It's about adventure! Life, Scouting, Family, writing what else is there?
UPDATED INTRO 4 JULY 2019:
Just a little about me. I've been married for 27 years and currently live in Southern California, but I grew up in New Hampshire.
I've got 2 kids, a 17 yrs old and a 12 yr old. Both are boys. Nuff said.
I work as a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. I enjoy my job a lot.
I love to write, but since I've been so involved with the Boy Scouts program since 2015 (now Scouts BSA since girls were invited to come on board) I haven't written much. I hope to get back to more writing soon, as I'm scaling back my BSA commitment.
I like to get out in nature, take walks around Castaic Lake, drink coffee and watch football.
Here's a little bi about my zodiac.
GEMINI: Gemini, the sign of the Twins, is dual-natured, elusive, complex and contradictory. On the one hand it produces the virtue of versatility, and on the other the vices of two-facedness and flightiness. The sign is linked with Mercury, the planet of childhood and youth, and its subjects tend to have the graces and faults of the young. When they are good, they are very attractive; when they are bad they are more the worse for being the charmers they are. Like children they are lively, and happy, if circumstances are right for them, or egocentric, imaginative and restless.
Their good qualities are attractive and come easily to them. They are affectionate, courteous, kind, generous, and thoughtful towards the poor and suffering - provided none of the activities resulting from expressing these traits interferes too greatly with their own lives and comforts.
Geminians can be successful in many walks of life though their general characteristics tend to make them unreliable. They are often skilled manipulators of language, in speech and writing, and may be: debaters, diplomats (though in politics they are more interested in theory than practice), orators, preachers (brilliant rather than profound), teachers, authors, poets, journalists, or lawyers.
This is me. I am a Gemini. Pure, Raw, passionate.
The NEW focus of this blog is to share my adventures, scouting adventures, book reviews, thoughts, opinions, and writing adventures from actual writing, writing/editing tips, marketing, research. I'll get there.
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Previous GRATITIOUS Warning, that I decided to keep in case I post about something that might offend.
I intend to be open, honest, and forthright. No topic is off limits from religion to you name it, I'm going there. If you think you might be offended...back up now - this blog isn't for you. For those who "dare" check out the "Gemini Rising..."
|I turned 50 this month. The magic day was the 6th of June. I've had a couple of grays in the hair, but none recently, so that's good. It's still outrageously curly and when I show pics of myself to coworkers when I was younger I get "You look the same."
Well, tack on 30 pounds. Not good. Last year was just incredibly demanding on me. Getting my kids to bowling, gymnastics, scouting took a lot of coordination. I was also the Cubmaster of Pack 40 and that job is very demanding. I'll try to give you story in a nutshell: The Cubmaster before me had little to no organizational skills and was "winging" it. The Pack was slowly going downhill, but due to neglect was picking up steam. So after a lot of thought, I said I'd take over from him. My son only had 6 months left in the pack.
So in NOV 2016, I became the Cubmaster. Truly, it was like having a 2nd job. And it's a volunteer spot without pay. There was a lot to do: Overhaul fundraising, get "Activities" stable, work on Pack Communications, still post agendas on pack meetings. Organize the Pack Camp outs, grow the committee, recruit den leaders, submit awards. All these issues were neglected. I recruited a "can do" assistant cub master to help me, with him knowing he'd take over. Still, I neglected my health between my day job that paid the bills, my kids, and my volunteer 2nd job. I tacked on 30 pounds and developed high blood pressure.
On 1 JUN 2018, I turned over the Cubmaster position to my well trained assistant. I'll still do some stuff with the pack, the headaches and time required to give the position the attention it needed is gone. I'm hoping to lose weight and address my health issues. Vacacy is a great place to start.
Any way --- 50 was low key for me. I figured my husband would do near to nothing to organizing the event and I was right. My friend from work, Lori, picked up the slack. She got the balloons. I had to reserve the restaurant and buy my own cake. At least my husband showed up. Still waiting for a gift from him. Might be a while. I don't think it's a priority. My co-workers were the best. When they found out I had to buy my own cake, they got me a Stone Cold ice cream cake. I swear I almost cried. Not that I wanted a big hoopla. I managed to avoid celebrating with the in-laws which was important to me, and I had good friends at the restaurant. We had appetizers and beers and honestly, that's what I was shooting for.
So happy birthday to me. 50 is the new 35. lol!
|I can't believe it's been 11 months since I last shared a book review with you. Let's just say it's been the busiest 11 months of my life. So what inspired me to hang out?
It's Vacay (I'm on vacay until 15 JUL) and I'm catching up with my life. I need a vacay to do that!
I'm doing something I really enjoy. I'm checking out the entries for the
So many things to catch you all up on. I'll try to take it day by day.
My 99 cent novel publisher, Victory Tales Press, closed up shop. I really LOVED Victory Tales Press. Becca and Laura were fantastic. Karen Michelle Knutt came on board and was a pleasure to work for. My story, "Journey of the Heart" was my biggest seller. It was a vintage romance, set after World War II. It was a "sweet" romance. In a nutshell: Could James help Rachel save her winery? In it's amazon heyday it was selling between 11-15 copies a day, but then Amazon changed it's "formula" and it went way down... As I understood it, Becca had health problems and needed to focus on that. VTP closed up and my 99 cent novels (10-15K words) were gone. I wish Becca all the best, but I totally understood. I'm hoping to find a new home for 99 cent novels soon.
Then, this last week, Desert Breeze Publishing, my romance novel publisher closed up shop. All books will be off the shelves come 30 JUN. I've been with DBP for 8 years now and honestly, it's heart breaking. I've got three series with them. My most "successful" series was the Windsor Diaries, and my most well received was "Moldavian Moon." Again, I need to find new homes for them. Time will tell. Not quite sure why DBP is closing, and I'm not going to speculate.
So right now, I just have my children's titles up with 4RV Publishing. I'm very proud of my children's stories. It will take time to find new homes for my novels and I'll keep you up to date. For now, enjoy one of my book trailers...
|Book Review for: When You Give a Duke a Diamond
Written by: Shana Galen
Amazon ASIN: B008BWAD6U
Published by: Sourcebooks
I read: the ebook
Dazzling with Diamonds, Full of Heart
Galen crafts a romance filled with suspense, danger, and heart with “When You Give a Duke a Diamond.” Juliette, aka the “Duchess of Dalliance,” is a courtesan during the heyday of the ton. Christened the “Duchess of Dalliance” by Prinny himself, the gossip around the ton is that she’s having an affair with the Duke of Pelham, a man who is always on time and stanchly set in his ways. He’d never go to bed with a courtesan.
Pelham, aka “Will” and Juliette are thrown into each other’s path when Lucifer shoots at Juliette. Lucifer believes Juliette has his stolen diamonds. Pelham is forced to keep Juliette safe, and in doing so, discovers he wants to find out the mystery behind the missing jewels and why Lucifer would go after Juliette.
They escape to York to avoid danger and Juliette manages to bring out Will’s softer side. As the Duke begins to fall in love, will legitimate danger, or those pesky conventional norms of the ton keep him from publically admitting his love for Juliette?
Shana Galen is one of my favorite romance authors. Her writing style is enjoyable. Her characters are sharp, witty, and infused with heart. Pelham is rough around the edges and it’s endearing to watch Juliette soften him. The danger and suspense never let up, and I hated it when I had to put the story down. Juliette is a capable heroine, not afraid to confront conflict. She’s appeals to modern norms while retaining regency charm. The love scenes are mainstream and tasteful.
Overall, “When You Give a Duke a Diamond,” is a delicious escape to another time and place, full of nail-biting suspense and heartwarming moments. It’s a romance that will touch your heart and leave wanting to read the next book in the series.
Question for you: What was the last book you read?
|During my vaction in June, the family went to Lake Tahoe. We'd never been and I was very excited. We camped at DL Bliss State Park. This park is on the CA side. There are several camp sites on the CA side. There's another State Park, "Emerald Bay" and several US Forest Service parks. DL Bliss was closer to the southern side of the lake.
It took us a good 8 hours to get there from Jedidiah Smith State Park which was on the other side of CA near Crescent City and the Oregon border. If anything, I think we could have shorten the trip. We followed google map gps, but we could have taken freeways once we got to the I5.
Our campsite was compact and if anything, I felt a bit crowded, whereas in Jedidah Smith, I felt like we had a private spot. There were no Redwoods here, but the lake water was so blue it was stunning. We put up our tent and pitched our cots. There were plenty of trees so we didn't need an EZ up. We had a camp stove made of rocks. We used it once but it didn't get hot enough.
I was really impressed with just how blue Lake Tahoe is. The color was striking. Our area was woody and green and smelled wonderful. I was so impressed with the scenery I went ahead and ordered a CA Tahoe state license plate.
We were at elevation, between 6500 - 7000 feet. Several of the surrounding mountains still had snow on them and it was still melting.
We visited the Vikingsholm State Park. It's a steep mile decent to the Vikingshom estate. It was commissioned in 1928 and built in 1929 by Mrs. Josephine Knight. She and her husband came from Chicago.
Mrs. Knight's architect traveled to Scandinavia and studied how buildings were made. His travels inspired the "vikings" house that was built. Mrs. Knight and her husband were known as major backers for Charles Linbergh's solo flight in 1927. Mrs. Knight used Vikingsholm as a summer home.
My son, collected water from Lake Tahoe as a souvenior. This is on the CA side. Sadly, we never got a chance to visit the NV side for him to get his NV souvenior.
If you'd like to see pictures of my Lake Tahoe Camping adventures, please visit my blog, Romance Under the Moonlight at: http://sgcardin.blogspot.com
Enjoy this gratitious plug for my 99 cent summer romance: "Journey of the Heart."
Blurb: Set in Sonoma, CA in 1946, can James help Rachel save her winery or will he drift out of her life the same way he drifted in?
12, 5 Star Reviews on Amazon
The story was compelling and not boring, which is often a stereotype of sweet romances. I would recommend this short sweetie of a story. Good job, author. - Angel E
"Your case threatened to run away, so I bribed it." Her sweet expression was an arrow through his heart.
"Really? What did you bribe it with?" He wiped the sweat off his brow with a handkerchief, caused from a combination of the summer heat and lifting the heavy cases.
He hooked his thumb toward his chest. "Are you offering me a job, Miss Santori?"
BUY LINK: http://amzn.com/B008G1JI6C
|Grab this 99 cent Christmas romance before the end of July and indulge in Christmas a little early.
Drake de Brettville is going to take the biggest risk of his life – because of a bottle of wine. When Drake's brother returns to their home in Denmark with a bottle of wine from the Marquand Winery, Drake finds himself compelled to discover who the wine maker is. Intrigued to learn that the owner is a young woman named Lily Marquand, Drake travels to Napa Valley, California, to meet her.
When Drake finds Lily, the sparks fly. Lily is that rare woman who stimulates him like no other, but to win her love, Drake has to shatter the battlements that guard her heart and prove to her Christmas wishes do come true.
ENJOY THIS EXCERPT:
Collecting her purse, she walked into the lobby as Drake descended the stairs. He presented her with a manila envelope.
"I'll look it over and give it to my lawyers to examine."
"When might you make a decision?"
"Give me a week."
He escorted her to her car and paused near the door. Lily unlocked it with her remote and leaned over, placing her purse along with the folder in the passenger seat. When she stood back up, Drake was directly in front of her. He cupped her cheek, his hand warm and encouraging. "When can I see you again?"
Her abdomen ached for more as waves of desire washed over her. Lily craved closer contact, but she tried to think rationally. "I'm, ah, not sure of my schedule."
"Yes – tomorrow. Come to the winery after it closes."
His lips brushed against hers, then gently covered her mouth. Lily welcomed him, his spicy scent sending her senses reeling. She placed her hands on his chest and moaned when his lips left hers, blazing kisses over her jaw, and searing a path of pleasure over her neck.
AMAZON BUY LINK: KINDLE:
BARNES & NOBLE: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/feast-of-candles-stephanie-burkhart/1119887243?...
|Book Review for: The Truth about Trump, (previously Never Enough)
Written by: Michael D’Antonio
Published by: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press
I read: the ebook
Straightforward, Candid and Honest
D’Antonio pens an honest and balanced look at the man who is Donald Trump. For those people who don’t know much about Donald and want to learn about the man he is, I highly recommend this book. D’Antonio’s writing style is engaging and he makes a good effort to help the reader understand the complexities of the cooperate world Donald Trump is a part of.
The book starts with a preface written during the presidential campaign, and highlights not only Trump’s appeal to voters, but his personal characteristics. Trump will succeed or fail based on his character traits.
D’Antonio gives an overview of Trump’s paternal lineage, where the reader comes to understand Trump’s family background and how he’s applied what he’s learned from his father and brought it forward.
What is refreshing about Trump is that one can usually understand everything out of his mouth, and I think that’s the broad appeal.
Overall, “The Truth About Trump” is a very comprehensive look at a man who has positive and negative traits. He can be extremely generous with his time and money, but he demands loyalty to a fault and can be vindictive with his lawsuits. The book was a steady read that helped me to understand the man who is our current president. Out of the books I’ve read about Trump, this one was the easiest to understand and was written in an honest style. It ggave a candid assessment of the man himself. I would recommend this book to anyone who wanted to learn more about Donald Trump.
|Game of Thrones Musings #1
Just how many of those fire breathing Targaryens are there anyway?
References: NOVEL: "The World of Ice and Fire; The Untold History of Westeros and The Games Thrones," by George RR Martin, Elio M. Garcia, Jr., and Linda Antonsson, Bantam Books, ISBN: 978-0-553-80544-4, Year published: 2014.
My husband told me about Game of Thrones around the time it was announced the series had just started filming for HBO. He said I would love it. It was "soap opera-y," (and I enjoyed a good soap opera when I was a young girl) and no topic was off limits. There was incest, violence, and dragons.
I said okay and waited for S1 to come out. Curious, I turned on TV watched the 1st ever episode when it came out and sure enough, I was hooked. Since, I have read the 1st 3 books in the series, Game of Thrones, Clash of Kings, and Storm of Swords.
My favorite character in this series, without hesitation is Daenerys, and I knew right away we were on a journey with her. In Episode 1, we were seeing her at a point in her life when she was young and embarking on her destiny. What was going to come was to shape her life for better or worse. And I wanted a to have a horse in Daenerys' khalasar.
ICE AND FIRE -- OBSERVATIONS
Immediately what caught my attention was the "ice and fire" contrast. Like "black and white," "ice and fire" in this story represent good and evil. And obviously, the Targaryens and their dragons represent "fire." Fire is light. Light is white. White is good.
Mind you, not all Targaryens are good. They're human with human flaws, (and I would say due to their incest) but they do have traits, if mastered, would make them harbingers of "fire."
So what do we know about the Targaryens?
OF DRAGONS AND TARGARYENS:
According to "The World of Fire and Ice, and Untold History of Westros and Game of Thrones," (full reference is listed above) The Targaryens were just one of many dragonlord families who lived in Valyria on the western half of Essos.
The Valyrians established a westernmost outpost called "Dragonstone" 200 years before the "Doom."
The Targaryens were of pure Valyrian blood and possessed an ancient lineage. 12 years before the Doom, Aenar Targaryen sold his holdings and moved his family to Dragonstone. Thus, the Targaryens were the ONLY dragonlords to escape the "Doom."
Page: 33 : "It had long been the custom amongst the dragonlords of Valyria to wed brother to sister to keep the bloodline pure."
Per Game of Thrones Wiki: Generations of inbreeding have preserved in the Targaryen bloodline, the classic Valyarian features of silver white hair and pale, white skin. This inbreeding retained the ability to successfully bond and ride with the dragons. Targaryens are tolerant of extreme heat and high temperatures.
"Half the Targaryens went mad, didn't they? What's the saying? Every time a Targaryen is born, the gods flip a coin?" - Cersei Lannister. (Side note: And we've seen good and bad, the "mad" king Aerys, Viserys, the Begger King, Rhaegar, the noble older brother, and Daenerys.)
Jorah Mormont , in service to Daenerys once told her she was more like her brother "Rhaegar" (good Targaryen) then her brother, Viserys. (bad Targaryen)
THE "MAD" KING AERYS
This Targaryen is Daenerys' father. According to "The Untold History," Aerys inherited the Throne when he was 18. His wife and sister, Rhaella, quickly had their first son, Rhaegar.
Upon coming to the throne, Aerys named Tywin Lannister his "Hand." Aerys and Tywin had known each other since they were children and were good friends.
As Aerys grew older and his reign longer, he grew increasingly "erratic."
Tywin Lannister married his cousin, Joanna Lannister after being "Hand" for a year. She served as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Rhaella. Tywin and Joanna knew each other since they were children. He adored her.
Page 225 of "The Untold History:" "Sadly, the the marriage between Aerys Targaryen and his sister, Rhaella, was not as happy, and she turned a blind eye to most of the king's infidelities, though the queen did not approve of his "turning my ladies into his whores" (Joanna Lannister was not the first lady to be dismissed abruptly from Her Grace's service, nor was she the last).
Over the course of 13 years, the Queen miscarried or had stillborn children.
Page 225 from "The Untold History:" "It has been reliably reported, however, that King Aerys took unwonted liberties with Lady Joanna's person during her bedding ceremony, to Tywin's displeasure. " Not long thereafter, she was dismissed from the Queen's service.
Joanna Lannister gave birth to twins - a boy and girl.
It is widely speculated that Tyrion is the product of an "affair" between Aerys and Joanna, as Aerys long lusted after Tywin's wife. Aerys, Tyrion and Joanna attended the Anniversary Tourney in 272 and Tyrion was born in 273.
According to "The Untold History," eventually Aerys gives up his mistresses and vows to be true to his Queen. When he does this, Viserys and Daenerys are born to him and Rhaella.
WHO'S YOUR BROTHER? OR NEPHEW? OR SISTER?
Without a doubt Daenerys is a Targaryen. Jon Snow is Daenerys' nephew, the son of her older brother, Rhaegar, and Lyanna Stark, making him a Targaryen. (That's a whole other musing) Tyrion Lannister just might be a Targaryen, born out of an "affair" between Aerys and Joanna Lannister. In the books, his appearance is more "Targaryen" with almost white-blonde hair and mistmatched eyes
So let's hear your musings: Is Tyrion a Targaryen?
Thought I'd share a book review with you from a book I recent read. Enjoy! I'm a big Rick Riordan fan and I love reading his creative stories.
Book Review for: The Sword of Summer
(Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard)
Written by: Rick Riordan
Published by: Disney/Hyperion
I read: the hardback
An incredible escape to another world!
Riordan pens an enthralling new adventure involving the Gods of Asgard with “The Sword of Summer.” Our hero is Magnus Chase. After retrieving the sword of Summer from the Charles River, he’s promptly killed by Surt, the fire god. Thankfully, a Valkyrie named Sam, saves him and takes him to Valhalla where he becomes one of Odin’s soldiers known as the Einherjar.
Trouble is not far behind. Sam is expelled from the Valkyrie, and Magnus must re-find the Sword of Summer. Complicating matters is Fenris Wolf who is rumored to bring about Ragnarok in 9 days. Can Magnus and his friends, Sam, Blitz, and Hearth find the sword and save the 9 worlds from Ragnarok?
Riordan’s writing style is easy to read and engages the reader. His characters are likable and endearing. Magnus is brave in the face of danger, and loyal to his friends. There are plenty of villains who bring out the humanity of Magnus and his friends. The plot is fast paced, keeping young readers turning the pages.
The best character of the book is Sumarbrander – the Sword of Summer – who has a personality all his own.
Overall, “The Sword of Summer,” is a story with great characters, great action, and great appeal. The ending is satisfying and leaves the reader wanting to find out more about Magnus and his friends. I recommend this book for 10 years and older. A breathtaking read that will resonate long after the reader has finished.
|Today I thought I'd share some adventures with you from my vacation at Jedidiah Smith State Park. This state park is home to Redwoods trees. It's about 3 miles outside of Crescent City, CA. Crescent City is on the border between CA and Oregon. It's also on the coast of California. The climate is moderate, not to hot, not too cool. The majority of days start off with a marine layer that burns off as day go. The climate is perfect for the growth of Redwood Forests.
We went ahead and pitched out tent. We use cots to sleep on. Personally, I find cots better to sleep on than using an air mattress. They may be a bit more bulkier to transport, but for me it's worth it. We went in mid June this year, and it was a bit on the cooler side. Temps were in the 50's and 60's, so we always wearing a sweatjacket and pants.
My son Joe earned his Redwoods his Jr. Ranger. They gave him a pin that he wore everywhere he went!
We took a hike to "Boy Scout Tree." Boy Scout Tree is a Huge Redwood. Actually it's 2 redwoods who fused together. It's a 3 mile hike out to the tree and 3 miles back. It's called Boy Scout tree because it was the boy scouts who discovered the tree in the 1940's when they were doing trail maintenance.
Our campsite was nice. A huge redwood log that fell down is on the left. What I really liked about this campground is that you were surrounded by redwoods. It gave you a sense of privacy that we didn't have in other camps. The bathrooms were flush tiolets and they had coin showers. The part itself was well kept up.
Crescent City has a lighthouse. It's called Battery Point. You can only access it during low tide. When high tide comes in, it fills up the middle and cuts off the island from the main land.
It's a good 12 hour drive so it takes us 2 days to get there. Crescent City has a walmart, a movie theatre and plenty of places to eat if you need something. We took several hikes when we visited, the best hike being out to Boy Scout Tree. There is a river nearby, but since it was so cold, we didn't go in.
If you'd like to see pictures please visit my blog, Romance Under the Moonlight at: http://sgcardin.blogspot.com
Enjoy this 99 cent sweet summer read: Arrow Through The Heart: Buy it now before it leaves at the end of August.
Summer vacation and the Fourth of July brings Ella to New Hampshire while participating in a tennis competition. Logan is an innkeeper's son who bumps into Ella and invites her for an ice cream. Attraction flares and they enjoy spending time together, but each has their own plans for their life. Then disaster strikes Ella. Can a summer attraction truly become a lasting relationship?
AMAZON BUY LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Arrow-Through-Heart-Stephanie-Burkhart-ebook/dp/B00TJH0UT...
|Time to share some Christmas in July love. Check out my 1.99 ebook novella : The Faberge Secret
Elise Goodwin finds herself faced with danger when she learns the Faberge egg she's bought belongs to a Russian mogul, Dimitri Romanov, but is Dimitri playing a game with Elise's heart to get his heirloom back?
Elise Goodwin runs a heritage museum in Brattleboro, Vermont. She travels to Boston to buy some items for her museum at Sotheby's auction. What she acquires is a delicious surprise that would excite any curator – a Faberge egg.
Enter Russian businessman Dimitri Romanov. He goes to the auction with the intent of buying the egg only to discover that Elise is in possession of it. His dilemma? He's attracted to the petite brunette with doe-like eyes and a trusting disposition.
5 STARS, Celia Yeary, Author
You will thoroughly enjoy this fast-paced tale of danger, a mystery, and a satisfying conclusion.Elise and Dimitri make sparks fly!
Sue Perkins, Author
The Faberge Secret exceeded my expectations. Definitely worth reading more than once. It is such a good book.
5 Hearts, Sizzling Hot Book Reviews
As the love story thicken, the suspense heightens and it won't let your eyes leave the page. I recommend The Faberge Secret to all of the romance readers. Even if you have never read romance, The Faberge Secret would be a great place to start.
4 Stars, Manic Readers
"A satisifying read."
4 Stars, Night Owl Book Reviews
The Faberge Secret is a fast paced, delightful adventure with plenty of love and adventure sprinkled in for spice.
3.5 Stars, Long & Short Reviews
"All this suspense had me flying through the pages so quickly I was able to read the book in one sitting."
BOOK TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf5ujOoDRXs
ENJOY THIS EXCERPT:
Brattleboro, VT, setting for the Faberge Secret
She bit her lower lip. If she didn't take a chance now, would her life be filled with what- ifs and regrets? Yes, John had hurt her, but she was still alive. Dare she believe in romance again?
Dimitri paused next to her room, beside the door.
"If you have the time..." she began, knowing it was now or never. "And if you don't have to go back to Russia right away, I'd be honored to have you share Christmas with my family."
"I'd be happy to." His gaze was as soft as a caress. He reached out and tucked a stray tendril of hair behind her ear. Then slowly, he curved his hand around the nape of her neck and moved closer so there was no space between them.
Their lips skirted each other's, teasing, tempting... until Dimitri's mouth finally captured hers in a drugging kiss.
His lips were firm and persuasive. He smelled of soap and sandalwood. Something intense flared within her, and she fisted her hands around the lapels of his coat. Her body betrayed her desire. His erection pressed against her thigh.
All of a sudden, an all-crushing fear consumed her. He was hard for her. It was too soon, too fast. She broke the kiss and pushed him away.
"Elise--" Dimitri began.
Elise's heart jumped. She swung around and looked at the door.
It stood ajar.
"Lucy!" Elise forgot all about Dimitri's kiss and rushed inside with him right behind her.
Concern spiked within her the second she saw Lucy.
Her friend's hands and feet were tied to a chair, and a gag was in her mouth. The room
had been trashed. Their suitcases had been turned over; their clothes and books tossed haphazardly about.
Fear knotted inside Elise. She rushed to the chair and took off Lucy's gag. Dimitri untied the knots at Lucy's feet, concern for her friend evident in his eyes. Elise was thrilled that Dimitri had helped her with no hesitation or reservations.
"What happened?" Elise asked. "Who did this?"
"They were looking for the egg," Lucy said. She glanced at Dimitri, but instead of her earlier resistance to him, gratefulness filled her gaze.
Dimitri froze and glanced up, his stare drilling into Elise. "Egg? A Faberge egg?"
Elise loosened one of the ropes around Lucy's hand and looked at Dimitri, perplexed. "What do you know about Faberge eggs?"
He muttered something in Russian, finished untying the knot around Lucy's other ankle, and stood, straightening his shoulders.
"That's what I lost. What I've been looking for -- my Faberge egg."
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