Hey, hey! Guess what? Our utterly adorable cinnamon roll, Cupid, is at it again, and just in time for Valentine’s Day!
Myself and five other authors got together to bring you both sweet and sexy stories in a fun little “Valentines Gone Wrong” anthology. And boy oh boy, do things ever go sideways for our lovable matchmaker…
Worst. Valentine’s. Day. Ever.
Eros pulled back his bow, aimed, and let it rip. He straightened, ready to pat himself on the back for a perfect shot, when the tip of the arrow stopped just shy of Cecelia’s heart, the whole thing bouncing off her chest like a rubber ball. In fact, it went into reverse, making a slight arc as it sailed through the air back toward him. He reached up and caught it at the exact moment his heart took the express route to his stomach.
Six sweet and sexy stories of love lost & love found
The scorching Oklahoma sun beat down on Daphne. She didn’t mind, though, because she was at what was quickly becoming one of her favorite places in the world. The Caddo County farmer’s market.
“Thanks for the ride, Judy,” she said before proceeding to unload a few dozen baskets of vegetables from the back of the pickup truck. It belonged to Judy Pitkins, one half of the adorable old couple that lived a mile down the road from Sam.
“You bet, Dee.” Judy wiggled her fingers at her before heading to her table to arrange jars of preserves next to the metal tabletop rack adorned with handmade wind chimes and dream catchers.
The brim of her cowboy hat protected Daphne’s face. Her arms, however, got the full brunt of UV rays as she carried the large baskets over to the permanent vegetable stand Sam had built several years ago.
“Remember to drink plenty of water, missy. She’s a hot one today.” Judy called out to Daphne when she walked by with the last bushel of radishes.
Sweat dotted Daphne’s upper lip as she made sure the tape holding the “ART FOR SALE” sign to the front of the table she’d set up next to the vegetable stand was secure. She took off her hat to swipe at her forehead with the back of her hand before using it to fan herself. Hat replaced atop her head, she settled into a folding chair. After hooking the heels of her boots on the support bar, she took a long sip of her vanilla iced latte and leaned over to arrange the small watercolor paintings for optimal viewing.
It was her third time at the market. She’d sold a lot of vegetables, sure, but she’d gotten a lot more than money in return. She’d made friends, and she’d even made sixty dollars of her own so far selling paintings. True, most folks just wanted to look, but if she struck up a conversation, asked them about their lives, they tended to do more than that. Their smiles were all different, crooked ones just as precious at the straight ones. Their bellies jiggled when they chuckled. Their eyes sparkled when giggles turned into laughs, the corners crinkling into beautiful lines, showing signs of good times and bad. And with each person who stopped by her table, she fell a little deeper in love with the human race.
On the other hand, while it felt amazing to get to know them, to hear their stories and grin at their gossip, she’d probably have the money she needed to pay back Sam for the boots sooner rather than later. Once she paid him back, there was really no good reason to stick around.
She was getting too attached to Sam, which was not the plan.
She inhaled a lungful of dusty air, resigned not to think about that just yet, and opened the romance novel Judy had lent her. Absently shaking the ice in her clear plastic cup, she continued to read about rakish dukes falling in love with independent ladies. She bit her bottom lip as her eyes raced across the page, devouring each word and trying not to miss a single one while also trying to get to the good part, the part where they . . .
“I’ve often wondered what radishes tasted like,” a voice interrupted her reading.
It was deep and smooth. Regal in pitch and tone. Familiar.
Daphne bolted upright, heart pounding hard and fast like the hooves of a wild mustang. She wanted to take off like one, too. The book in her hand bounced off her leg before falling to the ground, as a book tends to do when the person holding it loses feeling in their fingers.
“I jest. I prefer Ambrosia.” Apollo peered down at her with those striking blue eyes of his. “Hello, Daphne.”
An alarmed huff rocketed from her throat, followed by a scratchy whisper. “How? How did you find me so fast?”
His gaze dropped to the card table for an instant. “It wasn’t that difficult.”
Daphne’s head throbbed against her temples in time with her frustration. Why? Why? Why? “Why can’t you leave me be?”
“Come now, Daphne.” Apollo tapped his fingers on the table twice, as if he had no time or inclination for ignorance but was trying to remain patient. “We both know the answer to that.”
Her cheeks grew hot, and her lips pressed together. He was being patronizing, and the fists at her sides itched to thank him for it by landing a solid punch.
Apollo took stock of her tightly balled hands, the firm set of her jaw, the daggers shooting from her eyes. “I know you dislike me.” There was an uncharacteristic air of uncertainty in his words. “But I think it’s just because you don’t know me. We’ve never really gotten a chance to get to know one another.”
Daphne launched the daggers at him. Was he serious? She knew exactly who he was, a relentless bastard. What else was there to know?
“The real me,” he finished hastily.
“Is there a real you? The mighty Apol—” She caught herself and stopped. The young woman at the table to the right gazed out over the market, pretending to be oblivious to the commotion, but Daphne knew better. As much as the residents were growing on her, this was a small town, with a close-knit community of folks who made it a point to know every birth and keep track of every death. Who knew who was dating and who’d just broken up. And who was fighting with whom. Caddo County was one giant grapevine.
“Paul,” offered Apollo.
Daphne snorted. “Paul?” Clever, but he was still an asshole. “Worshiped and adored for his brilliance.”
“And strength,” he added, his eyebrows lifting. “You know, because I’ve single-handedly won . . .”
Did he really think she would finally, after all these centuries, be impressed?
“Ugh.” Daphne groaned. She was the furthest thing from it. “My gods, you are the worst.”
“I’m not . . .”
Was that hurt flashing in his sky-blue eyes, darkening to storm cloud gray as he spoke? His golden aura heated, glowing like the sun, and Daphne cringed.
“The worst at anything,” he finished. “Please don’t make this harder than it has to be. I’ve changed—or at least I’m trying. Look, I have a plan. All you have to do is trust me.”
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So I got the sweetest message from a reader last week. They reached out to tell me they missed Eros, and how excited they are for the next book(s) in the series.
You guys, that really, really made my day.
In fact, it might have made my whole month because I had just recently been wondering if I’d started book one in the wrong place. I was driving myself cray-cray with all the woulda, coulda, shoulda.
But then this lovely little ray of sunshine took the time to tell me they missed my gooey cinnamon roll beta bae, Eros, and how I’ve become one of their favorite authors. I swear to you I almost fell over. Me? Someone’s favorite? How is that even possible? I’m not sure, but I’ll take it.
So, Nath… thank you. Here is a sneak peek of the prequel novella to The Business of Love you’ve been patiently waiting for. Also? It’s (mostly) unedited… and my first attempt at an omniscient narrator… who breaks the fourth wall…
The beginning of the end for Cupid
This is a story about a boy and a girl, fated to be together. Is it a love story? Yes, most definitely. In fact, it’s three. Is there a happily ever after? Not yet. Not for a long time. Centuries, I’m afraid, and although the two souls in this tale are granted a new life each time, love can never quite hit the mark.
Love, what a precious thing . . . horrible timing, though.
Indulge me one question before I begin. I’m curious. Do you believe in fate? Oh, I know that look. You’re not quite sure. I admit, it’s not a concept most can hang their hat on. But I feel you’re a trustworthy soul, so I’m going to share a secret with you.
Life is a tapestry, and Fate—the youngest, if you believe in that sort of thing—knots the strands of will, intention, and choice together to give one’s destiny shape. What most don’t understand is, although the threads of why and when that are cast upon the cosmic loom aren’t your decision, the patterns that emerge are—the how can be whatever you make it.
But I digress, and I can see you’re growing impatient. You’re a hopeless romantic, aren’t you? I can tell. I am, too. I like stories with happy endings, and I always root for love. Still, there are some who aren’t so moved by matters of the heart as you or I. The jealous types, and I’d bet donuts to dollars they’re also the ones who think Fate is a cruel mistress.
Well, if you ask me, I’ll tell you Fate isn’t cruel at all. She just can’t bring order to chaos alone. It’s too heavy a load. She’s got three sides, you know, and wears more than one face to carry out what has to be done. All things must have balance, and while one face doles out endings, another hands out beginnings. Then there’s the face that has to be conscious of time. Calculations, measurements, numbers—how long before this happens or that. It’s necessary, you see, because time is precious. Lives must be limited, so that other souls can have a chance.
Yes, so many souls, so little time . . . but enough of my rambling, let’s get on with the first story.
A long, long time ago, two brand new souls were fated to be bound together by love. But the powers that be decided, against The Fates’ orders, mind you, that love was not to have a fair shot…
Hey, hey. I realize it’s been a while. Life has a way of keeping us… er… busy, doesn’t it? Still lots of stuff going on at the Word Factory, though, and, as such, I have news!
Some of you may have noticed, most of you probably haven’t, but it’s been near radio silence on social media from me for the past month. I’m not going to beat around the bush, here. I’ve been served some rather large shit sandwiches lately, and the only way I know how to keep my mental health in order is to ghost all things distracting.
Ghostly as I’ve been, I’m still moving forward with book two and the prequel novella. Not going to lie, it’s been difficult because there are other things that need to take precedence right now, which, oh how convenient, brings me to my first bit of news.
I am now offering copy editing + proofreading
YOU: But are you qualified?
ME: I’m glad you asked. Yes!
I’ve been an advertising copywriter for over twenty years, and have worked closely with industry professionals of multiple disciplines, including proofreaders. I’ve also supervised and mentored other copywriters, so I’m no stranger to editing, my friends… Or correct grammar, punctuation and spelling. It was my day job for years.
Fast forward to the part where I’ve been running a successful freelance business for over six years. You can check out my LinkedIn profile for some endorsements and recommendations regarding my word ninja skills and work ethichere.
In addition to freelance copywriting, I’ve critiqued and beta read many manuscripts over the last four years. I’m working on getting some testimonials for you, but until then, you’ll just have to believe me when I say I’m a fan of the Oxford comma and a bonafide member of the Plausibility Police.
YOU: I don’t know. I’m still not convinced.
ME: No problem. I’ll do a 3-page copy edit or proofread for you. If you don’t think I’m up to snuff, you’re under no obligation to work with me.
If you’re interested, or know someone who’s looking for budget-friendly yet thorough copy edits or proofreading, you can check out my rates here.
BONUS: I’ll be giving peeps who book by March 31st a 20% discount!
In other news…
The Business of Love will be available in KU beginning April 1st.
Yep. Cupid is going Kindle Unlimited so now you can read for free! Don’t worry, if you don’t subscribe to KU you can still one-click The Business of Love for just $2.99.
That’s all I’ve got for now, folks. If you’re not already on my mailing list, and you’d like to join, you can sign up here. Next letter drops at the beginning of April!