Leigh Goff

Writing Enchanting Ever-Afters ♥


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Marci Boudreaux–New Release: Friends Without Benefits

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Friends Without Benefits

Dianna Friedman never expected her husband to leave her. Who does? But she’s making the most of what she has left–two nearly-grown sons and a mountain of debt she can’t pay. She’s in over her head, but she is determined to survive.

Even if everyone else saw it coming, Paul O’Connell was blindsided by his wife’s affair and attempt to bleed him dry. He reaches out to Dianna–the woman who caught their spouses cheating–in hopes that her testimony at his divorce hearing will prevent him from paying alimony.

Dianna and Paul become fast friends and maybe a bit too dependent on each other, but who are they hurting? No one. At least not until Dianna’s life takes yet another unexpected twist and she and Paul have to reevaluate everything…including what they mean to each other.

EXCERPT

Paul washed his hands as the silence in the room pressed down on Dianna. She still had no idea why he was in her kitchen. He finally quit fussing and sat across from her at the table, adding creamer to his coffee. He stirred the liquids together much longer than needed. Each passing of the spoon added tension to the knot in Dianna’s stomach.

Finally, the quiet overwhelmed her. “Mr. O’Connell?”

He stopped stirring and met her gaze. “Paul. Please.”

“Paul, why are you here?”

He tapped the spoon on the edge of his mug before deliberately setting the utensil on a napkin. “I feel like I should—” He drew a deep breath and let it out loudly. “I’m sorry. For what she did.”

Dianna creased her brow. She didn’t know what she thought he was going to say, but that certainly wasn’t what she expected. “Why?”

Why?”

“Why are you apologizing for your wife sleeping with my husband? Didn’t she cheat on you as much as he cheated on me?”

“Yes. She did.”

“So, why are you apologizing?”

“Well. Someone should. Don’t you think?”

His question sunk her heart. Her eyes, which were still irritated from her last bout of tears, began to sting anew. Yes. She did deserve an apology. Too bad one of the two people who should be sorry for what she was going through hadn’t offered it, though.

“Yes.” She swallowed in an attempt to tame her emotions. “I think someone should. But I don’t think that someone should be you.”

“Maybe, maybe not. Michelle sure seemed to think her affair was my fault.”

“Oh, yes. I didn’t understand his needs anymore.”

“I smothered her. I needed her too much, put too much pressure on her to make me happy.” Paul looked far more than miserable. He looked guilty, as if he were to blame for being on the receiving end of his wife’s adultery.

Dianna wanted to assure him he wasn’t, but she didn’t have the conviction. She’d failed to buy that line too many times to try to sell it to him.

Instead, she looked into her mug so she couldn’t see the pain in his eyes. “Do you know… Do you know what today is? Is that why you’re here?”

“No. I’ve been meaning to stop by, I just hadn’t worked up the courage.”

“Oh.”

“What is today?”

Her lip quivered. “My divorce hearing was today. I just got home not too long ago, actually.”

“Jesus,” he whispered. “I’m sorry. May I ask how it went?”

The stress of the judge’s decision hit her again. “Um…not well, actually. I don’t know how I’m going to—” She gestured lamely at the room around her. “Our oldest son Jason is away at college, and Sam is a high school senior so the judge didn’t feel that Mitch owed me anything. I’ve been a housewife since we got married. I’m not sure how I’m going to…you know…” She pushed herself up from her seat when a sob started building in her. “When I get stressed, I bake. Would you like some cookies?” She didn’t wait for him to respond. She grabbed a container off the counter. “I made oatmeal and chocolate chip. Sam ate most of the chocolate chip ones as soon as they were out of the oven, but”—she put the container on the table and sat down—“there’s plenty of oatmeal left. Please. I don’t need to eat all those myself.”

He hesitated for a moment but then grabbed a cookie. The silence returned as he took small, measured bites. She watched until she noticed the light glimmering off his wedding band.

“He wasn’t wearing his ring,” she said before she could stop herself.

Paul lifted his brow in question. “I’m sorry?”

“This morning. At the hearing. It’s the first time since we were married that I’ve seen Mitch without his wedding ring.”

Paul nodded, as if he understood exactly how much that had hurt her. He took the last bite from his cookie and carefully brushed the crumbs from his hands onto a napkin which he folded and used to wipe the table clean. He chased the bite with a sip of coffee. “Look, there’s never going to be a good time for me to ask this, but I was wondering…”

“What?”

“I, um, I’m so sorry, but… When Michelle told me she was leaving me, I asked her what she was going to do when this great guy she was seeing decided he didn’t want to leave his wife. She said that wasn’t going to be a problem because you had caught them together. Is that true?”

Her mind again flashed to the night she’d walked in on Mitch and Michelle having sex in his office. He had her bent over his desk as he gripped her hips and thrust into her. Those sounds returned—skin smacking against skin, soft moans. Michelle’s black skirt was hiked up onto her back, her hands clinging to the edge of Mitch’s desk, his face tense as he neared release—a look Dianna knew all too well.

She winced. The painful memory still struck her like a slap across the face. “Yes. It’s true.”

Paul’s cheeks lost a few shades of color as if she’d confirmed something he was trying to deny. “Well, now she’s trying to say that her relationship with your husband wasn’t sexual.”

Dianna laughed bitterly. “Oh, it was sexual, all right.”

The muscles in his jaw tightened, and she had the sudden urge to reach out and stroke his face to help ease his tension. Her hand was several inches off the table before she realized what she was doing and stopped herself.

“I know it can’t be easy for you,” he said quietly, “especially having just gone through your hearing, and I swear to you I wouldn’t ask if there were any other way, but would you be willing to testify on my behalf? About when you caught them together.”

Dianna exhaled slowly. She’d give anything not to have to think about her husband’s affair ever again. She didn’t want to remember how completely unexpected catching Mitch cheating had been. Or how she’d walked into the room, as she’d done a hundred times before, carrying his still-warm dinner. How the Tupperware container fell to the floor. How the sound of plastic crashing onto the tiles pulled the lovers from their passion as shock rolled through her, numbing her mind and freezing her body. She didn’t want to remember how Mitch gasped out her name, or how the woman he was screwing lifted her face off his desk to smirk.

Dianna closed her eyes and hot tears slid down her cheeks. She didn’t try to hide them. Her pain overpowered her dignity, as it had so many times in the last six months. How could she care that this stranger was seeing her cry when her heart hurt so much?

“Please, Mrs. Friedman—”

“Dianna,” she spat. “I really hate the Friedman part right now.”

“Please, Dianna. She doesn’t deserve alimony.”

She scoffed. “God. Wouldn’t that be something? I was informed that I don’t deserve alimony because I am capable of work. Yet, you think she’ll get alimony when she’s got my husband to support her.”

“I think she’s got a hell of a better attorney than you had.”

“Yeah, well, I couldn’t afford to pay the bills, support our children, and pay for a top-notch attorney, could I?”

He didn’t respond.

“Sorry,” she whispered as her angry words lingered between them. “That wasn’t directed at you.”

“I know. I have no right to ask you to go through this again, but she will get alimony if I don’t stop her.”

“Well, that hardly seems fair. To either of us.”

“So, you’ll testify?”

Those damned memories flashed through her mind again, bringing with them the familiar stinging and crushing of her soul. She reached into the container sitting between them and grabbed a cookie. She’d likely eaten a dozen the night before, but that didn’t stop her from biting into another as she debated.

“Yes,” she said, finding a conviction that she hadn’t felt for a long time. “Yes, I will testify.”

http://www.amazon.com/Friends-Without-Benefits-Stonehill-Romance-ebook/dp/B00Y3GIPSG/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1436296263&sr=8-3&keywords=marci+boudreaux

Marci Boudreaux lives with her husband, two children and their numerous pets. Romance is her preferred reading and writing genre because nothing feels better than falling in love with someone new and her husband doesn’t like when she does that in real life.

As well as writing erotica under her pen name Emilia Mancini, Marci is a content editor for Lyrical Press, an imprint of Kensington Publishing. She earned her MS in Publishing from University of Houston-Victoria in 2014 and worked with Des Moines publishing company Big Green Umbrella Media, Inc. as a freelance writer until she recently opted to focus on working in books.

She has been published with Liquid Silver Books, Musa Publishing and Sweet Secrets Publishing. With the recent closure of Musa Publishing, Marci has ventured into self-publishing.

Links:

www.marciboudreaux.com

www.marciboudreaux.wordpress.com

Contact information:

Marci.boudreaux@gmail.com


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Ghost Writer~New Release by Vala Kaye

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.


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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.

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