Six Things

I should be editing DUTCH right now, but my brain needs a break, some mindless fun to take the edge off and ease the pain. So of course, I turned to my Tumblr feed…heh-heh-heh…wicked smirk. Anyone who has seen my Tumblr feed – actually anyone who has their own Tumblr feed – understands my little inside joke. Much to my surprise, I found this “Six Things” post and thought it would be the perfect way to break up my writing day, so here goes

My Six Things

One song – right now, Adele’s HELLO, because I love her and holy smokes, I love that song. It hits me right in the feels every time, while inspiring an intense need to sing at the top of my lungs. It’s Adele at her moodiest, pitch-perfect best. God, I can’t wait to hear the rest of the album.

Two movies – Thelma & Louise because they’re so badass and because it makes me cry every time I watch it. And because of those scenes with Brad – “Well I may be an outlaw, darlin’, but you’re the one stealing my heart.” – and Star Wars because I’m a nerd like that and because of Han.

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Three shows – Friday Night Lights – if you must ask why,  then I am sorry for you; Breaking Bad – those seasons with Gus and Walter, god, the brilliance; Sex and the City – because of Carrie and Miranda and Samantha and Charlotte, there’s really nothing else to say.

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Four people – David Gandy, duh; Lisa Bonet, because she is Lisa and she made me love my brown skin; Judy Blume, because of Margaret and Blubber and Peter and Sally J, because of periods and wet dreams and brothers named Fudge; Han Solo, not Harrison Ford, but Han Solo.

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Five foods – Kitfo, the Ethiopian version of steak tartare; my mom’s eggplant curry; the warm Lentil salad at Lucky Strike; Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream; Cafe Bustelo, because in my world, coffee is one of the major food groups.

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Six books – One Hundred Years of Solitude; The Namesake; Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy; Got Style?; All American Boys; Nights with Him, because I have to include some sexy and seriously, Jack is fucking hot.

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What are your six? Hit me with ’em.

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This Woman, I Love Her

Meredith-Wild-1873 by Birch Blaze photography

Do you know this woman?

Fans of The Hacker Series will tell you she writes a white, hot sex scene, loves her whiskey, and knows a thing or two about about dominating the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and any other best seller list out there. She’s the romance genius behind Erica Hathaway and Blake Landon, has run several internet businesses, and is a mother of three.

She’s badass, she’s dope.

She’s Meredith Wild.

And by some dumb fucking luck, she’s taken me under her wing, imparted bits of her knowledge here and there, and taught me her very special brand of gangsta.

Because she is awesome like that.

Full disclosure: we have a friend in common. One of my close colleagues and favorite person to make mischief with is one of her best friends, hence the intro. But wow – the guidance and support Meredith has shown me goes WAY beyond doing a favor for a friend. She’s been so open and available since day one when I called and peppered her with a ton of questions, because seriously people, how often is it you get to chat with a multi-million dollar, best-selling romance writer?

In my life, ummmm, that would be never.

Until Meredith.

So of course, I called her. And then emailed her. And texted her. And just generally infiltrated her life in ways neither she nor I expected, mostly because she’s mad cool and we totally clicked, but also because she’s mad cool and willing to share what she’s learned in this game of writing and publishing and I am a sponge, soaking all of it in, applying it to the best of my abilities.

Fast forward to this past August and I get a message from Meredith, saying that she’s reading Dutch and loving it. (FUCK YEAH!) Then the email, so long and detailed and thorough, full of great suggestions and the opinion that if I worked with an editor, I could make Dutch something special. Then the message that maybe her editor, Helen Hardt, could take a look at a sample of Dutch and suggest an editor for me, followed by the message that Helen read my sample and was willing to take me on as a client. (HOLY SHIT!) Then the other day she sent me a note saying she spoke to our editor – okay, how cool is it that I get to say “our” editor – and Helen loves my voice and called me “poetic” (DYING), followed by a message that Meredith passed a sample of Dutch to her agent, Kimberly Brower of The Rebecca Friedman Agency, who loved it and if I was interested, wanted to rep me.

And here is where I had my WHAT THE FUCK moment, because really, what the fuck was happening? Was it really happening? I still can’t believe it happened.

But it happened, all right. All of that I just described happened. Meredith did all of that for me. I still can’t believe it, am not sure why she’s gone out of her way for me, but am so freaking thankful I could cry.

I’ll probably never be able to thank her enough but one thing is for certain, I’m going to do my damnedest to make her proud and maybe one day, because of her and everything she’s done for me, I’ll be able to pay it forward and do the same for another writer.

Until then, know this: Meredith is magic, she is a gift, and I love her. Madly.

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#TuesdayTeaser – DUTCH, The Keeper Series Book One

Dutch Mathew is a lethal killer for The Gate.
Juma Landry has nine lives.
He is tasked with ending each and every one of them.
She isn’t going to make that easy.


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In honor of #Teaser Tuesday, and right before I head into a month of editing Dutch and prepping for its December release, here’s a snippet for all of you filth-mongers. If you love your raunch with a twist of romance, then make sure to add DUTCH to your Goodreads “to read” shelf by clicking HERE

I lit a smoke as I walked home – inhale, exhale, relax – going over the last forty-something hours in my mind, aware of the duplicative nature of Juma and me, our sick similarity to Kajal and me. I started to wonder what I had done to some god somewhere to deserve this, then remembered what I was – a Keeper, and my roots – The Gate, and from whence I came – Khan Mathew, why my life repeated certain patterns – because I wasn’t worthy of much else. That, and I should have known she was a Poocha – her scent, the weapons, the way she healed my injuries – all signs she was “other”, I simply chose to ignore them and instead focus on her smile, those freckles, her laugh, her fuck-me-now thighs – everything that made her a woman. And made my insides ache and my dick hard as a rock.

I flicked my butt and stood outside Locanda Verde, our supposed date that I so royally fucked up and thought of her in that dress and thought of her out of that dress and prayed she called me even though I knew she would not. I needed to find her and talk to her and explain myself and illuminate our very fucked up situation and beg her forgiveness for everything – myself, my family, The Gate – but more than any of that, I simply needed to see her. Because if I could see her, even just a glimpse of her, I wouldn’t feel so wretched and done, finished, spent. I would be able to fool myself into believing I was worthy of something better, something fantastic, something epic. 

Her. 

I reached inside my jacket for my flask, needing something to numb the reality of my present situation, when I remembered I left it at her place or lost it or just never had it on me, so I said fuck it and pulled open the door of the restaurant, breezed past the pretty, young, goddamn-that-girl-has-perfect-breasts hostess, and headed for the bar. It was almost midnight and the place was packed but I spied a seat at the very end, near the kitchen, and made my way through the crowd, drawing some looks here and there because I was a fucking mess, but mostly ignored because sure, I was a fucking mess, but it was New York City and really, no one cared. 

And then I saw her. 

I hadn’t yet reached the seat I already claimed as my own in my head when I glanced towards the back corner of the dining area, why? I couldn’t even tell you, and spied her alone, in the darkest corner, sipping a bourbon, wearing my dress.

Part of me wanted to fly to her, crash into her, devour her. But the other part wanted to remain right where I was, unseen, and just watch her for a moment as she circled the rim of the glass with her finger and turned to watch passersby in the window, exposing that freckled spot on her throat that I loved, revealing the gentle curve of her breast as the dress shifted. I ordered a Scout from the bartender without taking my eyes off her and caught her smile as she chatted with the waiter and then her frown as he walked away and she glanced at the clock. 

I could stand there and watch her the rest of my days and it wouldn’t be long enough, there would never be enough Juma for me, this I knew. But she had already waited too long; it wasn’t fair to continue my exercise in voyeurism. I was a day late for a date I planned, I wasn’t going to be a dick and make her wait a second longer. I stepped around the bar and into the dining area and as if she knew, her head shot up and our eyes locked and she was relieved and enraged and something akin to horrified, or maybe just super pissed.

Whatever it was, she shot out of her seat and was upon me in seconds, all over me, everywhere, without touching me anywhere. And I needed her to touch me, I fucking craved it, but I didn’t deserve it, so I said nothing, begged for nothing, and simply followed her lead of hands off, no touching. 

“You!” she hissed and glared and gnashed her teeth, then pivoted in frustration and returned to her seat. And I should have been feeling sheepish and guilty right then but I was too distracted by the way that dress hugged her curves and molded to her ass and she was just goddamned sensual. My death and salvation rolled up and mashed together so seamlessly it was difficult to discern where one began and the other ended and really, it didn’t fucking matter. 

She sat and I noticed a tiny vein popping out in the middle of her forehead, hinting at her ire. I wanted to reach out and run my thumb over it, ease it back into place, and calm her but I didn’t dare. Instead, I turned my attention to our incredibly attentive waiter, realizing with a start that he was some fucked up joke of the gods – young, broad-shouldered, perfect face, easy smile – everything I was not – and all of his attention was fixed on her. 

And why wouldn’t it be? 

Even sitting there shrouded in fury, Juma inspired all sorts of reckless, dirty thoughts, she wreaked havoc on one’s self-control, she transfixed. And add that barely-there dress, the color against her brown skin, the way the material cupped her breasts and left her back exposed, the hint of transparency, she was a goddamned assault on the senses. So I got it, I understood why Mister Perfect Waiter couldn’t peel his eyes away from her, that didn’t mean I fucking liked it. 

I listened to him finish his speech about the specials and whatnot when she spoke, “we’re fine with just drinks,” and so did I, “we’ll have the sheep’s milk ricotta, the steak tartare, and two Scouts.”

She glared at me and started to protest to Mister Perfect Waiter, then changed her mind, and returned to me. “I don’t drink Scout.”

“You’re constantly ordering bourbon,” I replied, the first words I’d spoken to her and they were so stupid and meaningless. I had the world on my tongue just waiting to speak my truths and bear my soul but I was so worried she no longer cared for me and my words that all I could muster was the inane and the random. 

“How would you know that?”

“Is that really the point?” I asked and she stilled and the fury drained from her, only to be replaced by a deep sadness that once she allowed inside, consumed her, leveled her, and made her small. 

Even though she was larger than life. 

And I thought to myself, you fucking asshole, you promised you wouldn’t do this to her.

Her eyes filled and threatened to spill over but did not, and I breathed deeply because I did not think I could watch her cry again without breaking down myself which would be such a clusterfuck right in the middle of a busy New York City restaurant and we didn’t need to do that to everyone around us. No one here besides ourselves needed to witness our wretchedness. And she must have understood this because she held those tears, she owned them. 

Our drinks arrived and then our food but it was all ignored.

“You wore my dress.”

“I wore it yesterday, asshole, and I don’t even know why. Who does that? Who wears the same dress to the same restaurant to be left waiting for hours by the same man?” she asked and a rogue tear escaped, “why are you so cruel with me?” she gasp-cried, the sound so low and mournful, and I couldn’t believe someone actually thought I would kill this woman. More than once. Ever. She could reclamate every Deader in waiting and I still wouldn’t end her life. Or let anyone else. 

“I need to go,” she stood and moved past me and for a second I just watched it happen, until I didn’t.

“Juma,” I reached for her and pulled her back to me, onto my lap so I could hold her close and whisper in her ear, “please.”

“No,” she shook her head as she leaned into me, “just let me go.”

“I can’t,” I tightened my hold on her, “I won’t.”

I caught the attention of Mister Perfect Waiter and signaled for the check, then handed him my black card, all while holding onto her, sensing that if I let her go, she would flee into the night, somewhere dark and secret and impossible to find. 

“Come home with me,” I begged.

“You left me here last night,” she leaned back and glared at me, her eyes moving around my face, softening as she encountered my injuries, then returning to my eyes and remembering her anger, “in this fucking dress, looking like an idiot.”

I brushed the neckline with my fingertips and felt the warmth of her skin, wishing I could slip my hand between her legs and feel the warmth of her pussy. Her nipples hardened at my touch, but her ire remained. 

“You look nothing like an idiot,” I replied as I studied her.

“I did,” she growled, “waiting for you all night, so certain you would never leave me hanging like that. But once again, you proved that I’m such an ass when it comes to you. You’re not even that good looking, always walking around with your face black and blue. Fuck.”

She squirmed out of my arms and wove through the tables towards the exit. I grabbed my credit card, signed the bill, and went after her, reaching for her hand as she reached for the door. She pulled out of my grasp and turned on me, “I liked you better when you couldn’t bear to touch me.”

#TuesdayTeaser – AMAL

First off, this teaser is not for a book called Amal since I’m not writing a book called Amal. What I am writing is a book with a character named Amal and since the book itself has no title as of yet, for the time being, Amal it is.

This is the book that’s been in my head for years, but because it doesn’t involve dragons or swords or warriors, and instead centers around three, regular people, I’ve been somewhat uneasy about putting it down on paper. But lately it’s been very demanding and rather bitchy, so about a quarter of it has made the jump from my brain to the page.

I’m still rather freaked out by the prospect of writing a straight romance, or I should say straight smut, but am having fun with my characters and the story is flowing so for the time being, I’m going with it.

Anyway, here’s a sneak peak at Amal, Jackson, and Andrew – it’s raw and unedited but gives a hint of all three characters so take a read and let me know what you think.

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Three years of dating Jackson Davis meant I had three years under my belt of lavish parties, red carpets, award shows, and all kinds of other trappings of the rich and famous. Three Oscars and seven Emmys made for some serious swagger and Dr. Davis threw it around like the best of them.

For a girl who avoided her own family fundraising events on the Hamptons and Lincoln Center like the plague, the fact I attended much of the same shit with Jackson was an irony not at all lost on me. In the beginning, I did it because I loved him and he was beautiful and there was nothing more I wanted to do than go everywhere together. But as we settled into the comfortable spaces of our union, I balked more often than not at the invites and entreaties, prefering my laptop and camera, the beautiful solitude of my imagination, to the Tribeca lofts and glittering soirees.

So as we stood on the precipice of the first party together in almost half a year, laughing and touching, licking and sucking, I couldn’t help but feel a sudden need to catch my breath and prepare myself for the bullshit on the other side of those doors.

“You’ll be fine,” Jackson squeezed my hand and kissed me, “because you’re goddamned brilliant and every man and woman in that room is going to be putty in your hands,” he kissed my fingers and licked the shell of my ear, soaking my panties for the umpteenth time that evening.

“If I give you the look, will you fuck me in the bathroom, no questions asked?”

“Amal Naipaul, I will fuck you any time, any place,” he smirked and pressed me to him, pushing his big dick into my body, letting me know he was not playing. Jackson then released my waist, interlaced our fingers, and opened the door.

Music, laughter, the tinkling of glasses and ice, a host of party cacophony greeted us as we entered the room. The perfect couple, impeccably dressed, him in Hickey Freeman, me in Burberry Prorsum, gorgeous smiles, firm handshakes, genuine laughter. We worked half the room side by side in seconds flat, then split to joke with friends, rub shoulders with actors, talk politics with directors. It was the shit I hated, but Jackson excelled in these moments. Smooth and sexy, gregarious and charming, he was a wonder to watch, a force of nature to be reckoned with, every so often glancing my way, tossing me a conspiratorial smile, touching the small of my back, letting me know he knew.

“You good? Because you look goddamned edible,” he whispered to me as he crossed behind on his way to greet his grad school advisor, “I am,” I smiled and winked, “edible, that is.”

Jackson’s eyes flashed dangerously for a second and I knew if we were near the bathroom, we would have fucked each other stupid. Instead, I settled for his warm palm on my ass in plain view of everyone in the room, heating my blood and making my nipples hard.

“Stop it,” I laughed as he glanced at my chest and smirked, knowing his affect on my body and mind, “never,” and then he was off, so serious and studious, pulling his advisor into his magnetic web, impressing the woman, probably making her wish she could do a little more than advise him.

I turned to catch up with a Los Angeles writer I knew, smiling to myself about Jackson and his everything, when out of the corner of my eye, a hint of black stopped me in my tracks, breath hitched, feet frozen. The party raged around me but I hardly noticed, oblivious to most everything but a waiter floating by with a tray of Old Fashioneds and that hint of black. Grabbing a glass, I tossed back the drink in two gulps, then went for another, my sobriety be damned.

I squeezed my eyes shut, breathed deeply, then searched and found Jackson across the room, needing to ground myself in the familiar, in the norm. He and his advisor huddled close, laughter on his lips, a smile curving hers. She wore her age well, striking and regal, a mixture of good genes and good luck wrapped in Victoria Beckham, bejeweled in Chopard. I wondered whether Jackson ever thought of her as he fucked me and just as quickly I realized I would love to watch Jackson fuck her and just as quickly, I knew I was drumming up all sorts of ridiculous fantasies to avoid that hint of black glimpsed seconds ago from the corner of my eye.

Him.

The man from the bookstore all those months ago with that voice of gravel and smoke and those eyes that stripped me naked and fucked me blind without touching me at all. The man I wondered about at the most random moments. The man I hoped never again to see because the fact remained, he did things to me.

He wore a suit and I could only see his back, but the touch of ink peeking out from his shirtsleeves and the way he stood, as if he should have a skateboard in his hand instead of a lowball, told me all I needed to know.

The wrist-kisser.

Mr. Downtown to my imagined Upper East Side.

“Amal! Oh my goodness,” warm arms surrounded me as my cheeks were kissed, not once, not twice, but three times, “my smutty little filth-monster. Look at you, lovie, studying that very bad boy over there. Thinking up another one of your tales of sex and bondage?”

Reena Amado, my godsister and freak of nature, with her ass that stopped traffic and waist I swear I could put my hands around if she would let me try. My godparents and Jackson’s parents were friendly enough that bumping into her here was not a surprise, caught ogling another man certainly was. My cheeks flushed pink as a vehement denial played along the tip of my tongue, but before I could make any excuses, tell any lies, Reena waved me off with her perfectly manicured, delicate caramel hand.

“He’s gorgeous,” she whispered for my ears only but before she could say anything more revelatory, I hushed her.

“Stop. Don’t do it.”

Reena leaned away and gave me a once-over, a wicked gleam in her eye, before moving close and whispering, “don’t do what, sweet girl?”

I glanced at Jackson again, still wrapped up in whatever his advisor had to say, then returned my gaze to the tall tatted man in the perfectly fitted suit, the man who haunted my most private thoughts and filthy desires, the man I needed to keep at a distance. “Don’t tell me his name,” I finally managed to utter, my breath trapped in my lungs, my voice sounding more plea than demand.

Reena raised a perfectly shaped brow in my direction and kissed my cheek, a certain understanding flashing in her dark eyes, then continued as if our exchange never occured, “like I was saying, he’s stunning,” and we both glanced his way, admiring him from behind as he chatted with a woman as aesthetically gifted as himself, oblivious to our attentions, “and a total whore, but aren’t we all? They call him one of the most eligible bachelors in the city, so you can imagine the pussy coming his way, from all directions. He has two older brothers, lawyers,” and here she rolled her eyes because Reena hated lawyers, “and his dad, CEO of some shipping company. His mom was a professor at Barnard, but she passed away when he was a teenager, which gives the mothering types total girl wood, thinking they can fill some feminine void in his life.”

Reena laughed and elegantly swiped a glass of champagne off a passing tray, looking impish and sexy and chic all at the same time. “That man has no voids in his life, just look at him,” and we both stared again, watching as he moved towards two model-types and a politician. He seemed genuinely interested in their conversation and I briefly wondered if he was more Upper East Side than he let on. But when the waiter came around with a new tray of drinks and everyone’s attention was turned, he quickly glanced at his watch and grimaced and I knew: downtown all day.

“Nobody who looks like that has voids in their life.”

I pushed Reena like I used to when we were kids and she was talking nonsense, “stop being so superficial,” then I pulled her close and rested my hand on her ass.

“I knew you would cop a feel. I was just wondering what took you so long,” she joked and I kissed her and we laughed, so comfortable in our bubble of sisterhood, so loving and true.

“I’m glad you’re here tonight,” I whispered and she kissed me again, “me, too, baby girl.”

We joked and talked shit about everyone at the party until both of us were nicely drunk, highly amused, and fit to outbursts of silly laughter. And when the woman with ebony skin and eyes like fire caught Reena’s attention and held her stare for two beats longer than most, I knew my godsister was gone. Reena squeezed my hand, whispered something incredibly dirty in my ear, kissed my neck, and moved through the crowd towards her conquest for the evening, leaving me alone with my giggles and Old Fashioned.

“You surviving?” Jackson’s voice caressed my ear as he slid in next to me, a smile on his lips as he cupped my ass, “because if I don’t fuck you soon, I’m going to die.”

I leaned into him and brushed his lips with mine, “I have been told my pussy is deadly.”

He groaned and I knew he was imagining me pressed against some wall, skirt hitched around my waist, my peaked nipple in his mouth while he big-dicked me fast and hard and like we both liked it. “Worth dying for every goddamned time,” he whispered and squeezed my ass before moving towards his aunt and father and someone else they wanted him to meet. I had already suffered through our awkward hellos, there was no need to throw myself at their feet again, so I stayed put and watched their faces light up as Jackson approached.

God, he had that affect on everyone, I thought to myself as I sipped my drink and watched him in awe. I relaxed into the sounds of the party, the constant chatter and laughter and underneath all of it, a steady beat maintained by the brilliance of Thelonious Monk. It sunk into my soul and made me forget most everything but that beat.

Until.

“Amal Warrier Naipaul, have you fucked your professor yet?”