Monday, March 26, 2018

Sam's Story: Book Three (Skylar Trilogy) by Amy D. Crusan-Kramer Excerpt



In this captivating saga, Samantha Skylar experiences undying passion and endures one horrific act of brutality that sweeps her into the arms of the second most powerful man in the country. Samantha’s journey takes her from the poverty and close-minded attitudes of a tiny, coal-mining town in West Virginia, to the estate of one of Atlanta’s oldest and wealthiest families. This epic trilogy follows Samantha from the age of 14 to 40.

Book Three opens with Sam struggling to adjust to a new life in a new city. She is grieving the loss of her friends, while tentatively exploring a new relationship with the Vice President of the United States. Not quite a year into this new life, Sam finds herself back in Atlanta, once again trying to heal. Complications arise as she works to repair relationships with the people she loves most.

After her successful reentry into her life in Atlanta, Sam discovers a love stronger than any romantic love she'd ever experienced: the love of a mother for her child. But after one more devastating loss, she ponders the wisdom of ever letting herself love or be loved again.


Washington, DC
Friday, February 12, 1993

You seem like you’re a million miles away this evening, Sam.” Nancy’s familiar comforting voice penetrated my thoughts.
I’d been staring blindly out the window of her tiny office at the women’s shelter. “God, it looks like it’s going to snow again,” I groaned. She was quiet; she was amazing at being quiet, and never seemed to feel uncomfortable. I’d always felt as though I should fill the silences. Nancy was the only person I was comfortable with in silence … well, not the only person, but I didn’t want to think about that other person. I looked over at her desk; it faced the wall to make more room in the tiny office. I sought out the pictures that always calmed me during my therapy sessions. There were two: one of her and her four children. They all looked so happy, and why wouldn’t they be with a mom like her? The other picture was of Nancy and her cocker spaniel, Baxter. He was brown and white with freckles across his nose. “How’s Baxter?”
She smiled at me. “He’s fine. He’s getting old and a little hard of hearing, but he’s fine.” I nodded. “How are you?”
I looked at her and felt my eyes well with tears. “Sad … and terrified all the time.” She nodded. “It’s been over three months,” I spat in exasperation.
She nodded again. “You’re grieving … it’s a process.”
Grieving? Oh, for Bastian?” There was that ‘other person.’
Well, yes, for Bastian. But you lost more than Bastian. Joe took things from you…” I shook my head. I didn’t want to talk about Joe. “Why are you shaking your head, Sam?”
I can’t talk about that,” I whispered. My hand went to my chest that felt as though it were constricting. I couldn’t breathe.
Take some deep breaths. You’re fine.” I did as she instructed. “How’s work?” I could have kissed her for changing the subject.
I relaxed and smiled. “I like it. There’s security everywhere…”
She laughed quietly. “Yes, it is the White House.” I smiled and nodded.
I’m busy from the moment I arrive until I leave, sometimes I work a twelve or fourteen-hour day. I like it … it keeps me from thinking.” I idly picked at some cat hair on my pants. “I usually go in on the weekends. But…” I sighed miserably. “Daniel’s going out of town this weekend for his mother-in-law’s birthday, so I have the entire weekend to myself. No Daniel, no Chris…” My voice trailed off and I went back to looking out the window.
Well, back to grieving … it happens in stages. Everyone does it their own way and in their own time. You lost a part of yourself, emotionally and physically, when Joe raped you.”
I hate that word.”
Mm-hmm, it’s an ugly word for an ugly act. But that’s what he did to you. How long was he there that night, Sam?”
I shook my head. “I-I don’t know … ten, eleven hours?”
Okay, let’s say it was ten hours. It was ten hours, Sam. Don’t let those ten hours and that horrible person dictate the rest of your life.”
I don’t know how not to,” I answered honestly.
I know. That’s why you’re here … so we can come up with ways for you to move on from it.” We were quiet again. I looked down at my hands in my lap, twisting Phil’s ring around on my left ring finger.
Don’t you usually wear that on your thumb?” I looked down and smiled as I touched the plain gold band. “It’s the ring Phil gave you, right?”
Mm-hmm. I finally took it in and got it resized. It feels good to have it back where it belongs.”
Why does it ‘belong’ there, Sam?” I looked up at her, confused. Where else would I wear it? “Well, what I mean is … you have an engagement ring from Bastian, too, right?” I nodded, not liking the direction this conversation was taking. She shrugged and asked, “Well, why wouldn’t you wear that one? Why doesn’t that one ‘belong’ on your ring finger? What was wrong with wearing Phil’s ring on your thumb like you had been doing?”
I sighed. “Well … there’s a security officer at work. He’s very nice … he always makes an effort to chat a little in the morning when I check in.”
Nancy smiled at me and nodded. “You can never have too many friends, Sam.”
I s’pose. Last Friday I worked pretty late. He walked me out to my car … and then…” I could feel my heart pounding, just like it did last Friday. I stood up and walked over to the window, staring out as the first few flakes began falling. “Then he asked me to go out to dinner with him … maybe a movie.”
What did you say?”
I turned and looked at her incredulously. “No, of course!” We were both quiet. I turned slowly and walked back to my chair. I sat and picked at a hangnail on my thumb until it bled. “Well, I didn’t exactly say no. I, uh, well… I pretended that I hadn’t heard him. I thanked him for getting me safely to my car, got in and drove home. The next day, I took the ring in and got it resized. He’s off on Mondays. I picked the ring up Monday night and when I signed in on Tuesday, I made a point of moving my left hand around a lot so he would see it.” I was suddenly horribly embarrassed. I looked up at Nancy and relaxed. She never looked or acted shocked by anything I told her … I loved that about her. “Hmm, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but telling the story now … it seems kind of silly.”
She smiled at me. “Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to just be honest with him? Wouldn’t you like to be able to thank him for the invitation, but tell him that you’re just not interested in dating right now?” I looked down and nodded. “That’s what I meant earlier, Sam. That Joe has taken a part of you emotionally. He took that independent woman who didn’t need a ruse to avoid people. Our job is to get her back.”

Friday, March 23, 2018

Serial Wives: Introducing Zero Zimmerman by Yvonne Walus



Why would a rich girl become a prostitute?
Three years ago Joy refused to sleep with an ex boyfriend. When he committed suicide, her guilt was enormous. To punish herself she opted to serve as a prostitute for three years.

How far would you go to protect your child?
Cora loves her convict husband despite - or because of - his bad boy ways. But now that he's back in her life, she has their daughter to consider. Is a faulty father better than no father at all?

A serial killer…
A serial killer who murders women and displays their bodies dressed in a white sheet with a fencing mask covering the face. Who will be next?

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Enemy of Mine by Red L. Jameson - FREEBIE


Barnes & Noble

Newly updated and edited

**Book 1 of The Glimpse Time Travel Series, where mythical muses play naughty matchmakers**

Kidnapping mortals to different eras is such fun. Trickster muse sisters, Clio and Erato, call it a glimpse, but military historian Minerva Ferguson, Erva, is fairly certain she’s gone nuts when she wakes two hundred miles from her apartment. And two hundred years in the past to Brooklyn, 1776. In an unfamiliar manse, during the American Revolutionary War, she’s not too sure how to regain her sanity. Especially when she realizes whose mansion she’s just woken in, the one British general she studied more than anything else, Lord William Hill.

When Will hears Erva’s screams of panic, he breaks down a door to save her, even if he can’t quite remember why she’s visiting. She calms, though, the instant she sees him, as if they’ve known each other for eons. From the second he sees her dressed in a toga made from a bed sheet to later when she’s with his troops, wooing them with her musket skills, he realizes he’s smitten. But he’s a weary soldier, shrouded in grief, while she reminds him of a sun goddess. Is she too good for him? Lord, how he wants her to want him.

How could Erva not fall for a guy who accidentally quotes a Cheap Trick song? But now she has to get to the bottom of if Will is really a rake, how to stop one of the most important battles of the war, and lastly how to stop her insane crush on the general. After all, he’s going to die in less than a week.

The muses have to work fast for this glimpse. But that’s when they work best. And as explosions erupt through New York, sometimes it’s not from the artillery.


“Why are you—” She stopped herself again. This time she bit her lush bottom lip and looked away.
“Why am I what?” He should have let her question falter, but he had to know for himself if she were a spy or not. The more questions she asked, the more she would reveal herself.
The anomalous thought flittered through his mind though that he wasn’t too sure if he cared if she were a spy.
She glanced back up at him, her eyes wide and timid. “Why are you here?”
That, he hadn’t expected. A spy would wonder about his men, his drills, his arms, anything else that mattered to the war. Not a philosophical question about why he was here. But even the reason why he was here could be used against him, if court martialed. He hadn’t realized that thus far. Then again, he’d thought he wouldn’t have survived this long in the war. In his mind, he would have no reason to be court martialed. He wouldn’t be alive for it.
She licked her lips and slightly shook her head. “I mean, you didn’t vote for any of the acts the Americans protested. The newspapers said that you didn’t support any kind of action against the Americans. You don’t support this war, yet here you are. Why?”
“Why not?” He tried to deflect the conversation.
She narrowed her eyes, no longer looking sheepish but challenging, ruthless, and so lovely. He liked her best like this, shooting faster than most of his men, speaking of sedition to his superiors, the Howe brothers. Lord, how he liked it when her eyes caught fire and turned back into dark red-brown honey. His veins pumped his too hot blood through his body.
“Why not, hmm?” She gave him a wicked smile. “Why not, indeed. I think you don’t want to be here.”
“On the contrary, there is no other place I’d rather be.”
She blinked, then caught his meaning that standing so close to her was exactly where he’d love to be. Arching a blonde brow, she said, “You know what I mean, obtuse man.”
He silently chuckled at his new name.
“I think you don’t want to be in this war.”
He felt his own mirth leave his face. “You might be right.”
“Then why are you here? Why do you fight? Especially so efficiently?”
“Do I?”
She growled, making Will grin again. “Quit evading the questions with your own.”
“Why? This is fun.”
She smacked one of his shoulders, then he caught her small hand in his.
“Is this fun for you too?” he asked, carefully gauging her reaction as he twined his fingers through hers.
She didn’t look at their hands. Instead, her gaze was focused on his chest. He especially enjoyed that, as if she found him desirable. Lord, he hoped so, that he wasn’t making a fool of himself.
She never answered, but looked up at him, her long lashes batting. He took hold of her candle and set it on a nearby table. In so doing he’d gotten that much closer to her, and just as he was thinking of holding her other hand, she reached up, probably on her toes, and kissed him.
This time he reacted immediately. His lips melded with hers. She tasted strongly of mint, and he licked the seam of her lips to enjoy. She opened for him, and he dove his tongue into her mouth. God, she was sweet. Her arms wrapped around his neck, and he pulled her closer by holding onto her not-corseted waist. Next her tongue was inside his mouth, and he couldn’t help but pull her even closer, her stomach against his, her breasts crushed against his chest.
Will felt Erva fiddle with the ribbon at the nape of his neck, and his hair was released from its hold. Instantly, her hands raked through his mane. It gave him silent permission to finally take hold of her tresses with one of his hands. Pure silk ran through his fingers. He loved her long hair, so wild and free this moment. Like the color of corn silk, Erva’s locks were close to white with a light dandelion sheen. He fisted what he held, which tilted her head back, all the better to deepen the kiss. She moaned into his mouth. All his blood rushed south. That little noise was his undoing.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Sam's Story: Book Two (Skylar Trilogy) by Amy D. Crusan-Kramer Excerpt



In this captivating saga, Samantha Skylar experiences undying passion and endures one horrific act of brutality that sweeps her into the arms of the second most powerful man in the country. Samantha’s journey takes her from the poverty and close-minded attitudes of a tiny, coal-mining town in West Virginia, to the estate of one of Atlanta’s oldest and wealthiest families. This epic trilogy follows Samantha from the age of 14 to 40.

Book Two opens in 1987, eight years after the events of Book One. Sam is living the life she had only dreamed of as a young girl in poverty-stricken West Virginia. She has a best friend, her own apartment and a good job. Sam fancies herself the epitome of the modern independent woman. Due to the debilitating losses Sam suffered as a young girl, she is understandably hesitant to make herself vulnerable to another person, and struggles with emotional intimacy. When she finally allows herself to love again, she suffers a heartbreak that takes years to heal.

1992 is a pivotal year for Sam. She spends two months on the campaign trail as the personal assistant to the Democratic candidate for the Vice Presidency of the United States. During her time away from Georgia, Sam realizes what, and who, is important in her life and she is confident of the direction the rest of her life will take. But the fates can be cruel … and a visitor from her past changes everything.


I was at my desk at 7:15 Monday morning and couldn’t sit still. I’d straightened up the outer office … several times. Finally at 8:05, Bastian came in. I looked up at him … and did a double take. It looked like he may have done some shopping too. He looked so handsome. He was wearing a dark charcoal grey suit that I’d never seen before. I smiled and blushed … his tie was pink, matching the color of my camisole perfectly. His eyes were taking in my new outfit. He chuckled, “Well, I see you got the memo about grey and pink today.”
“You look handsome, Sebastian.”
“And you, pretty girl, are beautiful.”
“Thank you,” I whispered, blushing like a twelve-year-old.
I heard Chelsea before I saw her. “Hey, how come we didn’t see you this weekend… oh my, look at the two of you! Get up, missy, let’s see the new duds!” I stood and walked out from behind my desk. “Turn around…” Bastian rolled his eyes at Jake and went into his office. “I approve.”
“Well, that’s a relief,” I laughed and returned to my seat.
“Don’t even think of telling me you got that at a thrift store! Which means that you did the unthinkable: you went shopping, at a regular store by the way, without me! What’s wrong with you?”
Jake walked by and whispered, “Thank you.” I giggled. Chelsea did love to shop!
“I don’t know … it was a spur of the moment thing. I just ran up to the mall after I left the animals on Saturday.” I walked over to her desk and looked to make sure both Jake and Bastian were in their offices and whispered, “Does the cami make me look slutty? I’m going for professional.”
Chelsea laughed out loud. “You know what Sam? I would like to see you, just once, looking slutty! No, you look very senatorial!” I walked back to my desk, satisfied. “So, really, what’d you do this weekend? Didn’t you get the message I left on your phone? We wanted you to go to a movie with us yesterday.”
“I got your message. I’m so keyed up about this lunch … look at me, my palms are all sweaty. I’ll bet that’ll impress the heck out of him. I’m going to have to shake his hand, right?”
“Good Christ! He’s a Senator. Yes, that’s impressive, but you’re just going to have lunch, talk about his event and then he walks out of your life. It’s not like you’re going on a blind date or something.”
I laughed, “You’re right and I keep telling myself all that, but I just keep thinking about me and where I came from. What’ll we talk about? We won’t have anything in common and he’ll think I’m a moron.”
“That dumbass Joe! That’s where all this is coming from isn’t it? You are funny … you’re well read … you love animals … you love baseball and you stay up-to-date on politics and current issues. You’ll be fine! Besides, Bastian will be there … stop being silly!”
“All right. Leave me alone. I’ve got work to do!”
“What time is he coming?”
“We’re meeting here at 11:15 and then going to lunch.” I stood up and walked over to her desk, whispering again. “Does this skirt make my ass look huge? I feel like it does.”
“Stop it, crazy! Get back to work!” I turned my back to her and returned to my desk. “No, it doesn’t! It makes it look good though.”
“Chels,” I whined, “that’s not what I’m going for…” She stuck her tongue out at me and we settled in to work.

“Shit!” I looked up; Chelsea was looking under her desk, holding her ear. “Get over here, Sam, I need your help!”
I got up and walked over to her desk. “What is wrong with you? What’d you lose now?”
“Shh, come here closer. The back of my earring … I think it’s back there, under the desk.”
I laughed at her. “Well, crawl under and get it.”
“Would you?”
“No! Have Jake get it … he has pants on. I can’t crawl under there in this skirt!” I started to walk back to my desk and she grabbed my wrist, pulling me back. “Chelsea!” I giggled. “Stop it!”
“Listen, I can’t have Jake do it. These are the earrings he got me for Christmas … that I practically begged on bended knee for. He told me it was a waste to buy me nice things, because I’m always losing them! C’mon, Sam, crawl under and look.”
I rolled my eyes, and leaned on her shoulder while I stepped out of my heels. “Why am I doing this for you? Why can’t you crawl under and get it?”
She grinned wickedly, “Because, my little munchkin, you can practically walk under the desk. Just duck your head a little…” her thought trailed off into laughter.
I got down on my hands and knees, not amused. “Okay, where do you think it went?”
“It’s way toward the back, I think.”
“Of course it is,” I muttered and crawled under her desk … seeing nothing. “I don’t see anything. Get down here and show me where you mean.”
She got down under the desk with me. “Good Christ, Sam!” We looked around and she suddenly collapsed in laughter, lying down on her side. “Um, you’d better hope Jake stays in his office. That skirt? A little short and even shorter when you’re on your hands and knees!”
I reached back and pulled the skirt down as far as it would go and continued looking, ignoring her nonsense. “Is this it?” I held up the small gold back.
She took it and crawled out from under the desk. “That is it! You’re the best friend ever. Thanks, Sam. Come on out.”
“Oh, can I come out now? Chels, how do I stand up ladylike in this? I’m going to need some help.”
“I’ll help you … back up! God, if you didn’t have to get all gussied up for your Senator…”
“Stop! If I run these nylons because of you…”
“Senator Carrington. I’m sorry, I don’t know where our assistants are.” I groaned as I heard Bastian’s voice.
“Dammit, Chelsea,” I hissed quietly at her. Her eyes were big as saucers and full of mischief. We both slowly backed out and looked up.
“Oh, god, you two,” Bastian groaned. “How long have you been standing out here, Daniel?”
I looked over at the Senator and breathed a sigh of relief when he looked at me and winked. His eyes were almost as full of mischief as Chelsea’s. “Just walked in, Sebastian,” he said as he shook Bastian’s hand. He then turned back to us. “You two find what you were looking for?”
Chelsea popped right up and shook his hand, “We did. I’m so sorry about this. I’m Chelsea Murphy.” I sat there staring at her with my mouth wide open. I couldn’t believe she left me down on the floor.
“Sam, you okay?” Bastian asked.
“Um, yes, just…”
“It’s so good to see you, Sebastian,” the Senator interrupted. “Why don’t you show me your office?” Bastian shot me another look before turning to lead the Senator to his office. Senator Carrington looked at me and smiled warmly. “Glad you found the back of her earring, I’ll keep the boss busy while you get up,” he laughed. It was a nice laugh. “Nice to meet you, Chelsea. Now, since Samantha was so kind to find the back of your earring, you should help her up.” He disappeared into Bastian’s office.
Chelsea just stood there watching the Senator leave. I reached over and tapped her on the foot. “Um, excuse me, can I get a little help down here?”
She looked down at me and burst out laughing. “Well, Sam, at least the ice is broken! Get up, silly.” I grabbed her hands and got up … probably baring everything in the process. She laughed and pulled my skirt back down to its desired length. “Besides, he went all Prince Charming on you, giving you privacy. Instead of Bastian who just looked at us like we’d lost our minds!”
“Well?” I shoved my feet back into my shoes and stalked over to my desk.
“Okay, be in a snit. You can’t stay angry with me for long. You’ll see the humor in this eventually.”
I stopped mid-way across the office and returned to Chelsea’s desk and whispered, “Would you do a nylon check for me?”
“Wow, you got over that quicker than I thought you would. Turn around.” I turned slowly while she checked the state of my nylons. “You look good … fantastic even.” With that, she gave my behind a smack.
I started to laugh until I heard Bastian groan again. “God, you two. Can you pretend to be adults when we have visitors in the office?”
“I-I’m sorry, Senator, we’re usually much better behaved.” I walked over and extended my hand. He took it with a smirk. “I’m Samantha Skylar. I may not have inspired a lot of confidence in you…”
“Oh, no, you’re the one that found the earring, right? Let’s go to lunch, I’m starved.”

Friday, March 16, 2018

Read an Excerpt From Kinsale Kisses: An Irish Romance by Elizabeth Maddrey


All Other Retailers

She wants stability. He wants spontaneity. What they need is each other.

Colin O’Bryan cashed out of the software company he founded and started a new life in Ireland. Content to wander from town to town as a traveling musician, he had no goals beyond healing from the betrayals that led to his career change, and finding his next gig.

After the death of her parents, Rachel Sullivan hoped her aunt’s B&B on the Southern coast of Ireland would be a place for her to settle and start a new life. Though she can’t deny the sparks in Colin’s touch, his lack of concern for hearth and home leave her torn. Can this free-spirited minstrel win her heart or will Rachel choose roots and stability over love?

This gentle inspirational romance will take you on a journey to Cork County, Ireland and give you a glimpse of Kinsale, Charles Fort, Blarney Castle, and Cobh as Rachel and Colin undergo their own journey of self-discovery as they learn that God's plans are bigger than their own and that waiting on Him is worth the insecurity it brings.


The musician set his guitar aside before he hopped down from the raised platform wedged in the corner of the room and strode after the server. He tapped her on the shoulder and, after a brief conversation, nodded in Rachel’s direction. The server smiled and disappeared behind a swinging door.
The man paced back across the pub and paused by Rachel’s table, offering an impish smile, a dimple forming in his right cheek. “Hi there. Can I join you? It’s a bit crowded now and I’m due for a break.”
Rachel cleared her throat and glanced around. It had filled up. “Um. Sure.” She gestured to the space across from her. “Have a seat. I’m Rachel.”
His smile broadened and he lowered himself to the bench. “Colin O’Bryan. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Have you been in Ireland long?”
She shook her head. “Just arrived today. I’m visiting my aunt for a bit. What about you?”
“I landed in Dublin about a month ago, but got to Kinsale just yesterday. I’ve been making my way from town to town, singing for my supper and a place to lay my head.”
Rachel blinked. “You mean you’ve booked a tour, right? Have dates and locations lined up where they’re expecting you? Obviously you do this for a living back home as well.”
His deep laugh rose above the hum of conversation in the room. “Oh no. This is just a hobby in the States. But most towns have a pub or two looking for a musician for one evening or, if you’re lucky, a few in a row. And now I’ve a few references as well that help pave the way. If I can’t find a spot, then I find a room for the night and still get to see whatever sights there are to be had.”
The server appeared with two steaming bowls of soup and a plate piled with thick slices of brown bread. She set them down, added a dish of butter and a small teapot, and scooted away before Rachel could murmur her thanks.
“Mind if I say grace?”
Rachel pulled her attention back to Colin. He wanted to pray? With a complete stranger? “No. Of course not.”
She bowed her head then glanced up hastily as his fingers closed around hers. His touch sent tingles flying up her arm.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for bringing Rachel safely to Ireland today and for providing me with a place to sing and rest this evening. Bless this food and the hands that prepared it. Amen.”
“Amen.” Rachel gave her hand a little tug, unwinding her fingers from his. She stirred her soup, inhaling the earthy aroma as it spiraled up from the bowl. “For how long?”
Colin broke a piece off a slice of bread and dunked it in his soup. “How long what?”
“How long will you do the traveling musician thing? If you’ve been here a month, you must be nearing the end of your vacation time.”
He grinned and dunked another chunk of bread. “Let’s just say I’m currently unencumbered with trivial details like vacation and sick days.”
“Ah.” Great. He was unemployed. She was too, but at least she wasn’t content with the situation. She was working on a solution. He was wandering around a foreign country like a nineteen-year-old backpacker with no cares in the world. A killer smile and electric tingles only went so far—there were boys at home who could provide those. If she wanted anyone at all, he had to, at least, be a man. It was all moot anyway, she hadn’t come here looking for a husband and Colin was probably on the first bus out of town in the morning.
“What about you? How long will you stay?”
Rachel savored the rich flavors of potato, leek, and cream before she swallowed. “Through July. Maybe longer, depending on how things go.”
Humor danced in his eyes. “What about your own vacation days?”
Heat flooded her face. She sipped her Coke, grateful for the ice. “How did you put it? I’m currently unencumbered by such things. But I’m looking to see that’s not the case for long.”
He arched a brow but said nothing.
“Not that it’s any of your business, but I just buried my father and sold our family business. My aunt is the only living relative I have and, as you can see, she’s in her early seventies.” Rachel nodded across the room to where Siobhan knitted with her friend. “Her B&B can barely keep afloat and she’s not able to handle the workload anyway. I have a degree in hospitality and grew up in the business. So I’m going to help, and, I hope, make a new home for myself here, in the town my father left as soon as he was of age. So keep your little superior smile to yourself. I may not have a job now, but I’m working on it, not kicking back, singing tra-la-la as if bills don’t have to be paid.”
Colin scraped the last bite of soup from his bowl and stood. “I’m sorry to hear about your dad. Thanks for letting me share your table.”
Mouth agape, Rachel watched as he resumed his place by his instruments. He cast a long look in her direction and then, with a slight smile, picked up his concertina and launched into The Wild Rover.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Sam's Story: Book One (Skylar Trilogy 1) by Amy D. Crusan Kramer



In this captivating saga, Samantha Skylar experiences undying passion and endures one horrific act of brutality that sweeps her into the arms of the second most powerful man in the country. Samantha’s journey takes her from the poverty and close-minded attitudes of a tiny, coal-mining town in West Virginia, to the estate of one of Atlanta’s oldest and wealthiest families. This epic trilogy follows Samantha from the age of 14 to 40.

Book One opens in 1978. Sam is fourteen and living in Boone County, West Virginia, a place that isn't accepting of Roe v. Wade or the Equal Rights Amendment. Sam is different; she knows it and her doting grandmother knows it. Neither of them is content with the idea of her ending up the way her sisters did: married to a coal miner and raising another generation of miners and downtrodden women. As the beneficiary of her grandma's love, Sam absorbed her progressive outlook and beliefs, which caused her to question the status quo.

Of course, being different isn't a good thing in a small conservative town, both Sam and her grandmother discover that in the cruelest way possible. Tragedy strikes and we're given a glimpse of the strength that lies within Samantha and how she deals with adversity. The first book follows Sam to Atlanta and chronicles her first four turbulent months in her new city.


Thursday, November 27, 2003

It was 5:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving. Chelsea and I were busy in the kitchen. She
was working on the pies, and I was baking cornbread and cooking up the fragrant mix of
ingredients for the stuffing. My little black and tan spaniel, Dixie, was curled up at my
feet occasionally sniffing the aromas coming from the stovetop and ovens.

I smiled at my sleepy-eyed best friend, leaned down to rub Dixie behind her
velvety-soft ears and announced, “Chels, I’ve never been happier.”

She stopped what she was doing, smiled at me and took my hand across the
kitchen island. “I know. I’m so happy for you. Jake and I both mentioned how different
you seem … like the weight of the world has been lifted from your shoulders.”

“That’s exactly how I feel.” I popped a piece of celery into my mouth and gave
her a sheepish look, “I don’t mean to put a wet blanket on things,” Chelsea looked at me
and I saw the beginnings of an exasperated eye-roll, “but I feel like I’m just waiting for
the other shoe to drop. Like I’m too happy and the fates won’t allow me this much
happiness … they never have before.”

“You’ve more than paid your dues, Sam. Don’t go looking for trouble that isn’t
there; really, let’s not do this today,” she lovingly scolded me. “By the way, speaking of
all your ‘happiness’, what time did Mr. Wonderful get in last night?”

I was unable to suppress a grin at the mention of the incredible man asleep in our
bed. She was right; he was at the root of my happiness. “Late, about a half hour before
the alarm went off.”

She dramatically rolled her eyes, “We’re the only women setting our alarm on a
holiday to get up and cook our tails off for those lazy men of ours.”

“No we’re not! There’s an entire sisterhood of women slaving away in kitchens
all by themselves as we speak. At least we have each other. Women of the turkey baster,

She didn’t seem amused. “You’re not as funny or as cute as you think you are …
especially at this ridiculous hour. I can finish up here. Go back to bed. I didn’t realize
he got in so late. Come here and hug me first!” I grudgingly walked over and endured
her exaggerated show of affection. When we first met, I was not a touchy-feely person;
and she has never gotten over her delight at making me uncomfortable with her displays
of affection. I’m really not uncomfortable with it anymore, but I play it up for her … it’s
all part of us being us. Dixie followed me to the back of the house and the master

I tiptoed into the dark bedroom, removed my sweatpants and crawled in between
the sheets. I lay on my side facing him and listened to his steady breathing. Just looking
at him set my heart to racing. I reached over to brush back some hair that had fallen over
his right eye. I loved to watch him sleep; he looked so peaceful, like a little boy without
a care in the world. He roused a little at my touch, looked at me with sleepy eyes and
pulled me to him. I buried my face in his chest and inhaled the smell that was him. I
finally rolled onto my back and he encircled my body with his arms and legs while his
face nuzzled my neck. I stroked the back of his neck lazily and was again overcome with
happiness and contentment.

He worked one of his hands slowly up under my well-worn Atlanta Braves jersey
and cupped my left breast. His nuzzles at my neck turned into kisses that worked up my
neck, across my jaw and to my mouth. He stopped, as he always did, and spent a little
extra time lovingly kissing a decades-old scar on the left side of my jaw. I smiled as his
kisses became more insistent. “I missed you, Sam. I’m laying down a new law; no more
nights apart, honey,” he whispered in my ear. The fact that he’d missed me as much as
I’d missed him the past few days sent a wave of electric pleasure running up my spine.

“That’s not very realistic, honey, but I like the idea…” My comment was
abruptly cut off when his lips captured my mouth. I parted my lips to receive his tongue
and a small moan of pleasure escaped my lips. God, how can he still make me feel like a
high-school girl with her first crush? My body greedily arched up to meet his.

I felt another tongue begin to cover both of our faces with ‘kisses’. We both
laughed and made room for Dixie to make a nest between our bodies in the soft down
comforter. He wrapped himself around both Dixie and I and began to drift off to sleep
again. I lay there, enveloped in his love and wondered at the journey that had brought all
of us to this point…
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