep coming between us?” She gazed at the table where Braonshaffir, named for the egg-size sapphire that crowned its hilt, lay sheathed inside its etched bronze scabbard beside Caleberyllus. Indulging in the fantasy of her new sword shearing through Urien’s neck, she bared her teeth in a fierce grin. “Just let him cross me openly, and by the One God, I’ll settle this matter!”

Arthur’s warm sigh ruffled her hair. Together they righted the linens, but when she would have risen, he clasped her hands and regarded her earnestly. “I can’t afford to lose either of you.”

She looked at those hands, young and yet already scarred and callused by years of war: hands that cradled the future of Breatein. “I know.” Briefly, she squeezed his hands, hoping to convey her desire to help him forge unity among his people, the Breatanaich, as well as with Caledonaich, her countrymen.

One legion soldier in five called the northwestern Breatanach territory of Dailriata home, and one in three of those men hailed from Urien’s own Clan Móran. In a duel between Gyan and Urien, Arthur’s Dailriatanach alliance would die regardless of the victor.

If politics ever failed to constrain the Urien of the waking world, however, she couldn’t guarantee that diplomacy would govern her response.

She averted her gaze again to the table where their arms and adornments lay. Their dragon cloak-pins sparked a memory. Something else had been odd about that dream, but its details had receded like the morning tide. She couldn’t decide whether to be troubled or relieved.

Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply, trying to purge Urien map Dumarec from her mind. Moist pressure against her lips announced her consort’s plans. She welcomed his kiss and deepened it. He ran his fingers through her unbraided hair, following the tresses down her neck and over her breasts. Her nipples firmed under his touch. She arched back, and he kissed his way down to one breast, then the other, drawing the nipples forth even farther and awakening the exquisite ache in her banasròn.

The swelling shaft of sunlight heralded a reminder of their duties.

“The cavalry games will be starting soon, mo laochan.” No other man had earned the Caledonaiche endearment from her, and none ever would. Her “little champion” bore her down onto the pillows, and his lips interrupted any other comment she might have made. As they explored the curve of her throat, she whispered, “We must make an appearance.”

“We will, Gyan.” His fingertips teased her banasròn, discovering its damp readiness. “Eventually.”

She stilled his hand. He looked at her, puzzled.

Being àrd-banoigin obligated her to ensure her clan’s future by bearing heirs, but was she ready to abandon the warrior’s path and devote her life to a bairn? She gave a mental shrug. A swift calculation assured her that her courses would return soon, leaving the question to be faced another day. Smiling, she began caressing one of the reasons he’d earned “laochan” as an endearment.

He cupped her face and kissed her, urgency for both of them soaring on the wings of desire. His thigh rubbed hers with slow, firm strokes. Gyanhumara nic Hymar, Chieftainess of Clan Argyll of Caledon, yielded to her consort’s unspoken command. She opened to him, and he plunged her into their sacred realm of mind-blanking bliss.

Whenever Arthur map Uther, Pendragon of Breatein, issued an order, on the battlefield or off, only a fool disobeyed.



For more about Kim:

Kim is a Seattle native and a direct descendent of 20th-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim’s novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband’s ancestor, the 7th-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.

For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her new imprint, Pendragon Cove Press. She also writes romantic historical fiction under the pseudonym Kimberly Iverson.


Q: Among those that you’ve written, which is your favorite book and why?

A: King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court (ebook edition forthcoming in November 2014; fully illustrated print edition November 2015), hands down. In 2007, when my (now ex) literary agent sent a blanket message to his client list stating that he had met a publisher who was actively seeking sequels to 19th-century authors’ works, I got the green light to develop a sequel to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, providing that I updated my story for the 21st century. Which I did, in spades, and dove right in. After about 50 pages, however, the thought hit me: who did I think I was, trying to emulate Mark Twain, for heaven’s sake? That single doubt stopped me…for three years. Not just that project, either, but all of my fiction projects. If “writer’s block” has a dictionary entry, there’s where you’ll find my picture. Finally, in early 2010, I exercised (literally—treadmill, Wii Fit, etc.) my way out of my depression, strapped on a pair, decided that with my background and talent, I might be the only one alive who could pull this off, and finished the first draft. It became the single most important project for me to reclaim my writing mojo, because if I could write this, I could write anything.


Insider info:

When working on her Arthurian series (Dawnflight, Morning’s Journey, etc.), the Scottish Gaelic-English dictionary is Kim’s go-to reference for developing character names, endearments, epithets, etc.

Keep up with Kim:

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For more of Morning’s Journey:

Amazon Kindle US  Amazon Paperback US  iTunes  —  Barnes & Noble print and Noon ebook editions   BooksAMillion paperback  Createspace  Draft2Digital    Kobo ebook  — SmashwordsSony ebook  

Further English-language ebook editions Smashwords;

Amazon Canada  Amazon UK  Amazon Australia Amazon Germany  .Amazon France Amazon Spain .Amazon Italy Amazon Japan .Amazon India Amazon Brazil Amazon for ordering personally autographed print copies from Kim Headlee.

For Morning’s Journey social media links:

Goodreads   —  YouTube

For The Colour of Vengeance, a short story excerpted from Morning’s Journey:

as audiobook on Audible —  Amazon —  Kindle Select eBook