Sunday, December 6, 2015

Looking Ahead to 2016

I hope most of you have had a chance to check out Thank You, Ranch Romances by now. Its been out for a couple of weeks and is still on the first page of the main Amber Quill page.

As of December first, I have turned in two of three stories that will be coming out in the new year, one perhaps as early as January. In A Mule for a Princess, you will get to see how Orr and Jase from The Mule Man are faring as they make a cameo appearance in the new story. However, the new hero of this one is young Bobby Estrada who finds a new career working with mules and an hiw own amazing prince charming in dashing Irishman Doyle O'Brien whose niece is the "princess" who finds just the right little mule for her own.  In A New Leash on Life, two men who almost became lovers in school meet again and the old obsession is still there but they have some rocky times before they can actually rekindle that relationship and take it farther. Justin and Barry both have to overcome old habits, fears and doubts to actually get a new leash on life--together.

A third tale is still a work in progress at this point. We're doing a five story collection of tales inspired by the titles of Rolling Stones songs. Mine is Jumpin' Jack Flash  and the characters that have emerged for it are leading me on a wild adventure here so expect a somewhat off beat story, even by Deirdre O'Dare's standards! It opens at a carnival in a small town in Arkansas some years ago and from there---well, no spoilers here but trust me, it will be a wild, fun romp of a story. Way too soon for covers or release dates but you will be the first to know when they come.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thank You, Ranch Romances is in the wings

My special story and the other four in the "Getting Connected" PAX group will be on the market NLT Sunday. I know the other four are great tales, too, but I am really excited about my own. I love "nostalgia" tales whether they are about the sixties (Midnight Cowboys) or even farther back, like this one. I'm a history buff, but this sub-genre falls just short of real history. There are lots of people around still who recall these times and to me, that's where "contemporary" ends and history begins. If it's before the memory of any living person or at best a very few who have lived far past the normal or average span, then it is history!

Ranch Romances is near the trailing end of that time frame. I'm not quite as old as dirt yet and so I know quite a few people do recall the 1940s, especially the tail end of them. It is kind of shocking though to realize just how many changes have come in this sixty some years!

Here again is the cover I am really enamored with. And below one more little excerpt about Darnell's arrival in New Mexico. To read more, you have to buy it ;-).


Wade didn’t want to get the kids’ hopes up too high or too soon. He had not told them about his effort and didn’t even announce that someone was coming. For now, everything went on as it had for the last twenty-some, long weeks. However, once the telegram came to tell him that D. Davis was indeed on the way and would arrive in less than twenty-four hours, he could hardly keep from saying something. Buck had gotten the yellow envelope, such an unusual occurrence that he was fidgeting like a little kid when Wade came in from checking fences so he could move most of the herd to the upper summer pasture.
Winnie met him at the kitchen door, stuttering with her excitement. “D-d-daddy, you got a special letter. Uncle Buck says it’s gotta be important ’cause a telly-gram is always real serious. What does it say?”
Wade ripped the envelope and pulled out the short message. “We’re going to have a visitor,” he said. “She may stay here and take care of the house for us if we like her and she likes us. But don’t get too fired up about it, okay? Don’t want to scare her off right away.”
He looked down at Winnie’s wide eyes, saw the hesitant smile tugging at her little mouth. “Oh! Like a new mama?”
Wade shook his head. “No, not like that, just a lady to cook and stuff. Maybe. Don’t be counting those chickens before the eggs are laid.”
The next morning, he fired up the old truck to drive down to the depot in Frontera. He thought about taking the team and the wagon. He’d done that a lot during the war when gas was rationed, but he figured an eastern woman, even if she said she could handle primitive and remote, might be put off by such transportation. Not that the truck was anything to brag about. Still, it did have a cab and a padded seat and roll-up windows. Not quite like the fancy new cars coming out of the factories now, but it was the best he had.
He got there about ten minutes before the eastbound arrived. The Sunset Limited was not the absolute top, but it was a classy train, one of Southern Pacific’s fine fleet that ran across the southwest to California. The big engine rolled in with a billowing cloud of steam and smoke and a piercing whistle. It came to a halt about half the train’s length past the platform. Not too many folks got off.
Wade waited, beginning to wonder what Miz Davis might look like. Would she be young, middle-aged, or grandmotherly? Tall or short, thin or hefty? No solitary woman appeared, though. There were three couples, one pair with two kids, and a couple of men that seemed to be alone. He waited.
Then one of the men started toward him. “Would you be Mr. Walters?”
Wade snapped around when he heard his name. “Yep, that’s me. How did you know my name? Where’s Miz Davis?”
Though the young man’s clothes were worn and the suitcase he carried had seen better days, he was neat and clean. He had a kind face and gentle blue eyes that contrasted with his very dark hair, hair that shone like a grackle’s wing in the strong morning sun.
“Miz? No, I’m Darnell Davis. I’m the one you sent a ticket to, the one who hopes to be the person you need for your family. I didn’t intend to mislead you. It just never occurred to me that you might think I was a lady.”
A mixture of anger and disappointment filled Wade for a moment, but on its heels came an odd sense of inevitability, the same hand of fate feeling that had overtaken him when he first saw that section in the magazine. Still, he had to voice some of his doubts and suspicions.
“Can you really cook, keep house, take care of children? That’s hardly a normal man’s work.”
Although Wade could read the fear the young man felt, young Davis squarely met his gaze. “Yes, sir. I can do that and do it well. As I told you initially, I did the housewife’s role while growing up since my mother was working, and there were four younger children in the family when my father disappeared. I’ve had about ten years of experience keeping house, and then I went through cook’s training in the army as well.”
“Then why couldn’t you get a job back east?”

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cover is Here!

Woo-hoo. I got the cover today and it is just perfect. I think you will like it too. It really has the feel and nostalgia look that I was hoping for and is just perfect for this 1949 set story. Here is the first public look anywhere!! Watch this space for more on this story which will be available at the usual new release 35% discount on November 22 and for a week following that date!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November's Release--Soon!!!

I still do not have a cover for Thank You, Ranch Romances but it should be along any day. Again this month we have two PAX collections coming out. The first I believe was released this past Sunday. It is a set of "beach comber" stories. Since that is so not my milieu, I did not get in on that one!

However the "Hooking Up" or "Getting Connected" group just triggered an instant idea, as I think I already explained. That collection will be released on Sunday, November 22. Since the first one is now 'on the street,' I am sure the staff at Amber Quill will be busy with the next one and that means I should have a cover very soon and I promise to share it the minute it hits my in-box. I'll also share an excerpt or two and links where you can read the story behind the story essay like I almost always do for each new release. I guess I say that about all my tales, or nearly so, but this one truly was special to me and I really want to share it with all my fans and regular readers so please keep your eyes on this space!

In the prior post, I introduced Wade. Now you get to meet Darnell:

Darnell sat, head in his hands. Although suicide was a sin, probably even worse than the other issue that had sent his life into a long downward spiral, he’d begun to think it might be the best option he had left. What could a twenty-seven-year-old man without a job do? He had little chances of getting one due to the Bad Conduct Discharge from the US Army. That felt like a scarlet letter branding him. Faggot, pussy, pervert. The hateful words gnawed at his soul. The younger siblings he’d worked to help Mama raise after Papa went missing were all scattered and doing okay as far as he knew. He would not go crawling to any of them for help. Mama had passed away while he was doing that terrible stint in Uncle Sam’s service. Where else could he go?
He’d just spent his next-to-last dime on a cup of coffee, and it was nearly empty. He’d gone into the diner to ask about a job—the placard in the fly-specked window read “dishwasher wanted” —but they said they’d just filled it. Hell, he couldn’t even wash dishes! And he’d done that and more during those hard years of his teens while Mama was working two and three jobs at the end of the Depression and the start of the war to keep a roof over their heads and a little food for them. He’d worked some, too, but a lot of the time took care of Dylan, Dinah, David, and baby Doreen.
As he stood, stiff as an old man, to start for the door, a magazine caught his eye. He would have sworn it was not there when he sat down at the table with his coffee but it sure was now. As he went to pick it up, just out of curiosity, it fell open to a page near the back. “Partners and Pen Pals” read the bold letters at the top. He skimmed down the page until one letter seemed to leap out at him.
“Widowed rancher needs a helpmate. Two small children have lost their mother. Struggling rancher cannot care for them, keep house, and also run his ranch. Applicant must be able to cook simple, healthy meals, keep house, and care for a five-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy. Must be willing to live forty miles from a real town on a remote ranch. Some modern conveniences including new REA electricity and indoor plumbing. A fair wage or possibly marriage for the selected person.”
Hardly daring to hope, Darnell picked up the magazine. In his rented room, his for a few more days, he had paper, a pen, and maybe even a stamp or two. By the next morning, his response was in the mail. He found enough odd jobs to pay rent for another week while he waited for an answer.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Thank You, Ranch Romances--coming next month!!

The edits on this one are done and it's now firmly in the queue to be released with the Getting Connected PAX. (working title, so could change). So far I do not have a cover but  I have a hunch it will be spectacular because I gave Trace (Trace Edward Zaber, part owner of Amber Quill and a fabulous graphic artist) more ideas than I often do and bet he will run with them. As soon as it hits my email, I promise to share. For a sneak peek at the story, here is just a snippet from the opening. Enjoy!

Frontera, NM Spring 1949

To Wade, it seemed as real as yesterday since he still dreamed about it almost every night. He stood by the open grave and stared down at the coffin holding the earthly remains of his wife, victim of the flu and just being run-down, pregnant with her third child when the doctor had suggested she should have no more. Winifred had been a good woman but perhaps too gentle, small, and fragile for the life of a rancher’s wife in dusty southern New Mexico. Now she was gone.
Eight-year-old Ben clung to his right leg and Li’l Winnie, only five, to his left, neither fully understanding but knowing their mother was gone. The old biddies at church said he should not have brought them to the services, but what else could he do? None of them had really offered to care for the kids. Upon hearing Winnie’s sniffles turning to audible sobs, he woke up.
Three months had passed since that grim day, and nothing had gotten any better. In fact, almost everything had gotten worse. Ben had to go to school in poorly washed clothes that never saw an iron. Thank the powers that for now Winnie, only five, stayed home. Frontera did not have a kindergarten. She’d been growing fast all her dresses were too small. 
Unfortunately, it also meant someone had to take care of her. Old Buck usually did, since the aging, stove-up cowboy really wasn’t a lot of use on ranch chores. Despite that, Wade would not let him go. Where would the old man end up? With the war over and all the soldiers coming home, jobs were scarce. So a grumbling Buck watched Winnie. Wade felt sure the old man would never hurt or even growl at her, but he could tell it was not a good fit for either of them.
Inevitably, at that point his thoughts turned to the magazine he’d found on the table at Nettie’s New Diner last time he was in town. Although he rarely ate anywhere except at home, he was so sick of his own limited offerings he could not resist a decent meal. And there it lay, like someone had put the damn thing in his path on purpose. The cover was kind of garish, a cowboy on a big palomino and a gorgeous blonde gal in ripped up clothes that left little to the imagination. Across the top, Ranch Romances appeared in big red letters. Lower, in a different typeface, he read “Captured by Brutal Outlaws.”
Why would he even pick up such trashy, dime-dreadful junk? Still, when he went to lay it back down, it flipped open to a page that somehow caught his eye and would not let go. There were letters from men looking for women and women seeking men, mail order brides, handymen, and more. It must have been the devil put the notion in his mind, but once it was there, the idea would not let go. He could write in and try to find a wife or at least a housekeeper to take care of the kids…
Wade labored over that letter for several nights before he was finally satisfied with what he had written. He was not an ignorant man. He’d been through high school back in Kansas and could write with proper grammar and in a decent hand. That wasn’t the problem. Wording the request was. Finally, he just cussed, folded the paper, and stuffed it in an envelope. He put an airmail stamp on it in hopes it would get to the magazine and bring results that much quicker. Five cents was a lot to spend, but this was important.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Coming down the pike

I just turned in my next story. The title is "Thank You, Ranch Romances." I think you all will like it because it is a trip down memory lane. We're doing a PAX --not sure what the group title will be yet but working title is Getting Connected. We all know there are many ways to meet Mr. or Ms. Right. They have changed some over the years but the idea is still the same.

In a local writer's group I've been with for about a year we're working on memoir and personal/family history essays and stories. I wrote one recently about how people managed to find friends and meet new lovers before the internet. It was mostly about an old institution called pen pals.  When I was growing up--giving my age away here LOL--a  lot of magazines had pen pal columns. There really was a pulp fiction magazine called Ranch Romances and it really did have a column to seek friends, mail order brides and the like. Before I had finished the essay, the idea for a story had taken root and I knew what I'd be doing for that PAX.

I "met" Wade first, a recently widowed New Mexico rancher with two young children who is desperately in need of a housekeeper and nanny. Then at the other end of that ad, Darnell appeared. The story is set in 1949--I really do not remember that year too well as I was very young but it became more real as the story developed. How different things were then but also how similar a lot still is. Anyway, as soon as I have a release date and a cover to share they will be here--I expect perhaps about November but we'll see. Then I have three more pieces due the first of December that will be coming out in 2016 so look forward to learning about them in a few weeks.

I just learned from my editor that the release is to be in November, normally the month's PAX comes out the 3rd weekend. I gave Trace (Trace Edward Zaber, an owner and senior partner of AQ and a fabulous cover artist) more ideas than usual for a cover and can't wait to see what he comes up with! I suspect it will be special. And as soon as the edits are done, I'll try to get an excerpt up for you.

Meanwhile two more tales are underway, one is a spin off of The Mule Man, a late 2014 release and is titled A Mule for a Princess and the other with the planned title of A New Leash on Life. You will be hearing more about them before long. They will be coming out in 2016, probably the first quarter. Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

New Print Collection Out!

This month my new offering is another print collection of four stories previously only available in ebook format. These, like my last collection (Daring Directions, released in July) are four tales that all are close to my heart.
Duty and Daring Vol 2 by Deirdre O'Dare,

They have in common a theme I visited in a prior collection, Duty and Daring, so this batch is Duty and Daring Vol 2. (Real original LOL!)  Another connection among the four tales is that all of them are set in New Mexico. If you have read more than one or two of my stories you know that setting is almost a secondary character in most of them. I find the atmosphere and ambiance of a place has a major impact on what happens there and how the characters live and respond to the events that unfold. For a long time the bulk of my work was set in Arizona which was my home for the longest part of my life. Then I spent a couple of years in Colorado, my second time there, and set some tales in that state. Now I live in southern New Mexico and guess what, I'm writing adventures set around my new home! I believe Rez Dogs was one of the first that I wrote here.

You may have read one or more of these but if not here is a chance to get all of them at once and on sale for a short while as a new release. Below  to refresh your memory are the four covers. I love almost every cover that the amazingly talented Trace Edward Zaber does for my stories but these are some real faves. I especially like Red Tails--those eyes!!  I'd chase that guy around the hanger even if he is gay! Hey, I'm a tomboy!

Do you really want an excerpt snippet of each story? I am inclined not to do it because you can find them on my page at Amber Quill and a brief blurb at the site URL given above where the book is for sale. If you whine, maybe I will, just a teensy bit of each one!! But why not just buy the book!?!?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Two in one Month!

It is not often that Amber Quill releases two PAX collections in the same month. Only those that have five weekends are so honored. August just happens to be one. And as luck would have it, I have a story in both of them! This is purely by chance.

Here's how it works. We maintain a list of suggested topics in a data base. Different AQ writers are intrigued about one or another and sign up for it. Once five or more are signed on, that theme is a go and gets onto the schedule. We have deadlines each quarter, the first day of the third month to be exact. Sometimes you can have more than one in that future lineup. Normally we have three PAX themes for each deadline. Complicated? Not really but it is a bit of a crap shoot. I had two for the June 1, 2015 deadline and by chance, they both managed to be released in August. Luck of the draw!

Okay, you know about A Cop and A Con. What's next? It's a science fiction tale called Return to Atsileigh.  Although I am a big sci fi fan and loved both Star Trek and Star Wars, I have not written a lot in the genre. But it so happened that my first gay story which was also my first dip of the toe into science fiction. Treading Dangerous Ground  was also my first best seller (#1 for the month it released!) and started my writing career off on another new direction. There have been a lot of m/m stories since Treading Dangerous Ground came out some years ago now though only a few sci fi among them.

I've always known that Dangerous Ground had a sequel lurking but it took me a long time to get it written. When I first tried, there were two guys and a woman. That was just not working although menage tales are fun. Then finally Florene Jaxon had a gender change and became Floyd. Voila, we were off and running. So Return to Atsileigh features the gradual intertwining of the lives of three Unifleet cadets and continues the saga of Hightower's Betrayal. The question of whether Jayce Hightower was a betrayer or the betrayed becomes a critical element in Return to Atsileigh.  No spoilers here!!

But here is the yummy cover. To learn more you'll have to snoop around the 'net (I will have a post on the PAX blog and also some comments on the AQ promo sites in various of the social media starting Sunday), and maybe get your own copy! Three hunky guys in a  action-packed space opera story? What's not to love?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Back in the thick of things

It's been a difficult month. I had a great but short trip to Alaska the last week of June but ever since I got home have been struggling with what I call "allergy eyes". It's a major inflammation with drippy, gummy, sticky and very irritated eyes sometimes to the point where driving or even being on the computer was just not possible. I've had allergy tests run and will be going on antigen treatment injections shortly and also back to my ophthalmologist to see if we can come up with a short term help to keep me functional. I'm a lot better due to some homemade and homeopathic treatments but I know that is not the real cure.

Anyway, while I was semi out of commission I managed to get the edits done on two new stories, both of which will be coming out this month! Both are part of PAX collections and August, with five weekends, will have two!  The first one comes out on August 9--just a few days away--and the second on August 23.

I have a cover for the first one and two blog posts that I'll share here about it. It's a cop story and pretty much a Canine Cupids tale as well. It felt powerful and real to me as I wrote it and I hope my readers will find it the same!

A Cop and A Con

A Cop and A Con by Deirdre O'Dare
Released August 9 by Amber Quill in their Amber Allure line as part of the Strip Away the Badge PAX.

 Here is a bit about how and why for this story:
I know readers often wonder why an author might write a specific story. Since Deirdre O’Dare writes more offbeat tales than many, the question may be even more frequent and pressing for my stories than most! I’d have to say I walk a very narrow line between stark, harsh reality of either the world we live in or others that may exist and tend to mirror what I witness here and something less grim. I also believe to the depth of my heart that Love is the One True Thing and that everyone deserves to find and experience it. While happily ever after may be a fairy tale dream, I still believe it is possible. So everything I write is a romance! But they all happen in a setting of hard times, dark reality and struggles.
            I’ve been involved with law enforcement through family members since 1971. Before then I didn’t give a lot of thought to what our peace officers deal with on a daily basis and the issues they face. Then it hit home and became very real.
            Of course “cops” have been in the news a lot lately, some for doing very bad things and some for being heroes. While I certainly do not condone a number of the fatal shootings that have taken place by police officers, I do have some sense of the danger and fear they have to face every time they get into their unit or answer a call. They never know when someone will make that fatal shot at them.
            Here in New Mexico two officers have died this year in the line of duty--from being shot--and several have been badly injured. I cannot defend the ‘bad’ cops, and there are some, but I have deepest sympathy and respect for the good ones who are far in the majority. So, I write about them. I know when I began to write gay romances, about ten years ago, I soon gained a great deal more sympathy and understanding for gay and lesbian people. I had always thought that everyone deserved to find and have love, but once I had gotten into the heads and hearts of my characters as they told me their stories, it all became very real and I moved firmly into the Rainbow Camp.
            My wish is now, when I write about law enforcement, that I can make these individuals more real and human for my readers. I want to let more people see just how tough it can be to walk the world behind a badge. A few may strut it but most bear the authority as a heavy burden of responsibility and visibility.
            Although I can hardly even imagine how horrific it can be to carry that badge in our modern cities, I do know more about circumstances for the men and women who serve in the rural and remote areas of the west. In a city there are almost always witnesses, sometimes hostile but at least many pairs of eyes. Out in the desert, chaparral and mountains, it may be just the cop and the bad guy or guys. Backup may be miles away. I feel a need to tell these folks’ stories. Although A Cop and A Con is not the first time I have tried to honor the rural officers nor will it be the last, I gave it my best shot.
            Perry is a composite of a number of men I have known and observed. As for Ike, I have witnessed prejudice, too, and the struggles many people have after making just one bad mistake that landed them on the wrong side of the law. For this tale, he was the first character that came to me and Perry emerged a bit later, after Ike began to share his struggle with me. And of course I added the dogs—dogs are special to me and I enjoy showcasing their unique qualities as special secondary characters in many stories.
            I tried to avoid becoming maudlin or dwelling too deeply on the squalid and sordid side of things, but it’s all part of policing in this region and background I felt was needed to make the story real. Reality is almost a watchword with me; however fantastic the story may be, I have to feel in my soul that it is “real.” While there is no guarantee of a happy-ever-after ending, at least I know that at the end Ike and Perry found some peace and contentment and we can hope it lasts for them. In a fictitious world, perhaps it does.
             Even in the real world, sometimes things actually do work out. To me fiction should give a reader hope that for them as well as for the characters, good endings are possible. Is that not why we read genre fiction? It appeals because we know the good guys will win and bolster our sagging faith that outcome is possible for us, for everyone.

A Cop and A Con--PG 13 excerpt

A Cop and A Con by Deirdre O’Dare.
It will also be available on the main Amber Quill page for awhile as a new release along with the other four Strip Away the Badge PAX © tales.


Alamo County, NM
Late November

Cold, so damn cold. Isaiah “Ike” Hernandez stumped along the side of the winding two lane highway, half blinded by the stinging mixture of windblown snow and sand that slashed at him. He’d long passed teeth chattering and shivering. Now he was just numb. He only knew when each foot hit the ground by the jolt that ran up his leg. The thin shoes they had given him provided little protection and no bounce.
With a near-frozen hand, he pressed the thin jacket closer to his chest and supported the small dog curled against his body, the one spot almost warm. He’d found the half-starved little mutt two days ago, the third day of his journey northwest from a horrible prison in south Texas where he’d spent the past several years. Leaving the pen, his one thought had been to get home —even though it would not be the home he’d left.
He knew that while he’d been away the town had been razed to make room for a new open pit mine that now was nearly closed due to the economic problems and environmental issues. The town of Esperanza was no more, but where else could he go? At least he had to see for himself that it no longer existed before he could go anywhere else.
At first he wasn’t sure if the pup’s matted hair covered a male or female. Now he knew the little red scrap of canine was male, and he’d decided it was a mix of dachshund and Chihuahua—but with a shaggy ancestor somewhere in the past as well. He’d kicked himself for picking it up. He could hardly feed himself, much less a dog, but he couldn’t leave it crouched by a highway, whimpering, hungry  and cold.
Now several hundred miles later, hitching, walking and hoping, he was sure he’d made it back into New Mexico. Even so, his goal still seemed impossibly far away. Then this storm had swept in, an early but a vicious one.  In prison all he’d had was time. Now that he was free at last, it looked like time had run out.
Even his thoughts seemed gelid, ill-formed and jumbled, mixing in his mind. Memory told him the ground was hard and cold. Despite that, it looked soft, comforting. He wanted to lie down, let the snow and dust drift over him while he went to sleep. He’d die. And probably the little red dog would, too. Ever dogged himself, he could not let that happen. At least he would not roll over and play dead until he really was. He put a foot forward one more time.

Perry Parker gripped the wheel of the Alamo County Sheriff’s Department SUV and squinted into the swirling maelstrom of snow and dust that all but obscured the two lane highway he followed. The vehicle bucked, fighting the wind. Wheels slipped as he took one of the sharper curves. He eased off the gas and let momentum carry the car for a few yards.
If those fucking meth dealers are out in this, they’re crazier than I am. At least I’m getting paid. Not much, not enough, but it’s a living. Well, maybe they will be too if I can’t catch them. But hell, why on a night like this? I can’t even see them unless they’re standing in the road.
As one of the too-few deputies patrolling the remote county not far from the Mexican border, he had plenty of experience with drug dealers. Now, damn the luck, even local kids were caught up in cooking meth, suddenly considered cool because that damn TV show was so popular. What were they thinking, making a meth dealer a hero, for God’s sake?  Still, border crashers or locals could be out tonight peddling their product although they were risking death in a wreck as well as the normal hazards of their illegal business.
Beside him in the passenger seat, Badger gave one plaintive whine. Although the county did not have canine officers, Badger had been his partner for several months. He’d adopted the funny looking critter from the county shelter when the animal control man said he was going to have to put her down soon. Perry figured the dog was Pit Bull and Blue Heeler.
Although most folks would say she was the ugliest dog they’d ever seen, Perry noticed the intelligence and some other special nameless quality in her mismatched eyes, one blue and one nearly black. He had to save her. Because she was both brave and tenacious, Badger seemed like the right name.
With her riding shotgun, he wasn’t quite alone. She’d picked up a few commands and become protective very fast. She even seemed to have a nose for drugs. Out on the long dark nights alone, she was the best partner he could ask for.
            “Okay, gal. We’ll be back in town in about thirty minutes and get us some coffee, maybe some chow and a treat for you. It ain’t pretty out but I’ll get us there. I know this road like our back yard.”
As he straightened the wheel and eased down on the gas again, something loomed ahead, right on the edge of his lane. What the fuck? A man, walking? He hadn’t seen a car or any sign of life for the past twenty miles or more. Who would be out in this weather? Probably some poor sap who’d been sneaked across the border and dumped to fend for himself. Perry despised the coyoteros with the pitiful living traffic they abused as much as he hated the drug dealers. Still, he could not pass a fellow human, one for whom death could come almost any moment out here on a night like this.
Feathering the brakes, he slowed, stopped and then shifted the SUV into reverse. He’d gone maybe twenty yards past the walker. The person had stopped, raised his—or her—head and waited, as if numb and dumb. Perry put the car in park and got out.
“Hey man, do you need a lift? Where you heading?” He spoke first in Spanish and then when the other person did not respond, repeated it in English.
The reply came faint, muffled, slurred and hoarse. “Yeah, I s’pose I do. I was going home--to Esperanza--but I think I took the wrong shortcut. Things look different now.”
The man staggered, as if disoriented or exhausted.  Maybe both. Perry grabbed his arm. Through thin, worn garments he could feel bone with very little flesh over it. The guy was not in good shape. He stumbled as Perry tugged.
“Come on, I’ll get you to town—that’s Riata, about twenty miles down this highway. Esperanza doesn’t exist anymore. Didn’t you know? You stay out in this much longer and they’d find your carcass after the storm blows out. No hope out here for now.”
The stranger nodded. “Yeah, yeah. You’re right, but I’m not leaving my dog.”

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

I Lied

Yep, I admit it. I lied although totally unintentionally. I did say that the release dates for paperbacks is kind of iffy and depends on a lot of things all getting done exactly on a schedule. SO Daring Directions missed a May release by a few days. It is now available at Amazon or through my page at Amber Quill --that is at I just ordered a few copies and will sell them at the list price of $13.50 plus postage, signed of course! Email me at to order from me.

As I said earlier, this collection is four of my special  and different tales--Homless in Heaven, Last Train to Clarkdale, A Different Drummer and Game of Hearts. Each one is special to me for one reason or another and each takes place in a different southwestern state: in order, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and Texas/New Mexico! Even knowing all of my lead characters were gay, I was half in love with them as they told me their stories so I could transcribe them. Eight very unique and fabulous men here!

At any rate, if you have missed one or more of these tales which have all been released in electronic format over the last couple of years, here they are all in a group and in a keeper copy for no more really than the downloads would be if you got each one separately! So check it out.

Here is the cover again and then the individual covers for each story. I lvoe the artwork. AQs cover artist is totally awesome and has an uncanny ability to capture my vision about 90% of the time! Last Train is my fave of this batch.

Friday, April 24, 2015

What's Coming Next

First off, I will have a new collection in print coming out in May. The date on these releases is always flexible, just depending on when the book gets uploaded and is printed and ready for sale but it will be in May. The title is Daring Directions and it includes four stories: Homeless in Heaven, Last Train to Clarkdale, A Different Drummer and A Game of Hearts. All of these are somewhat unique and even "off beat" stories although I'm sure my normal voice and style is very much there. They've been out in electronic form as individual releases for some time but I felt they fit together to become a print collection. To me, they are just kind of special! I loved all these characters, for all their quirks and oddities, for the twists and turns they led me on as they shared their stories. I think you will too! I'll let you know as soon as it is available and will l have a few autographed copies to sell at the new release discount (25% off list) plus postage. There will probably be one or two up for grabs as a giveaway prize, too.

Here are the blurbs:

Homeless in Heaven: Homeless for over two years, Merl has hunkered down to endure a second winter in Eden, Colorado. He has lost the ability to trust or accept kindness as anything but a sneaky attempt to weaken him for an attack.   Knowing he should seek to get back into the mainstream, he lacks the will to try. Nate has led a sheltered and privileged life as the only child of wealthy older parents, now deceased. He is working on a photo journalism piece about the homeless people in Eden when he first encounters Merl. Can he win Merl’s trust and cooperation in an effort to provide positive long term help to other homeless people in the area?  Even more important, can he forge a real partnership with the suspicious older man?

Last Train to Clarkdale:  For Clay, always a misfit and bullied at school, contact with the railroad and railroaders in the small town where he grew up was a lifeline. He went on to a career in the industry although not out on the track. Some odd compulsion draws him back to his long departed home despite the painful memories he has of the place. A chance meeting with Jon and sharing an afternoon’s tourist rail trip results from his impulse.  He gets an instant crush on the big, bluff man, but what can a geeky clerical type rail fan offer a famous world traveling scenic and wildlife photographer like Jon?

A Different Drummer: Jest has been on his own since his mid teens and still blesses the chance that let him realize his dream of playing percussion in a band, one who has become his surrogate family. Greene has struggled to build himself a life far from the undisciplined communal community in which he grew to his mid teens. Traveling aimlessly, he meets Jest and the other members of Taken By Storm. He’s intrigued but terrified of slipping back into a disorderly world like that of his childhood.

A Game of Hearts: Losing the love of his life, DeVore became a recluse. At one of the few social functions he steels himself to attend, he meets an amazing young man. Can he find new life and new love? Tim Hardesty was a preemie and always frail. As a teenager, an organ transplant was the only thing that could save him. Now grown to manhood he is still struggling to break away from family ties and find a purpose for his life. It’s a thrill to meet an idol whose powerful photographs move many. But is this attraction his own or coming from the stranger’s heart now beating in his chest? Sometimes to win in the game of hearts, you have to risk terrible pain and take fearsome chances. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Reminder--Midnight Cowboys available Sunday! (M/M Adult situation)

Midnight Cowboys by Deridre O'Dare

I'm really excited about the next PAX, Ooh to be back in the 1960s! That turbulent decade was such a powerful turning point in the lives of those who lived it, especially if it came at that impressionable time in their lives, catching them in the middle teens to late twenties. The events and social changes of the times probably marked the rest of their lives. I can't wait to get the other four stories in this collection!

I really tried to capture some of this angst, mystique and atmosphere in Midnight Cowboys. I am pretty sure that Riki and Jerry both became different men than they might have been without the experiences they had which I laid out in the story. As with all of my tales, the main characters became very real to me and I truly had a sense that they were dictating their story to me and I simply took it down and maybe played with the words a little bit as I did so.

Here is one more excerpt, a pretty hot one. They've been to a party and both are somewhat drunk and also high, Jerry on pot and Riki on coke.

Once back on campus, they staggered up the three flights of stairs, leaning on each other’s dubious support.
“I…hate…these…fucking…stairs.” Riki ground out the words between breaths. The mixture of coke and beer seemed to have depleted his natural energy. “Ain’t no stairs at Tolbert’s place. We need ta move.”
“Maybe,” Jerry replied. “I gotta think on it with a clear head.”
They stumbled into their room, and Jerry kicked the door shut behind them. Riki looked around, disgust on his face. “Ah, fuck it. I’m horny. No way can I do those steps again, though. If I could, I’d go back to the Panther or somewhere…”
“So’m I,” Jerry admitted. “Horny, I mean.” Then he surprised himself with his next words. “We can do something about it right here if you want.” They were still standing close, Riki’s arm across Jerry’s shoulders and Jerry’s around Riki’s waist.
Riki stared at Jerry, struggling to focus his eyes. “Say what? I mean us, you and me?”
Jerry shrugged, not quite comfortable now that it had been said when they were still so close. “Well, we could. Shit, if I could suck that fat, stinking, old oil man, I guess I could do you.”
Riki laughed. “Oh yeah, there’s that, huh? I don’t think I stink, but I’m about as drunk as he was. Won’t pass out, though, not yet. Okay, I’m game if you are.” He pulled away far enough to unbuckle his belt and lower the zipper on his jeans. Pushing them down off his hips, along with his shorts, he flopped back onto a chair. “’N if I don’t pass out, I’ll do you after.”
Put up or shut up, Hoffman. Jerry dropped to his knees in front of Riki. Even if he’d seen his friend nude the other night at the hotel, this was different. Riki’s cock stood up stiff, almost brushing his lower belly. It was dark with blood, twitching with each heartbeat.
When Jerry wrapped his hand around it, the strangeness didn’t hit him as it had with the oil man. The scent he inhaled, though musky and male, was not offensive. He stroked a couple of times, experimentally, getting the spirit of it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

More on Midnight Cowboys!

Okay, we have a  PAX cover now and I can tell you the other four stories. They will all be out on April 19 so you do not have long to wait. The titles are Laurel Canyon by AJ Llewellen, Silences of Fallen Stars by Vivian Dean, The Stonewall Inn by DJ Manly, Woodstock gave Me You by JD Walker and Midnight Cowboys by yours truly. Here is the collection cover:

Another excerpt coming up in the next day or two and you need to check our PAX blog the next two weeks for more and to get special tidbits from each author about their contribution to the collection. A blast from the past indeed!!

A fave story of mine and a Special Sale!!!

This is not necessarily one of my best sellers but when I look at my back list, I always go to this one right away. It was special to  me when I wrote it and remains so. Grab a copy at 50% off now between April 8 and 14.  Click the link below!

50% Overall Discount Sale -- All Deirdre O'Dare E-Books

Take it Easy by Deridre O'Dare ISBN:978-1-60272-315-3

Genres: Contemporary / The Arts / Some Lesbian Content 
Heat Level: 3 
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (13k words)

Stormy Alcott supports herself, her two children and her mother by working as an independent cross-country trucker. When low fuel forces her to get off I-40 in Winslow, Arizona, she sees and picks up a passenger who turns out to be a musician down on his luck. Together they make some amazing music. Is a career change in her future?
Tom Holden, newly back from military duty in the Middle East with the Tennessee National Guard, hopes to catch up with his old band in Las Vegas. His truck breaks down, leaving him stranded in Winslow. Before a violent summer storm hits, a lady trucker gives him a lift. Can the inspiration she provides help him make it to the big time?

Excerpt: (They've just come onto a bad wreck near the Arizona-California line here.)
"I guess I could try and turn around and go back to Kingman, but I don't see much use in it. Not much we can do but wait. "
He flashed a grin at her. "Yeah, no forty-acre field here, is there?"
She socked him on the shoulder. "Go on with you. I don't need no forty acres to turn my rig around. Twenty will do just fine."
At the instant her fist impacted his solid bicep, his hand closed around her wrist. All at once the cab filled with a humming tension. Energy arced between them, eyes to eyes and skin to skin where his callused fingers shaped a bracelet around her arm. She relaxed her hand and spread it across the heat of his taut muscle absorbing the masculine power he radiated.
After a moment, he tugged, shifting her balance until she fell toward him. He released her wrist, but only long enough to close his arms around her. She settled against the comfortable breadth of his chest, a slow sigh leaking out of her lungs. I'll move, pull away in just a minute, but this feels so damn good... Before she completed the thought, his mouth found hers, and coherency flew right out of her mind.
He tasted of coffee and mint gum, and he kissed like a master at the craft. She didn't even think before she opened to the teasing probe of his tongue. He edged a hand up between their bodies and palmed her breast. Her whole body shivered at the touch as her nipple pebbled inside her bra, straining at the silky lace fabric. It felt like heaven, but was still not enough. Nowhere near enough.
"Can't get a room, but the sleeper behind us has a real nice mattress." She cringed at the inane remark, but it was said and it made the point.
"Lead on, sugar. I'm right behind you."
Stormy felt exposed when she climbed down from the cab and opened the sleeper door, Tom right behind her.
I might as well be standing naked in front of the No-tell Motel. Oh, hell, for all anybody knows, we're married. It's nobody's business anyway. It's been too long since I got laid and I need this.
The sleeper had no wasted space. It held a double bed, which took about all the room there was. She crawled onto the mattress and toward the back corner, leaving room for Tom to get up beside her. He shut the door behind them and stretched out. She flipped on one small light, the one she sometimes read by, and turned to face him.
He toed off his boots and laid them down in the six-inch strip of floor that edged the bed.
"Don't want to get mud on your pretty quilt," he explained. "It looks like the kind my grandma use to make. She lived up in the hills outside of Nashville and pretty much clung to the old ways."
"My gran made this one," Stormy confessed. "She's been gone quite a while, but she left a bunch of pretty handwork behind. I use this to keep her memory alive and a little bit of her here with me."
"You can't beat a good ole southern hill lady unless it's a good young one."
She caught his insouciant grin out of the corner of her eye.
Oh, man, he's got a line and charm as thick as peanut butter. Stormy kicked off her athletic shoes and dropped them beside his boots. Before she was done, he laid her back with two sure hands and rolled up to prop on his elbow looking down at her.
"Is that your real name, Stormy? How'd a pretty lady get stuck with such a moniker?"
"Yeah, 'bout as real as it gets. My birth certificate reads Stormy Jane Alcott. I took back my own name after my louse of an ex took off. Wasn't about to call myself Stoker any longer. If I could, I'd change my kids' names, too. As to how or why, Mama used to tell me it was a real dark and stormy night when I made my appearance and she just thought it fit. Always did have a bit of a temper..."

Friday, April 3, 2015

Excerpt 1 from Midnight Cowboys--adult language

Midnight Cowboys by Deirdre O'Dare, to be released April 19, 2015 from Amber Quill Press !! ISBN and buy link coming soon!

This introduces and covers the initial meeting between Riki and Jerry as both arrive at college and discover they are roommates.

Crockett State College,
South West Texas
September 1967

Richard “Riki” Robards shoved the scuffed door open before he skidded to a stop. Grim and austere barely described the room he viewed. He’d seen sweeter jail cells. Oh shit, oh goddam fucking shit. And I’ve gotta share this grody overgrown closet with a roommate?
He stepped aside as Sanchez shuffled in with the fourth load of Riki’s stuff and dumped it in the middle of the dark, dreary room.
“Tha’s it.”  Sanchez, the senior Robards’ current man of all work, huffed out an aggravated breath. “I’m goin’ home now.”
That left nothing for Riki to say except, “Gracias. Hasta luego.” He knew Sanchez did not care for him, but that was okay. Neither did his family, really. Riki was on his own now, anyway. Taking a step through the door, he caught sight of his reflection in the streaked mirror hanging over a battered chest of drawers. He addressed the image aloud.
“You gotta make it work this time, my man. You’re down oh and two here. It’s either become a college student for real or head for boot camp. No other choices.”
For an instant he saw himself with a shaved head and baggy camouflage uniform. The picture was not pretty. No, his party was over. Family purse strings had been tightened with a severe hand. And a Robards, he had been informed, did not run off to Canada as an alternative to military service. If he even attempted it, he’d be disowned completely. This time he’d better buckle down to produce decent grades and acceptable behavior. Or else. After failing in one college and being expelled from another he was running out of options.
Exhaling a ragged sigh, he stepped aside at the sound of footsteps closing behind him. He turned to see a slender fair young man stumble to the door, holding a box balanced on his right shoulder while he dragged a clumsy, abused-looking suitcase with the other hand.
“Hi,” he said, in a low, somewhat hesitant tone.
“Wish I was.” At that, the other man’s eyes widened for an instant before he schooled his face to a neutral expression.
“Yeah, right.”
The new arrival glanced at the number on the door and then gave a nod. “You picked your side yet?”
Riki shrugged. “I’ll take this one, the right.”
“Okay.” The newcomer dumped the box onto the desk in his half and propped the suitcase against the foot of the second single bed. He took a couple of deep breaths. “Those stairs are a bummer. Just one more load, though.”
For a moment the two of them stood, taking each other’s measure. The newcomer wore a light yellow Oxford shirt, button down collar and all. With it he had on neatly pressed khaki slacks and… penny loafers?  Did anyone really still wear them these days? Riki suppressed a smirk. Holy shit, a real preppy type nerd, dork or something, like square squared. Still, despite the uncool attire, the guy wasn’t bad looking.
Part of Riki wanted to launch into a sneering attack but something held him back. Maybe a vague sense of self preservation. No use making an enemy of someone you had to live with, even a guy who might be induced to help with your homework or do papers for you. Fast as a riff on his Strat, Riki shifted mental gears.
“Hey, I’m Riki. With two “I’s”, like Jimi.
“Err, Hendrix you mean?”
“Yeah, the man, the hip one, the killer.”
“Okay, cool. I’m Jerry.”
After a beat, Riki surprised himself. “Need a hand with your shit?”
“Nah, just one more load. My typewriter and another box. I can deal with it.”

Jerry clattered back down the stairs. He moved his rusty VW away from the loading zone before he grabbed the last of his stuff. With his portable typewriter under one arm and a second box tucked against his right side, he headed back up to his new home. Wow, college was really going to be different. He looked around at other students arriving, lugging their assorted shit into the dorm.
Most were in wide-legged blue jeans and bright t-shirts or flashy cowboy attire. Well, this was Texas, after all. A few were dressed like he was but they were the minority. Across the parking lot, in front of another dorm, the incoming students appeared mostly female. Big hair, really short skirts or those grandma looking long dresses. Foxy, most of them, but even from here he could hear them, most cussing up a storm. Back home girls didn’t do that, at least right out in public. Every second word seemed to be “fuck.”
Holy shit, he’d never ever said that word in front of a woman or a girl! Good thing Mom and Grandma were not here. They’d be ready to drag him right back home to Piney Creek. All at once he recognized that his education was not all going to be academic. He’d fallen into a brand new world here, a world light years from the conservative little town where he’d spent all of his nineteen years. He thought about his new roommate and grinned.
Riki, huh. Some name. Riki was one of those in jeans, elephant legged and long, right down over whatever he had on his feet. On top a black t-shirt with glitter and those psychedelic flowers and stuff all over it. Good looking, too. Almost black hair down over his shoulders and a wicked grin.  Jerry was sure he’d seen a guitar case and a big amp in the heap of the other guy’s stuff. Maybe he even played in a band. Oh man, that would be outta sight!         

And that was how it all began…

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Midnight Cowboys is coming!!

Yep, in less than three weeks Midnight Cowboys will be available! If you have curiosity or nostalgia about the nineteen sixties, you will want to read it and the other tales in the 1960's "happening" PAX! As in very PAX, the tales will all be different and unique because the authors who created them are a very diverse bunch. We are in different age groups, live in different parts of the country--or even the world--and each bring our own voice and personality into the tales we write. Most of us have different methods and approaches to writing fiction as well.

As I often do, I set my story in the west; these guys are not "real" cowboys by any means and to some degree it really is their first rodeo! Riki thinks he is very sophisticated and worldly compared to his naive small-town-boy roommate, Jerry. But Riki has a lot to learn too about life and love in the world he calls home. My setting is a fictitious small west Texas town that is home to a state college.

My alma mater was in a small town in central Arizona but there are many similarities except we could not make an easy run across the border into Mexico. I was attending as a woman, not a young man, but the challenges were not so very different. The freedom of being away from home and watchful family or neighbors created an illusion that liberty was license! Riki and Jerry were lucky to fare as well as they did treading the edge of danger. But this is fiction where we should challenge but not crucify our characters, especially the leads!

Here is the blurb from Midnight Cowboys. An excerpt will follow soon. Go back one post for the cover.

Midnight Cowboys blurb:

Two young men from very different backgrounds end up roommates at a state college in west Texas in the latter part of the turbulent sixties. In the course of their developing relationship, both of them get an education. They tread very near the edges of risk and disaster in a time when “anything goes” was a watchword, but the bond they form helps to bring them both back from the brink and then long steps down the path to maturity and knowledge of many kinds. Isn’t that what education is all about? 

Riki is the black sheep of a wealthy family, on his third and final chance to avoid the draft or disinheritance. His big dream is to be a hot guitarist with a rock band and he has a weakness for recreational drugs that make him feel better about himself. Jerry is a true son of Bible Belt America, happy to be able to go to college and perhaps rise above the lower middle class level of his family. He has to grow rapidly through his shock and meld into the turbulent times that had not yet found his small town roots. The two form an unlikely friendship that develops into a deeper bond as they experience drugs, sex and rock n’ roll in their heyday.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New Tale Coming Soon!

I am not sure what the PAX title is yet but a nostalgic look at the sixties in five exciting gay romance stories will be released on April 19! Among the stories featured will be Midnight Cowboys by Deirdre O'Dare. I'll get the PAX title and cover up here as soon as I can.

This is a kind of coming of age tale set on the campus of a state college in a fictitious west Texas town in 1967. As they said about Woodstock, which happened just a bit later, if you remember it you weren't there. That may not quite be true,  but if you'd like a peek back into the make-love-not-war and psychedelic dimensions of this life changing decade with some good ole sex, drugs and rock n roll, Midnight Cowboys should fill the bill.

A couple of young men who are about as different as they can be wind up as roommates and then partners in crime and then...  Well, you'll have to read it to find out! Here is the cover to watch for. Keep an eye on this space for more details in the next couple of weeks!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Special Sale on Canine Cupids tales!

These stories--eight of them--have been among my top sellers and even after some time continue to be found by new readers who love them too! For a three day period they are selling at 50% the normal price! Info below.

The group even includes Love is Snowblind which celebrates the wonderful sport of sled dog racing, very timely as the Iditarod is going on right now in Alaska! If you missed this one here is a great chance to get it.

Here's the link! 
Wednesday 03/11 - Friday 03/13
...the Amber Quill Press website plans to feature and promote a special sale of...
50% Overall Discount Sale -- All "Canine Cupid" E-Books

And here's the cover of Love is Snowblind!  Love that Siberian Husky on the cover ;-)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Adult Excerpt The Taming of Jaelle'n

The Traming of Jaelle'n by Deirdre O'Dare==buy ink:

Jaelle'n is suspicious and somewhat fearful of Aguilar, her new master, but he still fascinates her. He is just beginning her training here. And we are dipping a toe into some subtle BDSM!!

As if he suddenly recalled where he was, Aguilar looked at her again. "Aye, it is now time to learn how to enjoy complete loss of control. Have you ever been with a man, Jayla?"
"How--er--no, not in that way. It was not permitted. I was to go pure into marriage with my father's choice for his successor as war leader. I was to be the ruler, but a woman could not lead the armies of Cymrydda into war. That much of leadership I must share with he who would father the next high king."
"So you are virgin, as the auctioneer said." He chuckled. "I suspected, but was not sure."
Jaelle'n cursed the fair northern skin that would not hide her blushes. She felt the radiant heat in her face and throat and knew her skin flamed bright. She should no longer be embarrassed, but she was. "A slave has no need of modesty," he had said. "Not by my own choice," she snapped, "but by the necessity of custom. I know I am old for that state, but I was to be wed this high summer's day."
"And how old are you? I would say young in the span of my grandmother's folk, even in my own, since I have enough of that blood to lengthen my life."
"I am eighteen summers."
He nodded. "A good enough age with many fine seasons yet ahead of you. But we will not advertise your age to potential buyers since they have little understanding of these things. If you train well, they will see only your beauty and youthful appearance and be satisfied." He rose from the bed. "Stand."
As she came to her feet, she found herself almost touching him from shoulder to toes and took a hasty step backward.
Again he chuckled. "You have naught to fear, Jayla. Have you not yet learned that my touch does not burn you?"
He reached under the bed and brought out the other two filigreed bands with chains attached. Quickly, slickly, he clasped the bands around her ankles. Then, he reached again under the edge of the bed and came out with four chains--the opposite ends of those that were linked to her bonds.
"A good pleasure slave must know how to receive as well as how to give pleasure. As a virgin, I expect you have no knowledge of these things, so we must teach you all. It is best that you be restrained to get full benefit from the early lessons. If you do not resist, there will be no pain."
Carelessly holding the chains in one hand, he walked to the head of the bed. Jaelle'n followed, taking care not to let the chains pull tight. From her place at the foot of the bed, she had thought the head sat against the wall. She now realized that was not the case. He drew aside the curtains to reveal an alcove behind the bed. On the wall, she saw a series of rings mounted in the stone. Before she could wonder what they were for, she found out.
With a smooth and impersonal touch, he turned her and backed her up to the wall. He visually measured her height against the rings, selected two, near level with her shoulders, and slipped the chains of her wristlets through the rings, drawing them up until her arms were extended straight out from her body. Then he secured her feet, pulling the chains until she stood with her legs apart, the length of at least two of her feet between her ankles.
The wall at her back felt cool and smooth, almost damp. She leaned against it, weakness washing over her as apprehension built in her mind. What's going to happen? What is he going to do? Whatever it was, she could not resist or evade. Indeed, she could not move more than a few inches, and that only by arching her back or pressing herself tight against the wall.
As Aguilar turned away, he gave a sharp whistle. Within moments, three small golden-skinned women appeared. Two carried large plumes and the third a bundle of thin withes. He spoke to them in a language Jaelle'n could not understand. The three all giggled, clearly amused by his orders or explanation.
One went around the bed and returned with a padded bench. Aguilar sat on it, across the alcove from Jaelle'n. Then the three women approached her. One with a huge tawny feather raised the plume and brushed it across Jaelle'n's face. For a moment, she thought she would sneeze, but she controlled the urge.
All over her face the feather traced, tickling and yet tantalizing. Under her chin, down her throat, across her lips, then slowly down between her breasts and across her stomach. Her muscles drew tight, but she held herself still. By exercise of will, she would control her response.
"Too easy," Aguilar said.
He spoke again to one of the small women. She scurried out to return with a silken scarf. Aguilar took it from her. He stepped up to Jaelle'n and quickly wrapped the band around her head, covering her eyes.
What a difference that made. Blind, she could not guess where the next touch would be, the next tickle or stroke. Her skin quivered as she had seen a horse's hide move, trying to shake off a fly. Every bit of her skin tensed, awaiting the next touch. She shivered, gasped and fought to hold still.
Suddenly, sharp stings replaced the silky strokes, once across her upper thighs and again, just beneath her breasts. The strikes left burning tingles, not true pain, but a sharp contrast to the feather's touches. Then she recalled the withes, not just one, but a whole bundle of them. She could be switched to agony! She bit her lip to hold back a moan. This added a whole new dimension to her torment. Tickle or sting? She had no way to know what to expect, no way to prepare for the sensation.
Something that felt like a small animal's soft fur brushed across her stomach, followed by a stinging slash. A feather teased the soft inner skin inside her elbows, behind her knees. It was horrible, but also intensely exciting. Her breasts grew full and heavy, the nipples swelling and stiff. Hot, slick moisture pooled between her legs. She quivered, sagging until the chains pulled on her wrists. Then her whole body drew taut and tense, every muscle going tight, waiting, an aching awareness centering somewhere beneath the arch of her ribs, behind the dimple of her navel and above the moist heat of her nether slit.
She had no way to measure how long the delicious, distressing torture continued. Tickles and slashes, strokes and brushes and cuts. Finally a whimper broke free. "Please, please." She trembled so she could hardly stand, muscles aching with their tension, yet unable to relax. When she sagged slightly, it put painful pressure on her wrists, and her hands grew numb.
"Please what, Slave?"
Aguilar's voice was too close! She felt the whisper of his breath across her throat, her cheeks, now moist with the sheen of sweat. Then hands cupped her breasts, his, by the size and strength of them. He brushed his thumbs across her erect nipples. She felt the touch clear to her toes. He stroked his hands down her sides to her hips and back up to her breasts.
"Is your body awake now, Slave? Does it want, does it need something?"
His words taunted, yet caressed. Smooth, low, calm and husky. They seemed to create a rhythm that matched the slow movements of his hands over her body. The rhythm of her heartbeat, of the blood surging through her veins, of her breath, in and out. If her hands were free, she would have torn the scarf off her face. The need to see, to be able to anticipate, grew greater with each passing second, each unexpected touch, yet she could do naught to satisfy it. She could only wait and let them come as they would. Endure or enjoy--or perhaps both.
"The body of this slave has come awake to sensations." The words were torn from her, without her willing them to be said. "It desires the Master's touch, needs his hands as it craves food and drink."
His hands slipped over her flesh, smoothing, stroking, sliding and seducing. Her skin reached for his touch, her muscles quivered with it. She was so weak she could scarcely stand, and yet she strained toward him, her flesh seeking his. She could not breathe. Her mouth fell open to let more air reach her straining lungs. Then his mouth came against hers, his tongue slipping between her parted lips. Now she really could not breathe, yet she had no desire to withdraw from the pressure of his lips on hers, from the thrusts of his tongue as he tasted and explored her. Dizzy and melting, she felt her legs give way. The bonds on her wrists cut into her arms as she sank against the chains.
In an instant, his arms came around her, lifting and supporting. He spoke a single sharp word, after which she heard a scurrying sound, then a soft jingle. Her arms dropped as the chains released, spilling musically down the wall. He lifted her into his arms, one supporting her shoulders and the other beneath her knees. His body felt hard and hot as he gathered her close. She felt him shift and turn, heard the chains tinkle, dragging from her wrists and ankles as he carried her. The scarf still covered her eyes, but she sensed he left the alcove and went to the bed.
When his arms withdrew, she hung for a moment in space. Then her body sank into the silky covering of the bed. She lay as she fell, sprawling, too drained to move, and yet each cell in her body still cried for relief and release. Deep inside she felt a throbbing, an empty aching hunger. As a bit of strength returned to her limbs, she writhed on the bed. From somewhere above, she heard the low rumble of his chuckle.