Two days ago Hurricane Sandy slid up the east coast and curved herself over the Mid-Atlantic with a vindictive curse like a crazy old aunt out for blood, the one you knew you shouldn't have insulted at the last family reunion. She hung around for a while right on top of my house in southeast Pennsylvania, stewing and blowing until all the power went out and night descended with a howl. The next day from my window I could see thousands of sticks littering my yard from Sandy's crazy, drunken tantrum. Just beyond the hill, several of my neighbor's monster trees were lying in bits atop the festive yellow of autumn's last breath.
What does one do when one has no power? I don't know about anyone else, but my comfort action of choice is reading. My very favorite thing to read in these situation is short stories, mostly because I can't concentrate for long when branches are scratching at the door. I love reading adventures and sci-fi and mysteries and of course, most especially, romance. While my two teen boys wandered around the cold house, frustrated and bored, I just smiled at them and downloaded another gem onto my ebook reader. To my delight, Evernight Publishing has come up with the most awesome set of stories possible for their Romance on the Go line.
When I went to sleep last night, hurricane finally gone, the silence nearly overwhelmed me. I could hear my heart beat, the sound of my breath through my lungs. I've grown so used to the sound of electronic devices that I didn't know how much space their existence took up in my ears. The first night of the hurricane, the wind was too loud to notice their absence, but the second night, there was nothing to interrupt the black quiet except more silence. I had a hard time sleeping.
A few months ago I wrote a story about waking up in the middle of the night. My heroine, Belinda, is startled out of a sound sleep, completely disoriented. She thinks she hears something, and of course, she does. Her two best friends (her very hot, sexy, male best friends) have snuck into her house and surprised her with a visit. Being men, they scare her to death without meaning to, though after her initial shock, she discovers she is happy to see them. The dark isn't so suffocating when someone you love is in it with you, and those two lovely men, Max and Levi, love her very much indeed, though it takes all their courage to let her know.
Love, Desperately is a story I wrote for the Romance on the Go line at Evernight Publishing. It began as a little scene and morphed into something more, unexpectedly. I often wake up in the middle of the night, needing something to fill the darkness so I can fall back to sleep. A hug, a whisper, sometimes the sight of the moon or my favorite constellation can relax me back into dreamland. I wanted Belinda to have that kind of experience, and voila! A story was born.
Last night the valley was dark through my windows (I live on a hill and am used to seeing the twinkling lights of all the people who live in the shadow of the mountain). I thought about my story (coming November 13!) and hoped that someone would read it and feel comforted (or hot and bothered, I'm not picky). I wondered how many other ladies were out there in the darkness, dreaming of a hero. I rolled over, kissed my husband goodnight, and dreamed of more stories, like I usually do. When the lights come back, I'll probably write a few more down, reveling in the sound of life and heat and making certain that my heroines' happily-ever-after comes before the dawn.
Erin M. Leaf