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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

No Better Time for a Second Chance than the Holidays #Thanksgiving #Romance Hop

The end of the year, Thanksgiving is already here and we're headed full-speed toward 2017! Whew! I love this time of year for one reason: reflection. How'd it go? Did I succeed at what I wanted to do? Did I laugh enough? Did I cry too much? Did I fuck up? Whatever my answers, I am grateful for the chance to keep trying, to live another day, to decide differently tomorrow, to make a new goal, and to celebrate all that went right.

I've cut out a lot of people from my life this year, but I'm not sad about it. I'm grateful for being clear enough about what I want to make decisions that are best for me. There was a time when I'd settle for being slighted, ignored--a time when I'd hang on to toxic people for the simple reason of not wanting to be alone. Now I'm really happy to have the strength to honor myself enough to say 'no more' and to focus intently on what I want.

So, what am I grateful for? I'm grateful that, at 48, I finally figured things out and have an expansive sensation of contentment running through my veins.

Free at last...thank God almighty, I'm free at last! Ha!

Have a happy holiday!

Here's the blurb and excerpt of my second chance romance, Dancing Barefoot--it's never too late to go after what you really want in this life. 

Naked photographs plastered on a book cover remind Jessica Moriarty that the past isn't as dead as she'd assumed. Her carefully constructed life as an architect on the fast track to partnership is threatened by a love she'd abandoned five years ago when responsibilities had trumped dreams.

World-renowned photographer, Jacques Sinclair, could have chosen anywhere in the world for his book signing and photography exhibit, but he'd come to Boston to shake things up. He wanted answers, but they aren't what he expected.

Reunions aren't always happy—sometimes they stir up unwanted pain and forgotten passion. As Jacques and Jessica stumble their way back to one another for a second chance at love, they're ensnared in a web of conspiracy, manipulation, and sabotage designed to keep them apart. Will they be able to break free of the ties that bind them to seize the love of a lifetime? Or will the pressure to conform rip them apart forever?

**This is the conclusion of the two part Dancing Barefoot series and can be read as a stand-alone.**

An excerpt...

He stalked toward her until her back collided with her easel. His hands gripped the top of the canvas, arms pinned her where she stood. “I haven’t wanted to remember you in a very long time.”

“I suppose not.”

“But I have.”

“Me, too.” 

“Are you happy?”

“What do you mean?” She folded her arms across her chest. 

“Did you make the right choice? Leaving me? Leaving our life together? Tell me you’re happy and I’ll walk out of your life forever.”

“What does it matter?  I can’t undo it.”

“Why is it a difficult question for you to answer? Why can’t you tell me that you have no regrets? I want to hear it.”

“Of course I have regrets, but so what?  What good does that do us?”

“That’s why I came here tonight, to see…”

“See what? I’ve done what I said I would do.” Pride forced her head high. “I’m up for associate partner at my firm. I’m a good—no, great—architect. We both succeeded without each other. Good for us.”

“You’re lying. You’re not happy.” His hand framed the side of her face, forcing her to look at him. “I see it in your face. It’s like you’ve died. You're living in the past, which tells me you're not that thrilled with the present.”

“When did you get so mean?” Too tired to fight, tears blurred her eyes. “Get out. Enough insults for one night. Just go.”

“Why are you still wearing my ring?” His voice was low and powerful in the small room.

“Why do you?”

“My ring.” Dark blond hair covered his left eye when he bent forward, only a breath away from her face. “Why are you wearing it? Does it mean anything to you or do you simply think it’s pretty?”

“Please go.” She flattened her hands against his chest, but wished she hadn’t.  The feel of his hard body beneath her hands liquefied her bones. 

He slammed his hand against the canvas, knocking it to the floor behind her.  “You just left. One day we’re living together, talking about creating a future, and then you walked away without ever looking back.”

“I look back in my own way. Often, too often, I need to grow up like you said.” Her lungs deflated like air from a balloon. Breathing ceased.  I needed to come back here to—”

“To be safe? To do the right thing?” He had her backed against the easel. “I thought you would at least stay in touch with me, the man you supposedly loved, the man you said you wanted to marry, the man you said you needed…but you disappeared.”

“You had my address. I didn’t disappear.” 

“You let me go without a word. Until today, I hadn’t heard from you in years, yet here you are wearing my ring.”

“I said I was sorry.” Every inch of her quaked with restrained emotion.  “Leave now. Go. Good luck with your exhibit, with your life, all of it.  Just get the hell out of my house.”

“Do you know why I brought your address with me? Do you?”

“You wanted to tell me off, right? That’s why you came here, to hurt me.”

“I wanted to show you how much I don’t care.”

“Doesn’t that show me how much you really do care?” She lifted her chin, determined not to cry.

A fraction of an inch separated their bodies. She dragged her gaze over the opened buttons of his shirt, over his neck, over his lips until resting on the deep green of his eyes. Damn, the man rocked the word 'sexy'.

Boldness replaced caution. 

Standing on tiptoes, she smoothed her hands along the front of his chest.  Touching him again was like coming home from a long, exhausting journey.

He shook his head once as if trying to clear his mind.  Only once.  He stared at her lips.  His hands curled around her forearms, but he didn’t push her away. 

“Kiss me,” she whispered against his mouth.

“No."  His hands slid up her arms before cupping the back of her head.

"I dare you."


"I know you want to."

"I don't."

"Now who's the liar?" she asked, her teeth tugging at his lower lip.

Their mouths met in a kiss that melted her skin like candle wax, turning them into one being, one entity consumed by desire. To hell with restraint and regret. She needed this, needed him, here and now.

Passion overrode all other thought or senses. Her hands stroked his back, kneading and searching. Every sense was alive with his touch, with his kiss. The need for him was an ache that burned deep. Hot. Necessary. Urgent. Primal.

God, she had missed this, missed him.

He ripped her tank top in two and tossed the material aside. His hands squeezed her breasts while his mouth devoured her lips. 

She yanked his shirt free from his jeans and shoved it high on his chest, needing his skin against hers more than she'd ever needed anything in life.  Clothes fell away, bread crushed beneath their bodies, wine spilled from an overturned bottle at their feet.

  They fell against the easel, knocking the canvas and paint in every direction. A tangle of limbs, they made eye contact for a moment, chests heaving, breathing labored.

"This is wrong," he muttered against her skin. 

"Right. Always right with us." She sank her fingernails into his shoulders.

"What the lady wants, the lady gets," he said, a predatory gleam in his eyes.

His hands worked at pushing her yoga pants over her hips while his mouth claimed her breast.
She looped her toes in the waistband of his underwear and yanked them over his thighs.  Her hands sought his erection while her back arched with every stroke of his hands and every lick of his tongue.

He ground himself inside her with the intensity of repressed rage. Her legs wrapped around his hips, holding him as close as possible as he plunged deep inside her. 

Sex had never been tame with him, but this was animalistic. This was raw.  Teeth sank into skin. Nails scraped against each other's bodies. They rolled together, locked as one being. Streaks of yellow and red paint lined their faces, stuck in their hair, no one cared.

Waves of pleasure rolled through her veins like a tsunami until all strength left her body. She laughed, breathless, as her mouth sought his again in a kiss filled with satisfaction and surprise.

"Is this what you meant by a do-over?" He shoved his hands through her hair, palms framing her face, and stared into her eyes. His chest rose and fell against hers.

"Not exactly, but it'll do," she whispered, still out of breath, heartbeat slamming like a caged bird's wings inside her chest. 

His mouth sucked on her lower lip, tongue teased hers. "I don't know what to do with you, Jessica Moriarty."

"You've always known exactly what to do with me, Jacques Sinclair." She repeated the words they'd always said to one another. She dipped her finger into the wet yellow paint on the canvas beneath his head before smearing it across his chin and over his mouth. 

He grabbed her hand, linked his fingers with hers and stared into her eyes. Laughter faded. “This shouldn't have happened. I lost control, I always lose control around you.”

He rolled away and stared at the ceiling. Then he stood and pulled a piece of cheese from where it had stuck to his shoulder. Without looking at her, he dressed.

Rattled from the sex and his reaction, she stumbled to standing, grabbed the blanket from the sofa and wrapped it around herself. Man, she was on a roll today with fucking up her life. 

He walked down the stairs without saying a word. 

She returned to the kitchen to find him still waiting. She'd hoped he'd gone. 

Back against the wall, he finished buttoning his shirt. He hadn't bothered to wipe the streaks of paint from his face and hair; then again, neither had she. When he lifted his gaze to hers, he looked agonized. 

"I didn't intend on that. I should go," he said.

“Stay. Don't go. Maybe we should talk or something.” 

She wanted to scream, stomp her foot like a child, fall to her knees …anything to make him stay.

“There is someone else, Jess. Life moved on without you.” His quiet words sliced her heart into a million pieces. “I came here for answers, to understand. I didn't intend to rip your clothes off. I only wanted to understand why you left me. That’s all.”

“And now you understand?”

“No.” He shook his head, a slight grin curving his lips. “But I accept that I will never understand.”

She rubbed the palm of her hand over her face. Of course he had someone else. She had discarded him like a used napkin.

“You're serious with this woman? What you said about the different women all the time was just to hurt me, right?”

“Yes to both questions.”

A chasm ripped through the room, creating a space larger than the ocean that had once separated them. She felt the loss of him again, more powerful, more poignant than before.

“I wish it wasn’t like this between us…”

“I’m still the same man you left in Italy. The reasons you left haven’t changed.  I’m a gypsy at heart, never in one place longer than six months or so.” He looked at the matching ring on his finger and blew out a long breath.

“Please leave. Your girlfriend must be wondering what the hell you’re doing.”  She hugged her arms across her chest and tapped her foot against the floor. “Please leave, Jacques.”

“Am I wrong? Are you happy? Tell me I’m wrong about you. Tell me that you love being an architect. Tell me that you honestly don’t regret leaving me.” With every word, his face mirrored the agony she felt. “Tell me that you have no regrets, that you are happy with your life as it is now.”

“My life is damn near perfect.” She forced a smile. “Partnership is in sight, remember? Corner office here I come. I have everything I’ve ever wanted. It’s a fucking love fest.”

 “It is time I let this go then.” With a quick movement, he pulled the ring from his finger and laid it on the back of the red chair.

She stared at the ring against the faded fabric. “Please don’t leave it. Like you said, it’s yours.”

“Keep it, throw it away, it no longer matters to me. Be well, bella.” Door open, he hesitated at the threshold and looked around the room before meeting her gaze again. 

Bella.  The word hung in the air as they stared at one another, the language of Italy dancing in her memory and tugging at her heart.

Caro…” she whispered.  

Without another look back, he closed the door behind him.

She listened to the fall of his footsteps on the stairs, the outside door opening and closing, and folded his ring into her palm. She pressed the closed fist against lips still swollen from his kiss. Silent tears streaked her face.

"What have I done?" Back against the door, she slid to the floor. The question she asked had no answer. Even she didn't know if she meant the past or the present; conflicting emotions meshed together in her brain like the various paint streaks staining her skin.

Keep reading Dancing Barefoot...be swept away with an epic romance that will make you fall in love all over again...

Keep hopping!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Opinions Not Allowed Shhhh! #bullies

America used to be the land of the free, a safe place for all people to express themselves without fear, a melting pot for the world where diversity was celebrated.

Not anymore.

Now it's a place where we need to feel like we are with like-minded people before voicing our opinions or else fear the wrath of being bullied. Age doesn't matter. At 48 years old, I feel more cautious about expressing myself than I did as a teenager. In fact, it's worse than I can recall it ever being in my lifetime.

Have an opinion online? Be prepared for the attacks, often by very abusive people who will tell you to kill yourself, leave the country of your birth, insult your intellect (even though they don't know you  at all), and threaten your sense of security. God forbid you work in the public eye because your very livliehood could be in jeopardy with a barrage of online attacks. Why? Because you voiced an opinion that you genuinely feel is valid.

Oh, the horror! You should be stoned in the street! How dare you?

America, what the hell is wrong with you? I grew up in an America where diversity was appreciated, where we were taught to graciously accept other points of view and to respect one another. Now people are unfriending each other, threatening each other...the divide widens further each day and no one seems to care.

There may not be a civil war, per se, but it certainly feels like we're reaching that point. No one is looking for common ground. No one is willing to have a civil discussion. It's either "you're a bad, bad person for thinking the way you do" or "you're brilliant because you agree with me." There is no give and take anymore. There is no, "giving the benefit of the doubt" let alone compassion or empathy.

Extremists have taken over. Compromise has become a dirty word. Experience has suddenly become a negative rather than an asset. The word "American" has been tainted.

With the increase in hostility comes a decrease in tolerance. People are learning to live secret lives, form secret groups with "safe" people who will "get you." People are scared, not just out in the street, but in their own homes on their computers. Social media sites that used to be fun like Facebook are now filled with opportunities to see the ugliness of the world right in your own timeline.

I've disconnected from Facebook for awhile because it got too ugly. I had to increase my privacy settings so severely that most of my "friends" list is now on restricted and only a handful of people have access to my true thoughts--even if it is a meme of an alligator crossing the street with some silliness attached. Who knows? Someone may read some hidden meaning into that alligator and then next thing you know I'll be in the middle of some stupid argument where I'm called a liar or passive agressive--God forbid the alligator just be an alligator! My head spins at the thin skin of people these days--and how quickly their minds go to a dark place of conspiracy and distrust.

I'm not alone. I talk to people who feel the same--scared to voice their opinions or even to share hard won knowledge for fear of being attacked.

Who would have thought that in the United States of America, the land of the free, the land of diversity, we'd all be so afraid of each other? The greatest threat to our nation isn't from ISIS or Russia; our greatest threat to our freedom is fear. Fear of each other. Fear of the truth. Fear of someone else's point of view. Fear of standing up to bullies. Fear of being ourselves.

I am not optimistic about the near future. I see the hatred growing and it makes me sad. Any solutions that could have been offered up have now been dashed because the bully culture is taking over. I can only hope that we fail to bend, that we don't flee, that we find our voice and raise it loudly despite the fear that makes us quiver.

It's hard to argue with people who view lies as truth. It's hard to stand up to those who are intimidating with their threats. But we must.

And we must because it's the right thing to do.

Sometimes the hardest thing is the necessary thing.

I hope that my future grandchildren live in a country where they are free to be themselves without fear, that they know the true meaning of freedom. For that dream, I will stand up and speak up.