House of Sensual Romance ™

This is a place of comfort for everyone. I hope you enjoy my stories, and those of my friends. Let me know what you liked about them and what you didn't. You can also visit my website lavernethompson.com for more excerpts of my work. And all work on my blog is copyright protected.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year ALL!



Wishing everyone the very best for 2010!

LaVerne

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Join me on blogtalkradio.

Join me on Sunday from 2-3EST at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/redroseauthors to learn more about my latest projects or ask questions about my old ones. Listen or call in on 917-889-3332.

LaVerne

Friday, November 27, 2009

Twas A Month Before Christmas.

*Twas the month before Christmas*


*When all through our land,*

*Not a Christian was praying*

*Nor taking a stand.*

*See the PC Police had taken away,*

*The reason for Christmas - no one could say.*

*The children were told by their schools not to sing,*

*About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.*

*It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say*

* December 25th is just a ' Holiday '.*

*Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit*

*Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!*

*CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod*

*Something was changing, something quite odd! *

*Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa*

*In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.*

*As Targets were hanging their trees upside down*

* At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.*

*At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears*

*You won't hear the word Christmas ; it won't touch your ears.*

*Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty*

*Are words that were used to intimidate me.*

*Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen*

*On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !*

*At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter*

*To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter*

*And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith*

* Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace*

*The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded*

*The reason for the season, stopped before it started.*

*So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'*

*Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.*

*Choose your words carefully, choose what you say*

*Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS ,

not Happy Holiday !*

Please, all Christians join together and

wish everyone you meet during the

holidays a

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Christ is The Reason for the Christ-mas Season!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chances Are Coming Soon

Check out the excerpt for my next release from Red Rose Publishing, early 2010 on my website
lavernethompson.com CHANCES ARE a contemporary romance with a touch of suspense and a dash of intrigue.

LaVerne

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Book of the Day!

DAY IN THE SUN my sci/fi futuristic romance is Book of the Day at Author Island. Whoo Hoo! http://authorisland.com/

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Top Pick ARe

Guess who made Top Pick at ARe?

Oct. 27, 2009
Vol 4, Issue 85
Susan's Top Pick

The Three Sisters Series Book 3 - Masquerade by LaVerne Thompson
Published by: Red Rose Publishing
Category: Contemporary, Interracial Fiction
Read More
Review

Masquerade is enjoyable from the first page to the last. Author LaVerne Thompson has crafted a pleasurable story with a very well constructed plot, and life-like characters expertly drawn in rich detail bringing them off the pages and into the minds eye of the reader. When Sydney and Caine meet, the connection is so palpable, I felt like an interloper. Several passages are particularly memorable and their first encounter is one: "He pulled her closer to him and brought one hand up to caress the base of her neck. Without taking his eyes off her, he slowly lowered his head, but she didn't wait. She raised her face to meet him halfway as their mouths touched. His mouth felt cool,
an erotic contrast against the rest of his heat, his touch all too brief but more than enough. Their worlds had collided, the rest became inevitable, and they would never be the same again." Now if that doesn't just make you anxious to see what's next then nothing will.
As the chemistry flows between them, readers once again see Ms. Thompson's savvy with words showing Sydney's reaction to Caine. "She wrapped her arms around his neck and inhaled him, pulling him closer still. Their skin fusing wherever they touched, as she felt the hardness of him pressing against her softness. Releasing his lips she whispered into the night, 'Good God,' as a sensation she'd never known shook her world. And he hadn't done anything other than give her a bone melting, soul-stealing kiss." Several other passages throughout the story are just as gripping.
I also enjoyed the twists and turns and it was refreshing that the ending was
unpredictable. Sydney makes Caine work for her love and he is definitely up the challenge because she means that much to him. Caine is a wonderful character. He is the type of man women dream of; he's handsome, successful, charismatic, and most of all makes a woman feel like she's the most important woman alive. I love his response, to Sydney's statement when they are out to dinner and she makes the comment, "Now, don't tell me you haven't been trying to check out some of these women here." Caine's response is, "That may be true, but I'm sitting with the beautiful woman I want." Kudos to Caine for a great response. Sydney is also a great character with a lot of wonderful attributes. As an African-American woman, and a novelty in her field, she works hard to secure her place in what is predominantly a man's world but she doesn't lose touch of her femininity and remains just that; a desirable woman. Masquerade was my top pick for a number of reasons. I found the book just about flawless in terms of plot, character development, attention to details and a very satisfying ending. I really enjoyed Sydney and Caine's story and reluctantly let them go at the end. This is not the first novel I've read by Ms. Thompson but it certain is my favorite.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Vote-Book of the Week

Hi All,

Masquerade Book 3 of the Three Sisters Series is up for book of the week at LASR, Long and Short Reviews. Please VOTE:

http://www.longandshortreviews.com/LASR/recentrev.htm

Thank you,

LaVerne

Friday, October 02, 2009

Sooo...I NEED YOUR VOTES-AGAIN!

Hello All,

I need your votes, AGAIN, for the Scarlet Boa 2009 Contest for best opening paranormal scene. I've entered Dragon's Heart- Story of the Brethren. Please go to http://www.stellacameron.com/entries.html My entry is #114 . Scroll down to the Voting 1st round button and cast your vote.

Thank you.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Growing Pains.

Sooo...my oldest daughter got her driver's permit this week. A few times now I've turned over the wheel to her so she can practice driving. The first time I did it I was of 2 minds. So damn proud and scared witless. I let her see the one and not the other.

Now I know how my parents felt. At least for now when she's driving I'm with her. I shudder to think about the first times she asks for the car keys and she's on her own, or with her younger sister. She's already looking at the car she want's her father to buy her. That's another story.

I'm praying for strength people. The same strength that my parents faced, what all parents face when they know it's only a matter of time before your child is no longer solely under your control.

But I know she'll be fine and so will I. Then I have to go through this whole thing again in 2 years when her younger sister goes, Mom I need the car. Oh Lord! Now that one is trouble.

Hmm, there's a story in here somewhere.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

5 Cups for Masquerade


MASQUERADE-Book 3 The Three Sisters Series got 5 Cups from Coffee Time Romance.

It's official The Three Sisters Series is a 5 Cup series.

Delane from Coffee Time Romance gave Masquerade 5 Cups.

I love this series.... No one should miss the Three Sisters series and most especially Masquerade. Masquerade is so wonderful that I never wanted it to end.

Read the entire Review Here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I WAS INTERVIEWED BY LASR

Hey All,

I did an interview for Long and Short Reviews, go here http://www.longandshortreviews.com/LASR/interviews.htm see if I've said anything even remotely interesting. LOL

I'll also be blogging on Wednesday, 9/16/09 all day at Long and Short Reviews Yahoo group.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LongAndShortRomanceReviews/?yguid=281870793

LaVerne

http://theromancestudio.com/images/thompson_sisters071009.gif
Award Winning Best Selling Author of Sensual Romances
Red Rose Publishing
Freya's Bower
lavernethompson.com

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lub Dub Awards- Nominations

Don't forget to vote for me in the Lub Dub Awards. The reader nominated awards. See the list below.

BTW 'lub dub' is the sound your heart makes. Please vote for me in the following categories.

Voting for the 2009 LDA's is now open UNTIL MONDAY september 14th. Copy and paste the categories below and email to the addy below. If you want to see the entire list go to: http://iwritesmut.blogspot.com/?zx=8fe55df7b5434a7c

THANK YOU FOR YOUR VOTES!

Email Votes To: dreamwild1985@gmail.com
Subject: Lub Dub votes.


Best Author of the Year :
LaVerne Thompson


Best Fight Scene :
"Hold On" by LaVerne Thompson


Best Short Story :
"Promises" by LaVerne Thompson


Best Series :
"The Three Sisters Series" by LaVerne Thomspon & Stephanie Williams

#1

DAY IN THE SUN is no. 1, for now. Thank you.

LaVerne

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day In The Sun-- It's out!


It's out! You can run, but you can't hide.
Buy Link

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Blogging Today AT HEA!

Blogging today about choices and my new release tomorrow, Day In The Sun. Come join me if you can.

http://happilyeverafterauthors2.blogspot.com/


LaVerne

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Run. Hide. If you can.


DAY IN THE SUN- part of the Last Summer Anthology
by LaVerne Thompson

Available 09/10/09 from Red Rose Publishing

What would you do if you couldn't make your own choices in life? Not even something as basic in most cultures as choosing the man or woman whom you'd spend the rest of your life with. Well sometimes even beings not of this world have that problem too. This is the story of such a conflict.


If you run from love can you hide?

As a member of the ruling class on her planet, Callie had no say in who she would marry. Her mother made the decision for her. She’d never even met the man she’d be bound to for the rest of her life. Her parents left her no choice. She fled her planet and would-be husband for a chance to live her life as she chose.

Landing on the back water planet earth, Jaran had one plan: to find Callie his reluctant bride and decide if he wanted to be married to her. No woman should be worth this kind of trouble. But it didn’t take him long to realize he wanted her by his side. But she ran from him once already.


How can he convince her to stop running long enough to love him?


EXCERPT:


The shrill cry of a sea bird flying overhead woke Callie from a sleep filled with memories. When she opened her eyes, the sun hung much lower on the water than it had when she’d closed them, turning the horizon golden. Her first conscious thought picked up on the threads of her dream that was no dream. Her father had helped her. He got her off their world and sent her to an unknown universe. Unknown that is to all, but a select few, like her father. More man of science than business, he studied the stars. Years ago he’d discovered a planet in another universe that had a sun and inhabited humanoids similar to themselves.

At the time, her mother thought his interest in less advanced cultures an interesting little hobby, but since no profit was involved promptly forgot about and dismissed the discovery, as did everyone else. But her father had continued to study the planet with the blue atmosphere and its inhabitance, and knew she would be able to fit in there. And she did.

Sighing she took her thermos out of the small bag at her side, gulping down all of the water, still cold in spite of her hour in the sun. Standing up, she put the thermos back in her bag and draped it across her shoulder. She shook the sand off her towel and wrapped it around her waist, before reaching for the coin on the chain around her neck. More than a piece of jewelry or her good luck charm. It also carried the last of the technology from the ship’s database before she destroyed it. Her father warned the ship had to be destroyed; it could be used to track her. If she ever wanted to return to her home world the necklace held the means for her to contact him. But deep in her heart she knew she’d never use the knowledge, for better or worse, so far better, earth was home. She kept the technology as a link to her father.

Callie bent down to pick up her sandals, when she straightened the movements of a swimmer some ten miles out in the water caught her attention. She hadn’t noticed him before. Even from that distance she could tell the body in the water appeared to be male. She wondered if he’d swum out from the beach or from the boat anchored even farther behind him, either way it was an unusually long swim. Although she didn’t need to do it, she raised her hand above her glasses as though to shade her eyes, but really lowered her sunglasses to better see him. The glasses and lens weakened her vision range. It was still vastly better than humans but without the glasses it would be sharper.

Without the covering over her eyes, the figure out in the water became clearer. She blinked, my gods! The man must have swum ten miles already, and still had more to go. Mesmerized, she watched his arms glide out of the ocean. Long lean fingers sliced effortlessly through the water. Shoulders and biceps bulged with the necessary muscle and strength allowing everything to work together for him to swim at the speed he did. If she didn’t know better she’d swear he was one of the mermen from Farris Pei. But since she could see no fins, she was fairly certain it was a human male out there, just one in exceptional shape.

Callie didn’t realize she moved until she stood at the edge of the tide. Stationing herself at a place on the beach where he would be able to see her, she waited for him to come to her. As the distance closed between them the more of him she could see. The sun glistened off hair so blonde it was almost white, but she couldn’t quite make out his facial features. The way he moved struck her as odd, he almost never seemed to raise his head to breathe as he swam.

Finally, he reached a point where he could stand in the water. At least six feet four inches of perfect man rose out of the ocean, water reluctantly dripped from a body fashioned by a loving god’s hand. Broad shoulders appeared first narrowing into a slender waist. With each step, the ridges of his abs rippled as he moved, the remaining droplets glistened off skin bare to the waistband of his swim trunks. He raised his hands to push wet shoulder length hair back and away from his face, revealing a face sculptured by a master craftsman, one without flaw.

“Oh, Mercy!” When his head snapped up, she knew she’d said the words out loud, and he’d heard. Eyes the color of sapphire stones found on this planet, zeroed in on her. Callie could do nothing but take a step forward as he continued moving in her direction. The warm tide slapping at her ankles helped to bring her back to her senses. She stopped, refusing to let the current drag her out to him, or his eyes pull her closer to him. Planting her feet into the hot sand, she didn’t flee. Not this time.

She knew what he must be, men on this planet did not look as he did. Off worlder, someone hired by the Narinds to find and bring her back. Well she wasn’t going. No one, no one could make her. There were a few people on the beach; he couldn’t take her in front of witnesses. Because he’d have to use force to get her to leave earth.

His presence could only mean one thing. Her father’s plan hadn’t worked.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lub Dub Awards- Nominations

I've been nominated in several categories for the Lub Dub Awards. A reader nominated award for the best IR books and authors. Yours truly is in fantastic company, I'm in awe. It's cool just being nominated. No kidding. See below. It's the brainchild of Dreamwild she's part of the Fans of Interracial Romance Yahoo group. Go to Dreamwild's blog or the Yahoo group for a complete list, I couldn't copy and paste it all, the coding was acting up.

By the way Lub Dub is the sound your heart makes. SO GO VOTE! I listed the categories I'm in, just in case you wanted to vote for me. LOL

Voting is open until Mon. Sept. 14th.

I'm nominated for:

BEST AUTHOR OF THE YEAR

BEST FIGHT SCENE-Hold On

BEST SHORT STORY-Promises

BEST SERIES-The Three Sisters Series with my good friend Stephanie Williams

Submit your votes via email to dreamwild1985@gmail.com

Monday, August 17, 2009

MASQUERADE is No. 1-

Yeah, Masquerade is No. 1 at Red Rose Publishing.

The Three Sisters Series is a No. 1 series at Red Rose.

Thank you all!

LaVerne


Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's Out! MASQUERADE Book 3 The Three Sisters Series

Yippee!
MASQUERADE- Book 3 The Three Sisters Series IS OUT TODAY!
by LaVerne Thompson from Red Rose Publishing

Do you dare to look behind the mask?


Blurb-

What will Caine do when he finds out his mystery woman and his business associate are one and the same, and she's played him for a fool?

From the moment he lays eyes on her, Caine Hayden is attracted to the masked mystery woman at the masquerade ball. They spend one incredible night together, but in the morning she disappears. He has no intention of it being just one night and vows to find her. But he's got a business meeting to attend and has to return home. Except when he meets the woman who designed his airplane he can't take his eyes off her. Twice in less than fifteen hours he has extraordinarily strong physical and emotional reactions to two different women, or so he thinks.

Sydney Reese designs planes, and her career scares off most men. Tired of being alone, just once she wants to let herself go emotionally and get close to a man. Sleeping with a masked stranger seems to pose little risk, it would only be for one night and she'd never see him again. It is why she insists they keep their masks on from the party, until the lights go off. Sneaking out on him in the early hours of the morning to insure he won't know who she is, keeps her identify and his anonymous. The last thing she wants or needs is a relationship, with someone who can't accept her as she is. But what if?

Can Sydney pull off her mask and allow the man she loves to see her for who she really is?



http://theromancestudio.com/images/thompson_sisters071009.gif
Award Winning Best Selling Author of Sensual Romances

The Three Sisters Series from Red Rose Publishing
lavernethompson.com


Sunday, August 09, 2009

Masquerade-Book 3 The Three Sisters Series Available Aug. 13th

Do you dare to look behind the mask?


Blurb-

What will Caine do when he finds out his mystery woman and his business associate are one and the same, and she’s played him for a fool?

From the moment he lays eyes on her, Caine Hayden is attracted to the masked mystery woman at the masquerade ball. They spend one incredible night together, but in the morning she disappears. He has no intention of it being just one night and vows to find her. But he’s got a business meeting to attend and has to return home. Except when he meets the woman who designed his airplane he can’t take his eyes off her. Twice in less than fifteen hours he has extraordinarily strong physical and emotional reactions to two different women, or so he thinks.

Sydney Reese designs planes, and her career scares off most men. Tired of being alone, just once she wants to let herself go emotionally and get close to a man. Sleeping with a masked stranger seems to pose little risk, it would only be for one night and she’d never see him again. It is why she insists they keep their masks on from the party, until the lights go off. Sneaking out on him in the early hours of the morning to insure he won’t know who she is, keeps her identify and his anonymous. The last thing she wants or needs is a relationship, with someone who can’t accept her as she is. But what if?

Can Sydney pull off her mask and allow the man she loves to see her for who she really is?

MASQUERADE- Book 3 The Three Sisters Series
by LaVerne Thompson Available Aug. 13th from Red Rose Publishing

http://theromancestudio.com/images/thompson_sisters071009.gif
Award Winning Best Selling Author of Sensual Romances

The Three Sisters Series from Red Rose Publishing
lavernethompson.com




Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Summer of Freedom

This was a summer of growth for my oldest and me. My oldest, for the first time, was allowed a lot of freedoms. She got into an acting program in the city and spent a lot of time exploring the downtown area on her own. She even rode the subway a few times home by herself. You could imagine the heart palpations I experienced until she stepped off at the other end where I picked her up.

If that wasn't enough, trust me I thought it should be, but no, she had other ideas. She loves the water and decided she wanted to learn how to surf, and found a surf camp. Now of course back in February when she first brought this up my knee jerk response was, 'hell no.' But of course she made good solid arguments. So of course I checked the place out. I made sure no one connected there had a criminal record or had a complaint filed against them and after asking numerous questions, I agreed.

When I picked her up a week later she was tanned, glowing and strong. She'd had the time of her life.

Little by little I'm extending those maternal strings. I will never let them go completely (she will always be my baby), but I am finding that they can be stretched to any length. And I'm okay with that. Sorta.

Next year will be my younger daughter's turn. I am soooo not ready for that.

LaVerne

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Here's What's Happening

Masquerade-Book 3 The Three Sisters Series will be released from Red Rose Publishing on August 13, 2009.

I've signed contracts with Red Rose for 2 other books, I'm working on the edits. Day In The Sun which is a soft sci/fi romance and part of the Summer Fun Anthology; and also coming soon from Red Rose is Chances Are my contemporary, another romance with a touch of suspense and intrigue. As soon as I know dates so will you.

Well that's it for now.

LaVerne

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A moment of Silence Please

An Obituary printed in the London Times



Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: Knowing when to come in out of the rain; Why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn't always fair; and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but
overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an u nruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an Aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

5 Cups for Ringside

Coffee Time Romance gave Ringside 5 Cups. YEAH!

RINGSIDE-BOOK 1 THE THREE SISTERS SERIES
STEPHANIE WILLIAMS AND LAVERNE THOMPSON
ISBN#: 9781604353525
June 2009
Red Rose Publishing
www.redrosepublishing.com
eBook
$2.00
107 Pages
Contemporary/Romance/Interracial
Rating: 5 Cups

200

Atlanta Reese is looking for her life. Unhappy with the direction her life is taking she seeks out her favorite self-help author, Hannah Grimes.

Hank Gaines is happy with where he is in life and he no longer feels there is something missing. That is until the day Atlanta came to town.

Atlanta is looking for answers but gets side-lined by the sexy bartender. Hank Gaines knows the author Hannah Grimes very well. Unable to tell Hannah the truth he keeps a secret that may tear them apart.

Hank Gaines is such a wonderful character. The authors were inspirational for the unique ideas they use in their writing. As the first book in a series it was an outstanding read that immersed me in the characters lives. I look forward to reading the rest of the story.

Delane

http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/ringsidebook1.html


http://theromancestudio.com/images/thompson_sisters071009.gif

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Thee Sisters Covers

The Three Sisters Series-Ringside, Northern Exposure and Masquerade. Check out all the covers. Yes they have something in common, Steph and I both appreciate a fine set a pecs and nicely framed abs. LOL

Isis


Thursday, July 16, 2009

IT'S A BEAR! IT'S A BEAR!


Yep, a black bear ran across part of our back yard at our place out in the mountains. It was raining hard with lots of thunder and lightning it must have spooked it. Needless to say so was I.

Then just when we thought things were okay, another bear, it was smaller than the first one, ran across the front yard. I opened the door to get video of it, but as soon as I did it stopped in its tracks and looked over at me. This thing that weighs hundreds of pounds is mere yards from me. So like any self respecting human, I began to scream, and slammed the door. Realizing if the bear wanted to get inside that door wasn't going to stop it, but it took off running. I did get a few seconds of footage after I got my sanity back. LOL. It's running through tall grass about 2 feet high so you have some sense of it's size. Notice I stayed safely on our deck while getting the shot.

LaVerne



LaVerne
video

Monday, July 06, 2009

Something new- DAY IN THE SUN-Chp 1

Thought you'd like to see the first chapter of something I'm working on.

DAY IN THE SUN
by LaVerne Thompson
Copyright 2009

CHAPTER ONE

A slight breeze blew off the Atlantic Ocean, enough to break the heat of the day as it passed by. Lying on her beach towel, Callie faced the water, breathing a sigh of relief she allowed her muscles to relax. With the beach resort packed to capacity, the past few days had been long ones. But today was her one day to rest, before it all began again tomorrow. The rays of the sun caressed her face as she raised her chin to look directly into its fire. She wore slim dark sunglasses to shield her eyes, but she didn’t need them. The earth’s UV rays would not harm her.

The glasses were really a shield from prying eyes. Callie came from a planet where the sun was twice as large and bright, a beautiful world of vibrant colors if different foliage, bleached white sands but very few bodies of water. Nothing like what existed on earth. At first she had a hard time getting used to the immense ocean, and missed her sandy world. Too bad she could never return. But that suited her just fine. Not that she’d really done anything so wrong to be in exile, other than being born into a family of merchants. Merchants who ruled galaxies. It had not been her fault. No one consulted her, least of all her mother, on anything, especially the man who would be her husband.

“You will marry the heir, Callie,” her mother had announced one day after mid repast. “It has all been arranged. The contracts have already been signed, and the family will be here to bare witness in ten cycles time to the transfer. Then the combination of our businesses will make the new company the undisputed ruling entity in all known galaxies. We will have stakes in every significant transaction; no one would be able to stand against us.”

On Callie’s world arranged marriages were not unheard of, especially among the ruling merchants. It was her father who’d saved her, and sent her to this planet, giving her a chance to build something of her own. Someplace she would not be found. And the Narinds, her betroth family, would try to find her, if they knew she’d survived. They’d drag her back to marry their son and heir. What the hell was she supposed to do when she’d found out her mother traded her virginity for a business deal! She knew better than to protest to her mother, the head of the family business. Her mother ran the family the way she ran the business, in complete and total control.

What Mother neglected to mention was she’d also be queen of the known universe. Callie would have rolled her eyes at the glee on her mother’s face, but this was not funny. The woman wasn’t done. “Your children will be rulers of the universes.”

There it was, out at last. What was really important to her parent. “But Mother…what if I don’t want to get married?” The look on her mother’s face choked whatever else she might have said back down her throat.

“My marriage was done to further the business, as it has been done in my family time upon time. Why the contracts I brought to the marriage to your father made our combined companies the ruling merchant concern in two galaxies. I have no complaints and neither will you. As my family chose well for me, I can do no less for my child. So I have agreed, so it has already been done.” She’d left the room after that edict.

No, she found no sympathy with her mother. After the announcement, she waited until she could cry in her father’s arms. But even he couldn’t sway the woman who birthed her.

“I’m sorry, Callie,” her father said hugging her to him, like he used to do when she was a little girl. “Your mother feels she’s doing the right thing. There’s no changing her mind, and this is the only way to save jobs. The economies of many planets are affected by this marriage. After the contracts were signed and registered, the stocks tripled, and I can’t see a way out of our financial obligations. Your mother, as head of the business, feels we had no choice but to join the companies, but I won’t sacrifice you for our mistakes. I have a plan.”

“Is it true?” Callie asked. “If I don’t go through with this marriage, the Narind heir will have controlling interest in our business.”

“Yes. But that may not necessarily be a bad thing. So I don’t want you to worry about what I’m going to have you do.”

She stopped crying and wiped the tears from her face. “Look at me. I’m a mess.” Sitting up she faced her father and asked, “I’m an adult Zarian. Yet I still can not make my own decisions, something everyone else on our world and most of the galaxy of a certain age can do, but I do not have the right to choose my husband. All because I had the misfortune of being born into the ruling merchant family.”

“Many would kill to be born into this family,” her father had chided.

“I do not mean to sound ungrateful. I know more than most the privilege we enjoy, but I would trade it all to have a choice in my life. Because I have had none. What, what will happen if I refuse her, Father?”

“She will cut you off, my Callie. She has controlling interest and the power to make sure you are not advanced any credits. No one would take you in; no one would risk your mother’s response.”

“But you, you could help me.”

“If that is what you want to do, I would always support you. But you wouldn’t be able to stay here, you and I both know it’s not beyond your mother to force the marriage, and you would be welcome in very few civilized places. You know the temper your mother has, it may be years before she can bring herself to forgive you. I don’t want to see you hurt or lose status amongst us. There is another choice.”

The truth of his words tore at her heart. “Is there, Father?”

“Yes. I promise.”

The shrill cry of a sea bird flying overhead woke Callie from a sleep filled with memories. When she opened her eyes, the sun hung much lower on the water than it had when she’d closed them, turning the horizon golden. Her first conscious thought picked up on the threads of her dream that was no dream. Her father had indeed helped her. He got her off their world and sent her to an unknown universe. Unknown that is to all, but a select few, like her father. More man of science than business, he studied the stars. Years ago he’d discovered a planet in another universe that had a sun and inhabited humanoids similar to themselves.

At the time, her mother thought his interest in less advanced cultures an interesting little hobby, but since no profit was involved promptly forgot about and dismissed the discovery, as did everyone else. But her father had continued to study the planet with the blue atmosphere and its inhabitance, and knew she would be able to fit in there. And she did.

Sighing she took her thermos out of the small bag at her side, gulping down all of the water, still cold in spite of her hour in the sun. Standing up, she put the thermos back in her bag and draped it across her shoulder. She shook the sand off her towel and wrapped it around her waist, before reaching for the coin on the chain around her neck. More than a piece of jewelry or her good luck charm. It also carried the last of the technology from the ship’s database before she destroyed it. Her father warned the ship had to be destroyed; it could be used to track her. If she ever wanted to return to her home world the necklace held the means for her to contact him. But deep in her heart she knew she’d never use the knowledge, for better or worse, so far better, earth was home. She kept the technology as a link to her father.

Callie bent down to pick up her sandals, when she straightened the movements of a swimmer some ten miles out in the water caught her attention. She hadn’t noticed him before. Even from that distance she could tell the body in the water appeared to be male. She wondered if he’d swum out from the beach or from the boat anchored even further behind him, either way it was an unusually long swim. Although she didn’t need to do it, she raised her hand above her glasses as though to shade her eyes, but really lowered her sunglasses to better see him. The UV protection coated on the lens weakened her vision range. It was still vastly better than humans but without the glasses it would be sharper.

Without the covering over her eyes, the figure out in the water became clearer. She blinked, my gods! The man must have swum ten miles already, and still had more to go. Mesmerized, she watched his arms glide out of the ocean. Long lean fingers sliced effortlessly through the water. Shoulders and biceps bulged with the necessary muscle and strength allowing everything to work together for him to swim at the speed he did. If she didn’t know better she’d swear he was one of the mermen from Farris Pei. But since she could see no fins, she was fairly certain it was a human male out there, just one in exceptional shape.

Callie didn’t realize she moved until she stood at the edge of the tide. Stationed at a point when he stood he would be able to see her, she waited for him to come to her. As the distance closed between them the more of him she could see. The sun glistened off hair so blonde it was almost white, but she couldn’t quite make out his facial features. The way he moved struck her as odd, he almost never seemed to raise his head to breathe as he swam.

Finally, he reached a point where he could stand in the water. At least six feet four inches of perfect man rose out of the ocean, water reluctantly dripped from a body fashioned by a loving god’s hand. Broad shoulders appeared first narrowing into a slender waist. With each step, the ridges of his abs rippled as he moved, the remaining droplets glistened off skin bare to the waistband of his swim trunks. He raised his hands to push wet shoulder length hair back and away from his face, revealing a face sculptured by a master craftsman, one without flaw.

“Oh, Mercy!” When his head snapped up, she knew she’d said the words out loud, and he’d heard. Eyes the color of sapphire stones found on this planet, zeroed in on her. Callie could do nothing but take a step forward as he continued moving in her direction. The warm tide slapping at her ankles helped to bring her back to her senses. She stopped, refusing to let the current drag her out to him, or his eyes pull her further to him. Planting her feet into the hot sand, she didn’t flee. Not this time.

She knew what he must be, men on this planet did not look as he did. Off worlder, someone hired by the Narinds to find and bring her back. Well she wasn’t going. No one, no one could make her. There were a few people on the beach; he couldn’t take her in front of witnesses. Because he’d have to use force to get her to leave earth.

His presence could only mean one thing. Her father’s plan hadn’t worked.

Callie had taken a hydro out one day on one of the few bodies of water on her home world, Zar, as she’d done from time to time, and she and her father had faked a freak hydro accident. They’d rigged it to explode because of a malfunction, so no remains could be recovered. In reality, she’d only been on board long enough to get out of sight, before jumping off to swim back to shore. Her father waited for her, putting her on one of his modified space transport crafts moments after the explosion. Somehow, something must have gone wrong.

While happy and adjusted to her new world she’d come to love, at times she still missed her father. Callie found she had the business gene after all, in fact it held dominance. But while she’d been financially successful on earth, and had made a few good friends, she was truly close to no one. How could she be? Although she looked human, her skin was a burnt amber as people with African ancestry sometime had, her hair, such a dark chocolate color it appeared black was waist length and wavy like someone from the South Pacific, and she’d been told by a date once her face had an exotic look like she had mixed race ancestry. Nope not mixed, just not of the human race variety. But when asked about her ethnicity, she’d say she was born in New York but her mother was from the Caribbean and her father was from Milan, they didn’t question her appearance further, or the way she misspoke at times, people assumed American English wasn’t her first language.

The one thing she could not explain away were her eyes. She kept them hidden by wearing special contacts designed by her ship to hide not only their true color, like antique gold, but also the shape of her irises. They were oval like a cat’s. While human eyes could have a cat like shape the iris didn’t dilate into a vertical slit. Since she wasn’t human, the same rules did not apply.

But despite the draw backs she was happy, even though there was no one special in her life. “Sorry, Dad,” she said, using an American term. “I’m happy, but still no love.”

She owned the small exclusive beach resort in Wilmington, NC. Two years ago, shortly after her arrival on earth, she’d used the information her father had given her and stored in her star transport. Before entering the earth’s satellite range, she’d jammed any signal capable of picking up her transport. By the time it landed in the ocean it had changed in appearance from a space craft to a water craft used on earth. She’d lived on the boat for all of a week, learning about the area, mastering the language and creating a life history on the planet for herself. Connecting the star transport craft’s technology to the Internet, she even filed paper work for a salvage dive. Humans conducted business much like her own people did. Where there was commerce there had to be records. Some things remained constant.

The dives were for fun, and the paper work all for show. Thanks to her father and the computer on the transport she’d located a sunken ship. Although she could have created any currency she chose with the ships technology, she’d have no way to explain her sudden wealth. Her father wanted her to live in a manner suitable to her station, and not bring any suspicion onto herself. To do that she had to be able to live in the open, without fear of anyone uncovering her secrets. So he found a way to create her life as a human, using the transport ships technology. While the sunken ship she found was of earth, off worlder technology created a chest full of Spanish gold, which she pulled from its cargo hold.

When she sailed into the Wilmington port and contacted the proper authorities all her paper work was in order. Later, when the chest and the gold were examined, they were found to be genuine, and her claim to the find certified. The entire ‘find’ but for one piece she wore around her neck, she auctioned off. By the time the tally was done, she was one very wealthy woman. Her mother would have been proud. And she had also been lucky. The entire thing was kept low key except to a few in the treasure hunting and collecting world. There had been an even larger more widely publicized find on the other side of the world that made hers look insignificant, which suited her just fine.

One of the first things she did with the money was buy the little resort where she’d first come ashore and befriended the older couple who ran it. They’d been more than willing to sell it for the cash she offered. And her life on earth began. A life she would not give up without one hell of fight.

She returned to her current problem, as the out worlder got nearer. Anticipation hummed at his approach. To her surprise, he did not stop in front of her. His eyes shifted beyond her right shoulder, without pause he walked around her never uttering a word. She spun around to make sure he didn’t come up behind her. Even in her shock she admired the ass plastered against the dark wet swim pants hanging low on lean hips. His broad back was almost as perfect as the front. He never turned, just kept walking up the beach.