Confessions of a Netflix cheater

Like so many other couples out there in America, the hubs and I are habitual Netflix bingers. We pick a show, spend each and every week night (and a few weekends if necessary) watching from start to end…or at least as much as Netflix has posted. This has become our married-life bonding ritual. Curled on the couch night after night debating the time and if we should watch “just one more…” before going to bed and crashing from sheer Netflix-induced exhaustion.

I’ve seen the complaints from partners like us. “Did you watch ahead?” Oh, yes, that is a crime punishable by removal of snack privileges for at least one night, possibly two.

I would never, ever consider watching ahead. That’s just flat out disrespectful.

But I have a confession. I have to admit something.

While I would never watch ahead, I have been known to… *whispering* check IMDb to see what happens in future episodes.

I did it with Bones. (I knew the wedding was coming before my husband did. I also know who is going to die in the next season and it isn’t even on Netflix yet.) I did it with Fringe. (I knew who they were going to meet in the future.) And now I’ve done it with Arrow. And damn it! Now I know who dies in season two and I’m dying because I can’t talk to him about it.

This is a deep dark treachery that I feel really guilty about, but then again I don’t because I didn’t “watch ahead” I just “researched ahead” and nobody ever said that was off limits.

Anyway. I’m suffering at the hands of my Netflix betrayal because I want to watch ahead, but I can’t. And I can’t keep asking him to stay up until midnight just to get to that episode. And I can’t tell him why I need him to hurry up and get through the season.

*Sigh* This is my comeuppance, I suppose. The price I must pay for being a Netflix cheater. I could confess. Tell him the truth. That I read the episode breakdowns online. That I know what’s going to happen. But I just don’t think I can stand to see the look of disappointment in his eyes when he realizes my shock at some pretty “unexpected” events was fake.

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Spring Has Sprung And Out Come … The Critters

Yes, it is Spring, and aren’t we all glad, BUT — and there’s always a but, isn’t there? — with Spring comes PESTS.  Bet ya thought only showers and flowers came with Spring … um, no.

Usually in our household, Spring is when the pest control people get to come and re-bait all the traps in the crawl space and garage.  A job I do not envy them.  Crawl spaces have creepy crawly things in them — and most likely dead mice bodies from last year. EEUW.

But this year we have critters  in between the walls and above the ceiling in our master bedroom.  What kinds of critters?  I don’t know, and I don’t care–I want them gone.  We first heard them last night skittering and scratching and thumping and bumping as they played tag or procreated or whatever they were doing.  They seem to be nocturnal since the noise was gone during the day.

My pest control people don’t do unspecified critters — just insects and mice and maybe rats as long as they don’t meet critter-size criteria (whatever that is).  So they sent me to Tim.  And Tim is gonna be my man if he can get the little beasties out of my wall.

Being an author, I, of course, imagined the uninvited critter invaders eating their way to freedom through the drywall into our bedroom while we were asleep. (The outside of the house is all brick.)

Never happen, you say?  Well, it has happened and I know of someone that it has happened to. These very nice people  ended up with a momma and poppa  and baby raccoon in bed with them at 3 am in the morning.  Craziness then ensued.  I do not want to be that person who is chasing raccoons around my house with a broom in the middle of the night, trying to get them outside.

So, yeah, Tim is my go-to guy.

Now, I just have to wait for him to call me back after he did his walk-around my house.  I guess Tim has a lot of experience at this job (or my pest control people wouldn’t send him their good customers) and he can tell by looking where some creature got in. I sure hope so since my hubby went up in the attic and found nada signs of invaders.

Sight unseen, Tim has surmised birds — starlings to be exact.  Hmm, if they’re starlings, then there was a whole flock of them because they made quite a racket — all night long.

Me?  I’m thinking hungry, angry raccoons.  Tonight, I’ll have my broom handy, just in case.

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Conquered in Cancun – Coming Soon!

Conquered-In-Cancun-200x300

Available soon only on Amazon

Conquered in Cancun, a novella will be out within the next few weeks, thanks to my Love, Lust and Laptops co-bloggers Emilia Mancini and Vanessa North.

In Christmas in Cancun, I hinted at a possible relationship between “Cool Hand” Luke Thorstad, the sexy helicopter pilot, and Lilly Girard. Sorry, but that never took off. Lilly’s exciting story will be released later this year, when she meets a real Madman.

Blurb

After a deployment romance ends disastrously, Lieutenant Commander Caroline Hodges vows never to trust another man. Joining her roommates for some fun in the Cancun sun, she runs into Luke Thorstad, the lover who dumped her in Navy flight school. Could her luck get any worse?  But the more time she spends with Luke the more old feelings resurface. A fling could be just what she needs to ease her heartache.

Luke Thorstad had been thrown into the limelight, and the arms of dozens of willing women, in flight school when he’d become an unintentional hero. His biggest regret, ever, was leaving Caroline Hodges in the shadows. Finding her in a Cancun night club was his chance at redemption, and maybe the future they’d been denied years ago. But he’ll have to break down the walls she’s built around her heart

Excerpt – NOTE: The following excerpt is rated ADULT.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Caroline Hodges sat alone at the shiny ebony table sipping a frozen margarita she really didn’t want. Watching her three best friends practically dry hump the handsome men they danced with at the Mayan Nites Club was not her idea of a good time.

Once again, she was living up to her call sign, Mouse. She’d sat quietly, never making eye contact, when the prowling pack had approached their table with the confident swagger American military men perfect. After a lifetime of dodging men like them, she wasn’t surprised when they’d asked her friends to dance, and then the rest moved on to the table of sorority girls.

It was going to be a long week.

Caroline and her fellow Navy pilots—roommates for the past nine months aboard the USS Carl Vinson—had been granted fourteen days Post Operational Movement leave. The other three women had convinced her to join them in Cancun for some fun in the sun and warm water. It hadn’t taken much arm twisting. She’d have gone anywhere to get away from San Diego…and Robert.

She needed every hour of those two weeks to think. And wallow in self-pity. She had literally fucked up her career and now had to decide what she was going to do about it.

“Hey, Mouse.”

The deep, sexy voice jolted Caroline out of her depressing thoughts. Her gaze started at the deck shoes and traveled up tanned runner’s calves to muscular thighs covered in khaki shorts riding low on lean hips. The light blue golf shirt bore the logo of a black helicopter and the word Jurikan.

What the hell is that?

The attire was far too casual for the chic Cancun club, but his stance was somewhere between doesn’t-give-a-shit and doesn’t-matter. She reached his clean-shaven chin, full lips…lips that had kissed every inch of her body.

A shiver ran through her. The thought of all the orgasms she’d had with this man made every nerve ending leap to life and begin to tingle.

Her heart skipped a beat. The tingles increased to tangles of tension that shot south at Mach 1 and pooled between her legs.

She wanted to look away. Hell, she wanted to run away. But a lifetime of enforced manners as an Army officer’s daughter pushed her gaze to meet blue eyes the same shade as his shirt. They were the color of the sky at thirty thousand feet, far above the clouds, a color she looked at every time she flew the F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jet assigned to her.

He stole her breath, just as he’d done the first time they’d met six years ago in flight school.

“Hello, ‘Cool Hand’ Luke.” Caroline hoped her smile didn’t show the pain she hid deep inside. He was another reminder of her bad choices in men and a reinforcement that she needed the next two weeks to reevaluate her life.

….

“Hey, where’d you go, Mouse?” Luke’s breath was warm on her ear, and she instinctively jerked away.

Her gaze flew to his.

“Jumpy. You okay?” His tone was one of concern.

“I’m fine,” she snapped.

His stare seemed to delve into her soul, probing all those dark places she often hid. Six years ago, when they’d been friends, she had started to let him into her head. Then he’d crawled into her bed…and her heart. That last part wasn’t supposed to happen since they’d agreed the sex was only a de-stressor. He had been her first mistake in Navy life, but not the last. Robert had more than filled that space.

Bastards! All men are fucking bastards—emphasis on fucking.

She blinked and turned her attention to Sarah, who was regaling the table with one of her many stories.

“No one had briefed us on the proper dress for Dubai, so before I made it to the end of the gangway in my shorts and flip flops…”

“Caroline.” Demand radiated from Luke’s voice.

All her attention rocketed to him. “What?”

“Do you want to get out of here?” He gave her that small smile that made most women drop their panties and beg for his continued attention.

What the hell? After less than a hundred words exchanged, he expects me to take him to our condo and fuck his lights out? Why? For old times’ sake? Not only no, but hell no.

“To talk.” Luke must have read her mind. He’d been able to do that once upon a time. “Just to talk. It’s noisy in here.”

Could she believe him? She certainly didn’t trust him. With the ease of practice, she pasted on what she hoped was a convincing smile. “I’m here with my friends, and we’re all having fun.”

He studied her face as if her internal thoughts were written in the makeup she’d carefully applied.

She held the trained smile, clenching her teeth. The racing thoughts wouldn’t slow long enough for her to decide what she wanted.

Sex. Yes, sex had always been good with Luke. Would she go there now?

No! He’d left her without a word.

Damn, he looked so good. She liked the longer hair. It looked soft. She wanted to run her fingers through it from his scalp to where it ended just above his broad shoulders. Had they been that big before? She pictured Luke’s naked shoulders holding his body above her as he slid into her to the hilt. She’d loved that feeling.

Luke grinned and grabbed her hand. “Let’s dance.” He pulled her out of her thoughts and to her feet. Running blocker to the center of the crammed floor, Luke pulled Caroline behind him. He flicked a glance to the DJ, and the music changed to a slow song.

Well, damn. He must come here often. Everyone seems to know him.

Luke pulled Caroline into his arms and pressed their bodies together. They were chest to chest, hips to hips. He moved a leg between hers, forcing her knees apart. Without thinking about it, she dropped her head onto his shoulder. The fit was still perfect. They had danced like this when they’d first met, and dozens of times in the months that followed.

….

But Luke was in her arms now. The rightness, which no other man had ever made her feel, took over her body. She melded to his rock-hard chest and nestled her head deeper into the curve of his shoulder.

His breath ruffled the hair at her temple as he sighed. He feels it too.

Luke rubbed up and down her naked back, spreading heat and warmth through her whole body.

During vacation clothes shopping—and in a rare moment of reclaiming her life—she’d bought the backless bit of sparkling cloth. She’d liked the way the halter dress exposed her back to the waist and was short enough to show off her long legs. It had looked amazing when she’d tried it on in the upscale boutique, but wearing it here made her feel like meat on sale.

Luke ran fingertips down her spine. Her whole body shivered, and her breath caught.

It means nothing, she scolded herself. It was ridiculous to think he had any residual feelings for her, probably not even friendship any more. But she couldn’t ignore the way he felt this close, nearly heart to heart.

Heat pooled between her legs, brushed by his teasing thigh that touched her there in time with the music as he moved them both in slow circles. She was wet…for him. Her body longed for the way he’d touched her all those years ago. The way he’d made her feel…special.

No. No. No. She’d just left one bad situation and didn’t need the complication of another man.

Luke’s hand went to the back of her neck, and then he splayed his fingers into her hair. She automatically looked up at him. His normally light blue eyes were the color of sapphires, dark and deep.

It’s only the dim light in the room, she lied to herself.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t help it.” His gaze fell to her lips.

“Help what?”

His kiss was her answer.

He held her head in place with long fingers woven into her hair. Not that she tried to pull away. From the moment his lips touched hers, she was lost in sensation. Passion coursed through her veins, pumped by her speeding heartbeat. It was as if she’d been denied chocolate ice cream for years then allowed only a tiny sample. It wasn’t enough. She wanted more.

His tongue ran along the seam of her lips, and she opened for him. He speared in and gathered hers in a favorite dance she’d long forgotten. Savoring the experience, she got lost in possibilities of reuniting with him…temporarily.

Her hips automatically pressed into his erection, seeking, wanting, needing. He was hard and ready. Oh, how it would feel to have him again. He’d slowly caress every curve of her body with his long fingers following them with kisses before he found her center and flicked her clit until her whole body couldn’t stand the anticipation a second longer. She was breathing hard at the fantasy. Or was it a memory?

Luke’s big hand filled the small of her back and then dropped lower, covering her butt. He nipped his way from one side of her mouth to the other.

“Let’s get out of here.” He pressed her body into his erection.

The reality portion of her brain smashed through. He’s on the hunt tonight for a piece of ass, just like his buddies. They probably do this every night.

She immediately stepped back. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, Luke. It didn’t work out so well for me the last time.”

Caroline dodged hot, sweaty bodies on her way to the table, hoping her margarita was still frosty. She needed to cool down, from the inside out.

….

Luke stood on the dance floor and watched Caroline’s short, black hair blend into the crowd. The white dress clung to her feminine curves and made him want to kiss every inch of her light brown skin as he peeled it off her. It wouldn’t take long either. There wasn’t much to the sparkling sheath. Her stiffly straight back was naked except for a small piece at the neck and another around her slight waist. Then there was that barely covered, oh-so-fine ass of hers.

Six years ago she’d never have worn such a revealing dress. Tonight, she rocked it.

And his world.

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A new month and a new cover!

As Jianne mentioned yesterday, certain months of the year tend to carry associations. So far, April hasn’t been wonderful for me, but I was pleased to get a little bit of good news in the shape of a new cover. That’s right, as revealed yesterday on my own blog, we now have a cover for Vice, my Samhain Publishing release for Sept. I couldn’t resist sharing it here as well.

Vice_EPUB

 

I know this release is still a few months away, but I am excited to see it come together. I think, of all my books, Vice is the most personal and the most edgy. You won’t find as much fun banter in this one. I’ve definitely veered away from romantic comedy here. I wanted it to strike deep because the issues in it have certainly hit me. Dealing with the world of gambling, it was an important book for me to write. Not only do my characters have to battle a few demons, I may have had to vanquish one or two myself.

I’ll be sure to share more when we get closer to the release date, but I’m proud to share the blurb with you today.

*********

Kate Callender is a Las Vegas singer who counsels the families of compulsive gamblers. Liam Doyle owns the hottest casino hotels in Sin City. They are natural enemies. However, when Kate embarks on a protest of Liam’s properties, they are confronted with a mutual attraction that disturbs and excites them.

Liam is determined to hate the meddling Kate, but when she offers him an unexpected moment of kindness, his feelings change. Their emotions intensify when they scratch the surface and learn there is more to both of them than meets the eye.

A vile attack makes Liam want to draw her close and they begin a sexual odyssey that overwhelms them. Kate fears they might drown in their addiction to each other. They succumb to vice and to their searing needs, but will they lose themselves in the process?

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I Hate April!

Satan-Jianne_Carlo-200x320April is a month that bedevils me. It’s the month I was born in. It’s the month I birthed my last son. It’s also the month my father died. On April 4. Gosh I hate that day. Every year it yawns at me from the minute the new year breaks.

I’m hoping to make April a  different month this year because I have a book, an important one, releasing this month. Satan, Hades Squad Book #5, released on April 2nd. Satan finishes the Hades Squad tales. And I hope it marks an end to my anguish.

Here’s an excerpt from Satan’s tale:

***

The sharp note to Satan’s tone made Angel connect with his stare, she shrugged. “I keep catching people staring at me.”

He chortled. “You’re a stunning redhead with incredible baby blues, the legs of a Vegas chorus girl, a centerfold rack, and you’re over six feet in your heels. Of course people stare at you. I bet if you walked by a construction crew, you’d cause a riot.”

“That’s blunt.” She nabbed a paper napkin from a holder.

“Why did that tick you off?” He imitated her action with the napkin.

“I’ve been judged by my looks all my life. I was thin and gangly, and my hair was basically an afro until I went to college. My childhood and adolescence were miserable. Kids teased me without mercy. The ‘pretty’ girls in class bullied me. I got to college. One of the girls in my residence, who was a model, gives me a makeover and introduces me to keratin hair straightening. I go on the pill and develop these puppies. All of a sudden I’m beautiful.” She grabbed a roll from the basket on the table and tore it in half.

“Hey.” He caught her chin, inspected her features, and said, the surprise evident in the tone and timbre of his voice, “You don’t think you’re beautiful. You really don’t.”

“I look in the mirror, and I see the too-thin girl with a frizzy mop.” What on earth was wrong with her? She’d never admitted that to anyone.

He frowned. “I’m trying to reconcile what you’re saying with the little black dress and no underwear.”

“Jess had the dress delivered to me and instructed me to not show up if I wasn’t going to wear it. I hate strapless bras, and that was the only choice with that dress. Besides, the bodice was fitted and made of spandex and supported me fine. I tried panties, but the lines showed under the dress, so I decided not to wear anything. I did try panty hose, but it showed too and felt wrong.” A fire washed over her throat and face, but she was angry with him, and it served him right to know the truth.

He burst into a fit of hoots.

“That wasn’t funny.” Her lips twitched. He had the most infectious laugh, a real Santa Claus type of booming belly guffaw.

She cuffed his bicep, winced when her knuckles met steel-hard muscles, and then grinned. “Okay. Maybe it’s funny now, but it sure wasn’t at the time. I cannot believe I’m telling you this. You are never, never, ever to even hint of this to anyone. Promise?”

“Not even the tiniest hin—”

She set her palm to his mouth. “Promise. On your military honor.”

The man even smelled dangerous, a mixture of musky spice and ocean breeze. He should bottle the aroma and market it.

“I promise. On my word as a SEAL.” He spoke the words in a solemn tone and even held his hand over his heart, but those black-as-sin eyes danced the devil at her.

For a long pin-drop moment, they simply smiled at each other.

He ran the back of his hand over her cheek. “I like you.”

“I like you, too.” The instantaneous declaration popped out of her mouth, flooring her. She never spoke without thinking. Had learned that lesson early on in her career after a disastrous interview with the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

***

Hope you have a merry Monday!

Cheers,

Jianne

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Freebies

First off, can we have a round of applause for the ladies of LL&L who remember to post on-time. I’ve been MIA the past couple times, and I apologize, but ya’ll know the drill. Life = hectic. The day job is keeping me busy, even during my “off hours”, and keeping up with writing, editing, and promotion – not to mention the family – has slap worn me out.

But now that I have that out of the way, let’s get down to brass knuckles. I’m going to stand up and say I am one of the readers who LOVE free books. I’m a cheapskate, true, but Facebook somehow learned I always click on an ad for free books and now my newsfeed is filled with such ads. My TBR pile is growing ever higher, knowing me having time to read is almost laughable. I do read them, maybe not all the way through, but I do at least make an attempt.

As a reader, yes, it’s a good thing. As an author? I’m a bit torn. I have offered two of my self-pubbed books for free. I got maybe 1000 downloads in a couple of days. I was excited watching my ranking at Amazon climb, but I still can’t managed to make the Top 100 overall.

It’s depressing, it really is, when you can’t even GIVE away a book. The sad thing is people read my books apparently and my reviews at Goodreads and Amazon prove that complete strangers actually consider my books a 4 or 5 star. Does this ever translate to sales? Nope. Not really. I only see this surge of reviews when I offer the books for free. My backlist continues to languish.

During my self-pub experience, I’ve learned I should’ve considered my options more before signing with a publisher the past couple of years. To me then, the benefit of knowing “someone in the know” liked my book well enough to contract it convinced me it was worth giving up more than half of my royalties. But being able to chose my cover art, work at my own pace, and set the pricing far outweighs my moral compass, which pointed me in the traditionally pubbed outlets.

I still love my publishers and I’m grateful for each of them. I’ve learned tons from my editors and fellow authors on the loops and such. But obtaining a fantastic set of crit partners, an author friend who excels at line edits, and freelance cover artists give me a freedom I’d never expected.

I was scared I wasn’t “dedicated” enough to make sure my books were properly edited, or spend my own money on covers, etc. but in the couple of months I’ve been self-pubbed I’ve already exceeded my sales in the first month for any of my books. I’m still nowhere near making this a full-time career, but I like the direction this is taking me.

I even enjoy giving away books. I’ve never done this for the money, but the joy I get from seeing people enjoy my books makes it all worth it. For those of you who haven’t self-pubbed, why? And for those of you who read free books, what does it take for you to buy?

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Big Surprise … On Friday

Hello, my darlings!

I am about to burst. I’ve been working on a project (with my partner-in-crime, Mandy Harbin) for the last few months, and it’s finally come together. We will be making the official announcement tomorrow – be sure to check out my blog and FB for the details! In the meantime, here’s a clue:

Teaser_AHA_reveal_Thursday

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t wait to share this with all of you! Stay tuned!

Until next time,

~Parker

 

 

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