People Watching Has Side Effects

Teal CeaghI was described recently as being someone who shoots straight from the hip.  I guess that’s an indirect way of saying I’m opinionated. 🙂  In certain subjects and areas, I guess that’s true.  I have for many years been a compulsive people watcher and that has a direct outcome of giving you very strong likes and dislikes about all sorts of categories regarding the human animal and his habits.

It was almost inevitable I ended up writing erotic romance.  I’d been watching the mating dance for years anyway.  And some of the antics we put ourselves through just for the sake of love and lust are hilarious, when it comes right down to it.  And some of them are downright hypocritical, but that’s just the darker side of human nature at work, and that’s where the delicious drama comes into play.  Conflict is what makes a good story work.

Consider the dating ritual.  Whoever thought up the old “three dates before sex” thing?  Are you old enough to remember that?  I am.  It’s so ingrained in my system that I almost felt guilty if I fell into bed with a man I genuinely liked and trusted before the third date, despite the fact that I’d been ignoring it for at least a decade.

And did you know that women are physically as strong as men?  Pound of muscle for pound of muscle, they are.  They just don’t have as much muscle.  Give them the same amount of muscle, and they could push men around with as much force as men can push women around if they had a mind to.  When you keep that in mind, it really changes your perspective on the whole “weaker sex” thing.  Women have been proving for the last thirty years they’re a whole lot tougher mentally.  If they’re just as strong physically, except for lacking a few pounds of muscle, and still manage to look so fabulously sleek and svelte, then what to we start tagging men in exchange for the “weaker sex” label?   Food for thought, huh?

It’s thoughts like these and my damned inability to keep my mouth shut that all goes into my novels these days.  Writing erotic urban fantasy for Ellora’s Cave is a great arena for playing around with themes like these, where you can play with the genders and conflicts.  Blow everyone’s traditional expectations out of the water, shake them up and make them look at things a new way.  I love doing stuff like that.  Make characters sweat a little, and have to think about their lives all over again.

After all, we all have to re-examine ourselves and our lives all the time.  Why shouldn’t characters in books?

Beth's Acceptance by Teal CeaghDestiny’s Trinities I – Beth’s Acceptance is the first in a series of three novellas in the Destiny’s Trinities series, and all three of the major characters have to re-examine their lives and expectations, and make some major readjustments in order to face the growing threat of the Grimoré….

—–

For weeks, the darkly sinful Zachariah, her favourite customer at McGinty’s, has been raising NYC student Beth Siegel’s pulse, driving her crazy with need.

Neither can she keep the tall, blue-eyed mysterious Luke, who haunts the library stacks at her day job, out of her mind or her sweaty, desperate fantasies.

Fate hands Beth a startling destiny: to bond with both of them—a bond formed via sex.  Sex with either one of them would have been fabulous.  Together?  Irresistible.

But fate is a two-edged sword and the bond comes at a price.  Luke and Zack are not what they seem, and the world as Beth knows it not quite the real deal.  Can Beth accept the price the bond will ask of her?

————

PG13 Excerpt!

Chapter One

“Beth. Earth to Beth?”

Beth blinked, looked down at the overflowing glass of soda she was pouring, gasped and switched off the mixer tap. She looked over her shoulder at Jerry, the bar manager, who lifted a brow before hurrying away. “Sorry,” she called although she knew he probably wouldn’t hear her. It was still busy even though the bar was winding down for the night and the conversational noise level was enough to drown her apology.
She dumped the ruined drink and started again, loading a fresh glass with ice, pouring the soda and thrusting the straw at the same time. It was one of six on the tray and the others were alcoholic drinks. This one was for the driver of the group of yahoos she had been catering to in the corner booth, a tired businessman with bloodshot eyes who looked like he just wanted to get home. He’d drawn the short straw tonight. Well, at least they’d picked someone to stay sober, she reflected, concentrating on the task of pushing the drink onto the tray.

Despite trying to distract herself with thoughts of designated drivers and potential tips, as she carried the tray over to the booth she found her thoughts right back where they had been when Jerry caught her drifting a moment ago—at the library this afternoon.
It was hot in the bar. Jerry kept the heat up to encourage drinking and it was a popular place even in the middle of the week, so the packed bodies pushed the heat higher. Even so, Beth felt a shiver ripple down her spine as she remembered that afternoon. It spread fingers across her back, making her abruptly aware of her bra-less state. Why, oh why had she left off her bra tonight? She never did that. Was it prompted by this afternoon?
She stopped at the booth and delivered the round of drinks. The group was rowdy, happy and was tipping well tonight. She wondered if the lack of a bra was helping and could feel her cheeks burning as she bantered with them like she did with all the McGinty’s crowd, wondering if they knew she was naked beneath the little waistcoat. Is that why they were paying her so much attention?
She threw a saucy comment over her shoulder as she left the booth, balancing empties and stopped at other tables on her way back, clearing and gathering orders but her mind was more fully occupied on that afternoon, puzzling it out. What had happened? She still wasn’t entirely sure.
The man who called himself Luke-no-last-name had been showing up at the library for about a month, now. Almost from the first, she had noticed him. He was hard to miss. He stood over six feet tall and he had shoulders to match. His hair was somewhat shaggy, a honey blond with bleached highlights. Unusual coloring to catch her eye. Beth—when she spared men a thought at all—preferred her men dark.
Beth’s library shifts were Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Luke was there every day she worked. Unlike most students, he didn’t settle in at a favorite carrel, or stake out a table. He wandered. One day he’d be in the philosophy section. The next he’d literally sprawl on the floor at the foot of the Zang China history stacks, books on either side of him, as happy as a puppy at play with a ball of wool. Each day it seemed to be a different subject.
When Beth had finally built up enough guts to ask him about his eclectic study habits, she’d come close enough to notice his eyes. Dark blue. Stormy blue. She was tall—at five ten, she’d spent her life feeling like a stork—but she had to lift her chin to look him in the eye. He had seemed to hold his breath for a moment before he’d answered her. Then he’d just shrugged. “My professor gave me an open ticket. I get to write a report a day. If he likes it, I pass.”
“Who’s your professor? I want to transfer,” Beth had instantly responded.
He’d smiled then and something in the pit of her stomach had clenched and her pussy had throbbed. Startled, she had hidden her reaction and moved away, murmuring about getting back to work. But she had found herself watching him ever since.
From a distance.
And like clockwork, every day she was on shift at the library, Luke showed up. She’d burned to ask her coworkers if he studied on Thursdays and Fridays or on the weekends, when she wasn’t there. But to ask would be to signal her interest in him and she didn’t want to sow the seeds among them for their gossip sessions. Columbia was a huge campus but was surprisingly interconnected. It just wasn’t possible to know who knew whom. With the use of text messages and email, gossip could move way too fast. No, she wasn’t going to let this go anywhere. Besides she wasn’t even sure what “this” was, yet.
So she watched Luke and tried to figure it out for herself and did a slow burn at night in her lonely bed as she tried to pretend she wasn’t horny at all, because it wasn’t just Luke—that was the problem. If it had just been Luke, that was an itch she could have easily scratched.
Every now and again, they would exchange a sentence or two. She would help him find a book, or look up a title for him. He never took notes for his study, either. It could be because he had an eidetic memory but she knew of at least one other eidetic student and she studied with an intense, don’t-fuck-with-me posture that barred interruptions, and a wrinkled brow. Memorizing pages of text took effort. Luke didn’t look like he was making an effort to remember anything.
She would look up and catch him watching her from across the room, the blue eyes almost black with some emotion she couldn’t name, before he would casually turn back to the book he was reading, not embarrassed at being caught observing her.
This afternoon, though, had been…off the charts. She had been heading back to the front desk when she had found Luke in the small business section, leaning against the stacks with a small pile of books at his feet, another in his hands and yet another small pile resting on the steps of the sliding ladder next to him.
Beth had stopped and gripped the handle of the ladder. “We’ve got tables and carrels for this sort of thing you know.” She tried look severe as she said it.
Luke glanced over the top of the book he was flipping through, the blue eyes the only part of his face visible. It emphasized their color and made his stare more intense. “I’m narrowing down my choice, ma’am,” he said, his voice quiet. “Then I’ll move to the table.”
Her grip on the ladder was not steady. She had been gripping it for added support and trying to make it look casual.
There was no hint of warning. No whisper of sound. Nothing. Even now as she kept replaying it over in her mind, she was sure of it.
Despite the lack of any signal, Luke looked up, dropped his book and lunged toward her. He spun her around, threw his arms around her, scooped her off her feet and tucked her into him as he hunched over.
“What…?” Beth began.
Books hit the ground around them. They were heavy, ancient hardcover tomes from the second floor stacks that somebody had been filing, using the ladder and had left sitting on the ladder steps temporarily. Beth’s grip on the ladder had brought them all down around them.
In spite of the danger of the books raining around them, all she could think of was Luke’s body pressed up against hers. Bent over as she was, her ass was pushed against him and she clenched her jaw against the need to moan in pleasure. She could feel his cock against her ass. She closed her eyes. A few more seconds…just a few more seconds and it would be over.
Then she heard Luke gasp as a book hit him. She struggled to straighten up and managed to stand. She suspected that Luke let her. He was far stronger than her as he’d just demonstrated. She twisted in his grasp and cupped his face. “Are you all right?”
She searched his face for pain, for signs of injury, then her gaze met his eyes and she forgot to search any further.
She realized several things almost instantaneously.
One—that Luke hadn’t let her go. She was still held hard against him. One large hand was flat against the back of her hip, low down, the tips of the fingers resting on the belt threaded through the carrier of her low-rise jeans. The other hand was on her shoulder, pressing her against him so that her breasts pushed against his chest.
Two—that her hair had come loose and was now brushing against both his hands.
Three—that she was suddenly hungry for his kiss…no, not his kiss. For him. She wanted him to fuck her, to take her now. Her body ached to take him into her. Every nerve ending tingled. Her nipples were hard pebbles digging into the protective shield of her bra and she longed to rip away her bra so that she could press her breasts against his chest and let him feel her arousal.
Did he feel it though? Did he feel the same?
His hand on her shoulder moved. It lifted away and she bit her lip, hiding her disappointment. He was going to let her go.
But it plunged into her hair and lifted it. She saw his gaze shift as he marveled over her hair, the bane of her life. He let it slide over the back of his hand and drop again. “It’s like liquid fire.” The husky note in his voice made her cunt clench and her clit throb. Her heart leapt in joy. He wanted her.
His gaze jumped to her face as if he was also aware of what that rough note in his voice revealed.
She held her breath as he stared at her, trying to read her face, to see if she had guessed. The hand on the back of her hip shifted restlessly. He was like a man skewered on the horns of a dilemma and she couldn’t help him because her own was just as painful.
His chest lifted, as if he would speak. Briefly, he shut his eyes. Then he pushed her gently away from him, whirled and strode away from her. She watched him go, feeling the swirl of heavy want circle through her and marveled at the power of his self-control. She had offered herself freely. He could have taken her with no consequences. He didn’t know about her own complications and didn’t need to know. If he had wanted her with anything like the degree she wanted him, his ability to say “no” despite that want was staggering.
She wasn’t sure she would have been able to do it, had they traded places.

____

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24 Responses to People Watching Has Side Effects

  1. Pam Keener

    Great tease. After reading I had to go right to Elloras Cave & buy it. LOL I do not have an e-reader and really dislike reading on my desktop but I had to know the rest of the story.
    Thanks bunches.
    Love & Hugs,
    Pam Keener in PA

  2. Natalie Acres

    Destiny’s Trinities I – Beth’s Acceptance sounds wonderful, Teal. I’m going to EC now to find out more.

    Cowboy Love,
    Natalie Acres

  3. Teal Ceagh

    So glad I managed to talk you into it, Pam! It’s well worth the read. Nah, I’m not biased! Who me?

    🙂

    Teal.

  4. Teal Ceagh

    Thanks, Natalie — I promise it’ll be worth the effort to find out more!

    Teal.

  5. Lexee

    The excerpt was really good. Definately caught my attention. I will have to check this book out some more for sure. The cover is awesome too.

  6. Valerie

    Hi,

    Great post!!! Loved the excerpt…adding to my wishlist!!!

    Valerie

  7. Lindy

    If it means turning out more delicious erotic romances, I say keep shooting from the hip!

    ~Lindy

  8. Teal Ceagh

    Thanks, Lexee — yeah the cover was a complete surprise, so totally not what I was expecting, but a delight at the same time. And you should see what they’ve done for the second book in the series — oh momma!!!

    Teal.

  9. Teal Ceagh

    Thanks, Valerie — really can’t hear that one too often!

    🙂

    Teal.

  10. Teal Ceagh

    Hi Lindy:

    Yeah, I do tend to fire away. Got me in more trouble than I care to name. But that makes life more fun, I think.

    Teal

  11. Anna Shah Hoque

    Hey Teal,
    The excerpt was an excruciating teaser! I’m dying to get my hands on it!!!

    Happy Reading!!!
    Anna Shah Hoque
    s7anna@yahoo.ca

  12. Cathy M

    Hi Teal, you’ve already got me hooked, I can’t wait to start this series.

  13. Kathleen O'Donnell

    WOW what a great post.. I loved this Chapter Teal it is a real teaser…

  14. Amy S.

    Beth’s Acceptance sounds great! Loved the excerpt!

  15. Teal Ceagh

    Thanks, Anna:

    Where are you in Canada?

    Teal.

  16. Teal Ceagh

    Hi Cathy — thanks for visiting!

    Teal.

  17. Teal Ceagh

    Thanks, Kathleen.

    Teal.

  18. Lisa

    Sound good! Beth Acceptance real nice cover too.
    Hugs!
    Lisa

  19. Anna Shah Hoque

    Hey Teal,
    I’m in Ottawa, Ontario. 🙂

  20. Little Lamb Lost

    Must say that I am enjoying the stronger heroine’s that have been turning up in books and in Urban Fantasy in particular. Interesting fact about women and strength.

    Enjoyed your excerpt!

  21. Pamk

    I like stronger heroines in stories. Hate whiney weak people anyways and heroines especially. This story sound fantastic and I am definitely going to check out more about your stories.

  22. Pam S

    Hi Teal!

    LOL I really loved the excerpt had to jot it down to pick up right away after reading it. Thanks so much for sharing.

  23. Teal Ceagh

    Thanks, Lisa — You should see the cover for the second book in the series — Mia’s Return — Phew!

  24. Teal Ceagh

    Little Lamb Lost & Pam — Yep, absolutely agree. I can’t stand pathetic heroines myself, and couldn’t write a wilting princess to save my life. I dived into Urban Fantasy with cries of joy, because *finally* here was a sub-genre where the heroines could duke it out with bad guys and heroes and if they had the necessary powers and training, they could hold their own and then some. It’s great! I love Urban Fantasy.

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