I took the last two weeks of December off from work this year, as I do many years. I love it for a lot of reasons —time to spend with family, time away from work, time to write, and if I’m not on any kind of deadline, time to read. I know many people who work that week between Christmas and New Year’s because it’s generally quiet and you can get a lot of clean-up work done (and I may do that one year) but I enjoy that chunk of time off (mostly because I know it’s quiet, and therefore I won’t come back to a giant pile of work on my desk, thereby negating the whole time off thing!)
This year, I went on a giant reading binge, wrote a 16K word novella that gives a where are they now view of the characters from all four of my Bondage & Breakfast books and continued working on the second book in a brand new series.
I took advantage of my three month free subscription to Scribd and read about elebenty-billion books, starting with ones that were ménage oriented (yup, considering writing one) and wound up with a new-to-me (and now a must-read) author, Elle Kennedy. If you haven’t read her Out of Uniform series, DO IT. Dirty talkers, man. Dir-Ty. *fans self*
I am one of those people who generally don’t read what I write when I’m actively writing (always worried about “cross-contamination”) so I tried not to read full-out erotic Romance. Instead, I read hot contemporary, a bunch of shape shifter / vampire romances, and as I mentioned, ménages. Many were short novellas, but ZOMG.
I. Read. So. MUCH.
It was utterly lovely. And surprise surprise (not really), the reading refilled my well and gave me much needed energy to work on my own writing, and to get me back to the point where I’m seeing inspiration in just about everything. A name. A place. A chance encounter with a stranger. My plot bunnies are multiplying like, well, bunnies.
As for my own writing, here’s a snippet from FORBIDDEN FOREVERS, which is the free novella I wrote for all the people who wished Gabe’s book had had an epilogue.
A cozy fire crackled in the fireplace, warming Olivia’s naked skin. She and Gabe were finally alone, the December Shibari retreat a rousing success. All the attendees had gone home and now they had Bondage & Breakfast’s sitting room—one of her favorite rooms at the inn—all to themselves. Ahhhhh.
At this very moment, contentment and a sense of rightness filled her. She sat at Gabe’s feet between his splayed knees, curled up and leaning against his thigh. Never in a million years could she have imagined she’d enjoy this, but she did. Enjoyed it and craved it, especially since their alone moments were infrequent. The thick cushion beneath her softened the pressure on her back and made her feel cherished and loved.
He idly stroked her hair, and her eyes fluttered shut. Neither one of them spoke, allowing the hiss and pop of the burning wood to fill the silence.
He kissed the top of her head. “Tired, princess?”
She rubbed her cheek against his thigh. “A little, Master. But a good tired. That last suspension was…” She let her voice drift off, unable to put into words how his intimate touches made her feel.
His hand fisted in her hair, carefully turning her head so she was looking up at him. Always so careful with her. His eyes were hot, molten steel and filled with dark desires. He ran his free hand over the rope marks left on her shoulders and upper arms, and her core clenched. When he spoke, his voice was thick and deep. “Yeah, it was.”
She shivered. From the cold, from his tone, from…everything.
He drew her up from the floor and settled her on his lap. With his arm around her, he nuzzled her neck, then bit the tender skin there. His spot, her ultimate erogenous zone. He lifted a blanket from the back of the sofa and tucked it around her. “I’m glad we decided to close the inn through New Year’s. And I’m glad you got that time off, too. What do you think about having some people over for New Year’s Eve? I was thinking Marcus and Bella, Colin and Delia. Do you want to invite anyone else?”
She thought for a moment. She hadn’t seen Marcus and Bella in a few weeks, and same for Colin and Delia. And the last time they’d all gone out to dinner, Alex and Jessica Meyers had joined them. The cop was good friends with Marcus, and his wife fit right in with the rest of them. “How about Alex and Jess too?”
He smiled. “Good idea. It’s been a while since they’ve been here—their kids keep them busy. I’ll bet they could use a night away. It can’t be easy finding time to play with kids in the house.”
She wrinkled her nose. “We don’t have kids and it’s hard to find playtime between your schedule and mine. I’m not sorry that Bondage & Breakfast is so busy, but I’m glad we’ve got a bit of a break. I know we just did a scene for the retreat and I loved it, but… “ She ducked her head, feeling like she was being utterly selfish.
He put his hand under her chin and forced her to meet his gaze, picking up where she left off. “But sometimes, you’d like it to just be you and me, without the teaching part?” His eyes heated. “Me too. And maybe we need to rearrange our schedules so we can have more time for just the two of us. We don’t need to have them over if you don’t want to. We can keep this time entirely to ourselves.”
“No.” How did she explain this? “I want them to come. Spending time with friends is a gift to ourselves too, right?”
“Agreed. And I think everyone will enjoy it.” A devilish smile lit his eyes and he leaned close to whisper in her ear, his breath tickling her skin. “It’s been a long time since I’ve played naughty party games with like-minded friends. This is going to be a lot of fun.”
Her anxiety rose a notch. “Wait, Master. I…”
He laughed, the sound low and potent. “Decision made, princess. I’ll send invites out tonight.”
I hope you enjoyed that snippet, and I hope the New Year brings nothing but good things to you and your family and friends.