Andrew Weston is an amazing author. He's stopping by today to share his creative process. I've read a few of his books and they keep me on the edge of my seat! I hope you will show him some love and be sure to enter his giveaway!
A Peek Inside My Creative Process for The Cambion Journals – Part 1.
In celebration of the release of the second book of the Cambion Journals – Kiss of the Succubus – and in collaboration with “Buy the Book Tours”, I thought I’d share a bit about the creative process behind this story's development, and what went into Augustus Thorne’s character, because as you’ll see, the journey is rather interesting.
Several years ago, I was asked to submit a pitch regarding any ideas I had for a future project. At the time, I was halfway through the first Guardian trilogy. But you know what it’s like when you’re writing. Good ideas or concepts are like a bus. You wait ages for one to turn up, and then three come rolling in at once. That was the case with the Cambion Journals. I was up to my neck in theme and plot, and I kept getting distracted by a host of great ideas about other stories and future projects.
I don’t know about you, but I get my ideas from all sorts of places. I’ve come up with concepts from sources as diverse as, real life experience, from flicking TV channels, and from dreams.
The Cambion Journals developed after a particularly vivid dream...as follows.
During the previous week, I’d been babysitting for friends and ended up watching the various cartoons and fun films kiddies like to watch, over and over again. A few in particular obviously stuck in my mind. Beauty and the Beast, and Star Wars – Return of the Sith. I say that, because I had several dreams in the week that followed.
Now, I dream a lot. What’s a bit weird about me is that I remember my experiences, and, often become aware of the fact I’m dreaming before I wake up. Many times, I relive the same scene. In these particular dreams, I played the role of a nasty piece of work. A real bad guy. The dream would always start in an old mansion where people were trapped. They were being threatened by something that defied explanation. Panic ensued, and, as everyone tried to escape, they were being cut down by something that would attack from the shadows.
Somehow, I always began the experience by watching the scene from somewhere up on the ceiling among the chandeliers. I’d feel both enraged and aroused by the scene below me, as it made my senses sing with invigorating power. Nevertheless, I felt it important to stop the carnage. So, I’d simply drop sixty or seventy feet to the floor.
However, as people realized I was there, they’d scream in terror. Their terror fed me, and I had to really struggle not to attack them myself. I’d turn and catch my image in a mirror. Surprised, I’d realize I had a demonic caste to my image, and that others like me were responsible for the ensuing mayhem. My dream would puzzle me. So why do I feel so enraged?
I’d turn again, and always find an ethereal woman walking toward me through the chaos. Displaying no fear, she’d walk right up to me, lovingly touch my cheek, and whisper, “Protect them.”
You know the way it is in dreams. Somehow, you recognize total strangers. In this scenario, I just knew the woman was my long-dead mother. She’d died hundreds of years ago, and had absolute confidence that I would do the right thing.
So I would. Using all the supernatural powers at my disposal, I’d rip the demons to shreds, feed on their terror and free the hostages from certain death. The trouble was, everyone was still terrified of me, and would fall over themselves in their haste to get away.
Often, a woman would fall trying to escape. It was always the same woman. I’d help her to her feet, and just stand there staring at her. She was beautiful. I wanted to be with her. I wanted her to know me, see me as a real person and realize she had nothing to fear. But I could feel the hunger rising inside of me because of her panic. In the end, I’d always have to back away and run deep into the bowels of mansion for fear of harming her.
And THAT was how I came up with the basis of Augustus Thorne’s character.
He’s a bad guy. But a bad guy with a conscience. So I built on that...
His mother was attacked by an Incubus, and Augustus is the result. As a Cambion – a human/demon hybrid – he has all their supernatural abilities and longevity, but he hates them. Why? His human mother didn’t abandon him as a child – as usually happens – and her input during his early years helped him develop a conscience and a strong sense of justice. He saw the way his existence ruined her life, and he resolved never to wreak such suffering on others.
That’s harder than you can imagine. Because along with his unnatural good looks, sexual magnetism, and unearthly attributes, he has also inherited an evil curse. The hunger! He must feed from human emotions or die. It is a process that prevents him from being the one thing he craves to be. Normal.
Because of it, he can never fall in love. Never settle down. Never have a family of his own to love and cherish. And he hates Demondim for that, because his mother helped him realize how precious such things are, and how a person’s life would be empty without them.
Seeing how his mother’s life was destroyed, he vows to hunt down and exterminate the one being responsible for her suffering. His own father – Fanon. It is a quest that takes Augustus down through the centuries and around the world, for his father is ancient and cunning...and very powerful.
In the process, Augustus develops the skills necessary to ravage his kind, for Cambions are stronger and more aggressive, possessing abilities Augustus has not yet fully come to realize. And as the net closes on his father, Augustus becomes aware of as yet, hidden prophecies that may have a bearing on his future, and the future of humankind.
How does his journey turn out? Does he get to wreak his revenge? Will he ever find true love?
For that, you’ll have to read the books.
However, later in the week, my “Buy the Book Tour” will reveal another stage of the process I used to make Augustus more appealing. I’m glad to say, I found a great way to make his journey more accessible and much more personal, so that you can almost place yourself in his shoes.
How did I do that?
Aha! Catch you later in the week...
Until then, watch out for the shadows.
Having survived the double-cross planned by Samael, the demon king, and Fanon, his own spawn-father, Augustus Thorne is trying to come to terms with his lot in life. Both Fanon and Agamemnon, the king’s assassin, lay dead. And good riddance! But the only woman Augustus has ever loved in his long and lonely life is gone–driven away by the very real dangers his lifestyle brings. However, Augustus doesn’t have the luxury of dwelling on what might have been. An insidious new threat has emerged, one that exposes humanity to a danger, the likes of which they have never faced before. Surprisingly, Augustus discovers he doesn’t have to face this threat alone. Quite by chance, he stumbles upon a mysterious woman. Someone who appears to be the only other Cambion he has ever met. Has he found a true soul mate at last? Or is she too good to be true? Are other players involved who would still like to see Augustus Thorne dead? If so, what’s the connection? Find out for yourselves as the story continues in: The Cambion Journals – Kiss of the Succubus.
A background thum-thum, thum-thum, thum-thum, pervaded the tranquil serenity of her thoughts. A muffled throb that somehow coaxed her along the current of sublime melodic reverie that was her entire world. Everything was as it should be. She was safely cocooned within a web-like tracery of scarlet and rose warmth, and her senses were soothed by the rhythm to the point of rapture. She had changed. Of that there was no doubt. The disconcerting other within her heart was making its presence felt. And yet, the metamorphosis it had generated caused no discomfort. No anxiety intruded upon her perfect existence. Thum-thum, thum-thum, thum-thum. Something encroached at the very limit of discernment—static noise, a sharpening of mental focus. Awareness impinged, and her head swarmed to the echo of a thousand whispers on the edge of perception as she blinked her eyes open. At first, her sight refused to cooperate, and it took a moment before the liquid silver of her vision cleared. Lucidity, the likes of which she had never before witnessed in thousands of years of existence, struck her with a hammer blow. A darkened chamber illuminated only by a handful of Bale-Lights greeted her. Plain walls welcomed her return to coherent thought, their clinical frigidity a stark contrast to the bank of high-tech medical equipment surrounding the single bed upon which she lay. That unfamiliar sound intruded again. Thum-thum, thum-thum, thum-thum. What the . . . ? “Are you all right?” a disembodied voice asked. “I . . . I think so. . . .” Her thoughts turned inward, scrutinizing the presence within her. “Are you in pain?” “No, not at all. It was just . . . different than what I expected . . . than what I’m used to.” Turning, she recognized the source of the questioner. “Lamia?” “Welcome back, Mahlat-essa. How have the last three and a half months been?” Mahlat-essa felt her breast and the newfangled steady rhythm that beat incessantly within her. “I feel . . . different.” “That’s the effect of the Bloodstone. Is it freaking you out?” Lamia placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “No, it’s just . . . not what I’m used to.” She sensed that inward scrutiny again, and wondered what to call it. “What’s happened to me?” “Your memories haven’t returned yet?” Lamia appeared concerned, her brow furrowing. “Well, I recognized you, didn’t I?” “I suppose we have to expect this. The Bloodstone is bound to mix things up for a little while yet.” “So what’s it done?” “It’s changed you at the molecular level, Mal. Altered what you are—” “What I am?” “We talked about this. Don’t you remember?” A soupy mishmash of jumbled thoughts tumbled through Mahlat-essa’s mind. Slowly, they began to coalesce into a structured, recognizable form. Comprehension dawned. “So the bloodline was puissant enough then?” Lamia’s relief was obvious. “Yes, it certainly was. Only two lines still exist today, as you know. We were able to extract sufficient vitality from our subject to imbue the stone with enough potency to trigger the transmutation.” “And there’ll be no lasting side effects?” She touched her chest again, with its disconcertingly loud beat. “Not so far as we can determine. The stone contains sufficient potency to hold the change in stasis for about six months. It’s gradually leaking that essence into your heart at a steady rate. Once it’s depleted, you’ll either revert back to normal or have to undergo a fresh infusion.” “Lamia, do we have a mirror here?” Mahlat-essa sat up, the speed of her sudden movement causing both shock and delight to course through her veins like an electric charge. Smiling, Lamia fished one out of her handbag and handed it to her friend. Mahlat-essa was slow to raise the vanity mirror to her face, and was stunned by the reflection staring back. Gone was her devilishly beautiful and angular looks which had taken the breath away from the most resolute demons. She had been replaced by a vision of even greater exquisiteness. How? “I look . . . I look . . .” She gasped. “Perfect, eh? Just right for your goal.” “My goal?” Mahlat-essa mumbled, momentarily confounded. “Remember.” Lamia hugged her close, gushing, “You can’t recall much about your past, my dear. Your poor mother died when you were born, and you were left all alone in the world, wondering who and what you are. You grew up with the awful burden of knowing you were rejected by others for being different. For having a hunger you could barely control. The only relief you’ve ever felt is when these supernatural things are present. These demons! Venting your fury on them provides the only opportunity you have of appeasing the hunger inside. And you’re very, very good at dealing with demons. It’s something that comes naturally to a freak like you, yes?” Memories began to unravel within Mahlat-essa’s mind. “Yes, I’m starting to remember now! I’m different than other girls. Stronger than other humans, faster in some ways, nastier. Although I want to protect them, they shun me. I’m all alone without anyone to share my sad and solitary existence with.” “Which is a shame of course, because our one woman execution squad just so happens to be incredibly highly sexed and armed with killer looks too. The perfect bait, eh?” Raising the mirror again, Mahlat-essa grinned. That smile failed to reach the cold depths of her eyes. Yes. The perfect bait. He won’t know what hit him!
Andrew P Weston is a military and police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.
A criminal law and astronomy graduate, he is a contracted writer of both fiction and poetry for several publishing houses and a growing number of well established magazines. In his spare time, Andrew assists NASA with one of their research projects, and amazingly, still finds the time to submit regular educational articles for Amazing Stories and Astronaut.com.
When not writing, Andrew enjoys holding his breath, being told what to do by his wife, and drinking Earl Grey Tea whilst dressed as Captain Jean Luc Picard.
Make it so…
Also includes signed copy of Kiss of the Succubus, as well as book 1 – Rage of Augustus
The New Brotherhood Trilogy
The Story begins at the end of a three year search for a man known as The Prophet. When FBI agents Rhetia Morgan and Michael Roane close in on his capture they find he is but one of an elite group of people known as The New Brotherhood, a secret society working in the background to insure their survival.
After the Prophet is dead they begin to uncover the plot of a crazy man and his ideals threaten to destroy everything Rhetia and Michael have sworn to protect.
The first book was released in Sept, 2013
Part two of the trilogy continues the story and with the new leadership comes changes. Howard has declared war on the FBI and brings the Brotherhood into the open. They have the money and the power to become the next mafia and to bring our nation to the brink of chaos.
This was released in Feb, 2014
After many battles and betrayals the FBI have managed to break apart the threatening Brotherhood. Only two of the seven ‘sons’ of Richard Holden are still at large, the others are either dead or in jail. Can the two that escaped capture rebuild the Brotherhood. http://store.sweetcravingspublishing.com/index.php?main_page=book_info&cPath=4&products_id=225
About K.J Dahlen
I live in a small town (population495) in Wisconsin. From my deck I can see the Mississippi River on one side and the bluffs, where eagles live and nest on the other side. I live with my husband Dave and dog Sammy. My two children are grown and I have two grandchildren. I love to watch people and that has helped me with my writing. I often use people I watch as characters in my books and I always try to give my characters some of my own values and habits.
I love to create characters and put them in a troubling situation then sit back and let them do all the work. My characters surprise even me at times. At some point in the book they take on a life of their own and the twists and turns they create becomes the story. Of all the stories I could write I found I like mystery/thrillers the best. I like to keep my readers guessing until the very end of the book.
Contact me at:
Long Overdue – Madison Sevier
Long Overdue, River Jewel Resort, Book 3 by Madison Sevier
Hi Tamara and thank you so much for letting me appear on your blog.
My next release with Secret Cravings Publishing is ‘Long Overdue’ River Jewel Resort Series, Book 3, scheduled for pre-order on May 6, 2014.
by Madison Sevier
After a decade of working at the campus library, a scandal involving a student leaves Olivia Milan unemployed and able to spend much more time with her best friend, Matt. She’s always been attracted to Matt Osgood, but believes he’ll never feel the same about her. When he heads out of town for the weekend, Olivia takes the opportunity to visit the River Jewel Resort in the hope of getting a new job. However, what she finds when she arrives proves life can be stranger than fiction.
Romance author Matt Osgood has been in love with the same woman for a very long time, but he thinks she’ll never return his feelings. Years of going to the River Jewel Resort have allowed him to live out his every fantasy. Still, he aches for a real emotional connection to the woman he truly loves.
Can the River Jewel Resort turn fantasy into a reality for these two best friends? Or will they run in opposite directions when confronted with the truth?
“Not enough pay. Not enough hours. Not enough clothing.” She tossed the red marker across the room. “This newspaper is full of shitty jobs. There has to be something in this town I’m qualified to do.”
“Have you considered starting your own tantric-tutoring classes at the Y?” Matt waved his napkin as Olivia threw him an evil glare.
“Hardy-har-har. Are you ever going to let that go? It happened over a month ago.”
“I know, but I still wish I had been there to see it. I’m afraid the images in my mind of you and the Professor rolling around in your office just don’t do the real thing justice.”
“You know it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the old man still sits around picturing the two of you getting each other off while he jerks off in that disgusting office of his.”
“Really? Did you have to go there? I feel dirty just thinking about it. Gross. I still can’t believe I let my libido take control of me.”
“Just kidding, babe. Tell you what, if you promise to go to River Jewel while I’m in Chicago doing actual work this weekend, I’ll stop teasing you about the senior-shag when I return.”
Olivia rolled her eyes. “Liar. You’re enjoying this.”
“Well, yeah, but I promise to stop. Besides, I overheard someone last night say that they’re putting a bookstore in at the Resort, on the third floor. That tells me they’re hiring and who better to run a bookstore than you?”
“No way.” She was speechless. A bookstore! It had been years since she’d been in an actual bookstore. Working at the library, reading Matt’s books and the ease of online shopping had supported her need for books for years. To be employed at a shop full of her favorite things would be amazing! Just the thought of working in one made her panties wet.
For Olivia, books had always been everything. The way they smelled when one opened them and the feel of them in her hands was like a drug. This was one of the many reasons she’d loved her job at the library. She could be closest to the things that made her happy.
One night after the library closed, her love of sex and fiction came together in an amazing way. She’d snuck in with a guy and they’d made love on top of one of the long, mahogany tables. Olivia had never felt more alive than that night. She’d been surrounded by new and old authors, their famous works standing at attention, surrounding them. Their stories of happily-ever-afters calling to her as she milked every drop from her ex’s shaft and after that, screwing in the library had become the only thing that came close to satisfying her.
Her fiancé, Randy, had never been into anything she wanted or needed and for a long time, she’d thought it was her fault. Olivia had tried to be everything Randy Davis desired and it took her a long time to realize that no one could have made him happy. His insatiability rivaled hers but he preferred to satisfy his needs with other people behind Olivia’s back. If she had known what he was doing, she never would’ve stayed with him for as long as she did. Looking back, she had wasted so much time and she’d cried enough tears to fill the Ohio River. If only she had met Matt sooner. Maybe their lives would’ve been different. Straddling Matt on a library table, riding him until they were both raw and exhausted…
“Hellooo. Earth to Olivia.” Matt snapped his fingers in her face. “Where’d you go? Oh, you were thinking about Tim, the quarterback again, weren’t you?”
Busted. “Not exactly. Okay, maybe.”
“You were! Library sex flashbacks? I’m so jealous!” He teased. “I’ve never known anyone to hold on to a memory of an ex like you have.” Did she sense a bit of real jealousy in his tone?
Maybe it was a fantasy of you that I was thinking about. She’d seen how well-endowed Matt was. Helping him get into and out of the shower safely every other day had played a huge part in her need to be taken by a man, any man. Thinking back, she should’ve spoken up sooner. Maybe their lives would be different if she had. An author and a librarian were a perfect match. She’d give him plenty of inspiration for his books and he’d fulfill all of her fantasies. But what if she was wrong?
Madison’s days are spent homeschooling her daughter, while her nights are spent weaving naughty, romantic tales. She writes unconventional endings which have been loved by some and hated by others. Madison is a firm believer that love is never predictable and she loves to show that happily-ever-afters come in many forms.
Madison’s words to live by; “Have fun and enjoy every moment in life. You never get a chance to do the exact same thing twice.
She loves to hear from her readers and fans.
You can email her at email@example.com or visit these places to connect:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MadisonSevierAuthor?ref=hl
Blog: Madison’s Place: http://madisonsevier.blogspot.com/
The Romance Reviews: http://www.theromancereviews.com/mypageprofile.php?location=madisonsevier
Secret Cravings Publishing: http://store.secretcravingspublishing.com/index.php?main_page=products_all&filter_author=197&zenid=a32f1d4a7c9c20ad74cd9bf76916fb90
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Madison-Sevier/e/B00BDWM3DG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1397516513&sr=8-1
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/madison-sevier
This set has some amazing authors! You should pick it up and find a new favorite for yourself!
Genre: Erotic Romance Collection
**Limited edition, limited time offer, only 99 cents! (Retail value $28). Featuring NYT, USA Today, and highly rated indie talent. **
What to Read After Fifty Shades of Grey (#WTRAFSOG) began as a Facebook page created by Summer Daniels dedicated to helping book lovers discover great reads after FSoG. Over time, the page grew in popularity and now has over 85,000 followers!
This collection features eleven incredible fan favorites from WTRAFSOG. Each book is unique and has a theme of its own, from sweet to dominant, and everywhere in between.
Belong To You by Vi Keeland -- New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling author. My honeymoon was almost everything I dreamed it would be...a tropical paradise, turquoise water, romantic walks on the beach, and loads and loads of mind shattering sex. The only thing missing was the groom.
Surrender by Adriana Hunter -- New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling author. When Jake agrees to take Abby as his submissive she must give him all that he demands of her until she has surrendered completely. But when he pushes her to her limits she wonders if she'll ever be the same again.
Fade Into You by Kate Dawes -- New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling author. Olivia Rowland moves to Los Angeles to work for a Hollywood talent agent. Life in L.A. is a culture shock, but nothing compared to the jolt she gets when Max Dalton enters her life. Max Dalton is Hollywood's youngest and brightest movie producer/director/writer. He's wealthy, successful, hot, and there's never a shortage of women throwing themselves at him but there’s only one woman he wants, and he intends to make it happen. When Olivia finally gives in the stage is set for a perilous, yet passionate relationship. Together they discover each other’s deepest desires, and darkest secrets.
His Need, Her Desire by Malia Mallory -- New York Times and USA TODAY Bestselling author. Tabitha didn't come to Hawaii to be spanked, but that's the cost of being saved from drowning by Marcus and the start of an affair so intense they must decide - is this a holiday fling or the real thing?
A Touch of Lilly by Nina Pierce -- USA TODAY Bestselling author. Detective Lilly D’angelo has given up finding a soul mate and thrown herself into her career. That is, until she captures the wrong alien and is shipped into deep space. Now she’s working as a bounty hunter and hell-bent on revenge. But being kidnapped by two males working for the FBI may just derail all her plans.
Brie Learns the Art of Submission by Red Phoenix. This #1 Bestselling erotic novel follows the sensual journey of Brie Bennett as she attends the Submissive Training Center - an institution famous for its elite instruction. Brie will discover her deepest desires, darkest fears, and the intense love of several of the Center’s talented Doms.
Hot Ink by Ranae Rose. Mina never meant to fall for her sexy tattoo artist, Eric, or to become a model. But when she's asked to pose with him in a photo shoot for the Hot Ink tattoo studio, she can't say no. In a few breathtaking moments, an on-camera kiss turns the passion they're asked to fake into something very real, leaving them both wanting more.
Broken by Christa Cervone. A story about a young woman, Leila, who destroyed herself, and her relationship with the love of her life, with one decision. After four years of no contact and lots of self-destruction, Garrett's back in her life. Can they put back together the pieces of their shattered hearts? Or are they destined to remain Broken?
Seduced by Michelle Hughes. Four gorgeous billionaires and one woman who believes that pleasure is the biggest lie men use to get women into bed. Welcome to Fantasy's Bar & Grill. What we're serving up behind closed doors is hotter than anything on the menu.
Master of the Inn by Ella Jade. Pleasure Inn… Where all of your fantasies become reality. Elyse gets more than she bargains for when she meets Logan a sexy, reclusive innkeeper. Logan’s dominance in the bedroom makes all of her fantasies a reality.
Summer's Journey, Vol. 1-4 by Summer Daniels-- Join Summer on her journey of sexual self-discovery; a well written, intelligent and sexy series about the beginning of her sensual, sultry love affair with life, and all the joys of being a woman.
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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Stephanie will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Enjoy an excerpt:
Jocelyn stood, glaring at Richard and Edmund. Richard's face betrayed his anxiety. Well, she was anxious, too.
Edmund crossed his arms and looked at Jocelyn. "Do you want me to leave?"
Jocelyn's gaze landed on Richard. His blue eyes blazed with an intensity that burned her and she realized they needed to talk -- alone. She drew in a breath and crossed an arm over her chest resting her hand on her shoulder and rubbed the knot. Deliberately, she turned to face Edmund. "Yes, I think that's best."
Edmund glared at Richard with an expression of warning, then departed.
"Thank you," Richard said. He held his ground.
Jocelyn maintained her pose, studying him. He appeared healthy, still muscular, yet breathless. He held his hands at his side, flexing his fingers.
"How's your father?" he asked matter-of-factly.
"I've never seen him so incapacitated."
She let out a long breath, resolved to tell the truth. "The last week, your ring would grow hot, then cold, then hot again. Today it became unbearable. I took it off and when my father went to pick it up, some ash from his cigar caused it to explode."
He took a step toward her. "I'm so sorry--"
She held up a hand. "Don't come closer. It doesn't matter. All I'm concerned about is my father."
"What about us?"
"There can't be an us."
"Why not?" His brows knitted.
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In Love and War
By Tara Mills
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Sometimes love really is worth fighting for, but picking your battles isn't so easy—especially when lives are at stake.
Personal tragedy and the loss of both parents at a young age made Ariela Perrine cross self-sacrificing hero types off her datable list. But Ariela is literally swept off her feet when an accident brings her face to face with an unforgettable pair of blue eyes, a playful smile, and an overly affectionate dog.
Oh yes, journalist Dylan Bond makes her sizzle, but dare she risk it? After all, he's just returned from covering conflicts around the globe. With his assurance he'll be handling domestic stories from now on, Ariela's weak resistance crumbles and their relationship intensifies at a dizzying speed. Then an unexpected phone call lures Dylan back to Iraq and he falls off the radar. His disappearance will test them both in ways neither expected. Will it bring them closer or destroy their fragile peace forever?
Dylan chuckled and drew his hand out from under her hair, caressing her cheek before returning it to the wheel and signaling his turn.
Ariela had described the unsettled feeling Dylan gave her as a tornado, but now she wasn’t sure that was the right comparison. A tornado was loud and violent, certainly, but after careful consideration, that seemed too dry. No, this was closer to a tsunami or hurricane churning through her insides because there was moisture, a great deal of very unmistakable moisture to go along with the roaring in her ears and the rumbling in her chest.
As they climbed the staircase, her footsteps felt springy, buoyant on the treads. It was as if her legs were pogo sticks. Did he feel any of this? Could he tell she was lost in a maelstrom he’d set off?
Inside the apartment, Dylan allowed her just enough time to hang up her purse before he caught her around the waist and turned her in his arms. There was something in his eyes, those luscious, blueberry eyes, that sent tension vibrating along her spine. For a fraction of a second, he simply looked at her with just a hint of a smile. Then he moved on her, decisively, closing the space between them.
Ariela looped her arms behind his neck and held on, perfectly ready and willing to be plundered. Her feet left the floor at the same time their lips connected and suddenly they were collapsing on the couch. Dylan’s hand protected her head down to the cushions. That simple, thoughtful act undid her. Ariela kissed him long and hard, rewarding his consideration.
Finally coming up for air, she nuzzled along his jaw. “You smell fantastic.”
“So do you,” he growled, diving at her throat.
“My perfume wore off hours ago.”
That was it—she was his if he wanted her. What an easy conquest she’d turned out to be. She couldn’t even summon up disappointment in herself. The reality was, she’d never wanted anything, anyone more, and it was no use fighting it.
Dylan pulled his head back, his lust for her unmistakable in his smoldering eyes. “Are we on the same page here?”
She cracked a little smile. “God, I hope so.”
With a groan, he crushed his lips to hers and Ariela felt a slight sting against her teeth. Then his tongue ventured out and soothed the pain away. Now his kiss mellowed from one of heated urgency to a calmer, solid claim. He had a right to be here, to possess her, because she’d granted it. Ariela wanted to feel Dylan’s hard body against hers, but she realized he wasn’t a guy to take without invitation. Even now, if she changed her mind and asked him to stop, he’d do it, no matter how difficult it was to pull back. Confidence in that made her want him even more. This would be an utter surrender, an open agreement with an occupying force.
She fumbled with the buttons on his shirt while he held himself over her, working her top up with one hand.
He looked down, grinning at her impatience. “Just clarifying something here. You’re not interested in me?”
“How many times do I have to tell you? At this time, you’re on my banned substances list.” Ariela swept his shirt apart and ran her hands over his chest, squeezing his yummy pecs.
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I write stories I like to read–contemporary romances with identifiable characters and themes. Life is hard. Love makes it bearable. If you enjoy stories with heat and humor, I have a title for you.
I’m a pampered wife, lucky mom to three amazing sons and one wonderful daughter-in-law, and I recently became a very young grandma. I should probably underline the word very. Oh heck, why not the word young too? Nah, you get the picture. I’m also the daily monitor of one naughty dog with attitude.
Author Links: Site Facebook Twitter
Tara is giving away to a lucky winner a choice of eBook from her backlist.
For a chance to win please fill out the Rafflecopter below.
“Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your heart or burn your house down, you can never tell.” -Joan Crawford
Dr. Katy Malone has sworn off love after losing those she loves most in her life including her father, a member of the FDNY. She has decided to spend her time focusing on her medical research. Her ex-fiancée, and fellow doctor, isn't ready to give up on loving her though.
Firefighter Nick Garrity is on a search for the future Mrs. Garrity. As he pushes thirty, with no prospects in sight, he's afraid he'll never find her. A devoted member of FDNY, he loves the thrill of his job and the satisfaction it brings him. He strives to teach the proby firefighter, Patrick Doyle, the ropes and pass on his passion to him.
When Doyle tries to impress the guys on the crew, he ends up in the care of Dr. Katy Malone. One look at Dr. Malone and Nick knows he's found his future wife but can he convince her to love again?
At mile four, Katy turned around as he lagged fifty feet back. She was going to ask if he wanted to push their run to seven miles, but seeing him huffing and puffing, she figured she already knew the answer. She jogged in place until he caught up. He saw her waiting and slowed to walk. Smirking, she questioned, “Thought you could hang for five miles?”
In between breaths, he mumbled, “I...didn’t...know we were...going to be...running record pace.”
Katy laughed. “Come on, macho man, it’s barely a seven minute mile.” She playfully punched his arm giving him a hard time.
Nick stood up having caught his breath. “Macho man, huh?” He reached out and in one swipe picked her up and threw her over his shoulder.
Katy giggled as he carried her down the path then set her down. It was the second time in the span of a few hours that she’d laughed like a schoolgirl which was two times more than the past two years. As her feet touched the ground, he let his hands linger on her waist. Even though they’d just met, the chemistry between them was undeniable.
Standing almost a foot taller than her, he leaned down to get a better look at her face. Katy’s heart did a somersault as she thought that he was going to kiss her. She jumped back stepping on a patch of ice. She looked like a cartoon character as her feet skidded and she ran in place trying to get her balance. Nick reached out to steady her and as she leaned into him, he caught the ice patch too. They both landed in a puddle of ice cold water.
Nick landed on his back with Katy on top of him. He had his arms wrapped around her tightly and despite the fact that the water was Arctic temperatures, she felt warm all over as she lay on him. She enjoyed the safety of his arms around her and her hormones were going crazy as she took in his scent. He was definitely wearing Paul Sebastian, it was a scent she had grown accustomed to since it was the cologne Jeremiah wore. As Katy lay on top of him reminiscing, she felt him shake her frantically.
“Katy, Katy, are you okay? Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. That was my fault.” Katy snapped back to reality. She realized she had him pinned down in the freezing water, although he was twice her size and could have moved her at any time he wanted.
She jumped up and offered her hand to him apologizing. He stood up laughing and pulled her into his arms, rubbing his hands up and down her arms trying to warm her up. “Was that your plan? Bring me to the park and take advantage of me?” he teased.
She stood in their embrace thinking she could get used to being in his arms and then pulled back. “I’m sorry, Nick, but I can’t do this.”
He looked at her confused. “Do what?”
“This. It’s just that...I don’t date. Especially not firefighters.”
Love is a Fire will reach out and grab you. I immediately connected with Katy. She's faced some trauma but still moved forward with her life, not letting the bad things get her down. She's determined that a man doesn't define her but when she falls in love... it's for real.
Men like Nick exist today. I know them. They fight the fires in cities like Detroit, where family is the men they work with each day. They are devoted brothers-in-arms and vow to do their best in a job that requires nothing less. Nick loves with all his heart whether it's his brothers in the department or Katy. I wish I could find a man like him!
Ms. Layne writes a story that touches your heart. I fell in love along with Katy and honestly hated her ex. I would have hit him myself. He was a jerk and didn't deserve her. The secondary characters deserve their own story and I hope they get it! I can't give away too much so I'll just say to read the story to find out for yourself.
Lyssa Layne is first, and foremost, the proud momma to her precious daughter, AR. In addition to working full-time and being a mommy to AR, she is also an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, a runner, blogger, and an infertility survivor.
Having watched one too many medical dramas and being inspired by author Rachelle Ayala, who introduced her to the world of indie writing, Lyssa decided to try her hand at writing a romance story. Her attempt turned into the Burning Lovesick series. You can find Lyssa’s own interests throughout her stories although all stories are fictional.
You can visit Lyssa at:Blog: www.lyssalayne.wordpress.com
I'm so excited to share Jennifer's latest with you today! Don't you love the cover with Scott on it?? She's a wonderful author who writes some hot stories and is an even more amazing friend! I put her on the hot seat with some questions but she was still nice enough to offer a giveaway!! Leave a comment with your email to enter!
The Maze/Romantic Suspense
TAG: …A game of survival tests their will and their love.
A mission she can’t forget…
The first female operative for the counterterrorism unit known as ATCOM, Atalanta Devayne is haunted by a former mission gone wrong. That mission led to her imprisonment, torture, and ultimate retirement, along with her loss of faith in the man she’d trusted with her life.
Brings his vengeance…
Former Navy SEAL, Noah Kincaid, bears the responsibility of Attie’s imprisonment and blames himself for not protecting her from drug lord Carlos Santiago. This time he won’t fail her.
In a deadly game of survival.
Santiago has resurfaced and set up an elaborate plan to exact his revenge on Attie by taking her brother hostage. The only way to save him is by revisiting the darkness of her past and relying on a man she can’t trust. In a battle of life or death, Noah and Attie are put to the test. They must face challenges to overcome the past and accept their feelings for each other before the danger that tore them apart separates them forever.
Content Warning: Sexual content
Hi Melissa Keir and all you fabulous readers out there *waves* Thank you so much for having me today! My romantic suspense, The Maze, released this month so I’m very excited to be here! Thank you so much for sharing it with me!!
In honor of my release I am giving away an e-book copy of any one of my books (go to my WEBSITE to choose) to one lucky commenter so please leave me a comment with your EMAIL so I can contact you if you win!!
What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
Curl up in my favorite chair with my blanket, a good book and a cup of tea.
For what are you grateful?
My family. My career. My friends. My life. I truly am blessed to be living my dream.
What is the number one lie you tell yourself? How is that working out?
That my to-do list will get shorter with each thing I cross off, lol. Not so good! It just keeps getting longer!
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
Janet Dailey, Stephen King, Harlequin Romance authors, Judy Blume, the Nancy Drew series and Trixie Beldon series (can’t remember the author names) and so many more growing up! Now, it’s Cherry Adair, Cristin Harber, Sharon Hamilton, D’Ann Lindun, Cindy Gerard, Kaylea Cross, and many, many more!
I recognize many of those authors as among my favorites too! What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite?
The journey my characters take me on. As a pantser it is an awesome adventure and I love it! My least favorite-first drafts. Ugh. I love the revision process. Hate first drafts.
What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on?
Writing faster. I wish I could write thousands of words per day like most writers. I’m working on it :)
That's one of mine too! Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Oh, yes. Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation, Conflict and Dwight Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer. Have ‘em right beside my computer. Oh, and chocolate J
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?
Perseverance is key-a tip I learned from Cherry Adair :)
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story?
There’s a story behind my heroine’s name in The Maze, but you have to read the book to find out the mystery behind her name J As for location, that was a given and it’s tied into the title of the book. But, again, I can’t say anything more without giving anything away so you’ll have to read the book to find out how the mountains and the title tie in together.
For everyone who signs up for my NEWSLETTER you will receive an e-book copy of my short story, Taking Chances ($.99 value) for FREE!
Thank you for having me today, Melissa!! I just want to send out a big THANK YOU to all my readers out there! Without you I wouldn’t be here. My wish is to one day meet each and every one of you so I can personally thank you for your generosity and support!
All my best,
Copyright ©2014, Jennifer Lowery
He lunged, and she sidestepped, but he anticipated her move and caught her with a blow to her midsection that knocked the breath out of her. She doubled over, gasping for air. Carlos took advantage and moved in. He knocked her to her knees and brought a hand down on her shoulder.
She cried out when pain erupted behind her stitches. She felt them pull free as Carlos dug his fingers into her flesh through the bandage. Nausea rolled over her in waves as her vision blurred. Carlos didn’t play fair and he hated to lose. He saw her weakness and went after it. She was helpless to stop him. Pain paralyzed her
“Do you surrender, mi amor?” Carlos asked, his fingers digging deeper until she cried out.
“No,” she managed to choke out. “Never, and I will sleep with Noah again if I decide to, you bas—”
She was cut off by the shouts of men outside the ring and lifted her eyes to see a former Navy SEAL taking on six armed men with deadly intentions. Bodies flew in all directions as Noah moved steadily through them to get to her. He had a look she had seen many times in the past. He was a machine and would kill anyone that got in his way.
Attie used the distraction and took advantage. She chopped Carlos in the shin with the flat of her hand. It was enough to catch him unaware and when the pressure eased on her shoulder she dropped and rolled away. She saw Noah reach for the ropes as he prepared to swing into the ring at the same time one of the thugs he’d felled raised his weapon.
She knew what was going to happen and she couldn’t allow it. She would never make it through this without Noah at her side. He was her rock. Despite the past, she needed and wanted him here with her. They could sort through the rest later. For now, she wanted him by her side.
“No, I surrender,” she shouted to Carlos, hating how the words tasted like poison on her tongue, but for Noah, she would do it.
A slow, feral smile spread across his face as Carlos held up a hand for a cease-fire. Noah was inside the ring before the shot rang out. He grabbed Attie by the elbow and pulled her to her feet before shoving her behind his back, serving as a barrier between her and Carlos. This time Attie didn’t argue.
“Atalanta surrendered to me to save your life, Noah. Quite an honor. She doesn’t like to lose.”
“She didn’t lose.”
“By default she did and now she’ll pay the consequences.”
“I’m not finished with you. What do you say I give you someone more your size to play with?”
“You don’t approve of my sparring with Atalanta?” Carlos sounded genuinely surprised.
“Give me one minute.”
“You think you can take me in one minute?”
Attie knew Carlos wouldn’t back down from a challenge. It was a rare treat for him to find a sparring partner with equally matched skill.
Warm blood seeped down her back and she hurt all over, but she wasn’t going to let Noah do this. If he killed Santiago now, then they may never find Brendan or get out of here. She stepped around him and positioned herself between the two men, struggling to stay focused.
“Do what you’re going to do to me, Carlos. Leave him out of it.”
The blow came hard and fast to her cheek. The force of it twisted her head to the side as pain exploded behind her eyes. She staggered, her face bumping into Noah’s chest. She would have fallen if he hadn’t caught her. He carried her to the corner and set gently down so that her back was against the ropes.
She looked up when Noah cupped her cheek. In his eyes was tender concern mixed with a look of censure that lacked anger. He was upset with her for going along with this in the first place.
“Will you stay here for one damn minute?”
“You don’t need to do this.” Not for me.
“Yes, I do,” he said and with one last, intense look, rose to his feet and turned to face Carlos.
What she saw then chilled her to the bone and she knew she would never see anything like it again.
The man she was afraid to love fought for her.
NY Times & USA Today bestselling author, Jennifer Lowery grew up reading romance novels in the back of her math book and on the bus to school, and never wanted to be anything but a writer. Her summers were spent sitting at the kitchen table with her sisters spinning tales of romance and intrigue and always with a tall glass of ice tea at their side.
Today, Jennifer is living that dream and she couldn’t be happier to share her passion with her readers. She loves everything there is about romance. Her stories feature alpha heroes who meet their match with strong, independent heroines. She believes that happily ever after is only the beginning of her stories. And the road to that happy ending is paved with action, adventure, and romance. As her characters find out when they face danger, overcome fears, and are forced to look deep within themselves to discover love.
Jennifer lives in Michigan with her husband and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.
Author Website Facebook Twitter Romance Recipes
Buy The Maze:
Barnes & Noble
Other Books by Jennifer Lowery:
A SEAL’s Song (Book #1, SEAL Team Alpha)
Hard To Handle (Book #1, Sawyer Sisters Trilogy)
Hard Core (Book #1, Onyx Group)
Taking Chances (short story)
This cover has such passion! I love the image. It shows a perfect clutch as two people come together. Make sure you show some love and be sure to enter the giveaway!
A Perfect Moment
by Becca Lee
Genre: New Adult Romance
“When life threatens perfect, it’s time to step up and kick life in the balls.”
Ella's perfect moment was taken from her in the worst possible way. Humiliated, heartbroken and absolutely determined not to allow her heart be destroyed for a second time, she builds an ice wall around her heart.
Preston has known that he was in love with his big sister's best friend since the age of fifteen. Over ten years on, and an opportunity to be her knight in shining armour is too good to miss. Putting his heart on the line, he's on a mission to show Ella that the perfect moment is possible.
Ella's instinct is to run when she realises her feelings for her bestie's little brother may just run a little bit deeper than just friends. But if she can't run, she'll try every trick in the book to shake off his affection and realign his feelings.
She’s already had her perfect moment, and there is no chance she'll let her heart thaw for Preston. No matter how good he looks in the firefighter's Christmas calendar.
He remained still, just a few short inches from my face. His eyes searched mine, and then looked at my mouth before making eye contact once again. I released a shaky breath, only just realising that I’d been holding it. I then reacted. It was almost as though my body was on autopilot. There was no grand thought processing, or gesture, or even an amazing epiphany. My head moved forward of its own volition, as if there was a hot, sizzling magnetic pull between us. My mouth touched his tentatively, so unlike our previous kisses. His lips were smooth against mine. My lips took control and continued to gently press and nibble against his. My tongue slipped out and lightly licked his lower lip, before it slowly entered his mouth and touched his. As soon as our tongues met, our mouths pressed down harder, and our kisses became more frantic. After what I assumed was just a few more seconds, our mouths parted, with just a few more light kisses between us. With our heads close, Preston gave me a small smile, one that warmed my heart. He was so bloody hot.
“So … erm … El?” Zoe’s voice was like a bucket of cold water over me.
Shit, Zoe. I forgot about Zoe. This was definitely not good.
Forcing a smile on my face, I looked away from Preston, who now had a small frown set between his eyebrows. “Hi Zoe, fancy seeing you here,” I rushed out, silently talking to her with my wide eyes, hoping to God that she understood my silent, freaked-out version of facial expression.
She raised her eyebrow quizzically and remained standing next to our table. “Er, okay. Yes, fancy. I was just meeting someone here, but apparently I’ve been stood-up.”
I smile-grimaced at her. My heart pounded in my chest. I had no freakin’ idea what to do. Here was Zoe, looking her usual self, potentially an ideal match for Preston, yet I’d just kissed him. Me. I’d initiated it this time. I had no idea what I wanted.
I took a sneaky look at Preston from the corner of my eye, half-expecting him to be drooling over Zoe. Hell, I was almost drooling. She was smoking hot, but instead, his eyes were fixed firmly on my face, trying to work out what exactly I was up to. I gave him a quick smile and looked back at Zoe.
Could I bear to see them together? Preston with anyone? Everything was so crazy confusing. Just four days ago, Preston was my friend and my bestie’s little bro, but now … shit. Now, I officially fancied the ass off him and desperately wanted to explore us. Geez, I just thought ‘us’. Cue freak out, in three, two, one … But it never happened. There was no panic. No screaming at the top of lungs and running away in horror at the thought of another man potentially breaking my heart. He was my friend, so of course I trusted him, but hell, trusting him with my heart should be making me break out the brown paper bag. Instead, a little flicker of something else sparked in my heart, something akin to hope. It felt warm and tingly, and right.
Deciding a course of action was required to get me out of the potential mess before me. I didn’t think Preston would be too impressed knowing I’d tried to set him up, so I used my stealth-like silent facial code and forcefully and repeatedly moved my eyes to the right, in between pointed looks. Zoe’s eyes tightened for a moment; she was clearly wondering if she needed to call for medical help. Finally, the light bulb flickered on and her mouth formed a large O. “Okay—”
Buy Links: Amazon Amazon UK Amazon AU Smashwords iTunes Barnes & Noble
Spending the last few years near the Queensland coast, Becca is rarely out of the sea or off the beach. Dragging her long board with her and her overworked Kindle Fire, Becca enjoys her three addictions: reading, surfing and ogling surfers, one of whom is her husband of ten years.
She can still be found regularly on the beach with her family. Becca tends to leave the surfing to her boys; she's far too busy immersed in her own writing or, of course, with her head still buried in a new read.
Author Links: Facebook Goodreads Website Twitter
Becca is giving away two copies of a perfect moment and two swag packs.
For a chance to win please fill out the rafflecopter below.
by Dani-Lyn Alexander
Genre: Paranormal Romance
After a head injury, Jess begins to see things she can’t explain. She starts to wonder if she’s hallucinating, losing her mind completely...or if something far worse might be happening.
A scream erupted from her throat, dragging her forcefully from the nightmare that held her captive. Heart pounding, chest heaving, she rolled over and reached to pull the pillow over her head. The lingering fear from the nightmare morphed into sheer terror when she realized she was no longer lying in her warm, cozy bed, but on a cold, hard surface. She froze, too afraid to move, and opened her eyes just enough to study her surroundings.
“What the..?” Although she laid in total darkness, Jess knew exactly where she was. The bumps and crevices of the rough terra cotta tile, combined with the lingering scent of potpourri, were unmistakable. How had she gotten here? Why were there no lights? Pain slammed through her head when she tried to sit up. Nausea threatened to overwhelm her, and she forced the bile back down. She lowered herself to the floor, gently resting her cheek against the cool tile. Maybe she could just lay here for the rest of the night.
Reality intruded, and she knew she had to stand. She moved slowly, pulling her knees to her chest and resting her forehead against them. Taking slow breaths and tentatively rubbing at the tender spot on her temple, she was surprised when her hand came away sticky. “Ugh…what’s on my hand?”
She struggled to her feet and slapped her hands against the wall to stop the room from spinning. Once the world came into focus, she padded to the kitchen, hoping to rid herself of the coppery taste that was threatening to choke her.
Pain exploded behind her eyes and took her breath away when she turned on the light. She grabbed a clean towel from the drawer, filled it with ice, and pressed it against her throbbing head. Elbows on the kitchen counter, she leaned into the cold of her impromptu ice pack. Numbness prickled her skin.
How had she ended up on the floor? How long had she lain there? Had she fallen? Passed out? The throbbing pain made thinking difficult. Aspirin. Aspirin would help. She reached for the bottle in the cabinet and then filled a glass with cool water. When she raised her head to drink, she caught sight of her reflection in the window above the sink.
With darkness pressing heavily against the glass, she was able to see herself quite clearly. The disheveled woman who met her gaze startled her. Her short, dark hair stuck out in all directions but, when she tried to run her fingers through the rat’s nest in an effort to tame it, she met resistance. The sticky mess had already started to dry, leaving her hair full of knots. She’d bled worse than she’d thought. The pink t-shirt she’d worn to bed was also blood splattered.
“What happened to me? Was I sleepwalking?” She sipped her water, but dumped the remainder down the sink when her stomach rebelled. Her heart pounded in her chest, keeping time with the throbbing in her temples. There has to be a logical explanation for this. Did I get up to go to the bathroom and trip? That didn’t make sense, even to her own confused mind. When her gaze returned to the window, she couldn’t fight the fear that clutched at her throat.
“Oh, my…” she told the woman who stared back from the window, but left the sentence unfinished when she caught movement from behind her in the reflection. Instinctively ducking to the side, Jess turned to find the room empty. Her heart thundered in her already constricted chest, her breath coming in short, shallow gasps. Tremors shook her body as she struggled desperately to fight off the impending panic attack. The hammering of her heart made it hard for her to hear anything else, but she strained her ears to listen.
The kitchen doorway led to the small living room directly across from the window. Had someone been moving through the room? Was that how she’d ended up crumpled on the floor at the bottom of the stairs? Had she been pushed?
Buy Links: Amazon Crimson Frost Books
By Tara Mills
Genre: Contemporary Romance
When Danica Strauss catches sexy Hero Hernandez stepping out of her mother's shower, her instant and intense attraction is most unwelcome.
The quintessential cougar, Margarite Strauss won't be denied when she wants something...or someone. That is, not until her daughter flies home unexpectedly and pulls her boy toy right out of her arms. Emotions run hot. Passions run even hotter.
Will Dani be able to accept what can't be changed and give her heart to Hero?
Danica tiptoed down the corridor and poked her head in the open door of her mother’s room. The door to the adjoining bath was ajar and the shower was going. Throwing the mess of covers back over the bed, she dropped down on the top, propped herself up on her elbows, and crossed her ankles. It was hard not to laugh out loud as she waited.
Her mom was going to be so surprised.
The shower squeaked off and the glass door clicked open. By this time, Dani was rocking with excitement. She loved a good joke.
Or she did until a strange young man stepped out of the bathroom, naked except for a low slung towel tucked loosely around his lean hips. He was ruffling his glossy black hair dry with a second towel.
Dani bolted to her feet, startled, scared, and outraged. “Who the hell are you and what are you doing on my boat?”
His hands stilled, the towel on his head bunched beneath them. His obsidian eyes widened and his mouth fell open. They stared at each other, both clearly stunned.
A confused frown marring his forehead, he broke the silence first. “What? Who are you?”
“Where’s my mother?” She shot back.
He looked completely lost. “Your mother?”
Losing patience with this back and forth, she snapped, “You’d better answer one of my questions, damn it, or I’m going to scream rape at the top of my lungs!”
“Who are you?” He enunciated each word as if she didn’t understand him!
Glaring gravely back, she shook her head slowly. “That wasn’t an answer.” Dani raised her chin and yelled, “HEL—”
That was all she managed to get out before he ran at her and clapped a hand over her mouth.
“What the hell?”
“I warned you,” she mumbled from behind his fingers, trying to pry them away. He smelled like her mom’s favorite body wash. Damn it! Another one of her mom’s boy-toys. Thrusting him aside so violently he had to grab for his towel or drop it, she glared. “Margarite. Strauss. Where is she?”
Comprehension dawned on his face. “She’s meeting a friend for breakfast.” Now he looked horror-struck. “You’re her daughter?”
“Yes,” she hissed. “And you need to leave. Go, and don’t you dare take anything of ours with you.”
Apparently, she'd struck a nerve. For the first time in her life, she fully understood what it meant to see a flash of anger. He looked furious. So angry in fact, she actually backed up.
He began to mutter and curse in Spanish. Grabbing the ends of the towel hanging around his neck with clenched fists, he shook his head and glared daggers at her. Then he went off on another rant.
“English!” She shouted over him. “Speak to me in English.”
To her chagrin, he did just that. “You spoiled little rich girl. What’s the matter, princess? Think anyone not in your income bracket is out to rip you off? Use you? Take advantage? Well guess what, honey. It’s the other way around!” He scowled and stomped over to the bed and yanked the towel off his shoulders. She half expected him to snap it at her. It might have stung less than his words.
He went back on attack. “People like you think you’re so special. You probably don’t even notice you treat anyone working a service job as if you own them. Not that it would probably matter to you anyway. But listen up, Princess. I’m not your damn servant. And I’m not your mom’s, either.”
“No, you’re her fuck buddy!” Just knowing he’d been sleeping with her mom gave Dani the shakes. The very idea sickened her.
He snorted in disgust, but then the strangest thing happened. His face actually fell and he turned sad. “I’m nothing to her. Do you honestly think she sees me as a person? As a human being?” The very idea made him laugh bitterly. “Dream on. I’m just a convenient tool, a useful outlet for stress. You wanna know something?” He shook his head. “She’s never even asked my last name. Not once.” The disillusionment in his beautiful dark eyes overwhelmed her.
Was this true? Was her mother callously using him? She couldn’t discount the idea.
“What is your name?” Her voice was soft now, gentle. She couldn’t bring herself to antagonize him further.
Caught pressing his palms to his forehead, he lowered his arms and looked at her, an odd expression on his face. “Hero.”
Smiling in surprise, she clarified. “Your last name.”
That’s when he finally showed her his perfect teeth behind those kissable lips. “Hernandez.”
Completely taken aback at the flare of attraction his smile set off inside her, Dani flushed and looked away before she gave herself away. She took a deep breath. Her voice shook anyway. “Hero Hernandez, I think you’d better go.”
Buy Links: Amazon Crimson Frost Books
I write stories I like to read–contemporary romances with identifiable characters and themes. Life is hard. Love makes it bearable. If you enjoy stories with heat and humor, I have a title for you.
I’m a pampered wife, lucky mom to three amazing sons and one wonderful daughter-in-law, and I recently became a very young grandma. I should probably underline the word very. Oh heck, why not the word young too? Nah, you get the picture. I’m also the daily monitor of one naughty dog with attitude.
Author Links: Site Facebook Twitter
Tara is giving away to one lucky winner a book of choice of her backlist.
For a chance to win please fill out the rafflecopter below.
There is something sexy about two women in love. Maybe it's because women understand women! Egyptian Moon sounds like a sizzling tale. Make sure you check it out and show some love.
By Diane Taylor
Genre: Paranormal F/F
Hiding from her past, Angel LaVoux spends her days enjoying the sun of Jackson Square as she creates art for the tourists. By night, she lets her imagination run free to create the Bondage and Fetish paintings her best friend Sandra sells.
Buried in her painting, she hopes her secrets will remain buried. Soon enough, her resolve will be tested when a woman with luminous green eyes enters her life. As the sparks fly between them, danger stalks them. Will love endure this tangled tale? Or will it burn to ash along the wayside.
Angel smiled, then winked at Sandra, who wrinkled her nose, before she turned back to Bastet. "There are things which really can be a big problem for me. One of them is being in any sort of bondage gear. Leather is not my thing and, while I appreciate the look on others, I don't want someone assuming I will be following the same format during the party."
The exotic woman nodded. "Agreed. If one is not comfortable in what they are wearing while they are being creative, then the end result is not worth the effort, no?"
Nodding, Angel continued. "No photographers. I don't want my picture taken at all. There are certain," she paused for effect, "legal complications in my life that involve a person who thinks he's my fiancé and a wealthy, influential family. We won't even go into my parents' thoughts about all this. They know I'm down here, but advertising the fact would be inviting unwanted attention."
Bastet smiled and her eyes flashed dangerously. "Abusive people are abhorrent to me, Miss LaVoux. Should any of them decide to make trouble, believe me, I shall hear of it. You have my word, no photographs. But they will be allowed to photograph the party."
"Just so long as none of those cameras, cell phones, or recording devices are pointed in my direction, I don't really care." Angel glanced at Sandra. "Does this satisfy you?"
Sandra nodded. "It is the art which should be the centerpiece of the party. I think we can work with this." She sipped her beer. "Now, about costu…"
Angel interrupted her with a growl. "Remember who has the magic fingers here, kiddo. You even think the word costume, and I will paint you in ways you only dream about in dark nights."
That caused a sufficient blush to rise on Sandra's cheeks before Bastet laid a hand on Angel's shoulder. "Come to the gallery early, pet. I will provide something suitably enticing, yet extremely comfortable for you to wear. You have my word it won't be anything you do not wish to wear." She paused a moment. "What is your favorite color, ma cher?"
Angel felt as if her body were being warmed by just that simple touch. It took her a moment to bring her brain up to speed and remember the question being asked. "Dark green, not really emerald, but the green of a forest glade at midnight, kissed with moonlight." With a pond in the center to... wait, what am I thinking? Get your mind back on track, Angel. This isn't the time to fantasize about the most famous dominatrix in New Orleans.
The hand on her shoulder squeezed slightly as Bastet smiled. "I have something that you will enjoy. Perhaps you will paint the vision you described."
Before she could say anything, the owner of Tightrope disappeared out the door, leaving Angel with her mouth hanging open. Only Sandra's hand waving in front of her face kept her from looking too much like a fish out of water. "What?"
Sandra grinned. "I think you impressed the woman, Angel. Most of the time Bastet is the one issuing orders, and she doesn't back down. This is the first time I've ever seen her go out of her way to do something like this."
Angel tilted her head slightly. "Maybe you, and everyone else, naturally assume that just because she is a famous dominatrix, she isn't capable of being reasonable." She sipped her drink.
Buy Links: Amazon Crimson Frost Books
Diane Taylor lives in a small apartment in Everett, Wa. with a muse that pesters her to "Write, darn you, Write!"
She began writing full time in 2003 when she took on the NanoWrimo challenge, also known as writing a 50K novel in 30 days. Since then she's never looked back. When not writing, she's out doing research or spending quiet evenings inside reading the newest novel by one of her favorite authors.
You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org OR come visit her at her blog for updates on her newest story lines or just get an insight on what it's like to write books.
For those adventurous types out there, you can go check out the NanoWrimo website.
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Today I'm having a wonderful author by and I got to put her in the hot seat and grill her about her life and her writing. I love my job! Make sure you check out her interview and leave some love!
Despite a successful college teaching career, Noah Daniels has become depressed. He feels he’s leading a monochromatic life: love has eluded him. When he’s offered a chance to teach in London as part of an exchange program, he accepts, hoping a change of scenery will do him good. But once he’s there, his outlook on love and sexuality changes in ways he never expected.
Robert Callinan is Noah’s English counterpart in the program. The men exchange not only their jobs, but also their homes, and it is what Noah stumbles across while staying at Robert’s house that sends him on a journey of self-discovery—both mentally and physically. A journey that puts color back into his life… just not in the way he expected. When the exchange program ends, Noah has to go home, but he doesn’t know if he wants to return to the life he left behind.
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Hello, Lily Velden and thank you for visiting today. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, Melissa, thanks for having me!
Hmm, a few short words about myself… let me see… I’m a Number 9, Cancerian, Wood Dragon, who generally prefers savory to sweet, believes cheese sauce should be declared a food group, but has a weakness for anything caramel, oh and choc-coated nuts!
On a serious note, I have a passion for writing and making art and my dream is to be able to spend my days doing both.
Thanks! It sounds like you have an interesting life. Now on to some personal questions. If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?
This question is much tougher than it first appears. My life has been such a roller coaster, and I’ve learned so much, not only about myself, but also about my fellow man, that it’s hard to pick just one pearl of wisdom to pass onto my younger self.
I’m going to have to cheat a little and pass on two—Lily, you’re stronger than you think, and it’s okay to be a round peg. You don’t need to grow shoulders to fit into that square hole.
For what are you grateful?
This one is a no-brainer. My children. They are without a doubt my greatest creation and achievement, and the biggest blessing I’ve ever known.
I would have to agree with you. Children are quite an accomplishment. If a zombie virus took over the world, how many days do you think you could last before you were infected? And what would you do to postpone the inevitable?
Oh boy, do I fudge it or tell the truth???
I’d love to say I’d outsmart them and be the heroine that saves the world, but my sons would probably roll on the floor laughing at that response and tell you I’d be one of the first infected because I’m too trusting!
Hhm, how would I delay the inevitable? Maybe trot out my acting skills (as long as it doesn’t require any singing…) and pretend to be one of them. I can look a mess and snarl menacingly. I can do dumb and vacant—actually I do those things most mornings before my first caffeine hit of the day!
Coffee....coffee....mmmmm.....What television sitcom is most like your family? Why?
Despite the fact that Lorelei only has one daughter and I have two sons and a daughter, I’d have to say The Gilmore Girls. My kids are incredibly smart and we’ve always had a very honest and open relationship with each other. The banter flew thick and fast in our house too! Lucky I have a good sense of humor!
A sense of humor is important especially with raising children. My son has told me that I have to be careful because he gets to choose my nursing home. What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
Read! I love to read. Maybe that’s why I like the rain so much—it gives me a great excuse to curl up in the corner of the couch, snuggled in a nice warm throw rug and lose myself in a story. After all, you can’t mow the lawn or hang out washing in the rain…
I think that all good writers love to read. It's like a balm to our souls. Let’s find out a little bit about you as an author. Did you always want to be an author?
No, I actually wanted to be an artist. I had romantic notions of moving to Paris and living in some tiny studio apartment. I saw myself sipping coffee in Montmartre or Saint Germain and having heated discussions about art with fellow practitioners. In truth, I felt I’d been born too late, that I should have been born in the late 1800’s because I so wanted to hang out with Matisse, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, and van Gogh!
Having said that, I always loved books and I always loved to write. Many of my artworks incorporate text in them—words or phrases that move and inspire me. As a teen, I wrote a lot of short stories and poetry. Even as a young mum I wrote stories for my children, making them the characters.
It wasn’t until I hurt my neck and shoulder in a car accident and I couldn’t draw or sculpt for long hours any more that I gave my love of the written word more time. It didn’t take long, though, for it to become an obsession. Now I write everywhere! I even take a USB Voice Recorder with me on walks and dictate scenes!
I am jealous of your artistic talent. I have two left thumbs. What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
I SO want to say something intellectual like J.D. Salinger for his novel Catcher in the Rye, but if I’m being honest, I’d have to say Jean Plaidy—I’m a history nut and I loved how she took real historical figures and events and wove stories around them, making them ‘real’. I devoured her books as a teen.
J.K. Rowling was an inspiration as well, as much for her personal story as for the wonderful Harry Potter series.
And I mustn’t forget Ira Levin—many of his books, such as Rosemary’s Baby, The Stepford Wives, and This Perfect Day freaked me out but I couldn’t put them down. Reading them was like watching a horror movie—you cover your eyes because you can’t bear to see the horror unfolding on the screen, but then you peek through your fingers because you can’t bear not to see it either.
So you are a horror movie fan too! Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Something liquid! I like to sip on something while I mull over a scene. It can be tea, coffee, hot chocolate, water or juice or even a nice glass of wine in the evenings. That’s when I quote Ernest Hemingway to myself! Write drunk; edit sober. Just kidding! I’m a cheap drunk so one glass is usually my limit.
What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?
To stay true to my characters and therefore myself. Don’t try to write for the audience because the audience will always be varied. The very thing one reader will love about your story will be the very same thing someone else will abhor about it.
You can’t control what emotional baggage, history, preferences etc. a reader will bring to the story which will color their perception of it, so, for me, that’s one of the best arguments in existence for writing for me and my characters.
That's wonderful advice! Tell us about your latest release:
Heart Knot Mine was published by Dreamspinner Press and released on 2nd May. Here’s the blurb and an excerpt as I think they will explain the story better than my waffling on!
DESPITE a successful college teaching career, Noah Daniels has become depressed. He feels he’s leading a monochromatic life: love has eluded him. When he’s offered a chance to teach in Londonas part of an exchange program, he accepts, hoping a change of scenery will do him good. But once he’s there, his outlook on love and sexuality changes in ways he never expected.
ROBERT Callinan is Noah’s English counterpart in the program. The men exchange not only their jobs, but also their homes, and it is what Noah stumbles across while staying at Robert’s house that sends him on a journey of self-discovery—both mentally and physically. A journey that puts color back into his life… just not in the way he expected. When the exchange program ends, Noah has to go home, but he doesn’t know if he wants to return to the life he left behind.
HEART KNOT MINE
Sitting with my ass parked on my favorite barstool, at my favorite bar—the Redhead Piano Bar onOntario—I nursed my bourbon and silently asked myself the usual questions. Well, actually, it was really only the one question phrased a hundred different ways. That’s what happened when you went the route of academia—you learned how to complicate the shit out of things and use fancy-schmancy words. If you thought about it, it was a bit ridiculous to be using three-plus-syllable words to ask a question, when most of us were usually seeking a simple one- or two-syllable word answer. Yes. No. And, if we’d really lucked out: maybe.
I snorted into my drink, remembering the words of my most admired college professor, Ross Whedon: Noah Daniels, how many times have I told you? An academic will always take a whole paragraph for what could have been said in one sentence. Christ, even my thoughts were long-winded.
What was my question again?
What the hell is wrong with me?
I mean, really, what the hell was wrong with me? She was gorgeous. Tall and willowy, with long, flowing mahogany hair that still managed to look sleek and glossy under the dim lights of the bar. Big brown eyes, clear skin, an impressive rack, and when she walked away from me, I saw she had a great peach-shaped ass.
That’s right, she walked away. Why?
Because I gave her the brush-off. That’s why.
Hence my question. What the hell is wrong with me?
She wasn’t irritating. Her voice didn’t grate. Quite the contrary. She was charming and friendly. In fact, I’d go so far as to say she was interesting and articulate—she was in PR. Surely that meant she could string together a sentence?—and yet, I’d passed on her not so subtle come-on. I looked at her again, knowing I could have her if I wanted her, but try as I might, I couldn’t muster even the slightest bit of enthusiasm for the idea.
And that was the problem.
Me and enthusiasm didn’t seem to be on speaking terms anymore. All the color had seeped out of my life. I was living a monochromatic, black-and-white photograph of a life where everything was a shade of tedious.
I wasn’t sure how it happened, or even when it happened.
It just had.
It crept up on me, like a slow-spreading parasitic vine, gradually sapping the vibrancy from my life. One day I woke up and everything was gray, dull, and lifeless.
And it had been that way for a while.
Lifting the glass, I paused, letting the bourbon wet my lips before throwing my head back and tossing down the last of my drink. Closing my eyes, I hissed, relishing the searing burn to my throat—a small reminder I was actually alive—a living, breathing, sentient being and not merely a walking, talking robot.
If only there was a whiskey burn for my emotions, I’d be set.
Glancing down at the aged cherrywood bar, I vaguely wondered what they used to achieve such a high polish. It was almost mirrorlike in its sheen. I could clearly see my face reflected upon its surface.
And instantly wished I hadn’t.
After grimacing at the shell staring back at me, I decided scrutinizing myself wasn’t such a good idea. Taking my own advice, I looked up, meeting Seth the bartender’s gaze. He raised his eyebrow at me in query, and I gave him a brief nod, watching as he poured me another finger of Booker’s.
As he slid it across to me, not a word was spoken. I nodded, he nodded, and we both went back to doing our own separate things—me to thinking, him to serving the other patrons. The opening notes of a melody from the piano situated at the opposite end of the dimly lit room, and the dulcet tones of Stella McClaren floated above the chatter of the Thursday-night crowd. They went quiet as she continued. I wasn’t surprised. She was good.
The start of the music was my alarm clock, telling me it must be eight o’clock. Time to head home to the never-ending pile of papers waiting to be graded.
Sighing at the thought of what awaited me, I took another sip of the amber fire in my glass and swirled it around my mouth before letting it seep, drop by drop, down the back of my throat. Once again, I said my silent thanks to the bourbon for serving a dual purpose: anesthetizing me while at the same time reminding me, with its burn, I was still alive and breathing. Quite an achievement.
Another sip, more swirling and the drip, drip, drip down my throat; then I motioned to Seth to tally up my tab.
The crowd was swelling—the live acts here were good—but I just wasn’t in the mood to be entertained. It was a sad state of affairs, I decided, that I preferred to be home alone reading essays than here being chatted up by a beautiful woman who probably wanted me to warm her bed as well, if her body language was to be believed.
I looked at her one last time as she mingled with her friends, long-legged and sexy in her tight black jeans and figure-hugging top, and mentally apologized to her. Though why I felt the need to apologize was beyond me. If she was anything like my previous bedmates, she’d have enjoyed being impaled on my cock had I chosen to share it with her.
They all enjoyed it because I could fuck them for hours. No problem with premature ejaculation here. No sirree. They thought it was because I had incredible control, like I was some sort of master cocksman or something, but the truth was a lot more humbling.
None of them excited me enough to get me off, and more and more, it all felt like too much hard work to even try.
It was one of life’s sweet ironies that the less interest I showed in them, the more they showed in me. Life could be cruel.
Once upon a time, I searched energetically for the Elizabeth to my Darcy, the Juliet to my Romeo, the Jane to my Rochester, but with each successive disappointment, my enthusiasm for the task waned. Now, at the ripe old age of thirty-one, I couldn’t even be bothered to get naked with them. Why make the effort when the act itself only left me feeling more empty and hollow than I had before performing it? When the supposed euphoric afterglow I was meant to experience left me feeling aching and raw… as if it were taking something away from me rather than filling me. Having sex, I decided, was like trying to fill a bottomless cup—both physically and emotionally. Really, what was all the fuss about? Why were men so obsessed with it?
I tossed the last of my liquid fire down my throat, pursing my lips at the heat that went all the way down to my belly, then pushed my empty glass away. After sliding off the barstool, I turned toward the cloakroom by the entrance, and with a final nod at my favorite bartender, bid him farewell. “’Night, Seth.”
Sounds like a great read! How did you decide on your story plot?
The inspiration for Heart Knot Mine came from the movie The Holiday starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz. The plot is very different to the movie, but it was the film’s premise of swapping lives in order to escape unhappiness and hopefully find a fulfilling new direction through a change of scenery that sparked the idea in me.
I wrote the opening scene, shared above, the very next day, but then I left it alone for a while in order to allow Noah to develop in my mind. I need to get to know my characters because once we do know each other that knowledge often dictates the course of his/her journey through the story.
I love when ideas come from other sources. How did you choose your characters names and location for your story?
Oh dear. Um, I have to say the characters usually name themselves. For example: when I wrote the opening scene of Heart Knot Mine I left blank the main character’s name. From there I went to my old friend, Google, and searched names until Noah leapt out at me and said, that’s me!
As to the location, the premise of swapping jobs and lives chose them, well at least the countries!
I still struggle with names which is why I use my students' and friends' names. Do you have a favorite scene? Why?
This question is so hard to answer. I have several scenes that are special to me. Each for a different reason. For example, I like the ‘key’ scene because that’s when Noah’s world gets toppled on its ear, sending him on a journey of self-discovery. I also hold close to my heart the scene in the Rose Garden of Parc de Bagatelle because that gives us such an insight into Robert. And, of course, the final scene is special too…
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why?
God, Melissa, you keep asking these difficult questions! I’d love to say Noah because he’s so sincere, or Robert because he’s cool and sexy, but honesty dictates that I own up to being more closely aligned with Mrs. Higginbotham!
I love asking deep questions. :) Let our readers know how they can get a hold of you…
I can be found at any of the following:
Thank you for coming by! Is there anything else that you want to share… feel free!!
I’ll be at the UK GLBT Fiction Meet at Bristol from 6 – 8 June, 2014 and so if any readers are attending, please come up and say hi!
Lily Velden lives on the east coast of Australia, her family having emigrated from Holland when she was a child.
She’s both a left and right brain person, holding qualifications in both Finance and Fine Arts. She tells her friends that her way with numbers will make her a profitable artist and writer… one day.
Lily has always had a love of language and a beautifully crafted sentence, and admits to having a fetish for collecting quotes, poems, and song lyrics. What she won’t admit to is how many notebooks she’s filled with those quotes… Her fascination carries on into her artworks where she often incorporates text. When a shoulder injury slowed down her art practice she decided to explore her love of the written word more fully and began writing. “I’ll paint my pictures with words.”
Not that she’s abandoned artmaking in its entirety—Lily collaborates on the designs for all her book covers.
There are many things Lily loves, here are just a few of the PG rated ones: a good laugh (all the better if caused by a naughty joke), the smell of freshly baked goods and mown grass, a smile from a stranger, rainbows after the rain, and witnessing a promise kept.
Her latest book is the M/M Contemporary Romance, Heart Knot Mine.
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Musings from Michigan