It’s cold and rainy here…how about a hot cowboy to warm you up?
Which is sexier? A man in a suit, or a man getting out of it?
I began working from home when my youngest child was in Kindergarten. That meant I had at least four hours a day to work uninterrupted. The following year, he was in school for seven hours. That gave me seven hours to work. Not to mention that most of my work was done in the early morning, before my kids rose from bed. I was a fitness instructor and taught class at 5 a.m. By the time I returned home after class, it was exactly the hour my husband was getting up to wake them for school. It went on this way for three years.
When we moved and I began writing full time, my youngest was years older, my oldest in high school. They had become self-sufficient enough that I didn’t have to follow them around constantly. Sure, I still had the same chores to accomplish (cleaning house, cooking, shopping, chauffer, etc) but my kids no longer interrupted my phone calls with pleas for a snack. They no longer needed my help with homework.
Now, I am approaching the time of empty-nesting. My youngest is sixteen and with his friends as often as he is home. I have one in college, six hours away, and one getting ready to graduate and move out on his own. I should have all the time in the world to work, to write and lose myself in plotting, marketing and creating. So, why do I seem to have less?
I have always empathized with mothers trying to write with young children home. I read posts from my author friends who are just starting out their families. I can’t even imagine trying to write when there is that cute, snuggly little face curled up against my chest, sleeping so soundly. I can’t even imagine being forced to explain to a three-year-old that you can’t play blocks, or watch Doc McStuffins because you’re on deadline. But, I am beginning to understand the struggle a bit better. You see, my home situation has changed in the past two weeks.
While I do have older children who should be able to take care of themselves, let’s be real…these are teen boys. I’m lucky if their laundry doesn’t stalk me down the hall, walking on its own, begging to be washed. I’m lucky if they know we have a dishwasher, let alone how to use it. And, when they are home, it’s loud. If you’ve ever had boys close in age, you can imagine what teen boys do. I listen for hours on end to what I believe is literally the apocalypse over my head as these two wrestle (or argue) over the stupidest things. With them home on weekends, unless they’ve headed out with friends, I am getting next to no work done.
Which leaves me with the weekdays. Like most people, I should be able to get my job accomplished with a five-day work week, right? That might be true, if I didn’t have a husband working an alternate schedule – off on Tues/Wed. Of course, I want a successful marriage which includes time with my husband. And, while he’s extremely supportive, it usually equates to me taking at least one of his days off to spend time with him. But four days…I can get it all done in four days, right?
Until he informed me that he will, for a time, be working from home as well one day a week. While he means well, he often interrupts while I’m working. Always being courteous – do I need anything? Am I thirsty? Hungry? Need anything from the store? But these are all questions asked fifteen minutes apart, one every hour. I exaggerate…or do I?
All right, so he’s home three days a week now. That still leaves me with Friday and Monday to work…right? I should be able to write books on those two days, right? Like the overachiever I am, I decided to throw a puppy into the mix. And not a 12-week-old, nearly-potty-trained puppy. Nope, not me! Let’s bring home a baby. One who is so cuddly and wants to be held (and I can’t say no to that snuggly, sweet face!). One who needs to be potty-trained (do they make dog-diapers this small?) One who begs me to get on the floor and play with him (and, yes, he actually DOES watch television…he loves football and M.A.S.H.)
Yes, I know a puppy isn’t exactly the same as a baby (but, closer than some might think!) but my entire point in this is to remind those moms, trying desperately to write from home with kids clinging to their legs, to just hang in there. It will change. It will get better, and worse. It will get easier, and harder. Life is in a constant state of flux so just do your best and forget the judgmental “super-mom” who seems to have it all together. She isn’t trying to write a best-seller! You do what you can and enjoy the life you have…it’s the only way to keep your sanity. Well, that and lots of coffee/wine/chocolate.
We could use some of this sun here in a very wet California
Today’s the day! DARING TO FALL is finally here! I’m so excited for my readers to meet Ben and Emma! So, as a thank you (or to tease you), here’s an excerpt you won’t find anywhere but in the book (and on my blog):
What the hell are you doing?
The logical side of Emma’s brain was practically screaming at her, but she didn’t care. When she’d turned and felt Ben McQuaid pressed against her from shoulder to knee, her bones had turned to gelatin, leaving her a quivering, hungry, mess of yearning. The man was solid muscle, and it had been pure torture watching him clean pens all morning, every movement causing the flesh to ripple and flex deliciously. She might have given him a filthy job, but it hadn’t compared to how dirty her thoughts had been as she eyed every chiseled inch of him, like living stone-carved perfection.
To be completely honest, she’d been fantasizing about him from the first time she’d seen him getting out of the truck with the box in his hands, but the more time she spent with him, the more she realized it wasn’t just a physical attraction. The man was as inept with the animals as he was charming, but he had a way of making her feel heard, of getting her to open up and feel safe, even in her vulnerabilities. She’d already confessed more to him than she had to anyone, even her father, especially about her doubts in her own capabilities.
Her fingers brushed over the nape of his neck, his short hair bristling across her palms deliciously as his lips moved over hers and she opened beneath his seeking touch, sending spirals of heat to curl low in her belly, making her entire body tremble. She rose on her toes to better access his mouth and nearly moaned as her breasts brushed against the wall of his chest. He caught her sigh in his kiss and Emma swept her tongue into his mouth. Ben leaned into her, his presence surrounding her completely.
Without thinking, just knowing she wanted—needed—to be closer, Emma barely separated from him long enough to hop up on the kitchen counter, putting her face at the same level as his, even if her butt was only halfway on the counter.
“There,” she whispered on a sigh, fusing their mouths again, wrapping her calves around his hips, her heels locking around that tempting ass of his.
Emma dragged him as close as she could, her thighs clasping his body, and felt the heat explode in her core where they were only separated by the thin barrier of their clothing. Her heart beat faster than she’d ever imagined possible. Faster than the first time she’d worked with a timber wolf, harder than the time a bull elephant had charged her at the park. Ben McQuaid affected her in a way that no burst of adrenaline ever had.
His hands slid from the counter to grip the side of her hips. It wasn’t enough. She wanted to feel them move over her, under her shirt, against her bare skin. She wanted him to touch her, to be able to touch him, and to let this unexplainable maelstrom of desire engulf them both. Emma arched her back, pressing against the wall of his chest. Her body ached for more, demanding release, and she could feel the heat of his body where she burned the hottest.
His fingers clenched slightly, digging into the denim at her hips but, other than that small movement, he seemed relaxed, almost as if he was merely tolerating her kiss. Realization struck her hard, like a kick she’d received once from a donkey but twice as painful, because this time the sting was coupled with embarrassment. It flooded through her making the back of her neck prickle, burning her cheeks, nearly as hot as the lust still circling through her lower body. Emma drew back but avoided looking at him, not wanting to see passive indifference in his gaze while she was still reeling with the intensity of her reaction to him.
“Is that how you thank all of your volunteers for cleaning cages?” Ben slid his finger under her chin and lifted her face, forcing her to look at him and see that cocky smirk. “Or am I just one of the lucky ones?”
His gaze was dark with a lazy amusement. There was nothing to indicate he shared the same urgent hunger she felt.
Ben’s gaze slid over her face, lingering for a moment on her mouth before he inhaled deeply, cocking his head to one side, as if she was a puzzle he was trying to solve. “You’re almost as wild as those animals of yours.”
Emma’s stomach did a flip before it sank to her toes. In fact, the way he said it sounded more like an insult than an innocent observation.
Wild, impulsive, brash, daring . . . she’d had them all linked to her in one way or another during her lifetime. She didn’t usually mind since, in her line of work, she needed to be all of them at times. But she wasn’t stupid, and she usually didn’t rush headlong into a situation without considering the consequences, not like this. Not anymore. It was that balance that kept her and her staff safe.
But somehow, Ben made her undeniably aware, and for the first time she understood the meaning of “animal attraction.” Even now, with her pride stinging, she still had the urge to rip his shirt off and lick the well-defined abs still pressed against her. But, obviously, the feeling wasn’t mutual and she wasn’t about to make a complete idiot out of herself. Once a day was the limit for her own stupidity.
Emma had two choices: either continue to blush furiously and let him know the depths of her embarrassment, or brush it off as no big deal, pretending he didn’t affect her in the slightest. It was a no-brainer, although she could still feel her cheeks burning.
Sliding off the counter, letting her body brush slowly against the front of him, Emma deliberately tried to get some reaction from him while ignoring the electric shock waves the contact set off in her own body, turning too many parts liquid.
She lifted his arm from the counter and reached for the glasses, brushing past him and giving him a quick shrug. “Eh, it’s out of my system.”