Tami's Thoughts (Blog)


Today I hand over the reins of this blog to Houston Havens, author of thirteen books and an award winning blog of her own (http://houstonhavens.wordpress.co). One of those books is the hot, hot, hot Sinful Surrender,  first in the Psychic Menage series. Enjoy the description, a short excerpt and the author’s bio, and don’t forget to click on the links below to purchase your own copy.


LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShop

Thank you for inviting me to your blog today. I hope to entertain and intrigue your viewers. So, let’s get started.

Houston Havens – Sinful Surrender (Psychic Menage #1)

A multi-genre story: Paranormal Romance, Sci-Fi Romance, Fantasy Romance, Futuristic Menage (MFMM), Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, Light BDSM, and Psychics.

Why be tempted by one man’s seduction when you can be loved by three?

Top psychic spy Fay Avalon saw too much on her latest mind traveling mission and is now on the run from her post-catastrophic dystopian government, searching for the truth and proof. She escapes but is shot down, landing in the arms of the enemy.

In Drakker and Arlo’s world, women are so rare the men have accepted a polyandrous lifestyle. When the brothers stumble upon Fay unconscious in the wreckage of an aircraft, they are immediately attracted to her. Arlo wants to keep her, but Drakker knows they can’t. They must take her to their brother Logan Abán, leader of their people.

Logan struggles with trusting anyone, even himself. When a beautiful, intelligent, and intriguing woman falls into their laps, his denied desires for intimacy challenge his need to trust the spy. He’s frustrated by romantic Arlo’s claims of her innocence. Even when pragmatic and dominating Drakker defends her as well, Logan refuses to trust his gut.

Can one woman satisfy the diverse desires of three men? Will Logan’s fears be realized by betrayal? Is Fay to be sentenced to death as a spy, suffer a fate worse than death by being returned to her government as a traitor, or will she find a new life and love as the wife of three sexy brothers?


Logan gave a thumbs-up then said to Fay, “When I want to get things done fast, I’ll have to remember to get you jealous.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Somehow you managed to get results none of us could. We’ve been stuck here for what seems like forever. Every day we asked to leave and got rejected for one reason or another. Then your sweet violet eyes turn green with envy because of the attention I gave that young woman, and the next thing I know, we’re out of here.”

“I wasn’t jealous. And she wasn’t a woman. She was a girl.”

“She was a woman and very familiar with the ways of men.”

“She was a tart and tease.”

“Darlin’, I hate to inform you, but the little lady was no tease. She was as hungry as a mountain lion, and I was going to be her main course until you stepped in.”

“Really? Well, I’m sorry I interrupted.”

“No you aren’t.” Logan smirked. “You were jealous.”

“I was not!”

“Come on, admit it. You’re not as indifferent to me as you claim, are you?”

“What?” Fay groaned with her attempt to turn around to see his face, but found it impossible harnessed the way she was.

Chandra finished getting Arlo strapped in and shouted, “Are you two finished scraping?” She motioned for Logan to push the red button. “Let’s go!”

As he reached for his button, Chandra’s sail filled with wind, and off she flew across the dirt with them in her wake.

“I’ll have you know,” Fay hollered so he could hear her above the wind rushing past their ears, “I don’t care if the girl was flirting with you or not.”

“Really? Then why did you force your way between us and shoo her out? I think you like me. Might even adore me.”

“Abhor you, did you say? Yes, you might be right.”

“I said adore. And you do. You just don’t know it yet.”

“Adore?” Fay gave a dramatic gasp and stretching her arms up toward the heavens and then addressed God. “Please, if what he says is true…get me to a psychiatrist. I’ve gone mad.”

He laughed. “Mad with desire for me. That’s why you’re jealous.”

“I’m not jealous! The damn girl had my breakfast on your tray. An-and while I really don’t care that she wanted to play peekaboo with you, she was holding my food hostage while you played boobie-gazer for an hour.”

He laughed again. “Your exaggeration of my two-second look tells me you were jealous. And I think it’s because you adore me.”

Fay lifted her head and let it fall back with force, smacking him in the center of his chest. He exhaled hard at her hit. He gasped, trying to catch his breath. “Are you crazy?”

“I don’t know, but I do know I’m not jealous,” she lied.

“I could have lost control of this damn thing.” He tapped her hard on the top of her head to make his point heard.

“Ouch,” Fay mumbled. “Like you almost lost control with that girl?”

“Lost control? Hardly.” Logan snorted. “I can’t even tell you what she looked like.”

“I’m sure you’d recognize her breasts. You got a good look at those.”

“Not really. I was too busy watching you with my peripheral vision to notice what was in front of me. I wouldn’t know the girl or her breasts if I passed her or them on the street. There was only one thing I was eyeing, and that was you.”

“Oh, God. You’re so full of it.”

“I think you find me irresistible, sexy, and adorable.” He emphasized the last three words with a firm tap on the top of her head.

She swatted at the air in hopes of hitting his hand to make him stop rapping at her brain. “It’s more than obvious, you need a psychiatrist even more than me.”

“Well, if you’re not jealous, why did you react the way you did?”

“Because…because I care about Drakker and Arlo. I wouldn’t want them to end up with a wife who’s a tart.”

“Oh. So a tart’s fine for me, but not for them?”

“I-I didn’t say that.”

“Yes, you did.” He sounded hurt. “And for your information, if we crash at this speed, we’ll both be dead. So don’t hit me with your head like that again.”

She’d squelched his talk about jealousy, but something about the victory wasn’t satisfying. She couldn’t deny he’d secretly become her hero the night he carried her to safety. Whenever she woke during that long ordeal, never once did she hear him complain. Never once did he ask someone else to hold her. Never once did he give up on her for his own safety.


Houston Havens_author pic

Houston Havens retired from a successful modeling career and an adventurous jet-set lifestyle to set the world on fire with her erotic romance books. A tenacious Irish lass, she strives to entertain with seductive stories created from her decadent imagination and traces of a provocative lifestyle she may or may not admit to.

Her interest in the paranormal, fascination with quantum science, passion with myths, and the lure of her mysterious Celtic Irish-Druid bloodlines are combined with generally unknown truths, strange facts, and questionable fiction. Her novels reflect a mix of the past, present, and future, with sexy blends of futuristic science fiction, paranormal fantasy, western romance, and always love everlasting. An author of six romances, a seven book erotic romance series, and numerous articles in literary magazines, she has two award winning blogs. Stop by for a visit and leave a comment at http://houstonhavens.wordpress.com


Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Sinful-Surrender-Psychic-M%C3%A9nage-Book-ebook/dp/B00J1RDFUU

Liquid Silver Books- http://www.lsbooks.com/sinful-surrender-p893.php

ARe- https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-sinfulsurrender-1452826-340.html

Kobo – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/sinful-surrender-3

B&N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sinful-surrender-houston-havens/1118944878?ean=9781622100675

Thanks for stopping by! Every Monday, there’s a new post on Tami’s Thoughts. You never know what subject I will cover next…




LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShop

To be released July 14 through Liquid Silver Books – Liquid Silver Books

They were supposed to be enemies, not lovers.

Tanner Lyons is a shifter without a pack, which is just the way he likes it—until he rescues Olivia Bennett, princess of the lightbearers. Suddenly, he finds himself fighting an attraction that makes no sense, because lightbearers and shifters have been mortal enemies since the beginning of time.


Chapter One

They found him in a no-name bar in a no-name town, playing pool and getting hustled by a human. Tanner spared a moment to determine he would rather continue to be hustled out of his hard earned cash than to talk with the two shifters who stood at the other end of the pool table.

He bent at the waist to take his shot, brushing an errant lock of hair out of his face as he did so. The redheaded woman in the pink shirt and blue jean mini that barely covered her ass noticed the gesture. He wondered how fast he could get rid of the two reminders of a life he’d left behind ten years ago, so he could make a move on the human.

Tanner took his time taking his shot, partially as an excuse to size up the intruders on his shifter-less life. Finnegan Hennigan, coppery hair, pale blue eyes, same age as Tanner, arguably the best tracker in Tanner’s former pack—if not the country. Not surprising they’d found him, with Finn assigned to the task.

The other one was Mickey Rollins, dark hair, dark eyes, a young punk who couldn’t be more than twenty, was probably more like seventeen or eighteen. Tanner remembered him as one of the many in the pack who idolized the pack leader and everything he stood for.

“Your father sent us,” Mickey said when Tanner made no move to acknowledge their presence.

Tanner did not take his eyes off the pool table. “There’s a shadow on the table,” he commented in a gravelly voice that was rough as sandpaper from lack of use. Tanner didn’t talk much. He didn’t have anyone in his life worth talking to.

Mickey scowled, but obligingly shuffled to the side. Finn smirked. Tanner took his shot, a sloppy one that nonetheless landed in the corner pocket. His human opponent nodded his approval and offered a word of advice for the next time he had the same opportunity. Mickey looked enraged that the human was even speaking to Tanner, let alone offering him advice on playing pool.

“He wants to see you, Tanner.” Mickey tried again to pull Tanner’s attention.

“I don’t give a fuck what that bastard wants.” He took another shot and succeeded in pocketing the cue ball.

“He captured a lightbearer.”

Tanner didn’t even lift an eyebrow. “Again? You know, Wyoming doesn’t have a very large human population to begin with. At the rate my father is going, he’s going to wipe them out.”

“It’s for real this time,” Mickey assured him. He glanced at the human pool player, who appeared oblivious to their conversation as he proceeded to run the table.

It’s always “for real this time.”

“Quentin Lyons rules the most powerful shifter pack in the country. He has everything a shifter would want. Why the fuck does he keep wasting his time chasing myths?”

He even had women, any and all the women he could possibly want, Tanner thought ruefully as he eyed the redhead again. Unlike Quentin, Tanner sometimes had to work to attract a warm, willing body into his bed. At a young age, Tanner had become aware that Quentin made a habit of sleeping around, despite having been mated to Tanner’s mother for nearly forty years. Shifters may mate for life, but in Quentin’s world, that didn’t mean they had to stay faithful for life.

Another reason to despise the man.

“It’s not a myth,” Mickey insisted. His eyes darted to Tanner’s human opponent. Discussing business associated with the magical world was strictly off-limits in front of humans, and Tanner knew it was making Mickey nervous that he didn’t seem concerned that the human had overheard any part of their conversation.

“No one can inherit magic from anyone,” Tanner replied, deliberately speaking at a normal level. The human could hear their conversation, Tanner well knew. The thing about humans, he’d learned, was that they only heard what they wanted to hear.

“Quentin says it’s true,” Mickey stubbornly pressed on.

“So that makes it true?” Tanner said with sour amusement in his voice.

“Yes.” Mickey insisted, absolutely convinced.

Finn stood with his back against the wall, arms crossed over his chest, observing the interaction but offering no opinion. Tanner wondered if he even had an opinion on the subject, or if he followed blindly like all the rest in Quentin’s pack.

“Tell him I’m not interested in his stupid obsession,” Tanner suggested without looking at the messengers. He didn’t want them to see the guilt in his eyes. All three knew that if Tanner didn’t go back to the pack with Mickey and Finn, Quentin would take out his wrath on the messengers. It had happened plenty of times over the course of the last ten years. Every time they found him.

Time to move again.

Mickey shoved his hand into the front pocket of his jeans and pulled out a scrap of material. It was white with silver and gold thread woven into the material. He thrust the scrap at Tanner. “It’s true,” he insisted. “Feel this. You can still feel her magic.”

The human won the game and Tanner pulled two twenties out of his wallet. “Why don’t you go get us all a round?” he suggested. He wasn’t surprised when the human nodded his head and did Tanner’s bidding. Whether he wanted to acknowledge it or not, he was a natural born leader. Future pack master.

No. I made my choice. I chose to live by my own rules, not his.

He noticed that the redhead lost interest and moved away from the pool table, probably because none of the men in the pool area were paying her any attention. Not all my choices are my own, he thought with disappointment, as her swinging ass disappeared around the corner.

Tanner pulled his eyes away from the sight and studied the scrap of material. In truth, he could feel … something without even touching the stuff. But it had to be a trick of some sort. There were plenty of other magical beings in the universe. Not many that lived in the human world, though. Only the shifters claimed that right. Everybody else had their own worlds in which to live.

“Descendants of the fae,” Mickey said in an excited voice, reciting what they’d all learned as younglings, crouched around Quentin’s knee as he expounded about his obsession. “They moved to our world to get away from the fae, who were so obsessed with them that they wanted to enslave the entire race.”

“I sense a theme here,” Tanner drawled.

Mickey flushed and angrily pressed on. “Their magic is renewable. Everybody knows it.”

“Yeah, I get that they got their magic from the sun,” Tanner acknowledged. He eyed the scrap of material in Mickey’s hand. “But no one has seen a trace of lightbearers in over five hundred years. Somebody wiped them out. Probably our kind, trying to inherit their magic.”

“Probably our kind eating them for dinner,” Finn contributed to the conversation for the first time. “Back then we were slightly more primal.”

“Slightly,” Tanner remarked tongue-in-cheek. Finn smirked. Tanner recalled how they used to hang out together as kids. They’d shifted for the first time together. Now, Finn was Quentin’s best tracker and Tanner was doing his best to avoid getting sucked back into the pack. Time and change and all that.

“If a shifter kills a lightbearer, he’ll inherit its magic.” Mickey refused to give up on Quentin’s obsession.

Considering the only magic a shifter possessed was the ability to change forms at will, it was a heady idea to be able to steal another creature’s magic. Especially for one who considered himself to be the top of the food chain, even without much magic.

“Touch it,” Mickey demanded as he waved the bit of material in Tanner’s face.

Tanner batted at the material, if only to push it away. His fingers skimmed the surface. A jolt shot through his system, so raw and potent that his entire body reacted as if he’d been electrocuted.

“Told ya,” Mickey said triumphantly.

“Give me that,” Tanner said as he snatched the torn bit of material out of Mickey’s hand. He held it, reveling in the feel of magic there. It felt … intoxicating. “Where did you get this?” he breathed as he stared at the gold and silver thread that wove a pattern through the white material.

“The lightbearer. Your father figured you wouldn’t come, unless you had proof.”

Tanner continued to stare at the material. It wasn’t true—was it? Tanner—and a great many other shifters—believed they didn’t really exist. His father had never let go of the belief that they were simply hiding, and all he had to do was find one of them. Just one.

Was his father right all along?

Fates be damned, but Tanner certainly hoped not. He’d spent the better part of his life desperately hating the man for what he represented, for how he ruled his pack, for the way he treated Tanner’s mother and every other woman in his pack. Most of all, he’d hated the man for his obsession over a race of magical creatures that Tanner had been certain no longer existed.

Tanner didn’t understand his father’s obsession. The man was already pack master over one of the largest and most respected—or at least feared—packs in the country. He didn’t need magic to gain prestige and power. He already had it all.

“Come on, Tanner,” Mickey begged. “He won’t let none of us see her until you come back to the pack. He says you get the first honor. Come on.”

Tanner continued to stare at the scrap of material for a few more moments, pondering his decision. Finally, he tossed the pool stick onto the table. “Damn it to hell,” he muttered as he turned and strode from the pool area, out of the bar and into the cool summer evening air.

Damn the man for luring him back like this.

* * * *

Pre-order details coming soon! In the meantime, feel free to check out my other books, available above. As always, if you read it and like it, please leave a review!


Today, I welcome Carter James to my blog. Carter is Allison’s main squeeze (most of the time) from The Resort series. This series started about a year and a half ago, when Allison and Carter met while she was trying to sneak into the exclusive high-end resort and Carter was just doing his job by keeping out the riffraff. Since then, they’ve encountered would-be murderers, obsessive artists, his con-artist ex-wife, and a slutty wedding planner who was more concerned with hooking up with Carter than doing what she was paid to do. That’s all beside the attentions of hot detective Dan McIntyre, who, in the final book of the series, finally makes his move on Allison. Will Carter get the girl in the end?

This interview was featured on another blog just a few days ago, and I thought Carter did such a great job, I figured I’d feature him on my blog too. Enjoy, and don’t forget to click on the buy links at the bottom.

The Resort Nook 150


What’s your name?

Carter James



How old are you?



Please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m in security. I own a security firm. My brother, Ben, is my partner, although he doesn’t really do much other than shmooze the clients. Which I suppose is necessary because I’m not really good at that sort of thing. Like this. Not my thing. I’m not a fan of being in the spotlight.

Anyway, we started J&J Security about seven years ago in Dallas, which is where I’m from. About, oh, two years ago, I was given the opportunity to move up here to northern Michigan to oversee security for The Resort. It’s this exclusive resort where the wealthy and sometimes famous go to basically hide from the rest of the world. My job is to make sure they’re kept safe and hidden for as long as they want to be.


Describe your appearance in 10 words or less.

Yeah, this is kind of awkward. Can we move on to another question? …Okay, fine. My girlfriend Allison says I’m sort of like James Bond. I mean, that’s cool, if it’s true, but I don’t know. I just try to take care of myself and those I love and do the best I can, you know?


Would you kill for those you love?

This is a loaded question because my sister was killed during a random shooting at a nightclub about ten years ago. That’s actually what inspired me to get into the security business because that club had shit for security. If they’d had someone like me or someone on my team there, that shooting never would have happened and my sister would still be alive. So would I kill for someone I love? Used to be not a day went by that I didn’t imagine killing the asshole who shot my sister.


What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?

My weakness is definitely my girlfriend, Allison Bell. I don’t know why but that woman got under my skin the very first time we met, and my affliction just gets worse every day. If she knew that I would figure out a way to pull the moon from the sky for her, well… She probably wouldn’t believe it (laughs), which I guess is part of what makes her so damn irresistible.

 In the same vein, I think Allison is my strength too. She is so caring and loving and smart. She inspires me every day. Which is also funny because she truly has no idea about that either. In case you haven’t noticed, she’s a little naive too. But I guess that just adds to the overall package.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why?

Definitely my relationship with Allison. Despite the fact that she keeps trying to spread her wings or whatever bullshit she comes up with when she picks a fight just so she can be “free” for a little while. But the thing about Allison is, she needs someone to watch over her, to protect her, mostly from herself. Remember when I said she was naive? Well, that naivety tends to get her into hot water all too frequently. I spend half my day worrying about whether or not she’ll inadvertently get caught up in some stupid crap that she shouldn’t. And with Allison, it’s never easy to disentangle herself from whatever the hell she got mixed up in.


Do you have any phobias?

Fear of losing Allison. Is that a phobia?


Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I’m just a guy. A guy who loves a girl and runs a business. Seriously. I’m not really all that complicated, despite what Allison thinks.

The Resort III - Holiday In Dallas by Tami Lund

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.

I live in this tiny town in northern Michigan. The winter population’s around five hundred. During the summer months the tourists’ll push it up to a thousand, maybe fifteen hundred. I’m from Dallas, so you can imagine the culture shock I experienced when I first moved here. For the first few months, I admit, I thought a lot about moving back. But if I’d left, I’d never have met Allison, so it was definitely worth staying. Even if everyone in this damn town knows your business practically before you do it.


Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where?

Once a month, back to Dallas, which is where my company’s main office is located. Before I took on this contract with The Resort, I used to travel all over the country to meet with other clients, but managing security for The Resort is a full time job, so my brother does most of the traveling now.


Name and describe a food from your world.

(Laughs) Well, I’m from Texas, and we have the world’s best Tex Mex, hands down. And now that  I’m living in northern Michigan, I can tell you, there is nothing like a good Tex Mex restaurant. It’s just about the only thing I miss about Texas, to tell you the truth.


Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world?

If I were some other kind of guy I’d make a crack about the magic happening in my bedroom. But I’m not that guy.

The Resort IV - Valentine's Day at the Resort

 What form of politics is dominant in your world? 

 Oh, this place is like a world of its own. Gossip is their politics. Small towns are like that, I’ve       learned. You want to know anything about anybody, just go hang out at the local ice cream parlor.   These people have turned gossip into an art. In the wintertime, it’s all they do. Seriously. That’s why I don’t like doing this publicity type stuff. I don’t like to be the one they all talk about.


Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people.

This is a small town. These people probably believe the loch ness monster lives out there in Messenger Lake.

Is that it? Well, thanks for asking me to do this interview. What’s this for again? You aren’t going to make me look like a sap in Allison’s eyes, are you? I mean, not that I buy into her whole James Bond theory (nervous laugh), but you have to admit that’s a nice stroke for a guy’s ego. So just make sure I sound Bond-like, okay?



Want to learn more about Carter? Purchase the books below:

The Resort:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Resort-Tami-Lund-ebook/dp/B00AXD8CGI/ref=pd_sim_kstore_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=17NGFAX83A9FTVXFAYRP

The Resort – Artist’s Obsession: http://www.amazon.com/Artists-Obsession-Resort-Tami-Lund-ebook/dp/B00C45BTBS/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0579H19GQR6K0MCJAE9F

The Resort – Holiday in Dallas: http://www.amazon.com/Holiday-Dallas-Resort-Tami-Lund-ebook/dp/B00DPN3Z5G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1399425497&sr=8-2&keywords=tami+lund

The Resort – Valentine’s Day at The Resort: http://www.amazon.com/Valentines-Day-at-The-Resort-ebook/dp/B00HO2YMT2/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0R80P12TJVBRY1X6Y3BW

Coming in June, 2014: Summertime at The Resort!

The Resort 5 black

Where, besides here, can you stalk the author?






KindlingthePast600x800 cover art FINAL

Sometimes, I get sick of talking about myself. Okay, not really, but I figure you all do. That’s why I decided it was time to add a little spice to my blog. Bring in some new blood. Introduce a fabulous new author who puts out some truly entertaining books from one of my favorite publishers, Liquid Silver Books (http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com). So, without further boring ado, please read on and meet…. M.S. Kaye!

Thank you, Tami, for having me!

Welcome to my Quick Tips Blog Tour. I’ve put together ten short, easy writing tips to share. Follow my tour to see them all. Tour stops will be posted on my website: http://booksbymsk.com/?page_id=616

Quick Tip 5:

Be a tease!

Make your book un-put-down-able. Don’t let your point-of-view character share everything, but choose the bits of info that will make the reader think hmm, I wonder what that means…

You can do this throughout a book, even with little things. Constantly tease, let the reader discover something, and then tease some more. Keep them curious, wondering.

Just don’t confuse them or make them wait the whole book to learn some of the secrets. Flirting is great, but you do eventually have to put out.

Kindling the Past

by M.S. Kaye

Kindle is fighting to survive on her own, to break free from her possessive and violent ex-boyfriend, and trying not to let her best friend, Anna, know she’s in love with her husband. Most of all, she fights the visions she sees of the past—she doesn’t believe in that kind of stuff.

Then Anna is shot and killed.

In their grief, Kindle and Ty, Anna’s husband and Kindle’s Taekwondo instructor, grow closer. Although Kindle is careful never to let him too close, he helps her learn to accept that her visions are real. Eventually, the truth about Anna’s death breaks through into Kindle’s visions, and she must find a way not to let it destroy her.

Author Bio:

author pic

M.S. Kaye has several published books under her black belt. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband, Corey, in Jacksonville, Florida, where she tries not to melt in the sun. Find suspense and the unusual at www.BooksByMSK.com.

Contact M. S. Kaye at:






I fought the visions. My mother used to tell me my expression turned stupid when I had them, but I didn’t care about that so much anymore. I hated when the visions were true somehow, actual bits of the past. I didn’t believe in that kind of stuff.

Chapter 1: Fight

“She’s such a snob,” one of the young women whispered on the other side of the locker room.

I stayed faced away, trying not to hear their gossip. I tugged my jeans on and pulled my shirt over my head. When I glanced in the mirror to fix my hair, I barely saw the dark brown framing my fair skin—only the way the other girls looked at me. I bent over to pick up my shoes.

“The guys don’t even ask her out because she’s so stuck up.”

I didn’t understand why they thought like this about me, but I didn’t much care anyway. As soon as I had my shoes on, I threw my gear bag over my shoulder and walked out.

Master Trahem was on the workout floor sparring with Mr. Schmidt. Master Trahem’s uniform was starting to come open, and sweat glistened on his well-built chest.

I looked away.

“Bye, Kindle,” Mrs. Trahem said as I passed the front counter. “See you tomorrow.”

I smiled at her, one of the few people I reserved my genuine smile for. She was a big part of the reason I came in early to help every day, her and her atrocious typing skills. She always held her fingers above the keys like a fisherman wielding a spear, as if expecting them to squirm out from under her aim.

But honestly, helping with data entry was just an excuse—Mrs. Trahem was the best person I’d ever known, and I felt calmer when I was around her.

“You’ll be there early, right?” Mrs. Trahem added. She tucked her silky dark hair behind her ear. There was a grace to her movement. No wonder Master Trahem had married her so quickly. At twenty-nine, she was a few years older than me but looked just as young.

“Definitely.” Then I kept walking. Before I gave into the urge to turn and watch Master Trahem.

The girls from the locker room followed me out into the parking lot. I sat in my car and started the engine.

While I drove the forty-five minutes home, I fought to stay awake. At least traffic at nine-thirty at night was thin. I always missed rush hour. I left my apartment before six every morning and didn’t return until after ten. Being tired felt normal.

As I pulled up to my building, I examined each car. I knew to whom each of them belonged, as well as half my neighbors’ friends’ cars. The girl across the hall traded boyfriends every week. She drove me nuts.

I had no way of knowing what Chris was driving. I had to know which cars were supposed to be here in order to know if there was a new one. Most of my neighbors drove beaters like me, and Chris had always liked something flashy. But with him, I couldn’t depend on consistency. He was smart.

I recognized all the cars tonight. I parked under the streetlight and kept the door locked while I pulled my gear bag onto my lap and slipped the strap over my shoulder. Keys ready, I jumped out of the car and jogged up the steps. I hated apartment buildings in Florida. The halls were open, no security doors to block unwanted visitors from knocking on your front door, from lurking in shadowy corners.

Within about ten seconds, I was up the stairs, down the hall, and at my door. Just being able to move quickly without running out of breath was worth the cost of Taekwondo classes. I felt more confident, less scared.

My door unlocked, I glanced down the hall one more time then slipped inside. I closed the door, locked it, and flipped the lights.

I was not alone.

He was right there, tall, thick, and blond as always. I was seeing as clearly as if through acid. I blinked to make sure he was really there. I always did that. It was stupid.

Chris was always there.

Want to read more? You can purchase Kindling the Past using any of the links below: