Saturday, August 4, 2012

Back Story: Heart of the Ozarks

Each summer for more years than I can count, my grandparents had the same vacation routine.  After days of packing and preparing, they loaded up their car as if they embarked on a cross-country move with everything from frying pans to face powder.  They rose even earlier than usual, long before the sun and began a day long trek to the other end of the state.  Stiff-legged and weary they arrived at their favorite resort on the shores of Lake Taneycomo in Branson, Missouri. 

  They didn’t do much but enjoy the lakeside resort.  My Pop did a little fishing and my grandmother they sat out on the tiny porch and enjoyed the cooler air.  Sometimes they headed up the street to Dick’s Five And Dime or to eat a meal at The Branson Café.  They considered the resort owners to be friends and after my Pop passed away, the owners kept in touch with my grandmother until she died.

Sometimes our family joined them.  Then Granny and Pop might branch out a little farther to visit Silver Dollar City (which was much smaller back then) to ride the Frisco Silver Dollar train or the stagecoach (long gone).   I loved their countrified vacations in the then small town of Branson.  Years later, I searched out a few of the old remaining resorts for vacations with my husband and kids but not many remain.  The one where my grandparents once stayed was located where Branson Landing now stands.

 Such is the inspiration behind my newest Rebel Ink Press release, Heart of the Ozarks.   It’s a contemporary romance and my hero, Cole Celinksi, grew up heading down to Branson with his grandparents to stay in a lakeside resort.  The rest of the story is fiction, all pure imagination but I think it’s one my readers will enjoy.

 Here’s the back cover blurb –

After St. Louis TV weathercaster Cole Celinksi loses his almost estranged wife and three children in a car crash, his boss orders him to take a leave of absence.  Against his will, Cole leaves the city in late May to find the rest and relaxation everyone else thinks he needs. Without anywhere else to go, Cole heads for Lake Dreams, a resort on the quiet side of Lake Taneycomo in the Ozarks he visited each summer as a child with his grandparents.  Some of his best memories were made in the lakeside vacation haven with his summer friend, Maggie.

      Upon his arrival, Cole learns Maggie now runs the place.  Twenty years have passed but from the minute he returns, they reconnect and soon their mutual attraction ignites.  He fishes in the lake, takes Maggie to visit some of the places he remembers and begins to find out who he truly is. Before he can heal, he must learn to deal with his loss and to see if he can create a new family with Maggie and her children. It’s a task he’s not sure he can handle but if he wants to be with Maggie, he must. A near tragedy brings them all together into a close knit unit and afterward, Cole may be able to make his dreams reality.

      For those who like to plan ahead for what’s coming in the future, Dust Bowl Dreams, another historical novel, will be out September 17 from Rebel Ink.  Two more Rebel Ink titles are slated for release this year, Kosovo Stories: Two Hearts, One Love in early October and Devlin’s Grace in November.  I’ve already signed contracts for other titles in 2013 but there’s plenty of time to share details later.

      For now, it’s time to stay cool, dream about those vacations of the past, and enjoy what’s left of summer.

And here's an excerpt with links to the book trailer, purchase links, and more:

Heart of the Ozarks Sexy Excerpt

With total open honesty Cole said, “I hope not because I want to be around you for a long time, Maggie, maybe forever.”

            “Then start with tonight,” she breathed, an invitation if he’d ever heard one.

            He took three steps and enveloped her in his arms, very aware of just how little she wore.  Cole leaned down and connected his mouth to hers.  Her lips molded to his, warm and sweet and her arms wrapped about his neck to draw him even closer.  Desire, as electric as lightning, flared between them and although he ached to hurry, Cole decided to go slow and savor the experience.

            So he kissed her with precision, with lingering anticipation and evoked a response he liked.  Cole craved more so he lowered his lips from her mouth to throat where he nibbled with delicate little bites.   By the way she moaned and moved, he thought she liked what he did.  Cole enjoyed it too.  Each little taste propelled shivers through him, each one like a shuddering chill but with a physical pleasure rocking him hard.   The flavor of her night sweat tasted salty against his tongue but he savored the she-woman aroma he inhaled even more.  

            Cole lowered the straps of her nighty so he could kiss her shoulder and brush the freckles there with his mouth.  Maggie shivered and without knowing quite how, he stripped the gown from her body.  The thin cotton fell to the kitchen floor as he cupped her full, lovely breasts in both hands.  “Beautiful,” he whispered as he put his mouth over one nipple and suckled just enough to make it bloom, hard and tight.  Maggie whimpered as he did and the sound of her pleasure intensified his.  His fingers caressed the flat smoothness of her abdomen, the slight curve of her lower belly.  Against his rough fingertips her skin’s softness seemed as fragile as cobwebs but beneath the veneer her body heat burned.   If he didn’t know better, he’d swear she had a fever but this heat wasn’t from illness.  This fire came from internal combustion.

            He fingered the soft curly hair above her cunt with the same reverence he would show for something precious but it wasn’t until her fingers jerked at the zipper of his jeans Cole remembered he still wore clothing.   He wanted them off now and yearned to be skin to skin with Maggie so after she unzipped his pants he kicked them off with one swift motion.  When she hooked the edge of his briefs with one hand his heartbeat increased until the beats made a staccato rhythm in his chest.  Maggie pulled them down and he stepped out of them, sure she’d hear the wild drumming of his heart.

            Cole’s already hard cock stiffened more when Maggie grasped it with one hand and squeezed with just the right amount of pressure.  At the rush of sheer physical rapture she caused he thought he’d fall down on the floor with the wave of response but instead he managed to pull off his khaki shirt, tearing away at least two of the buttons in the process.  He heard them ping against the kitchen floor but he didn’t care.  He owned other shirts and if necessary, Cole figured he might be able to sew them back on anyway. 

            Maggie pressed against him, hand still cupping his cock and he almost ejaculated too soon at the sensation of her skin against his, even more erotic than he’d imagined.  She raked her nails down his back at the same time and Cole groaned aloud.

            “Like that?” Maggie said, a grin emerging from the look of rapture on her face.

            “Love it,” he managed to spit out.  Need roared within until he decided the hell with going slow.  He’d savored all he could stand now he’d feast.  Cole backed Maggie up against the kitchen table, lifted her ass enough to make her cunt accessible and entered her with a sudden, sharp thrust.  He plunged in deep and cried aloud wordlessly as her tight box fit around him.  The first of the spirals began, circles of carnal delight radiating out from where they joined to consume him with intense pleasure.  Maggie clung to him as if he were a life preserver out on a turbulent lake and made small sounds he found gratifying.  She gasped and then shrieked like a banshee.  Her outcry brought him over the edge and into the starburst of passion, the ultimate come experience. 

            Afterward if he hadn’t caught her, she’d sagged down the floor and he probably would’ve followed if they didn’t hang onto each other.   Cole brushed his hand over her wild and free hair streaming down her back and over her shoulders, gentle and tender.  He wanted to say so much but when his breathing eased back to normal, all he could manage was, “That was wonderful.”

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