Felicity’s Power by J. Arlene Culiner

San Francisco, 1971: hippies in the streets, music and revolution in the air. The evening Marek Sumner opened his door to the wild-looking Felicity Powers, he knew nothing would ever be the same again. But even love and passion couldn’t keep them together. Forty-three years later, having lived in the world’s most dangerous places as a foreign aid worker, Felicity is back, still offering him love, passion, and adventure. But why would Marek risk having his heart broken a second time? Now a well-known author, he loves his calm, solitary life in an isolated farmhouse. He and Felicity are just too different; their relationship could never work. But Felicity is just as fascinating and joyful as ever, and that wonderful sexy magic is still there too. As for love, perhaps it’s even deeper and more delightful the second time around.

J. Arlene Culiner

Give us the one to two sentence tagline for your book.

A reclusive writer, a wild risk taker, what happens when former lover meet forty years later?

What surprised you the most while writing this book?

How much fun I had while writing it; how wonderful it was to drum up memories of long ago.

Why did you pick the setting you used for your book?

San Francisco was the ultimate hippie destination back in the ’60s. It was perfectly normal that this was where Felicity and Marek would meet again forty years later.

What is the sexiest trait of your hero(s)?

His intelligence. An intelligent, well-read, man with humor will win my heart any day.

What is your favorite scene/moment in your book?

When Marek brings Felicity to a forgotten overgrown rose garden in the night, and if making love is what he had in mind, the sheer beauty of the moonlit moment is even more important. Here’s the quote:
‘And if his idea had been to make love under a starry sky, this moment had little to do with desire, and everything to do with tenderness.’

What scene did you have to cut but wish could have been included?

I’m so lucky. I didn’t have to cut anything. When a new edition of Felicity’s Power was republished by The Wild Rose Press, I got to add a chapter! What fun.

Tropes get a bad name, but they’re often the biggest draw for readers. What tropes do you love to write and read?

I’m not fond of tropes. I prefer to be surprised.

What are your favorite genres/sub-genres to write in? Are there any you love to read but cannot write in?

I love writing creative non-fiction, mysteries, romances, and realistic stories. I love to read these, too. Honestly, I’ll try anything, and work hard at it until it’s good.

Which do you love to write best: dialogue, setting, action, love scenes, or other?

Dialogue and settings are what I love. Tender love scenes are also up there on my favorites list.

Which do you hate to write: dialogue, setting, action, love scenes, or other?

I don’t have a hate. If I find that I’m having trouble with something, I’ll do my best to turn everything around and make it the sort of thing I love writing.

Excerpt from Felicity’s Power

Was he just looking for reasons to disapprove of Felicity? Trying to find excuses not to get involved. He was having too much fun, just at the moment. He liked seeing her delicate face as the emotions played over it. He liked strolling through the streets beside her, here in the bright sun, in the glowing almost liquid heat of the city. Was it Felicity herself who glowed? What if he missed her too much when they split up again? Like he had the last time, back then, in Paris.

Even worse, was he trying to hide what he’d felt early this morning while he watched her sleep? Hide it from her, perhaps. He couldn’t hide it from himself. Curls that caressed the white of the pillow. The mouth, the wonderful, narrow mouth relaxed into softness. The jagged rush of desire had seared through him, so sharp it was almost painful. He’d wanted to allow himself to take her again, in just the same way he had forty years ago.

She was naked under those covers. Her long, lean body was there, waiting for his caresses. He knew she wanted them. He knew her long, slanting eyes would open slowly, wondering, pleased, before the heat of her pleasure filled them anew.

And he’d forced himself to move away. To think of other things. Cool thoughts. Breakfast, for example. Or ice cream. Ice cream? That made him think of her delicate tongue, now licking the cool, icy cone.

No! Not thoughts like that, he told himself. He watched her, saw the emotions as they played across her face, emotions that touched him more deeply than he’d ever expected. He fought against his reaction, fought against his need. Cursed himself for being a fool.

Bringing her a rose this morning! He’d only done it because of that old memory, and he’d made a mess of things. Let her think romance was in the cards again. That they would take up just where they’d left off. Impossible! Absolutely, perfectly impossible. He’d see to it. Because he’d changed: he was a loner, now. He needed solitude. Freedom. Silence. Definitely not a relationship. So the rose had been a bad mistake. But not irremediable.

Or had it been? He’d seen her tears. They’d torn into his gut, but he’d told himself he shouldn’t let himself feel like that. But he had. What was it he’d wanted to do? He’d wanted to bend down, plant soft, butterfly kisses on her eyelids, on her wet face, taste the sweet saltiness of her tears. Close his fists in the warm, sexy, wild tangle of her hair.

Wanted. And did nothing. Because he wouldn’t be able to stop. He’d been too excruciatingly aware only a thin strip of linen separated him from her body. He’d seen the slow rise and fall of her breasts, and knew if he made love to her, it would be astonishing. Just as it had been before.

But he wasn’t going to. Despite his desire. Because he knew every thought should be on self-preservation, and not on possessing her.

Writer, photographer, social critical artist, musician, and occasional actress, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe alone on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave-dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to local dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She particularly enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with strange characters.

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