Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday's Film Adaption: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates


Summary:
In the hopeful 1950s, Frank and April Wheeler appear to be a model couple: bright, beautiful, talented, with two young children and a starter home in the suburbs. Perhaps they married too young and started a family too early. Maybe Frank's job is dull. And April never saw herself as a housewife. Yet they have always lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner. But now that certainty is about to crumble.With heartbreaking compassion and remorseless clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April mortgage their spiritual birthright, betraying not only each other, but their best selves.


ONE
The final dying sounds of their dress rehearsal left the Laurel Players with nothing to do but stand there, silent and helpless, blinking out over the footlights of an empty auditorium. They hardly dared to breathe as the short, solemn figure of their director emerged from the naked seats to join them on stage, as he pulled a stepladder raspingly from the wings and climbed halfway up its rungs to turn and tell them, with several clearings of his throat, that they were a damned talented group of people and a wonderful group of people to work with.

"It hasn't been an easy job," he said, his glasses glinting soberly around the stage. "We've had a lot of problems here, and quite frankly I'd more or less resigned myself not to expect too much. Well, listen. Maybe this sounds corny, but something happened up here tonight. Sitting out there tonight I suddenly knew, deep down, that you were all putting your hearts into your work for the first time." He let the fingers of one hand splay out across the pocket of his shirt to show what a simple, physical thing the heart was; then he made the same hand into a fist, which he shook slowly and wordlessly in a long dramatic pause, closing one eye and allowing his moist lower lip to curl out in a grimace of triumph and pride. "Do that again tomorrow night," he said, "and we'll have one hell of a show."

They could have wept with relief. Instead, trembling, they cheered and laughed and shook hands and kissed one another, and somebody went out for a case of beer and they all sang songs around the auditorium piano until the time came to agree, unanimously, that they'd better knock it off and get a good night's sleep.

"See you tomorrow!" they called, as happy as children, and riding home under the moon they found they could roll down the windows of their cars and let the air in, with its health-giving smells of loam and young flowers. It was the first time many of the Laurel Players had allowed themselves to acknowledge the coming of spring.

The year was 1955 and the place was a part of western Connecticut where three swollen villages had lately been merged by a wide and clamorous highway called Route Twelve. The Laurel Players were an amateur company, but a costly and very serious one, carefully recruited from among the younger adults of all three towns, and this was to be their maiden production. All winter, gathering in one anther's living rooms for excited talks about Ibsen and Shaw and O'Neill, and then for the show of hands in which a common-sense majority chose The Petrified Forest, and then for preliminary casting, they had felt their dedication growing stronger every week. They might privately consider their director a funny little man (and he was, in a way: he seemed incapable of any but a very earnest manner of speaking, and would often conclude his remarks with a little shake of the head that caused his cheeks to wobble) but they liked and respected him, and they fully believed in most of the things he said. "Any play deserves the best that any actor has to give," he'd told them once, and another time: "Remember this. We're not just putting on a play here. We're establishing a community theater, and that's a pretty important thing to be doing."

The trouble was that from the very beginning they had been afraid they would end by making fools of themselves, and they had compounded that fear by being afraid to admit it. At first their rehearsals had been held on Saturdays--always, it seemed, on the kind of windless February or March afternoon when the sky is white, the trees are black, and the brown fields and hummocks of the earth lie naked and tender between curds of shriveled snow. The Players, coming out of their various kitchen doors and hesitating for a minute to button their coats or pull on their gloves, would see a landscape in which only a few very old, weathered houses seemed to belong; it made their own homes look as weightless and impermanent, as foolishly misplaced as a great many bright new toys that had been left outdoors overnight and rained on. Their automobiles didn't look right either--unnecessarily wide and gleaming in the colors of candy and ice cream, seeming to wince at each splatter of mud, they crawled apologetically down the broken roads that led from all directions to the deep, level slab of Route Twelve. Once there the cars seemed able to relax in an environment all their own, a long bright valley of colored plastic and plate glass and stainless steel--KING KONE, MOBILGAS, SHOPORAMA, EAT--but eventually they had to turn off, one by one, and make their way up the winding country road that led to the central high school; they had to pull up and stop in the quiet parking lot outside the high-school auditorium.

"Hi!" the Players would shyly call to one another.

"Hi! . . ." "Hi! . . ." And they'd go reluctantly inside.

Clumping their heavy galoshes around the stage, blotting at their noses with Kleenex and frowning at the unsteady print of their scripts, they would disarm each other at last with peals of forgiving laughter, and they would agree, over and over, that there was plenty of time to smooth the thing out. But there wasn't plenty of time, and they all knew it, and a doubling and redoubling of their rehearshal schedule seemed only to make matters worse. Long after the time had come for what the director called "really getting this thing off the ground; really making it happen," it remained a static, shapeless, inhumanly heavy weight; time and again they read the promise of failure in each other's eyes, in the apologetic nods and smiles of their parting and the spastic haste with which they broke for their cars and drove home to whatever older, less explicit promises of failure might lie in wait for them there.

And now tonight, with twenty-four hours to go, they had somehow managed to bring it off. Giddy in the unfamiliar feel of make-up and costumes on this first warm evening of the year, they had forgotten to be afraid: they had let the movement of the play come and carry them and break like a wave; and maybe it sounded corny (and what if it did?) but they had all put their hearts into their work. Could anyone ever ask for more than that?

The audience, arriving in a long clean serpent of cars the following night, were very serious too. Like the Players, they were mostly on the young side of middle age, and they were attractively dressed in what the New York clothing stores describe as Country Casuals. Anyone could see they were a better than average crowd, in terms of education and employment and good health, and it was clear too that they considered this a significant evening. They all knew, of course, and said so again and again as they filed inside and took their seats, that The Petrified Forest was hardly one of the world's great plays. But it was, after all, a fine theater piece with a basic point of view that was every bit as valid today as in the thirties ("Even more valid," one man kept telling his wife, who chewed her lips and nodded, seeing what he meant; "even more valid, when you think about it"). The main thing, though, was not the play itself but the company--the brave idea of it, the healthy, hopeful sound of it: the birth of a really good community theater right here, among themselves. This was what had drawn them, enough of them to fill more than half the auditorium, and it was what held them hushed and tense in readiness for pleasure as the house lights dimmed.

The curtain went up on a set whose rear wall was still shaking with the impact of a stagehand's last-minute escape, and the first few lines of dialogue were blurred by the scrape and bang of accidental offstage noises. These small disorders were signs of a mounting hysteria among the Laurel Players, but across the foot-lights they seemed only to add to a sense of impending excellence. They seemed to say, engagingly: Wait a minute; it hasn't really started yet. We're all a little nervous here, but please bear with us. And soon there was no further need for apologies, for the audience was watching the girl who played the heroine, Gabrielle.

Her name was April Wheeler, and she caused the whispered word "lovely" to roll out over the auditorium the first time she walked across the stage. A little later there were hopeful nudges and whispers of "She's good," and there were stately nods of pride among the several people who happened to know that she had attended one of the leading dramatic schools of New York less than ten years before. She was twenty-nine, a tall ash blonde with a patrician kind of beauty that no amount of amateur lighting could distort, and she seemed ideally cast in the role. It didn't even matter that bearing two children had left her a shade too heavy in the hips and thighs, for she moved with the shyly sensual grace of maidenhood; anyone happening to glance at Frank Wheeler, the round-faced, intelligent-looking young man who sat biting his fist in the last row of the audience, would have said he looked more like her suitor than her husband.

"Sometimes I can feel as if I were sparkling all over," she was saying, "and I want to go out and do something that's absolutely crazy, and marvelous . . ."

Backstage, huddled and listening, the other actors suddenly loved her. Or at least they were prepared to love her, even those who had resented her occasional lack of humility at rehearsals, for she was suddenly the only hope they had.

The leading man had come down with a kind of intestinal flu that morning. He had arrived at the theater in a high fever, insisting that he felt well enough to go on, but five minutes before curtain time he had begun to vomit in his dressing room, and there had been nothing for the director to do but send him home and take over the role himself. The thing happened so quickly that nobody had time to think of going out front to announce the substitution; a few of the minor actors didn't even know about it until they heard the director's voice out there in the lights, speaking the familiar words they'd expected to hear from the other man. He was doing his fervent best and delivering each line with a high semi-professional finish, but there was no denying that he looked all wrong in the part of Alan Squiers--squat and partly bald and all but unable to see without his glasses, which he'd refused to wear on stage. From the moment of his entrance he had caused the supporting actors to interrupt each other and forget where to stand, and now in the middle of his important first-act speech about his own futility--"Yes, brains without purpose; noise without sound; shape without substance--" one of his gesturing hands upset a glass of water that flooded the table. He tried to cover it with a giggle and a series of improvised lines--"You see? That's how useless I am. Here, let me help you wipe it up--" but the rest of the speech was ruined. The virus of calamity, dormant and threatening all these weeks, had erupted now and spread from the helplessly vomiting man until it infected everyone in the cast but April Wheeler.

"Wouldn't you like to be loved by me?" she was saying.

"Yes, Gabrielle," said the director, gleaming with sweat. "I should like to be loved by you."

"You think I'm attractive?"

Under the table the director's leg began to jiggle up and down on the spring of its flexed foot. "There are better words than that for what you are."

"Then why don't we at least make a start at it?"

She was working alone, and visibly weakening with every line. Before the end of the first act the audience could tell as well as the Players that she'd lost her grip, and soon they were all embarrassed for her. She had begun to alternate between false theatrical gestures and a white-knuckled immobility; she was carrying her shoulders high and square, and despite her heavy make-up you could see the warmth of humiliation rising in her face and neck.

Then came the bouncing entrance of Shep Campbell, the burly young red-haired engineer who played the gangster, Duke Mantee. The whole company had worried about Shep from the beginning, but he and his wife Milly, who had helped with the props and the publicity, were such enthusiastic and friendly people that nobody'd had the heart to suggest replacing him. The result of this indulgence now, and of Campbell's own nervous guilt about it, was that he forgot one of his key lines, said others in a voice so quick and faint that it couldn't be heard beyond the sixth row, and handled himself less like an outlaw than an obliging grocery clerk, bobbing head, rolled-up sleeves and all.

At intermission the audience straggled out to smoke and wander in uncomfortable groups around the high-school corridor, examining the high-school bulletin board and wiping damp palms down their slim-cut trousers and their graceful cotton skirts. None of them wanted to go back and go through with the second and final act, but they all did.

And so did the Players, whose one thought now, as plain as the sweat on their faces, was to put the whole sorry business behind them as fast as possible. It seemed to go on for hours, a cruel and protracted endurance test in which April Wheeler's performance was as bad as the others, if not worse. At the climax, where the stage directions call for the poignance of the death scene to be punctuated with shots from outside and bursts from duke's Tommy gun, Shep Campbell timed his bursts so sloppily, and the answering off-stage gunfire was so much too loud, that all the lovers' words were lost in a deafening smoky shambles. When the curtain fell at last it was an act of mercy.

The applause, not loud, was conscientiously long enough to permit two curtain calls, one that caught all the Players in motion as they walked to the wings, turned back and collided with one another, and another that revealed the three principals in a brief tableau of human desolation: the director blinking myopically, Shep Campbell looking appropriately fierce for the first time all evening, April Wheeler paralyzed in a formal smile.

Film:
Frank and April, a married couple in the 1950s, have always seen themselves as special, different, ready and willing to live their lives based on higher ideals. So, as soon as they move into their new house on Revolutionary Road, they proudly declare their independence from the suburban inertia that surrounds them and determine never to be trapped by the social confines of their era. Yet for all their charm, beauty and irreverence, the Wheelers find themselves becoming exactly what they didn't expect: a good man with a routine job whose nerve has gone missing; a less-than-happy homemaker starving for fulfillment and passion; an American family with lost dreams, like any other. Driven to change their fates, April hatches an audacious plan to start all over again, to leave the comforts of Connecticut behind for the great unknown of Paris. But when the plan is put in motion, each spouse is pushed to extremes--one to escape whatever the cost, the other to save all that they have, no matter the compromises.
Release Dates: December 15, 2008 (US)
January 30, 2009 (UK)
Running Time: 119 minutes
Cast:
Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Wheeler
Kate Winslet as April Wheeler
Dylan Baker as Jack Ordway
Zoe Kazan as Maureen Grube
Kathy Bates as Helen Givings
Michael Shannon as John Givings, Jr.
Kathryn Hahn as Milly Campbell
David Harbour as Shep Campbell
Max Casella as Ed Small
Richard Easton as Howard Givings
Jay O. Sanders as Bart Pollock
Ryan Simpkins as Jennifer Wheeler
Ty Simpkins as Michael Wheeler
Awards:
Academy Awards
Best Art Direction--Debra Schutt and Kristi Zea--Nominated
Best Costume Design--Albert Wolsky--Nominated
Best Supporting Actor--Michael Shannon--Nominated
BAFTA Awards
Best Actress--Kate Winslet--Nominated
Best Costume Design--Albert Wolsky--Nominated
Best Production Design--Debra Schutt and Kristi Zea--Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay--Justin Haythe--Nominated
Golden Globe Awards
Best Motion Picture – Drama--Nominated
Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama--Leonardo DiCaprio--Nominated
Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama--Kate Winslet--Won
Best Director – Motion Picture--Sam Mendes--Nominated


Trailer

Clips



Author Bio:
Richard Yates was born in 1926 in New York and lived in California. His prize-winning stories began to appear in 1953 and his first novel, Revolutionary Road, was nominated for the National Book Award in 1961. He is the author of eight other works, including the novels A Good School, The Easter Parade, and Disturbing the Peace, and two collections of short stories, Eleven Kinds of Loneliness and Liars in Love. He died in 1992.


WIKI  /  AMAZON  /  GOODREADS



AMAZON US  /  AMAZON UK  /  B&N  /  KOBO

Film
AMAZON US  /  AMAZON UK  /  B&N
ALL MOVIE  /  WIKI  /  IMDB  /  TCM






Reid & Pippa by Kate Black

Title: Reid & Pippa
Author: Kate Black
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 11, 2015
Summary:
Pippa Moore has only been in San Diego for a short period of time but she knows most of the men that walk into The Jumping Bean only want one thing and she is not interested. She wants nothing to do with relationships while she tries to earn money for school. One morning at work with her only friend Jesse, she is off mopping when she feels a strange sensation to stop and look up. Two hot guys with tattoos come in and she meets eyes with the tall muscular blue-eyed guy and she begins to wake up from everything she has been holding back.

Reid Hart is hot, charming, cocky, and used to getting his way especially with women. He stops at a new coffee shop downtown and immediately he feels eyes on him. The hot blonde with the mop that is piercing through him with her eyes and now is his new conquest. He will stop at nothing to get her on a date. He knew fate had brought him into the Jumping Bean.




Author Bio:
I am the author of THE ASSISTANT, THE ASSISTANT 2 CODE BLUE, and now REID & PIPPA. I reside in Northern Virginia with my husband and three kids. Writing became my passion when I realized I had many stories that needed to be told. Most of my ideas come from my dreams and then onto paper where they takeover a fictional fun land.


FACEBOOK  /  TWITTER  /  WEBSITE




Brought to you by: 

Cover Reveal/Re-Reveal: Misfit Brides Series by Jamie farrell

Series: Misfit Brides #1-3
Author: Jamie Farrell
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Dates: Blissed: August 1, 2014
Matched: October 20, 2015
Smittened: March 1, 2015

Blissed #1
Summary:
Welcome To Bliss, the Bridal Capitol of the Midwest!

Natalie Castellano practically has it all—beauty, brains, and a stellar reputation. Because childbearing hips and exhaustion lines are totally sexy. And knowing when to let go of her family’s failing bridal boutique is smart…right? Plus, who doesn’t want to be that divorced mother in Bliss?

With all she has going for her, it would be selfish to secretly wish for love too. Who needs it? Definitely not Nat. But perhaps she does need to take her wedding dress-obsessed little boy somewhere else for a fresh start.

CJ Blue is on top of the world. At least, he was last week when he stood on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Now, he’s in an empty confessional, hiding from the hullabaloo of a family wedding. Aka the depths of hell.

His meddling relatives want to poke at the deep psychological wounds he supposedly bears from being a twenty-something widower. But he doesn’t want to talk, he doesn’t want to be fussed over, and he certainly doesn’t want another chance to fail at love. He just wants to get through this wedding and back to his adventurous life.

But when a dark-haired, wounded-eye beauty invades his sanctuary and whispers a secret he was never supposed to know, he gets swept up in her life. Is he brave enough to tackle the adventure of life in Bliss, or will he walk away from the only woman in the world who could offer him love, forgiveness, and a second chance?

Matched #2
Summary:
Welcome Back to Bliss, The Land of Happily Ever Afters!

Lindsey Castellano couldn’t ask for more. She’s the most successful divorce lawyer ever raised in Bliss. (Never mind that she’s the only one.) She’s her nephew’s favorite aunt. (For the moment, anyway.) And thanks to a little gift (or curse) from the universe, she’s an expert at avoiding love, commitment, and inevitable heartbreak. Or so she thought until the night of her sister’s wedding.

Will Truitt might’ve grown up living a country song—his momma died, his daddy went to prison, and his dog ran away—but as an adult, he’s been blessed by the country rock gods. Being Billy Brenton on stage isn’t an honor he takes lightly. He likes to give back what fame has given him, which is how he finds himself happily crashing a wedding in this quirky little bridal-obsessed town. The one thing he isn’t counting on, though, is colliding with the only girl he ever let himself love.

It’s been fifteen years since Lindsey shattered his heart. Then, she’d been a sorority girl on her way to the top, and he’d been a lowly janitor with a little bit of a dream. Now he’s on top of the world, and she’s the last person he should need or want.

But she’s the only person who has ever inspired his music. And he’s the only man she’s never been able to forget. Have the years made them wiser, stronger, and better able to love, or this time, will they simply crash and burn harder?

Smittened #3
Summary:
A Bad Boy, a Good Girl, and Ice Cream Collide in the Best Little Wedding Town in America!

Dahlia Mallard has finally found her destiny—running an ice cream shop in the happiest bridal town in the Midwest. Problem is, her heart is bigger than her bank account, and she needs a serious influx of cash to get through the winter. Her last-ditch effort? Getting country music superstar Billy Brenton to commit to attending her risquΓ© flavor-tasting event to boost ticket sales. But the closest she can get to Billy is his drummer, the womanizing Mikey Diamond.

Mikey loves the ladies, and he makes no secret of it. But he’s not such a fan of this town devoted to weddings, love, and marriage. And he’s even less of a fan of people using him to get to Billy. When circumstances land Mikey in Dahlia’s house, though, all his caution—and all his interest in any other single ladies—flies out the window. Dahlia’s quirky and funny and, unlike all the other women he’s ever known, she doesn’t tolerate any of his baloney. But when Mikey discovers that Dahlia, too, is using him to get close to Billy, will he take the chance to be her hero instead, or will he revert to his manwhore ways?



Author Bio:
Jamie Farrell writes fun contemporary romances with quirky characters and lots of heart. She believes love, laughter, and bacon are the most powerful forces in the universe. Her debut novel, Southern Fried Blues, was a finalist for the 2013 National Readers' Choice Awards and the 2014 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards.

A native Midwesterner, Jamie has lived in the South the majority of her adult life. When she's not writing, she and her military hero husband are busy raising three hilariously unpredictable children.


WEBSITE  /  BLOG  /  NEWSLETTER
EMAIL: jamie@jamiefarrellbooks.com



Blissed #1
B&N  /  KOBO  /  iTUNES

Matched #2(Pre-Order Now for October 20, 2015 Release)

Smittened #3
B&N  /  KOBO  /  iTUNES




Brought to you by: 

Release Day Blitz: Unrestrained: A Duology by Shyla Colt and LaQuette

Title: Unrestrained: A Duology
Authors: LaQuette & Shyla Colt
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 28, 2015

Power Privilege & Pleasure by LaQuette
Summary:
When a need for unrestrained power and control unfurls…chaos usually follows.

Alexis-Jeovonni Tenetti is the most prolific legal mind of her time.  She uses her genius to create intricate solutions for the problems her clients often find themselves in.  Her mind sees what most can’t, providing her with the ability to initiate and master the manipulative games she’s accustomed to playing.  Her ability to outthink everyone else around her has kept her successful and in control of almost every aspect of her life, and the lives of the clients she serves.

After all, control is necessary to keep things in order.  Order is the only thing that keeps chaos away and allows most people to embrace the illusion of freedom.  She was all too aware that freedom came at a cost and was often a privilege of those in power.  The one time she’d forgotten that fact and relinquished her control had resulted into the living nightmares that chased her even in her waking hours.

Life had taught her in a very vivid way that there were only two options in her world…control or be controlled.  And the latter just wasn’t an option she was willing to entertain.

Sometimes the only way to regain control is to stop playing the game…

Elliot Alan Quillen was raised in big business; he had everything at his fingertips until a tragic accident stole the most important thing in the world to him.  Deciding the brass ring that had been dangled in front of his face was no longer an incentive for letting others control him, he walks away from everything his privilege has offered him.

Cast aside by his overbearing family, Alan is left to pick up the tattered pieces of his life and soul alone.  He’s resigned himself to feeling nothing but the pain of loss for the rest of his life until his first encounter with his new boss’ lawyer clues him in that he might just be ready for something more.

Arrogant and frustrating, Alan quickly learns to suppress his desire for the lady lawyer and her infuriating mouth.  If only he could stop daydreaming about what that mouth would taste like on his tongue, then maybe he could stop the desire that he’s been fighting like hell to bury along with the rest of his emotions.

When secrets from A.J.’s past come spilling out of her tightly sealed closet and bring danger to her door, Alan has to make a choice.  Willingly step into another set of manipulative power games, stand by her and forgive her secrets, or let a murderous maniac decimate A.J. and her entire family.

Or will they both realize that her power combined with his privilege could equal the ultimate pleasure?



For the Love of Dixie (Kings of Chaos #3 by Shyla Colt)
Summary:
After having her heart broken by Echo, Dixie Dunn makes a new life for herself, away from the Kings Of Chaos. Now, she must return in order to get her stubborn father back to fighting shape after a heart attack. She knows she’ll have to face Echo, as he has made it clear over the years that she still belongs to him. But she refuses to give him any chance to crush her heart again.

Echo, Joel Spencer knows that Dixie hates him, but he also knows she yearns for him. After being forced by his hateful father to practically leave her at the altar when they were teens, he realizes that he has his work cut out for him. One thing is on his side, he knows what she wants and needs. This time, he WILL make her his again, and to hell with whoever gets in his way.


Power Privilege & Pleasure by LaQuette 
     “You think this shit is funny?” he asked. “I was ready to close a deal that was going to bring in millions into the company,” he rumbled, the room shaking with the unexpected boom of his voice.
     She tilted her head slightly, staring at him, appearing to really see him and his anger for the first time since he’d come barging into her office. She backed her chair away from the table and stood up. Here face settling in to a canvas of hard tight lines accompanied by the ticking of her jaw.
     Was that anger?
     In all the years they’d been fighting, in all the years they’d kept this seemingly ongoing professional tug of war going between the two of them, she’d never seemed bothered or concerned with his anger. If he was honest, that was the thing that pissed him off the most about her. While he was ready to punch something, she was always the picture of calm, never concerned with the fact that he was ready to break things after being in her presence for more than five minutes.
     Finally, after five years of her passive-aggressive bullshit, we’re really going to have an honest argument.
     Almost giddy with the fact that he’d seen a glimpse of actual emotion from the woman standing in front of him, he decided to keep pushing for more. He couldn’t really say why it was so important to him, but there was just something about the knowledge that he’d finally been able to make her lose her shit even in the slightest way, that made him feel like this was a win in his column.
     “You made me look like a fucking fool,” he bellowed. He inched closer to her, stepping into her personal space. He pressed and pressed until she was backed up against the table. But even though he had her cornered, her shoulders were pulled back in defiance and holding her head up in that stubborn confidence that she kept in place no matter the circumstance.
     “If you felt like a fool, it’s probably because you are. You’ve worked for Kenneth for five years now. This is not news to you, Quillen. You know damn well you can’t make a move without Kenneth or my say so. You were foolish for not setting things in proper order before you ever sat down to close that deal and you know it. Don’t try to blame the shit your arrogance got you into on me.”
     She was standing there, hands on her hips, chest heaving, eyes wild looking like the perfect mix of anger and sensuality he’d ever seen. Before he could stop himself he looked down at that luscious mouth of hers and his dick jumped with excitement again, filling and thickening and pulling all of the blood flow from his brain.
     That’s the only explanation he could think of for the words that fell out of his mouth next.
     “You have the sexiest fucking mouth I’ve ever seen,” he growled. “It would look so much prettier stretched around my cock than spewing the venom you insist on spitting.”
     He waited for the slap that he knew was coming. If he’d been on the receiving end of a statement like that he’d certainly have been looking to hit someone. But she didn’t hit him, even though she had every right to. Instead, she stepped closer into his space and spread those fuckable lips into the most alluring smile.
     “If you think you’re man enough to get me to put my mouth to use like that, Quillen, then make me. Or are you just all talk?”

For The Love of Dixie (Kings of Chaos #3) by Shyla Colt
     I press my foot on the gas and open up the engine of my Chevy Camaro. Black Betty growls. I weave through the cars on the highway; hell bent on reaching my hometown. Thoughts of my father swim in my mind. Is he still alive? Will he survive this?
     The years spent pulling all-nighters, partying hard, and taking on too much stress have finally gotten to him. They wheeled him into Mount St. Joseph hospital two hours ago.
     I made the drive from Santa Monica in under an hour, breaking laws and driving with the aggressive skills honed on the busy highways of California. The familiar landscape is nothing more than a blur. I’m going too fast, and my ability to focus is shot. All that matters is reaching San Mateo. I know how their hospital is going to play it. They’ll bust the club’s balls and tell them they can only let in and release information to the next of kin emergency contact.
     Despite the AC blowing from the vents, a fine sheen of sweat coats my body. My father is everything to me. Mother, Father, sister, brother, and extended family. I never knew my mother, and unlike many single fathers in our lifestyle, he never pawned me off on someone else. His philosophy is…we’re in it together. That means it was him and me against the world.
     And then I left.
     Guilt shreds me from the inside like poison tipped claws, releasing toxins into my bloodstream. I hit the brakes and skid into the parking lot, steering the car precariously into an open spot. I fumble with the seatbelt with clumsy fingers and shaky hands. I manage to remove the strap, stumble from the car and take a shaky breath. This wild-eyed, panicked persona won’t win me any points with the Kings, or help him.
     Knock it the fuck off, Dunn. Time to woman up.
     My heels clack against the blacktop as I walk through the rows of cars. I spot a line of parked motorcycles up front. My stomach drops, and I feel as if I’ve started the decent down a large hill. I run out of steam a few feet from the Harleys, faltering at the thought of facing their knowing eyes and censure. Everyone has an opinion about me and the way I handled things. I’m used to the malicious stares peppered in. It’s the silent accusations that kill me. At least I have the Grans. Grandpa and Grandma Dunn had accepted me and loved me with the single-minded-all-consuming-love that only grandparents are capable of.
     As I stare at the double doors, my past rushes up and consumes me. The loneliness, shame, self-loathing, are the bile creeping up the back of my throat. God hates me. I’ve suspected it from the minute I was old enough to realize how fucked up my living situation was. I didn’t let that stop me. I’m a part of Chaos. We don’t bitch and whine. We change what doesn’t work and keep it moving. It doesn’t matter if we’re dying inside. Maybe that’s why so many of us have a wicked vice of going a little mad. All that holding in emotions and pretending to be okay. Never mind the dirt, blood, and secrets that cover each and every one of us. We can pretend it’s a motorcycle club that loves to ride, but in the back of our minds, the reality is always there starring us in the face. It’s a fucked up thing when you see shit on the news and know the people you love caused it. The club has an ugly side and a hefty price tag.
     I didn’t want to pay the toll, so I left. There was no gain for me. Not when I was treated like a pariah. It wasn’t everyone, just a few. It was one too many. I know I shouldn’t’ have let it stop me. Nothing changes the fact that I ought to have been around more for Pops.
     Maybe this is my punishment for being a shitty daughter.
     A month after I broke my rule about mixing with the club, I’ve returned with no immediate exit strategy in sight. I’ve avoided this place like the plague for over ten years, and now I can’t get away. I’d do anything for my father. The man loved me and fought for me from the minute he knew I existed. It wasn’t easy being a single father in the club. When you add the fact that I represented everything some of the patch members were against, its miraculous I came out as well as I did. I think I was drawn to psychology because what I wanted most when I left San Mateo was answers. About myself, about the world I grew up in, and about people who blindly hate.
     I’ve learned a lot over the years, but the one thing I could never figure out was how to come home without feeling like I was compromising myself and undoing all the work I’d done. I grew up in the club, but I never felt like I belonged. It put a strain between me and my father. I regret my choices now, as I pray the cardiac arrest he went into doesn’t steal him from this world. I let it go too long. I knew better. No one understands better than I and my family, how fleeting life can be. My mind goes back to Psycho’s fucked up assassination, because truly that’s what it was. A senseless snuffing out of life.
     I give advice to people all day long, but I’m too chicken shit to face my demons. It’s ironic really. Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t function in a non-dysfunctional manor, become psychologists. Or at least I had. It made me feel like a fraud. Tired of being help captive by the bonds of the past, I square my shoulders like a soldier going into battle, concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. I gave them the finger once and road off into the sunset with a full ride to college and plans for a good life. I won’t revert to the cowardice preteen now.
     With my spine rediscovered, I enter via the double doors with my head held high. The sight of all their cuts boasting the crowned kings makes me queasy.
     “Dixie Rose,” a voice booms.
     I glance up and spot Stone.
     “Where you been, girl? Get your ass over here, so we can find out how your daddy is doing,” Stone says. His voice is husky and his eyes are bloodshot.
     I scurry over. When this man says something, you immediately comply. “I’m sorry, I got here as soon as I could,” I say, glad to have my task clearly labeled. “What happened?”
     “One minute he was fine and the next, he was clutching his chest, and collapsing. His lips started turning blue. We managed to get an aspirin in him. I don’t know how much good it did.” Stone shakes his head.
     “Are the Grans here?”
     “No, they were out at the cabins. They’ll be pulling in soon.”
     I grip Stone’s arm and let him lead me to the nurse’s station. I cannot lose my dad. “He has to be fine, he’s too damn ornery to let this take him out,” I whisper.
     “His next of kin is here,” Stone says to the nurse at the desk.
     “I’d like to see some identification,” the dark haired nurse with the sever bun and dour facial expression says.
     I grit my teeth, used to the disbelief that comes from having dark skin, and a Caucasian father. I dig into the purse hanging at my side, pull out my Driver’s License and glare as she looks from my picture to the information they have on my father. “I see you are his emergency contact. You’re father suffered a cardiac arrest.” She nods her head. “Okay, Ms. Dunn. I’ll call the doctor in to speak with you.”
     “No, you need to tell me something, now,” I say.
     “Ma’am, that’s against policy.” She glances over at Stone nervously.
     “No. You don’t look at him. You look at me. I’m the one you need to be worried about right now.” I lean over the desk. “These men are my family. Don’t let this face and these work clothes fool you. I want to know if my father is alive and I’m not going to wait for you to track down the doctor who’ll take his sweet time getting up here to tell me.”
     She clears her throat and shifts in her chair. “He is alive and stabilized, that’s all I can say.”
     “There…was that so hard?” I ask.
     She shakes her head. Her hazel eyes are full of disdain, anger and fear.
     I want to feel bad, but I don’t have it in me. From the minute I walked up, she judged me and gave me shit at the worst possible time. There were things I missed about this life, like getting straight to the point.      There was no need for fake niceties. “You get all that, Stone?” I ask.
     “Yeah, I got it, baby girl. Let me go tell the others,” Stone replies.
     The mention of the others thrusts me back into icy waters. A chill rushes down my spine, and I can’t help but follow his journey with my gaze. I scan the crowd, searching for the one person I want to see the most, and the least at the same time.
     Leaning against the wall, he looks like a mythical being. The golden strands of his hair fall around his shoulders, and his muscles flex in his forearms. All he needs is a hammer, and he’d be Thor.
     His bright blue gaze collides with mine, and I’m lost. My heart bangs against my ribs like a prisoner rallying for freedom. Unable to move, I remain rooted like a tree grown up from the white and green tile floor. 




Author Bios:
LaQuette:
2015 Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award Finalist in Erotic Romance, 2015 Swirl Awards Finalist in Romantic Suspense, LaQuette, a native of Brooklyn, New York, spends her time catering to her three distinct personalities: Wife, Mother, and Educator.

Writing--her escape from everyday madness--has always been a friend and comforter. She loves writing and devouring romance novels. Although she possesses a graduate degree in English Lit, she'd forego Shakespeare any day to read something hot, lusty, and romantic.

She loves hearing from readers and discussing the crazy characters that are running around in her head causing so much trouble.

Shyla Colt:
Shyla Colt grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, but has lived a variety of different places thanks to her wanderlust, interesting careers, and marriage to a United States Marine. She’s always loved books and wrote her very first novel at the age of fifteen. She keeps a copy of her first submission letter on her desk for inspiration. 

After a lifetime of traveling, she settled down and knew her time had come to write. Diving into her new career like she does everything else, with enthusiasm, research and a lot of prayers, she had her first book published in June of 2011. As a full-time writer, stay at home mother, and wife, there’s never a dull moment in her household. 

She weaves her tales in spare moments and the evenings with a cup of coffee or tea at her side and the characters in her head for company. A self-professed rebel with a pen. Her goal is to diversify romance as she continues to genre hop, and offer up strong female characters.


LaQuette
FACEBOOK  /  TWITTER  /  WEBSITE
EMAIL: LaQuetteRomanceAuthor@gmail.com

Shyla Colt
FACEBOOK  /  TWITTER  /  FB FRIEND
NEWSLETTER  /  TUMBLR  /  TSU







Brought to you by: