Lisa Burstein

This Be Where I Blog

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY from Ben & Cassie

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Happy Valentines Day Everyone- my gift to you is a sneak peek of Cassie and Ben falling in love all over again in their new novella The Possibility of Us coming in April from Entangled Publishing!

If you met them in Dear Cassie you love them already, if you haven’t met them yet The Possibility of Us (which can be read as a stand alone) will make you swoon for the very first time!

The section below is from both their points of view.

Ben

I reached out and took her hand. Put mine around it and attempted to lace our fingers. I didn’t know if she would pull away, tell me to fuck off, or elbow me in the balls, but I had to try.

I had to know one way or the other.

I had to start living with her or dying without her.

Her hand felt warm in mine, as familiar as putting on a favorite sweater after it’s been in your closet all summer.

I wanted to tell her I loved her. I missed her. That now that I had her again I would never let her go, but I had to know if she felt the same way; if she ever could again. Because could was all I needed. I would turn could to would.

Cassie looked at me. Her shockingly blue eyes were wet. I didn’t know if she was crying because we were at a funeral, or for me, or us.

For who we were in California. For who we became after. For who we were now, and for who we could be.

She squeezed my hand, entwined her fingers with mine—a knot of forgiveness. She didn’t say anything after that, she didn’t have to.

At Turning Pines being with Cassie had always been baby steps. It began when she let me hold her hand. Maybe it could start that way again.

 Cassie

When the service was over our hands were still clasped tight— our warm skin and solid bones combined together to make something greater than they were alone.

I looked at them sitting on top of part of each of our legs, linking us. The color of our skin was reminiscent of the petals from the white roses that adorned the coffin, and like a rose our fastened hands were fragile.

What they had the possibility to represent was even more delicate.

“Do you want me to let go now?” Ben asked, rubbing the inside of my palm with his thumb.

It was one of my favorite things about him. It was like he was reminding me he was there.

“Cassie?” he asked, when I didn’t respond. That was Ben. Letting me know if he let go it would be my choice, not his. Letting me know he didn’t want to let go, but wanted to know what I wanted.

I wondered what he saw when he looked at our hands, something breakable like the petals I saw, or perhaps something stronger like a tree taking root.

The Possibility of Us on Goodreads

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SNEAKING CANDY IS ON SALE FOR .99 at all RETAILERS

Candy sale

 

A graduate student by day, an erotic romance author by night, a forbidden attraction I can’t deny…

All I ever wanted was to make a name for myself as Candice Salinas, creative writing grad student at the University of Miami. Of course, secretly I already have made a name for myself: as Candy Sloane, self-published erotic romance writer. Though thrilled that my books are selling and I have actual fans, if anyone at UM found out, I could lose my scholarship…and the respect of my faculty advisor, grade-A-asshole Professor Dylan.

Enter James Walker, super-hot local barista and–surprise!–my student. Even though I know a relationship is totally off-limits, I can’t stop myself from sneaking around with James, taking a few cues from my own erotic writing…if you catch my drift. Candy’s showing her stripes for the first time in my real life, and I’ve never had so much fun. But when the sugar high fades, can my secrets stay under wraps?

Amazon http://amzn.to/1kzS4gk
B & N http://bit.ly/1fkjjej

Eeeeeee! go forth and enjoy!

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Today is an UP day

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So last week I was pretty discouraged, wondering about whether I should even be writing…etc. As my brother-in-law who is an aspiring novelist said when he read the post it was “dark”.

Well today is an UP day. A year ago I was honored to be invited to be a part of an essay collection called BREAK THESE RULES with some really super YA and MG authors, like award-winning super, like people I fan-girl over super. I went to work crafting an essay about my struggle with eating disorders as a teen and young adult. It was raw, real, had the kind of slap you in the face truth that I have come to hone as my brand and yesterday I was sent all the reviews our essay collection received.

It was reviewed by all the biggies: Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, School Library Journal and Booklist. Of those four biggie review magazines, my essay was mentioned in two of them!

School Library Journal excerpt: “The essays are inspiring and thought-provoking, and many offer truly funny moments. Reynolds provides an excellent flow between essays. This title could easily be read cover to cover or by individual selection based on theme. There is a nice mix of male and female voices. Especially good are Leslie Connor’s “Don’t Tell Lies,” in which she confesses to actually liking rules; Lisa Burstein’s essay on eating disorders, titled “Don’t Get Fat”; and Chris Barton’s “Go to College After High School,” because it allows readers to think about their options.”

Kirkus Excerpt: “35 writers encourage readers to stop obeying the voices telling them how to think, dress, act and believe. In “Don’t Get Fat,” Lisa Burstein writes about leaving behind the “warped, sick, eating-disordered” frame of mind fed by a voice that is “the mayor of crazy-town.” In “Be Clean!” Gary D. Schmidt tells of rejecting the mind control of a youth pastor trying to save his soul. The best writers here couch their lessons in stories.”

To be called out from this group of authors is beyond AMAZING!

THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING AWESOME and for reminding me why I DO THIS.

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Expectation is a Bitch

I haven’t posted about something personal in a while, but I’ve been thinking about it. I’m just not sure how to talk about this. How to talk about how it feels to put all your hopes and dreams and needs and wants into your little book baby and have them come back to you with nothing but an empty echo.

For a mid-list author, which I’m not even sure I can call myself, this is sometimes how a new book release can feel.

You think, this book is the one. The one that will make people see how awesome I am. That will make me a “name”. Well, you hope it anyway and when it’s not, what are you left with?

That’s what I’m struggling with right now. When a book gets great reviews, great blurbs, has a great cover and concept, but hasn’t reached your expectations, who is to blame?

Here’s what I’m left with: A niggling worm at the base of my skull that is trying to tell me that maybe this isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing. A cloud over everything that seeps in and says maybe I’m good, but not great. A cackling voice that repeats that maybe whatever faith my agent, editor and publisher have in me is misguided.

This all just makes me wonder if  I will never reach the expectations I have for myself.

See, releasing a new book feels a hell of a lot like watching a baby bird take it’s first flight. Everything hinges on whether it soars, or falls to the ground in a heap because it wasn’t strong enough to fly. It can wobble in the air for a while and you can fool yourself into thinking yes, maybe this one will fly, but two months after a book has been out you can’t fool yourself anymore. Even if it’s still in the air, it isn’t going anywhere.

None of what I’m sharing should make anyone think I’m ungrateful for what I’ve achieved thus far. I know how hard it is to even have one person like your book, let alone enough people to publish it, but there is a truth that a lot of authors don’t talk about.

How do you keep writing when your career doesn’t necessarily feel like one?

They tell you not to worry about the business side. That you should focus only on what you can control– the work– but when you have a few books under your belt and you aren’t much further than where you were when the first one came out, it gives you pause.

I feel paused.

I wish I had some answers because I know that some of you reading this are looking for them, but I don’t.  All I have is that little light inside me struggling hard against the negativity and darkness that still believes I can do this.

I hope it never goes out.

 

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CELEBRATE the New Year with Candy!

Hey guys! Just wanted to let you know my publisher has lowered the price of Sneaking Candy to $2.99, so if you haven’t picked it up yet- NOW is a great time! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

SneakingCandy_500x750

All I ever wanted was to make a name for myself as Candice Salinas, creative writing grad student at the University of Miami. Of course, secretly I already have made a name for myself: as Candy Sloane, self-published erotic romance writer. Though thrilled that my books are selling and I have actual fans, if anyone at UM found out, I could lose my scholarship…and the respect of my faculty advisor, grade-A-asshole Professor Dylan.

Enter James Walker, super-hot local barista and—surprise!—my student. Even though I know a relationship is totally off-limits, I can’t stop myself from sneaking around with James, taking a few cues from my own erotic writing…if you catch my drift. Candy’s showing her stripes for the first time in my real life, and I’ve never had so much fun. But when the sugar high fades, can my secrets stay under wraps?

  • “SNEAKING CANDY is fun, sexy and sweet, with a hero every reader will swoon over.” Monica Murphy, New York Times Bestselling Author of One Week Girlfriend
  • “Sneaking Candy lives up to it’s title, it’s a treat every time you pick it up!” Jennifer McLaughlin, New York Times Bestselling Author of Out of Line.
  • “SNEAKING CANDY is wicked smart, sexy as hell, and completely unputdownable. Definitely a MUST READ. I loved it!” Katee Robert, NYT and USA TODAY Bestselling Author of Wrong Bed, Right Guy
  • “With smart, strong leading characters, an original premise, and a plot that will keep you guessing until the end, SNEAKING CANDY is a breath of fresh air.” Lyla Payne, USA Today Bestselling Author of Broken at Love
  • “Sneaking Candy was a page turner with a lovable heroine, an interesting story which keeps you hooked throughout and a romance that isn’t just steamy, it’s SUPER HOT steamy.” Harlequin Junkie- TOP PICK

Add to Goodreads here!

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

KOBO

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12 Days of Kick Ass Christmas- Giveaway!

12 days of Kick-ass Christmas (713x316)

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Join us in celebrating Entangled Teen’s 12 Days of Kickass Event! This event is going to be a blast!

We are joining together to share some exclusive content with you all! There will be 2 teams, The Smartass Team who will post a good or swoon worthy deleted scene or an excerpt and The Badass Team who will post a villainous deleted scene or excerpt. And the cool part is we’ll be posting on each other’s blogs! The party starts on December 2nd and goes all the way to December 13th! We will wrap up the event with our monthly twitter party on December 13th 9 PM EST/6 PM PST as well! Each day will have 2 posts from us along with an EPIC giveaway!

So how do I join in you ask? It’s easy just follow along with the tour and find the hidden word (it will be highlighted) in each post and fill out the Rafflecopter form! What can I win you ask? You can win one of 2 Kindles (valued at $69) and we’re giving away 5 sets of 5 Entangled Teen Print Books US Only, and 10 Entangled Teen eBooks International! Also we will be giving away more books and Amazon and Barnes & Noble Gift Cards during the twitter party! That means 2 people will win a kindle, 5 people will win 5 of our amazing print titles, and 10 people will win eBooks!

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Jessie Darker goes to high school during the day, but at night she helps with the family investigation business. Cheating husbands and stolen inheritances? They’re your girls—but their specialty is a bit darker. Zombie in your garage? Pesky Poltergeist living in your pool? They’ll have the problem solved in a magical minute. For a nominal fee, of course…

When gorgeous new client, Lukas Scott, saunters into the office requesting their help to find a stolen box, it sounds like a simple case—until the truth comes out. The box is full of Sin.

Seven deadly ones, in fact.

They’ve got five days to recapture the Sins before they’re recalled by the box, taking seven hijacked human bodies with them. Easy peasy—except for one thing…

There’s a spell that will allow the Sins to remain free, causing chaos forever. When the key ingredient threatens the life of someone she knows, Jessie must make the ultimate choice between love and family—or lose everything.

Amazon/Barnes & Noble/ Kobo/iBooks/Goodreads

I love Jus’ books- the perfect blend of witty, bad ass and swoon and I’m so excited to host her.

HERE’S THE EXCERPT!

I know we’re not supposed to love the villain, but I can’t help it. The bad guy in Darker Days, Valefar, has to be one of my faves. He’s just about as naughty as they come. Today I’m here to share with you his and Jessie’s first meeting—from his point of view!

A tingle at the base of my neck. Lucifer was calling. This deal needed to close. A shame. I was having so much fun. She was quite entertaining when angry. “Do we have a deal or not?”

“Tell me what to do to save Lukas,” she growled.

“Lukas is not part of our deal. Just your parents. Them for fifty-five years.”

“You said fifty, not fifty-five!”

“And you had the audacity to haggle. That automatically raises the price.” The sooner she learned these things, the better.

She hesitated, then folded her arms. The expression on her face was fierce. Just like her father, this one, only with more fire. I liked Damien, but his daughter was so much more entertaining! I could sit around and watch her all day. In fact, I had on several occasions. “What about Lukas?”

My jaw tightened. Damien’s girl was exactly what I expected. Stubborn and strong and unafraid. This wasn’t the first time I’d seen her, of course. I’d kept track over the years. You did that when invested in something. And, invested I was. This little morsel of semi-humanity was going places. I’d see to that.

“I like you, Jessie. I’ve given you a freebie by telling you there’s a chance to save him. Do not push your luck. You’re a smart girl. You’ll figure it out. Now. Our deal. Going, going, gon—”

“Fine,” she said. “My parents and a question for fifty-five years.”

Victory. “Done.”

She didn’t look as happy about our new arrangement as me. “We have a deal.”

“Excellent!” One thing left to do. She needed the mark of the House of Pride.

I reached for her hand. The power flowed through me, and into her. She gasped, and fell to her knees, clawing at her belly. When it was over, she lifted the hem of her shirt. The skin was decorated with a scrolling blood red leaves.

“What—”

“That is Desakay. In the Shadow Realm, it symbolizes destiny.” There was no need for her to know that it was the symbol of our house. All things in time. Maybe in twenty years or so. “I thought it fitting. Each leaf represents one year of service. As the years pass, the leaves will disappear. When they’re gone, you have your freedom.” I held up my other hand. In it, a pointed black stone with red veins hung from a think leather cord.

“What’s that?”

“With this around your neck, you need only call out my name and I will hear you.” I took a step back. The tingle came again, this time stronger. Lucifer was growing impatient. “And?”

“And what?”

“Your question?”

“My Grandfather—Joseph Darker. I think he made a deal with a demon.”

My brethren always said I had way too much fun with these deals. They were probably right. When she’d asked for the question, I was hoping this was what she’d ask. “That’s not a question.”

“I want to know. For sure.”

“Why do you want to know?”

“We had a deal,” she warned.

“Not to worry. I’ll answer your question. I’m merely curious.”

“These things tend to come back and bite people in the ass,” she said. “I’d feel better if I could see it coming.”

I laughed. There was no stopping it. She was in for one hell of a rude awakening. “I’m afraid it’s a little too late for that…”

“What does that mean?”

“You’re correct. Joseph Darker did make a deal. To prevent the death of his wife during childbirth.” I couldn’t help grinning. “But you already knew that.”

“Who did he make the deal with? And what were the terms?”

“Tsk, tsk, Sweet Pea. That’s two questions.” I winked. “But as I said before, I like you…so I’ll give you one more freebie. Ask your question again.”

“Okay… Who did Joseph Darker make the deal to save his wife with?”

I paused for dramatic effect. News like this needed to be delivered with flair. The expression on her face was priceless. The only thing better would be seeing it when she found out the whole truth.

“He made the deal with me, of course. Why do you think you’re here?”

Jus

JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. At the last minute, she realized her path lay with fiction, not food, and passed on the spot to pursue writing. Jus is the bestselling author the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing and is currently working on the first book in a new adult series due out summer 2013. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

Find Her: Website/Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads

Haven’t read today’s other post? Stop by Jus’s blog and check out my excerpt/deleted scene from DEAR CASSIE!

Giveaway Details:

2 Kindles (valued at $69) US ONLY

5 sets of 5 Entangled Teen Print Books US Only

10 Entangled Teen eBooks International!

(no purchase necessary)

Rafflecopter link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MWNiNTU0OTUyMGNlZDFiOGJmOTc5ZmExZmRmZDJmOjIzMw==/

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MY NEW BOOK IS HERE!!!

My new book came out YESTERDAY! Check out all the deets below!

 

SneakingCandy_500x750

All I ever wanted was to make a name for myself as Candice Salinas, creative writing grad student at the University of Miami. Of course, secretly I already have made a name for myself: as Candy Sloane, self-published erotic romance writer. Though thrilled that my books are selling and I have actual fans, if anyone at UM found out, I could lose my scholarship…and the respect of my faculty advisor, grade-A-asshole Professor Dylan.

Enter James Walker, super-hot local barista and—surprise!—my student. Even though I know a relationship is totally off-limits, I can’t stop myself from sneaking around with James, taking a few cues from my own erotic writing…if you catch my drift. Candy’s showing her stripes for the first time in my real life, and I’ve never had so much fun. But when the sugar high fades, can my secrets stay under wraps?

  • “SNEAKING CANDY is fun, sexy and sweet, with a hero every reader will swoon over.” Monica Murphy, New York Times Bestselling Author of One Week Girlfriend
  • “Sneaking Candy lives up to it’s title, it’s a treat every time you pick it up!” Jennifer McLaughlin, New York Times Bestselling Author of Out of Line.
  • “With smart, strong leading characters, an original premise, and a plot that will keep you guessing until the end, SNEAKING CANDY is a breath of fresh air.” Lyla Payne, USA Today Bestselling Author of Broken at Love
  • “Sneaking Candy was a page turner with a lovable heroine, an interesting story which keeps you hooked throughout and a romance that isn’t just steamy, it’s SUPER HOT steamy.” Harlequin Junkie- TOP PICK

 

Add to Goodreads here!

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

KOBO

Leave a comment »

We Did It! First Chapter of Sneaking Candy!

SneakingCandy_500x750

 

We hit 500 adds on Goodreads last night & because I <3 you instead of posting the first 5 pages, I’m posting the first 10! Which is the WHOLE first chapter.

I’ve also got some AMAZING blurbs to share:

  • “SNEAKING CANDY is fun, sexy and sweet, with a hero every reader will swoon over.” Monica Murphy, New York Times Bestselling Author of One Week Girlfriend
  • “Sneaking Candy lives up to it’s title, it’s a treat every time you pick it up!” Jennifer McLaughlin, New York Times Bestselling Author of Out of Line.
  • “With smart, strong leading characters, an original premise, and a plot that will keep you guessing until the end, SNEAKING CANDY is a breath of fresh air.” Lyla Payne, USA Today Bestselling Author of Broken at Love

To celebrate! I am giving away 10 E-Books from your choice of any of these authors’ books! See details here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/27d80710/

First Chapter below- ENJOY!

He sleeps next to me. His breathing is even with the dreams
of someone who has just had the life drained out of him,
poured into him.
I can’t sleep.
I think about his bottomless brown eyes tied to mine as
his tongue grazed my belly button. I run my finger over my
lips and feel the shadow of his. My body aches and throbs—
echoes of everywhere he has touched, everywhere he has
been, everywhere he has claimed.
I can’t believe I told him my secret.
I watch his bare back rise and fall in the dim light of
dawn and wonder how I will ever come back from this.
Wonder if I even want to.
He is the kind of man I have always wished for and now
he is here.
I just hope that’s enough.
Chapter One
I couldn’t decide if I was burned out, pissed off, in love, or
none of the above. I chewed on my pen, what I’d done the
last time Professor Dylan reviewed one of my syllabi in his
wood-paneled office.
What I could decide was that he made me nervous.
Obviously he made me a lot of things, but nervous was
pretty much the only one I was allowed to feel when it came
to him. There weren’t any specific rules at the University of
Miami about “relations” between teaching assistants and
the professors they assisted, but it was “frowned upon.” It
was a sexual harassment minefield. Considering Professor
Dylan was tenure-track, it was enough to make him see me
as someone with typhoid—sexual typhoid.
At least when he was sober.
I understood. It would take a hell of a lot for me to
mess up my academic career just to mess around with some
student.
I watched his steel-blue eyes scan the document, grateful
they weren’t focused on me. That was when I felt more than
just nervous about what he would say—when instead I felt
a fever about what he might do—a heat in my thighs, which
blazed up to my neck, scorching everything in between like
a wildfire.
As a creative writing student, a creative writing teacher, I
got how cliché this situation was: falling for your boss, falling
for your professor, falling for an older man, falling for a man
who’d recently broken up with his long-time girlfriend.
It had more clichés than I could count.
The fact he liked my writing, thought I had real promise,
and chose me as his teaching assistant because he believed
I could actually be a successful author while my parents did
not, also added the ever-disgusting daddy-issue cliché to the
mix.
Weirder still, considering he was only twenty-six years
old.
“This is a little female-heavy, Candice,” he said,
tipping his head up. His mouth was a straight line, like the
punctuation on his criticism.
I bit my lip. Professor Dylan could be as irritating as a
thong made out of sandpaper.
As irritating as realizing I was wearing a thong made out
of sandpaper and I had forgotten to do laundry and had no
other thongs to wear.
“Compared to what?” I asked, sitting up straighter in
the impossible-to-be-comfortable-in slick wood chairs the
university chose to adorn the other side of his desk.
The class was Contemporary Fiction 201 and, fine, maybe
I did choose to teach more female writers, but I was a female
writer. And I was also pissed off at how underrepresented
we were everywhere else.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t say any of that as a lowly
teaching assistant, so while I waited for him to answer my
question, I thought back to the day everything between us
changed. It was the start-of-the-semester department mixer
a week ago. Seeing him play sand volleyball on the beach
with the male grad students, his shirt off and army-style
swim trunks hugging his hips, was all it took.
I was done.
Pile on that as the sun was setting, he and I were sitting
on an ocean-worn log drinking beer and laughing as we tried
to one up each other with terrible watercolor-sky-inspired
similes.
I was winning. “It’s as pink and perfect as a baby’s
bottom.”
“As pink and perfect as a baby’s bottom rife with diaper
rash,” he added.
I laughed and our eyes connected—a sharp, soft jolt—a
pause that clearly could either push his lips forward into a
kiss or rewind them back.
Unfortunately—or fortunately, depending on which side
of the desk you’re on—one of the graduate students he’d
been playing volleyball with interrupted us. When the guy
had ambled over during his survey of whether we wanted
a hot dog or hamburger, he also put a pause on whatever
might have happened.
With our almost-kiss floating between us like a bubble
we were both afraid to pop, all those clichés lodged in my
taught-to-hate-cliché brain. They floated up like Professor
Dylan’s trunks would have if they’d come off him as we’d
bobbed in the ocean together…which I also sometimes
pictured.
It was all I could do to keep my chest from heaving when
I thought about him.
Yes, I know: another cliché.
“It should be balanced,” he said, waking me from my
fantasy. “Don’t you agree?” His wavy, hay-blond hair was
slicked back. On the beach it had been loose, flying as he
ran to spike the volleyball. I remember thinking the exact
color of his hair was something sonnets could be written
about. Of course, I’d had more than my share of Mike’s Hard
Lemonade, so I was feeling poetic—a scary proposition for
any fiction writer.
“If there were more men, would you tell me to add
more women?” I asked. I was sure some of the frustration
we felt toward each other would have been washed away if
we’d been able to finish what we’d started on the beach. Of
course, who the hell knew what we’d be doing right now if
that had happened?
“I don’t know—give me a new one with the changes I’ve
requested and we’ll see.” He passed the paper back to me.
I didn’t respond at first, allowed him to think I was
considering what he’d said. I wasn’t. I was considering his
lips. Wondering how they could seem so soft and yet be so
off-limits.
He cleared his throat. I liked to think I made him more
than just nervous, too, or maybe when it came to me, nervous
was enough. I mean, he’d seen me in my black bikini top
and jean shorts at the department mixer, too. Seen my dark
brown hair wet and wavy-wild from the ocean water—the
kind of hair you can’t get if you’re trying.
“Are you saying I should add one of your books?” I
asked, feeling brave enough to lean toward him—to call his
bluff.
You tried to kiss me. You tried to kiss me; admit it.
“I don’t think I said that.” He laid his hands on the
desk. They were so large I sometimes wondered how he
typed his manuscripts. “Though the sales would be nice.” He
laughed—a joke.
“Any other authors heavier on Y chromosomes you
might suggest?” I asked. I considered saying, Authors with
bigger balls than mine? but I needed this fellowship. It was
the only way I could afford to stay here.
Even with the desk between us, our bodies were close,
his fingers almost touching mine, my face just a neck’s length
away from his…
“You’re smart and talented, Candice. I’m sure you’ll
figure it out.”
…but then he ruined it by being a sandpaper thong
again.
He sat back in his chair. I guess he’d noticed how close
we’d been, too.
Smart and talented—the curse of death for a writer, what
someone said when he couldn’t think of anything interesting
to say about your work. Something had definitely changed
after our moment on the beach, and like the daddy-issue
cliché I was stuck in, I guess I was still searching for his
approval.
At least he’d taken over for my parents. When I’d
decided to become a writer, they hadn’t approved at all.
They were surgeons, and that was what they had wanted me
to be. Choosing to be a writer, a profession they referred to
as indulgent and flighty, had been enough to make them cut
me off financially.
And in every other way, too.
“Fine,” I said, stuffing the paper back in my messenger
bag. He rarely checked the syllabus again after this first
meeting. I knew it would stay as is.
“Are you really going to change it?” he asked, like he
could read my mind.
“You told me to,” I said. “I heard you.”
“It’s not the same thing as yes.” His teeth waited like he
wanted to smile but was waiting to see what I would do first.
I sighed. “Yes,” I replied, and the word was heavy in my
throat with thoughts of ocean rendezvous.
“In time for class this afternoon?” he pushed. He picked
up a silver pen from his desk and started clicking it, click,
click, click, like he needed to give his hands something to do.
I knew the feeling. Sitting in his office, I sometimes had to
sit on mine.
“Isn’t that why we’re having our meeting this morning?”
I asked. He didn’t believe me and I didn’t care. It was my
class, my rules—as long as he never found out, that is.
“You’re just more agreeable than I expected.”
“I do what I’m told.” Or at least, I let people think I did.
“Shame,” he said, “I do love a good argument.” He put
down his pen and took a sip from his mug.
“Is there anything else?” I asked, suddenly needing to
get the hell out of there. Fantasies could only take you so
far when you had no idea if you’d ever achieve them—if you
even had the chops to.
Anthony Dylan was a “literary force.” What the New
York Times said of his debut novel, published last year when
he was twenty-five. Only three years older than I was now.
It was unimaginable, all he’d done in four years: New York
Times bestselling author, National Book Award nominee,
tenure-track full professorship.
It made my stomach hurt, because it was everything I
wanted for my life and it was sitting right across from me at
the impossible age of twenty-six.
“Have you done all the reading needed to lead my
discussion section for Modern Lit 301?”
I wished when he’d given me that syllabus, I could have
told him to make it more balanced. It was dripping with
penises—a Christmas tree adorned with saggy members
instead of garlands: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Joyce, and
Faulkner, to name a few. It was a semantic sausage fest.
“Almost,” I said.
He cocked his head, waiting for a better answer.
“I’ll be finished this week,” I said.
“Good,” he replied. “I have a star student signed up for
it, and I want to keep him a star.” His usually minty breath
was studded with a hint of cinnamon and coffee.
Coffee. I couldn’t help but think of James, the barista at
Buzzer’s Coffeehouse I’d been crushing on for the last six
weeks. Forget about the sonnets that could be written about
Professor Dylan’s hair—James’s deep brown eyes were what
the songs played in vans with steamed-up windows were
written about. They were the cause of what happened in
those vans.
I glanced at my phone, wondering if I had time for a
latte before class.
“Are you still with us, Candice?” Professor Dylan asked.
I blinked and put my hand to my chin, checking for
drool.
“Yes,” I replied, “star student. Can’t wait.” He meant a
guy he hoped to chisel into his literary image. Apparently,
I wasn’t eligible because I was a girl. It didn’t matter how
much promise he thought I had because I literally lacked the
necessary equipment.
Meeting over, I walked out of his office, and heard the
click of his keyboard keys behind his closed door. I hurried
out of the department quickly, hoping to avoid Julia. The exgirlfriend—
the ex-girlfriend in a freaking office next door—
and ten years his senior. How they could still work together
I had no idea. How he could have been with her in the first
place, I couldn’t even begin to fathom. She was the classic
hard-ass bitch—the kind of professor who, if you were a
minute late to class, marked you absent and then made you
write a freaking paper about it. People referred to her as the
POed Poet.
She was the last person I needed to deal with today.
I headed down the hall and into the stairwell toward the
basement copy center to make copies of my syllabus as is.
There was no way in hell I was changing it. But, I couldn’t
tell Professor Dylan that—or anything else I felt about him.
Why can I only be assertive and sexy in my writing?
Well, not the writing I shared here, but still.
It was so much easier to be strong and fearless and free
on the page than to say the words.
Why couldn’t I have told him to stuff his changes to the
syllabus? Why couldn’t I have fed it to him piece by piece
while he was tied to a bed with my fishnet thigh-highs? Only
when I was writing erotic romance as Candy Sloane could I
do that. When the two of us were in his wood-paneled office,
I wished I could be more like Candy.
But he could never find out about her. No one at
the university could. As much as I loved her, she had the
possibility to make everything I was working toward vanish.
Professor Dylan would be furious. Not because of Candy
specifically, but because Candy represented everything he
thought was wrong with the publishing industry now. He
and his literary brethren weren’t too happy with the success
of self-published romance writers like Candy.
On the beach, drunk enough to forget himself, he’d
complained about that being the reason his newest book
wasn’t making the bestseller lists. Of course, the critics had
their own term of endearment for what had happened to
him: “sophomore slump.”
I knew being an erotic romance author wasn’t an actual
offense, but writing popular fiction when I was studying to
be a serious literary writer absolutely would be, according
to him.
Candy had to stay my secret.

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400 Goodreads Adds = First 4 pages of Sneaking Candy!

SneakingCandy_500x750

Sneaking Candy hit 400 Goodreads Ads, so rather than wait to hit 500 & post 5 pages- I’m posting the first 4 pages now! Enjoy!

He sleeps next to me. His breathing is even with the dreams
of someone who has just had the life drained out of him,
poured into him.
I can’t sleep.
I think about his bottomless brown eyes tied to mine as
his tongue grazed my belly button. I run my finger over my
lips and feel the shadow of his. My body aches and throbs—
echoes of everywhere he has touched, everywhere he has
been, everywhere he has claimed.
I can’t believe I told him my secret.
I watch his bare back rise and fall in the dim light of
dawn and wonder how I will ever come back from this.
Wonder if I even want to.
He is the kind of man I have always wished for and now
he is here.
I just hope that’s enough.

Chapter One

I couldn’t decide if I was burned out, pissed off, in love, or
none of the above. I chewed on my pen, what I’d done the
last time Professor Dylan reviewed one of my syllabi in his
wood-paneled office.
What I could decide was that he made me nervous.
Obviously he made me a lot of things, but nervous was
pretty much the only one I was allowed to feel when it came
to him. There weren’t any specific rules at the University of
Miami about “relations” between teaching assistants and
the professors they assisted, but it was “frowned upon.” It
was a sexual harassment minefield. Considering Professor
Dylan was tenure-track, it was enough to make him see me
as someone with typhoid—sexual typhoid.
At least when he was sober.
I understood. It would take a hell of a lot for me to
mess up my academic career just to mess around with some
student.
I watched his steel-blue eyes scan the document, grateful
they weren’t focused on me. That was when I felt more than
just nervous about what he would say—when instead I felt
a fever about what he might do—a heat in my thighs, which
blazed up to my neck, scorching everything in between like
a wildfire.
As a creative writing student, a creative writing teacher, I
got how cliché this situation was: falling for your boss, falling
for your professor, falling for an older man, falling for a man
who’d recently broken up with his long-time girlfriend.
It had more clichés than I could count.
The fact he liked my writing, thought I had real promise,
and chose me as his teaching assistant because he believed
I could actually be a successful author while my parents did
not, also added the ever-disgusting daddy-issue cliché to the
mix.
Weirder still, considering he was only twenty-six years
old.
“This is a little female-heavy, Candice,” he said,
tipping his head up. His mouth was a straight line, like the
punctuation on his criticism.
I bit my lip. Professor Dylan could be as irritating as a
thong made out of sandpaper.
As irritating as realizing I was wearing a thong made out
of sandpaper and I had forgotten to do laundry and had no
other thongs to wear.
“Compared to what?” I asked, sitting up straighter in
the impossible-to-be-comfortable-in slick wood chairs the
university chose to adorn the other side of his desk.
The class was Contemporary Fiction 201 and, fine, maybe
I did choose to teach more female writers, but I was a female
writer. And I was also pissed off at how underrepresented
we were everywhere else.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t say any of that as a lowly
teaching assistant, so while I waited for him to answer my
question, I thought back to the day everything between us
changed. It was the start-of-the-semester department mixer
a week ago. Seeing him play sand volleyball on the beach
with the male grad students, his shirt off and army-style
swim trunks hugging his hips, was all it took.
I was done.
Pile on that as the sun was setting, he and I were sitting
on an ocean-worn log drinking beer and laughing as we tried
to one up each other with terrible watercolor-sky-inspired
similes.
I was winning. “It’s as pink and perfect as a baby’s
bottom.”
“As pink and perfect as a baby’s bottom rife with diaper
rash,” he added.
I laughed and our eyes connected—a sharp, soft jolt—a
pause that clearly could either push his lips forward into a
kiss or rewind them back.
Unfortunately—or fortunately, depending on which side
of the desk you’re on—one of the graduate students he’d
been playing volleyball with interrupted us. When the guy
had ambled over during his survey of whether we wanted
a hot dog or hamburger, he also put a pause on whatever
might have happened.
With our almost-kiss floating between us like a bubble
we were both afraid to pop, all those clichés lodged in my
taught-to-hate-cliché brain. They floated up like Professor
Dylan’s trunks would have if they’d come off him as we’d
bobbed in the ocean together…which I also sometimes
pictured.
It was all I could do to keep my chest from heaving when
I thought about him.
Yes, I know: another cliché.
“It should be balanced,” he said, waking me from my
fantasy. “Don’t you agree?” His wavy, hay-blond hair was
slicked back. On the beach it had been loose, flying as he
ran to spike the volleyball. I remember thinking the exact
color of his hair was something sonnets could be written
about. Of course, I’d had more than my share of Mike’s Hard
Lemonade, so I was feeling poetic—a scary proposition for
any fiction writer.
“If there were more men, would you tell me to add
more women?” I asked. I was sure some of the frustration
we felt toward each other would have been washed away if
we’d been able to finish what we’d started on the beach. Of
course, who the hell knew what we’d be doing right now if
that had happened?
“I don’t know—give me a new one with the changes I’ve
requested and we’ll see.” He passed the paper back to me.
I didn’t respond at first, allowed him to think I was
considering what he’d said. I wasn’t. I was considering his
lips. Wondering how they could seem so soft and yet be so
off-limits.

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CANDY is up for Pre-order!

Hey all my lovelies! Just a note to let you know that Sneaking Candy is available for pre-order on all book buying sites! I am so excited about this book and judging from just the few ratings and comments so far from folks who have read ARC’s you guys are too.

SneakingCandy_500x750

“5- stars If I could give this more stars I would- OMG”

“4-stars- LOVED IT!”

“5-stars Candice and her story made me laugh out loud, blush furiously and giggle”

EEEEEEE! Fun! Candy is waiting for you.

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