A free read
from The Wild Rose Press
Jenny loves being a wedding photographer, but not when her ex-boyfriend Jerry’s getting married. It’s tough to do her job when she imagines herself on the altar next to him. Can she ever shake loose of those Cinderella dreams, or will they finally come true?
As I folded my tripod, the bride touched my shoulder.
“Thanks again for doing this on such short notice. Jerry said you were a great photographer. We should have planned the wedding for next year, but we just couldn’t wait!”
Beautiful and nice. No wonder he’d fallen for her.
I forced a smile. “You’re welcome. Break a leg. I mean, best wishes.”
Swallowing my embarrassment, I followed the hallway to the side entrance of the altar. Steadying the tripod, I repeated my mantra: It’s been a year. Get on with your life.
When Jerry walked in from the back of the church, my heart flip-flopped. His black tux looked custom-made, and showed off his six feet of muscles. He must have joined a gym. I wished I’d been more faithful with my Jane Fonda workouts.
My cheeks went hot as he came toward me, and I fiddled with the camera to cover.
“Jen.” Just hearing him speak my name could send me over the moon again.
I smiled, hoping I seemed as unaffected as he did.
A voice behind Jerry said, “Hey, Jen.” The best man, taller than the groom by two inches. Slimmer by a few inches, too. His hazel eyes sparkled as he smiled.
“Tim! You’re back.” I hadn’t seen Tim in a year. When Jerry broke up with me, it had been a double tragedy. Tim and I were buds, and sometimes he hung out with me more than Jerry. He’d moved away right before Jerry dropped the bomb on me.
Tim locked his gaze on me. “Good to see you.” Normally, a throw-away phrase people say just to fill in the blank, but he said it with feeling.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Available in ebook from Amazon
Lilah owns the New Hope Record and Crafts Shop with her friend, Val. Independent and free-spirited, they sell their handmade jewelry and pottery to tourists in their Delaware River town. Lilah’s only hangup is James, who bartends down the street. She’s crazy about him, but lately he’s been cold and distant. Turns out he has reason to be down--he’s had his ticket punched for Vietnam. Lilah makes him a lucky leather-string choker using a silver ankh--the Egyptian symbol of eternity.James is skeptical about its lucky charms, but warms to her again. For seven months, James is in Vietnam. He comes home changed, in more ways than one. Can Lilah show him that her love is all the luck he needs?
Seventh Heaven is a wonderful story about overcoming obstacles. Lilah has to overcome her shyness and fear of rejection to pursue the love of her life. James has even bigger issues to overcome before, during, and after the war. This is a touching, three hanky read. Seventh Heaven is an uplifting romance set in a turbulent, unique time period. I did not want it to end.
Fallen Angel Reviews: 5 Angels, Recommended Read
Cate Masters blows me away with this spicy-sweet story. Lilah... seems so real you feel like you have known her for ages. This is a read that will leave you on the edge of your seat. The deep and powerful setting of this story had me wiping away tears while cheering James on. Cate has a great story on her hands with this.
I don't want to give away anything in this book but I can say that the situations that arose were brilliant on the writer's behalf. This book brought about emotions that I found refreshing. Cate Masters is a gifted writer who wrote this book with talent and marvelous imagery. I could almost see, taste, hear and touch what was occurring in "Seventh Heaven." If you are looking for a book with a wonderful plot that is very well written as well as being entertaining, "Seventh Heaven" is the book for you. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Masters' work.
Long and Short Reviews: 4 Books
James stood in the open doorway. The choker gleamed from his neck. “I came by to say thanks.”
The distance she’d felt between them last night was gone. His warm eyes searched hers, reaching again for a connection.
“I didn’t know it was you.” She stepped from behind the counter. No more barriers between them.
He closed the door. “So. Thanks.”
“You’re welcome. It looks good. It’s an–”
“An ankh. I know.” Something seemed to be holding him back, but somehow she knew she must be patient, and let him come to her.
“The Egyptian symbol of eternity.” She didn’t know what to do with her hands, and her breath was jagged. “Sorry. I mean, Ben told us. It really stinks you’re leaving.”
He ran a finger across a glazed jug. “Bad timing.”
She clasped her hands in front of her. “I guess it’s never a good time…”
He glanced up and flashed a switchblade smile. “I mean, I wish we had more time.” His soft voice rushed at her like the wind and billowed the sails of her heart’s rocky boat.
The air thinned, seemed rarified. “Me, too.”
He stepped closer. Time felt maddeningly slow. She wanted to run to him, fill her arms with him.
Instead, she crossed her arms. “I hope you’ll write me, if you get a chance.”
He was within arm’s reach. His gaze flowed over her inch by inch, over every curve and hollow.
The floor needed sweeping. And needed to be smaller. Or his steps needed to be more expansive. “Sure, I’ll keep you up on the local gossip. Send you goodie packages.” A lock of her hair. A photo of herself so he’d think of her every day. And night.
His eyes locked on hers. “That’d be nice.”
“We’re going to miss you around here.”
“You will?” The timbre of his voice rumbled inside her like an earthquake.
With his last step, he was so close her skin tingled with his heat. “No one can make a margarita like you.”
He fingered her hair, tucked a strand behind her shoulder. “Come back tonight. I’ll make you all the margaritas you can drink.”
In her head she was already there, sipping at a wide-rimmed glass, serenaded by Dylan in the background, James attending to her alone. “OK.”
“See you about seven, then?”
She smiled. “Seven it is.”
He backed toward the door, slowly, as if still taking her in. The silver ankh winked in the light as he turned to leave.
Thanks to The Wild Rose Press for first publishing this story! I'm very grateful.
Melinda the Muse is frustrated with her student. He isn't writing much these days. At the annual MuseFest, held in a fantastically colorful cloud, she hopes to get new ideas to inspire him. When Devon the duende shows up, is he there to steal her student, or her heart?
I thoroughly enjoyed this short story! Melinda's hopeful ideals were consistent, if a bit misguided, and Devon's contrasting style added excitement. The characters were believable, and the settings were described clearly and were easy to visualize.
Bitten by Books: 5 Tombstones
The Duende and the Muse may be short, but it is well written and the story holds the attention from beginning to end.
Long and Short Reviews: 4 stars
The author weaves a great tale with a creative way of using words that makes the story refreshing to read.
...awe-inspiring...I love how Cate Masters could make two opposites work together. I love this short story.
Melinda is startled when she notices a dark figure leaning against a booth across the aisle. He stands out like a charcoal etching against the background of soft orange and pink clouds – all harsh outlines and jagged features. Menacing yet compelling. He smiles, and lightning flashes from his dazzling white teeth, zinging through her.
She’s never seen a muse like him, but he must be one – otherwise, he wouldn’t be here. He wouldn’t be stepping toward her with the intensity of a jaguar, a laserlight in his eye, teeth bared in a hungry smile.
This guy looks like a Vanity Fair ad: layered hair mussed just so, sandals with a jacket and worn jeans that hug his contours as if tailored for him. She runs her hand across her belly to quell the tiny pinpricks. She’s been so busy with work lately, she hasn’t had time to meet anyone new.
“Who’s that?” Her wings can’t beat fast enough to cool the heat rising from deep within.
Calliope turns to Euterpe, her whisper harsh. “What’s he doing here so soon?”
Euterpe narrows her eyes at Calliope as if in warning, but coolly deadpans, “A duende. They’ll let anyone in these days.”
Something’s amiss. Melinda’s stomach tightens at the silent exchange between the two Elders, but curiosity wins out. A duende? That explains it. She’s heard of them – said to be a combination of charm, magic, inspiration, fire, magnetism – and demon. Muses were warned at an early age not to take up with duendes. Tales of muse-duende liaisons were fraught with disaster, downfall and disgrace – for the muse. Duendes managed to carry on unscathed, though their methods of inspiration could be deadly for their students.
The thought vanishes faster than a flicker of sunlight on water as he moves toward her.
“Hello,” he says, in a voice whose timbre resounds within her.
“”Hi.” She stares, entranced by his dark beauty.
His smile envelops her. “I’m Devon.”
She extends her hand. “I’m Melinda. So nice to meet you.” Fire sparks in her fingers as he takes her hand in his, and then leans to kiss it. A tingling crawls up her arms and neck into her head, where it scrambles her thoughts.
His gaze lingers on her lips, and they quiver open like a rosebud blooming in sunlight.
His voice is like a hot wind in the desert. “The pleasure’s all mine.”
Oh, she doubts it. Trailing a ribbon through her fingers, she asks, “Are you here for the entire weekend?”
His glittering black eyes wander across her body, sending a shiver of molten heat to her core.
Oh, she’s in trouble. Deep trouble.
A smile flickers on his lips. “Now I wish I were. I have other business, unfortunately.”
Her voice wilts like a thirsty flower. “I’m sorry to hear that.” She clears her throat. “You know, because the sessions look so enticing this year.”
“Yes, enticing.” He leans closer, close enough to kiss her. The center of his eyes swirl like a gathering storm.
“Melinda,” Euterpe croaks from a distance. “The first session is beginning. You should get a good seat.”
When had the Elder Muses moved away? Melinda calls, “I’ll be right there.”
Devon steps backward, one sandaled foot at a time. “Enjoy MuseFest. Maybe I’ll see you around.”
Yes, yes, please Zeus! “Maybe.” She scampers to catch up to Calliope and Euterpe, already at the tented area, where signs blink the schedule and announcements.
He’s still watching her. She can tell by the heat traveling up her thighs.
When it fades, she glances back. He’s gone.
The cloud feels so much emptier, though muses teem through the air.
Thanks to The Wild Rose Press for first publishing this ebook! I'm very grateful.
for Amazon Kindle
and from Smashwords
(formerly titled Liberation via Pen)
Krista’s perfect happiness bubble bursts when Ethan tells her goodbye, but setting her emotions on paper helps her redefine herself – with Todd’s help. When Ethan comes back, wanting his share of book profits, Krista’s finally ready to take a chance with Todd – but is it too late?
LIBERATION VIA PEN is a great story. Cate Masters does an exceptional job working out her plot. I could feel Krista's emotions and sympathize with the upheaval of her breakup. The empowerment displayed towards the end was uplifting. Any woman who has been in Krista's shoes will enjoy this read.
Romance Junkies: 4 Ribbons
They talked about their aspirations as the steam evaporated from their cups. Krista confessed her literary insecurities while admiring the black flecks within his grey irises; eyes that invited close inspection. His lips likewise taunted her, whether involuntarily or not. She couldn’t tell if he intended to tease, or if he was just being nice. She hoped the former. Nice guys tended to bore her.
Todd set his gaze on her. “Follow the age-old creed–write what you know.”
Krista took the advice to heart, literally: what she’d known for the past two years was Ethan. She’d let him infiltrate her life, her apartment, her thoughts, herself. Thinking his invasion was laying the groundwork for a future, she’d dated him exclusively, rearranged her life to accommodate his likes and dislikes until she could no longer remember her own.
She wrote to rediscover herself, divine her innermost thoughts and feelings. From their seemingly serendipitous meeting to their breakup, Krista chronicled and dissected their relationship, building to the crescendo of their eventual fall.
She copied the first five pages for the critique group the following month. The chick lit writer said: “Your dialogue’s too stiff; make it sound more realistic.” “Make your prose more lyrical, but get rid of the adjectives and adverbs,” offered the poet. The mystery writer advised: “Foreshadow your events to build suspense.”
Krista nodded, noting each writer’s advice for her revision. She spent the next two weeks pouring over each sentence, mercilessly slashing words, constructing setting and scene, the cadence of her prose flowing lyrically. Like music, the words streamed luxurious legatos punctuated with sharp staccatos as demanded by the scene. They lifted her spirit, excited her neurons in a way that made her hunger for more. The high of writing a well-structured sentence was addictive.
As a bonus, certain aspects of her former relationship came clear. Ethan lived on the cutting edge of pop culture, always had to have the latest gadget, widget or gizmo. He was exceptionally good with technology. With people, not so much. Had she possessed the foresight to commit his faults to paper earlier, Krista might have been spared much heartache. The exercise allowed her to see, finally, that Ethan was an ass. By setting her emotions into words, she not only defined them, but her writing informed her self-definition.
Thanks to Wild Child Publishing for first publishing this ebook (as Liberation via Pen)
Re-released July 2011
Clio’s honeymoon with Jon is paradise – until they return home, and Jon’s new client, Dion, usurps his time. Michelangelo’s David has nothing on godlike Dion, who charms Clio with his old-world ways. The more she’s near him, the more she forgets who she is. What – and who – she really wants. When Jon disappears, she learns Dion’s true identity, and must make the most difficult choice – a decision pending for centuries. Can she stay true to Jon, and to herself?
Do you like a little mythology in your books? Then here is a good one for you. A nice SPICY read that is titillating, sexy and an ending that makes the journey worth the trip :) What a wonderful little read that is not the typical Harry met Sally, I enjoyed the drama, the lust and the issues right until the bitter end. This is not the first book of Ms Masters that I have been fortunate enough to read and let me just say that it won't be the last :)
This is an interesting and creepy tale. Dion and his Maenads will give you the chills right from the beginning of the story. The author does a good job of turning a Greek god into a successful businessman looking for love.
Casting Call - Who did Cate envision in these roles while writing this story? Find out here!
Read the first chapter here.
On the wall opposite his bed hung a portrait. The likeness stunned her. “Oh my God. How did you…?” When could he have had a portrait made of her?
“She’s my wife.” He sat on the bed and stared at the painting, his eyes like glass. “Ariadne.”
“Your wife?” She walked closer, the portrait almost breathing, as though she were looking in the mirror. “It’s amazing.”
“When I saw you, it was as if….” He lay back on the bed, laid his forearm across his eyes.
“Oh, Dion.” She sat next to him. Ariadne. She’d heard that name before.
“I miss her so terribly.” Pain cracked his voice.
“I’m sorry. If I had known….” She couldn’t finish – what? She wouldn’t have come here?
He sat up and held her shoulders. “Ariadne. My princess.” His voice held an unfamiliar gruffness.
“No. I’m Clio.” She pushed at his arms.
With one swift movement, he twisted her beneath him. “The Fates brought you back to me.”
The Fates. Ariadne. Dion…. Her mother had told her bedtime tales when she was growing up. The realization hit her. “Dionysus.” The God of the Vine.
It couldn’t be, didn’t make sense.
Hearing his true name, his face alighted with happiness. His mouth sought hers. A life force flowed from the portrait through Clio’s veins, overwhelmed her senses, as if she’d drunk a case of his wine. His wet lips traveled down her neck. The strap of her bathing suit fell away, revealing her breast. He suckled and nibbled at her. His fingers slid between her legs, his tongue tracing her ribs, then her hips.
With the wind in her long, mahogany hair and the moon through the palm trees, the drumbeats penetrated her luminously pale skin. She moved her feet like a tribal native, her arms and hands curved like flower petals, stronger than any hook, luring him to her. He moved like a matador to claim her.
Her unbounding love made her heart wild. She led him to their bungalow and shut the door on the last shadows of the day.
His tongue licked and teased. With a groan, she arched her back, inviting more, but wanting nothing of him. A swirl of thoughts stormed through her mind, fighting for dominance. Her writhing body screamed for completion. Her breaths came hard and fast, a wave of passion cresting within her.
He slid his leg across hers, then hovered above her. “You are my queen again.”
His words sobered her. Two desperate needs clashed within her, to reunite with a husband for whom yearning had surpassed sanity, and to escape, to find a husband she loved more than anything.
“I will do anything for you.” Her lips brushing his cheek, she whispered, “Anything.”
In the distance, the drums beat faster and faster.
Her words from her wedding night returned to her again: I will do anything for you.
and from Smashwords
Publicist Allison Morris plans her own life – what’s left of it – around the life of her boss Michelle McCarter, the ex-wife of a famous rock star. When Michelle needs emergency public relations patchwork in Hawaii pronto, Allison arranges a flight to the dream destination. At the airport, she meets Wes Hamilton, a six-foot-three sun-bleached blond whose blue eyes and dazzling smile rekindle her fizzled-out sizzle.
A world-renowned surfer, Wes captivates her with his charm and wit, though his easy fame and on-the-edge lifestyle are the polar opposite of her own. When their jet loses its fuselage in mid-air, she takes advantage of what she thinks are her last minutes alive with Wes. The plane lands safely. Wes takes care of her when her carefully constructed life begins to unravel. When Michelle accuses Allison of using Wes to gain fame for herself, Allison’s world falls apart in an explosive confrontation. Wes is waiting with open arms when she has nowhere else to go, but can Allison learn to stop planning and go with gravity?
Cate Masters packs a lot of action, emotion and romance onto 57 pages. A wonderful writing style paints vivid images for the reader and encourages faster and faster page flipping until before you know it the wild ride is over and your left wanting to read another one of her stories.
Wow! Talk about a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. Never read a Cate Masters book? What's wrong with you? You are missing out on a great author who writes such romantic tales that really touch your soul.
Mistress Bella Reviews: 5 smacks
Cate Masters took this plot and worked it into a great work even though it was not a long book. This story covered so much territory and was so compelling I did not want to put it down. It was as if I was there watching the story unfold. The conflict was great. The sexual encounters were sizzling and the ending was unexpected. There were moments of poignant emotional conflict. I liked this book and would recommend it to everyone.
The Romance Studio: 4.5 Hearts
If you are looking for a romance story which can make you believe that love is real, that it can sneak up on you when you least expect it and thrill to its force as a
powerful whirlwind for change, then you are going enjoy reading Going with Gravity.
Long and Short Reviews: 4.5 Books
Fast paced and well written this book is a really good summer read and to let you know that romance is still alive and can happen when you least expect it.
Allison pulled her portfolio from her laptop case and set it on her lap, afraid to open it. As soon as the articles had arrived on her fax machine, she’d shoved them into her bag, then hopped in the shower. Delay tactics only worked for so long. The moment of truth had arrived. She opened it and thumbed through. Eleven pages. Eleven. And these were only the newspaper articles from the past two days. TV and online news sites surely covered more. And then there’d be the inevitable blogger. Uncontrollable, overly opinionated and accountable to no one, they posed the greatest challenge.
Michelle had arrived on Oahu with a bang, and then had the audacity to blame Allison for not doing her job to quell the media. She held up one photo of a topless Michelle prancing in the surf, laughing. Rumors and innuendo could be stopped with logic and tact, but to downplay this photo, she’d need a good explanation. When Michelle’s logic and tact failed her so obviously, Allison had to wonder whether her boss was heading for a breakdown.
A hulking body filled the aisle, stowing his bag in the overhead compartment.
Those shorts. That shirt.
It was him.
She did her best to keep her head ducked, but couldn’t help watching him. When he was near, the very air changed, filled with charged particles that zapped her to attention.
He checked his ticket, looked at her and smiled. His blond hair fell across his forehead as he sat next to her, his shoulder bumping hers. “Hello again.”
The contact of his shoulder on hers sent a warmth through her. Being so close was like entering a magnetic field that raised the hair on her arms and short-circuited her senses. For two years, she’d rubbed elbows with stars of all magnitudes without so much as a blink, and fended off paparazzi following the wife of megastar James McCarter.
With two words, she’d been reduced to the rank of dreamy-eyed teeny bopper.
He smiled and raised an eyebrow.
She realized, then, she hadn’t responded. And her mouth hung open.
Make that drooling dreamy-eyed teeny bopper.
She flashed a smile. Think. Damage control is your business. Put it to good use for once.
“Hi.” Oh, yes. Very witty. What a deft deflection of his charm.
She forced her focus to the articles, but sensed the weight of his stare.
He frowned at her reading material. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to read over your shoulder. I take it you’re a closet fan of the poor little rich girl?”
“In the same way I’m a closet fan of train wrecks, I suppose. I guess you’re not a fan.” Conversation allowed her to openly study him.
“Of hers?” He chuckled. “God, no. She’s awful. Her publicist should be shot.”
Shot. Of course. Working fifty-five to sixty-five hours a week wasn’t enough to keep the spin spinning fast enough for the rest of the world. The one guy who’d interested her in the past two and a half years thought she made a good candidate for execution. Her life was in such a rut, she’d need mountain climbing gear to get out.
“If you’re a fan, I didn’t mean to offend.” Sincerity had wiped the smile from his face.
“Actually, I’m..” She turned and smiled, “…her publicist.”
Check out more of the wonderful TWRP books.
Soul for Sale
contemporary paranormal novella
When Madelyn sells her soul on UBuy, she’s not ready for the hell that’s unleashed. All she really wants is to make a success of her art. But the gorgeous stranger who buys her soul for $666 asks her to perform a few tasks. Tests of her true worth, Madelyn thinks, as each brings her – and her cat Brutus – into greater danger. And closer to the frightening shadowy figure stalking her.
On All Hallows Eve, her final test will open the gates of hell. Or is it heaven?
The writing style made me feel as though I were a part of the story instead of someone on the outside looking in. I was pulled into the story and couldn't stop until I hit the last page. The ending by the way ..... OUTSTANDING! I loved it! One Soul for Sale was filled with action scenes which made it a riveting story.You Gotta Read Reviews: You Need to Read
One Soul For Sale offers plenty of suspense that will have the reader rapidly devouring the pages seeking answers. Cate Masters has woven a uniquely intriguing and spine-chilly story about a lonely woman searching for love and ends up bargaining her soul to Satan. Vibrant characters, clever world building and a rich plot makes this tale, One Soul For sale, a must read for individuals who desire an immediate skin crawling short story.
What I liked most about this book is that it has an unpredictable ending, making everything fall into place. This is a well orchestrated read. Job well done!
Ghost Writer Literary Reviews: 5 Stars
This story will keep you guessing all the way to the end! If you like unusual stories, with a twist of paranormal, and a touch of whimsy, then you will like One Soul for Sale.
Manic Readers: 4 Stars
Madelyn gazed out the window, adrift as a leaf. “Everything’s on a downhill slide. Work, dating, all of it. Sometimes I think I have to sell my soul to get what I really want in life.”
“Well, that’s easy. Put it on uBuy.” Gwen shook her cup to stir up sugar from the bottom.
“See, that’s why you’re the comedian.” Madelyn reinforced Gwen’s dream at every opportunity. Her friend reciprocated by being Madelyn’s best cheerleader for her art, though lately, her sketches were as uninspired as the rest of her life.
Wistful, Gwen said, “I try my best.”
Their meager salaries didn’t allow for luxury, so neither was a stranger to the allure of uBuy. Besides supplementing their wardrobes, Madelyn and Gwen loved uBuy for its oddities. The odder an item, the greater its appeal. Madelyn’s desktop swaying, ukele-strumming hula-skirted Gumby was testament to this. Gwen collected memorabilia of famous comedians; Groucho Marx was a favorite.
On that level, Gwen’s offhand suggestion appealed to Madelyn. “Maybe you’re right. I should list my soul, just for kicks. To see what response I’d get.” Maybe some cute guy would buy it.
The notion vanished from Madelyn’s mind at the sight of a stunning man outside. Standing by the newspaper vending box, he checked his watch. His black shirt, black sport coat and black slacks set off his dark features. So perfect, he looked out of context with his surroundings. When he glanced up at her, shock waves rumbled through her nervous system like an oncoming storm. A rush of heat engulfed her.
“Madelyn? Hey, what’s wrong with you?” Gwen’s voice sounded distant, as if it traveled through a tunnel.
She snapped her attention back to her friend. “Nothing.” In truth, Madelyn knew her universe had just shifted.
Many thanks to Eternal Press, who first published this ebook.
A year ago, Ben Taylor’s kiss left reporter Sydney Welles stranded in Bad Date Hell. Now that he’s back, she has mores dates she can handle, but none thrill her like Ben.
Ben Taylor’s life, teetering on ruin, fell apart after kissing reporter Sydney Welles. Can he work with her on the same newspaper with her, when all he does is relive that kiss?
Both pretend to forget, but neither can. All they do is picture themselves in the other’s arms.
Will Sydney still want to once she learns Ben’s secret?
Harrisburg News reporter Sydney Welles writes award-winning, attention-getting news stories. But her love life’s in ruins. A year ago, she shared a great kiss with Philadelphia Daily News photographer Ben Taylor. Since then, she’s been stranded in Bad Date Hell. Ben Taylor’s life, teetering on ruin, fell apart after kissing reporter Sydney Welles. Can he work on the same newspaper with her, when all he does is relive that kiss?
Both pretend to forget, but neither can. All they do is picture themselves in the other’s arms.
Will Sydney still want to once she learns Ben’s secret?
The author grabs you from the first chapter and takes you on a great ride. This story was easy to get into and hard to put down. The characters are easy to relate to and you quickly become involved in their story.
The Romance Studio - 4 out of 5
This is a nicely written short novel, told in the third person from Sydney's perspective. The style gives an element of surprise in the story. All and all the book is nicely done with a sweet romance.
Romance Book Scene - 5 Hearts
I quite enjoyed reading Picture This. The story is fun, and the main characters are well matched and sweet together. It mixes a little humor and romance together into a snappy and readable package that will leave the reader with a smile as well as a renewed belief in happily ever after.
BookWenches - 4 out of 5
This story was extremely easy to get into but not so easy to put down. I think I strained my eyes from sitting too long at the computer. You can relate to the characters and I easily become involved in their story. Sydney is like the friend you cheer on even though you secrectly aren't sure about the guy.
Rita's Reviews - 4 out of 5
The heroine is intelligent and resilient. The hero is sexy and charming. And the political background made for an exciting source of external conflict.
Sydney didn’t like the look in her editor’s eye. Like she was about to fire her. “What’s going on?”
Claudia took off her reading glasses, always a precursor to a delicate conversation. Never a good sign. “Do you remember Ben Taylor?”
Sydney released the breath she held. “Is that a trick question? We only have a conversation about him once a week or so.”
She hadn’t seen him in almost a year, a night that began with excitement and promise, continued blissfully for hours, and ended like a train wreck, with Ben dragged from the wreckage by another woman. Possibly his fiancée. Sydney could never quite learn the true story, but that fateful night stood out in her memory as a marker. The beginning of the end. After that, all her dates ended on a sour note. Ben Taylor had opened the flood gates of Bad Date Hell. From those gates streamed a never ending lineup of ill-suited matches, men who she should never have wasted her time on, but who each looked so tempting, she couldn’t resist trying. That was the thing about Hell, though, wasn’t it? People ended up there because the sin always seemed like a good idea at the time.
Claudia pursed her lips. “Yes, I know. The thing is… how do I put this?”
Sydney tensed. Claudia wasn’t one to dance around a topic. Her style was more blunt – the resulting blunt force trauma notwithstanding. Something must be wrong. Terribly wrong.
She blanched. “Is he… “ Her voice trailed off. She couldn’t finish. Ben must be dead. Why else would her editor – her friend, her confidant, her mentor – be looking at her with such pity?
“He’s here.” Claudia watched her as if ready to catch her woozy body.
Those two short words snapped Sydney to attention. “Here?” Questions flew through her head. She could have peppered Claudia with questions shot at Uzi speed, but shock severed the link from brain to tongue.
“I wanted to catch you before the meeting because he’ll be there.”
Sydney was struck dumb, though she’d been much dumber the night she’d first met him. “There?” She’d lost the capacity to construct full sentences, or fully absorb information. It simply couldn’t be.
“Yes, at the staff meeting.”
“Why?” Sydney’s breaths came too quickly. Here. She’d see him again. Even worse, he’d see her. Damn! And she’d worn her old black suit that made her look like a librarian. And her hair, oh, yikes, her hair had been impossible this morning. She’d finally pulled it into a scrunchy and written it off as a failure.
Claudia spoke slowly. “He’s our new photographer. Taking Ted Donecker’s place.”
Sydney couldn’t inhale. Her jaw seemed to have locked in place. She tried to ask, “What?” but emitted a choking noise instead.
“Breathe, honey.” Claudia fanned at her with a notepad.
Her journalism training kicked in. “When? How? Why?” The last came out at a pitch normally heard in the aviary at the zoo. Or maybe the monkey house.
Claudia leaned back in her chair. “He left Philadelphia. We couldn’t pass him up. He’s a great photographer. And you’re both professionals. I know you’ll work well together.”
Her editor’s confidence didn’t buoy Sydney’s spirits. “Besides, it’s not like you’ve been sitting around for a year pining for him. You’re dating. You had a date this weekend, right?”
All her shock whooshed out in a huff. “Don’t remind me.” With a whimper, she asked, “What am I going to do?”
Claudia cocked her head. “Your job, like always.”
“What’s my job again?” Her brains felt as if they’d scrambled, the long loops of gray matter unfurling into a lazy, disconnected strand.
Claudia sat straight with a smile. “You’re an award-winning journalist. A consummate professional.”
“Right. Journalist. Professional.” She had to pull herself together.
“The meeting’s about to start.” Claudia stood, holding her notepad and pen.
“Okay. I’ll be fine.” Her legs wobbled as she rose.
Thanks to Eternal Press, which first published this ebook!