Tuesday, August 9, 2011

NOLA Journal - Finale

We both woke up abruptly at 2:00am on the dot. The room was silent but there was a thick feeling to the air around us. After 15 minutes of tension Virginia rolled over and called in a stage whisper, “Kristina… Kristina!” Kristina responded by opening one eye and in a raspy voice, “I know.”
That shut Virginia up for a moment. “I’m heading down to the lobby. I can’t sleep.”
“You’re not leaving me alone up here!”
So with that decided, and our hearts racing from some imaginary threat, we turned on the TV to an almost scarier scenario. Sex in the City was about the only thing on at 2am besides paid programming so we flicked up the volume, turned on all the lights and settled down for the rest of the night. Sleeping with Carrie Bradshaw yapping in the background is a bit of a feat.
When the sun rose behind our blackout curtains our eyes felt filled with sand and our heads with cotton. We were thrilled though to have survived the night.
Lethargic and a bit like fuzzyheaded-zombies, we dressed, nibbled on some breakfast, and headed back to the garden district with our cameras in hand. We had walking tour maps from the Commander’s Palace where we lunched the day before, and after seeing the few homes on the street near the restaurant we were eager to see what the rest of the district had to offer.
We caught the streetcar on St. Charles and took the Washington exit, retracing our steps from the day before. We passed our creepy cemetery, no longer as charming after our night, as the day before. We pulled our maps from our pockets, planned our route and headed off in search of pretty houses.


Love all the Iron fences (believed to keep the spirits out)

You don't wanna climb up there, but the beads add a nice touch :)

We were not disappointed. The houses of the garden district were beyond our imaginations. The weather was warm with a comfortable breeze that hinted at moisture in the air. I think we must have taken pictures of almost every house in the district. As we made our way turning back and forth through the streets we ended up at our final destination, Magazine Street. Here there were supposed to be antique shops, boutique and quirky dining. We were just turning to walk down Magazine when we were confronted by a construction worker who stepped out from his group to chat with us.
He called out, “Did you ladies just come from down the street?”
We looked at each other oddly and shook our heads. He continued, “Oh, I’m asking cause I think there was an accident and someone might have hit some of our equipment.”
Again, we looked at each other dumbly. He saw where we came from. Then it occurred to us that he was stringing us a line.
He proceeded to talk to us, just general chit chat at this point. We learned he was native to Wisconsin and he asked us about life in California. After a few minutes and some cat calling to him from his friends, he attempted to get our phone numbers. With only our camera bags at our backs it was easy to evade his request. With no pen in sight, we told him we planned on spending our last night in town on Bourbon St. He seemed a bit unsatisfied with our answer claiming the street was so big he’d never find us. We knew from experience you never knew who you’d find on Bourbon St but knew we’d never see him again.  We had made it only about a few blocks when the skies opened up above us, and immediately began to pour down rain. With no cover in sight except a quaint antique shop across the street, we sought our target, looked for traffic, and darted across the street into the shop to wait the storm out. The rain was so intense we could hear it pounding on the metal roof overhead. We were trapped for maybe 15 minutes before the rain began to slow. Before we left the shop we chatted with the owners at the front about some boston terrier post cards on display. Turns out they were Boston owners, something Virginia shared in common. We chatted a few more moments, bought two ponchos (in case the rain started again) and headed back out into the now sunny and bright afternoon.
Our stomachs reminded us it was lunchtime so we sought out food. Our search landed us at the Flying Burrito restaurant where the food was filling. From there we walked a bit back in the direction of our hotel. We were still quite distance away so we turned back up to St Charles and caught the next street car back.

We decided to relax by the pool to read and ended up eavesdropping on a group of men that were there for a bachelor party. We took a quick swim, and then headed to the spa where a few of the men joined us. Turned out they were from New York, one of them happened to be traveling to SF for business in the summer, and quizzed us for things to see and do.  After more chitchat, we decided it was time to start getting ready for our Ghost, Voodoo, and Vampire tour.

We met the Bloody Mary Tour at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, the oldest bar in America. It was illuminated by candlelight only, which set the ambiance of the night’s adventure well. After a brief introduction and a little voodoo chant to invite the spirits with us on our adventure, we strolled along the darkened cobbled streets of the French Quarter.

Virginia and Kristina at Lafitte's 

Sculpture in the courtyard of Lafitte's.
We learned about the history of the city as well as hoodoo and voodoo magic, and religion. The city’s past was actually pretty morbid, and thus where the city got it’s laid back, care-free attitude. One never knew if they were going live to see the next day. Bloody Mary told us about the vampires, other scary creatures of the night, as well as and the diseases that plagued the city back then. Yellow fever and other such illnesses killed off more than 60 percent of the city’s population, which is where many of the paranormal stories were born. New Orleans was something beyond fiction back then.

After the tour, we thanked Bloody Mary, talked to her for a bit, and then headed out to check out Bourbon St. It was Friday night and we had high expectations. It was wilder than the previous nights, but not as bad as we were expecting. I think we had images of Mardi Gras in our head, naked boobies, crowds so thick you could surf them… The truth was, we only saw one pair of naked boobies the whole time. Which was ok, cause we got our own to look at if we really wanted to. We gravitated back where Big Al and his band played, sipping our beers, and laughing at Al’s raunchy songs once again. When the band stopped to take a break we headed back out into the Bacchian atmosphere of the Quarter. We needed a fresh perspective. Every bar had begun to meld into a cliché memory of the one before the longer we dallied. It had become numbingly predictable in the similarities, rowdy club music, drunken tourists intermixed with the one-off local; no one without a charismatic souvenir glass in hand. So, with the entire street at our fingertips it seemed fitting that we move our party back to the Blacksmith’s Shop where we had started our night. We hadn’t really gotten a chance to settle and appreciate the place when we had been there only a few hours (seemed like days) before at the start of our tour.
During our walk over we ran into our hotel manager from the first hotel who had called Virginia the “hot red head.” He flagged us down and asked us about our trip and where we were headed next. We told him we were heading over to the Blacksmith’s shop (one of his recommendations from our first night on the Street) and he said he was thinking about heading over after his shift. Our conversation ended with us restraining our giggles and we continued on our merry way.

Virginia on Bourbon Street, Friday night.

The blacksmiths shop turned out to be a let down. Virginia still had her plastic cup-o-beer for street roaming, but decided we would move on before buying a refill for Kristina. This place was not cool.
As we were walking back towards the action, Kristina spotted an almost naked men dancing on a bar and cried out, “Ooohh!”
 “What?” Virginia asked, looking in “That?” She shrugged, “You sounded as if they were naked or something.”
Kristina replied, “They were. I saw a butt!”
Virginia looked back into the club, and sure enough, the butt was out again. We needed no more persuasion than that. With cover-charge in hand, we headed in.
This place was perfect for us. We could dance and mingle without fear of getting hit on since 99% of the men there were gay. There were three men dancing on the bar in their little undies, occasionally showing off their asses and other junk if you paid for it. Two were twins, and the other one was tall, dark, handsome…and straight (so he claimed though we are still unconvinced.) While there, we met Katie, a newly divorcee, who came out with her gay hairdresser friend for a night out to celebrate. She told us that she really wanted to ‘do very nasty things’ to the cute tall stripper on the bar. However, when she asked him, he said he had a girlfriend. So we danced, drank, and had a good time.
Virginia cut a rug on the dance floor where she met a couple of guys. Kristina was dancing along when we met Jesse. Jesse was a very nice, tall, blonde, great haired, and super sweet young man who became an integral member of our little group that night.
We had fun with our new friends, but by the time early morning came, even though the bars don’t close till everyone goes home in New Orleans, we were tired from out lack of sleep the night before. We said our reluctant goodbyes and hailed a cab back to the hotel.
Once back at the hotel, we showered away the sweat and grime from the club, and quickly fell into bed.

Another day passed and another rough night. We slept much better than the previous night; however that’s not saying a lot. We stumbled out of bed, washed the sleep from our eyes, and headed out in search of breakfast. Our bellman caught us as we were leaving and suggested Lil Dizzy Café at the Whitney Wyndham Hotel just a block down the street. “Best breakfast in town,” he proclaimed. We found the café with ease, and were seated at a private table in the back of the restaurant. The entire back wall behind our table was painted with a hilarious mural of a bank robbery, and if you looked long enough (Virginia did) one could find the three stooges intermixed into the scene. When our order was taken we both ordered New Orleans style french toast, which is different than regular French toast. It is crunchy and soft and sweet and salty all at the same time. It was delicious.
After breakfast we made our way back to our hotel to gather our things and pack our bags. This was a bit of a project since we were heading home with more than we came with (souvenir glasses, art, clothing….) With our luggage satisfactorily packed, we went up to the rooftop to veg and kill time before checkout.
On the roof inside our very own private cabana, we absorbed our last wafts of New Orleans air while we worked and relaxed away our last vacation hours. Time slipped by and before too long we had to head back to our room to gather our things for check out.
On our way out of our room, we took a moment to make our goodbyes to any spirits in the hotel; our attempt to “shut the door,” as Bloody Mary put it, in a respectful way. Hey, after the late nights on Bourbon St. and alcohol-induced revelry, you’d be saying goodbye to the spirits too!

Our uber polite and very top-hatted bellman hailed a cab in front of our hotel and wished us a fond farewell. As we hopped into the cab that took us back to airport, we were thrown some unexpected emotion. We were pretty happy to be getting home and back to regular sleeping patterns but we knew we would miss New Orleans as soon as we left; the ride was more than a little bittersweet. When we finally arrived at the airport we fell into the usual ritual of leaving a new place. We checked our bags, and once beyond the security checkpoint shopped for last minute souvenirs. Before we knew it, we were boarded onto our commuter plane and listening to the “your seat can be used as a flotation device” speech. We were on our way home.


Friday, July 29, 2011

NOLA Travel Journal-Part 3

The next morning’s alarm woke us up at 8am, and Kristina had about a couple hours sleep, and didn’t feel well. Not Virginia, she was dancing in the shower shaking it to the left and right and singing a song from Big Al’s the night before… it was awesome, but poor Kristina just couldn’t appreciate.
This of course was the day we had pre-paid reservations to The Court of two Sisters famous jazz brunch for 9am. We put on some cute sundresses, and headed off to breakfast / brunch. We were the first ones there, once seated we helped ourselves to the fresh untouched buffet. Nibbled and listened to jazz for a while, then headed back to the hotel for some rest. Kristina was feeling tired and icky.

View inside the beautiful courtyard of the Court of Two Sisters!

After a power nap, Kristina was refreshed and feeling like a new woman, so we hit the streets once again, camera’s in hand to discover more of this awesome city. Left hotel on foot down Royal Street, and found a really great art studio.  Fortunately the artist, Craig Tracy, was in the gallery that day and we were able to meet and chat with him for a little bit. While we chatted and admired his art we found one piece that called out our name, and was an uncanny match to a scene in GIFT OF BLOOD, it was another one of those ‘Sedona Moments’ (explained in this post). So we each bought a limited addition signed print, and continued on our exploration down towards Frenchmen street but we got side tracked on Esplanade and headed in that direction. Wandered down Rampart and finally found our way around to Canal Street, where we used Kristina’s phone to locate our favorite store, Anthropologie!

The print we purchased 

We were exhausted after our long walk so we headed back to the hotel to freshen up and get ready for the evening. All gussied up once again, we walked to Frenchman st. We heard this was the place to meet the locals, and had heard rumors that there was some amazing music and swing-dancing happening at the Spotted Cat club.  Starved, we saw a quaint restaurant across the street to the club, and shared a nice meal of boneless fried chicken with mashed potatoes. Energy replenished, we crossed the street to get our groove on.

The place was hopping! Literally, everyone in there dancing was doing the lindy hop and cutting a rug, we admit, we were a little intimidated by the professional quality of dancers, so we sat back, enjoyed the show and tapped our feet to the music.

It was great, until a couple guys approached us and tried to make small talk, they seemed nice enough, but we weren’t there to meet boys. They hovered around asking us questions and not getting the hint that we weren’t interested, and then one told a stupid story about a race car he bought, while the other lit a cigarette and huffed smoke in our faces. We decided that it had been a long enough day, and intended on coming back later and opted to leave for fresh air and the hotel.

Thursday Morning:
Breakfast again at Café du Monde, for beignets. We decided that one could become addicted to the little triangle shaped sugar covered pastry concoctions. We shared a plate of three and debated on ordering another helping, but through sheer willpower didn’t.

Cafe DuMonde two words - Sooooo good!
This was the day we changed hotels, we were headed out of the happening Bourbon street area, to the more upscale, Le Pavilion. Packed up we got a taxi and headed to the next hotel and settled in once again. It was late morning, so we decided to hop on the streetcar, a couple blocks away, and head over to the beautiful garden District.  We got off, and quickly found the old, Lafayette Cemetery No.1 to explore. It was really a beautiful place; the ancient mausoleums were beautifully adorned and preserved.  It felt a little strange to be taking pictures in that particular setting however there were several other tourists doing the same thing so our discomfort was quickly forgotten As we explored, we were surprised by the feelings we got walking around. There was a ‘heaviness’ in the air around us and as we approached one crypt the heaviness built until there was a central pressure just under our ribs in our stomachs. Kristina turned to look back at Virginia, both of us with our hands on our bellies feeling the same thing. We didn’t need to say a word to know that the other felt the same. We lingered a bit and enjoyed the new sensation, not really understanding why we were picking up whatever it was. The general spookiness of the event inspired us. As we walked in and out of “heavy spots” we talked about how this is exactly how one of our significant characters will feel when she comes to New Orleans in Gift 2. The creepiness and strangeness of the occurrence put us directly in her shoes, now we can write from first hand experience.  After that we were famished so headed across the street to the renowned, Commander's Palace for lunch.  This was by far the best food we’d had in NOLA. Super delish.  We didn’t hold back ordering a lovely three course lunch, with dessert.

The cemeteries are beautiful.
The two of us at the Lafayette Cemetery 

Fat and happy we caught the train back and decided to take it easy the rest of the afternoon at the pool at the new hotel. 

Thurs night….
We had some more spooky feelings that woke both of us up in the middle of the night. The only way to describe it was the tightness in our chest and the heaviness returned. However, it was accompanied with a great sense of anxiety and angst, as if you were being watched. It was a different feeling than the loneliness from the cemetery. We found out that there is supposedly a teenager that haunts this hotel…so perhaps we had a visit from him or her! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Orleans Research Trip - Day 2!

Morning started early for us. We rolled out of bed, dressed, lathered up with sunscreen and copious amounts of bug spray (we had heard horror stories about chigger bugs and among other things in the swamps), and headed off in search of breakfast. We shared an enormous continental breakfast of fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, muffin and coffee, and then used the ladies room (men’s room in Virginia’s case as she was impatient to wait). Just as we were just finishing up ‘powdering our noses’ our ride arrived at the curb; 8am on the dot!

Whoo Hoo, Cajun Encounters was awesome!

We boarded the little minivan and were the first passengers of the day so we talked and joked with our driver for a bit who, incidentally, was hilarious. A great start to the day. Our driver picked up the other tourists at their hotels and then dropped us off at our meeting point on a curb in a foreign part of town. The rest of our tour group was gathering so we waited patiently to board the much nicer bus that would take us on the tours. Finally, our official “Cajun Encounters” bus arrived and we all loaded up and trucked out to the Laura plantation.

The ride became entertaining with our fire-cracker bus driver cracking jokes and commenting on the local scenery (this was a bonus feature; we did not get the same ‘city tour’ on our return trip back at the end of the day) As we drove further into the country we saw the landscape change to swampland Tall cypress trees adorned with Spanish moss stood proud above the water.

The driver quieted leaving us a bit of time to get to know our fellow tourists. Between chit-chatting with some nice ladies near us, and snapping pictures through the bus window at the passing countryside, we overhear an interesting conversation from a threesome across from us. One of the best parts of traveling is meeting different people. In this case, they were paranormal investigators from somewhere in the mid-west who were giving free travel advice about visiting Reno vs. Las Vegas (Ha ha- Remember the day before when Kristina tried to board the Reno plane…. I digress) to a couple of Aussies. Between listening in on which gambling establishment was preferred to hunting Bigfoot we were entertained!

About an hour from our starting point we stopped at the historic, Laura Plantation. This plantation stands apart from others in the area, as it is a Creole plantation with a very interesting past. From the exterior, you first notice the bright happy colors on the architecture significant to the Creole culture. As we continued our tour we learned the plantation was run by the women and always passed on to other female family members through each generation. We were enchanted by tales of murder, slaves, conspiracies, and the scandalous pasts of the property. After many generations the last owner of Laura plantation was more socialite than businesswoman. Thus, she sold the plantation, and chose a life in the city with her husband and family and lived happily ever after. After a quick perusal of the gift shop (to which we found nothing we had to have) we scurried back into our tour bus and to our next location, the famous Oak Alley Plantation. 

Laura Plantation  

Such nice hosts at Laura Plantation...

Oak Alley is probably the most famous plantation house and has been featured in a few movies such as Nora Roberts ‘Midnight Bayou’ and most notably, ‘Forrest Gump’. As we drove up the winding road in front of the home, we were immediately impressed by the famous ¼ mile oak lined drive. The house’s most impressive feature and namesake was originally designed to channel the breeze off the Mississippi River and into the home. The more we looked around we were mesmerized; every feature of the property was stunning. The hundreds of years old gnarled and twisted oaks in their gigantic beauty were just the frame.

When we entered the house there was a tangible presence in the home, almost as if the energy of the past still lingered in the air. Led by a guide wearing a giant, pink fluffy dress that Scarlett O’Hara would envy, we toured the house. After we had peeked in every room and taken our ‘happy snaps’ from the lanai, we headed out in search of the gift shop. Kristina grabbed a coke for energy, and then we realized that our time was up and headed back to the bus. We waited for a bit in our seats as the other tourists filed in. To our amusement, the paranormal team boarded with Big Gulp sized mint juleps! At the tour continued you could see the team felt pretty good because their stories became more and more interesting. They told tales of Big Foot, alien conspiracies, and government cover-ups among other things… 

The oaks.
Virginia and Kristina at the entrance to Oak Alley
Oak Alley's beautiful lanai.

The trip back to town was quiet and we were once again dropped off somewhere near the French Quarter to pick up some lunch. We had about an hour to kill before the next bus would arrive so we hunted for a place to settle. With little food insight, we chose a restaurant near where we had been deposited, Huck Fins. Virginia was skeptical about the food so she ordered a simple side salad, and Kristina ordered the shrimp caesar salad. Both salads were littered with pieces of brown, limp and slimy lettuce. The food was unimpressiveL. We ate enough to fill us up, paid our tab and headed out to explore with the little time we had before our next bus came.

The area was starting to look familiar and we realized we were only a block away from the famous, Candy Shoppe! So, with our eye’s on the prize we B-lined for some New Orleans pralines! The store was small, quaint and smelled like heaven! Upon entering we were offered samples and tempted into purchases; one bite is never enough with these things. Think sweet, buttery, and crunchy…. They were incredible! 

We were standing on the corner of our meeting point, munching our sugary, goodness when the bus pulled up to take us on the second half of our tour, the Honey Island Swamps! We couldn’t wait to see the swamps of Louisiana. Our expectations were high after having seen them in pictures and on TV.

It wasn’t until we were there, surrounded by the trees, the cool breeze wafting up off the water carrying the smell of blooming water hyacinth to us, that we actually realized the beauty and majesty of the swamp. Our tour group was herded onto a covered pontoon boat where we piled in (We took the only two seats at the front on either side of the captain) and headed down the bayou. The water lilies and wild irises were blooming allowing us to get some great shots. Birds chirped overhead around us, but our first ‘swampy’ creature we spied was a snake in a tree less than two feet away from Kristina’s head!!!…Kristina had a hard time seeing it at first, then exclaimed, “if it was a snake it could have bit me!” The group laughed at that as we rode along, pointing out more snakes as we looked for gators. Our captain made us laugh with his off color jokes, and he told us of being a native Cajun and growing up in the swamps. He was even excited to share with us that he was featured on the Regis and Kelly show after he gave Kelly and her family a tour. Kelly was so impressed with her tour she sent her film crew back later and did a bit with him for the show! 

Virginia on the boat.
The majestic Honey Island Swamps.

With no Kelly in sight this trip, our main attraction was the swamp, and the alligators! We spotted our first one shortly after the snake sighting, and the captain threw our marshmallows to entice him to come closer. We had no idea alligators liked marshmallows. With the amount they were being fed, Virginia pointed out that they’d all be diabetic soon.  The alligator came up close to the boat and our captain then placed part of a hot dog on a stick and made him jump nearly out of the water to get it.

After the gator fun passed we drove along peacefully admiring the flowers and birds and smelling the fresh clean air. Our swamp didn’t smell at all and our captain explained it’s a common misconception that swamps smell and are bug infested. The water moves just enough to keep the mosquitoes out and the nasties away. We were thrilled there weren’t any bugs to bite us (though one did fly straight down Virginia’s shirt). Even the alligators and snakes didn’t bite which was great. The captain told us he had only been bitten by a gator once, and only one person had ever been bitten by a snake on his boat. He explained that the snakes sometimes fall into the boat as it passes through the tight waterways when the side of the boat brushes against the branches which shakes and knocks the snakes into the boat- OOPS! (Exhibit A: Snake by Kristina’s head at the beginning of the trip) The swamp was so inspirational to us that we developed a special scene for Gift 2 in which its beauty will be showcased. :)

Kristina with camera in hand on the boat.
The Gator's love Hot Dogs on a Stick!
So cute!
Almost all the way out!

After our tour docked and the other tourists unloaded, we chatted up the captain a bit and posed for pictures. He even put in a request for his own copy of GIFT OF BLOOD, and of course we said we’d send him a signed copy. 

Posing with our amazing Cajun Encounter's Captain!

The trip home was long and we were hungry and tired. We were finally dropped off at our hotel around 8pm that night. No complaining though, we were in NOLA and there were fun times to be had.  So upstairs we went to clean up and get pretty again…

Smelling like roses, we headed down to the lobby in search of food only to be stopped by our hotel manager. This young man was very friendly (everyone is very hospitable we’d noticed.) As our chosen local guide, we asked him for a good recommendation for dinner.  He took to us and walked us to a restaurant a few blocks away called, the Gumbo Shop. Our manager headed back to work and we went inside and sat down. Virginia ordered the chicken and andouille gumbo, and Kristina ordered filet mignon. Both dishes were amazing so it made up for our less than spectacular lunch.

After we fed, we headed out in search of entertainment. Our small taste of Bourbon St. from the night before left us thirsty for more. It was our duty to go back where the action was. Once out on the street though, we were confronted with too many choices. Clubs and bars were everywhere and they all looked great! For a bit we bounced around like kids with ADD as we tried to decide where to go. We quickly became memorized by all the music and neon signs but we finally narrowed our options and choose a Karaoke bar called, The Cat’s Meow. Trendy music pumped through the open doors and called us in. On stage a professional Karaoke singer was rockin’ it with everything he had, we giggled at the sight and headed to the bar to get our groove on. At the bar we ordered two huge Big Gulp cups of the fruity goodness that is the hurricane. We wanted to fit in with the other partygoers, and with our huge cups of boozy-juice, our look was complete.  A few sips later, our feet were itching so we hit the streets and to scope out our next adventure. We walked around amused and surprised at the revelry around us when we spotted the paranormal investigators from our tour! We waved our hellos and tipped our glasses and walked our separate ways. 

Big Gulp size Hurricanes :)

We had explored up and down the street and finished our drinks when Kristina announced her need to use the potty. Since we were only a few blocks from our hotel, we ran back there instead of using dirty bar bathrooms. As we were heading through the lobby we bumped into our hotel manager once again. He asked us where we were heading, and our blank stares prompted him to make a few suggestions. He recommended that we head across the street to the ‘Tropical Isle and the Funky Pirate’, to see a man called Big Al perform. Kristina asked if he was going to take off his jacket and come with us, but he replied, “I’d love nothing more than to join you both, but I can’t. Maybe later though.”

After we left the manager, we had a better idea of what to look for, but before settling down to watch Big Al, we roamed the streets some more.  Eventually our curiosity won out and before long we were seated back at ‘Tropical Isle and the Funky Pirate’ at a long wooden bar watching a HUGE charismatic man sing hilarious, crude songs. Our manager was spot on with his recommendation; Big Al was a hoot!  By this point in the night our throats were beginning to dry so we turned to the bar to order something quenching… While Kristina chatted with the bartender which beverage choice would suit her needs best, Virginia looked up and saw a sign that advertised the ‘Hand grenade’ as “New Orleans strongest drink.” Sold! Before Kristina could put in her order, Virginia shouted across the bar, “Two hand grenades! It’s on me!” She threw Kristina a wicked grin and put the money on the bar. When the bartender turned he placed two neon green souvenir glasses in front of us, dropped little plastic decorative hand grenades in each cup, and then handed us each buttons that read, “I drank a hand grenade at the Tropical Isle.” Of course, we pinned them on right away and proudly held our huge neon green plastic hand grenade, funnel shaped cups with pride. This was a photo opportunity! 

Us with our stylish hand grenade cups.

We sipped our drinks and listened to Big Al sing his dirty songs. I don’t know if it was the alcohol, but he was really, really funny! We sang with him, waving our cups in front of us, “Shake it to the left., shake it to the right….” And then Big Al sung us a story about one time with a lady friend, “And she said, put your hand in it!” (Hand gestures here)… More music and, “Put your other hand in it-” (Two hands wigging now and Big Al’s surprised, but happy face) We laughed and sipped some more of ‘New Orleans strongest drink.’ We were feeling pretty great so when the music shifted to something swingy we jumped up and had to dance! We couldn’t leave our drinks unattended, so they too joined us on the dance floor. After our dance we settled down in our stools and pulled out the camera to document our adventure. We were taking our self -portraits when a nice man came forward and offered to take a few for us.

Having fun...

Big Al’s show ended soon after so we headed out in search of more trouble entertainment. We walked to the end of Bourbon St. when Virginia announced she had to pee now. We looked around and realized that we were in front of an establishment charmingly named, Ye Old Dungeon. Perfect, we thought! This was one of the places on our list of things to see. Hesitantly, we walked through the doors and headed to the little girls room. The room was cramped and stuffy but inside we made friends with another girl waiting for her turn in the single stall. After completing our business, we left the ladies room and were immediately confronted by the bouncer who scowled and said, “Only one person at a time in the bathroom!”

So Virginia and her hand grenade replied coyly, “Are you gonna punish me?” The bouncer was stunned and his hard stare transformed into a befuddled smirk. He suddenly lost track of what he was saying and stood there dumb. His reaction was pretty disappointing, no sharp comebacks, no punishments, no getting kicked out for having a smart mouth :(. Disappointing indeed! We passed by the bouncer and wandered to the bar and ordered a couple glasses of water. We found out later that our hand grenades were equivalent to over 4 shots! Combined with the Big Gulp hurricane’s, we were well into our cups and dehydrated. Water was definitely needed. We didn’t stay too long at Ye Old Dungeon as there was little to no crowd. We had higher expectations but according to the website we were still rather early in the evening (nothing really gets going till around 2 am). Either way, we decided that the place was just not hard-core enough for us.

More fun... :)

On the way back to the hotel we were pulled into a few random places but eventually escaped, as Pink would say, “We were too school for cool.” Our hotel was nearly in sight when we were sucked back into the ‘Cats Meow’ (where we started the evening) by a pair of well-muscled doormen. We had no choice but to go in and dance. The party people were out to play, so with our empty souvenir hand grenade glasses we showed off our moves! I don’t think we were there for five minutes before we were called up on stage by the DJ to dance. We must have really had it going on because after that we were called twice more to strut our stuff.  During our final performance (we were really getting into it) Virginia noticed a hardhat underneath the piano, so with a wiggle and a dip she scooped it up never losing the beat to the music. With a shimmy-shimmy-shake, the hat was on Kristina’s head. It didn’t stay there long, Kristina quickly removed the hat and passed it back to Virginia who worked it with all she had (thank God neither of us came home with head lice!) We danced around and eventually the hat fell to the ground in a thud as the song ended.  As we were leaving the stage the DJ nodded to the other ladies (we weren’t up there as the main attraction?), then turned to us and took each of our hands and kissed the backs. What gentlemen, these southern boys! Back on the dance floor, we expertly writhed to the music when a fellow drunk came up to Virginia and started to dance. His eyes were half-mast and he could have tipped over at any moment so Virginia saw her opportunity and reached over and took the sparkly beads from around his sweaty neck. As she dropped them over her head he slurred with a grin, “Oooh, I like that!” We giggled and scurried away. Virginia clutching her sweaty prize to her chest as we left.

We stumbled back to the hotel, and fell into bed somewhere around 3am-ish.

The end (for now) 

Friday, June 10, 2011

NOLA Research Trip - Day 1

As GIFT OF BLOOD comes to conclusion, I find myself constantly thinking of book 2 of The Gift series. Since the beginning, the plot has been constantly unraveling in my imagination. A major focal point in the next adventure is the city of New Orleans. So, to satisfy my wanderlust and inspire my muse I recently traveled down south to research and get a better feel for the city

I come back from these trips with such great stories of my adventures and love to share. So, here it is, my first day in NOLA!

Monday 3:30 am:
We were so excited to get to New Orleans (NOLA), but when the alarm clock blared our enthusiasm was lack-luster to say the least. We grudgingly rolled out of bed, threw on some clothes, tossed our luggage in the car, and drove to airport to catch our 6am flight…we were in need of coffee big time.

9:00 am:
We had just landed in Denver for a 30-minute layover and hustled to find our gate. We were a little more refreshed and awake than earlier in the morning, but not my much. Kristina tried to board a plane heading for Reno, NV but was quickly redirected. Our departure gate was hidden just behind the big line of people who were waiting to board a plane to Reno. Back on track, Kristina settled down with the luggage, while Virginia ran to get a bottle of orange juice from an overpriced coffee stand. Our layover was so short that by the time the juice was gone we were ushered onto the next flight. Next stop, NOLA!

1:30 pm:
Our plane landed in beautiful and sultry, New Orleans. We collected our checked bags and caught a cab to our hotel, The Bourbon Orleans Hotel in the French Quarter. When we arrived, it was too early to check in, so we had our bags held at the front desk. We exchanged our shoes for sandals, and then headed out to explore. Our stomachs were starved for real meal since all we had eaten all morning was airplane cookies. The streets were almost empty as we walked around searching out food, and it was quite a challenge to find somewhere to eat on Bourbon Street in the middle of the day. There was a lot of places to quench one’s thirst, but not much in the way of actual food. Finally, we spied a quaint little restaurant tucked into the brickwork, Pat O’Briens Restaurant and Bar. An amiable hostess quickly seated us at a table outside, and we ordered our first Hurricane cocktails of the trip. Our drinks were delivered in stylish souvenir glasses, by our awesome server, Vanessa Carlson, who indecently is also an aspiring stand up comedian. We chatted for a bit and finally she caved to our charm, and sat down with us for over 20 minutes. By the end of our chat, we held a sheet of notepaper covered with suggestions for restaurants and other fun, local points of interest. Our Hurricanes turned out to be unexpectedly strong; what we thought was mostly juice was beginning to cause our fingers and toes to tingle. At that point we were relaxed, loosened up, and frankly, a little silly. Lesson learned, don’t drink a hurricane on an empty stomach; it goes straight to your head. Then it was, back to the hotel room to freshen up and change.

Our first Hurricane; yummy!
5:00 pm-ish
Due to the Hurricane at lunch, the rest of the afternoon gets a little hazy here. There were some paparazzi-like photos taken back at the hotel, jazz hands, a Facebook post malfunction, and probably more events that honestly, we just can’t really recall. We don’t remember where the time went between the hurricanes but we were on NOLA time so, who the hell cared?

Relaxing by the pool.

About an hour later we felt more like ourselves and headed back out of the hotel to explore and get a feel for the city. We walked not even a block down the street from our hotel and were impressed by the towering visage of The St. Louis Cathedral. Cameras in hand, we stopped for a few happy snaps and then carried on. We browsed along the small cobbled streets, looked in the windows of little shops and passed local artists and musicians until we came around to Jackson Square. The street performers in front of the square were AMAZING so we stopped, entranced for a few moments as we enjoyed the eclectic blend of instruments and harmony in the warm and slightly humid air.

Kristina strolling down the streets of the French Quarter

St Louis Cathedral 
After a few songs, we continued our adventure down to the waterfront of the Mississippi River. People were lining up to board a riverboat for dinner and the impressive paddle was churning the river’s muddy water while a horn blew its fury. A little further down the footpath we came upon a park with a pergola and a giant painted Louis Armstrong statue where posed for more pictures. Music notes skipped across the breeze to our ears as a young couple not far away was serenaded by an older trumpet player. The adventure made us hungry, and we were forced to search out nourishment once again. This time however, we had our faithful list courtesy of the best server in NOLA. With a local map in one hand, and the list in the other, we chose the CCL Brewery for its proximity. Seated once again outside in an ivy-covered courtyard. Virginia ordered the crab cake appetizer for her main and Kristina chose the shrimp Po’Boy.

Riverboat on the Mississippi!

Kristina with Louis Armstrong
Virginia with Louis
Some of the amazing street performers and a dancing couple

After dinner we headed back to the hotel to clean up, don our skinny jeans, and paint on our hooker-eyes for a casual night out. We weren’t sure what to expect from Bourbon St, but was ready for anything! Just outside our hotel doors the party was starting, the place was crazy, and it was only Monday night!

Note worthy observations from the non-NOLA-eonite:
• The streets were closed to cars so the drunks wouldn’t get hit and maimed
• There’s nothing but pedestrian traffic, dancing, and drinking in the streets.
• Drinking out in the streets is encouraged as long as you have a plastic cup
• Plastic cups come in many outrageous shapes and sizes and can be filled with varies liquid concoctions.
• Ghosts are cool
• EVERYONE is your best friend (among other things)!
• You can earn beads ANY time of the year, not just at Mardi Gras
• Bourbon St is one big party!

We adjusted to our climate quickly, like veterans, until Kristina saw the police. No cars allowed meant that the officers were clustered around sitting tall in their uniforms on horseback. Quicker than a blink, she ran over and asked one if she could to pet his horsey. It would have been much too easy to let the evening get out of hand so being, reasonable and mature women, we put a limit on our evening’s activities. We sensibly agreed to stay out only 15 minutes longer as we needed to get up early the next morning for our swamp and plantation tours. With curfew was set, we searched out a spot to sit down, relax, and have a drink before we needed to head back to the hotel.

A hint of the Bourbon St atmosphere; note the police on horseback.

An hour later, we found ourselves with beers in our hands at a bar with a live Cajun band. We were innocently enjoyed the music until one of the band members grabbed Kristina and pulled her up to the stage. The bewildered Kristina stood stunned as he outfitted her with washboard chest armor and a pair of bent metal spoons. The man gestured the band in the back that picked up the cue and began to play. When in Rome, or in this case New Orleans, you gotta roll with the punches, so Kristina stroked her washboard abs with the spoons and gyrated around the dance floor as she rocked her new look like a pro. She looked so good up there the band offered her a permanent gig playing back-up washboard.

Kristina on stage rockin' the washboard

Shortly after Kristina’s debut, we stumbled back to the hotel to get our beauty sleep.

To all of my book-loving followers out there, I'd like to give a shout out to Leslie Tentler and her romantic-suspense book Midnight Caller. A writer friend of mine, Pamela Mason, suggested this one to me because of my newfound love of all things New Orleans, and I have to say she was spot on with her recommendation!

I took a sneak-peak through the sample provided on Amazon, and was instantly hooked. Leslie grabs her reader by painting a vivid portrait of the New Orleans I experienced. For a moment, I was back in the garden district feeling the warm, sultry breeze on my cheeks, and then with the flip of a page transported to the French Quarter smelling the nostalgic scent of spilled beer on the street.

I suggest Midnight Caller to anyone looking for a steamy summer read! Take it with you on your own vacation, or crank up the air-conditioning, curl up in your favorite chair, and let the story transport you. I can’t wait to see what happens next! Check out her website http://www.leslietentler.com for more information.

Happy reading everyone and thanks for checking out my blog- Stay tuned for more NOLA fun, it just gets better!

And for those of you anxiously awaiting GIFT OF BLOOD we are editing like crazy and hoping to have more news soon!

Best Regards,
VK Tremain

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Featured on Follow Friday!

I'm so honored to be this week's Follow Friday Author!

The question posed to me was:

What moment has validated you and made you FEEL like a writer? If it hasn't happened yet, what do you think it will be?

There were a few things that combined made me feel like a writer; however, it all started when I sat down at the computer and wrote the first words of GIFT OF BLOOD. The act in itself was so fulfilling and addictive that I began to identify as a writer. As my story continued to develop, my character's world followed suit, and their voices in my head urged me to write on.
My addiction grew with each word I typed. The nail in the coffin was when I started my VK Tremain Facebook page, blog, and Twitter account. By that point I already acknowledged myself as a writer, but through social media I put myself out there. The public would see me as a writer, and I risked rejection and disinterest. To my delight, the opposite happened. I was encouraged! For that, I have to thank the members in the HP Writers Group, who are awesome and wonderfully supportive, as well as the incredible feedback through blog comments and my Twitter and Facebook friends. After so many years of searching, I had finally found my path in my life.
I am content even if I never reach celebrity status or get offered a publishing deal. I am a writer because, quite simply, I write. Some of my earliest memories consist of me curled up, lost in a paperback. My dream is that one-day I will have the honor to pay it forward and give that feeling to other readers. Whether I ever get paid or not doesn’t matter. I write for the love of my characters and for the world that I have created. I write for self-expression, and I write to entertain. Hopefully, one day, I will get that big paycheck that everyone thinks writers receive. I will live in luxury, sipping martinis in my beachfront property as I tap away on my laptop. Hey a girl can dream, right? But in the mean time all I want is to share my love, passion and creativity.
I can't imagine not writing now; it’s a part of who I am.

Want to join the fun? See below for details.

The rules
1) Follow this blog.
2) Follow Elizabeth Sharp, the originator of this hop
3) Follow the featured author of the week, VK Tremain.
4) Go to Sharp words and copy the image code found there and paste it in your blog. Add your name to the link at the bottom of the post while you are there.
5) Copy and paste the rules in your blog, as well as this week’s question.
6) Answer the question
7) Follow, follow, follow. This is about networking, people, making connections with people in your community. So talk to us. We don't bite!
8) If someone stops by, says hi and follows you, the polite thing to do is follow back.
9) Comment here and introduce yourself and you just might find a new follower or two.

Not sure if you qualify? If you have a blog to add, guess what, you’re a writer! So check out the rules, grab the link and join the hop! We’re small for now, but we hope to continue to grow.

Please click the quill logo above to join the Hop and view the spotlight writer, ME! I was humbled to be this weeks featured author. Thanks for following me, and the Hop!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sample Scene from Gift of Blood: Chocolate and Strawberries

Long time no see! I've missed hearing from all of you while I was out in New Orleans researching book two of The Gift Series, title TBD. As I tie up the travel journal for that trip, I thought it might be fun to post a little steamy teaser from book one, GIFT OF BLOOD. Enjoy!

Best Regards,
VK Tremain

**Disclaimer, the sample below contains adult content**

“What would you like to drink? More wine, or something else?” Trevor asked, playing the part of genial host to a tee.
Kate smiled and brushed a stray lock of her long, dark hair behind her ear. “Wine sounds good. Do you want me to help with anything?”           
“Nope. You just sit back and relax. In fact, why don’t you go grab a seat in the living room and I’ll be right in.”
Kate wandered back into the room they had passed through earlier, and then noticed the picture frames littering the walls and bookshelves. Trevor was definitely a family man. She glanced at what she assumed was his brother by way they both looked to the photographer with twin devil-may-care expressions and identical wind tousled brown hair. Her eyes scanned over to another frame on the wall. The subject was a younger Trevor with men and women about his age on a beach barbequing and playing in the surf. Friends, or siblings, she wondered? Her attention gravitated to the bookshelf where she spotted more random pictures. One, in particular, caught her attention. In it, Trevor laughed and played with a huge, loppy-tongued Labrador. She picked it up from the shelf and brushed her thumb across the glass surface, which cleared a line through the dust. The action made Trevor’s smiling face stand out vivid and more intense in the photo. It warmed her that the hard-edged man she had only just met was actually incredibly sentimental. His home was where he let out his softness, and it only made him seem stronger and sexier to her. She understood and respected those qualities in him. Family was important to her, and the woman in her was pleased they shared similar values.
“So I see you met my relatives?” Trevor laughed nervously, “They aren’t as mean as they look in pictures.”
Kate looked up from the picture to see Trevor watching her from the doorway. “No, they’re sweet. They look…really nice.” She gently put the frame she held back on the shelf, careful to place it over the clean, dust-free line where it sat before she had moved it. 
“You weren’t kidding about dessert. I thought that was just a line.” Kate’s eyes lit up when she saw the load in Trevor’s arms.
Trevor smiled, “I never kid about dessert.” He came fully into the room revealing the tray of chocolate covered strawberries in his arms. He crossed over to a seating area, and placed the tray on the coffee table.
“Come. Sit.” He stood and waited for her.
Kate’s stomach flip-flopped when he smiled, and she wondered for the hundredth time that evening if she was in over her head. Nevertheless she went to him. She stopped just a hairs breath away, close enough to smell his aftershave, and to feel the warmth emanating off of his body. She tipped her head back and looked up at him. Dessert could wait.
As if he could read her mind, he took hold of her hand, and pulled her with him to the sofa where as they sunk together into the soft leather. She drew in a shaky breath, eager for what would come next. Every nerve in her body seemed to be awakening at once. Trevor’s green eyes mesmerized her, and the corners crinkled as he slipped something in her hand. A glass of wine.
Jesus! She felt like a teenager at prom. Focus, Kate! She regrouped. Her fingers tightened around the stem of the glass, and she lifted it to her lips for a sip. She wasn’t by any means inexperienced, so why the hell was her body acting like it now? She had to get a hold of herself, and take the figurative ball back to her court. The problem was, even though she had the best intentions of maintaining control, the man was just too damn sexy.
Trevor continued to regard her as he lifted his glass and swallowed what could only be considered a gulp. Good. She was glad to know he was just as effected by her. A little more confident, she shot a coy smile over her glass rim, and then looked down into it’s swirling contents. She watched him reach over and pick up a little remote. With a flick of his wrist, the fireplace burst to life.
Kate arched a brow and said, “I pegged you for the manly build-the-fire-yourself sort.”
Nonchalantly, he shrugged. “This is the only way to go. Just push the button, and insta-fire. But, yea, I miss the old fashion ones. There’s nothing like the sound of a crackling fire, and the smell of wood-smoke in the air.”
Kate’s stared into the fire sipping at her wine for a bit before her attention diverted to a large gold gilded frame hanging above the fireplace. The attractive, older couple in the portrait looked at each other with a love and passion that was rare these days. Trevor looked a bit like each of them.
 “That one is my Mom and Dad on their boat back home. That picture was taken just outside Boston.”
Her focus snapped back to the man at her side. “Is that where you’re from? I thought I picked up a Boston accent.”
Trevor chuckled a little, “I’m from the Cape actually, not Boston, but that’s close enough for a West-Coaster.” He teased. “All of my family is still out that way. I try to get there to visit whenever I can.”
Kate noticed the way his eyes lit up when he spoke of his family, and she was pleased that he was comfortable talking to her about them. It made their situation feel deeper than what it was bound to be. She’d seen a similar glint in them when she met him out at the dig site. They tended to flicker like that when he found something that excited or interested him.
 “How about you, always been a California girl?” Trevor gave her one of his devastating smiles.
“Yup, born and raised.” Kate enjoyed the way the wine trailed heat through her belly, so when he took her glass and began to refill, she made no protest. “I grew up just outside Sacramento. I ended up going to college out in the Bay area, and after I graduated I was lucky enough to land my job at the auction house.” Trevor smiled and pressed the glass back into her hand. She sighed and leaned back into the sofa cushion. “But I love to travel, and as much as I love it back home.” She twirled the glass watching the way the legs crept up the small bowl before sloshing back down. “I’m not opposed to moving, it’s just never happened.” Kate realized she was rambling a bit, so she casually leaned in, and took a strawberry before passing the subject back over to him.
“You must miss the coast. There’s a lack of salt water around here I’ve noticed.”
Trevor nodded his head in amusement, “Yeah, being surrounded by the desert can do that. I do miss home. I miss being out on the Bay. I miss the smell of the ocean, being on the boat, and the lobster.” He groaned, “God, I miss the lobster.”
“Hmm,” Kate reflected. “That does sound good. I’ve always wanted to go, but then, there aren’t too many places off my travel list.”
“You’d like it there. We should go sometime.”
Kate let out a loud laugh, “Sure, why not? Let’s go now. I’m in the mood for some good lobster and a night sail.”
Trevor set his wine down on the table, and appraised her, his eyes smoldered. “Alright, let me pack a few things, we can run by your hotel and grab your bags. Seems like a shame we’ll have to waste these chocolate strawberries, but hell, who cares?”
Kate looked over at him to see if he was joking, but his expression didn’t falter. “You aren’t serious.”
“Yeah, come on. Let’s go tonight.” Trevor sat up, removed her half empty glass from her fingers, and placed it on the table next to his. Deliberately, he leaned in towards her, and slid his arm around her waist. One brow raised in challenge. “Let’s live a little.”
With his free hand, he reached over and picked up one of the strawberries from the tray, leisurely biting into it as he waited for her to reply. The hand at her back gently traced the fine bones of her shoulder blades. She fought the urge to squirm as his hand slid up to the base of her neck. She swallowed, anticipating, as his calloused fingers tucked an errant curl behind her ear exposing her neckline.
Kate sat transfixed by his every move. A droplet of strawberry juice had escaped the corner of his mouth, and was making its way down along the sharp plane of his bottom lip. Her tongue darted out and licked her lips. She wanted to lick his lips, but was afraid to be the one to make the first move. Frustrated by his nearness, she wiggled back into the sofa. Her whole body strained against the urge to press closer to him, all the while, Trevor’s fingers continued to stroke the sensitive skin at the base of her neck. It was impossible for her to concentrate.
She couldn’t quite figure out if Trevor was coming on to her or not. On the surface, the wine and the strawberries made it look pretty obvious, but then again, he could just be one of those sensitive, modern new-age guys. She could potentially commit career suicide if she let herself give into her instincts to jump him. Instead, she chose to play it save and sat there like a lump. She pushed away from him into the sofa cushion, awkward and uncertain of her next move. Ineloquently she replied, “Uh… well, we can’t just go off to the East Coast. And I…”
“I’m teasing, Kate.” He chuckled as he reached out for another strawberry. “But, someday I’ll take you. For now though, how about we settle for some wine and chocolate.”
Kate released the tense breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding and gave him an irritated look.
Trevor grinned and placed the berry up to her lips. “There’s other ways to live, and I feel pretty damn good right now, being here with you.” He pushed the strawberry against her stubborn lips, as he continued to hold the back of her head
“Bite, Kate.”
Intentions had been clarified; he was definitely interested in more than just work. His little game had confused her at first, but now that she understood the rules, she was ready to play. It was her turn to tease now. She opened her mouth tenderly, sucking the berry in with her tongue, slipping and tasting before allowing her teeth to sink in. Her taste buds exploded. She savored the contrast between the tart and sweet flavors of the fruit. Their tension had been building since she laid eyes on him a few days ago, and she hadn’t had this much fun in a very long time. She felt sexy.
Her eyes closed, and she tipped her head back in exaggerated delight, “Oh god. That’s good.”
When she opened her eyes, she saw Trevor’s were fixed on her with a carnal gaze. His grip on the back of her neck loosened, and he shifted his hand up to burry his fingers in her hair.
Kate’s breath hitched. He handled her rough, which excited her, since somehow she knew he would never intentionally hurt her. He pulled her face closer, and tingles rippled down her spine to settle in the pit of her stomach. “Ahhhmm…”
             “Baby, you’re killing me right now.” Trevor’s voice came out deep and gravely. “I’ve been wanting to do this all day.” He leaned down and pressed his lips tentatively to hers. One kiss turned into two, then three… They were tempting little kisses that searched to see if she would want the same.
Kate responded, hesitant at first, it felt strange to be kissing so soon after having made the decision to leave Mark. She felt liberated though, and a renewed confidence spread through her. The raw magnetism that had been drawing her closer to Trevor had pushed aside any doubts, and instinct blindly took over. She never experienced this level of infatuation before with anyone else. Every one of her senses seemed heightened, and she hadn’t realized what she’d missed out on until now. It was almost as if something inside her came to life for the first time just by being in Trevor’s presence. The trip to Arizona had transformed her from someone who accepted her mundane life, into a woman who saw what she wanted and went for it. She was amazed at the change in her and a little heady from her newfound power.
Their mouths continued to move together slowly. When she felt his tongue probe against her lips she opened to him, and he gently came into her. She was lost to the sensations around her. Every taste, touch, and smell was in Technicolor. The sugary flavor of the chocolate strawberries lingered between them as their kisses accelerated from slow and explorative, to urgent and demanding. Her hands smoothed across his thin merino wool sweater, and underneath she felt the hard, toned ridges of muscle earned from working outside on his archeological digs and gym regiment. She yearned for more, her hand moved of its own volition down across his abdomen where it paused on the flat plane just above his pants. A couple of fingers slipped inside his waistband, anxious to make contact with the heat of skin. While her one hand probed his waistband, her other caressed higher across his broad shoulders, gliding up his neck until it seated itself into his thick, cropped hair. His hands stroked down her back in response. Sensations pulsated through her body and took control. Her breasts pressed forward into him, seeking his touch. The movement positioned her so that she was somewhat reclined against the sofa cushion, her body presented in a way that opened her to his administrations. His fingers gripped her hips forcefully, and the next thing she knew she was pulled down before him like an offering. Trevor’s eyes held a mischievous grin just as he slid his hands behind her and grabbed her ass, and pulled her even closer. Once he had her where he wanted, his head bent and his lips located the pulse point of her neck. Kate tilted her neck to the side, allowing him better access so he could lick, suck, bite, or whatever else he desired. A breathless little moan escaped her when his tongue tasted its way up to the spot just under her ear. Her back instinctively arched against his toned chest, her nipples puckered and rubbed underneath her clothing in that good, sort-of-painful way, when he found that spot that made her want only one thing, him.
Kate was completely lost in the connection they shared. Any rational thought was overshadowed by red-hot passion. Throughout her life, she had always been an extremely sensual woman, in tune with her body’s wanted and needs. Right now, all she craved was Trevor.             
Trevor continued to taste her as his hands fiddled with the ties of her wrap-sweater. He grew frustrated with the knot, and growled into her mouth when he met resistance. Kate pushed herself up into a sitting position and took control of the pesky knot, their lips still locked and moving together. Once the ties finally released, she wasted no time. With her arms freed, she tossed the garment aside. Wearing only her bra, she brought her hands to the bottom edge of his sweater, but his hands quickly manacled her wrists.
“No. Let me just look at you for a moment, Baby.”
She could feel the desire from his gaze burning through her. Her dark hair fanned across her shoulders, trailing over her breasts, where her nipples tempted him in a game of peek-a-boo under the black lace that concealed them. The way his eyes feasted on her made her feel beautiful, but she still wanted to see more of him.
Kate pouted, “This is hardly fair. I need to see you.”
Trevor chuckled and let go of her hands, which allowed her to pull his sweater up. She had difficulty pulling it over his head and he quickly took over. The sweater was ruthlessly thrown to the floor next to Kate’s. Without hesitation, Kate delved in, learning and caressing his body.
 “God Kate, you look so sexy. You’re so soft and…” He uttered in an uneven voice as his mouth crushed over hers again. “Mmm, you taste so good.”
 She struggled against his weight to sit up fully. She wanted to be in control, and to have him at her mercy. She placed her hands at his shoulders, and began to push him back against the sofa cushion where she would be at a better vantage to move things along faster. Trevor, however, had other things in mind, and at the last minute he twisted so that she lay under him again, utterly at his mercy.
 Kate purred at his show of dominance. Strong hands moved to her breasts, and he squeezed and pushed them together. His mouth followed the path of his hands, and he kissed a trail down her neck, where he paused and spent time on her cleavage. Teeth gently scraped over her and his mouth moved to bite one of her nipples through the lace. A shock of pleasure vibrated through her body. Bliss quickly overwhelmed her; she hadn’t felt this turned on in so long.
One of his hands moved behind her, and when Kate realized he was moving to her bra clasp, she arched for him. He unfastened the hooks with an expertise she wondered at, and then he threw the lingerie to the side. Cool air touched her nipples, and she writhed into the smooth leather at her back. Her body ached for his touch, and he answered its call. His mouth explored her. His tongue ran circles across and around her hard nipples, where he flicked and teased, over and over again. Her head spun. She was going to explode from all the pent up energy that built inside her. She needed to feel his skin against hers. Her hands ran down his back, and she grabbed his ass. With a pull, she had him crashing down onto her. Her legs wrapped around him and flexed until she felt his erection against her core. He lifted his head for breath and grumbled, “Awe hell Kate…”
She tipped her head forward and returned the assault on him. Her tongue flicked out and laved the nipple that hovered above her. She heard his quick indrawn breath, which encouraged her further. Her teeth tenderly clamped onto the bud and she pulled him into her mouth before letting go to sooth the hurt with a lick. When she felt him tremble, she knew he was fighting to not loose control. Trevor bent and slid his hand between her breasts, down her stomach, and trailed to the top of her pants where it stopped. With a flick of his fingers, he had the fly splayed open and his hand slipped inside over her lace panties. That was exactly what her body needed and craved from him. Her hips responded as they rose to meet his hand. She was so strung out and in need of release that she had become frantic.
A deep rumble of satisfaction emanated from deep in Trevor’s throat as his hand continued to move over her. His mouth scorched lower, and he kissed a slippery trail across her belly until. His lips met the edge of her jeans. When he moved to push the offending garment out of his way, Kate began to wiggle in an attempt to help him to get to her. Her hips bucked beneath him, but her frantic movements skid to a halt when his tongue slid across the sensitive area at her hipbone, and he suckled. The man was pure sin, teasing her like that. She felt his warm breath move across her pelvis, as his fingers continued to explore over the top of her panties. It was impossible to concentrate on anything as his fingers played across the lace directly over her clit. He drove her mad as he pinched, squeezed, stroked and pleasured her. He sent her deeper into an inferno, and his touch made her thirst for more. Almost as if he had read her thoughts, his stokes paused and his fingers edged beneath the lace of her panties and he pulled. A ripping sound rent through the air. She didn’t even care that he had just shredded her new thong; her only concern was his next touch. With the lace out of his way, she felt a finger slip across and through her highly sensitized labia. Her legs widened of their own accord and opened to him. Her primal communication was understood as his finger flicked over the nub at her center, playing a bit before moving down where it slipped and seated itself deep into her warmth. She sucked in a breath at the invasion, and rocked her hips in an effort to push him deeper.
She heard him groan and then a chuckle as he added a second finger. She felt herself fill and stretch around him. He surprised her as he plunged his fingers even deeper. She clutched at the delicate leather upholstery under her with one hand, while the other clung to his bicep as she prepared to ride out the wave building inside her. Unable to articulate her needs, Kate just whimpered in bliss as his hand pumped her.
“Baby, you’re so wet. You’re too damn good.” Kate was quickly loosing control as ecstasy began to take control. Just as her nerve endings were about to give in, Trevor’s touch ceased. Kate groaned when he removed his fingers, and she thrust her hips up to encourage him back. He took that moment to hook each of his thumbs into the belt loops either side of her hips, and in one swift movement, he tugged them down around her knees. He was right, she thought, her pants had needed to go…