~~~~~This past weekend, I was at my first Buffalo Girls horseback riding trip of the year and it's a special ride I don't ever miss. We only have two scheduled girls rides a year, so it's something I strongly look forward to attending.
There are no boys allowed on our trips and it's a great time to kick back from the hustle and bustle of life, forget the stresses of work, and absorb yourself in the surrounding nature while taking in the view from a saddle. It's great therapy - both physically and mentally.
Horseback riding is undoubtedly one of my favorite hobbies and it's something I can also do with my family. In general, while we may not get to spend as much time as we'd like on hobbies and leisure time, we all need to indulge every now and again. Whether it's riding a horse, reading hot, steamy romance novels, raising a colorful perennial garden, or just plain bird-watching, it's necessary to take time out of our hectic schedules and to do something leisurely that make us happy.
If you'd like to see some pictures of my horseback trip to Brown County, Indiana, please hop on over to my gallery blog and check them out. I'd love to share them with you.
Now, on to blog tour post...
In my latest release, both the hero and heroine have hobbies that they've turned into careers. Grayson Anders is a Latin dancer who owns his own night club. And Chloe LaRoche is a very talented painter working toward that big break, which will take her from starving artist to successful.
In this excerpt, we get to take a peek at Chloe enjoying her career/hobby to the fullest, despite the pressures of life and all the curve balls it has thrown her way. I hope you enjoy both this excerpt and my photos of my ride.
By Renee Vincent
Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Nook | Sony
ARe | Smashwords | Book Strand
Coffee Time Romance
Turquoise Morning Press
Chloe couldn’t believe the amount of painting she had put out this afternoon. Her creation of Mr. Gyration on canvas was nearly finished. Just a few more strokes and he would be perfect. Not that he wasn’t already, she thought as she admired her work.
She stepped back and tilted her head, getting a glimpse of her masterpiece as a whole, of her Adonis sleeping in his bed.
The colors of his skin were deep brown, with just the right shading to highlight his well-toned, tanned body. The soft pastel of his cream-colored sheets, draping in a lissome array over his waist, portrayed a rare innocence about him as he lay prone. It was a palpable contrast to the hard lines of his chiseled face and muscled shoulders, which was just what she was looking for.
Chloe smiled at her achievement, her eyes washing over it one last time.
If it weren’t for the wet paint, she would’ve reached out and touched him. Caressed his long sinewy arm. Ran her fingers through his soft black hair. Cupped his hardened jaw in her palm.
He was that real to her.
She swallowed, fighting back the urge to throw the canvas to the floor and lay atop him. As crazy as it sounded, she wanted to do just that—but with the real McCoy.
Oh, how her mind wouldn’t let her forget about last night. Though she knew better than to think it was hardly memorable for him, she still had those pleasant memories of that amazing, toe-curling, one-night stand embedded in her brain.
The thought made her frown and her heart sink a little. She had never had a one-nighter and never thought she ever would. But lordy, lordy, she had never come across a man like Mr. Gyration before either. He was every girl’s fantasy and downright irresistible. Plus, it has been a long time—eons ago—since she had had sex.
Obviously, the odds were stacked against her. There was no way she could walk away from him, unless she was a nun, and God knows she was nowhere close to being a saint. Heck, just take one look at the front room of her gallery! There’s not a clothed person anywhere. Every one of her paintings was a nude—a tasteful nude, she reminded herself—with no blatant frontal nudity, because that’s just gross. Leaving things to the imagination was where it was at, and boy, was her imagination running wild over Mr. Gyration right now…for the millionth time since she awoke early this morning.
Yep, no saint here.
Feeling proud of her accomplishment, she decided to reward herself with a big juicy turkey sandwich from the Bistro. She checked her watch on her wrist. Twelve thirty. Right in the middle of the lunch rush, a mad house as far as she was concerned.
Suddenly, a microwave entrée seemed more appealing. She didn’t like to venture out from the safety of her home unless she had to, especially when the chance of people confronting her were higher.
She wasn’t shy, but she wasn’t the regular conversationalist either, especially not since her surgery back in her late college years. They had removed a pair of tumors from her brain and a part of her was taken away with it, changing her life forever. There were things she wasn’t able to do anymore and it was difficult to make such drastic alterations in her lifestyle to accommodate it. However, she did. She had no choice.
She persevered as best she could, but she’d give anything to reverse time and live out her days like she used to. Not having to think of what others thought of her, or how they saw her once they realized she was different.
Her parents encouraged her to never think of her situation as a handicap. But it was.
She couldn’t mingle with people at parties. She couldn’t get into a conversation with strangers at a bus stop. She couldn’t even order her food like a normal person at a restaurant. Her days of having a normal life were over. If she had been born with it, she’d probably feel differently. She’d probably not even notice what she was missing, and she could look at herself with pride.
But having something all your life and then losing it in the blink of an eye, was incredibly difficult to overcome and harder to endure as time went on.
The only thing she could still do, that she loved, was dance. Well, as long as the music was loud enough and the bass was helping her to keep time with the rhythm.
It was what she had wanted to do from the time she was little; a career of dancing on stage, performing for people, entertaining them, and expressing her creative side with movement and gracefulness.
That ship had sailed.
The only way for her to express herself now, was through her art.
Sure, people said her talent with the brush far outweighed her ability with choreographed movement. She could now see why, especially since her paintings had gained several prestigious, yet small, awards. But it was still hard to say good-bye to her ambition of dancing.
She glanced at her canvas, gazing at the man who hadn’t noticed her shortcoming last night. She smiled. He was the only person who didn’t look down on her or think she was incapable. In fact, he never even seemed to notice. He had encouraged her to dance, to express herself freely without fearing what others might think, and to believe in herself again.
She remembered feeling a bit envious of his confidence when he had first taken her hand and led her to the dance floor. But the moment he swept her into his arms and told her to hold on tight, she forgot all about feeling self-conscious, forgot about the crowd around her, and cared only for the man who was staring into her eyes, looking at her as if he’d finally found his perfect dance mate. The only partner for him.
No one had ever looked at her like that. No one had ever made her feel so comfortable. No one had ever looked beyond the surface and into the woman within.
Her heart swelled as she remembered the other things he had seen, the other things he had touched and tasted. Unlike her tactful canvas paintings with just enough left to the imagination, there was no part of her unexplored, untouched. He had stripped her bare of both her clothing and her inhibitions. There was nothing left to hide.
In all honesty, when she looked back on last night, she should have felt cheap and easy. When she woke up this morning, she should have felt dirty and full of regret. But she didn’t. There was not one ounce of regret on her conscience—not one iota.
If anything, she felt uplifted, as if she had wings to fly.
Hugging her paintbrush to her chest, she twirled around on her heels and let out a scream of sheer happiness. She ran to the coffee table in her open studio apartment, snatched the remote and turned on the TV, which was always set to Sirius XM—the Latin channel.
Tonight (I’m Loving You) by Enrique Iglecias was already playing.
Perfect. One of her favorites.
She pressed the volume button until she could feel the hard bass coming from her surround sound speakers, and danced to her heart’s content. She closed her eyes and gyrated around the floor, holding her brush to her body as if Mr. Gyration were pressed against her. She had no trouble imagining his long and lean body leading her around the dance floor, his pelvis moving against hers, his hands fanning across her lower back, his soulful tawny eyes holding her captive….
*Remember to leave a comment at this post to be entered into my Blog Tour Giveaway. Follow me through my blog tour and leave a comment at each blog to be entered to win big prizes! *For complete contest details and rules for entering, go HERE:
Below all the past blog visits so you have the opportunity to catch up on all you've missed in the past weeks and enter your comment for the drawing.
#1 - April 12 Romance by Chance
#2 - April 13 History Undressed
#3 - April 18 Coffee And Romance...A Book Blog
#4 - April 19 Tina Donahue Presents...
#5 - April 20 Beyond Romance
#6 - April 20 Tess MacKall's Hotter Than A Sultry Southern Night
#7 - April 20 Romance Junkies
#8 - April 21 Sweet N Sexy Divas
#9 - April 21 Romance Books R Us
#10 - April 25 - 29 Chicks of Characterization
#11 - April 26 Heart of Romance (Interview)
#12 - April 28 - Author Keri Ford's Blog
Special Blog Tour Feature: THE FALL OF RAIN blurb and excerpt at Chicks of Characterization