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Julie's Book Review would like to
introduce Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy. Welcome to the site. We are all
excited to meet and learn more about you.
Let's start with Can you tell us a little about yourself?
the product of a blue collar neighborhood in the historical old city of
St. Joseph, Missouri, the place most people know because of either the
Pony Express or outlaw Jesse James. I now live and work in a small town
in the Missouri Ozarks. I’ve been scribbling my stories since I could
first pick up a pencil. I’ve worked in broadcast radio, written award
winning radio advertising, interviewed governors and professional
baseball players and country singers, and now work as a substitute high
school teacher when I’m not writing. I’m married with three children,
twin daughters who will be seniors next year and a son who will be in
7th grade. I love history, music, and nature. My favorite pastimes are
reading, star gazing, and traveling. I’m a member of Romance Writers
of America, the Missouri Writers Guild and the Ozark Writers League. I
have a total of twenty full length novels out, in edits, or under
contract and another dozen or more shorts and novellas. I have short
fiction in more than two dozen anthologies and various byline credits
both online and in print including FATE, Country Woman, The Rambler,
What genre's do you write? if more than one do you have a favorite?
write mostly romance but I also love speculative fiction. Some of my
short stories in various anthologies are speculative and someday I’d
love to do a speculative novel.
What can we expect from your books?Action, sex, adventure, romance?
thing common to all my titles is that readers will find ordinary people
in often extraordinary situations. Another theme is the power of love.
Romance and sex are present as well although I came up with a tagline
“Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy….writing from sweet to heat” because I have a
few sweet titles right up to very erotic ones.
Do you have a favorite book or character of yours that is a favorite? Why?
is like asking me if I have a favorite child! I am very connected and
emotionally invested in all of my titles. My favorite is usually the
one I’m currently working on but I guess I’d have to say it’s Guy’s
Angel. It’s set in my hometown but in 1925 and owes a lot to the
stories I grew up hearing from my grandparents. The 1920’s was their
decade and Angel’s neighborhood is my family’s old stomping grounds, not
my neighborhood but the cradle of the generations before mine.
Can you tell us anything on your newest release?
Renewal has a lot of me in it. It’s set primarily in my hometown of
St. Joseph, Mo and it’s about coming home, going back to your roots and
past to find your foundation. Although my
heroine is a famous movie star when the novel begins, it’s more about Marie than her Hollywood persona of Mercedes Montague.
Are you working on anything new? when will it be out and can you give us any details....hints?
working on a Christmas tale that I hope to finish soon to make my
publisher’s June 15 deadline for December holiday stories. It’s set in
Victorian England and I think (hope!) readers will enjoy it during the
Christmas season. I recently signed a contract with Rebel Ink Press
for “Comanche Forever”, a vampire paranormal romance but in a very
Lets find out a little more ....How about some FUN stuff!!
place to travel?
I love the South and Southwest. Park me in Louisiana,
anywhere on the Gulf coast, somewhere in Texas, or out in Arizona and
I love a lot of ethnic food including
Cajun, Italian, and Thai. I also love shrimp and seafood. Give me some
shrimp scampi and I’m happy.
Favorite past time?
I love to read, especially during the summer months out on the deck beneath the umbrella.
(not yours but one you can recommend)
Dear Elvira by Helen
Ogrodnick….she’s an amazing debut author from Rebel. This is her second
novel, just out in May and she’s a talented lady.
you can recommend)
I’d have to recommend fellow Rebel Ink author Joanne
Berroa. I’ve read each of her titles and they’re awesome, whether she’s
writing about Pearl Harbor or the Old West.
I have an adorable, active and very spoiled Jack Russell terrier named Jackson.
Finally is there any special places we can find you and your books (Links please)
of my books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, All
Romance Ebooks, and most on Bookstrand. My Rebel Ink print titles are
available on Amazon.com and my two Cham MY LINKS
Sweet to Heat: The Romance of Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
Rebel Writer: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
http://leeannsontheimermurphy.blogspot.com Amazon author page:
pagne titles in print are available at the Champagne Books website.
has been a please visiting with you. JBR wishes you great success and
hopefully you will be back here again with more reviews of your future
Julie Ramsey ADM JBR
Mercedes Montague she’d locked lips with most of Hollywood’s leading
actors, the stars who incited lust in every woman across America from
pre-teens to great-grandmas. More than a handful found their way into
her bed and onto her expensive silk sheets for intimate encounters
yielding physical release but nothing more. Sex turned into a celebrity
rodeo as each man tried to prove his talents, to top the others and
although maybe Mercedes liked it, Marie loathed it. She hated the lack
of any real emotion, any passion beyond the need for another body in the
lonely night and the few times she felt a spark with someone always
faded fast with morning light.
Joe brought back expectations long
forgotten and evoked desire with such depth Marie sank into it as it
sucked her down like quicksand. She should fight it but couldn’t and
didn’t even want to struggle against it. Her fingers clawed against his
plaid flannel shirt as he tightened his grasp on her, his tongue
darting into her mouth like an exploring snake. New waves of pleasure
brought intense delight and Marie leaned against him so her weak knees
wouldn’t dump her onto the floor.
His mouth stirred the ashes of
their past and restored dozens of memories, brought back the memory of
other kisses just as sweet. Whatever emotions they once claimed, all
the old bonds connecting them renewed as power roared to life between
them. Marie never knew how long it lasted and she never thought of
anything but Joe within the same span. Her world shrunk to this, to his
mouth and hers, connected. Driving in St. Joe yesterday she thought
she came home but she hadn’t, not until now.
If Joe wanted to
take her upstairs, he could and if he decided to have her on the floor
between Ma’s living room and dining room, Marie wouldn’t resist.
Instead, he pulled back and put her at arm’s length. “See?” he said as a
tiny smile flirted with his mouth. “The way I feel about you hasn’t
changed, Marie. You still make me crazy.”
“Crazy good or certifiably insane?” she asked, happiness bubbling up from within like a wet weather spring.
chuckled. “Crazy good, I think. Hell, I don’t even know you now and you
don’t know me but I’d like to get reacquainted. What do you say?”
request blindsided her. When she walked away from her celebrity life,
she didn’t expect to even see Joe but Marie wanted to spend more time
with her first love. “I’d like to, Joe, very much.”
said. His blue eyes shimmered now, reminding her of placid lake waters
touched with sunshine. “I can’t stay now. Would you like to go out for
“Yes,” Marie said. “It may sound like an excuse but I don’t have a thing to wear but I can get something. What time?”
six too early?” Joe asked. “I figure you’re still on California time
but by six, the kid’ll have come and gone so he won’t wonder where I’m
at, not that he would.”
Her floating happiness threatened to nose dive into despair. “Kid? Are you married?”
shook his head. “I was but she’s dead. The kid’s my step-son. Trust
me, he’s a problem child but I’m all he’s got. Six okay?”
Marie made a quick time calculation and sneaked a glance at the clock. “Six thirty would be better,” she said.
“All right,” Joe said. “I’ll pick you up then. Be prepared – I’d like to hear the long version, Marie.”
she said. And I want to hear the story of your life, she thought but
didn’t dare speak it aloud, everything you’ve done, about your wife, and
why you’re not in the Army. “I’ll be ready.”
shadows cast by the streetlights and passing vehicles danced on the
wall of Marie’s bedroom as Joe undressed her with slow hands. He took
his time, unhurried, and his fingers lingered to caress her skin. Her
skin became ultra-sensitive, responsive to the slightest stroke.
Anticipation rippled across her flesh with delicious delight and a wild
sense of intoxication swept over her. Marie hadn’t had anything to drink
but she experienced the same high rush, drunk on Joe’s physical
She raked her fingers across his bare back and adored
the sound he made, not quite a grunt or a moan. He retaliated by
caressing her breasts and burying his face against them. She had known
his body once and although a few years of wear showed, it hadn’t changed
much as Marie explored it. Her hands followed the curve of his hip, the
cleft between his legs as if she were blind.
Joe traced the
outline of her ribs with one finger, tantalizing and ticklish. “You’re
too damn skinny,” he said as his fingers touched bone just below the
skin. “But you’re sexy as hell anyway.”
“Shut up and kiss me,”
Marie replied, the line an old one from their past. In their earliest
attraction period, Joe teased her unmercifully and she would often snap
at him, “Shut up,” but she never wanted him to quit. He hadn’t.
“Your wish is my command, movie star princess,” Joe told her, laughter in his voice.
the moment his mouth touched hers, she burned with fire. His hot lips
melted her body into pliant wax, his to do whatever he wished. Joe
kissed her with the same slow nonchalance, no hurry, and his indolence
drove her wild. The more she ached for release, the harder Marie coveted
wildness, the slower Joe became and the more deliberate.
sense came to attention as high voltage desire increased through Marie,
her body arcing with want and need. Marie’s desire amplified each noise;
his soft grunts and the sound of their flesh against naked skin. With
her head against Joe’s chest to nibble, to offer what they used to call a
hickey, Marie heard the steady sound of his heartbeat. Despite the
dimness in the room she saw Joe’s nude body with perfect clarity, his
pale skin silhouetted against the dark as if illuminated. She supposed
he could see her just as well. His taste lingered on her tongue and his
masculine aroma, three parts just Joe and one part men’s cologne, filled
her nose, heady as a love charm. Marie marveled at the sensation
beneath her fingertips whether she touched the smooth skin of his back
or the tight curly hair surrounding his balls.
Her love marks
bruised his chest but not where it would show and as he fondled her, Joe
talked. She didn’t always listen but Marie enjoyed the sound of his
voice in her ears, loving and familiar. He paused on her lower right
side and his fingers traced the scar there.
“You had your
appendix out after you left here, didn’t you?” he asked as if it
mattered. It didn’t, though, nothing counted but this moment and the
love between them.
“Uh-huh,” she answered, distracted. “It was a long time ago. Forget about it.”
said something but she didn’t hear it as sensations claimed her. He
knelt on the floor and his hand caressed her mound, his fingers straying
into her inner sanctum. Joe’s touch delivered pleasure but it increased
her need. “Ohhh!” she cried, arching her back as the spirals of
pleasure scalded her body. “Joe, do it!”
In an odd little voice, part of a game they used to play, he said, “All in good time, my pretty, all in good time.”
he backed her up against the bed where she’d slept since childhood
Marie thought she might die of want. Sexual tension built between them,
as potent and volatile as a brewing storm. She didn’t remember lying
down or know if she toppled onto the bed or what but once she knew she
had a mattress beneath her, she writhed into position. Her legs
scissored around his torso and locked tight as he lowered himself onto
“Do you want me, Marie?” Joe asked, the first man to use her real name during sex in decades, maybe the only one who ever did.
“Yes, yes, yes!”
her hands reached upward to grasp his shoulders, Joe grabbed them and
held them as he entered her in one swift, strong motion. He filled her
and as her body quivered with impact Marie clenched her inner walls to
tighten around him, to stroke. His wordless outcry of pure joy
encouraged her to do it again and then again. In his reaction Joe let
loose her hands and she grabbed him, holding on tight. Their bodies
bucked against one another in a harsh battle, a sweet dance, and a
tender expression of love all in one.
In the last moments her
nails clawed his back and she screeched, guttural and hoarse. Joe kissed
her, this time with the savagery she craved and when they came
together, bodies in unison, both mouths and genitals were locked
together. Wonderful physical bliss suffused Marie and at the final
moment, her vision exploded crimson.
After they quit shuddering
and their breath returned to an even pace Marie curled up in the circle
of his arms. As teenaged lovers she dreamed of such a moment but they
never had a chance. Ma wouldn’t have stood for it in her house and so
their intimacy remained within the confines of Joe’s car or a blanket
spread beneath a tree in a hidden nook at the park. They breathed
together as if they remained one body, minds in sync.
St. Joe excerpt:
with black coffee she roared north up I-29, foot pressed hard to the
accelerator. She fiddled with the radio dials until she tuned in a retro
rock station and let the harsh sounds of AC/DC fill the car with music.
With every mile driven, Mercedes receded into the past and Marie
emerged. As her sense of self returned in slow stages, Marie relied on
instinct more than anything else. For too long, Mercedes, Max’s
creation, had ruled and everything she did sprang out of a different
mindset, one belonging to someone else. In the earliest days of her
career, once she assumed the name Mercedes Montague--based on her
favorite make of car and Romeo’s last name--Marie stood outside looking
in as she determined what Mercedes would do and think, and how she would
act. After a while, she learned to react as Mercedes until she assumed
Driving over the speed limit as the old Buick
shimmied over the road, Marie shed the layers of artifice and struggled
to regain her own skin as daylight crept over the rolling hills and
farmland. By the time she reached the six exits for St. Joseph and took
the exit ramp onto Frederick Avenue, she was more Marie than Mercedes.
Like someone awakening from a long coma, Marie grew aware of both self
and surroundings. As she waited for the light to change so she could
turn onto Frederick, she noticed the old Holiday Inn, where her uncle
once worked as a cook, was now Day’s Inn. It proved to be the first of
many changes she noted as she drove away from the interstate and deeper
into her hometown. The old Dunkin’ Donuts now housed a tuxedo rental
shop and some of the familiar businesses were absent.
passed East Hills, the local shopping mall on her left, Marie thought it
appeared larger somehow but a few blocks later she traveled across the
major commercial artery locals called “The Belt” highway, the former
State Hospital loomed up. Marie decided it seemed much smaller. Closed
in favor of the newer psychiatric rehabilitation center across the
street, State Hospital #2 now housed a museum, if she read the sign
Frederick Avenue entered an area of lavish old homes,
one housing an art gallery, and as she passed the remnants of the old
Wyeth Estate, subdivided into newer homes, Marie laughed aloud. Once,
the Wyeth estate represented all she knew of wealth and privilege but as
a movie star, she earned far more than most of St. Joe’s native sons or
daughters ever imagined. A few blocks later, the street narrowed as it
traveled through another area of shops, these older by decades than the
ones out near the highway. Marie debated whether she should continue
down Frederick Avenue west through the older district or just go home.
memories lined the busy street, Marie opted to merge into the narrow
residential area. On Highley, she could count eight blocks from home.
She traveled past her former elementary school, Webster, and mourned
that it was no longer a neighborhood school. As Highley narrowed
further, she traveled beside the high wall of Mount Mora cemetery, the
final resting place for both Ma and Pop. Past the graveyard, the homes
became increasingly shabby and even the old brick house she always
thought must be haunted lacked the shine it once exhibited. Time failed
to freeze during her long absence and she wished with regret it had.
turned the corner onto Lincoln and headed uphill one block to turn
right onto Tenth Street. Marie stared at the wide green lot where the
former Sisters Hospital, where she’d been born, had stood. Although it
vanished decades earlier, she missed the landmark. Despite the general
air of decline, however, her home street hadn’t changed as much as she
feared. The aged frame houses, most of them two-story, still lined the
narrow pavement like weary soldiers. Most of the huge old trees she
remained but a few gaps yawned where houses were gone.
Although it was just April, the trees were in full leaf and brilliant
Midway down the block, the street jogged and she was
almost home. Her stomach clenched tight and threatened to reject the
sausage biscuit. Marie’s heart pounded and she didn’t breathe as the
home where she grew up appeared on the right. She never remembered until
she arrived that the old black-on-gray siding of her childhood was
gone, removed long ago because of asbestos. The white aluminum siding
she paid to replace the original seemed odd, foreign at first, but the
lines of the old house hadn’t changed. She parked in front of the short
front steps and dug into the pocketbook for her keys. She picked up her
minimal luggage from the back seat as she stepped from the car.
the surreal feeling of a dream Marie walked up the steps, passed the
old lamp post with the black horse cast in iron, and crossed the tiny
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Julie's Book Review
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Julie Ramsey & Theresa Fehse
ADM of JBR
Along with many reviewers (which we could not do this without)
Julie Ramsey & Theresa Fehse
ADM of JBR
Along with many reviewers (which we could not do this without)