Sunday, May 29, 2016

"Glitter" Confessions

1. "Glitter on the Web" likely would never have happened had it not been for Macklemore.

The bestie and I share movies and videos with each other every weekend, which is pretty cool that even 35 years into our friendship, we find new things to share between us. We're still teaching each other things, and he, inadvertently sometimes, purposefully other times, has inspired more than one story doing it. Many months back, he sent me the video for "Downtown" by Macklemore.

In the video, Macklemore shows some love for a bigger girl:

Now do you or do you not wanna ride with me
I got one girl, I got two wheels
She a big girl but ain't a big deal
I like a big girl, I like 'em sassy

First thought: "Aw, that's cool. Hope he means it." So, being me, I dug a little deeper as I'm known to do, to find a pic of his wife to see if she, too, was a big girl. She wasn't. It got the gears turning. What if a popular singer showed love for bigger girls, endearing him to that particular audience, but it was all a marketing ploy? Hence, Glitter was born.

Confession, Part Two - I had completely forgotten about this until the bestie showed me ANOTHER Macklemore song where he, once again, proclaimed his affection for bigger girls and it sparked the memory. (I still hope he means it.)

2. GLITTER is my unintentional homage to Purple Rain.

This one happened by accident, really. It's Eli's fault. He started playing an instrumental piece early in the book, and it just felt right to give it the Purple Rain treatment. That movie makes the list of one of my favorite closing scenes ever, given the emotional payoff at the end. To have a musician struggle with an important piece of music, to figure out what he wanted to say, and say it when it had the most emotional payoff, made sense. I had already given Eli a few Kid/Price-like qualities, including his teaching himself to play the piano, and producing/writing/performing all of his earliest work. So really, it was unintentional, but in the end I was proud to pay tribute to one of my idols, especially one who taught me so much how to be my own kind of artist. Little did I know at the time it would be a memorial. :(

3. It took me a long-ass time to title this book.

Names come to me relatively easy. It's not so much a choice as it is a discovery. When I name my characters, I generally know who they are before they have a name to go with the character. So I go down a list of potential names that I keep (and add to,) until I find the one that feels right, like I'm looking for someone who already exists and I'm just waiting to have them step forward for roll call. (This is also why I generally don't change names easily when I've found the one that clicks, and why working with anyone else creatively is so challenging because they typically want to change these names first thing. It's like taking your kid to school and introducing them, only to have the teacher say, "Hum, we already have a Justin. Can I just call him Doug?" Self-publishing allows me the freedom to allow my characters to be who they were supposed to be, something I got to know very early on in the creative process.) Book titles are even harder, because if you inadvertently name your book after a book that already exists, you can risk suffering from comparison. I knew I had to think outside the box with this one, because I really, really wanted it to stand out. With GLITTER, I had my concept and my characters, but I had no idea what to name their journey. Finally I circled around to the "web" idea, given the story is about a big lie. What's the only thing that could entice someone like me onto a web? My husband doesn't call me a magpie for nothing. Also, GLITTER ON THE WEB leaves a little wiggle room if I ever want to revisit the story... like... GLITTER DOWN THE AISLE, or GLITTER IN THE CRIB... that kind of thing. Y'know... just in case... ;)

4. Eli is based on real men I've known.

If you're really close to me, you probably recognize Eli. I really didn't hide what I was trying to do with this character. While reading it, my husband turned to me and said, "You think So-N-So will recognize himself in your book?" My first thought was, "Probably not, because anyone who would really Eli me wouldn't read the book in the first place." Which is true. All I can say is I hope so, even though the So-N-So Steven referred to isn't *technically* the whole inspiration for the character (though bad experiences involving him definitely worked themselves out in the book, as they tend to.) Truthfully I hope every guy who has ever Eli'd me sees themselves in the book, because they're all represented in every nasty thing Eli said or did. I threw it all into an Asshole Bouillabaisse as my way of saying, "How you treated me was not okay, and I only wish I had had Carly's ovarian fortitude to tell you that." Everything Eli did or said to piss you off has happened to me at some point, just like it has probably happened to many, many women of size reading the book. Typically these were the things I accepted and excused when I was too stupid to recognize my own value, and this was my way to rewrite things, to let someone else know that it isn't okay of if someone treats them this way. Stand up for yourself. You can. And if the guy is worth having, he'll cowboy the fuck up. (Many don't, but that's okay. If they can't see your worth, they don't deserve you anyway. Trite, but true.) Honestly, it gives me great satisfaction when I hear that people hate Eli. I wanted you to. I wanted you to see how unacceptable this behavior is, so that we learn to nip that shit in the bud in real life. He is the voice of our media... he's the voice of our society. It's *our* job to stop agreeing with it, and demand the respect and human courtesy we deserve.

5. Eli's and Carly's story isn't over.

For everyone who wanted an epilogue, to see what happens with this couple beyond any kind of HEA (or HFN, you don't know,) there's a reason I didn't include one. Their story isn't over, and you WILL see them again. FFF releases this November, and will focus on all THREE of the owners of the club, Carly included. Oh, and Caz hasn't gone away either... so this should be all KINDS of angsty fun.

Have you read GLITTER? Tell me what you thought!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The weight of writing "plus-size" fiction, and why I cannot be shamed.

The story of how I came to write "plus-size" or Rubenesque romances is pretty well known by this point. As a "plus-size" woman, I was sick and tired of reading books where women who looked like me were treated as the supporting characters, the comic relief, or the sad examples of what not to be. This was not my experience. As the star of my own life, I have had quite a bit of romance, quite a bit of sex, and quite a bit of drama all on my own. It rubbed me raw that, especially in romance, the "ideal" I needed to "escape" to was someone other than me. See, that kind of thing just feeds my internal chatterbox, which is already running 24/7 telling me I'm a piece of shit anyway. It ends up reinforcing this societal message that if I don't conform to the standard of beauty set by other people... I just don't count. I don't deserve to find love, I don't deserve to be successful, and I certainly don't deserve a happily ever after.

Entire multi-million-dollar industries are literally banking on this premise, from the magazines we see screaming at us from the check-out aisle, to the cosmetics and fashion industry and... let's not forget the weight-loss industry, which brings in BILLIONS per year. So naturally the women we see reflected back to us in the media all tend to fit a certain type, and woe to the women who don't. Any time any woman dares to dip her tippy-toe outside of this narrow definition of ideal feminine beauty, there's shame the size of Texas waiting to be heaped on her, to corral her back into line.

And we all kind of accept it. We all kind of go along with this idea that women in particular deserve our ridicule and our disdain simply because of how they look, which reinforces the even more destructive social messaging that a woman's value hinges on something so temporary and so superficial. If you dare to be successful in any OTHER way, whether professionally, intellectually, in your character, with your achievements, even if you want to be president of these United States, it all comes back to how you look.

If you don't look a certain way, you simply don't deserve to be happy.

And it's bullshit.

I used to shovel the shit, same as the majority of folks in our culture. I wrote thin and beautiful women, desired women, who didn't know they were thin, beautiful and desired, something I wouldn't know dick about, and publishers told me thanks but no thanks. My characters were "too perfect."

But that was how I saw the women mirrored back to me. They were certainly more perfect than I was, and more deserving of good things than I was.

I mean, that IS the message, right?

In 2007, I set out to change that message. I wrote my first Rubenesque romance, LOVE PLUS ONE, about a size-12 (gasp! shocker!) gal who not only didn't know she was beautiful... she had the world around her reinforcing that sad message. She had to fight through BOTH piles of bullshit to find her happily ever after.

THAT... I know.

Since then I've written all sorts of "plus-size" fiction, with all sorts of heroines. I have my confident, DGAF heroines who embrace the fact they are different and don't give a rat's ass who agrees with them. (Rachel from THE FULLERTON FAMILY SAGA, Andy from THE GROUPIE SAGA, Coralie from THE MASTERS SAGA, Caitlin from PICTURE POSTCARDS and Carly from GLITTER ON THE WEB.) I have my more insecure heroines, who are fighting uphill through molasses to figure out their worth. (Jordi from THE FIERCE TRILOGY, Shannon from LOVE PLUS ONE.) I have my pissed off heroine, who gained weight just to keep men dafuq away from her, (Jessica, UNDER TEXAS SKIES,) and the character who has battled the chatterbox a lot like me over the past four decades, even when she couldn't see the great things that were right in front of her. (Roni from THE LEFTOVER CLUB.) Joely Morgan, from BACK FOR SECONDS, was a 40-year-old mother of three who gained weight and alienated her hubby, who dropped her like a bad habit for a 20-something size-perfect beauty. She got the interest of a younger, hotter man who wanted to get his hands all over her neglected curves, again... writing what I know from real-life experience.

I've written characters who are where I used to be. I've written characters who are who I want to be. And each and every one I allowed to be who they were, no physical changes necessary. They had to change their attitude only, one that said, "You're allowed to find love the way you are. And that must always start with you."

Needless to say, there's been some negative feedback. In a genre where fantastic, unrealistic things happen all the time, I've heard my share of complaints that "plus-size" fiction isn't "realistic" enough to sell. One blog I read treated the whole Rubenesque genre as a joke, saying it would be more realistic to her if two mentally challenged people found love together, as long as they were hot. You can be an asshole, you can be missing limbs, you can have the IQ of a kumquat, but God forbid you're larger than a size-6, which is where this particular blogger started her fat-shaming because "No man I know would ever date a woman bigger than that!"

So the majority of American women, who tend to be a size 14/16, are SOL when it comes to finding love... even though they do, even though they date, have sex, marry, have families and generally live happy lives.

I've had personal reviews that reinforce this sad message. One reviewer, an admitted size-16 herself, said my GROUPIE SAGA was unrealistic because no rock star AND music mogul would fight over a woman who wore a size-16.


Oh yeah. Nothing to like THERE. She's only the first model of size to grace the cover of the coveted Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She's listed in People's Most Beautiful. Oh, and she's also married to a hot guy who digs her curves like there's no tomorrow.

And she did all that as a size-16.

Another interviewer took issue with the fact that I don't shy away from numbers in my book. CC Cabot (or Coralie) from my MASTERS SAGA was also a size-16, which... if you look at the Victoria's Secret Sizing Guide, is 42.5-34-44.5. Coralie is 46/34/44. I made her top-heavy because some women don't necessarily have sizes that fit these cookie-cutter sizes, and my whole message with Coralie was that American fashion sizing is bullshit (particularly the use of the term "plus-size.") She, as the daughter of a fashion industry icon, couldn't even find stuff to fit or flatter in her very own store because of this segregated idea of feminine beauty. I wanted to make it hard for her to find clothes, because for many of us it IS hard to find clothes. Even Salma Hayek and Scarlet Johansson, some of the hottest babes in Hollywood, overfill certain sizes. Salma is 39-24-36 and Scarlett is 36-25-36. Back at Victoria's Secret, a size-4 is 34.5-26-36.5, but you don't get into the 39" bust size until a 12, or a 36"-bust size until an 8. Did I mention already that the fashion industry standard for "plus-size" starts at a size 6? WHICH, btw, is a SMALL at Victoria's Secret.

See where I'm going with this? THIS guy does.

But because I said that Coralie had a size-46 bust, a reviewer took issue with my gender identity. "Is this writer even a woman?" she wanted to know, because 46 inches was HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE.

She's right. I don't know much about being a size-16, as it's been about three decades since I wore a 44-36-44. My current bust size now is 48". Whether I'm a woman or not... well...

Many a guy has looked at my chest and didn't give a shit about the number (unless it was my phone number,) but thanks for the reality check, I guess. Living in my skin day to day, I had forgotten what an anomaly I was. Thank GAWD someone was there to remind me how I don't fit in. Having made the career of my dreams out of thin air, raised two amazing men, and been loved and desired by many amazing guys, my confidence was getting OUT OF CONTROL. Someone definitely needed to put me in my place.

Even though I can point to real life examples of what I write...including my very own story, it's "unrealistic." I'd venture to guess more size-16 women get married every single day than college graduates get whisked away by gazillionaires, but ... y'know... whatever. Gotta protect the message.

It should be crystal clear by this point I don't give a flying fig about "the message."

Actually that's not true. I care enough about the destructive nature of this bullshit message to change it. This is why I write the books I do. I was sick and tired of being told I wasn't the ideal, I couldn't have my happily ever after, and I was not good enough. This is the uphill battle I climb every single time I walk outside my front door, facing a culture that would rather shame me into conforming than understand me as I am.

In my book, GLITTER ON THE WEB, Carly Reynolds shares this same mission. She is likewise a size-16, but she doesn't give a fuck if you think she's huge. She dates. She has an active sex life. She lives her life on her terms, and fuck the naysayers who want to shame her for any of it.

Because every plot needs an opposing force, I decided to make a living embodiment of our social standard. I've done that before with Eddie in FIERCE, but this time I had a different agenda. I was going to put these two opposing mindsets together, and use the resulting chaos to change the fucking message. So I created Eli Blake, who is the perfect ideal of a man, according to society standards. He's painfully good-looking. He's white. He's rich. He's straight. He's successful in the eyes of the world. These are his "get out of asshole" free cards that society hands to guys like this, even when they're ginormous douche bags.

It really is amazing what we, as women, tolerate from guys who simply look a certain way. (I'll get to that more in a minute.)

GLITTER was my way of shining a light on the destructive nature of the shaming mindset that goes hand-in-hand with shaping a message around beauty conformity. Needless to say, Eli had his biases when he got into this relationship, but so did Carly. Forced to work together, and live together, to perpetuate the lie of being a couple, they were able to get past the bullshit. And that's where the real chance for romance starts.

Fast-forward to May 9, the day before I released my ambitious project, and the book world exploded around the concept of "fat-shaming" when a male model went on a social media rampage against fat women, both the authors and readers of romance. I won't name him, he got enough publicity at the start of the week, but his message was that fat writers had to write romance because they weren't getting any dick at home, and readers of romance should just go eat ice cream and hang themselves in the closet.

No, really. That was his message, word for almost fucking word.

That he wasn't more widely panned by the women who had become his "fans" as a fitness role model and cover model for romance novels, just reinforced the power of this destructive message. It's also a sad social statement that women accept abusive behavior from jerks just because we think they're good-looking. (Raise your standards, ladies. S'all I'm saying.)

This is a guy who told us fat girls to go hang ourselves in the closet. I want no part of that message. Instead I'm trying to tell us all that no matter what your size, you deserve to be happy. You don't lose your worth as a human just because some jagoff is pissed off you're not doing more to attract him.

For some reason, some guys get really REALLY mad about this. I mean, why else would you say to someone that they need to hang themselves in a closet??

He did try to wrap this "concern-trolling" bullshit with the more socially accepted "obesity epidemic" trappings. But this guy doesn't give two shits about your health if he's trying to tell you you need to end it all simply because of what you weigh. What kind of fucked up message is that?? "I really want you to lose weight so you can live longer. But fuck that, you're a fat slob of a pig. Kill yourself now." That is a passionate, deep-seated hatred of you as a potential sexual partner who didn't do enough to please him, like you owed it to him to be hot.

Spoiler alert: You don't.

Like Jennifer Weiner said, there is room in the world for the unpretty. You don't owe it to him to give him a boner or to get his attention. From this kind of explosive meltdown, I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is not the kind of man you want ANY attention from. EVER. But regardless of who or what, you don't owe it to anyone else to be thin, to be pretty, to be perfect, to look good, to fit into a certain size - OR exercise and diet and starve yourself just so the people who are trying hard to find reasons to hate you will somehow like you one day.

Spoiler alert: They won't.

I didn’t want to tell her that “they” would never stop finding things that girls are “too” this or that for, to deny us our happy endings, like we somehow didn’t deserve it anymore because we’re not perfect. It starts with too young, then it becomes too fat, too thin, too loud, too quiet, too timid, too bold, too chaste, too slutty, too ugly, too pretty… until finally we’re too old, and we get put out to pasture like any brood mare who was no longer useful.

“‘They’ will always try to make you feel like a half-person, who will never be complete until you have a man to validate you. But ‘they’ are full of shit. You are an amazing person all on your own. The right person will see that. It’ll turn all those things that are too much into just right.” - Carly Reynolds

I've talked about fat-shaming before, where I was actually FAT-SHAMED for doing so. (Not surprised.) In fact, there are some who would fat-shame me for writing romances about bigger women, just because it's "unhealthy" to encourage happiness/self-acceptance when the accepted wisdom is fat is bad. Even though studies have proven that fat-shaming is way more damaging than helpful, which I know from my own personal experience.

All of this stuff just reinforced why I write the stories I do. My entire purpose on the planet is to change the message, because I know first-hand how destructive it is. You want to be really, truly healthy? Try loving yourself enough to be imperfect. Convince yourself that you matter. You have value. You are here to be what no one else can be... and that's you. You're here to love, to learn and to grow, and you deserve to be happy. If you're not happy where you are, then change it. You have the power to do that. If you are happy where you are, then work on those things to make you stronger, to help you live longer, so you can show all the naysayers that no matter how much they try to steal your thunder, you're here to shake things up, and fuck 'em if they don't like it.

So stop accepting these ill-fitting boxes they try to cram us all into to make THEM feel better about themselves, when they're the ones who are limited. You matter. And you deserve to be here. You're going to make waves standing out, being different, but don't you dare apologize. People will try to shame you, sure, because they don't know how to handle it. This usually indicates these are people who aren't fit to judge you anyway. So don't accept that shame. There's no one on this planet more qualified to judge you for being you except you. And I got news for you... you're fucking perfect at it. Because of the scars you wear... not in spite of them.

Shake off the haters, lift your chin and own. You might be surprised who might someday agree.

“You really don’t care what people think, do you?”

“What do you mean?”

“Like today. I tell you to skip makeup, you put on sunglasses like it’s nothing. If I had said that to Rhonda, she would have spent the next ten minutes yelling at me in Spanglish, telling me I didn’t understand what it was like to be a woman in the public eye.”

“Big difference. I’m not in the public eye.”

“Yeah, you are,” he corrected. “You just don’t care. At the spa. On the beach. You just walked through a crowded lobby in beachwear, and don’t even notice if other people stare or talk behind your back. It’s like you’re a queen and they’re all beneath you.”

I chuckled. “Oh, I notice. But you’re right. I don’t care. I’m not defined by the opinions of others.”

His caresses grew even gentler. “Like a queen.” I said nothing. “It’s sexy,” he murmured, his fingers trailing over my shoulders and down both arms as he leaned closer. “You’re sexy.”

My eyes met his. “Surprised?”

He nodded. “Every day.” He leaned forward for another kiss.

GLITTER ON THE WEB now available in Kindle Unlimited.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Last Sneak Peek Saturday - and LAST WEEK to get Glitter on the Web for $2.99

This is it folks. GLITTER ON THE WEB releases May 10! (Which, incidentally, is the same day that DEADPOOL releases on DVD - so if you're anything like me, I know you will likely be torn. Pro-tip: cast RR as Eli Blake and you're good to go for a sexy all-nighter!)

So we've covered already that my heroine, Carly, doesn't care much for our douche bag hero, Eli. She signs up for a year pretending to be his girlfriend because there's a LOT of money involved, but she has no intention whatsoever of actually falling for the guy. He has no intention of falling for either, because clearly she's not his type.

This makes for all sorts of interesting situations because neither one is trying to impress the other. They can speak bluntly. They can tell the truth. They can push back instead of roll over. They had a push-pull relationship from the get-go, which - truth be told - are my favorite kinds of sticky romantic entanglements.

The following scene is one that Carly herself finished. Characters do that sometimes, throwing curve balls at you with surprising new actions you didn't outline or predict. It was clear she wasn't about to take my guff any more than she took Eli's. It was a scene where Eli orchestrates this huge makeover for our casual, atypical beauty, which doesn't go over very well for Carly. So she takes matters into her own hands. Like Eli, I didn't really see this little surprise coming. It was the exact moment that I fell head over heels in love with her. This is a strong character who doesn't let others tell her how to feel about herself, especially an arrogant dickhead like Eli Blake. This is an example of how far she's willing to go to prove her worth, even when he wants to deny her of it. (Later in the book... she goes further. I LOVE THIS GIRL.)


Cabot’s Department Store had been a L.A. staple of fashion since the 1940s, and in the past couple of years they had started up a new plus-line of clothing called Youniquely Cabot, which, for the beginning of their run anyway, was modeled by heiress C.C. Cabot herself, who, like me, had an ample figure.

Her sister-in-law, Darcy Masters, was the mastermind behind all the amazing creations, and it was her genius that guided our personal shopping experience when we got there for our eleven o’clock appointment.

Eli had beaten me to the store, where he turned on the charm for our personal shopping assistant, Ashley. Since she was thin and pretty, he got her name right the first time, and used it often with that blinding white smile of his.

That wasn’t what bothered me. I was used to that. What I wasn’t used to was the way he hung on me like a cheap coat, trying to sell this new romance to the 20-something salesgirl.

“Hey, gorgeous,” he greeted with that same smile as he walked right up to me, put his arms around me and reached for a kiss.

Though I was no prude, and PDAs never really bothered me, having that mouth open over mine—again—made my skin crawl. It wasn’t that he wasn’t a good kisser, of course he was. It was that he was Eli Blake and the kiss was for show and I was a big fat phony faking liar, just like he was.

Needless to say, my response was lukewarm, which earned his cheerfully delivered reproach. “Come on, baby. No one cares,” he murmured as he cuddled me close, his hands sliding down my back to rest on either hip. I used my eyes alone to warn him of the boundaries he was crossing. It only made him smile wider as he turned back to Ashley. “You’ll have to forgive her. She’s shy.”

She giggled. “Not a problem. I’m the same way. My boyfriend always wants to get cozy in public. Drives me crazy. Of course I don’t have the whole world watching,” she added empathetically as she glanced my way.

I could barely unclench my jaw. “That does make it a little more challenging,” I agreed.

Ashley remained cheerfully on point. “Darcy looked over your list of events and she sent over quite a few options for you to consider. Give me five minutes to get everything started.”

“We’re in your hands,” Eli smiled at her while he cuddled me closer, squeezing one ass cheek for effect.

The minute she left the mirrored room, I thrust him away. “I wish you’d stop telling everyone I’m shy.”

He shrugged as he made his way to the tufted upholstered loveseat. “Which would you rather be? Shy? Or a frigid bitch? Because it could go either way.”

I glared at him. “I’m neither, for your information.”

He crossed one leg over the other, his eyes icy as he stared back at me. “Could have fooled me. We’re supposed to be crazy about each other, remember? That’s the story you’re being paid quite well to sell. Haven’t you ever been in a relationship before?”

“Is that what you think?” I gaped. “That I’m some sad wallflower that has never been kissed?”

“I know you’ve been kissed. You’ve been kissed by me.”

I barely concealed my growl of frustration just as Ashley lowered the lights and began our own private fashion show. I glanced back to Eli, who patted the space beside him with that self-satisfied smirk of his. My teeth clenched together tightly as I walked over to the love seat and squeezed myself next to him on the tiny, intimate piece of furniture. He wrapped his arm around my shoulders, almost like a vice grip to keep me in line, as the first model appeared.

She was a size 14/16 like me, but her look was far more stylish than the nondescript pantsuit I happened to be wearing. She wore funky layers and bright colors, with the sass and attitude to match as she sashayed from one side of the room to the other, with a twirl as she reached us, so we could get the full 360-degree view of her outfit.

“This is for those casual occasions,” Ashley said. “Going to the movies, out to the mall, maybe meeting for lunch at an outdoor cafĂ©. Just add some funky jewelry or maybe a jacket over a casual shirt and you’re ready to take on the town.”

“I like it,” Eli told her. “But I would like to see something a bit sexier.”

Ashley bestowed a smile. “Not a problem. Next is Emma, who will model one of our more versatile looks that would work for day or night, dressy or casual.”

Emma wore a sleek pencil skirt in snakeskin print, with a white blouse and an olive-colored leather jacket, along with the kind of high heels I had given up in middle school, when my growth spurt put me eye-to-eye with most the boys in my class.

Given my new steady Eli was a good seven inches taller than me, this was no longer a concern. I could only hope I remembered how to walk in the silly things.

When Eli commented he would like to see more skin, the next model, Ariel, walked out in silky black palazzo pants with a corset top with sheer lacy sides. “Add a black leather jacket and you’re good to go,” Ashley said.

“That’s more like it,” Eli murmured as he cuddled me closer. “I can’t wait to see you in that one,” he murmured, grazing his lip against my cheek near my ear. “Or, more accurately, out of it.”

I nearly bit the inside of my cheek clean off to keep from screaming.

Ashley wasn’t done. She had everything to show us, from cocktail dresses to athletic wear. “My baby does like to stay active,” he said as he grinned at me.

“You have no idea,” I promised just under my breath, plotting my revenge accordingly.

Eli made his next request to Ashley, though he looked straight at me. “Maybe we should see some lingerie, then.”

From negligees to baby doll nighties, each and every model paraded past us in silk, satin and lace. There were swimsuits, bras and panties, everything one might need for a year-long romance with one of the most desired men in the world.

It took at least two hours for us to finish our business there at Cabot’s, but if I thought he was done, I was seriously mistaken. The next stop we made was to a salon, where he suggested we do something a little more exciting with my chestnut brown hair. “Blonde highlights,” he told the stylist, who proceeded to wrap me up in so much tin foil I was pretty sure I could pick up communication from the International Space Station.

After that, it was a couple’s afternoon at a spa, where we got plucked, pampered and groomed. I very nearly brought the whole thing crashing down when it was time for our dual massage, since I had to strip down to just my panties underneath my robe.

I could tell from the cocky look in his blue eyes that he was just waiting for me to buckle. Maybe he thought I should be ashamed of my body since it wasn’t “perfect,” and he was just waiting for me to agree. So I walked into that room and let the robe fall right off my shoulders, revealing myself almost entirely for his curious stare. I wore no bra, so naturally that was where his eyes first fell, taking in every inch of my breasts as they swayed heavily before him.

Yeah, fucko, this is what natural, unenhanced tits look like.

He wanted to shame me, but I wasn’t ashamed. Like the great Eleanor Roosevelt once said, no one can make anyone else feel inferior without their consent. I simply refused to consent—to the world at large, and to Eli Blake in particular. So I wasn’t shy at all when I climbed up on my table and waited for a rub-down.

Eli was so taken aback that he didn’t say much during our massage. I made a mental note to get naked more often.

Afterwards, when they had placed hot stones along our bodies, they left us in the softly lit room, illuminated only by candlelight, with gentle music playing in the background. Finally Eli spoke.

“I have to admit, I never thought you’d go through with all this,” he murmured.

I turned my head to look at him. “Told you I wasn’t shy.”

“You’re full of surprises, Carly Reynolds,” he said, his eyes closing as he enjoyed his hot stone therapy.

“Just wait until tomorrow. You might want to wear a cup.”

He opened one eye to look at me. I just chuckled and looked the other way.


I had so much fun with these characters. I really can't wait for you to meet them. So get your pre-order today! This weekend will be the last that GLITTER is on sale, after May 10th it goes up to $3.99.

And don't forget to subscribe to my email list. Tomorrow I'm sending out an exclusive sneak peek by email only!

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required