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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ria Candro: Writing the Sci-Fi Ménage

Writing the Sci-Fi Ménage:

When I first sat down to write what would eventually become Mated, I didn’t know what genre I would be writing in. All I knew was I wanted to write a ménage where the heroes were not only okay with, but actually expected that they would share the love of one woman. So what to do? Well create a race of hunky aliens, of course!

My heroes come from the planet Spygia, where native females have become extinct. Since the men of this planet gain strength from the act of mating, they are desperate to find a mate. And more than willing to share!

Enter my heroine, Natalie. She’s a human who is fed up with her place in the world: no family, a dead-end job, no respect. But she never expected she’d be propositioned by three yummy aliens who look like cover models and practically ooze sex appeal. Things get interesting when they tell her they want to claim her for their own. Because Spygians mate for life, and loving them means leaving Earth. Is she willing to take a chance on a love that’s out of this world?

Now I have a question for you. Do you read Science Fiction? What do you think of the meld of Sci-Fi and erotic romance (specifically ménage)? What would you do if you were propositioned by three hunky aliens who vowed to spend their whole life worshipping you?

Mated is now available from Ellora’s Cave


Ria Candro is the author of futuristic and paranormal erotic romance. When not dreaming up hot love stories, she enjoys spending time with her family in their home state of Florida.


You can learn more about Ria and her novels at her blog: http://www.riacandro.wordpress.com/



Short Blurb:


When Natalie awakens on a spaceship manned by three gorgeous and adoring hunks, she’s convinced she’s dreaming. It’s up to Andros, Leikos and Zafron to prove to her she’s not. And that she’s the perfect mate for all three of them.


Spygian alpha males travel far and wide in search of their perfect partner. And then share their mate in the most delicious, pleasurable ways they can imagine. But for Natalie, loving these red-hot aliens means leaving Earth. Is she willing to take a chance on a love that’s out of this world?


Excerpt:


The front panel of the ship’s control room slid open, exposing a view of space through the clear, impenetrable shield.

"We are approaching Earth now," said Leikos, Andros’ second-in-command. Silence filled the control room as Andros and his men stared at the round globe. Bright blue oceans eclipsed the images of land with a certain beauty that made him think of home.

"It looks somewhat like Spygia," said Zafron, the third and final member of Andros’ pod.

Andros grunted in assent. The planet did resemble their own, although their oceans were more of an orange hue. But still, it wasn’t the planet itself that had drawn them to this part of the galaxy, so far from their very own. No, they had been drawn to what was on this planet. Or rather, to who.

Our mate resides somewhere on Earth.

His Spygian homing instinct had led him here, to this alien planet, so that he could discover the one woman who was meant to be theirs. Now he had but to find her and get her back to this ship. Not an easy task. But compared to what they had gone through to get here, compared to the many weeks of travel, it was no great hardship.


Now that they had found the planet, they must search for their woman. And pray she would consent.


My blog: http://www.riacandro.wordpress.com/ Purchase link: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-8928-mated.aspx


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NOCTURNE Author: Janet Elizabeth Jones

Writers can't say it enough: it takes an industry to produce a book, but only one person can give it life. That's you. Before you think I'm being glib, dear reader, let me say it this way.

A story passes through a hundred hands and hearts on its way to you, and it takes every single one of those creative, devoted minds to create, produce, distribute and put that story into your hands--but it takes your imagination to make the story real. Your imagination is the essential, ever-changing, ever new, magic ingredient in every story, and no two readers imagine a story in the same way.

Just so you know, you're the person I want to reach. You're the one. It's all about you. Whether you're near or far, struggling or safe, happy or sad, feel welcome on this planet or disenfranchised by society, whatever your story is, if my story fails to touch a chord in your soul that we share as human beings, or if my characters fail to ring true to the depth of your oh-so-human heart, then I haven't compensated you for the time, money, and trust you've invested in the book.

You may only be looking for a few hours of escape. You may not need happily-ever-afters. But we all believe to some extent in the power of love. We believe because we've seen it in our lives, or in the lives of others. It's out there. The kind of love we can give our heart to on our own terms and cherish for the rest of our lives. A love that won't shy away from pain or anger, the killer emotions that make us sick at heart and road weary. A love that won't shrink into the shadows the first time we shine our inner light in its direction. A love that answers to the name we give it in our deepest dreams. A love that speaks for itself. Incubus is about this kind of love.

My hope is that you will see in Meical Grabian and Caroline Bengal some of your own uncompromising courage, that stuff that gets you out of bed every morning. Okay, for some of us that's coffee, and though many of us would argue that coffee and courage are interchangeable, coffee doesn't sound as poetic as courage. And even if you threw away your rosy-tinted glasses a long time ago or find feel-good preambles like this one a little tedious, you have to admit, loving someone, and letting them love you back, takes a lot of guts. For Meical and Caroline, it's literally a matter of life or death.

Thank you for dropping by today. Now, I'll quit the warm-fuzzies and let my characters do the talking. Here's Meical Grabian, Caroline Bengal and Benemerut Neshi (aka The Alchemist).

Meical Grabian:

To save his kind, Meical Grabian agrees to participate in a dangerous experiment. One that takes his vampire's thirst for blood and leaves him hungering for something new. An incubus can be sated only with passion—but what woman could love what he's become?

Interviewer: Meical you're the first of The Alchemist's test subjects to survive the transformation. I understand nothing went the way either of you anticipated.

MG: That's right. Not even Neshi could have predicted the outcome. I survived, but I'm not exactly what he had in mind. I've been asked not to give any spoilers though, so I'll leave it at that.

Interviewer: We know what a vampire is, but can you explain what an incubus is?

MG: An incubus feeds on human sexual pleasure. He uses dreams to arouse his prey. It's his prey's passion that sustains him. Unlike a vampire, he's impervious to sunlight, which is why Neshi felt that this particular transformation would create a more normal--more human--existence for vampires. In essence, they become givers, not takers.

Interviewer: So...it's always your prey's pleasure? Yours doesn't matter?

MG: (grinning) Well, it's hardly awful if I enjoy it, but yes, my own pleasure does nothing to keep me alive. Only Caroline can do that for me, and only her pleasure. And to answer your next question, yes: it matters if there's an emotional bond between an incubus and his prey.

Interviewer: Uhm...you just read my mind...

MG: Sorry. It's a reflex. But yes, based on Neshi's initial findings, even if an incubus only meets his prey in dreams, his sustenance is proportionate to the emotional bond they have. He might subsist for a while on random, nightly gymnastics with someone he'll never visit again, but he won't survive. Eventually he'll turn ugly and gaunt and starve to death. And there can be no use of force, either. That gets you dead quicker than starving. It's a fail-safe Neshi built into the process. For someone who can turn you into ashes with a glance, he's surprisingly sentimental and old-fashioned.

Interviewer: There was another reason why you agreed to be The Alchemist's guinea pig, wasn't there, besides wanting to enjoy sunlight again? Your friend Ellory Benedikt and his family were in trouble, right? Tell us a little about that.

MG: Yes, Ellory was facing a showdown with an old enemy he couldn't possibly defeat without the help of our vampire community, but most of them were either too afraid to join his side, or they chose to ally with his enemy. His family--his mate Talisen and his adopted fledgling vampires--would be next to die. I owe Ellory a lot. If not for him, I wouldn't have survived after I was turned, so there's nothing I won't do to help him. The only one powerful enough to see the Benedikts through their crisis was The Alchemist, but like most of us, Ellory doesn't trust Neshi, especially since most fledglings Neshi encountered became fodder for his experiments. Also, it's a fact that Neshi doesn't give his help for free. The best way I could help Ellory was to make it worth Neshi's trouble to offer asylum. So I swore my willing participation in his experiment in return for his promise to protect the Benedikts. I really didn't care what happened to me after that. I just wanted a little time at sunrise before I died. That's all that mattered to me. Until Caroline.

Meical Grabian was first interviewed on the Romance Lives Forever blog

Caroline Bengal:

Caroline's compassion and earthy beauty tempt the hunger Meical has desperately been keeping at bay. And soon Meical is visiting Caroline's dreams, seducing his prey while she sleeps.

Interviewer: Caroline, we know there are catastrophes that change people’s lives overnight, but it’s still hard to believe. One day you’re a successful child psychologist, and the next, you’re literally running for your life, hiding out in the back roads of the Poconos. How did it happen?

CB: I’d been working with my mentor and his patients in the El Paso area for about a year. Trauma cases are my specialty, so one night, he called me in on an emergency case at the hospital to help a catatonic little boy the police found wandering along I-10. He’d witnessed something so violent that he’d disconnected from his identity, but gradually, I was able to piece together who he was. He turned out to be the son of a powerful criminal the police had been after for years, and the information I uncovered while helping the boy enabled the police to finally bring his dad to justice. And that’s when everything in my life went wrong.

Interviewer: Because even from prison, he had enough influence to retaliate against you.

CB: Right. Bad Dad got mad.

Interviewer: I know what happened next is especially hard for you to talk about. His people did eventually get to you, and you actually lost a leg because of that attack. But something intervened that night and kept them from killing you.

CB: Yes, but I can’t talk about that either. I promised: no spoilers.

MG: Of course, Caroline’s escape so angered her enemy that he sent a professional assassin after her–I didn’t get to kill him until later–but from the moment he began hunting her, she didn’t know a moment of safety.

CB: Until the night I pulled you out of a snowdrift.

Interviewer: And that’s where your story really starts. And we’ll stop there, and let the readers find out for themselves what happened next.

Benemerut Neshi (aka The Alchemist):

In his human life, Ben was a physician in ancient Cairo. As a vampire, he's the closest thing to a druggist that vampires have, but his efforts to find a way to transform vampires into incubi and succubi have made him an outcast among his own people. It's a deadly process, and only one vampire, Meical Grabian, has survived it. Night Raven News wants to take a closer look at the vampire who made Meical's incredible, if perilous, transformation possible.

Interviewer: For the benefit of our audience, I'd like to explain, that even though your methods have made you out to be a monster, what you're trying to accomplish is a way to enable vampires to sustain themselves on human passion rather than blood. If they survive the transformation, ideally they'll even be able to withstand sunlight.

But during your work with Meical Grabian, there were unexpected results, and though we know the experiment wasn't exactly a failure, something definitely went wrong. We're not trying to give away spoilers, but we'd love to hear your side of it.

The Alchemist: I think it best that the readers find out for themselves.

Interviewer: Oh, come on, we won't think less of you. You're among friends here.

The Alchemist: Until I get hungry again. And that's not intended to titillate your audience. This is the legacy of my long existence: uncontrollable hunger. And it will only get worse, as I live on, unless someone intervenes on my behalf.

Interviewer: Someone like Shelby Mackleroy?

The Alchemist: It remains to be seen. She has her whole life ahead of her. She needs time to grow and live and be happy, to come to herself, to find her place in this world. Her world. Not mine. Regardless of the fact that she holds my life in her hands, it must always be her decision to choose me, or not. Until she is able to do so, the best thing I can do for her is stay out of her life.

In the meantime, I'll use what sanity I have left to keep working. But if I am to achieve a peaceful and pleasurable symbiosis between human and vampire, I must have subjects with which to test my findings. I claim the vampires who are unwanted, unprotected, hunting where they shouldn't be, preying on humans who are not their rightful prey, or trespassing on another vampire's domain. Regrettably, these are most often the young and weak of my kind: the fledgling vampires.

And before you ask me the next question on your mind: no, I don't allow them to suffer, though everyone thinks otherwise. I do have a heart, such as it is. It lies in pieces spread from one end of this earth to the other, and Shelby is the only person alive who can make it whole again, if I can survive my hunger enough to still be fit for her.
Interviewer: But if you can give vampires the chance to feel the sun again, like you did for Meical Grabian, I'd think they'd be flocking to you, even though there's a risk.

The Alchemist: It depends on the vampire. Some love the night; others still long for the sun. But even if they want what I can give them, they have to trust that the process is worth the danger. They have to trust my methods. They have to trust me--their worst nightmare.

Interviewer: Thank you for your honest answers to my questions, Ben. I'd like to know how things work out for you and Shelby. Maybe we'll be reading your book soon, and everything will turn out alright for you both.

The Alchemist: That is the hope that sees me through every long night of my existence, but only time will tell.

So now you have had a brief moment with the author and the characters. We hope this has tantalized your reading senses. The links to pick this book up in either print or e-book are below as are all the ways to stay in touch with the author.

E-Book – Incubus
Print Book – Incubus

Author Places:
http://www.janetejones.com/
http://thenightravenmuse.blogspot.com/





Monday, March 21, 2011

GUEST: Susan Palmquist

Talented author Susan Palmquist is my guest today, and she is going to tell us about her sexy new book, Caught in the Act, from Cobblestone Press. She's also agree to give away a copy of the book, too, so leave a comment and an address where we can rach you in case you're the luck winner!

Newly released!
BUY IT HERE

Caught in the Act is the first story in my Brazen Ladies trilogy for Cobblestone Press' Wicked Line. The next story will be Double Her Pleasure and the third, What The Lady Whats. All are set in Regency England and about three women who know exactly what they want from their men and aren't afraid to go after it.

About me, Vanessa Devereaux is the pen name of Susan Palmquist who is the author of A Sterling Affair and Sleeping with Fairies. As Vanessa Devereaux she writes, erotica and erotic romances. Her next novel will be in June and is titled One Night With You, also from Cobblestone. You can check out her two sites at http://www.susanpalmquist.com/ and http://www.vanessadevereaux.com/

Excerpt:

“You cannot go to that house.”

I glanced across the table at my brother. I had never seen such fear on his face. His eyes were wide, his jaw tense. He ran his hands through his hair.

“Jon is right. If you were caught, it could mean the gallows for you,” added my father.

“Then I will have to make sure I’m not.”

“But, Nicole, it’s Lord Sandford’s house. You’ve heard the rumors about him?” It was my sister-in-law who now placed her hand on top of mine.

“Who’s to say they are true?”

“I have spoken with women who have…well, you know, have been seduced by him.” My sister-in-law, despite being a married woman, had always been shy about speaking of matters of the flesh.

“Lord Sandford as far as I know has never seduced a woman who wasn’t a willing participant,” I said.

“But, Nicole, there is your reputation…should you be caught seen in his bedroom.”

I have never told my family, but I lost my innocence three years ago and have taken two more lovers since. We are a poor family, and the chances of me marrying a lord or a duke are nonexistent. In fact, the odds of someone making an offer for me are fair at best, so I felt I couldn’t wait to experience sex. I had nothing to lose by being bedded by the first man who showed an interest in me. “It is settled. I shall go to Lord Sandford’s house, break in, and retrieve the pearl necklace.”

“I cannot let you do this,” said my brother, slamming his fist down on the table. “It’s all my fault. I was foolish enough to lose it in that game.”

“And stupid to take the real pearls instead of the replica,” added my father.

An argument was brewing, and that would not help our situation.

“Enough,” I said, slamming my own fist down. “Lady Hornsby will not be calling for her necklace for another two days, so that gives me time to go to Lord Sandford’s house to retrieve it.”

My father and brother both opened their mouths to speak at the same time.

“I will be careful. I will not get caught, and even if I do, I am sure Lord Sandford, with his reputation for members of the opposite sex, can be charmed and sweet talked into looking the other way.”

My father put his hand on top of mine. “You will promise me you will not be foolish enough to allow him to bed you.”

“Of course not, Papa.”


BUY IT HERE





Thursday, March 17, 2011

Waking Maggie - new from CINDY JACKS

Wake up Maggie, I think I got something to say to you... Rod Stewart's immortal song takes on whole new charm with this wonderful new story by hot and sassy author Cindy Jacks! Just released, Waking Maggie is a tale reminiscent of Stewart's classic anthem... The beautiful, mature Maggie and the hot young musician who steals into her heart, and stays... I read this book last night, and I have to say I resented the few intrusions that made me put it down because I was immediately swept into the passion and the sweetness of Cal and Maggie's passionate love for each other. Another easy winner for Cindy Jacks fans, and for anyone looking to read a short, sexy story that will leave you smiling, make you laugh a little, and make you wish you were Maggie, at least a little, then this is a "don't miss" story.

WAKING MAGGIE
By: Cindy Jacks
BUY IT HERE

Blurb:

Maggie’s just decided she’s been stood up when she bumps into hard-bodied guitarist Calvin—literally. Once the shock of their abrupt meeting wears off, Calvin asks Maggie out for a drink and she figures, why not? She’s all dressed up for a date…just not this one.

She enjoys his company, even if he’s only twenty-seven and she’s forty…something. And while witty conversation’s all good, they’re just as compatible in bed. One drink turns into multiple romps between the sheets. He’s old enough to know how to make love to a woman and young enough to look damn fine doing it…and doing it. He even manages to convince Maggie she’s still pretty hot herself.

Now if he would just stop serenading her with that infernal Rod Stewart song.


Read an excerpt here




Monday, March 14, 2011

Guest: ALLAN LEVERONE

Today, author Allan Leverone talks about his craft and his love of the thriller! Please welcome him to the Fantasy Pages.

Why I Love (and Write) Thillers

A few weeks ago, you featured a guest post from the beautiful and talented Becky Due, explaining why she loves (and writes) contemporary romance. When you were kind enough to offer me an opportunity to introduce myself and my work at Fantasy Pages, I thought it might be kind of cool to rip off her post do the same thing. So today, with apologies to Ms Due, I’m here to explain why I love (and write) novels in the thriller genre.

Lee Child. Barry Eisler. Clive Cussler. Michael Connelly. Ian Fleming. Scott Turow. Sophie Littlefield. Michael Crichton. John Grisham. What do these and dozens of other thriller authors have in common? They write pulse-pounding fiction, novels of suspense where the odds are stacked against the hero, where some horrible fate awaits a person or a group of people if this one person, often a regular guy or gal, isn’t able to decipher often seemingly indecipherable clues and prevent a disaster, often of global magnitude.

Usually the chosen person doesn’t want the responsibility, isn’t up to the challenge, would like nothing more than to pass it off on someone else.

And, oh yeah, most of the time the clock is ticking; time is running out. Saving the world isn’t for the faint of heart, you know.

I grew up an insatiable reader. I enjoyed mysteries, read plenty of them and still do, but even as a young boy I gravitated toward the ones where the hero faced an element of danger. It wasn’t enough, at least as far as I was concerned, for the Inspector to unmask the killer. He had to read the clues and stop the fiendish perpetrator before he killed again, maybe even before he killed our hero. Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple just didn’t do it for me.

It’s unsurprising, then, that when I got this crazy notion in my head that I was going to write novels, I would gravitate toward the genre I’ve loved reading my entire life. No literary fiction here. Nothing against those novelists that end up on Oprah’s couch because they write four hundred pages of thought-provoking fiction where nothing much happens, but it’s not for me.

I want to see my hero get beaten down psychologically—and, sure, I can admit it, maybe even physically—and see if he has what it takes to struggle back to his feet one more time, against the odds, and fight the good fight. I want to see her face down treachery and betrayal and soldier on despite being set up by her best friend for a murder she didn’t commit. I want to see him struggle against his own basest instincts and maybe, just maybe, do something right in spite of himself.

I want action and suspense, dammit, and I want it with all my genre-loving soul.

Allan Leverone is a three-time Derringer Award Finalist whose short fiction has been featured in Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Shroud Magazine, Twisted Dreams, Mysterical-E and many other venues, both print and online. His debut thriller, titled FINAL VECTOR, is available February 2011 from Medallion Press. For details, please visit www.allanleverone.com or his blog at www.allanleverone.blogspot.com. Don’t forget to join him at Pump Up Your Book’s March 2011 Authors on Tour Facebook Party on March 25. Visit his virtual book tour page at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2011/01/16/final-vector-virtual-bookk-tour-february-march-2011/ for more information!





Friday, March 11, 2011

NEW RELEASE: Last day of the contest week!

So, the winner of the Wednesday/Thursday double prize was ilona. Books have been sent.

Now, for today - my newly released contemporary erotic/sensual romance REBEL HEART. Again, I'll be selecting a winner from the comments to give away a copy of this book! Here's a peek at what it's about, and all you have to do to win is tell me the name of one of the free reads on my website! Thanks!!

REBEL HEART
Publisher: XoXo Publishing
BUY IT HERE

Blurb:

Nick Red Cloud is a man content and at ease with his life. He does a job he loves, and enjoys the freedom of his motorcycles and all life has to offer. He's a private investigator, and a damn good one. When he's hired to find Francesca Daniels, he has no way of knowing that his life is about to change when the vulnerable and reclusive Frankie permits him to spend the night in her home, and his presence unleashes a nightmare in her world. As the pieces began to fall into place, Nick realizes he has placed the woman he's falling in love with in danger that might take her from him forever. It takes all his powers of persuasion and courage to tame Francesca's rebel heart and make her know that the passion they share can be the start of forever for both of them.

Excerpt:

She was double-checking the Jetta when she heard the distant rumble of an engine. Panic leapt into her throat, the reaction involuntary. Squinting, she turned toward the noise and tried to stay calm. In less than a minute the rumble of sound became more distinct, and by the time a gleaming Indian motorcycle had made the turn and come into view, she was ready to bolt for cover.

There was nothing on the road, only her house, and her father’s a little farther down, so it made sense the rider was either lost or looking for her. Neither possibility pleased her overmuch. It didn’t occur to her that he might be looking for her dad; Tom Daniels wasn’t known for his social activity. Her heartbeat began to thump in her ears, deafening her for several seconds as she watched the polished and chromed bike pull off the road and come to a halt a few yards from her car. The rider balanced the bike on the kickstand and rose, the motion seamless and well-practiced. As he walked toward her, Frankie was struck by the sheer size and presence of the man. He was easily six foot three, and had long legs encased in form-fitting black denim that accentuated both the muscular shape and the length of them. He wore a black leather jacket over broad shoulders, and was removing his gloves to reveal strong, elegant hands. He stuffed the gloves in his pockets and reached up to take off his helmet.

Frankie’s breath left her lungs in a sudden, powerful expulsion, and she forgot to draw in fresh air for several moments of time. In those suspended instants, she was lost in awareness of the man who walked ever closer to her. Within the emerging twilight, he didn’t seem quite real, yet he was more real than any man she’d ever seen in her twenty-nine years of living. Ebony eyes sparkled with natural warmth, and the perfect planes of his face were framed by long, blue-black hair. His skin tone told of Native American heritage, and the smile that flashed over his striking features revealed even white teeth.

“Can I help?”

His voice was smooth, tone rich and silky, modulation exquisite. She shivered, and remembered to breathe when tiny sparks danced before her eyes, haloing him as though he were some sort of dark angel.

“I’ve got a flat, and my spare is back at the house,” she replied when his head tilted to one side, his expression quizzical.

“Why don’t I give you a lift then?”

Every nerve in her body screamed yes, and it scared the hell out of her. The part of her brain that wasn’t attuned to every sinuous line of his body was still capable of reason, even if it was to a limited degree. She chewed her bottom lip for a few moments and considered her options, pretending for a second or two that she had any real options.

“I’m Nick Red Cloud,” he said, raking a hand through his dripping hair, and shaking the water away before reaching toward her.

She took his hand and tried not to choke on the leap of response that the simple touch elicited from the inner core of her heart. She’d never met anyone who rattled her deeply, and this man was already making her customary reserve a thing of laughable scorn. His grip was warm and strong, and he held her icy fingers for a breath too long before he withdrew.

“You are?” he prompted with a smile.

“Francesca Daniels.” She shook off the feeling of enrapture when a gust of icy wind shook her to her bones. “Most people just call me Fr…Frankie,” she added. “My house is about five miles down the road.”



Thursday, March 10, 2011

TWO new books being given away today!

Tuesday's winner is DIANE NELSON! Books have been sent!

Today, since I missed a day with the contest week - I'm going to post TWO titles. When you comment, you will be entered for the contest draw for BOTH today's titles, and I will select two winners. If you don't want one of the two books, please let me know, so I don't send you something that you don't want to read, ok? As always, thanks for your support and for dropping by!!

The ARe Romance tags for this book are: double penetration, erotica, explicit sex, marooned, ménage a trois, sex, shipwrecked, threesome

STRANDED!
Erotic ménage/voyeurism
Publisher: New Dawning International Bookfair

Blurb:

What begins as an idyllic cruise for four friends quickly becomes a nightmare… the pleasant afternoon has had its tense moments as personalities clash. Iris is the newest member of the quartet, married to Dale Montgomery for a short time, she is reserved and elegant–a direct contrast to the earthy sexuality and eroticism of Giselle Jordan–the woman who has been Dale's closest friend for many years. When their boat is caught in the crush of a tidal wave near sunset, the four are swept into the ocean. Hours after the capsize, Giselle awakens on a stretch of beach, a short distance away is Iris, bleeding and terrified. When Iris dies, Giselle is left stranded on an island with the two men she loves. How long will it be before passion take them into the dangerous realm that is the uncharted territory of the heart?

Excerpt:

Giselle floundered, no longer even remotely doubtful that she was dying. The sound of the waves pounded in her ears and she was aching and broken in every molecule of her being. As she lay face down in darkness and misery, her senses slowly started to wake and she realized she wasn’t dead after all. The sand under her cheek was cold and wet, and the water she heard was the rumbling thunder of surf heard at ground level.

She concentrated, then dared to turn her head. It was almost dark, and a long stretch of beach stretched before her. Something bumped insistently at her side and she reached out, pulling back with a yelp when she encountered a warm body. Forcing herself into motion, she sat up and looked at who was next to her, praying it would be Blake, then trying not to be angry when it wasn’t her husband, but Iris Montgomery.

She reached out a shaking hand and touched Iris’s shoulder, giving her a gentle nudge.

“Iris!”

There was no motion or sound from the other woman and Giselle tasted fresh panic in her throat while she shook Iris. Pushing into a sitting position, she strained to see the prone figure next to her. As her eyes adjusted and the moon began to glow, casting chill silver rays over them, she spotted the bleeding gash along Iris’s side. The water was inching inward, too, covering them a little more with each lapping wave.

Biting back a scream, Giselle rose to her feet, bent, and started dragging Iris up onto the dry sand of the beach. Once there, she plopped to the fine, warm sand and leaned forward, head on her drawn up knees. As she tried to calm her terror and push it into the back of her mind, she prayed that Blake and Dale were still alive and close by.

A low, agonized moan made her shudder against a raw cold that was purely internal in origin, and she bent to touch Iris’s shoulder as the other woman fought to focus on her.

“What… what happened?”

There was a world of pain in the shaken words, and Giselle knew she was seeing the first signs of trauma and shock—what she could do about it wasn’t worth considering.

“We were hit by a wave,” she said, stroking Iris’s hair. “I don’t know where we are, Iris.”

This is an EROTIC/VAMPIRE historical..... it's set in Ancient Pompeii, mostly, and moves into modern time..... it contains a great deal of sexual content, and historical accuracy about the decadence of the Romans of that era. It was fascinating to write, and as you can see, the cover is a stunner..... I hope your curiosity will be piqued, and you'll consider adding this one to your collection - the reviews are amazing... and I think you'll find it a satisfying read!!!

WHOM GODS HAVE FAVORED
by Denyse Bridger
Available now from XoXo Publishing:
http://xoxopublishing.com/shop-online/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17&products_id=119

Blurb:

Pompeii lies complacent and decadent in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, the populace thriving on their depravity and their hunger for blood and Games. Within the elite aristocracy, games of another type are being played, deadly secrets are a threat to more than status, and conspiracy is a way of life for those who are unhappy.

Lucius has long been exalted as a warrior without peer. Adored and covetted by men and women alike, he is blind to the plots that are thickening around him. While total control is his on the bloody fields of war, on the battlefield of the heart, as he is about to discover, even the strongest man can be deceived by his ignorance.

Watching over it all is the majesty of Vesuvius, sputtering smoke, promising retribution. In the midst of the looming destruction, an ancient evil emerges, and will claim not only a celebrated general of Rome, but the slave girl he has slowly grown to love and cherish. A girl who will follow him into hell itself?

Excerpt:

Pompeii—Under the rule of the Emperor Vespasian

“The Emperor is most pleased with your progress, General,” Proconsul Flavius noted as he strolled the market streets with Pompeii’s illustrious hero. They proceeded without impediment as the people of the busy city cleared a path for them.

The general, Lucius, smiled, pleased by the undercurrent of fear that marked his passage. He enjoyed the power his position gave him, and the recognition of it came in various forms. Even the proconsul wasn’t entirely at ease with him.

“And well he should be, Proconsul. Resistance is crumbling. Another victory and Gaul will truly be defeated.”

They had reached the slave market, and Lucius stopped as a scream rose above the usual noises of the area. He felt an unwelcome empathy for the terror he heard in the voice, and was annoyed by the surprising emotion.

The slave-dealer’s bellow rang out and drowned the girl’s frightened shrieks. Unconsciously, Lucius turned to look at the raised platform that displayed the slaves being auctioned off to the highest bidders. The dealer slapped the girl across the face and silenced her before he turned his attention to the gathered buyers.

“…I’m told her name is Xina,” the dealer called out. “Not part of my shipment, good gentlemen, but a last minute addition. Seems she knifed a soldier last night when he refused to pay a fair price for her.” He laughed lewdly and hauled the girl forward so the crowd could look more closely at her.

Despite her obvious desire to remain immune to what was happening to her, her cheeks flamed scarlet when the slaver tore open her gown and left her nakedness displayed for the eager bidders. Almost immediately voices rose and purses were offered. Lucius watched as she closed her eyes and tears spilled from the corners.

“She is a beauty,” the proconsul observed with a laugh. “And a dangerous one, at that.”

Lucius laughed with the shorter man, but his gaze was drawn back to the girl. She couldn’t have been more than sixteen or seventeen, if she was that old. The trader knotted his fingers in long waves of light brown hair and pulled the concealing mass away from her body so the view was unobstructed. Her eyes stayed closed, but her chin lifted and she stood with proud defiance as the raucous bids and laughs continued.

A slow, indolent sweep of her body stirred more than curiosity within the general. His gaze caressed golden flesh, noted the smooth swell of full, brown tipped breasts, the small waist that flared into sensuously rounded hips. Firm, curved thighs were topped by an enticing triangle of sand-colored curls, and the ties of the sandals she wore twined around well-shaped calves like serpents lazing in the sun. Slender arms were tensed, muscles quivering with the effort to mask her fury, and her small hands tangled in the folds of her shredded gown where it hung limply from her shoulders.

“Who is she?” Lucius asked, surprised by his own interest when the proconsul stared up at him, clearly startled by the query.

“You don’t want that one, Lucius,” he advised. “Nydia would destroy her overnight.”

The general smiled again, but let his expression grow icy. The glitter of carefully controlled, lethal rage created a distinct shudder of terror within the Proconsul of Pompeii.

“You haven’t answered my question, Proconsul,” he whispered, his tone cool.

“Xina is the daughter of one of Boudica’s whores,” the other man supplied after a moment’s thought. “She’s been in the brothel since the day of her birth.”

Lucius raised an eyebrow and waited for the official to finish his narrative.

“Her brother, Plautus, is the current champion of Pompeii. Her mother died recently, while Plautus was away from the city, and Boudica decided it was time for the girl to earn her keep until her brother’s return.”

“That woman should be fed to the crowd during games,” Lucius muttered grimly. It was quite clear that Xina was not a common whore, despite her background. Not that it mattered, he mused. Before he was through with her she’d be well versed in a great number of arts necessary to a whore’s survival.

Without warning, Lucius strode into the crowd and headed toward the auction block. He yanked a purse from his belt, threw it toward the dealer, and continued onto the platform. The crowd rumbled with subdued irritation, but none dared defy Pompeii’s most renowned general as he took the girl by the arm and led her from the marketplace.






Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Contest continues....

Harlie Reader was the winner of Day ONE - and a copy of HIDE AND SECRET has been sent. So, let's have a look at release number two!

BEYOND THE GATEWAYS
A collection of epic adventure and paranormal short stories
Publisher/BUY: XoXo Publishing

A series of stories in various fantasy genres. There are vampires, sorcerers, and those touched by time and destinies they cannot escape... Venture beyond the gateways, and discover what magic awaits...

Includes:

Star of Rhulenia
: A young Prince is entrusted with the quest to find the magical star that will say his world from being encased in the Ice Flow that threatens everything on their planet.

Transition – Darkhold One: Sorcery and betrayals lead to a curse that will resound through ages, and change history.

A Deadly Mentor: Historical Victorian London is the setting for this vampire tale in which a trio of the undead, companions for centuries, encounter an innocent who becomes the trusting student of the deadliest of their company. When he imagines she has betrayed him, the mentor chooses a new lesson to teach.

The Future Is Yesterday: When the Gateways of time are breached, a warrior is sent to close them, and destroy the woman who has threatened everything. The answer, centuries old, arrives from the future as the cycle of time corrects itself in an unexpected way.

The Hunter Trilogy: Lethal, malevolent, and hungry - the Hunter finds prey with each new host...

A Flash Of Blue: Two rival princes are imprisoned by a sorceress, if they expect to survive old rivalries must be left behind, and trust re-forged between the once friends.

Embraced: A single man stands in defiance of a prophecy, and as his courage fades, a visitor arrives seeking truth and understanding... as he speaks, a new age begins.

Darkhold – Part Two: All but forgotten, the ancient gods are called upon millennia after the witch T'lyn has been imprisoned in the Grey-Borders - only one remains behind to honour the promise to protect, and she has made mistakes before....

Night-Song: An introduction to the world of Destino, and the upcoming fantasy novel "An Alteration in Destiny" - a small village in the Sicily protected for centuries by a Roman Goddess - meet the Guardians, a breed of gargoyles who have been abandoned by the gods, but not the people of Destino.

Inshallah: A dessert, a curse, and a warrior driven by madness to seek the evil that beckons to him... and ultimately waits to destroy him.

Love & War: Ares is the god of War, but not all view him with hatred. In the purest hearts, love can grow for anyone...

Darkest Angel, Fairest Knight: Historical vampire vignette.... a nobleman's daughter catches the eye of a young vampire knight, and becomes his obsession.

Escape Beyond the Gateways and enter a world where nothing is what it seems.....

BUY:
http://xoxopublishing.com/shop-online/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=99&products_id=118

So, to win this book, just drop by my website and tell me the name of two other non-erotic titles on my catalogue, and you're in!! If you email the receipt of a book of mine that you've bought, I'll include an advance copy of my upcoming release, too! Winner will be announced tomorrow evening, and Day Three will be announced!





GUEST: Megan van Eyck

Today my guest is author Megan van Eyck, who has written a wonderful book called Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress. The book sounds very interesting, and I'm sure you'll agree. Welcome Megan!

Affairs, at their best, are all about romance, anticipation, and desire. Women wait and men swoon. In the early days when you are little more than strangers there is no talk of children, chores, bills, or responsibility. No one wears comfy pajamas or finds respite in the freedom to unwind and snuggle in front of the television sharing a pint of ice cream. In an affair, both participants want to be sexual superheroes. The relationship is contingent on the orgasm. You are each other’s darkest secret; a covenant is made from the lies that you share.

But then, between the two of you, one of two things can happen: the sex becomes as disinteresting as the stranger you are having it with, or the time you spend together blossoms into something unexpectedly deeper and you fall love.

Carlos and I fell in love.

For five years I was mistress to a married man. To complicate things further, I was unhappily married at the time.

I am not here to justify, or make excuses for, my extramarital affair. I am not going to say what was right or what was wrong—only what was. And while my relationship with Carlos was occasionally turbulent, difficult, heartbreaking, and sometimes lonely, it was always romantic. We went on trips, he bought me presents, our sex life was mind-blowingly pleasurable, and we longed for each other like star-crossed lovers. The tragedy of our love only fueled the sense of romance; it never hindered it.

Then he got sick. Amyloidosis, a rare blood disorder, distorted the thing I loved most about him: his heart. Within months of diagnosis, he was dead.

Now, nine years after the affair began, three years after his death, I still miss him. I will always wish that he had lived. Our love will remain tragic. Romantic.

And I will always remember him…

Carlos mentored my emotional maturation. He was the man who taught me to accept love, to feel worthy of love; he was the man who made me believe that love could be simultaneously romantic and challenging. He taught me love doesn’t have to be perfect.

Now my husband and I are trying to rebuild our marriage (yes, he knows). Because of Carlos’s tender tutelage, I now believe my husband can love me; that romance is a subjective thing. Romance is more about faith than roses and canned lines. It is finding the love in the everyday event. It is a flower in the morning, a brushing back of the hair from across the face, your husband doing dishes even though it isn’t his turn simply because he wants to make you happy. Love is in the details. Romance is trusting that those details mean the same thing to your love interest as they do to you.

Now that the dust has settled, I guess the polite thing to say would be that I regret my affair. But with every adverse circumstance, every meaningful event in my life, I look for the lesson and dismiss remorse. If I could go back and undo my terrible childhood, I wouldn’t. If I could go back and change the worst mistakes that hurt no one but me, I would leave those moments intact. So, if I could go back and undo my love affair, I would not. It was part of my journey as an individual and mine and my husband’s journey as a couple. The ironic twist is that if the affair hadn’t happened, I don’t think my husband and I ever would have had a shot at love. We simply wouldn’t have made it this far.

I have also come to find out that like Carlos, my husband isn’t opposed to being a sexual superhero who wants more from his relationship than downtime in front of the television with a pint of Chunky Monkey ice cream.


Megan van Eyck lives near Seattle, Washington with her husband and children.

Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress is her first memoir.

You can visit Megan’s website at http://www.widowedmistress.com/



Monday, March 07, 2011

Ellora's Cave début: HIDE AND SECRET

So, in the past while I’ve had quite a slew of releases to talk about and very little time to talk about them! Thought I’d start with last week’s debut with Ellora’s Cave, since that one is something I never expected to have happen. I’ll tell you how this story came to be written, and released, and we’ll run a small contest, too!

Hide and Secret had another name when it was first conceived, it was called The Secret That He Keeps and it came about after a conversation with a friend of mine about “other women” and what it would be like to be one! In one of those quirky subconscious things that happens to us all occasionally, I didn’t realize when I was writing that first little scene as a kind of journal entry that I was inadvertently channelling the voice of a friend. His influence was all over the character to Quinn, and Quinn even had his “voice” in a real way. I continued on to the next scene with a better understanding of who I was writing about. I never thought about seriously submitting this to any publisher, to me it was just a sexy little bit of mind-candy. That’s when I tossed it to my friend Cindy Jacks and told her it was just for a giggle. Imagine my surprise when she said she loved it and I should consider expanding it into a “Quickie” for Ellora’s Cave? So, I began to take it a little more seriously. She worked with me, amazing lady is Cindy – and then I screwed up my courage and did the deed. To my surprise and gratitude, it was accepted and here it is:

HIDE AND SECRET
Genre: Contemporary erotic
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
BUY: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-9160-hide-and-secret.aspx

Alone with her journal, Bella examines her feelings and passion for Quinn Lockharte, a man who charged into her life in a storming fury and changed it forever. Quinn's duty to his family has him engaged to his childhood sweetheart, and though the promise is an old one, Quinn feels bound by it.

A surprise knock at her door brings Bella face-to-face with her destiny…but can she trust what her heart so desperately wants—especially when Quinn is determined to keep her naked and screaming his name? Mind-blowing sex has been their relationship’s strongest bond, but Bella’s tired of being his secret—and Quinn’s not willing to let her go.


Excerpt:

Your eyes narrow in irritation so I step aside and gesture for you to come into the apartment. I’m startled more than I should be when you slam the door shut and I am suddenly caught between your body’s urgent pressure and the solid wooden door that you push me against. Every part of me wakes, like flame that had been starved for air and is suddenly set free. My response is explosive and desperately hungry. You knot your hands in my soft sweater, already lifting it, your cool touch gliding over my heated skin. I want you, but for the first time this is not enough. Brushing your thumbs indolently over my nipples, you reignite an ache that drags low in my body, threatening to make me forget everything but how much I want you.

“I don’t want you here.” It’s hard to say which one of us is more startled by the words when they spill out of me.

You pull back and look at me intently, your eyes measuring the truth of what I’ve said. Then you shake your head and catch me between your hands as you bend to cover my mouth with yours. Slipping your tongue between my lips, you push your hips against me, telling me precisely what you desire.

I’m drowning in you. When I push at your shoulders you take my hands and pin them to the door, hips thrusting in the same greedy rhythm as your tongue inside my mouth. With a rough twist of my head, I break the lusting kiss and look away.

“I said I don’t want you here!”

Frowning, you step back and run a hand through the thickness of your dark hair, your eyes shrewd and watchful as you calculate your next move. I can see you thinking and working out what you need to do to change my mind. If you only knew how easy it would be…

I see the smile that’s starting to lift the corner of your mouth, and the gleam in your eyes tells me you don’t believe my rejection is remotely genuine.

I move away, walk past you, but get only a few steps before you put your arms around me and pull me back against you. Before I can break away, you push your hands under my sweater again, cupping my breasts, stroking and squeezing, fingertips pulling on the hard buds of my nipples, your mouth soft on the curve of my neck.

“You want me, Bella. Why are we playing this game?”

Your voice is equal parts gravel and silk and I feel the question against my skin, pouring into my blood like an injection of heated desire.

I don’t have time to answer before you’re walking into the living room, pulling me behind you. The candles are flickering, the soft recessed lighting adds a warm glow to the room. Outside the glass plates of the windows, the snow is swirling lazily. You sit me on the sofa in front of the crackling fire.

“We have to talk,” I whisper.

You nod and watch me as you take your coat off and toss it onto a nearby chair.

“You talk, I’ll listen.” You come toward me, stop in front of where I am sitting and then drop to your knees and smile.


CONTEST: It’s an easy one. Drop over to the Truly, Madly, Deeply Romance Authors blog, and tell me the name of one of the four stories featured there so far. Tomorrow morning, I’ll grab a name from the answers here, and send you a copy of HIDE AND SECRET!




Friday, March 04, 2011

GUEST: Yvonne Eve Walus

Today my guest is Yvonne Eve Walus, who is going to talk about how to craft a good mystery, and then she's going to share her latest with us - a very cool book called MURDER @ PLAY. So, over to Yvonne now...

Crafting a good mystery tale

What does it take to craft a good mystery tale? Ask any author of a bestselling crime fiction novel, and, chances are, he or she will tell you they have no idea. They’re not ducking the question. It’s just that’s what a good murder mystery for one reader is not another’s cup of tea.

Let’s take my own book tastes as an example. I adore the Agatha-Christie type of puzzle combined with a more modern writing style of Minette Walters, while Raymond Chandler’s jaded hard-boiled detective novels fail to engage me. I admire Lee Child’s pacing, get nauseated by the violence he portrays, and his very accurate setting descriptions do nothing for me, because I’m not a visual person.

My husband, on the other hand, finds Agatha Christie’s books naïve, while he enjoys Lee Child’s visuals and the way his hero always manages to scale a ten-foot fence using a safety pin and half a lemon.

So, what makes a good murder mystery? I asked this very question at a party the other night.
The answers I received speak for themselves:

• No gory details
• Realistic attention to detail
• Down-to-earth characters I can relate to
• Quirky, original characters
• An exotic setting
• A setting I can recognise
• An ending I can work out with the clues given
• A totally surprising ending.

As Terry Pratchett put it so succinctly: “Do you want fries with that?”

Personally, I believe a murder mystery author enters a contract with the reader: a contract that stipulates the baddie will be brought to justice (whatever that may mean in a broader philosophical sense) and that the reader will be able to piece the puzzle together before the book detective does.

A good murder mystery should have a theme. It’s important that my novel says something. Whether it makes my readers wonder about chauvinism in the workplace, rethink society’s right to lock up people in institutions for the mentally unstable, or shiver at the ethics of today’s governments, your my must make a difference to those who’ve read it. If the reader is left with a so-what when they turn the last page, I’ve failed as a writer.

MURDER @ PLAY has loyalty as a theme. What does it mean to be a loyal friend? What should a loyal wife do when all the evidence points to her husband as the murderer? When is it ok to go digging in your loved one’s past?

Readers of MURDER @ PLAY and MURDER @ WORK will also get the beauty of African landscape as a setting, together with a glimpse at the last throes of apartheid and what it meant for ordinary people. You will get quirky characters you can relate to and a totally surprising ending you will be able to work out with the clues given.

Happy reading!


EVERY MARRIAGE NEEDS A TOUCH OF MYSTERY. OR DOES IT?

In the new free South Africa of 1994, men are still boss, women carry handguns for self-protection and some mistakes can change your life forever.

When a body is found during their weekend away with friends, Christine Chamberlain must use her brilliant mathematical mind to prove her husband’s innocence...

... whether he’s innocent or not.

When it comes to your loved ones, is it possible to know too much?

PRAISE FOR “MURDER @ WORK”:

• "A great read. Very witty. Very fresh."
• "An insight into South Africa without being bogged down with facts."
• "Excellent dialogue."
• "... a very hard book to put down, and is a great weekend read. The chapters are short and you quickly make progress. The characters are engaging, and well constructed, the plot is more complex than it first seems, and it will have you guessing until the last page."

Excerpt:

Anonymous letters are always a cliché. In South Africa, they can also be deadly.

This one would contain no explosives or wires. Just a plain envelope and a photocopy of words cut out from newspapers.

How many copies?

Five. One for every guy at the Election Day after-party.

Or perhaps only four?

Yes, that would be truly brilliant. Only four. ...


"Every marriage needs a glaze of mystery," her husband had said last night. "Even ours could do with a secret or three."

Christine Chamberlain thought theirs could do without.

Whoever said jealousy was green, must have been colour-blind. Black. That was the colour. The pink and yellow sunrise was black, the sound of birds pecking at the apricot tree outside was black, and black was the smell of warm dusty soil. African black was the new, well, black.

Although, in the New South Africa, perhaps it was not politically correct to think that way. Perhaps she should stick to green. Green jealous thoughts, green sunrise, green birdsong, green smell of parched soil…yeah, right.

Christine's gaze shifted to Tom. They had fallen asleep together, as usual, entwined like lovers. This morning they woke up apart. As usual.

Tom lay on his side, his tanned back towards her, his sexy blond spikes limp from the heat. Yet Christine did not roll closer to curve her body around his. She clenched her jaw, remembering.

Last night's movie came back to haunt her. The music. The words.
Though I have all faith so that I could move mountains, if I have not love, I am nothing...

* * *

Though I speak with the tongues of angels, if I have not love, I have nothing, she mused on the way to the bathroom. She ran her bath on the cool side of tepid. It was going to be another scorching South African summer day.

Reclining in the water, Christine made a mental list of the weekend tasks.

One, vacuum the threadbare carpet of their start-up home. Most white South Africans employed a daily domestic cleaner, of course. Most white South Africans had a swimming pool too, and didn't have to rely on tepid baths in order to start the day cool and refreshed.

So, one, vacuuming.

Two, grocery shopping.

Three, finish reading that mathematics article…

Is that how much fun other married couples had every Saturday?

Four – Tom's broad-shouldered form, clad in a summer bathrobe for decency's sake in case the neighbours developed x-ray vision, appeared in the bathroom door. His 'hi' was automatic, his kiss programmed into his subconscious routine.

"Yesterday's post, Dr Chamberlain."

He placed the envelopes on the edge of the tub and busied himself with the comb.

Yep, this was exactly how much fun married couples usually had on Saturday mornings. A naked wife and a semi-naked husband, in the bathroom together, gelling their hair and reading the previous day's post.

Tom looked at her reflection in the mirror. "Why the glum face this morning?"

Why, indeed. They had been out the previous night. After the movie they had stopped for a drink. Several drinks, in fact. The film had made an impact that needed drowning.

As soon as they'd sat down at the table, a Mexican waitress arrived. She had legs that defied all biological explanation, a wedge of lemon in her teeth and a bottle of tequila in each of the twin holsters. Before Christine could analyse how that made her feel, the waitress drew the tequila bottle in one smooth almost invisible gesture. Christine saw Tom's hand glide towards his hip in a matching movement.

"So what's with the instinct to draw? You don't even carry a gun," Christine had asked after they had gulped their shots.

That's when Tom had said the thing about every marriage needing a mystery. Then he ordered another tequila, this time with salt. The salt had arrived on the waitress's wrist.

At least it was not in her navel, thought Christine now, as she seethed in her cool bath.
No. That was all wrong. The secret of a successful marriage was to act as though you already had one. As simple as that.

"See? No more glum face," she replied.

She stood up in the bathtub and pressed her cheek to Tom's bare back, leaving a cool wet imprint. Tom turned to her, the comb forgotten.

Many satisfying minutes later she slid back into the tub and looked through the post. She liked her weekend ritual of sorting and reading the letters in the bath.

There was a thick envelope from the bank: pages and pages of their expenses recorded in depressing rows. A large, offensively decorated envelope promised a win of ten thousand Rand if acted upon promptly. A manila envelope with a plastic window….

"This one's addressed to you," Christine said. "You handle it."

"But it's meant for you. It's from your gynaecologist. The day I have a pap smear, I'll pay for it, but meanwhile, perhaps you could ask him to send his bills directly to you."
Christine shrugged. "The day a woman can buy a house in this country without her husband's permission, the day a woman can walk into a South African bar–"

"I know. And the day your married-woman income is taxed at the same low rate as mine, that's when you'll pay your doctors' bills yourself."

The repartee was academic, since they pooled their meagre resources. South Africa was still South Africa, despite the first free and fair election seven months earlier. The man was still the head of the household, with power over all matters financial, even if the wife was the main breadwinner.

"Too bloody right," murmured Christine.

The next piece of mail was addressed to Mrs. C. Wodehouse, instead of Dr. C. Chamberlain. Christine threw it into the bathroom dustbin unopened. It wasn't the omission of her academic title that annoyed her, it was Tom's surname stitched onto her initial. What next? Mrs. Tom Wodehouse? She had kept her maiden name in defiance of the chauvinist ways permeating the country's social conventions. Come to think of it, that defiance was one of the driving forces behind her getting a doctorate in the first place, and in a 'male' subject like maths, too.

The beige envelope with an intricate pattern felt thick and smooth under her fingers. The card inside matched the envelope, the words laser-printed, keeping up with the latest technology of the 1990s.

Dear Christine,

The fanfares announce that finally I'm free,
would you believe it, I got my degree,
Maths has relinquished another PhD,
so grab your significant other and hastily join me,
for a fun weekend at Bay Street five three.

P.S. Dress up or dress down, play a part, not the clown.

The invitation made the world seem a little less black. Basil was notorious for churning out absurd rhymes. 'A fat cat sat on a mat and with a pat of a bat had a chat with a rat,' began one of his typical epics.

Wordlessly, she handed the invitation to Tom.

Tom took his time spitting out the toothpaste. "Are we going?"

"What do you mean, 'are we going'?"

Tom sat on the edge of the bath.

"I just don't think it's such a good idea. Not after what happened at the Election Day party. It just wouldn't work anymore, Christine, all of us together."

The last thing Christine wanted to talk about was the Election Day party and the way their loyal group of friends had crumbled that night.

To avoid the memories, she put on a naughty grin. "You mean, the fact that we went through four rubbers that night?"

"We did? I don't recall playing bridge."

They laughed together, the way a couple should laugh. For a moment, a too brief a moment, all was well.

"You do know I still see Daniel occasionally? Despite the break-up of our group?" It came out more challenging than she had anticipated.

Tom scowled. "Yes, occasionally being the operative word here. But the whole weekend? That's what I call an overdose."

"Jealous, are we?" She smiled through her anger. Daniel had been a teenage romance, a friend more than a boyfriend.

"It's not that." Tom's tone was dismissive. "It's the whole idea of all of us together. Imagine the atmosphere."

"The atmosphere will hardly be antagonistic. Alice is not with Daniel anymore. Basil…Basil will cope. Why else would he be inviting us all?"

He shrugged an unconvinced shrug. "Sure."

Christine swallowed hard. Alice. Alice with her black wavy hair, twisting like leeches along her back, all the way to her–she hated to admit it–shapely buttocks. Alice with her smile that made men pull in their stomachs and pull out their guns to compare sizes. Alice the artist. Alice the free spirit. Alice the woman of mystery. How could a mousy mathematician compete?

Christine slid deeper into the bath, allowing the water to soak her hair even though she hadn't intended to wash it. Her thoughts melted into the cheap foam. Although a luxury, or even midrange, bath oil was not out of their financial league, her prudence usually opted for the eight Rand saving.

"Would you be a darling and bring your wife some chocolates?" she murmured.

Why is he allowed to mind about Daniel but I'm not allowed to mind about Alice?

"Chocolates in the bath? No way. That's decadence. Sampling life's riches does not spell happiness, darling. But I'll wash your back, if you like."

"I like." Christine soaped the sponge and pressed it into his hand. It was good, but not good enough.

The Romans didn't know chocolate, and so their decadence must have been seriously lacking.

"Tom, there's something for you in that pile of mail. And it's not from my gynie."

"From whom is it, then?"

"It doesn't say." The rough sponge felt delicious between her shoulder blades. "Perhaps it's from your secret lover."

"I don't have a secret lover. Open it."

Inside was a single photocopied page. The text was made up of fragments of newspaper headlines glued onto a sheet then photocopied. Christine stared at the words:

YOU AND ALICE.
THAT IS WHY
I WILL KILL YOU.

Frozen acid pooled in the pit of Christine's stomach. The world became blacker, much blacker than before.

LINKS

• website: http://yewalus.kiwiwebhost.net.nz/
• blog: http://yewalus.blogspot.com/
• facebook: http://www.facebook.com/yvonne.walus
• book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJpbOiFkPkU
• buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Play-ebook/dp/B003CT30GC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=A3QI763M62X7GQ&s=books&qid=1274234575&sr=1-2
• publisher: http://www.echelonpress.com/




Thursday, March 03, 2011

New from Ellora's Cave!

HIDE AND SECRET
Genre: Contemporary erotic
Publisher: Ellora's Cave

Alone with her journal, Bella examines her feelings and passion for Quinn Lockharte, a man who charged into her life in a storming fury and changed it forever. Quinn's duty to his family has him engaged to his childhood sweetheart, and though the promise is an old one, Quinn feels bound by it.

A surprise knock at her door brings Bella face-to-face with her destiny…but can she trust what her heart so desperately wants—especially when Quinn is determined to keep her naked and screaming his name? Mind-blowing sex has been their relationship’s strongest bond, but Bella’s tired of being his secret—and Quinn’s not willing to let her go.

Excerpt:

Your eyes narrow in irritation so I step aside and gesture for you to come into the apartment. I’m startled more than I should be when you slam the door shut and I am suddenly caught between your body’s urgent pressure and the solid wooden door that you push me against. Every part of me wakes, like flame that had been starved for air and is suddenly set free. My response is explosive and desperately hungry. You knot your hands in my soft sweater, already lifting it, your cool touch gliding over my heated skin. I want you, but for the first time this is not enough. Brushing your thumbs indolently over my nipples, you reignite an ache that drags low in my body, threatening to make me forget everything but how much I want you.

“I don’t want you here.” It’s hard to say which one of us is more startled by the words when they spill out of me.

You pull back and look at me intently, your eyes measuring the truth of what I’ve said. Then you shake your head and catch me between your hands as you bend to cover my mouth with yours. Slipping your tongue between my lips, you push your hips against me, telling me precisely what you desire.

I’m drowning in you. When I push at your shoulders you take my hands and pin them to the door, hips thrusting in the same greedy rhythm as your tongue inside my mouth. With a rough twist of my head, I break the lusting kiss and look away.

“I said I don’t want you here!”

Frowning, you step back and run a hand through the thickness of your dark hair, your eyes shrewd and watchful as you calculate your next move. I can see you thinking and working out what you need to do to change my mind. If you only knew how easy it would be…

I see the smile that’s starting to lift the corner of your mouth, and the gleam in your eyes tells me you don’t believe my rejection is remotely genuine.

I move away, walk past you, but get only a few steps before you put your arms around me and pull me back against you. Before I can break away, you push your hands under my sweater again, cupping my breasts, stroking and squeezing, fingertips pulling on the hard buds of my nipples, your mouth soft on the curve of my neck.

“You want me, Bella. Why are we playing this game?”

Your voice is equal parts gravel and silk and I feel the question against my skin, pouring into my blood like an injection of heated desire.

I don’t have time to answer before you’re walking into the living room, pulling me behind you. The candles are flickering, the soft recessed lighting adds a warm glow to the room. Outside the glass plates of the windows, the snow is swirling lazily. You sit me on the sofa in front of the crackling fire.

“We have to talk,” I whisper.

You nod and watch me as you take your coat off and toss it onto a nearby chair.
“You talk, I’ll listen.” You come toward me, stop in front of where I am sitting and then drop to your knees and smile.


BUY IT HERE





And the winner is....

Linda Nance is the winner of Kelly's book! Thanks to everyone who dropped by to chat with this wonderful author!!


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Guest: KELLY MORAN


Today my guest is author Kelly Moran - and she's going to give away a copy of one of her books to one of our readers. Kelly agreed to a short interview, so let's get to that and chat with this talented lady!

Kelly, How long have you been writing?

I've been making up stories since before I could write, but for actual writing, I started at ten or eleven with poetry and short stories.

How long have you been a published author?

My first contract came in 2005 for a poetry and short stories collection called AN IMSOMNIAC'S DREAM.

What titles do you have available?

AN INSOMNIAC'S DREAM (2005), WHEN THE LEAVES STOP FALLING (2007, Romance), THE TINY CATERPILLAR AND THE GREAT BIG TREE (2009, Children's), IDLE THURSDAY (2009, Literature Novella).

Do you have any new titles coming soon?

I have a romance due out on March 25th called SUMMER'S ROAD. I'll give away a FREE eBook copy at the end of this post to one commenter!!!

"Summer's Road is a compelling story about the long road to finding true love." ~New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Caridad Pineiro (Quote from cover.)

BLURB: After her father’s death, Summer Quinn realizes just how alone she feels in the world. With no family to fill her life now, she finds comfort among friends, but yearns for true love, contentment, and family. When her boyfriend, Matt, suggests they raise their relationship to a higher level, Summer jumps at the chance to get everything she’s always wanted. Only, she doesn’t expect the heat arising between her and her best friend, Ian – a man who never seems to settle down. A man the complete opposite of what she’s looking for. But when her estranged mother reappears after twenty-eight years, Summer’s world completely flips upside down. As secrets from her family’s past and Ian’s true feelings for her emerge, Summer’s now faced with choices she’s not sure she can make. The rest of her life’s happiness hinges on Summer confronting a past she’d rather deny and legitimately opening her heart to love, even if it’s not where she expected to find it.

What is your favourite genre and why?

Though I began writing with poetry and short stories, I quickly learned in adolescence that romance was my true calling, and after having kids, that children's was a gift. I plan to focus my career on romance and children's books from now on. I love both those genres for the same reasons really--the happily ever after, the possibilities, and the lessons that can be learned.

What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?

I find the plot ideas and characters in my head finally being heard on paper the most rewarding, (I suppose they do too, LOL). The most exciting part is finishing and getting to the edits.

If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?

Ah, a loaded question. Though dead, I'd love to co-write a kids book with Dr. Seuss. For romance, that's a tough call-- probably Nicholas Sparks or Carla Neggers.

Where can readers find you on the web?

If interested, you can find trailers, reviews, my books, and more on my Website at: www.authorkellymoran.com, or my Blog at www.authorkellymoran.blogspot.com. I'm also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorkellymoran, Myspace at www.myspace.com/authorkellymoran, Goodreads at www.goodreads.com/authorkellymoran, and Twitter at www.twitter.com/authorkmoran.

Feel free to include your latest release/promo, and any additional info you might like included! Thanks so much for being my guest.

I attached the cover pic, Denyse. Thanks so much for having me!
Kelly
xo