I want to thank everyone who’ve been reading the free first in series and leaving reviews. Good or bad, I appreciate them all and that you took the time to read and review me. If you’ve missed the fact I have many free books, check them out at any ebook retailer. Click here for the books on Amazon!

thanks

So, I don’t know what’s going on, but please do NOT buy Taught by the Tycoon on Barnes and Noble. They’re still sending out the pre-order version and have not uploaded the new version. I’ve asked them to take it off sale completely, but they haven’t done it yet. If you bought the book there, please email me at shelli@shellistevens.com and I’ll send you a copy via email! So sorry! This is embarrassing and I feel awful for those who bought it/pre-ordered it!

Today I’m giving a peek at Good Girl Gone Plaid, the first book in my series The McLaughlins. It’s free at:

Amazon
Amazon UK
B&N
iBooks
Samhain
Kobo

GoodGirlGonePlaid300(1)Falling for the bad boy is even more dangerous the second time around.

The McLaughlins, Book 1

In high school Sarah fell for her best friend’s older brother—one of the sexy, Scottish McLaughlin boys. But a painful betrayal showed her she’d been a fool to give her heart to a bad boy. At least it made it easier to leave him and move halfway around the world when her Navy dad got stationed in Japan.

Eleven years later, the death of her grandmother has forced Sarah back to Whidbey Island for a month. It’s the length of time she must stay in her inherited house before she’s allowed to sell it, take the money and run. But when she sees Ian, bad as ever and still looking like sin on a stick, she can’t keep her mouth from watering.

One look at Sarah stirs up the regret lingering in Ian’s heart—and never-forgotten desire lingering in his body. He should walk away, especially since divorced single mothers aren’t his style. But when she starts showing up at his family’s pub, he can’t resist a little casual seduction for old time’s sake.

One thing quickly becomes clear, though. The heat between them is causing an avalanche of secrets and betrayal and nothing will ever be the same.

Warning: A bad-boy hero who’s good with his hands, a heroine who’s trying to be good. Contains liberal consumption of Scotch whisky, a Highland Games competition, men in kilts wielding large poles, and a potential Sarah McLaughlin of the non-musical kind.

EXCERPT

Outside in the sun, Sarah struggled for her eyes to adjust as she dug in her purse for her keys.

“Always on the run, I see.”

Her fingers wrapped around the keys just as the soft, lilting voice reached her ears.

Dammit, he’d followed her outside? Heart thumping and mouth dry, she waited for
Kenzie or Aleck’s voice to demand he come back inside. But there was nothing, just silence.

As the seconds ticked by, her disbelief grew. She had to face him. Alone. Sarah turned around, struggling desperately not to let every emotion rushing through her reflect on her face.

“What do you want?” She’d meant to say something clever. Flippant. Not only had she not managed to, but her question was almost a plea, infused with a faint anguish that was chronic when she thought of him.

His lopsided smile fell back into a grim slash and his gaze darkened. “Now there’s a loaded question, aye?”

“Not really, no.” She clenched her hands around her keys and turned away to unlock the door. “It should be fairly simple.”

His hand fell past her to the door, holding it closed. “Well it’s not. We should talk.”

A laugh of disbelief ripped from her, but then it died and her throat went tight. “You want to talk? About what?”

“Fuck. I’m not even sure anymore.”

Really that shouldn’t shock her. He was making trouble, just because it’s what he did best. “I’m only here for a month. Can we just make it a point to avoid each other?”

“How very adult of us,” he mocked.

She spun around to face him, not bothering to hold back the frustration. “Maybe it isn’t, but I think we said everything that needed to be said eleven years ago…” She trailed off as his expression slid from mocking to dark. Bitter.

“Aye,” he said with deceptive softness. “Eleven years ago you were quite thorough in telling me how you really felt.”

She could feel her cheeks flushing at the memory of that day—at the alternate personality she’d seemed to instantly develop. She smothered the quick rise of regret and guilt—because her words had been well deserved. Hadn’t they?

“Which means there’s not a lot left to say, right?” She pushed his arm away from her car door and succeeded in opening it this time. “Go back inside, Ian. I’m sure your bimbo girlfriend is getting lonely.”

“Ouch.” He gave a harsh laugh, but didn’t stop her. “You’re really quite good with the barbed insults for someone who tries hard to be known as the nice girl.”

A response was on her tongue, but she refused to let it fly. Instead she climbed into her car, shut the door and drove off a moment later.

In the rearview she watched him move back into the pub, and she bit her lip.

He wanted to turn this on her? Make her look like the evil bitch? It wasn’t fair. But then it’d never been fair.

“He’s an asshole,” she whispered. “He’ll always be an asshole.”

When tears filled her eyes, she gave a growl of dismay. She wouldn’t cry over him. Not again.

You’re signed up to receive my newsletter, aye? If not, there’s still time before the next one comes out next week! I always give you the scoop on my books, signings, and all that fun stuff. Fun stuff including PRIZES. Next week, along with the usual prizes, I’ll be giving away this super fun Scottish/romance themed gift. It includes a Scottish Breakfast Selection from Edinburgh Tea and Coffee Company, a romance reading rubber ducky, an “I <3 reading” charm, and an autographed copy of Good Girl Gone Plaid. This is being given away to one fabulous newsletter subscriber.

prize

So I have a paranormal series which is still mostly undiscovered, which makes me  because I LOVE it (some of my favorite stuff I wrote!). Which is why I’m super excited that book one is now free and can hopefully find its way onto readers of people who like paranormal books! So today I’m featuring a peek at Savage Hunger and if you know know paranormal fans, please let them know it’s free at:

Amazon
Amazon UK
B&N
iBooks
Samhain
Kobo

The man who vows to protect her may be her biggest threat.

savagehungerBook 1 in the Savage Series
Being the daughter of a world-renowned scientist, Sienna Peters has struggled to carve out her own career in the field. But her world is sent spinning when she discovers a secret species being held in the lab where she works, and the horrible things being done to them. Compelled to do more than hand off an information-packed jump drive to her father, she sets out to free the creatures.

The minute his team enters the compound, federal agent Warrick Donovan knows their mission will have more trouble than they bargained on. Unfortunately, trouble comes in the form of Sienna Peters, the younger sister of his close friend. Now not only does he need to save her pretty ass, he needs to discover just how involved she is with the imprisonment of the shifters.

Sienna knows she should trust no one–not even the man she might still love. But as the danger escalates and past passion ignites, her heart has other ideas. Even when the shroud of mystery is ripped off more than one stunning truth…The man who vows to protect her may be her biggest threat.

EXCERPT:
Warrick pressed himself against the wall and took another step toward her. He had to move fast. The woman, though still a good distance away, kept pausing and glancing around. And though he didn’t doubt for a moment he could easily take the petite gal, the fact that she appeared jumpy and wielded a knife made her unpredictable.

For a moment he thought she saw him—she stared down the hall where he stood in a dark shadow and seemed to hesitate—but then she turned and continued toward the hostages.

He kept his breathing shallow. The likelihood that she could see him was slim. He was covered in black from head to toe, with just his face exposed, and he was standing in a corner of the lab where the lighting was out, blending easily with the shadows.

Another ear-splitting scream ripped through the building and the woman jerked, sending the knife skittering across the floor.

It was the only opening he needed. Warrick reholstered the Glock, lunged away from the wall and went for her.

The woman didn’t even see him coming. She was leaning down to grab the knife when his arms locked around her waist and he knocked them both to the floor.

His palm slipped over her mouth, smothering the scream that erupted past her lips.

She bucked beneath him, the soft curve of her bottom grinding into his hips as her muffled cries of fear left hot puffs of air on his hand.

Jesus, she needed to stay the hell still. Warrick ground his teeth together, trying not to think about the softness of her body as he let his full weight pin her to the ground, making any movement on her part impossible.

He used his free hand to touch the communication button near his ear. “Tango apprehended.”

Lowering his head so that his mouth was just above the pale curve of her ear, he muttered, “Any more weapons on you, Cinderella?”

Another warm puff of air caressed his hand as she replied with what sounded like some kind of expletive. His lips curved into a humorless smile as he moved his hand down her side, searching for more weapons. Who was she? And more importantly, why was she here?

“I think you came to the wrong party, princess.”

He patted down her side, pressing firmly against the smooth fabric of her gown to check for more weapons. It became difficult to breathe as he slid his hand down her tiny waist and inward.

Warrick eased his weight off her just enough to maneuver his hand up her front, shutting his brain off from anything but finding more hidden weapons. The woman began to struggle again, her muffled cries outraged when she realized where his hand was traveling.

“Just need to make sure you’re not armed.” This time his lips brushed the soft curve of her ear.

An electric current ran through him and his eyelids narrowed as he breathed in the perfume she wore. Some kind of spicy vanilla scent. Sweet, sexy…and somewhat familiar. A memory tingled in the back of his head, but before he could acknowledge it pain rocketed through his hand.

“Shit!” He pulled at his hand, but her teeth followed, piercing the skin until he felt the wet trickle of blood.

“The hell you bite me,” he snarled.

Warrick flexed his hips against her, grinding her lower body hard to hold her still against the concrete floor, and used his free hand to grab the back of her hair.

His fingers wrapped in the knot on top of her head, grabbing her hair and jerking her head backward.

She eased her bite, opening her mouth and unclamping her teeth, before finally crying out in frustration and pain. Her furious scream pierced the air of the hallway, echoing in the building and setting off the hostages, their enraged howls starting up once more.

Warrick cursed and clamped his palm across her mouth again. “Bite me again and I swear to fucking God you’ll regret it.”

“Donovan, is that the tango? You need backup?”

Warrick’s lips tightened at the amusement in Larson’s tone as his voice came through the earpiece. He pressed the button to reply. “Under control.”

Larson gave a soft laugh. “Take all the time you need, buddy. I’m good here.”

All the time he needed? Bullshit. He’d have this bitch contained in seconds.

Warrick eased his weight off the woman and—without removing his hand from her mouth—grabbed her hip and flipped her onto her back. He caught her flailing hands and pinned her wrists above her head with his free hand.

“Now listen up, lady. I need you to…fuck me!” He blinked and shook his head against the roaring in his ears. “Sienna?”

I have news that I’m ridiculously excited about. In two words: FREE BOOKS. In a few more words? I know it can be expensive and time consuming to take a chance on an author or series, especially when so many have a free or discounted book in the series to give you a taste. So my publisher Samhain is letting me make the first e-book in all my series’ with them FREE. And I would be beyond appreciative if you would help me spread the word. Here are the free books:

dangerousgrounds

Dangerous Grounds (Seattle Steam series-contemporary romance)

Anybody but Justin

Anybody but Justin (Chances Are series–erotic contemporary romance)

Going Down
Going Down (Holding out for a Hero series–erotic contemporary romance)

savagehunger
Savage Hunger (Savage series–paranormal romance)

GoodGirlGonePlaid72sm
Good Girl Gone Plaid (The McLaughlins series–contemporary romance)

These are NOT ONLY on Amazon (which I linked to), but also iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, the Samhain site, basically any ebook retailer (including international). I hope you pick up one or all of the stories if you haven’t yet. And if you enjoy them, a review always goes a long way for an author! Happy reading, everyone and have a great week!

FOR FREE BOOKS, CLICK HERE

GoodGirlGonePlaid72smHello to another Throwback Thursday! Today’s snippet is from Good Girl Gone Plaid.

* * * *
“I find it amazing you’re all still single. I’m sure you’re all hot commodities on the island.”

“Me in particular? Are you hitting on me?” His tone lilted upward, his accent a bit stronger as his grin turned unabashed.

Sarah blushed, hotter than she could remember and sputtered for a response. “No, of course not, I’m—”

“I’m just taking the piss out of ya, luv.”

She relaxed and joined in his laughter, remembering the slang phrase now.

“I was asked to deliver this?”

They both glanced up at the new voice approaching the table.

Sarah’s laughter died and her mouth went dry. You were warned he might show.

“Yes, thank you.” She accepted the glass of wine from Ian and watched as he pulled out the chair to sit next to Colin.

“You’re welcome. Enjoying an evening out I see?”

“I am. Kenzie invited me.” She glanced over at Colin and smiled briefly. “Your brother was sweet enough to let me crash his table. This place is packed.”

“I insisted.” Colin winked.

The mood at the table seemed to shift, become heavier and darker. Seconds ticked by where no one said anything.

Sarah took a sip of wine, but really it may as well have been water for all it mattered.

“I’m going to run to the bathroom. Hold my spot?” She knew they would, but it was just extra words to pretend everything was normal.

“Of course,” Colin agreed.

Sarah scooted her chair back and made her escape, grateful for a moment to compose herself.

* * *

She looked sexy. The denim skirt showed off toned legs, and the red tank clung to the curves of her breasts. She’d kept her hair down, and it shone as if she’d spent an hour brushing it.

Oh yes, Sarah was trying tonight to look good. Almost as if she wanted to garner someone’s attention. But who was that someone?

“You and Sarah seem quite cozy,” Ian remarked in a calm tone he wasn’t so sure he felt.

“Just getting reacquainted. She’s a pretty thing, aye?”

“Aye.” The word about killed him. Hearing his brother say it evoked a dark fury deep inside him. He resented it. Resented more so the fact he could still get jealous over Sarah.

“Why not take her to a movie?” he suggested with a hard shrug. “You’re single.”

Colin laughed and shook his head, before lifting the beer to his mouth and drinking another sip.

Unfortunately, his brother’s reaction only upped his irritation. “You laugh? Why?”

“Because you don’t mean that for a moment. You would saw my head off with a dull spoon if I made a move on Sarah.”

“Bollicks.” Actually, yes, he probably would.

“It’s also a respect thing. Sarah’s sweet, and yes, damn pretty.” Colin sobered, his gaze locking on Ian’s. “If she were just some girl you’d dallied with in high school, and had no real feelings for, then that would be one thing. But I’m not going to move in on a girl you’re still half in love with.”

Fury and disbelief erupted inside him. “Like hell—”

“Don’t ‘like hell’ me. You can lie all you want. And, truly, I think you’ve even convinced yourself she means nothing to you. But you’re wrong.” Colin sighed. “And when you realize that, it’s going to be quite a wake up call.”

“Do you have no recollection of our history? She hates me. I admit I hate her a bit after what she said that day—”

“Don’t let pride stand in your way. You both were stupid and made bad choices that day.”

“Mine a little worse,” he muttered after a heavy sigh. “She won’t forgive me. I hardly forgive myself.”

“But if she did, would you want her back?”

That question weighed heavy on his heart, and he wasn’t sure of the answer. How could he ever want to be with someone who thought so little of him? And yet his heart and body seemed to argue otherwise anytime she came within feet of him.

He settled for an answer his brother would expect. “I might want her for a few nights, but I’m not the sort for permanence.”

Colin grunted. “You would with the right girl. Go ahead and throw crude words my way all you want. But I know you better than you know yourself sometimes.”

Sometimes Ian didn’t doubt it.

tempting-adam-coverIt’s #TBT and today I’m sharing an excerpt from Tempting Adam. Available at Amazon and other retailers.
* * *
“So, where are we going?” he asked, pausing in front of his truck.

She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I happen to be a pretty good cook. Why don’t you follow me back to my place and I’ll whip us up some dinner.”

His mouth curved into a smile. She was bringing him back to her place. If he’d had any doubts of her intentions, she’d just put them to rest. “I do love home cooking.”

“Good.” She pointed to her car. “I’m over there. Just follow me. It’s about a five- minute drive and it’s street parking, so take whatever you can find.”

She hurried over to her car, her cute ass swinging, before she climbed inside with a tiny wave. Adam got behind the wheel of his truck and pulled out after her.

The drive following her seemed to take an obscene amount of time, although it had probably only lasted a few minutes.

Once outside her building, it took a few more minutes before he could find a spot to park in. Christy stood on the dark sidewalk waiting for him. She’d taken her hair down and it fell in waves to her shoulders. Damn, she was sexy.

After he finally locked the car door and turned on the alarm, he jogged over to her.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever used the alarm on my truck.” He glanced over his shoulder. Hopefully it would be okay here.

“Seriously?” she laughed. “Where do you live, cowboy, Kansas?”

“Not quite.” He took her hand and followed her into the brick building, almost tripping over the man who was passed out with a bottle in his hand.

“Sorry about that,” she said with an apologetic look. “It kind of comes with the territory.”

“No problem,” he said neutrally. She had to do this regularly? Avoid drunks outside her building? The thought made him uneasy.

They climbed the stairs to her apartment.

She unlocked the door. “Come on in,” she invited, flipping on the light switch. “And make yourself at home while I figure out what to make us for dinner.”

Adam walked into the center of the room and looked around. The flowers on the table could account for the floral smell. Was there another room somewhere? There was only a narrow door that was open, revealing a tiny bathroom. Hmm. Nope, this was it.

His gaze ran over the living room again. The futon was probably a couch. Most likely her bed, too. How much did a studio run in downtown Seattle, anyway? Best not ask. He didn’t want to come across as rude.

The smallness of the studio also added to the intimacy of it. He was here. With Christy. God, he couldn’t wait to touch her.

“What do you like to eat?” she asked from the kitchen.

Adam turned to look back at her, a kinky response on the tip of his tongue. Don’t shock her to her toes just yet.

“I eat just about anything, darlin’. ’Less it’s tofu.”

“You’re in luck, I hate tofu.”

He watched her pull two steaks out of the fridge. Had she planned this ahead of
time? Or maybe she just really liked meat.

“You can sit down if you want, turn on the television or something.”

She sounded a little nervous again, so Adam sat down on the futon to put her more at ease.

“Tell me something about yourself,” she asked as she brushed some kind of sauce over the raw steaks. “Something exciting.”

“Something exciting?” Was he exciting? Hmm. He could tell her about his business, but that seemed a little heavy. He’d go with the side job. “I’m a volunteer firefighter. Is that exciting?”

Christy looked up from the steaks and gave him a slow smile. “Oh, God, yes. I think firefighters are an incredible turn on. What girl doesn’t?”

He smiled, letting his gaze drift over Christy in her tiny dress and four-inch heels, getting ready to broil them a steak dinner. Now that was a turn on.
Photo: It’s #TBT and today I’m sharing an excerpt from Tempting Adam. Available at Amazon and other retailers. http://amzn.to/1qLxTDJ  #throwbackthursday
* * *
“So, where are we going?” he asked, pausing in front of his truck.

She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I happen to be a pretty good cook. Why don’t you follow me back to my place and I’ll whip us up some dinner.”

His mouth curved into a smile. She was bringing him back to her place. If he’d had any doubts of her intentions, she’d just put them to rest. “I do love home cooking.”

“Good.” She pointed to her car. “I’m over there. Just follow me. It’s about a five- minute drive and it’s street parking, so take whatever you can find.”

She hurried over to her car, her cute ass swinging, before she climbed inside with a tiny wave. Adam got behind the wheel of his truck and pulled out after her.

The drive following her seemed to take an obscene amount of time, although it had probably only lasted a few minutes.

Once outside her building, it took a few more minutes before he could find a spot to park in. Christy stood on the dark sidewalk waiting for him. She’d taken her hair down and it fell in waves to her shoulders. Damn, she was sexy.

After he finally locked the car door and turned on the alarm, he jogged over to her.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever used the alarm on my truck.” He glanced over his shoulder. Hopefully it would be okay here.

“Seriously?” she laughed. “Where do you live, cowboy, Kansas?”

“Not quite.” He took her hand and followed her into the brick building, almost tripping over the man who was passed out with a bottle in his hand.

“Sorry about that,” she said with an apologetic look. “It kind of comes with the territory.”

“No problem,” he said neutrally. She had to do this regularly? Avoid drunks outside her building? The thought made him uneasy.

They climbed the stairs to her apartment.

She unlocked the door. “Come on in,” she invited, flipping on the light switch. “And make yourself at home while I figure out what to make us for dinner.”

Adam walked into the center of the room and looked around. The flowers on the table could account for the floral smell. Was there another room somewhere? There was only a narrow door that was open, revealing a tiny bathroom. Hmm. Nope, this was it.

His gaze ran over the living room again. The futon was probably a couch. Most likely her bed, too. How much did a studio run in downtown Seattle, anyway? Best not ask. He didn’t want to come across as rude.

The smallness of the studio also added to the intimacy of it. He was here. With Christy. God, he couldn’t wait to touch her.

“What do you like to eat?” she asked from the kitchen.

Adam turned to look back at her, a kinky response on the tip of his tongue. Don’t shock her to her toes just yet.

“I eat just about anything, darlin’. ’Less it’s tofu.”

“You’re in luck, I hate tofu.”

He watched her pull two steaks out of the fridge. Had she planned this ahead of
time? Or maybe she just really liked meat.

“You can sit down if you want, turn on the television or something.”

She sounded a little nervous again, so Adam sat down on the futon to put her more at ease.

“Tell me something about yourself,” she asked as she brushed some kind of sauce over the raw steaks. “Something exciting.”

“Something exciting?” Was he exciting? Hmm. He could tell her about his business, but that seemed a little heavy. He’d go with the side job. “I’m a volunteer firefighter. Is that exciting?”

Christy looked up from the steaks and gave him a slow smile. “Oh, God, yes. I think firefighters are an incredible turn on. What girl doesn’t?”

He smiled, letting his gaze drift over Christy in her tiny dress and four-inch heels, getting ready to broil them a steak dinner. Now that was a turn on.

SALE ALERT! $1.99 for the weekend only, Samhain and Barnes and Noble have teamed up to help people discover various series’. Great time to discover The McLaughlins series since Good Girl Gone Plaid is 63% off. Get your copy now! (We can try and report to Amazon to price match to get it cheaper there too!) Please help spread the word! Discover the book that the Library Journal gave a starred review to and calls, “…a thoroughly charming romance novel.” Get your copy here.

Falling for the bad boy is even more dangerous the second time around.
GoodGirlGonePlaid72web(1)

The McLaughlins, Book 1

In high school Sarah fell for her best friend’s older brother—one of the sexy, Scottish McLaughlin boys. But a painful betrayal showed her she’d been a fool to give her heart to a bad boy. At least it made it easier to leave him and move halfway around the world when her Navy dad got stationed in Japan.

Eleven years later, the death of her grandmother has forced Sarah back to Whidbey Island for a month. It’s the length of time she must stay in her inherited house before she’s allowed to sell it, take the money and run. But when she sees Ian, bad as ever and still looking like sin on a stick, she can’t keep her mouth from watering.

One look at Sarah stirs up the regret lingering in Ian’s heart—and never-forgotten desire lingering in his body. He should walk away, especially since divorced single mothers aren’t his style. But when she starts showing up at his family’s pub, he can’t resist a little casual seduction for old time’s sake.

One thing quickly becomes clear, though. The heat between them is causing an avalanche of secrets and betrayal and nothing will ever be the same.

Verdict Stevens (Love Me Knot; Melting Point) has written a solid and thoroughly charming romance novel. Readers will enjoy meeting the McLaughlin clan and be eager for the next series installments. For all romance fans.— Library Journal, starred review, (Christyna Hunter, Loudoun Cty. P.L., Lovettsville, VA)

 

shareSo I’m coming up on the third anniversary of having a lap band put in. I wasn’t going to talk about it anymore, I was just going to slink back into the shadows and quietly struggle with my weight. I don’t like getting too personal with health and weight crap. But I can’t in good conscience keep this to myself when I could share my experience, and, hey, maybe save people time, money, and crappy health issues that can result from this particular gastric surgery.

First, a little about me. I had the surgery done for mostly one reason–to see if it helped get rid of my type 2 diabetes. It’s prominent in my family. Every doctor I’ve seen has questioned the type 2 diagnosis, thinking I must be type 1. I don’t fit the profile. No one in my family does. They’d do tests, but ultimately realize that it is indeed technically type 2. Whatever reason my family members get it, it isn’t necessarily due to obesity. It doesn’t matter how small I get, how much weight I lose, I still have it. So does my 145lb dad. So, yay, genetics! But still I thought the surgery might do SOMETHING. The media hype, Kool Aid and all. I even gained weight deliberately to make sure I was eligible for the surgery. *Slams head on desk*

lapbandIn the first year after surgery I’d lost around 50lbs or so (it did not, as I should’ve known, eliminate the diabetes). I didn’t have the band all that tight, just maybe toward medium full.  You see, you can adjust how tight it is. When they perform the surgery to put the band in, they also put in what is called a port. Which is this disk type thing that’s sewn/stapled/however they want to attach it to your muscles along your abdominal wall. That’s how they inject or remove saline to make the band looser or tighter. Yes, they stick a giant ass needle, through your stomach and into the port. And you’d better hope the nurse doing it finds it right away. Because they often don’t, and they dig around with the needle, and let me tell you it feels AWESOME. If you missed the sarcasm, it hurts like hell. And the port itself hurts. They say you forget about it after awhile. Don’t feel it. I always feel it. At least once a day. It’ll just hurt randomly. I’ll twist my body a certain way and it hurts. My kid elbows me in that area and it’s burning pain. Because it’s literally sewn/stapled/whatever to your muscle. I know exactly where that bastard port is.

Anyway, I think I lost most of the weight because I knew the band wouldn’t let me eat as much. So I DIDN’T eat as much. I stopped myself. But as time wore on, and I occasionally ate more than I should’ve, and I realized… hey you know, what? It didn’t matter. I wasn’t full. I wasn’t satisfied. I could eat just as much as I had before the surgery and maybe only feel a little bit of the difference. This being whether I had more or less fluid in my band. But I like I said, I didn’t have it as tight as it could be, because…getting stuck.

Yes. Here’s the next fbathroomun issue of having a lap band. Your food can get stuck above the band. Which is uncomfortable at best, but can be quite painful for some. Sometimes if you eat too fast, sometimes on dry chicken, sometimes–often with me–on an effing carrot. What happens when you get stuck? Well, you throw up. All these blogs I read ahead of time make it sound like no big deal. That it just comes right back up. Nope. Not in my experience. I have to force myself to get sick (and let me tell you, I’d suck as a bulimic). Sometimes it would take up to an hour before I’d get it all out. This would occur at least once a week for me, which actually, isn’t bad. I had banded friends who would be sick several times a DAY. But once a week was even too much for me. It happened while on luncheons with friends. While on my first date with my now boyfriend. It happened in front of my 10 year old daughter much too often. Which, honestly, is why I said I’m done. It’s not healthy for a tween girl to see her mom running to the bathroom to force herself to get sick all the time. Pretty much sounds like the breeding ground for a kid to get an eating disorder.

Jeez, there is just so much that was wrong with having the band. It gave me, literally CREATED acid reflux in me, when I’d never had a problem with it until I got banded (and in the info meeting, they told me if you had reflux it would cure it). I had a gastroenterologist tell me (because I had to go see one) that the banded patients she had would almost always have reflux issues that were created by the band.

lifeOverall, my quality of life went down. I was already gaining weight back (though I blame that on bad food choices and getting comfy in a new relationship). So earlier this year I went in and asked that all the fluid be taken out of my band. Have it completely empty, so it’s basically as close as not having a band as you can be. Because, yes, although they proudly tout that this surgery is reversible if you have issues, what they don’t tell you is it costs around $7,000. Yes, it’s really that much money. But if I had $7,000 floating around, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I want this piece of crap out of me. But I’m a single mom who bought a house a year ago. So the band stays there, just waiting to maybe erode into my esophagus some day (yes, that can happen too, Google it). And while my band is empty, I still get stuck on food now and then. This blog post was actually inspired after spending an hour trying to get up a carrot the other day. I hit my ‘f*ck this band that’s about as useful as tying a string around your finger’ level of fury. And I still have chronic reflux that comes and goes. And my port that’ll just hurt randomly and remind me ‘I’m still here, suckah!’

The more people I talk to, the more I research on the internet, I realize I’m not alone. Some people don’t lose much weight. Some lose and gain back. Some people have major complications that can be life threatening. It’s not worth it. Do your research. Getting the lap band was probably my biggest regret in life–and I paid cash, because insurance wouldn’t cover me. I don’t have the funds to undo this now. And, dead serious here, if there’s ever a lawsuit for this lap band (again, on the blogosphere/forums. people are talking about it) count me in, please!

colorunSo while I save up the money to pay to undo this surgery, I’ll live with it. I’ll focus on healthier food choices, being active and getting fit the normal way. I’ve done it before, when I lost over 40lbs without the band. And I had healthier habits at that time than I did with the band. Regaining weight is going to be a problem whether you have gastric surgery or don’t (though I really can’t speak for other gastric surgeries, only what I see on friends who’ve had it).

Hope I gave you something to consider. I won’t say the nurses/surgeons I worked with were awful, they were all super nice. And there are probably some banded folks who will shout their happiness with the lap band from the rooftops. Maybe they don’t get stuck or have port pain. Chronic reflux. Maybe they just put up with it because they’re in smaller jeans. But I’m currently hearing about many people who are converting from lap bands to the the sleeve. Jumping from my gastric surgery to another. Is it really a solution? So here’s my humble opinion: Run. Run fast and hard and don’t EFFING DO IT.  You can lose the weight on your own. Because here’s the deal. If you can’t make the changes in eating and exercise before the band, you’ll struggle to do it after and deal with all the crappy side effects on top.

And you know what? If you made it this far in my blog? You’re awesome. Thanks for reading, and feel free to share with anyone who’s considering a lap band. (HASHTAG DON’T DO IT)

 

*Bonus ultimate horror story I forgot* If you get some kind of stomach flu/food poisoning, you’re supposed to go in and get an unfill (remember, that means giant needle in the belly). Because they know you may have trouble getting the contents of your stomach back up through the band (remember, getting stuck the food is ABOVE the band). The band constricts your esophagus and throwing up stomach contents is not easy. So when I had the Norovirus, I was supposed to drive myself to the clinic, while throwing up every ten minutes, and sit still, assume the position, while they stick a needle in me. Of course, it didn’t happen. So I went twelve hours getting sick so violently, I was throwing up blood. My body hurt for days.