About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Monday, June 27, 2016

Free At Last! Why I'm Not Tearing Up at Being an Empty Nester #Women


Despite being a stay-at-home mom and then a mom-who-works-from-home, I've never really fit the mom mold. Yes, I had fun taking my kids to all their activities when they were little, am grateful for being present for every game or swim meet, am happy I was able to volunteer in their elementary classrooms, and am absolutely thrilled at the kind-hearted, wonderful human beings I raised as a single parent. I have no regrets about the last twenty years--none. I loved being able to have a flexible schedule where I could easily put my family first. But there were plenty of things I didn't like about parenting young kids and certainly won't miss now that both of my kids are off to college--and none of them have anything to do with my kids, but with fulfilling the role of parent. UGH. Good riddance!

I won't miss the mom-pressure. You know what I'm talking about--the judgy eyes, the rumors, the petty gossip if I didn't do _______. Fill in the blank. As women, we put each other under too much pressure to be some ideal parent no matter what is happening in life. Didn't sign up to bring a hot dish to the parent meeting because the budget was tight? Expect judgy eyes or a snippy comment from someone. Didn't volunteer to be the team mom (or class mom)? Expect a comment about how it must be nice to have so much "free time." If your kid decides to pursue a different sport and has a new circle of friends, expect to be asked "if he has any friends anymore" or if he "just decided to give up" by the parents from the old group. Mom-pressure comes in many forms. Once, as a solo parent, I literally couldn't afford the $20 entry fee to watch my daughter compete in the state swim meet. I had used all my cash on gas and snacks to pack in her bag, drove nearly three hours to be there, and waited in cold Colorado February conditions for eight hours in my car. I checked in with her via text, turned the car on here and there to stay warm, and waited wrapped in a blanket in the front seat. A few moms coming out of the meet later that night saw me picking my daughter up on the curb and made sure to tell me what a shame it was I hadn't been inside watching, and how disappointed my daughter probably was that I hadn't been there to cheer her on. I definitely won't miss any of that.

I won't miss the hectic schedule. How many hours of my life have been spent waiting? Waiting in cars, waiting in gyms, waiting on humid swimming pool bleachers, waiting for plays to start, waiting for parent/teacher conferences, waiting in parking lots at odd hours to hook up with a carpool. My time is MINE again! Woo! Now, if I'm waiting, I hope like hell it's for a concert or a spa appointment or to board a plane.

I won't miss fighting about homework. I told both of the kids this regarding college--it's all on you now. I want them to succeed, but I took them as far as I can. I've taught them all the skills needed to be accepted into college, but what they do with those lessons is no longer on my shoulders. I no longer give a shit about homework, class papers, a D-bag teacher who should have retired years ago, or any of that drama. Adios!

I won't miss teenage angst. Oh, my god. Now, my teenage son's dirty socks will be his roommate's problem and my daughter's OCD will be her issue. I'll see them over holiday breaks when they return with all their stuff, that's true, but hopefully they will grow up while out there in the world and will learn the basic life skills needed when mom isn't there 24/7. And, if I'm lucky, perhaps their kill-each-other-rapid-fire arguments will cease now that they will be apart more often than not. A mom can hope...

I won't miss the competition. This sort of ties in with mom-pressure, but it's more about the kids. I noticed it even at high school graduation--the one-up mentality about what your child has chosen to do after high school, the comments about what college is best and what major is more important. I'm so over it I could care less. I just want my kids to be happy--whether that be college or slinging burgers, I really don't care. And guess what? This small snippet of time doesn't matter in the big scheme of life. Plans change. People change. They grow, they evolve, they decide they want something else. So guess how many f*cks I give about how your kid's college compares to my kid's college? Or about how your kid's major is more serious than my kid's' major? OH MY GOD STOP! First of all, a person can major in anything--whether they graduate with that degree is what matters and then actually find a job and LOVE IT. I have never been the competitive mom--ever. I chose a pre-school where I thought my kids would be happy, never made them play a sport they hated, and have remained silent in the face of all the one-uppers out there. Hey, here's some advice---don't live through your kids! They grow up, get lives of their own, and move away--as it should be.

It's time. We made it! My little battered and bruised family who suffered such a tragic loss with my husband's suicide and who overcame financial hardships that created a lot of despair--we have overcome it all. We have reached a new chapter in our lives and it's worth celebrating!

As the kids enter the new phase of their lives, I reclaim myself and my goals for my life. I hope to be a digital nomad who travels with groups of writers in far away places for adventures, drinks, and laughter. I look forward to all the new friends I have yet to meet--I'm sure you're awesome! I make no apologies for my happy dancing out the door as I load their luggage up and send the kids on their way.

We did it. It's time. No regrets. No apologies. Bring on the empty nest and the new adventures!

One of the greatest lessons I've learned in life is that everything is temporary so enjoy the moment, whether it's thrilling or scary, because moments quickly pass, people come and go, and the best is yet to come.

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Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of romantic thrillers, contemporary romance, women's fiction, and nonfiction. She also writes five different blogs, works as a professional editor and author coach, creates a line of inspirational journals, volunteers for children's literacy, and advocates for suicide awareness. In addition, she is the mother of two extraordinary human beings who lives in a small cabin high in the Rocky Mountains where she is completely aware of how lucky she is. To find out more about her books, please visit http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Time is Up and the Action is On! Love on the Run #SecondChance #Romance #Giveaway

Excerpt of Kiss Me Slowly--a second chance romance where the odds are against them as both bad guys and the FBI hunt them down in the Florida Keys...

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“You have blood on your dress.” He fingered the strap in question that had slipped off her shoulder. “You should probably take it off.”

“Careful. We can’t go there.” Sand clung to her neck and stuck to the tangles in her hair. The light from the bedside lamp shadowed her face.

“I meant change out of it, not…well, maybe I meant take it off. But then we’d be crossing lines that you don’t want to cross.” He let his fingers trail down her arm. “That would be wrong. Terribly wrong.” 

“You are nothing but trouble.”

“You always liked trouble.” He rested his right palm against the bed, supporting his weight on his healthy arm. 

“Listen carefully to me.” She pressed her finger against his lips. “I’m high on adrenaline, we’re alone, no witnesses, no regrets. One kiss won’t hurt anyone.”

“No witnesses, no regrets…” Heat flooded his veins. “Adrenaline…”

“If I don’t do this now, I’ll hate myself in the morning.”

“You mean you’ll regret it when they lock me up in the morning and throw away the key because you didn’t kiss me one last time?”

“Exactly.” She straddled his lap.

“You weren’t supposed to agree.” He smiled despite the circumstances. 

“Shut up, sailor boy. Kiss me.” 

She kissed him as if savoring the taste. Her hair fell forward, locking them in a caramel-colored veil of intimacy. Eyes open, they stared at each other as their lips moved against each other’s. 

His hands slid up her long thighs, over her panties and pressed against the smoothness of her back. Every stroke of her lips against his awakened pure need in his veins. He no longer cared about what was right or wrong. All he wanted was her mouth on his, his hands on her body and her skin against his. 

With a quick yank, she pulled her dress over her head. Breasts bared, she pressed him down on the bed and laughed against his mouth. “This is crossing all kinds of boundaries and breaking every rule I can think of.”

“Just like the old days.” He smiled against her lips. His hands moved over her bared breasts. The pain in his shoulder failed to slow him down. He didn’t know who groaned or if they both did, but the sensation of her flesh filling his palms trumped common sense. 

Her bare foot slid over his leg, hands curled into his hair, and body flattened against his. All the anger, the terror and confusion poured from him as he deepened the kiss with an urgency that bordered on desperation. The silky warmth of her mouth erased his pain. Kissing her felt like coming home from an exhausting, lonely journey. 

“A kiss…that’s all I wanted,” she muttered against his chin. A shiver quaked through her body when she sighed. 

“I want more.”

“Impossible. We can’t.”

“We can do whatever the hell we want, Grace.” Despite the burning pain in his left shoulder, he maneuvered so that his body covered hers. He wanted more than a kiss. He wanted more heat. 

“Jonathan…” Caution drummed beneath her tone but her eyes snapped with desire. “We can’t. Too dangerous. We can’t get distracted. Things are complicated enough.”

He dropped his forehead against hers and cursed timing. Her breasts flattened against his bare chest. Skin on skin. Blood on her flesh. Pain in his shoulder.

“I know you’re right, but…I can’t help but want more than a kiss.”

“It’s adrenaline talking. Shock.” She fisted her hands in his hair and held him close. “That’s it. Nothing more.” 

“Adrenaline, huh? That’s your theory?” His lips moved over her neck. He felt her squirm, felt her legs part, felt her hips arching toward his. She wanted him as much as he wanted her. 

Her hands moved over his back before fisting in his hair and pulling his face away from her skin. “Jonathan…please…stop.” 

He curved his hand over the side of her face. Separated by a mere inch and a few pieces of clothing, he wanted more than anything to be inside of her. This close, alone, in the dark, he couldn’t help but remember what it had been like for them as two fumbling teenagers who had felt like immortals. 

“And it has nothing to do with the mess you’re in,” she continued as his thumb caressed her cheekbone. “Our story ended over a decade ago. You wrote the ending, remember?”

He remembered. 

From the back cover...


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Trapped in a set-up that could have him in jail or dead by Monday, Jonathan Alexander trusts no one in his inner circle. It’s Saturday. His only hope is Grace Dupont, the best forensic accountant in Miami. But there’s a glitch with that idea. She’s also his ex-girlfriend who'd rather watch him drown than throw him a life vest. Going to her feels desperate…because he is.

Grace enjoys seeing Jonathan squirm. On your knees boy, she thinks as he pitches for her help. Always a sucker for the dark-haired-blue-eyed boys, she risks her precariously balanced life of secrets to help him. Helping him slaps a target on her back–she’s the key to proving his innocence and that’s a bad, bad thing.

Tangled up in a whirlwind of conspiracy, murder, million dollar money trails and diamond smuggling, Jonathan and Grace flee to the sea to stall for time to prove his innocence. Romance sizzles beneath Florida Keys’ sunshine. Both scoff at happy endings. Both doubt justice. Both know each kiss could be their last.

Begin the adventure today!

For the giveaway, I'll be contributing my romantic suspense novel, Reckless Endangerment.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Summer of Love in Italy #ScintillatingSunday #BeachReads

Excerpt of the contemporary romance drama, In Between, book one of the two-part Dancing Barefoot series, currently on sale for only .99...


They couldn't stop touching each other. All the way to their apartment building they'd take turns pulling each other into alleys or doorways for stolen kisses that promised so much more. 

Jacques lifted her off her feet and carried her up the narrow stairway, his lips creating havoc on her neck. 

"Careful. You wouldn't want to slip and fall," she teased against his ear. "A fall like that could kill a man."

"Dangerous." He lifted his head and smiled. "What am I going to do with you, Jessica Moriarty?"

In front of her apartment, she slid down his body until her feet were firmly on the floor. His hands were already on her ass beneath the hem of the dress. 

"I'm sure you know exactly what to do with me." She turned long enough to unlock the door, enjoying the way his hands moved beneath her dress and over her skin. 

Not only was she confident that he knew exactly what to do with her, she had a few things of her own that she wanted to do to him. All of them involved nudity and inhibition. 

He kissed the side of her neck, his hands already unsnapping her bra and sliding over her breasts while she locked the door behind them. Dress pushed up to just beneath her shoulders, she took the initiative and ripped it over her head. He moaned his approval while his fingers toyed with her nipples. 

Nothing in life had prepared her for this complete surrender. She hadn't known she was capable of it. She pressed her hands against the back of the door and let him touch her as he pleased. Pushing her hair aside, he kissed the back of her neck before running his tongue toward her ear. One hand on her breast, the other moved over her abdomen and slipped beneath her panties. 

Smiling, she turned within the circle of his arms and unbuttoned his shirt. This wasn't going to be a one-sided affair. She craved his skin as much as he wanted hers. Tossing it over his shoulders, she pressed her mouth to the center of his chest and indulged in the salty sensation beneath her tongue. 

He walked backward until falling on top of the discarded clothes on her bed. "You didn't get a chance to settle in yet."

"Oh, I'm settled." She reached for the zipper on his jeans. "This is how I settle into a new place, just shove it all onto the floor."

He raised an eyebrow, a laugh on his lips as he did as instructed. 

Her hand cupped his erection beneath his jeans before bending over to kiss his abdomen. The promise of his hardness drove her to madness.

From the back cover...


In between responsibilities and dreams...

Jessica Moriarty has always played by the rules, but for once in her life, she's doing exactly as she pleases. In between graduate school and 'real life', she's in Florence, Italy, indulging her love of art and abandoning inhibitions.

Meeting Jacques Sinclair rocks her off center. Whereas rules and living up to expectations have dictated her life, he is the opposite. A rebel. A photographer. A man who lives for the moment. He sweeps her up into a riveting romance that makes her question all she's ever believed to be true.

The drum of old commitments echo through her heart as time ticks away. Will the crush of 'real life' undermine the love she's found in between...?

This is book one of the two-part Dancing Barefoot series. (currently book one is on sale for .99 as an intro to the series)


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Author Nailed the Plight of the Returning Soldier #ScintillatingSunday #RomanticSuspense

Excerpt of the romantic suspense novel, Reckless Endangerment...


She put both of her hands on his knees, conscious that he couldn’t feel her touch. “You keep talking about what you’ve lost, but you haven’t lost me.  Don’t you see that?  You may not be a Marine anymore and you may not be able to walk anymore, but you have me.  I love you.  I need you.  Can’t that be enough? And you have your son. What about him? He needs you, too.  You haven’t lost him.”  

“I wish you hadn’t come here.”

“Too bad, I’m here. Deal with it.”  She moved onto his lap and moved her hands over his shoulders. “What’s the problem?”

“Stop this,” he whispered. 

“You want me to kiss you. You want to kiss me back.”  She could see it in his eyes, the need, the desire, the question.  “Is that what you want, Michael?”

“What would that prove?”

“Does it have to prove something?  Can’t a kiss be a kiss?”

“No.”

“Typical man.”  She leaned within a fraction of his lips.  “Don’t you remember high school?  Don’t you remember when a kiss meant everything?”

In a sudden move, he grabbed the back of her head and ground his mouth against hers.  She knew the intensity was meant to shock her so she matched it with her own.  She sat on his lap and plunged her tongue into the recesses of his mouth until he moaned.  His free hand squeezed her breast through the thin material of her blouse but, instead of hurting, it ignited her blood. 

The Michael she knew still lived inside this man.  She felt him in the warmth of his mouth, the strength of his hands on her body, the restrained power of his touch.   

She couldn’t stop touching him, hands moved through his hair, over his face, along his shoulders.  Alive.  Here.  She fought back a Hallelujah. 
From the back cover...
Coming home again isn't always easy. Colonel Michael Cedars and reporter Hope Shane fell in love in a warzone, but then the world blew up and splintered their lives in two. 

Sometimes heroes fall and take the ones they love down with them. A Marine accustomed to giving orders, Michael struggles to find his role in civilian life. Wounded, he faces new battles as he learns to walk again, struggles with wartime ghosts, and questions his abilities as a husband.

But theirs is a love worth fighting for—and Hope Shane doesn't surrender. An investigative reporter, she's hot on the trail of a human trafficking ring. Danger intensifies as she gets closer to the truth, but the human traffickers know her weakness.

Will Michael become her Achilles Heel? Will her reckless disregard for rules shatter the fragile bonds of their marriage once and for all? Is he still the hero she married or has he become a liability that could get them both killed?

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Taste of a few reviews...
5 stars Extremely talented
By CFischer Books
  
Although this book is marketed as romantic suspense it also covers some serious issues, such as people trafficking and post-traumatic stress disorder, adding further depth to a book that is rich in plot and personal conflict already. Nothing prepared me for the literary quality of this novel. Regular romance and suspense fans get more than enough here to be satisfied by the great chemistry between the main characters and the intriguing story lines. However, if you - like myself - want a little bit more out of a book than you will find it in the well-handled and insightful passages about trafficking and PSD, issues that are handled with care rather than in an exploitative or decorative manner.
Easton clearly cares about what she writes and it pays dividends, her book is impressive and certainly recommended.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Gritty At Times, Realistic, With An Immensely Satisfying Romance and MysteryBy 

By the end of Reckless Endangerment I can sum it up by saying it's Triple-H......heartbreaking, heartwarming, and heart pounding. It's full of likable and fully fleshed-out characters, realistically depicted issues related to the aftermath of war, and it presented a fast-paced mystery surrounding human trafficking that kept me on the edge of my seat. It shows that atrocities not only occur in faraway lands but outside our front door as well. As two people deal both mentally and physically with the hand war dealt them it's only through love and acceptance that true healing can begin and a HEA can be fully achieved.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Great read
By SGLAS

I love this book! The author did a great job of writing a contempary novel with all the twists and turns that make it impossible for you to put the book down!! I am really impressed with the author's use of hard hitting problems facing today's society and intergrating them into the story line. This is not just another cookie cutter, predictable romance!! I highly recommend this book for all who looking for a novel with a little something extra! 
 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Dancing on the Edge of Love and Possibility #ScintillatingSunday #RomanceNovels

Excerpt of the contemporary romance drama, In Between---escape to Europe for a summer of love...


When he muttered in French before sliding his mouth along her neck, she smiled against his hair. She didn't need to speak his language to know they were communicating perfectly. 

"We are dangerously exposed," she said when a group of laughing strangers passed them on the street. 

He looked up, smiled, and framed her face with the palm of her hand. "I like living dangerously. What about you? What do you like?"

"I like this." She dropped the back of her head back against the brick and observed him through narrowed eyes. Hands still on his shoulders, she smoothed them down the front of his chest and grinned. "I like you."

He winked, sighed, and stepped back from her. "I don't know what I'm going to do about you, Jessica Moriarty. I sense trouble ahead." 

"I think you know exactly what to do with me, Jacques Sinclair." Feeling like a bird freed from its cage and soaring toward the sky, she grabbed his hand and yanked him back against her. "One more kiss before dinner." 

"You are the most dangerous kind of woman." He paused a fraction above her lips and looked her in the eye. "And I am the most dangerous type of man." 

"Are you? Why do you say that?" 

"Because I have nothing to offer and nothing to lose."

Heartbeat shook her eardrums. He was like no one she'd ever met before, mysterious and foreign with confidence oozing from his pores. 

"Neither do I. Not a care in the world," she lied. 

From the back cover....

In between responsibilities and dreams...

Jessica Moriarty has always played by the rules, but for once in her life, she's doing exactly as she pleases. In between graduate school and 'real life', she's in Florence, Italy, indulging her love of art and abandoning inhibitions.

Meeting Jacques Sinclair rocks her off center. Whereas rules and living up to expectations have dictated her life, he is the opposite. A rebel. A photographer. A man who lives for the moment. He sweeps her up into a riveting romance that makes her question all she's ever believed to be true.

The drum of old commitments echo through her heart as time ticks away. Will the crush of 'real life' undermine the love she's found in between...?

This is book one of the two-part Dancing Barefoot series, currently only .99 as an introduction to the series. 


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Riptide of Desire in the Cayman Islands #ScintillatingSunday #RomanticSuspense

Excerpt from the action-packed romantic suspense novel, Riptide...


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He pushed his hands through her hair, gaze scanning her face. “Like you said, I don’t know you, and you don’t know me. Maybe it’s best if we stop this before it goes any further. You don’t need my kind of trouble in your life right now.”

“Maybe your kind of trouble is exactly what I need.” She kissed him because the adrenaline surging through her body needed release, and he was the perfect outlet. 

He matched her intensity with a fierceness that weakened her knees. She sagged against him, hands clinging to his shoulders for support. Trouble or not, the man kissed like a porn star. Damn, he melted the skin from her bones with every stroke of his tongue against hers. 

Her hands roamed over his shoulders to his back. She pressed closer, craving skin on skin. One thought and one thought only penetrated her mind...sex. She wanted him inside her. Now. Fast. To hell with the consequences. 

Together they fell against the sand with laughter tangled between their lips. Somewhere between fleeing a crime scene and kissing, fear had transitioned to passion. She needed his touch, his mouth, his body heavy against hers. Desire consumed every cell of her body. 

“We’re the most unethical people I know,” he said against her mouth. “I shouldn’t be proud of that, but strangely I am.” 

“Take me back to Austin’s. Stay with me.” She caught his lip lightly between her teeth and stared into his eyes. 

His hand slid beneath her skirt and up her thigh. “I don’t know if we’re good or bad for each other. I’m not thinking clearly at all around you, making bad decisions, dragging you along with me.”

“I’m going willingly.” She nipped his neck, her hands smoothing down his back before grabbing his ass. “We have too many clothes on.”

From the back cover...

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One violent night shatters Lauren Biltmore’s life. As an anchorwoman, she's accustomed to reporting the news rather than being the lead story.  She escapes the spotlight by fleeing to her brother's home in the Cayman Islands. Haunted by nightmares, all she wants is a distraction from reality.

Distraction arrives via sexy screenwriter, Noah Reynolds. His take-me-to-bed looks mask a past ripe with scandal. He knows he should stay away from Lauren, especially when the worst night of her life unlocks his writer's block and while he's dealing with a stalker of his own, but ethics are his weakness.

Attraction sizzles beneath Caribbean sunshine. As their relationship grows, Noah's stalker intensifies her torment. Lauren wonders if her paranoia is justified or a carryover from her past. What's real? What's imagined?  Tentative trust is tested as their love is swept up against a riptide of deceit, murder, and revenge.