This Thanksgiving I’m Thankful for the Good Guys…We Need More of Them.

Hundreds of people have been protesting in the streets of Chicago since the release of a dash-cam video showing a young black teenager, Laquan McDonald, being fatally shot sixteen times by a single officer.

Although the incident had occurred over a year ago, in October 2014, the public is only seeing the video now, and it contradicts news reports given at the time the event took place. The public was told the teenager suffered a single shot to the chest, and that he had lunged toward the officer with a knife in his hand, forcing the officer, Jason Van Dyke, to act in self-defense.

The video told a different story than the initial reports (lies), and now first-degree murder charges have been filed against the officer.

It’s true that the young man had a knife in his hand, but none of the officers’ lives were in danger, as the boy was walking away from the police when he was fatally shot, sixteen times.

Other cops are visibly seen in the video, watching as this young man was overwhelmingly shot to death. Why didn’t those officers correct the erroneous reports first given to the public?

After watching the video, it’s clear that the story was fabricated to protect a dirty officer.  The officer wasn’t charged for thirteen months (400 days), was able to go on with his life while collecting a paycheck, as his murderous secret was kept hidden inside a tape.

Would anyone of authority within the Chicago Police Department have released this video had the CPD not been ordered by a judge to do so?

There’s a lot of protection going on by the Chicago Police Department, unfortunately, it isn’t always geared toward the people the Department made an oath to serve and protect.

In 2012, the CPD suffered a huge backlash by the public when the Department was found guilty of covering up the attack of a female bartender by an off-duty Chicago police officer. The city (taxpayers) were ordered to pay the bartender 850,000 dollars because other officers failed to do the right thing and turn in one of their own, even though “one of their own” had beat an innocent woman, treating her like a rag doll.

The video of the attack, like the video depicting the death of McDonald, is disgusting. But just as disgusting are the efforts made by unscrupulous officers to keep bad cops safe –the “code of silence.”

I remember watching the news when the officer, Anthony Abbate, exited the courthouse, and seeing all the cops cars and officers forming a line shielding this dirtbag from reporters and cameras. Mind you, these were on-duty cops, on taxpayers’ dime, standing guard for a corrupt cop who believed he was above the law.

Would these officers have defended this no-good cop so vigilantly if it were their wife, sister, daughter, or girlfriend the burly officer was caught on camera kicking and punching the shit out of?

Bad cops cost cities much more than money from lawsuits (the family of Laquan McDonald received a 5 million dollar settlement  from the taxpayers), they cost a city its integrity. And that’s nearly impossible to get back, especially when that city’s corrupt history keeps repeating.

I know there are good cops out there, honest cops, who risk their lives protecting the people and their neighborhoods.

So, this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful to those officers, the good guys (and ladies).

We need more of them.

 

 

Below is a You Tube video of the attack by Abbate on the female bartender.

 

 

Way to Go, Kentucky…You Just Shot Yourself in the Foot

On Nov. 3, 2015 the state of Kentucky held a gubernatorial election. Republican Matt Bevin, who ran a campaign based on the promise to destroy Medicaid expansion in his state, was elected the new governor of Kentucky.

The Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, covers the poor, uninsured Americans who didn’t before qualify for Medicaid, but do under the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. According to Kentucky.gov, as of 2013, over 300,000 Kentuckians became insured under the expanded Federal Medicaid health insurance program.

But on Nov. 3 the people of Kentucky voted. And Bevin won.

Now, the people of Kentucky, including the ones who voted for him, are worried they will lose their healthcare.

But, wait a minute. Didn’t I just write that the guy ran on a platform to destroy Medicaid expansion, thus taking insurance away from people?

Yes, I wrote that. And yes, making people uninsured was his promise. And yes, he still won.

I read an article, written by MSNBC journalist Steve Benen, about a male and female Kentuckian, who are currently insured through Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion,  yet voted for the politician who vowed to take it away.

Here’s what the man had to say:

“[I]t doesn’t look to me as if [Bevin] understands,” the man said, struggling with the consequences of his own vote. “Without this little bit of help these people are giving me, I could probably die.”

Here’s what the woman had to say:

“If anything changed with our insurance to make it more expensive for us, that would be a big problem,” Botner, a community college student, said…”Just with the blood tests, you’re talking maybe $1,000 a year without insurance.

Why the hell did these people vote for a man who clearly wasn’t looking out for their best interest?

“I’m just a die-hard Republican,” the woman said.

Those are choice words because sick people do ‘die hard’ when their health care is taken away from them.

The article goes on to state that in one specific county in Kentucky, where most people are signed up for Medicaid, the majority of those people also voted for the guy who openly shared his plans to take it all away.

As I read this article, I had a real hard time understanding why people would make themselves vulnerable like that, and risk losing their health insurance, especially if they’re sick. And then I read a quote from an Owsley County judge, and it became oh so clear.

The judge said:

“To be honest with you, a lot of folks in Owsley County went to the polls and voted against gay marriage and abortion, and as a result, I’m afraid they voted away their health insurance.”

Okay. Got it. But still.

Gay marriage doesn’t directly affect anyone’s life, but the people getting married. Abortion is a personal choice a woman makes for her own body. But that too, doesn’t directly affect anyone else’s life.

Yet, the risk of losing one’s health insurance took a backseat to gay marriage and abortion.  And why shouldn’t it? It’s not like health insurance directly affects one’s own life….oh wait.

I want to empathize with the Kentuckians who voted for Bevin, I really do, because I hate seeing people suffer. But it’s so hard to feel sympathy for them because all I want to ask is, “How can you guys be so stupid?” and “Was standing up against gay marriage and abortion worth compromising your health?”

It’s really simple, people.

Stop voting against your own self-interest.

Bevin takes office on Dec. 8 and Kentuckians will find out if their newly elected governor will make good on a promise many hope he will not keep.

Until then, Kentuckians will just have to hold their breath and pray for the best. But don’t hold your breath for too long, your oxygen levels will go down and your carbon monoxide levels will go up, and soon, you may not have the insurance to cover that.

You can only blame yourself, as well as the heartless politician threatening to take it all away.

 

If you’d like to read he full article by Steve Benen, please click the link below.

 

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/kentucky-voters-create-big-problem-themselves

Are you Ticklish? Erotica Author, Sloane Taylor, Wants to Find Out.

Lace and handcuffs…Tools of the trade
Hot damn and everything sexy! Book Five from Naughty Ladies of Nice is now available!

New Yorker Samantha Bradley has a fun, sexy career designing ladies lingerie. Now that her business is on the rise, she treats herself to a well deserved break on the French Riviera where the women are glamorous and the men are gorgeous. After a few days Sam is eager to sample more than just the local cuisine.

Cisco Bernier is France’s key criminal prosecutor, but his courtroom charm falls flat outside the hallowed halls of justice. From family relationships to romantic trysts, his success rate is abysmal until a chance encounter with a sensuous American businesswoman spins his staid world out of control.

Sam and Cisco sizzle together, but any future is threatened when their pasts collide. Her mob-connected father and his deceitful mother resurface and drag them into a corrupt world of lies and danger.

EXCERPT
Cisco fought to hold back and not spill his seed all over Samantha and the duvet. Her heat radiated to him, making it impossible not to rip off her silky thong and devour her. More than anything he wanted to taste her sweet honey, to lap her until she came.

He peeled the thong down her long legs, then hooked them over his shoulders, all the while he watched her flushed face.

With shaky hands, he coiled his fingers through her damp, dark hair. “Have you ever thought to…” The words trailed off as her scent drifted up to greet him.

“A Brazilian?” Crystal laughter filled the room. “Not really, but would you like that?”

All he could do was nod as the memory of his fantasy filtered through his mind.

“Would you like to shave me?”

He glanced up. Her eyes sparkled in the golden light. She would allow him to perform the most intimate sexual pleasures with her, to both their benefit.

“Tomorrow night, after I bathe you.”

Her breath caught in her throat. A smile tipped his lips. This woman touched deep to his core, like none ever had.

His cock throbbed, aching for release, but he refused to come until he had satisfied his mouth on her.

He leaned down, drawing his index finger along her slick folds, separating them. Her soft whimper reached into his soul and curled around his heart stronger than a fist.

A light nip on her swollen flesh, then he flicked his tongue against her wet creases and explored until he found her tender pearl. Lapping and sucking, he burrowed closer while inhaling deep and savoring her salty taste.

He stroked his index finger along her perineum, then dipped into her channel and paused. She writhed against him as if encouraging his hand to make love to her. His middle finger slipped in and massaged deep within while he continued tonguing her clit.

Much too soon her body tensed, her muscles clamping onto his fingers. Shudders ran through her as she cried out. A volley of shivers followed as he gathered her in his arms and kissed her damp body up to her throat, then finally her mouth.

She wrapped her arms tighter around his neck and nestled against his shoulder.

“I need to move you a bit, Samantha.” He adjusted his legs straight out on the mattress and lifted her to his lap. “Swing your leg over my head to the other side.”

He ducked to make the movement easier for her, then, with a hand under her compact ass, he scooted her closer to his chest.

“What about satisfying you?” She smiled and combed his hair from his damp forehead.

“You will.” He wrapped her hand around his hungry cock and…

BUY LINKS
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Award-Winning author Sloane Taylor is a sensual woman who believes humor and sex are healthy aspects of our everyday lives and carries that philosophy into her books. She writes sexually explicit romances that takes you right into the bedroom. Being a true romantic, all her stories have a happy ever after.

Her books are set in Europe where the men are all male and the North American women they encounter are both feminine and strong. They also bring more than lust to their men’s lives.

Taylor was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. Studly, her mate for life, and Taylor now live in a small home in Indiana and enjoy the change from city life. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Taylor is currently published by Toque & Dagger Publishing. Excerpts from her books can be found on her website, blog, and all popular vendors.

Subscribe to Sloane’s newsletter. Connect with with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Can a Married Woman Overcome Her Desire for Another Woman?

My new lesbian novella, Loving Again, has released today. I’m so excited to be a part of Affinity eBook Press.

loving again cover

Dana Perkins lost her longtime partner in a tragic accident. Although she still struggles with the loss, her profound loneliness is evidence that it is time to move on. She knows her deceased lover, Casey, wouldn’t want her living this way. Dana begins her slow process of letting go, removing reminders of Casey from her house, and dating again.

The women she meets leave Dana uninspired and missing her deceased partner even more. Just as she is about to resign herself to the belief that she will never love again, Dana meets Emily Daniels, a married woman who is deeply conflicted over her attraction to women. Soon, the two women form a friendship that leads to deeper emotions. They discover that one moment in their past had brought them together in a way neither woman could have ever imagined. Is that one moment in time enough to let both women follow their hearts, or will they let their past continue to rule their future?

Excerpt:

Dana Perkins leaned against the side of the trolley and watched as landmarks of the city’s skyline passed by. Her brown eyes traced the contours of the well-appointed, fancy high-rise condos over-looking Lake Michigan, and the sophisticated architecture lining the city’s downtown streets. Tall, crystalline, and convex—the view was stunning.

She closed her eyes as the cool breeze brushed against her face. She inched closer to her lover and kissed her bare shoulder, tasting the salty sweat on Casey’s skin. Dana drew in the raw scent of her partner’s body, the smell of an entire day spent taking in the sights of a big city.

“You’re not ready to call it a day, are you?” Casey asked.

Dana groaned

“I guess you are.”

“Baby, what else do you want to do?” Dana stifled a yawn. “We have all day tomorrow. Oh, and we also live an hour from the city. We’re not tourists, honey.”

“But we only see everything when we act like tourists. That’s why I got us a hotel for the weekend. No more saying ‘next time’. We’re seeing it all now. ”

“But baby, I’m soooo tired.”

“Okay,” Casey said. “You win.” She slung an arm loosely around Dana’s neck and kissed her gently on the lips. “We’ll go back to the hotel.”

As the trolley slowed to a stop, the women walked through the open aisle. The thin fabric of Dana’s khakis stuck to the back of her sweaty leg. Dana realized—too late, as she normally did—that she should have listened to her girlfriend and worn shorts.

Casey skipped down the small steps, onto the sidewalk. Her light blue sundress swayed as she moved. She took Dana’s hand and pulled her lightly down the stairs.

“Come on you tired, old lady. Are your legs gonna make it back to the hotel? Or do you need a motorized scooter?”

Dana smoothed a hand over Casey’s long, blond ponytail. “I can make going to the room early very agreeable…”

Casey eyed her. “And how would you do that?”

“Trust me. You’ll like where this is going….so stop complaining.” Dana reached for Casey, and heard a child’s voice yelling behind her.

“Hot dog! Hot dog!” a little boy’s voice cried out.

But Dana kept her thoughts on Casey. She fantasized being back at the hotel, sliding the thin straps of Casey’s dress down her shoulders, and running her hands over the inside of her bare thighs, when suddenly, Casey whirled from under Dana’s fingers.

Dana turned around. Her eyes fought with the sun as she struggled to follow her partner’s sudden actions. Dana heard the boy yell again, and watched as the child chased after a hot dog vendor that was crossing a busy intersection.

Casey was running full-speed after the boy, heading straight into oncoming traffic.

Dana didn’t know which came first—the smell of burning rubber, the sound of screeching tires ,or the man in the cab yelling for Casey to get out of the way. Everything seemed to happen in the same moment, but somehow Dana’s unsteady legs made it to the edge of the street where Casey’s body lay near a curb.

Dana yelled for help and dropped to her knees. She pulled Casey into her lap, while faintly registering voices—some offering help, and some shouting “Call 911!” She cradled the woman she loved in her shaking arms.

Trapped by the crowd of people huddled over her, stealing the air, Dana struggled to breathe. Then the sudden blare of sirens shattered through the chaos, yet her eyes never left Casey’s face, her beautiful face.

“Wake up, baby. Please wake up,” she cried softly.

The young bride held her dress in one hand, while the other pressed tightly through the arm of the man she’d just married. A few short hours ago she was Emily Bradford, but now, the woman made her way down the steep church steps as Emily Daniels. Emily smiled readily as a cascade of lights flashed before her eyes. Guests lingered at the edge of the steps with cameras in hand and she took it all in. The gorgeous sky hung like a perfect portrait in the background of a nearly cloudless day.

Michael Daniels took Emily by the hand and kissed her while cameras snapped eagerly to capture the tender moment. From a distance, the faint sound of sirens rang out. Emily squinted against the glare of the sun as she searched the street. The blaring noise was headed in their direction. The bride watched as two ambulances, a fire truck, and multiple police cars sped by.

The beauty of their day was temporarily interrupted by someone else’s tragedy.

Emily closed her eyes and made the sign of the cross, something her mother had taught her to do as a small child whenever an emergency vehicle drove by. When it all passed and the streets were once again serene, her new husband gave her hand a squeeze.

“Are you ready?” He smiled.

Leaning her body against his strong shoulder, she kissed her groom the way brides did in movies, creating their very own “happily-ever-after” moment.

“I’m going to love you for the rest of my life,” she said, her voice trembling slightly.

About the Author:

IMG_20131119_143129

Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. Her first novella, Her Name, was published by Musa Publishing in 2014. Her Name is a sweet romantic story about a woman who believes the beautiful woman she dreams about is the real love of her life.

Loving Again is her second published novella. It is a story about two women who fall in love and then soon discover that one moment in their past had brought them together in a way neither woman could have ever imagined.

Alicia is currently working on a new novel called A Penny on the Tracks, a coming of age story about love and  friendship. Alicia has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon.

When she is not writing, the author enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, reading, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Please visit her blog at www.aliciajoseph.com

She can also be found on her Alicia Joseph Author Facebook Page  and on Twitter @JosephJody76

Buy Links: 

http://affinityebooks.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=12_69

http://www.amazon.com/Loving-Again-Alicia-Joseph-ebook/dp/B01807ZOX2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1447599721&sr=8-2&keywords=Alicia+Joseph

Thank you!

If Trump Isn’t Embarrassed, You Shouldn’t be Either.

A Facebook friend recently posted that she doesn’t have health insurance through her job, and had to pay a couple hundred dollars for medication. She can’t afford individual insurance, so one person suggested she may qualify for Medicaid. She agreed she would no doubt qualify, but would never go on Medicaid, or accept any kind of public aid.

I, along with quite a few others, commented that this was ridiculous. Programs like Medicaid were set up to protect people who can’t afford their own insurance, or, for people employed at jobs that either don’t offer benefits, or the person doesn’t meet company insurance eligibility requirements.

Whatever the scenario, if you don’t have insurance, and you qualify for Medicaid, i think you would be foolish not to take it. To walk around this country without health insurance, knowing how exuberant medical costs are, is just plain reckless. A trip to the doctor’s office alone can cost hundreds of dollars. Not to mention a freak accident that sends a person to the hospital, now we’re talking thousands of dollars. Easy.

So why would a person risk that? Is being on Medicaid shameful enough that a person would rather go without any type of coverage, and just take a deep breath and wish for the best?

Swallow your pride, people.

I blame a certain political party out there who love to bash people who need government assistance as “takers.” That somehow, they are always to blame for not being self-sufficient, regardless if said person had been working what they thought was a steady job, until that job was abruptly moved overseas, as so many of American jobs have gone.

People who are reluctant to apply for help, when they desperately need it, don’t want to be the kind of people some politicians put down publicly. The freeloaders. The irresponsible ones who need others to take care of them. The ones driving this country down.

I believe everyone, at some point in their life, will need help. Maybe it won’t always be financial, maybe emotional, but regardless, help will be needed because it’s tough to get through life on our own, alone.

It seems it’s more acceptable for certain people to take advantage of the system, than it may be for others. I was reminded of this as I watched the third Republican debate a couple weeks ago when the front-runner Republican candidate, Donald Trump, stated, in an unapologetic tone, (i’m paraphrasing) that in filing for four business bankruptcies he was merely taking advantage of the laws of the land.

This is true. Donald Trump did what corporate bankruptcy laws allowed him to do. When his companies racked up too much debt, he filed for bankruptcy. In 2004, according to CNN Money, Trump’s Hotel and Casino Resorts went through the bankruptcy court and shed over 500 million dollars in debt. Just like that. 500 million. Gone.

Although he lost majority control of the company, Mr. Trump was still able to retain control of his casinos.

This made me think of a scene from Goodfellas where mobsters assumed business interest over a bar, and the first thing they did was rack up the credit card bill. Then they took all that booze bought on credit and sold it out the back door for 100% profit. Then, once the credit ran dry, they torched the place. Never paying one penny back to the creditors.

This is what I think of when I listen to Trump talk about the “successful” bankruptcies that saved his businesses. How many companies didn’t did he pay when 500 million dollars was wiped out? It was a fresh start for Trump’s businesses, but what about the businesses he owed money to? The ones that never got paid.

If Trump can speak so blatantly about taking advantage of the laws that he could benefit from, then why are average people so ashamed of doing the same thing? Why does a person of modest means feel disgraced if they use the system to help them when they need it?

Why is it accepted as being advantageous for a business man to file bankruptcy four times and come out appearing as the tactical successful business man? When, If a regular person filed for bankruptcy four times he/she would be deemed as an irresponsible loser who doesn’t know how to handle their own finances.

But not Trump. Trump is leading his party in a run for the presidency. The highest office in the country, and, probably, the most powerful position in the world.

I worry about the prospect of a business man as a president. The notion that a country should be run as a business frightens me. But I’ll tackle that in another blog.

For now, I leave you with this, take the help that’s available for you when you need it. If Donald Trump isn’t embarrassed by all that he’s taken so far, then you shouldn’t be either.

donald-trump-debate

I don’t own this picture. I believe it is public domain, but if not, I will take it down.

Does Reuniting With the Love of Your Life Mean You’re Getting Back?

Please welcome my friend and author, Cindy Rizzo, to my blog.  She is promoting her new lesbian romance, Getting Back. Please take a moment to read an excerpt from this amazing writer.

Thanks for stopping by!

cindy rizzo

Excerpt from Getting Back by Cindy Rizzo

CHAPTER 1

March 2008

Elizabeth Morrison tightened the grip on her Blackberry as she held it to her ear, feeling her fingers cramp around the curved edges.

“And I assume I’m the last one to find this out, aren’t I, Margaret?”

“Ah, the Queen Elizabeth voice, how I’ve missed it.”

“You deserve it. You engineered this whole thing behind my back.”

Elizabeth eased into her leather desk chair, trying to hold on to her anger, but feeling instead as if she was going to fall apart.

“Sweetie,” cooed Margaret, “it’s been thirty years. Could it be that you’re still pining away for Ruth Abramson?”

Elizabeth breathed out audibly. “Certainly not! And that isn’t the point. I just feel… I don’t know, like I’ve been ambushed.”

It was a diversion, chastising her best friend—or the woman she had thought was her best friend—for taking it upon herself to invite Ruth to be the class luncheon speaker at their thirtieth reunion. But in reality, all her emotions were focused on just one thing—the prospect of seeing Ruth for the first time since college.

“Elizabeth, you run one of the most successful publishing companies in the world. You have editors trembling in your wake, agents fawning over you hoping for the slightest nod of your head. Surely you can deal with this. Maybe it’s time to face things head on?”

“Why didn’t you come to me when this was just an idea, before she agreed to speak?”

“Because I’m chairing the reunion committee and I didn’t feel I had to clear all of our plans with you.”

“Oh come on, Margaret, I’m not just anybody. I’m a trustee of Fowler. Besides, you know very well that Ruth and I have been studiously avoiding one another all this time. I don’t even see why she would agree in the first place. She hasn’t set foot back on campus since graduation.”

Margaret’s voice was quiet, almost a whisper. “Truth is, we begged her. She’s a US district court judge, the second most accomplished member of our class, after you of course, Your Majesty.”

Elizabeth knew the trajectory of Ruth’s career quite well. She’d been following it for years. She closed her eyes and shook her head slowly. A groan escaped. Suddenly weary and unsettled, she was unable to conjure up the anger from just a few minutes ago.

“You know, she didn’t want to do it,” said Margaret. “We waited weeks for her to confirm.”

Elizabeth rolled forward in her chair and rested her head in one hand.

“Why now, I wonder?”

“Maybe she thinks thirty years is long enough.”

With the phone still pressed to her ear, Elizabeth sat slumped at her desk. Margaret’s news had completely unsettled her. What could Ruth possibly want after all this time?

Elizabeth knew from mutual acquaintances that Ruth had only been dating women since her divorce from Bennett Miller in 1985. She wondered if Ruth had ever come out to her parents while they were still alive, especially her father, who’d always been her main concern. Main obsession, really. The Great Leon Abramov, national hero and savior of Russian Jewry. Elizabeth had cut his obituary out of the Times back in 1998 and placed it in the secret scrapbook along with photos from the funeral, attended, of course, by President Clinton and every important Jewish leader in the country. The paper had included a picture of Ruth flanked by her two children, a son and a daughter. She looked tired and drawn but not, Elizabeth had noticed, grief stricken. As she’d carefully smoothed the newspaper photo onto the sticky page of the scrapbook, Elizabeth had speculated whether Ruth could even be a bit relieved that the man who’d controlled so much of her life was finally gone. Or maybe the relief and the hope it left in its wake had been Elizabeth’s?

A loud staccato buzzing propelled her back to the present.

“Ms. Morrison?”

She pressed the hands-free button on her office phone.

“Yes?”

“Reese Stanley is here for your three o’clock.”

Elizabeth hesitated for a second. Reese. She’d realize something was wrong in a heartbeat if Elizabeth let her walk in now.

“I need a minute or two,” she said, leaning over to the speaker on her desk.

She stood and straightened her posture, shoulders back, head high. Checking her face in a compact mirror, she freshened her lipstick and made sure nothing looked smudged or worn. Satisfied at last, she called up her business voice—the one she knew they all referred to as “Queen Elizabeth”—pressed the button on the phone, and said, “Have Reese come in.”

***

It was ridiculous to expect someone to remain the same as they were three decades ago. Elizabeth herself had changed. She was no longer innocent and open, the way she’d been in college. Being the boss suited her. She liked taking charge and always exhibiting confidence, while keeping her worries and doubts confined to nights alone at home. Very few people were permitted to see that side of her. From time to time, she’d open up a bit with Margaret, who as a business owner herself, understood the pressures of making hard choices.

But she thought it prudent to hide her persistent interest in Ruth Abramson from everyone. Her ongoing efforts to keep tabs on Ruth’s life, greatly facilitated these last ten years by the advent of the Internet, had taken the form of a bad habit that was impossible to stop. Like sneaking a cigarette on the back porch or buying the National Enquirer at a newsstand and hiding it in your desk drawer.

Elizabeth sat in her living room armchair sipping the sherry she’d received as a gift from the head of the company’s Spanish subsidiary, hoping it might eventually get her to sleep. But she couldn’t even muster a yawn. Instead, she kept picturing Ruth standing at a lectern in the alumni dining room, addressing the members of their class. Ruth and Elizabeth would be back at Fowler yet not together. She couldn’t make sense of that thought, even though she knew it was the truth. Maybe it would be best to confront who they’d been back then in order to accept the reality of who each of them had become.

She rose from her chair and went to her desk. At the bottom of her file drawer, under a stack of papers was the scrapbook; her own version of the hidden National Enquirer. She sat at her desk with the unopened book before her. Would this little trip down memory lane help her sort things out or just make them worse? What she dreaded most were those first few pages. She normally skipped them when she had something to add, opening the book to the items from the last few years. She’d insert whatever new photo or article she’d found, forcing herself to focus on the present and ignore the past. But with the prospect of finally seeing Ruth, maybe it was worth reviewing the entire history from the beginning and, by facing it boldly, reduce the power it seemed to have over her.

She glared at the closed book as if it was a bothersome underling. You’re not really a scrapbook, you know. You’re merely a photo album covered in faux light brown leather and decorated with a faux gold border. The words of Glinda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz came back to her.

“You have no power here. Be gone, before somebody drops a house on you!”

She smiled to herself and opened the book to the first off-white page covered in a clear plastic sheet that could be pulled away from its sticky cardboard backing. Taking a deep breath, she looked down at the blank page, deliberately left that way as a safety buffer so she could avoid being suddenly confronted with the past. The next pages contained all the old college photos. She’d debated about whether to destroy them, but found that she was unable to do so. They reflected back the happiest time in her life. If they were gone, she’d have nothing.

Unable to trust herself not to one day rip them up in a fit of anger after a particularly bad Siberian prison dream, she’d made a full set of duplicates and gave them to Margaret, pretending they were the originals. It was far better for her friends to think she had exiled images of Ruth from her midst instead of knowing the truth: she was incapable of letting them go.

The sherry slid down her throat with a slight burn. Tonight was the time for confronting. She grabbed onto the edge of the blank page and slowly turned it.

And there was Ruth, standing by that oak tree behind the student union, her hand on the trunk, a big smile on her face. Her dark, curly hair was tied back in this picture, even though Elizabeth always encouraged her to wear it out draped over her shoulders, reaching down to her breasts. Her pale skin contrasted with the hair and her dark brown eyes—eyes that had immediately captured Elizabeth and later held her attention as they lay in bed for hours gazing at one another and touching, always touching.

Then there were pictures of the two of them, among friends and on their own. She shifted her attention from Ruth to herself, dressed in baggy, faded jeans and a tight-fitting sweater with pink, green, and white horizontal stripes. Ugh, she thought, howcould I have ever worn such a thing? Luckily her taste in fashion had improved over time. But even with the wretched clothing, she was able to notice with longing her formerly smooth skin and the silky texture of her light brown hair, now dulled by years of coloring and highlighting. Would Ruth even find her attractive now?

She crossed her arms, laid them over the open book, and lowered her head onto them. Ruth had had over twenty years to contact her: twenty years of being on her own and dating women. But she had not come back. Instead, it seemed she had dismissed their intense connection, their love, as a mere college dalliance. Clearly, Ruth had moved on. Why couldn’t Elizabeth?

Cindy Rizzo is the author of three novels and three published short stories of lesbian fiction, including her latest book, Getting Back, released in October by Ylva Publishing. Her first novel, Exception to the Rule, won the 2014 award for Best Debut Author from Golden Crown Literary Society and was a finalist for the Rainbow Book Awards. In September 2014, her second novel, Love Is Enough, was released.  A short story, The Miracle of the Lights, appeared in the award winning anthology,Unwrap These Presents (Ylva Publishing) and was also released on its own. A second story, V-Day 1978, was included in Ylva’s Valentine’s Day release, Love Times Two. Cindy was also the co-editor of a fiction anthology, All the Ways Home, published in 1995 (New Victoria) in which her story Herring Cove was included.
Cindy lives in New York City with her wife, Jennifer, and their three cats. They have two grown sons, a wonderful daughter-in-law, and a baby granddaughter. You can contact Cindy by email at cindyt.rizzo@gmail.com, via Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ctrizzo, through her blog, http://www.cindyrizzo.wordpress.com, or on Twitter @cindyrizzo.

A Light Pasta Sauce and a New Sexy M/M Release. Need Anything More?

by Viki Lyn

I was raised in a family of chefs. My grandfather left his hometown in Italy as a young lad, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean during the early 20th century. From New York City, he boarded a train to California. He had work lined up in San Francisco as a sous chef in a prestigious hotel where he learned his trade.

My father inherited my grandfather’s love of food and was an excellent cook. My father never measured anything, so when he wrote down a recipe it was a pinch of this and handful of that.

This recipe is all about a pinch of this and a handful of that. You can add whatever you have in the fridge…be creative…and have fun.

Light Pasta Sauce

Start with simmering garlic in olive oil. Stir occasionally. Adjust heat as needed so you don’t burn the garlic.

Snoop around your vegetable bin and decide which veggies to use. The only essential vegetable is the tomato!

I’m partial to my old standbys:

Mushrooms
Fresh Tomatoes
Zucchinis
Red Bell Peppers

Chop the veggies, but not too small.

Once the garlic is lightly roasted, add in the mushrooms and bell peppers first. After a couple of minutes, mix in the chopped zucchinis. After another couple of minutes, stir in the tomatoes.

This is when I like to include salt, pepper and Italian herbs. And, if you have fresh chopped basil, toss it in. It adds a nice taste to the sauce.

Cook the pasta and before you add the sauce: Toss the cooked pasta in a light coat of olive oil and lemon juice, and add the sauce.

Top with Parmesan or Romano cheese. Serve with a crisp salad and plenty of fresh Italian bread for dipping into the sauce.

Enjoy!

And for dessert, here’s a peek into my latest M/M from Loose Id.

Rocker Leo needs a break. From the band, roadies, everything related to his present life. Wandering the streets of Vienna, he chances upon a poster that just might change his life. Andre Revele, renowned violinist, and Leo’s ex-lover, is performing in the city. It’s been years since Leo slipped out of Andre’s life in the middle of the night, but he’s never forgotten their passionate love of music and each other.

Andre’s shocked when Leo shows up backstage after his performance. Hell yes, he’s angry, but he can’t walk away. Against his better judgment, he invites Leo to his hotel for a drink. Not sure what he wants from Leo, he knows what his body wants right now. A night of passionate sex leads to another, until he’s lost his heart to Leo again.

When Andre finds his trust in Leo tested, Leo must prove his loyalty by using their one common passion – music – to bind their hearts.

EXCERPT
Leo finished his cappuccino. He needed a break. From the band, roadies, everything related to his present life. He tried to ignore the constriction in his chest. He hadn’t written anything in months, and that scared the shit out of him. His bandmates were like his brothers, but as much as he loved them, it wasn’t the same as having a lover who completely got him. He had no one to turn to when in a funk.

He hoped to God he still had more words inside him. For all of his flamboyance on stage, his real love was composing.

Leo paid the check and left. Too wound up to go back to his hotel, he roamed the streets, taking in the Vienna night. Stars sparkled above St. Stephen’s gothic spire. The wide boulevards twisted into narrow lanes perfect for getting lost in.

Happy to wander aimlessly, Leo slipped his hands into his fleece-lined jacket. Living in LA, he’d forgotten how cold winter could be in other parts of the world. He turned the corner and sputtered to a halt. Staring at the poster pasted to the side of a building, he didn’t need to read the name of the virtuoso to know who it was. He could never forget that face in rapture—when playing or getting off. Music and sex had invoked the same feelings in Andre Revele. Passion was passion, and that man had always had both in spades.

Numbness swept across Leo as he stared at the picture of Andre caressing the bow in those slender-fingered hands—such artistic hands on a large man. It had been love at first sight—or at least lust—when Leo had walked into the practice room.

He could still remember a youthful Andre, not quite grown into his robust physique, as he played the last stanza of Bach’s Concerto in E. The violin’s notes had faded, but the music had remained in the air long after the performance was over. Bright green eyes peered through dark lashes, and sensual, pouty lips morphed into a shy smile. Like an idiot, Leo had been at a loss for words at Andre’s performance and enamored by that handsome face. Until Andre laughed, breaking the spell.

From that day forward, they were inseparable. They both had insatiable appetites for music. They stayed up all hours talking about philosophy and musical composition, and arguing what was better, thin-crust or thick-crust pizza. They played music together, fucked, and enjoyed the simple moments that composed their insular world.

He scanned the poster for the dates of the concerts. Tomorrow night was the last performance. Leo shuffled his feet, unable to move away. He bit his lip and traced the image of Andre. Did he dare go? It had to be fate. He’d been thinking of Andre, talking about the past with Sid, and now this.

His heartbeat quickened. What if he went backstage and Andre didn’t recognize him? Or brushed him aside? Leo had purposely avoided searching the Internet for news of Andre, too afraid that his ex had a lover, or worse, had married. Their lifestyles were miles apart, and Leo could never think of Andre as a friend.

He drank in Andre’s image. Tall and broodingly dark, Andre had the body of a jock and the sensitive heart of an artist. Leo preferred men unlike himself. He’d been a skinny kid, and had a difficult time gaining weight. If he’d been born years earlier, he would have been the perfect face for a glam rock band. At least he’d outgrown the term pretty boy or twink.

Leo chewed his lower lip as he studied Andre’s picture. Tempting as it was to see his ex again, visiting the past was a bad idea. This wasn’t the time, not when Leo was restless and bored. His heart couldn’t take a rejection from Andre. There were other men, lots of men, and he’d had his share of quite a few of them. With his schedule it had become impossible to form any long-term commitment. Or at least that was what he told himself.

A big, fat lie.

He’d never met anyone who made him feel the way he’d felt for the violinist.

Leo kissed his fingers and pressed them to Andre’s lips. “Good-bye, Princess.” Andre hated that pet name, but Leo loved using the endearment. Andre had been born into wealth and privilege, and his family had expected great things from him. “You proved them right, didn’t you?”

Before Leo changed his mind, he hurried away, dismissing the memories of a love lost to his ambition.

BUY LINK

Multi-published and award winner, Viki Lyn is a successful writer of gay paranormal and contemporary romance. After reading and collecting whatever she could get her hands on, she wrote her first male/male romance. And that was ‘it’ for her. She never looked back. Viki travels the world in search of inspiration. She considers herself blessed to have traveled to many of the mystical sites she had dreamed about as a child. Her travel experiences have been influential in creating her paranormal worlds. When she needs to relax, she calls a friend to meet at their favorite coffee house. When the chattering in her head goes off the charts, she plays one of her favorite RPGs on her PS4 and immerses herself in the world of dragons and magic.

Learn more about Viki Lyn on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.