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Netgalley Prerelease Reviews

Awakening will soon be available on Netgalley for prerelease reviews. If you’re not on Netgalley but are a reviewer and would like an ARC for Awakening, please contact me at Sydney@SydneyHolmes.com
 
 

Cover reveal

Check out the hot new cover of Awakening designed by Karen Windsor-Worrel at KWW Design LLC

Awakening coming in June 2014.

The Cocktail Party

I love people. I love listening to their stories, hearing about their lives, and joining their adventures. However, I’m a party participant fail. I’m great one on one and I love hanging out with a group of people. But, what I haven’t mastered is the cocktail party.
 
In fact, I have a long history of silencing parties. And by that, I mean the entire room goes silent trying to figure out how to recover from some social gaff I have just committed. So I’m a little wary of these events.
 
My first major social blunder was actually in the presence of a famous person. At the ripe old age of 22, I somehow got invited to Betty Friedan’s house for a cocktail party with dinner to follow. My husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) and I were thrilled to be in such company. We arrived to an intimate group of about ten guests, mostly women. Let me just say that they loved my husband. He charmed them with his stories of life abroad and his work in the new and upcoming environmental movement. (Yes, it was a long time ago).
 
I was perfectly happy listening to the conversation and thoroughly enjoying the stories he was sharing. However, all good things must come to an end and sure enough some poor soul decided to try to bring me into the fold.
“And what is it that you do?” She asked me.
“I’m getting a master’s degree in education and teaching preschool.” I responded proudly.
 
The room became perfectly still as thundering silence filled the air. For a long, excruciatingly slow 60 seconds no one said a thing. And then there was a grunting noise from somewhere in the room followed by someone asking my boyfriend another question about his life. I guess it made sense that being a preschool teacher didn’t live up to the aspirations of a room of hardcore feminists, but the reaction was more in line with my having admitted to sleeping around. Now that I think about it, sleeping around might have been better received as it would have shown the strength of my womanhood. Oh well, like they say, know your audience.
 
After a long line of similarly painful events, I declared myself unfit for large social gatherings most especially the cocktail party. But last year my husband declared that my moratorium needed to come to an end. We quickly found ourselves on several invite lists for parties and events. The first one was an outdoor event with lots of people I didn’t know – a perfect place for me to get my feet wet. It went smashingly well. I even found myself flirting with two men while my husband was occupied with business contacts. Ha, teach him to leave me alone a party!
 
After that screaming success I thought I was ready for the big leagues, the cocktail party. My husband was a little worried as we approached our first one, after all we knew people there and he didn’t want to offend them. He squeezed my hand as we walked up. “Don’t worry.” I told him. “I got this!”
 
Did I silence the room? No. Did I somehow offend the people around me by answering some random question incorrectly? Not at all. Will I ever go to a cocktail party again? No. Why you ask – well I’ll tell you. About mid way through the sip and chat portion of the evening, I found myself in the middle of a discussion about the benefits of apple cider vinegar.
 
Apple cider vinegar seemed like a pretty safe topic so I joined the conversation and listened to the advice the nice lady was handing out. I learned that apple cider vinegar can cure all kinds of things, stomach problems, toe fungus and vaginal itching.
 
Excuse me? Did I hear that right? Did that woman just say vaginal itching really loud in the middle of this cocktail party? Yep. She did. Um, is this happening to me? I looked around to see if anyone else was reacting to our bizarre conversation. No one seemed to have noticed. And then I started laughing. I couldn’t help it; this was too much! I can’t answer a question about my teaching career without silencing a room, but this woman can discuss the details about the best douching solutions right here in this room and no one bats an eye?
 
That’s when I knew. I knew that it wasn’t really the topics of discussion that got me in trouble, it was just me. I barely held it together during that fateful night and had to bite my cheek to keep from laughing out loud hysterically. When I finally extracted myself, I feigned a call from my kids and hid in the bathroom trying to recover.
 
The good news is that I did not commit social sin and silence the room – progress! The bad news? I don’t think I will ever master the art of the cocktail party. But after the last one, I’m good with that.

You Know it’s Fiction When….

I read a lot and a few months ago I ran across a rash of books where the heroine surprises her boyfriend by waxing. This got me curious. See, I’ve waxed my legs before so I’m familiar with the concept: the painting of hot wax on your legs, the pressing of cloth on said leg and then the ripping of said cloth off your leg along with all your hair. It hurts. And that was just my leg.
 
But still I wondered, could you really get your hoohah waxed at two in the afternoon and then unveil it to your new boyfriend at nine that night? I remember my legs being pretty pissed off by the experience and I just couldn’t wrap my brain around the idea that my nether regions would not react the same.
 
I decided that I needed to check this out. The first thing I did was start asking around. My friends are pretty used to me asking some pretty strange and random questions, but this was a little…. out there.
 
“So, um hey, I got a question for you. Do you wax your JJ?”
 
I’ll admit it took me awhile to find the right person to spring that on. But I did and much to my surprise she said of course and then implied that I was out of date for not already doing it. (Humph…. So I’m a little slow with the current trends.) She did say that it was a little painful in the beginning, but after a few times it was no big deal.
 
Now I just needed to find the right place to try it. I saw a new salon pop up in a mall just outside of town advertising “Brazilian Waxing” so I stopped in and made an appointment. I had to work really hard to keep a straight face when I told the receptionist the type of service I wanted, but she just wrote it all down and took my name and number. No big deal.
 
The day my appointment came I was nervous so I cleared my morning schedule, took a nice long shower and wore loose pants. (I did do a little internet research, I’m not totally behind the times.) Arriving nice and early, I sat in the reception area and waited to be called.
 
Imagine my shock when an acquaintance of mine showed up and reintroduced herself to me. At first I thought maybe she was just there for services, but it soon became clear that she was, in fact, the esthetician. Alrighty then!
 
With my head held high and my shoulders back, I followed her to the back making small talk while desperately trying not to panic. Luckily she was super cool about the whole thing and soon I was relaxed and joking about what a small world we all live in.
 
And then she asked me to remove my clothes.
 
“So, how’s your husband?” She causally asked while I settled on the table.
 
“Good. You know, busy with work and the kids. He’s been traveling a lot.” I answered staring at the ceiling.
 
She stopping stirring her concoctions on the side table and adjusted my legs in a triangle with my feet touching.
 
“Okay just leave them just like that and try not to move.” She instructed. “Now this isn’t going hurt. I can tell you’re nervous. Don’t be.”
 
I gave her a tight smile. Then she took a popsicle stick and spread hot gooey wax just over my pubic bone. Wow! It was a lot hotter than I thought it would be. I took a deep breath in and held it. Then she took a cloth pressing down over the hot wax and I knew what was coming.
 
“So, how are the kids?” She asked.
 
“Oh the kids are greattttt!” Holy mother of God. She just ripped that right off my skin!
 
“Yeah. Up here is going hurt a little bit. But not bad, right?” She asked me reaching for more of the hot goo.
 
“No.” I said, my voice a little higher than normal. “No. Not too bad.” My skin was stinging like crazy.
 
She then repeated the process along the sides, each rip causing more sweat to break out and my heart rate to skyrocket. And this is how it went: she would spread hot wax, press that damn cloth on me and then rip it off, all while asking me inane questions about my family, last year’s summer vacation, work and school. And I would answer them in between screaming obscenities.
 
At this point I wasn’t sure how much more of this I could take so I almost asked her to just do the bikini line. But here’s the thing, that’s not how I roll. It’s go big or go home – all in.
 
She switched from purple wax to green wax. This stuff was even hotter than the purple wax. And it felt heavier, gooier, way more serious. What I learned was that when it dries it forms a hard outer layer that you can just rip off along with all your hair—no cloth needed. But remember, she is now painting the inside lips of my hoohah.
 
“Well congratulations.” I told her and she looked at me confused. “You have now touched me in places no man ever gone before.” She started laughing. She was nice like that.
 
So now I’m lying on the table, my legs in that triangle shape, my feet touching, with green goo hardening along my beaver. Side note please – I’m not a shy person; I’ve had babies and got over that years ago. But this? This was kinda awkward, even for me. She starts telling me a long story about her boyfriend. The story goes on and on and every once in a while she tugs on the wax and then goes back to her story. The longer we wait the harder it gets down there. It’s starting to feel like those mud masks we all did in the eighties. Ya know the ones where as the mud dries it shrinks, tightening the skin underneath it. That’s what my cooter was doing, shrinking underneath a thick layer of wax.
 
Finally she checks the wax one more time, tugging pretty hard.
 
“Holy Crap!” I scream, my hips coming up off the table. “Oh. My. God.” This is going hurt. Everything she told me was a lie. This is going hurt like a motherfucker. I’m out. I’m done. Experiment over.
 
She looks at me a little concerned, “Well sweetie, we got get this off of you. Here hold on to this.” She says handing me a towel. I yank the towel from her hand bringing it to my mouth and bite down.
 
I can do this! I’ve had two kids, three surgeries, and countless injuries I got this.
 
“One, two, three.” And she rips.
 
Now, I must pause here and formally apologize to all the poor people at the salon that day. I screamed so loud and used so many obscenities I think I even scared my self. Even with the towel in my mouth I’m sure they heard every word that came barreling out of me.
 
And then she ripped off the other side.
 
So, back to my original question, Can a heroine get a wax at two and surprise her boyfriend at nine? Not on your fucking life.
 
I came home and sat on an ice pack for two hours. My pootang looked like it had some horrible rash disease for three days and I wouldn’t let my husband touch me for a week. It was that bad!
 
So just remember it’s fiction! But hey, that’s why we love it.

Coming Soon

Shoot The Moon
Paradise Awaits
Midnight's Breath
Red Skies At Night