Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Traditions Around The World

by: Stephanie Burkhart

Around the world, New Years Eve is traditionally celebrated on 31 DEC, which is the final day of the Gregorian calendar. Interestingly enough, it wasn't until 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII established the Gregorian calendar, which most of the western world now uses.

One of the first major New Years celebrations takes place in Sydney, Australia. Why? It's one of the first major cities after the International Date Line. Sydney's fireworks have a rich history of being transmitted all over the world.

In Brazil, New Years marks the beginning of the summer holidays. Brazilians like to light candles in the sand and jump over 7 waves in the ocean – for good luck of course.

The Czechs get started early. In Prague, fireworks start before noon and increase in frequency until midnight.

In Denmark, they get rowdy. Old dishes are saved throughout the year then thrown at friends or neighbor's doors on New Years for good luck.

The French call New Years eve "la Saint-Sylvestre," and celebrate with a feast that includes oysters, seafood, and champagne.

In Berlin, Germany, they shoot fireworks off centered around the Brandenburg Gate. In 1990, I remember visiting the Brandenburg Gate with my husband and friend, Rhonda, whose husband was stationed in Berlin. We did a shot of Bailey's under the Gate and toasted 1991. I guess it was lucky – My husband and I married in 1991!

In America, several events mark the New Year. The big ball in New York's Time Square is dropped. It’s a tradition that started in 1907. The Tournament of Roses Parade, which is held in Pasadena, CA, began in 1886.


This song was written in 1788 by the Scottish folk poet, Robert Burns. The worlds "auld lang syne" translate to "old long since." It was an old way of saying "the good old days." The song is about letting go of the past and looking forward to the future.


Are practically non-existent! This is the 1st time in 10 years I'll be home with my husband (and not working!) to celebrate. I think we'll have a nice dinner with seafood and champagne, share a kiss at midnight for good luck and eat a donut for more good luck before going to bed.

Pathetic, aren't I? Would anyone like to share their New Years traditions or recipes?

Stephanie Burkhart's most recent release was a short story in the Borealis Two Anthology called "Shadows and Light." It's a science-fiction romance set on a space station, released with Desert Breeze Publishing.

You can find me on the web at:
and on FB at:

Visit my other New Year's Blogs:

At Romance Under The Moonlight, answer my New Years trivia and you can possibly win one of my autographed books. Here's a link:

Visit the Desert Breeze Publishing blog and take a look at the history of New Years. It will be out tomorrow on 1 JAN 2011. Here's a link:

Have a happy and prosperous 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sweet Salavation - What a Way to End 2010!

Thank you for having me as a guest here today. I just had a new release come out on Monday that I would love to tell you guys about. It’s called Sweet Salvation. I wrote it because the story of Rex and Shelby needed to be told. When I finished writing Sweet Redemption, the 1st book in the Sweet Awakenings series ( ) there was too much left unsettled. Rex being the intense womanizer that he was needed to be brought back down to reality. Shelby also had some demons she needed to contend with. Her malicious behavior from Sweet Redemption was never quite explained. I just could feel so many avenues and possibilities I had to write it.

Thus comes the story of Rex and Shelby and their Sweet Salvation...


Falling in love with his best friend wasn’t what Rex had intended, but it seemed that when it came to Shelby all bets were off. After a rocky start, the two fall in love, completely unaware of the danger that lurks in the distance.

Plagued with nightmares, Shelby begins to remember memories of abuse she suffered as a teenager, which were long ago buried and forgotten. Dealing with the pain of her past brings her and Rex closer together.

Someone else wants Shelby for himself though and is determined to get her by any means necessary. As he sets his plan into motion, the question of who will survive and who will be destroyed remains unanswered as a surprise from Shelby’s past may be the key to finding Sweet Salvation.


“I don’t care how hard you push me, there is no way he was safe.” Rex laughed at her.

“That’s only because you probably have that umpire in your back pocket. You would pay him off to cheat just to annoy me.”

“Hey, it’s not my fault you were rooting for the losing team. Pick a real team next time.” Pushing off her blows, he grabbed her in a bear hug and eased her back against the cushions of the couch.

After they took a moment to control their laughter, Shelby looked up at the man holding her in the crook of his arm. She was smiling up at him. He could see how happy she was. He could see the contentment in her eyes.

“This is good, Shelby. I would have missed this if we had lost it.”

“Me, too. Promise me something, Rex?” She was no longer smiling.

“Anything, you know that.” Rex replied rather hesitantly, not liking the seriousness of her expression.

“No matter what happens, promise me that you’ll never stop talking to me. Promise me that we’ll always be able to tell each other whatever we’re feeling.” Looking up at him more closely, she put her hand on his chest and continued. “Can you promise me that, Rex?”

* * * *

God, she looked so beautiful. And sweet, she looked so damn sweet. Everything inside of him was telling him to kiss her again. He wanted to taste her lips just one more time. Oh, hell. “Of course, I can promise you that. Always, we will always talk to each other. There won’t be any more days of silence. I promise.” He winked at her.

The smile she gave him squeezed at his heart. Snuggling up closer to him and bringing her feet up underneath her on the couch, she got comfy. It was a way that they had spent many nights together in comfortable silence. Never once in all the months they had stayed in and watched TV in this position had it ever bothered him. But now, he was suddenly all too aware of how snugly her body fit with his. How good it felt to hold her against him? Damn it! What the hell was wrong with him? He tried to recite baseball statistics as they flashed on the screen, hoping that would get his mind back on track.

He watched the remainder of the extra-inning game in silence. He knew she had fallen asleep. She always loved it when games went into extra innings. He would have woken her, but she was sleeping so peacefully, and he had the sneaking suspicion she didn’t get much sleep last night. He had, but only thanks to his buddy Jack Daniels. He didn’t want to move her, but they had fallen asleep on her couch too many times before. He knew that if they both stayed like this, they would both wake up sore and cranky.

Gently, he began to get up as he let her body lie on the couch where he was sitting. Going to her bedroom, he pulled down her covers and got things ready for her. Coming back into the living room, he decided to pick up the mess they had made from dinner. After he had loaded their dishes in the dishwasher and discarded their trash, he went back to get the sleeping beauty.
His intention was to pick her up and carry her to bed, but something stopped him. He sat on the coffee table and just stared at her. He had an ache in his heart that was killing him. He didn’t know what it meant, but he knew it centered on Shelby. Truth be told, he didn’t understand any of this. How could they have been such close friends for this long without this desire that was consuming him now? He wanted so much to touch her, kiss her, and hold her. Only not like a friend.

He wanted to bury himself in her. Basking in what he was sure would be the sweetest hot vise of wet pleasure. Showing her that their bodies intertwined was what their destiny was. He wanted to make her–hell, he didn’t know. He just knew things were different now. He was going to have to fight very hard to keep these feelings locked away. Besides their friendship, he knew she wasn’t ready for a relationship. She had been through so much. There was no way he would take advantage of her again. He couldn’t. Just as the last thought left his mind, she opened her eyes and looked straight at him.

She smiled. “Are you leaving?”

God, I hope not.

Buy Now

Ok, not sure yet - try the following HOT Adult Excerpt:

“Rex? Is there something wrong? You’re so quiet.” She gave him a triumphant smile. “Penny for your thoughts.” She continued to taunt him as she walked toward the bed.

He stared at her. She did it! He couldn’t believe it. She had shaved all the hairs from her sweet, succulent pussy. All that stood in between him and her glistening, swollen flesh was her smooth, creamy skin. “Jesus, baby. You are so damn gorgeous. Come over here and let me taste you.”
She laughed. “Rex, did you forget the rules? I’m in charge right now. You do as I say, not the other way around.”

He threw his head back in frustration. He wanted so badly to touch her there and to taste her.

He brought his head back up when he felt the bed move. She was getting on top of him but not the way that he would expect. She was facing the other direction. He was ready to bless her for her ingenuity when he found himself wanting to curse her. She had purposely positioned herself right in front of him, but just barely out of reach. His tongue darted out but couldn’t reach her. She was at least six inches away from his mouth. And the sight. Jesus, the sight of her was amazing.

She raised her bottom up higher and sank her mouth down on top of him. It happened so fast he hadn’t been expecting it. He let out a groan as she took him deep and fast. Clasping her lips tightly around his shaft. He was dying underneath the aggression she was unleashing on him. Just when he thought he would scream at her and demand more, she inched herself further back and allowed him access to what he had been craving.

“Mmm, God, you’re fucking sweet, honey.” He could barely reach her with his tongue and was using it to stroke her glistening folds. He couldn’t reach her clit but from her rocking hips knew it would only be a matter of time before she gave him a taste of that, too. He knew that if he had full access to her, he would be able to take her over the edge within seconds.

* * * *

She was starting to move more than her hips. Her entire body was starting to buck and rock back and forth. As much as she loved what she was doing to him, she was also driving herself insane from wanting him so bad. She loved the taste of him in her mouth. His protruding veins were a sensual contradiction to the smooth skin of his head. And the sensation of his tongue on her smooth skin was indescribable. It was like there were new nerve endings that were exposed. Had they always been there? She wondered to herself as she heard a deep, pleading moan and had to bite back her laughter. She rather liked knowing that she was driving him as crazy as he drove her.

“Shelby, damn it, come closer to me. Let me taste all of you.”

She did as he asked. She liked it when he was a little demanding.

“That’s it. Mmm, you taste so damn good. I could make a meal out of you. I could survive on nothing but the taste of your pussy for the rest of my life.” He kept licking and sucking every inch of her as he continued. “Your smooth skin feels so good under my tongue. You’re so hot, baby. Your juices are like flowing lava. So damn hot. Jesus, do you have any idea what you’re doing to me? If you don’t stop, I’m going to lose it.”

She knew what he meant, and she didn’t care. She wanted all of him. She didn’t stop. She increased her movements. She was no longer just trying to tease him. She was now a woman on a mission, and she was desperate to get to the release that the thick, pulsating length of him was promising her. She wanted to swallow all of him, just like she had on their way home from the restaurant.

She knew he wouldn’t be able to hold back much longer. If she didn’t pull back, he was going to come before he even had a chance to send her over the edge.

“Baby, I want you to come for me, just like this. While I’m licking your smooth shaven pussy. I want to lick up all of your sweet syrup as it drips from you, covering my face.”

His words had her moving faster now. Her breathing becoming more rapid. She was getting close.

“Rex, I–” She moaned.

“Yeah, babe, that’s it. Give me all of your nectar. Let me drink the proof of your passion. Let me
swallow it all up.”

Sweating yet? Go ahead and BUY NOW


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Best Gift Ever!

Happy Holiday's Everyone. I hope this blog finds you happy, healthy and hale.

I wanted to spread a bit of joy this year with a moment of happiness now burned into my heart and soul. Christmas came early this year bringing with it, the very. best. gift. EVER!

What is this wondrous gift you ask? Well, my Darling Diva showed me once again what a beautiful and blessedly giving old soul she has.

With times what they are and money being tight for the majority of people out there, our local news was doing a story about how low the donations have been this year for Toys For Tots. They were especially low in gifts for Tween girls.(my darling diva's age bracket) They were looking for Curling irons, hair accessories, bags and such-things on the minds of many a girl that age. So when my daughter saw that she looked at me and said..."We should donate one of my gifts to that, mom."

~We should donate one of my gifts to that, mom.~

I'm so darn proud of her.

In all honesty, we are one of those families where times are tough and belts have been tightened. There will be no fancy electronic doo-dads under the tree, nor gift cards galore, but our gifts will be given with love and there will be food on the table and a roof over our heads. This is a reality my Darling Diva is well aware of, and still she's willing to give one of her gifts to make anothers Christmas merry.

So, my favorite gift this year, er, ever? Those ten little words my daughter uttered to show me that the spirit of giving was alive and well.

May you all find your BEST GIFT EVER this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Craziness!

I love this time of year. All the festivities in life and in virtual life. There are always so many promotional events, parties, baking, blogging and of course the regular writing tweeting working and eating we do. Its insane and fun, takes my mind off the dreaded winter and snow that is also a part of this time of year.

Added to all that is a new release I had out on Dec 1st! Which was preceded by a total crash and rebuilding of my website...and Oh my how my head has been spinning. I think I am coping well...I don't know if my family would say the same thing however...

I will be so happy when things are a little smoother, although not too smooth. I love being busy, I love interacting with readers and other authors and I absolutely love love Christmas with my family and all the craziness that it implies.

I hope that all of you have a wonderful season, celebrating with those you love and giving to everyone as much as they give to you. I am sending out virtual hugs and love and if you are interested in some of the other craziness I have been up to this month please check out my brand new revamped website, which also includes a free short story I wrote just for Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Romance of the Wolf Shifters

Happy Holidays, romance lovers. I posted this Flash Scene last year as a celebration for this time of year. I thought I’d offer it again in case you haven’t read it, or would like to again.

For those of you who are fond of running on winter’s wild side with the wolf shifters among us... here’s an R-rated Flash ~

Love at White Wolf Lodge

“I love you.”
Kindra’s heart skipped a beat. A really big beat. She hadn’t heard that. Had she? Rising slowly, while trying to think in quantum leaps, she draped the popcorn trim on the nearest branch of the nine foot tree she’d chosen for her father’s lodge, The White Wolf. “I love you.” There it was again. To make certain her ears weren’t deceiving her, she did what she didn’t want to do, turn around and face the owner of the voice, the man her father considered to be his right hand. Kindra stuffed her hands into her back pockets.


Zack, the man she’d spent the last three weekends having ‘body heat’ sex with, in every position she’d ever fantasized about, looked as though he was about to howl his feelings for everyone at the guest lodge to hear, if she was any judge of his expression.
“It wasn’t supposed to be this way...” she began, then halted as his gaze blazed like the enormous fireplace to one side of them. Usually enigmatic and aloof as their moon, now, fierce determination carved his ruggedly handsome features and glittered his dark silver-colored eyes. “What am I supposed to say?” Kindra shrugged.


Zack D’Guerre of the Voltz Pack was used to getting his own way. He’d certainly seduced her easily enough, a discreet assault that aroused her passions to a ferocity that had her climbing up his lean sex-delicious body with her slit pressed against his tall brute of a cock. He’d suavely introduced her to his den of iniquity, then proceeded to show her carnal pleasures she’d never dreamed of. He had her panting every time she saw him or thought about him. Kindra figured she was his winter conquest, the woman he’d entertain himself with until the spring thaw. Wrong.


“You’re supposed to say ‘I love you’ back.” His silvery hot gaze didn’t waver. He was on the hunt. For her.
Kindra took several steps backwards, nearly crashing into the Christmas tree she so carefully decorated. “You’re supposed to say ‘yes’ when I ask you to marry me.” Reaching out, fast as he could snatch a rabbit in his jaws, he caught her arm. With surprising gentleness, he pulled her away from the tree. “You know I can’t think of you... in that way,” she whispered, then waved to a couple passing by who smiled a greeting at her. “Why not?”


Kindra desperately wished she ran through the newly fallen snow. Alone. Free. Her paws cushioned by the airy coldness. She wanted the scent of pine and warm-blooded prey seizing her nostrils. She didn’t want to be here. With him. His words of love growling in her ears. He was supposed to be the man she had a once in a lifetime affair with, the one she remembered as she lay curled before the fireplace, dozing. He was her guilty prized secret. That’s how she’d written their script in her mind. Mounting savage lust, and that was the end of it.


Instead, she stood here, feeling and smelling his wolfen mating heat for her. The man who heated her blood to an impossible, unbearable sizzle. Reluctantly, he released her arm.
“Because I can’t.” Kindra jerked her hands out of her pockets, then crossed them tightly beneath her swelling breasts. She glared, her wild frustration steaming out of every pore on her body. So it felt. He stared. The need to know more than what she’d spoken flared deep in his eyes. “Why can’t you?” “Because... to be with you... I couldn’t let my heart get involved.” Kindra thrust her chin out.


“That’s why,” she added, louder than she should have. Dying inside, Kindra averted her face. Why couldn’t she just have been decorating the tree as she did every year, enjoying the heady excitement of bringing it to holiday life. Glistening. Golden. Bright with colored bulbs and ornaments. Damn. Grrrring snarling damn. And damn his need to mate her. His unique potent musk surrounded her, demanding her surrender. Demanding she surrender to her own she-howling need for him.
“Your heart is already mine, Kindra. You just don’t know it, yet.” “Is that so?” she attacked, baring fangs she didn’t have. Not yet.


But wished she did. She’d rip into him, her teeth snapping so fast he couldn’t subdue her. She’d teach him she meant fierce bitch business. Her heart didn’t belong to him. Not one untamed beat of it. For good measure, she’d slap him with her tail, before racing away to bound over the snow. Free. Alone.
“That’s so, little wolfess mine.” Whirling, she moved back to the boxes of decorations. “Go away, Zack. I need to finish the tree...” His hand caught hers and with a command she couldn’t fight, he tugged her flush against his body. “No,” she whispered.


His lips claimed hers, then devoured with a primal sweetness that had her yielding, her body as soft as the marshmallows in her mug of hot chocolate. The shouting no’s in her mind turned to whimpering yes’s. Kindra grabbed his neck and clung. Her legs swung upwards, wrapping around him. They panted, placing kiss after tumultuous kiss on each other’s mouths. Immersed inside their own world of raw seething passion, neither one of them noticed the gathering crowd. Until the sound of clapping and cheers intruded.
Kindra let her lips unglue from his and slid down his body. “Marry me.”


He didn’t relinquish his lover’s hold, despite the fact she squirmed to free herself.
“Marry me, Kindra. I love you.” “You planned this,” she accused in a whisper. “Asking me in front of everyone. I’ll look like the bad-bitch Grinch who stole Christmas, if I say no.” “Yes,” he admitted, his growl adoring. His gaze sparkled, as silvery as moonlight on the snow. “Do you know when I knew I loved you?” Kindra could only shake her head no. “The first moment I saw your face.” Her heart unfroze, then blazed like the roaring fire. “Yes, Zack. I love you.”

Have a Splendid Holiday Season... May your most romantic dreams come true...


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Wedding Story

Sometimes real life can top all romances. Joselyn Vaughn is here to share her holiday wedding weather threatened to prevent. What a shame that would have been? Joselyn is the mother of three active and fun toddlers as well as two lazy beagles. I think I could handle lazy beagles, if that means they are quite as well. lol

Take it away, Joselyn.

In our area, the newscasters get giddy at the chance of an approaching storm. Not that storms are unusual, winter or summer, but they are really unpredictable. A storm could approach for several days, but the meteorologists and the computer models won’t agree on a path or snowfall amount until a day or two after the storm passed. And generally if it’s Monday and they’re predicting a blizzard for Saturday, we will only get flurries.

So when the weather reports started hinting at inches of snow for January 2, our wedding day, I pretty much ignored them. We’d likely get enough snow to cover the ground and make for some pretty winter wonderland pictures.

On Christmas, we had just that. About four inches of snow on the ground and everything looked lovely. New Year’s Day, the day of our rehearsal, was beautiful. Clear blue skies, bright sun glistening and sparkling on the snow. Perfect.

On Saturday morning, I awoke to the wind howling. I peeked out my window and saw white. Not the white ground of the field, but a wall of snow flying horizontally past. The bitter cold leaked through the windowpanes.

As I ate breakfast, calls started coming it. Family and friends that couldn’t make it. They were snowed in. It crossed my mind to delay the wedding, but several of my husband’s family and friends had driven all the way from Minnesota and could not just come back next weekend. Besides, for them, this wasn’t bad at all. Throw in a thirty below wind-chill and a foot of snow an hour coupled with an inch of ice and they might talk about the weather getting bad. In fact, my in-laws were hanging Christmas lights outside the reception hall. (My husband’s idea, not mine! They can blame him for the frost-bite.)

My family and I proceeded to the church and got two calls that could be problems. The first was from one of my bridesmaids. She couldn’t make it. Her father had been out that morning and gotten his truck stuck. He didn’t want her venturing out. Since I’d rather have her safely at home than stuck in a ditch or worse, we agreed it would be best if she stayed home. I wasn’t concerned about having a lopsided wedding party. Much worse things could happen at a wedding, but my sister immediately tracked down my cousin-to-be to fill in. The bridesmaid dress fit her perfectly.

The second call was a little more problematic. It was the minister. He’d gotten stuck in his driveway and couldn’t get out. No minister? That would put a hitch in the wedding plans. (This was the days before you could become a wedding officiator by filling out a form on the Internet. Neither my mother nor I would have been happy with that anyway.) So what were we to do?

My dad picked up the phone and started making calls. The good thing about a blizzard is that most people are tucked in at home planning to watch college football bowl games and not out shopping or whatever you would do the day after New Year’s. My dad called in a favor from a minister who lived across the street from the church and we were able to have the ceremony on time even.

All my brothers and sisters arrived safely and my husband’s family as well. Even my ninety-six year old grandmother made it. (She would have walked if my uncles hadn’t consented to take her.) We had all the important stuff.

We said our vows as the snow piled up outside. The minister even remembered our names after joking that he might refer to me as my niece’s name because she was friends with his daughter.

In the wedding pictures, you can see the guests were prepared for the wintry weather. No pretty dresses or high heels. Boots, slacks and wool sweaters were common. The parking lot showed similar preparation. Excluding our Honda Civic, it was filled with four wheel drives.

Even with all this the wedding was perfect. We were married with our friends and family around us. That was all that we needed.

And everyone remembers it. If they don’t remember our wedding, they'll remember the storm. It snowed almost continually for the next week. One of my bridesmaids had to delay her flight home. Whenever the meteorologists need to rank a storm, ‘our blizzard’ tops the list and I have to laugh.

I wish I could say we escaped the cold for our honeymoon, but we went to Minnesota and twenty-below wind-chill. What were we thinking?

Joselyn Vaughn

Courting Sparks - Avalon Books - available for pre-order in Hardback at Amazon

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fill Your Shopping List with Romance

Holidays are a great time to share authors you've enjoyed throughout the year. Some venues allow gifting of ebooks, but there still those who love the feel of paperbacks in their hands as they read.

If you've readers on your Christmas list who you've not figured out that special gift for, consider buying books. Here at Happily Ever After, we have authors for just about everyone's taste. We're starting off Holiday Week with our offerings for you.

Check them out:

Bekki Lynn - erotic contemporary/paranormal/historical; poetry
Barnes & Noble

- to get 50% off use code words: Annie [MK54K] Jackie's [ZA77P]LOVE [EE85K]

Celia Yeary - Historical Western, Contemporary Cowboy, Women's Lit
Barnes & Noble


Cheryl Pierson - Western/Cowboy; Contemporary Suspense/Mystery
Barnes & Noble

Courtney Breazile - Romance; Erotica (contemporary, paranormal, historical)
Barnes & Noble


Jane Beckenham - Contemporary Romance; Erotic Romance
Barnes & Noble


Jane Richardson - Contemporary Romance
Barnes & Noble

Judah Raine - Contemporary Suspense/Mystery; Contemporary Romantic Literature; Mainstream
Barnes & Noble

Linda Banche - Regency romance with comedy, fantasy and/or paranormal. Note: not all books are available at all venues. All are available at Wild Rose Press.
Barnes & Noble
Digibooks Café (20% off, use code e3d9d10a3c)
The Wild Rose Press

Lindsay Townsend - Historical romance, erotic historical romance, romantic suspense
Barnes & Noble

Rebecca Vickery - Contemporary Romantic Adventure, Psychic Romantic Mystery and Suspense, Contemporary Sweet Western, and Speculative Fiction
Barnes & Noble


Sara Humphreys - Paranormal Shapeshifter

Savanna Kougar - Futuristic, Fantasy & Paranormal Erotic Romance, Shapeshifter Erotic Romance
Aspen Mountain Press

Barnes & Noble
Liquid Silver Books

Serena Shay - Paranormal Erotic Romance, Shapeshifter Erotic Romance
Liquid Silver Books

Stephanie Burkhart - Paranormal Historical Vampires/Werewolves; Children's; Sci-fi/Fantasy
Barnes & Noble

Most of us are available at All Romance Ebooks and Fictionwise. They aren't set up to allow us links to our complete book listings.

Happy Holidays!

Happily Ever After Authors

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Baths in Ancient Rome were rowdy! Also sexy. Read on to find out how

The Roman philosopher Seneca lived over a Roman baths in ancient Rome. He complained in letters about the noise!

Things he really hated:

Men exercising hard at the baths and grunting as they did so.

Hair-pluckers wandering about the baths, yelling for customers and then making their customers yell as they plucked out their arm-pit hairs with tweezers. (Ouch!)

Men 'dive-bombing' into the plunge pool.

Cake and sausage sellers shouting about their goodies all round the baths.
However, Roman baths could also be sensual, sexy places - as you will discover if you pick up a copy of my Roman historical romance, FLAVIA'S SECRET, now available as a free download until Valentine's Day.

Here's another excerpt from the novel, taken from the great bath in Aquae Sulis (Roman Bath at Bath in England, where the novel is set.) Here the hero and heroine, Marcus and Flavia, are together while the baths are quietening, having encountered the corrupt Decurion, Lucius Maximus.


As they walked side by side back through the great bath, Marcus said, `An impatient man, and cruel. Detestable.' He cracked his fists together.

`He's hiding something,' Flavia said. `Why else was he so concerned about Lady Valeria's papers and that fictitious journal?'

`Ah, so you knew I had made that up!' Marcus put an arm about her shoulders and steered her towards the shimmering waters. `You are right, though, and so was Valeria. That is not a man to be trusted.'

`I wonder why he warned you off politics.'

`I'm wondering that myself.'

As they closed on the top step of the great bath, Flavia sensed a new kind of danger and tried to forestall possible trouble. She lifted the small wax tablet attached to her belt. `Should I make a note of anything, sir?'

`I think not.' Gently, but inexorably, Marcus turned her to face him. `Thank you for shackling my temper, little Celt.' He bent and kissed her forehead. `When he spoke of my mother -' His fingers tightened around her shoulders, instantly relaxing as if he realizedwhat he was doing. `Forgive me.'

To her own amazement, impelled by a sense of sympathy she hardly dare acknowledge, Flavia touched a hand against his chest. `There is nothing for you to be sorry about,' she whispered.

His hand brushed against her head. `Amazing stuff,' he said, running a loose tendril of her hair through his fingers. `Like foam.' He lightly kissed her nose and then, as she laughingly protested, her mouth.

A passing bather made a ribald comment, which Flavia did not hear. She was in Marcus' arms again, her own arms floating shyly around his middle, tightening as he groaned and gathered her closer. She closed her eyes and lost herself in the kiss, her lips becoming ever more sensitive as their embrace deepened. His arms were locked about her, his sensual mouth both taking and offering, his tongue tracing her teeth, the inside of her lips.

`Flavia,' he breathed, as his hands spread across her back and waist,one dipping lower and stroking exquisitely slowly over her bottom.

She gasped aloud, wanting yet not wanting to break free.

`Hey, soldier!' yelled another bather. `Have pity on the rest of us!'

Horrified, suddenly aware again of exactly where they were, Flavia tried to draw back, but Marcus followed her, his mouth smiling against hers. `Not yet,' he murmured, `Just one more.' He kissed her again and lifted her in his arms, half-threatening to drop her into the great bath.

`No, please!' Flavia squirmed, the rising steam dampening her clothes as she was lowered helplessly close to those pale green waters. `I will bite your arm!'

`Do that, my girl, and your backside will regret it,' growled Marcus,sitting on a marble bench close to the top step with Flavia on his lap. `Now be still a moment and stop scandalising the bathers - the few that are left.'

`The baths close soon after sunset here,' Flavia reminded him,leaning her head against his shoulder. She felt a disturbing mixture of shame and exhilaration, but overall she was grateful for the respite, a breathing space for her overwhelmed senses. Watching the emptying waters of the great bath with Marcus, she told herself that
she could not afford to be close to him. Yet she had heard of masters who had freed and married their slave girls, a beguiling thought.

Marcus watched her, taking in her warm, bright eyes, her flushed face and prettily reddened lips. She dovetailed so snugly in his lap it was a pity to move. Delicate, he thought, watching the shadow of her
long lashes falling across her high cheekbones, but surprisingly passionate. A water spirit, very much in keeping with their surroundings.

He scowled, disquieted by his own thought. He had never been sentimental before. He remembered Drusilla his wife, an honored spouse, whom he had treated from the very beginning with respect, good-will, and loyalty. This girl was not even his own race.

She licked her lips, one hand absently pressed against her stomach.

`Thirsty?' he asked. `And hungry no doubt.'

`Not for any delicacy provided by Lucius Maximus,' the girl said quietly. Marcus applauded her principles: she had great spirit.

He patted the marble bench. `Wait here. I will find us a drink, at least.'

`Thank you, sir.'

She left his knee and although that was what he had asked for, Marcus was frowning again. She had called him the slave`s term of respect, as was his due, but he was disquieted as he set out through the rapidly emptying baths in search of a wine-seller. He had discovered that he did not really want Flavia to call him 'Sir'.

Best wishes, Lindsay
Lindsay Townsend: FLAVIA' S SECRET
How Far Dare You Trust Your Lover? Especially when he is also your master?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Release ~ FIVE CARD STUD by Gem Sivad ~ Western Erotic Romance


When bounty hunter Sam McCallister sees Eden Pace playing poker for the first time, he loses all interest in the cards; instead, the thought of playing stud with the lady gambler stirs his cock to life. Eden’s the prettiest woman and the best card sharp Sam’s ever met. Good thing he has a few cards up his sleeve.

Eden’s doing her own outlaw hunting. She’s on the trail of her husband’s killer and Sam’s in her way. To get free of this hardheaded, softhearted, gorgeous man, Eden tries strip poker and naked truth-or-dare, but when Sam ups the stakes, carnal submission and desire are unleashed.

When Sam discovers Eden’s wanted for murder, he figures his bed is the safest place for her. But taking Eden prisoner isn’t as easy as Sam expects. He’s in a high-stakes poker game with lust on the table and his heart on the line, because one taste of Eden just isn’t enough.


Sam watched Eden kneel beside the shimmering bubbles as she tested the water—expecting, he was sure, to find it frigid. Instead, he knew heat pulsed under her touch, water as warm as the bath she’d taken in Wichita Falls.

“Are we in for the night?” she asked without taking her eyes off the pool.

“Yep.” His one-word answer seemed to be enough this time.

“What do you plan to do with me?” Eden asked over her shoulder as she disrobed.

Sam could see that she didn’t intend to play shy around him. That was good, because if she was waiting for him to look away, she’d be an old woman when she gave up.

“Plenty.” He worked the one word through lips almost as stiff as his cock. She was a sight to see and she knew it, standing there flaunting her wares at him.

“All right,” she huffed. Her words were filled with irritation as she stepped out of dress and chemise in one fluid motion. “Is that what this is about?” She sounded genuinely surprised when she asked, “You’re not interested in the bounty?”

Eden turned to face him as she gathered her long mane of hair, re-pinning it on top of her head. She stood naked on the rim of the rock pool, surrounded by torchlight.

Jesus, the woman's trying to kill me. Savoring the creamy skin covering her slender curves, he followed the lift of her arm and watched her rounded breast tilt upward. Licking lips suddenly gone dry, Sam let his eyes center on the patch of dark curls at the V of her thighs. He admitted gruffly, “You were on the top of my wanted list as soon as I set eyes on you. Handbill or not, I’d have claimed you.”

Eden walked around the hot spring and followed the ancient steps down into the pool. Her soft moan of pleasure echoed in the cave. “Ohhh, this is wonderful.”

His voice sounded pretty rough to his own ears when he called over to her, “You plannin’ on fuckin’ me senseless again so you can escape?”

Her laughter bounced off the walls, followed by her answer. “Yes.”

If there was one thing Sam enjoyed more than the chase, it was the challenge of keeping the prey once caught. “Give me a minute to get us settled for the night, pretty lady. Then you can commence your getaway attempt.”


Released on December 1, 2010 ~ Buy Link

Visit Gem’s Place

Gem Sivad

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Romantic Awakening of Sleeping Beauty

Picture from ~

For a beautiful illustration of ~The Romantic Awakening of Sleeping Beauty~ read Lindsay Townsend’s ‘free’ short story, A CHRISTMAS SLEEPING BEAUTY. I confess shedding some good tears, those sweet tears that slip down your cheeks when lovers discover each other, or are reunited for their Happily Ever After. The story is available at THE PINK BLOG.

Lindsay’s story inspired this SWEET Flash Story. Yes, for those of you who thought I only wrote erotic romance...well, yes, I can pen a sweet romance...believe it, or not.

The Awakening of Sharomond
by Savanna Kougar

She walked in the land of shadows. Even her roses were pale shadows, their vibrant beauty denied to her, their heavenly scents gone. Sharomond remembered another life, another time, when lush fragrant rosebushes, heavy with red and pink blooms, twined up her balcony stairway. When roses, happy in their abundance, climbed up the marble archway of her garden. Dreamy, ephemeral and brilliant, her roses had been nearly every color and shade in the rainbow. Once upon a time.

Fleeting glimpses of a man, a warrior prince by his dress, haunted her. During her endless sojourn in the land of shadows she would catch sight of him astride a magnificent dragonhorse stallion. Or, she would briefly see him battling the leviathan black shadow that domed her entire land.

Sharomond had never found her parents, or discovered another human being in the shadowland. The animals were shades of gray. Moving and acting like apparitions, they took no notice of her presence. Loneliness had long ago driven her mad. Yet, madness meant nothing here. Still, she wandered, dreariness clinging to her like a wet woolen blanket.

Sharomond never saw his face, the elusive warrior prince. The color of his eyes remained a mystery, as did the manly definition of his physique. She had tried with all her might to reach him, running until he vanished.

She had tried to speak to him with her thoughts until despair ruled her heart so brutally she had been forced to quit. Sharomond only knew he was as she had once been. Alive. Alive, in a glorious land where shadows did not reign.

Sharomond could not remember how or why she roamed this shadowland. No amount of pondering brought her closer to any manner of answer. What lived inside her now was rage, a rage to find and conquer whoever had cast her spirit into this gray-black imprisonment.

In truth, Sharomond did not know the fate of her people. Were they still living their lives, cherishing the seasons and celebrating their joys? Who cared for them in their time of need? Who brought healing herbs and broths to them when illness struck?

A slight rustle of sound, one she had never heard in this land of shadows, drew her toward her sumptuously attired bed, now mere mist in appearance. Even though, her coverlet and pillows were layers of luxurious mist, they were as insubstantial as her existence.

An urge to lie down claimed Sharomond, and she obeyed. Why not? For, nothing held any great importance anymore. Unless, she could figure out a way to escape. Unless, she was granted a rescuer by some unknown benevolent hand. Unknown, indeed. Had not every one of her often-whispered prayers gone unanswered? No, her God did not recognize her. Not here. Not hidden by the shadows.

With her eyelids slipping closed, Sharomond draped the coverlet over her, even though it felt like a sodden featherbed. She prepared herself to feel nothing, to dream nothing. But, again, she heard a sound. The scrape of a boot? An odd sensation skittered through her. Was it excitement? So foreign was the feeling, she could not tell.

Warm lips pressed against hers suddenly. To her complete astonishment, a tender kiss was placed upon her mouth. Another kiss followed. This one was more urgent and longer, yet just as gentle.

Sharomond fought to respond, puckering her lips. In that moment she did not care who took liberties with her mouth. She only wanted more. So much more of this fleshly paradise.

The next kiss devoured her entire mouth with a passion she had once dreamed about. Sharomond felt the thick waves of a man’s hair inside her fist. Startled beyond any bearing, she stilled, yet did not let go. Rough breathing filled her ears, and she became aware her pants joined with the impassioned pants of another.

“Sharomond, can you hear me?” a man’s voice asked.

The low rich timbre reminded her of being in a deep dark forest, and she trembled with what felt like desire. A familiarity about the man teased her memory. Yet, no image of his countenance entered her head.

“Awaken, please. I need you. Your people need you.”

Once again, his lips seized hers. Gentleness was replaced by a searing fusion of their mouths. A light flashed before her mind’s eyes, and Sharomond felt utterly ignited. Almost painfully so. In that moment she knew who kissed her awake.

“No,” she forced out, even as her eyes flew open. His visage filled her gaze, the warrior who had won her hand in marriage. She had refused him, fearing he would demand her complete obedience.

Eyes, composed of midnight and emeralds, roved over her face. The concern glittering in the depths was so obvious her heart jerked like a rabbit freeing itself, yet leapt toward him. Sharomond un-fisted his dark coppery-colored mane of hair, an act against her sudden yearning for him.

“Sharomond, I love you. I will care for you in every way that you may need as you recover. And, my beloved, I will not insist you become my bride.”

With those words, Dhutrov straightened his handsome, sleekly hewn torso. From his kneeling position beside her, he took hold of her hand. Tenderly, he encouraged her to sit up.

Shivering like the last leaf on a tree in the face of winter’s winds, Sharomond kept her hand firmly clasped within his. The sheer vibrancy of her bedchamber caused her eyes to blink and water. A banquet of smells assaulted her nostrils. Roses, her precious roses, their scents drifted to her as if in welcome.

“The Seventh Coven of Abarus bespelled you and your people,” Dhutrov answered her question before Sharomond could ask, the one hovering on the tip of her tongue. “Your realm was considered to be too influential, too powerful.”

Sharomond knew then. With her whole soul she knew. Still, she needed to hear it spoken. “The state of our world?”

“Beloved, I must be the bearer of terrible news. Our world has fallen to those who are dark-hearted and cruel. To those who have no thought, but for themselves.”

“Yet, your lands remain free, do they not?”

“Yes. But, I am in need of you and your people to stand with us in freedom, or it will be lost.”

Torn in two, between the joy of being rescued from the land of shadows and the reality that her world now suffered from despotic rule, Sharomond could not stop the flood of tears bursting from her eyes.

She wept uncontrolled. Dhutrov lent his shoulder to her and murmured comforting words. His arms embraced her close, feeling invincible in their strength.

Sharomond reached upwards clinging to his neck like a child. Placing her on his lap, he wrapped himself around her, holding her until her weeping eased.

Their lips met in a salty kiss, yet the lingering press of their mouths overwhelmed her with sweetness, the new sweetness of love.

“Dhutrov,” she whispered her heart.

He cupped the side of her face, his gaze adoring her. “Side-by-side, we will ride, my Sharomond, and we will know triumph against our enemies.”

“Yes. As warriors we will ride together.” Sharomond caressed his hand and smiled with her newly found happiness.

Awaken to Your Heart this Holiday Season ~


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving To All Of Our Readers

(Edgar Albert Guest, 1881-1959)

Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
Are growin more beautiful day after day;
Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
Buildin' the old family circle again;
Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.

Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.
Father's a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin' our stories as women an men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
Home from the east land an' home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We've come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank,
Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.

Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.

This year, I'm thankful for so much. For having my health back. For not having to work full time so I can spend more time with my family. For old and new friends who've been endless encouragement and fun. For the opportunity to remodel our living room the way we want it and for all the people who have helped us both in the stores, here at the house and online. For our four-legged friends who are a constant comfort and joy.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Palate Was Seduced

Last night, I had the most wonderful wine. Pinot Noir for me is the best wine on the market. However, like in all things, there are bad apples. I've found plenty of bad apples among the choosing, usually choices I've found in the stores such as Cavit Pinot Noir and Arbor Mist Pinot Noir.

In my last position, wine was a big part of our menu selection. We had to know them in order to suggest them. When I started there I really didn't care for wines - too heavy, dry and taste horrible. And definitely didn't find any fun in the drinking of them. I know many people disagree, but somewhere along the six years I was there, I found Pinot Noir to be to my liking. I also like a sweet wine called Moscato Asti.

Often these days when we go out and I'm not driving, I'll order a glass of Pinot Noir. Most are tollerable and I've never had to send one back. I did send a glass of wine back a couple of years ago, though. The server had brought me a glass of Merlot and insisted she did not. When she returned with another glass, I tasted it and my whole body sighed. Yes, there is a difference.

Mirassou Pinot Noir did something that no other has ever done. It caused me to order a second glass. Wow! When our server set the glass down, I sniffed it to make sure it was not a Merlot or some other red. It smelled right, so I tasted it. OMG! It had the most beautiful flavor. I all but guzzled the glass and was on my second before our entree came.

Something else happened, too. I felt giddy and quite buzzed. I feared if I'd had one more glass I would have been dancing on the table. That has never happened before, with wine. Wine typically gives me a headache and makes me lethargic.

I highly recommend Mirassou Pinot Noir - let it seduce you.

I often use Pinot Noir in my stories, but there are so many wines from all the over the world that we all should mix it up some. Wine is a common prop used by writers so why not make them fun for the reader.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Mistletoe Everywhere, my Regency Christmas comedy, is here!

A man who sees mistletoe everywhere is mad--or in love.

Charles sees mistletoe. Not surprising, since he's spending Christmas at Mistletoe Manor. But why does no one else see it? And why does it always appear above Penelope, the despised lady who jilted him after their last meeting?

Penelope wants nothing to do with the faithless Charles, the man who cried off after she accepted his marriage proposal. But he still stirs her heart--and he stares at her all the time. Or rather, he stares at the empty ceiling over her head…What does he see?

According to folklore, mistletoe is the plant of peace. Can Penelope and Charles, so full of hurt and anger, heed the mistletoe's message and make peace?


After Charles had heaped his plate with more food than he wanted, he took one of the empty chairs at the table bottom, as far from Penelope as possible.

His tensed muscles eased as he joked with his friends. Smythe made a comment and Charles turned to answer. He caught sight of Penelope…and a monstrous bunch of mistletoe above her.

"Gordon? What is it?" Smythe swiveled in the direction Charles was staring. He looked up and down, and from one side to the other. "I say, with your mouth hanging open like that, you must see something spectacular, but damned if I know what it is."

With an audible click, Charles clamped his jaw shut. "I thought I saw…" He forced his gaze back to his companion. "Nothing. I imagined I saw mistletoe."

Smythe's eyebrows rose. "Mistletoe?"

"Yes. The house is named 'Mistletoe Manor', so the place is filled with mistletoe decorations. Pictures, wall hangings, ceiling trim, whatnot."

"Indeed." Smythe's eyebrows rose higher. "That 'mistletoe' you saw is over that Miss Lawrence. Lovely little filly." His lips curved into a knowing grin. "My jaw dropped the first time I saw her, too."

Charles stiffened. "I was not looking at Miss Lawrence. I believed I saw mistletoe over her."

"'Mistletoe'." Symthe's grin widened. "Of course."

And I hope you will get what you want for Christmas, too!


CONTEST: Leave your name and email in the Guest Book on my website,, for a chance to win a PDF copy of Mistletoe Everywhere. Contest runs through December 15. Note, all of you who entered my Pumpkinnapper contest are already entered to win a second copy of Mistletoe Everywhere.

Thank you all,
Linda Banche
Welcome to My World of Historical Hilarity!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Friendly Ghosts

By special request, I'm reposting my ghostly post from last year. This is for you, Savanna. Enjoy!

I love Halloween. All the movies, good and bad, fill the cable networks. I’ve been watching SyFy and Chiller for the most part. I love vampires, werewolves and the apparitions. The absurdly stupid, the insanely gory – I love the breath-holding, the heart-pounding terror, the jumpiness.

The paranormal has always fascinated me much to my mother’s despair.

In school, junior high age, we played around with séances in the locker room after gym class, until one of the girls told on us. We’d get hall passes to get out of class and meet in a specific bathroom where we’d turn off the light, stand in front of the mirror, calling for ‘Mary Jane’ – we’d done this several times with nothing happening. And then one day, earlier in the day, only three of us met up. We didn’t really expect anything, but we enjoyed the attempt.

Oh, wow!

A swirling fog appeared in the mirror and we heard sounds like chains rattling. We didn’t hang around for more. We were out of there and down the hall before we realized it and stopped to confirm that each of us saw and heard the same thing. They decided it was enough for them.

However, with my fascination, I wasn’t so easily put off. Wasn’t I frightened? Oh, yeah! Still, I worked myself up to trying it on my own. At first, just being alone in there with the light off was enough send my heart racing and back out the door. Gradually, I worked up to the point where I went all the way. I will tell you right now, that was the last time I did it, too. When the fog cleared and a face appeared in the mirror, I went screaming and didn’t stop until the janitor caught up with me outside the building. It scared the heebie-jeebies out of me, and mom had been called to the school. Never a good thing. She pushed me to church every week after that. I didn’t mind, I met a boy. LOL Whether or not that was the lesser of the two evils for her or not, I don’t know. Not that I was a bad kid, but I think I was growing up way too fast for her.

There’s always been something going on around me. Much I didn’t put together until many years later – hindsight tends to make things clearer. I think my mom tried to shield me while down playing whatever was happening with me. That’s a curse/gift story for another post altogether.

For many years, we've lived with ghosts on and off. We accepted it as no big deal once we adjusted, or had an understanding. Maybe the movies are partly responsible, maybe because we’ve never felt threatened by them, really. Were we ever afraid for the boys’ safety? Only once.

My favorite ghosts were children, we believe. We had bought a house in New Underwood, South Dakota back in the 80’s. A two-story house set near the downtown area of this town of 500. We only had the two older boys at the time and they were school age. My husband worked days at Ellsworth Air Force Base, so it was me along with two kitties and a dog at home. After a month or so, I began hearing noises upstairs. At first, I thought one of the cats had found a stray toy and was batting it around. Then I noticed both of them were sleeping right there in the room with me, and the dog was outside. I was afraid to go upstairs and check it out for myself being new to the house, so I called my husband. He laughed and waited on the phone while I bravely crept up the squeaky steps. I reached the bedroom doorway and peeked around the door jam. No one was in there, but I noticed the bucket of Lincoln logs was in the middle of the room, open. Several pieces lay on the floor, some stacked as if someone were building something. The boys had not left them there. It was a rule and I had checked their rooms before they'd left.

I hightailed it down the stairs and demanded my husband come home right then. I waited outside the entire twenty-minute drive it took to get from the base.

He was laughing when he stepped from the car. Yeah, I have to admit, I must have looked a sight, sitting on the stoop with a stick in one hand and gripping the collar of our German Shorthair with the other as well as the two cats huddled in my lap, wondering why I interrupted their naps.

So, yeah, maybe too many movies influenced my common sense.

Still, having him home lifted much of the fear. I let the dog go, grabbed the kitties and moved from in front of the door. Following my knight in olive drab into the house, I was all but in his back pocket as he thoroughly checked the downstairs, and then crept up the creaky steps.

He stopped half way up and put out a hand stopping me. I hadn’t heard anything, but felt a moment of satisfaction that maybe he had. We listened and nothing. He went on up and into the boy’s room. I looked around him and my mouth fell open. There were no toys out of place. It was as the boys had left it.

I stood there as he looked under the beds, in the closet while trying to convince him I hadn’t imagined what I saw. He crossed the hall and I followed, watching him check the walk-in closet, and the attic closet behind the room. The house was clear of intruders.

I felt somewhat better and he returned to work. What he doesn’t know is that I sat in the corner of the living room on alert until the boys came home. In my warped mind, I feared if I made noise, that I might not hear danger approach.

In the weeks to come, we joked about it. I still heard the play going on only when I was home alone, but never talked of it. I never bothered checking it out. I stayed downstairs and they stayed upstairs.

And then the day came where my husband’s schedule was changed and he was home during the day. The very first day, I was in my little bit of heaven, sitting in my chair with one cat along side me, the other on my lap and knitting away on a blanket. The sounds of kids playing filtered down. I looked over and watched him for a reaction. Pretty soon, he lowered the book he was reading and stared up at the ceiling then at me.

He got up and headed to the stairs. I followed, of course. By now, we’d fixed most of the squeaks in the steps, and knew how to avoid the ones we left to notify us of the kids coming down. We stood outside the doorway and listened. Yes, the noises still went on. We stepped into the doorway and stopped. There in the middle of the room were tinker toys, Legos and Lincoln logs moving around the floor and being stacked. We looked at one another and backed out. He followed me downstairs and sat in his chair silent for a long time.

I made tea and sat on the arm of his chair. He looked at me and said, “I guess we have ghosts.”

Seriously, what was there to say, or do?

The one we did worry about was in our next home. We’d been transferred to Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. We bought a mobile home in Warner Robins. Not long after we moved in, I began to find our front door open in the middle of the night. At first, I wondered if one of the boys had been sleepwalking. They never had before, but uprooting children can have adverse affects. I, too, worried that Jesse, who was four at the time, had decided to sit outside during the night watching the stars and what not. He was fascinated with weather and I often found him sitting in front of the weather channel or CMT during the night.

Things escalated where footsteps in the hallway would wake me and I’d rush out of the bedroom. I hated the layout of the bedrooms. The older boys had the room nearest the front door, the younger ones the room down the hall from them and the master bedroom was at the back. Anyway, the younger two boys would be sound asleep in their beds.

As I went on down the hall, a breeze passed over my face. Never a good sign. When I reached the dining room, I found the patio door wide open. My heart raced and pounded, almost tripping over itself. Continuing on, I’d slip into the other bedroom where my older two were zonked.

Not quite relieved, however, I snatched up a baseball bat and went on through the place. The front door stood open. I crept up on it, then quickly shut it, slamming the bolt in place and locking the deadbolt as we did every night. Slowly, I circled through the living room, hoping I didn't run into anyone as I went through the kitchen back into the dining room. After shutting the patio door and securing it, I tripped over the chair that’d been turned from the table. Then, like a scaredy-cat, I ran back to the bedroom and climbed into bed. It never failed, that’s when my husband would wake. “Are you ok?” he’d ask and be asleep before I could answer.

This went on for several weeks, and needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep. The constant fear of something happening to the boys, the fear of someone playing games until we simply ignored it before they came in with the big blow sat in my mind like a rock. I’d been through something like that before with a business which was eventually burglarized.

While all this was going on, we were on the realtor’s case to give us a history on the place. She didn’t want to bother the elderly we bought it from; the lady was ill; she’d gone to visit family; the excuses became endless until we said we’d go over her head and claim a full-disclosure wasn’t given. Come to find out, the elderly woman’s husband had died in our bedroom. He never slept well, so he’d wonder at night; open the doors and sit staring out the patio door when he felt too warm.

It helped so much to know this. The next time I heard him, I simply asked him to keep the doors shut and locked for the safety of the boys. We fixed the screen door on the patio so it locked tight and he could open the glass for a breeze. Once we had that taken care of, we all lived happily ever after. Well, until we noticed he didn’t seem to be there any longer. We thought maybe he found his wife and went to stay with her, then we learned she passed on and we knew he was content then.

Here, the only ghost we’ve had is my grandfather. I swear, I enjoyed him as much then as I did when he was alive. He was playful, teasing and so much fun to be around. We’d always had a special bond. He came to stay with us the night he died. I’d just received the news and he was right there comforting me. He caressed my cheek and talked to me with my husband sitting right there. For two years, he stayed with us. Sometimes I had to scold him. It didn’t bother me that he’d walk through the house or sit in the den and watch television with sound up loud. It bothered me when I’d be sitting here engrossed in a story and suddenly he’d start opening and shutting the front door. He wanted company. He missed grandma. For many years, they’d sit around the dining table watching television and she’d either be doing word searches or crocheting. They were beloved soul mates and were married more than seventy years when he passed. The day we buried grandma is when he left us to be with her.
So now you know why I'm just plain strange. ;)