Hello September

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Yes, I know that it’s not Monday, and yes I know I missed last week for posting. But September started slightly mid-week and since we’re welcoming September, well, it’s only fair that we start it in September instead of saying hello to September during the last day of August, right? That’s not exactly fair to our dear August as it left us.

Last week was a mix of not posting because it was my birthday and I took a little time off, but also coupled with a small downswing in my mood that threw everything off for most of the week. I’ve since recovered from said downward swing of mood – partially by taking walks around the part to get some fresh are because I think a lot has to do with just being cooped up inside for so long.

My introverted self doesn’t mind being able to work from home and not having to deal with the random issues and questions that slide past my desk back when there was the old normal – a normal I do hope that we get back to soon though I think I heard that the best case if the vaccine works for widespread distribution is like next summer? Because once we find a vaccine, it takes time to make and then get to everyone so we’re able to go back to what we used to know as normal. My go-to when I’m feeling too closed in is outside. Be it the park or Mom and I have really gotten a lot of use out of our Arboretum passes this year. I used to enjoy going to like the outdoor mall to get away but shopping has become very stressful over all so it’s not exactly an escape from the house anymore. But the Arboretum with all the plants, sunshine – and sunscreen I remembered last time and will remember this weekend when we go – and sure there are occasionally people but it’s a large enough area with timed entrances so there’s never too many people in the place wandering around at a time, it’s actually relaxing and helps.

Plus, I get to take some really nice pictures, like the one at the top of this post. Crafting is normally my go-to for relaxing too but writing has been hard, I think partly from the stress of everything going on, and crocheting while it has been fun and I made some cute bees has aggravated my wrist so it’s been hard to work on that as much as I want. And with the heat, my garage where I do my painting hasn’t been friendly either. So all the things are letting me down for stress relief, at least in their own ways.

But September is here, and with it, hopefully, some cooler weather. I say hopefully because the last week or so here in Illinois it’s been record-breaking highs in the 90’s. Which has left me melting and not wanting to do much because ugg too hot.

This weekend Mom and I are headed to the Arboretum again because I wanted to get out. Plus they’re having their annual plant sale, so I’m curious to see what they’ll have that we can buy and bring home. All the pretty fall plants hopefully. I’m also, as of September, started last Tuesday, going to try to do a million words in a year. Not solely novel type words, though that is a large part of why I want to strive for this. But all words, even the words from this blog will count. There’s an authortuber I watch that’s decided to do it and I thought it would be an interesting challenge to try and do along with her. It’s a good motivational goal to try and do. The authortuber in question is Kate Cavanaugh, and you can find her channel here.

For those trying to count it, it’s roughly 83,333 words a month which, thankfully she did the math for in one of her videos. It’s roughly 2,741 words per day if you write every day or, if you’d like to be able to take holidays and weekends off, it’s 3,831 words per workday. Which, as a whole, is a lot more than a NaNoWriMo month, but at the same time counting editing words, blog words, and other words writing past your writing project, it does help to add up a little better, or well, should.

So September word count, all words, goal is 83,333 words. Will I hit that goal? I certainly hope so or this new million words in a year challenge will be off to a really poor start.

I’m also trying to aim to edit and finish my one novel that’s been in editing for a while maybe by the end of this year. So gotta get cracking on that. I did around six chapters of it originally but I think I’m going to do another quick run-through of them because it’s been a while since I even did those. So to finish editing the novel, starting from technically scratch, we’re looking at twelve chapters a month for September, October, and November, and then ten chapters and the epilogue for December.

Overall, I think it’s a do-able goal. Then track down some beta readers to give it a once over, and I think I’ll feed it through my Writer’s Group to get their feedback on it too.

Naturally, I’d also like to get some new original words. I have a few short stories I started that I’d like to finish, edit, and get released as well. Plus new shorts and novellas that are sliding around in my head that want to get out and written. So I think for this year I’m going to try and finish a few that are halfway or more toward completion and then start new things with the new year in January.

So kind of a quarter goal for me right now instead of just a September goals list. But I think over all if I can keep myself moving, it’s an achievable goal.

Wishes and Rainbows

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I could say that I missed last Monday’s blog post because we had a storm! We lost power! All of which is true. About 4pm on Monday last week, a storm rolled in with tornado level winds and knocked my power out within a minute of the storm hitting my area and about five minutes before any actual rain happened. And we were left in the dark until about 10pm, which is luckier than some of the people I know who were without power for up to two days. Overall, the storm lasted maybe an hour and disappeared East rather quickly. But I also can’t deny that the post should have been written before 4pm on Monday as well.

The truth of the matter is that work gets to me and everything else kind of falls to the wayside. Which is not a good thing and I’m working to rectify it but it takes time.

Saturday before my missed Monday I was feeling super caged in with this whole stay at home order, so Mom and I went out to the Arboretum – wearing masks when around people but for the most part not too many people because large tree and plant area with lots of paths to walk and super limited in how many people come in over an hour to ensure limited interaction between visitors.

I was able to get some nice photos while we were there. Which is something that I always love to be able to do. It felt good to get out, spend some time really outside with some nature, and getting some sun. Yes, I can get sun in my backyard but it’s not the same with the neighbors talking on either side, someone playing music and the traffic noise from half a block away because we live off a busy street just an alley away.  There’s something a lot more relaxing about being able to go somewhere that’s quiet and for the most part just you and the trees and the bees.

And Sunday was spent mostly just vegging out to some Stardew Valley – it’s my go to game when I need to just relax and chill and get out of my head because it’s such a chill game.

And then the work week started again, and time just flew by. It seems to be doing that a lot lately. I never really know where the week goes, if I’m being honest. Even when I have enough to show that I’m being productive, it still feels like the day is gone before I really blink, and then it’s the weekend again and I need to try and rest before more work starts again.

I’m looking to really start getting back into writing again. I’ve probably said that before in posts, but I do mean it every time I say it. I want to get back on schedule, to get more words in, and to really get more stuff getting out in the world. Which means continuing to carve out some time to do that every week, and every day of said week.

I’ve also decided to try doing a million words in a year. All words technically. So like, the blog would count toward it, as would any non-fiction words I write – like my dabbling in RP, plus my actual original words.

I have a few plots that have been kicking around my head, begging to be written. And I really want to get my one Fae novel finished so I can get it out in the world. So lots of plans. I also want to see if there’s any way to get myself on like a full schedule – in so far as, have edits done by X, this idea plotted by Y, and first draft finished by Z to get a fairly good pace. I just also don’t want to push myself. The more stress I feel towards something, the more I tend to roll away from it.  Which wouldn’t be good either.

For the right this second, as I type it, it’s all just hand wavy plans. But I’m looking to make good on them all.

How is your August going so far? Can you believe we’re half way through it?

It’s Only May, Right?

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Okay, so the title sounds stupid, but like, I feel like in some ways it shouldn’t be August. I shouldn’t be prepping at work for school to start back up while juggling the continued stay at home stuff while also balancing the idea of having to go back into the office once a week, twice if someone is on vacation. There’s a part of me that feels, because we were stuck inside, and still are to a point, for so long that the year has kind fo whirlwind by.

Work is stressful because while it’s nice to work from home and the commute being from bed to desk and lunch being just rolling to the kitchen where I can cook pretty much anything I want for my meal has taken some of the stress off, in other ways it has added to the stress. Whereas before if I needed a signature today I could hop down to the office and get said signature, now I am dependant on hoping they see my email, open my email, actually read my email, and then digitally sign the paperwork I’ve sent over to them. And only have following up by email to get stuff fixed. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but when someone’s diploma is dependant on that signature, it’s super stressful to get it when it needs being gotten. There’s also the whole international students being able to get here stress. Can they still take their first semester of courses while waiting for their Visa appointments in October… can they still work as TA’s while in their country of origin… how do we pay them if they are in said country of origin since they don’t have the required paperwork that is usually given to them when they arrive here… It’s not easy answers, it’s not easy fixes, and it’s a world of headaches as the days pass by and the first day of classes steadily gets closer.

There’s also the added stress of having to deal with being in public to get basic human needs and all that it entails with keeping distant, wearing masks, making sure even with all that you are careful on how close people get and wondering who has things and who doesn’t and why is that woman coughing by the crackers.

In the beginning of the pandemic, I was crafting. I did resin, I painted, and I even made jewelry out of some of the paint skins that came from the paintings I did.

But stress kind of eats away at people. Or at least me. That and it got super hot out, and painting in a garage with no real air flow isn’t exactly easy, coupled with the town doing work on the street and painting has taking a back burner for the moment. Plus I have necklaces that need to be sold to good homes now. I’d originally, back in April hoped to sell at a couple conventions at the end of this year, beginning of next year but both have been postponed a year in order to hopefully see this pandemic over.

When painting wasn’t a thing I was doing, I read a little though not as much as I’d like. And I haven’t been writing. I think part of it’s just being cooped up inside and all. I donno if I should see if I can go to the Arboretum and find a tree and see if I can get some writing done in the outdoors. The tree picture above is from said Arboretum. My Mom and I went and walked around for the morning out there and I do have to say that it is lovely and quiet. They’re limiting the number of people that come in, and they’re all timed entrances so people will end up more spaced out than normal and so it was actually super peaceful when we went.

I’ve considered going to the park, but I was at the park a couple times the last few months and no one wheres a mask, no one adheres to social distancing, and the runners – I get why the runners don’t wear masks but still – aren’t exactly careful when they go by you for how close or far they are from you. And with living with Mom, it’s just not worth the risk.

I’ve also been doing a little crocheting in my spare time. I’ve made a few bees.

I think they’re super cute. Yes, these are going on my ‘I think I want to sell them’ list, though we’ll see. Ever since my wrist was in a cast, I can’t use it to crochet fast or often anymore so I’ve been slow to make these furry guys up. Granted since it looks like the next convention I’ll be attending is in November of 2021 – so help me if we haven’t gotten through this pandemic by then – I should be able to make up a small stock of them.

Also, I need to really buckle down and write. And edit. And get writer stuff done. The last few weekends, I’ve written about a hundred original words each, but it’s mostly staring at a blank computer screen or staring at a blank notebook page, which also doesn’t help the stress because now it’s like, but why can’t I write, why are the ideas up there in my brain but I can’t find the words to get them down on paper?

This is honestly the first time I’ve felt motivated to do anything social media wise that wasn’t post a photo of something cute, delicious or pretty – seriously my Instagram is getting the most love right now and even that’s few between. I’m working to get back into the posting game. Maybe if I go back to the posting on here and twitter and Instagram, finding a little more balance of normalcy, I can find my words again.

Here’s hoping anyway.

Book Review: A Whisper in the Dark by K.J. Sutton & Jessi Elliott

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Author: K.J. Sutton & Jessi Elliot
Publisher: K.J. Sutton & Jessi ElliotJessi Elliot
Series: Charlie Travesty
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Release Date: April 28, 2020
Rating: 4 Stars

Find A Whisper in the Dark on GoodReads

Growing up and being raised in the world of luxury and comfort, Charlotte Travesty doesn’t know the world that awaits her after her Awakening. Everything changes when she blinks open her eyes and faces her new life. A life that doesn’t include a warm bed and no worries.

The world this book takes place in is vivid in it’s descriptions without feeling like there’s too much information just dumped on you. The characters feel real and three dimensional, which is always something I look for in a new series I might want to follow, and I found myself feeling for Charlotte as her world tilted sideways and everything she new disappeared from her life.

The new take on vampires is interesting, especially the cast system that’s introduced and the world the vampires have created in respect to both themselves, the humans and other creatures, and the halflings feels well thought out and planned. And the plot of this story has me waiting for the next installment already.

Keep in mind, this is the first installment of four for a serial which means it does end on a cliff hanger, but because going into it I knew it was a serial this doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

Disclaimer: I did receive an arc of the book in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. All thoughts are my own and were not colored by receiving the arc.

A Whisper in the Dark is out now!

Amazon | Goodreads | K.J. Sutton | Jessi Elliott

 

Book Review: Twisted Devotion by Jessi Elliot

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Author: Jessi Elliot
Publisher: Jessi Elliot
Series: Twisted #4
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Urban Fantasy Romance
Release Date: April 21, 2020
Rating: 5 Stars

Find Twisted Devotion on GoodReads

Warning – There will be Spoilers for Twisted Fate (#1), Twisted Gift (#2), and Twisted Desire (#3). It’s recommended to pick up copies and read those before you continue with this review!

It was really nice to return to Rockdale and the cast of the Twisted series while getting a whole new level of understanding for a few of the side characters from other books.

While the war between the human and the Fae is over and The Experiment has been ended, there is still a lot of healing and settling to be done in the Fae world. And with the science that the humans have created that allow a Fae to be turned human, there’s a world of possibility left open to Fae who may not want to live for eternity.

Lucky for them Jackson Hawthorne is ensuring that those who might want to become human again have that choice should they want to take it – after being told the full extent of the risks that come with the procedure. But even knowing full well how things might fall, that a Fae might not survive turning human, surviving family members don’t stop from threatening him and his life in the face of their loss.

Which is why Kelsey Young is tasked with keeping him safe. Offered substantial compensation to keep Jackson alive as his personal bodyguard, Kelsey puts her plans to leave Rockdale in the rearview on hold to protect the arrogantly charismatic entrepreneur.

The ups and downs as Kelsey and Jackson spend several months together throughout the book keep the book moving. We learn a lot more about Kelsey’s past, how that has affected her now and why she really just can’t stay in Rockdale. And the budding romance between Jackson and Kelsey is a sweet contrast to the heat that they have between each other fro the moment he greets her at the door of his rather large home.

While this book focused on Kelsey and Jackson, it was great to be able to see the cast from the first three books weaved throughout to not just bring more life to this wonderful world that Jessi’s created, but also give us sneak peeks as to how they’re doing without taking over the story to do so. The world lives, breaths, and is this magically vibrant place that I would love to visit whenever Jessi wants to invite us back to it. The characters are just as strong developmentally as they were in the last three books, and my heart is all the warmer for reading Kelsey and Jackson’s journey.

Disclaimer: I did receive an arc of the book in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. All thoughts are my own and were not colored by receiving the arc.

Remember to find Twisted Devotion on GoodReads

Official Synopsis

Being responsible for the survival of someone you loathe really dwindles all hope for a fresh start.

Kelsey Young is ready to leave Rockdale—and the darkest parts of her life—in the past. After barely escaping the massacre of her foster family and taking down the evil behind The Experiment, she wants nothing more than to relocate and start over.

That is, until the fae leaders offer a reward too good to refuse, derailing her plans in the process. Kelsey agrees to put her future on hold to protect an arrogant creature with far too much charisma for his—or her—own good.

While she’s no stranger to the rumors of Jackson Hawthorne, she is new to his charm. And soon, she finds it nearly impossible to resist—especially when he makes no effort to hide his blatant desire for her.

Tensions run high as Jackson’s well-being is threatened by angry fae and humans alike with a mission to destroy his business—and him.

But temptations run even higher after Kelsey swears to safeguard his life—even on the days she wants to kill him herself. And what about his heart—or hers? When they find common ground in new territory, lines blur, defenses crumble, and devotion begins to outweigh duty.

Available Now!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Signed Paperback | Google Play

Get the rest of the Series

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Signed Paperbacks | Google Play

About the Author


Jessi Elliott is a law clerk and author of both young adult and new adult romantic fiction. Her love of writing was born after many years of reading and reviewing books on her blog.

She lives in Southwestern Ontario with her adorable cat, Phoebe. Yes, named after the Friends character.

When she’s not plotting her next writing project, she likes to spend her time hanging with friends and family, getting lost in a steamy romance novel, watching Friends, and drinking coffee.

You can find Jessi at www.jessielliott.com, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can join her newsletter to stay up to date on book news and upcoming releases.

Facebook | Twitter | Website | Amazon
GoodReads | Instagram | Youtube | Patreon

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Things are getting Crafty

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So, if you’ve been following my Instagram at all (meriscorner), you’ve seen this already. If not, check out my Instagram, I’m always posting food and cat pictures over there as well as all the interesting crafty things that I’m doing in my life. It’s not all books with me, especially when words are being hard to find.

This week, I’ve dived into the world of acrylic pour painting. The image above is from the pour I did on Sunday, still went so I’m still waiting to see how it fully dries and how everything shifts as it finishes finding it’s level place. This is only my second pour and I’m trying to figure out if I had too much paint in the cup when I did the pour or not. While there’s a lot of paint on the bottom of the container I am doing this in, I had a little trouble at first getting it to the corners – trust me not from lack of it being too thick.

My first pour was WAY too thick. And I know that because after waiting like ten minutes it was still very textured. Though it thankfully leveled itself out and dried flat.

This time, I was able to get the recipe right for the paint, so it flowed really well, it was just happy chilling not in the corners, which from the videos I’ve watched of people doing this isn’t uncommon.

On top of playing with paint I have been writing a little bit. Like around 500 words little this month so far. It’s small but it’s something, for which I’m incredibly happy with.

As well, I’ve got a couple reviews coming up. One will be up on Wednesday for a book that’s coming out tomorrow, Tuesday April 21st. I was lucky enough to receive an arc copy of Twisted Devotion by Jessi Elliott – who is doing a Release Day Party on her Youtube channel Tuesday, so be sure to check it out her party. And then come back here Wednesday for the review to see what I thought of the book!

Link to her Release Party HERE

What do you mean it’s not Monday?

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So I’ve lost track of what day it is in self-isolation.

That’s not entirely true, because I’ve been updating this cute little whiteboard on my fridge with the day and date every morning to make sure I know exactly what day it is. This was supposed to come out Monday, but my days have been getting away from me.

Part of it’s stress at work – while I like working from home for the most part and falling into a rhythm is easy enough because I’m keeping the same hours I would were I actually at my desk in the office, I feel like some of the people have gotten either incredibly lazy or incredibly stupid with this stay at home during work time. Or potentially a little of both.

It wouldn’t surprise me if some of them are playing Fortnite instead of working considering the amount it takes them to answer an email just to confirm they are working on it – it’s like a two-second email it shouldn’t take you six hours to see my email and send it.

A lot of summer events that I have been working on both for my office, we’re supposed to be hosting a conference at the end of July, and my volunteer group, we’re supposed to be hosting a festival at the end of July, are kind of on notice because the Illinois Governer has not yet canceled summer events but has already voiced that he’s concerned about holding them until we have a vaccine for this virus – something that’s months away at minimum. And honestly, I can’t blame him for being concerned.

As much as I want to get back out in the world, to not have to worry about someone sneezing or coughing while I’m out shopping for essentials because I couldn’t get them delivered, I also don’t want to rush it and end up right back where we started. I want everyone to be safe first, because our health is the most important thing in this world.

That being said, I’m also seriously hoping that by November I can attend a Sci Fi Convention and potentially get a little booth and sell my wares – one of which I’m hoping will be a hold in your hands, large enough to print novel. Yes, I’ve got shorts and novellas but nothing that’s really big enough to run through the print on demand for paperbacks. But soon. SOON!

I’d say I’m making great headway on it, but the reality is that I’ve been spending a lot of time playing my newest addiction. Animal Crossing New Horizons on the Switch.

That’s right. I have a self-isolated myself not just in the house, but to a deserted island that I’m slowly building up to be a cute little town. It’s a really cute game, and if you like things like Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon and things, I’d totally recommend it. It’s super chill, super cute, and super fun.

Also – if you play the game and have Roses, Lilies, or Cosmos for sale? Hit me up, I’m totally needing them!

I’ve got a couple books I’m looking to read this month, a review going up next week, and some artsy things I’m looking to try out. All the plans, on top of getting some editing done on that novel.

And yet, it’s hard to want to do much except nap when I turn around from my desk and see cuteness overload.

I mean, how can you not want to nap when you see that behind you?

I hope everyone is staying healthy, staying safe, and finding ways to stay sane while we’re stuck at home.

Cover Reveal: Twisted Devotion by Jessi Elliott

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Title: Twisted Devotion
Series: Twisted Series #4
Author: Jessi Elliott
Genre: NA/Paranormal Urban Fantasy Romance
Release Date: April 21, 2020
Cover Design: Arijana Karcic, Cover It! Designs
Being responsible for the survival of someone you loathe really dwindles all hope for a fresh start.

Kelsey Young is ready to leave Rockdale—and the darkest parts of her life—in the past. After barely escaping the massacre of her foster family and taking down the evil behind The Experiment, she wants nothing more than to relocate and start over.
 
That is, until the fae leaders offer a reward too good to refuse, derailing her plans in the process. Kelsey agrees to put her future on hold to protect an arrogant creature with far too much charisma for his—or her—own good.
 
While she’s no stranger to the rumors of Jackson Hawthorne, she is new to his charm. And soon, she finds it nearly impossible to resist—especially when he makes no effort to hide his blatant desire for her.
 
Tensions run high as Jackson’s well-being is threatened by angry fae and humans alike with a mission to destroy his business—and him.
 
But temptations run even higher after Kelsey swears to safeguard his life—even on the days she wants to kill him herself. And what about his heart—or hers? When they find common ground in new territory, lines blur, defenses crumble, and devotion begins to outweigh duty.

I walk up the steps and stop in front of the set of frosted glass doors, where I knock twice. Admittedly, the luxury of this place is rather intimidating; somehow more so than what I’m here to do. It’s ridiculous, considering I’m used to spending time at the Westbrook Hotel. But this place is next-level fancy.I clench my hands into fists and then let them go, shaking them out to release the tension.

It doesn’t do a whole lot the first time, but before I can do it again, the door opens, and Jackson Hawthorne smirks at me.

My eyes drop from his mouth to his bare chest and stick there.

Does he often answer the door half-naked? And with sweatpants riding dangerously low on his hips? Jesus.

“Long time no see, Red.” His voice is as smooth and warm as caramel.

After another second of admiring his lean, tight muscles, I meet his gaze and blink. His eyes—how could I forget how stunning they are? Melted honey with flecks of amber that pull you in. I want to believe they’re fake—costume contact lenses or something—but they’re completely real. They put my green eyes to shame.

Jackson leans in the doorway, those annoyingly captivating eyes roaming over my face as they glimmer with faint amusement. “Last I checked, Tristan and Aurora were the only ones who experienced fae amnesia. You good?”

I snap out of it and force a nod. “I’m fine. Hi, Jackson.”

Granted, I’ve only seen this guy a handful of times during The Experiment takedown—none of which involved him actually participating in the fight. But somehow, I forgot about his ridiculously charismatic personality. Perhaps if he’d fought with us instead of hiding, I would have gotten to know him better.

You will now, a voice sings in my head, and I fight the urge to scowl This guy got off scot-free and has been profiting from the deal Nik and Sky were essentially forced to make. Resentment isn’t an emotion I enjoy—feeding on or experiencing first-hand—but I’d be more comfortable protecting Jackson’s life if he’d risked it like the rest of us did ours. That thought prompts the wall to go up around my emotions, blocking my aura from view. Even though I don’t enjoy hiding it, I’d much rather Jackson not be able to see it.

He grins at me, clearly unaware of my distain, and far too chipper for this hour. I suppose it’s partially my fault for showing up so early.

“Please, come inside. Make yourself at home. Yada, yada, yada.” He glances behind me. “Did you bring anything? A change of clothes, perhaps?”

“It’s in the car.” Shrugging, I add, “I’ll grab it later.”

Nodding, he walks away, leaving the door open for me to enter the foyer.

I follow him inside, closing the door behind me. “Is Skylar here yet?” I glance around but don’t see or hear anyone else. “She said she’d meet me here this morning.”

“Are you kidding?” Jackson’s voice comes from the other room, and I follow the sound into the kitchen. “It’s barely daylight. Sky ain’t going to pull her ass out of bed until she absolutely has to. Nik would keep her there all day if he could.” He winks at me before tossing a blueberry into his mouth.

I stop in the doorway; my arrival interrupted his breakfast.

He must pick up on my reservation because he waves me into the room. “Coffee is fresh,” he murmurs, pointing behind him. “If you’re hungry, Gloria can make you pretty much whatever you want. She’s here a few days a week to cook and clean.”

My eyes widen, though I guess I shouldn’t be surprised he has staff here. “I’m good. Thanks.”

Jackson nods, cutting into what looks like a ham and cheese omelet.

In the silence, my gaze can’t help but venture back to his very well-maintained stomach. I just need to get my fill of the delicious, taut muscles there, and then it won’t affect me anymore. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

Jackson laughs deeply, and my cheeks go red. “See something you like?”

I narrow my eyes, but I can’t deny it. “Your house too expensive for you to afford a shirt?” The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them.

His eyes sparkle, and he drops his gaze to his bare chest then back to me. “Nah, this is your welcome gift.”

I gape at him before grumbling, “Here’s hoping you kept the receipt.”

His lashes are still lowered when he smirks. “Now, that’s not very nice to say to your boss.”

I choke on a laugh. “You’re hilarious.”

He beams. “Thank you. Much better.”

I push away from the doorframe and walk closer, crossing my arms over my chest. “You are not my boss, Hawthorne. If anything, I own you.”

Nikolai’s words echo in my head. Keep him in line. I’m going to do just that.

He wets his lips. “Do you now?” His gaze travels the length of me, lighting my skin on fire. “I might be okay with that.”

I narrow my eyes at him. “That’s not what I meant, and you know it. Now—”

“My goodness, I had no idea you were here!” a middle-aged, mousy-looking woman says as she rushes into the room. Her cheeks are flushed and a light sheen of sweat lines her upper lip as if she’s been running around for a while. She makes quick work of pulling back her frizzy brown hair and smiles at Jackson. “I apologize, Mr. Hawthorne. I was upstairs preparing Miss Young’s room and didn’t hear the door.”

“It’s not a problem, Gloria,” Jackson tells her with a charming smile. “I was happy to greet our new houseguest.”

She wipes her hands on her apron and smiles at me, pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose. “Can I show you to your room, Miss Young?”

I nod, grateful for the interruption. “That would be great. And please, call me Kelsey.”

Gloria heads out of the kitchen, and I go to follow her. But when I step forward, Jackson shifts in front of me to block my exit.

I suck in a breath, surprised he used the ability in such close proximity to his human employee even though she wasn’t close enough to see him do it. He made it look effortless.

As if it was as easy as taking a step to close the distance between us.

Maybe it was. Maybe for most fae who actually use the abilities they have, it’s just that easy. I, on the other hand, try my best not to use them—especially shifting. Even during my early days of training, I hated it. The movement leaves my body tingling as if a strong current of electricity has just run through me. I shiver at the thought and force myself to meet Jackson’s gaze. It’s not difficult to do with him standing so close.

“For the record, my bed is the comfiest in the house,” he says in a low voice so Gloria doesn’t overhear.

I speak in a normal voice; I don’t care who hears. “For the record, let me be very clear with you, Mr. Hawthorne. I will never spend a night in your bed. We clear?”

The corner of his mouth lifts like I’ve just offered him a challenge. Fuck.

I shake my head and walk away before he can say something that’ll make me do something I’ll get in trouble for—like punch him in the face.

Skylar better get here soon, or there may not be a need for my services.

Jessi Elliott is a law clerk and author of both young adult and new adult romantic fiction. Her love of writing was born after many years of reading and reviewing books on her blog.

She lives in Southwestern Ontario with her adorable cat, Phoebe. Yes, named after the Friends character.
 
When she’s not plotting her next writing project, she likes to spend her time hanging with friends and family, getting lost in a steamy romance novel, watching Friends, and drinking coffee.
 
You can find Jessi at www.jessielliott.com, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can join her newsletter to stay up to date on book news and upcoming releases.
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🎵 Just another Manic Monday 🎵

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So interesting fact that I’ve learned over the last few days – I touch my face a lot. Like, I’m constantly rubbing my eyes or scratching the top of my nose and I’ve started to notice it more and more with the instructions being to not touch your eyes, nose or mouth. But how do you get those little gunkies out of the corner of your eye if you can’t touch your face? How I ask you, How!

Also, the photo above was the Sam’s Club by my house – yes I went out on Sunday. Mom and I took some inventory of the house and braved the stores for a brief, and I do mean brief, time to grab a few needed items for the house. That was the line to get into the store just as they opened. It trailed behind us down the length of the building and in front of the store next to it. Though in the 30 minutes after we slipped in, got everything we needed of the things that were left, and then slipped out to the car with our limited spoils of shopping there wasn’t a line to get in anymore.

And the good news is I am stocked up on all the non-perishable items we need should they be missing from the store, the stores are closed, or I have to self quarantine now.

Aside from food things, I slipped into the Walmart next door and wandered briefly through their lego section. I have mighty needs for legos. I love legos, I love building legos, and I stumbled across this interesting thing. It’s like a cross between Polly Pocket and Legos.

And I was like, well that’s a definite have to own. So I picked up two. This little science lab and the pet photo studio. Both of the littles are put together, yes. They’re adorable and I love them.

I also saw this beauty on the shelf.

I couldn’t justify getting it right now. But I want it. I want it so badly I’m not even joking. But I’m going to see if I can push my family to buy it and sets like it for me for my birthday. This beauty is the Baking Competition set. I did however buy the cupcake shop set which was half the cost. I haven’t opened it to build it yet.

Also, work has been trying to stay on top of the virus situation. Or well, really they’re trying to stay ahead of it. Because I not only work for a University, which comes with its own set of complications for remote working, I work literally next door to the hospital in the College of Pharmacy, with clinicians and pharmacists that have to continue to work at the hospital and clinics during this time. I’m just administrative staff, but it’s the administrative staff that keeps departments running while they’re off doing all the science-y things.

The students were all given this week off at my University – extended Spring Break – so they won’t return to classes until March 30th. This break allows all the faculty to work with IT staff in order to transfer their classes to 100% virtual learning so when the students come back to classes it will be virtual, likely through the remainder of the semester.

A lot of the non-essential to be physically here staff have been prepping all the work we do as well, so we can work remotely in the coming week or so. I’ve been told my department may shift that way before the week is out.

Anything and everything we can do in order to keep everyone healthy but still maintain the University functions. Luckily in this day and age, a lot of what we do now can be done via phone or skype/webex for meetings and systems that are all interconnected via online, so we don’t actually have to be in the office to accomplish a lot of what we need to do.

Whatever you do for a job, wherever you are, make sure to wash your hands and be safe during this time. A lot of people are panicking about how things are going and how bad it’s getting, but if we take precautions and are careful, we’ll be okay.

Update – My Monday has become my Friday

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So the sick Kitty is doing better. Have a shot of him while we drove him to his two-week check-up. He was not a happy kitty to be outside, but then he never is. He hates the outdoors, he hates being in a car, but he quiets down when I let him stick his head out of the bag and look around while we drive.

Overall, the prognosis is, he’s doing better! He hates his meds. He knows what time meds are given due to work schedule, and tries really hard to hide so we can’t give them to him – I feel bad that it’s gotten to this point but they’re needed to get him to feeling better. I’m hoping next week, after his four-week check-up, that we’ll be at a point where he won’t need the drops or the steriods and so the only meds will be the antibiotic shot to give him.

We learned how to properly clean his ears, with the best practice for him so it’s lower stress on him while we do it. The goal they said every three to four weeks is good to keep the build-up from getting to infection point.

Writing-wise for me has been slow. The last two weeks I’ve felt super low, kind of like I was drowning in the world. This week has been better. I feel more on top of everything, more like I’m at least paddling in the boat instead of trying to hang onto the side for dear life. I still have a good deal of catch-up to do but I’m more confident I’m getting it done.

I’m hoping to get my one novel that’s in editing stages done faster. Like, actually finish it and release it into the world this year, done. Preferably around September or October. I may or may not be poking one of the Sci-Fi cons mom and I attend to see what it actually costs for a table to sell, and maybe sell the pretty finished book along with some resin and costers and things.

Because for all my dabbling in things, the resin isn’t going away. If anything, it’s getting stronger. Like, I just bought some mica powder and more molds to do more things. And I am super excited to try all the things with resin.

I recently sent these guys off into the world. And I mean, how cute are they?! Two are currently keychains, but they could be necklaces. And the other two are magnets – they have a magnet on the back of them.

I also ended up getting a mold for zodiac constellations which I found super fun and cool and I’m still working on them in order to get the best results. And more mermaid tails.

I also ended up picking up this cool heart puzzle mold that fits together that I want to play around with a little more, but I’m already loving how it’s coming out.

So yeah, resin is now my life in general. Along with all the words and things. The great thing about the resin though, is that once I pour it and it’s curing, it hast to sit for 24 hours, which means after it’s poured, it’s all about working on those words. =)