Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Spotlight and Giveaway - The Accidental Witch by Jessica Penot

The Accidental Witch
The Darkest Arts Series,  Book 1
By Jessica Penot
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Lachesis Publishing
Number of pages: 276
Word Count: 85,000
Buy Links:
All Romance eBook      Bookstrand      Kindle UK  

Book Description: 
Phaedra Michaels is a small town psychologist who is beginning to lose hope. Two of her patients at the local hospital in Dismal, Alabama have just killed themselves, she’s still reeling from her divorce and what turned out to be a disastrous marriage, and her father has died, leaving her without any notion of who her real mother is.  
Just as Phaedra decides to commit herself to a serious drinking problem and an eating disorder, or two, a mysterious spell book arrives in the mail. Feeling desperate, Phaedra uses it to cast spells to save her fading patients. Suddenly, good things start happening.  Phaedra’s patients begin to get better and she even starts dating the sexy doctor from the hospital.
Phaedra is so happy she doesn't notice the small things that start to go wrong in Dismal, or the dark creatures slithering out of the shadows near her house. When Phaedra finally realizes her spells have attracted every card-carrying demon from hell, she has no choice but to accept help from a slightly nerdy, 500 year-old warlock with a penchant for wearing super hero T-shirts and a knack for getting under Phaedra’s skin. Now, if only she could get the hang of this witch thing, she might be able to save her town.  

It is amazing how the most world-changing days can seem entirely mundane to begin with. Friday the 13th seemed no different than any other day to me. I woke up late, as always, and rushed to get dressed and make it to the car with my usual box of animal crackers and diet cola. I pulled my shoes on as I backed out of the driveway and ate while I drove to work.
I was late to work, but just early enough to not be noticed as late. The small hospital where I worked was a blip in a vast nowhere and the small psychiatric floor I worked on was a blip in a blip. I was a blip within a blip within a blip, making me practically nothing. I could’ve died in my sleep and the world would barely belch. I liked to think that I was good at what I did. I liked to think that even though I was a nothing, I made a difference in the patients’ lives. I was one of those deluded people that believed in saving the world one person at a time. I guess I still am. Certainly, I was one of the few people that actually cared about the patients. The management didn’t care that I cared. Management was too busy trying to balance the books and keep the floor profitable to care what the staff did with the patients. I could take all the patients outside and have them moo like cows and management wouldn’t care as long as I billed it as a recreational therapy group and got the proper reimbursement.

About the Author:
Jessica Penot is a therapist who lives in Alabama with her 2 corgis, cat, sons, husband and other strange creatures. She is the author of Haunted North Alabama, Haunted Chattanooga, and Circe.
Tour Wide Giveaway:
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Spotlight and Giveaway - Entangled Moments by Dori Lavelle

Entangled Moments

Moments in Time Book One

By: Dori Lavelle


A deadly accident can take a life in more than one way.

Four years ago, Carlene Adams made a deadly mistake. A tragic accident derailed the future she'd hoped for, taking the life of the man she'd planned to spend forever with.

As a self-imposed penance for her solitary sin, Carlene has given up on every dream she ever had. She has committed to spend every remaining moment trying to make up for that one instance when everything changed.  

Then she gets a second chance.

When Carlene meets Nick, the single kiss they share awakens the desires she shoved aside for so long. Suddenly she wants more than what she believe she deserves. Will she ever see him again? And if she does, what will that mean for her?

A thing of fate.

Leaving the life she built on regret, Carlene waits for fate to intervene. But just as she begins to believe in a fresh start, she's forced to realize a horrible truth—one with the power to send her second chance crashing before it even takes off.

Nick isn't who she thought he was. She isn't the girl he believed her to be, either. Their lives were intertwined even before they met, and if Carlene tells him the truth, she’ll risk tearing them apart—for good.

** Due to sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18. **


Buy Link:     Amazon

Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2013/11/now-booking-release-day-tasty-book_30.html


Author Info:

Dori Lavelle, is a mother, wife, and lover of happy endings and mint chocolate. She thinks love and chocolate make such a perfect pair. Give her a great romance novel with a hint of suspense and a mug of hot chocolate and she'd be one happy woman.

Growing up, Dori read a lot, and when she wasn't happy with a particular ending, she wrote a different one, just for herself. Before long, she was writing stories when she should have been doing homework. The time has come for her to share the stories she cooks up in her head.

Author Links:
Email: Dori_lavelle@yahoo.com

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Spotlight and Giveaway - Devil's Play (Sweet as Sin Series, Book 2) by Kenya Carlton

Devil’s Play
Sweet as Sin Series Book Two
by Kenya Carlton 
Genre: Paranormal Multicultural Erotic
Publisher: Parker Publishing
Date of Publication: May 25, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-60043-130-2
Number of pages: 169 

Book Description:
Snuggled within the warm embrace of marital bliss, biologically altered army Captain Drake Devilin and his supernatural bride Sienna face their biggest challenge to date. Called back for duty in World War II, Drake must leave his amazing life behind and join his troop to fight the Nazis.  Although he’s certain his new mission is merely a rouse to obtain his most precious commodity, his wife, Drake leaves, but not before giving Sienna a magical necklace in the hope it will protect her against unknown enemies.
Lured from her prosperous island by a sorcerer who is convinced she was always meant to be his bride. Sienna is challenged to play three magical games to ensure her husband’s safe return. In each game, a limited time is given to Sienna to immerse herself into a new world, situation, and persona; find Drake; and have him acknowledge her by name. And she can’t use her powers to make it happen.
Everything dear to Sienna’s heart is put in jeopardy. Willing to fight for the love of her life and her happiness, Sienna takes on the sorcerer in his own game of cat and mouse. 

About the Author:
Native of Chicago Illinois, Kenya worked in the Network operation Center for PBS and TLN television stations. Executive producer of her own production company Black R.O.K Productions Kenya produced a pilot for travel series Destination Everywhere, Independent short film Dawn shown at the Chicago Latino film Festival, and wrote and directed the documentary Our Africa. Writing titles available; Jaded, Sweet as Sin, Brazil re-issue, Devil’s Play, and Remember This.
Twitter @kcbookcafe
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Monday, December 30, 2013

Spotlight - Immortals of New Orleans series by Kym Grosso

Logan’s Acadian Wolves
Immortals of New Orleans, Book 4
by Kym Grosso
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
ISBN-13: 978-1492267799
ISBN-10: 1492267791
Number of pages: Approximately 430 
Word Count: 120,090 words
Cover Artist:  Patricia Schmitt, PickyMe
Buy Links:

Book Description:
An erotic paranormal romance...
Deep in the heart of New Orleans, Acadian Wolves’ Alpha, Logan Reynaud, rescues a beautiful woman in the dead of night. Intrigued by the mysterious human, the commanding Alpha is determined to elicit all of her secrets, including her deepest fantasies. After tragedy strikes, Logan discovers dangerous adversaries are planning an attack in his city. Driven by responsibility and honor, Logan must protect both his pack and the woman who’s captivated his attention.
Dr. Wynter Ryan, a leading virologist, is fascinated with her charismatic protector. As the chemistry ignites between her and the dominant Alpha, she relinquishes her ties to the past, embracing ecstasy and submission within his arms and intrepidly acquiescing to her own adventurous instincts. Succumbing to desire, she learns to trust her Alpha, discovering what it means to be wolf.
Passion and mystery on the bayou stirs Logan’s wolf, demanding he claim his mate. Yet Wynter’s a distraction he can’t afford when his priority is to lead his new pack. Will Logan surrender to the uncontrollable need to claim Wynter as his mate? And will he be able to keep her alive, finding the killer who threatens the Acadian Wolves?
Warning: This book contains several erotic love scenes, including m/f/m menage, and

Excerpt: is intended for adult readers only.
“Odd vampire, isn’t he?” Wynter noted.
“That he is.  My gut tells me he abides by some code of honor, but don’t ever mistake him for anything but what he is,” Logan warned.
“A monster?”
Logan smiled.  “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster.”
She laughed. “Another quote?”
“Friedrich Nietzsche,” Logan confirmed.  He took her hands in his. “We have a few hours before it’s time to leave.  I know I should be encouraging you to go relax, take a nap or something sensible like that.”
“Relax, huh?  How ‘bout a bubble bath?  Or a massage?”  She winked and dragged her finger down his chest.
“A bath sounds good to me as long as I’m in there with you.”  Logan pulled her flush to him, burying his head in her neck and growled. “You drive me crazy, do you know that?  I can’t keep my hands off you.”
Wynter giggled, growing aroused, loving the feel of his warm lips on her skin.  She looked over to the table and gave him a sexy smile.  “My Alpha,” she began seductively.  “You know, I just noticed that this is a really nice table.  Sturdy.  Long.  Hard.”
My Alpha?  Logan’s cock thickened at her words.  The table isn’t the only hard thing in this room, baby.  He glanced to its wooden top then back to her with a smile. 
“African mahogany.  A friend custom made it for me.  You like?”
“Oh I like.  I mean, it looks very functional.  I bet we could get a lot of work done at this table,” she mused with a wink. Meeting his eyes, she gave him a suggestive smile and cocked her eyebrow. She slid her hand down between his legs and cupped his hard arousal.  “You know, I always wondered what it would be like to be a secretary.  I’ve been looking around here, and it seems you’re in need of some assistance.”
Logan hissed, closing his eyes.  Holy shit, that felt amazing.
“How about I fill in for your secretary today?” she asked. “I’m very good at dictation, sir.” 
Wynter had never in her life been so forward.  But after making love to Logan, she craved him more than ever.  As though she were addicted to a drug, she needed more.  The warmth between her legs grew painful.  Feeling flirtatious and horny, she didn’t think it would take very long to entice him into her fantasy.
Logan eyed Wynter, hardly believing he could be so lucky.  His naughty little wolf wanted a romp in the office?  Seriously?  His brain said ‘no way’, but his burgeoning erection said, ‘hell yes’.  He’d have to be careful not to get carried away.  His wolf wanted this woman in the worst way, sought to claim her.
“Sweetheart, I don’t think you know what you’re askin’.  My wolf, he’s restless.”  He gently nipped at her collarbone, as if to give her fair warning.  If he took her, it was going to be rough and hard. 
“But I do…I know exactly what I’m agreeing to.”  Wynter leaned into Logan and placed a kiss to his chin then dragged her tongue along his bottom lip and kissed him. 
“Do you now?”  Logan grabbed a fistful of her hair, gently pulling her head backwards.  Revealing her neck, he licked at the hollow until she gasped.

Tristan’s Lyceum Wolves
Immortals of New Orleans, Book 3
by Kym Grosso 

Genre:  Erotic Paranormal Romance
ISBN-13: 978-1482692396
ISBN-10: 1482692392
Number of pages:  Approx. 267
Word Count:  94,000 words

Buy Link:

Book Description:

An erotic paranormal romance…

Charismatic and powerful Lyceum Wolves’ Alpha, Tristan Livingston, is out for revenge after a devastating attack on his pack. Not only did he survive a building collapse, he orchestrated the rebuild of his chic, state-of-the-art nightclub within a week. Determined to mete out justice, he rescues a beautiful witness who may be the key to helping him find the perpetrators.

Dr. Kalli Williams, dedicated veterinarian, is hiding a secret that endangers not only her own life but the lives of wolves across the country. After being tortured by a savage vampire, she’s reluctantly agrees to help the sexy Alpha in his quest to identify suspects; ones who’d kill her on the spot if they knew she existed. As Kalli places herself in the hands of the dominant wolf, she soon finds she wants nothing more than to submit.

Tristan, committed to ruling his pack as a lone wolf, is inexplicably drawn to the mysterious and enticing woman, who seems more than human, but not quite supernatural. As he discovers her secret, he teaches her the meaning of trust, helping her learn how to be true to her nature. After living a lifetime alone, will he succumb to the visceral need to claim her, acknowledging the soul binding connection between an Alpha and his mate? And will he prevail against the menacing enemy who threatens to destroy Lyceum Wolves?



Luca’s Magic Embrace
Immortals of New Orleans, Book 2
by Kym Grosso
Genre:  Paranormal Romance, Erotic Paranormal Romance
ISBN-13: 978-1480199262
ISBN-10: 1480199265
Approximately 255 pages in pdf.  Varies in e-copy.
Word Count:  80,799 words
Cover Artist:  Carrie Spencer, CheekyCovers
Buy Links:

  Amazon US  Amazon UK 

Book Description:
An erotic paranormal romance...

Sexy vampire, Luca Macquarie doesn't do love; especially not with humans. Yet, ever since he rescued Samantha Irving, he can't deny the enigmatic attraction he's developed for the alluring mortal woman. Concerned for her safety, he's determined to bring Samantha back to her coven. His mission is to go find the novice witch and bring her home, nothing more, nothing less; falling for her is not supposed to be part of the plan.
Samantha doesn't want to be a witch, yet that's exactly what she is. After failing to elicit her magic, she escapes to the mountains in an attempt to resume a semblance of her previous human life. When an arsonist torches her cabin, Samantha's worst fears are realized. Aware that her life is on the line, she reluctantly agrees to return to New Orleans with Luca.
In the Big Easy, Samantha and Luca embark on a spellbinding journey, searching for a mystical amulet that promises to release her obligation from an ancient, lethal vampire who's been threatening her life. With cryptic clues and clandestine allies, will Luca and Samantha destroy the dangerous amulet before others acquire it, setting forth a chain of catastrophic consequences? And will Luca give into his erotic desire for the witch who magically captures heart?
Book Trailer:  http://youtu.be/ngBxFCMQGO0

Kade's Dark Embrace
Immortals of New Orleans, Book 1

by Kym Grosso 

Genre: Paranormal Spicy Romance 

74,000 Words Novel Length

Buy Links:

Book Description: 

After a series of girls are ritualistically murdered on the cold streets of Philadelphia, seasoned detective, Sydney Willows, is forced to work with sexy, alpha vampire, Kade Issacson. While working the case, Sydney finds herself inexplicably drawn to Kade, fighting the passion she feels towards him. Kade, determined to solve the case and mete out justice, is captivated by the independent, fiery detective. As he attempts to protect her from a very real murderer, Kade grows concerned that the beautiful, but very human detective, could easily end up dead should she tangle with supernatural forces that are beyond her control.

The investigation leads them into a dark and dangerous world, deep in the heart of New Orleans, where together, they search for the perpetrators of the Voodoo killings. Sydney soon becomes the target of the killer and ends up fighting for her life and love in the Big Easy. If she makes it out alive, will she give into the intoxicating desire she feels for Kade?

book trailer for Kade's Dark Embrace  http://youtu.be/_GsJRUi1fww

About the Author:
Kym Grosso is the author of the erotic paranormal romance series, The Immortals of New Orleans. The series currently includes Kade’s Dark Embrace (Immortals of New Orleans, Book 1), Luca’s Magic Embrace (Immortals of New Orleans, Book 2), Tristan’s Lyceum Wolves (Immortals of New Orleans, Book 3) and Logan’s Acadian Wolves (Immortals of New Orleans, Book 4).
In addition to romance, Kym has written and published several articles about autism, and is passionate about autism advocacy. She writes about autism at PsychologyToday.com and AutismInRealLife.com. She also is a contributing essay author in the book Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum.
Kym lives with her husband, two children, dog and cat. Her hobbies include autism advocacy, reading, tennis, zumba, traveling and spending time with her husband and children. New Orleans, with its rich culture, history and unique cuisine, is one of her favorite places to visit. Also, she loves traveling just about anywhere that has a beach or snow-covered mountains. On any given night, when not writing her own books, Kym can be found reading her Kindle, which is filled with hundreds of romances.
Twitter: @KymGrosso

Spotlight and Giveaway - Remember This by Kenya Carlton

Remember This
by Kenya Carlton
Genre: African American Romance 

Book Description:
Ex-ballerina turned rehab designer Cece Newman competes in a reality show that could give her fledgling company the boost that it needs. Assigned a relic of a house in a renovation challenge, Cece soon becomes suspicious of the producer’s intentions.  When she finds the house is one of many properties her ex-fiancĂ© and baby daddy Brock Thorn owns, Cece is convinced that she is being set up for failure.  Ready to drop the project and what’s left of her career, Cece has to find a way to ignore the handsome athlete while she navigates around his kooky family.  Cece must also convince their daughter that mommy and daddy won’t be getting back together again, a job easier said than done—especially when the attraction between the two is hotter than ever. 
The biggest hit Brock Thorn took on or off the field occurred when Cece Newman left him at the altar. Five years later, Brock is more determined than ever to get answers from his baby’s momma. Even in regards to joint custody of their daughter, Brock’s only form of contact with Cece is through her loving, protective sister Lily. Brock packs up his high profile life and digs his heels in at the crappy house he’s inherited—the very one Cece is set to renovate.  As he dodges cameras and uninvited family members, Brock must get to the bottom of his failed romance with Cece—especially if he has any chance of getting back the life that was lost when Cece left. 
About the Author:
Native of Chicago Illinois, Kenya worked in the Network operation Center for PBS and TLN television stations. Executive producer of her own production company Black R.O.K Productions Kenya produced a pilot for travel series Destination Everywhere, Independent short film Dawn shown at the Chicago Latino film Festival, and wrote and directed the documentary Our Africa. Writing titles available; Jaded, Sweet as Sin, Brazil re-issueDevil’s Play, and Remember This.
Twitter @kcbookcafe
Tour wide giveaway
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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Book Blitz and Giveaway - After The Storm by M. Stratton

After the Storm Book Blitz Banner
After The Storm
by M. Stratton
Alexia “Lexi” Hanson moved across the country to rebuild her life after the attack that almost destroyed her. She enjoys the simple things in her beach cottage. Life is finally complete. Noah Matthews is Rock & Roll’s hottest star and on top of the world. After years without a break he finds the solitude he craves at his beach house. Enjoying his early morning coffee, Noah is surprised to see his neighbor sneak into his garden and crawl around. They never saw that fateful morning coming. Someone was watching them. Someone who thought Lexi belonged to him and would stop at nothing to have her. Lives are changed forever when they meet amongst the blooms in his garden. Even when things seem darkest, there is always light After the Storm.
Meet the Author
M. Stratton is a wife and mother who grew up in a small town north of Chicago before moving to Arizona. She is currently working in accounting for a plumbing company. M. Stratton has spent years telling herself stories to fall asleep at night before deciding it was time to get them down on paper for the world to see. She currently has eight different stories fighting to be told. Like everyone else she was afraid to put the stories down and send to publishing companies. With today’s Indie market she decided now is the time.

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Cover Reveal and Giveaway - Tall, Dark & Alpha anthology

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Book Title: Tall Dark and Alpha
Author: Various Authors
Genre: Romance Anthology, IR Multicultural
Release Date: March 10, 2014

He makes your heart pound and melts your resistance away. He promises you a world of passion and you find it impossible to resist his dark charm. When he catches your eye across the room, you know he means business. He could be an executive, cop, shape shifter, or a bad boy looking for a little fun. Once he has you in his sights, you can't get away—and after one sizzling night in his arms, you won't want to. He’s Tall, Dark & Alpha. The alpha male is the ultimate indulgence…the richest dark chocolate…and we’re offering him to you in abundance.

Delve into the sensual worlds of award-winning authors: Randi Alexander, Koko Brown, Sam Cheever, Delaney Diamond, Eve Langlais, Afton Locke, Dawn Montgomery, Farrah Rochon, Paige Tyler, and Eve Vaughn. Immerse yourself in the alpha male experience.


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Friday, December 27, 2013

Spotlight and Giveaway - Love in Touch by Lucy May Lennox

Love in Touch
by Lucy May Lennox
Contemporary Romance
Release Date:  November 1, 2013


Kassie has felt adrift ever since her dad died when she was in college. Now 24 and living in Seattle, she gets interested in learning sign language through her roommate, a sign language interpreter. One day at a Deaf community event, she sees a young man sitting off by himself. Kassie feels compelled to try signing to him–the fact that he’s strikingly handsome doesn’t hurt.
Jake has been deaf and blind since birth. His disability has cut him off from the world, but beneath his isolated exterior, is a smart, sweet guy with a dry sense of humor. Despite the odds, he’s highly educated, but at 26, he’s gotten stuck in a rut, with few friends and no clear career plans. Until a sweet-smelling girl introduces herself to him unexpectedly, and opens up a whole new world to him.
Jake is more intelligent, more genuine than anyone she has met before, and for the first time Kassie starts to feel like her life has some direction. But as their friendship deepens into something more, the difficulty in communicating with each other only grows, and it seems like everyone they know thinks their relationship won’t work. How can they come to a deeper understanding of each other, and find a future together?

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Kassie asked as she slammed the car door shut behind her.

Erik smiled down at her, his brilliant white grin reassuring. “Of course. You’ll be fine.” He jogged across the parking lot while Kassie dawdled behind, even though the rain was increasing from a mist to a steady drizzle.

“I don’t know. My signing still sucks. What if they don’t understand me?”

Erik put an arm around her, hugging her to his lean tall frame. “Come on, you’re not here as an interpreter. This is just a casual meetup. And since when have you been shy?”

Kassie grinned despite herself, then looked up at the low-slung building before them. A sign over the door read Seattle Deafblind Center. She glanced up at Erik again.

“OK, but you’ll help me if I get stuck?”

“You’ll be fine,” Erik repeated as he pushed the door open.

To Kassie it seemed purely by accident that she ended up in this place at this time. She had moved to Seattle after graduating from college because she wanted to get away, to start over. She had chosen a small school in Indiana near home, but her father had gotten sick in her freshman year and died in her junior year, leaving her to sleepwalk through college in a haze of grief that prevented her from making any friends, let alone boyfriends. By the time she graduated she was ready to start over in a new place where she didn’t know anyone. She found a job easily enough as an administrative assistant (well, secretary really) to the head of finance at the corporate office of a big name department store. The pay was alright, even if the job itself felt pointless and boring. The atmosphere in the office was decidedly stodgy despite the store’s inept attempts to be edgy and hip.

It was because of her housemate, Erik, that Kassie started taking American Sign Language classes at Seattle Community College. Erik was a CODA, a hearing Child Of Deaf Adults, and worked as an ASL interpreter. Learning ASL seemed like a good way to get involved with something more meaningful than her current job, but after over a year of classes Kassie was, if anything, even more painfully conscious of how far from fluent she was. From time to time she accompanied Erik to pizza nights and meetups at the Seattle Deaf Community Center, but while people there were nice, they always seemed a bit mystified by her presence. Inevitably someone would ask if she was training to become an interpreter.

No, I just want to learn, she’d reply, doing her best to make her signs quick and natural. Usually the other person would smile, but somewhat hesitantly, as if that wasn’t really enough of an explanation.
If she signed, I’m Erik’s friend, people assumed they were a couple, which seemed ridiculous to her because he was so obviously gay. But apparently it was the only way people could make sense of her presence there.

Still, she kept going with him every month or so. The meetups, just casual gatherings  to chat in ASL for a few hours in the evening, were good practice. Then one day Erik mentioned to her that he had been asked to attend a similar meetup, but for deafblind people. Impulsively, Kassie volunteered to go with him, but the thought of her inadequate signing skills was making her uncharacteristically nervous.

Kassie followed Erik into a medium-sized meeting room with round tables and plastic chairs arranged around the hard linoleum floor, like a school cafeteria. A dozen or so people stood or sat eating pizza, just like the Deaf meetups she had been to before, except everyone sat much closer together, signing in pairs. Erik greeted several people with great animation, hugging them and introducing Kassie. Most of them seemed able to see her signing well enough to understand her, even some of the people carrying white canes. Only one woman put her hands on top of Kassie’s as she spelled out her name.

As Kassie started to relax and look around, she noticed a figure sitting off by himself, separated from the small knot of people. She watched for nearly half an hour, but no one approached him. She gauged him to be about her age. His eyes were closed and his brows pinched up in a frown, but even so he was strikingly handsome, with close-cut, glossy black hair contrasting with a pale complexion.
She nudged Erik, pointing toward him with her chin. “Who’s that?”

“Oh, that’s Jake,” Erik replied. “Don’t worry about him–his intervener will be here soon.”

“His what?”

“Intervener, it’s like an interpreter for deafblind people. Like Mandy there,” he added, waving to a woman who was signing into the hand of another woman seated beside her.

“I’m going to say hello to him,” Kassie said. It seemed wrong to her that one person should be excluded from the group.

Erik looked slightly pained. “Kassie, you don’t understand,” he said. “Everyone else here has Usher’s Syndrome. They’ve been Deaf all their lives–only started to lose their vision as teenagers or adults, and most of them still have some sight. They’re all ASL native speakers. But Jake is profoundly deaf and totally blind from birth. I’m not sure he even knows ASL.”

Kassie stared at him, her eyes growing larger. “How can he not know ASL? He must know something, right?” she asked, a little shocked.

Erik explained, “It’s hard to learn the signs if you can’t see them. I think he uses a different manual alphabet that’s easier for him.” Seeing the look of concern on Kassie’s face he added, “Don’t worry about him, he’s fine.”

Kassie turned to look at Jake again. He didn’t look fine to her. He looked bored and lonely. She knew how it felt to be on the outside, to have no one to talk to. What if he was just waiting for someone to go over to him? It didn’t hurt that he was cute too. If they were at a party she would find some excuse to talk to him. “I’m going to say hello to him,” she insisted.

“Try printing block letters on his palm, he might understand that,” Erik suggested with a shrug.

Kassie squared her shoulders and marched across the room, daring Erik to stop her, but he had already turned his attention to someone else.

Jake did not seem to notice her approach his chair. He sat with his back rigidly straight, but his head dipped slightly down and to the left. Up close he was even cuter, with his strong, slightly triangular jaw. The contrast between his glossy black hair, slightly grown out on top, and his pale skin was startling. His eyelashes were dark and thick too, although his eyes opened only slightly, showing a line of white.

Kassie waited for a moment, but when he still did not give any sign of noticing her she tapped him on the shoulder. Jake jumped so high she nearly retreated, overcome with guilt for having startled him, but he was already holding out his left palm toward her. Realizing it would be even more cruel to walk away, Kassie extended a trembling finger and wrote very slowly in the palm of his hand, H-E-L-L-O.

To her extreme surprise, he saluted her with the ASL sign for hello, then added, My name is Jake, in rather jerky, hesitant signs. At least that’s what she assumed he meant; rather than spelling out his name, he made a name sign, tracing a sort of J against his chest with his pinkie finger.

Kassie made to introduce herself as well, with his hands resting on hers, realizing only too late that when she gestured towards herself, she brought his hand directly onto her breasts. Jake seemed to realize the same thing–he breathed in sharply and flushed from his neck to his hairline, bright pink splotches standing out against his white cheeks. Flustered, Kassie tried again, this time only moving her hand halfway. My name is K-A-S-S-I-E, she signed, fingerspelling her name then adding the name sign Erik had given her, a K at her right temple, a reference to her short, curly blond hair.

Jake did not reply, so she made the signs again, even more slowly, but he kept tugging her hands towards him. She gently tugged back, but that only seemed to agitate him. He brushed his fingers over her palm, then made some rapid signs she couldn’t follow. She stared at him helplessly. He sighed in irritation as he repeated the signs, the splotches on his cheeks turning darker red.

This time Kassie picked out C-A-R-T-E-R, but that was all. What is carter, she wondered, feeling increasingly panicked. She glanced behind her, trying to spot Erik, but instead a small balding man with round glasses set atop a hooked nose suddenly appeared and insinuated himself between her and Jake. Before she realized what had happened, he pushed her aside and put his hands under Jake’s. Immediately they began signing back and forth rapidly.

Kassie shifted from foot to foot, unwilling to end their conversation so abruptly. If you could even call it a conversation, but still, it seemed rude to walk away. “Umm…excuse me, but who are you?” she asked the interloper.

Without pausing his signing with Jake, the man gave her a sour look. “I’m Joel Carter, Jake’s intervener,” he snapped.

“Oh, of course!” It seemed so obvious now. “I’m Kassie,” she said, fingerspelling her name again and adding her name sign at the end, so he could repeat it into Jake’s hand. “I’m a friend of Erik’s. I was just, um, saying hello to Jake.”

Carter passed along the message, then said, “Jake says hello.” Kassie watched their interaction curiously. Carter was not using any ASL signs or fingerspelling she recognized. Jake held out his left palm flat and at an angle, while Carter tapped and brushed it in different places with his fingers, sometimes straight or bent, sometimes one or more than one finger at a time.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Carter, but do you mind telling me what system you’re using? Erik said Jake doesn’t know ASL, but I guess he was wrong about that. Anyway it looks like now you’re using something else. I’m just curious,” she finished lamely, realizing she was starting to babble.

Carter was not pleased with her question. “He knows some basic ASL,” he answered shortly, “but we’re using the deafblind manual alphabet.”

“Oh, I see.”

Carter stared at her but did not say anything more. After a moment Kassie realized what was happening: Carter didn’t want to talk to her. He wanted her to go away, but being an ethical interpreter he was not going to say anything to her he would not also sign to Jake.

“Well, um, ok, nice to meet you, Jake,” Kassie said, and patted him on the shoulder as Carter interpreted. Again Jake jumped a bit, and Kassie fled back to Erik on the other side of the room.

For the remainder of the evening Kassie stuck close to Erik, signing briefly with a few people, but for the most part feeling like an observer. At the Deaf meetups there were always lots of people, and she rarely had a problem finding someone willing to let her practice her ASL. But here she realized it was hard to sign to more than one person at a time, and even harder to initiate small talk with a stranger.

She never realized how much she relied on catching someone’s eye to begin a conversation. She ended up chatting with one of the interpreters about her ASL class, although she knew her teacher would scold her for using her voice.

Back in the car , Erik asked, “So what did you talk about with Jake?”

“Nothing,” she replied truthfully.

“I told you his intervener would show up,” Erik said as he pulled out of the parking lot. “But he is kind of a hottie. I don’t blame you for wanting to chat him up.” He turned to wink at her.

“Oh my God, what are you talking about?” Kassie protested. “Not everyone is a horndog like you.”

Erik just laughed. In the two years they had been living together they had grown close, even though initially they only met through Craigslist. Erik was the ideal housemate, a good cook and fastidiously clean, even if he was kind of loud and liked to play techno turned all the way up. After feeling alone for so long, Kassie was glad to have someone to joke around with. She liked going out with him to gay clubs where she could dance however she liked, and no one hit on her. Not that she was against dating–she had attempted a few relationships, but somehow the guys she met all seemed self-involved and shallow.

But even though Erik was fun, he definitely had his own life that didn’t always include her, and she tried not to be too clingy. She tried to find activities that would get her out of the house more, and suddenly she found she was running around all the time.

Now she caught sight of the clock on the car radio.”Oh no, is that the time? Do you mind dropping me off at my yoga class? I’ll take the bus home.”

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Author Bio:
Lucy May Lennox is a lifelong resident of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Her first ambition in life was to become a child actor, but when she grew too old to be an adorable prodigy, she turned to writing instead. A connoisseur of novels featuring men with physical disabilities, she grew frustrated with all the cliches, ignorance and stereotypes and decided to write her own positive take on disability. In addition to writing, Lucy also enjoys cooking and gardening, and is an amateur opera singer.
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