"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hiya Honey!

Where do I begin? Both of these recipes became quick favorites and neither takes much prep time. One, I followed to the letter. Well, as much as I ever do. You see, unless you're baking, the science of cooking is inexact, so your grandmother's "a little of this, a little of that" is completely valid, and pretty much an accurate summation for a recipe.

Anyhow, the first recipe I followed closely, but the second went right out the window.

Each of these recipes is yummy on its own, but because they both contain a fair amount of honey, they also pair well.

This fantabulous creation is my favorite slow cooker main dish to date. While I followed the base recipe for the sauce quite closely, I chose to use boneless chicken breasts (2 1/2 lbs.) instead of pork. Yes, this would make an amazing pork roast, or ribs, or butt. But I also knew, just from the ingredients that it would make fabulous chicken breast, or wings, or thighs.

I did serve it, as suggested, with mashed potatoes, but I did not thicken the gravy. Instead, I chose to just leave the sauce as loose as it came out of the pot. (I'm not so big on gravy.) I will warn you, the measurement for the basil sounds like a ton, but it was perfect. And I think I'd rather serve this with a brown rice pilaf than potatoes. (I promise I will eventually get around to posting that recipe.)

This is definitely one of those go to entrees for any time of year. There's no standing over a stove and no turning on the oven during those hot summer months. But it's also great as part of a stick to your ribs winter meal. I matched it with the cold broccoli salad below, but it would be great with oven roasted root vegetables as well.
original recipe and photo from everybodylikessandwiches.com

Many moons (nearly twenty years) ago, on my very first trip to Florida, I was dragged on a grocery shopping excursion to WalMart. It was there that I first tried the deliciousness that is broccoli slaw. Yes, the ability of southern chefs to turn virtually any vegetable into a "slaw" astounds me, but I've learned to trust them thanks to this one. It was amazing!

I enjoyed it so much that when I moved to the southwest, one of the first things I did during my first excursion to WalMart was stop at the deli counter and purchase two pounds of the stuff. Then I began scanning recipes on Pinterest to try and find a broccoli slaw that could duplicate it. Alas, I failed to find an exact copy, but thanks to this recipe, I was able to adapt one to fit my own taste and I happen to love it.

Don't get me wrong, this one is terrific, but I prefer the one I use because it's quicker, kind of a cheat, actually. My dressing is based on this recipe, and any other ingredients I use come out of "a little of this, a little of that"-type experimentation.

Quick Broccoli Salad

Chopping an entire head of raw broccoli is a royal pain. Also, blanching your broccoli for this recipe rather than serving it raw is a good idea unless you have time to let it sit overnight so it can soften a bit. That said, I do neither. I buy the chopped, frozen broccoli and thaw it. The texture is perfect and the broccoli is already washed, blanched, and chopped for you.

I also make a ton at once because it seems no matter how much I make, it's not enough. (I actually double this recipe if I plan to take it anywhere even though it's already about doubled from the original.) I like to have this all on its own. It makes a great lunch, but it's also a terrific side dish any time of year. And it's a novel substitute for a basic garden salad.

for the dressing:
1 (6 oz) container of plain Greek yogurt (or about 3/4 cup of homemade)
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c honey
few dashes of Tabasco to taste

for the salad:
2 (14-16 oz) bags of chopped frozen broccoli
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 c of roasted, unsalted, chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds
1/4 c dried cranberries or raisins (or both)
1/4 c unsalted sunflower kernels
2-4 strips of bacon, cooked until crisp, and chopped or crumbled (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients
Add salad ingredients and fold together until evenly mixed
Let sit in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight
Make sure the broccoli is fully thawed before serving

If you're not using bacon, you may want to add a pinch of salt to the dressing before you add the salad ingredients.

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Close to You by Toni Lee

Seriously, I never expected this whole summer reading series to become a thing. It was supposed to be one post and that was that. But it's gotten enough hits that I'm guessing you all actually WANT to read these first chapters. So I will continue to oblige this week with a completely new name and voice.

Enter Toni Lee, a new client who lives in Sussex. (That's in England, ya'll.) She's writing her first novel in six installments and releasing it as a serial. So far, I like it, so give her a chance. Besides, the first installment will be free on Amazon Monday and Tuesday, August 26 and 27, 2013. After that, it will be just 99 cents. Eventually, we will publish the entire serial as one book. I promise to keep you posted.


Things had been better. Scarlet picked through the clothes on the floor to find something that wasn't either screwed up, wrinkled as a dishrag, or in need of a wash.

It was true she'd not caught up with her laundry lately (or her ironing for that matter) but she'd not had the spare change to feed the machines at the LAUNDROMAT down the street. When it came down to eating or doing the laundry, having a nice fresh top to wear out for the night was the least of her priorities.

But tonight was different.

She needed it. Scarlet had rinsed the last dregs from her bank account, collecting together what she needed for one final night out. A blow out. It'd be head down, back to finding a job after that. No more wild nights.

It's what she swore to herself every time, without fail.

Knuckle down, save the pennies, get herself back out of the red. The negative balance on her overdraft was like red quicksand. Once you got stuck in there, it was nigh impossible to pull yourself back out.

But at least she'd have tonight, and she'd forget all her problems and worries for a couple of hours. At least that was the plan, and it was one she intended to stick to.

"Ah! There you are!" she said happily as she found a white dress, with the tag still on, that was bundled inside a market bag. Something she'd got from a second hand shop and chucked under the bed. It'd never been worn, and she'd managed to get it at an absolute bargain price. Scarlet got up, held the dress out in front of her in admiration. "Finally, something goes my way."

Scarlet checked the clock, then got in the shower with the bathroom door wide open. She had the stereo going full pelt in the living room, blasting tunes by the Black Eyed Peas, heavy with base. She lathered her body with soap, shaved her legs and washed her hair. She felt renewed, refreshed, and reinvigorated.

"The three r's," she said to herself as she switched the shower back off and stepped out onto a towel. Scarlet wrapped another towel around herself and sang along to the music pouring out of the stereo as she got ready.

The apartment was only a one bedroom but she still seemed to struggle in keeping it clean and tidy. Maybe it just wasn't in her nature to be domesticated like that. Some women were just born to be mothers. They were literally mothering, stay-at-home material.

Scarlet knew she was far from the obedient housewife type, and was under no illusions that that would ever be the case, either. She lived for the night too much. For going out, drinking and dancing. Occasionally picking up a man and letting herself go, along with her clothes and underwear.

That was what she liked. Sometimes there was nothing better than pulling some random in a bar or club and enjoying a good fuck. No entanglements, no expectations of anything other than what was on offer.


Scarlet sat on the edge of her bed, reapplying the nail polish to her toes.

Three months ago she'd lost her cosy job as a receptionist at a dentist's and she'd struggled to find something -- anything -- to replace it. Now the last of her savings had fizzled away like flat lemonade and a kind of creeping panic had set in.

How will I eat? How will I pay the electric bill? How will I afford to go out?

Maybe tonight's a bad idea, she allowed herself to consider for a moment before pushing the thought aside.

No, I need this more than I care to admit.

Scarlet used her blow drier to dry her toenails then went to work on her hair, in front of the tall mirror that stood on the floor by the foot of the bed, leant back against the wall. No time to find a hammer and nail to hang it with. She brushed her locks through then straightened them, pleased as ever with her ability to make her hair look fabulous with a little work. Her silky chestnut bangs fell past her shoulders. She'd never been tempted to cut them.

Scarlet checked the clock again. Already the light was fading out in the street.

Better get my arse in gear, she told herself as she slipped into her panties. She always had clean underwear. You didn't need a laundrette for cleaning those. That's what sinks were for.

I'm a mess, she thought to herself as she surveyed the state of her apartment. The clutter and mess everywhere. It wasn't filthy in there, nothing like that. But it was an obsessive-compulsive's worst nightmare.

Scarlet looked at herself in the mirror. Slim physique, not one pound heavier than she had been at eighteen . . . and that was ten years ago. Her breasts were always her best asset. Not too big, not too small. Just slightly larger than a man's hand. She'd always been pretty and aging hadn't yet diminished her looks at all. She'd been lucky, really. When she ran across old school friends in the street, she was always amazed at how aged and weathered they looked.

No I'm not a mess, she corrected herself. The apartment is. Me? I'm one hot piece of arse.

That made her laugh out loud. She grabbed the white dress and pulled the tag free from the label at the back. Usually she'd be going out with her friends, or at the very least, meeting them somewhere. But not tonight. This one was a solo mission, no wing-mate. Not even her best friend James.

"Just you and me tonight, baby," she said to the dress. "And we're gonna do some damage."

Now we really are done. Next week, I promise, you will have a special surprise in the form of a new, free, crochet pattern I've designed specifically for the Blog Collection. It will be free here for the life of the blog, but it will also appear in my next crochet book.

Happy Summer Reading!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Safe With Me by Shaina Richmond

This book still stands, a year later, as the longest I've ever edited. It's also still a favorite. You see, before I was Shaina's editor, I was a fan. So it only stands to reason that if I'm going to post the first chapters of my favorite summer reads, Safe With Me should be included.

The story of Tyler and Susie hits home in many ways, and I believe the reason it has become so popular is that everyone who reads it can find a character with whom they can identify.

Yes, it's quite erotic and definitely not suitable for anyone under the age of eighteen, but it's also a compelling drama that is terrific for an extended vacation.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I watched her walk into the coffee shop. I didn’t know the pretty blonde’s name but I was sure we had a few classes together.

As she walked to the counter a strap of her backpack caught the top of her T-shirt, pulling the material tight against her left breast. It lifted her shirt, showing a little of her soft stomach. She stopped walking and stood still as she yanked the bottom of her T-shirt back down to her waist. Her left hand tugged vigorously at the backpack. I heard her groan as the strap stayed in place, holding her plump breast captive.

I chuckled as I took a sip of my iced tea. After I’d spent the past half hour studying the not-so-exciting world of municipal bond markets, watching my classmate’s struggle provided a welcomed distraction.

My eyes focused on the gorgeous breast twenty feet in front of me. It was covered by a thin, pink cotton T-shirt that did nothing to hide the firmness of her nipple. The white hoodie she wore didn’t look heavy enough to keep her warm in the chilly autumn air.

Should I try to help her? Surely I was strong enough to loosen that stubborn backpack. And, in doing so, I could make a clever comment about how cold it must be outside for her nipple to get so hard. She’d laugh and toss her head back. Her long blond hair would fall off her shoulders onto her back in slow motion. Thankful for my help, she’d lift up her shirt to give me a better look at her tits before I rip her clothes off and throw her down on the dirty hardwood floor.

Shit, I gotta stop watching so much porn. My cock tightened against my zipper. I shifted my weight in my chair, trying to move things around without being obvious.

Finally, her backpack let go of her shirt. She shook her head and walked toward the counter, carrying the backpack on her arm like a purse. 

“You all right?” The barista chuckled. “Havin’ some trouble today?”

She smiled. “Yes, actually. It’s been one heck of a day already.”

He leered at her as she read the menu on the wall.

“I’ll have a large iced latte,” she said.

“You want whipped cream? It doesn’t come with it but I’ll give it to you anyway,” he said.

Does he really think that’s impressive?

“Aw, that’s so sweet of you,” she said.

“No problem.” He gave her a dorky smile. “What’s your name?”


“I’m Greg. Nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you, too.” She smiled at Greg, then slung her backpack over her right shoulder and walked away from the counter, stopping a few feet from my table.

I saw her scanning the room, biting her lower lip. I turned around in my chair to assess the seating situation. I hoped she needed to prepare for the next day’s test in Finance 202 so I could invite her to sit with me without looking desperate. I imagined her tits accidentally brushing against me as we huddled together to discuss our questions. Maybe I could reach across her for a pen as her hard nipples casually dig into my arm…

I felt my cock push against my zipper.

“Susie! Iced latte!”

“Thanks, hon.”

She gave Greg a little wave and another smile and picked up her drink. I glanced at the table to my right and saw a guy lean forward in his chair, watching her intently as she stepped away from the counter.

I knew it was time for me to pounce before the other guy could offer her a seat. I waved. “Need a place to sit?”

She turned to me, her head tilted to the side. “Yeah. Do I know you?”

I extended my hand and rose slightly from my chair. “Tyler Campbell.” It took all of my effort not to stare at her chest as I introduced myself.

“Susanna Lombardi.” Her hand felt cold from being outside but her skin was soft. I gently moved my arm up and down to see if her tits would bounce a little as we shook hands. They did. I’m evil.

“Lombardi? You don’t look Italian.” Shit, my flirting skills are rusty.

“Yeah, I get that a lot,” she said. Her voice was low for a woman, with a hint of a Southern accent.

She sat down across from me and put her backpack on the table. While she busied herself pulling out books, I spent a moment studying her.

Her T-shirt fit loosely, showing supple, milky white skin down to the top of ample cleavage. I imagined those huge breasts attached to her soft, plump body, bouncing up and down on top of me.

My eyes went from her breasts to her face as she continued. “I know I’m too light to look Italian. A lot of people think I’m nuts for not trying to be darker. But I don’t wanna look like a leather purse when I’m thirty.”

“There’s nothing wrong with your paleness,” I said. “You shouldn’t try to change the way you are. It’s very nice.” I wanted to pay her another compliment but I was too distracted by my visualization of her soft, naked body and the thought of my tongue gliding across her hard nipple. I couldn’t remember another time when I’d been so flustered by perverted thoughts of a beautiful woman I’d just met.

“That’s sweet of you. But it’s easy for you to say. Tans are favored in this college town.” I could see straight down her shirt when she leaned across the table, casually laying her forearm across mine. “See the difference? You make me look like a ghost.”

After a few seconds she drew her arm back as if nothing had happened. I hope I don’t have to stand up for a while. I hadn’t gotten hard in public since the tenth grade.

I’d never been so attracted to a girl who looked like her before. Skinny brunettes with dark complexions usually caught my eye but I couldn’t remember reacting to any woman like I had the curvy blonde sitting across from me. 

Susie took a long look at my hair. “I love your hair. It’s so healthy it makes me sick. You don’t see many long-haired guys around here.”

My hair was long but not quite halfway down my back. I wore it down that day instead of my usual ponytail.

“I’m Indian,” I said. “Uh, I mean, American Indian, mostly. My mom is half Indian and half something else. We’re not sure what.”

She laughed, to which I responded with nervous chuckling. Damn, I need to be careful before I say something really stupid. I picked up my iced tea and took a drink, trying to get my thoughts in order.

“Well, Tyler, whatever genes your mother gave you, they’ve made you very handsome.” Without pause, and without eye contact, she changed the subject. “So, are you studying for the test in McCray’s class tomorrow?”

I wondered if I should respond to her compliment. I decided not to, considering how quickly she’d moved on. But at least I knew what she thought of my looks.

“Yes. You?” I asked.

“Yes. I should’ve studied more for the last one. I won’t be caught off guard this time. He’s tricky but as long as you work through the examples in the book, his tests are no big deal.” She paused to drink her frozen coffee before continuing. “I did that for the first test and got a 98. I got a 90 last time because I was lazy. Don’t spend too much time on the lecture notes.”

“That’s good to know. I’ve gotten a 92 and an 84 so far. Maybe we could go through the examples together?” I asked.

“Yes! I’d love that.” Her gray-blue eyes widened.

The way she smiled and responded to my unusually dorky conversation made me breathe a little easier. “So,” I asked. “You said your name’s Susanna, but I heard you tell Greg at the counter that your name is Susie. Which do you prefer?”

“I don’t care, really. Susie’s fine. But it sounds like a little girl’s name. Call me whichever one you want. I just ask that you pick one and stick with it. I’m like a trained dog. If I get used to your voice calling me Susie, I won’t know who you’re talking to if you call me Susanna.”

I laughed.

“I’m serious.” She giggled. “I’m such a weirdo. Some people call me both. So, you can call me either one but make sure to use them equally or I’ll get really confused.”

I smiled, knowing I was already developing a serious crush.

We opened our books to discuss the text. In less than an hour I’d moved to the chair on her left. I made it look innocent enough, like I just wanted to be close enough to compare my work with hers, side by side. My arm brushed against her breasts a couple times. I was sure she hadn’t noticed.

Our conversation deviated from the books in front of us quite a bit as the hours flew by. She immediately recognized a line from one of my favorite movies when I quoted it, leading to a long discussion of obscure movies we both liked that most of our friends hated. That led to a discussion of TV, then video games. I’d never met a girl before who liked video games as much as I did. I was usually afraid to tell girls I’d spent a year of my life addicted to an online role-playing game but she admitted to playing the same game. She shook her head and blushed when I tried to get her to admit just how long she played.

Susie was so very different from the boring girls I’d met since I transferred for summer school in May. She was quirky and interesting. Talking with her was easy, like catching up with an old friend. It would’ve been even easier if I could’ve controlled my thoughts of ripping her clothes off.

Greg’s shift ended at eight o’clock. I knew because at approximately one minute after eight, he plunked a frozen latte down in front of her.

“It’s on the house. And it’s decaf. Want you to be able to sleep tonight.” He winked.

Yeah, I bet you do.

“Wow, thank you. I love the customer service here.” She smiled and picked up her free drink. “I’ll be back.”

“Good. I’ll be here.”

And then he left. Damn, I thought. Blond hair and big boobs will get you a lot of free things in life. “Does that kind of thing happen to you a lot?” I asked.

“What?” She asked as she placed the straw in her mouth to drink from Greg’s frozen decaf cup of desperation.

Why did she have to put her lips on that straw while she was looking me in the eye? I almost lost my train of thought. “Oh, please. You know what I’m talking about,” I said.

“No, not a lot. But I like to be nice to people. I believe you reap what you sow. Kindness goes a long way.”

So do blond hair and big boobs! Not to mention her plump lips, skin like a porcelain doll, and a deep, sexy voice that could make serious money in the business of phone sex. Everything about her drove me crazy. I was glad the table covered my lap.

After about nine o’clock we stopped trying to steer the conversation back to the finance test. Instead, we bounced between more important topics such as how much we both hated the color yellow, we both preferred snakes to spiders, and the fact that we each had Facebook accounts we barely used because we hated drama.

She went on to ask about my family and their ties to the reservation. I gave her the whole story about my grandmother leaving to ‘marry a white man,’ as Grandma had recounted to me many times. After hearing my own voice for longer than I felt was necessary, I told her we didn’t have to talk about it anymore but she begged me to go on, her eyes wide as she listened. I forgot what I was talking about more than once as my eyes wandered to her lips, and occasionally further down her body.

I tried to hide my disappointment when I looked at my watch to see both hands pointing at twelve. The hours had flown by like seconds. I had to think of ways to see her again. Maybe she could use a study partner? Was it desperate if I asked for her number? 

“I had a great time studying with you, Susie.”

“Me too, Tyler. I can’t believe it’s already midnight.”

We stood outside the coffee shop. Her gorgeous pale skin glowed in the light of the full moon. I wondered if she would think it was weird if I hugged her goodbye. I was desperate to know how her fleshy body would feel against mine. Fuck, I also wanted to feel it under me and on top of me and in positions I’d only seen online. Maybe I could give her a ride home? It wasn’t safe for her to walk alone. Besides, I also wanted to know where she lived. Maybe next time we could study at her place. Maybe her bedroom. “Do you need a ride home?” I tried not to sound too hopeful.

“I usually take the Drunk Bus from the Rec center a few blocks away,” she said.

Ah, the Drunk Bus. A University method of transporting students between facilities late at night to cut down on drunk driving. I’d been warned to stay away from it unless I wanted vomit all over my clothes.

“My car’s right here.” I gestured toward the parking lot. “Why don’t I drive you instead?”

“Are you sure? The bus goes to Bailey Hall and I usually just walk a few blocks home from there.”

“A pretty girl like you shouldn’t be out walking alone at night. Come on, let me drive. I insist.”

She grinned. “Okay. If you insist.”

I smiled and started toward the small gravel parking lot next to coffee shop, with her by my side. I said, “Here’s my Cadillac,” when we arrived at my car.

I drove a champagne-colored 1980 Chevy Malibu I’d rebuilt by myself a few years earlier. It wasn’t the sexiest car in the world but I loved it.

“OOh! Is that a Malibu?” Her mouth hung open.

Was she actually excited about this car? “Yes.” I was stunned that she knew what it was.

“I knew someone who had one like this. It’s an 80, 81?”

“Eighty.” I answered.

“It has a lot of power, right? I drove it and loved it. I could outrun anybody on the road. I like a car with power. When I hit the gas, I want it to move.”

Looking back, I’m pretty sure that’s the moment I fell in love with her.

Susie and I got in my car and headed to her place. She made several more compliments about the Malibu, especially when I stepped on the gas. She seemed impressed when I told her I rebuilt the engine myself.

I liked having her next to me. As her sweet, peachy vanilla scent slowly filled the car, my mind wandered. I imagined taking long trips with her, talking, laughing, listening to the radio. Of course, my mini fantasies ended with us in the back seat.

She told me to stop in front of a two-story brick house on Grant Avenue in a quaint little neighborhood. It was different from most of the residential areas close to campus. None of the houses looked like they were ready to fall over from years of too many parties.

“How many roommates do you have?” I asked.

“I live alone.”

“In this huge house?” It was one of the biggest houses on her street. “How’d you manage that?”

“It’s kind of a long story. The short version is: my parents died, and my Aunt Lydia gave me her house a few years ago. She wanted to move out of the country but had sentimental reasons for keeping it in the family. So, instead of selling it, she gave it to me.” She paused to take a breath. “And that’s how I ended up in Lockwood.”

“Wow. I’m really sorry about your parents.”

“It’s okay. Don’t feel bad for me. I’ve had it pretty good. I actually lived here for a little while with my aunt when I was a teenager. I was glad she gave me the house.” She reached for the door handle. “I’d invite you in but it’s so late. I’m sure you need to go home.”

“I’m really not tired. I probably won’t go to bed for a few hours. My first class isn’t till eleven-thirty tomorrow.” Please take the hint, please take the hint…

She stuck her lower lip out while she pondered the idea. Her soft, moist, sexy lip… “All right,” she said, “then come on in.”

I wondered if she would’ve asked me to come in if she knew what kind of thoughts I’d had about her all day. I couldn’t believe what I was thinking. I was always the good guy. Always. I was the guy who waited to sleep with his girlfriends until they were ready, even if it meant weeks of suffering and frustration. My few experiences with casual sex were big mistakes I had no desire to repeat. But after the hours we’d spent together, I already liked her too much for it to be a casual hookup if something happened. 

I turned off the car and followed her inside. Her house was nice. Not fancy, but modest and comfortable… and enormous. There was a large dining room to the left. To the right, a living room big enough to store the house I grew up in. I followed her to the bottom of the stairs where she stood in one place and gave me an abbreviated tour.

“Help yourself to anything in the kitchen. The bathroom is over there.” She pointed to a door near the stairs. “Sorry, I’m not a great hostess. I’m used to people just helping themselves.”

“It’s fine. I don’t mind helping myself.” I went to the kitchen and opened the fridge. It was stocked full of beer.

“I just had a party last weekend. I don’t know why I bought so much beer. There were three kegs.” She laughed.

“Do you have a lot of parties?”

“Not a whole lot. An average of three a semester, maybe? I’m having another one the Friday night at the end of finals week. You should come. If I’d met you before tonight I would’ve invited you to the one I had on Saturday.”

Shit, I wish I met her sooner.

As I looked around the house I imagined being naked with her, everywhere. Bending her over this chair, throwing her down on that floor. What the hell’s wrong with me tonight? All I could think about was ravaging her all over the house like an animal.

“Oh, before I forget, a bunch of us get together to study almost every day. You can join us if you want. We start out at the student union and then go to somebody’s house, usually mine. I meant to tell you about it before we left the coffee shop.”

“Really? Which people, exactly?” I was a transfer student so I didn’t know that many people. I had pretty much been a loner, aside from my roommates and their friends. Besides that, I was a little bit older than most of the other students. It was their senior year so they were mostly twenty-one or twenty-two. I was about to turn twenty-six. I felt decades older than some of them even though it was only a few years.

“Let me think. Michael Rollins, Jacinda Clay, Corbie Linder, Dan Lafferty, Lisa Yeager,” she paused to think, “a lot of people kind of float in and out. Roger Lee, Kate Burnette, a few others. Oh, and my good friend Joan Melton. We usually start right after class every day.”

“Thanks for inviting me. I just got assigned to a project with Corbie, Dan, and another guy. We’re meeting tomorrow after class to talk about it.”

“I think I’m gonna be there, too. I got assigned to a group with Lisa, Joan, and Chris Noble. Lisa and Corbie thought it might be good if we got our two groups together to talk about what we’re supposed to do, since we don’t seem to have a clue.”

We had just been assigned a management project which wasn’t in the syllabus and the class unanimously decided it was unreasonable, given all the other work the course required. But I found myself pretty happy about it when I realized it’d give me more time with Susie. I was also happy I might finally make some new friends.

It was interesting that she called Joan Melton her ‘good friend.’ My roommate, Caleb, used to see Joan and she’d been over to our house many times. Small world, considering there were about fifteen thousand students enrolled at the University. Joan was a cool person to hang out with and she was also really cute. She hadn’t come over in a couple of months though. I thought it best not to bring up the fact that I knew her, at least not right then. I didn’t want to change the subject or sound like I was interested in her friend. I also didn’t realize Joan was in any of our classes.

“Do your parties get pretty wild? The accounting majors seem like a lively group,” I said.

“Depends on who you ask.” She paused, scratching her head. “Okay, yes, they can get pretty wild. Although, last weekend wasn’t so bad. But I don’t invite as many people anymore because I despise the cleanup. Most people don’t stick around to help. They usually pass out for the night and leave the next day too hung over to help me.”

“How many people passed out and stayed the night last weekend?”

“Only two, which was surprising. Carl Richter and Dan Lafferty.”

I was acquainted with Dan. From the little I knew of him, I had a feeling he had his own reasons for trying to stay over.

I really wanted to know if she was seeing anyone. “Your boyfriend must be pretty cool, to leave you alone in a house with two guys overnight.”

“Oh, I’m pretty sure I don’t have a boyfriend.” She giggled like there was an inside joke.

“Don’t most people know for sure if they have a boyfriend or not? Did you just break up with someone?”

“No. There’s a guy who thinks he’s my boyfriend. Seems like he’s finally given up though. Troy Anders,” she said.

Troy Anders. I recognized the name.

“Why does he think he’s your boyfriend?” I asked.

“You don’t want to know. Trust me.”

“No, I’m curious. I think I know him.” I acted like I wanted to know because I knew Troy. I couldn’t let on about my twinge of jealousy.

Susie took a deep breath. “Well, some people don’t know the difference between a relationship and a fling. That’s all.”

Ah. There’s obviously more to the story. “I see.”

“Does that lower your opinion of me?” she asked.

“No. What you do is your business. But why didn’t you want more than a fling with this guy?”

“I didn’t see the point,” she said.

I got a beer out of the fridge and walked with her into the living room. We sat on opposite ends of the couch and started talking again. I was thrilled that she hadn’t gotten tired of talking, even after nine hours with me.

She seemed genuinely interested by the questions she asked. I told her more about my family than I had at the coffee shop, like how I’d left community college for a few years to help out at home after my dad died. Then I told her about transferring to the University to finish my degree. More than once during the conversation, I imagined throwing her down on the couch.

“So how old are you, Tyler?” she asked.

“Twenty-five. Twenty-six soon.”

“I just turned twenty-five myself. I feel like an old woman around here.”

“You definitely don’t look old. I would’ve thought you were twenty-one if you hadn’t said something.”

“Some of the guys like to make fun of me for it. Especially Dan. I know he thinks he’s being playful but it stings. I’d rather be called just about anything than old. It’s the one thing about myself I can’t change.”

“Twenty-five is not old. Those guys are idiots. But I can relate. I feel ancient compared to some of these people.” It seemed like a good time to pay her a compliment but I couldn’t think of anything that didn’t sound stupid. Something like ‘you look good for your age’ didn’t quite fit the moment.

She was even more beautiful to me as the night went on. I loved the way her lips moved as she spoke, and the way she twirled her long, shiny blond hair in her fingers. I wanted so much to see her naked. The longer we chatted, the worse I felt about it. But after what she said about Troy, I wondered if I should feel so bad. She was very open about herself but I didn’t want to take advantage. And I sure didn’t want to be the next Troy.

“So, I’m still trying to remember if I know Troy.” I was pretty sure I didn’t actually know him but I hoped she’d give me more information.

“He’s tall, really muscular, has blond hair. Played soccer last year. I don’t think he’s playing this year,” she said.

That’s how I know the name. “So, you didn’t like the way he flung you?” I asked, trying to be funny. Hoping she would divulge more information.

She rolled her eyes and took a deep breath. “I guess that’s supposed to be a joke?” She laughed halfheartedly. “I just didn’t want anything serious. It’s how I’m made, I suppose. I mean, we all have needs, right?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Sometimes I think I’m more like a man than most guys. Aren’t men supposed to be the ones who use women then never call them again? I seem to attract these guys who wanna hang around and buy me flowers or something.”

I laughed nervously, trying to hide my disappointment. I figured it was her way of telling me not to get my hopes up about being her boyfriend. Not that I’d really thought “I want to be her boyfriend.” But in the fantasies I’d had all day, she was definitely only with me.

“I’m sure you think I’m terrible. I sound like a slut. And maybe I am, I don’t know.” She paused. “But I’m clean. I just had a physical.”

I burst into laughter. I didn’t expect her to say something so random. I wanted to be disturbed by what she told me about her sexuality but it only made me want to get to know her more. Most girls I knew weren’t so comfortable with themselves. She was honest and unashamed of her identity. It was a huge turn on. But by that point, I think she could’ve picked up the phone book and started reading numbers out loud and it would’ve turned me on.

I also had a feeling the reason these guys always wanted to hang around was because they got a taste of something they liked and they wanted more. That body of hers was probably as much fun as I imagined.

“What?” She laughed. “I sound ridiculous, don’t I?”

“No. I think you just like to do what makes you feel good. So, you might break a soccer player’s heart here or there.”

“Yeah.” She frowned. “I was always honest with him. That’s probably my downfall. I was too honest and I became a challenge.”

I thought about everything she said. She told me she was clean. She was honest about having physical needs. Was this her way of coming on to me? If I made a move on her, I wondered if I would end up staying until the next morning. Unfortunately, I already knew I was capable of feeling something much stronger for her than she might ever feel for me.

She went on with her theory about Troy. “I used to think men only wanted sex and they had no feelings. I’ve realized in the past couple of years men actually do have feelings. We all use each other at some point. We all have needs. Women use men, men use women. Some men are sensitive, some aren’t. It took me years to learn that.”

A thought popped into my mind to tell her I had a physical need for her. Thankfully, I couldn’t get the dorky words to come out of my mouth. One part of me hesitated, but another part of me thought I should live in the moment and try to seduce her. I considered my options as I looked at her pretty face.

She met my gaze, smiling. “What are you thinkin’, Tyler?” Her voice stroked my ears like velvet. Her Southern accent was strong when she said my name…Tah-ler.

I felt shy, which was surprising, considering how aggressive my thoughts were. The only two casual sexual encounters of my past happened when I was drunk with liquid courage. Sitting on a couch, sober, wanting to make a move on a gorgeous woman I’d just met was new for me. I wanted her. I wanted to take her right there on the couch. I wanted to rip her clothes off and run my hands all over her and finally know what she felt like instead of just imagining it. I’d never experienced such a voluptuous woman. She looked like the subject of a Rubenesque painting. When I studied art history several years earlier I didn’t give those women much thought. They looked beautiful in an artistic way but I hadn’t thought about finding a real one of my own. A big part of me simply wanted to bend her over and pound her. I got hard just sitting there looking at her. Her flawless skin, her lips, those tits...

Suddenly, she scooted toward me on the couch. My heart pounded wildly.

She took my hand and gently placed it on her breast. I was in shock at her boldness. We were just having a conversation and suddenly she was beside me, holding my hand against a part of her that had already become very dear to me.

“I couldn’t help noticing today you like to touch these,” she said.

I exhaled. “I thought I was being clever.”

“Oh, you were. Much smoother than most guys.” She nodded.


“Well, Tyler, I had a lot of fun studying with you today.” She laughed in a way that sounded nervous to me. Maybe she was as surprised as I was by how our day ended?

The complete saga is available here.
I smiled. I may have even blushed. I put my arms around her to give her a long hug, enjoying the feel of her soft body against me once more. I kissed her forehead, then her lips. The sight of her standing there with nothing on but a shirt that barely went past her waist was about to get me hard again. I knew I needed to leave or we’d go until the wee hours of the morning and end up sleeping through the finance test.

What was I supposed to say before I left? I wanted to tell her I hope to see her again. I also wanted to thank her for the fantastic sex we’d just had. I couldn’t think of a way to say it all and not sound like another annoying guy who wanted more of her attention. However, there was one thing I knew for certain: I had to get her to be with me, exclusively. And I was already determined to figure out a way to make that happen.

“All right,” I said, loosening my tight grip. “Thanks for giving me a wonderful day.” I would’ve asked to sleep over but she seemed to be shoving me out the door. “I’ll see you tomorrow at the Cellar, right?”

“Yes. I’ll be there,” she said.

“Okay then. I need to go get some sleep.”

“Me too,” she said. Right before I opened the door to leave, she added, “I had a wonderful day with you, too.”

My heart pounded erratically. I already had it so bad for her. Immediately, her words about not wanting anything serious rang loudly in my head. I stepped forward to give her another kiss, much longer this time. I let my arms linger around her back, then reached down to her naked ass. We kissed as my hands lingered there, rubbing and squeezing her fleshy, round cheeks. I couldn’t resist the urge to draw my hand back and give her left cheek a sharp smack. She giggled, then moaned. Note to self: if fortunate enough to be with her again, explore this further.

It was hard to stop kissing her, but I had to go home. I pulled away and gave her one last glance before opening the door to go outside. “See you tomorrow.”

I came home to a quiet house at three o’clock in the morning when my roommates were all asleep. I went straight to bed with nothing but my thoughts to keep me company. I hadn’t really thought about having a girlfriend in a long time. My last serious relationship ended almost a year earlier, but it was over long before without me realizing it. I’d neglected her because I had family issues to deal with. She started seeing someone else and wanted to officially break it off with me. I wasn’t even upset about it when she broke the news.

Women hadn’t been much of a priority to me since my dad died. Settling down and finding the right person were goals I kept in the back of my mind and I assumed they would probably happen…someday. But first, I wanted to finish school and start my own business. I needed to make sure my mom and the rest of my family were well cared for, including my future wife and children. I didn’t want them to be in the situation my family was in when we lost Dad. And sure, I was a man. I thought about women all the time, but they’d been too much effort for me in the past. Occasionally I’d meet girls on campus who piqued my interest. I’d flirt and sometimes even think about pursuing one in particular but my mind always found its way several weeks or months down the road, when she might be upset with me for not paying her enough attention, or not taking her to the right restaurant on Valentine’s Day. Or expect me to drop everything I was doing because she had a bad day and needed me, with no regard to the fact that I have problems too, like getting through college, or making sure my family doesn’t fall apart. Maybe my past girlfriends were too needy. I figured all women were like that.

I’d gotten way into porn as a result. I wouldn’t say I was addicted, but it was there when I needed it. And I needed it often.

I made the mistake of hooking up on two separate occasions in the past year with women I’d just met. One, I’d met at a bar when I was still living at home and helping my family. I went out with friends who were home from college over their Thanksgiving break. I was lonely and I drank too much. I felt terrible about it when I woke up in her bed the next morning. She tried to call me for weeks, even after I told her I didn’t like her that way. I swore it would never happen again. And then, in March, I hooked up with a girl I met at a friend’s party. The fallout was so bad that I tried to put it out of my mind forever. And once again, I swore it was the last time.

Susanna Lombardi had caught me off guard in many ways. She was completely different from anybody I’d ever known, let alone anybody I’d ever been attracted to. She stirred up desires and emotions in me I’d forgotten were there. My mind kept going over the list of things I liked about her. Things that made her stand out from the other girls. I felt like I could talk to her about anything. She listened without judging or giving unnecessary advice. She didn’t seem like she’d be needy in a relationship. Mostly because she said she didn’t even want a relationship.

Shit. There’s the rub. This phenomenal woman steamrolls into my life and she doesn’t want anything serious. At least she says she doesn’t. I had no idea what I was going to do. Now that we’d gotten to know each other--in typical porn star fashion--I would still see her in many of my classes. What if she tries to blow me off? What if I walk around campus with a constant erection because she’s around and I can’t stop thinking about what happened?

Maybe I was overreacting. I had a great time with a great girl. If nothing else, at least I had some amazing memories. Even if I ended up married to someone else, I’d still have the memory of that night of mind-blowing sex, which was probably only a taste of who she was, sexually. Fuck. I have to marry her. This argument with myself did not end the way I’d planned.

I really hoped it would wear off, this euphoria from getting laid for the first time in months. Maybe that’s all this is, I told myself. There’s no reason to worry.

The past few years had been pretty rough on me. Since May, I lived in a house with three other guys and they were always bringing different girls home. That lifestyle didn’t appeal to me but it didn’t mean I couldn’t have some fun once in a while, right? It didn’t make me a “bad guy.” It’s normal college behavior. Part of the college experience. It wasn’t a part I was interested in before but maybe I was warming up to the idea.

As much as I tried to justify it to myself, the reality of the situation was this: I had feelings for someone who could really hurt me. I lay wide awake in bed, staring up at the ceiling for hours. My thoughts only wanted to relive the memories that began when she sat at that table. Talking, studying, laughing, kissing, fucking...she made everything so easy and special.

I remembered something she said: shouldn’t it be the woman who feels this way? I couldn’t imagine any of my roommates having these thoughts. Those three did whatever they pleased. Girls would call them and stop by the house for days afterward, and my roommates couldn’t have cared less.

Shit. How did I get myself into this?


I should note that the original Safe With Me was written and released in eight installments. The first is still offered for free, but you may as well pick up the entire book because once you've read Part One, you'll want to read the rest.

Next week ends our Summer (Romance) Reading Marathon. After that, I hope to post a new FREE! crochet pattern, the next in the Blog Collection handbag series. That's if I can get some decent pictures taken between now and then.

Happy Summer Reading!