Last night I picked up my Golden Apple Award for Author of the Year! It was so exciting and totally spectacular to receive this honor in front of so many friends and industry professionals. My wonderful editors, Stacy Boyd and Jessica Alvarez, were present as was Mavis Allen, another delightful editor from Harlequin. The New York City Romance Writers Chapter did an amazing job with their hospitality and the goodies they had for us to nosh on. Here’s a picture of the award I got, along with a beautiful certificate created by my friend and fellow writer, Patt Mihailoff.
So we move from Apples to the Not-so-Amazings. For you non-baseball fans, the Amazings is the nickname for the Mets. The Mets who are breaking hearts of fans everywhere by playing like a minor league ball club. They have gone from having a commanding lead in the pennant race to being only 1.5 games ahead of the Phillies who have so totally kicked their butts this year. I almost can’t bear to watch the games. And I feel so totally sad for David Wright, who has had an MVP year, but may lose it if the Mets can’t contain their slide into oblivion. Pray for us Mets fan, please.
So now it’s time for the Amazon. The Amazon you wonder? Yep, that’s the setting for my story in the truly awesome anthology, MOON FEVER. Have I ever been to the Amazon? Unfortunately not, although I have been in rainforests in Costa Rica and Panama, both unique experiences. If you want, let me know and I’ll dig up those pictures and tell you about these amazing adventures! The Panama trip in particular was totally awesome since I got to go through several of the locks on the Panama Canal shortly before the U.S. turned the Canal over to Panama.
I used my impressions of those rainforests to help create some authenticity in the descriptions in my story, titled CRAZY FOR THE CAT. If you’re wondering what kind of cat, a jaguar, the largest cat in the Americas. If you’re wondering whose the cat in the story . . .
Nope, I won’t tell for now. But I will leave you with this wicked little excerpt from CRAZY FOR THE CAT which appears in the MOON FEVER anthology with fellow authors Maggie Shayne, Susan Sizemore and Lori Handeland.
Don’t Forget the Virtual Blog Tour! Stop by where I’m guest blogging and leave a comment and you could win a prize! Today’s stop is at: http://www.krisyankee.blogspot.com/
Jessica took hold of his hand and led him into the hut.
She flipped on a battery-powered lantern she had brought with her and quickly pulled a small first aid kit from her supplies. Placing the kit on the desk to one side of the hut, she removed what she would need to dress the wound.
As she turned, she realized Javier had come to stand close and her elbow brushed across the hard muscles of his midsection, reminding her of all his blatant masculinity.
“Sorry,” she mumbled, but then laid a hand against the taut muscles at his waist to urge him to toward the light so she could examine the nature of the wound.
The knife had caught him across a rib, preventing the blade from biting too deeply, but the long cut would need to be closed somehow. “This may hurt,” she said as she wet a piece of gauze with some antiseptic.
“I think I can handle it,” he replied, but he flinched and his muscles jumped as she applied the gauze to his side. He muttered a curse beneath his breath even though her touch was gentle as she cleansed the area.
She told herself not to appreciate his amazing body as she worked, but it was nearly impossible with so much lean muscle and creamy skin so enticingly close. She hurried as much as she could, using the various butterfly bandages in her kit to close the gaping edges of the wound before taping a piece of gauze over the injury.
Lightly she smoothed the tape around the edges of the gauze, trying to ignore his physical presence. Trying not to see how the reddish rosette patterns played across his skin and the palm bands hugged an impossibly lean waist and thick-muscled chest.
As she shot a glance up at him, she realized that he was as affected as she, no matter their earlier enmity. His breath was ragged, but not with pain.
He bent from his greater height until the edge of his jaw brushed the side of her forehead. His breath was warm against the sweat-damp skin there.
She stroked her hand over the gauze covering the wound, but he laid his hand there and stilled the motion.
His hand was hot. His palm deliciously rough and the pull came between her legs again as she imagined him touching her. Her nipples tightened in anticipation and to battle that feeling she asked, “Who was that man who attacked us?”
Javier stroked her hand lightly. Slowly shifted his hand upward to caress her forearm. “One of Armando’s goons.”
Needing to touch him as he caressed her, she picked up her other hand and mimicked his action, laying her hand on the sculpted biceps of his arm. As she stroked the hard moist flesh there, she asked, “Is the timber valuable enough — ”
“To kill for? No. Armando has other reasons for hurting the tribe,” he said, moving his hand upward to cup the top of her arm, where he lightly caressed her skin with the pad of his thumb.
Her gaze locked with his, searching the strange gold-green gaze which revealed nothing but desire.
“What kinds of reasons?” she asked as she shifted her hand to his chest and traced the edge of the palm band encircling it. As she did, she fingered the hard nub of his nipple, dragging a ragged breath from him.
“Isn’t it enough for you to know you need to watch yourself?” Even as he said it, he cradled her breast and tweaked her nipple between his thumb and forefinger, causing a shudder to rip through her body.
“Well?” he challenged as he snaked his hand upward, slipped it beneath the edge of her tank top and drew down both the shirt and her bra to reveal her breast.
“Do you think you’re owed this little look because you came to my rescue?” she asked, but didn’t stop him as he lowered his head to taste the nipple he had exposed. If anything, she held him close, cradling the back of his head with her hand as she said, “Or do you think this is how to say thanks for my tending to you?”
He chuckled against her breast and gave an enticing lick with a cat-rough tongue before pulling away.
“You’re quite different from what I expected,” he said, stepping back to break contact with her as she rearranged her clothing, suddenly embarrassed by the unexpected interlude. It had to be the alcohol and guarana she told herself, denying her attraction to him was based on anything else.
“Why’s that?” she said, crossing her arms before her as if to provide some defense against his still hungry gaze.
“Because you’ve got more balls than most men I’ve met. Regardless, remember to be careful in the jungle tomorrow.”
With that he turned and walked out of the hut, leaving her to ponder just what had gone so wrong that she already had someone after her ass.
As she recalled Javier’s gifted mouth, she amended that thought with a smile.
Make that two people after her ass because she had no doubt that she and Javier would eventually finish what they had started tonight, although part of her was annoyed that he had managed to deflect her questions by arousing her passions.