Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Six: The Plan

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: outsiderzone / 123RF Stock Photo

What an amazing week I had in Atlanta for RWA Nationals! There will be pictures and stories for you on Friday. We’ll also start the voting to name our lady teacup dragon.

But first… Hannah and Ethan are back! We left them in the director’s office, with Maxim wondering if Ethan had come there to kill him. To catch up on all the installments, you can click on the Our Summer Adventure page above, or click here for week five. Remember, this story is what you make of it, so leave a comment telling us where you think the story will go next.

Our Summer Adventure ~ Week Six: The Plan

The thought that Ethan had come there to murder her father never occurred to Hannah. As she stood stick straight, her back to the window, her gaze fixed on Ethan, she waited for his response. Ready to act.

“Kill you?” Ethan’s full lips pulled up at the corners in a friendly smile, “Not today.” Then he pushed away from the desk, his gaze going to her. “Ms. James, I’d like to go to my hotel now, if you wouldn’t mind driving me.” It wasn’t a question, but a command.

“You won’t be staying offsite, we’ve prepared a room for you here.” Maxim said before Hannah had a chance to refuse.

The smile widened, creating a little divot in Ethan’s right cheek. The impulse to kiss the dimple rocked her. The man was dangerous, assassin or no. She needed to keep her distance from him.

“That would be best for you, but I’ll stay at the hotel. I’m sure you understand my need for autonomy.”

The director regarded Ethan for several moments before he swore under his breath. “Very well. Hannah will take you wherever you like.”

“Sir, perhaps you should have someone else take Mr. Carmichael. As you said, I’m well-known to the governor. I shouldn’t be seen with this man.” Her pitiful argument fell on stone ears.

“You’ll stay with Mr. Carmichael as long as necessary.” Her father looked at her then, a silent order in the blue depths. She couldn’t deny him. Wouldn’t go against his authority.

“Excellent. Now that that’s settled, Ms. James,” Ethan held his arm out to the side, indicating she should pass in front of him. She kept her focus straight ahead, ignoring the warm scent of him. “Max, it’s been a pleasure. When will I meet with the governor?”

Her father ignored the informal address, which Hannah knew was difficult for the director. “Tomorrow night. You’ll attend a function he has planned. Hannah will be your date.”

Hannah spun around, “You can’t be serious. Roarke knows me. If he sees me with Ethan, he’ll suspect something.”

“Which is precisely why you’re going. It will unbalance him.”

A thrum of dread coursed through her. She wasn’t ready to see him again. Not after what he did to her. After what she stopped him from doing to her. Ethan moved closer and she wanted to lean into his strength, to feel his arms around her and know in her marrow she’d be safe. What had gotten into her? She didn’t need a man to protect her. Didn’t want one, in fact.

“Hannah, I won’t jeopardize your safety. Surely there is someone else.” Ethan’s breath fluttered across her cheek with each word. He was too close and yet not close enough.

She stepped away from him, from her traitorous thoughts. “No. There is no one else. Father is right, it must be me.”

Maxim watched her with those eyes that gave nothing away, but that she’d learned years ago to decipher. He was using her as bait. Again. “Tomorrow night, then.” He dipped his head in the odd way he had of dismissal. Before she turned, she caught the smallest movement of his lips. A frown, perhaps? Did Maxim Drake have some humanity after all?

She almost laughed at the thought. Of course he didn’t. Any man who could offer his daughter to someone like Roarke . . .  she stopped herself. That was the past. Since returning from the governor, Maxim had been making an effort. It was a start.

They passed the two guards on their way out. Each stared ahead, but saw everything that happened around them. The briefest of nods passed between them. A silent acknowledgement between comrades.

“Hannah?” Ethan’s silken voice wrapped around her, “Are you well?” He took her elbow as they walked down the long corridor to the elevator.

“Fine, thanks.” She moved her arm out of his grip and jabbed at the button.

“You don’t seem fine. If tomorrow night is too difficult for you, we can get someone else. Rori, perhaps.”

The idea of Rori going anywhere near the monster ate at Hannah. He’d love her. She was perfect for him, which meant Rori might be better bait than herself. Except, she couldn’t do that to the girl. “You don’t know what you’re offering, Ethan. Keep your sister far from the governor, if you want her to stay alive.”

They were silent the rest of the way through the complex. When they reached the car, Ethan slid into the front passenger seat. His proximity unnerved her. “What are you doing?”

“What if I want you to stay alive? I know what the governor is doing, Hannah and I’ve a good suspicion why you didn’t turn up in any of the files on Maxim. I’m not really here to work out a truce, as I suspect you know. How can I protect you while accomplishing my task?”

“I’m fairly adept at protecting myself.”

A wicked smile crooked up his lips. “Yes, you are. But this is different. Let me take Rori tomorrow night. You can tell us about Roarke, things only you could know. I can’t risk sending you back there.”

Hannah’s stomach spasmed out of fear or desire, she wasn’t sure. “You don’t know what you’re asking, Ethan. He’ll want Rori and what Roarke wants, he gets. If you knew the horror of that man,” she pushed aside the images that swirled in her mind, “you wouldn’t be offering up your sister so casually.” The bitterness in her tone cut through her words to her anger at her father.

“Rori knows the risks. That’s why she’s here, Hannah.” His warm hand cupped her cheek and she stiffened lest she melt into it. His thumb stroked along her jaw. “We’ll talk at the hotel and you can decide after you’ve heard our plan.”

“What plan?” Perhaps he really was there to kill Roarke. Possibly her father as well.

“Not now. We have an audience.” His glance flicked to the doorway where one of Maxim’s guards stood watching them. Ethan settled back against the seat, leaving her skin cold where his hand had been.

She wasn’t sure what she wanted more, for him to tell her the plan, or to kiss her.

Now it’s your turn. Is Ethan there to kill Roarke? Maxim? Will Rori stand in for Hannah at the governor’s party? What happens next?


Research made me do it. Really.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

*I must warn you that this post contains mature themes. If you are faint of heart or a minor, come back on Wednesday when I have a silly video much better suited to your delicate senses. Kthxbai.

Research. How many writers use research? Everyone that I know of. Even if they just read a blog on how to write better or google a word or two, that’s research. Until a few weeks ago about the wildest thing I did for research was take pictures, read history books, and clickety-clack away on my keyboard.

All that changed when I went to the Southern California Writer’s Conference.

You see, I have a few characters who are, shall we say, intriguing. They use sex as a weapon and torture is just another way for them to get off. They’re twisted and perverted and I love them, but I don’t really know what it is they do when they do the nasty.

Remember my gal pal Gayle? Well, I happened to mention to her that I thought I could benefit from some research on the topic. Maybe get a video or something.

Next thing I know, I’m driving down the freeway with Gayle and Linda Ochocki in the car and we’re heading to a porn shop. That’s right. Three middle-aged married women were going on a field trip to get Tameri some porn!

So what’s the first thing I see when I enter the store? An entire wall of in your face business I can’t ever un-see, so what do I do? Giggle like a 12 year-old boy who discovered he could burp the alphabet. Yeah, I was that classy.

The very sweet and understanding salesgirl helped me find what I needed ~ I’d been prepped on what specifically to ask for ~ and let me just say there that I didn’t look at the DVD she showed me, I just said I’d take it if she thought it met my requirements. I’m fairly certain she didn’t believe my story that we were there for research because she gave me the lamest, dumbest, and most boring lesbian porn video of all time.

I’m not even going to tell you the part where the disc got stuck in my laptop and I thought I’d have to take it to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store to get it out. Let’s just say I might need therapy after that incident.

Not only did that ‘sweet’ salesgirl totally mess with me, I didn’t get the research information I needed. I bet she had some laughs at the bar with her girlfriends that night. Dang it.

Fear not, my loyal readers because I had a secret weapon. My gal pal Gayle. If you’ll recall, I told you in my SCWC recap that she can hook a girl up!

Turns out, Gayle just happened to be regaling a few folks with a highly entertaining account of our field trip when this guy Oz mentioned that a good friend of his is a BDSM master. Or something like that. I’m still not quite sure what all those letters stand for, but I can guess. Anyway, she totally hooked me up!

By the time I left the conference, I had John’s number (he’s the hot BDSM dude) and a promise from Heather, Oz’s wife, that she’d send me information from a lesbian S&M friend who would be willing to help out as well.

None of this would’ve happened if I’d stayed in my little corner of the conference. Sure, I was completely out of my comfort zone, but we had a blast and the story just got better each time we told it. I finally got up the guts to call John and I need to email Heather’s friend ~ I wanted to make sure I had my questions lined up first so I don’t giggle again like a 12 year-old boy every time he farts. Seriously, I’m that much of a dork.

As for the disk… after 45 minutes of stressing out and trying to get the darn thing out of my laptop (and missing the morning speaker, I might add), the stupid thing finally ejected and I was saved the torture of taking it to the Genius Bar.

Come on, ‘fess up. What’s the wackiest thing you’ve done for research?

Chocolate, the language of LOVE

With Valentine’s day fast approaching, our hearts and minds turn to one thing: chocolate.

Thought I’d say LOVE, didn’t you? Well, that too, but what is love without chocolate? (Don’t answer that, this post is about chocolate, work with me here).

‘Chocolate is like sex, even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good’. ~ Quoted from my fabulous husband who heard it from somewhere else.

It’s true chocolate is darn sexy, but did you know dark chocolate is good for you?** Not if you eat a pound of it a day, but a 1 ounce piece of dark chocolate provides your body with vitamins A, D, & K. Not only that, but it is loaded with good minerals like magnesium, potassium, and iron. Ha! Popeye should’ve been eating dark chocolate instead of all that spinach. It would’ve saved valuable time not having to open all those cans.

Know what else dark chocolate would’ve done for him? Made his heart healthy. The flavanols in dark chocolate keeps our blood flowing to the heart, which prevents blood clots and strengthens blood vessels. AND dark chocolate has antioxidants, you know, those awesome little buggers that eat up cancer causing cells.


Know what else? Chocolate makes an amazing skin treatment. Our skin is very porous, so facial creams, moisturizers, and lotions made with natural cocoa butter melts easily on our skin. Not only that, but it holds in moisture and protects our skin from harsh elements. Going skiing this weekend? Slather on some cocoa butter, your skin will thank you for it!

To get you and your loved one in the mood for some chocolate love, try an at home spa. Start off by lighting some chocolate candles, then apply a chocolate mousse mask. Next, give each other a foot scrub with some chocolate sugar scrub. Follow this with a chocolate massage with either melted chocolate (allowed to cool down so it doesn’t burn your skin. Safety first!) or with chocolate massage oil.

I don’t know about you, but that picture makes me say, ‘ooooh, yeah’.

Done with the massage? You need to clean up a bit, why not use chocolate soap to give a good scrub down.

Finish off by applying cocoa butter all over your body. You’ll look and smell divine.

Once you’re relaxed from your chocolate spa, you and your special Valentine can have a chocolate tasting for two.

Not to worry! Tastings are easy and best when artisan chocolates are used. Some good brands are Scharffen Berger, Valrhona, Green & Black’s, Lindt, and even Hershey’s. Try to stay away from nuts and fillings since these can throw off the taste. My local grocers has most of these brands and Sur le Table has other upscale chocolates. Depending on your tastes and your budget, get as wild as you want. Remember, the day is about the two of you and celebrating your love. Of chocolate. (Okay, of each other, but this post is about chocolate, so I had to say that.)

Back to the tasting… we’re going to assume you choose a nice selection of chocolates from the three main categories: dark chocolate, white chocolate, and milk chocolate. Arrange them by categories (dark with dark, white with white, etc). Try to have at least two different kinds of each chocolate for comparisons.

Like wine, chocolate uses flavor descriptors such as, ‘bouquet’, ‘notes’, ‘undertones’, and ‘finish’ to describe the taste. If you don’t know what that means, I can’t help you. I don’t drink much wine and I’m horrible at tasting the subtle nuances like fruity or nutty, so if you’re like me, just enjoy the chocolate and don’t worry about the fussy flavor descriptor!

Speaking of wine, red wine is suggest for dark chocolate and champagne or dry white wines for milk chocolate. I guess white chocolate (which technically is not a chocolate, go figure) gets water.

To finish off your night of chocolate love, how about a decadent chocolate cake or some bon bons? A wonderful mug of hot chocolate on a chilly night sipped beside a fire might get you thinking about the chocolate massage oil again. That’s okay, go ahead and indulge. It’s Valentine’s Day after all!

Like a little mint with your chocolate? Jillian Dodd has the perfect thin mint martini and thin mint brownies!

Want some more great ideas for spicing up your Valentine’s Day? Check out Marcia Richard’s 14 Sexy Ways to Say I Love You.

Whatever you do, have a fabulous, love-filled Valentine’s Day. And not just February 14th, but every single day of your life!

What’s your favorite way to say, ‘I love you’? Do you think you’ll try any of these spa treatments? Come on, you can tell us! We love to know what’s going on in your lives, so please share with us your great tips for staying sexy and in love.

**Disclaimer – I am not a doctor, so please understand that everything in this blog is meant for entertainment purposes. While it is true that dark chocolate is good for you, if you eat too much it can cause damage. Consult your doctor if you have any questions. Thanks!

Anime, Backstreet Boys & Moymoy Palaboy! What???

This week’s Whimsy Wednesday video comes compliments of my son, Michael. He says once you watch this you’ll have Chuck Norris powers. Cooooool.

I didn’t get the video at first, but then realized the boys on the right are mimicking the girls on the left. Awesome! They even get the facial features down, which must be hard with anime, but it works.

Enjoy this little break from your day. Hmmm, I’m thinking I might have to make a video like this. What song should I use? What song would you like to mimic if you made a video? I’m thinking anything from Madonna back in the 80’s.

Back by Popular Demand – Trashy TV Recap!

Yep, it’s back. Okay, so it was only gone a week, but you know what? I missed it! So, here it is in all it’s fabulousness! Enjoy.

Before we get to the three shows I’ll recap, I thought I’d mention a few shows that caught my attention this week.

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

Yes, there really is a reality show about this. Girls in England who live in caravans (trailers to us US folk) have these crazy weddings where the dresses are huge – we’re talking Marie Antoinette would be jealous of the width of the skirts – huge. It’s a total riot to watch, so check it out.

Okay, I know I said I’d rather watch Hillbilly Handfishin’ before I watched Millionaire Matchmaker again, but Patty slays me. This time out she had a Russian ball buster and a gay guy who thought he was the wisest guy on the planet. I had to pick up the kid from school, so I didn’t get to see if the dates worked out and I didn’t even care. Just the interview process was enough to leave me almost pee’ing my pants!

Tabatha’s Salon Takeover

Oh. My. Curlers. Tabatha is awesome. She’s terrifying and hilarious. I actually DVR’d a show for this Saturday because I only saw part of the show and I just HAVE to know what happened. She’s a ball buster, that Tabatha.

This week on America’s Next Top Model I started to like the girls again. Maybe because Brittany went home last week. She was loud and just too aggressive.

The girls all got a visit from Tyra and some dude named Martin Lindstrom. He’s considered a Brand Genius. Sure, that’s all fine and well for models, but if Tyra ever does anything with writers, I expect to see Kristen Lamb on that show! So, Martin gives the girls one word to describe them and their brand. The next day they all get Ty-overs with Ashlee Simpson on hand to lend support.

Ashlee, really? Maybe it’s because she’s had so many different hair colors. Whatever, she’s cute and the girls liked having her around.

Well, you know how it goes with Ty-overs, there’s always someone who goes crazy with the drama and cries. This time it’s Bre. Tyra wants her hair short and sleek. You know what? That haircut rocks! It was all big and puffy before, now it’s chic.

After their Ty-overs, the girls had to make a Pink’s hot dog with their brand in mind and exude their word. Um, what? I have to make a hot dog, then take pictures while eating the hot dog and look like my brand? Is someone smoking the hot dogs here?

In case you’re wondering, here are their words:

Lisa – Daring (The flip side of this was that the fans didn’t find Lisa trustworthy. Ooops!)

Sheena – Unexpected (Seriously? There is nothing surprising or unexpected from her. Yawn)

Kayla – Free (Because, you know, LGBT is so 5 years ago, according to Mr. Lindstrom)

Shannon – Trustworthy (I say boring, but they say trustworthy. Okay.)

Dominique – Survivor (As in Redemption Island? Can someone please vote her off!)

Allison – Unique (I like Allison, but her kewpie eyes and broken down doll look terrifies me)

Angelea – Persistence (It’s fun to note here that the fans thought she looked cheap, especially her shoes. I really want to dislike her, but the girl’s got spunk. And my respect)

Bre – Girlfriend (Yeah, I could see hanging out with Bre and shopping together. She’s cool)

Isis – Inspiration (Duh! Isis is a dude who became a woman and is feminine and gorgeous than some of the women I know. She followed her dream and rocks her brand)

Camille – Proud (Ya think?)

Laura – Lovable (Another no brainer. Laura reminds me of Shandi – probably my all time favorite model. I totally thought she’d be on this show. Oh, well)

Alexandria – Tough (Mr. Lindstrom said the fans thought she was annoying and said a lot of things with no value. I hope Alexandria gets herself together and drops the dramatics. Not a favorite this cycle or last)

Bianca – Candid (This gave Bianca courage to start drama in the house. Yawn. Been there, bought the t-shirt, have the raging headache to prove it)

Some of the girls rocked the dog and some didn’t. It’s a hot dog – how amazing do you think a photo shoot can be?

Oh. My. Stars. Nigel Barker has hair! Oh, wait, Tyra just shaved his head, no he doesn’t! That was a totally random moment in TV history. I need to take a moment and collect my thoughts. Enjoy this pic of Tyra shaving Nigel’s head:

You all thought I was lying, didn’t you?

So, back to judging.

All of the judges thought Lisa’s picture was the best, but I’m not a fan of seeing food in people’s mouths. I guess the jalapeno’s were ‘daring’!

It was pretty obvious the judges didn’t like Sheena or Kayla’s pictures and so it was no surprise Sheena went home.

Hmmm, now that Nigel is bald again, he’s on my Secret Crush list. I might have to profile him one of these blogs.

Top Chef Just Desserts

Let me just say that last week there was a fabulous Willy Wonka challenge and the best part was seeing Johnny’s sweet smile. This guy is really just too cute. Especially when he smiles. Yep, he’s on the SC list already. You’ll be reading more about him soon. Promise.

See what I mean? Super cutie.

This week’s quickfire challenge’s guest judge is Pichet Ong. Who, you ask? Yeah, I don’t know either.

The chefs have to make a candy bar. Are you kidding me? How fun would that be!

For once, Orlando doesn’t whine. Hmmm, what’s wrong with him?

Some chefs strugge (Matt’s looks like a bar of poop. Really) and others rock it. Sally wins the challenge and immunity. Which is good and bad.

Good because she can’t go home. Bad because it’s a team elimination challenge and she sacrifices her ideas/visions for the team.

For the elimination challenge, the teams have to make a yummy treat for people at a water park. Again, how fun would this be?!?

Finally, we get to see Johnny! He chats with all the chefs and is worried about a few of them, but of course the chefs don’t listen to him. When will they learn?

Orlando, Chris, and Matthew are on the same team. I know what you’re thinking, Dream Team, right? Hmmm, maybe.

Katsie, Rebecca, and Megan. I don’t even know what they made, because Johnny was talking about a place in his neighborhood that makes spumoni and I was focused on him.

Finally, Carlos, Amanda, and Sally make up the last team. They want to make popsicles and funnel cakes, pretty standard water park fare, how can they lose, right? Hmmm.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, Dream Team kind of sucked at the challenge. Orlando made a root beer float with out a float, Chris made a sticky, sweet smoothie thing and Matthew served warm strawberries on a hot day. They didn’t lose, though so they are all safe.

Katsie won the challenge with her spumoni on a stick. Um, okayyy.

That leaves Carlos, Amanda, and Sally in the bottom. Sally, as we know, has immunity, which is the only thing that saves her butt from going home this week. Whew! I like Sally and hope she goes far. Carlos made a sugary abomination with cereal and ice cream and chocolate. Ewww. Amanda made soggy funnel cakes. Amanda goes home! Buh-bye funnel cake maker.

Project Runway

The challenge for this week is to make a signature look for an up and coming band. There are two teams, but this isn’t a typical team challenge. Each person is responsible for their own look and the looks need to be cohesive, but they aren’t judged as a team.

The band is called Sheep Dog and most all of the members look like shaggy dogs. Oh, and did I mention they are MEN. Oh, yes, my pretties, this week’s challenge is to create menswear! Those designers are going nutso over the MEN. Love it!

Warning! Warning! Warning! The show is focusing on Olivier and Anya too much. Hmmm, could it be one of them is going home?

Poor, poor Olivier. He just can’t understand the concept of designing for real people. He tells his band member, repeatedly, that he’s ‘Big’. Um, he’s not plus sized, he’s freaking 6’3″! Get over yourself, Olivier! (as a side note, Olivier was one of my first favorites and is my daughter’s favorite)

Right. Back to sewing. The designers talk to the band and get ideas of what they want and all of them pretty much are hippies. They have long, shaggy hair, wear boots and jeans, not anything too original. And the designers don’t help them into the 21st Century, either.

On the runway, the band performed two songs for the judges – one in each teams’ outfits. Oh. My. Stars. Guest judge is Adam Lambert! Perfect judge for this show. I adore Adam (okay, the fact that he’s from San Diego and I’ve met his dad are huge bonuses, but still, I love his music and his fashion sense).

Team Harmony strikes sweet and sour notes with the judges. They like Bert’s flow-y hippie thang he’s got going on and hate Anya’s outfit. Who could blame them! Michael Kors cracks everyone up with his quips about it looking like a bad Brady Bunch outfit. He’s SO right! Terrible.

Team Untitled (what, are they trying to be rockstars here? dumb name) has two good looks for the judges. Josh – who is trying so hard not to be a bully anymore and actually making me kind of like him – has wicked cream jeans with a zipper that screams, “look at my crotch!”. When Tim challenged him in the workroom on the zipper, Josh defended it, which was hilarious. Heidi also liked the sexiness of the zipper.

The winning outfit went to Viktor, who made an amazing pleather jacket with braiding and fringe. His shirt was Meh, but the pants were cool and actually not white or beige like most of the others. Yay Viktor!

So, who went home? It was between Anya and Olivier. The judges are in LOVE with Anya. I don’t get it, but she’s their pet this season.

Yep, you guessed it. Olivier went home. I’m going to miss that darling boy, but he was way too whiny this show and had major time management issues. Buh-bye sweetling.

That’s it for this week!

What shows did you catch on Trashy TV? You know you sneak a few in, which ones are they? Is there a show I just HAVE to watch?

King and Queen of the Techno Challenged! They are too adorable for words…

While trying to find a great video for this week, I stumbled upon this couple. Okay, in truth, David (my super fabulous husband) showed this to me, because, you know, he’s like King of the Internet or something.

This way-too-cute couple are trying to figure out their new camera on the computer. The man is hilarious and so sweet you could pinch his cheeks. Around the 1:50 mark he gets a little saucy. What a card!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the newly crowned King and Queen of the Techno Challenged. I, for one, bow to them as my lieges in this ever-changing, confusing expanse of cyber space.


Okay, time to fess up, have you ever done something like this? I do it on a daily basis! I’d love to hear your story, what technology makes you nuts? What’s your favorite techno gadget? What do you wish had never been invented? What do you wish was invented?