Laura Bellamy is a rising star at her San Francisco company. She is smart, beautiful, professional, respected, and driven to succeed. Unfortunately, the greater her success grows, the more her husband’s insecurities are revealed. The couple has been married only three years since busy Laura took a chance on finding love on an internet dating website.
But once the honeymoon ended, the more she tried to make their marriage succeed, the more Greg’s true colors stained their crumbling relationship. He is jealous, paranoid, and cruel. Adding to their pressure-cooker marriage, he focuses his insecurities into pressuring his wife to start a family and give up the career that makes her happy.
Laura has worked with the same company for longer than she’s known her husband. In that time, not only has she loved her career, she’s also enjoyed her friendship with Mason Paladino: a fellow executive who is witty, sophisticated, and a bit of a goofball who sports a gorgeous swimmer’s body. For too long, the friends have suspected they share romantic chemistry, but neither will break their vows. If the right conditions present themselves, will they act on their simmering desires? Would it be wrong to deny their love? Can Laura trust her heart to show her the right path after failing miserably with her husband?
When Greg’s insecurities push him over the edge from cruel to criminal, will Laura stay, or end the toxic relationship? And if he catches her with a new man, how far will his anger drive his actions to tear them apart?
Find out what happens to Laura and Mason in book one of the Sultry Tides series by Cindy B. Wells.
She turned toward Mason and approached him slowly as she dragged her fingers along the edge of the air hockey table. “I bet I could kick your ass in this game,” she challenged before winking at him.
“You can try,” he teased. Mason loved her competitive spirit.
Laura stood before him as he switched off the lights. “Hmm. And what are you doing now?” Laura asked with a sultry voice. Standing in the darkness, he kissed her softly as he pulled loose the bow on her robe’s sash. His fingers slipped under the material and trailed along her clavicles and back along her shoulders until the robe fell to the floor around her bare feet.
He tugged at his boxers until they dropped down onto his feet. He stepped on top of the small scrap of clothing.
Laura wrapped her arms around his neck as he grabbed her ass. “Are you ready?” he asked between kisses.
“For what?” Laura sounded dreamy.
He kissed her again and reached over to the handle on one of the French doors. He opened the door and cold air stung their bodies.
“For this!” he said. Laura squealed when Mason swept her off her feet and into his arms. She was trying to muffle her laughter and avoid attracting the attention of neighbors as he trotted across the back yard. “Oo, oo, oo,” he complained. “Yikes, it’s cold out here!” he whispered loudly.
“Exactly! Where are you taking me?” she giggled.
"The final "battle" for Laura had me reading faster. The cliff hanger has me looking forward to the next book. If you like books full of sex, Hard as Mason is for you. This book is not for the prudes." ~J. Wallace
WILL YOU HAVE A NEW BOOK COMING OUT SOON?
The plan is to have the second book in my Sultry Tides series published by winter 2014. If I told you about it, I would be giving away what happens to Laura and Mason. As well, the print edition of Hard as Mason will be released soon.
HOW HARD WAS IT TO COME UP WITH CHARACTERS?
Developing characters is one of my favorite aspects of being a writer. As I write a story, I can see the characters in my mind and they become these living people with a voice of their own. (Damn, that sounds a bit psycho, doesn’t it?) As I write them into the story, the stronger the character, the more they carry the scene along as I write. In a way, it’s like being an actor who gets lost in their character. When the character feels excited, emotional, fearful, sad, lustful (my husband likes that one), and so on, I feel those emotions. Like those actors, I can become so invested in the characters it takes a while to step out of those characters swimming around in my head.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?
1) Always carry a small notebook and pen with you, or have these items handy. I keep a notebook in my purse, in my car, by my bed, and too many other spots in the house. I keep notebooks handy like the little girl in the movie “Signs” who left glasses of water everywhere in her house. You never know when that great idea is going to pop into your imagination.
2) Never go to sleep before writing down an idea that has been simmering in your imagination. Turn on the light and jot down the idea. Nearly every time I told myself I would remember the next day that super idea would be gone by morning.
3) When you are finished writing something, always read it aloud. This simple task helps tremendously when you edit.
4) Write, write, write. The more you write, the easier the process.
5) Never give up your dream, but have a backup plan that doesn’t include winning the lottery.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE/LEAST FAVORITE PART OF WRITING? WHY?
Favorite: Creating new stories and bringing small ideas to life on the page. Least favorites: the lousy income for working writers (worse than most any teacher’s pay—yes, when you are offered 10 cents per word, you are not being paid well), marketing books, and my mother’s impatience when my books don’t become best sellers within the first five minutes after they are released.
WHAT WAS THE BEST WRITING ADVICE THAT SOMEONE HAS EVER GIVEN TO YOU?
If you haven’t read Stephen King’s On Writing, then stop what you are doing (after you read my book) and go read it. Not only does King offer an interesting memoir, he provides wonderful advice. The one bit of advice I found most helpful was when he suggested it should take no longer than one season to write a book. This makes perfect sense when you consider how your writer’s voice changes over time as it is augmented by added practice. Write the damn thing already, and then go edit, edit, edit. That said, Hard as Mason took nearly six weeks to write before editing began.
TELL US YOUR MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCE SINCE BEING PUBLISHED?
I write other genres as well as romance. When my writing helps someone make it through a difficult time in their life or realize they are not alone, it makes me feel like I’ve done something positive.
WHAT IS ONE BOOK YOU WISH YOU HAD WRITTEN?
To Kill a Mockingbird. On a side note, my mom is visiting from South Carolina and I just asked her to respond to this question. She said, “The bible. Then everyone would read it. But I might have changed a few things. How about stone a man if he screws around instead of stoning a woman.”
DO YOU EVER EXPERIENCE WRITER’S BLOCK?
I have written for newspapers for many years, so deadlines make it nearly impossible to have writer’s block; those slow moments train you to focus on your story and continue working. Actually, working under deadline seems to help my stories flow. If I am experiencing writer’s block, generally, it’s because I’m searching for the perfect word. I consider myself to be a collector of words (and books about words). Moreover, I find semantics to be a delight. If I had to compare myself to a painter, finding the perfect word is like an artist choosing or creating the best color for their canvas. And until I find the word that is just right, the distraction can throw off the flow of a story. I’ve learned to insert any word until I can go back and edit. You might say, the tip of my tongue is weighed down by an enormous amount of words.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO COMPLETE YOUR FIRST BOOK?
My first book (not a romance novel) is still being written, and I’ve been writing it for too many years. It’s becoming like that first batch of pancakes that never turns out well. Periodically, I pick at that book’s carcass, pull out pieces I like, and then create a new story around the original.
DID YOU ALWAYS KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER? WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?
Yes. I wrote my first long story when I was 9 years old. I brought it to my mom to read, and once I saw her positive reaction, I was hooked. I view writing as a way to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. As I began reading more and more, I knew I wanted to write stories that would come to life in the reader’s imagination. John Steinbeck, for instance, taught me how to create engaging characters while Jack London taught me how to show a scene. As well, writers such as Dean Koontz and Michael Crichton revealed how to create tension and twist reality.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO WRITE EROTICA?
It’s fun…and feels good—‘nough said. Want more? Read my book.
DO YOU WORK WITH AN OUTLINE, OR JUST WRITE?
It depends on the type of story. Usually, when I get a new idea, I’ll jot down the general story so I don’t forget where I want the story to go. The simple idea tends to grow and the characters seem to lead the way, but I’m more of a “jot down the notes on small pieces of paper” kind of writer. The notes remain next to my computer, and I toss them out as I use the ideas.
About the Author:
Cindy B. Wells considers herself to be a romantic at heart. She enjoys creating steamy stories that are intelligent, fun and sexy with strong characters and new discoveries. Oh, and food…because what goes better with romance and love than spectacular cuisine? Therefore, you can expect to find some of her favorite restaurants and particular dishes in her stories.
A San Francisco native, Cindy has been a professional writer for many years. She splits her time between the San Francisco Bay Area and the place she likes to call home: the coastal community of Carmel, California (both areas are featured on her Pinterest boards). When she’s not writing or reading, Cindy enjoys traveling, camping, sailing, painting, swimming, wine tasting, baking and, of course, spending time with her family.
Immediately upon freeing herself from an abusive marriage, Laura is swept off on a romantic weekend with her lover during which they have copious amounts of sex and share the kind of corny flirting only found within a budding relationship. Wells evenly balances the sex scenes with the narrative in this story, describing both in exquisite detail. As such, Hard as Mason could practically double as a travel guide for the San Francisco/Monterey Bay area as well as an erotic novel! The sour turn of Laura's marriage starkly contrasts against the loving relationship she is building with Mason, almost to the point where it was hard for me to transition between these two elements of this story. Regardless, this dichotomy adds a level of excitement to Hard as Mason which wouldn't have been possible otherwise.
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