A Hot Mess by Paisley Smith
I went out on a limb with the woefully tortured alpha-heroine of my historical lesbian romance, Every Waking Hour. And while Grayson Garland’s brand of conflict might not be every reader’s cup of tea (or shot of bourbon in Gray’s case) her story was important for me to tell on myriad levels.
The obvious: Almost every family has a member with substance abuse issues. Some of the greatest characters in literature and movies are addicts – Sherlock Holmes, Doc Holiday, Arthur, Martha from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
The not so obvious: Addicts are complex characters with almost impossible obstacles to overcome in order to accept others into their lives. On the surface, addicts can be the life of the party. They’re supremely enigmatic, and yet a dark demon fuels their motives.
In Every Waking Hour, Gray drinks to escape because of two different, but connected issues. The most evident is Gray’s grappling with being a lesbian in the 1950s. Gray doesn’t necessarily fight her desire to be intimate with the same sex, but she does realize she is poison to anyone unfortunate enough to care for her. After returning to Alabama to bury her father, she meets Della Boyd. In exploring her curiosity with Gray, (yes, there’s quite a bit of smoking hot girl on girl sex) Della loses her heart and soon learns the charismatic author harbors far deeper secrets than her sexuality.
Gray didn’t stop her ascent until she’d closed the distance between them, until her face was only inches away. Her gaze dropped to Della’s parted lips. A delicious chill washed over her, and her mouth went dry.
Della stopped smiling. Her entire being filled with anticipation and expectation. She knew Gray was going to kiss her. It was something that only fifteen minutes ago Della couldn’t allow herself to imagine, but now it was about to happen and she wanted it more than she’d wanted anything in her life.
Gray wet her lips with the tip of her tongue and then gingerly brushed her mouth across Della’s. She opened her lips to the softness, meeting the whiskey-flavored tongue that tested and then retreated. The kiss was so tender and yet so devastating.
A husky moan tore from Gray’s throat, and she deepened the kiss, cupping Della’s face in her hand, pressing her warm body close. The faint fragrance of Gray’s androgynous cologne wafted in the sultry night air.
Gray’s arm snaked around Della’s waist, drawing her impossibly close, crushing her dress against the hard thigh that pressed between her knees. Helpless, Della yielded to the incompatible softness of feminine lips that vied with powerful passion. She responded, meeting the invading tongue, tilting her head to give and receive more. She entwined her arms around Gray’s neck and held her head captive.
This was madness. It was fire and ice, and Della dissolved into the embrace. And merciful heavens, the way Gray held her. So tightly. So closely. As if they could become one.
Desire unfurled and snapped like a standard in the wind, leaving Della powerless to do anything but submit. Dampness trickled inside her panties, and she moved restlessly against the thigh pushing tight between her legs.
Gray groaned, and her arms tightened, her kiss ever deepening. Her tantalizingly chilled fingers slipped from Della’s cheek, downward to where they worked inside the bodice of her dress, inching possessively under the laced edge of her bra. Sweltering passion contrasted the cool touch, pooling between her legs, and when Gray cupped her breast and pinched her already hardened nipple, Della all but melted.
A little moan escaped her mouth as Gray’s lips moved to her neck, then to her ear, where she raked her teeth against the earring there, then finally back to Della’s lips again. Della wanted this moment to last forever. This fervid passion. This recklessness.
Heat rolled up her spine, and all the taboos and warning bells sounding in her head evaporated, leaving desperate physical need in its wake.
Without warning Gray’s fingers fell away. The kiss ended. Della searched her eyes, shocked by the bleak darkness in the deep blue pools.
Gray turned away and sank back down onto the steps. She took her drink in her hands and stared into it.
“Grayson?” Della asked softly as she cautiously sat. After that kiss she could scarcely think. “Grayson?” she asked again. “What’s wrong? Did I do something wrong?”
“I’m sorry,” Gray said without looking at her. “I shouldn’t have done that.”
"This is a powerful story, told through vivid characterization and dialogue, touching and sensual at the same time. Every Waking Hour is set in the mid-20th century South where such passions are considered scandalous, yet for Della and Grayson it is a love strong enough to survive all the harrowing obstacles." Staff Pick, All Romance Ebooks
About Paisley SmithPaisley Smith is a full time freelance writer and can usually be found in front of her computer either writing, chatting, promoting or plotting. It’s a glamorous life…working in one’s pajamas.
She attended college in the Deep South where she obtained a slew of totally useless degrees and developed an unrelenting sense of humor.
Her books can be found at Ellora’s Cave , Loose Id, and Cleis Press.
Want to know more? http://PaisleySmith.net