Sunday, 13 July 2014

Impulses: Tainted Beginnings

Impulses has played such an enormous part of my life for so long, and not solely because most of the story is based on fact and my own personal experiences. But because it aided me when I was drowning in regrets and resentments. It freed me. 
Knowing that there are fans out there of Samantha and Hayden, knowing that their strength and love, along with their trials and heartbreak has touched your hearts...I truly have no words for that.
It was my intent to leave Samantha and Hayden happily in their bubble, in each other's arms. But a few of my dearest readers wasn't so thrilled with that idea. They wanted more.
Well, what sort of person would I be to withhold a possible furthering of a truly amazing love story.
For my dear readers, this is for you.
Much love, and I hope you enjoy,
 V.L. xxx     

Impulses: Tainted Beginnings

Copyright 2014 V.L. Brock

Samantha


It seems as though I have only slept a few measly hours as the pull of dawn claws me back to reality in the form of beams of sunlight searing through the panoramic window along my left. The glass seemingly intensifies the heat of the warming July, San Francisco sun.

Undesired and feeling relatively premature, my eyelids flutter open. Even after all this time, we still refuse to draw the blinds before bed. The silver radiance of the moon’s glow caressing your flesh as well as your partner’s hands and body, the shadows cast upon the surrounding walls bearing witness and mimicking the unhurried chase of release as we made love all night long, heightens euphoria for us.
It always has.

I feel the tension leave my body as I stretch-out my overused muscles. However, the moment is short-lived; tension overpowers my body and mind. Kicked to the foot of the bed is the comforter, the white sheet lays wrinkled, cold and bare of his body.

“Hayden?” I call, feeling very much alert in my just awoken state. I push myself up so I’m sitting in the middle of the vast leather sleigh bed, clutching the comforter tightly around my body as if it will armor me from my anxious moment.

Prospering unease mocks me when I am answered only with silence. My immediate thought upon waking is: has he had another nightmare? The countless dreams Hayden had trudged through, the countless gut-wrenching, nerve-wracking instincts which I have endured for him and never came to truly understand, are now justifiable and rational, since falling as prey to my own troublesome subconscious only three months ago…
****
We were sitting at our usual table in the restaurant which held many memories for us. It was the walls of 1300 where Hayden and I had begun our journey of change. It was surrounded by the wooden paneled walls and the golden ambiance where realization was met, where we laid our cards, both good and bad, upon the table and saw to it that we could finally bring each other what we never considered we deserved. Love and happiness. Unknowingly, we became each other’s savior and for the first time in our lives, we could see a future full of adventures and wondrous memories.

So there we were, with Hayden’s warm, tender hands eclipsing my own in the heart of the table as we waited for our entrees. I was silent. I was so far removed from the company I was in, as my thoughts and looming disappointment crushed me once again from the inside out, for the fifth time in a row.
I didn't know how much more I could take.

“Beautiful,” he beckoned in his usual, husky and cajoling tone. Yet all I wanted was to retreat back into my shell and befall to the sorrow I carried in a heavy heart. Lost to my thoughts, I saw Hayden in the periphery of my vision cocking his head into my line of sight. The chocolate curl loosened and fell onto his brow. 

“Samantha.”

“Hmm…”

His chest expanded on his deep inhalation, his dress shirt tightened across his chest, carefully wrenching at the buttons. “It will happen eventually, beautiful. You heard what the doctor told us, it can take months to be successful.” Despite his dark, hypnotic eyes studying me with profound hope and reassurance, I couldn't reflect his optimism. I wanted to. But I couldn't find the shard of energy to fulfill that desire.

“I know.”

This was a conversation which was becoming as ritualistic as my morning coffee. That dreaded day of the month would come and shatter every hope and wish I had amassed in the short prior weeks. Then it would begin again. Three full weeks of hopes and anticipation, as we tried repeatedly to give each other what we were so desperate to have, what we were desperate to hold and love, slain within that moment of reality when we discovered we were once again unsuccessful.

The betrayal of tears in my eyes displayed my sorrow, yet the wistful smile I could feel gradually breaking free was clouded, as my eyes trailed over Hayden’s shoulder to the bar. When he asked what was wrong as I narrowed my eyes, I was already making my attempt to push myself free of the table.

“What the fuck is she doing here?”

“Who?” he gasped before turning in the seat.

“I warned her once, Hayden, and trust me, I meant every single word. She’s chosen the wrong day to piss me off.” My words came rapid and shaking with adrenaline. My heart echoed in the pit of my stomach, my entire body trembled as the woman donning a tight red miniskirt and heels tossed her blond streaked hair behind her shoulder.
That day I felt I had nothing to lose. I was wrong.

“Leave it, Samantha,” his words sought to urge a splinter of rationalization through my fury. The calming squeeze of his hand upon my shoulder halted my intention to break away from our intimate table, and crush her under my foot like the cockroach she is. “She hasn't seen u…” his voice lost sound as we watched on like some emotional masochists, as an equally familiar man with a slanted nose and glinting hoop ring through his dark eyebrow, coiled his arm around her waist and kissed her cheek.

“What the fuck? Is that…?”

Unsure if I was completely thrown by Addison and Dominic’s display, or for the second time in my life, I was completely seized by fear, we simply remained sitting stock-still. The idea of two people who hated Hayden and me, alongside what we have, the same people who attempted to draw an end to our relationship, rendezvousing, bred my fear and concern. Although in the distant part of my mind, the part where my logic resided at that point in time, was telling me that two vindictive people could find a halfhearted warmth in each other’s arms, one equaling nothing more than what they distributed for months and years on end, upon another, was struck to a mere whisper.

At that point, I was introduced to my own paranoia yelling at me about a future threat, one which would take form and begin to haunt my dreams from that moment on.
Rome didn't fall in a day.
****
Shaking the thought from my head with a degree of uncertainty, I call him again. “Honey?” Still, the only voice to answer is that of my own echo.

Trembling with trepidation, I kick the silk adorned comforter to the leather footboard of the bed, and step into my slippers. As I arise, I hastily slip on my satin robe, knotting the tie around my waist before staggering warily down the once barren hallway, which is now a mosaic of hanging photos of us smiling and staring into picturesque backgrounds on some of our most memorable journeys over the past year, to find my husband.

The central poster-size print acts as the focal point. I smile as my fingers absentmindedly trace the mirrored frame holding the picture of Hayden on bended knee in the riveting grounds of the where we pledged our love for one another, and he in turn shared his name. My right foot is set on his thigh, the somewhat lengthy white and red train of my gown outspread flawlessly over the lawn. The front is hiked up, exposing my leg and garter. I’m looking down on him from his position, my finger nestled underneath his chin, coaxing him to look back up at me as his hands caress the silk white lacy-top stocking. Locking our eyes, the elation and desire consuming our gaze would've been enough to set fire to the photographer’s film. Thank God for memory cards.

At times, I like to just stand and stare at this one memory, a time where sex was acted upon impulse, where there was no other intention than that of pleasure, intimacy and quenching an unquenchable desire. Now, there was a more coveted goal.

“Hayden, are you here?” I repeat once more as I approach the kitchen along my left and crane my head around the archway. With the exception of a note lying on the granite island, I am greeted by an empty, pristine area. A hefty sigh is ousted with an unimpressed shake of my head as I make my way slowly into the center. Only the gentle tapping of my slippers against the black tiling cuts through my momentary contemplation. Hayden has been working himself into a stupor for weeks on this one particular case, which he won’t shed any light upon. With Brody now under a fixed position at Wentworth and Associates, I thought Hayden’s workload would have lessened. How wrong was I?

Cursing silently as I reach for the note, I anticipate the chances of a day, which had been organized for some weeks, and meant solely for us, has now been railroaded with the decision of Hayden going into work anyway. I begin to read:

Good morning my Queen.
Each and every day I wake before you and spend the best part of dawn just watching you. The twitches of your nose, the wrinkling of your brow, and those little displeasing groans are the highlight of my morning.
Anyhow, as promised, I haven’t gone into work. My wife did a mighty fine job last night of expelling every coherent brain cell from my head, something which I fear would be frowned upon in my profession.
I've had to run a few errands, but I’m guessing by the time you've woken and read this, I’m most probably already on my way back to you…

I’m pulled away from my letter by strong, familiar arms snaking their way around my waist, and the intoxicating scent of Dior, enveloping me in a fashion that causes my pelvic muscles to quiver and my stomach tightening. Goosebumps coat my flesh as they always do when he is near.

“Sleeping Beauty awakens,” he purrs amongst my tresses into the curve of my ear. My eyes close, my head tips back onto his chest as the slight growl in the undertone of his voice at his greeting, sends me spiraling into the pits of unadulterated need and craving.
My God, he drives me crazy.

“Sleeping Beauty awoke to an empty bed and had to ward off a panic attack,” I force myself to form words, drawing an end to my early morning breathlessness. In his loving clutch, I turn around to face him and set my hands atop his upper arms.

His rich chocolate pools shimmer with wry amusement as he gazes down on me, the corners of his mouth twitches when an innocent yet shrewd smile kisses his lips. “She still worries about me,” he sighs, yet his tone poses it as a question.

Removing my arm from his bicep, I slowly raise it and push back his sexy as Hell errant lock which is curled on his forehead, before my touch glides down the curve of his jaw. Soft rustling sounds as my palm caresses his coarse stubble. “I’m always worrying about you, you know that. I can’t shake the thought that…”

“Sshh…” tender hands push into my hair, his gaze never failing to make me weak in the knees; all the while my stomach knots itself at the terrifying forethought of losing him, a thought I finally gave voice to and made known to him only a few weeks ago, after struggling and failing to battle it myself. I've lost him so many times to my fears as they manifested in slumber. A permanent loss, one never to be returned as the vindictive faces of our past tore us apart, and lurked behind headstones as I laid my husband, and what we fought so hard for, to rest.

Tears warm my cheeks and burn my eyes. His thumb brushes them aside before tracing the salted moisture over my lips. Lowering his head, the curl unbinds and falls forward again. Lips which I cannot live without are upon me within a second, his tongue sweeping through my mouth as I’m consumed by his minty taste. A taste I’m more than happy to be devoured by. As he holds me in his loving embrace, I feel his effort and determination to draw an end to my fretfulness, a simple yet necessary reminder of what we have, and will always have. Just as I have for him in our time together.

“I’m sorry,” he breathes against my lips and braces his brow against mine. “I should have woke you and told you. I don’t want you to worry about me, beautiful; it’s causing you too much stress, a stress you shouldn't be experiencing when we’re trying…It’s my job to worry about you.” Eradicating my tears with delicate sweeps of his thumbs, Hayden exhales a long and steady breath. “Stop it, Samantha, please. Stop over-thinking it.” Internally, the weakening plaster cracks as a small, reminiscent smile breaks free. “Today is for us.” His lips claim me once again, sending my world into a spin. “Come, I have something for you.”

Despite the palpable reluctance towards his action, his body is drawn from mine but my hands take residence in his clutch. My arms are soon outstretched in front of me when he takes a lengthy stride backwards, leading me to the archway.

Smiling, I say, “Okay, but can you give me a few minutes? I have needs.”

“Ah, yes of course you do,” he grins, the clutch on my hands easing ever so slightly. As I turn into the hallway and progress to the bedroom, a swift hand connects with my ass cheek, tearing a squeal from my throat. “Shit, shower and shave, Mrs. Wentworth.”

Glancing over my shoulder with a raised eyebrow, I retort, “Hayden, you've seen me in worse circumstances, those choice of words will not have me blushing any longer.”

“Oh, trust me, beautiful. I know how to make you blush,” he replies with a roguish air, his ravenous eyes wandering greedily over my body as though I’m live bait. “And not only in your cheeks either.”

I don’t doubt him for a moment, because the thought which follows, alongside the many other thoughts of our love life, is enough to have me blushing alone. The cocky bastard.

****
After taking care of my needs and making myself presentable, I sift through one of my drawers and retrieve my card and a small rectangle box tied with a white ribbon. A deep breath is sucked into my lungs; a weighted groan travels along my steady exhale when I substitute my gift for the silver photo frame resting on the dresser surface. Tracing over the glass with my fingertips, my lips twitch then lift into small smile.

Hayden’s left arm is around my waist; his right clutches my hand against his heart. We’re completely lost in each other as we have our first dance as husband and wife, gazing into one another’s eyes as our bubble safeguarded us.

“Together we have no past. No secrets. No demons. Just the way it should be.”

That day, I vowed to find him in the darkness and guide him back into the light. Oh, how time can change.

Tears threaten when I set it back in its rightful place on the dark wood. I tip my head back as I feel gravity beckoning the salted droplets. I remember a time when I was the strong one, my words of assurance and fortitude would save us, or words of censure and aggravation would break us. Yet now, I am the one to be weakened by such trepidation and foreboding. Hayden often told me he would journey through Hell to keep me safe, and as of late, he has been doing just that. He’s journeyed through tortured moments, fears, nightmares and angst, a place he knows all too well, to reel me back.

As I look into his deep, enthralling eyes, I see a reflection of the strength I once held. A strength that once formed my foundation. All it takes are simple fragments and shards by enough loss and heartbreak in such sparse time, for the hardened exterior to become easily broken, in addition to someone worthy. I’m thankful that the man, who began to chip away at my exterior, is the man who shields me and stands between me and harm. Although, the lingering harmful damage which my subconscious issues, is one he cannot.

I spin on my heel after recovering my gift and card, when I discover a note on the bed. One word is scripted in Hayden’s elegant handwriting:
Rooftop

The Paramount had been under a refurbishment. The rooftop was now a place for relaxation with a moderate size swimming pool bounded by glass surrounds, and a decking area for communal barbecues framed with bright flowers and sun loungers. Even the gym had undergone some extensive refurbishment, which Hayden seems to appreciate deeply, and I, the results.

****
As the French doors slid open and I step onto the decking, the air catches in my throat. There is not a word willing to be freed from my mind as I absorb every fine detail that my rapid gaze comes to rest upon. The sun enhances each detailed effort that Hayden has made. It is as though I have stepped from my San Francisco home and back onto the balcony of the 5* hotel in Rome that we resided at on our honeymoon, with the round, white, intricate wrought-iron table in the heart of the decking, an assortment of pastries spread upon it. Pink and red roses surround us like vines, while white petals lay scattered along the flooring.

“Hayden,” my gasp is over shadowed by the acoustic introduction of Wild Horses reverberating from his cellphone and I’m instantly flawed by sheer emotion as he catapults me back to our wedding day. “When…how…?”

He’s standing behind the table after placing the handset on the surface and rolls a single red rose in his grasp, a shy yet endearing smile on his handsome face. The dark sapphire shirt unbuttoned at the collar and showcasing his silver cross chain is tucked into black pants which rest on his hips. His muscular physique is emphasized by the gleam of his silver, square belt buckle.

“It’s just like Rome all over again,” I mutter, stepping along the dainty petals to the heart of the rooftop as the lead begins to sing about the things that you wanted.
Everything I want is right here, I think to myself, as the card and box in my possession are slowly placed on the edge of the table.

His eyes alight as he prowls around the table, his fingers lightly caressing the stem of his offering. “Happy first wedding anniversary, Mrs. Wentworth.”

“Happy first wedding anniversary, Mr. Wentworth,” I reply.

“You…” I turn to face him as he stops beside. I accept the flower with an admiring smile. “…Are more beautiful now, than ever. I thank the heavens every day for leading you to me, and for agreeing to be mine.” My chin is snared in his tender grasp, my head tipped back. “I love you,” he adds as his mouth gains proximity to mine, and a chaste kiss lingers on my lips.

“I love you, too,” I answer before he has chance to draw himself away from me completely. To my side I blindly seek my card and gift from amongst the mass of pastries. “Here, I hope you like it,” I say as my nerves breaks through my voice.

Creases of perplexity form on Hayden’s brow. “When did you find time to go gift shopping?”

Good question indeed.
Between hiring and training a new receptionist while Chloe is on maternity leave, and helping Jessie plan the wedding she has always dreamed of without the snide remarks from her husband-to-be, I feel as though my feet haven’t touched the ground. I only just managed to sneak away while cake tasting last week to pick this up.

“I tore myself away from Jessie and a very delicious lemon cake last week,” I chortle lightly. “Unfortunately, there’s no refund policy on that, so I really hope you like it.”

The white ribbon shimmers as the light catches the material when Hayden pulls it free. Removing the narrow lid, he sets it onto the table beside us before unfolding the tissue paper.

When the content is removed, the box plummets to the ground. All I can do is stand and smile at his utterly stunned expression. Mouth open, he studies the window before scouring his focus to me.

I simply nod my head as dark eyebrows lift in silent question.

Hayden


Once upon a time, the small derisive voice, which was more of a narcissistic yelling, would have had me questioning the truth despite the fact of it being held in my hands. Guided by time and resolve, the sound of his mockery is slowly being masked. The unending words of promise and surety imparted by Samantha over time was what aided in the voice of my own belief, of my own confidence. And inner contentment followed.

I have no words to speak right now. Adjusting my thoughts and overcoming the shock overwhelming my body, takes more than several moments. When I eventually muster the strength and avert my rapt attention from between my fingers, back to Samantha, I’m met with a nervous smile as she tucks a lock of dark auburn hair behind her ear, before splaying her hand across her abdomen and massaging small, soothing circles.

“We’re having a…?”

“Baby, Hayden,” she nods. “I’m pregnant,” she ends my beaten and broken sentence with her affirmation and clarity.

The world has stopped spinning; gravity no longer holds the power to keep my feet planted on the ground. Hastily bending to retrieve the box which fell to my feet, I place the test back amongst the tissue paper inside the casing and place it on the edge of the table. Gesturing forward with my arms, my hands are promptly set on the sides of her face. Our lips unite after gently drawing her near, before drinking her in my embrace. Her candy-like, marshmallow scent tickles my senses.

A little over eight months we had been trying to conceive. Each and every month we would wait on tenterhooks for verification that our efforts had been effective. Yet each time the dreaded day would come where we realized they weren't. Samantha would retreat into herself, close herself off. Almost as though she was mourning the idea and hope of that particular month being the one we were longing for.

It shredded me internally witnessing her despairing in that degree. Though what ripped out my heart, was knowing that I was the one responsible for making her feel that level of disappointment.

“I love you, Samantha Wentworth.”

Never in a lifetime would I now doubt the sincerity behind her reply. Still, the shadow of uncertainty and trepidation lingered in her voice, and the shackles of restraint glinted in the ocean of her eyes.
Rolling her lips over her teeth, she peeks up at me.

“What’s wrong, beautiful? I thought this was what we wanted?”

“Yes, it is,” she murmurs with a nod of her head. “I’m…I…”

“Samantha, what is it?” I hunt her unsure gaze, clearing her wavy, long tresses away from her oval face and brushing them over her shoulders before cupping her cheeks again.

Words are finally found; a wall of moisture forms glassy eyes that stare up at me betraying her inner pain. “I’m scared. And I just…I can’t take more heartache or disappointment. I…”

“Hey. Stop. Breathe,”––a smile splinters through as she listens expectantly––“and listen to me. I am right here with you, a place where I always will be. He or she will be cared for both inside there––” She stills as my hand slips from her cheek and lightly caresses her abdomen. “––And out here when it’s time. We won’t even tell anybody, not until you’re ready.”

She frowns, “Really? Don’t you mind?”

“Beautiful,” the arch of her cheekbone is tenderly traced by my thumb, while an adoring smile kisses my lips. “I want nothing more than to shout it from this very rooftop right now. But I won’t. No more stress, Samantha. I mean it. We can do this. You can do this, do you know why?” When she shakes her head, na├»vely, I resume, “Because you’re a diamond. You’re beautiful, Samantha, and a lifetime of hardship has created and formed so many different tiers that I’m blessed enough to know and see. You’re the toughest, most precious stone on a land full of pebbles.”

She hangs her head for a brief moment on a small snigger. Once I coax her head up with a finger beneath her chin, she’s beaming at me. “There it is.”

“What is?” she asks.

“The smile I fell in love with almost two years ago. The smile I lost myself in when we got married. The woman of my dreams,” massaging her belly, I add, “and the most precious gift she could ever give me. Now, would you like to light or blow?” I peek down at the cupcake topped with pink, swirly frosting, a butterfly nestled amongst the sweet, pink perfection, which rests in the center of the table.

“Can we do it together?”

“Of course.”

A box of matches is pulled from my pants pocket. I strike one and light the candles’ wick. Samantha looks troubled as I hold the base of the cake between us, and I watch as her gaze drops to her belly. I already know what she is thinking, because it’s a topic which I myself have contemplated many times.

“Nothing will ever replace her, beautiful. I would never dream of it.”

She nods and sighs, “I know,” before taking a deep, wounded breath. “Another year gone, yet another year closer to being together again. Happy birthday, sweetheart.”

“Happy birthday, Rose,” I add and together, we lightly blow on the flickering golden flame and watch as small strands of smoke spiral to their end.

After setting the cake back into the heart of the table, I pull out her seat and gesture for her to sit. Her cellphone is pulled from the back pocket of her denim pants, before she slips onto the round, cold iron. The music continues playing from my handset. I compiled a playlist of all the songs that say it for us, songs which go hand in hand with our memories.  

“Would my gorgeous wife care for a fresh glass of orange juice, as caffeine is no longer on the table?” Taking my seat opposite, she takes a moment to study the spread laid out before us, absent coffee. “No pun intended,” I smile then gesture towards the croissants and fresh fruit.

Carefully watching her when she vacates her seat, she snatches a pastry then lowers herself into my lap. She tears into the food with her fingers, and holds a bite size piece between her thumb and middle finger, when her cell begins rumbling and dancing across the surface.

“Are you going to answer that?” I ask after a few beats of the vibration interrupting Nina Simone crooning from my speaker.

Jessie’s face and number flashes as we peek down at Samantha’s screen. “I’m taking the day off from wedding planning. I’m sure her and Matt can find a way to settle on the chinaware. Today, I am…”

My lips part instinctively as the food between her agile fingers approaches me. I close my lips around her fingers as she places it on my tongue, and lick free the remnants of the sweet, buttery taste on her flesh.
Darkening eyes burn a chasm into my body. I hear and sight the hitching of her breath before the right side of her lower lip is caught under her teeth. When she draws her finger from my mouth, I urge her to continue with a roguish grin between chewing.

“I am celebrating my first wedding anniversary with no unnecessary disturbances,” she finally finishes.

“I’m liking the sound of that.”

I just manage to swallow when she purrs, “Really?” Dropping her head, she slants her lips over mine; the warmth of her tongue dipping and sweeping through my mouth has me growling shamelessly. “Well, you just wait for what I have in store for you, tonight.”

Really? You tease, as always. But I would expect it any other way. Well, two can play at this game, Mrs. Wentworth.

As her fingers trace my lips, clearing the wetness which coats them, I counter, “And you can do the same, Mrs. Wentworth.” As my words fall to her ears, she straightens her back and pouts adorably.  The look of sheer displeasure on her profile has me chuckling inwardly.

“You know I hate surprises.”

“I know.”

“So tell me,” I smirk at the tone of her cajoling.

“Come closer then,” the animation radiating from her is contagious. I can see the restraint she is mustering to not bounce up and down on me. “A little closer,” I coax, so she does with a giggle. The curve of her ear is traced by my tongue, and her body surrenders to a shudder, as a small groan leaves her lips as I nibble seductively on her lobe. “What’s it worth?”

She pulls away as though something has burned her. I watch as she studies my expression, and gradually accepts that I'm not going to surrender. With a grin matching my own, her hands sink into my hair, her nails lightly grazing across my scalp as we lose ourselves in each others intent gaze, the bubble around us, slowly building.

Today not only marks our first wedding anniversary. Today marks another new beginning. A hope that Samantha can free her worries and once again find that inner strength that attracted me to her in the first place. I hate to see the burden of our past ruining her, as it did with me.

From now on, I'll be praying with every bit of strength I have that this beginning we have been gifted with, unlike us, will not be tainted by our past.

Thank you all for reading.
I hope you enjoyed the extension of Sam and Hayden's story as much as I did writing it.
Remember, please spread the word of Samantha Kennedy and Hayden Wentworth. Word of mouth is severely underrated.
If you enjoyed reading, please feel free to share this link and hopefully the reach of Sam and Hayden's love and strength can be extended.
If you haven't yet purchased a copy of Impulses, you can one-click it on amazon.co.uk here, or on amazon.com here

Once again, an enormous thank you to my readers for sowing the seed. 
Thank you for reading, and last but not least:

Happy first wedding anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Wentworth

Monday, 26 May 2014

SEEKING NIRVANA, EXCERPT #2

Seeking Nirvana

Release Day Countdown


Three Weeks


Welcome back.

Wow, time seems to be flying by. Only another 3 weeks until the release of Seeking Nirvana, with the cover reveal taking place on the 1st June. Safe to say I am a bottle of pop at the moment, and I hope you're just as excited as I am :)

As promised, here is excerpt #2 of Seeking Nirvana. You can find the first excerpt lower down.
I hope you enjoy.

Excerpt #2

Bright spots danced across my eyes as I flipped on the light switch on the left hand wall, lighting the smallish bathroom. I took care of my business, and on shaky legs, stood myself up, the world spinning and sloping once again. Thankfully the washbasin wasn't too far away, so I clutched onto it for dear life before my legs buckled under my weight.

I may had been out cold for four days and conscious for about thirty-six hours, but considering the last recollection I had was celebrating my twenty-fourth birthday, when I gazed into that mirror above the basin, I hadn't seen myself in three years, and I was met with a complete stranger.

I screwed my eyes shut as tight as I could, pleading that when I opened them, the person staring back at me would be one that I remembered. But there must not have been any shooting stars as I made my wish that night, because when I opened them again...the stranger was still staring back.

My thick, blond, shoulder-length hair was dark and dreary, virtually wire looking. That, I could pass off as just needing washing. My eyes weren't as bright as what I once saw. My skin wasn't as flawless as it had been the last time I studied my reflection, and I'm not just talking about the black eye, swollen cheekbone, split lip and scrapes that had white tape stuck on each side of my brow, that stared back at me from the accident. Panicked and alarmed, I watched as my lip trembled and my wrinkles grew deeper.

Freeing my hand from the basin, I leaned in closer to the mirror. My fingers gingerly found their way to my face, and I wished more than anything that my fingertips could erase the creases which spread from the corners of my eyes, when they grazed across them.

That was another wish that failed to come true.
The only thing that remained the same was my nose...still straight and narrow.

There's no such thing as a minuscule change when you've lost years. Everything is just...there, right in front of your face, goading you. Every single change, even down to the change of my hair parting, the span of my brow because my hairline seemed to be a millimeter further back than it was when I was twenty-four, is all too clear, too distinct.

Each variant of my face had a story behind it: when did I notice my first wrinkle and what was I doing at the time? How did I react when my laugh lines refused to stay dormant until I actually laughed? When did my eyes become dimmer with knowledge that I no longer possessed? It made me realize that it's not only monumental factors of the last three years that have escaped my memory bank; it's the minuscule things, too.

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed.
Check back next week for the third excerpt.

Much love,
V.L. xxx

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Welcome to the WRITING PROCESS BLOG HOP next stop!

MY WRITING PROCESS

Firstly, I want to say an enormous thank you to the amazing ladies which make up Spellbound Consortium, Alisha Payne and Nick Taylor for inviting me to participate in My Writing Process Blog Tour. I am still relatively new to this blogging scene, so it helps find my feet alongside offering a little information about myself.
Nick and Alisha posted their answers last week, you'll find them here.

What are you working on?


I am currently working on a new romantic suspense/mystery series called The Dark Evoke Series. It follows twenty-seven year old, Kady Jenson who awakens from a four day coma with a three year void in her memory. Although there is an Irish stranger at her bedside, she doesn't feel scared, she feels drawn to him, almost contented with his presence.

She comes to learn that things change over time. Her relationship with her long-term boyfriend and one of the very few people she can remember, is very much different. She begins slipping into routines which come as naturally as breathing, although she has no clue as to why she has begun behaving differently.

While her boyfriend is on a business trip, we follow Kady as she and the Irish stranger, Walker goes on a quest to fit the pieces of the puzzle and spark her memory.
The series is about rediscovering yourself and toes a line which has been the topic of controversy for quite some time.

The first installment, Seeking Nirvana is released on June 16th. I have just finished writing the second installment, Eluding Nirvana, and I'm striving to get past this infuriating case of writer's block, to begin writing the third installment.

Feel free to visit my author Facebook page where I am ridiculously active. I will update you regularly and post some amazing teasers created by a dear friend and one of my lovely page admins, Charlie C.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?


My debut, Impulses was a lengthy standalone, to which I literally gutted myself open. Although it has fictitious elements, 3/4 of the story was yours truly. I felt as though my future books would be lengthy also. Thankfully, that is not the case with The Dark Evoke Series.

The one element which remains within my writing is how raw it is, and can be, since my ability to create my characters incidences and circumstances, stem from life experiences. I am a very open, very honest person. I believe that we learn from our mistakes in life and there is nothing to be ashamed of because they make us stronger. As a result of that, I am able to express myself wholly through my characters, through their trials and tribulations and through their emotions and I feel they come alive more so, because they're flawed. To some degree, I feel that my readers can sense parts of me within the words on the page because those words were formed from my life experiences, and involvement in situations, that are relevant to my characters.


Why do you write what you do?


For me, I write because it's therapeutic. My genre, although contemporary romance, has dark elements, especially The Dark Evoke Series.

Ever since I was younger my mother told me that I had a dark mind. I remember when I was in school; I had to write a story for creative English in my end of school exams. Even then, at sixteen I wrote about a family who were fearful of their abusive father. It was hard-hitting, it was emotional but it was fact. It was fact because it brought to light that these situations happen around us every day.

Life isn't a bed of roses. We don't live in a perfect world where we meet a businessman with a jet, get married and become a typical 2.4 family. Life throws shit at you. That's reality. You can think a relationship is running smoothly, but when you least expect it something strains that relationship, an event, a medical condition...the past.
I write dark because life is dark.


How does your writing process work?


This is actually quite an amusing question for me at the moment because I am suffering one Hell of a writer's block.

My answer to everything is, 'create a timeline'.
I shrug on my jacket, step into my shoes and I walk the streets, most probably looking like some made-up zombie, while I get the cogs in my head turning. I play out my scenes like one would watch a movie unfold on the big screen, sometimes listening to music which my characters favor the most. I go through everything, even down to the facial expressions and the mumbling dialogue. Trust me; I have had more than the occasional few stares around my neighborhood because of this.
When I have several main scenes along with dialogue, I focus on the scenes which will strew them together.

With Impulses, I focused intently on the number of pages...something I will never do again. Instead, I have begun to focus on the word count. Sometimes, I find it's better to have fewer words, you can always go back and add scenes or further your descriptions later. I find that method better than stripping a good few thousand words from your work.

But most importantly, I continue reading. It's crazy, but reading helps me write. Your brain is a sponge; you continue to learn more whether it be sentence structure all the way down to vocabulary. It really does help oil up those cogs.  

Want more?


Want to take a look at where the Blog Hop Tour is heading next? Well, you're going to want to visit the amazingly talented, Amazon bestseller and author of The Savannah Series and the highly anticipated standalone novel, Tempt My Heart, Danielle Jamie. Show this girl some love people, she gifted us Kayden Knox and Jordon Valentine ;) Visit her here.      

Monday, 19 May 2014

SEEKING NIRVANA EXCERPT #1

Seeking Nirvana,
Release Day Countdown

Four Weeks


Welcome back readers,

Last week I promised that I would release an excerpt a week from Seeking Nirvana (Dark Evoke, #1) in the run up to its release on June 16th. I, for one, cannot put into words how excited I am about this series, and how excited I am to share it with you in only four weeks time. (I know, it feels like forever for me, too).

Anyway, I'm not going to keep you all waiting, I know what you want and I aim to please :) So, to wet those taste buds, here is excerpt #1.

I hope you enjoy :)

Excerpt #1

Seconds passed in a form of salted tears trailing down my face, and over my swollen lip. I tasted the salty residue as I swept my tongue over the cracked flesh between sobs. I have no idea how long I cried. All I can remember is the pressure in my head, directly behind my eyes, and the way it radiated through my cheekbones. Thrown into disarray, my shoulders juddered, sending my body into a mass of constricting, tautening muscles with each tiny gasp as I attempted to halt my cries in the warmth of Liam’s arms.

There was nothing I could do about my misplaced years. There was no magic medicine to administer to help spark something, no matter how trivial it may be. There was no magic procedure that the doctors of MA General could carry out like in some sci-fi movie, hook me up to more probes and wires and have my body zoom through a tunnel of flashing images while they flooded back.

They were gone. At least, they were gone for now. And that was something I didn't truly comprehend how demanding it would be to accept. But I had to accept it. Regardless.

“Mr. DeLaney,” Leviton’s voice shaded my rapid pants as I fought for a lungful of air. “If I could have a talk with you outside please,” he requested.

I unwillingly pulled myself away from the warm crook of Liam’s body, shifting my head from the consoling warmth and rhythmic rising and dropping of his chest, back onto the white cotton pillow. Striving to reassure me, he grazed his thumb over my knuckles as he thrust himself from the bed. “I won’t be a few minutes, baby,” he smiled.

Everything at that point may have been buried in a dense, stifling fog, but the look in Irish’s eyes didn't go unnoticed, as his gaze combed Liam while he was skirted at the foot of the bed, and trailed behind the sympathetic doctor into the hallway, closing the room door gently behind him. That grimace couldn't have gone undetected, totally impossible. It was the lighthouse beaming through my fog, guiding me to a question that I really didn't even wish to contemplate.

Incalculable times I exhaled loudly, ousting all of my frustrations in one simple breath, but it didn't help. My frustrations and alarm was as visible as the flat-cap on Irish’s head. Every fleeting moment which passed alongside a groan, had my agitation escalating, scaling higher and higher like one of those carnival attractions, where you hit the button with the hammer to see how strong you are. And I was very close to reaching the jackpot.

Air was expelled in hefty grunts, while my fingers had become a knotted mass in my lap. Teeth were grinded and temperatures had rocketed as the silence turned into piercing bells ringing in my already aching head.
“How do we…? How long have we…?” I wavered, my attention shifted from my blue woven cover, to the well-defined man at the foot of my cot. “How do I know you?”

Seeing the corner of his lips curl into a smile, albeit a sad one, I felt the atmosphere in the room begin to normalize and adjust. It was no longer suffocating and awkward like it had been with Liam amongst the room’s occupants. With his hands hidden in the front of his dark, denim pockets, his arms pushing his plaid shirt back to showcase his white T-shirt that clung to his torso, he paced leisurely to my side.

“We've known each other for about eighteen months. I work for, Liam.”

“Eightee––” I sighed. Quelling the sense of uprising panic, I breathed in a deep breath, well, as deep as my smarting ribs would allow, and exhaled through pursed lips. Having a void that immense in my mind was too overwhelming. I instantly began to wish I didn't ask such a stupid question, a question which would trigger an immeasurable degree of anxiety that I just didn't need at that point. “You’re an architect, too?” I added.

He sniggered then hung his head for a moment. When he lifted his gaze, his head was cocked; he looked adorable with that shy expression. Shaking his head, he licked his lips slowly. “No, I um…” he hesitated, and I sensed a degree of discomfiture radiating from him. “I’m in construction,” he sighed.

“Oh,” is all I could muster, before he removed his hands from his pockets, and took position on the ugly green seat next to me. “Do you enjoy it?”

Resting on the edge of the chair with his elbows supported on his knees, he rubbed his hands together, making circular motions over each of his palms, opting for nonchalance. “Its work,” he answered simply through an unconvincing grin.

I could understand and appreciate that. Being a stripper was never on my list of desired employment opportunities. The way my stomach knotted, and the shame I felt every time someone asked me what I did for a living, was considerable. People always judge a book by its cover, that’s a fact. And it’s unnerving when you know people judge you because you’re not a doctor, a lawyer, an architect…but work is work.

My attention shuffled from Irish to the door as I heard the click of the handle being pushed down. Liam stepped inside, closing the door behind him.

“Hey,” I breathed.

His soft, loving expression turned cold and hard, as he was welcomed by the sight of his employee sitting beside me, leaning into his arms and only a few inches away from the bed itself. Liam may have been at the end of the room, but his jaw was working like Santa’s elves the day before Christmas Eve. Scowling, he stomped into the room with as much control as he could gather…which wasn't a lot for Liam DeLaney; he was never able to keep a firm lid on his emotions.

Still, Irish didn't even batter an eyelid, let alone shift out of the seat, which made Liam worse.

“What did the doctor say?” I asked, not only out of pure interest, but in an attempt to bring an end to the once again, thickening, hostile atmosphere.

Taking extra caution not to snag my IV, he took a seat on the left of my bed. I watched and blenched as his thumb traced over my cracked, swelling mouth before lingering over my lower lip. I couldn't help but smile when I met his green and blue speckled eyes.

“He said that…” he began but soon trailed off. The man to my right was shot a disdainful scowl. “You can go,” he snapped.

I glance to my right, a V scorched into his dark brown eyebrows, his molded, pale lips hardened into a stubborn, firm line.

“I said, go. There is no need for you to even be here now. Kady doesn't even know you; you’ll get her confused.”

“Very well,” Irish muttered on an outbreath. He pushed himself up slowly, and placed a kind hand over mine. Yes, you knew he definitely worked in construction, because callouses which covered his palm was scrapping across the back of my knuckles. “I’ll be around if you need anything, Kady. I won’t be far.”

I felt the mattress quivering beneath me, as Liam’s body shook frenzied and incessantly. “She has me. She doesn't need your charity,” he seethed.

“Even still,” he lifted his head, his eyes narrowed at Liam in silent warning, before returning them to me. “I’ll be around. Nothing will change that,” he promised with a smile.

“Thank you, that’s very kind, um…”

I remember how his eyes blazed and how a twitch kissed the left corner of his mouth, a tiny dimple making an adorable appearance. It was a look that was both sad and hopeful. And although I have no idea why, it warmed me.

“Walker. My name is, Walker.”

******

Thank you for reading excerpt #1, I hope you enjoyed.
If Seeking Nirvana (Dark Evoke, #1) still hasn't made it onto your Goodreads TBR, you can find it here.

Check in again next week for Excerpt #2

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

WELCOME TO MY BLOG

Hello readers,

I would like to take a moment to introduce myself. For those who do not know me, I am the author of romance novel Impulses and the upcoming romantic suspense/mystery trilogy, The Dark Evoke Series.

Raised in a creative family, witnessing one another expressing themselves through creativity, albeit musically or through a form of literature, it was only a matter of time before my passion for devising characters, their unique stories in their own world, began to form and grow. From there the seed was sown and flourished into a young girls dream.

Throughout the years I have often toyed with the idea of pursuing this path, yet unknowing where to begin. There are so many routes in this day and age to help get from A to B, so with that, I decided to self-publish, and that decision was most probably one of the best decisions I have ever made.
"Never let life impede on your ability to manifest your dreams. Dig deeper into your dreams and deeper into yourself and believe that anything is possible, and make it happen." ~ Corin Nemec 
Anyone who knows me, also knows undeniably that I am far from tech-savvy, so this blog is another chapter for me, and another steppingstone on this crazy but self rewarding journey, which I hope you will travel with me.

Much love,
V.L xxx