Saturday, December 20, 2014

#TheVixen Remembers Our First Venture in Publishing #poetry #inspirational

Ho ho ho! We're celebrating the third anniversary of the first book we published here at Sassy Vixen Publishing. This collection of poetry detailed the author's journey to find her happily ever after.

Who is this author? It's me! The Vixen! 

That's right. For those of you who don't already know it, The Vixen is me, Tammy Dennings Maggy. There are a few other people in this wide web universe who call themselves Vixen, but this name has been mine since 2009. It was given to me by an old friend and it stuck. One of the poems in this collection has that name in it and it was in April 2012 when I rolled out the Sassy Vixen Publishing blog and in December 2012 I was a member of Four Seduced Muses as The Vixen.

Even though the four muses disbanded and went on to other projects and collaborations, I kept the moniker and continue to post as The Vixen in all of my blogs and those of my pen names. So if you see "The Vixen" anywhere else, look closely before you assume it's me. When in doubt, come back here to this blog or the website and you'll find out all the latest from me and my alter egos.

Back to the reason why we're here today...

Follow Me: Poetry from the Heart and Soul continues to touch hearts around the world. I had thought to take it off all other vendors and go exclusively with Amazon for the next three months so I could see how it would fair with the borrows in Kindle Unlimited, but then I looked at my stats for Oyster and Scribd and determined it wouldn't be worth it. Besides, this collection is only 99 cents. For a buck you can read all  about my journey through major life changes, heartbreak, betrayal and finding true love with my soul mate. 

I wrote like a mad woman during the two years leading up to the publication of this book. It was my salvation and escape from all the turmoil around me. I went through a divorce, reconnected with an old flame who then in turn committed the ultimate betrayal and left me with a heart I thought would never mend. I had hit rock bottom of the abyss.

When I thought there was no other way out, one person found me and lit the way so I could crawl my way up into the light again. He never pushed me, only encouraged me to keep fighting for my heart and soul. He never promised me he would fix everything or even try, but the simple act of being my friend and there if I needed him was enough. Through the struggle, we found love with each other...a love that had always been there and now is burning brighter every single day.

That's what it's like when you find your soul mate—the one you were promised to from the beginning of time.

Yeah, I know that sounds sappy to many of you, but it's the truth. It's the theme I have in all of my books...under all pen names. Whether it's the dark fantasy monster erotica I write as Tawny Savage, the romantic suspense from Stephanie Ryan, the wildly fabulous menage a quatre from Lia Michaels or the sizzling Now and Forever series as Tammy Dennings Maggy all will have soul mates find each other once they've found themselves again.

I've used the poems in this book as wedding vows in For the Love of Quinn and The Surrender of Julia. An entire series is devoted to this poem I wrote in the airport waiting for my flight home. Only four months prior, the old flame mentioned earlier in this post had broken his promises to me and went back to his on again, off again girlfriend. She had tossed him aside so many times before but when it looked like he had wanted to move on, she swooped in and dug her claws back into him. It didn't matter that she would dump him again at the time this poem was written. It didn't matter that he came crawling back into my life and continued to drain me of my self worth and confidence. He still continued to keep her in his life.

The Vixen, The Witch and The Daemon

Here is the tale of two Witches: one Dark and one of the Light
Both vying for the heart of the one called The Daemon.
Who he chooses in the end will determine his ultimate fate:
Be lost forever to the Evil One in the Dark
Or be reborn again into a love that burns forever bright.

The flame-haired Witchy One with eyes of jade
Cast her spell to control the Mighty Daemon.
Using Dark Magic she transforms herself
Into someone familiar he could not resist
But different enough so he could not see the trick.
Her spell only lasts just so long
But no matter.  
Alcohol helps to hide the truth:
She is only using him and relishes in the torture
Of his heart and soul.
The more he is in pain, the more her
Black heart beats with delight.

She demands his undivided attention. 
Isolates him from all he loves 
And all he knows: children, family and friends.
This occupies her days and her nights
Until something else comes along to distract her.
Then she casually tosses him out into the cold
Lost and alone…
No where to go.
So easy for his Dark Side 
To emerge and take control.

The Daemon is lost once again.
Forever searching for the one who calms 
His mind and his soul.
The one who helps him forget 
The Darkness that is waiting to take him back
To the hell he endured before…
Made him the killing machine in the Great War.

Lady Fate steps in once again, 
Angry that someone has dared 
To interfere with her plan.
She distracts the Witchy One 
With the very lust and selfishness that 
Give her spells their power…
Only if The Daemon drowns himself with the spirit
Of the vine and of the grain will the spells endure.
The Lady does all that she can to temper his thirst
But that is one desire she cannot control.
The Evil One laughs at her attempts
But she succeeds enough to give her Champion
A fighting chance.

The Vixen’s inner fire burns bright
With the help of the Goddess Fate.
It calls The Daemon home once again.
This time he clearly sees and is drawn to it
Like a moth to a flame.
He is surprised at who he finds 
At the end of the light.
She was once not The Vixen
But long ago was another: shy, sweet and innocent.
The Love he feels for her now bursts forth
Reminding him of innocence lost…
The One he used to be when near her…
The One he locked away when he thought he lost her.
But here she was once again…
Able to break the spell cast by the Dark Witch.
Vixen’s magick, strong and bright
Cleanses his soul and it all feels right.
No longer alone.
He is finally home.

But the Evil One wanted The Daemon to fall, 
To be back under his complete control.  
He sent his Minion Witchy One on another mission
To do his bidding.
In return she would get everlasting youth:
Her hearts desire and only wish.
She could care less where The Daemon ended up
As long as she could stay anything but sober…
As long as she kept getting what she wanted…
She would deliver The Daemon on a silver platter: 
Whole or in pieces.

The Goddess’s Champion Vixen was heartbroken and lost.
A love that burned forever bright tossed aside
But she was not allowed to be free.
How could this be?
The Daemon still clung to her
Wishing for a life filled with love and peace…
Still unable to break free of the Black Magick 
That bound his soul.

The Vixen allowed him to hold on 
At the cost of her sanity.
This delighted the Evil One.
He wanted to hurt her as well…
Afraid of her Light and Magick of Old.
For she was more powerful than any realized…
Save the Goddess Lady Fate.
 The Vixen was to save the Daemon
From the torture he had always endured.
She was to wipe away the glamour
That the Green-eyed Witch had cast
So he could finally see:
The evil, twisted being he had thought he loved
Was all an illusion…
A Dark Magick creation.

It’s never too late to turn and follow the Light.
Many others are drawn to The Vixen’s beacon…
Taking them away from the Evil One…
All falling for and offering their love
To Lady Fate’s Champion.
But The Vixen with eyes the color of the ocean
And hair kissed by the Sun, 
Forever burns for The Daemon…
Steadfast and true…
With a love that has endured through 
All the pain and sorrow, 
Through heartbreak and rebirth
Through a thousand and one lifetimes.

The Daemon’s eyes are now fully open.
He is finally free of the Darkness 
That has gripped his soul.
He now knows what his heart has known all along.
It has and will always be
The Vixen
Who’s love would set him free.

©Tammy Dennings Maggy
12:05pm 2/26/2011
Las Vegas

Before you ask, no the old flame never broke free of the witch even though she continued to turn on him again and again. How did he get through all of her betrayals? He kept reaching out to me and pulling me back down into the despair that clouded his world. Here's another poem in this collection that begs him to make up his mind.

Why Can’t You Let Me Go?

Why do you hang onto my heart
Even though it can’t take another blow.
You say you love another so
Why can’t you let me go?

You choose someone else to be by your side,
And to me this is nothing new.
Yet you still cling to me and what we could have had
When more often than not
She leaves you sad and blue.

Once again you claim you love me
And with the other one you are through.
 But within a matter of hours
She’s back in your bed…
Proving once again to me
That you’ve lied and messed with my head.

Why can’t you let me go?
You still find ways to keep in touch
But no one else can know.
You claim to the world
you are with the one you love
And no one else will do.
 But you still keep our bond a secret;
Making sure she doesn’t get suspicious
Or have a clue.

Why can’t you let me go?
Stop promising me our time will come.
You have no intention of leaving her,
But you keep pulling me close
And then brutally tossing me aside
After promising me
That I am the one always on your mind.

Why can’t you let me go?
There are so many more questions
You left unanswered and I need to know.
What did I do to deserve this emotional blackmail?
Where along the way did I fail?
I trusted you with deep heart wrenching secrets
That I had locked away and thrown away the key.
I let you in, bared my heart and soul
And for a while I truly felt
Like I had been set free.

Free to finally love the man
Who held my heart for all of these years.
But I was wrong to trust you…
Because all I have left from you
Are pain and tears.

Why won’t you let me go?
You told me you never would hurt me like this…
And yet you continue to do so
With each passing day.
You won’t let me have peace.
You never let me have my say.

Why won’t you let me go?
If the love you feel for the Witchy One
Is so strong and true,
Why did you work so hard to make me believe
When you said “Vixen, I will always love you.”

Why can’t you let me go?
Is it because you know we are meant to be?
Are you afraid of losing the chance
To finally be happy with the one
Who has loved you from afar?
Or is it just a game
To keep me chasing after you,
Waiting for you to call while you are out
With her at the local bar?

Why can’t you let me go?
My heart needs to be able to mend.
By holding on like this
You are not acting like my friend.

Why won’t you let me go?
If you are done with me
Stay away.
Stop pulling me into the drama.
Maybe it’s time you did some soul searching
And decide whether or not
You should believe in Karma.

Why can’t you let me go?
The answer is plain to see.
Your heart won’t let you be at peace with her
Because it knows you long to be with me.

©Tammy Dennings Maggy

So what happened? Did he let me go or keep trying to have his cake and eat it too?

For the answers to those questions and many more, you'll have to read the poems. Follow along as I work through it all to finally end up with the man I had dreamed of since I was a little girl.

Follow me...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

UPDATES from @SassyVixenPub #erotica #RomanticSuspense #Bigfoot

Welcome back to the Sassy Vixen Publishing blog. We've been going through a lot of changes and as a result, the release dates of the next three of our books have to be pushed back.

We're in the process of moving our entire base of operations to Washington. In the meantime, all the edits are moving forward. The delay will come when it's time to format the manuscripts for publication on all of the retail sites. Our computers will be in transit during the time we would normally be completing the formatting. As soon as they're all up and running again, we'll be back to work.

We'd like to thank you all for your patience and continued support during this exciting time for us. We'll be sure to post any updates and new release dates for Tawny Savage, Stephanie Ryan, Lia Michaels and Tammy Dennings Maggy as soon as they're finalized.

Until then, we'll leave you with one of our favorite songs...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Another #Cover Reveal: New #Erotic #Anthology Coming Soon

Welcome back to join us for another celebration. We've been hard at work on our new covers. You got to see the cover for Stephanie Ryan's debut romantic suspense Dangerous Medicine. Now we're thrilled to share the latest.

In March, we announced we were in the planning stages for a summer anthology to follow up with the stories started in the Christmas anthology and introduce a few others. Unfortunately, the original line up broke apart and as a result, the Christmas anthology was pulled from the market. You'll find those stories released in other publications. For Sassy Vixen, that meant we needed to find new homes for two tales in Sweet, Sultry and Oh So Taboo.

Now is the time for the summer anthology to take flight. Included in this one will be three erotic tales to take you over the edge  and into glorious ecstasy. Lia Michaels brings back her popular Candy Kisses menage a quatre in "Sweet Surrender". Tammy Dennings Maggy brings two tales. The first is a prequel to The Surrender of Julia (Now and Forever 3) called "Bound in Paradise" and the second is the prequel to the vampire erotica Kayne Legacy series called "Curse of the First Born."

All of them are in the final writing stages and in edits as you read this. We hope to have this one out by the end of September. To hold you over until then, here's the cover...

That's it for now. We'll post more updates on the new release dates as we finalize them. Happy Reading!

The Vixen

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cover Reveal for a new #Romantic #Suspense by @StephRyanAuthor

Welcome to the Sassy Vixen Publishing blog. Today we're joining with author Stephanie Ryan in celebrating the new cover for her debut romantic suspense Dangerous Medicine.

We've featured the first six chapters of her novel in our latest anthology Sweet, Sultry and Oh So Taboo, but this cover reveal if for the complete story. She wanted to incorporate a Michigan sunset as well as a steamy couple and this is what our cover artists came up with for her. She's thrilled and so are we.

The editors will have this one in their hands within the next month and our tentative release date is at the end of October. We thought that would be a great time since that's when Dangerous Medicine starts out. 

Enough of our gabbing. Here's Stephanie's new cover!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

*99¢* Celebration from all @SassyVixenPub Authors #taboo #erotic #sweet

Welcome back to the Sassy Vixen Blog! We're celebrating today after receiving long awaited news. We will be relocating to the Seattle area now that Mr. Vixen (CEO Michael Smith) has now officially retired from the US Coast Guard. The Vixen received word of veterinary positions open in that area so everything is a go!

In hour of those changes, we've made quite a few here at SVP. You may have already noticed the price drop in our smaller/shorter works. After attending seminars at RomCon, we determined that 
99¢ would be our price point for the following works:

Forbidden Destiny (Fearless Love) by Lia Michaels
The Courtship of the Vampyre by Tammy Dennings Maggy
Follow Me: Poetry from the Heart and Soul by Tammy Dennings Maggy
Brigid's Blessing (Bigfoot Chronicles 1) by Tawny Savage
Bigfoot Claims His Mate (Bigfoot Chronicles 2) by Tawny Savage

Now those are permanently set at those prices across all retail outlets. We're happy with the new pricing, but it wasn't a big enough celebration. 

So as a special event for the next few days, we're lowering the price of Sweet, Sultry and Oh So Taboo from $3.99 down to only 99¢. Next week the price will jump back up, so if you want to get your copy now at the low price, you need to grab it now!

The “Sweet” from Stephanie Ryan’s Dangerous Medicine (M/F): Detroit based veterinary surgeon Miranda Jacobs puts her fast-paced career on hold in order to be with her family at her brother's bedside. It's on the way to the hospital that she literally collides with Detective Jake Martinelli. Sparks fly between them, and Miranda finds herself fiercely attracted to Jake even though she knows very little about him. 

The “Sultry” from Tammy Dennings Maggy’s Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (MF): Coast Guard Steve Sanders is called to assist a sinking vessel. His pregnant wife Jolene waits for his return when the rescue mission has goes horribly wrong. Will a miracle bring him back to meet his wife under the mistletoe? 

The “Taboo” from Lia Michaels’s Have a Naughty, Naughty Christmas (MFMM): Candice, Alexander and Gabriel own Candy Kisses, the place to be in Detroit. The business partners have kept their desires hidden. When a wealthy playboy extends an offer that allows them to indulge their wildest fantasies, they embark on a very naughty Christmas. 

You don't want to miss this one! We'll be releasing Stephanie's full novel by the end of the year and Lia's Candy Kisses Gang will be featured in our next anthology out in the fall. I know we promised both of those books earlier this summer, but with the upheaval caused by the move, we've had to put those projects on hold until we get settled. We don't want you to be disappointed in a story that's not done right!

Until next time,

Friday, June 13, 2014

#FridayFantasy: A MEASURED RISK by @NBlackthorne is 99 cents! #Rubenesque #Erotic #Regency

Happy Friday the 13th! Today is extra special because we're helping our friend and fellow erotic romance author Natasha Blackthorne celebrate the special sale of the first book in her Regency Risks series. 

A Measured Risk is only 99 cents starting today and through midnight Sunday June 15th. You don't want to miss this one, especially if you love Regency Historicals. 

Summary of the book details: Erotica Romance ~ Light BDSM ~ Rubenesque / BBW ~ Regency Historical ~ Shy Heroine ~ Novel Length 86,000 Words . Contains graphic erotic descriptions and frank sexual language. As a work of historical romance fiction, A Measured Risk is not intended to be an accurate portrayal of modern BDSM lifestyles.


He is her most dangerous temptation, the only man she has ever trusted and now he is demanding her submission. Dare she take the risk?

Emotionally scarred in the horrific accident that took her husband’s life, Lady Cranfield is imprisoned by her lingering terror of horses and carriages. She longs to be closer to the fascinating Earl of Ruel, as she senses intuitively that he might be able to teach her how to overcome the terrors that hold her in bondage.

And now she’s willing to risk almost anything—her reputation, even her virtue—to find out. 

But what Lord Ruel proposes startles her.
When the shy, studious and socially awkward young widow approaches him, Lord Ruel instantly senses she will be the sweetest, most submissive experience of his life—but first he must gain her complete trust. Lord Ruel makes Lady Cranfield a non-negotiable offer: His help in return for her submission and obedience.

But Lady Cranfield grew up neglected by her ducal parents, raised by servants and then later ignored by her handsome, charming husband. She’s learnt to protect her heart at all costs and she trusts no one but herself.

How can the jaded Earl of Ruel break through Lady Cranfield’s self-defences and show her how to love when he himself has spent his life avoiding that tender trap?


She backed all the way into the bookcase.

“Why did you run away?” His deep voice settled in her belly, rich and warm, like crème brûlée on a cold winter’s night.

“Because I wanted you to follow.” She tried to sound sophisticated and seductive, but her voice choked off on the last word.

Ruel placed his hand on the shelf above her head and blocked her path to the door. His tall, solidly muscled body leaned over her, surrounding her with the sumptuous, sinful scents of tobacco, Scotch whisky and something masculine and undeniably dangerous. A slow, sensual smile stretched his hard mouth.

He appeared different. Softer. More approachable.

At the change, her insides seemed to flip over.

“Well, sweeting, getting us off alone was a very inspired idea.” He touched one of her fallen ringlets. “I am bored to distraction with endless talk of hunting and fencing.”

As he slowly wrapped the curl around two fingers, he brushed her collarbone. Fiery sparks tingled down her spine, so intense that she shivered and her nipples beaded, pressing against her stays. By some instinct she hadn’t even known she possessed, she arched her back, presenting herself for his assessment.

His eyes shone so vividly blue against his bronzed face that they resembled cornflowers. She swallowed tightly and wished for a long drink of claret. This more personal side of him suddenly seemed far more hazardous than his usually fierce exterior.

Well, no matter. There was nothing to fear. She would allow only as much contact as need be to get to know him a little. Since being torn from her lonely yet secure life in Ireland and thrust into Society at age sixteen, she’d spent her time allowing people only as near as was comfortable. She was an expert at emotional evasion.
It should be easy to regain her control.

But now, as rays of the late-afternoon sun played over his pale hair, turning it the colour of winter wheat, all her carefully rehearsed words flew from her mind.

Say something—anything—else he will think you’re a bird-wit.

An intimate smile, one that invited her to play, tugged at his mouth.
“In a situation like this, alone with a gentleman, it’s perfectly normal for a lady to feel some apprehension.” His hushed voice, barely audible above the piano and boisterous singing from down the corridor, accentuated their isolation. His gaze became so piercing that she had to lower her eyes. 

He brushed his fingertips over her cheek. “She will invariably ask herself if he will try to kiss her.”

She jerked her eyes back to his face. God, he couldn’t mean to—not yet, surely… Peculiar, heated chills swept over her. She tried to take a step back, but found her arse flush against the bookshelf.

He leaned closer; so close that his Scotch-scented breath tickled her face. “And just in case you are wondering, Lady Cranfield—the answer is most assuredly yes.”

She should demand that he put his arm down so she could pass by and leave. She really should. But she couldn’t stop looking at his hard mouth and wondering what it would feel like upon hers. He was so close to her that his breath blew on her lips. If she moved but a fraction, she’d be kissing him.

Kissing him.

Dear God. Her breaths began to come very fast and short. Her throat went tight with a suppressed moan.

His eyes burnt as brightly as aquamarines. He looked so fierce. If he kissed her, if he dared… Oh God, it would be so harsh. That cruel-looking mouth could express itself no other way.

Excitement rushed through her, sending tingles to every point of her body, even her toes.

But no, he wouldn’t. Not yet.

He kept leaning closer. He didn’t close his eyes. Instead, he seemed to focus all the harder upon her.

Her heart pounding, unable to move away, she braced herself for his assault.

His lips brushed hers, barely. A gossamer caress.

He lifted his head.

It was done.


And it hadn’t even begun.

He held her chin, appearing so cool, so unaffected. His kiss had seemed to sear her. An urge to put her fingers to her lips arose in her. She resisted it, for it would give away too much of how she was affected.

Never show your feelings.

He traced his thumb along her lower lip, slowly, deliberately, as he studied her with eyes that now glittered with something powerful and predatory. Heat pooled in her pelvis, low and spreading even lower.

She went weak all over, as if she’d lain in a sunny window seat for too long. Her knees almost buckled. She forced them to lock. To be strong.

It should not have affected her so profoundly. It had been just a peck—not a true kiss at all. William had poured out all of his skill upon her and hadn’t garnered even a tenth of the reaction in her that this man’s peck had.

Ruel traced her jaw line with his fingertips. Unthinkingly, she leaned in to his touch.

“Of course, once he has kissed her, then it’s his turn to wonder…” 
His voice sounded unnaturally loud in her ears. “How will she respond? Will she withdraw, or can he ignite some hidden fire?”

She sensed that he was toying with her. She didn’t understand flirtation—why had she imagined she could carry off this ruse? Was he making advances in order to have a laugh with Francesca and her simpering friends later? Hurt blossomed in her chest. She resented him for that. She ought to feel indignant, superior, uncaring—anything but hurt.

“Please don’t make sport of me.”

She cringed. Was that quavering, pleading voice really hers?

An infinitesimal pause. “Now, why on earth would I do such a thing?” His voice was as smooth as velvet.

“To please your vanity,” she replied, trying to regain her wits.

“Here.” He placed her hand to his chest. The contours of his muscles were hard, powerfully developed. Even more so than she’d expected. His body heat radiated through the satin and, beneath her hand, his heart’s beat was rapid and strong.

“Is that vanity?” He put a finger under her chin, giving her no choice but to face him. “Is it?” He gentled his grip.

The warmth in his voice settled over her like luscious hot chocolate. Melting her insides to quivering burgoo, rendering her speechless, unable to move.

“My dear, lovely Lady Cranfield, I am going kiss you again.”

Buy Links


Escape into the past with intensely erotic, emotionally driven love stories. Natasha Blackthorne writes character-focused historical erotica romance featuring strong internal conflicts. Her stories are most frequently about the intimate journey of the characters as they learn to open their hearts to love.

Her heroines are not perfect ladies. They are wildflowers and wallflowers who enjoy flirting with the forbidden. Whether they are bold or shy, her heroines’ strong desires and deep emotions drive the plot and drive their heroes to the point of no return.


Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. The giveaway is open to all current USA residents who are aged 18 or older. Please fill out the Rafflecopter below. By entering to win, you are stating that it is legal for you to enter such contests where you currently reside. Giveaway ends: 12 AM Eastern Time on June 30, 2014.

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Friday, June 6, 2014

#FridayFantasy: Sensuous Promos Presents a CONTEST and Book Tour for #ALCHEMY by Author Serena Fairfax #erotic #romance

Welcome to Friday Fantasy here at Sassy Vixen Publishing. This week we are part of another fun book tour with Sensuous Promotions. Siren author Serena Fairfax has a new interractial erotic contemporary romance titled Alchemy. Continue reading to find out more and make sure you enter the contest! ~The Vixen

Welcome to Sensuous Promo’s Alchemy Book Tour.



Set against sun-drenched Lake Garda, church mouse Tamsin Heriot, an English rose, pairs off with privileged Luca Leopoldo di Monte Valli, who’s half Italian, half Somali. But Luca isn’t what he seems… Orphaned at seven when his childhood in Mogadishu is brutally destroyed, Luca is left emotionally broken. Ragged and starving he seeks refuge in Italy where kindly aristocrats adopt him. 

Ever since she was fifteen, Tamsin has had a crush on Luca and the summer before she goes to university, she’s determined to lose her virginity to him.

It’s eight years before their paths reconverge. Tamsin, still lusting after Luca, receives devastating news that triggers her return to the dilapidated family casa, and fate steps in when an unexpected bond develops between her and Luca’s widowed, adoptive mother. But a strange inheritance alters what started as a dalliance. There’s no shortcut to love, and with everything to lose, the relationship between two wounded people, Luca and Tamsin, is pushed to the breaking point.

Excerpt PG rated

I am eighteen, going on nineteen and have never been fucked. Tamsin morosely hummed her thoughts to the tune of Liesl and Rolf’s duet in “The Sound of Music” as she gazed at her reflection in the lopsided, oval bedroom mirror that scorching August day. The interior walls of La Casa della Fontana sloped, the floors listed, so straightening the mirror, in the crooked little house of the nursery rhyme, was routine. This grandly named, spectacularly moldering house in a picturesque village on Lake Garda had been snapped up by her bohemian parents, Patrick and Eve Heriot, on the back of a legacy from a crusty uncle, and it was from here that, for the past twenty-five years, they ran year-round painting and creative writing courses.
Tamsin’s first year at university beckoned in six weeks’ time. Below bold brows, large, gold-flecked hazel eyes set in a plump, milk-fresh face stared back at her and she sucked in her cheeks. She peeled off her nightie (courtesy of a thrift shop, her wardrobe mainstay) and sighed. Her luscious boobs owed nothing to silicone implants but her tummy was majestically rounded and there was no avoiding it. She was a dumpling who couldn’t afford liposuction.
Her spirits boosted as she brushed her hair. Licorice-dark, thick and glossy, it tumbled to her shoulders in loose curls. He would surely throw her down and lose himself in it. And those deep dimples when she smiled, which she’d almost forgotten how to.
The three graces—her trio of close girlfriends, all lissome and nubile with antelope legs, all clones of the hottest models—had been fucked, or so they bragged. Fucked by their brothers’ buddies, fucked by their fathers’ buddies, fucked by studs in one-night stands. Fucked against library shelves groaning with texts on particle physics, fucked in the swimming pool, fucked knee-deep in mud at Glastonbury, fucked on the hallowed green grass of Glyndebourne to the shrill vocals of Brünhilde wrapping up the immolation scene. There was no doubt they’d fucked and she claimed likewise, although disbelief was palpable and vociferously voiced when, with narrowed eyes, they compared notes. Well, this summer she’d get fucked, by hook or by crook. Her summer of love. The summer Cinderella would go to the ball. She refused to go down in history as the only virgin fresher.
She had a plan. A plan that had simmered gently all night after she’d masturbated whilst poring over “Bonking For Tyros” and munched her way through two bags of prawn-flavored potato crisps. A plan she would implement at once.
A party of five couples was expected that evening on a week’s course. Patrick and Eve with Tamsin’s brother Gareth, six years older than her would, as usual, meet and greet them at the Milan airport, herd them onto a minivan and, after two hours, speed proportionate to vehicle’s decrepitude, puttering down the autostrada, decant them at the casa. Nine-year-old Ruby, Patrick and Eve’s last hurrah, was vacationing in style in Ibiza, with her best friend Isla, at the hip, minimalist beach house owned by Isla’s family.
It was ten a.m. and Tamsin heard a rumble of bickering voices as the Heriots left. The minivan was temperamental, so plenty of time was allowed for mishaps. Tamsin was delegated to stay behind to lay the well-scrubbed, rough-hewn communal refectory table, to ensure the pre-cooked meal was properly defrosted and heated up and the wine was chambray-ing. That was an affectation of Gareth’s, since the Heriots could afford, and served, what could only be politely categorized as easy drinking.
She glanced down at the plan, although she’d no need to as she’d memorized it by heart.
Change bed linen and sprinkle lavender water.
Flash the flesh.
Buy condoms and new knickers.
Rehearse Luca pretext.
Ah Luca! Ever since she was fifteen, she’d had a crush on him. Her head swarmed with fantasies of the scion of Il Principe Salvatore Leopoldo di Monte Valla and Principessa Catarina. He, godlike, was sole heir to the noble title and extensive agricultural land holdings, to the sumptuous Leopoldo palazzo in Milan where masterpieces in oils by Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio and El Greco hung in proximity to canvases by Impressionists, Cubists and Fauvists. Comprising one of the most fabulous private art collections in the world, it was on loan to the Italian government. And few dynastic families in Italy possessed the twenty-four carat pedigree of the Leopoldos, who counted among their ancestors the Chief Treasurer to the Emperor Barbarossa, a Pope, a composer, two saints and Renaissance Ambassadors.
Yes! Tamsin swiftly executed items one and two, painted her finger and toenails a shimmering Chinese red, slapped a flash of azure on her eyelids and whirled down to make breakfast. Contemplating the third homemade roll with lashings of salty butter and gooseberry jam coursing through her arteries, she hesitated.

About Serena

I spent my childhood in India, qualified as a Lawyer in England and joined a large London firm.

Romance is hardwired into my DNA so my novels include a strong romantic theme. However, I broke out of the romance bubble with one (you’ll see which one when you visit the Books page), which is a quirky departure in style and content.

I've also authored several short stories that feature on my blog

Fast forward to a sabbatical from the day job when I traded in bricks and mortar for a houseboat which, for a hardened land lubber like me, turned out to be a big adventure.

Apart from writing and reading (all kinds of books), a few of my favourite things are collecting old masks, singing (in the rain) and exploring off the beaten track.

I'm a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, which is a very supportive organisation. My golden retriever, Inspector Morse, who can't wait to unleash his own Facebook page, and I divide our time between London and rural Kent. (Charles Dickens said: Kent, sir. Everybody knows Kent. Apples, cherries, hops and women).

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