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Lakeland Inspiration and Free Reads

Surely there is no other place in this whole wonderful world quite like Lakeland … no other so exquisitely lovely, no other so charming, no other that calls so insistently across a gulf of distance. All who truly love Lakeland are exiles when away from it.

— Alfred Wainwright

 

 

 

I’m just back from a lovely few days in the English Lake District. As always, I had a glorious time and would have loved nothing more than to stay a little longer. Few places inspire me quite like the Lakes. Proof of that is in the fact that all three of my giveaways for the month of July are set in the English Lake district. More about those later.

 

 

I’ve never seen it this hot or this dry in Cumbria. Many of our favourite walks involve being up high enough that there are no trees. While that is not a problem under an overcast sky, with the July sun beating down and not a bit of shade in sight, it can be brutal. As you can see, I was in shorts. I’ve never before walked in shorts on the fells.

 

 

That being the case, we spent some of our walking time down lower on more shaded walks. This is Ashness Bridge, iconic Lakeland, and a part of our walk that involved an ascent up the back side of Walla Crag and then down to walk around Derwent Water.  One of the best parts of that glorious walk was the wild bleaberries. For those of you that don’t know what those are, think mini blueberries that bite back. They’re tiny and sweet and deliciously tart, and I didn’t get any photos because I was too busy stuffing my face. We all had blue fingers and teeth by the time we were at the top of the fell.

 

 

We had a nostalgic walk retracing the steps of the walk that inspired Anderson’s slate quarry shelter in Body Temperature and Rising, the first of the Lakeland Witches novels. In fact the whole walk from Grange, up to High Spy and down Rigghead Quarries figures into the series over and over again. This walk is a part of the Newlands Horseshoe Ridge, which one of my very favourite walks in the Lakes.

 

 

My best British memories come from the Lake District, and it’s the place I write about most often just because I get to be there vicariously when I write, and I get the remember and dwell on all those places I love so much.

 

 

 

Follow these links to FREE READS all set in Lakeland.

 

 

 

 

The Hotter the Better Steamy Romance Giveaway

https://books.bookfunnel.com/thehotterthebetter/7o1156uuyo

 

 

You’ll find my sizzling novella, In Training in this fabulous library of steamy romance. Read blurb and excerpt here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kick-Ass Women of Urban Fantasy

https://books.bookfunnel.com/womenurbanfantasy/r09cfeffoq

 

 

 

 

You’ll find my novel, In The Flesh, here. It’s the first novel of the Medusa’s Consortium series. Read blurb and excerpt here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short but not Sweet

https://books.bookfunnel.com/shortromance/mkz0o5zg9l

 

 

 

 

You’ll find my M/M novella, Landscapes, here. Read blurb and excerpt here

 

 

Concert Part 6

It’s time for episode 6 of Concerto, in which more than the music is passionate. If you’ve missed any of the other
episodes of Concerto, just follow the links. Enjoy!

Concerto Part 1: A little Night Music

Concerto Part 2: Distractions

Concerto Part 3: Too Much to Bear Alone

Concerto Part 4: Writing and Waiting

Concerto Part 5: A Duet in a Storm

 

 

 

 

Concerto Part 6: Remember How it Feels

It was an effort to crawl from beneath the piano. I scrabbled up to my knees and then climbed my feet, legs trembling, shoulders tight. This time I found the man’s gaze focused completely on me, even as he played. I stood for what felt like an age under his scrutiny, almost as though he were inspecting me for storm damage. There was no sympathy, which was just as well, I wanted none, but there was satisfaction, as though for a job well done. Then with an abruptness that startled me, he shoved back the bench. At first I feared he’d stop playing, a thing I realized I wasn’t yet ready for. But he continued to play with his left hand, beckoning to me with the right. He invited me, not onto the bench next to him, but onto his lap.

 

There was an awkward moment in which I fought the robe and the sash and the movement of his foot on the damper pedal to find purchase on his lap. All the while his right hand, settled low on my hip, urged me, guided me, teased me into a position that completely obscured his view, and yet he continued to play. When I was settled, his breath hot against my neck, He scooted the bench forward until the edge of the keyboard pressed against my belly. It was an awkward position, an embarrassing position, or would have been if it wasn’t also a completely intriguing position. I sat with my legs spayed either side of his so that he could reach the pedals. While certainly the music benefitted from his efforts, I couldn’t keep from wondering if his liberal foot work might also be for my benefit, or possibly even his own, because it quickly became evident that he was hard. The robe had ridden up until my bottom was bare against his trousers, and the sash had come loose in our scrambling for position.

While he continued to play, he took it in turns, one hand and then the other, cupping and caressing his way inside the front of the robe before sliding it off my shoulders. I didn’t have to wriggle much to be free of it. Then with his left hand low on my belly, he pulled me back tightly against him, and began to kiss and nibble my neck. My gasps and moans in response to mouth at my shoulder, my nape, my earlobe created a passionate duet to what his fingers were doing on the keyboard, the keyboard which he played blindly never missing a beat, never missing a note.

I raised my right arm up around his neck, then onto his head, curling fingers into his thick dark hair and dragging him down until my mouth could catch the corner of his lips. A flick of my tongue, a nibble of my front teeth, and I felt him surge beneath me, felt the sharp catch and release of his breath humid across my chin. Then he did the strangest thing. He reached for my hands – first one and then the other — and placed each gently over the top of his own. All the while he continued to play. As I tensed, he whispered. “Relax. Just let me do the work. Like a dance. Let me lead. Feel the music, feel it down deep.” As if for emphasis, his leg shifted for a press of pedal in just such a way to bring me closer to his erection.

“Oh. Oh!” My voice came out a harsh squawk, and I got it. I truly got it. As he guided me and we played together, the melody my hands mirrored against his went straight to my heart, then moved down deep below my belly until I felt the vibration of each chord, each arpeggio between my thighs where my body pressed up against his.

Somewhere in the shifting and settling and pressing of notes, we had both joined the melody with urgent, needy animal sounds that the notes didn’t quite cover. The movement of his foot on the pedals was accompanied by an insistent rocking of his hips beneath me and by my own baring down.

I suppose it should come as no surprise that someone with the dexterity to play like he did should be able to manage with his left hand to reach beneath me and wriggle just enough to free himself. While one hand worked its magic on the keys, the other worked another kind of magic, opening me, strumming me, playing me— though little effort was needed. I was well ready for him, when he lifted me just enough to ease into position, then with a soft grunt, he guided
me down onto him. My scent rose to fill the room as he returned fingers, shining and wet from me, to the keys and continued to play, keeping time to the rise and fall, thrust and withdraw of the music with his body inside mine.

Tension built and stretched and tightened around us until every move, every effort was a breathless brittle striving,
until feral growls and groans battled the hammering of strings echoing in wood. Until at last his hands collapsed on the keys with a discordant ringing crash. He stood and grabbed me tightly around the waist, forcing me bodily forward over the keyboard, my hands scrabbling their own discordant efforts to brace myself against the demanding assault of his body, which I returned with an my of own assault. The hard muscles of his thighs forced me up on my toes, and I cried out as my first orgasm hit. He bit my shoulder and pulled out against my protests. Then in an awkward scramble for position, he shifted me to face him, my bottom coming down uncomfortably hard on the keyboard before he cupped me and lifted me. And when the angle was just right, shoved back into me, deep and hard.

“You understand. You feel it. I can tell you do.” This time when he sent me clawing and growling over the edge, he came with. And when he had emptied himself with bruising impact, he gasped against my ear. “Remember it. Remember how it felt. Remember everything.”

 

Concerto Part 3: Too Much to Bear Alone

 

Sometimes a story takes a little while to unfold, and sometimes the path I thought something would take when I began
it isn’t the one that the story insists I go down. That’s when the fun begins. From that point, I honestly don’t know where the characters will take me with the tale they have to tell. With part 3 of Concerto, I’ve reached that point. That’s why this episode is a little longer. This was the episode that dragged me in, and I needed to ride it out to its full conclusion. And now I’m getting excited about this little ditty. I hope you are too. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve missed the earlier instalments, catch up here:

 

Concerto Part 1: A little Night Music

 

Concerto Part 2: Distractions

 

 

 

 

 

Part 3 Concerto: Too Much to Bear Alone

 

A writer expresses herself through words. They’re the tools she uses, not just to tell a story, but to make people feel, really feel, the life blood that flows through her tale, the very heart beat of each character, each setting, each layer of meaning. I’ve always thought that those results were better achieved with words than with any other artistic methods. Words are concrete in ways that visual arts and aural arts can never be, but I was wrong. That night as the storm outside snarled and rampaged around us, the music this strange man created became the pounding of my heart, the racing of my blood. It became my death and resurrection, my creation and destruction. It became the ache of every secret longing, every burning desire I’d ever had, all of it laid bare at his feet. And it truly was at his feet because I couldn’t stay on the sofa. It was too far away from the center of what he created, too far away from the tapestry he wove and too far away, it felt, from my own soul. In desperation to be nearer, I had, at some point, crawled beneath the piano, where I lay writhing and drowning in the wild sea of music, and wanting nothing more than to never surface again.

 

Then when he held me totally bound by his magic, when his music had somehow uncovered the very building blocks of my own story, he broke me apart. Bone and sinew, blood and tears — he broke me apart. Molecule by molecule, he tore me down until I floated away from myself, all boundaries dissolved, no sense remaining of where I left off and the music began. My essence spread thinner and thinner until I joined with each note, rode each phrase out into the night and let the storm blow over me.

 

And when I was gone, nothing remaining of me that he hadn’t played, that he hadn’t destroyed and recreated and destroyed again, he gathered me back to myself. It was in that gathering, just before the music stopped, that I became aware of the tears on my cheeks. Then, when silence filled the room as though it were itself a part of the music, accompanied by the storm that now seemed far away, he slid off the bench under the piano next to me and drew me to his body, cool against my fevered skin, his bare chest pressed tightly to my back. In my scramble to get to him, to his music, the tartan had fallen away. He reached for it and pulled it over us, then encircled me completely in the solid muscle of his arms. His breath came in heavy gulps, as though he had been running. Mine came in convulsive sobs. He didn’t speak. I couldn’t have spoken if I’d wanted to, and I found that I didn’t. It was only when my own shudders eased a little that I noticed he too was trembling. I hadn’t thought how the music he created might affect him. I had only assumed that he controlled it, created it, made it do his will. It had angered me, at first, that with the world of sound he created, he could so completely manipulate me. But then it didn’t matter any more. Nothing mattered but that he kept playing. I hadn’t known. I hadn’t understood that perhaps, he was as much in the thrall of his music as I was. Perhaps the power of what he created around us was not entirely of his own making.

 

The storm must have eased again at some point. At some point I must have slept the exhausted sleep that catharsis brings. I vaguely remember him lifting me into his arms, followed by the chill of the night air on my face. In protest, I remember burying my face in the heat of his chest, listening to the steady thud, thud of his heart, a different kind of music, as he carried me back to my cottage and eased me down into my bed. He pulled the duvet up around me, and I reached up and touched his stubbled cheek. “Is it always like this?” I managed, my words slurring with the threat of sleep.

 

He caught my hand and pulled it to his lips. His eyes darkened as though the storm from outside had come into them, and the succession of emotions that crossed his face were too fast for me to decipher. “Sometimes …” The muscled of his throat rose and fell and, with an effort, he cleared his throat. When he spoke, the words were tight and strained. “Sometimes it’s just too much to bear alone.” Then he tucked my hand under the duvet against my chest. I wanted to ask him to stay, I wanted to hold him close, to ask him all about his music, himself, the two of which I was certain were very closely entwined with a story of their own to tell. I wanted to hold on to the moment just a little longer, but as he turned to go, I was already riding too close to the edge of sleep. The last thing I noticed before I lost consciousness completely was his bare feet treading silently over the wood floor.

 

When I awoke to the subdued morning light of mist and drizzle, the whole night had a dreamlike quality to it, and as it all came rushing back to me, I stumbled from the bed and looked out the window. The cottage at the end of the stable yard was silent and dark, barely visible in the mist. If the man played all night, he surly must sleep late into the day. Every artist has their own best time to create. I was an early morning person, usually falling into bed just after ten and rising at six. Though lately I hadn’t been sleeping well, and the nights had been an endless desert of self-doubt and struggle to hold back the encroaching panic of a life I feared I’d wasted, of success I dreaded and yet was terrified of losing. For the first morning in a long time, I felt refreshed. I would tell him that when I saw him later today, and I would make a point to see him. I didn’t even know his name, and yet I couldn’t remember ever sharing such intimacy with anyone.

 

I quickly dressed in my heavy tracksuit and fuzzy slippers against the chill and fumbled with the radiators, remembering vaguely that the landlady had explained to me how to work the ancient storage heaters. In the kitchen, I
plugged in the kettle, happy to see the electricity was back, then I built a fire in the hearth to warm the lounge where I would work … or not work, as the case might well be. Once the fire was crackling merrily in the grate and in the kitchen I could hear the kettle starting to bubble, I stood, wiping my hands on my trousers. It was then that I noticed my laptop
sitting open on the desk near the window.

 

For a long moment, I stood staring at it. I didn’t remember opening it. I didn’t even remember unpacking it. With a clap of thunder, that made me jump, the rain began in earnest again. A gust of wind rattled the window as though it were keen on getting my attention, and I moved to the computer. The kettle clicked off with a loud pop and lightning flashed as I bent over and scrolled to the top of a word doc simply called “concerto.” The first sentence of what was clearly a multi-page document read: I started awake from disturbing dreams that I couldn’t quite remember.

 

Concerto: A New KDG Story Part 1

I wanted to write something special for this holiday weekend, something new. Some of you may remember a few years
ago I blogged about a wonderful trip Mr. Grace and I made into the Scottish Highlands and onto the Isle of Skye with my sister. The remote place we stayed at while we were on Skye was an inspiration, the place was as mysterious as it was remote. This story is inspired by that place and by my love for classical piano, or piano music of any type for that matter.

 

I’m not sure how long the story will be, but I’m happy to share the first instalment today, and to ask that you be gentle with me as you read it. Remember it is a work in progress. I hope you enjoy.

 

Concerto: Part 1 A Little Night Music

I started awake from disturbing dreams that I couldn’t quite remember. In the tight-fitting darkness, it took me a minute to remember where I was. Isle of Skye, a small tatty cottage so remote that the landlady had to deliver me there in a battered Land Rover. To say I was off the grid was an understatement. No phone, no Wi-fi, no transportation until the woman came back for me on Monday morning. There was only me the hills and the sea with storms predicted – a typical bank holiday weekend in the UK. In my whole life I’d never been so isolated. The thought of being alone was a writer’s dream of solitude and inspiration come true, wasn’t it? I’d had neither solitude nor inspiration for a while now, and I was doing it up right. I didn’t care about the rain. I had no plans but to sleep and possibly read. I was exhausted and as empty as the landscape beyond my cottage. Upon arrival, I’d made myself a sandwich, drank half a bottle of Malbec and went to bed.

Sometime while I slept, the storm had passed. Even the sound of the sea seemed muted in the muffled dark of the room. I assumed it was the sea I could hear. It was dark and the storm was already raging when we arrived. The landlady seemed unperturbed by the return journey she faced, as though the storm were nothing. She showed me around the place that had been well stocked for my arrival, since I would be going nowhere for the next three days. She wished me well at the door and left me alone.

And now here I was wide awake with three days of nothing but my own company stretching before me. I was considering watching a movie and grazing through the package of shortbread left on the counter near the tea service. The landlady assured me the ancient DVD player in the lounge worked, and there was a fair sized library of movies. That was when I heard what I couldn’t possibly have heard. There was piano music coming from somewhere close by. I slid from my bed holding my breath as the melody built to a pounding crescendo that reminded me of the storm. The landlady had told me I was the only guest in the converted stone stables that now housed three cottages. There was room for three more, but the money had run out. The stables were all that was left of a summer home owned by some wealthy lord now long dead. The house was in its prime when the Victorians found the Highlands and anything Scottish all the rage. But the place was just too remote and its maintenance too expensive, or so the landlady said. Now what remained other than the stables and a collapsed stone barn was just a rubble heap. Though I could see none of that in the dark and driving rain.

But it wasn’t raining now, and I definitely heard piano music. Holding my breath not wanting to miss a single note, I slipped from the bed and switched on the lamp to find no electricity. The landlady had warned me that it sometimes went out during the storms. There were torches stashed strategically in each room, but my eyes were accustom to the dark, so I moved through the cottage on tiptoes listening to the music that had become more plaintive, full of longing that made me ache in places that hadn’t felt much of anything in a long while.

A peek out the kitchen window left me gaping at the thick blanket of stars where Milky Way spilled across the clear sky. The sky, the music, the feel of the night so close around me made the emptiness inside suddenly more companionable. Without thinking, I threw open the kitchen door and stepped, barefoot, out into the soft chill, barely feeling the wet cobbles beneath my feet. There was no breeze, a calm that I knew wouldn’t last. A glance around revealed the hulk of the collapsed barn and, beyond that, less pronounced heaps of stone and rubble, the remains of what had once been an impressive estate. Once again the music crescendoed and I turned to find the source. Candle light flickered from the cottage at the end of the stable yard and something in the music that drifted from an open window filled the night with the very ache I felt.

I don’t remember moving to the patio of the place by the French doors, the only nod to elegance any of these cottages had, but I will never forget my first sight of the source. The doors were flung open to the night, curtains barely stirring. A baby grand piano filled the space beyond and as the music softened and then crescendoed again, my gaze came to
rest on the creator of such exquisite sounds, a man tall and straight. His eyes were closed, his hands moved over the keyboard as though the instrument were a lover, and the sounds he coaxed from it were very much the sounds of love and all the pain and lust and joy and sorrow that come with.

I couldn’t help myself. I moved forward as though I were in a trance, lost in the music, lost in the intimate weave of sound and silence and human connection. And then, full attention focused on the man and the music, I didn’t see the empty stone planter in front of me until I was doing an inelegant swan dive over the top to belly flop on the paving stones with a breathless yelp.

 

Lisabet Sarai Releases Dragon Boat Blues: Asian Adventures Book 5

Take your chances as they come

 

 

 

Dragon Boat Blues Blurb

 

My lost superhero Josh had jet black hair, movie star cheekbones, clever hands, the devil’s mouth, and an instinct for driving me crazy. Josh believed in his own myths. He was forty miles an hour over the speed limit that day, more powerful than a locomotive, when we smashed into the tractor trailer. He blew out like a candle. I sputtered in a sort of half life, year after year, marked forever by that brief dance with insanity.

 

I booked the dragon boat cruise on Ha Long Bay to use up a few free days at the end of my business trip, figuring my disability wouldn’t be a problem on the luxurious junk. I wasn’t looking for companionship, just a bit of peace. But when British honeymooners Stan and Phil welcomed me into their circle of love, I discovered how much healing I still needed.

 

 

Contemporary MMF ménage erotic romance (X rated)

7850 words

Smashwords and Amazon KDP

ISBN: (Smashwords) 9781370362103

HFN ending

 

 

Buy Dragon Boat Blues Here

 

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BJJTHQF

 

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07BJJTHQF

 

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/804710

 

Barnes and Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dragon-boat-blues-lisabet-sarai/1128233847?ean=2940155178255

 

 

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39330037-dragon-boat-blues

 

 

 

Dragon Boat Blues Excerpt

 

We didn’t return to the big boat, though. Instead, we circled the island in the dinghy, hugging the shore so closely that vines hanging off protruding rocks brushed the tops of our heads. I resigned myself to another few hours of sexual frustration.

 

As it turned out, the beach was lovely, the sand white as crushed pearls, the sea a vivid turquoise. I sat in the shade, watching the others frolic in the water. Most of our group seemed to have worn bathing suits under their clothing. Of course I wasn’t going to remove mine in public, but the trees fringing the beach kept me cool and comfortable.

 

Phil stripped down to a pair of tight trunks that highlighted the bulge at his groin. Wiry, but not skinny, he had a narrow chest but prominent biceps. His thighs, too, were corded with muscle. Those hay bales, I guessed. I swallowed hard, pushing away the memory of his jerking pelvis as he used his partner’s mouth.

 

Stan wore more conservative boxer-style trunks. I couldn’t tell if he was as well endowed as Phil, but his arms appeared similarly muscular. Ginger hair dusted his broad shoulders and solid chest. He looked massive next to his companion, powerful and very male.

 

I licked my lips. Neither was any sort of ideal, but gazing at their bodies as they splashed and played, I wanted them both. Of course, I was still sensitized from the effects of my voyeurism. I might have found any man arousing.

 

Theyre gay, I reminded myself. And in a committed relationship. Well, that was no reason not to fantasize. They’d never know.

 

About Lisabet

 

Lisabet Sarai has been addicted to words all her life. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – nearly one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

 

 

You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads and finally, on Twitter. Sign up for her VIP email list here: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh

 

 

 
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