Mambo #51


Oh, it’s on. Like Donkey Kong.

At 51, it appears Aunt Flo is departing forever. I can only hope. Why? I have been described as surly lately. I fear my family is going to start grinding up hormones in my coffee to keep me from going into a homicidal rage.

Example: at the grocery store, my husband parks our car.

“The whole back end of the car is hanging out,” I say. “We’re going to get hit. I’d pull up.”

Sighing, he makes a big show out of putting his seatbelt back on. Restarting the car. Putting it in first gear. Pulling up further.

As we head into the store, I realize he has moved the car forward approximately one quarter of an inch. Super.

Inside, he “accidentally” hits my ankles with the cart. I accept his tepid apology and send him to the end of the aisle for mushrooms then shout, “Honey, did you ever find those hemorrhoid suppositories?”

He yells back, “Yes, my darling heart, I found them close to the Monistat you needed. Is extra strength going to be enough?”

He’s quick, I’ll give him that. It’s on.

The next day, I replace the tennis shoes in his gym bag with black dress shoes. He doesn’t react but it’s probably all he thinks about as he saws the heel off one of my pumps.

I paint his toenails red while he sleeps and giggle all day until I get to the gym where I discover all the music on my iPod has been replaced by several hours’ worth of Gregorian chants.

The next morning he’s in the downstairs shower and hears me come in. “Truce!” he screams, from behind the curtain, but I’m too busy smearing Vaseline on his glasses to respond.

The shower curtain pulls back just as I finish. I look at him innocently. “Ok, truce. I’m out of tricks anyway.”

“I don’t trust you.” He eyes me suspiciously.

He should be suspicious because I’m most certainly not out of tricks. I could do this all day, every day. I wait on the other side of the bathroom door shaking in silent hilarity, waiting for him to notice his glasses.

I guess he noticed because midway through my shower upstairs, the water shuts off. I hear him on the other side of the shower curtain whistling.

“Say Uncle and I’ll turn the water back on,” he chortles.

“UNCLE!” I shriek, soap burning my eyes. The loss is humiliating but I admire him for his daring.

I have married well.

I can tell it’s going to be a fun ride on the Hormone Train. Luckily I’m married to someone with the patience of Job……and the occasional “Mambo Red” pedicure.

Vampire Love


Happy Valentine’s Day! Seems to me such a drenched-in-red holiday should be celebrated with…vampires!

And I have the perfect boxed set to help immerse you in the vampire culture. While those other folks are gorging on chocolate, you’ll be indulging in something far more decadent, yet entirely unharmful to your thighs. In fact, you’ll probably end up accidentally exercising, as you clench them while reading these rather sinful stories.

So here’s the deal: I wrote a couple vampire books, and they are part of this series called Blood Courtesans.

What’s that, you ask?

In the Blood Courtesan world, humans are aware of vampires’ existence. In fact, humans can make a lot of money if they play their cards right, because vampires need blood to sustain themselves, and they’re willing to pay big bucks for the opportunity to put fang to neck.

Where’s the sexy come in?

You see, these vampires don’t just drink blood out of necessity. Oh no. The process of seeing to their needs involves seduction, wine, and sex. Once someone becomes a vampire, they no longer have need of food, but they still enjoy a delicious glass of wine. Especially if that wine is tasted through the blood of their courtesan.

Oh yeah, and drinking blood makes vampires horny.

If a Blood Courtesan is lucky enough to get chosen to provide sustenance for a vampire, she’s likely to be wined, dined, and then dined on. While experiencing the best sex of her life, I might add. These vamps have been around the block a few thousand times in their long, long existence. They’ve got the Kama Sutra down. They’ve probably written parts of it.

And you can read all about it.

There are 11 full-length novels or novellas in this set. All new stories, all taking place in the Blood Courtesan world. All written by different authors. Some are best sellers. Some are award winners. All are excellent story-tellers.

Want a taste? A nip? A sample?

Here’s a teaser from ETERNITY, the book I wrote as part of this boxed set:

“You don’t fight fair,” I stated flatly. “I can barely resist you.”

“Then don’t.”

An arm snaked around my waist, pulling me to her so that her front pressed against my back. She slid her hand under the hem of my shirt, her nails gently scraping my skin. I closed my eyes and didn’t move away like I should. Instead, I turned my head slightly and breathed in her scent: Magnolias and wine and sugar and cocoa from that cake she’d eaten earlier. I wasn’t hungry; I’d indulged in a courtesan only last night, but I still wanted a nip, a taste of her blood. There was no better dessert than my precious Abigail.

She swivelled her hips, rubbing against my ass, while her hand travelled south. When her fingertips grazed my erection, it was like she’d flipped a switch. I was gone. I couldn’t say no any longer. I needed this as much as she seemed to.

One night. I could handle one more night, couldn’t I? Letting her go the first time had nearly broke me, so I should know better, but clearly, she was a master at seduction. Or perhaps it was my obsession for her. I’d had far more skilled women in my long existence, and none made me remotely as lust-crazed as this one did.

Wrapping my arm around her back, I twisted us both, switching our positions so that her ass now rested against my throbbing erection. Dipping my head, I nipped at her bare shoulder, sliding my fang back and forth over her skin but not penetrating. Yet.

She cupped my backside and her other hand threaded into my hair. I pressed my hardness against her ass and gathered the hem of her dress in my hand so I could get to what was underneath. Her naked flesh, the gathering wetness and heat that was all for me.

“One more night,” I said, vocalizing my thoughts, as if that would somehow give me strength to follow through on the promise. I slipped my hand under the elastic of her panties; my fingers found her shaved mound.

“What?” she said, wiggling, which I took to mean she wanted more. So I pushed my hand lower until it slid through wetness. She arched and moaned and then said, “What did you say?”

No idea. I couldn’t even recall speaking at this point. My entire focus was on the task at hand. She needed an orgasm, multiple ones. I needed to ensure she never forgot this night when I sent her back to her human life.

“I want more,” she said, shifting her hips.

“I’ll give you more. We’ve all night, love.”

“No.” There was a touch of impatience to her voice now, and I finally realized she wasn’t struggling for more, she was trying to get away from me. I tugged my hand out of her panties and turned her around to face me. Her eyes were bright, her color high, her hair mused, and she looked so damn fuckable, I wanted to pick her up and toss her onto the bed and ravish her for the rest of our time together.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, my impatience matching hers. Now that I’ve made this decision, I didn’t want to waste a single moment.

“This.” She waved her finger between the two of us. “This isn’t just one night. I don’t want one night. I want all of eternity.”

All of eternity?

She wanted me to turn her.

Despite what I kept telling myself

And here’s one from UNDONE by Skye Jones:

I leaned forward and took a bite of the mango. As the sweet ripeness hit my taste buds, I gave a small moan. I had never tasted mango like it. This fruit was nothing like the mangos we got in our supermarkets back home. Some juice ran onto my chin and I reached for a napkin, but Dimitri got there first.

He tipped my chin and licked the juice from my skin, ending his shocking display by kissing me on the lips with sensual skill.

Oh my God, if he could make a kiss so damn hot, what would he do with the rest of my body to play with. My nipples, the traitorous things, went hard as granite in my dress, and when Dimitri finally broke the kiss and leaned back his gaze traveled down my body as he smiled to himself.

I felt vulnerable, on display, and horribly turned on. Why did he have this effect on me? I hardly knew him. He represented most of the things I hated in this world—apart from the cool factor of him being Russian—yet he made me tremble with a mere glance.

“Can I kiss your throat?” he murmured, his voice deeper than usual. Husky.

I swallowed and nodded. As he pressed close to me, I closed my eyes and waited for the soft touch of his lips on mine, but before he kissed me, he ran his nose up the length of my neck, inhaling as he did so and making me shiver.

“You smell amazing.”

“It’s Givenchy,” I told him.

“No, pretty one. Not your perfume. You.”

“Ah.” Not sure what to say, I shut up as his lips found the skin right below my ear by my jaw.

He kissed me there, feather light and oh so soft, and began to work his way down my throat. The kisses were so light, so chaste as to be almost nothing but wisps of breath against my skin, but they still made me shiver and sigh. I wanted more. So much more. To feel his lips pressed hard against me. His tongue laving me.

One of his hands slid under the table and gathered up the silky folds of my dress, pulling it up as his hand climbed my leg. When he reached the apex of my thighs, he stilled and left his hand there, cool and tempting against my overheated skin. So close to where I needed him, but still a million miles away.

His other hand played with my hair. He lifted it and let if fall through his fingers. Every now and again, he caught a heavy handful of it and gave a gentle tug, and when he did, he pressed his mouth that bit more firmly against my throat.

I wanted so much more. Between my legs grew obscenely damp, and I’d bet I had soaked the gossamer material of the dress. My breath came in rapid gasps, yet he’d hardly done anything of real consequence. But I needed him to.

“What do you want, pretty one?” He kissed my collarbone, murmuring something in Russian against my skin, and hearing the low words in that exotic accent made me weak at the knees.

“I want more.”

“How much more?”

I wanted it all, and he wanted me to say it, but I had my pride. He’d paid for me. He’d bought me. Why should I be the one to beg?

About to say as much, he chuckled darkly against my skin. “You deny yourself because of pride? I don’t know whether to be annoyed or impressed.”

Those deft fingers of his moved from their resting place at the top of my thigh, and stroked right between my folds, pressing against my most sensitive spot.

“So proud. So beautiful. So different.” He kissed me again when he finished speaking, and this time, it wasn’t gentle or soft. It was insistent and demanding and wild.


And, because this is so much fun (and hot), here’s one more. This one is from CONCEALED by Rosalie Redd:

“Don’t touch the Stradivarius.” Gavin’s cool, minty breath eased over my cheeks, tickling my skin.

Confusion wracked my brain, stalling my thoughts. “What?”

He smiled, and this close, I got a good look at his fangs. Long and pointed, they were nothing like the plastic pair I used to play with as a child.

He dropped his head to my neck, his lips trailing over my jugular once again. “I said, don’t touch the Stradivarius.”

“Why not?” My breaths, short and quick, eased from my mouth.

“Over the last one hundred and twenty years, only my hands have touched that violin.” He grazed his tooth along my neck, pricking at me.

120 years… “How old are you?”

“I was born January 14th, 1879.”

“So that makes you one hundred and thirty-nine.”

“Very good. Smart as well as…beautiful.” He chuckled, and the vibration travelled along my nerves, lighting up my senses.

I gasped as much from his touch as from the hateful word he said even after I’d told him how much I despised it.

With his free hand, he trailed his finger down my rib cage and over my hip. The movement was sensual, possessive, and I couldn’t stop the slow moan as it eased from my lips.

He pressed his knee harder against the wall, pushing up my skirt and encouraging me to spread my legs.

With a soft whimper, I complied.

“And, my spunky Alexandra, how young are you?” Gavin slid his fingers along my thigh until he reached the juncture between my legs.


“Ah, the perfect age.” He brushed his fingers over my panties, circling the outer edges of my mound. My body responded, my nipples peaking under the sheer top.

A groan eased from Gavin’s lips, and he rubbed his chest against mine, teasing the hard nubs. His one eye, vibrant red, stared at me.

Caught like a fly in a web, I couldn’t look away. “The perfect age for what?”

“For sex, of course, dearest Alexandra.”

Want more? Click here for a list of all the various ways you can download this delightful gift to yourself: AWAKENINGS

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund writes books, drinks wine, and wins awards. She also participates in fun, sexy boxed sets and anthologies. She currently has a short story published as part of the 12 Magical Nights of Christmas Anthology. If you purchase this anthology, all proceeds are donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Grab it here: 12 MAGICAL NIGHTS OF CHRISTMAS

Seven Rules for Renting at Movie Kiosks

pexels-photo-270456.jpegIt’s Saturday night. You are tired of everything you see on any streaming channel and remember that right down the road is a kiosk from which you can rent a newish movie.

I think this qualifies as rule 1/2, okay? Go online at home and reserve the movies you want first, before ever going to the big red box. One and done. The only thing you have to do when you actually get to the Box, then, is swipe your credit or debit card and wait. Swipe and wait, people, swipe and wait. Much easier.

If you are still in the dark ages and don’t own a computer, or you just happen to be out and about and decide to pick up a movie on the way home, let’s be a little more considerate. See below.

  1. Are your hands clean? These red kiosks are a public use item, which means God only knows what cultures might be growing on the touchscreen. I certainly don’t want to use the screen after you’ve been eating some big greasy hamburger, or mining for green gold, or trying to pick the apple you had for lunch out of your teeth.
  2. The places of business putting out these kiosks also should make antibacterial wipes available just like they do next to the grocery carts. Why? See above.
  3. People, for the love of God, make your phone calls before you lean on the box, head under the screen, and start cruising for a movie. Do not call home three different times trying to get a popular consensus on what you should get, dimwit. People are waiting. More importantly, do not call someone and leave a message, then linger in front of the screen waiting for a callback. You’re a big boy and it’s only a couple bucks. Live dangerously.
  4. Please, for the love of all that’s holy, read the trailer information for movies some other time, like at home while you’re choosing your movies beforehand. I was once behind a man who read the synopsis of at least 16 different movies to his phone friend. I was just trying to return one movie before the 9:00 p.m. deadline. The horse’s ass ended up not renting anything, and I had to pay extra because of his obnoxiousness. Why? Because my email receipt showed 9:01 p.m.
  5. Speaking of deadlines, try to avoid the 8:55 p.m. rush. It’s not pretty. Whoever drew the short straw at home has to return the movie, and obviously the clothing choices reflect that. People, please remember that you will be seen returning the movie, oh Unshowered One. Wearing orange piggy flannel pajama bottoms and a red Wisconsin sweatshirt while rocking striped spa socks…I am judging you, and I am not alone. You’re making Walmartians look like fashion icons. (I’m not saying I wore that to return a movie. Okay, yes I did.)
  6. If for some unusual reason I have to stand at the kiosk and choose instead of having reserved my movies at home like I normally would, don’t you dare stand too closely behind me. It does not make me go faster. It skeeves me out and gives me butterfingers, causing my fingers to slip because it makes me nervous…
  7. …and threatened. If I feel threatened, it could also force me to break out my professional ninja moves and karate chop your solar plexus. It’s very possible that I could miss and deliver a massive blow to your junk, making you miss YOUR 9:00 p.m. deadline. Whoopsie! My advice: Back the heck off. You’ll get your turn.

Easy enough, right? You would think. So many people, however, observe no @Redbox etiquette whatsoever.   I’m just doing a public service here.

Enjoy your movie.

*originally appeared on the Life and Times of Poopwa Foley

About the author:

Christine Cacciatore is a multi-published author who lives—and loves—to write. Together with her sister, Jennifer Starkman, she has published the magical novels Baylyn, Bewitched and Cat, Charmed, with the third book Elise, Evermore coming out soon. On her own, she has written Noah Cane’s Candy, a sassy holiday short romance and Knew You’d Come, a spicy paranormal romance novella. Also, Chris ventured into the Kindle Worlds Mary O’Reilly paranormal series and has written Trouble Lake and Grave Injury. They’re the perfect books to curl up with any time of year but especially Halloween…because they’re chock full of ghosts!

Chris is a member of the In Print Professional Writer’s Group in Rockford, IL and the Chicago Writer’s Association. In her spare time, Chris enjoys writing, reading, and coloring in her grandchildren’s coloring books with the good crayons. Chris is married to a devastatingly handsome man she met on eHarmony, has three children and a gigantic black dog who helps her pack lunches in the morning. She also has four of the most beautiful, intelligent grandchildren in the world, and their antics keep her in stitches.

Sexy Bad Boss – New Release!


Title: Sexy Bad Boss (Sexy bad Series #3) 
Authors: Misti Murphy & Tami Lund 
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Cover Designer: Booming Covers 
James Frost is all work and no play. He’s made billions as the CEO of Frost, Inc. He can broker a deal between two pissed off Irishmen and the devil, and still walk away with a smile and not a wrinkle in his Armani suit. As his assistant, I’m faced with his dashing presence every day.
Can you blame a gal for having a crush?
So when he asks me to help him find his perfect woman, I throw myself at him. Only James Frost would never mix business with pleasure. He’s never looked at me in that way. I’m so mortified, I quit on the spot.
But a freak accident leaves him with a few broken bones and amnesia, and me with a dilemma. I’m playing nursemaid, at his beck and call, until my two weeks’ notice is up. And that raise I never thought I would get from him might be on the table after all. But how far am I willing to go before my pride demands I cut bait and move back home to London?

(Sexy Bad Series #1) 
(Sexy Bad Series #2) 

Amazon US

Misti Murphy & Tami Lund They live on opposite sides of the world, but an eighteen-hour time difference doesn’t stop these two obsessed authors. They write, they debate over storylines, they thoroughly enjoy the process of gazing at hot men while trying to come up with cover ideas, they fall in and out of love with their characters, and at the end of the day (which day is anybody’s guess), they create sexy bad books for your reading pleasure.




A Well Paired Novel by Marianne Rice

Hey, it’s Tami Lund here, posting on an off-day. But it’s worth it! You see, I’m helping a friend celebrate the release of her latest book.

And it’s about wine. Well, it’s romance, of course, but the series is called Well Paired, and how totally irresistible is that??

Oh yeah, and it released on my birthday (which was last week!).

So you can see why I had to share, right?

Anyway, here are the deets, and an excerpt to whet your appetite… 

Book Title: At First Blush

At First Blush - Marianne Rice

Series: A Well Paired Novel
Genre: Romantic Women’s Fiction
Date of release: 1/23/2018


Book Blurb:

Alexis Le Blanc enjoys her simple life in Crystal Cove, Maine. After taking a chance on romance and getting rejected, she has given up on love. Now she devotes all her time to running her family’s winery, Coastal Vines. She wants to keep it small and traditional, but her parents have other ideas—hence why they hire some big-shot marketing executive from Napa Valley to rev up business.

When Benito Martelli shows up in her family’s tasting room, she’s more than stunned to discover he’s the man who wined and dined her the night before. Alexis is beyond peeved at his deception in trying to get into her good graces for the sake of making money on her winery. At first, she wants nothing to do with him or his big business ideas, but she’s pleasantly surprised when they come to a compromise, and even more surprised when she gives in to the sparks between them.

Unfortunately, things don’t go quite as planned and Alexis is faced with complications she never could have predicted. Promises and secrets unravel, and she must decide if love and wine are as well paired as she hoped.


Marianne Rice Head Shot


Marianne Rice writes contemporary romantic fiction set in small New England towns. She loves high heels, reading romance, scarfing down dark chocolate, gulping wine, and Chris Hemsworth. Oh, and her husband and three children. You can follow her all over social media, and keep up to tabs with her latest releases on her website:









Book + Main:


AFB Promo Pic


“You want brutal honesty?”

“That would be nice. For once.”

Ben grabbed the collar of her jacket and jerked her toward him, their faces inches apart. “I want you. In my bed. Underneath me. On top of me. But I also don’t want to hurt you. I’m letting you go because I don’t want to be a selfish bastard. There are things you don’t know…”

“I seem to go for selfish bastards so…” She licked her lips, hoping for one more kiss. Hoping he’d ask her to stay. Hoping he’d let her go.

“You’re too…special.”

“I’m not special.” Alexis lowered her eyes and shook her head. More lies to get her into bed. Only he didn’t want her in his bed. Her mind raced searching for answers, yet she didn’t even know the questions. It was all too much.

The way her heart raced when he was near. The way her legs trembled when his dimple appeared as if just for her. The way her mind went dizzy with longing when his stunning eyes were so intently focused on her.

“See, and then you do that vulnerable thing and I just want to…”

A spark ignited inside. She was not weak. “I’m not vulnerable.” She lifted her gaze to his and studied the intensity in his eyes, the seriousness in his jaw.

“I like that you are, and that you think you aren’t.”

“I think I should go.” She was smart enough and strong enough to walk away before she’d get emotionally attached and have her heart broken.

“I’ll follow you home.”

“When was the last time you drove in the snow?” Ben didn’t reply, his gaze still on her lips. “I didn’t think so. I don’t want to have to haul your ass out of a ditch so stay here. Play on your laptop. Style your hair. Go be sexy. Whatever it is you do at night.”

Alexis frowned when she pulled away from him so easily, and let herself out, driving home in silence and confusion.

Leaving her hot and horny and alone on a cold night, Ben was right about one thing. He was a total selfish bastard.

Ready to read?? 








So you want to write a book?



So you want to write a book?

Yes? Write the book.

No? Yes, you do. Go write the book.

Have you finished writing the book?

Yes? Start editing.

No? What are you waiting for? Take a 15 minute Facebook break, then concentrate on writing the book.

Have you finished editing?

Yes? No, you haven’t. Edit again.

No? Take 15 minute break. Pin on Pinterest. Then finish editing.

Have you finished editing the book?

Yes? No, you’re not. Call your friends, at least three, and have them read over a copy of it.

No? Take a 15 minute break and check out where you might want to submit your book once it’s finished, either to an agent, directly to a publisher, or online as an ebook.  This will help inspire you. Then get back to editing. Then have your friends read over a copy of it.

Your friends finished editing the book, and you’ve finished putting the changes you agree with into your manuscript?

Yes? Edit again. You’ll thank yourself later. Take out unnecessary words, and read it out loud. You’ll catch a lot of errors this way.

No? What are you waiting for? This book is not going to publish itself. Go edit the damn book.

I wrote it, edited it, had my friends proofread and revise, added the changes I agreed with. I’ve re-edited. I’ve revised. I’ve proofread. I think it’s ready to go.

Yes? No, it’s not. Edit it just one more time.

No? You’re right. Edit one more time.

I have looked at my book so many times I’m starting to hate my characters. I never want to see the name _______________ ever again. I’m sick of it and I’m done.

Yes? Congratulations. You’re done.

No? Yes, you are sick of it. You’re done.


About the author:

Christine Cacciatore is a multi-published author who lives—and loves—to write. Together with her sister, Jennifer Starkman, she has published the magical novels Baylyn, Bewitched and Cat, Charmed, with the third book Elise, Evermore coming out soon. On her own, she has written Noah Cane’s Candy, a sassy holiday short romance and Knew You’d Come, a spicy paranormal romance novella. Also, Chris ventured into the Kindle Worlds Mary O’Reilly paranormal series and has written Trouble Lake and Grave Injury. They’re the perfect books to curl up with any time of year but especially Halloween…because they’re chock full of ghosts!

Chris is a member of the In Print Professional Writer’s Group in Rockford, IL and the Chicago Writer’s Association. In her spare time, Chris enjoys writing, reading, and coloring in her grandchildren’s coloring books with the good crayons. Chris is married to a devastatingly handsome man she met on eHarmony, has three children and a gigantic black dog who helps her pack lunches in the morning. She also has four of the most beautiful, intelligent grandchildren in the world, and their antics keep her in stitches.

The Nose Knows Nothing

I had to wait a while before I could write about our New Year’s Eve celebration. Not because I drank so much that I was still hung over. Not because I had so much fun that I am only now sending out thank you notes and finishing up my photo books.

No, it’s so I could get a solid hold on what reality I was living that weekend and when I told you, I wanted to get it exactly right.

My husband had a nosebleed in the middle of December. He suffered in silence, as it started in the middle of the night and all evidence of it was gone by the morning. It was no more than a footnote over our morning coffee.

That weekend he had another. I raised an eyebrow and have to wash a load of towels.

Still, only two nosebleeds. Not a huge deal but certainly strange because I haven’t seen a nosebleed from him since his sinus surgery five years ago, which will live on in infamy. Because I will never forget what a nightmare it was and I want to ensure he doesn’t either.

Christmas Eve comes, and my husband’s schnozzle decides it has had enough of its quiet lifestyle and erupts like a volcano. This one has my attention. It’s everywhere, it’s never-ending, and most importantly, it’s getting our clean, ready-for-company house all dirty. Time to deploy the big girl panties.

We finish cleaning for the party and I wash my hands eleven times (get it? Eleven? Nosebleeds?) and our Christmas Eve celebration continues.

That night, we agree he has to talk to his doctor after the holidays about the nosebleeds. My Own Darling drives almost 3000 miles a month for work and does NOT want to get that type of nosebleed while driving.

I boil water and run a vaporizer until our walls are dripping so I can put moisture in the air. He not only has been dealing with the nosebleeds but also got the same illness* I had and has been coughing up a lung for the past two nights. It’s the dreaded man cold and I mentally gird my loins. He visits a quick care and gets some Tessalon Pearls. He mentions the nosebleeds but they’re not concerned since he’s not having one right then.

The moist air doesn’t help. That Saturday I hear him skittering down the hall to the bathroom and I just know it’s another geyser. A half hour doesn’t seem like a very long time normally but when he’s losing what looks like a gallon of blood, it’s an eternity. We’re getting to be experts at managing them but definitely not happy about it. Plans to call the doctor have been moved out of “maybe” into talks of Immediate Care instead, but it stops and doesn’t come back. Talks stall.

New Years’ Eve dawns and over morning coffee, Joe decides to celebrate early by having a party in his nose, with lots of streamers. It’s made worse because he’s coughing so much but finally this one stops too. I suggest a quick care visit but it’s vetoed. The nosebleed stops…

…only to start up again around seven that night and this time, we don’t even need to discuss it before piling into the car to go to the ER. We can’t get it stopped.

They put a sexy plastic ring on his nose that pinches his nostrils shut but that doesn’t work. He graduates to level two; a nurse fashions another one out of two tongue depressors which does the trick but pinches his nose so tightly that he feels like he’s choking. He is, actually, because since he can’t breathe through his nose, he’s got to breathe through his mouth but guess what’s starting to clog his airway? Our friend, the helpful blood clot, trying valiantly to stop the nosebleed.

I’m going to pause here to confide that Joe doesn’t do well with swallowing vitamins in the morning. One multivitamin and he’s choking and gagging on it and can barely get it down. The sounds he makes are unlike anything heard in nature, and they’re coupled with his bare foot pounding the kitchen floor as if that will help. I’m pretty sure our neighbors hear this morning routine. It cracks me up because I’m evil like that but at least I know he’s taking his vitamins.

There are four ER nurses in the room with us now, all telling my darling Pookie Pants to stay calm but when Joe feels the gigantic choking blob in the back of his throat, despite the instructions, he most certainly does not stay calm.

To my untrained eye, it appears our room has become the site of a horrible butchering but boy howdy, does that gets us ushered immediately and with all due haste into an exam room. I realize that I’m going to have to burn my clothes and Joe’s, but at least I know where all the antibacterial gel is in the emergency room.


pacing and bleeding.


Long story short, we were there four hours. For three of those hours, Joe’s nose was pinched shut and he still felt as if he were suffocating. He paced. He griped. He paced. He complained. He fretted. He bled. However, all his bloodwork is fine and the doctor finally comes in and numbs his offending nostril so she can insert this long tampon cigarette-looking thing into his nose. Once inserted, she is able to pump air into it and it conforms into the shape of his nose voila, end of nosebleed. He’s much happier and we get to leave. However, by this time it’s 10:30 p.m. and I don’t feel like cooking but we stop at two different places and nothing’s open. Because it’s New Year’s Eve.

I am so crabby. Sulky. I’m starving and at 10:45 p.m. I heat up beef for sandwiches. We eat in relative silence and stonily clink glasses at midnight.


pit of misery, indeed. but a good sport.


The next day is January 1, which is the day my side of the family celebrates Christmas. Joe has, up until now, said he was going to go (even with that…thing in his nose) but now he has changed his mind because he’s not “breathing” right. This brings back horrid memories and PTSD flashbacks of his deviated septum surgery. It was a truly dark week in history in the Cacciatore household.


Still, I go through the motions of preparing for the ninety minute trek into town. I make the jambalaya I am supposed to bring. I have all the presents I’m supposed to bring all wrapped and organized, so I go take a long bath while having a hot cup of tea. But I know what’s coming.

Joe is still not feeling well. He doesn’t want to go which is bad enough, but now, he doesn’t want me to go. He looks like a deer caught in the headlights at the thought of me leaving for the day. He is panicking with a capital P.

I will refrain from comment here because sometimes time does not heal all wounds, and I was super upset because CHRISTMAS WITH MY FAMILY and I’m about to miss it.

However, I know a panic attack when I see one, and Joe is having a big one. The look in my poor Honey’s eyes when I say I’m leaving him all day long is pure terror. I wouldn’t do this to my worst enemy; I certainly wouldn’t do it to my husband. Whom I love. It’s a three hour round trip and my husband, my true love, is convinced that he doesn’t have enough air.


He just thinks he doesn’t because we can’t take out the packing from his right nostril, and his left is congested. For all of the soothing, understanding sounds I make, I don’t get why he can’t OPEN HIS MOUTH TO BREATHE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE DOES WHEN THEY HAVE A COLD.

However, see: panic attack. I get it. I stay home.

I also pout and cry that day. I am miserable because I work so hard to get just the perfect gifts, the funniest things, the most thoughtful; and I have to send my jambalaya and my gifts into Joliet with my girls. I miss seeing my brother open his “favorite child” pin, and don’t get to see his kids open presents that were on their Toys r Us wish list. I miss my sister and her kids opening carefully chosen silly mugs. I miss sitting and joking around with my other five siblings because I just don’t see them nearly enough and I like to be snarky in person, not just on Facebook.

But enough about me. I do what any good wife would do. I take my husband’s concerns seriously and hold his hand while we sit on the reclining loveseat so he can relax enough to sleep because did I forget to mention? It’s Monday afternoon, and Joe has not slept in about five days between his terrible cough and the inability to breath. He hasn’t slept, like, at all. He can’t fall asleep because he’s certain that the second he does, he’s going to stop breathing altogether. (Guess who else hasn’t slept? Me.)

I think of all the soothing things I can do to calm the panic attack he’s having. I give him ONE of my TWO XANAX which as anyone knows is a terrible second only to missing Christmas. I pour him a lavender scented bath and put on soothing music which helps for approximately seven seconds. He’s back to panic mode before he’s even dried off and has his jammies on.

I find my blog on his deviated septum surgery, reread it, and cannot believe the similarities between then and now. Folks, this is a nightmare.


Monday at bedtime, the most horrible night of all, I put on an ocean waves soundtrack, hoping that it will soothe his panic and allow him (and me) to sleep. Joe sleeps for ten minutes at a time. He wakes me up because he’s convinced there are subliminal messages in the ocean waves so I have to turn it off. I warn caution him that I have to work on Tuesday and that if he doesn’t let me sleep, I won’t be able to function. I make him swear he’s going to let me sleep. He goes out onto the couch.

He lets me have approximately two hours of sleep before he shakes me awake. “I’m not sure how I should be breathing.” It’s 1:30 a.m. and we’re both exhausted and one of us is very angry. He won’t take a shot of liquor to help him sleep. The Xanax has done nothing. He’s pacing like a caged animal so I wrestle him down and force feed him a double dose of Nyquil, which has absolutely no effect. As a matter of fact, it seems to wind him up even more.

The rest of the night is ghastly. We’re both hallucinating from lack of sleep. The only thing keeping us going is the fact that we’re going to the doctor’s in the morning so to get the packing out.

Tuesday morning, after a refreshing three hour rest, I dress for work, (I think?) shove him in the car and drive to his doctor’s office where we park our butts.

When the doctor finally is able to see him, he prescribed more cough syrup with codeine, and then—blessedly—Doctor takes out the packing. (look away if you’re squeamish, but gawd, I didn’t think he’d EVER finish pulling that thing out of Joe’s nose. It was about the size of a rolling pin and about as big around.)

The effect on my husband is galvanizing. It’s as if someone literally has flipped a switch. His color comes back almost immediately and he’s showing more clarity than I’ve seen in a week. I take him back home to drop him off because although he’s going to take a sick day so that he can sleep, I myself cannot call in sick. I am so tired I can barely see straight. I mainline coffee on the way to work.

Five hours later, I’m uneasy because I haven’t heard from him despite a few texts and a quick voicemail. Has he had another nosebleed? Is he even now face down in the hallway bleeding out? DID HE GET BLOOD ON OUR NEW COUCH?

The last one spurs me into action and I call him again. A different man answers the phone. He sounds—dare I say—perky. Happy. “Boy, I feel so much better,” he crows. “I was able to sleep.” I repress the urge to tell him he’s had more sleep in the past few hours than I got all night. Good thing I’m at work because I’m rolling my eyes.

“I don’t feel like I’m gasping for air anymore,” he continues happily. “Of course, the doctor did say my airway was probably compromised because of my cough.” Of course he did, I think. His doctor is a man so he is a little more likely to empathize with the man cold.

But here’s what matters; there’s no more panic in his voice. While still hoarse, his voice sounds hopeful, like there’s an end to the past couple weeks of wheezing, coughing, phlegm, and let’s not forget, nosebleeds.

His optimistic tone buoys me, much to my surprise. Sounds like sleep is on the horizon for me too. My eyes well up in gratitude. I tell Joe to try to get another nap in and turn on that ocean waves soundtrack—maybe it will tell him to sweep the floor and do the dishes before I get home from work.

*Not a man cold, though. Because no one can ever be as sick as a man.

About the author:

Christine Cacciatore is a multi-published author who lives—and loves—to write. Together with her sister, Jennifer Starkman, she has published the magical novels Baylyn, Bewitched and Cat, Charmed, with the third book Elise, Evermore coming out soon. On her own, she has written Noah Cane’s Candy, a sassy holiday short romance and Knew You’d Come, a spicy paranormal romance novella. Also, Chris ventured into the Kindle Worlds Mary O’Reilly paranormal series and has written Trouble Lake and Grave Injury. They’re the perfect books to curl up with any time of year but especially Halloween…because they’re chock full of ghosts!

Chris is a member of the In Print Professional Writer’s Group in Rockford, IL and the Chicago Writer’s Association. In her spare time, Chris enjoys writing, reading, and coloring in her grandchildren’s coloring books with the good crayons. Chris is married to a devastatingly handsome man she met on eHarmony, has three children and a gigantic black dog who helps her pack lunches in the morning. She also has four of the most beautiful, intelligent grandchildren in the world, and their antics keep her in stitches.