Sunday, June 19, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

This week I'm doing my six from my recently released A Second Chance (available at MuseItUp Publishing

Divorcee, Christine Rollins just wants to get on with her life. Unfortunately her family and friends have other ideas and try to fix her up with every widow, bachelor or divorced man they know. Especially her daughter. After returning from a visit with her son after the Christmas holidays, her daughter introduces her to a man that Christine finds difficult to resist.
Just when she becomes comfortable, her ex husband returns and wants a second chance at their marriage.

      Before she had a chance to reply, the outer door closed, and he disappeared. Flustered

and fuming at the man’s audacity, she turned, only to meet Kelly’s open-mouthed stare.

      “Who was that?” Kelly hurried toward the door and looked out as if trying to catch

another glimpse of him.

      “That,” Christine whispered, “is Uncle Steven.” She put the lunches on the shelf,

knowing Kelly wouldn’t let her rest until she heard the whole story.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Welcome, Deb Riley-Magnus

1: Thank you so much for being here, Deborah Riley-Magnus.
First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?

Wow, I’m not sure I even remember! I’m not a spring chicken and I recall, way back in the sixties, reading Taylor Caldwell novels and loving them so much I started writing stories. I still have binders full of those hand written stories. During my twenty-odd years of working in the advertising, marketing and communications industry, I wrote constantly, but that was brochures, press releases, radio and television commercials. I didn’t actually begin seriously writing and focusing on it as a career until about eighteen years ago when I left advertising and became a culinary chef. During my breaks, I’d think of ideas. I worked from ten in the morning until ten in at night in the professional kitchen then I’d run home, make a pot of coffee and write until the birds started to chirp.

2: A chef, how interesting. So, tell me, Deborah, what inspired you to write?

What always inspires me is the “what if?” There’s no reinventing the wheel and it’s true that there are only five or six plots in the whole world. The only way I get inspired is when I can look at mythology or standard accepted truths and simply say “why can’t I do it completely different?” That’s when a story comes to life for me. I’m inspired by the alternative possibilities for events, characters, and plot. I’m not exactly experimental; I follow all the grand genre rules. I just like to show the world a little askew of what we’re used to.

3: Oh, I love the “what if” factor too. What do you like the most and least about writing?

I love getting lost in the writing, even when I’m not physically writing. I love when the ideas take form while I’m cleaning the house or grocery shopping; I love how they develop when I’m washing clothes or taking a walk. I love most that writing goes on ALL THE TIME. What I like least about writing? That writing goes on ALL THE TIME, lol. There are moments when I’d love to just experience something without my mind floating to one of my characters and wondering how they’d feel about the situation. Maybe I need a shrink?

4: Oh, that’s so true. I think all writers experience the same thing. That’s what makes us writers. Then what do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

Seek a good shrink. No, what I love to do when not writing is cook and entertain and of course, read, read, read.

5: I enjoy reading also. Which authors do you like to read?

Too many to list. Love Barbara Kingsolver. Love Sara Gruen. Love Charlaine Harris. Love non-fiction business and history and self help books. It’s an eclectic list and far from complete.

6: A very diverse list. What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

That I strive to find a different way of seeing the world, telling stories and teaching success techniques. That would make me happy.

7: Great! Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

Cold in California is an urban fantasy about a double dead vampire with a problem. See, he’s been given one last chance to earn heaven and this poor, confused dude has to do it while living out purgatory in a West Hollywood warehouse with sixty other dead supernaturals. Being good is not exactly within these creatures’ repertoire so what they’re attempting is seriously against their nature. Twice Baked vampire, Gabriel faces all kinds of dilemmas. Of course, being handsome, he falls in love, deals with jealousy and naturally, saves the world from evil. Cold in California is the first in a five book series. The website is and Gabriel’s personal blog is - he certainly has his own opinions about things.

8: Wow, sounds interesting. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Thousands! In fact, I have a non-fiction book coming out in August/September entitled The Author Success Coach: Strategies for Success in a Turbulent Publishing Landscape. I teach workshops on everything from Creating an Effective Book Business Plan to Building Platforms, Cross Marketing, Publicity and Promotions for authors. My blog, Writaholic covers many subjects like this, all taking advantage of over twenty years of marketing experience before becoming a chef. (Sheesh, no wonder I’m so tired!) My best tips to aspiring authors are to think about sales, even as you write your book. Think about readers, where they are and how to reach them. Think about cross markets, publicity and promotions by observing great promotions outside of the publishing industry. And oh yes, remember to talk to more than just other authors as you’re writing your book and learning the platform ropes. Be aware that you will eventually have to sell those books, even if it’s just by being able to talk about them. This is a GREAT time in publishing. An author can be very successful!

9: Great advice. Do you base your characters on real-life people?

Absolutely. For example, the Soul Eater in Cold in California is a former boss. Ain’t sayin’ no more ‘bout that.

10: LOL Good idea. Don’t want to get into trouble. Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?

My ideas come from everywhere, much like every other writer in the world. It’s how I see those events that make it my story. For example, for five years I lived and worked in Los Angeles, CA (just moved back to the east coast last month). While in West Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard one afternoon, a strange Hindu gentleman stopped to chat with me. When he walked away I noticed a dwarf across the street. This man was looking right and left and very suspicious and I watched him slink into the door of what appeared to be a deserted warehouse. And I thought … was that a troll? Are there other trolls inside? Maybe other supernatural creatures? What are they doing in there? Vampires? Werewolves? Pixies? Maybe they’re all dead and trying to make their way to heaven and … there you have it. True story. By the time I drove the 405 back home, I knew the plot and started writing Cold in California.

11: Isn’t it amazing how seeing one person can trigger a story. What are you currently working on?

At the moment I’m gearing up for the Cold in California launch and the Author Success Coach launch and speaking engagements, but on the computer screen is a woman’s fiction entitled 36 Full Moons. It’s the story of a professional woman who mysteriously loses her power to speak for no physical, emotional or psychological reason. The book is her journey into learning how to truly communicate and live her live again. Also, of course, I’m working on Monkey Jump, the second in the Twice Baked Vampire Series.

12. Wow, you sound busy. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Just that I’m thrilled to be writing, helping other writers be successful, writing, cooking, writing … well living!

Author Bio

Deborah Riley-Magnus is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising and public relations as a writer for print, television and radio. She writes fiction in several genres as well as non-fiction.

Deborah produces several pieces weekly for various websites. She also writes an author industry blog, and teaches online and live workshops as The Author Success Coach. She belongs to several writing and professional organizations. In 2011, she has two novels and one non-fiction, “The Author Success Coach”, being released.

She’s lived on both the east and west coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely.

Excerpt from Chapter One

Gabriel wondered if he’d stumbled across his first ‘familiar’ human since 1931. No one had ever suspected he was vampire before. No one. Ever. Had she known his kind? Perhaps fed them? This could be easy, it should be pleasant and it might solve a multitude of problems. Gabriel was tired of moving around so much. Something a bit steadier might be just what the doctor ordered. Any relationship required a boatload of lies and apologies for his seeming accidental, over-zealous biting. Cursed by the life he lived, hit and run was the norm for his sexual encounters. Keeping his secret demanded he leave sooner than he liked, before things got out of hand like they did in Omaha. There’s a boredom that comes with complete variety whether one believes it or not. Living forever had its drawbacks. The mere idea of seeing the same face and tasting the same blood day after day for a while nearly charged his batteries to overload. It also raised his radar.

She may be the answer to an undead’s prayer, but she could very well be the opposite. He’d never crossed paths with Buffy the Vampire Slayer but that didn’t mean she didn’t exist. Still, he felt an imaginary warmth under his skin and relaxed into the possibilities. Gabriel tried to be an optimistic kind of guy. He knew that if things went bad, his host went to heaven. That was a positive outlook, now wasn’t it?

Through the boring innings they chatted casually about the weather and various cities they’d seen. If, or in that case, when Chicago lost, they’d end the year in dead last but hope reigns eternal. It was the only reason the crowd was so big. At the bottom of the ninth, Brent Tittler struggling at the plate, and right in the middle of describing her best friend’s cowboy-themed wedding, Starling made a statement that would have caught Gabriel’s breath, if he breathed.

“I always wondered about the wounds. Do they heal?”

His eyes were cold and hard, he didn’t dare show his intrigue. She didn’t even flinch.

“I mean, do you leave a bad mark, and does it have to be where people can see it … when you … you know … drink? Will I need to take out stock in antiseptic?”

“You’d like to be …”

“Oh yes, especially with a great looking guy like you. You are a man, right? In every sense of the word?”

Gabriel glanced around. Behind them sat a row of nuns, all dressed in medieval black and white habits and clicking rosary beads in their gnarled fingers. Chicago Cubs caps were precariously propped, tilted on their heads over ominous black veils. No doubt they were serious, biblical Cubs fans. Like God, if there even was a God, really gave a damn where the Cubs ended the season. Gabriel could hear their whispered Hail Marys and wasn’t sure if he was more uneasy talking about sex or his unholy nature in their presence. He drew close and spoke quietly in Starling’s ear. “Are you asking if I can perform intercourse with a woman? Yes I can. Antiseptic optional.”

She giggled a nervous laugh. “So, no infection?’

“Not that I’ve ever caused.”

“Maybe we can go now?” she suggested in a husky low voice, leaning closer even though he could have heard her whispered indecent proposal from across Wrigley Field. “This will be so cool!”

By the look of her, he could only assume she’d voraciously read Anne Rice. He just as voraciously hoped he could meet her expectations. A shiver rippled over his body like a minor earth tremor. Gabriel stood, smiled and reached to grip her hand. This was more than promising and he actually felt giddy for the first time in decades.

They had great seats, third row, just past the dugout on the first base side. Sweet seats, even with the Cubbies losing. Her warm hand gripped his as the crack of the bat resounded and he turned. It was a high pop up, but unlike all the other fans around him, Gabriel wasn’t watching the ball, illusively hidden in the lights. He was watching the sharp shard of a broken wooden bat soar … at breakneck speed … right … at … his … chest …

Well, this sure as hell wasn’t supposed to happen. Staked in the heart by a fucking broken bat? Who does that happen to? His hand shot to the wood, it was buried deep and he was weakening by the second. Agonizing sensations of explosion and implosion flooded through his body, noise blasted in his ears and suddenly he was staring up at the lights. Behind them, black night. There were stars but he couldn’t see them. The pain was excruciating and Gabriel begged any god who’d listen to make it end quickly. Heat. Searing. A stench. Then came the blackness and peace he had dreamed of for nearly eighty years. Finally, an end to it all. Dead as he was meant to be.
Amazon Link for Cold in California

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Monday, June 13, 2011

May I Have this Dance has been nominated for the June 2011 AR Cover Award. Please take a moment to vote for it

 The cover was designed by Delilah Stephens and the book will be released in July from MuseItUp Publishing


Returning to a summer resort in 1997, Elizabeth Ashley sits in the gazebo watching her granddaughter and a young man who reminds her so much of her first love. She fell in love with a boy her stern father didn’t approve of. One who didn’t come from the “right stock” as he put it. Her memory takes her back to 1955. Back to a time when life was fun and she was full of life and love.


Elizabeth watched a young man chase her granddaughter through the water, while enjoying the coolness of the shaded gazebo and relishing the gentle breeze. So much like that day so long ago. June 4th 1955, the day was etched in her memory. Only the splash of the water and sound of gulls broke the silence. The scene brought back a memory so vivid—it could have been yesterday instead of forty-two years ago. Elizabeth pushed her silver-streaked hair from her face, leaned back, closed her eyes, and remembered that summer. A summer when she was young and carefree like her granddaughter.

* * * *

Swaying to imaginary music, Elizabeth held her sundress out to the side and imagined the long flowing gown she’d wear at the ball. Bowing and smiling at an invisible partner, she twirled around the pavilion. Her long dark hair fell forward, covering her face. Tossing it back, Elizabeth laughed aloud and batted her long lashes, pretending to flirt with her imaginary partner.

“May I have this dance?” A masculine voice startled her into awareness.

Heat burned her cheeks. Embarrassed, Elizabeth turned and ran.

“Hey, wait.” He ran after her, caught up, and grabbed her arm. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”

Elizabeth stopped, the light pressure of his grip sent a tingling sensation through her, igniting sparks deep inside her. Gathering her composure, she remembered her manners. “Are you new to Lakeview?” Her gaze caught his blue-green eyes and locked.

“Just arrived.” A smile twitched on his lips, as if he wanted to laugh but thought better of it. “Never been to a resort before. I’m staying with my aunt, Melissa James, maybe you know her?”

“Oh, Mrs. James, of course, you’re the nephew. I’m Elizabeth Ashley.” She extended her hand. “Do you live in Ohio?”

“Cleveland, matter of fact. But I’ll be working in New York come fall. How about you?” He took her hand and raised it to his mouth, in an old-fashioned gesture. His gaze never left hers as his lips brushed slowly across the top of her hand. “I’m Danny Sullivan, by the way.” A mischievous gleam twinkled in his eyes.

“Uh…” Pulling her hand away, she tucked it behind her, trying to cool the heat that coursed from her hand through her body. “I have to go.” Elizabeth twisted her hands behind her back, her usual calm reserve shaken. No one had ever caused a reaction in her like this. Her head spun. Her stomach felt like a million butterflies fluttered in it, and her heart throbbed so loud she knew he could hear it.

“Can I see you later?” He matched her quick strides. “Where do you live? I’ll walk you home.”

Elizabeth stared up at him. Lord, he must be six feet tall. She only came to his chest. “No, I mean, uh, I’ll see you around.” She raced off, leaving him to stare after her.

A few minutes later, Elizabeth danced into her room, dreamy eyed. Usually she hated the white, ruffled curtains at the window and the pink bedspread, but not today. Today, it didn’t even bother her that her sister picked everything out for the room. Talk about luck. She had to be one of the first to meet Mrs. James’s nephew. Danny Sullivan. Mrs. Danny Sullivan. Loving the sound of it, silly as it was, she couldn’t help herself. She was in love. Bouncing onto the bed, where her sister lay reading, Elizabeth pulled her knees up to her chest, circled her arms around them and rocked. Sighing loudly, she inhaled the scent of Lily of the Valley perfume, lingering from the morning.

“Do you have to jump on the bed like that?” Susan slammed her book closed. “If you want to talk to me, why can’t you be like normal people and say so, without trying to get my attention first?”

“Oh, Susie,” Elizabeth ignored her sister’s irritation. “I met the most handsome man. He’s tall with hair the color of an old rusty pail and eyes the color of sea foam.” Elizabeth stood up and danced around the sun-filled room. “I think I’m in love.”

“You’re always in love. Who is he this time?” Susan set her book aside. “I thought we knew everyone here.”

“His name is Danny Sullivan, Mrs. James’s nephew. Remember, she mentioned him the other night? He’s older and he kissed my hand and called me Beth.” Elizabeth paused for a breath. “No one has ever called me that.” Elizabeth hugged herself and continued to dance. “I can’t wait to see him again. I hope he’s at the ball tomorrow. Maybe he’ll dance with me.”

“Will you be still already and quit babbling.” Susan sat up, her slender body in perfect posture. The two sisters were as different as night and day. Susan, tall, blond, serious, like their father, while Elizabeth, impulsive, petite, and dark haired, favored their deceased mother.

“Father isn’t going to like this, Liz. You know how he feels about outsiders.”

“Oh quit being such a square! Wait till you see him, Susie. He’s so dreamy.” Elizabeth closed her eyes. Why couldn’t her sister be on her side, just once? “Besides, Father doesn’t like anyone, you know how he is.”

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

We're back.  I thought I'd do six sentences from my soon to be released novella, A Second Chance.

Just when divorcee, Christine Rollins discovers new love, her ex asks for a second chance. Will she take the second chance with her ex or give in to her feelings for her new love?

With two long steps, he caught her, grabbed a handful of snow and aimed at her face. Giggling like a teenager, she fought him off, wiggling to free herself. He dropped the snow and pulled her to him, bringing his mouth to hers in a hard demanding kiss. Breathless, she pulled back. She held her hand to her mouth as if she could wipe  away the burning imprint his lips left. Yet, not sure she wanted to.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Five Star Review

I'm doing a happy dance. I received a 5 star review!!!
Roseanne Dowell used the right amount of romance, suspense, humor and witty characters and blended them in to a fast-paced, incredible romantic suspense novel. Definitely 5 stars and high praise recommendation from me!! I can't wait to read another book by this talented lady!
To read the whole review, go to:

Friday, June 10, 2011

National Iced Tea Day

National Iced Tea Day

Today is National Iced Tea Day. I wasn’t aware there was such a day, but yep, according to Bizarre, Wacky and Unique Holidays, it is.

So I thought it only fitting to post something about it. Summer is only ten days away and already we’ve had some 90 or better days. Perfect weather for Iced Tea. Although, I’ll be honest, I’m not particularly fond of the beverage. I don’t much care for hot tea either. But, my hubby does and so do my kids and I’ve made my fair share over the years. My favorite to make is Sun Tea. It’s probably also the easiest. You just fill a large jar with water, throw in the tea bags and put it in the sun. After several hours, throw in some ice, and it’s ready to serve.

Hubby likes it plain, no lemon, no sugar, so that’s how I make it. Everyone can add what they want to it later. I’ve heard Iced Tea is healthy for you also. So I guess that’s another reason to drink it, besides it’s refreshing.


Medicinal value:

Since ancient times, people have believed that tea has a wide range of medicinal uses. Modern research has given credibility to many of these beliefs and identified more. In some cases research is not conclusive. Regardless of the final determination as to its value over time, drink and enjoy because there is no research to suggest that it can hurt you and it just tastes good.

*Here are some of the known or suspected medicinal applications:

• Avoidance of heart disease

• Cancer and tumors

• Stomach ailments

• Sore throats and colds(often flavored with honey)

• Soothing, relaxing


*The Origin of Iced Tea:

In 1904, English tea plantation owner Richard Blechynden set up a booth to sell hot tea at the St. Louis World Fair. It was a sizzler of a day, and fair visitors didn't want anything hot. Rather, they needed something to quench their thirst... something cold. He dumped some of his hot tea into ice and served it cold. It was an immediate hit. This was the first known use of iced tea.

*Copied directly from the website.

Soon to be Released

A Second Chance will be released June 17th at MuseItUp Publishing.
Blurb for A Second Chance

Fifty-eight year old, Christine’s family and friends are always trying to play matchmaker, much to her chagrin. When she returns home from a vacation over the Christmas holiday, her daughter introduces her to a sexy, handsome, man. A man, she’s much too attracted to. One she tries to resist, but eventually gives in, and begins to see him on a regular basis. At least she does until her ex husband appears on the scene and wants a second chance at their marriage.


Steven’s rough hand covered hers, igniting smoldering sparks, starting in the pit of her stomach. Christine groaned inwardly and pulled her hand away, trying to ignore him. Not normally a rude person, but something about him invited it. He annoyed her. His magnetism made her uncomfortable. She hadn’t reacted to a man like this since Tony, and that ended in disaster.

Instead, she focused her attention on Jenna and Richard. “I sure have missed you two.”

She looked at her grandchildren and avoided Steven’s eyes. Seeing the sign for baggage claim, she headed toward it. “Let’s go. I can’t wait to get home.”

“Can we stop for dinner?” Jenna hooked her arm through Christine’s. Her long blond hair bounced as she kept up the rapid pace Christine set, leaving all but Steven lagging behind.

Christine threw him a sullen look. He lifted an eyebrow and winked at her through long dark lashes. Great, she amused him. Who did he think he was, God’s gift to women? A bit arrogant…but so darn good looking. Stop it, she told herself. She was acting like a fool, why was she letting this man get to her?

“You’re hungry too, aren’t you, Uncle Steve?” Jenna’s voice broke Christine’s thoughts and drew Steven into the conversation as Jenna linked her other arm through his.

Something about her granddaughter’s tone aroused Christine’s suspicions. This sounded like a setup. Playing matchmaker again. Her family and friends had been trying to match her up since Tony divorced her two years ago.

Christine’s stomach growled, reminding her she hadn’t eaten since breakfast. “I suppose we can stop for dinner.” Besides, a restaurant held more appeal than the confines of Lisa’s kitchen with Uncle Steve nearby. If they didn’t stop for dinner, Lisa would expect to fix something. At the restaurant, Steven held Christine’s chair out before sitting opposite her. Still too close for comfort at the small table. Curious about him, she glanced over the top of her menu. She caught his laughing eyes staring at her. He winked, and she pulled the menu up to hide the blush she knew crept into her cheeks. What drew her to this man?

“Uncle Steve just moved back from New Zealand,” Lisa explained. “Derek and I insisted he stay with us.”

Unsure how to reply, Christine just nodded. Now she knew something was fishy in Denmark. Lisa had tried to set her up with Derek’s business associates and just about every widower, divorced, or single man she met.

“Uncle Steve’s a confirmed bachelor.” Richard announced loud enough that people from other tables looked at them and smiled.

“Oh...” Christine couldn’t resist this one. “How have you managed to remain single all these years?” So, they were matchmaking again. Well, Mr. Payton, you won’t be single much longer if Lisa has her way. Christine shuddered at the thought. And neither would she. Something told her she was treading on thin ice here. Too darn attractive for his own good, the type of man to break women’s hearts and walk away. Once was enough for her, thank you very much.

“Never found the woman of my dreams.” Steven leaned back and rocked in his chair. “And I guess I never found a woman with enough patience to put up with me.” He straightened, reached across the table, patted her hand, and grinned.

“And, why haven’t we met you before now?” Christine pulled her hand away and put it on her lap out of his reach. “I thought I met all of Derek’s relatives.”

“I haven’t been back to the states much since my parents passed away, about twenty years ago. And my job prevented much travel.” His eyes locked on hers as he spoke. “Derek and his mother are the only relatives I have left.”

Christine mumbled an apology and turned her attention to Jenna and Richard. “So what have you two been doing during the holiday break? Skiing, skating?”

Jenna and Richard chattered the rest of the meal, and Christine relaxed and enjoyed them, but she couldn’t keep her gaze from straying to Steven. Of course, sitting across the table from him made it difficult to not look at him. But did she have to openly stare?

Grateful she made it through dinner, and uncomfortable with the feelings Steven stirred in her, she stood to go. When they reached the car, Lisa handed the keys to her uncle. “You drive, and Mom, you sit in front, and I’ll sit in back with the kids.”

Oh you are clever, Lisa, Christine thought. She would have protested but knew it wouldn’t do any good. Good thing the drive home only took ten minutes. She couldn’t believe Lisa was being so obvious about this. Fortunately, Richard and Jenna were still in a talkative mood, and the ride home passed quickly.

Steven pulled the car into her drive, put it in gear, popped the trunk, and got out. He grabbed her luggage and had it halfway to the door before Christine could protest.

Irritated with his attitude, she followed. He’s sure taking liberties. Who does he think he is? She could handle her own luggage. He’s arrogant and too good looking for his own good. Oh stop it, Christine, she admonished, he’s being helpful, a gentleman, that’s all. What made her think he was interested in her anyway? Like she was so special. He probably acted the same way with all women. With his good looks, she doubted he lacked female companions.

He stopped at the door and waited for her. When he took the key from her hand, opened the door, reached inside, and flipped on a light, a warm sensation began in her stomach, and spread outward as he looked down at her. Something told her this man was dangerous territory. “Thank you.” Christine’s insides
trembled. She hoped her voice sounded calm. Holding her hand out for the key, she wished him away.

“Dinner tomorrow.” He said it as a statement not a question.

She felt her eyes narrow. A habit she never managed to break when someone irked her. How dare he be so presumptuous? “Sorry, I’m busy.” Closing the door halfway against him, she tried to hide behind it.

He reached up, and combed his fingers through her short blond hair. The small gesture electrified her. She backed away. He chuckled, winked at her, and pulled the door closed behind him.

Darn it all, why was she acting like a silly teenager who had a crush on the football captain? Infuriated at the feelings he instilled in her, she leaned against the door. Her body trembled. From anger or attraction, she wasn’t sure. Christine shook her head, trying to clear it.

Exhausted from her trip, Christine went to bed, trying to erase Steven from her mind. She closed her eyes and visions of his laughing eyes appeared. She turned the pillow, punched it, and closed her eyes again, willing herself to sleep. Darn it, why did that man affect her like this? She tossed and turned through a dream-filled night.