Mama Connagher Countdown Day 2

I have a title!!

The theme song is soooo damned important.  I swear, sometimes I can’t get anywhere with a book until I know what the theme song is.  The playlist so far had included Seven Spanish Angels by Willie Nelson and Ray Charles, Before the Next Teardrop Falls by Freddie Fender, and Desperado by the Eagles.  All good songs, all having something key to do with the story.

But it wasn’t *quite* enough.  Until I found Lady Down On Love by Alabama.  Ahhh, yes.  That was key.  Because now I have the title.

I needed something with You, I, Me, etc. in it to coordinate with the other Connagher titles.  I thought about some form of Dare Me, I Dare You, etc. because that does play a part (you’ll see that in this next excerpt), but all the good twists of that idea have already been done.

Finally, I settled on Never Let You Down.  I tweaked the opening scene to better reflect that line, and now I’m able to carry the theme forward.  *happy sigh*  I also figured Ty’s static trait and how I was going to use it as a message from beyond.  I knew he did *something* to signal his approval, but I had no idea what, exactly, until today.  How some of this works out is just magical.  I swear it’s not deliberate on my part!

It’s been a crazy, crazy night.  My wrists and eyes are killing me and I practically skipped dinner so I could write (thank God for leftovers).  I slept horribly last night because I kept writing scenes in my head, and today I used every spare moment I had to capture those ideas before they disappeared.  I laid down a rough sketch for the final Act’s plot too, but again, it’s rough.  There are many more scenes underneath that I’m still going to have to figure out.

I’m trying not to stress out too much about the structure yet, trusting in the magic and my gut to help me weave it all together.  I have a bunch of flashbacks written.  I have a bunch of story-within-the-story scenes written.  Where they go, exactly, I have no idea.  It’s the flow of those separate stories that matter.  I feel like I’m at the midway or even slightly behind almost two-thirds, but Virginia still hasn’t done the deed with Jeb.  So that’s a little worrying.  But again, I’m just trusting in the story.  They’ll take me where I need to go, and then once I finish it, I can make it all work even better.  I’ll see everything more clearly.

7668 words for the day and I’m honestly not ready to stop yet, even though my wrists say I should.  We’ll see.

Continuing the flashback scene from yesterday:

She didn’t pause, couldn’t hear his response if he had one, not over the thundering of her pulse. The stable door slammed behind her and she broke into a run. She wasn’t even sure what she was running from. Him? All he’d done was kiss her. Safely away, she could admit that he hadn’t hurt her. The misguided fool had only been trying to protect her. Then she’d beaten him with her crop. Pausing on the wraparound porch, she ducked into the shadows and watched the stable door, but he didn’t attempt to follow. Panting, she leaned her back against the wall of the house and tried to gather her thoughts.

Why on earth had he kissed her? She’d barely talked to him. Sure, she’d noticed the bright blue of his eyes. She’d caught him staring at her from beneath the shadowed brim of his hat several times. They’d exchanged a few “good mornings” and pleasant smiles. She’d even tried to take a few bites out of his calm, silent demeanor but he hadn’t risen to the bait. That’s it. Certainly nothing like the years of polite social events she’d attended with Jebadiah. They’d danced together countless times, her hand in his, his other hand in the small of her back. But her pulse hadn’t ever hammered like this, her breathing coming fast and frantic. It hadn’t just been fear. The long lines of his body had been nice. Extremely nice. And his mouth. She’d dreamed about kissing and it’d never been like that. His mustache had poked her lips and tickled her nose and somehow she hadn’t cared one bit.

She caught herself absently stroking her fingers over her lips while she stared back at the stable. She wanted to go back and give him a piece of her mind. Maybe he’d try to steal another kiss. But was it safe? Perhaps she ought to wait until someone was around to hear her scream. Just in case.

Fool. The last thing she wanted was to end up hurt and possibly dead. For one thing, Miss Belle would never let her lie in her grave peacefully, but would harass her daughter until she herself passed just for having the audacity to die first.

Virginia dropped her hand to the door handle but froze. Dancer. She’d left him out of his stall. That sealed it. She had to make sure her prized jumper got put away safely. Head up, refusing to look left and right like she was scared of her own shadow, she marched back to the stable and opened the door without trying to be quiet. The aisle light was off and no horse seemed to be running around looking for a treat. Keeping her steps light and soft, she walked down to Dancer’s stall and found him settled back in for the night, his lead rope curled up neatly on the hook just as she would have left it if she’d been in her right mind. At least Tyrell had the good sense to care about the welfare of a horse. She’d give him that. But where had he gone? He could have gone out the back door, but that seemed a little cowardly for the man who boldly stood up to the boss’s only daughter just to make sure she didn’t break her neck riding her horse in the dark.

The light was on in the small lavatory at the rear of the stable, the door barely cracked. She’d never used it herself, for fear one of the hands would amble by and decide to test the door’s rusted lock. Creeping closer, she tried to see if he was in there. What he might be doing. She could see a shadow moving slightly through the crack, but not much else. He was in there, but what he was doing, she couldn’t say. Not without pushing the door open. She debated with herself as she drew close enough to put her hand on the door, but surely he wasn’t doing anything too private if he hadn’t bothered to shut and lock the door.

Then she heard a low, muffled sound. A cry, though she’d never heard a big strapping man make such a sound before. Could she have hurt him? Seriously? She’d thumped him in the head pretty hard.

Quietly, she pushed the door open further and froze.

Tyrell Connagher stood over the toilet, one hand braced on the wall as if he was using the facility. He’d taken off his shirt for some reason and the angry red welts she’d left on his back struck her to her core. Sucking in a deep breath, she opened her mouth to apologize when she finally noticed his jeans were jerked open. He ran his cock through his fist, the muscles in his forearm, biceps, and back flexing deliciously beneath the tanned planes of his lean body. She couldn’t look away. Didn’t want to look away. Until he spoke.

“I had to see the marks you left. Then I couldn’t stop.”

Trembling, she jerked her gaze up and away from her first tantalizing view of a man’s private parts. She met his gaze in the cracked, streaked mirror, sure she was blushing but unable to stop herself. A knot swelled on the side of his head, but the only thing burning in his eyes was hunger. Not pain. Certainly not delirium.

“If you’ll hit me again, Princess, then I’ll be able to finish quicker.”

He wanted her to hit him? Again?

Numbly, she glanced down at her left hand to find the crop still gripped in her white-knuckled fist. She was surprised she hadn’t dropped it in her frantic retreat. She looked back at his shoulder and tried to imagine striking him again, not in anger this time, not some mindless reaction to frustration at so many things in her life that she couldn’t control. But deliberately. At his request. She’d never hit another person like that. Sweat trickled down her spine, making her shiver, but her body blazed with heat. Embarrassment, yes, but something else. Something that made her transfer the crop to her right hand so she could lay a better blow on his back. If that’s what she decided to do.

She checked his face in the mirror again, half convinced he had to be yanking her chain. His blue eyes were darker like the midnight sky, the skin tight across his cheeks, his lips tight. No teasing. No. Rather, he looked like he was on the verge of something that would change their lives forever.

“I dare you, Princess. Hit me again.”

The Mama C Countdown

I’m in the hard push to finish this book.  I’m determined to have it finished, polished, and submitted by the end of this month.  Sooner if I can manage it!  So it’s balls to the walls.  I want 2014 to start out with a bang.

3055 words today.  It’s a good start.

To keep myself motivated, I’ll try to post little snippets as I go along.  I’ve only shared the first draft of the opening scene with you so far.  I mentioned that I was going to have to go back and explore Ty and Virginia’s relationship thirty years ago… so here’s the first part of how they got together.

First draft, subject to revision.

According to her fashionable mother, seventeen-year-old Virginia should have been interested in shopping and boys, not show horses.  But horses were her life.  She’d rather spend a whole day sweating in the ring with a stubborn horse than talk for five minutes with most of the humans of her acquaintance.

The recently hired tall, lanky handyman was one exception.  For one thing, he hardly ever spoke.  When he did, he revealed a surprisingly sharp wit that as often as not infuriated her even while she had to grudgingly admit he was exactly correct.   As far as she knew, he was only a few years older than her, but he’d had a hard life compared to hers of privilege and ease.  He’d roamed the country chasing rodeos, and when he ran out of money, he paused in some town and got a job, working just long enough to earn enough cash to put a little more gas in his old beat up Ford and haul his roping horse to the next dusty falling-down arena.

He’d been more than forthright with Colonel Healy when he’d taken this job, but Daddy had hired him anyway.  Virginia still couldn’t quite believe her hardcore by-the-book father had hired such a bum, but she had to grudgingly admit Tyrell Connagher did more than his fair share of work on the ranch and he never stuck his nose up at a job.

Even when she deliberately sent him to do something disgusting or petty, just to see if she could get a rise out of him.  Instead, he’d push his sweat-stained straw hat back on his head and look up at her with that leathered tanned face and say, “Yes’m.”  The last few times, she’d sworn there was a twinkle in his eyes.  Deep blue eyes the color of ocean on a perfect sunny day.

She pushed such a ridiculous thought away as she led Dancer out of his stall.  It was pitch dark outside and the ranch was silent.  Miss Belle and Daddy had gone out to some charity ball, both acting like it was the crime of the century for their only daughter to refuse to go.  When they knew she hated such fancy events.  All of the major families of the area would be there, the doctors and lawyers, the politicians.  Ugh.  All fake smiles and sparkling gowns and expensive perfumes while they plopped down a couple of thousand bucks for some charity none of them really cared about.

Then Miss Belle had dared say that Dr. Garrett’s son expected her to be there, like Jebadiah had bothered to ask her on a date or even spoken to her about the event.  Everyone assumed they were a “thing” when nothing could be further from the truth.  Before he’d left for college, everyone had kept checking her finger like they expected him to pop the question any day.  Now that he came home only for holidays, it was even worse.  Those snide smiles as if they knew he’d only come home to see her.

They weren’t even dating.  They’d never dated.  They’d just happened to attend a hundred charity balls over the years because the Healys and Garretts were friends.

Great, just great.  I’m engaged and the man’s never even asked me out.

She turned around and ran into a solid wall of muscle.  She jumped back with a squeak that made her blush, even while she tipped her chin up.  “Get out of my way.”

“Now hold on, Princess,” Tyrell drawled out.  “Surely you aren’t thinking about heading out in the middle of the night.”

Princess?  She couldn’t help but snort.  “What I do is none of your business.”

He pushed his hat back further on his head.  In the moonlight, his eyes were dark and intent on her face.  “It is my business when I know for a fact your folks are gone and most of the other hands have the night off.  So if you get lost or hurt out there in the dark, I’m the only one here to make sure you get what you need.”

His words made her shiver, as if he meant something else entirely.  She was suddenly aware of his size.  The fact that he was more hobo than respectable man, that he’d only been working for them a few weeks.  Nobody knew what kind of man he was, not really.  For all they knew, he was wanted in a dozen states for petty crimes.  Or worse.

And here I am alone with him.

Fear curdled in her stomach, which only served to piss her off.  She hated to be afraid.  When she’d stared at her first triple-pole jump and felt that sick pit in her stomach, she’d marched over to her horse and jumped it a dozen times until she’d conquered the fear.  She refused to ever let fear cripple her.  As Daddy always said, it was time to saddle up and ride on anyway.

Dancer snorted and pranced sideways, picking up on her anxiety.  He almost tugged the lead out of her hand, but she couldn’t spare a glance at him, not with this danger threatening her.  She clutched the crop in her left hand, glad she’d snagged it out of habit.  “I told you to get out of my way.”

“No’m.  I’m sorry but I can’t.”

Ignoring him, she led Dancer forward, planning to use the horse to push him out of the way, but he was on to her and stepped across the aisle, closer to her.  She started to turn, swinging Dancer his direction, but her horse was too polite to step on a human, even if the man might cause her harm.

His fingers closed around hers in a punishing grip, trying to yank Dancer’s rope free.

Panic flared but her anger burned hotter.  None of the help ever laid a hand on her.  They were too respectful—and too scared of her Marine father.  If she said boo, every man she’d ever met jumped.  Even Jebadiah Garrett, the boy she’d watched turn into a man who was too damned polite to even ask her on a date away from their parents.  Before she could stop to think, she brought the crop down in a sharp crack on Tyrell’s left shoulder.  “Get your filthy hands off me!”

Instead of letting her go, he clamped his hands on both of her shoulders and hauled her up against the long, lean lines of his body.  God, he was so tall, a tower of strength that sent her pulse hammering frantically.  She brought the crop down again, swinging awkwardly against his back, but he didn’t let her go.  In fact, he bent down and slanted his mouth over hers.

He was hungry, hard, his lips and mouth melting away the fear into something else that was wild and reckless and still pissed.  She swung her arm up toward his head, the crop handle clubbing him against his temple and knocking his hat off.  She wrenched out of his grip and stomped away.  “Pack your bags and be gone before Daddy gets home or he’ll shoot your rangy hide.”

Yours to Take Giveaway

To celebrate Vicki in print, I’m going to give away a signed print copy of Yours to Take and a $25 gift certificate to any online bookstore (AMZ, B&N, etc.)   This time, I’ll try out Rafflecopter to manage the entries.  One of the ways you can enter is to simply comment on this blog post.

I’m working on Mama Connagher’s book, tentatively titled A Hard Woman.  If you’ve read any of the other Connagher books, what do you think about her?  e.g. is there a particular detail you have in your mind?  A habit or trait you’ve picked up from the other books?  I’m just curious to see what people think of her, even though she’s never had a POV before.

Of course you can just throw your name in the hat by commenting on this entry too.  This giveaway is open to anyone on the planet!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2012 RT Award Nomination!

I’m so thrilled – Yours to Take has been nominated for best E-Book Erotic Novella!  Such a wonderful honor!  I’ve been walking on Cloud 999 since I found out.  A huge thank you to everyone at RT and especially Whitney who reviewed Yours to Take.

Can’t wait to see everyone in Kansas City in May 2013!  (I haven’t registered yet but I will by the end of the year.)

Vicki Around the Blogosphere

More chances to win a free copy plus read some guest posts if you’re so inclined:

Romance Reviews Today  “A Few Easy Dieting Tips”

Delighted Reader “Mothers and Daughters”

The Good, The Bad, and the Unread “How Publishing is Like BDSM”

New Review:

The Good, The Bad, and the Unread:

“I don’t know about all of you, but when it comes to erotic romance, I read a lot of so-so books before I find a few gems that are truly worth the reading time. Sort of like kissing a lot of frogs before you find that prince. What I’ve found is the majority of erotic reads aren’t balanced between the hot and steamy sex and an intriguing and emotional story. So when I come across that author who hits all of those – and more – elements out of the park, she’s going to be one I’m on the lookout for in the future. Joely Sue Burkhart is the first in quite a long time to be in that very sparsely populated category for me.”

Vicki Around the Blogosphere

There are several places you can win a free copy of Yours to Take.  Don’t forget to enter the $100 gift certificate giveaway!

Books-n-Kisses

Delighted Reader

Reviews:

Cocktails and Books, 4 Cocktails

Pearl’s World of Romance, a perfect 10 out of 10!

“YOURS TO TAKE is the kind of book that took my heart, broke it and then put it back together, leaving it whole and satisfied. If you love erotic romance that’s both scorching and emotionally brilliant and you haven’t read Joely Sue Burkhart’s Connaghers series yet, you are seriously missing out!”

Yours to Take Giveaway

In honor of Vicki’s book, YOURS TO TAKE, I’m offering a $100 gift certificate to any online book retailer of the winner’s choice.  You can tell me to split it up among stores too, so if you’d like $50 at Samhain and $50 at Amazon, or $100 at B&N — whatever you want!

To enter, comment on this post ONLY before midnight CST, May 21st.  I’ll be using “Pick Giveaway Winner” to randomly select the winner from this post.  Anyone on the planet can enter, even if you’ve won something from me before.  Multiple comments are encouraged!

Ways to enter:

  • Just throw your name in the hat with a generic comment.
  • If you’ve read any of the Connagher books, I’m considering writing Mama Connagher and Ty’s book.  How do you think they met?  Anything outlandishly funny or crazy you think of about them?  The wilder the better!  Let’s have fun with this!  If I use any of your ideas, I’ll include you in the dedication and acknowledgements.
  • Rate or review any Connagher book anywhere online and post a comment containing the link to your review (one link per comment if you want to maximize your chances to win).  Pre-existing reviews are fine – but you have to go get the link and comment here.  Good or bad reviews, I don’t care.

If Hurt Me So Good breaks 20 Amazon reviews, I’ll also add another $50 gift certificate!

If Yours to Take breaks 20 Amazon reviews, I’ll add another $50 gift certificate as well!

Thank you for helping me celebrate Vicki’s release!

Vicki Around the Blogosphere

For a chance to win a free copy of Yours to Take, stop by:

  • The Book Lover’s Inc where they interviewed me.  Learn about one of my phobias!
  • The Book Pushers for some “Writing BDSM” 101s.

More reviews:

The Book Pushers

“I don’t know that Burkhart has changed my mind about most FemDom books I’ve read, but by the end of the story, I enjoyed the dynamic between the three of them. One of the things I really like about Burkhart’s writing is that when it comes to the BDSM, she is very honest and realistic and true. I enjoyed watching Vicki struggle with wanting to be a Domme, but also knowing that Jesse had been hurt in the past and not wanting to hurt him again.”

The Book Lovers Inc:

“Yessss Elias!! Seriously the best part of the book. I loved him to pieces. Big Alpha guy who makes Vicki submit to him. I loved that he wanted her to fight him for dominance. The scenes between them were just the best. Best smex too! Oh my so hot!”

The Book Reading Gals

“Wow. Every review I read before reading  Yours To Take myself was right! Joely Sue Burkhart skillfully weaves together the lives of these three very different individuals in a passionate, erotic, genuine way that has you rooting for Jesse, Vicki and Elias to find their own ‘fairytale together.’”

Leontine’s Book Realm:

“Yours To Take…is a story of enigmatic characters who make the love soar and their sexy moments go from sensual blooming to full-blown passion. The Connaghers are a family to enclose in your heart!”

Another Guest Post, Review, and Giveaway

Today, I’m at BlackRaven’s Reviews talking about what inspires me to write.  Stop by for a chance to win a copy of Yours to Take before it releases tomorrow!

Also, BlackRaven gives Yours to Take 4.5 Ravens:

Yours To Take is a well-written, tantalizing story with engaging characters who have depth, explosive passion, raw emotions and desires, and scorching hot sex that will send shivers down your spine.  The BDSM scenes are intense and sensual, while the love scenes are endearing and everlasting.  There were times that I simply wanted to weep for these enigmatic characters who were struggling to find their Happily Ever After.  Ms. Burkhart has penned an enticing story with sensual, explicit BDSM scenes and heartfelt love that you don’t want to miss.

Review: Yours to Take

A wonderful 5-star rating from Slick at Guilty Pleasures!

I have read hundreds of erotic romance books, of those a lot have been ménage stories, many more have had some elements of BDSM, but I have never read a book quite like this one. … Joely’s character development made these characters seem so real. The unusual nature of their relationship, the outside forces, the interesting supporting cast, and a truly unique storyline makes this a truly exceptional ménage story. I simply can’t recommend this book highly enough, it’s that good. In fact, I read it then I went and re-read the two previous books, and read this one again before I wrote the review. It was even better the second time around and I’ve very pleased to give Yours to Take a 5 star rating.

Thank you so much, Slick! Yours to Take can be preordered at SamhainAmazon, or B&N.