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.

Looking For a Place to Vacation? Author Sara Daniel Has a Suggestion.

Top Ten Reasons to Vacation at Wiccan Haus

by Sara Daniel

1. It’s a healing spa for every ailment. Take a bullet to the knee? We’ll fix you up. Lose your memory? We’ll help you recover it. Got issues with your family? We’ll help you deal with your emotional difficulties. People think you’re going crazy? We don’t, and we’ll help you unravel the truth.

2. No electronics. Time to unplug! Your cellphone won’t work. You won’t get barraged with social media updates from people venting about their awful lives or bragging about their nauseatingly perfect lives. Even better, your boss can’t contact you about that office “emergency” no one else wants to tackle.

3. You get a whole week to relax. One ferry boat a week takes guests to and from the island. You won’t be leaving early or pretending a weekend getaway is all the vacation you need. You’ll have a whole week to truly relax.

4. No crowds! No lines! That ferry boat only takes 12 guests per week, with another 12 arriving through a magical portal from the paranormal world. That’s it, just 24 guests getting some very personalized attention.

5. The Wiccan Haus is magical. Yeah, the brochure might say the island is off the coast of Maine, but you’re not going to find it on your own. I’m guessing it’s part of a paranormal world, but they’re not confirming or denying my suspicions.

6. The owners get involved in helping you make most of your stay. Talk about personalized attention. At least one of the four siblings who run the resort will help you make the most of your stay—maybe all four of them. Now that’s service!

7. They have yoga, meditation and other classes that you always meant to try but never quite got around to. Admit it: You know that practicing deep breathing would be good for your blood pressure and probably your scattered brain too, but you never have time to actually do it, just like you never had time to try the King Pigeon or Camel yoga poses that the too-perky barista at the coffee shop swears by. Now you can.

8. They have exotic plants that scientifically shouldn’t exist. The orchard has apple tree with blossoms, unripe fruit, and ripe, ready-to-eat fruit all on the same tree. All at once. All the time. And you can help yourself to an apple straight from the tree. Simply paradise.

9. You could meet someone with paranormal abilities. Those guests who came through the magical portal might be shifters, vampires, psychics, truth-finders, lamias, or something else you’ve never heard of. They’re coming to the Wiccan Haus to heal and relax just like you, and you’ll see them when you all gather together in the dining room for dinner.

10. Another guest might end up being the love of your life. Maybe the person is a paranormal, or maybe he/she a human, but every story from the Wiccan Haus ends with true love and a happily-ever-after. It truly is magical!

Psychic Lies

What if you could read minds during sex? What if the government wanted to exploit you for your ability?

Fiona Vetter has spent her life hiding her sexual mind-reading power, pretending to have normal, safe powers like the rest of her family. When her charade results in the death of an innocent woman, her life of lies unravels. With nowhere else to turn, she retreats to the Wiccan Haus.

To expose her as an enemy of his government, Armando Verdad follows Fiona to the Wiccan Haus. Her beauty dazzles him, her personality seduces him, and her web of lies intrigues him. But with his career and the safety of his countrymen on the line, only the truth matters.

The harder Fiona tries to keep Armando away, the more she falls for him. When enemies come searching for her, she is forced to trust him to protect her life and her psychic lies, but nothing can protect her heart.

EXCERPT
Fiona dropped her fork. How could her soul have picked him for her mate? The Fates played cruel jokes, and, once again, they did so at her expense. “The vetter was trying her best.”

“Her best to do what?” He gripped her arm a bit tighter.

“To be a vetter.” By the Goddess, she’d tried so hard. Her failure had cost an innocent woman her life.

He rubbed his hand along her arm, his face breaking into a smile again. “You know, I believe you’re right.”

A fat lot of good that did for Lizbet. She dropped her gaze to his hand. “Why are you always touching me?” She didn’t know him well enough to warrant the constant contact, but pleasure sizzled under her skin at his touch. She didn’t deserve to enjoy anything.

He smiled wider. “I can’t stop myself. You feel the connection, don’t you?”

She couldn’t have a connection to a man who scorned people who didn’t use their powers for the greater good, not when she’d built the foundation of her life on denying her true powers. “I’m actually not a tactile person.”

After speaking such a big lie, she couldn’t continue to look him in the eye, not with all her powers concentrated in the most intimate tactile experience possible.

His grin split wider. “I’d love the chance to prove you wrong.”

And when he did, she’d know his thoughts. She’d know how much he despised the woman who claimed to be a vetter and allowed the commander’s beloved daughter to lifebond with a man who would murder her. Fiona had come to the Wiccan Haus to get away from the public’s hatred and scorn, not see it behind Armando’s beautiful smile and feel it no matter how warm and gentle his hands.

She shoved away from the table and ran for the exit.

“I didn’t mean to offend you. I meant it as a compliment,” he called after her.

The dining room quieted around her. Everyone stared. Once again, she drew the bad kind of attention. But she couldn’t stop.

Despite her desire to be a simple vetter, without real vetting powers that life could only be a lie. The truth, however, was far worse than a life of lies.

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Sara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. She battles a serious NASCAR addiction, was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels, and loses her car keys several times a day.

Learn more about Sara on her website and blog. Subscribe to Sara’s newsletter.

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Vala Kaye Introduces Her YA Novella, Ghost Writer

by Vala Kaye

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Not all the people you meet during your teen years will become your BFFs, but if you’re very fortunate, one or two might always be with you to share the ups and downs that happen to us as we go through life.

I have two “lifetime” friends. One I met in junior high and the other in high school. One is similar to me in temperament, while the other couldn’t be more different. We’ve shared school experiences; engagements, marriages and divorces; the birth of children; and the deaths of grandparents, parents and siblings.

Those are the big things, the huge emotional highs and lows that only time and the love and caring of true friends can help see you through. But we’ve also always been there for one another through the smaller things in life, everything from movie nights and mid-terms to concerts and cooking disasters.

When I was working on my YA paranormal novella, Ghost Writer, I gave my main character, Malden, a friend named Ashley. They go to the same school and I suspect they’re truly BFF’s. When I was writing the scenes where Malden and Ashley, though physically separated by hundreds of miles, are online in their school’s student chat room, I thought about how my friends and I sound when we’re filling each other in on “the latest.” Not only do we talk about what’s happening to us and what we’re feeling, but sometimes we also pick up on what our lifetime friends aren’t saying, what they’re holding inside because they’re afraid of being embarrassed or laughed at.

Because we love them, we have to gently remind them just who they’re talking to. With a lifetime friend, they’re safe. And it’s okay to share anything.

Here is a short intro to my YA Paranormal. I hope you enjoy it.

Tech-savvy teen Malden Montgomery leaves New York City anticipating nothing but boredom when her artist-mother brings her along on a two-week vacation to a family inn in rural Virginia.

What Malden doesn’t expect is the owner’s 17-year-old son, Jackson, who is totally to-die-for cute. But does she dare believe him when he tells her that her room at the inn may be haunted by a young woman named Emily, who died there more than 150 years ago?

Then Emily begins to communicate with Malden and she and Jackson realize they have to find a way to help Emily’s ghost come back home or risk a spirit’s wrath if they choose to leave her lost in the darkness forever.

Read more about Ghost Writer on Amazon.

Vala Kaye grew up in Texas as an avid reader of science fiction, history and romance. Her favorite writers ran the gamut from Robert Heinlein to Margaret Mitchell, and included side journeys with Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” and The Hardy Boys mysteries.

After graduating from college with a double major in Communications and History, Vala now lives and writes in warm and sunny southern California. She is addicted to movies, live theater, word games, salsa dancing and adaptations of the stories of Jane Austen.

In her first published YA novella, Ghost Writer, she explores what happens when a human ‘spirit’ meets computer technology. Vala’s newest title is book #1 of The Superhero Next Door series, Artificial Intelligence.

Anne Montgomery: A Light in the Desert.

I’m delighted to introduce you to my author friend Anne Montgomery. Anne is visiting today with her new release A Light in the Desert, an intriguing Soft Thriller novel I think you’ll enjoy.

A Light in the Desert traces the story of a pregnant teenager who bears an odd facial deformity, a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper who, as he descends into the throes of mental illness, latches onto the girl, and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon.

The Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst’s, a deadly act of sabotage. Their lives are thrown into turmoil when local and state police, FBI investigators, and a horde of reporters make camp by the twisted wreckage of the Sunset Limited. As the search for the saboteurs continues, the authorities find more questions than answers. The girl mysteriously vanishes, the assassin struggles to maintain his sanity, and a child is about to be born in the wilderness.

EXCERPT
Most of the two hundred and forty-eight passengers on the Sunset Limited were asleep when David Flowers – weaving slightly as the sleeper car rattled along at fifty miles-per-hour – moved along the passageway en route to the bathroom. At the end of the car he saw Mitchell Bates, a twenty-year Amtrak veteran.

“Don’t forget to get me up when we get to Palm Springs,” the passenger said. “Don’t wanna sleep through my stop.”

“Don’t worry about a thing,” Bates responded, smiling. “That’s what they pay me for.”

Two cars back, Kelly sat wide awake, fingers cupped around her eyes, the outside edges of her hands pressed tightly to the window. She could see the moonlit desert careening by, the scattered mountains black against a star-filled night sky. She felt the gentle rolling of the car: a strangely pleasant feeling. A sense of calm surrounded her, maybe because, for the first time since her father died, there were other people who cared about her. Kelly glanced over at Miranda, still engrossed in a two-month-old, dog-eared issue of Glamour Magazine. Had her mother ever had a friend?

Up in the cab, the engineer watched as the massive headlight bathed the track ahead in bright white light. He’d been on this run hundreds of times. A curve that would lead the train onto a trestle that spanned one of the deeper washes between Phoenix and L.A. was just ahead. The headlight blazed – a star shooting in the darkness – wrapping the track in light as harsh as any clear desert day.

But the damage was under the rails where no light could penetrate.

****

Ramm was driving on the dirt road that would take him back to the cabin. That edgy, too-much-caffeine feeling gripped him again. He should be on the train, the one protecting Kelly. Had he made a mistake contacting the watchers, which meant he had put himself in play again? The community in which he’d worked for so many years was relatively small and there was always the possibility that word had spread about the debacle in Jerusalem. By contacting the watchers, he might have put himself in jeopardy, which could also bring harm to those around him.

Ramm’s head began to pound, the migraine accompanied by a hazy aura. His psychological state was fluctuating. How long could he stay ahead of the problem without medication? What if he blacked out again? What if he was hospitalized and people started checking on him?

Feeling impotent, powerless, Ramm jammed on the breaks. The truck skidded to a stop on the soft shoulder where blacktop and dirt merged at the turnoff. He rubbed his face hard then gripped the steering wheel. When he looked up and peered through the windshield, Ramm blinked several times, confused.

There, in the night sky before him, floating in a spectral light, was Kelly’s face. Ramm squinted, shutting his eyes tight, then looked again. The ghostly image was still there, hovering before him, her troubled visage beckoning him to follow. She merged
with paintings and sculptures – the mother of Jesus in all her quiet grief, the face of Mary on the shimmering white marble of Michelangelo’s St. Peter’s Pieta, on Raphael’s Madonna del Granduca, her desolate melancholy depicted by Masaccio, Veneziano, and countless other artists through time.

Ramm painfully unclenched his hands from around the steering wheel. The suddenness of the bright light caught him off guard. His first reaction was to grab for the loaded Glock he kept under the front seat, but when the glare splashed past him, followed by the steady beat of the passing railcars, he relaxed.

Then, an unexpected wave of heat engulfed Ramm, and he pushed open the cab door and stepped out, breathing deeply, trying to clear his head. The noise hit him like a blow, shattering the desert calm, causing Ramm to reflexively drop to the ground. He lay there listening to the calamitous groaning, a ghastly noise that washed over him like a rogue wave.

To read more from A Light in the Desert please click a vendor’s name:
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Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

In Praise of eBooks

In Praise of eBooks

by Author Carol Browne

 As a voracious book reader, I have lived my life believing in the superiority of the printed book; then my beta-reader kindly gave me her Kindle. Once I had figured out how to use it (three weeks well spent), my perspective underwent a sea change.

When I bought my first eBook and saw it download to my Kindle, it was a magical moment. I was also delighted to discover the device doubles as a flash drive.

There’s something amazing about travelling around with an entire library of books at your disposal and in these days of multi-tasking, being able to read, eat and drink at the same time in total comfort is most welcome. To someone like me on a low income, the availability of cheap or free eBooks is a blessing too.

From an eco-friendly point of view, no trees are cut down to make eBooks. Digital publishing also allows more authors to put their work before the reading public, often publishing great work that traditional publishers have rejected because they aren’t commercial enough.

I once assumed the device itself would be a distraction but, if you’re an avid bookworm, the body of an e-reader is no more of an intrusion than the body of a paperback; no more of a hindrance to your enjoyment than a screen is when you are watching a good movie.

Many will disagree. A teenage friend of mine prefers printed books because he likes the act of turning the pages. For me, the Kindle’s page-turning function is quicker and easier. Plus, you can say good-bye to the exasperation of having your bookmark fall out and not being able to remember where you were up to.

Meanwhile, another friend of mine is changing her opinion about eBooks. While moving to a smaller house, she regretted her vast collection of paperbacks that would have to be accommodated in less space—and then discovered many of them were mouldy and infested with mites. Yuk. She’ll be buying her first Kindle soon!

There is still a place for printed books in my home. I have about a dozen I will always cherish, but these books belong to an exclusive club. It’s unlikely I’ll be adding new members.

Unless they’re written by me, of course.