Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday's Film Adaption: Gentleman's Agreement by Laura Z Hobson

A landmark novel that ranked #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for five months straight, Gentleman’s Agreement speaks to the pervasive nature of prejudice after World War II—an issue just as relevant today as when the book was first published.

Journalist Philip Green has just moved to New York City from California when the Third Reich falls. To mark this moment in history, his editor at Smith’s Weekly Magazine assigns Phil a series of articles on anti-Semitism in America. In order to experience anti-Semitism firsthand, Phil, a Christian, decides to pose as a Jew. What he discovers about the rampant bigotry in America will change him forever.

Chapter 1
Abrupt as anger, depression plunged through him. It was one hell of an assignment.

"You'll find some angle," John Minify said.

"It'll need an angle all right." He squinted his eyes and looked off past Minify's shoulder as if he were taking the measure of some palpable thing there.

"Take your time on it." Minify spoke without urgency. "I think you might turn out a great job."

Philip Green nodded, not in agreement with the comfortable words, but in affirmation of his own estimate of the job ahead. It would be flabby, lifeless, unless he found some special approach to it. Instinct, experience, past failures as well as past successes, all helped him now in his quick appraisal.

"If you want," Minify went on, "we'll borrow the clips on it from some newspaper morgue. There'd be plenty of names of agencies and committees to start on."

"Committees." The certainty of future boredom, of wasted listening, laced his depression with resentment. Minify surely could have found a more manageable subject for his first job as a staff writer. "The clips would help," he said. "Thanks." He half closed his eyes, drew his lower lip in taut over his teeth as if he were shaving his chin, and sat thinking. "I'll start researching it, anyway. There must be plenty of dope around."

"I wouldn't force this series on you," Minify said. "Knock it around awhile and we'll talk again."

"O.K." Phil stood up, without finality. He was in his middle thirties, tall, too thin, with an intelligent, decent face. Eyes and hair were dark; he had begun to go gray. There was a quiet about him, an absence of aggression, yet there was no diffidence in his voice or manner.

"You certainly didn't hand me a pushover for a starter," he said at last. It was matter-offact, bare of complaint or chiding. It would take more than a disappointing assignment to topple his admiration for Minify or lessen his confidence in him as an editor. "Would anybody read five articles about antisemitism?" He saw Minify nod. "Three million readers?"

Minify didn't answer. He leaned forward toward his desk, propped his chin on the knuckles of his closed hand. Then he swiveled the hand about so that the thumb stood up vertically across the corner of his mouth. He seemed all at once absorbed in another idea. His thumb tapped lightly against his lips, in a one-two-three, one-two-three rhythm. Phil smiled. Minify was considering three million readers out there somewhere across all the towns and cities of the land.

"No," Minify said at last. "You couldn't print anything in God's world all three million would read. But some of them will."

"Sure. And will it do any good?"

Minify tipped his head back so he could look directly at Phil. "Did your Okie pieces or your mine pieces 'do any good'?"

Phil smiled. "That's nailing me. Fathead question."

"It didn't take that Roper survey to tell me it's getting worse. You feel it. It gets you either mad or uneasy. I mean me."

"Or baffled."

"So you can bet it's hitting plenty of people that same way. If you find some strong way to write it, it'll get read."


Minify offered his half-empty pack of cigarettes as if he counted on a refusal, the way you used to during the cigarette shortage. He lit one himself and then sat examining his lighter. He snapped the flame on and off several times, watching it flare up and snuff out. He gave it a last decisive click and stood up.

"Getting to know people here?"

"Not so many. I'm always slow about that. It's fine, though. My kid likes it, and my mother. She always wanted to live in New York."

"Have you any relatives here? Or are they all in California, too?"

Phil shook his head to both questions. Minify's concern on this personal level pleased him. "One of my sisters is out there, and the other lives in Detroit. Grosse Pointe, rather."

"I've been meaning to introduce you," Minify began vaguely. Then his manner lost its air of improvising. "How about tonight at my place? We're having some people over. Couple of girls and people."

"Thanks. I'd like to."

The editor told him where, and they shook hands with a touch of formality, as if each suddenly remembered he didn't know the other well. With an inexplicable embarrassment, Phil took up his coat and hat and left quickly. He went down the long corridor, past open-doored offices in which people were talking or laughing. The shyness of the outsider came over him. Though the line "By Schuyler Green" was known to every one of them, he himself was a stranger. Working at home was the setup he'd asked for, but it would be wise, now that he was on the staff, to come in every day until he got to know some of these editors and writers. At once the idea disturbed him. On an assignment, he was never shy about meeting and interviewing people, but to make new social contacts was another thing. His mind ran from this self-recognition, with a hurried promise to do something about the office soon.

In the reception room, he stopped to put on his overcoat. The receptionist gave him a neat, exact smile, a precise replica of the one she had bestowed each of the other three times he had come in or gone out through the double glass doors that announced Smith's Weekly Magazine. The scene was a replica of the other times, too; in the dark-red armchairs the usual assortment of people waited the signal to go in to their appointments. Could any of these unknowns be some writer whose name and work were perfectly familiar? The notion made him look around once more. With the exception of best-selling authors and syndicated columnists, whose faces looked out of endless book advertisements, reviews, and columns, there was an anonymity about most writers. Perhaps some of these waiting people in the reception room knew his name and work and would yet look blankly at his stranger's face. In his anonymity, he smiled comfortably, and went out to the elevators.

In the street, he turned toward Fifth Avenue. In the two weeks since he'd become a resident of New York, he had passed the stage where he had to watch two successive street signs to see whether he was headed uptown or down. At the corner of Fifty-seventh and Fifth, he turned south and began to walk rapidly in the thin December sunlight. Soon he was striding along as if he were hurrying to a specific place at a specific time. Actually he was walking only so that he could think more rapidly about the new assignment. Already the search for the "angle" completely occupied him. He might take one Jewish family in some particularly antisemitic section and trace its life in the past few years. No, a long string of articles on that would bore readers to death. His mind pushed the notion aside, darted in new directions, hunting possibilities, exploring, rejecting. Again he was depressed. For days he'd be in for the old familiar sequence—hope as an idea flared bright, then unease and self-mistrust as closer examination snuffed it out. Like Minify's lighter.

It was the rhythm of all living, apparently, and for most people. Happiness, and then pain. Perhaps then happiness again, but now, with it, the awareness of its own mortality. He had made an honest enough search for happiness—in the last year or two, at any rate. All he had found was transience.

The sting of cold air in his throat told him he had sighed deeply. "Cut the philosophy," he told himself testily. He walked on now, thinking of nothing, merely watching, seeing, noting. At Thirty-fifth Street, he turned left, to the remodeled brownstone house just east of Park where he lived. In the vestibule he took out his keys, tapped the bell, and let himself in without waiting. Above, a door opened. His mother's voice said, "That you, Tom?" and he said, "No, it's me." He went up the carpeted steps slowly, suddenly thinking about his mother. Her voice sounded older than her sixty-eight years; all the chivying details of transcontinental moving had been hard on her.

"How was it, Phil?" she greeted him.

"O.K. I've got the hell of a stiff assignment."

She sat down, waiting. He wandered about the wide, tall-ceilinged room in which their own furniture and books looked so different from the way they had in the house in California. When the extra bookshelves were built in and the rest of his books taken out of the stacked cartons, it would be a pleasant room; he would like working in it. This and his mother's room in the rear of the whole-floor apartment were the only good things about it; the kitchen and bathroom had air-suction outlets instead of windows, and the two "hall bedrooms" which were for him and Tom were smaller than their bathroom out in California.

Yet when Minify had told him that he could sublease the apartment from an editor who had been newly assigned to the London office, Minify had said, "Better grab it, whatever it is. The Coast isn't the only place with a desperate housing shortage." He had grabbed it and considered himself lucky.

Actually, the very oddness of living in a rectangular shelf of space rather than in a house set to the earth among bushes and trees had so far stimulated rather than dampened his spirits. He had sought basic change in the patterns of his life. This apartment was physical proof that he had found it, or, at any rate, one facet of it.

He remembered that his mother was waiting for him to go on. "Minify wants me to write a series," he said, "five, six articles, on antisemitism in America."

"That's good." She underlined the "good" with approval.

"If I could find some way to make it good."

"I mean, most big magazines—it's nice Mr. Minify wants to do it. You can do such a fine thing on it."

"Minify's a strange guy. I liked him even better today than the first time." He lit a cigarette. "He's all hopped up about the job I could do, just like you."

"And you're not?"

He frowned. "It's a toughie."

"You'll do a wonderful series, dear." She sounded placid. He remembered Minify's comfortable words and was all at once irritated with both of them. It was so easy to say, "This is a great theme and you'll write a great series."

"Christ, I will if I can get some idea." His voice flung exasperation at her. "But not just if I spin out the same old drool of statistics and protest." He walked over to the window, looked down on the street. Without turning around, he added a moment later, "Sorry."

"That's all right. How about some coffee?" She started toward the small kitchen.

"Fine. Damn assignment's got me in a sweat already."

A hundred times he vowed never to talk to her in that quick sharpness, yet a moment would come when it sprang out as if he had no power to halt it in his throat. Once he had apologized, too earnestly, and she had said, "It's all right. It's because you're not happy enough." At his silence, she had added, "Being lonely makes people snap. Tension, I suppose."

Now he waited a moment and then followed her to the kitchen. "Where's Tom?" he asked conversationally. "It's nearly four."

"Across the street at Jimmy Kelly's." She looked at him and smiled. "He makes new friends so easily, Phil."

"Yeah." Suddenly he felt obscure pride in himself. Tommy, at eight, without a mother since infancy, was relaxed, outgiving, never "the problem child." Somehow, then, he, Phil, had done a sound job of concealing the unevenness of his own moods all these seven years.

"I told him not to be too long," Mrs. Green added. "Belle's in town."

"Again?" His sister had flown in from Detroit to help them get settled the day they'd arrived in the East.

"Just for today—Christmas shopping."

"Aren't Detroit stores good enough for her? That Belle. She's the golden sheep in this family for fair."

"Now, Phil."

"O.K." Suddenly he grinned. "She is a little hard to take at times, and you know it."

"So are you, dear, but it's worth it."

"Sure, sure. I'd hate to think I'd stodgied up as much as she has in the last few years, though." Mrs. Green made no comment. When the coffee was ready, Phil took his cup, said, "Think I'll start jotting down some notes," and went back to the living room. "I'll quit when she gets here," he added.

But when the downstairs bell rang half an hour later, he left his desk and went to his room. It was too small to serve as a study, taking only a tall chest, one big reading chair, and a narrow bed. He puttered about, dissatisfied, with what he did not know. He drew out a bureau drawer, closed it, and drew out another, as if he were searching for something. At his desk, he had ordered himself to think about the assignment, but like a fractious child, his mind had refused to comply. This was another sign, he thought dismally, that his flash appraisal in Minify's office had been correct. There was in him no itch to get at it, the way there was when instinct told him he had a "natural" by the tail. As he had said, it was going to be the hell of an assignment and the bitch of a job to bring the stuff alive.

There was a knock at the door. "Hi, Belle," he called, and she opened the door.

"Mamma says you're working." She made it a gentle accusation. "Come out a minute and tell me about the new job."

When he told her, she said, "I should think he'd have assigned it to a Jewish writer."

"Why? I'm not blind, am I?"

Belle went on as if he hadn't spoken. "Anyway, I just wonder. You can't scold people into changing."

"Who said anything about scolding?" Phil asked, and Mrs. Green said, "Now, Belle, you don't mean that. It's not like you."

Belle began to elaborate her point, but Phil scarcely listened. There was a flat certainty about her statements which irritated him. He had noticed it on her other trip and decided she had changed a good deal during the war years. The difficulties of travel had kept her away from the Coast; for five years they had not seen her. Apparently she regarded New York as a neighboring town of Grosse Pointe.

He sat, dispirited and silent, looking at her and wondering how he could get off by himself again. Belle was handsome, slender, expensively dressed. He looked at her attentively, as if she were someone he would have to describe accurately on paper. There were two horizontal lines grooved in her neck, like necklaces tight to the skin; he had never noticed detail of that sort before. She talked with loud animation as one does in a large room with many voices to combat; her hands moved restlessly in gesture. Now she was describing the large new house she and Dick wanted to buy.

"Did you close the sale on the old place?" Mrs. Green asked.

"Not yet. That cheap Pat Curran keeps trying to Jew us down." She shook her head despairingly, and Phil thought her distress vulgar and ridiculous when millions of people couldn't find a two-room flat. He saw his mother frown at her. He glanced at his watch, offered excuses about a pressing appointment, and left them.

Outside, the city was already dim with the early twilight and sharp with the clean smell of cold, but he still relished New York's positive weather and walked into it as if into sanctuary. He wished it were his sister Mary in California instead of Belle who lived near enough for frequent visits. Belle was seven years older than he, and Mary only four; maybe that accounted for the greater closeness there'd always been between him and Mary. No, it was more than that. Mary lived in a sprawly house near the university and was lazy and easy about things; Belle had a terrific place, smart to the last ash tray. He'd been only sixteen when Belle had married Dick King. Nineteen years ago, Dick had been a college-boy draftsman, and for a long time the Kings had led an ordinary modest life like the rest of the family. Then Dick had designed the new wheel-transmission gadget that did the trick better than the one his company had been using; almost at once he'd become one of the high-priced big shots in the automotive world. That was ten years ago, and as if she'd been tensed and ready to spring, should the chance ever be offered her, Belle instantly changed into one of the "smart set" out there. "Perhaps a long transition period would have made her less of a jackass about being rich," Phil had once remarked to Mary. Now he thought, Oh, well, and forgot her.

A reporter pretends to be Jewish in order to cover a story on anti-Semitism.

Release Date: November 11, 1947
Release Time: 118 minutes

Gregory Peck as Philip Schuyler Green
Anne Revere as Mrs. Green
Dorothy McGuire as Kathy Lacey
June Havoc as Elaine Wales
John Garfield as Dave Goldman
Albert Dekker as John Minify
Celeste Holm as Anne Dettrey
Jane Wyatt as Jane
Dean Stockwell as Tommy Green
Nicholas Joy as Doctor Craigie
Sam Jaffe as Professor Fred Lieberman

Academy Awards 1947
Best Picture – 20th Century-Fox (Darryl F. Zanuck, producer) - Won
Directing – Elia Kazan - Won
Best Actor – Gregory Peck - Nominated
Best Actress – Dorothy McGuire - Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Anne Revere - Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Celeste Holm - Won
Film Editing – Harmon Jones - Nominated
Best Writing, Screenplay – Moss Hart - Nominated

Author Bio:
Laura Z. Hobson was an American novelist best known for her novel, Gentleman's Agreement.

Born Laura Kean Zametkin in New York City, the twin daughter of Jewish socialist immigrants, Michael Zametkin and Adella Kean, she graduated from Cornell University. On July 23, 1930, she married Francis Thayer Hobson, owner of William Morrow and Company. In 1934, she joined the promotional staff of Time, Life, and Fortune.

In 1935, her marriage ended in divorce. In 1937, she decided to adopt a baby, Michael. She became pregnant with her second son Christopher in 1941, raising both children on her own.

After 1940 she devoted herself to writing. Her 1943 novel, The Trespassers, depicted refugees' flight from Nazism. On April 27, 1947, her most famous work, Gentleman's Agreement, about a gentile researching antisemitism for a national magazine, reached #1 on The New York Times best-sellers' list and sold over 1.6 million copies. She also wrote First Paper, a fictionalized version of her life with her radical parents, sister and brother. A later novel, Consenting Adult, about a mother dealing with her son's homosexuality, was based on her experience with her son, Christopher.




Release Day Blitz: New Tricks: Plan A by Ella Medler

Title: New Tricks: Plan A
Author: Ella Medler
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release Date: February 10, 2017
Emma worries her marriage will become humdrum and insipid now that the children have flown the nest. Fretting over it won't make it better, though. Action will.

Jonathan wants to surprise his wife with a romantic getaway now that he's got her all to himself. But judging by her plans for rejuvenating their marriage, it looks like she's considered leaving him—that's her Plan D.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so Jonathan goes along with Emma's suggestions in order to win back her love. Plan A sounds exciting, and Plans B and C are not bad either. Plan D might never happen… if he survives Plan A first.

"Delicious!" Jonathan said, tacking quickly on the end, "As always."

I was certain that, despite my best efforts, my frown hadn't left my face for close on twenty-four hours now. My dear husband was doing his best to cheer me up over dinner, and it wasn't working. What better wake-up call did we need?

"Honey, please could we talk?"

His eyebrow rose as he pinned me with a concerned gaze, his fingers wrapped around the last of his bread drip-dropping dots of gravy onto the table. He finished the movement, chewed and swallowed, then asked, "Is Ashley pregnant?"


"Did Tyler get someone pregnant?"

"No! Jon, stop with the assumptions. It's not about the kids." Big breath, and then I met his eyes. "It's about us."

His left hand immediately shot over to cradle mine. Anxiety burst forth from him in a wave I could almost feel like a physical slap in the face. I didn't have the heart to keep him waiting.

"It was yesterday when it hit me first… the fact that we've grown… not apart, but maybe… into a team. That's it—we're a team. We work well together and get things done, and hon, I'm grateful for that. But do you realize that with the kids beginning their own lives we won't have any more issues to resolve? We won't have the need to work together…"

"Sweetheart, the kids will need us for a few more years yet…"

"Jon, listen to me! What will happen to us when we have nothing to talk about? What will our subjects of conversation be? Politics? Sports? Your work? Celebrities playing dumb on daytime TV?"

It took a few minutes for the seriousness of my words to get through to him. When it did, it ruptured with a flood of words and half-formed questions. "Emma, are you leaving me? What are you saying? Please, don't do this… Whatever it is, we can sort it out. I will do anything. Anything at all… Emma, please, please let me try—"

"Jon. Jon, stop. That's not—"

"…Because I love you, Emma, and I would flip the whole world upside-down for you, you know that, right?"

I smiled in spite of myself at hearing this promise he'd made me the day he'd first confessed his love for me.

"I love you, too. And I want to make it work. I like what we've had so far and I want it to continue. That is why I want to talk to you. It's best to talk and find a solution, don't you think? Ignoring the fact that we could have a problem is not going to help solve it. Or prevent it from happening."

I watched his shoulders lose some of the tension and then reached across my front with the one free hand to my opposite-side pocket.

"But this may help," I said as I unfolded one-handed the four pieces of paper and smoothed them on the table between us.

Jon's eyes reluctantly left mine and dropped to the paper. "What's this?"

"A plan. Well, four. Plans A, B, C and D. I spent a lot of time thinking it through. Though I only considered the first one in detail for now. One of these is bound to work."

Jon nodded. "Okay. I take it Plan A is the best, right?"


"Hit me with it."

He pulled his hand back and crossed his arms over his chest. I took a deep breath and started.

New Tricks: Plan B(Coming in March)
When at first you don't succeed…

Emma and Jonathan are doing all they can to rescue their marriage. After a failed Plan A, they need to come up with better ideas. Jonathan's got it all worked out—a trip away, sun, sea, sex, and most importantly, no distractions. But does Emma have a surprise of her own?

What's in the suspicious-looking box that was delivered in Jonathan's absence? And why does Emma insist she has to be the one to re-pack their suitcase when they raise the interest of Airport Security?

Will the couple manage to rekindle their lost romance or merely embarrass themselves further, and what will that do to their love life?

New Trick: Plan C
New Trick: Plan D
Coming Summer 2017

Author Bio:
Ella Medler is a U.K. author and editor. She writes fiction in many genres in a seemingly vain attempt to slow down her overactive brain enough to write non-fiction on subjects she knows a thing or two about. She also does not believe in the starchy use of English and ignores the type of rule that doesn’t allow for a sentence to be finished in a preposition. Her books are action-driven, and well-developed characters are her forte. Loves: freedom. Hates: her inner censor.


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Release Day Blitz: Jazz Hands by EM Denning

Title: Jazz Hands
Author: EM Denning
Series: Studio Collection #3
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release Date: February 10, 2017
Katrina Hoffman can dance, but doesn’t. She hasn’t in years. But something is missing from her life right now, and she decides that one trip around the dance floor can’t hurt. When her first time on a dance floor in years thrusts her into the arms of a man who is practically her boss, Katrina’s pulse starts to race. At the office, Eugene is stern, dressed in suits and all business. Here, he’s relaxed and smiling, and the feel of his body against hers sends her head spinning.

Eugene has carried a torch for Katrina since the first day she waltzed into work. He wanted her before, but now that he’s felt her skin against his, her hands on his body, he needs to have her.

But when he does, will his confession send her running, or is the commitment-phobic dancer ready for something more?

Katrina’s six inch stilettos clicked on the floor as she entered the studio with her bag slung over her shoulder. Walking into a place filled with so much music and life and laughter reminded her of the years she spent in her grandma’s dance studio back home.

Katrina followed the sound of brass and swing, and slid into the room. She took a seat on one of the benches that lined the wall and bent to slide her stilettos off. She tucked them in her bag and dug out a pair of ice blue ballet flats. After tucking her bag under the bench, she glanced around. Next week, she’d have to try to show up a little early. Maybe she could partner with the tall, dark and dreamy man who was chatting up a leggy redhead.

“He’s unavailable.”

Katrina’s head whipped around to see an equally tall and almost as handsome man staring down at her. Her lip curled into a sneer.

“What are you doing here, Hoffman?”

She tried not to check him out, but it was nearly impossible. She was so used to seeing him in suits and dress shirts, the sight of him in a tight fitting T-shirt made her heart race. Wide shoulders. Narrow waist. She wondered if he was hiding a killer set of abs under that shirt. As fast as the thought entered her head, she pushed it away. She could not crush on him. Eugene worked in the same division at the ad agency, and through some stroke of luck, he’d landed the promotion she’d been lobbying for. He was practically her boss.

Eugene stuffed his hands in his pockets and rocked back on his heels. “I’ve been coming here for a couple of years now.” His gaze lingered on her curves almost too long.

Katrina crossed her arms over her chest. She suddenly regretted the pale blue dress with the plunging neckline. “Of course you have.”

“You know, Kat, the beginner class is down the hall.”

Katrina raised an eyebrow. “I can dance circles around you in your sleep, Hoffman.”

“Then why haven’t you been here before?”

Katrina pursed her lips, uncrossed her arms and smoothed her dress. Before she got a chance to dodge his question, the instructor came in. He was dressed in black from head to toe, and the way his clothes fit him made it look like they were painted on.

He clapped his hands twice and a hush fell over the room. “Grab your partners.” He hop-stepped across the room and hit the music.

“Come on,” Eugene said as he grabbed Katrina’s hand.

Katrina yanked her hand out of his as if it were on fire. “No. Uh-uh. I’m not dancing with you.” Katrina crossed her arms in front of herself and looked around the room for someone else, anyone else, she could partner with.

Eugene held out his hand. “I’m your only hope, Katrina.”

She sighed and dropped her hand into his. “Ugh. Fine.”

“Well, you don’t have to sound so enthusiastic.” Eugene shot her a smile and pulled her closer to him. “Try not to step on my toes.”

Katrina took a step back and sneered, but when Eugene’s hand closed on hers, when he grinned and started to dance, she was swept up in his enthusiasm. He moved so well, so fast, yet every step was perfectly placed. She felt herself relax and start to enjoy being reeled in by Eugene only to pull away again. That was the beauty of jazz dancing; it was fast and fun, and she enjoyed improvising.

Katrina wasn’t the only one who liked improvising. Eugene reeled her in with a sharp tug. He used her momentum to launch her over his head. She slid down his back, and he grabbed her hands when she slid between his legs and pulled her to her feet.

Katrina paused and shot him a look of surprise. “If your mission was to impress me, Eugene, it certainly worked.”

Eugene reeled her in closer, his only response was the smirk on his lips and the mischievous gleam in his eye.

When the hour was up, Katrina found herself reluctant to leave. She sat on the bench and dug her shoes out of her bag to change back into them. She glanced up at Eugene, who stood there looking deliciously nonchalant with his hands stuffed in his pockets. “Do you come here every week?”

“Why? Are you hoping for a repeat next Friday?”

She saw a hint of a smile on his lips and imagined her tongue running along the curve of his lower lip. “There are worse ways to spend an evening.” Katrina stood up. With her heels on she was only a couple of inches shorter than Eugene, the perfect kissing height. He could sweep her into his arms and pull her into a mind-blowing kiss. The arm around her waist would hold her there leaving his other hand free to slide up her back or to get tangled in her hair.

“Are you? Because if you are I could definitely see myself coming back.”

Katrina stuffed her flats into her bag and slung it over her shoulder. “I guess you’ll just have to wait and see. Enjoy your weekend, Eugene.”

“Yeah, you too.”

Katrina strode out of the studio and into the parking lot. She had to get out of there before she could act on any of her ridiculous impulses.

“What kind of a name is Eugene, anyway?” She said to herself as she pulled out of the parking lot. She tried talking herself out of her attraction to him. He’s not that good-looking, she tried to tell herself. But he was. His sandy hair had a slight wave to it and she could imagine her fingers raking through it. He’d always looked good in a suit, but nothing had prepared her for how he looked in that tight T-shirt.

When she got home there was a message on her answering machine from Ally-cat, wanting to know how her first lesson went. She erased the message and decided to call her friend back tomorrow. Allison had known her long enough to know that she didn’t need lessons and she’d known Allison long enough to know that wasn’t the question she was really asking.

Katrina popped open a bottle of wine and poured herself a glass. She brought it to her lips and took a generous swallow. She set the glass on the counter and grabbed her phone off the counter and dialled her brother’s number. He wouldn’t be home for hours and he was the first person she wanted to tell. He was the only person who could really understand.

As predicted, her call was sent to voicemail. “Hey Scotty.” She paused, took a breath to steady herself, then continued. “I went dancing tonight. I went to a jazz dance drop in at this studio a friend of Allison’s recommended, and I did it. Talk to you soon, love you, brat.” She ended the call and returned the phone to the cradle. She grabbed her drink and drained the rest of it in a couple large swallows.

Alpha Tango #1
Kevin promised his sister to walk her down the aisle at her wedding. This wouldn’t be so bad, but she’s also making him dance with her. There’s only one problem—Kevin can’t dance.

Determined to have the perfect day, Kevin’s sister signs him up for dancing lessons. His instructor, Ginger, thinks he bit off more than he could chew and offers him some private instruction after class. As his sister’s wedding approaches and his lessons come to an end, he soon learns the benefit of following Ginger’s lead.

At the Barre #2
Allison Elliot was too short to be a ballerina—according to the studio that turned her away. Determined to pursue her childhood dream of learning ballet, she signs up for lessons at a different studio and quickly catches the attention of her instructor.

Josh Owen is more than happy to be her teacher, and maybe more if she’d let him, but she doesn’t seem to notice his advances. Is she oblivious to the obvious chemistry between them, or is something more going on? When Allison threatens to drop his class, Josh urges her to reconsider. Will she stay, or will she give up on two dreams—ballet and love?

Author Bio:
E. M. Denning is a writer from British Columbia. She loves her family and her animals and anything cute and fuzzy. She was born a hopeless romantic and when she’s not writing romance, she’s probably reading it. She loves love.


Jazz Hands #3

Alpha Tango #1

At the Barre #2

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Release Day Blitz: Xs: The Interview by TJ Chapman

Title: Xs: The Interview
Author: TJ Chapman
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release Date: February 10, 2017
His name is whispered behind the hands of many gossiping women.

The way he pleasures a body leaves you craving his touch, his words, and his breath. The way his eyes bore into yours, you want to look away, but you can’t. He controls every part of your being while you’re in his domain. And when you leave, you feel bereft, but sated.

Who is this man they speak about?

Megan Brayer has the chance to interview this elusive gentleman. Will the answers he gives to her questions satisfy her curiosity?

This is the first book of many short stories. Each story will tell its own little story and can be read as stand alone.

“First of all, thank you for taking the time to let me do this interview. I’m going to jump right in because your secretary said you didn’t have much time today. To start easy, the first question is why? Why did you choose this as your profession?” It was the one thing that puzzled Megan.

“My time today is yours, I’ve made sure of that; and to answer your question, why not? I have the means, and motive as it were. I gain pleasure by giving it. I get paid to help these people, to give them what they want with total anonymity. It’s not dangerous or stupid, and I certainly know I’m mature enough to cope with each situation that comes to me. I don’t care about their history, their backgrounds. I get a little peeved if they’re married or have a partner, and I do try in all instances to persuade them not to come to me, but it is what it is. I’ve had several couples come to me, so it can’t be all that bad.”

“So you do it to gain pleasure? Surely you could go to a bar each night for that, or has it got something to do with money?” Megan had a nagging thought that he was just a typical player who was in it for the money as an added bonus.

“Miss Brayer, my first paid ‘job’ was just before my eighteenth birthday. I had a student in the grade above me begging for my help with her English. She didn’t have much money, but came up with the idea that she could give me a blow job as a payment. Crude, it seems, but as a young man, I was up for it. At the time I was still the gentleman my parents raised me to be, so I did hesitate. However, the girl was one step away from not graduating and by the end of the week, I caved. After I’d helped her with the work she was set, she offered me the ‘payment’, but I could see it in her eyes. Fear and nerves. She didn’t want to do it just as much as I didn’t want to use her for my own horny satisfaction.” He picked up his tall glass of iced water, took a sip, and smiled at Megan as he sat it back down on the crisp white tablecloth.

“I told her that she didn’t have to do anything and that I wouldn’t pressure her, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer. We talked for a long time. At that point in my life, I had no clue how to please a woman. One minute we were talking about the stresses of being teenagers and the next, she was showing me how to please her. I was curious and very much willing to learn, so over the next few months I helped her catch up with her work and she taught me the art of pleasing a woman.”

Megan snorted a little. “That’s a bit one-sided, don’t you think? She got the education and the pleasure, too.”

“Not at all. I got an education also, and even if it was one-sided, what horny teenage boy would say no to free sex and a pair of boobs to play with?”

“True. So what happened after you left school?”

“Well, that’s when my education really kicked off. I took a few psychology classes to help both me and women. I went to clubs, all different ones. Early on I learned the more I pleasured a woman, the more I got from it. I observed them constantly. Some women gave away what they wanted from the beginning, others were more reserved. It was almost like I was power hungry. The more I watched and learned, the more a woman would writhe under my control, and the harder I came. I didn’t even have to have sex with them. I could give them pleasure all night and then go home to finish myself off. Those were always the best nights.”

“Power hungry to give pleasure. That sounds pretty strange.”

“Not really. Miss Brayer, take away the fact that we have morals, societies, et cetera, and what we’re left with is nothing more than basic human instincts. Animal instincts. Men still like to congregate around a fire. We’re the heads of our households and when it comes to the bedroom, our instincts really come out. Do you know why most women like their hair being pulled?” he asked, and Megan shook her head, trying not to be pulled in by the feral look in his eyes as he gazed at her over the small table.

Author Bio:
TJ Chapman hates talking about herself in third person…

Living in small villages and towns for most of my life, you would have thought that it would get boring as hell. Fortunately for me, I loved it. I got to know a lot of people and when you take the time to ‘people watch’ as a child, your mind can run at a mile a minute.

I often let my mind wander into the lives of these people. That old lady down the road, well, she could have been a spinster witch. The pub owner who looked very shifty, well… He could certainly be up to no good with things in his cellar. You get my point.

I love writing almost any genre and most of my stories are based around the small villages and towns I grew up in, in Kent, UK. Humour, Supernatural, and Romance are my main focus, but if I get a good plotline in my head, my fingers start typing.

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