This week’s Naked Reviewers Book of the week.

https://thenakedreviewers.com/index.php/2018/12/23/smoke-and-roses-a-steampunk-language-of-flowers-by-olivia-wylie/?fbclid=IwAR2oLF74cgSKp2wrz54xjCqN0gyckC_-kkVSTmyw7Nn6Bgdt0n41eWEBR1I#comment-283

Smoke And Roses: A Steampunk Language of Flowers by Olivia Wylie

Rosemary is for remembrance. You give yellow roses to a friend and lilies to the bereaved. Ever wondered why?

In this illustrated volume you will discover the history of the symbolic code daring Victorian ladies and gents used to pass messages in bouquets: the roots of the practice in Turkey, its rise in Europe and its fascinating cultural connotations on both sides of the Atlantic. You’ll learn how a mispronounced word gave the tulip its name and why the colors of the rose have so many meanings. Included are recipes for bouquets useful in your own life, including the Bugger Off Bouquet, to be given to those you would rather not see again. Let this book lead you up the historical garden path.

A little about Olivia first:

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Olivia Wylie is a professional landscaper who specializes in the restoration of neglected gardens in Downtown Denver. She snaps photos of garden beauty in her daily work and uses rain days, the photos and research to create art that shares the serenity of the green world with its viewers. On days when the weather keeps her indoors, she writes about the relationship between humanity and the green world. She currently has two ethnobotanic works in print: ‘Smoke and Roses’ and the book Roots: Insights From the Tree Alphabet of Old Ireland’. A book on the history of weeds in America is forthcoming in March. Her works are available at www.leafingoutgardening.com as well as Amazon.

Terence Vicker’s Review: 4-Stars

Smoke and Roses by Olivia Wylie
Smoke and Roses is an interesting look into the meaning behind flowers and the history behind them. The introduction is the most interesting part to me as I enjoy reading about the history behind the flower meanings.

The illustrations appear to be hand drawn and painted, possibly watercolors and with the background of the page and the graphics, it gives the impression of an old book with a certain rustic charm.

I was a bit disappointed that there was no history behind the individual flowers included.

Generally an interesting book and a good reference for those giving or receiving bouquets.

Diane Andersen’s Review: 5-Stars

A Steampunk Language of Flowers by Olivia Wylie

If you’ve ever wondered about how to design the perfect bouquet of flowers for a certain occasion or a special person in your life, look no further than this book. Forget those dry dusty botanical textbooks your garden-loving grandfather may have handed down to you. This one is a feast for the eyes with its delightful original illustrations that look like an illuminated edition from the 18th century, something one might find in a rare book room of a botanical garden research library or the English estate of a wealthy collector.

This book would make a great gift for anyone interested in botanicals or the history of flowers and the Victorian custom of sending messages via a carefully orchestrated bouquet. Do you want to convey your gratitude to someone special? Send them a bunch of bluebells or rather Hyacinthoides non-scripta, if you prefer knowing the scientific Latin term. Are you feeling a bit oppressed and want to send a clear message that says: “Let justice be done”? Then the perfect choice is a handful of black-eyed Susans, also known as rudbeckia, and not to be “rude” by any means, as some have mistaken the play on its name. Just be direct and to the point, which is precisely what Wylie has done in both her visual and verbal descriptions, some only taking up a mere paragraph to describe the history and purpose of each flower.

Wylie’s lushly illustrated book with pages that look like aged parchment almost feels as if you can smell the musty crackle of each leaf, even on the ebook. Although the paperback edition is a bit pricey at $25 it would still make a welcome gift for a favorite gardener, history buff or trivia fan. Although there isn’t much in the way of “steampunk” marked within the text, the old-fashioned charm and title make this the perfect accessory for any Steampunk LARPer on your list.

Please feel free to share your review in the comments.

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Radio Nowhere, Full review

 

Radio Nowhere by Lee Beard

Review of Radio Nowhere by Lee Beard, presented by Author RA Winter.

 

After 99.9% of the earth’s population – and apparently, all the adults – dies in just under a month, the remaining teens and children are left confused, scattered, and dangerously unsupervised. A tech-savvy latchkey kid, an abused arsonist, and a girl who slept through the apocalypse must battle the elements, wild animals, and roving bands of feral children in order to reach their refuge. Deep in Oklahoma lies the small college town of Nowhere; there, a mysterious old man broadcasts to them via the college radio station, beckoning them to safety.

 

 

 

 

Radio Nowhere is a sci-fi thriller about a very real threat of a Pandemic.

I’m really loving this story.  It’s very captivating and I’m rating it high as a must-read for those who love apocalyptic stories.  I read mine on my smartphone on a kindle app.

To me, the story moved me.  A Pandemic starts slowly, and we never know where or when it will hit. We follow different people and really get to know them.  Each one is touched differently by the events that are unfolding.

Really loving this one. There were a few small formatting issues, nothing too major, but like I said, I was reading it on my phone. I’m sure the author will fix any of those piddly formatting issues but it was still very readable on my smartphone.

The author wrote it in Omni and really pulled it off well.  It’s one of the best Omni pov that I’ve seen in a while and I’ve seen a few and threw them away.  This one is a keeper.

The events unfold in an alternate view by different MC’s and we see how their lives are touched and how they die during a short period.

This one ends on a cliff-hanger, and I’m looking forward to the rest.

Fast-paced, there is never a dull moment.  Truly one to have handy on a rainy afternoon.

Just loving it.  4.7 Stars!

I really must take a moment to apologize to the author for being late on my review.  Events snuck up on me, and I’m a day late, but boy, this one was worth the wait.

Biography

Lee Beard, author of Radio Nowhere, lives in the piney woods of East Texas with sibling, Carter, and their menagerie of pets. Lee spends much of the average day writing, and is currently working on the second novel in the “uplifting apocalyptic” Radio Series, Radio Static. When not writing, Lee enjoys reading short stories and comic books, as well as leatherworking and dabbling in as many hobbies as possible.

Review of Radio Nowhere by The Naked Reviewers

Sherry and Heather give it high marks.  I’m really loving this story.  It’s very captivating and I’m rating it higher than those two.  I read mine on my phone on a kindle app. via Radio Nowhere by Lee Beard

To me, the story moved me.  A Pandemic, we follow different people and really get to know them.  Each one is touched differently by the events that are unfolding.

Really loving this one.  I’m sure the author will fix any of those piddly formatting issues but it was very readable on my smartphone.

The author wrote it in Omni and really pulled it off well.  It’s one of the best Omni pov that I’ve seen in a while.

Fast-paced, there is never a dull moment.  Truly one to finish on a rainy afternoon.

Just loving it.

Tuesday Cross-Of Flesh and Fire Book 1, The First Chapter

Today, I’m posting a very special First Chapter.  Tuesday Cross’s Of Flesh and Fire. This is an excellent fantasy.  I’ve read it twice now…seriously. All the pieces of a fantastic plot come together with mystery,  love, vampires, dragons, and a werewolf best friend!

On Wednesday, I’ll be leaving my review on NakedReviewers..  For now, I’ll leave you with a taste of Tuesday’s writing.  Enjoy!

Of Flesh and Fire - Book I: Everything Will Burn by [Cross, Tuesday]Vampires, werewolves, and dragons… oh my!

Looking for an action packed twist on paranormal fantasy with a touch of romance?

‘Of Flesh and Fire – Book I’ by Tuesday Cross delivers a fast-paced fantasy adventure,
perfect for adults of all ages. If you enjoy vampires, werewolves, and DRAGONS… you’ll love this story.

CHAPTER 0
MY FIRST DEATH

 

I lay there, trying my hardest not to choke. The heavy scent of smoke invaded my body, coating my lungs, stifling me. All around me were the sounds of screaming, sobbing, and fire– my body shivered involuntarily. I shifted my focus back to breathing, trying to quiet my body’s urge to stand up and run. I won’t be able to do anything if fear gets the better of me.  Anger flashed hot in my stomach. After everything I’ve done to get my life back, here it is. Ending. The beam overhead groaned like some sort of wounded animal, making me flinch. Clenching my eyes shut, I dove into my memories. Any event of my past was better than what was about to become my last.

 

I’m six years old, sitting in Ms. Carla’s tidy sun-bleached office. I lightly swing my legs back and forth, listening to the rhythmic ba-bump, ba-bump as my heels bounce off the base of the bench. Behind me, through the door, I can just make out the whispers of my foster parents. They don’t say it outright, but I can tell. They don’t like me. Ms.Carla, lovely as always, encourages them to keep trying. Keep up with the counseling. Every child needs a forever-home after all, and who said adoption was going to be easy?

 

I’m twelve years old, running through the woods. My foster brother is laughing, but we’re not having fun. I’m frightened because I know how this game ends. Doubling back I head for my secret hiding spot, and while crossing over the rocks I make a stupid mistake. Trying to jump too fast, my shoelace snags on a fallen branch. I try to catch myself, but tumble heavily into the deep crevasse beneath my destination. If I hadn’t had been so afraid, I wouldn’t have rushed. I spent hours fuming and nursing a sprained arm before the fire department found me. Shortly afterwards my foster ‘parents’ shut me in my room as punishment for wasting everyone’s time.

 

I’m seventeen, crouched in the dusty attic, pouring over my collection of contraband. Wonder Woman and Supergirl– I soaked up the adventures depicted on the black and white pages. My name had been repeated, growing steadily louder and louder for the last five minutes. The heavy footsteps of the man I was supposed to call father reverberated below. It was only a matter of time before he thought to check the attic, and found me and my treasures. Sighing, I carefully tucked three favorites into the bag by my feet. The footsteps halted directly beneath the attic door, but it didn’t matter. I was out the window, down the lattice, and into the night– like the monsters I was leaving behind had never existed at all.

 

And now I’m here. What a stupid situation. I shouldn’t have come to this town. I shouldn’t have stayed here so long. I’m an idiot for thinking I could make a life here. I opened my eyes and stared into the flames, defiant. If my life’s about to end,  I’m going to watch it go.

 

Finally, the groaning beam cracked and gave-way.

Delivering me to the darkness.

CHAPTER 1
REVEALED BY FIRE

MILDRED MIDWOOD

 

Dusk came and went, and a dewy midnight settled like a blanket over the grounds of Rowling-Burroughs University. In the Eastern Quarter of the Historic wing, Headmistress Mildred Midwood sat stiffly behind her desk. Her brown eyes focused on the map spread out before her. Her face was calm, but she drummed her nails against the wood of her desk. A light knock at the door pulled her out of concentration, and Midwood’s eyes shot up to meet a gentle gaze she knew well.

“Professor Starling, it’s late you know,” Midwood said quietly.

“Mildred, there’s another fire,” he replied.

“Where?”

“In the village, at a home for young women.”

Midwood’s nostrils flared. She knew exactly which home Starling referred to.

“And you’re here about it in the middle of the night because–”

“It’s happening as we speak,” Starling answered.

Midwood stood and turned, disappearing into the air with a loud crack, leaving only the smell of burning ozone behind.

 

Midwood reappeared in the shadows, a safe distance from the frantic scene unfolding before her. Even from her position across the street, Midwood felt the searing heat clawing her face. Looking left and right, Midwood observed nothing else out of the ordinary. Silent cars stood sentinel along the street and a cool breeze played through the leaves of the trees.

Everything was as it should be, except for the structure in front of her. It was burning at temperatures so obscene that the flames were a ghostly blue-white. The brave men of Vernon Village’s Fire Department worked diligently, but the fire carried on, unaffected.

Thank the gods this street had been evacuated. The fewer witnesses, the better.

Spreading her arms out by her sides, palms facing the blaze, Midwood hummed low and deep. The sound reverberated through her sternum, growing louder until it matched the cracking and whipping of the flames. A soft grey light emanated from her palms as Midwood took slow steps into the middle of the damp street. One by one the men of VVFD ceased their work, whispering amongst themselves. Midwood did not see them. In fact, she could not see them. Her eyes were rendered useless as her inner eye focused on the fire, seeking its source. It was as if the flames were alive, eluding her efforts to snuff them out.

Fire magic. The thought chilled Midwood to her core, and she redoubled her efforts to douse the flames. Midwood advanced to the sidewalk in front of the building, the ghastly blue flames illuminating her ebony skin. The men of VVFD remained glued to the spot, unable to tear their eyes away. Midwood clasped her hands violently together in front of her heart, snuffing out the raging blaze– the force of her efforts knocking her to the ground.

Stunned, the firefighters looked to the structure, and back to her. A tall, bear of a man came forward to help her to her feet. Midwood was not a frightening woman to behold, yet she saw a glimmer of fear in his eyes as he hoisted her up.

“Chief Johnston, thank you,” Midwood said, brushing off her skirt.

“Well Headmistress, it’s you we ought to thank,” he mumbled.

It was obvious to Midwood that as usual Johnston was polite, but not out of respect.

Whispers from the men rose in the background. (These lot only get involved when something’s wrong) – (I don’t like it, we shouldn’t have to owe them anything.) – (How do we know that she didn’t set the fire to begin with?) She shrugged off their words. If her suspicions were correct, then the current situation was much more important than normal vs supernatural politics.

“If you don’t mind, Chief, I need to inspect the ashes.”

“Ma’am! We’ve been fighting this fire for hours, and the whole time it’s been burning hotter than the bloody sun. You’re not going to find anything in there.”

“All the same, I would like to have a look around.”

“It’s not safe.”

“Chief.” Midwood looked him square in the eye. “I’ll be fine.”

Johnston huffed and stood out of the way, gesturing towards the smoldering remains. Midwood nodded politely, hiked up her skirt, and made her way inside.

The stench of smoke enveloped her as she waded through the destruction. It pained her to know how many people must have died, their bones turned to dust. As she made her way to the center of the cinders, Midwood couldn’t shake the feeling of dread which had taken root within her. She thought back to the orphanage she inspected after it burnt, and then the hostel. No survivors.  Someone is targeting these places. but they wouldn’t continue if they had already found what they were looking for… If I’m right. Stopping for a moment to release her skirt from a piece of twisted steel, something caught Midwood’s eye. Laying under the ashen remains of a structural beam, as if asleep, was a young woman. Her skin smooth and milky white, untouched by the violence.

The gods have mercy!  Bending down, Midwood gathered the naked form in her arms, lifting her up with the strength of a much younger woman. Blocked from the sight of Chief Johnston and his men, Midwood turned on the spot, disappearing with her precious cargo into the heavy night air.  

 

 

 

Author Showcase-Sue Seabury- Shear Luck

This week, I’m honored to host Sue Seabury’s first chapter.  I love her writing and her characters.  The humor is top-notch, too.

 

 

 

It’s sheer luck when the Queen of Coiffure books the wrong flight and meets Mr. Mane Attraction.

Kandi is all set to open the hottest hair salon in West Hollywood. The only thing she needs is a teensy bit of cash to cover the rent. Should be no harder than trimming up split ends with all the investors headed to the First Annual Hairstravaganza in Juno Beach, Florida.

One minor hitch: she booked a flight to Juneau, Alaska.

All return flights are booked for the next few days, but Kandi is confident everything will work out. In the meantime, fate has placed a gorgeous man with the most amazing head of hair in her path, perfect for promo photos.

Mario can’t wait to leave weird, smoggy LA behind and return to his true calling: building a community center for his tribe of Tlingit Indians. The last thing he wants is a gal with a turkey on her head. But he can’t leave her stranded on the curb.

While Mario fights to stop his uncle from putting a strip mall on the sacred land and Kandi texts her thumbs down to nubs trying to keep rivals from renting her salon out from under her, their growing attraction proves a distraction neither wants.

Then again, maybe each has exactly what the other needs.

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And now to the First Chapter.

 

 

 

Shear Luck
by
Sue Seabury

Kandi
Three things that have never failed me in life: the Golden Rule, intuition, and my stainless seven-inch barber shears. Due to some silly airline regulation, I had to put the shears in my checked bag, but I always have the other two at the ready. Good thing the current hair emergency doesn’t require scissors.
The mussed section of the gentleman’s careful comb-over is positively heartbreaking. His cane is jutting out in the aisle as well. In one smooth motion, I reposition the cane and the offending lock of hair. Crisis averted.
“Allow me.” I place his rolling suitcase in the overhead bin for good measure.
“Thank you, erm, miss.” His squint seems mistrustful, although I use the utmost care.
I hope I didn’t insult his manhood. He must be as old as my Grandpa Kimball. It’s only right for the able-bodied to lend a hand. “You’re welcome.”
On the way to my seat, I stow luggage for an over-processed permanent wave, a shaggy mullet, and a bowl cut. Is this flight going to Florida or 1982?
The thanks I received may have been lukewarm, but the universe repays me by placing the most gorgeous hair I have ever seen outside Fresno’s Sixth Annual Wig Convention in my row. A luscious black curtain that falls to his waist. Now that’s what I call serendipity.
Might he be headed to the HairStravaganza too? I never tire of talking shop, but it’ll have to wait until I resolve the more pressing matter of my missing business partner.
No space left in the overhead bin for my own bag after all my good deeds. That’s okay. I’d rather keep my things close at hand. With a conspiratorial wink at my seatmate to initiate the connection, I crane my neck to see around the plodding line of passengers. Still no Candy. Where can she be?
I know the announcement said to turn off all devices, but we’re not moving yet. Anyway, this call is très important.
The stewardess in desperate need of a root touch-up is headed my way again. She probably wants to thank me for helping out, but she seemed a touch hostile toward technology when I tried to make a call while boarding. I duck.
Due to a miscalculation of the distance between myself and Mr. Mane Attraction, I bonk my nose on his shoulder that is apparently made from rocks. Although literally and figuratively on the edge of my seat with my business partner about to miss our flight, I am a professional to the core. With a quick rub to the injured part, I pull out my sweetest the-customer-is-always-right smile. “Sorry.”
He stares at me as if I just told him I enjoy murdering kittens in my spare time. The first person in my twenty-eight years on the planet to be impervious to my charm. No matter. I brought plenty of fashion magazines to study during the flight.
Candy finally answers. We’re hair and name twins. I whisper, “Where are you?”
“Stuck at security. Something about my ionic curlers.”
“Well hurry up already! I’m in seat —” I tilt my head to read the number but that frizzy-haired stewardess is back again. It’s like she has nothing better to do than walk up and down the aisle.
Desperate times. I slip a handful of those tremendous tresses over my face, then separate the strands enough to peek through.
“Twenty-seven B,” is all I have time to say before the stewardess swoops in. She actually crosses her arms and taps her foot like a grammar school principal. Very unprofessional.
“Gottagobye.” I click off but stay concealed in the borrowed hair blind. The scent is exotic, spicy and vaguely savage. Would be sexy if it weren’t for the frown. He’s making the same face as Frizzy even though I’m taking care not to tug. Few people have more respect for hair than I.
Frizzy isn’t doing herself any favors by making that face. Wrinkles already started even though I wouldn’t put her much past thirty. If she doesn’t knock it off and get serious about an age-defying skin care routine, she’s going to have a permanent eleven etched into her forehead. Not a good look on anyone.
The hair blind, while an extremely pleasant place to pass the time, is clearly not working. A few strands stick to my Siren Red ‘Perfect Pout’ lipgloss I wore to prevent dehydration during the flight. A strand gets caught in my mouth triggering my gag reflex, but neither the stewardess nor my seatmate seems interested in helping me. Without a single sign of sympathy over my potentially fatal coughing fit, she extends a hand. Her nails are done in last year’s ‘Checkmate.’
“Hand it over.” Her brassy name tag flashes in the florescent light. ‘Britanni.’
Where was Britanni while I was doing her job loading all those people’s bags into the overhead bins? Not taking care of her hair, that’s for sure. She could use deep conditioning treatment in addition to the touch-up. No wonder she’s in such a foul mood. I wish I had a sample of Tahitian flower oil on me. “What exactly is it you’re looking for?”
She rolls her eyes. Someone just lost a star off her customer satisfaction rating. “Your phone.”
“What’s the number? I’ll dial for you.”
Her eyes bulge. Britanni has quite the repertoire of unattractive expressions.
“The only call I’m going to make is to security if you don’t give me that phone.” She rips the boarding pass from my hand. “And I will, Miz Kane.”
Clearly this woman did her stewardess training in boot camp. As if the condescending announcement of my name isn’t enough of a breach of my confidentiality rights, she actually reaches around my back and yanks my phone away. It’s her fault the man’s hair got pulled. She could have asked nicely. I stand, because being eye to eye is a key component in the art of negotiation.
“Sit down and fasten your seatbelt. We’re about to back out of the gate.”
“But we can’t leave! My business partner isn’t here yet!”
“I’ll be happy to deplane you so you can take the next flight together.” Bootcamp Britanni points at the exit door. I sincerely hope she didn’t pay for that amateurish manicure.
I give it one last shot. “If you let me keep my phone, I’ll bring you a ton of free samples from the haircare conference. They’ll definitely have something to help with your . . . issues.” I use my most professional sensitive tone so as not to offend. “What kind of processing does your stylist use?”
I lean down and pull a freshly-minted business card from my purse that one of the check-in squad had the nerve to call “oversize” although it contains no more than the bare necessities. I pared it down significantly because of the insane airline restrictions. Razors are an essential tool of any haircare professional. How is this not common knowledge?
Not everyone is blessed with a solid education, but since I know a thing or two about customer service, I offer Britanni a winning smile along with one of my pizza-scented Shear Genius cards.
She refuses it. “Sit.”
Now I’m a dog? Minus another star.
There’s no reasoning with a person who treats a customer paying full price like she isn’t even part of the human race. (Full promotional sale price with an extra 10% discount for signing up for the airline credit card, but you can’t fault a gal for being savvy.)
Eyes are on me. Normally I wouldn’t hesitate to promote my salon. But my instincts never fail and today the vibe I’m getting is alarm. These other travelers must know something about Bootcamp B. Both Candy and myself missing the opening day of the Juno Beach HairStravaganza would be a disaster. I sit.
Angel Hair leans against the window. He must be intuitive as well, and sense that I need some space right now.
BB isn’t satisfied. Should’ve known. Now she has her eyes on my purse. I give it a poke with my toe to better stow it under the tiny seat in front of me. It is nice, a genuine imitation Michel Kors in this year’s hottest pea green. I find the best stuff at the Santee Alley flea market. But just because the woman is employed by the airline doesn’t give her license to steal my bag. What is this world coming to? She already has my phone; my purse is non-negotiable.
Turns out the joke’s on her. She can’t lift it, which she makes a big show of. Her theatrics are ridiculous. I had no difficulty carrying it and she’s got a good twenty pounds on me.
“Definitely overweight,” she says.
If we were on friendlier terms, I might offer some tips on how to tone up while slimming down. As our relationship is strained, my heroism extends only to not pointing out that they make a matched set.
“Needs to go below,” she says.
“Nooo!”
Sympathetic heads ten rows in either direction whip round but they have no effect on heartless Britanni.
“Sit and buckle. You’ll get both of them back when we land.”
She stomps off-kilter down the aisle, my most precious belongings in tow. I’m breathless. My iPhone and I have never been parted since I got it two weeks ago. The case alone set me back over a hundred bucks, but image is important. I designed it myself: a stunning combination of zebra and neon pink rocker hair, with Shear Genius written in raised, jagged script.
I need something to calm myself. First choice is a head to style. With no tools but my bare hands, braiding will have to do. But my own head is out of the question. I spent three hours coiffing it into the perfect ‘do for my grand entrée at the HairStravaganza. Complex, yet elegant. The marcel waves turned out just right, and I used the perfect amount of styling wax to achieve maximum shine without a hint of greasiness on the upturned tail. Spraying the colors to make feathers was a snap, and the single red Betty Boop curl in the front is the crème de la crème, if I may be allowed to toot my own horn, which I’m sure I do rarely enough.
My seatmate’s luscious locks call to me like a Siren. He really likes the view out the window. It is a lovely vista of LA. The smog only adds to its mystique.
“Excuse me,” I say. “This may be an unusual request, but would you mind if . . .” I wiggle my fingers at his hair.
The man’s expression is blank, a considerable improvement over the previous one.
I hate to have to spell it out. First off, I do not want my question to be misinterpreted as flirtation. My salon is the only thing on the radar screen at this time.
Second, it might make me seem odd, like hair is some kind of kinky fetish. But it’s not. It’s my passion, my love. I never put a pair of scissors to a head without first saying a prayer that this will be the best cut I’ve ever done. Like Momma says, humility is a blessing. I know that which is given can also be taken away.
His hair is so long, he probably wouldn’t have noticed if I just started on a section. Too late now. “Would it be all right if I braided your hair?”
The corners of his lips twitch. When he isn’t scowling, he has a not-unattractive face with a straight nose, full lips and eyelashes no women can achieve without assistance. And those exotic cheekbones. Even nicer than I-will-love-you-forever-oh-wait-I-like-my-parents’-moolah-more Sebastián’s. I have to get my hands on that hair.
“It calms me down,” I explain, since he doesn’t reply.
“Do you need calming?” His voice is pleasant, like a QVC presenter’s. He seems genuinely interested in my answer.
“After that . . . woman stole my belongings, yes.”
“Ah.”
I’m not sure if that’s a “yes,” but as the plane jerks out of the gate, I take hold of the man’s hair reflexively. “This is my first flight, and my business partner didn’t make it onto the plane, but we’re scheduled to be at the HairStravaganza in a few short hours. Is that where you’re headed?”
“No.”
Too bad. His hair is so silky. And the smell. What is that spicy bit? Anise, maybe?
I have to find out what products he uses. I won’t rush him, however. I will allow the conversation to flow around naturally to haircare, like it always does.
The plane lurches again; I braid. It occurs to me that he hasn’t, in so many words, given consent. I lean forward to check his face. A pleasant grin communicates the answer. I have people skills, unlike some people who work in customer service but should clearly be in another line of work, like prison guard.
The rhythmic twisting keeps my mind off the stomach-churning liftoff. So much beautiful hair. It lasts the whole ascent.
Although it’s unergonomic to twist in my seat like that, I continue even after the ride smooths out. I know all about the dangers of such things: carpal tunnel, trigger finger, varicose veins. I pay attention and am careful to not overdo. I never wear anything higher than a four-inch heel. For this busy day of travel, my gold gladiator sandals with a modest platform sole were the obvious choice.
I’ve never encountered anything like this man’s hair. I don’t know exactly how much it would be worth to a wig-maker, but I’m guessing a couple thousand at least. I run my fingers through the silky tresses to undo the plaiting so I can start again.
The man clears his throat. I pretend not to hear. It can be rude to call attention to such things, like when a person is coughing. I hate it when people ask me if I’m okay. If I’m not okay, I’ll make the internationally recognized signal for choking. Otherwise, I’m fine and I don’t like people staring at me when my face is red and blotchy.
“Are you done?” he asks. “I feel like one of those doll heads little girls have.”
I scoff. They aren’t “doll heads.” They’re mannequin heads, an essential tool in the haircare learning process. I happen to have three in my checked luggage.
But he’s been generous, so I say politely, “Thank you for allowing me to do your hair. If you don’t mind my asking, what products do you use?”
“What products?” he echoes. “Are we in an infomercial?” His teeth are straight and white, but his smile is mocking.
A pity he’s so unfriendly; he’d make a great advertisement for our website. I stay polite for just that reason. “I meant, in your hair. What types of styling products do you use? Like, wax or mousse?”
He pulls his hair out of my reach. My fingers ache with longing. “None, but if I was going to use anything, I would definitely use moose wax.”
I go through my mental catalogue of haircare. “I’ve never heard of mousse wax. Who makes it?”
“Mooses.”
I don’t recognize the brand either. I remain silent.
“You know.” His large hands form antlers on his head. “Big, hairy things.”
With a polite nod, I turn back in my seat. Valuable minutes have been wasted when I should have been reading up on the latest hair trends from Tokyo.
I look for my bag, then remember where it is. That stewardess was cruel, inhuman, just like this uncongenial person. Abandoned by Candy, tortured by Britanni and trapped with a teasing man with to-die-for hair. What have I done to deserve this?
Out of desperation, I pluck the in-flight magazine from the seatback pocket. It’s mostly a waste, no real celebrities to critique and the regular people, well, like Momma always says, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. I would do the sudoku, except I don’t even have a pen. Thanks again, Brat-anni.
As I try to work it out in my head, Lovely Locks pulls a Sharpie from the breast pocket of his chambray shirt. I almost refuse it on principle, but there’s a crossword, too. I don’t like the way crosswords always try to trick you, but Momma says they’re good mind-sharpeners, and staying sharp is key in the realm of haircare where trends change faster than Lady Gaga’s ensembles. I figure if I don’t go too quickly, the puzzle might last me to the end of the flight.
“Thank you.” Even though I make it clear I’m not interested in reopening the conversation, I always remember my manners.
On second thought, it might be wise to stay friendly with him so he’ll let me braid again during the descent. I’ve heard it’s worse than liftoff.

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/SueSeabury

 

Author Showcase- The First Chapter

Mark your calendars!  Starting September the 4th, each week I’ll be showcasing authors first chapters.  Some you’ll know, some are new. September will be erotica, so grab that cup of coffee and get comfy!  The first author in the showcase will be Ophelia Bell.  If you haven’t read her yet, just wait.  You’ll love her world- Dragons! And lots of hot sex.  Two fixes in one!  I counted forty-two books by the very busy Ms. Bell.

Last month, I entered a contest and won a ‘swag bag’ from her!  Oh, and the book?  Just love it.  Autographed too!

Lots of different genres for you to chose from in the coming months.  Take a few minutes and discover erotica, fantasy, paranormal, love, and good old fashioned sweet romance.  Their first chapters will offer you a quick read and I just know you’ll find someone to fall in love with. I’ll throw in a wee bit of mystery and lit in the following months so I’ll have something for everyone.

The erotica authors in our line up are wildly talented and so good.  Like coffee on a cold morning.  They’ll warm you up and get you going.

September 4th, Ophelia Bell

September 11th, Tom Benson

September 18th Imogene Keeper

September 25th Godiva Glenn

Then just wait til October. I’ll be changing genres.  First up will be the very talented Francisco Cordova and his new series.  Fabulous!

Mark your calendars and join me for the First Chapter.

Can’t wait!

As an added plus, join The Very Sherry Terry on her blog on the following Wednesday, where she’ll be discussing the books and giving a review.  Check out her blog and send us your comments.

 

Painted Girl, A Kiowa in Love.

Painted Girl, A Kiowa in Love

Release date of June 22, 2015!

Love, humor and a lively scheming Grandfather, what could be better?Painted Girl longs to marry RedHorse, but Grandfather doesn’t believe that they are ready.

The Grand Instigator has a way to keep them apart until they find their Inner Indian. But as with all of his plans, it doesn’t work out the way he imagined.

RedHorse goes off to war with visions of heroic deeds dancing before his eyes. That ends after a tragic accident, which cost him a limb. RedHorse doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him and pushes everyone away. Frustration and anger could cost him his love.

Painted Girl is thankful that RedHorse returned, but he feels less than a whole man. Painted Girl is so angry with Red Horse that she would agree to be a second wife to a ‘gulp’ New Yorker.

A New Yorker who, by the way, thinks that Grandfather has the softest skin.
A man whose nether parts are always peeking without any lipstick on them!

Lipstick?

Grandfather feels that it is his duty to guide them in life, to help them find their Inner Indian but they don’t listen.

So he has a plan.

And so does everyone else.

Including the cat.

Rated for ages 18+ for mature audiences. Sexual humor, but no vulgarity or foul language.

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lucinda E Clarke

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