Sunday, December 22, 2013

HELP ELF! Shopping Online is Overwhelming Me!

Warning - a little bitching going on here while I listen to Christmas carols and work hard to maintain the spirit of the season.

Okay...several years ago I stopped store shopping for Christmas and focused on online shopping so I could keep my holiday spirit intact. Between the people on the roads cutting me off and honking, the rudeness in the parking lots and the "me first" mentality in lines, it was safer for my emotional well being to stay home.

The clutter in the stores during the holidays puts my brain on overload. Now I know how my power-strip feels. Unfortunately, the clutter online has become worse! I have a few tips for the online stores:

1. If you have a brick and mortar location, the customer should be made aware of your inventory. I should be able to pick up or purchase at your store.

2. EBAY? The BID isn't over until after Christmas. Will I bother? Uh, NO! AMAZON you are great in some aspects and confusing in other ways. Prime membership? I never can tell when I'm doing a search for an item when I've left your inventory and moved to a private retailer's site. After I get ready to check out, I discover most of the stuff in my cart wasn't from Amazon and isn't eligible for free shipping. I like ordering from one location to save on the shipping. I'm buying an item not supporting FedEx or other shippers.

3. Online Retailers: If it's the week before Christmas, make sure you are available for questions and for last minute shipping. You know when Christmas is well in advance, but shoppers like me don't figure it out until days before it's ready to show up. You shouldn't need MORE time to pick and pull an item for shipping before the holidays. I'm not buying it from you if you can't get it to me before
Just Sign Here, Please
Christmas, and I probably won't need that dragon mug gift after Christmas.

4. My final suggestion comes from my husband, the perennial entrepreneur: The shipping companies should dress up their employees as Santa's elves and have them deliver Christmas day. Imagine that!  

Anyone else have suggestions to help build the economy, since people who have things to sell aren't going out of their way to make it available when we procrastinators need it most?

(You know this was meant a little tongue-in-cheek, right? My sincere apologies to those of you who are working through the holidays, and I know there are many of you. And seriously, I don't want some version of Will Ferrell showing up at the house in a brown truck and his green ELF costume. To our soldiers, police, nurses, servers, firefighters, and all the rest of you who are members of a family juggling the traditional dinner around a loved one's work schedule, Merry Christmas with good thoughts and blessings for the New Year.)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Warning - Tough Read Ahead: Disclaimers On Books

The second book in the Hearts of Darkness series is due to release December 28th. Conquer the Highland Beast is the book that segues Dylan Macgregor's life between Defeat the Darkness and Damned By Darkness. He didn't play a huge role in the first book, but this is about his life now and his past as he relates it to Max Hamilton the newly turned vampire he believes might be his descendant. As Max interviews the older vampire, some of the questions not answered in the first book are answered in this one, and I've probably created more questions you may not see answered until the next book comes out in March 2014.

Authors can probably verify the feeling of euphoria that comes over them when they are on the final read through their manuscripts (which by the way is probably the 20th time they've read the thing) and can still say with some measure of excitement, "Wow! This is a great story."

I did that today.

After reading some of the reviews for the previous books, I feel as though I should add disclaimers to each of my books. Because if you've read my M/F contemporary romances, these are nothing like them. If you've read my contemporary menages, these are nothing like those either. The first and most important disclaimer for this series is that they are romantic, but not romances. They are erotic but not erotica. I have an ensemble cast of characters in these stories and my characters are complicated. The plots are multifaceted and may have twists, and possibly unexpected or unpleasant situations. Some scenes could make you uncomfortable--actually they should make you uncomfortable. While I'm entertaining you with my story telling, I hope my stories challenge you to imagine a different world. If you immerse yourselves in the fantasy, and connect with the characters, you'll come to find shades of gray. Not every antagonist is all bad, not every protagonist is all good. My characters are composites molded by their environment and experiences. My heroes have feet of clay, my heroines make mistakes. Relationships are static and dynamic--they change as the plot unravels. And as any INDIE author will tell you, the story is the story.

The reason I write is because the story needs to be told--or that's what my characters tell me anyway.
~~~ Eliza

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Review for Defeat the Darkness by Eliza March

The Long and Short Reviews
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

"...Defeat the Darkness is not a lightweight read. It packs a punch in both plot and character dynamics. It’s not a book that is stuffed with fluff and sweetness – it’s tart, tantalizing and at times disturbing. It has a solid story line and a complicated romance to go with it which concludes with a fitting happy ever after for the trio. If you like your paranormal romances to have bite, sauce and vinegar, and surprises, then give Defeat the Darkness a whirl. There’s a lot to like."

To read the entire review, click here: L&S Reviews


To purchase Defeat the Darkness by Eliza March click here: Amazon

Coming soon from Eliza March...Conquer the Highland Beast the sequel in the Hearts of Darkness series. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Blast from the Past

I'm watching Katie Couric interview the writer, Diane English and the star, Candice Bergen along with the cast of Murphy Brown.The one person missing is Robert Pastorelli, the actor who played Eldon the painter, my all-time favorite. Although he passed away of a drug overdose, I'm glad they bothered to recognize his contribution to the program.

Strangely, at the time, I often felt like their writers were looking over my shoulder for script ideas. I had a painter named Frank who knew more about what was going on in  my home with the kids and nanny than I did. When I got home from work, he'd be perched on his ladder outside and fill me in on all the day's events before I walked through the front door.

What does this have to do with writing? ...everything. As the creator, Diane English said, she visualized the entire show, characters and main situation while in her car stuck in traffic. She walked straight inside her office and wrote the entire first script.

It's amazing how that happens sometimes. The muse whispers, you listen, and take notes. I think the muse is whispering all the time, but sometimes we don't listen carefully enough. Meditative moments or the few moments before I come fully awake  are my most creative times. I practice allowing those moments to flourish. When they come, I ask "what if? and then what?" before I assume I'm done imagining.

I'm going to enjoy revisiting these characters and situation on screen. Encore Classics is now showing commercial free episodes of the programs. Good to know!


  • Murphy Brown is an American situation comedy which aired on CBS from 
  • November 14, 1988, to May 18, 1998, for a total of 247 episodes. 





  • First episodeNovember 14, 1988


  • Final episodeMay 18, 1998
  • Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    No! Really, this isn't a review of DARK WITCH by Nora Roberts

    Suspend disbelief and enter
    a world full of possibilities
    Conquer the Highland Beast is the next book I will be releasing in the HEARTS OF DARKNESS series. I think I'll call it a collection because although the stories are related and the books are being released in the order the reader will appreciate, They could all be stand alone stories with a beginning, middle, and conclusion to the main character's plight.

    That being said...it's been a long time, too long a time, since I've read a paranormal book by NORA ROBERTS. I've forgotten I shouldn't start one when I wake up at night and just want to go back to sleep because all night it becomes...just one more page...

    Last night, I started Dark Witch and had to force myself to put it down when my iPad battery said 2%. Along with her compelling ability to tell a good tale, Ms. Roberts does the most important thing an author can do...she makes the reader invest in the characters right from the first page...and believe it or not, that was in the prologue. I knew I was going to be dealing with different characters, but I cared about them before I knew them, just as a mother cares about her unborn child. I knew the characters were going to face danger and obstacles introduced in the prologue and then when I met them, I had to find out how it all affected them.

    So I'm sort of reviewing a book I haven't finished--why? Because as an author, these abilities are important to remember when writing your books. I like to remind myself of things I find that are well done in other books. The other enjoyable thing I recalled about Nora's pace and rhythm was how poetic she can be in description and prose. I enjoy the way she uses what I call the "triple hit," three words in a series to describe, to enhance, to entice. Like that. GRIN

    I'm well into the book and the reason I'm not reading it now is I'm savoring each moment I get with it, and I'll have to wait for the next one. I have to say the characters are familiar but that's good because I love her character prototypes. the hero in this one is awesome, but I can see the upcoming ones will drag me into their stories as well. And as I get drawn in deeper, I will love each hero in each story. Because like I do in my own writing, I find it's more fun to "love the one you're with."

    I was sorry to read some of the reviews. What some didn't like, is probably what I like most. I liked the return to Ireland, to magic, to similar plots and characters she's written before. I even disregarded the head hopping. How many versions of Cinderella or Little Red Riding Hood have been written? People still enjoy them. I enjoy Christine Feehan and Sherrilyn Kenyon because I know what I want to read, and they deliver. The stories are the same, but different. That's what I want when I reach for one of their books. Charlain Harris's Sooky Stackhouse novels=the same but different.

    In this case. Ms. Roberts, mixed it up, added a little American witch to an Irish legend and gave us a new story, but with my favorite elements from her other books. I'm not disappointed to snuggle into a familiar, good old magical, Nora Roberts' tale.

    Now I feel rejuvenated and inspired to add the compelling details to my final round of edits on Conquer the Highland Beast. And if you haven't read DEFEAT THE DARKNESS yet, I have a special starting November 27th. The book will be part of the Amazon Kindle Countdown Deals. On the 27th only it will be on sale for $.99 and creep back up to the regular price of $3.99 by December 4th. The earlier you buy, the better the DEAL. That gives you time to meet some of the characters you'll be reading about in the upcoming books. This is a great opportunity to snag the first book up at a great price.

    Tuesday, November 5, 2013

    Conquer the Highland Beast Cover Reveal vol.2 Hearts of Darkness by Eliza March

    Coming the end of this month: the next story in the Hearts of Darkness collection. Dylan Macgregor was a vampire mentor of sorts in Defeat the Darkness. Discover what it is about his past that makes him so reluctant to kill. His story is coming with some special offers, too. Why don't you follow me on Facebook at Author, Eliza March and click here on the left to subscribe to this BLOG. All the most updated info is here. *GRIN*

    Conquer the Highland Beast 
    by Eliza March

    Dylan Macgregor, orphaned son of a Berserker and a druid Halfling, finds retribution but no solace when he finds and destroys the uncle who killed his family and left him for dead, stealing his home and his destiny. But once again he is snatched from death on a battlefield by an immortal vampire with a plan. Thrice damned to darkness Dylan must now give up everything and the woman he loves to save her.light from his darkness. Has his Berserker rage doomed him to a life without light and with no hope of ever finding a life mate? And would he risk her if he found her?

    Thursday, October 31, 2013

    Halloween Treats for Comments

    The Perfect Halloween Recipe 

    for a weekend read:

    My friends and I have been sweating over my hot cauldron, conjuring up a great recipe for our favorite dark reads…

    This one contains a gallon of sex and a dash of scary, evil demons (very bad), several hot vampires (swoon), a handful of shifters (hunky), one sex fae (really…need I say more?), and a wanton succubus (wicked) … If it goes bump in the night, you’ll probably find it in this erotic tale.

    Defeat The Darkness: Demons of the Bayou

    (Hearts of Darkness) By author Eliza March

    Available in Trade Paperback $10.34 or Kindle $3.99 or both Kindle Matchbook: If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $0.99 (Save 75%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon.

    Borrow this book for free on a Kindle device with Amazon Prime.

    ~~I'm used to being teased about being an avid vampire fan. I'm drawn to all things paranormal -- Buffy, Diaries, Underworld, or True. Some don't get my fascination with the undead or the supernatural. (Being around great looking, powerful men who stay in perfect shape forever doesn't hurt. Even if it is only in my imagination.) If you understand, then you'll love this series.
       
    I've done (oops...written) a few shifters, but Defeat the Darkness was my first attempt at writing vampires. I realized there were a few more stories I had to tell, so I started them all. I think Kyle and Shelby's story is a good starting point. The reader gets to meet most of my ensemble cast of characters in this book, although new ones keep popping in to keep my interest going. Simone, the succubus, came out of nowhere. I thought she added one of the essential elements missing in this story -- a female friend for Shelby. And I love Garr (Wolfgar) -- he's becoming one of my favorites.

    Max, Shelby, and Kyle will play a part in future books, especially now that they're acclimating to their new lives. Of course, if you bought this book, you know the next book is about Dylan's past. Conquer the Highland Beast is going to be Hearts of Darkness Book 1.5

    Dylan, Cailin, and Jackson’s story in this series is Damn the Darkness Book 2.0 coming the end of December. So save your gift cards for this one.

    We still have to meet Niccolai, and find out more about Jackson his hybrid son. Is the natural born element of their species destined to die off, or will Max and Victor find the solution to the vampire's infertility problem? And...what about Amyra?



    Leave a comment with an email address on my BLOG and get a FREE ebook copy of Conquer the Highland Beast as soon as it’s published. Happy Halloween! ~~Eliza 

    Monday, October 28, 2013

    Eliza March talks about #Writer's Tools: Inspiration, Imagination, Perspiration...and #Dracula

    Johnathan Rhys Meyers in Dracula
    The series Vampire Diaries has kept me going for several years between Underworld movies. Now I get to look forward to Dracula the new NBC series with Jonathan Rhys Myers of Showtime's The Tudors fame.

    Since I've been working on the vampire sequel to Defeat The Darkness (Dylan Macgregor's story) I've enjoyed other versions of my vampire world. There was Buffy and Angel, and I'm still a fan of True Blood. In my series, the past story about how Dylan was turned is already written and called CONQUER THE HIGHLAND BEAST. My dilemma is whether to incorporate it into his present day story, DAMN THE DARKNESS, the way Anne Rice told the Louis and Lestat story; Interview With A Vampire, or release it as a freebie before or later. I have one versions written incorporating it and one as a separate book.  Any ideas, suggestions or opinions? Help!

    Another thing I'm doing is using SCRIVENER. After the learning curve...I love it. Yesterday I figured out how to lock the opening page so I can use it this way until I find another way that works better. *GRIN*

    I also discovered by using Dragon Naturally Speaking, I can get a heck of a lot more writing done. I refuse to edit while I'm speaking, so the scenes move along quite quickly. I go back and edit afterwards before I begin the next scene. Thankfully the program gets more intuitive with each upgrade. Gotta love that. I can't tell the story for long before I go back and check for errors though. One sentence I went back to (and this isn't how you are supposed to use Dragon) was so far from what I intended, I could barely figure out what I'd said. It took longer than correcting it immediately would have. But I didn't want to stop my mental flow. It seems as if either my fingers are working against my creative flow or my tongue is.

    Dracula/NBC
    I can also dictate into my phone and use it to download to the program, later. I can use my smart phone like a microphone if I don't have the one that came with the program. If I open my old files, it can read them and become acquainted with my writing style. Hey, this is great since I haven't spent the appropriate time training my Dragon. Know any shortcuts?

    I probably shouldn't share this, but I've never taken typing...finger placement, speed, typing in the dark...out of the question for me. I'm pretty speedy in the light with both hands on the keyboard, but if I switch keyboards I'm lost. I even have a typing lesson program installed, all I have to do is use it. But I find once I sit down to the keyboard, I need to do productive work.  That means editing, writing, or promoting. How many of you couldn't type when you began writing?

    Checking emails and doing the paperwork that goes along with all that is also time consuming and eats away at my creativity. Thank goodness I can fill in time with books..or TV--they're fuel that energizes my imagination. What do you watch?

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    Reading, Writing, and Reviewing~~Oh my!


    Who's guilty of downloading books and not reading them? (My hand is raised.) Good I didn't think I was alone. You've got to wonder why, considering you can read so much of the book on Amazon or get an inkling of whether it's something you'd like from the blurb or other peoples' reviews. How discriminating am I that I'm not even giving a book a chance through the first chapter anymore with the number of free reads out there? What about you? I can't begin to think why you would choose to read my books over some other well known author's. I'm just grateful you do.

    Since WereCat Fever is available at Bookstrand.com I'm patiently waiting for the first reviews to come in. Soon it should be showing up at Amazon.

    Speaking of reviews: I was just thinking that book reviewers have a tough job. I'm not the best review writer, so I appreciate the ones who do it well. I'm one of those readers who either likes a book or I don't, and I don't want to analyze why. I guess I do that enough in my day job as an editor. But there are the books I share with others and there are ones I buy and keep to read again. I give four or five star reviews to above average books I loved reading. I give three stars for an average read that was enjoyable, if not memorable. It still filled my time and kept my interest, and was entertainment. If it was a below three kind of read, I usually won't mention it. Sadly my expectations of my favorite authors is higher than a new to me author. I see evidence of this in other people's reviews online all the time.
    What I don't have patience for are big NY publishers charging top dollar for paperbacks and ebooks without checking the formatting or the editing as closely as they should. Recently, I bought a NY Times best seller (in paperback) that was riddled with errors, missing words, and had a sentence that stopped mid thought and went nowhere. The story was good, enjoyable, entertaining, but the editing was unacceptable. Believe it or not, I'm not that picky--mistakes get through, but not this often. Authors depend on their editors and publishers to do a better job than that. Especially considering how much time it takes to get these books to production. Self published authors could never get by with that level of editing. The author would  have their books pulled at AMAZON and get crucified all over Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook for that sort of hot mess.

    And if you like my book, recommend me. Don't forget there's nothing better than an enthusiastic word of mouth recommendation. And if you can manage it...write me a short review.
    Thank you. I appreciate every one of my readers!
    ~~Eliza

    Monday, October 14, 2013

    #Trends, #Fifty Shades, #ChristianGrey, and #IanSomerhalder: Who will get the part?

    What's #trending this week? #Monday is hot. I have no idea why since it shows up regularly after Sunday every week. #SonsofAnarchy is easily understandable if you cross reference #CharlieHunnam and #FiftyShadesofGrey are making a splash because they have to recast the lead male role. Not there there wasn't enough hype when they first announced they were looking for the perfect #ChristianGrey. My personal choice from the beginning has been Ian Somerhalder, (The Vampire Diaries) and if you agree vote here. although with his busy schedule, I wonder if things would be any different.

    How different is casting from writing the original description of the character? I imagine my next main character in the Hearts of Darkness series (vampire/berserker) Dylan Macgregor  in the beginning of the book, looking somewhat like Chris Hemsworth in this photo: Thor: The Dark World (Click to see the trailer)

    In the first book in the series, Defeat the Darkness, I imagined him better groomed and, in the second half of the next book, Damn the Darkness, he will be. But in the beginning he is a hybrid son of a halfling mother and a berserker father. Stronger, faster, bigger than most men, he battles his way through the years until his soft side makes him risk everything to save a child. The dark immortal, Niccolai Xenos is waiting to turn him and give him another chance to achieve the light. So then, I had to imagine what Niccolai would be like...I'll tell you in the next blog.



    Friday, October 11, 2013

    The Series is growing but these are all stand alone ... so far!

    The Series is growing but these are all stand alone ... so far!

    WereCat Fever

    Enchanted Mountain 3

    By: Eliza March | Other books by Eliza March Notify me of Eliza March's new releases
    Categories: Erotic RomanceContemporaryMenage a Trois/QuatreParanormalShape-shifter
    Word Count: 43,028
    Heat Level: SCORCHING
    Published By: Siren-BookStrand, Inc.
     This title is offered at a 15% discount. Offer ends midnight CST, October 17th.
    [Ménage Amour: Erotic Paranormal Ménage a Trois Romance, M/F/M, shape-shifters, sex in partially shifted form, HEA]
    Weeks after his engagement, Bryan Cauldwell disappeared. Worse yet, the last time Lacey Hampton saw him he was covered in blood after a blackout. What should she think later when her father is found killed, a victim of an animal attack? Hunter Harris searched for Bryan, his lost littermate, for years, finally rescuing him when he's severely wounded by WereCats. Hunter can help Bryan adjust to being a shifter if he'll let him. Unless the woman Bryan imprinted on accepts him, he's doomed to being chained during every full moon. After checking on Lacey, they discover Bryan infected her, and she's showing signs of changing. Although she's going to need help, she's spitting mad, and when Hunter tries to help, his cat imprints on her, too. Bryan must convince Lacey he's innocent of her father's murder, and Hunter must convince her he loves her in spite of the bond between them. Can she accept her shifter nature and devote her life to two men?

    Sunday, October 6, 2013

    I Goofed Off Today ... Don't Tell MY Boss

    I'm in charge of my own time but sometimes I think I'm harder on myself than if I worked for someone else. I'm an editor, so those books take precedence over writing my own work. Yes...that's right. I even work on them when I'm dying to open one of my own files. :-)

    Promotions for my books and my clients books come next. The responsibility weighs heavily upon my shoulders to be creative about how that's done.

    So when I say I goofed off today, it means I didn't open my own WIP files ... at all. I was all set to work on them, notes in hand, coffee cup full, and computer on ... then nothing. It was one of those days when the coffee never kicked in and no sooner had I gotten up, I needed a nap.

    I have this extra guest room I sneak off to when I feel like that. (My nap room) and the rest I get there always seems so much better than the sleep I get in my own bed.  Thinking about why... I've decided it's because it's a guilty pleasure. The temperature is always perfect, the covers soft and comfortable...uhmm heavenly! And my boss didn't go looking for me in there.

    My next book, WERECAT FEVER is set to release October 10th. You can save 15% if you buy from http://bookstrand.com/werecat-fever between now and October 17th. I hope you enjoy it. It''s in the Enchanted Mountain series, but all the books are stand alone.

    Monday, September 30, 2013

    Pre-order, read excerpt, and save on WereCat Fever until 10-17-13


    WereCat Fever (MFM)
    Enchanted Mountain 3

    By: Eliza March | Other books by Eliza March Notify me of Eliza March's new releases
    Word Count: 43,028
    Heat Level: SCORCHING
    Published By: Siren-BookStrand, Inc.

    PRE-ORDER!
    AVAILABLE: Thursday, October 10th
    This title is offered at a 15% discount. Offer ends midnight CST, October 17th.
    [Ménage Amour: Erotic Paranormal Ménage a Trois Romance, M/F/M, shape-shifters, sex in partially shifted form, HEA]
    Weeks after his engagement, Bryan Cauldwell disappeared. Worse yet, the last time Lacey Hampton saw him he was covered in blood after a blackout. What should she think later when her father is found killed, a victim of an animal attack? Hunter Harris searched for Bryan, his lost littermate, for years, finally rescuing him when he's severely wounded by Werecats. Hunter can help Bryan adjust to being a shifter if he'll let him. Unless the woman Bryan imprinted on accepts him, he's doomed to being chained during every full moon. After checking on Lacey, they discover Bryan infected her, and she's showing signs of changing. Although she's going to need help, she's spitting mad, and when Hunter tries to help, his cat imprints on her, too. Bryan must convince Lacey he's innocent of her father's murder, and Hunter must convince her he loves her in spite of the bond between them. Can she accept her shifter nature and devote her life to two men?
    Note: There is no sexual relationship or touching for titillation between or among siblings.
    A Siren Erotic Romance
    Enchanted Mountain
    The Lion, The Leopard and The Wolf (MMF)
    The Lion, The Leopard and The Wolf (MMF) -Enchanted Mountain 1
    Eliza March
    (Published by: Siren-BookStrand, Inc.)
    [Ménage Amour: Erotic Fantasy Ménage a Trois Romance, M/M/F, Shape-Shifters] Mackenzie's ménage fantasy comes to life when she's snowbound with Fantasy Lodge partners, Aaron and Trent. One golden, one surly, the alpha males vie for her attention. For Mac, the strange sensations, the sexual MORE...
     
     
    The Moon, The Madness, and The Magic (MMF)
    The Moon, The Madness, and The Magic (MMF) -Enchanted Mountain 2
    Eliza March
    (Published by: Siren-BookStrand, Inc.)
    [Ménage and More: Erotic Fantasy Ménage a Trois Romance, M/M/F, Consensual BDSM, shape-shifters] Fate sealed Rourke and Dane's destiny thirty years ago. Now Celeste, a fae shifter, understands why she's irresistibly drawn to both the Werewolf and the Demon Dragon Shifter. Surely with her succub MORE...
     
    WereCat Fever (MFM)
    WereCat Fever (MFM) - Enchanted Mountain 3
    Eliza March
    (Published by: Siren-BookStrand, Inc.)
    [Ménage Amour: Erotic Paranormal Ménage a Trois Romance, M/F/M, shape-shifters, sex in partially shifted form, HEA] Weeks after his engagement, Bryan Cauldwell disappeared. Worse yet, the last time Lacey Hampton saw him he was covered in blood after a blackout. What should she t MORE...




    STORY EXCERPT

    Lacey swore the world narrowed to a corridor linking the two of them when he stepped closer to take her hand in his. She involuntarily lifted it. Their fingertips touched, but no more.
    “Dance with me, Lacey.” His voice was a little deeper than she remembered. It sounded thick with emotion and need. His eyes searched her face with guarded interest, looking for something she wouldn’t show him.
    His simple plea asked too much.
    The choice was hers. She didn’t react.
    The blood running through her veins turned warmer than it had been in years. All this time she swore her heart pumped pure ice water after he left. Ice was hard, impenetrable. It would take more than Bryan showing up for a dance to melt her frozen heart.
    Then he stepped closer. The scent he carried was the same. Bryan. Sweet, fresh air and woods. She inhaled to savor the moment, and then he whispered the silly rhyme he’d made up that first time.
    “Won’t you dance with me, Lacey? Take a chance with me?” His hand slid into hers lightly.
    He remembered.
    Something inside her shifted. The ice around her heart cracked at his touch. The trickle she felt was the warm blood seeping from her shattered heart. Pain sliced through her. The same pain as when a limb falls asleep and wakes up. You know the pins and needles are coming and dread it, but it’s inevitable. There was no alternative. She had to experience the bleeding heart like a stab wound.
    Damn him.
    He was in her personal space and hurting her with memories, killing her with his words and his scent. She did the only thing she could think of to protect herself and to prevent him from following when she ran.
    She attacked.

    * * * *

    Bryan tried to breathe without throwing up as he unrolled from the fetal position. He still had one hand cupped to his groin and the other to his jaw.
    “Man. she’s really mad at you,” Thomas said, glancing back as Lacey disappeared through the front door.
    “Hey bro, I’m sorry,” Hunter said, as he helped his brother up off the floor.
    There was a glint of humor in his voice. Bryan didn’t think he sounded very sorry, at all. Though, he couldn’t speak to make that observation, so he scowled as his brother chuckled. His jaw was still locked from the roundhouse blow he’d taken from Lacey after she kneed him in the groin.
    “How was I to know she’d go for your balls and then punch you in the face?”
    Bryan gagged a couple of times on the way up off the floor, clutching Hunter on one side and Thomas on the other.
    “Shit, she’s quick. I didn’t see that coming,” Bryan wheezed.
    “Hey, sorry about your…” Thomas cleared his throat. “Uhm, your balls okay?”
    Bryan groaned, standing hunched over. “Got ice?”
    “You going to ice your balls here?” Thomas asked.
    “No, you dumb fuck, it’s for my jaw.” Bryan cursed at his friend with his hands still on his knees. He tried to take a deep breath.
    “Right. Here, let me help.”
    Hunter helped him back to their table. “Your balls okay, bro?”
    “I’m not sure.”
    A few minutes later, Thomas handed him the ice-filled bar towel. With one hand holding the ice to his jaw, Bryan extended his hand to Thomas. “Sorry I snapped at you.”
    “No problem. It’s good to see you, Bryan. You should probably go somewhere you can ice those balls, too.”
    “Suddenly everyone’s interested in my balls. She shoves them halfway up my throat, and the two of you can’t stop askin’ after ’em.”
    Thomas smiled. “I figured she’d be inclined to take better care with them.”
    “Where is she?”
    “She ran.”
    Hunter put Bryan’s hat on his head and said, “By the way she flashed out of here, like someone set her on fire, I gather she’s not quite ready to deal with you.”
    “Ready or not, she’s going to have to deal with me.”
    “She’s been feeling poorly, lately.” Thomas put a restraining hand on Bryan’s arm, but dropped it when Bryan snarled. “Hey, just give her some time.”
    “She’s had five years. Time’s up.”
    Bryan left her because he wanted to save her from what he was. Walking away… No, running away without a word had almost killed him. Now he was back because he had infected her. She was running out of time, and time was something they didn’t have. Her change was imminent. After touching her, he was more certain than ever. Her body temperature was rising. The change was on her already.
    “I don’t know how I’m going to get her to listen. If looks could kill, she would’ve done me in when I walked up to her. Hell, I only asked her to dance. What’s she going to do when I tell her she has to marry me?”
    “Marry you?” Thomas laughed and gave Bryan a wry smile. “That may take some fast talkin’. Let me give you some advice. I’d suggest when the time comes, you ‘ask’ her—don’t think to ‘tell’ her anything.”
    “She doesn’t know what’s good for her.”
    “Well, I’d say she made her feelings pretty damn clear about what she doesn’t think is good for her.”
    “Right. Anything to do with me.”
    Hunter slapped Bryan on the shoulder while he and Thomas laughed it up at his expense.
    “She is still Lacey, and she has a million reasons to be angry, Bryan. Your dad was an ass to her when you disappeared. If not that, then she certainly has cause about her father’s killing. I guess you showin’ up took her off guard. She’s hurtin’.”
    “I’ll find out what happened to her father, I swear.”
    “We better do some checking. Early tomorrow we’ll start with old man Cauldwell.” Hunter added, low enough so Thomas couldn’t hear, “Full moon’s coming soon, Bryan. There’s not much time left to convince her.”