Laid Bare with Flair Contest – Day Four!

Today’s prize is a copy of Megan Hart’s newest release, Deeper and a “Read in Bed” pillow!

Of all the books I’ve read and/or critted for Megan, this is up at the very top of my favorite list, which says a lot because kidding aside, I happen to think Megan is one of the most talented and insightful writers out there right now.

This book is unexpected in so many ways. It’s a ghost story, a love story, a story about a woman who has returned to the place where she spent the most formative years of her youth and early adulthood. It’s sexy and smart and it made my heart ache in places.

Bess is a fabulous character. A woman who has turned a new corner in her life. A big scary one and she’s taking it on. She’s a woman with a lot of context and Megan Hart has a way of introducing her through the interactions she has with her sons, with her estranged, straying soon to be ex husband and through Nick.

The book wends its way forward by way of going back in time. As we learn about Bess from then, Bess from now is dealing with her choices. There’s a sort of dreamy quality about this shift. It’s not abrupt at all and it lends a sense of being out of time, which works well given that this is, in part, a ghost story.

This isn’t a romance though there are romantic elements. It’s Bess’ story, it’s her HEA and it’s a great book I can’t recommend enough.


Some lovers never leave you…

Twenty years ago she had her whole life spread out before her like a mesmerizing map. She was Bess Walsh, a fresh-scrubbed, middle-class student ready to conquer the design world. And she was taken. Absolutely and completely.

But not by Andy, her well-groomed, intellectual boyfriend who hinted more than once about a ring. No. During that hot summer as a waitress and living on the beach, she met Nick, a dark haired, local bad boy. He was, to put it mildly, not someone she could take home to Daddy.

Instead, Nick became her dirty little secret; a fervent sexual accomplice who knew how to ignite an all-consuming obsession she had no idea she carried deep within her.

Bess had always wondered what happened to Nick after that summer, after their promise to meet again. And now, back at the beach house and taking a break from responsibility, from marriage, from life, she discovers his heartbreaking fate–and why he never came back for her. Suddenly Nick’s name is on her lips…his hands on her thighs…dark hair and eyes called back from the swirling gray of purgatory’s depths.

Dead, alive, or something in-between, they can’t stop their hunger.

She wouldn’t dare.

Excerpt from DEEPER by MEGAN HART:

She didn’t remember much about it, just that she’d been small. With grammy holding one hand and her mom holding the other, little Bess had kicked and splashed at the water. A rogue wave had pulled her from her mom’s grasp and tumbled her, head over foot, beneath the water. She could recall the tug of the water and the scrape of sand on her back and face as she rolled. She’d held her breath instinctively, and closed her eyes against the sting of sand and salt. Her lungs had hurt in moments, worse than the scrapes on her knees and elbows. A rough slice of a broken shell cut her hand as she scrabbled for something to hold onto.

Just before they pulled her out of the water, the pain stopped. And she’d seen…

“The gray.” Bess startled upright, the words on her lips tasting like blood from where she’d bitten her tongue.

They’d pulled her out of the water and she’d vomited up the sea, and until now she’d forgotten all about how the world had turned to gray. Until now. Bess sat up higher, her heart pounding. The blanket tangled around her feet.

She smelled saltwater and seaweed, and blinking, turned to the doorway where a dark figure stood silhouetted.

She heard the soft plink-plink of water dripping onto the hardwood floor. She heard the sound of her own breath. She heard the rush and roar of the ocean outside.

She opened her arms.

He knelt at her feet and buried his face in her lap. His shoulders heaved. His hair, soaking, wet her skirt and his skin beneath her fingers was hot and wet. He was naked. Bess ran her fingers down the individual bumps of Nick’s spine, the sleek curve of his ribs. He’d always been lean, but now he seemed fragile, too.

He sobbed once, low, and grabbed her thighs tight. The odor of the ocean overpowered everything else, his usual sensual smell of soap and cologne with a hint of smoke gone. Nick moaned low in his throat, and broke her heart again.

“Don’t leave me again.” Each word sounded like it tortured him. His fingers curled into the folds of her skirt.

Though he radiated heat like sun-baked sand, Bess gathered up the blanket and wrapped it around him, then eased herself onto the floor beside him. Nick buried his face against her neck. His wet hair tickled her cheek. Bess held him tight, the two of them wrapped in the afghan, and wondered what to say to make all of this better.

“When you’re gone, I think you won’t come back.”

Bess rubbed her cheek along his wet head. “I came back, Nick.”

His arms tightened on her. His shoulders heaved a time or two more, but then he pulled away. His eyes flashed in the stripe of light from the window. She saw no tears.

“I had to go out,” she said softly. She pushed his hair, drying now, off his forehead, and cupped his cheek.

She’d always imagined Nick as fearless. She’d been the one to doubt. The benefit of hindsight showed her he’d been as afraid as she’d been. Maybe more. Even so, seeing him this way disconcerted her.

“I know you did.” Shaking off her touch, he sat with his back against the couch. The blanket fell around his waist. “Forget it.”

“When I came home, and you were gone…” Bess hesitated. “I thought you weren’t coming back. I thought I’d lost you, Nick. Forever, this time.”

He turned to look at her, the mouth that brought her such pleasure turned down at the corners. After a moment he reached to cup his hand on the back of her neck. She thought he might kiss her, maybe pull her onto his lap and start to fuck her there on the floor, and despite the bruises and the chafing, her body responded at once.

But Nick didn’t kiss her. He only looked at her. “I don’t want to go back. Not ever.”

Bess shook her head a tiny bit, not dislodging his grasp from her neck. “And I don’t want you to.”

Shadows bisected his faint smile. “No?”


“What are we going to do?” His fingers curled and his thumb pressed against the beat of her pulse. She leaned toward him, letting his heat wash over her. “When your kids get here? What then? You gonna tell them I’m your boyfriend? Tell ‘em you’re fucking me, and oh, by the way, I’m not…I’m—”

She put her mouth on his to silence him. He let her kiss him, but he didn’t kiss her back, and after a second she pulled away. “Shh. I’ll think of something.”

Nick got up. The blanket fell away. She’d been on her knees for him before, but this time it didn’t feel right with him looking down on her. Bess stood, too.

Nick stalked to the wall and turned on the overhead light. Bess threw up her hand to keep away the glare, and blinking, didn’t see him grabbing her wrist until he was already pulling her toward the large mirror. He stared at their side-by-side reflections.

“What do you see?” He asked.

Bess’s eyes had adjusted now to the brightness, but she blinked a few more times. “Me. And you.”

Nick stared hard into the mirror. “I look the same to you. And you look the same to me. But not to yourself.”

“I don’t remember what I looked like then,” she said. “Unless I look at pictures. I can’t remember what it was like to stare at my face in the mirror, Nick. I look the way I look. I look my age.”

He turned to her. “You’re afraid of what people will say.”

“There’s more than one reason to be afraid of that,” Bess told him, not meaning to be cruel but hearing it sound that way.

Nick looked again at their reflection. “Do you think anyone would recognize me?”

“I did.”

He smiled. “How about someone I wasn’t fucking?”

“Gee, Nick,” she said, stung. “Was there anyone you weren’t fucking?”

“Hey.” He caught her arm as she pulled away. “Bess. Don’t. I’m sorry.”

She let him pull her close, her face against his bare chest. She slid her hands down his back to fill her hands with the firm, smooth cheeks of his ass. He nuzzled her hair.

“I just wonder,” he whispered. “If there’s anyone besides you who would remember who I am.”

TODAY’S QUESTION: Do you like ghost stories? Why? Why not?

I’ll choose a winner at random from the comments tomorrow at noon pacific!


88 comments to “Laid Bare with Flair Contest – Day Four!”

  1. Gloria T
    July 6th, 2009 at 12:44 pm · Link

    Ghost. There is something about that is scary and likable at the same time

  2. Blanche
    July 6th, 2009 at 12:45 pm · Link

    I’ve not read a lot of ghost stories but the few I have always had romance involved with them and they were great stories!! :mrgreen:

  3. Lisa F.
    July 6th, 2009 at 12:50 pm · Link

    I love Ghost stories. I love the ones that give me goosebumps and chills.

    I really want to read Deeper. I love Megan’s books.

  4. Patricia Pickett
    July 6th, 2009 at 12:58 pm · Link

    I love, love books with ghosts in them for two reasons..I’m curious what happens after life and two I like to be caught off guard when I am reading a good book..this book looks really good.

  5. Larena Wirum
    July 6th, 2009 at 1:23 pm · Link

    I think ghost stories can be very good but it kind of depends on the plot and how it is written. I have read several that are very good. I think they can add an air of mystery to a story. :mrgreen:

  6. Estella
    July 6th, 2009 at 1:33 pm · Link

    I like ghost stories, as long as they are harmless ghosts.

  7. Cathy M
    July 6th, 2009 at 1:38 pm · Link

    I like both ghost stories and angel stories because I love the idea that our love ones can remain a presence in our lives even through death.

  8. Carrie
    July 6th, 2009 at 1:39 pm · Link

    I like ghost stories as long as they aren’t too scary. I’m a big wimp and don’t like anything frightening!

  9. Sandy M
    July 6th, 2009 at 2:36 pm · Link

    I do like ghost stories but I’ve read very few that really worked for me. One that I loved is Lynn Connolly’s Black Leather White Lace. That one worked beautifully. I love the otherworldly feel of ghost stories that make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Cliche, but ghost stories do that.

    I know Megan’s will work for me, tho. She’s one of the best writers out there. I love her books!

  10. Chasity
    July 6th, 2009 at 2:40 pm · Link

    I love ghost stories….
    Why? because take you by surprise and have you on edge the whole time.

    Also, stories… ghost ones or not are a treasure and to receive then from your elders or to pass them on to the next generations is a blessing.

  11. Armenia
    July 6th, 2009 at 2:47 pm · Link

    I love ghost stories when there’s romance involved, but otherwise, I don’t if it’s too scary. 🙄

    Yup, I’m a wimp. 🙂

  12. Donna S
    July 6th, 2009 at 3:13 pm · Link

    I love ghost stories and am always looking for a good one.

  13. Susan
    July 6th, 2009 at 3:21 pm · Link

    I love ghost stories! They add a different element to the story. 😎

  14. Amy M
    July 6th, 2009 at 4:08 pm · Link

    I like ghost stories if they are romantic or comedic…no scary stuff for me!

  15. Jeanette Juan
    July 6th, 2009 at 4:15 pm · Link

    I like ghost stories because they add mystery to a story that makes it even more exciting to read.

  16. Calila
    July 6th, 2009 at 4:38 pm · Link

    Not for or against ghost stories, I guess I would give it a chance if one was recommended.

  17. Amy S.
    July 6th, 2009 at 5:36 pm · Link

    I love ghost stories. I love anything paranormal.

  18. Mary Preston
    July 6th, 2009 at 5:39 pm · Link

    I like ghosts stories that are more mystery than fright. I want to be drawn into ‘other world’ adventure. A good ghost story goes down well on a winter’s evening.

  19. Patty S.
    July 6th, 2009 at 7:21 pm · Link

    Actually, I love ghost stories. Always have. My grandmother always told us that her mother came to her a few times after her death. Grandma also promised to haunt all of us if we didn’t hold a proper southern wake for her after her death – the casket in her house for for visitation for 2 days prior to the funeral. Trust me, she got her wish. She was an intimidating women, and no one wanted to risk an unhappy ghostly visit from her!!

  20. Carol Woodruff
    July 6th, 2009 at 7:34 pm · Link

    I like romantic, happy ghost stories, not scary ones, where the ghosts help people.

  21. limecello
    July 6th, 2009 at 7:45 pm · Link

    I love/hate ghost stories. Love because some of them are so clever and stick with me. Forever.
    Hate, because like Joy, I’m a wimp. They haunt me. Forever. I was never scared of the dark until my friend traumatized me when I was 6 with stories of Bloody Mary. And mirrors. Ack. After my friends forced me to watch The Exorcism of Emily Rose, I stayed up til 3 AM every day for like 2-3 weeks. Heh. Not good.

  22. limecello
    July 6th, 2009 at 7:46 pm · Link

    Oops – I forgot to add, please don’t put my name in this drawing! I’ve got a copy just waiting for me to read it. I just need time! :X Studying is all consuming :\

  23. book junkie
    July 6th, 2009 at 7:47 pm · Link

    I have heard so many wonderful things about this book. what a great prize!

  24. Pam P
    July 6th, 2009 at 9:20 pm · Link

    I like a good ghost romance; as far as believability, it’s fiction, so why not, just like all the other paranormal beings get their chance at love.

  25. Caffey
    July 6th, 2009 at 9:57 pm · Link

    Hi Lauren ! Hi Megan. Love reading the ghost stories that are romance! I think they are totally neat. But when it comes to scary in more like horror, I’m truly a wimp 🙄
    I am fastinated with true stories related to ghost and all but then when it goes to scary I do like it, like I love reading Gothics! I read them through HS. So its more that I love those with the feel in ghost stories as long as not violent. you know.

    So excited on this new release. I heard all great about it!

  26. kh
    July 6th, 2009 at 10:38 pm · Link

    i do if it fits teh story, all depends on the story and if it is reasonalbe

    love megan books

  27. stacey smith
    July 6th, 2009 at 11:26 pm · Link

    I love ghost stories i’ve have even live in a house where things were moving around all the was so neat I loved it.

  28. Andrea
    July 6th, 2009 at 11:36 pm · Link

    I have mixed feelings about ghost stories. I’ve read a couple good ones, but mostly ones that I didn’t like the ending. I absolutely must have a HEA and most of the ones I read didn’t deliver it the way they led up to it. So, I guess I’m more of a “willing to try because there’s a possibility for something special, but not expecting much” type of person (if that makes any sense). This one sounds very interesting and I’d love to read this one.

  29. Eva S
    July 7th, 2009 at 12:11 am · Link

    I like ghost stories, but there has to be a HEA for the couple.

  30. Teresa
    July 7th, 2009 at 12:30 am · Link

    I like ghost stories. Lynn Kurland’s kind are my kind.

  31. Tamara Mudd
    July 7th, 2009 at 12:37 am · Link

    Hmm, the ghost story angle sounds quite interesting, pretty different for Megan Hart story!

    As long as it’s a sexy read with a HEA ending, I’m game:)

  32. Heather
    July 7th, 2009 at 1:46 am · Link

    I like ghost stories in the romance/paranormal genre not the horror way.

    the ones i have read it is interesting how the author resolves a happy ending with a 200 year old ghost becoming manifest (and then needing ID)

  33. Vicki Wurgler
    July 7th, 2009 at 9:22 am · Link

    I like ghost stories in a romance book not ones that scare you

  34. Amelia
    July 7th, 2009 at 9:44 am · Link

    I like ghost stories. I like the idea that my departed loved ones could be watching over me.

  35. funkywaterdino
    July 7th, 2009 at 10:04 am · Link

    I like them. I like the scariness in them and Deeper sounds really interesting I can’t wait to read it.

  36. Lethea Benson
    July 7th, 2009 at 1:27 pm · Link

    Yes, love ghost stories!

  37. LaRonda
    July 7th, 2009 at 1:41 pm · Link

    Yes I like ghost stories. I like the ones that are a bit scary – not gory, but suspensful. I also like ones that can bring up feelings and will sort of “haunt” you after. That’s the way Deeper sounds like it will be – haunting.

  38. Diane Higgins
    July 7th, 2009 at 2:18 pm · Link

    I love ghost stories. I used to make them up as a kid, now I read romantic ghost stories 🙂