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On June 16th, the Many Shades blog will be closed.
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Monday, September 21, 2009

A free read… part 1 (R rated)

Over the next few weeks, as a lead-in to my Halloween release, In the Spirit (TBR 10/15 by extasy books,) I am sharing some pages of Holiday Spirits . In Holiday Spirits we meet Artim and Jenna, hero and heroine of Holiday Spirits, and Katie and Ned, a main character and hero in In the Spirit. For a look at reviews of Holiday Spirits, please visit:
Enjoy the free read!
Chapter One
The bum. The lousy ingrate. All that time and preparation, and she copped out of running the marathon!
That my thoughts whirled with issues other than what I needed to focus on irked the bloody hell out of me. I bounced on the balls of my feet, stared up at the dark morning sky that lay beyond the bright temporary street lamps, and blew hot, moist air into my gloved, but still freezing cold, cupped hands. Current hits from various music genres blared from the speakers that had been set up along the perimeter of the casino’s parking lot, but the loud music and noise of the growing crowd at the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard couldn’t quiet my mind.
The annoying buzz of the alarm had woken me at four. I had nervously prepped myself with the appropriate clothing, small water bottles and strategically placed packs of goo, a wonderful pudding-like substance that would give me bursts of nutrition during the race. A few times during my preparation I had tried to rouse my friend, Katie, from her slumber so she could get ready as well, but she hadn’t wanted to budge. The first time I’d shaken her, she had rolled over and said, “It’s way too early.” The second time I’d nudged her she had griped, “I’m tired. The flight yesterday did me in.” The third time I had pulled the sheets off her in a flurry of impatience. She’d finally sat up, grabbed the sheets from me and flopped on the bed complaining about how cold it would be.
It was a good thing for her my stomach had flip-flopped and churned and distracted me from her whining. Otherwise, I believe I would have woken the entire hotel with an overly boisterous and irate rant.
When I came to realize the nitty-gritty of the situation, I couldn’t blame her for cutting out on the race. Between the two of us, I was the serious one about running the marathon, getting up two hours before I normally had to for work to run in the heat and humidity, the cold, the rain, the snow. She joined me when she could, but hadn’t trained as long and hard as I had. She wasn’t ready. I was…or so I thought. The way my nerves zinged around my body and how my stomach clenched on the small bowl of oatmeal I had eaten an hour ago made me think differently.
People thought I was crazy when I decided to participate in a marathon. Maybe I was crazy. But unrequited love does that to a girl. I had been a casual jogger. The kind of runner who went out and pounded pavement for two or three miles to work off the occasional burgers and fries, but that was it. My interest in picking up speed came after Don, a co-professor at the university where I taught, and I had finally called it quits. We had dated on and off for several years, but I had never felt close to him. I had never been able to give my full heart and soul to him. During my long training runs, I found my fear of commitment to him had stemmed from the fact that he couldn’t keep his dick out of other women. Though our split had been mutual, the break still hurt and I had decided to lose myself in running. Now here I was about ready to face twenty-six and two-tenths miles for the first time. People told me this event would change me, change my life. I planned to use the several hours of solitude to figure out if I was running from something or to something.
“Ow!” My hand shot to my spine. I spun to see who had jabbed my back with an elbow and found myself gazing up at pair of sinfully deep dark eyes. Suddenly I was hit with an urge for a slice of black forest chocolate cake.
“Ah, scusa.”
The tall and very well-toned gentleman placed a hand on my upper arm. An image of being held in his embrace in an enormous, plush white bed surrounded by full, fluffy white pillows, our naked skin against each other in post-coital bliss, shook me to my core. In my vision, I looked into his beautiful eyes and, in Italian, pleaded with him not to leave.
I shook my head to stop the scene from playing out and yanked my arm away from the stranger. He leaned toward me and whispered, “Please accept my apologies. I did not mean to bump you. All these people are a bit crushing, are they not?”
“It’s all right.” The words, contradictory to the ire over the situation that plagued my mind, passed my lips without thought. His rich accent had rolled off his tongue straight into my ear and lapped at the edge of my awareness so gently that a sense of calm washed over me, filling me with much welcomed peace.
My mind cleared. I stepped back and assessed the handsome stranger. He dressed in a pair of black baggy running shorts with black compression shorts poking out an inch from underneath, as if the temperature was already in the sixties and not in the sub-forties. The white bib with his number on it stood out, a glaring contrast against his black and white sleeveless running shirt. He had a great pair of muscled long legs and a nice set of arms, too—a runner’s body with meat.
Again I gazed at his face, taking in his short dark curls, his sexy eyes, the strong squared chin with a bit of a cleft. His features reminded me of the classic Roman male statues I studied in my doctorate program.
“Aren’t you cold?” I pitched my voice to be heard over the throng of the crowd, which had grown to immense proportions. All the runners stood shoulder to shoulder vying for a better spot to start the race. The jostling of all the bodies on the street was like leaving a sporting event—one big mass slowly moving in the same direction.
He shook his head. I stared at him in surprise. I was almost as cold as I was back home running in twenty degree weather in the snow even though I was dressed in my racing clothes, sweatpants and a sweatshirt bought specifically for the race. He must have gotten the same story I had from friends and family. That, since it was Las Vegas, it’d be warm, even in December. They had been partly right. The temps did feel warm between the hours of noon and two, but not at the butt crack of dawn. Then again, I did feel warmer in the midst of the crowd than I had back at the port-o-potties while standing in line waiting to relieve myself.
“My name is Artim.”
He smiled, flashing beautiful straight white teeth from behind his sexy crimson lips. Once more a wave of tranquility flowed through me as if he’d stroked my soul in a loving caress.

Can’t wait to read more? Buy the book today!


Erin Sinclair said...

Hey I like that cover (In the Spirit)!


C.R. Moss said...

Thanks! It wasn't exactly what I had in mind when i sent the instructions in to the artist but it works just as well.

susan said...

This book sounds really good and I have to comment and try and win a free book. I am so excited to see so many new books coming out all the time. I like what I read so far. susan L.

Brenda said...

I would love to be able to read this. Good cover.

dancealert at aol dot com

Lynn Crain said...

Great excerpt, C.R.!

Can't wait to read these...and the covers are soooo interesting!


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