Charlotte Dae is an indie author who loves exploring the darker side of romance. Such taboo topics have a place in literature, and she is clamoring to bring them to light in her own way. When she is not spending her free time writing, she is working as a Forensic Scientist in her nation’s capital and enjoying the view of the Chesapeake Bay from her home with her husband and Australian shepherd puppy.
It’s only one night.
A night in which I am to surrender my inhibitions and compete in a grand tournament with the rest of the wedding party.
Described by the bride and groom as a series of games that will award one winning pair the “ultimate prize,” the event is mysterious, to say the least. And I’m tied up in knots about it.
But as the maid of honor, how can I refuse?
The silver lining comes in the form of the best man, James Pierce. A stranger with kindness in his voice, a smoldering flame lurking in his eyes, and a seductive touch that brings me straight to my knees.
As spellbound as I am by him, I fear our chemistry can only take us so far. James is unaware of what haunts me at night—of what waits for me behind every locked door. He doesn’t know what paralyzed me with fear and pushed me to the brink of madness as a child. It’s a darkness I pray has abandoned me, leaving me, at long last, in peace.
But tonight, my inner demons will grant me anything but peace.
Faced with a challenge that lies far beyond the boundaries of the tournament, I must weigh the risks of surrendering myself to James completely. Can I move forward with my heart intact after baring my soul to yesterday’s stranger, or will I tell him my darkest truths, only to find him gone come morning light?
Once each blindfold is secure and we’re back in our places, Jenna draws a folded sheet of red paper from the bowl—the ladies’ bowl—and reveals the first location.
—On your tongue—
She holds the piece of paper out and walks down the aisle, silently showing it to each of us. We promptly place the items in our mouths. The smooth plastic is oddly soothing to suck on.
I let mine dance on my tongue as Jenna continues. “Ladies, step forward until you’re in reach of your partner.”
My heels click against the floor as I close the gap between James and me. A subtle yet distinct inhale grazes his lips as I approach. I remain silent despite my desire to whisper something salacious under my breath. But if the button clicks against my teeth, it will certainly give its hiding spot away.
“I’ll start the timer in three…two…one. Go.”
No sooner does my mind register the subtle ticking of a timer, than James reaches for me. He fumbles, not knowing where to search first, which quickly becomes part of the fun. He starts high, brushing against my neck, and I release a quick exhale at the sensation of his warm, rough hands on my delicate skin.
Finding his bearings with my anatomy, he touches me with much more purpose despite the blindfold. He glides his hands to the edge of my sweetheart top, his fingers slinking below the fabric, trailing along the tops of my breasts as he searches for the button. His touch sends butterflies fluttering deep in my stomach.
He pats me down along my breasts and cups his hands under them to feel for the elusive object. When his search remains fruitless, he sinks to his knees and runs his hands down my body. Seeing him blindfolded, on his knees before me, sends my pulse into a frenzy.
When he doesn’t find what he’s looking for, he slowly works his way back up, grazing my breasts with his hands on the outside of my dress and gripping my bare shoulders.
He brings his hands up to my face…
That’s it. Warmer…
He teases my hair with his fingers, running them behind my ears. He delicately traces the features of my face, like a blind man trying to see me for the first time. My mouth is still agape with the pleasure of his closeness. His natural scent floods my senses— something new, musky, and delicious—and I tremble as he inches closer.
Several men have hollered “found it” over the last few seconds, but I don’t care. I could do this with him all night.
He finds my lips with his thumb and brushes across them, wiping away some of my lip gloss.
You’re so warm. So close. So very close…
He brings his thumb to his mouth and sucks my strawberry flavor from it with a quiet suckle.
Before I can anticipate his next move, he forces my lips apart with his thumb, and my breath catches in my throat. My wrist is captured by his free hand as I drag my tongue across his imprisoned thumb, suck on it even, and the button brushes against his wonderfully intrusive digit.
“Found it,” he whispers into my ear as he lifts his blindfold, his breath hot against my quivering flesh. I stick my tongue out for him, and he removes the button, holding it up and announcing his victory to the room.
Within seconds, the timer goes off. An audible gasp escapes my lungs at the alarming sound, my nerves frayed amid my silent panting. I’d forgotten about the timer, the game, the others in the room.
For those sixty seconds, it was only James and me.
I have been working as a Forensic Scientist in Washington, DC for the last decade. I have always had a passion for Forensic Science, and processing crime scenes in my nation’s capital has been an amazing experience. However, for as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to write and publish fiction novels. I have all sorts of stories rolling around in my head, and I decided it was finally time to sit down and make my other dreams come true.
I have always been a daydreamer, and most of my ideas come to me in my dreams (while either sleeping or awake). I see these ideas in two very different ways:
In both instances, I write down as much of it as I can before I forget any of it. The Google docs app on my phone has been such as blessing, as it allows me to jot down these scenes, moments, quotes, notes, and outlines quickly, as they come to me, without having to wait until I’m at a computer.
I wrote Come Morning Light in order, knowing from the very beginning how I wanted it to play out and how I wanted it to end. However, the sequel novel, Come the First Snowfall, which I am currently writing, is being written entirely out of sequence. I am more interested in getting the ideas down as they come to me rather than worrying about everything being in order. The sequel is a much bigger story with even more going on, so it’s critical that I keep everything organized.
Speaking of organized, I am obsessed with organization. Outlines, notes, and lists are my life. For example, when creating the games in Come Morning Light, I had the rules of the games, as well as every clue and every key moment, completely mapped out before writing the actual scene. Then, the scene and characters just sort of fell into place around the rules of the games.
I’m a total water baby! I love to scuba dive, go out on my boat, fish, paddle board, hang out on the beach, the works. And, taking the time to read a good book whenever I have the chance definitely goes without saying. I am tortured by the fact that I have a “To Be Read” list of which I will never reach the end.
Other than a loving kiss from my husband, my celebrations are severely lacking. It’s about time I change that.
This is my debut novel, releasing June 14th, so I haven’t had the chance to create any traditions. But it sounds like someone needs to throw me a party!
I have so many stories I want to tell! But, for my debut novel, I initially wanted a story that was shorter and more straightforward; one that I could feasibly make happen, from start to finish, while also working a full-time job. Also, I knew what a learning curve this entire process would be, so I thought something shorter would make the process a bit easier.
In fact, my original intention was to write this story as a novella; a sweet little insta-love story that takes place over the span of one night at a combined bachelor/bachelorette party. However, as I was outlining the story and was still in the early stages of writing, one idea after the other kept coming to me. Before I knew it, there were back stories, past trauma, and sinister motivations within some of the characters that took on a life of their own. Thus, a full-length novel was born. So much so, in fact, that I am currently working on the sequel novel (book two of the duet) because I couldn’t fit everything into one book.
Not specifically. However, the main female character speaks of her father and the extreme bouts of paranoia and delusions from which he suffered. She claims her father spoke of seeing monsters inside their home. This was pulled directly from someone I know in real life who suffers from severe schizophrenia and admitted to seeing monsters in his home. It’s a terrible illness, and the visions the inflicted person(s) have (if any) can really instill unspeakable fear, as the person believes them to be 100% real.
Finding a way to properly convince the reader that two people who begin the night as strangers can fall for each other—hard—over the span of a single night. I needed the story to be filled with moments in which the two main characters had to rely solely on each other; to save each other in ways that would bring them together emotionally, mentally, and physically, and serve as a catalyst for their budding relationship.
Also, once the book was complete, and had already been through all rounds of the professional editing process, it was so difficult to stop tinkering with it. I wanted it to be perfect. Calling it “done” was almost impossible.
I absolutely loved developing the relationship between the main female character, Evie, and her best friend, Jenna. Jenna is a character I clicked with immediately, and I loved finding all the little ways in which I could make her shine throughout the book. I am so excited to give Jenna her own POV in the sequel.
I really enjoyed Jack Whitney’s novella Sweet Girl. This little novella takes place over the course of one night, and the vibe between the main characters, who begin the night as strangers, is incredible. Reading it gave me the confidence and the understanding that it is possible to create a strong enough chemistry between your two main characters that they can, in fact, fall very hard for each other over the span of a single night.
The chill of the night air disappears as I fall like a comet— fervid, unstoppable, and quicker than the blink of an eye—into the starlight that dances in her eyes. Tremulous yet surprisingly calm from the warmth of her form against mine, I search them for the storm clouds that haunted me upon our first encounter. But, much to my relief, they possess the vivacity of a meteor shower and the clouds are nowhere in sight. I am transfixed by them— speechless, breathless, featherlight—daring to transform this hedge maze into my grave as I beg the universe to just leave me here forever.
I would love to meet Jenna. We would be instant best friends, I have no doubt. If I ever met her, I would take her hand in mine, look her straight in the eye, and say, “You’re my person, too, Jen. Always.”