Welcome to our 2nd week of celebrations for the superbly talented
In today's post, we'll talk about Bookmarked (one of the novellas from the Heartsville universe), as well as One Small Thing, and One True Thing, and the standalone novel, Love Rising, plus take a look at five little-known facts about Piper. Of course, all the way at the end, there's another chance to win as well.
Let's get this party started, shall we?
First up, Bookmarked:
To save his bookstore from closing, Mark Werner realizes it’s going to take a miracle—like getting reclusive, best-selling author Shepherd Knight to agree to appear for a signing.
After their disastrous last encounter, Mark doesn’t hold up much hope Shepherd will agree. Shepherd’s never made a single public appearance. In fact, Mark wouldn’t even know what he looks like had he not accidentally discovered the sexy stranger he’d been flirting with for months, aka “Tall-Dark-and-Grumpy,” was also his fanboy obsession.
But desperate times call for desperate measures. If Mark can convince Shepherd, it’ll be a major coup in the book world and might just save Bookmarked from sinking. Too bad Shepherd won’t reply to his e-mails. Yet Mark didn’t earn the reputation of having a “sunshine-and-rainbow-fart” personality for nothing. He’ll do whatever it takes to get his man… and hopefully not make a fool of himself in the process.
Mark straightened, unsure where to look, his cheeks blazing hot. So much for afterglow. Now that the urgency was gone and the evidence of his orgasm cooled in his briefs, reality slammed down hard. Not only had he screwed around in his bookstore, which was unprecedented, he’d come while sniffing a Stephen King novel and being dry-humped by his favorite author. There had to be a joke in there, something about loving his books but not loving his books. All Mark knew was there couldn’t be many guys out there who’d gotten off to the scent of Pet Sematary. Somehow, he didn’t think Stephen King would appreciate getting that in a fan letter.
Shepherd cleared his throat, dragging Mark’s attention to him. Shep was flushed, his lips red and swollen from their kisses. He looked as embarrassed as Mark felt… but happy too. More happy than anything else.
“Sorry.” Shepherd smiled sheepishly, and as few times as Mark had seen that expression, it hit him like a sharp jab to the chin, stunning him for a second. “That wasn’t the plan when I walked in here.”
Half-dazed, Mark found himself grinning back. “What was the plan?”
“Well, I figured we’d go to dinner, maybe talk, but you….” He coughed and rubbed at the back of his neck. “You look good in yellow.”
Mark ducked his head to hide how much the compliment pleased him. God, they could’ve been a couple of shy teenagers, wading through the minefield of all-consuming crushes, stilted conversations, and first-time sexual encounters. In his younger days, he’d blown random guys in bars without feeling a flicker of embarrassment after the fact. This was odd, new territory. But it felt good. It felt wonderful. Mark wanted to lock up the feeling and hoard it like a dragon with his treasure.
“I think dinner is still on the menu,” he said. “Maybe my apartment instead of Riverview? I’m not the greatest cook, but I can handle simple recipes. And I can give you something to change into.” Mark indicated Shepherd’s crotch with a vague wave of his hand.
The blush in Shepherd’s cheeks intensified, but he nodded, looking pleased.
“I’ll just go clean up in the restroom really quick, and then we can take off.” He went to brush by Shepherd, but Shepherd stopped him with a hand on his arm. Mark turned to him and received a light kiss on the corner of his mouth.
“Thank you,” Shepherd said, “for giving me another chance.” He released Mark and gave him a pat on the ass. “I’ll take care of the books.”
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Also from Piper (written with M.J. O'Shea), One Small Thing:
"Daddy" is not a title Rue Murray wanted, but he never thought he’d have sex with a woman either. Now he’s the unwitting father of a newborn named Alice. Between bartending and cosmetology school, Rue doesn’t have time for babies, but he can’t give her up. What Rue needs is a babysitter, and he’s running out of options. He’s on the verge of quitting school to watch Alice himself when he remembers his reclusive new neighbor, Erik.
Erik Van Nuys is a sci-fi novelist with anxiety issues to spare. He doesn’t like people in general, and he likes babies even less. Still, with his royalties dwindling, he could use the extra cash. Reluctantly, he takes on the role of manny—and even more reluctantly, he finds himself falling for Alice and her flamboyant father.
Rue and Erik are as different as two people can be, and Alice is the unlikeliest of babies, but Rue has never been happier than when Alice and Erik are by his side. At least, not until he receives an offer that puts all his dreams within reach and he’s forced to choose: the future he’s always wanted, or the family he thought he never did.
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Also available, One True Thing, co-written with M.J.:
Dustin Davis spent years wishing for a prince but kissing frog after slimy frog. When he sees Archer Kyriakides for the first time, Dusty thinks his luck has finally changed. Archer could be it. The One. But their hot and cold romance leaves Dusty confused: why does it feel right one moment and wrong the next? It doesn’t make sense—until the day Dusty meets Archer’s identical twin, Asher, and realizes he’s been seeing them both.
Asher Kyriakides dreams of being a fashion photographer, but he’s stuck with a job he hates and an irresponsible playboy brother whose habits drive him absolutely insane, especially when he finds out Archer is dating the cute little blond Asher can’t seem to forget. Torn between loyalty and desire, Asher does nothing but try to warn Dusty away.
But when Archer finally goes too far, Dusty turns to Asher for comfort, and Asher knows he can’t refuse. It isn’t long before they realize they’re falling fast, but more than one thing stands in their way, not the least of which is Archer, who isn’t quite ready to stop being a thorn in his brother’s side.
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Piper's mermaid story, Love Rising:
In the 1700s on the island of Sagrario, men who love other men find safe haven. For Francis Holland, an escaped indentured servant, Sagrario offers nothing but loneliness. His life begins to change when he finds Wick, a merman, washed ashore.
When Wick awakens under Francis’s care, Francis returns him to the sea at his request. Soon after, they begin to meet in secret, and gradually, Francis blossoms under this new companionship. However, a merman is a difficult creature to entrust one’s heart to. With one trapped on land and the other at sea, the differences in their species threaten to keep them apart forever. It may not be long before Wick is gone, taking Francis’s reason to smile with him.
With a sigh, Francis got to work, setting aside the smaller items that could possibly be of use—a tarnished candle holder, a pair of woolen trousers that might be mendable, a small knife that nearly sliced open his thumb. He was about halfway through untangling a good length of rope when he saw it—a flash of crimson shining in the final glimmers of sunset. Brow furrowed, Francis reached out to touch it, flinching back when instead of warmth his fingertips encountered something clammy and slick.
It took a moment for Francis to fight off the shiver that threatened to overtake him. Curious, he pushed aside knotted rope and the heavy material of the still-damp sail until he’d revealed what looked to be a… tail? A fish tail, he realized, but of a size that astounded him. The scales ranged in color from the darkest red to the orange-brown of rust to a pale sort of pinkish-gold. His curiosity increasing, Francis kept digging, uncovering more and more of the tail, which ended in an elegant, deep scarlet fin.
Francis swallowed hard. He would wager he had perhaps half of the thing uncovered, and already it was larger than any fish he’d ever caught or seen. He went back to work, shifting the debris aside, his wonder increasing with every passing moment. What he expected to find was nothing near what he did once the entirety of the… creature was exposed. The bottom half was a fish tail; that much was true. But the upper half….
Francis blinked down at it. Impossibly, the upper half seemed to be human. Francis had heard countless tales from his shipmates of such creatures, but he’d never believed them. Mermaids. Half women, half fish. Creatures that beguiled sailors and lured them to their deaths at the bottom of the sea. But this one…. Francis couldn’t be certain, but it didn’t appear to be female. There were no breasts, and the lines of its chest and the breadth of its shoulders weren’t entirely dissimilar from Francis’s own. A bit narrower, perhaps, a tad more delicate, but masculine. Its hair, though, was longer than that of any man or woman Francis knew. And the color, like its scales, was a blend of reds and gold, something like sunrise and fire put together. It was more beautiful than anything Francis had ever seen.
Helpless, he reached out to touch that fire-and-sunrise hair, his fingers slipping into its heavy, half-sodden mass. Even snarled and tangled as it was, the silken feel of it made Francis shudder. However, the beauty of that hair was nothing compared to the face Francis revealed when he finally recovered enough to push it from the creature’s brow. Its features were finely crafted, as though by an artist’s hand, and further strengthened Francis’s belief that it was male: straight nose, strong jaw, and high, defined cheekbones. Lips that could not have been created for anything but kissing.
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And now, as promised, five little-known facts about Piper Vaughn:
Well, I tend to be a bit of an open book sometimes, so there are doubtless people out there who’ve heard a few of these, but here are five things most people probably don’t know about me. :)
1. I’ve never been officially diagnosed, but I believe I suffer from at least a mild level of obsessive-compulsive disorder. I have certain tics – when I get anxious, I tend to want to straighten things out on/near my desk, and it’s always the same things. I have to make sure they’re positioned just-so, and this process happens repeatedly every day. I also worry constantly about the front door being left open. Even knowing I closed it, having checked the knob/lock, and having looked multiple times while pulling out of the driveway, it happens fairly frequently that I feel compelled to turn around and go back to the house to check—even if it’s just driving by for a visual check. Lots of minor things like that trip me up on a daily basis.
2. Years ago I modeled for pictures for a math textbook. My neighbor was a photographer and asked my parents if he could use me for one of his shoots. So at one point I was one of those kids wearing horrible ’80s clothes and smiling cheesily at students from the pages of their textbook. I almost wish I had a copy, but I never got to see the final book.
3. I lived in Anchorage, Alaska for two and a half years, from 2002 to 2005. I moved there to live with a friend, who I’d met through my fanfiction writing. I’m actually still friends with some people who I’d met through the fandoms I was involved with and that I made while living in Alaska, some of them for going on 14 years. Through social media/the Internet, we’ve seen each other through marriages, births, deaths, and yet with two of them, we’ve never met in person.
4. When I was younger, I wanted to be a film director/screenwriter. I even looked into programs at various art schools when I was considering colleges, but I let myself be talked out of pursuing that dream for fear of never becoming successful like Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese. I’ve always regretted letting those doubts sway my decision. Even if I’d never achieved Spielberg level fame, I could’ve still been involved in filmmaking, which I know I would’ve loved. But at the same time, I was also very interested in true crime. Another option I considered was becoming a criminal profiler, and most of my college credits are in law enforcement/legal courses. But I think if I were to go back to school now, which I am contemplating, I’d probably do something involving forensics or crime scene investigation.
5. People often joke about having zombie survival plans and stuff like that, but my husband and father-in-law are actually survivalists. We keep bug-out bags in our cars and we have food and supply stores. We also keep weapons hidden throughout the house, and have a backup generator in case of a prolonged power outage, and my husband collects dryer lint for emergency kindling. If we could afford to buy a large, secured property in the middle of nowhere and build an underground bunker, I honestly think he’d want to do it. My feelings about this are a bit mixed. Generally, I think it’s a good idea to have some of these things, like food and first aid supplies, in case of natural disaster scenarios, but partially I’m bemused because this has been a more recent development, for only the last maybe 2-3 years of our ten-year relationship. I’m still not entirely sure what sparked it all.
And those are a few, lesser known facts about me. People will probably think I’m even weirder now. :P
More about Piper:
Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life…even if it’s only in a book.
Thanks for joining us this week to celebrate Piper Vaugh. Come back soon for our third week of celebrations, when we'll discuss Prickly Business, Prickly By Nature, and two more of Piper's free reads, Last First Kiss and An Oral Fixation.
Until then, happy reading!