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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

New Book

I've been away for a while and I apologize for my absence. Life (and death) got in the way and I'm still recovering. During that time, I penned a new novel (erotic romance) entitled A Battle Raging which is now available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Below is a short blurb:

Maya Temple looks forward to teaching her weekend art class where she hopes to introduce the joy of still life drawing to her enthusiastic students. But her plans for her class go awry as soon as one late student, Zachary Yarborough, wheels into her class.

Zach is a former marine who was wounded in Afghanistan four years prior and is now a paraplegic. He also suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and is taking the class at the request of his psychiatrist, who feels Zach can benefit from art therapy. However Zach winds up pissing off the beautiful art teacher in various ways that includes drawing a nude sketch of her on the very first day.

At each session, Zach and Maya antagonize one another but eventually can't resist the growing attraction between them. Initially, Maya mistakenly believes that a man in a wheelchair cannot be sexual. But Zach is eager to prove her wrong again and again...and again.

Here is an excerpt:

So now she sat just a few steps away from him, wearing a white terry cloth robe that contrasted nicely against her skin. Her hair gleamed softly in the muted sunlight coming in from the window. A couple of tendrils caressed her left brow, emphasized its arch. She wore no makeup, but she didn't need to. Her face was a perfectly proportioned oval, the shadowing near her cheekbones giving them prominence. The light played with her irises, making them amber mirrors in which he was reflected. It would be an interesting exercise to paint himself as a ghost in those eyes.
He'd only tried his hand at painting once several years ago, but that attempt hadn't involved capturing a living person which was a very intimidating task compared to doing still life. The shadows and planes of the contours along her jaw line, moving down the curves of her neck, to her collarbone alone were a challenge but he was determined to get everything right. Because he did plan to hang this painting in his apartment and he wanted to memorialize her so that it would seem as though he had actually captured flesh on canvas, to make it so realistic it would seem she was actually there looking back at him. A small consolation for not having the real person there with him.
The smell of the oils circulated throughout the small space even with the windows open. A small headache had begun behind his right eye but it was a mere distraction.
There were bigger issues distracting him, too. The top opening of the robe had slipped a bit and the curve of a breast was visible.
Despite his resolve to take things slowly, his body's response seemed beyond his control. Anticipation was an intoxicant in itself, driving his impulses. In his mind, he was already touching her, discovering the smoothness of her skin. Driving himself hard inside her.
He opened the paints, began mixing burnt umber and red along with titanium white to recreate the subtle tones of her exposed skin. Satisfied with the mixture, he began the outline of her face, running the brush in short, broad strokes, softening along the edges. He searched her face to memorize the contours, gauging the reds and yellows of her flesh tones.
He continued, his brush diligently moving across the canvas, until hair, eyes, cheeks emerged, the creation of a one-dimensional woman, beautiful in repose, naturally lit by sun rays.
He only stopped into the second hour when he saw signs of strain in her face indicating that she was becoming tired.
"I think I'm done for today," he said, washing the brushes in the cup of solvent.
She half smiled. "I suppose you're not going to let me see until you're finished."
"Could I even stop you? This is your home after all. Feel free."
He rolled back to allow her room to view the canvas. He looked up at her expression, then realized he was holding his breath.
"It's me," she said with awe. "It's so beautiful."
"It's just what I see when I look at you."
"And you see me like this?"
"And you don't?" he asked incredulously. It hadn't occurred to him that she wouldn't know how gorgeous she was.
She shook her head slowly. "I mean I know it's me, but it has a different aura, like you're deifying me."
"Well, a goddess should be deified."
She looked at him with a smirk. "Now you're being facetious," she said without rancor despite her words.
"No. That first day when I was such a dick to you…well, it was because I was so intimidated. I hadn't wanted to come in the first place and then I come and see you. And all I can think of is how I didn't want to make a fool of myself because I'm so rusty…and I guess I was so anxious that I took it out on you and the class. I'm sorry. Again I was a selfish prick."
Owning up to one's bad behavior was something that Dr. Madison often stressed in his sessions, both group and private.
"It's important not to use your PTSD as some moral get out-of-jail-card," Dr. Madison had said recently. "You may not be responsible for the cause, but you're largely responsible for the cure, which is checking your emotions and attitudes when you can."
Those words rang in Zach's head now. He often had trouble apologizing. But today the regret flowed easily, without any pushback from him.
"Thank you, Zach. I know from experience it's not easy admitting when you've been wrong. And I apologize to you for trying to push you beyond your comfort zone. It was not my intent to push you out of the class."
She looked back at the portrait.
"I still say I have nothing to teach you. Your skills are even beyond my expertise."
She stepped back and shifted to turn. The robe snagged on the easel's edge, pulling the material until the robe opened slightly. Zach spied the curve of a thigh, saw a peek of white panties before she jerked the robe, ripping it a bit, pulling the material closed again. He saw the embarrassment on her face.
"Don't worry, I didn't see anything…much," he assured her. "Strange, being an artist and so ashamed of nudity."
"I'm not ashamed of nudity," she said, but the tone of her face reddened a bit. "It's a natural state."
"Yes, and a beautiful state, as well," he said. "Look, I'm in this chair and you'd think that I would feel awkward taking off my clothes, but I don't. I have a scar running along my back and my legs aren't as muscular as the rest of my body. You know, sometimes I sit in front of my floor length mirror and examine my body, compare it to the body of my younger self, how I remember it. It's different, yes, but no less than it once was. It's part of who I am now."
"That's a healthy attitude," she conceded, but her hands maintained a death grip on the edges of the sides of her robe, obviously afraid of another "betrayal" by the garment.
Before he could think about what he was doing, he reached with both hands, put one on either one of her hands.
"Let go," he coaxed.
The initial panicked expression conflicted with other emotions and obvious curiosity. He realized that she was at war with herself , two sides trying to trump the other. The pragmatic Maya who was probably telling her that she couldn't do this, that he was a student and practically a stranger. And maybe the more adventurous side that peered out at times, even during the short time he'd known her.
Desire and curiosity. In the end, they won out and she loosened her grip.
He reached for the belt, pulled at it until it gave way. The robe fell open. He saw the otherwise taut stomach with just a slight curve to it and lace-edged white underwear. She had no bra on and her breasts were bare, her nipples just a few shades darker than the rest of her. They were slightly uptilted, something that should be captured on canvas, in various oils.
His forefinger touched her stomach tentatively and he heard a sharp intake of breath. He let it roam downward, trace the edge of the panties, upward then, traveling toward the undercut of her breast, tracing its edge.
He grabbed the edge of the robe, jerked it down, and it fell to the floor, leaving her naked and open.
"Take off your panties," he instructed, knowing he had no right to ask, but urged on by his need and her apparent acquiescence.

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