Getting The Words Right – The Magic of Editing

Getting the Words Right by Alexis Alvarez

Retro styled image of a vintage typewriter with a blank sheet of paper

In 1958, an interviewer for The Paris Review asked Ernest Hemingway how much rewriting he did. “It depends,” responded Hemingway. “I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, thirty-nine times before I was satisfied.”

The interviewer was curious. “Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?”

Hemingway replied, “Getting the words right.”

Getting the words right can take a month or a lifetime. Most people use websites such as effortlessenglishclub.com to try and aid with this. It is as simple as opening a vein, Hemingway was reported to say. In truth, it was the sports writer Red Smith who joke that writing was easy: “You just sit down and open a vein and bleed it out, drop by drop.” Still, Hemingway’s life as an author, replete with adventure and difficulty, is a testament to the beautiful irony of this oft-quoted phrase, and every author who reads it laughs and then says, “Yes,” understanding the agony of empty arteries and garbled pages. Hemingway’s writing has been highly valued in literature, so much so that there is even this hemingway app and probably other alternatives also, that can allow you to “get the words right” just like Hemingway once did.

The books get written – perseverance and dedication pay. Every author develops a method to distill the word flood into a sophisticated or wild vintage, using her style and voice to create something fresh. Although good editing will never be described in a perfect set of rote rules, there are enough similarities in the work flow of successful authors, which, taken together, describe a starting point for a solid editing process. Reflection over time, outside eyes, and a ruthless scalpel are the keys to most finished manuscripts, regardless of the author’s genre and experience, with an emphasis placed on the ability to cut junk and keep the jewels. If you would like to learn more about strategies for editing your writing, you might want to take a look at this Jericho Writers guide.

I talked to authors who write suspense, romance, erotica and young adult fiction to find the unifying themes for an expert editing flow. They are indie writers, authors who are affiliated with well-known publishers, and authors who move back and forth between the two. Some are newcomers to the writing world while others have been writing for years. Yet they all share the same convictions about their writing – that only with significant self-reflection, help from other readers, and the ability to look dispassionately at their own work can they create their brightest masterpieces.

Several popular techniques I’ll focus on include getting honest feedback from peers before publication (either through a writer’s group or beta readers), reviewing the book multiple times to look for inconsistencies and errors, and having the courage to make significant cuts or changes to the book, even if it’s difficult and time-consuming.

steven king quote

Writing groups come in all shapes and styles – some groups meet on-line only, and talk in message boards about works they have emailed to each other. Other groups meet in person, read aloud each week, and get real-time feedback and critiques. Still others combine real-life meetings and on-line interactions. The popular internet site Meetup can locate participating writing groups by state and region; many authors are surprised to discover multiple writing groups exist in their neighborhoods. I started my own local writing group in Chandler, AZ, when I didn’t find the perfect one to fit my needs.

Beta readers are people who read a novel before it’s published and offer feedback and critique to the author, who uses the suggestions to improve the work. Beta readers can be friends, family, peers; the common theme is that they are trustworthy and give helpful advice.

Sonali Dev builds reader feedback into her entire writing process in order to create a book that is smooth and polished. Her system works well for her. Sonali’s novel The Bollywood Affair was listed as one of NPR’s 100 Most Swoon-worthy books and as one of NPR’s best books list of 2014, and her novel The Bollywood Bride was listed as a Best Book of 2015 for fiction by Kirkus reviews. She has an interactive writer’s group, and uses feedback from trusted beta readers to refine her novels.

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Sonali is passionate about writing and about getting feedback ahead of publication so she can perfect her books. She told me, “I’ve always thought of critiques as absolutely essential to my writing. I WANT to hear all the criticism, so I can see what I don’t see, and fix what I need to fix. But of course, this is why building trust with your readers is so important, because I instantly discard anything that I believe is a personal taste thing, or a lack of understanding thing. There’s this intricacy to each reader’s reading and reacting process. When you get to know them, you work out what their comments really mean, and you get better and better at picking out what that means for your story.”

Sonali’s writing group meets in person several times per year and works together on-line to provide assistance to each other. She says, “We do weekly goals and recaps and basically put out calls when we need something read/critiqued/brainstormed. Either an open call: Can anyone read my synopsis/chapters/MS? Or then we go to individuals who might have the specific skills we’re looking for.”

The feedback helps her make improvements to the story, such as this one: “In the book I just finished, my hero and my heroine are both survivors of trauma and are trying to deal with a lot of pain. And their relationship is based on how they are able to process their own pain by sharing in and helping with the other one’s pain. My hero hurts my heroine a few times, without meaning to, but he still does. And this bothered my CP. Basically I realized that my aim in those scenes was to have the hero take care of the heroine. That was the important part that led to the growth of their closeness. It required a little work and digging but I rewrote the scenes where he takes care of her but he doesn’t inflict the hurt first.”

Kacey Shea, a fresh new voice in the indie romance world who combines light-hearted humor with deeper themes, has used feedback from her writer’s group to improve parts of her manuscript for her well-received novels Uncovering Desire, Uncovering Love, and Uncovering Hope. She says, “In the manuscript I finished a few months ago, one of the main characters is a drummer. There was a passage with him getting into his car and blasting the music for the ride. A group member said, ‘I want to know what he was listening to, because if he’s a musician, it would be important to him.’ I thought that was insightful feedback, and made sure to add that he was listening to AC/DC’s Back in Black.”

That may sound like a small change, but many of these little suggestions add together to make a character more coherent.

KACEY GRAPHIC

Writing groups can take time, and some people with full schedules and young children can’t attend physical meetings. For these writers, beta readers provide feedback about the manuscript and suggest changes. In fact, many authors say that the beta readers are the most critical aspect of their entire process.

Sonali Dev has about ten beta readers for each book, some of whom include close family members. She says, “I get different things from different beta readers, who range from experienced writers from various genres to regular readers. But generally a good beta reader is someone who replicates a reader well and is able to tell me what worked for them and what didn’t in terms of character, plot, pacing. My beta readers are a mix of author friends whose work I enjoy (mutual respect and love for each other’s writing) to friends who love reading and are honest and read widely and whose opinion I respect as a reader. I also seek out a few beta readers who are subject matter experts in a theme or subject my book touches on.”

Sonali sends early revisions of her book to a set of beta readers, makes changes, and then sends the next revision to a new set of beta readers for additional feedback. Doing it this way, she says, guarantees fresh eyes the whole way through and gives her the kind of insight she needs.

She offers this advice to authors who are contemplating using beta readers for the first time. “Build relationships. Readers who can brainstorm their reactions are invaluable to me. Also the best readers are ones whose writing you enjoy and those who enjoy your writing. Sometimes even your closest friend just isn’t into the same sort of writing you are into, and then you’re both just wasting your time. Also, each reader has a different strength. Some do well at the scene level, others at larger story level. Take the time to learn and apply each individual skill.”

Renee Rose, USA-Today best-selling author of erotic romance, is enthusiastic about receiving honest feedback about her book ahead of time. She says, “I think I’ve always been open to honest critique. I majored in creative writing in college and spent thirteen years doing technical writing, so I’m used to receiving feedback and edits. I almost always accept feedback from my beta readers. I’ve learned that any time I ignore a beta reader’s feedback, a reviewer is sure to leave the same opinion.”

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Renee has hit #1 on Amazon in the Erotic Paranormal and Sci-fi categories in the U.S. and U.K., is often found on the list of Amazon’s Top 100 Erotic Authors and is a regular columnist for the website Write Sex Right. Her most recent book, The Don’s Daughter, rose to the top of multiple Amazon charts. She isn’t part of a writing group, and she picks her beta readers carefully, developing strong relationships with them, in order to continue her success in the marketplace. She explains, “A good beta reader has your best interest in mind and wants to help you do your very best. They are the sort of friends who would tell you that you have spinach in your teeth. They aren’t afraid to say what bothers them, and they know you won’t take offense, because the feedback is given from love.”

Renee’s process is streamlined. She has four to five regular beta readers for each book who give detailed feedback and suggestions. “I share a google doc and they track changes. This way multiple beta readers can give feedback or interact at the same time, and I can make updates to the same doc. They will give me feedback about plot holes, likes and dislikes of characters, word choice, sentence structure, and even punctuation. I rely heavily on my beta readers.”

One change she’s made to a manuscript based on beta feedback? “In The Hand of Vengeance, I originally had the hero’s dog die. My beta readers and professional editor both complained, so I saved Dog.”

athletic man with enthusiasm reads the book

One of Renee’s most trusted beta readers

Kacey Shea has recently expanded her team of beta readers from four to eight to increase feedback for her newest novel. Because her large family and second career make it difficult to attend regular meetings in person, she’s moving away from physical writer’s group meetings and putting more reliance on her beta readers. She welcomes honest feedback, saying, “My beta readers are crucial to my process. I won’t write another book without them! Feedback, both positive and negative, fuels me to be better, to stay on schedule, and to edit along the way.”

Instead of sending a finished book, she sends several chapters at a time to her beta readers, and gets continuous feedback as she writes. “I ask them to email or message me once a week, after they’ve read the chapters. I ask for them to share with me the feelings they get from the characters (do they like them, hate them, relatable), story (did it flow well, did anything make you stop and have to re-read), and anything else that stands out, the good, bad, and ugly. I honestly live for their emails/messages because my betas are smart, well read, and have a great sense of humor.”

Kacey has made major changes to books based on beta reader feedback. “On this last book I wrote, I added an entire chapter based on one beta reader’s feedback that she felt jolted and completely taken out of the story from the transition of one chapter to the next. She actually thought maybe I had made a mistake and didn’t include it. The transition was too jarring and in turn I added a chapter that I not only love, but also develops the main character better. Sometimes when you’re in the thick of it, you can’t see with fresh eyes, and I think good beta readers do that.”

It’s not always easy to ask for and receive feedback, but a serious author does it anyway because the reward is worth the pain. Kacey disclosed to me, “I always get insanely nervous about sharing my work because it’s maybe the most vulnerable I’ve been. To let someone into my thoughts, my writing, is to share a piece of myself that most people haven’t seen. I’m an introvert who still struggles with opening up to new people, so I am learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable! For me, I don’t think this part will ever get easier.”

Leslie McAdam, a Wattpad writing sensation who recently published The Sun and the Moon to rave reviews on Amazon, says “Wattpad is my beta.” She doesn’t work with a writer’s group, but she gets large-scale feedback in other ways. She has hundreds of followers on Wattpad, some of whom have become friends and regular commentators on her work. She explains,”With the chapter by chapter publishing format of Wattpad, and the constant votes and comments, a writer gets A LOT of feedback. Since I pretty much write and post same hour because I’m crazy, I am basically letting the world see my first draft and comment on it. And sometimes those comments shape the manuscript because people will bring up questions that they want answered, or things that bothered them.”

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In addition, she works with a trusted critique partner to develop the books further. She says, “I met Kristy Lin Billuni, who is both a grammar nazi and a former sex worker. Her business is called sexygrammar.com. She gives me feedback, from the ‘add commas’ here type, to the ‘my reaction as a reader was to think ___ when I read this.’ She is so helpful, I can’t explain it. She used to work for a publisher reviewing manuscripts and editing them, so she knows both the business and the genre of romance novels/erotica. She also knows STORY and a lot of the advice she has given me has stuck.”

Some of Kristi Lin Billuni’s suggestions include:

  • “Write the fun part first. If you’re struggling to write something it could be because it’s boring and you don’t need it.
  • Don’t use the word “was” if you can help it.
  • One way of looking at plot is that a story has certain questions and the plot is when you answer those questions.
  • Use the quirky, weird words to make it more interesting. Make the sentences lively, with sensory description.”

Leslie is adamant about listening to feedback. She urges other writers: “Don’t be too precious about your writing. Make it strong but malleable. Let in the criticism, even when it hurts. And if all else fails, whiskey.”

She gave me an example of a change she made based on feedback. “If too many people call you out on something, it probably needs to be changed. I had a joke in my book that I loved and NO ONE got it. NO ONE. I finally ended up taking it out because it was cleaner without it. (I still like the joke.)”

jokes

Leslie’s jokes are far better than these. No kidding.

She recognizes that feedback is sometimes hard to take. When this happens, she recommends taking time to think it over. “Give it a moment. Don’t react immediately. Because maybe you’re defensive at first but later on it seems like a good idea.”

Despite being in a demanding job where getting writing critique is just a part of her day, she points out that receiving reader feedback as an author feels different, and it’s important to react appropriately to get the most out of it.

“In real life, I’ve been a lawyer for fifteen years and have received near constant criticism of my writing during that time, from colleagues, clients, and occasionally judges or the other side. At some point, you get used to it. That said, it’s still scary. Every time I hit “publish,” I sit back and cringe a little, because I am scared of what they are going to think. I like what I wrote, clearly, because I hit publish. But what if they don’t agree with me? That feeling/thought process hasn’t gone away yet.”

Leslie differentiates between various types of critiques, and how to respond to each.

“There are a lot of different types of criticism. The type that is the easiest to take (that is not praise) is that which points out fixable things, like grammar or punctuation, errors in word choice, or things that you look at and go, ‘ah, that’s what is written but that’s not what I meant, let me change it.’ That type of feedback is no big deal.

What is harder to take is when people say that they don’t connect with your character or that the chapter isn’t resonating with them. And when that happens, there could be a few things going on. Maybe that person just isn’t your reader. Like shopping at the super-huge Rose Bowl Flea Market, not everyone wants to buy your goods and it would be impossible to do so. Maybe that person really likes Sci Fi and you write Historical Romance. They are never going to like your writing.

But if the person IS your reader and something isn’t connecting with them, listen to them. I had a chapter that was a climax to a book and I really liked the chapter and no one else did. I asked Kristy to look at it recently and she gave me two items of feedback that really helped. She told me that the chapter was all in the character’s head and I needed physical description, a specific, easy fix. And she told me that my word choices were leaning toward generic rather than specific, and to use the weird words that make it more interesting. Again, a specific, easy (ish) fix. It was so helpful to show her the chapter and say, this isn’t working for others, how do I fix it?”

In addition to writing groups and beta readers, an author can get important information from reading Amazon reviews. Natasha Knight, one of today’s biggest names in erotic romance and dark erotica, told me that she always reads her reviews carefully, looking for trends and commonalities. “It’s often hard to take, but look at similarities. Chances are, if you’re hearing the same criticism over and over again, it’s not them, it’s you. Nobody is perfect and one of my favorite reviews is a 2 star I once received on Given to the Savage. There is value in this if you take it the right way.”

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Natasha is a USA Today Bestselling author who writes a variety of genres including contemporary, paranormal, post-apocalyptic, science fiction and fantasy. She is a #1 Amazon Bestseller in multiple categories. Her most recent novel, Retribution, hit the top ten listing on multiple Amazon charts when it was first released. Natasha is currently self-published, but when she started writing she was with a publishing company. She gave me an example of a change that was suggested by her editor/reader at the time. “Captive‘s Desire had some content edits. I’d not given Livia’s sister a happy ending originally and was asked to change it, and I understand why now. A satisfying ending – and not just for the main characters – is something people rely on in romance. At least I do when I read a romance.”

Natasha doesn’t use beta readers or a writer’s group (she lives in The Netherlands, and the closest genre-specific writing groups are hundreds of miles away in the UK). She goes through her manuscript herself at least five times, revising and making changes as needed after spending time in between reflecting and thinking about the storyline. She hires a copy editor to help clean up the manuscript when it’s almost ready for publication. Her process is thorough so she can catch as many flaws as possible. Here’s Natasha’s flow for editing:

“I first write the story and when I’m about three chapters from being finished, I book my editor so I can get on their calendar. I submit once I’ve read it through and revised myself about five times after the first draft is done. Once the editor gets my MS, I like two rounds rather than one because I tend to make a lot of changes between the two.

The first round is the hardest, but I go through the changes one by one, and accept or reject. My manuscripts at this point look like a very badly done test with more red than anything else! Once that’s done, I go through and read the MS again, revising along the way. I make notes as I go on timelines to double check as I do this, and end up reading it through probably twice more before sending it back for round two.

Second round is easier, but I’m really paying attention now to errors in timeline or hair color or anything the editor and I may have missed. I’ve worked with great editors, but I think it’s important to note that this is your book and your name is going on the book. If the editor missed something, you’re the one who looks bad, so it’s really important to be very present during this stage of the revision and make sure your story makes sense and flows and that you don’t have storylines that drop off or don’t match up between chapters. This happened in one of my books where, during this round, I found an error in one of the secondary character’s storyline. It was kind of major and I’d missed it after multiple readings and so had the editor (it happens, we’re human). You’ve just got to really be paying attention and not reading when you’re tired or the kids have the TV going in the background or anything.”

Most authors agree that regardless of whether or not you use beta readers or critique partners, a final content editor is critical to catch errors. The content editor is responsible for grammar and spelling and general continuity, and usually does not offer any kind of advice about plot, pacing, or characters.

Kacey Shea says, “I would never be able to publish a book someone else has not laid eyes on. It’s impossible for me to catch errors at a certain point because I have been reading it over and over and my brain already knows what it’s supposed to say. Attempting this solo doesn’t sound like a good time to me!”

Many authors find a content editor through word of mouth from author friends, and some have eagle-eyed friends and family who help with the read-throughs. Going through every single word is critical.

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Natasha Knight recommends, “Ask questions if you’re hiring someone for the first time, and get references. Be very clear up front on your expectations. And ultimately, trust your gut. It’s your book, be humble and be open, but also know that you know it better than anyone else. Stand up for yourself and speak up when you’re not getting what you expected or what was promised.”

Even before sending a book to the copy editor, authors get it as clean as possible first, to give the editor the best chance to make it perfect. Kacey Shea comments, “I change the font between edits with use of sites like Fontspace and many others that offer an array of fonts. It’s amazing how things pop out when it looks different! I also give myself time. Enough time so that when I’m reading it’s not something I’ve seen twenty times before and hopefully I’ll catch errors, double words, etc. And even though I do hire a copy editor, I have at a minimum three people I trust read though the final copy to look for errors, all of whom have not read the book before. It’s always fascinating, and a little scary, how many errors can slip through at this point.”

Leslie McAdam offers this advice to authors who may feel nervous about their grammar expertise — do the best you can, use others to help, and focus on how to make the book more meaningful to the reader. “I wasn’t an English major (I majored in Forestry) and I have some hang ups about grammar and writing. I haven’t let that stop me from writing, I’ve just tried to suck as much information as I could. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given about writing is to ‘lower the level of abstraction.’ What that means is instead of saying ‘he harassed me,’ you say ‘he called me every day at seven in the morning and let the phone ring three times and hung up.’ It’s more specific. I think that as you edit, look for ways to lower the level of abstraction so that the reader is more engaged in the story and can really picture what’s going on. Always think of the reader, even if you’re writing for yourself.”

Good looking man posing with axe Good looking man with axe

One of Leslie McAdam’s Fans

If you’re still stuck? If the editing process is so painful that you want to give up? Maybe you need to change something bigger than a few words, or even a major plot twist. Are you writing what you really love? All of the best writers groups, beta readers and content editors in the world can’t improve a work that doesn’t resonate with readers – and in order to connect with them, you first have to connect with yourself.

Sonali Dev says, “When I started writing novels, I was trying to write this really complicated literary novel, and I was very lost. And I kept hearing write what you love, write what you love. And I had this love story in my head. I had TB and I was stuck in the house and I was too depressed to write my literary novel. And I said, well, you know, I’m going to write what I love and this love story that’s been in my head, which was The Bollywood Bride. I grew up watching Bollywood films, and what romance readers are seeking and what the Bollywood audience is seeking are exactly the same, which is an emotional connection, emotional highs and lows. People who criticize the predictability of romance or of Bollywood films misunderstand the point of both. The point isn’t logic. It’s feeling. We hunger for that emotional bite, those highs and lows and that-I call it a heartgasm. That’s what both have.”

Remember to keep the heart of the thing, even as you busy yourself with the myriad details involved in editing and publishing a book. Don’t let your story get lost in the flurry of details and revisions, in the Oxford commas and the adverb deletion.

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The authors quoted in this article are experts at their craft, and they’ve all created brilliant stories that I love, and one thing I respect about each one is her unique and strong voice. They put their heart and soul into their writing. Despite the fact that there are significant differences in their editing processes, they all do the hard thing – they listen to feedback and edit, even when it’s nerve-wracking and heart-smashing. You can’t mimic their results by copying their formula, but reading about their experiences can help spur new ideas to try. Their commitment reminds me of another quote by Red Smith: “I made up my mind that every time I sat down to a typewriter I would slash my veins and bleed and that I’d try to make each word dance.”

The point is to get creative and do what it takes, using ideas from other writers and your own, to turn your work into the best thing it can possibly be. In the end, if you do it well, you will get your words right.

Happy Editing.

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Find the Authors & Editors:

Sonali Dev

Leslie McAdam

Renee Rose

Kacey Shea

Natasha Knight

Kristi Lin Billuni (SexyGrammar.com)

References

Real Quote by Hemingway:

The Paris Review, Spring 1958, No 18: Ernest Hemingway, The Art of Fiction No. 21. Interviewed by George Plimpton.

http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4825/the-art-of-fiction-no-21-ernest-hemingway

Quotes by Red Smith, incorrectly attributed to Hemingway:

The Quote Investigator. http://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/09/14/writing-bleed/

https://killzoneblog.com/2012/11/the-perils-of-internet-information.html

http://oztypewriter.blogspot.com/2015/03/making-blood-splattered-words-dance-off.html

hemingway farewell to arms

“She couldn’t take her eyes off the spanking bench.”

Saturday+SpankingsGreetings! I’m Alexis Alvarez, and I’m here on today’s Sat Spanks blog hop to share a piece from my new spanky BDSM romance, Myka and the Millionaire. It’s a full-length novel with an HEA, and it contains all kinds of delicious, consensual kink…and a generous dose of spanky delights.

Blurb for Myka And The Millionaire

Computer expert Myka Thomas is determined to start her own business, and the last thing she needs is a man bossing her around and getting in the way. But Gabriel Chevalier is not just any man, and when the dashing, dominant millionaire makes his interest in her very clear, Myka cannot resist his advances. Stripped bare, spanked soundly, and brought to one shattering climax after another, she soon finds herself both yielding ever more completely to his command of her body and even begging shamefully for more of his masterful lovemaking.

As Myka juggles two demanding jobs, she savors the time she spends in Gabriel’s palatial home. When she is in his presence, surrendering to his firm, loving control seems natural, even when that means submitting to a painful, embarrassing spanking when she has been disobedient. Before she can stop herself Myka is falling hard for Gabriel, but can she dare to risk giving her heart to a man with so many shadows in his past that there may be no room for her in his future?

Publisher’s Note: Myka and the Millionaire is an erotic romance novel that contains spankings, sexual scenes, anal play, elements of BDSM similar to what might be seen on websites such as broxxx, and more. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

Excerpt from Myka And The Millionaire

Myka pointed. “There.” She couldn’t take her eyes away from the spanking bench, and the woman cuffed to it, naked, offering her body up to the man beside her.

Gabriel guided her over until they were standing a few feet away. He whispered into her ear, “We never interrupt a scene unless it’s a safety concern. We’ll stand back and watch from here, yes?”

The man bent down to whisper something, and although it reminded Myka of the couple in the previous club, she felt safer here. But when the man picked up something from the floor, Myka caught her breath, clutched more tightly at Gabriel’s arm. It was a leather paddle, black and long. It looked wicked; the leather shone in the dim light, and the whole thing looked powerful. No toy, this. It seemed capable of delivering serious pain. But she felt a sharp flare between her legs, looking at the thing, imagining how it would feel on her own ass. Wielded by Gabriel’s hand.

 

Myka ad for twitter with book cover4Want more excerpts?

Love and Submission

“There’s a fine line between pleasure and pain”

Myka and the Millionaire…

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

AllRomance

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

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Myka ad for twitter with book cover8

Please visit the other authors on the blog hop.

Happy reading!

How To Give A Blow Job: Chapters 1-3 from Return

ad for return for twitter2Greetings! I’m Alexis Alvarez, a romance author. Today I’m sharing the first three chapters of my novel Return, in which my heroine and her BFF discuss the finer points of certain oral maneuvers, and how to find the best tutorials on Google regarding said maneuvers. Plenty of us can see the great techniques used when we watch sites like sexhdtuber.com but perhaps not many of us know how to replicate such kinky acts but these chapters are here to enlighten us on the situation. All for book research, of course…

Return is the story of Ava, an aspiring novelist, who bases the hero of her BDSM novel on sexy gym trainer Damian similar to what you might see on sites like https://www.fuckedtube.xxx/. When he finds out that he inspired a book, he demands payback — they’ll act out every kinky scene, with him as the dom and her as the sub. The passion is incredible, but the path to love is twisty and uncertain. There is an HEA, and some readers said it made them cry in a good way. Return has received 4 and 5-star reviews on Amazon. It reminded me of some super hot material from hdpornt! Enjoy!

If you’re interested to getting some video inspiration check out adult videos at https://www.tubev.sex a friend of mine says they have the best videos!

Excerpt from Return (First Three Chapters)

Chapter One

Ava Grimaldi twisted one of her long, brown curls around her finger and grinned at her best friend, Claire. Light streaming through the large plate-glass windows sparkled into the space, creating blinding white flares on her laptop screen as she folded down the lid and picked up her cup of coffee.

“So, how’s the writing going?” Claire asked, setting her steaming latte onto the table. She smiled at Ava and slung her purse over the back of a mismatched wooden chair. “I’m late, but you know I’d never miss our Saturday morning coffee here at MoonBeans.”

“I’m on a really sexy scene right now,” replied Ava, blinking back the solar glare and sipping her Americano. “Coincidentally, this particular short story starts in a coffee house very similar to ours.” The eclectic Chicago café enveloped them with the deep aroma of espresso and the sounds of low chatter, grinders and soft jazz, and Ava gestured as if inviting the atmosphere to join them.

Ava shot Claire a mischievous smile, crossed one lean, muscular leg over the other and continued, “About my novels-I’m nearly going crazy waiting for my first book to come out in stores. It will happen in the next two weeks for sure, Claire! And for the second book? I just sent the latest copy to my editor last night. I added in that scene she wanted. You know,” she lowered her voice and leaned forward, “that special one.”

She giggled and made a hand gesture near her mouth to let Claire know exactly what kind of “special” was on the menu.

Claire snorted. “I can’t believe you’re writing another kinky sex novel, Ava. Before you started your part-time author gig? I would never have guessed that you were the one with the dirty mind. You always came across as innocent and clean, the fresh-eyed computer programmer next door.”

“Hey,” Ava protested, and took a sip from her hand-painted green and blue mug, a modern-art ocean in her hands. “Coders are cool. I’m representing my kind, you know? Showing that numbers geeks have many talents. Who better than a math expert to capture the beauty of a sixty-nine in words?”

Claire rolled her eyes and tapped the side of her cup. “I’m curious. You must have given hundreds of specials to be able to write about them so well. Am I right?” She gazed at Ava with her Inspector Detective look, the one where she narrowed her pale blue eyes and pulled some of her brilliant red hair into a fake moustache.

“Claire!”

Claire grinned. “In round numbers. Estimate it.”

“Well,” Ava shot back, “how many times have you specialized?”

“Me?” Claire paused and deliberated, releasing the fauxstache. “I mean, Ryan loves a good special. So, at least once or twice a week.”

“Really?” Ava was impressed. “Wow.”

“Well, sure. But he gives as good as he gets,” replied Claire with a wink. “Now you answer, Ms. Perverted Hemingway.”

Ava retorted, “You know I prefer to be called Emily Dick-inson.”

“e.e. cum-mings?”

“Francis Ford Coppola-feel.”

“Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Haha.”

Woody Allen.”

There was a pause, then Claire interrupted. “And you totally changed the subject. Is it weird to ask? I’ve just been wondering.”

Ava fidgeted. “You’re funny. Honestly? Not often. Okay, once. Half of once.”

Claire popped upright in her chair. “Seriously?”

Ava shrugged. “I haven’t been with that many guys, Claire.”

Claire still appeared astounded. “I thought I was kidding about calling you innocent.”

Ava rolled her eyes. “I’ve had plenty of sex, okay? It’s just never been earth-shattering, I guess. And I never really wanted to try doing a blow job with any of them. It’s a mental thing.”

Claire had a strange look on her face. “How did you do half? You only licked one side of it?” She giggled.

“Shut up! It was with my ex, Matt, last year. He started pushing my head, and it tweaked my neck in this awkward way, and I got pissed. Then he told me I wasn’t doing it right, and I broke up with him. Not just because of that, but it was the final straw on our lukewarm romance.”

Claire slammed her cup down as hard as a cardboard container could go, causing coffee to slosh out of the plastic lid and onto her hand. She licked it off, commenting, “Never waste a good Java.” Then she continued her interrupted tirade. “What a jerk-off. A guy can’t just shove your head down there and be all, Blow me, baby. Maybe he was blaming you for his lack of sexability.”

Ava frowned. “He turned out to be pretty toolbox. But also? We didn’t have the right chemistry. Things between us were… tepid.”

Claire tilted her head and her freckles glowed in the sunlight. “Remind me why you dated him in the first place?”

Ava shrugged. “In the beginning, he was actually kind of sweet and funny. It was only later on that things fell apart.” Her eyes crinkled as the next thought came to her. “And if I’m being completely honest, I thought dating Matt would get my mind off of Damián. Not the best reason to start a relationship, apparently.” She gave Claire a wry grin and lifted her coffee cup. “Live and learn, or so they tell me.” She took a deep sip of the creamy drink and savored the hint of hazelnut.

Claire sighed. “Ava. You’ve been mooning over Damián for how long now? Half a year?”

Ava ran her finger along the table, mopping up a stray drop of coffee and using it like paint to make a swirl pattern. “It’s not a big deal. I date other people. It’s only a crush… it’ll burn out eventually, right?” A ray from the window made the droplets glow like tiny suns.

Claire pushed at her cup. “But you don’t really date other people, not more than one-time deals. I know you like working out at Damián’s gym. And you spend a lot of time with him since he hired you off-hours to design his website. And he is really handsome. But-“

Ava broke in, thinking of sexy Damián. “Right? He’s gorgeous. It’s frustrating, because he flirts with me a lot, and I almost think there’s something there. Like last time when we met about the web design. He asked a lot of personal questions, and we were teasing each other. He got so close, and looked right into my eyes-I thought he was going to kiss me.” Her voice lost some spark. “He didn’t, though, and the next time I saw him at the gym, he was distant. I was something useful and dull, like a folding chair.”

Claire tapped Ava’s hand. “Folding chairs can be fancy, Ava. Did you know that the Versailles Palace in France has folding stools made of hand-carved, gilded walnut wood, covered with silk and velvet cushions with tassels? Fit for a queen. Or should I say king? Because you want him to sit on you, right?”

Merci beaucoup, Claire,” said Ava, making a face. She did, in fact, want Damián’s hot, muscular body on top of hers, his dark eyes shooting her looks of passion, his warm brown skin hers to touch. She could almost feel her fingers running through his black hair, her mouth meeting his. And when it came to Damián, she’d be more than happy to lock her lips around the most intimate part of his anatomy. She’d do almost anything with him, including every wild escapade in her own romance novel.

While pondering this, she felt the small pang of concern that had been hitting her more often as the publication date of her first book loomed closer. Maybe? Maybe it wasn’t so cool that the fictional hero of her debut novel was kind of-well, nearly one hundred percent-modeled on real-life Damián Perez.

Tired of fantasizing about Damián, Ava had tried to exorcise him from her thoughts by writing her kinky sex novel with him as the hero. And when it came time to publish, she didn’t tell her editor that the protagonist was remarkably similar to a flesh-and-blood person. She probably shouldn’t have done it, but the truth was that she liked the character so similar to real-life Damián. This was a piece of her soul, now, this book; she didn’t want to change anything. This was her fantasy all written out, his face and body and traits mixed in with some imaginary, hot alpha-male sex.

Damián would never read a BDSM romance, so he’d never find out that his body and gym, his art and his love of rock climbing, his sexy accent and his Puerto Rican heritage had formed the inspiration for her hero. Who knew if anyone would buy it? Even if they did, what were the chances they’d even recognize him, especially since there was all the BDSM, something he surely wasn’t into? And she’d changed his name.

Still, though, she felt guilty, like she’d stolen something valuable, something irreplaceable.

She shook her head, as if dislodging the thoughts, and added, “Yes, but I don’t know if I’m his type. His ex-girlfriend? Mariana? She’s so pretty that I’d want to fuck her if I were a lesbian. She’s that hot. And she’s his ex. The one who didn’t make the cut.”

Claire shook her head back. “Didn’t you say Mariana was a raving bitch? See, personality matters to him, if he exxed her. Way to be a real man, Damián.” She raised her cup in a mock toast. “There’s hope for him yet.”

Ava waved her hand. “Of course personality matters. But you need the spark of attraction. And he can get any sparkplug he wants. He has infinite choices. I guess I’m not his, even if he’s flirty sometimes. Maybe I’m just not cute enough. No, I mean-something enough.”

She paused to think about it. Was she enough? At twenty-six, she was fit and toned, with a happy smile and sparkling green eyes and long curling hair (Claire often told her it was Pantene-worthy); her friends often complimented her witty attitude and her generous spirit. She was successful in her career as a programmer and worked hard to do her own private consulting jobs on the side. She had loyal friends and a happy life, a comfortable routine. She knew she was pretty, but she wasn’t the kind of woman who got constant catcalls, free drinks in bars, and so many phone numbers that her purse fluttered and bulged with hopeful scraps torn from the hearts of handsome men.

Damián was in his thirties and seemed successful at everything he tried, at least from what she knew of him-his art, his climbing, his sports. He had the full attention of every single woman at the gym, and even the happily married moms liked flirting with him. Although he didn’t seem like a vacuous player, his effortless ability to capture the attention of every female in the vicinity seemed unequal to her own, weaker pull on humanity. She didn’t like that.

Claire poked her back. “You’re perfectly cute as you are. Anyway, it’s not about cute. It’s just about chemistry. And moves. If he doesn’t make a move, and you’re too chicken to make one yourself? Stop obsessing. No more furniture or auto shop references. Move on.”

Ava grimaced. “Yes. I know. But sadly, the Good Decision Center of my brain didn’t get the message. Apparently the appropriate neurotransmitters are either on strike, or incredibly lazy.”

Claire laughed. Then she leaned forward, her head tilted, expression eager. “Ava, I need to know. How are you able to write about all this stuff if you haven’t actually done it? Your sex scenes are seriously hot. Not all stuff I’d do, like the bondage and spanking… but some of it’s wow. Like the blow job scenes-they really work. I tried one of your techniques with Ryan, the grapefruit thing? And let me just say, Oh. My. God. Happiest boyfriend in the world.”

Ava lowered her voice. “I research it. I have, like, eighty BDSM and graphic sex romances on my tablet. Don’t tell anyone,” she interjected. “I’d die if people at work knew.”

“You know I would never,” said Claire. “I take my HR confidentiality to heart. But seriously? Just reading gives you all of those ideas?”

Ava smiled with pride. “I have a good imagination. And I Googled dungeons and spanking and BDSM and blow jobs. I learned things, Claire.”

Claire bent over in her chair, laughing. “I can just see you watching blow job videos and taking notes!”

“It’s not that funny,” protested Ava, but she was laughing, too. “You’re right. I do take notes. It is kind of hilarious.” She leaned toward Claire and confided, “You know what? It’s harder than you’d think to find a good blow job tutorial on Google,” and giggled with pleasure at her friend’s surprise.

Claire regained her composure and scoffed. “Ava. I seriously can’t believe you looked that up. And I can’t believe it’s hard to find a BJ video.”

Ava raised her eyebrows. “Videos, yes. Tutorials, no. If you Google ‘how to give a blow job,’ you will not find any actual footage of a real blow job on a real penis. Sure, there are tons of articles. But the only teaching videos are porn stars demonstrating on a banana.”

Claire protested. “But, potassium. So good for you.”

“It’s okay to see it done on a banana, but you know, it’s even more helpful to see it done on a real person. By another real person.” Ava’s voice rose. “Turns out you have to search for ‘blow job video‘ and leave out the ‘”how to.’ Then you hit the mother lode, pun intended. But it’s surprisingly monotonous work, sorting through all the three-ways, disgusting stuff, and amateur hour. Most of it is repetitive and dull, made to appeal to a misogynistic asshole.” She shuddered, took a sip of coffee and added, “Also, I wanted to watch something that’s doable by two people who aren’t porn stars. So it was a big job. Pun. Anyway, I’ve watched, say, well over a hundred blow jobs.”

Claire acted impressed. “Sounds like you have a Bj.D by now.”

“Oh, you can just call me Doctor Blow. Hey, if you want any pointers, I can send you a list of my favorite clips. I mean, I’ve never done one, but I could probably teach a class by now. Isn’t that ironic?”

Claire snorted. “I… think I’m good. But thanks. And douche-ball Matt would kill himself if he knew what he missed,” she said with a raised eyebrow.

Ava warmed to her topic. “When I first started my research, I found a few websites reference this one movie, Caligula. There’s a blow job scene in the middle of this orgy? She starts with a graceful thing with both hands. It’s actually very pretty. Like a finger ballet.”

Claire was holding her stomach. “Ava. You’re killing me!”

Ava gestured, stacking her two hands as if gripping a cucumber, then rotating her wrists in opposite directions while moving both hands up and down and wiggling the fingers. “This is really the most popular technique in all of the videos, too, at least on the huge long dicks.” She demonstrated again. “Isn’t that elegant? It’s like I’m making pottery on one of those spinning wheels. Or doing an ethnic dance.”

Claire snorted, spewing coffee, trying not to laugh. “Ava, stop!”

Ava smiled and shrugged, a “who, me?” kind of guilty shrug. Then she continued her explanation. “I didn’t want to pay for any hardcore sites just to see some sex. Who wants to give their credit card information to a porn website? I wanted free research, Claire. Free.”

Claire was wheezing. “I can’t even breathe!”

Ava sighed. “So I ended up with some useful footage, but I did have to clean malware from my computer a few times.”

The two laughed together for a few more minutes, but suddenly Ava felt tears pricking at her eyes. She brushed at her lids.

“Why do you look sad?” Claire asked with sympathy.

“I don’t know,” said Ava, rubbing at a rough spot of glaze on the handle of her ceramic cup. “I guess it’s a little lonely, Claire. I write about these hot encounters and my first book is being published, but I still don’t have a special someone.” She blew out her breath. “Well, I’ll just keep on being myself and doing what I can. Karma will eventually lead me to my perfect match.”

Claire thought about it. “If Ms. Karma doesn’t produce, there are tons of dating websites. I’m sure someone out there is ready to appreciate your fountain of knowledge. Or to use your knowledge on their fountain. Ha! I’m so funny.”

Ava rolled her eyes at Claire. “Hilarious.”

Claire patted Ava’s arm and jingled her keys as she stood. “Ava? I have to go. Ryan and I are having lunch with his parents. But can I treat you to dinner this week? I need to thank you for spending so many hours teaching me that financial budgeting software last month, and how to deal with my stock options at work. Seriously, if it weren’t for you? I wouldn’t be so, what do they call it? Solvent.” She sliced a finger across her neck. “They’d be coming to repossess my freckles by now.”

“Oh, you know. That’s what friends are for,” said Ava, blushing. “No big deal.”

She had actually spent a significant amount of time helping fix Claire’s financial records, and had plans to do her friend’s taxes and help her start investing. “You’re my best friend,” she reminded Claire, “so it’s time well spent. But,” she added with a grin, “I won’t turn down a dinner at that sushi place with the moving conveyor belt.”

“Extra wasabi and sake if you get on top of it and act like a sexy cover girl while you ride around the bar,” encouraged Claire, wiggling her eyebrows and striking a pose.

The two women hugged, and then Claire left, waving her fingers in a small goodbye as she took a final sip of coffee and tossed the empty cup into the trash. Ava watched through the thick glass and saw her friend purse-fishing to extract a box of white Tic Tacs while she hurried to her car.

Alone at the table, Ava took a sip of her now lukewarm and no-longer-pleasurable coffee. Since she was not meeting anyone’s parents, or anyone at all, she didn’t need a mint. And for some reason, that thought made her want to cry hard. “Stop,” she told herself. “You’re twenty-six years old, not six.”

She didn’t usually go to a Saturday class at Damián’s gym since it was a longer, tougher workout. But today she needed to burn off this nervous anxiety and vague sadness, so she decided to head over. She was toned and strong, in good shape, but it was always important to stay on top of it, not to lose the routine. She wasn’t going specifically to see Damián, of course-only to work out.

And just for the hell of it, she ate three mints on the way.

Chapter Two

As Ava walked into Fitness Zone, the previous class was still finishing up, so she stood along the side of the immense floor to watch, inhaling the odor of sweat, newly installed wood, and fresh air from the open windows and the old loading dock door. The main workout space was as large as a regulation basketball court and held specialized equipment for Damián’s personal training and boot camp classes: metal bars, weights and clips along one wall, pull-up bars and rings in one section, stacks of sit-up mats and ab mats in a far corner, and racks of medicine balls next to them.

The walls were still a pristine white; since this was a new business, Damián often told his clients that they got to experience the growth and development of his gym along with him.

Damián Perez was standing with his hands on his hips, shouting out encouragement. His muscular legs and arms were damp with perspiration, and his thick black hair was mussed. Ava loved the color of his skin, a light tan, like coffee with a lot of cream, and his brown eyes framed with thick black lashes.

He smiled at her and nodded his head, and Ava’s stomach flipped as their eyes met and a sizzle of electricity zinged through her body. She swallowed and blushed as he held her gaze a second longer than necessary before turning back to his class.

“You made it through the kettlebell swings and four-hundred-meter runs,” he urged, “these push-ups are the last part. Finish strong.” He added, “Everyone-it’s important to do these moves correctly, to get the most out of the exercises and to avoid injuries. When I tell you to change something, I’m not just being picky, okay? I’m making sure that you don’t get hurt.” He stepped closer to a plump, middle-aged woman panting with exertion. “Kayla. Shift your hands to just underneath your shoulders and spread them out a bit more. Now flex your butt and quads hard as you do the push-up. Yes.”

Kayla’s form improved. “Do you feel the difference?” He watched and waited intently for her reply.

“Yes,” she said, in between breaths.

“Keep breathing the way I told you,” he added. “If your heart rate is getting too high, switch to knee push-ups. It’s more important to stay safe and maintain good form than to do a million of these, got it?”

Ava’s eyes tracked Damián’s form, and fantasies danced in her mind: Damián pulling her in for a rough kiss, his brown eyes flashing passion; her fingers spreading out across Damián’s hard chest, touching his shoulders; her hands running over his sexy ass, his quads clenching, her thighs too-

Kayla nodded, face red with exertion, and Damián moved to the next client.

“Michael. You’re not going down far enough at the bottom. Make sure that your chest brushes the floor before you come up. Keep your back straight. Got it?”

Michael grunted in reply, but his back straightened, and on his next rep, his chest brushed lower to the floor.

Ava’s mind filled with new images: Damián making a sexy sound as he brushed her breasts with his rough hands, bodies and mouths going up and down-

She drank some of her lemon-flavored water, then started at a touch on her shoulder as her friend Stace came up behind her.

“They’re just finishing up?” Stace asked. “Now we know how we’ll look in exactly one hour.”

Their friend Ben joined the group, his blond hair flopping forward into his face. “Looks like they’re beat up. It’s a tough one today. Get ready for the pain.” Ava always chatted with Ben and Stace during classes, and lately, it seemed as if the two of them were acting a little more interested in each other than usual.

“But it’s the good kind of pain,” Stace said, making a face. “The pain that lets you know that you’re already stronger and sexier. That your ass is on the way to magnificent.”

Ben glanced at Stace’s backside. “Don’t think you have much to worry about,” he told her with a grin.

“Sweet talker,” Stace said, and she wiggled said backside as she sashayed past to greet a handsome man with an impressive six-pack, shooting Ben a sidelong glance.

Ava stepped back into a beam of sun as Stace passed by, and reached with both hands to arrange her curls into a ponytail. As her Lycra shirt pulled tight with her motion, she noticed Damián looking at her, gaze intense. Her stomach lurched.

Ben reached out and touched a strand of hair, tugging it. “Wow, Ava. In the light, your hair has pieces of gold in it. Are you a secret princess?” He smiled at her, but Ava saw his eyes glance past her to land on Stace, who turned back, her gaze snagging on Ben’s hand. Ava knew Ben wasn’t flirting with her, not really-Ben was like a big brother. She figured he was using her as a prop to try to make Stace jealous.

“It’s no secret,” Ava said, trying to look at Damián without being obvious, wondering what he thought about her hair in Ben’s hands, and if he cared at all. “I got a certificate from a Cracker Jack box and everything, so it’s totally legit. I await my prince.”

“Who’re you waiting for?” Stace asked, coming closer and stepping up to Ben’s shoulder, a minuscule tinge of frost in her voice, and she crossed her slender brown arms across her chest.

Damián’s head turned sharply and his eyes moved over Ava, making her glow.

Ava smiled. “Well, I assume a handsome young royal is coming to pick me up and bring me back to his castle, where we will live happily ever after. Or possibly I’ll just drive myself home and stop at the grocery store for green beans, because that’s my donation this week for the soup kitchen. I always like to mix up my schedule, keep things fresh.”

Damián met Ava’s gaze, then averted his eyes, checking something on his clipboard.

“Although, at the soup kitchen,” Ava continued, “it’s not random princes who want to climb up my tresses, but insects. Last month we had a few guests with lice and all of us volunteers had to tie up our hair in bandanas and nets. We all avoided it, though. Whew, right?”

Ben dropped Ava’s hair and angled his body more toward Stace.

“I’m a different sort of Rapunzel,” Stace said theatrically, gesturing at her tight black cornrows with dozens of blue beads.

Ben’s smile was wide now. “Your hair is crazy perfection,” he said. “And remember, you have that ass.”

Stace’s grin was immediate. “Hey,” she complained, poking him in the chest. “Perv.”

Ben wiggled his eyebrows at Stace, then leaned in to continue the conversation with her alone. The two of them murmured in low voices, small shrieks of laughter and deep chuckles punctuating their space, Stace’s hand fluttering like a shy bird to land tentatively on Ben’s arm.

The timer buzzed, and Damián shouted, “Time. Great job, everyone.”

He walked among the athletes, stopping to talk to each person, give a high-five and ask how many push-ups they’d completed. He wrote the numbers onto his clipboard.

Ava couldn’t take her eyes off of his strong body, and when he glanced her way, she was still looking. His eyes met hers briefly and he shot her a smile. Butterflies awoke in her stomach and started a frantic dance as he came up to her.

“Ava, good to see you,” he said in a low voice, putting one hand on her arm. The touch alone sent a jolt up her spine and she tried not to suck in her breath.

“You too,” she said, unable to stop a smile from stretching her face. He was smiling back at her, and then he leaned forward and kissed her cheek. Ava was unable to mask a small squeak of surprise at the touch of his lips on her skin. Kiss me again, kiss me for real, she urged him in her mind.

He turned to the assembled athletes. “Everyone for the eleven a.m. class, five minutes until we start warm-up,” he called, striding to the center of the gym floor. Ava felt tingly from his attention and an extra bounce boosted her movements.

Stace looked at her with raised eyebrows, cleared her throat and hitched one shoulder in the direction of Damián. “What was that?” she whispered, sotto voce.

Ava took a deep breath. “What was what?” she answered, and bit her lip to hide her pleased smile. “A lot of Hispanic guys give their friends kisses on the cheek,” she informed Stace. “It’s a thing. A sort of, you know, respectful happy greeting.”

With narrowed eyes, her friend retorted, “Girl, he never kisses me on the cheek to say hello. Or Ben.”

“Ha.” Ava grabbed one ankle with her hand and stretched out her quad, just shrugging as Stace pursed her lips.

Ben was listening. “You saying you want a kiss?” His eyes were trained on Stace’s, and as the tension between her two friends ratcheted without warning into something more private, Ava took a step back, smiling.

While loosening her calves, Ava let her mind wander back to her first romance book, the one she’d discussed with Claire. It had taken nearly seven months, but soon it would actually be sold in real stores, to flesh-and-blood people! Too bad she couldn’t tell everyone about it, though.

What’s your novel about? she could imagine her mother asking. Or maybe her aunt Chelsea. Or her very conservative boss in the IT department at work.

“Oh, you know,” she might answer. “Just the standard romance book. Let me know your favorite chapter. Did you like the part where he spanks her with a paddle and fucks her from behind while she’s bound and wearing an anal plug? Maybe you really enjoyed the chapter where he teases her and denies her an orgasm for a while, makes her give him a blow job with her hands tied behind her back, whips her with his belt, and then gets her off with his mouth?”

Yeah… no. This was going to be the kind of book that was better shared with a small, selective audience. And hopefully millions of anonymous strangers.

After class, Ava was covered with sweat and her muscles were trembling with exertion. “The good kind of pain,” she murmured aloud. She couldn’t help but wonder about other good kinds of pain, like how it would feel to have Damián’s hard hand slapping her bare ass. She’d written her sexy hero with Damián in mind, hoping to banish him from her fantasies. Instead, she couldn’t stop thinking about what sex with Damián would be like. Would he be suave and gentle? Or rougher, harder? Or both, depending on his mood?

As she walked over to grab her water and gym bag, swiping her face with her towel, Damián called her name.

“Ava? A moment, please?”

Ava loved Damián’s voice: the depth of it, the rough timbre and the faint Puerto Rican accent that deepened when he was excited about something, like healthy eating or fitness.

“Of course!” she said, and then, feeling a bit too eager, she forced herself to take the time she needed to catch her breath. “What’s up?” she asked, taking a sip of her water, enjoying the tart bite of citrus.

“My website. I need to make some changes. Do you have time today to help?” His eyes flashed, and his muscles stood out with more definition now that he’d been demonstrating various exercises to her class. She could smell a hint of sweat and faded cologne, and it sent a wisp of desire spiraling through her body.

Was he standing closer to her than usual?

His eyes were large and brown, with flecks of gold and hints of green. Clear, gorgeous eyes. And those thick lashes.

Oh, he was talking.

“I need to change the scroll speed on a banner ad, and something’s wrong with the font sizing on a few of the dropdown menus.”

Ava paused. “I have some things to do. But if it’s just a few questions, we could do it this afternoon.” She kept her voice crisp and professional. Sure, she’d been hoping Damián would say, “I find you wildly attractive and I want to take you home and fuck you into Monday.” But she could handle website stuff, too.

“Would three p.m. work?” Damián asked. He was standing closer, Ava was sure of it. “If you don’t need to get ready for a hot date, or anything?” His smile held a question.

“Three is fine,” she told him, biting her lower lip without exactly meaning to. But while she was at it, she decided, she’d give the lip a little lick, too.

A muscle jumped in Damián’s cheek. “Three it is, then,” he said. Ava’s heartbeat sped up, and she steeled herself to be cool.

“Yes,” Ava agreed. “The usual coffee shop?”

“Sure,” said Damián. “I’ll bring my laptop. I really appreciate how much work you’re putting into this website. It’s a big success thanks to you!” He reached out and put his hand on her shoulder. The touch was electric.

Did he touch me longer than he touches other people?

She frantically tried to do some mental approximations, found it too confusing, gave up.

Her polite smile felt fake. “I enjoy helping businesses be as successful as possible,” she parroted. “It’s a pleasure for me to see how well the site is running and to know it’s helping you gain new members.” Although this was generally true for all of her clients, she did a mental gag at how trite she sounded.

Damián didn’t reply, though, as several other people hovered nearby, waiting to talk to him. He turned to Elsie, a blond bombshell wearing skintight leggings and a bra-style tank top.

Elsie twirled her braid. “Damián! I’m trying to get down to fourteen percent body fat and, ohmigod, I’m stuck at a plateau. Do you think I should add more kale to my green smoothies? Or do, like, a second workout daily?”

Damián leaned toward her, intent on his reply. Elsie smiled and licked her lips, flowing into his personal space like bubblegum lava, and Ava wanted to snap her in two.

“I guess I’ll see you later, then,” said Ava to Damián’s back.

Under her breath she added, “I need to get to five percent body fat so I can just slip under the door when I come home. The key is, like, too slow. Maybe I could get to zero percent and hire myself out as a shadow! Ohmigawd?”

“Did you say something?” Damián turned. “Ava?” His eyebrows were raised and Elsie frowned, cut off mid-sentence.

“No, I’m totally, like, good.” Ava spoke in a matter-of-fact, cheerful voice with only the tiniest tinge of Valley Girl. “See you.”

Ava showered and examined her closet with a frown, wanting to look good but not trying too hard good. It was a delicate balance that required the counsel of a BFF.

“I need some fashion advice,” she announced, sitting on the bed in her underwear with the phone propped at her ear. She held up a gold sandal to examine its worthiness for today’s meeting.

Claire was enthusiastic. “Lay it on me. I’m channeling my inner Claire-mani as we speak. I am now Dolce and Claire-bana.”

Ava laughed and continued, “What screams I’m hot without even trying as I meet you here in the coffee house to discuss website stuff?”

Claire was quiet for a moment. “Are you meeting Damián?”

Sandal in hand, Ava responded, “He asked me to make some quick changes to his site.”

Claire spoke in an even voice. “I’m worried that you’re letting him take advantage. Would you meet another client on Saturday at a coffee shop? Or would you require them to stick to a scheduled appointment?” She added-and this annoyed Ava, who knew her own hours better than anyone-“I know you do your personal web consulting after hours, when your regular IT day job is done. But you need to really protect your time so you don’t get overwhelmed with it all.”

“Claire! Don’t make this into a deal,” Ava said, putting down the gold sandal and picking up a white one for consideration. “No. Okay? I never meet my clients on the spur of the moment. But, well, Damián asked me, and it will only take a few minutes. Besides, the customer is always right… right?”

Claire sighed. “Or do you mean, the customer is right when you want to sex it up with him?”

“Whatever,” Ava answered. “But his website is nearly done, and I won’t be working with him directly much longer.” She put down the white sandal. “Why? Do you think I’m being a doormat or something?”

Claire said in a neutral voice, “I don’t think you should do extra work for free because you have a crush on him. If he isn’t into you, it’s not good to torture yourself, like you’re dangling an unobtainable carrot in front of your own nose.”

“Well,” said Ava with a flash of irritation. “I have to meet him today, because I promised. But what’s wrong with looking good?”

“Nothing,” Claire responded. “You are pissed.”

“I’m not pissed,” retorted Ava. “Forget I asked.”

“Now you’re sulking,” cajoled Claire. “Wear that shiny gold top you have. And here’s some real fashion advice: why don’t you just put on your big girl panties and tell him you’re interested?”

Chapter Three

Black jeans and the gold blouse ended up making the cut, along with the gold sandals. Ava applied her makeup to be subtle but pretty, with soft pink gloss on her lips. Her cheeks were still flushed from her workout and her smooth skin needed no powder or creams. A spritz of her favorite floral perfume and some dangling gold earrings completed the ensemble. Her reflection smiled back at her with eager eyes.

Claire’s undergarmentary advice floated through her mind. Writing a book about kinky sex had given her self-assurance, not only because it was being published, but because she’d embraced something new and found success. She could definitely say that she wore her BGPs while writing. Why did she need to put on granny waist-highs with guys?

This lingerial confidence lasted all the way to the coffee shop until she saw Damián. He was looking down at his laptop and his body radiated a quiet power that sparked a darting, nervous warmth in her stomach. He was wearing worn blue jeans and a trendy button-down shirt, and was easily the sexiest man in the place.

Damián stood to greet her, and Ava noticed that his hair was styled and he looked freshly shaved. She wondered how his smooth jaw would feel close to her own skin, and blushed.

“Ava. Thanks for meeting me,” he murmured, catching her eyes with his and leaning forward to kiss her cheek, just like he’d done at the gym. She could smell the citrus-sandalwood of his soap, and his own clean skin, and she liked it.

“You look lovely,” he added, his eyes perusing her with new intensity, one hand resting on her arm.

While Ava pulled up his website, she tried to ignore the tingle in her cheek, and the matching tingle in her lower abdomen. She also tried to ignore the two hot college girls who were looking at him and whispering.

Damián went to the counter to get coffees and Ava didn’t offer to pay him back. She knew he’d insist, especially since she was here doing him a favor. Although he’d paid her consulting fee upfront, she continued to meet with him as needed for follow-up support and didn’t charge him for it.

“Thanks,” she told him, accepting the cup, trying not to suck in her breath when their fingers touched.

“You’re welcome,” Damián smiled back, his gorgeous dimple-revealing smile.

The changes were easy and Ava showed him updates as she worked, but she was aware of his body and his proximity to hers, an undercurrent of heat. There was an invisible stretchy band between them, because when he got within a few inches of her, she felt warm and bubbly; when he leaned back, the bubbles faded.

An hour later, the changes were done; Damián grinned at her and said, “I know you’re probably busy. Thanks for doing this.”

Ava laughed. “I’m terribly busy,” she replied. “You are so lucky you got some of my time.”

“Well,” Damián answered, “right now I do consider myself a very fortunate man.”

A flush rose from her neck to her face as Ava’s eyes snapped to his; she bit her lip and ducked her head back to the screen.

Damián paused. “Like another coffee?” he asked in a neutral voice.

Ava’s heart beat faster. “Are you having more?” she asked.

“Yes, sure,” said Damián. “I’ll get you one, too?” His accent sounded thicker, his voice rougher.

“Okay,” said Ava, more casually than she felt, and bit back a smile, watching him walk to the counter. She took an even breath and glanced out the large windows at the sky. The light was muted and the air hung motionless, heavy with potential. She tried to remember if she had an umbrella somewhere in the trunk of her car.

“Two medium coffees, room for cream,” Damián told the barista, and Ava felt a sudden joy that he not only remembered how she liked her coffee, but also that he liked his the same way. The grinder whirred loudly behind the counter, sending spirals of new burst beans flowing into the air to overtake the undertones of latte and caramel.

When he returned and handed her a cup, she wasn’t sure what to talk about. But Damián asked easily, “So tell me, Ava, what is it that you work on in your spare time?”

“I’m writing my second novel,” Ava answered. “The first one is actually going to be sold in stores this week.”

“Congratulations,” said Damián, taking a sip of coffee and giving her a broad smile. Ava watched his neck as he swallowed. “What’s it about?”

“It’s a, ah, romance,” said Ava. And then, feeling bold, she added, “A very sexy romance novel,” and licked her lower lip. “Written under my nom de plume, Erin Rutherford.”

A muscle in Damián’s cheek twitched, but apart from that Ava couldn’t see any obvious reaction to her admission. “Very sexy, huh?” he queried.

“That’s right,” she returned. “You can only imagine how fun it was to research.”

Damián’s eyes flared with something more than she’d seen from him, and he was now regarding her in a frankly assessing way. She felt his eyes move over her breasts to her lips, back to her eyes.

“I’d like to read it sometime,” he said, maintaining eye contact.

Ava smiled. “When it hits the stores,” she suggested, “maybe I’ll offer private readings.” Then, feeling a little overwhelmed with her own words, she changed the subject. “So, Damián, tell me more about your art. You still paint, yes? And do photography?”

Damián nodded. “Yes, I painted some pieces on commission in the past. Right now, though, my big thing is that I sell photographic prints and lithographs of my most popular works online. I’ve actually become a pretty big name in the modern art scene in Puerto Rico.” He ducked his head and gave a slight grin. “But the gym is my full-time passion now and doesn’t leave me much time for painting and sketching. I’ll get back to it once I get the gym fully functional, but I do miss it.”

“Why?” Ava hesitated. “If your art is so important, and sort of your full-time career, I’m curious why you’re taking the time to start up a gym from scratch? It’s such a lot of work.”

He nodded seriously. “I’ve lost some family members to health issues that could have been avoided if they had exercised and eaten better. I really want to help people, in their memory.” His voice was somber. “This has been on my mind, starting a gym, ever since I lost my father to diabetes complications ten years ago. He was significantly overweight and smoked, and developed a heart condition. When he fell and broke his leg, his body didn’t heal right after the surgery. He got gangrene and had a leg amputated, then his kidneys shut down, and he died. It happened so fast, Ava. It was heartbreaking. The worst part was, he lived his life ignoring all advice on how to be healthier. It could have been different.”

“I’m so sorry.” Ava gave him a sympathetic smile and put her hand on his for a second. “That’s sad.”

“Yes.” His voice was solemn. “It is. None of us, nobody in the family, ever really lectured him or took him to task. We just let his health go… and go… until he went. It was hard to talk to him about it, so nobody ever did. Not that he’d listen, anyway. But I feel the need, now, to help people who want to be helped. So, I love my art, but it’s on hold for now while I make this happen. This is big to me, you know?” His voice was urgent.

“Maybe you could combine your two passions, and do portraits of people at the gym?” suggested Ava. “And use them as personalized artwork on the walls.”

Damián pursed his lips as he thought, then said, “That would be a great way to show my dedication to helping the clients, as well as highlighting the personal family feel I want to build at my gym.” He smiled.

Another idea occurred to Ava. “You could even do a huge mural,” she exclaimed. “You could paint pictures right onto the wall, of various gym members doing exercise, and include motivational quotes. It would be beautiful and inspiring at the same time, and so much better than plain old white.”

Damián nodded. “I can see it.” He looked into the distance over Ava’s shoulder, as if envisioning the gym wall. “I didn’t realize you put so much thought into the aesthetics.”

Ava shrugged, but her cheeks glowed. “It’s the same with web design,” she explained. “Content is king. But aesthetics can make or break the user experience, and make a difference in whether a person chooses to view your website. For you, people will come to the gym because of the classes and your training skills. But having a well-designed space that’s comfortable and motivating-that’s not really just fluff. The whole ambience helps create an uplifting mood, and that will help people want to come back again.”

Sipping his coffee, Damián nodded. “I’m only one year into this project. I’ve always planned that when my gym is complete, it will be designed with the right colors, flow, spacing and art to hit the right psychological high for clients. Now that I have all the equipment, and I have a good flow of clients, I can start to improve the décor and design.”

“You’ve read studies about how color affects mood, right?” Ava liked how his eyes were lit up, making them look more green than brown.

Damián agreed. “Yeah, in art classes in grad school. It’s been proven that color can affect mood. Green for calm, red for energy. Is that what you mean?”

“Yes. And space matters, too,” Ava continued. “I read a study about foot traffic in department stores. When people are faced with an obstacle in a main walkway, like a table of shoes, they choose to pass on the right seventy percent of the time. So smart storeowners put eye-catching, easy-to-sell merchandise on the right-hand side, and the more ordinary, bland things on the left.”

Damián was interested. “I don’t know how that could affect me,” he remarked, “but it’s a little creepy that marketers know so much about shopping habits.”

Ava grinned. “You need to put a table of women’s running shoes right inside the front door, and, to the right of that, a display case of gym shirts, protein powder, energy bars and stuff like that. Since people walk to the right most times, they’ll see the display case. And you know, protein powder practically sells itself. And to help them not go left? Maybe a pit of alligators. Something like that.”

His chuckle burst out so suddenly that Damián almost choked on a mouthful of coffee, and Ava found that so funny that she started laughing. She couldn’t help but notice with a flash of guilty pleasure: Those two girls? The ones who’d been staring? They were looking over with undisguised jealousy… and it was totally awesome.

After the laugh, though, they both fell into silence, and Ava perused multiple conversational forays. More about murals? Why are baby carrots just ground down big carrots and what do they do with the extra carrot pulp? Do they sell it for veggie burgers? To zoos? Or to carrot juice companies?

“What?” Ava was so engrossed in her discards that she missed what Damián was saying.

“So I guess I’m lucky you didn’t have a date this afternoon?” Damián said in an easy voice, but his eyes were intense.

Her voice rose on the reply. “Looks like you’re single today, too?”

Mariana’s fit of anger was a popular source of gossip in the gym; everyone knew how she’d yelled at Damián in front of a class and stalked out. Talk had been so fierce about it that the gym was packed for a week. Flagging members came out of the woodwork like nighttime roaches to gossip about the flame-out. But she wasn’t sure if he was already dating someone new.

Damián cleared his throat. “I am single,” he said, a hint of question in his eyebrows.

Ava smiled back, feeling her face get hotter. Make a move, she encouraged herself. Claire is right-either get onto the field or leave the stadium. But she wasn’t quite sure how to do it in a subtle yet obvious way. Classy yet sassy. And some part of her wanted him-if there was going to be a move made, here-to make it. To show that he had true interest and was not just taking lazy advantage of hers. She wanted a man who would take charge.

“Well,” she said. “The website should be good now, but let me know if you have more questions.”

They stood in a mutual agreement to leave. He laid a hand on the small of her back as they walked to the exit, and Ava felt a shiver of warmth run through her body.

Their cups landed into the trash at the same time and Ava spoke automatically: “Five points.”

“What?” Damián looked at her with an amused smile.

“It’s a thing,” Ava explained. “If I toss something into the trashcan and it makes it in without hitting the floor, then I get points.”

“Your hand,” remarked Damián, “was right over the can, Ava. Hate to be a spoilsport, but five points? For that? Two, tops.” His grin made her swoon. “And that’s factoring in extra points for being cute.”

Ava pretend-punched him in the arm as her pulse quickened. “Don’t be a sports snob,” she chastised. “Some of us are not NBA material.”

“NBA material? If you can’t make a trash shot at that distance, you are looking at bifocal material, Ava,” Damián clarified. He stepped back a few feet and balled up some napkins. “Now watch carefully and learn. This is worth points.” He made a show of stretching his arms and rolling his shoulders in their joints.

Ava crossed her arms and leaned against the door. She scoffed. “No way you make that shot. Too much air resistance. The napkins aren’t balled tightly enough. You need tighter balls.”

Damián chuckled as Ava realized what she’d said and burned red. He grinned at her and shook his head as he continued loosening up his arms.

Ava recovered her aplomb. “You are so not making the shot.”

“Bet you?” Damián raised one eyebrow at her.

“Sure,” said Ava. “Safe bet for me. Because you’re going to miss.”

“What do I get if I make the shot?” Damián asked, his voice lower, the teasing tone gone. His eyes were locked onto hers.

“What do you want?” murmured Ava, in as provocative a voice as she’d ever heard come out of her mouth. She raised her chin and kept his gaze, and smiled just a bit.

Damián smiled, too, then turned and tossed the napkins, which suddenly seemed to be very tight and balled up, directly into the trash. Ava swallowed and pushed open the door, letting outside air flow past her into the shop. She exited into the parking lot without a word, holding the door for Damián, who took it and then put his hand back on her, this time onto her shoulder, the touch possessive.

“I’ll walk you to your car,” he said.

Ava felt the heat of his hand through her shirt. He was walking so closely that their bodies brushed. She was one hundred percent sure now that he was flirting, and she was so filled with nervous energy that her body was nearly vibrating.

The parking lot was quiet, the coffee shop in a closing lull and, for the moment, they were alone on the blacktop, just the two of them and the pre-twilight air, a hint of a chill in the dusk and some tentative clouds assembling on the horizon. When they reached her spot, she managed, “Well, thanks for the walk. And the coffee.”

“No. Thank you, Ava.” Damián’s voice was husky and deep, his accent strong.

Ava dropped the laptop case by the passenger door and fumbled for her keys, which had unhelpfully disappeared into the inner depths of her purse. Damián took the purse and set it next to her feet.

“Leave that for now,” he murmured, and stepped closer, forcing Ava to back up against the driver’s side door. He leaned his hands onto the car on either side of her head, trapping her between his warm body and the cool metal. Ava gasped and her eyes widened, seeking his. “Ava,” he said, “there’s something here, something with us,” and it didn’t sound like a question.

Want more? Buy it on Amazon or read for Free with Kindle Unlimited.

Return on Amazon US

Return on Amazon UK

Blurb for Return

Ava Grimaldi models the hero of her kinky erotic novel on her crush, sexy gym owner and artist Damián Perez, without asking his permission. When Damián finds out, he’s furious, and Ava is worried he will sue her. Damián demands a different payment entirely, though, and soon the two are involved in an intense BDSM relationship of their own.

With each sexual encounter growing more passionate and personal, Ava falls hard for Damián, but is hurt when he continually insists that their relationship is only physical and temporary. He refuses to acknowledge their relationship in public, even though he spends time with his bitchy ex. Eventually Ava has enough of being second best and won’t settle for less than she deserves. Can they work through their misunderstandings and hurt to start again, this time with a basis of trust and love?

damian teaser 2siggie bar jen web 2

#Saturday7 Dream Girl

mysexySatGreetings! I’m Alexis Alvarez. Welcome to My Sexy Saturday, a blog hop where authors share 7 words, sentences or paragraphs from a recent release or work in progress. I’ve been sharing a lot from this book, my newest release, Dream Girls.  Today here are another 7 paragraphs of fun.

Excerpt from Dream Girl

“Good,” he said. “If you need me to stop, you let me know. But until that point, you’re going to do as I say. Understand?”

“Mmm hmm,” murmured Chloe. She was already so aroused and excited that she didn’t even want to talk. She could barely wait to feel his hand across her ass.

“So, first of all,” he told her conversationally, stroking her with one fingertip, up and down the curves of her body. “When we’re in the bedroom, it’s not going to be Tools or Tool Box. You’re going to address me as Dominic. Or Sir. Understand?”

“Okay.” Chloe wiggled on his lap, feeling his erection hard beneath her hips. Then she cried out as his hand slapped down hard across her ass, once and again.

“Try again.”

“Yes, I understand!” she corrected herself, trying to wiggle again, but still unable to release herself from his hold.

“Nope.” He raised his hand and cracked it down across her ass hard again, and again. “It’s a good thing we’re starting easy,” he commented, slapping her as a punctuation between words, “Look at you, having a hard time at the very first rule.”

Dream Girl Cover Alvarez for Amazon Upload WEB2

Blurb for Dream Girl

He’s sexy and intelligent, handsome and witty, and Chloe’s body lights up with sparks at his touch. And when he looks into her eyes and whispers naughty sexy things into her ear, she wants to melt into him and enjoy the mind-blowing passion he promises.

Too bad he’s the star of the popular reality show Dream Girls, and he’s also dating nineteen other women in addition to Chloe — women who are sexy and so talented that their Nobel Prizes should arrive any day now. Chloe’s sure he’s just amusing himself with her, and there is no way he’d pick her as his final Dream Girl — especially since she gets into so many crazy scrapes on the show.

She promised herself she was only doing this for adventure, travel, and new experiences…not to make a fool of herself on national TV. But he’s so sexy and persuasive! Would it be so bad to say yes to all of his dark, dirty requests? And most important of all — what will happen if she risks her heart?

Dream Girl is a modern romance with steamy sex and laugh-out-loud humor.
It’s about 85K words and contains excerpts from other books by Alexis Alvarez, as well as a funny Q&A with Alexis and some of her trademark sample reviews. Enjoy!

Find Dream Girl here on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Rochelle’s Reviews has exclusive access to a full set of  Dream Girl Excerpts. Some are pretty steamy…

Dream Girl at Rochelle’s Reviews

 

Please stop by and visit the others authors participating in this blog hop.

Thanks for reading!

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#WipItUp ~ Domination and Submission

WIPimage12Greetings! I’m Alexis Alvarez, and welcome to Wip It Up Wednesday, where authors share an excerpt from a work in progress or a book that’s already released. Today I’m sharing a piece from Return, a novel that I published in June of this year.  It’s a steamy BDSM romance, with consensual kink and an HEA, although the path to happiness is a twisted and difficult one.

 

Return cover rev 1

Excerpt from Return

Damián reached up and put one index finger onto her cheekbone, traced down her face along her jawline and smoothed his fingers down the side of her neck. Ava swallowed and licked her lips and something sparked in Damián’s eyes, a flash that left her feeling weak and hot. Damián leaned in; his lips were so close they were nearly brushing hers, but he stayed there and lifted his hand to touch the side of her face and neck. Ava couldn’t stand it. What was he waiting for? “Tell me what you want,” Damián demanded in a low voice.

Desire made her bold. Ava leaned into him, whispering, “Kiss me, Damián.”

Damián moved closer. His hips met hers and she could feel the hard length of him. His hands reached up to frame her face, one on each side. Ava’s heart pounded at the firm touch. “You want my lips on yours?” he asked her in a rough voice. “My tongue on your tongue?”

“Yes,” said Ava, snaking her arms up and grabbing handfuls of his hair, trying to pull his head closer. “That’s what I want.” Saying the words opened a floodgate of emotion, releasing the pent-up desire and hope she’d held back for so long. No longer nervous, she was filled with a newfound control.

Damián lowered his mouth and just brushed his lips over hers. Then he pulled back and bit the side of her neck.

Ava made a quiet moan. “Damián, yes, suck me there,” she demanded. “Please.” Damián kissed her again, and sucked in the same spot, and Ava tugged at his hair, needing more. “Bite me harder!” she urged him. “I like it. Please.”

Damián’s breath caught and his hands stilled. “You like it a little rough?” he asked, and Ava felt as if he were asking about more than the kiss.

“That’s just how I like it,” Ava dared him. “Can you handle that?”

His laugh was low and quick. “Oh, querida, if you only knew,” he murmured into her ear, biting the lobe gently and then harder. “The question may end up being whether you can handle it.”

“I want whatever you have to offer,” Ava whispered. “Bite me again. Do it hard.” Her heart was beating so fast it felt like a blur of energy.

Damián chuckled and pulled his head back to gaze at her, his eyes glittering. “Querida, you like to be in control? Because that’s going to be a problem. See, I like to be the one in charge in these kinds of situations.”

Ava leaned up on tiptoe to reach his ear. “You can be in charge as long as you keep doing what you’re doing. Because I love it.”

“Oh, do you? Like this?” Damián said with interest. His mouth moved along her neck and nibbled, then he worked his way up to her lips. He bit her lower lip, not hard enough to hurt, but still a nip.

“Ow!” said Ava, and then Damián’s mouth was fully on hers, demanding, his tongue exploring the inner recesses of her mouth, gliding against her tongue, thrusting and retreating. Ava returned his kiss, making a slight moan when he moved back to her neck.

“Damián,” whispered Ava. What he was doing with his mouth was a complete turn-on, and coupled with his hard body pressed to hers, she was unable to think of anything except more—more of his mouth, more of his tongue, more of him. This was better than her fantasies. The ache between her legs ignited a tingling desire through her lower body. She wanted to rip his shirt off and demand that he make love to her right there in the parking lot.

Damián made a growling noise and pulled her body to him, using one hand to grab her behind the back and tug her close. He slid his other hand under her shirt and cupped a breast through her lacy bra, found the nipple and rubbed over it, then grabbed it between his thumb and forefinger and pinched.

A small gasp of surprise escaped her lips as the sharp pain faded into a tingling pleasure. Damián drew back and examined her face. What he saw seemed to give him confidence that he could continue; he splayed his fingers across the back of her head and claimed her mouth, and ran his other hand up and down the skin of her back.

Ava shuddered and pushed her chest toward him in silent encouragement, craving his touch. She ran her hands up and down his muscular back, under his loose shirt, mimicking his motions. “Bite me again,” she demanded, running her fingers into the waist of his shorts and touching his stomach with her fingertips.

This was not the way she acted, not usually, but the realization of his desire gave her a knowledge of the power she held over him in her voice and her body, and she burned with the need to exercise it. It was getting a blank check and scrawling in any amount. It was finding out you had the voice of an opera singer, eyes that could see through walls, a sudden fluency in a new language; it was impossible not to unfold her fresh wings and fly.

Querida, you’re going to have a hell of a set of marks tomorrow,” said Damián. “I should stop.”

“I don’t care,” said Ava softly. “I don’t want you to stop.” She would not mind finding a hickey of the Mona Lisa on her neck tomorrow morning as long as Damián kept his mouth on her right now.

In response, Damián pinched her again, and slammed his mouth to hers. The mild pain immediately softened into heat that flared hard in her clit, and Ava pressed her hips to his, trying to close the distance their clothes put between them. He kept rubbing and teasing her with his tongue as he devoured her mouth.

A crazy dizziness surged through her; she was intoxicated with his smell, his taste, his passion. Damián ran his hands over her ass, and gave her other nipple a tweak. Ava jerked in response, and Damián chuckled into her neck, “I want to give them both equal attention. It’s only fair.” Desire thrummed through her body and she wondered if he could feel the trembling.

His upper thigh was so hard under her hand. She reached down and rubbed, right next to the bulge at his crotch, letting her fingers stray over just briefly before moving back to swoop alongside his arousal and then along his waist, up his chest and back down again.

Damián turned his attention back to her neck as she’d commanded him earlier. He sucked and bit, and Ava felt herself getting more aroused. He pulled her by the ass up and into his body, wrapping his arms tightly around her. “God, Ava, I’ve wanted this for so long,” he muttered.

Ava had both of her hands in his hair again, and she wrapped her legs around his to pull him closer. In this position he was rubbing in just the right place, and she moaned louder and admonished him, “Damián! You feel so good. I almost think you could make me—”

Damián swore under his breath. “Fuck, Ava. Fuck.” He slid her down the car and stepped back, breathing hard, his hair messy from her hands, color in his face. He looked dangerous and strong and sexy, and Ava felt forlorn to have his body leave hers.

She was panting, too, and her lips felt swollen from the harsh kisses. She put her hand up to her lips and bit her own fingers. “Don’t stop,” she demanded.

“We can’t do this here,” he told her in a strangled voice. “Ava, if we keep going, I swear, I am going to take you over the edge right here, and I don’t give a damn who sees us. And that’s not how I want our first time to be. If we get there.” He ran his hands through his hair again, turned and swore in Spanish at the sky.

Ava crossed her arms over her chest, wincing at how sensitive her nipples felt from his attention and from her arousal, and blew out a deep breath. “If we get there?”

“This shouldn’t have happened,” Damián said in a harsh voice, hands on his head, his back tight with tension.

Ava didn’t speak. She was still trying to come down from the high of sexual arousal she’d been riding, and as the heat dissipated, she let out a quivering sigh. “Well, I’m not sorry,” she protested, feeling defiant, pressing her folded arms against her chest. “I enjoyed that. And you know what? I want to do it again.”

Damián turned to face her, and his eyes were soft even while his mouth was firm. “Me, too.”

There was a pause.

Ava tried not to betray the sinking feeling in her heart. “So why do I feel a but coming?”

Damián looked away and shook his head. “There are things you don’t know about me, Ava.”

Return is Free on Kindle Unlimited. Here are the Amazon links:

Return on Amazon US

Return on Amazon UK

Return cover rev 1

Blurb for Return

Ava Grimaldi models the hero of her kinky erotic novel on her crush, sexy gym owner and artist Damián Perez, without asking his permission. When Damián finds out, he’s furious, and Ava is worried he will sue her. Damián demands a different payment entirely, though, and soon the two are involved in an intense BDSM relationship of their own.

With each sexual encounter growing more passionate and personal, Ava falls hard for Damián, but is hurt when he continually insists that their relationship is only physical and temporary. He refuses to acknowledge their relationship in public, even though he spends time with his bitchy ex. Eventually Ava has enough of being second best and won’t settle for less than she deserves. Can they work through their misunderstandings and hurt to start again, this time with a basis of trust and love?  

damian teaser 2return ad 4 return ad 2 for web

Please visit the other authors in this blog hop for more exciting snippets.

Happy Reading!

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#MySexySaturday – Dream Girl

mysexySatGreetings! I’m Alexis Alvarez, and welcome to My Sexy Saturday. There are ton of awesome authors on the hop today, so there are going to be plenty of books to add to your ‘must read’ list. I’d like to entice you with a sample from Dream Girl, my latest release, a romance novel that shows what should happen on one of those ridiculous reality TV dating game shows. Of course, I make it smarter, sexier, and kinkier than anything you’ll see on prime time, but not quite as steamy and racy as watch my gf sex or other adult sites like tubevideoshd.xxx (https://www.tubevideoshd.xxx/) I don’t think. We’re asked to share 7 words, sentences or paragraphs. I like to go big, so it’s 7 paragraphs for you today.

Excerpt from Dream Girl

“There’s nothing sideshow about how I feel when I’m with you, Trip,” said Dominic, framing her face with both of his strong hands, and rubbing both thumbs at the sides of her mouth. “I have more of a main event in mind.”

One hand strayed upward into her hair, stroking and rubbing the back of her neck, pulling her even closer until their lips were nearly touching. Chloe felt his warm breath on her lips and smelled his unique scent mixed with his spicy cologne. Her heart was beating so fast, and her lower belly tingled with anticipation. She felt an ache between her legs, too. It would be good with him, wouldn’t it? No-it would be fantastic. She was dying to let their lips meet and let go to the mind-blowing passion he awoke in her body. She wanted him. She wanted his lips, his hands, his dominance, all of the sexy kinky promises he kept whispering to her. She wanted it all.

His lips brushed hers, just for a second, and all of her nerves jangled. Adrenaline suffused her body. “Just one kiss,” he murmured into her lips. “Let me have just one kiss. I know you hate the cameras, and this is our one chance at privacy right now. Ever since I met you I’ve been dying to kiss your soft lips. You’ve been driving me crazy since that first day. You told me you weren’t going to kiss me, but I want to show you how it can be with us.”

Chloe felt her body melting into his. He kept rubbing the back of her neck with one hand, and now he moved his lips down and gently nipped at the tender skin on her neck. Chloe made a small moan.

“I can’t keep my eyes off of you,” he admitted roughly. “You blew my mind at the stable, standing there in your hot red dress and those crazy work boots, acting all sassy. You were so fucking sexy, Trip. I wanted to grab you right there and tear off that tight, teasing dress, take off those boots, and run my hands all over your body. And when you fell off that boat, I was fucking out of my mind with worry.” He bit her neck again, harder, and Chloe moaned again. “Tell me it’s not just me,” he urged her, swiping his tongue at her earlobe, brushing his lips again over her neck. “Tell me you want me, too. Tell me you feel this.” He moved one hand down to her waist, splaying out his strong fingers, feeling her body. “Chloe.”

It was the first time he’d called her Chloe, and she felt a new surge of emotion, hearing her name on his lips. “Dominic,” she whispered back.

Out of the corner of her eye, Chloe saw the door nudge further open, a camera lens looking at her with its all-seeing gaze. And she felt ridiculous. He’d just been kissing another girl. Was she that far gone that she’d be some kind of sloppy seconds? Where was her self-respect? She pulled back.

Blurb for Dream Girl

He’s sexy and intelligent, handsome and witty, and Chloe’s body lights up with sparks at his touch. And when he looks into her eyes and whispers naughty sexy things into her ear like some of the things you’d hear in videos from websites like www.twinkpornvideos.xxx, she wants to melt into him and enjoy the mind-blowing passion he promises.

Too bad he’s the star of the popular reality show Dream Girls, and he’s also dating nineteen other women in addition to Chloe – women who are sexy and so talented that their Nobel Prizes should arrive any day now. Chloe’s sure he’s just amusing himself with her, and there is no way he’d pick her as his final Dream Girl – especially since she gets into so many crazy scrapes on the show.

She promised herself she was only doing this for adventure, travel, and new experiences…not to make a fool of herself on national TV. But he’s so sexy and persuasive! Would it be so bad to say yes to all of his dark, dirty requests? And most important of all – what will happen if she risks her heart?

Dream Girl is a modern romance with steamy sex and laugh-out-loud humor.
It’s about 85K words and contains excerpts from other books by Alexis Alvarez, as well as a funny Q&A with Alexis and some of her trademark sample reviews. Enjoy!

Dream Girl Cover Alvarez for Amazon Upload WEB2

If you want to find Dream Girl, it’s available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Rochelle’s Reviews has exclusive access to a full set of Dream Girl Excerpts. Some are pretty steamy…

Dream Girl at Rochelle’s Reviews

ad for dream girl 3 dream girl review ad dream girls ad 5 dream girls ad for blog rev2

Please stop by and visit the other authors participating in the blog hop.

Thanks, and happy reading!

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How To Make a Book Ad for Facebook

Greetings! I’m Alexis Alvarez, and today I’d like to share an easy technique on how to create a book ad for Facebook using Photoshop. You can do the same thing in Photoshop Elements; although my screen shots will look a bit different from what you see, the steps will be the same. I know you can use many programs to create graphics, but I’m an Adobe Girl because I’m also a photographer, and I need the Adobe platform for image manipulation.

Hand holding blank screen smartphone on blurred background with city cafe

I created this ad in Photoshop using my book cover and a picture licensed from Fotolia

I have a subscription at Fotolia, because I like their assortment of images and find their prices to fit in my budget. I found a photograph there that was perfect for my ad, so I licensed it through my subscription and downloaded it.

Note: Please make sure that any image you use is properly licensed! It’s usually not expensive, and it’s the right thing to do. As authors, we know how much work goes into our craft, and we’re horrified if we find our books available on free/hack sites. Let’s make sure we all consistently role-model professional courtesy and respect for our fellow artists by paying for the images we use.

I used the medium-sized version of the image because a larger one is not necessary for ads.

Here’s the general process. First, I opened the photograph from Fotolia in Photoshop and duplicated the background layer; that’s a habit from photography work and I always like working on a duplicate because if you make any mistakes with the adobe color wheel or editing modes, you still have the original to refer back to. Then I created a brand new layer, a blank one, on top of that. I duplicated just the white part of the phone screen in the image into a new layer, resized my book cover and clipped it into that new layer, and added text. I flattened the image, resized, and saved as a .jpg. Here are the directions so you can do it, too.

  1. Duplicate the background layer
  2. Create a brand new layer. Select Layer –> New.
  3. Highlight the background layer copy in the layers tab. Then, select just the white part of the phone screen within your picture.

blog ad page 14. Once you have the white part of the phone screen selected with the marching ants, paste it into the blank layer that you made.

making an ad page 35. You will now have a new layer that is an exact duplicate of the white screen part of the phone in the photo. Leave it where it is; if you move it around for fun, be sure to put it back exactly on top of the original.

making an ad page 76. Now open the file with your cover art and drag it into your working document. You will need to resize it to fit. Use the Transform tool to do this (CTL T or CMD T) to make it larger, smaller and tilted to the right angle.

7. Clip the cover art to the white box layer so it looks like it is part of the screen. Because this particular screen is tilted slightly out of horizontal, you could use the warp feature if necessary to adjust the image; I didn’t bother. It’s good enough without additional tweaking. However, if the screen was more slanted, it would absolutely be necessary to adjust the image to make it look good.

making an ad page 98. Add text.

9. Flatten the image, resize for web usage (I like to keep the width around 800 or 1000 pixels), and save an a .jpg file.

10. Upload to Facebook.

There you have it! It’s really very easy – it took longer to write this tutorial than it did to create the ad. Once you get the hang of it, you can crank these babies out like a Twinkie factory — a million a minute (probably, right?)

If you are stuck and want some additional advice, please add a comment below or message me through Facebook, and I’ll do my best to help.

Happy writing (both ad and book!)

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#WipItUp on Reality TV

dream girl ad with locks

Greetings! I’m Alexis Alvarez, and welcome to Wip It Up Wednesday, a blog hop where authors link their blogs together and all share excerpts from a work in progress or a new release.  Today I’m sharing a snippet from my recent release Dream Girl, which is free on Kindle Unlimited as well as being sexy, smart and funny.

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Excerpt from Dream Girl

The hours fled, but Chloe was fast, too. In the course of the day she’d been to the Colosseum, the Parthenon, and the Roman Forum. She stopped to take pictures of the fountains in the Piazza Navona, gorgeous stone figures dripping with water and pigeons, and the overflowing red flower boxes on the quaint homes along the plaza. Finally it was time for her last sight of the day, the Ponte Milvio.

Because it was a distance, she took a taxi, awkwardly waving her hands and repeating herself when she couldn’t understand the driver, but repeating “Ponte Milvio, per favore,” until he shrugged and nodded.

To her great disappointment, the bridge had no locks. Pictures she’d seen online and in travel books showed great clusters of golden and silver locks, decorated with names and hearts and scribbles.

She had expected locks clustering together and growing upward like moss, locks upon locks, thick layers of locks on posts, golden ivy clinging with the force of a hundred rainforest vines, an advancing army of locks conquering, inch by inch, the drab stone, and faced with the naked architecture and the disinterested trickle of pedestrians and the thick unaware ooze of traffic in the distance, she wondered for a half-second if she’d said it wrong, been taken to the wrong place, gone to an utterly ordinary bridge by the accident of her own ignorance.

She stood in such hesitation that a couple approached.

Ti sei perso?” asked the woman, her long legs perfect and elegant in heels, even over the cobbled stones. Her boyfriend was holding her hand in an easy grip, his smile so mischievous and heart-melting that Chloe got an immediate crush.

“I don’t—is this really the Ponte Milvio? Um,” she fumbled in her brain for scraps from college, “E davvero—questo—the Ponte Milvio? Do you speak English?”

Si, si, we speak English,” the brown-haired young man spoke with enthusiasm and a thick, happy accent. “This is the Ponte Milvio. You are American?”

“I am. It’s beautiful here! I’m just curious. Where are all the locks?” She gestured around her. There were many people walking over the pedestrian bridge, clusters of young men and women laughing and flirting, some couples gazing over the side, but no locks.

The woman made a cutting gesture with her hands. “Too many, too much weight. They worry that the bridge, yes? May be danno?”

“Damage,” appended her boyfriend, nodding. “This bridge is so much history, so important to Italy. The locks are disrespectful to Roman history. So all locks, they remove them last year. There is a website now for fun, to do locks with your love.”

“Oh.” Chloe let out a sigh. “Thank you. I didn’t realize. I thought I could get pictures…” She touched her camera.

The man smiled at his woman and kissed her neck, his lips lingering for an extra second. “Real love, you don’t need the lock,” he proclaimed, and put his arm around her. She laughed, a pretty sparkle, and smiled. “Si.”

They wandered off together, their arms twined, and Chloe looked after them until they disappeared from her view behind part of the stone archway.

Looking for steamier, sexier excerpts? No problem. I’ve got you covered! Please visit Rochelle’s Reviews to get the whole set of excerpts.  Also, and I don’t want to be too pushy here, but you could then swing by Amazon and, you know, get your very own copy.

Dream Girl Cover Alvarez for Amazon Upload WEB2

If you want to find Dream Girl, it’s available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Rochelle’s Reviews has exclusive access to ALL of the Dream Girl Excerpts.

Dream Girl at Rochelle’s Reviews

 

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Thanks for joining me today. Please check the links below to find all the other authors participating in this blog hop. They also have some exciting, sexy and provocative snippets to share, so stop by and take a peek.

Happy Reading!

 

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My Sexy Saturday with Dream Girl

mysexySatGreetings! I’m Alexis Alvarez and I’d like to welcome you back to another Sexy Saturday, although of course all the other days of the week are sexy too. I mean, let’s not pick favorites, right? Today I’d like to share a piece of Dream Girl with you. Because I’m nice, I’m giving you the biggest piece with lots of frosting and the strawberry on it, the piece that all the kids secretly want, just as the “kinds” of age secretly want a Useful reference and hot mature content @ m-porn xxx.

Enjoy!

Excerpt From Dream Girl

“So if I told you,” began Dominic, his eyes glittering in the yellow light from the fountain, which bounced, soft and warm, off the water and the statues and the marble, and lit up his face, “that the power of options lies in their versatility,” and he pulled her body to him so her hips pushed into his groin, and ran his hands up her sides.

“Mmm,” murmured Chloe, pushing back into him with her whole body. “Versatility. A good thing.”

Dominic licked at her lobe and nipped at her neck, then continued, “And options provide a world of opportunity for the sophisticated investor. Would you want to learn more?”

Chloe sucked in a breath of air, as Dominic kissed down her neck and bit gently at her clavicle. “Teach me,” she murmured. “Economics is so strangely intriguing, all of a sudden.”

“Well,” said Dominic, letting one hand stray over her body, rubbing through her jeans, then holding her waist. “A call gives the holder the right to buy an asset at a certain price within a specific period of time.” He moved both hands to the seat of her jeans and rubbed, squeezed, until Chloe moaned and thrust her hips at him.

“Should I go on?” he asked, his hands warm through the fabric.

“I’m fascinated. So is my asset.” Chloe’s voice was slow and smooth as honey.

Who knew economics could be so interesting, right? There’s more flirting in the book, and I hope I’m not ruining anything here, but there is also some pretty steamy sex with just a bit of kink. There’s also a garden gnome (not involved in said kink), a fishing boat adventure, the Colosseum, cantaloupe, and some crazy Chinese fortunes. Oh, and you’ll learn how to say, “What to see my Trajan Column?” in Italian, which — as you must admit — is really a “must know” phrase for any traveler.

You should also know that one of my five-star reviews on Amazon said about this book, and I quote: “I kept waiting for it to get bad, and it never did.” Best. Review. Ever. I think I laughed so hard that I spit La Croix all over my keyboard (Note to new readers: I’m pretty much addicted to La Croix) and then I immediately posted it to Facebook. Because awesome.

Here’s my book cover with the very sexy Darren Birks on the cover. Notice that tattoo with the swirly letters? It says “veni, vidi, vici” (Latin for I came, I saw, I conquered.) My characters have a pretty steamy sex scene in the book and the tattoo is discussed, along with alternate possibilities that it should maybe say, based on the hero’s sexual prowess. And that rose in his hand? Why, that’s for YOU, dear reader. (Seriously! It is!)

Dream Girl Cover Alvarez for Amazon Upload WEB2

You can find the book on Amazon and it’s free on Kindle Unlimited, so if you have KU, I highly encourage you to return some of the old books that are taking up space, and refill that space with Dream Girl. You won’t be sorry. DG is super awesome and she’ll keep you way occupied.

If you want to find Dream Girl, it’s available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

If you want to read longer and even sexier excerpts, Rochelle’s Reviews has exclusive access to ALL of the Dream Girl Excerpts.

Dream Girl at Rochelle’s Reviews

Thanks, happy reading, and please visit these other blogs for more amazing excerpts! Some of my favorite authors are on here. Have a great Saturday.

Goodbye!

Oh, wait. Just in case you’re interested, my new carbonation machine also had some pretty cool things to say about Dream Girl. Don’t get me wrong — nobody can beat “I kept waiting…”, but still, I was impressed.

soda stream love

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Dream Girl Cover Alvarez for Amazon Upload WEB2

Dream Girl ~ My Sexy Saturday

“Maybe we should do a test run,” he murmured, his smile wicked.

ad for dream girl 3Greetings! I’m Alexis Alvarez, and I’m excited to participate in My Sexy Saturday’s Blog Hop, where romance authors link together to share seven sentences or paragraphs from a recent romance book. Today, I’d like to share a snippet from my book Dream Girl, which will release on September 1st.

Chloe, a sassy adventure lover, is a contestant on the popular Dream Girls TV show, where twenty women compete for the heart of a sexy, successful, handsome bachelor. She only joined for adventure, and she seems to always get into arguments with Dominic. But the chemistry between them is off the charts hot, and Chloe can’t stop dreaming about him. It’s so close between being a naughty romance and a raunchy XXX relationship. Find more information about XXX content at www.tubev.sex if you so wish to. Continue reading