by L.B. Dunbar
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As the third child in the Carter family, I always felt a little on the outside of the Carter charm. I worked hard and played harder, but I was getting tired of the same old scene. I was more than Jess Carter’s little sister, I wanted to be me. Pam Carter.
I knew it needed to happen. After years of one night stands and too brief sexual encounters, an accident brought Fate to me. To resist his charm was my penance for years of misbehavior. The temptation to give in to my desire haunted me for almost two years, until an uncontrollable situation started the twisted path to test my resolve further.
I worked for Jacob Vincent, horror novelist extraordinaire, as his personal assistant, but I was adamant that the relationship remain professional. Jacob had dark demons and I couldn’t bring him into the light…or could I? Life was springing forth for me; changes were coming. I knew it was time to be set free from who I had been and who I was to start fresh with who I wanted to be. I just didn’t know where to start to change my destiny.
Return to Elk Rapids for the third sensation in the Sensations Collection, Fragrance Free. A standalone contemporary New Adult romance, this novel continues the stories of the Carter and Scott families. Read Sound Advice (Sensations Collection 1) to meet Jess Carter and Emily Post and find out how it all began over some good advice and a broken radio, or Taste Test (Sensations Collection 2) to meet Ethan Scott and Ella Vincentia where the challenge is delicious in more ways than one.
Jacob Vincent and Pam Carter Interview
Jacob grunts at me. I know he hates to talk about himself and I’m making him answer this interview for The Horror Times, a periodical that highlights mystery, suspense, and all things horrific in writing. As his personal assistant, I make it my mission to keep him on track. It’s what he hired me for at first, but now, things are different.
Jacob, sitting at his desk: Why do I have to do this again? (He swivels back and forth in his chair as I pace in front of the large desk, holding my ipad in one hand and type with the other).
Pam: It’s good publicity. Your novels are doing well and with the upcoming movie, people are curious about you.
Jacob, letting his head fall back: Fine, Lilac. Ask away.
I have to smile when he calls me by my nickname. He gave it to me, and he uses it when he wants something from me. I wasn’t ready to give him what he wanted at the moment. We have work to do.
Pam: First question, can you tell me who or what inspired you to write?
Jacob: Stephen King.
Exasperated, I sigh: Not your standard answer. Something more truthful. More you.
His dark hair falls over his forehead and my hand twitches to brush it back. I can’t touch him yet, or this interview won’t get done.
Jacob, blowing out a breath: Fine. My father inspired me. Not that he was a positive force, or supportive, but because he was a less than encouraging parent who ruled by the fist. Monsters were a daily reality for me.
I stopped pacing. He was more honest than I expected. I blinked at him before I asked another question, but he was looking at the high ceiling of his study. We were back in Michigan for this interview after a long weekend in New York visiting his niece, Ella, and her boyfriend, Ethan Scott.
Pam: Anything or anybody else inspire you?
Jacob leaned forward, the chair stilled and he rested his elbows on his knees.
Softly, Jacob replied: My brother. (His head was bent forward and I crossed around the desk to stand near him. He still held a lot of guilt from what his brother had done in the past and we’d talked about how it wasn’t his fault).
My tone warned him: Jacob.
He looked up at me, shaking his head: Don’t psycho-analyze me, Pam? (When he used my name in that tone, I knew he was getting upset. He was moody, and some days I had to just roll with it. Other days, I fought back.
Pam: I’m not psycho-analyzing you. I’m just reminding you it’s not your fault.
He warned me again, this time with my nickname: Lilac, please. I’m not one of your students. Just ask the questions.
My life had changed because of Jacob. One of those things was a return to school to become a high school counselor. While Jacob loved that I was doing what I wanted, he didn’t like it when I turned my new skills on him. Unfortunately, I believed if someone had used those strategies when he was young, he might not hold all this guilt inside. He also might not be the brilliant writer that he is, either.
Moving on. Pam: Your characters are deep and labelled demented at times. How could you come up with such evil?
Jacob, as he leans back in his chair: Drugs. Alcohol. Evil family members. It wasn’t hard.
It was my turn to sigh. Drugs and alcohol was how I met Jacob. He’d been in an accident and I was the EMT to respond. It was one of many jobs I held. For some reason, he called to me, figuratively, and I did something I’d never done before, I followed up on a patient. That night began the two year relationship of my working for Jacob. Now things were different.
Pam: Can’t tell kids to take drugs and alcohol, Mr. Vincent. That wouldn’t be responsible.
Jacob reached for me as I stood at the edge of his desk and pulled me towards him. I wobbled a bit before I settled to stand between his knees. His hands were on the back of my thighs.
Jacob: When have you ever known me to be responsible? (He tried to use a sinister voice, but it didn’t work. I laughed.)
Pam: Many times. With Ella. With Jacob. With me. With us. (My voice quieted on the last words).
Jacob smiled slowly: Us. (He kissed my stomach and then his hands traveled up to my hips. He stood and lifted me to sit on the leather pad in the middle of his desk. He now stood between my knees).
I continued my interview, even though his hands were smoothing up and down my thighs. A burning sensation trailed behind his touch and I was ready to give in, but not yet.
Pam: It’s often said you are a recluse. What do you have to say to that?
Jacob: I’m a private man. (He leans forward and runs his nose under my jaw. Moaning softly, he whispers.) You smell delicious.
My head tilts to allow him better access and then I cough a little to remind him we need to finish.
Pam: That doesn’t exactly answer the question.
Jacob, pulling back to look me in the eyes: If you want me to mention Ella and how I brought her here to protect her, I’m not going to comment.
That wasn’t what I intended, nor did I think the interviewer wanted that answer. Jacob would never reveal publicly that he thought it best to hide his niece in my small home town in order to help her heal from the horrors of her senior year. I adored Ella and I wouldn’t want to share her situation either.
Interrupting my thoughts, Jacob kissed the other side of my neck: Let’s talk about you.
I giggle as removes the ipad from my hands, then rubs his hands around my neck and under my hair.
Pam: The interviews not about me.
Jacob: Well, the interview is about me, and you are a part of me now. (He kisses me tenderly before making it more aggressive. We can go from zero to one-hundred in minutes and I knew we had to stop or we’d be reenacting a scene from our past on this desk again.)
Pushing Jacob back: What about me, then?
Jacob: What made you fall in love with me? (He was serious but his tone was playful.)
Pam: That won’t be in the interview.
Jacob: Humor me.
Pam: I felt like you were a lost soul. Despite being highly attracted to you…
Jacob interrupting: Highly attracted?
Pam: Yes. (I squeak as Jacob pulls me to the edge of the desk. He’s lined us up even though we aren’t touching. Yet.) I felt like you had secrets deep inside.
Jacob: Deep inside? (He narrows his eyes at me. It’s a trait often reserved for when he wants to make something known he’s serious.)
I sighed: And then when you took care of me. When I was sick. I learned that you were really sweet despite the moodiness.
Jacob, pulling back a bit as he nudged his hips forward: You think I’m moody?
Pam: You know I do. (I laughed.)
Jacob: Let’s go back to those other words. Highly. Deep. Inside. (He leans forward and he knows he’s tempting me. I’m so attracted to Jacob it scares me, but he’s just as drawn to me. He was constantly touching me before anything happened, and now it’s endless.)
Pam: I’d rather hear other words. Love, perhaps? (Jacob’s hands return to my hips and he kisses me on the shoulder).
Jacob: I love you, Lilac. Is that what you want to hear?
Pam: That will do, Mr. Vincent.
Jacob: You know it’s still kind-of hot that you call me that even though you don’t have to anymore. Actually you never had to be so formal with me.
I did have to be that formal, though. It was a way to protect myself. I had to keep our relationship professional. Jacob was too much of a temptation for me in the past and I was tired of being tempted and disappointed by men.
Jacob: When do I get to call you Mrs. Vincent?
I sigh and turn my head to look out the floor to ceiling glass window that holds the most glorious view of Lake Michigan, but he uses his fingers to force me to look at him.
Pam: Soon. We have Jess and Emily’s wedding first.
His fingers intertwine with mine and he glances down at my hand. He raises it to kiss my knuckles, then set our hands back on my thigh.
Jacob: I’m a very patient man.
I laugh hard: You are not.
His caramel colored eyes darken and his mouth crooks up on one side: I’ve been known to take my time. (His eyes narrow to emphasize his point. He has learned to take things slow, but he knows I wouldn’t complain if it’s fast either).
Jacob: I think it’s time to end this interview?
Jacob had a way of asking a question that was more a suggestion. He was kissing me again.
Still touching his lips: Want me to set you free, huh?
Jacob: I want to set you free. Free of these clothes.
He was a jokester when things got too serious for him and the interview had been more serious than he cared to share.
Pam: Alright, Mr. Vincent. You’re free.
Jacob: Not yet. (And I heard the clink of his belt unbuckle and the unzip of his jeans). I want to set you free, too, Lilac. (His mouth was against mine again, his tone more serious).
Pam: You already do, Jacob. You already do.
Sound Advice (Book One)
Taste Test (Book Two)
Touch Screen (Book Four)
The Legend of Arturo King
(Legendary Rock Stars Book One)
(Legendary Rock Stars Book One)
The Story of Lansing Lotte
(Legendary Rock Stars Book Two)
(Legendary Rock Stars Book Two)
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About L.B. Dunbar
I’d like to say I was always a writer. I’d also like to say that I wrote every day of my life since a child. That I took the teaching advice I give my former students because writing every day improves your writing. I’d like to say I have my ten-thousand hours that makes me a proficient writer. But I can’t say any of those things. I did dream of writing the “Great American Novel” until one day a friend said: Why does it have to be great? Why can’t it just be good and tell a story?
As a teenager, I wrote your typical love-angst poetry that did occasionally win me an award and honor me with addressing my senior high school class at our Baccalaureate Mass. I didn't keep a journal because I was too afraid my mom would find it in the mattress where I kept my copy of Judy Blume’s Forever that I wasn't allowed to read as a twelve year old.
I can say that books have been my life. I’m a reader. I loved to read the day I discovered “The Three Bears” as a first grader, and ever since then, the written word has been my friend. Books were an escape for me. An adventure to the unknown. A love affair I’d never know. I could be lost for hours in a book.
So why writing now? I had a story to tell. It haunted me from the moment I decided if I just wrote it down it would go away. But it didn't. Three years after writing the first draft, a sign (yes, I believe in them) told me to fix up that draft and work the process to have it published. That’s what I did. But one story let to another, and another, and another. Then a new idea came into my head and a new story line was created.
I was accused (that’s the correct word) of having an overactive imagination as a child, as if that was a bad thing. I've also been accused of having the personality of a Jack Russell terrier, full of energy, unable to relax, and always one step ahead. What can I say other than I have stories to tell and I think you’ll like them. If you don’t, that’s okay. We all have our book boyfriends. We all have our favorites. Whatever you do, though, take time for yourself and read a book.