Please extend a big welcome to Dianne Venetta, today's VBT Guest Author. Since I'm deep in writing these days I couldn't come up with any interesting interview questions. So, I left the field wide open. Any topic of her choice. For those of us buried under mounds of snow and dreaming of summer, Dianne is treating us to a taste of summer in the garden. After that, there's some fun reading with excerpts from her book, Lust On The Rocks. Be sure to leave a comment below!
Thanks for having me today and I have a question: “How many gardeners out there do we have?” Few, many, organic, non-organic, just trying not to kill the dang thing? I’m a gardener, but I’m no expert. I’m a mom who thought gardening would be a good idea, a way to engage the whole family, you know? Problem: I didn’t have the first clue how to begin. Thank goodness I have green-thumbed neighbors! Taught me everything I know.
Okay, that’s a lie. While it’s true they got me started, I’m a trial and error kind of gal at heart with an over-active imagination—which works great for writing books, but gardening? Not so much. Not when you forget to water, have kids that mutiny on a regular basis, can’t identify beneficials (good bugs) and start removing them from your garden at alarming rates because you think they’re out to get you (too much sci-fi, I know). However, the experience has provided enough fodder for a garden blog and now I help other well-intentioned folks like myself get started with their own garden. Kids, too!
But an over-active imagination can be fun in the garden—when it turns to men and women and relationships, that is. Have you ever considered the similarities between your man and say, a vegetable? How about a fruit? Okay, that one may not be a stretch. I happen to know a lot of “fruits” and most of them fun! But seriously, if your man were a vegetable, which one would he be? I have a few suggestions for you:
Carrots – Bred from firm and solid fiber, these men are steady and strong and always there for you. Given proper attention, they can also become quite sweet in nature; a true hidden treasure, if ever there was one. They do need some elbow room, exhibit a bit of thinning at times, but if you’re willing to work for it, this one’s a keeper!
Tomatoes – This popular guy is an all around favorite with the ladies, most drawn to his bright and cheery appearance and radiant personality. A real reliable kind of guy, sweet with a hint of tang, meaty and quite robust—he comes in all sizes. Yes, this one is tempting. Be sure you’re in for the commitment—he’s going to need it if you expect him to produce
Okra – Strong, of firm build, this one likes it hot and enjoys it spicy—very at home in the Big Easy, too. Generally speaking, he blends well with others, can plant himself anywhere, but caution: he can be seedy, even a bit slimy at times.
Potatoes – These fellas are generous producers, enjoyed by most everyone as they appeal to a variety of tastes. They can get easily crowded, though, so give them plenty of space. If you do, you’ll have yourself a real winner with this one. Note: be patient with the sweeter types—they need a little more time before they’re ready to hit the dinner-date table. But if you can wait, go for it. You’ll reap the gold with this gem!
Don’t see your guy here? No worries. I’ll share the rest with you come Valentine’s Day over at my blog Bloominthyme.com!
Just goes to show you that gardening doesn’t have to be all “weed and feed.” It can actually be quite fun! At least it will provide a great source of distraction if your mind tends to wander like mine. And if you’re not a gardener, consider becoming one! The satisfaction I gain through producing the food on my dinner table is rewarding, indeed—especially the compliments:
“Wow, would you look at the size of that tomato!”
“These potatoes taste like butter!”
“This onion is so sweet—and no tears!”
“Is that a squash or a pumpkin?”
Okay, disregard the last one. Case of hybrid squash stemming from an unknown origin; seems the plants had a mutiny of their own!
But I’ll bet some of you gardeners out there have similar stories to share. Care to spill the beans?
She has what he needs, and he won't stop until he gets it. Trouble is, what begins as a matter of death, becomes a matter of life.
One case away from partnership, Samantha Rawlings is forced to share her high-profile case with a sexy younger man, whose eyes are on a different prize. In the best interests of her client, Sam opens the door to his strategy. Turns out, a little too far...
Victor Marin has ulterior motives. The defendant in her case holds the key to his revenge, and his last chance for justice. But as he chases old demons, he uncovers a powerful woman with no inhibitions, one he wants to possess for himself. But decidedly single, Sam wants no part.
Until Vic walks away.
Excerpts From Lust On The Rocks:
“You did well today, Vic. You didn’t win your argument, your performance was a little overpowering, but you did well.” She slid a hand across the table. He would have sworn she was about to touch his, but instead, her fingers curled around the stem of her water glass. “Chavez was out of line. It’s his MO. Whenever there’s a new attorney in his courtroom, he parades power like a peacock. Don’t take it personal.”
No longer sparring, Vic noted her removal of armor.
“You’re good. Really good. You have phenomenal energy in the courtroom—I mean you had the jury.” A smile crept onto her lips, a gesture which reached deep inside him. “I was watching. Each and every one of them followed you around that courtroom, your every move, your every word, they were right there with you. They didn’t believe her either.”
“Then why won’t you include me on Perry?”
Sam’s breath caught in her throat. Trapped beneath his gaze, the question echoed Raul’s. Around her, the noise level rose as lunch hour officially reached full sprint. People shouted orders, metal cash registers clanged in action, but she focused solely on Vic.
Her suspicion returned. Because I don’t need any help. Because I don’t want the distraction. Because I’ll be damned if some unknown hotshot comes in and tries to strip the prize from my hands regardless of how good, or how good-looking he is.
Sam’s spine locked straight. All her life she had to work twice as hard, run twice as fast—because she was a woman. As an adolescent, her parents forced her to share an overload of responsibility for the care of five younger siblings, despite the fact her brother was scarcely a year behind her. In college she was offered more dates than internships with law school providing more of the same.
Sam sighed. Baker, Schofield,
and Brown had been the one interview where she felt wholly respected—wholly appreciated for her talent and not her looks. Because of Raul. He focused on her abilities and she responded. From there, the man taught her everything she knew, from the law to the lowdown, and groomed her into the legal shark she was proud to be. Martinez
Her thoughts chilled. Yet now, he was encouraging interference on her caseload from the new guy. It didn’t make sense.
Sam honed in on Vic. “Give me one good reason I should include you on Perry.”
“You said it yourself, I’m good.”
“So am I.”
“It’s a big case. More than one attorney can handle.”
“I have Diego.”
“I have experience.”
“So I hear.” Sam lifted her glass from the table, but never took her eyes off him.
“It could work to your benefit.”
“I work to my benefit.”
Vic eased his neck from his collar and reached for his glass. “I’m offering to help, Sam. Most attorneys would jump at the opportunity.”
“If you hadn’t gathered by now, I’m not most attorneys.”
“My father is a prominent attorney.”
Sam gave an expectant lift to her shoulders. “And?”
“And, what? He’s a good guy.” Depressed, angry… Vic sighed. But a good man at heart.
“What do they think of you moving to
Something inside him hardened. “They’re very supportive of what I do.”
She nodded, as though it were obvious. “They want you to be happy.”
Vic felt the old pressure swell in his gut. “Something like that.” He sipped from his drink, coating his ache with a soothing measure of gin.
“Family is important,” Sam said, with what sounded like genuine admiration. “Particularly the dedicated kind.”
He paused, and held onto the softness that entered her voice. “If you feel that way, why aren’t you married?”
“Why aren’t you?”
“Asked you first. The way you said it, sounded like you have some experience in the department.”
“I do. Loads of it.” She shook long bangs from her well-shaped brow and said, “I come from a family of six kids.”
“Six. And I, being the oldest, had to help raise the little beasts—I mean, dearies.” She smiled sweet as syrup. “And mind you, I love every one of them, but I don’t want to repeat history.” She mimicked a shudder and fiddled with her drink’s red plastic sword. “I’ve had my fill in the child-rearing department, thank you very much, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the commitment my parents made to keep it together.”
Oblivious now to the parade of passersby, Vic felt a strange wave of disappointment. “What, you don’t want kids?”
“I have kids,” she asserted. “My brothers and sisters have several between them who I enjoy very much, but as for myself I’ve chosen a different path.”
Vic nodded, but said nothing. He was calculating the new information, turning it over in his mind, deciding what it meant and how he felt about it.
And it’s reflection on her.
“So Vic, you still haven’t explained why you chose
He welcomed the shift in tide. Talk of marriage and children was starting to depress him. “I’m looking to add a little ‘sunshine’ to my life and this seemed just the place.”
Sam dipped into her martini, the fiery gleam in her eyes magnetic, her smile reflecting the earlier reference. Inciting desire, it pulled him in, all without revealing her first thought.
“Yes, well, sounds to me like you had a vested opportunity in your father’s firm. Why cross the country and start over?”
“I wanted a change in scenery. While I’m young,” he added, with measured thrust.
Sam smiled, intrigued, but let the subject go.
While she had yet to decipher the reason for Vic’s move, and Raul’s insistence on acting as his cheerleader, she knew men didn’t usually uproot their careers and move halfway across the country, particularly when their father was a well-connected attorney in town and their academics were spotless.
Unless there was a problem.
“It’s nice out here, isn’t it?”
The light breeze tossed hair into her face as she looked at him. “One of my favorite places to be.” The feel and sound of crashing waves reminded her of life’s ebb and flow, the powerful force of nature, the calming sense of continuity. Sam loved the ocean, from the deep dark depths to the slide of incoming tides across a shore littered with shells.
Vic kept his pace slow. Jean pant legs rolled up, he carried his loafers in one hand, allowing the other to occasionally bump with hers. “Why aren’t you tied down yet, Sam? Seems to me, a woman like you would have men lining up with proposals.”
She chuckled at his compliment. “I don’t want to be tied down.”
“Ever? You mean to tell me you never met a guy who did it for you?”
“Did it for me?” she repeated, amused by his choice of words. But she knew what he meant and relaxed into a laugh. “I’ve met a lot of men who have done it for me, as you so neatly put, but I choose to be single.”
“Why? Someone hurt you?”
“No.” Other than my family. Being forced to care for five little kids when you were scarcely one yourself wasn’t so great. But life did that to you. It put you in situations and forced you to deal—which she did. But that was behind her now and she didn’t intend to go back. Ever.
“You don’t want kids? Is that it?”
“Let’s say I had an overexposure at a young age, caring for my brothers and sisters and I’m cleansed of any desire to have my own. What about you?”
“What about me.”
“Siblings, nieces, nephews...”
“None,” he said, and Sam almost tripped over the soft quality of his voice.
“Must be strange.” When he didn’t reply, she said, “I’m sorry, that didn’t come out right.”
He looked at her and said, “Don’t worry about it. No big deal.”
But the vulnerability in his eyes unraveled her heart. Had he been hurt? Was that the reason behind his distinct change in demeanor, the wall that slid between them?
This was usually easy territory for a man. Unless there was a problem, rang the sentiment again. “Ever thought about marriage and kids for yourself?”
“I’m focused on my career, but later, when I’m ready to settle down...” The thought fell away. “Who knows?”
“They’re a lot of work,” Sam tried to make light, willing the ease to return.
“But the connection is worth it.”
She turned to him and he stopped. In the distance, the sound of partygoers blended with the thumping base of music drifting far and wide. Behind them, a large wave crashed. Racing up the shore, it submerged them ankle deep, then glided across the wide expanse of sand as it made its retreat to the ocean. Something changed. The hairs on the back of her neck stood amidst goose bumps prickling her flesh. Vic’s gaze cut through the gentle evening light as he touched her hair, ceasing its lash across her cheekbones. Her pulse quickened.
“I had a nice time.”
“Me, too,” she uttered, her breathing reduced to wisps.
“I’m glad we’re working together.”
She could only nod, suspended by what came next.
Dianne lives in
Central Florida with her husband, two children and part-time Yellow Lab--Cody-body! When not whacking away at her keyboard crafting her next novel you'll find her in their organic garden chasing grasshoppers and plucking hornworms all while drawing wild analogies between kids and plants and men. Definitely men.
A girl's gotta have fun, right?
When she's not knee-deep in dirt or romance, Dianne contributes garden advice for various websites and volunteers in her kids' school garden (a crazy existence to be sure). But at the end of the day, if she can inspire someone to stop and smell the roses--or rosemary!—kiss their child and spouse good-night, be kind to a neighbor and Mother Earth, then she's done all right.
http://www.BloominThyme.com - garden blog
You can find Lust On the Rocks at Amazon