I know. I know. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything. Sometimes life wants to drop its honey-do list on you and it forgets you’re only one person. But I’m finally caught up and here again, getting ready for the 4th of July and all those fireworks displays. I love fireworks! They’re one of my most favorite things in this world and I just now realized I still have a bag of leftovers from the time me and my co-workers slipped behind the rent paying job to set them off between truck check ins? I wonder if they still work. Mmm, might have to find my lighter and test a couple…

But before I accidentally blow up my Hello Kitty 4th of July t-shirt wearing self, let me go ahead and finish this post.

Other things I love this time of year besides 4th of July fireworks? Thunder and lightning, strawberries, the ultimate summer read, and the possibilities of a summer romance hotter than the temps outside. And guess what people? I found two out of four on my list in one steamy trade paperback — Best Lesbian Romance Of The Year, Volume 1, edited by Radclyffe. Before you open to the first page, the cover emotes all the delicious parts of the season — laying back in greener than green grass with the perfect partner, lazily waiting for the sun to set and the fireworks to fill the warm night sky.

Best Lesbian

Because I’m in the final days before the publication of my first erotic romance novel, I’m feeling the romance buzz going through every pore of my skin and filling every cell of my body. Radclyffe’s introduction to Best Lesbian Romance makes note of all the steps in a romantic novel journey — the meeting, the barrier, the attraction, etc., and the stories in this anthology make you feel each one like a slow tease. I loved Axa Lee’s “Some Nudity Required” where a studious bookworm meets a woman who slowly draws her out of her shell with delightful results, Tasmin Flowers “Red Velvet Cake” where the heroine almost misses her chance with true love when she thinks the object of her affections has another, and Elizabeth Black’s “Like A Breath Of Ocean Blue” with the steamy attraction between its heroines that made me stop and read the story again before continuing. So grab a bottle of champagne and a quart of strawberries and use this book as foreplay to create the best summer ever.

by Elizabeth Black

Each weekend when she stormed into my life, I swore I would make a move on her. I flirted and blushed at her every word. I often had her favorite coffee waiting for her when she came in — black coffee with Kahlua. Sometimes I plied her with a cherry cheese Danish. She loved cherries. Each time she smiled at me with gratitude I melted inside. She seemed to enjoy my attention, but could I be sure she wouldn’t balk if I took a step further? I feared she’d recoil from me in disgust.

But what if she didn’t?

She kept me company in the store on Fridays and Mondays, and she occasionally even helped me fold T-shirts the tourists had tossed into a heap on the floor. The longer we kept each other company, the more I wanted her.

This day, I was determined to maker her my own, if only I would stop chickening out! I wore my most flattering miniskirt and my favorite white cotton blouse. I dabbed ocean-scented oil along my throat, behind my ears, between my breasts, and I smoothed it through my hair. I had to look and smell my best for when I gave Malena her big surprise. My July Fourth gift to her burned a hole in my pocket. I would give it to her when the moment was right. It was an offering to a goddess in the hope she would approve and cast upon me the affection I so desperately wanted.

When she burst through the front door it was like a zephyr had entered, disrupting even the air around her. At the sound of her laugh, my body tingled as if her honeyed voice dripped down my skin. I wanted to lick her off, slowly.

“Katie, my Kate! Help! I’m going to drop everything!” She approached me, arms burdened with grocery store bags. I grabbed a few in one hand, carrying my coffee in the other, and followed her up the stairs. The scent of seaweed and ocean air surrounded her as if she burst from the sea itself. Her bum swayed as she climbed the stairs. It took all my willpower to keep from reaching out and squeezing one ample cheek.

The upstairs was a study in shades of cream and sea foam that offset Malena’s tan. We raced to the open kitchen and dropped bags on the marble counter. She tossed food into the refrigerator pell-mell, which was her style. Malena was not a neat woman. Her life, like her spirit, was chaos. Without wasting a moment, she rummaged through the last bag until she found a bottle of Kahlua and a quart of heavy cream. This wasn’t heavy cream from the grocery store. It was thick and mouth-watering heavy cream from a local dairy. Malena did not skimp on the second deadly sin.

“A treat for us!” Her smile brightened the already white-bright room. “Kahlua for your coffee and a Kahlua and cream on ice for me.”

“Isn’t it a little early for alcohol?”

She touched my cheek, leaving a flame of desire on my skin in her wake. “Of course it is. That’s why I pour it in your coffee. The perfect breakfast pick-me-up.” Without waiting for an invitation, she grabbed my coffee, removed the plastic lid and poured in a healthy stream of Kahlua.

I could make my move on her now if I wished. Embrace her after she handed me my coffee. No, I can’t do this. It’s better she never know how I feel about her.

“I can’t stay. I have to get back downstairs.”

“Nonsense. The shop doesn’t open up for another hour. How long does it take you to set up? Ten, fifteen minutes? No rush. You’ve locked the front door, right?”


“Then stop worrying about it. Drink.”

She handed my cup to me, and I sipped. The smoothness of Kahlua mellowed the bitterness of my coffee. Malena was right — a little alcohol in the morning was a lovely pick-me-up. It also calmed me down. Why not enjoy backing in her presence for an hour even if I didn’t so much as brush my hand against her cheek?

“How does it taste? Better?” she asked.


Without warning, she ran her finger along the corner of my mouth. I shivered at her unexpected touch. My heart soared. Was she flirting with me? I hoped so!