The sweeter side of sensual

Archive for February, 2013

Changing Tracks by Sarah Cass

Changing Tracks cover artBlurb:

There’s nothing simple about forgetting your past.

Cole Mitchell runs the busiest saloon and brothel in Dominion Falls. He keeps his women at a distance, unwilling to relive a past he worked hard to forget.

Until the night Jane Doe falls into his saloon bleeding and near death.  She wakes with no memory, only the firm belief someone tried to kill her. In the strange world of amnesia she manages to find solace in Cole’s arms and he finds home in hers.

While they work together to solve the mystery of her appearance, their pasts – her lack of, and his buried – build a barrier between them.

To make matters worse, Jane’s past isn’t willing to let her go. A stranger proves he’ll kill to keep his secrets safe. With those she loves in danger, Jane’s errant memory is all that stands between them and death.  Cole can only do so much to protect her, will it be enough?

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Did the man want to drive her mad? Or just get her to stop crying? Either way, he failed. He just managed to infuriate her again.

“Well, excuse me.” She flew to her feet. “I told you to go and I meant it. I’ll take my chances with the Indians.” Her body went numb the second the words left her mouth.

He tossed her over his shoulder and started back toward the horse. He ignored her beating hands and feet. “Stop acting like a fool. Get on the damn horse.”

“Put me down you stupid son of a—” A shriek escaped. She hit the ground hard enough to jar her teeth together.

“You wanna draw them renegades back with your shrieking, fine. I’ll leave ya to them.”

“Good. Be a heartless oaf. I don’t care. Excuse me for wanting to know more than anything who I am.”

“Just get on the horse or I’ll put you on myself.”

“Don’t you dare.” She stepped back. “You can’t just shut me up and drag me back to town because my emotions bother you. Just because you’re afraid to feel doesn’t mean everyone is.”

He took a step toward her. “You’re getting on my last nerve.”

“Who cares? This? This is not about you. This is about me. I have nothing. Nothing at all but my emotions and I’m damn well going to feel them when I need to.”

“I ain’t dealing with a hysterical woman.” He grabbed her shoulders.

She slapped him hard. “Then leave.”

He froze, his eyes growing dark as his scowl deepened. Grabbing her wrist, he started to drag her, kicking and screaming, the final few feet to the horse.

The moment he stopped dragging, she fought harder. Pounding her fists into his chest, his arms…she even got a few kicks to his shins.

Strong arms wrapped tight around her. Shock silenced her fury.

The moment she calmed, his hold changed. While he still had her pinned tight against him, his hand slipped up to press her head close against his chest. His other arm lowered to wrap around her waist, holding her in an unyielding, but gentle grasp.

A deep, wrenching sob ripped through her at the change and she collapsed against him. The hold she’d fought enveloped her, creating a sanctuary she hadn’t expected. It didn’t loosen. He didn’t tell her to stop. She gripped his shirt in her hands as her tears started to soak the material, clinging to his safety and warmth.

The tears slowed, but they both held on. She relaxed in the strong support his arms supplied. Her composure returned the longer he held her. After a deep breath, she pulled back, the loss of his arms creating a palpable discomfort. “I’m ready to go back.”

He stayed silent until she managed to look up at him. “Good.”


Sarah Cass’s world is regularly turned upside down by her three special-needs kids and loving mate, so she breaks genre barriers, dabbling in horror, straight fiction, and urban fantasy. An ADD tendency leaves her with a variety of interests that include singing, dancing, crafting, cooking, and being a photographer. She fights through the struggles of the day, knowing the battles are her crucible and though she may emerge scarred, she’s also stronger. Changing Tracks is her debut novel, but she’s already ahead of the game with another novel set for release in April. While busy creating worlds and characters as real to her as her own family, she leads an active online life with her blog, Redefining Perfect, which gives a real and sometimes raw glimpses into her life and art.

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Valentine’s Day

As it says in my Twitter bio, I’m a research junkie. When something catches my attention, I can’t help but try to learn a little (or a lot) more about it. Since today is Valentine’s Day, I started wondering about the origins of the holiday. While there seem to be several possibilities for which Saint Valentine the holiday is named after, why the holiday is celebrated on February 14, and how the holiday got its start, there is no doubt that the day is set aside to celebrate love.

With that in mind, and with my brief research into Valentine’s Day, I have to share a quote from an article I found on

One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the
third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men
made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed
marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the
decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young
lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius
ordered that he be put to death.

There is something undeniably romantic about the necessity of a clandestine wedding performed by a priest who is defying the law to join young lovers in marriage. This single historical tibit immediately took my mind to Romeo and Juliet — young lovers who had to meet in secret and defy their families for the sake of love. Their romance had a much more tragic (and fictional) ending than the lovers Valentine married, but the feeling that love cannot be controlled or ignored is evident in both stories.

This Valentine’s Day, show your sweetheart how much you love him or her. What better day for romance than this? If you’re single, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the day as well. Between the chocolate and the romance novels no one will fault you for reading today, that warm fuzzy feeling of love is just around the corner.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Image of two red hearts with gold designs

By Ntametrine (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Sexuality, Media, and Society

I’m sure by now most of you have realized I write sweet romance. I tried to make it as sensual as possible, but there’s just something that holds me back from going “too far,” whatever that means. At times, I feel almost ashamed of being unable to write hotter romances. After all, we’ve all heard the saying “sex sells.” When it comes to romance, especially paranormal romance, this seems to hold true. Unfortunately, that makes it awkward for someone like me who enjoys the paranormal aspects and heart-melting romance, but not so much the sex scenes.

This push for open sexuality can create some rather uncomfortable circumstances, such as the expectation that certain types of romance (vampires, for one) should  include fully described love scenes. Now, I know most women have no qualms about reading sexy romances, but as an author, I have another thought in mind. What if a thirteen-year-old girl gets hold of a copy of one of my books? Do I really want to risk her reading graphic descriptions of sex before she’s mature enough to handle it?

While I know that sounds like a ridiculous concern, think about this. How many women admit to reading their first romance while they were still in middle school? By the time I was thirteen, I was checking books out of the adult section of my local library. With that in mind, I can’t ignore the very real possibility that my books could end up in the hands of girls who are too young to deal with hot content. Then there are my personal beliefs, which also guide the heat level of my writing and apparently make it impossible for me to write smokin’ hot romances.

But American society as a whole seems to be pushing girls to be sexy and explore their sexuality at younger ages all the time. You shouldn’t have to teach elementary kids about safe sex. I still remember when requiring sex education in all high schools was somewhat controversial. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against hot romances for mature audiences. I just want to protect the vulnerable minds of preteens and teens who are trying to navigate a world that tells them, “You have to be sexy, even if you don’t understand it.”

Along with the push to make girls and women into sex objects is another conflicting message presented to society through the media. Girls and women are supposed to be sexy, but if they get caught being sexy, watch out. Your reputation will be dragged through the mud, especially if you’re famous. And it doesn’t even take much to cause an overblown, guilt-inducing scandal. A recent post by Sarah M. Anderson on Heroes and Heartbreakers does an excellent job of detailing this weird phenomenon of pushing for more sexiness while shaming any woman who gets caught doing anything close to that (even if it’s accidental). This paragraph in particular does an excellent job of summarizing the confusing world we live in:

Everywhere we look, young girls and women are told they must be sexually available, sexually ready at all times—but when they act on that (or, in the case of Janet, Kate, and Anne, exist near it) they are held up as examples of sin embodied, everything that’s wrong with our sex-obsessed culture.

Check out out the whole article, which is excellent, and share your thoughts on this topic. Do you think women and girls are being shamed for doing what society tells them they must? Is the prevalence of sex in romance novels helpful or harmful? Let me know what you think!