Howdy, folks! Today, y'all get to read an excerpt from Jove Belle's newest book, Love & Devotion. But wait! There's a giveaway, too--with fantastic prizes. Here they are:
• 5 e-copies of Love & Devotion by Jove Belle
• 1 signed paperback copy of Edge of Darkness by Jove Belle
• 1 signed paperback copy of Split the Aces by Jove Belle
• 1 signed paperback copy of Indelible by Jove Belle
• 1 set of 4 wine charms (heart)
• 1 set of 4 wine charms (cowboy boot)
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All righty then! On to the excerpt.
Over Easy was over-full when KC finally arrived, fifteen minutes late and without her makeup. Maybe Trina wasn’t totally exaggerating when she complained about how much time Buddy took up. To be fair, though, Lonnie’s phone call and Emma’s departure had distracted her.
“About damn time.” Kendall thrust a menu into KC’s hand before she could even sit down. She dropped the menu onto her plate to keep from dropping Buddy on the floor. Kendall expected KC to be able to juggle children and the rest of life with the same proficiency of Lady Madonna. After all, Kendall balanced a marriage, three kids, and a law practice without breaking a sweat. The least KC could do was show up to breakfast on time prepared to order. “You look like shit.”
KC settled Buddy in his high chair and gave Trina, then Kendall a kiss on the cheek. “If this is how you’re going to treat me, I’m going to start inviting Mama. Then you won’t be able to get away with swearing at me in public.”
“Are you saying you wouldn’t look like shit if Mama were here?” Kendall was a litigator. KC had yet to win an argument with her.
A glass of water and orange juice waited in KC’s place at the table. She drank half the water in one go. “I love whoever ordered this.”
“Did you order my breakfast, too?”
“No. And here comes Roxy, so stop talking and start deciding.”
“Hey, girls. You ready?” Roxy held her order pad like a weapon, ready to discharge at a moment’s notice.
“I’ll just have toast. And an egg for Buddy. Scrambled.” Trina handed the menu to Roxy without opening it.
“Jesus, Trina, you’re supposed to be eating for two,” Kendall said.
“Rox, give me the ranch breakfast. Eggs over hard, bacon, and can you put some gravy over the hash browns?”
“Toast or pancake?”
“Pancake.” KC had a craving left over from Emma’s breakfast.
Roxy nodded and turned toward Kendall.
“Sheesh, KC, you picking up the slack for Trina?” Kendal sipped her coffee. “Can I get the fruit platter?”
KC and Trina regarded one another, then turned toward Kendall.
“What? My suit was a little tight this morning. Too many Sunday dinners with Mama.”
The sisters nodded and Buddy banged his spoon against the table.
KC segued. “Speaking of…I won’t be there this coming Sunday. Don’t let me forget to tell Mama and Daddy.” Not that KC planned to see either of her sisters again before then.
“Why not?” Trina took the spoon from Buddy and gave him a package of saltines.
“He had some Cheerios this morning,” KC said.
Buddy chewed on the cellophane wrapper until Trina took the crackers away and gave him the spoon again. He blew bubble kisses against the back of it.
“I swear,” Trina wiped his face with a napkin, “he’s like a tiny little spit factory.”
“What about words? His mouth produced any of those yet?” Kendall asked.
“No. And Jackson is getting impatient.” Trina’s shoulders stiffened, and she took the spoon and set it just beyond Buddy’s reach. “He wants me to take him to a specialist.”
“That’s ridiculous.” Kendall spoke in her lawyer voice. Good luck to Jackson if he ever mentioned that plan in front of the family protector. “He’s only two.”
“Besides, he said a word this morning.” KC hadn’t intended to bring it up. Trina wasn’t likely to be impressed when she heard about her son’s near-death experience involving KC’s bedroom furniture.
Trina stared at KC, her mouth open slightly. “What? What did he say?”
“He said wow,” KC answered, still not sure she should be volunteering the information.
“When was that?” Trina didn’t look convinced.
KC smoothed Buddy’s hair. “Oh, you know,” she gestured vaguely, “this morning.”
“I don’t know why Jackson is worried about it.” Kendall took up the conversation. As the oldest sister, she also had the most experience raising children. “Melissa started talking before she turned two, but Emily had barely started when Winston was born.” Emily was three when her baby brother was born. The family joked that she started talking specifically so she could welcome Winston to the family.
“I told Jackson that, but he isn’t satisfied.” Trina paused, her brows drawn together in a thoughtful frown. “And I’m sorry, KC, but one word uttered out of earshot won’t help. If Jackson didn’t hear it, it didn’t happen.”
Kendall shook her head. “That man is a fool.”
Trina didn’t respond to Kendall’s disparaging remark. Instead she asked, “Why won’t you be there Sunday?” It was an impressive redirect of topic.
“I’m going to Austin with Emma. She’s taking a job there.”
“Well, give her my congratulations next time you see her. I’ll have my assistant drop a card in the mail,” Kendall said.
“Doing what?” Trina had dark circles under her eyes, and KC wondered if Kendall had told her she looked like shit, too. Trina had managed makeup, so Kendall probably gave her a pass.
“What’s up with the full face, Trina?” KC made a sweeping circular motion in front of her own face.
“Oh.” Trina touched her fingers to her cheekbone and winced. “I haven’t been sleeping well. Foundation and cover-up are required before I venture into public.”
Kendall stared at Trina a beat longer than normally considered polite, her head tilted to the side in contemplation. Finally she sipped her coffee and turned toward KC. “What was the job offer?”
“I’m not entirely sure. Something at an affiliate news channel.” Emma had studied journalism in college. She had designs on production. The details were more than KC could keep up with, but that was true of any career outside of teaching.
“Fabulous news.” Trina didn’t sound excited, just tired.
“You know, I can keep Buddy for the day. He and I get along just fine.” Lonnie would absolutely kill her if she canceled this afternoon, especially after turning her down this morning. But what kind of sister would she be if she didn’t at least offer to help?
“If you’re feeling lonely, little sister, you can take my three any time you want. Mel gets out of school at two forty-five, and you can pick up the other two from daycare right now if you’d like.”
Roxy delivered their food. She’d been waiting tables at Over Easy since her parents opened the restaurant when she was twelve and knew how to do her job without being intrusive.
“Thanks, KC, but Buddy has a doctor’s appointment this afternoon. He can’t miss it.” Trina set the egg in front of Buddy and helped him grip the spoon the right way.
“I can pick him up afterward.” KC stirred the gravy into her hash browns. If she was going to say to hell with her waistline this early in the morning, she wanted to be able to taste her extravagance in every bite.
“He’s getting his two-year-old vaccinations. You won’t want him.”
Kendall snagged a piece of bacon from KC’s plate. “It’ll be good for her. Let her take him.”
“Your fruit’s not going to help if you eat your fill off my plate.” KC buttered her pancake and then spread blackberry jam over the top.
“Just you wait.” Kendall speared a chunk of melon and jabbed it in KC’s direction. “Eventually you’re going to have a baby or turn thirty. Then we’ll see how much you’re laughing.”
“Fat chance she’s going to have a baby.” Trina nibbled her toast.
“And why is that?” KC bordered on scandalized. Trina avoided all talk of KC’s sex life like it was a plague of flying locusts. “Being a lesbian doesn’t render me incapable of reproducing.”
Trina shook her head and kept eating her toast. She didn’t comment further.
Kendall took up the challenge. “Biology 101. Makin’ babies requires sperm.”
Trina nodded. Kendall smirked. Buddy threw a fistful of eggs. KC rolled her eyes. “They sell that stuff. Hell, I can order it off the Internet and have it delivered straight to my door.”
“Really?” Trina’s eyebrows just about climbed off her head.
“Pssshh.” Kendall was not impressed. “You can get it delivered straight to your vagina for free if you do it the old-fashioned way.”
“Yuck.” KC set her fork down. “You’re going to ruin my appetite.”
“I call dibs on your bacon.” Kendall stole the remaining piece.
“You want babies, KC?” Trina asked quietly.
“Of course.” KC hadn’t really thought about it. At some point she’d have a family of her own. It was just the order of things. “Why wouldn’t I?”
Trina shrugged and gave her half-eaten piece of toast to Buddy.
“Really?” Kendall looked like she wanted to say more. KC prayed she wouldn’t.
“Really.” KC tucked into her hash browns before Kendall could target them next. Silence was her best option with the direction the conversation had turned, and keeping her mouth otherwise occupied was the best way to stay quiet.
She tried to picture her future with Lonnie. If she focused on imaginative sex, Lonnie worked fine. The second her musing switched to anything that spoke of longevity in a relationship, Lonnie disappeared from the scenario. Emma hovered in her mind, but she wouldn’t fool herself into thinking her relationship with Emma equaled anything more than friendship. They had no future together. KC put away her uncertainty and focused on the day ahead. She might not know her path to contentment, but she didn't expect to find it over breakfast either. She sighed and took another bite of her breakfast.
END OF EXCERPT
What Love & Devotion is about
KC Hall loves her family, her small East Texas town, and her best friend, Emma Reynolds. All of that takes a backseat when her lover beckons. Lonnie is blond, beautiful, and willing. She’s also married and a lifelong friend of KC’s mama.
KC knows the affair is a bad idea, but she just can’t help herself. When presented with the lush landscape of Lonnie’s body, KC subscribes to the philosophy of “orgasm first, think later.” Unfortunately, a secret that big is impossible to keep in a close-knit community where everybody knows everybody else’s business. The scandal would hurt her entire family.
Emma is KC’s exception, the one woman she loves enough to not have sex with. When Emma confesses that she’s loved KC since high school, KC is terrified. One wrong move and she could lose Emma completely.
Is she willing to let her family pay the price for her good time? Or will she turn to Emma to discover the true meaning of love and devotion?
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Jove Belle was born and raised against a backdrop of orchards and potato fields. The youngest of four children, she was raised in a conservative, Christian home and began asking why at a very young age, much to the consternation of her mother and grandmother. At the customary age of eighteen, she fled southern Idaho in pursuit of broader minds and fewer traffic jams involving the local livestock. The road didn’t end in Portland, Oregon, but there were many confusing freeway interchanges that a girl from the sticks was ill-prepared to deal with. As a result, she has lived in the Portland metro area for over fifteen years and still can’t figure out how she manages to spend so much time in traffic when there’s not a stray sheep or cow in sight.
She lives with her partner of twelve years. Between them they share three children, two dogs, two cats, two mortgage payments, one sedan, and one requisite dyke pickup truck. One day she hopes to live in a house that doesn’t generate a never ending honey-do list.
Incidentally, she never stopped asking why, but did expand her arsenal of questions to include who, what, when, where and, most important of all, how. In those questions, a story is born.