Guest Author ~ Matina NicholasPosted: April 11, 2014 | Author: Melissa Stevens | Filed under: Visitors | Tags: Affair in Athens, Guest Author, Matina Nicholas, Sizzling PR | 1 Comment
Fulfilling her mother’s dying wish to discover her roots, Athena Vallas journeys to Greece and finds more than history as she reunites with a part of her family she didn’t know existed. While documenting her grandfather’s heroic role as a Greek Orthodox priest in Plaka, sheltering Jews during the Resistance in WWII, Athena meets Luke, a dangerously charismatic man who sees her as the ideal wife.
Drawn into an extravagant lifestyle, her attraction to Luke is intense until she discovers that he plays a high stakes game of illegal pursuits. When she attempts to distance herself, Luke refuses to relinquish his plans. Ruthlessly, he keeps his eye on the prize—Athena—who won’t compromise love for wealth or fidelity for lifestyle.
Affair in Athens includes a set of authentic Greek recipes at the back of the book, passed down through Matina’s family. Read, eat, and enjoy!
The old priest’s Byzantine chant, the heady smokiness of burning incense, the power of icons hundreds of years old staring down on her intoxicated her senses. She looked about the ancient Greek Orthodox church tucked under the Parthenon with a deep sense of awe and respect. This was where her grandfather had been priest for fifty years, where her mother had been christened and prayed and left behind so long ago. There were no pews, no chairs in this church. After all, “orthodox” meant upright. Dozens of candles in ornate brass candelabras flickered and cast mysterious shadows.
Athena’s eyes brimmed with tears. The altar swam before her. She was overwhelmed with a sense of coming home, of belonging. She knelt, covering her face with her hands, remembering her mother’s last days. Filled with love for her daughter, Amalia grieved that she would not live to see Athena married or have children. How could any daughter deny her mother’s last wish? Athena had promised to visit the tiny church in Plaka, learn of her Greek roots and her grandfather’s role in sheltering Jews during the Resistance.
Tears slipped through her fingers and dropped to the stone floor, the same stones where her grandparents had stood when they married, baptized their children, where their coffins had rested before they were buried. This was where her grandfather and his parishioners heroically stood when the Nazis trained their machine guns on them—Father Peter, in his black robes, face and arms raised in prayer, radiating strength and courage to his parishioners as they stood facing him. They had done God’s will by hiding and smuggling the Salonika Jews out of Athens into the remote countryside. “Pater Ev-lo-i-son Emas. Father bless us,” they chanted, their voices abruptly silenced by the sharp, staccato bursts of the machine guns.
“My daughter.” Athena felt strong hands on her shoulders. She raised her tear-stained face to see an old priest in the customary black robes, looking down at her. His bright blue eyes peered over his wire spectacles, his face creased in concern. “I am Father Nicholas. My child, how can I help you?” His English was quite good.
About the Author:
With a background in English and Education, and a dedication to transmit her love of writing to her students, Matina Nicholas taught writing and literature at university and high school levels. She has been published in educational texts, professional periodicals, and journals. Currently, she writes for the Condo News under the name Tina Chippas. Her writing pieces can be read at condonewsonline.com under Commentary and Essays.
A confirmed dog-lover, Matina is involved with her two dogs, Chelsea, a geriatric-but-far-from-over-the-hill toy red poodle and Lukie, a spunky, stubby Miniature Pinscher. Their eagerness for adventure and fine canine dining is the source for some of her essays for the Condo News.
This is her first novel.
Guest Author ~ Savannah YoungPosted: April 4, 2014 | Author: Melissa Stevens | Filed under: Visitors | Tags: Bewitching Book Tours, Guest Author, Savannah Young, Spotlight, Wilde Riders | 1 Comment
FOUR WILDE BROTHERS…ONE WILDE COUNTRY BAND
WILDE RIDERS is the first novel in a spicy new contemporary romance series about four sexy brothers, their small-town bar and their local country band. WILDE RIDERS can be read as a STAND ALONE NOVEL or as part of the SERIES.
Cooper Wilde spent his entire adolescence counting the days until he could escape rural northwest New Jersey. Now at 26, he can’t believe he’s coming back. But his late father’s bar, Haymakers, is in financial trouble and his older brother, Jake, has asked for Cooper’s help.
Riley Smith, 25, is fresh out of her Ivy League MBA program and wants to make an impression on her employer, H & C Bank. Her first solo assignment is a fraud investigation on a business loan they made to Haymakers.
Even though Old Town is less than 90 minutes from New York City, Riley feels like she’s stepped into another world in this remote, one-bar town. Riley can’t wait to do her business and get back to the city as quickly as her sports car will take her…until she meets Cooper Wilde. He’s not like the other guys in this rural town and Riley feels inexplicably attracted to him.
The drive into New Jersey is exhausting. My only saving grace is that most of the traffic is going into the city instead of out of the city like I am. You’ve got to love those bridge and tunnel guys. I wouldn’t date one but I have a little bit of respect for them. The commute into Manhattan turns a nine hour work day into an eleven hour one, if you’re lucky. I can feel my stomach start to knot as I get further away from the city and further away from civilization. Pretty soon I’ll be in the sticks surrounded by woods and farmland. I can almost smell the manure that will no doubt take days to completely rid from my nasal passages. I pray that I don’t run into any animals, especially cows, which are huge, smelly and completely freak me out. The only live animals I ever care to see have to fit comfortably in a handbag, like a Chihuahua or Teacup Poodle, for example.
I have an appointment with a man named Jake Wilde. He asked me to come early, before the place opens at noon, so he could give me his full attention. I try to imagine what someone named Jake Wilde would look like and all I can come up with is an old gunslinger like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven.
As I pull into Old Town the place looks exactly like I thought it would. The buildings in the town square are old and I image the place hasn’t changed much in the last hundred years or so.
Haymakers is just past the town square, down the hill from the deli, next to the gas station. Those were the exact directions I was given, in those words. I take that to mean the town only has one gas station and one deli.
When I pull into the parking lot, there’s only one other vehicle sitting there. It’s an old beat-up Dodge Ram. Nothing like fitting the country bumpkin stereotype like a glove. I have a brief moment of panic and wonder if it’s safe to park my BMW in the dirt lot. Then I remind myself where I am. Who is going to mess with it in the middle of the day? A stray deer from the woods out back? The only thing I probably have to worry about is it getting dusty.
I take in a deep breath. I have to be thankful there’s no manure smell yet. The quicker you do this, I remind myself, the quicker you can get back to the lovely asphalt jungle you call home.
I’m hit with a gust of wind as soon as I get out of my car. How is it possible that Old Town is even windier than lower Manhattan? I didn’t think I’d ever find a place windier than Wall Street. Even the Windy City didn’t seem this windy when I had business in Chicago.
When I enter the bar, I try to smooth down my thick hair, which I know is probably a complete mess from the gust. I’m surprised by the homey feel of the place. How could someone like me possibly feel at home in a country bar? Even if I was wearing jeans and cowboy boots, if I even owned jeans and cowboy boots, I wouldn’t fit in at a place like this.
I hear someone clear his throat and I turn to see a guy about my age, mid-twenties, standing next to me. I can’t help my surprise when I see he’s wearing khakis and a polo shirt, like he just stepped off of a golf course. He looks as out of place in this country bar as I feel.
“Are you Jake Wilde?” I ask.
The guy gives me the faintest hint of a smile but it’s almost as if it pains him to give that much. His deep brown eyes look even more distressed and I can’t help but wonder what’s behind those sad eyes.
He rakes his fingers through his thick dark hair. “A little windy out, isn’t it?”
My hand automatically goes to my hair and I try to casually flatten it down again. I imagine I must look like I just stepped out of a wind tunnel.
“Your hair looks fine,” the guy tries to assure me. But he’s got that hint of a smile on his face again and it makes me wonder if he’s lying just to make me feel better.
“I’m Cooper Wilde,” the guy says as he offers a hand.
I don’t know why I suddenly feel nervous about shaking it. It’s a business meeting. That’s what people do. But the way this guy is looking at me gives me the feeling that he might be interested in more than just business.
But I’m not, I remind myself. Not only because I’ve all but sworn off men, I’m here to do a job. I’ve been working for H & C Bank for two years and this is my first solo assignment as a lead investigator. If I continue to do well, I’ll be well on my way to becoming a Vice President before I turn thirty. I don’t need a man to throw me off my career trajectory. And definitely not some guy in a country bar in rural New Jersey.
I take his hand and give it a quick shake but I can’t bring my-self to look into his smoldering eyes again. “I’m Riley Smith.”
“I figured that,” Cooper says.
“Why is that?”
That hint of a smile has returned to his face again. “We don’t often get women in business suits in the bar.”
I’m not sure why I’m suddenly overcome with the urge to get a real smile out of Cooper Wilde. I don’t know even know the guy but it somehow seems important. I get the feeling he hasn’t really smiled in a while and it’s long overdue.
Not that I’ve had much occasion for real smiles myself lately.
“My brother will be here in a minute or two. He’s just printing a few documents from the computer. Purchase orders and receipts.”
I nod and look around the place. From the outside, I thought it was going to be a dive but the place actually has character. I can tell the wooden bar is old, and it looks hand carved, as do the barstools. There’s a large stage area that looks new. That’s one of the expenses I was charged with investigating. I try to image what the place looks like filled with patrons watching a local band play on a Friday night.
“Ms. Smith?” I hear a deeper male voice say.
I look up to see another guy approaching. He also looks around my age, mid-twenties, but he looks more like what I’d expect inside a country bar. He’s wearing a white button down shirt with jeans and cowboy boots. His hair is lighter than Cooper’s and his face is rounder, more boyish, but there’s definitely a family resemblance between these two guys. They’re both about the same height, around six feet, with athletic builds, like they play sports.
“I’m Jake Wilde,” the lighter haired guy says.
I try not to laugh as I look at Jake. He’s young, attractive and nothing like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven. So much for my speculation about his name.
I notice Jake has papers in his hands. “Maybe we should have a seat at one of the tables.” He motions to a table closest to us.
“Would you like something to drink?” he asks. Jake has one thing that Cooper doesn’t. An absolutely killer smile. It’s the kind of smile that can probably get any girl into bed in a matter of minutes. Well, any girl except me. I no longer fall for guys with smiles like that. It hurts too much the next morning when they say they’ll call you, and give you that smile, and you know they’re lying and you’ll never hear from them again.
“I’ll take some water,” I reply.
Jake actually winks at me before he turns to head towards the bar. The guy knows how to charm people I’ll give him credit for that.
I notice Cooper now has the papers in his hand. Without saying anything, he sits down and I follow.
“I think this is everything you’ll need as far as the fraud investigation is concerned. We’ve got purchase orders for all of the improvements as well as receipts for the completed work. You’re sitting at one of the new tables right now. And you can see the new stage from here. I’d be happy to take you up to the new roof, if you’d like to see it.”
Cooper pushes the stack of papers toward me. I quickly thumb through them. I’ll make a few phone calls when I get back into the city to verify everything and cover my butt. At first glance, though, everything looks clean. It doesn’t seem like a case of fraud, more likely poor bookkeeping.
“The loan hasn’t been paid in months,” I say even though that’s not really my department. I’m here only for the fraud investigation. They’ll be dealing with someone else regarding the default on the loan.
“I know,” Cooper says, and I can see more darkness over-shadow his already dark eyes. “I’m going to try and fix that.”
Jake comes back with three bottles of water. “Bottle okay or would you like a glass?” he asks.
“Bottle is fine,” I say.
Jake sets the bottles down on the table and takes the seat right next to me. I’m a little taken aback by how much space he commands. And not just because of his size. It’s his energy—his being—that’s so large.
“So what did I miss?” Jake asks.
Cooper eyes his brother and I can see there’s a little bit of animosity between them. Or at least there is on Cooper’s part. Jake seems kind of oblivious to it.
Cooper rubs his temple and says, “I was just telling Miss Smith that we’re willing to cooperate with her investigation in any way we can. I’ve given her all of the documents she’ll need.”
“Great,” Jake says. He gives me another one of his charming smiles then looks at me like he’s undressing me with his eyes.
I reflexively pull my suit jacket tighter even though I’m revealing nothing. I’m wearing a conservative button-down banker’s suit but I still feel like Jake can see through it somehow.
“I’ll look at the papers more closely when I get back to the city. I assume these are copies I can take with me?”
“Of course,” Cooper replies. The guy is all business. It’s in sharp contrast to his brother who seems more like a non-stop-party kind of guy.
“Did you decide if you want to see the roof?” Cooper asks.
When Jake laughs, Cooper glares at him.
“What?” Jake says. “If that’s supposed to be a pick up line, you’ve got a lot of work to do.”
“It’s not a pick-up line,” Cooper says through clenched teeth.
Still grinning, Jake asks, “You’re really going to show her the roof?”
“It’s not necessary,” I state. The last place I want to be is in the middle of these two guys’ drama. There’s obviously a lot more going on than just showing me the roof.
Jake leans close to me and I catch a whiff of his cologne. It’s a spicy and masculine. “Why don’t you let me show you the new stage we had built?”
I can feel the heat radiating from his muscular body and I’m quickly reminded by my body’s reaction that I haven’t had sex in over six months.
I gulp. “That’s not necessary.”
I can feel several beads of sweat roll down my forehead. I’m getting hot, and it’s not because of the temperature of the room has changed. It’s Jake’s closeness to me.
I jump from my chair. “I have everything I need.” I feel like waving the papers in front of my face like a fan but I refrain. I just need to get out of the bar and away from Jake. Then I’ll be fine.
That’s what I tell myself anyway.
Cooper rises from the table and gives me an odd look. I wish I could figure out what it would take to make the guy smile but I can’t stay next to Jake a minute longer. He’s like catnip and I’m the cat. I need to escape and get some fresh air.
“Thank you both for your cooperation,” I say.
“You’ll let us know if you need anything else?” Cooper asks.
“I will. It was a pleasure meeting you.” I put out my hand for Cooper to shake.
This time, when he touches me, I make a point of looking into his eyes. They seem to have gotten even darker and deeper in just the last few minutes and that makes me even more curious about him.
Business, I remind myself. You’re here for business and then it’s back to the city.
“It was nice meeting you, too,” Cooper says and once again, he only gives me the hint of a smile.
When Jake clears his throat, it breaks the moment between me and Cooper. I’m embarrassed that I lost control. I’m supposed to be a professional.
I noticed Jake has his hand out and I realize he wants me to shake it. The last thing I want is to do is touch Jake. I don’t want to get caught up in his charismatic web like a fly.
I give him a ridiculous wave instead and I feel like an idiot when he frowns.
“I’d better get going,” I say as I turn and make my way toward the door.
When I look back at the two brothers, they’re both staring at me. I don’t know why that makes me so nervous. I don’t plan on ever seeing either one of them again.
When I’m finally outside, I take in a deep breath of what I think will be fresh air and instead, I’m assaulted by the small of cow manure.
Great. Just great.
I hop into my car and turn the air conditioning up as high as it will go. I take in another deep breath and try to get the stench of cow dung out of my nasal passages. I can’t believe I’m shaking. I’m not sure if it’s because of Cooper or Jake. Maybe it’s a little of both. But I’m definitely rattled.
I just need to get out of Old Town and get back to the city, I tell myself. Then things will get back to normal.
As I put the car into reverse and begin to pull out of my parking space, I keep thinking: I just need to get out of here and get back to the city.
When I step on the accelerator to go forward, I drive right into an old Chevy pick-up truck that’s headed straight for me.
About the Author:
Romance novelist Savannah Young grew up in rural northwest New Jersey in a place very similar to the fictional Old Town, which is featured in her books. When she’s not at her computer creating spicy stories, Savannah is traveling to exotic locales or spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds.
Guest Author ~ Jeffrey RickerPosted: March 28, 2014 | Author: Melissa Stevens | Filed under: Visitors | Tags: Bewitching Book Tours, Guest Author, Jeffrey Ricker, The Unwanted | Leave a comment
Jamie Thomas has enough trouble on his hands trying to get through junior year of high school without being pulverized by Billy Stratton, his bully and tormentor. But the mother he was always told was dead is actually alive—and she’s an Amazon!
Sixteen years after she left him on his father’s doorstep, she’s back and needs Jamie’s help. A curse has caused the ancient tribe of warrior women to give birth to nothing but boys, dooming them to extinction—until prophecy reveals that salvation lies with one of the offspring they abandoned.
Putting his life on the line, Jamie must find the courage to confront the wrath of an angry god to save a society that rejected him.
Excerpt from Chapter One
The house was empty. No big surprise there: Dad never got home before me. When I checked my nose in the bathroom mirror, it was starting to swell up and look like someone had painted purple under my skin. I didn’t think it was broken, but no one had ever punched me in the face before, so what did I know?
At that moment, I knew three things. I didn’t want to explain my nose to my dad when he eventually got home. I probably needed to put ice on it. And I didn’t want to go to school tomorrow.
In the kitchen, I filled a towel with ice. As I tilted my head back and lifted the towel to my nose, a flash of white darted past the sliding glass door overlooking the backyard. Our yard was fenced, so no one should have been back there. By this point, thanks to the almost-daily antagonism from Billy, it was in my nature to see every unexpected or unexplained thing as a possible threat. It seemed foolish, but I grabbed a knife from the butcher block before I opened the door and peered out.
I was lucky I didn’t stab myself in the foot when I dropped the knife. A white horse, its head lowered to the ground as it searched for bits of grass to its liking, ambled slowly across the yard. When it heard the knife clatter, it looked up and stared right at me, blinked its glossy black eyes—
—and shook its wings.
I was glad no one was around to hear me, because I screamed like a girl. My first thought—well, my second thought, right after Oh my God there’s a horse with wings in our yard—was that Billy must have given me a concussion when he hit me and knocked me down. I looked away, shook my head, and blinked a couple times.
When I looked back, the horse was still there. It had folded up its wings and gone back to browsing the lawn.
“Richard, is that you?”
The voice, a woman’s, came from upstairs. It was followed by a clanking noise, like someone rattling pots and pans. I picked up the knife again and slid the door shut as quietly as possible.
“Richard?” she called again, then, in a more threatening tone, “Is someone down there?”
She started coming down the stairs. Pressing my back to the wall, I inched out of the kitchen and into the dining room. I watched the kitchen doorway, wondering who this woman was and how she knew my father…and what was all the clanking about? When it appeared she hadn’t followed me from the kitchen to the dining room, I turned around and prepared to make a run for the front door.
She was standing right behind me.
I screamed, again. Like a girl, again. (What? She scared the hell out of me.)
She also snatched my wrist and twisted the knife out of my grasp before I remembered I was holding it. Then she put her hands on my shoulders to keep me from running headlong into her chest, which was covered in a bronze piece of armor that made her look like Xena, Warrior Princess.
“Oh, it’s you,” she said—not in a dismissive tone, the way that sort of thing is usually said (at least to me), but more in a sense of wonder, as if I were the last person she expected to see. She put a hand under my chin, gently, which I didn’t expect since she wore a sword at her waist. “You’re so…” Her voice trailed off as she took in all of me. “Short.”
Short? I’d never seen this woman before and she was calling me short? Admittedly, she looked taller than my dad, even, maybe by a couple inches. Before I could protest, she turned my chin left, then right, inspecting my face.
“You’ve been in a fight, haven’t you?” She smiled, and it seemed like a smile of admiration, like being in a fight was a good thing.
I batted her hand aside and backed away. “Who are you?”
She frowned. “Didn’t your father tell you anything about me?”
“Tell me what?”
Before she could answer, the doorbell rang. In an instant, everything about her changed. Her expression hardened as she whipped around toward the door. She’d drawn her sword without my even noticing, and now she crept toward the foyer. Her steps were so light I didn’t even hear her armor clank.
The doorbell rang again, sounding far away to me, like a dream. I started to ask her what she was doing—hadn’t she ever heard a doorbell before? Why was this clearly crazy woman in our house? And why did she know my dad? But she silenced me with a gesture.
This time, instead of the doorbell, there was a knock.
“Jamie?” It was Sarah. “Are you home?”
“Who is she?” the Xena wannabe asked.
“Who is she? Who are you?”
She lowered her sword for a moment and looked at me as if I were asking a stupid question. “He really never told you anything about me, did he?”
“Tell me what?”
Her face softened, neither stony nor angry, but sad.
“I’m your mother.”
Indiebound Amazon Barnes and Noble Indigo
About the Author:
Jeffrey Ricker’s first novel, Detours, was published in 2011 by Bold Strokes Books. His second novel, The Unwanted, will be published by Bold Strokes in 2014. His writing has appeared in the anthologies Paws and Reflect, Fool for Love: New Gay Fiction, Blood Sacraments, Men of the Mean Streets, Speaking Out, Raising Hell, The Dirty Diner, Night Shadows: Queer Horror, and others. A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, he is pursuing an MFA at the University of British Columbia.
Publisher’s website: http://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/Author-Jeffrey-Ricker.html
Red Room page: http://redroom.com/member/jeffrey-ricker/
Book Blitz ~ Andie DevauxPosted: March 26, 2014 | Author: Melissa Stevens | Filed under: Visitors | Tags: Against the wall, Andie Devux, Book Blitz, Guest Author, Office Mine, Sizzling PR | Leave a comment
BLURB: When she sees red and blue lights flashing in her rearview mirror, Michelle Thomas fears her day is ruined. Sexy Officer Drake lets her go with a warning, but when she runs into him at a bar later that day, it feels a little like fate.
Michelle isn’t interested in fate. She has two weeks until she starts grad school so she’s looking for one thing: fun. A no-holds-barred good time. What she doesn’t want is a relationship—that’s a distraction she can’t afford.
Officer David Drake has never met a woman as sexually adventurous as he is, and when he senses a kindred spirit in Michelle, he isn’t willing to let her go easily. Especially when she proves to be feisty and smart. But will she decide the officer is worth risking her future plans?
Against the Wall is a new adult erotic romance novelette. It is not intended for young readers due to mature content. Adults only.
Currently available at the following retailers:
Amazon Barnes and Noble All Romance Ebooks iTunes Smashwords
Against the Wall is a prequel novelette for the Officer Mine series. Next book coming soon!
Excerpt: Great. Just flipping wonderful. Could her night get any better?
Michelle Thomas eyed the flashing red and blue lights in her rearview mirror and carefully pulled off to the side of the road. It took all the self-control she could muster and a few deep breaths not to smack the steering wheel to vent some frustration while the motorcycle cop took his sweet time approaching the window of her little Honda. With her luck, she’d hit the horn and he’d take her to jail for being a jerk.
Tonight just sucked. Not only had her ex-boyfriend Gavin shown up at her apartment—something she was on the edge of getting a restraining order to prevent in the future—but Kristy had called and changed their night out from a club near her house to some dive bar across town. At least, she assumed it was a dive bar. What other kind of bar could it be with a name like Tom’s Tavern?
Now, not only had Gavin once again creeped her out, she couldn’t even properly drown her sorrows. She’d have to take an expensive cab home if she did. Although the price of a cab might be worth it after her week from hell.
The cop tapping on her window wasn’t likely to give a crap about any of that. And she wouldn’t to grovel to avoid a ticket—that would just add insult to injury at this point. Begging out of a ticket had never worked for her anyway.
“Can I help you?” she said in a sickly sweet fake voice.
“License, registration and proof of insurance, please,” he said in a deep baritone, words so practiced he sounded bored. “Do you know why I pulled you over?”
Yeah, right. Like she was going to offer up ideas and get herself who-knew-how-many tickets. “You had nothing better to do?”
“I clocked you at seventeen miles per hour over the speed limit.”
“Of course you did.”
“Excuse me?” He leaned toward her window and pushed down his sunglasses. She caught a glimpse of a strong jaw and blue eyes against a dark head of hair that was mussed from his motorcycle helmet.
“I said, of course you did. Because that’s just how shitty my day is going.” She knew she shouldn’t mouth off, but she just couldn’t seem to stop the flow of words. Something inside of her had hit a boiling point. “Figures I’d get pulled over, too.”
Was it her imagination or did his mouth twitch just a bit at her comment?
“Well, your day is going to get even worse if you don’t find your license, registration and proof of insurance.”
She cursed under her breath and fished through her glove compartment. Three expired proofs of insurance later, she found the correct one. But her registration proved elusive. She handed him what she had and then peeked out the window.
“I have my registration from”—she scanned the date—”two years ago.”
“I’m going to have to ask you to step out of the car while I check these.”
Just her luck. Could the night get any worse?
She exited the vehicle and then watched the police officer walk back to his motorcycle. The flashing lights to warn oncoming traffic of the potential hazard did nothing to distract her from the tight ass of the man walking away from her, nor from the powerful width of his shoulders. He was tall—over six feet. And built. The officer knew his way around a gym.
She resisted the urge to lean back against her car while she waited for him to check her information. Dirt coated its surface from the last rainstorm. Washing it this week just hadn’t seemed important. She’d spent the week avoiding Gavin and doing what she could to enjoy her last summer of freedom.
Two weeks until she started graduate school. Until then, her only responsibilities were entertaining herself and showing up somewhat on time for her part-time barista job that was less than a hop, skip and a jump from her new apartment just off campus. Most of the summer had disappeared far too quickly, sucked away by Gavin and his dramatics.
What remained would be her one taste of real freedom from the constant stress of classes since she’d started college. Whoever thought you could graduate in four years without summer classes hadn’t double majored. But now she was done—free. For the first time in her twenty-three years. No parents to see on a daily basis. No classes to attend. No boyfriend to worry over or spend time with.
“Are you aware that your copy of the registration is expired?” His gravelly tone sounded neither sympathetic nor annoyed. He could have been talking about the weather, for crying out loud. She was sick of this. This was her two weeks. Her time. This guy wasn’t taking any more of it, no matter how well his uniform fit and how freaking stunning his features were behind his dark Aviator sunglasses.
“No shit, Sherlock,” she said. His jaw ticked, and her bravery faltered. “Look at my plates. There’s a sticker there.”
“Those can be stolen.”
“Doesn’t your system tell you that my plates are fine?” she bit out, taking a step toward him. She was so sick of bullies. This man wasn’t bullying her, too. Cop or no.
Was it just her imagination or did a glimmer of amusement touch his lips?
Author Bio: Andie writes sexy erotic romance and erotica stories that push boundaries. When she’s not writing (or reading!), she can usually be found daydreaming or attempting a new recipe. She thinks that life should require happily ever afters. And since she doesn’t make the rules of life, she instead applies this philosophy to the worlds she can control–the ones in her books.
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Book Blitz ~ Miranda StowePosted: March 25, 2014 | Author: Melissa Stevens | Filed under: Visitors | Tags: Bear with Me, Book Blitz, Guest Author, Half-Breed Shifters, Miranda Stowe, Sizzling PR | Leave a comment
Blurb: Being only one-fourth shape shifter, jaguar-human Rhea Griffin hopes to skip her mating heat altogether. But no such luck. It’s coming, and it’s coming soon. Good news is that advancements in technology have made it so she doesn’t have to turn into a total ho-bag and want sex from every male within a fifty-mile radius. She can take a nifty little injection for a couple of weeks to quell the “urges.” But bad news is the nifty little injection ends up being a dud. And Rhea needs sex. Lots of it.
Bear shifter, Brick Lowery was only supposed to come over to the Griffin house to keep his best good buddy Rhea company during her confinement time. But when everything goes south and Rhea needs a man to satisfy her mating heat before she suffers in agony, maybe even to the point of death, it’s suddenly up to him to make sure she gets exactly what she needs. Except Brick’s secretly been in love with Rhea since he was thirteen and this is not at all how he planned to win her over.
Excerpt: Brick sauntered forward, his large muscle-packed body surprisingly graceful for a bear. Brick had always been attractive. After he’d grown into some of his body parts, he’d probably become the best-looking boy in their class. But his looks had never made her want to reach out and just stroke his skin before…not like they did now.
An intense tingling spread up the insides of her legs as he drew close and knelt beside her, setting his gaming system between them.
With his head bent slightly and his attention in the cardboard box as he fished around for the right cables he needed, she studied the side of his face, suddenly wanting to just…lick him.
“Okay, we need to plug this one in first, into the…” His words drifted off as he lifted his face. Nostrils flaring, he gazed at her for a moment before his eyes fell to her lips.
When heat flooded her from head to toe, her sex cramped and went moist. He dropped his attention even lower to her breasts where they strained against her shirt, the nipples poking out the front of the pale cotton.
A hoarse groan left his throat. Lifting his hand slowly, he reached out a single digit and barely brushed the back of his index finger over the thin material. If he’d have licked her bare, straining nipple and then bitten it, Rhea didn’t think she would’ve felt the impact of his touch any more intensely than she did now.
With a moan, she threw back her head and squeezed her eyes shut. Heat pulsed between her legs. She wanted him there. Right now. Inside her. Deep, so deep inside her.
As if reading her mind, Brick asked, “Have you ever wondered what my cock would feel like buried in your pussy?” His voice was low and raspy. It shot another sizzling current of electricity through her.
Meeting his gaze, she opened her mouth to tell him—beg, demand, whatever it took—to take off his clothes and get inside of her that very instant. But her mother’s voice at the top of the stairs made her jolt and wrench herself away from him.
He stepped back too and glanced away guiltily, just as Riley Griffin popped her head out of the stairwell and joined them in the den. “Rhea, dinner’s ready if you’re—oh! Brick, you’re already here. Good. You’re welcome to dinner too, dear.”
He cleared his throat and bowed his head. “Thanks, Mrs. G. I’d love some. Can’t feed a bear like me enough, you know.”
“Well, both of you come on up.”
When Brick moved to follow her as Rhea’s mother started back up the stairs, Rhea hesitated, glancing at Brick’s perfect form. Now that he was all the way across the room, she didn’t want him quite as badly.
And it struck her what had just happened. Shit. Her mating heat really was starting.
“Mom?” she called, her voice trembling slightly. “I think…I think I should have my first injection now.”
Brick tensed and paused, but he didn’t turn to look at her.
Eyes wide with surprise, her mother did turn around, though. “Oh! Really? Damn, I wish females could smell another female’s heat. I would’ve already known that. I’m sorry, honey. Let’s get you taken care of, then.” As she came back down the steps, she glanced at Brick.
He refused to meet her gaze as he shrugged. “I must be too diluted of a shifter to notice it yet.”
Rhea knew he was lying; he’d definitely felt something. He’d been just as ready to get kinky as she’d been. She waited a second before her mother entered the back room before meeting Brick’s dark gaze and mouthing the word, “Liar.”
“I want to fuck you. Hard,” he mouthed right back, lifting his eyebrows in direct challenge.
For a moment, she was tempted. Two weeks of constant sex with Brick sounded pretty damn good right about now. She could almost feel his hands on her breasts, cupping her and squeezing, his hot open mouth on her throat and his cock shoved deep, pumping through her sex and bumping against her g-spot, over and over again, until—
“Rhea? Are you coming?” her mother called.
Buy links :
AllRomance Ebooks – Amazon – B & N
Author Bio: Miranda lives with her wonderful, Brad-Pitt-lookalike husband (hey, they’re both blond-haired and blue-eyed) and adorable still-needs-to-learn-the-meaning-of-NO toddler daughter on their spacious corn-field-and-cow-pasture-front property in Kansas. Librarian by day and author by night, she is also published in YA and contemporary mainstream romance under a different pen name.
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Guest Author ~ Susannah SandlinPosted: March 21, 2014 | Author: Melissa Stevens | Filed under: Visitors | Tags: Bewitching Book Tours, Guest Author, Lovely dark and deep, Susannah sandlin, The collectors | Leave a comment
From award-winning author Susannah Sandlin comes a heart-pounding romantic thriller that pits a quick-witted scientist and a scarred ex–combat diver against a ruthless billionaire treasure hunter with ties to the White House.
When biologist Gillian Campbell makes an offhand comment about a family curse during a TV interview, she has no idea what her words will set in motion. Within days, Gillian finds herself at the mercy of a member of the C7, a secretive international group of power brokers with a dangerous game: competing to find the world’s most elusive treasures, no matter the cost, in money or in lives.
To save her family, Gillian teams up with Shane Burke, a former elite diver who’s lost his way, navigating the brutal “death coast” of the North Atlantic to find what the collector seeks: the legendary Ruby Cross of the Knights Templars, stolen by Gillian’s ancestor and lost at sea four hundred years ago.
Release Info- LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP is being released in eight multi-chapter weekly episodes through Feb. 18. The current price for the entire eight-episode novel is $1.99 through Feb. 18 and will increase to $3.99 for Kindle afterward. The print and audio editions will be released on May 13, 2014, and will be available at venues other than Amazon.
He wasn’t sure what woke him, but the first thing Shane Burke saw when he cracked open his eyelids was the bottle of Jack Daniel’s, tipped over and resting on its side. He could’ve sworn he finished it off last night but there was at least an inch of rich amber liquid still resting inside.
Good. Now he didn’t have to wonder what he’d have for breakfast.
The second thing he saw was a great pair of legs. Well, technically, a great pair of ankles above a pair of leather sandals, and then the legs.
Obviously, he was starting his Saturday morning with hallucinations.
Only one good solution for that. He dangled an arm off the side of his bed and almost had his fingers wrapped around the neck of the bottle when one of the leather sandals kicked his buddy Jack Daniel’s under the bed, clipping his hand in the process.
“Ow.” Hallucinations didn’t take his booze and kick him in the knuckles.
Ignoring the throbbing in his hand and the stabs of hangover agony behind his eyeballs, Shane rolled onto his back and squinted at the rest of his non-hallucination.
Shoulder-length hair that fell in a sheen of dark chestnut brown, fair skin, fierce brown eyes, red lips compressed in a tight line, black skirt and white blouse, big briefcase-style purse. Had he picked her up at Harley’s last night? If so, he had to cut back on the sauce.
“Sorry,” he mumbled. “I forgot your name.” Pity, ’cause she was a hot little number, way classier than the regulars at Harley’s. It’s not like he got laid so often that he could afford to forget it when he did.
“We haven’t met.” She propped her hands on her hips and muttered something that sounded like, “And you’re supposed to help me?”
Help her with what? Wait, maybe she was a charter. Had he chartered The Evangeline out to a tour group or fishing party today? Surely he’d remember if there was money coming in.
Color him officially confused. He struggled to a seated position and gave her another look. “What am I supposed to help you with?”
She crossed her arms and raked a ball-shriveling gaze the length of his body. “I came here to offer you a job, but I don’t think you’re up to it.”
He tugged the sheet up in self-defense. “I’m not at my best. Ever consider making an appointment? Not dropping in at the crack of dawn?” He had no idea what time it was but it couldn’t be that late.
“It’s past noon. And I didn’t figure, given your financial situation, that you’d be so picky about what time of day someone offered you money.” She shook her head. “Never mind. This was a mistake.”
She banged her head on the low doorway out of the master cabin, which served her right, the sanctimonious shrew.
Click HERE to enter the giveaway for:
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About the Author:
Susannah Sandlin writes paranormal romance and romantic thrillers from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual. She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick.
She’s the author of the award-winning Penton Legacy paranormal romance series, a spinoff novel, Storm Force, a standalone novelette, Chenoire, and a new romantic thriller series, The Collectors, beginning this month with Lovely, Dark, and Deep. Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she also is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series. Her Penton novel, Omega, is currently nominated for a 2013 Reviewer’s Choice Award in Paranormal Romance from RT Book Reviews magazine.
Website and blog www.suzannejohnsonauthor.com
Guest Author ~ Alexandrea WeisPosted: March 14, 2014 | Author: Melissa Stevens | Filed under: Visitors | Tags: Alexandrea Weis, Bewitching Book Tours, Cover to Covers, Guest Author | Leave a comment
A man driven by his desires
Tyler Moore is considered cold, ruthless, and determined to get everything he wants. CEO of a flourishing oil company, he thrives on order and never gives up control to anyone.
The woman from his past
Monique Delome has left her unhappy past behind to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. Love is something she believes is better suited to the pages of her novels and not meant for real life.
Whether in the boardroom or the bedroom, Tyler Moore is always in charge. But when Monique Delome walks back into his life, everything changes. A successful romance author, all the sexy leading men Monique writes about strangely remind everyone of Tyler. Intrigued, Tyler sets out to seduce the one woman he could never forget. Soon Tyler gets more than he bargained for, and his grip on his well-ordered life is turned upside down.
Tyler Moore is about to find out what happens when a romantic tale jumps from the pages and comes to life between the sheets.
“If I can be of any further assistance, Mr. Moore,” a peppy blonde with too much black eyeliner said to the man in the impeccably tailored, dark blue Hugo Boss suit. “Please, let me know. I have your suite key.” She pushed the white key-card over the surface of the front desk. “Your usual order of Veuve Clicquot and strawberries will be waiting in your room,” she added with a welcoming smile.
The self-assured gentleman removed his dark Porsche sunglasses and let his deep-set dark brown eyes linger over the young woman’s attractive face. “Afraid I won’t be needing that this time, Missy,” he murmured, getting a glimpse at her nametag.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Mr. Moore. I was informed you are always to have a bottle of Veuve Clicquot waiting in your room whenever you stay with us.”
Wandering over Missy’s stout figure, his eyes fixated on the way her blue blazer clung to her ample bosom. “I usually do when I’m staying here for a relaxing weekend. This time, however, is all business.” He placed his sunglasses in his jacket pocket.
Missy leaned forward, revealing her cleavage as her blue eyes meandered up and down his body. “I am very sorry to hear that, Mr. Moore.”
The flirtatious pout that puckered her red lips made Tyler Moore wipe his hand across his chin, attempting to hide his cocky grin. At six-foot-one, with black, wavy hair outlining his chiseled cheekbones and determined, square jaw, he was used to getting such suggestive looks from the opposite sex. But he knew that looks could only get you so far with a woman.
“How sorry are you?”
Missy’s eyes popped with interest. “I…I’m not sure what you mean, Mr. Moore.”
“How sorry are you that I won’t be having any fun this weekend, Missy?”
She fingered the lapel on her blue blazer adjacent to her right breast. “I would hate to think your stay here would only be about business, Mr. Moore. If there was anything I could do to change that….”
He felt a kick of satisfaction as he gazed into her hopeful eyes. “Perhaps you might come up with a few suggestions of other ways I could spend my weekend in your wonderful hotel? We could go over them later…at the bar, after you get off work.”
The pale blush blossoming on her cheeks was so becoming that Tyler almost began to believe their playful repartee had been worth the effort.
“I’ll think about it, Mr. Moore.”
“You do that, Missy. When you have an answer, you know where to find me.” He motioned to his overnight bag and black suitcase by the desk. “Be a sweetheart, and have the porter take my bags to my room. I have to meet a client in the bar before I go up to my suite.”
The flush on Missy’s cheeks was positively radiant. “Yes, Mr. Moore. Right away.”
Tyler turned from the polished reception desk, unable to hide his smug grin. No matter where he went, the lust in a woman’s eyes never got old. The entire episode with the desk clerk had only reinforced his belief that it was his confidence, and not his looks, that always got a woman to give him what he wanted. He had learned long ago that his handsome face could only take him so far in life, and had made a concerted effort to take control of any situation. It was a philosophy he had incorporated into every arena of his life.
“I’ll have to check back in with sweet little Missy. See how she looks without the blazer.” He strutted across the lobby toward the arched entrance of the Rattlesnake Bar.
A warm glow of honey, onyx, and a contemporary Western-theme greeted him as he stepped into the cool bar. Perched on the brown leather barstools, an array of women sipped on a myriad of colorful alcoholic concoctions while trying to chase away the sweltering afternoon heat. Tyler noted how more than one set of eyes turned his way as he strolled up to the bar. He checked his confidence at the door and pushed all thoughts of possible late night hookups from his mind.
His flourishing oil and gas business was always more important than women. Besides, women were nothing more than a distraction at this point in his life. Having just passed the milestone of his fiftieth birthday, Tyler pondered that perhaps it was time for him to stop pursuing such meaningless liaisons and settle down with a tolerable woman who could cater to all of his needs.
“Two divorces is plenty,” he reasoned as he arrived at the onyx marble and teak-topped bar. Lightly stroking the smooth surface of the marble, he remembered many of the encounters he had experienced in that very bar. Snapshots of blurred faces and forgettable names skipped across his mind. Some of the women had been exciting, a few horrific, but none had been…memorable.
You know who was memorable, don’t you, Ty? his inner voice taunted. She was the one you let slip through your fingers.
Tyler snickered at his self-remonstrations. He hated to admit his inner demon was right, but it was. She had happened so long ago, but he found it funny how advancing age only seemed to make the memories of youth more poignant. It was as if growing older brought into focus the emotions that the impetuosity of youth seemed to blur.
About the Author:
Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Her first novel, To My Senses, introduced readers to the world of Nicci Beauvoir and garnered numerous awards and rave reviews.
Her popular second Nicci Beauvoir novel, Recovery, won the Gold Medal for best romantic suspense from The Reader’s Favorite Book Awards 2011, and was named best Romantic Suspense novel by the Spring 2011 NABE Pinnacle Book Awards.
Her fourth novel, Broken Wings, won best Contemporary Romance by the NABE Pinnacle Book Awards in 2012, was a Silver Medal winner in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards for Romance, as well as a finalist in the USA Book Awards for Romance in 2012, and a finalist in the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards for Contemporary Romance for 2012.
Diary of a One-Night Stand, was released in August 2012 and was named a Paranormal Romance Guild’s Best Reviewed of 2012. Her last novel, Acadian Waltz was a Readers’ Favorite Book Awards honorable mention winner for Best Contemporary Romance, and finalist in Best Southern Fiction.
A permitted wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans.
Guest Author ~ Giovanna LaganaPosted: March 7, 2014 | Author: Melissa Stevens | Filed under: Visitors | Tags: Begotten, Forsaken Prophecies, Giovanna Lagana, Guest Author | 2 Comments
In the blink of an eye Megan Johnson’s perfect life turns into a nightmare. Her beloved husband mysteriously dies in a car crash and her fourteen-year-old son, Tristan, runs away with a diabolical cult leader named Vincent Hellion. Her world is spiraling to destruction. She leans on her husband’s best friend, Rhett Foster, for support and help. But when feelings she thought she never had for Rhett begin to surface and unknown psychic powers possess her, she becomes more confused than ever. She tries to push her feelings for Rhett aside and focus on her visions to save her son before it’s too late.
Rhett Foster has loved Megan for so long. But he never confessed his feelings to her because his best friend was her husband. Now that her husband is dead, he struggles with his conscience. Should he tell Megan how he really feels or should he honor his best friend’s memory?
Megan’s desperate quest to find and free her son sets them both on a path of love, danger, and renewal. If they return, their lives will be changed forever.
Megan closed the door and leaned on it. She began to cry. Fatigue and the doctor’s words took their toll on her.
Rhett hugged her and caressed her long hair. “You heard what the doctor said? Tristan is going to be all right.”
She sniffled. “But what if he gets worse? Mark and he were so close. He lost his whole world a few days ago.”
“He still has you,” Rhett said.
“Yeah, but what if he doesn’t let me in? What if he won’t let me help him and support him? He’s a teenager now, Rhett. At his age, who knows how he will react.”
Rhett stared into her eyes, which she knew were watery, red, and puffy. “Then I’m here. Granted, my relationship with Tristan isn’t anywhere as close as his relationship had been with his dad, but we are still close. If he won’t confide in you, then I’ll try. The kid is tough. You and Mark hit the jackpot with him. He’ll be okay.”
“I hope you’re right, Rhett.”
He pulled out a compact pouch of tissues from his suit pocket. “Here you go.”
She smiled, wiped her teary eyes, and jokingly said, “Thanks, do you have any mascara in there, too?”
He put his hand in his pocket to check. “No, just a small lint remover. Care to use it?”
They both laughed at his joke. Then Megan felt a twinge of guilt for experiencing a happy emotion when she buried her husband just a few hours before. She turned serious. “Why is it that you always know what to say or do? It’s like you can read my mind.”
He smiled as he raised his left eyebrow. “That’s because we’ve known each other almost all our lives.”
“That’s true. There’s nothing we don’t know about each other. We have no secrets. You’re like the big brother I always wanted.”
Looking up into the air, he nodded. “Yeah, yeah, I know. I know. You always say that.”
“But it’s true. You’ve always been there for me, and for Mark.” A yawn escaped her lips. “What am I thinking right now?”
Rhett winked as he spoke. “Okay, okay, I get the hint. I’ll go now.” With genuine concern, he continued, “Are you going to be okay?”
“Yes, I think I’ll go to bed early.”
He opened the door. “I’ll call you tomorrow from work. Bye.” He kissed her cheek and left.
* * * *
As Rhett closed the door behind him, he rubbed his nose. Megan’s soft locks had tickled his cheek. He could still smell her strawberry scented shampoo. He thought about what she had just said as he stood on her porch. “We have no secrets,” she’d uttered. She was wrong.
He had a secret that he kept from her all of these years. He wondered if he should ever tell her the truth. Their friendship would be at great risk if he did.
Rhett got into his car, put on the radio, and tuned it to his favorite station. The Wind Beneath My Wings was playing. He had a flashback of when he and Megan had been seventeen. They were dancing to this song at their prom.
Since they didn’t have any dates, they decided to go with each other. A smile formed on his face as he remembered how they both had two left feet. A spectacle they had made of themselves on the dance floor. Ah, the fun times they had. Megan was certainly someone special. How boring his life would have been if she had never come into it.
He drove off, vowing to protect her and her son in these troubled times. He owed it to Mark and to himself.
About the Author:
Giovanna Lagana is a freelance author. Some of her short stories and poems have been featured in magazines like Tales of the Talisman, Short-Story.Me, Static Movement, and Fear and Trembling Magazine, etc.
To learn more about Giovanna and her writing, please check her website at: www.giovannalagana.com
Cover Reveal ~ Terri BrucePosted: March 4, 2014 | Author: Melissa Stevens | Filed under: Visitors | Tags: Bewitching Book Tours, cover reveal, Guest Author, Terri Bruce, Thereafter | 3 Comments
When recently-deceased Irene Dunphy decided to “follow the light,” she thought she’d end up in Heaven or Hell and her journey would be over.
Boy, was she wrong.
She soon finds that “the other side” isn’t a final destination but a kind of purgatory where billions of spirits are stuck, with no way to move forward or back. Even worse, deranged phantoms known as “Hungry Ghosts” stalk the dead, intent on destroying them. The only way out is for Irene to forget her life on earth—including the boy who risked everything to help her cross over—which she’s not about to do.
As Irene desperately searches for an alternative, help unexpectedly comes in the unlikeliest of forms: a twelfth-century Spanish knight and a nineteenth-century American cowboy. Even more surprising, one offers a chance for redemption; the other, love. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to have either if she can’t find a way to escape the hellish limbo where they’re all trapped.
I am THRILLED beyond all measure to finally be able to bring you Thereafter, and I want to thank all the fans who have waited (more or less patiently) an extra year for this book to finally come out. Thereafter would not have been possible without your support—thank you all! I hope you love this beautiful new cover as much as I do, and I hope you find Thereafter to be worth the wait.
Her hand touched a rock, one of the flat beach stones she’d seen on graves. She picked it up, laying it flat in her palm. She didn’t remember picking this up. In fact, she had been careful not to take any. It had seemed disrespectful and too much like stealing to remove them, and while she’d seen a few here—both loose and piled in cairns—she hadn’t picked any of them up. There had been no point. What would she do with a rock?
No wonder her bag was so heavy.
She tossed the rock over her shoulder and heard it hit the ground with a satisfying thud some distance away. It felt good to be rid of something, to make a decision and be sure it was the right one.
She surveyed the pile again and then grabbed a small handful of paper animals. She picked one up between a finger and thumb. It was a horse. Irene had been in Chinatown during Chinese Ghost Festival, a holiday in which the living left offerings for the dead. These offerings included paper replicas of things people thought the dead would need in the afterlife—money, clothes, television sets, and even animals. Irene had admired the precise and delicate folds of the Origami figures and had picked some up to admire them more closely. Without thinking, she had dropped them into her bag and apparently been carrying them ever since.
Well, even Jonah couldn’t argue with her on this—there was no way she was going to need a paper horse on her journey through the afterlife. Plus, these didn’t hold any sentimental value. She cast the horse onto a nearby fire and watched as the paper curled and blackened in the low-burning flames.
The fire leapt and seemed to glow blue for a moment. Irene tensed—what was happening?
Thick black smoke began to rise slowly from the flames, spiraling upward in a thickening column. The smoke grew denser and then elongated sideways. Irene leapt to her feet and backed away, her heart pounding. Something was forming in the fire.
The smoke was taking shape now; there was purpose and design in its movements. She could see a long, horizontal back, four legs, a neck, and finally a head and a tail. The smoke swirled with a final flourish and then shuddered into the solidity of a smoke-colored horse. The animal blinked passively. Then it violently shook its head, blew out a breath, and delicately picked its way forward out of the fire. It immediately put its head down and began to lip the ground, looking for food.
Irene stared stupidly at it. “Are you shitting me?”
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Terri Bruce has been making up adventure stories for as long as she can remember. Like Anne Shirley, she prefers to make people cry rather than laugh, but is happy if she can do either. She produces fantasy and adventure stories from a haunted house in New England where she lives with her husband and three cats.
Goodreads Profile: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6450132.Terri_Bruce
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Terri-Bruce-Fan-Page/325830544139030
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/terribruce
Guest Author ~ Pembroke SinclairPosted: February 21, 2014 | Author: Melissa Stevens | Filed under: Visitors | Tags: Bewitching Book Tours, Guest Author, Pembroke Sinclair, the Appeal of Evil | 2 Comments
Katie wants to invest her heart and soul in love, but she may lose both to Hell.
Katie, a senior in high school, is torn between loving the “good” guy, her childhood friend Wes who makes promises he doesn’t keep and abandons her when she needs him the most, and the “bad” guy, the new kid at school Josh who is also a real demon from Hell.
Katie wants someone who pays attention to her and puts her first, but what is she willing to give up to find him?
– CHAPTER 1
“You used to have a crush on me, ya know.”
Katie stopped dribbling the tennis ball on the court and focused on the speaker. Wes stood in front of her and to the left. He crouched, his forearms resting on his knees, his tennis racket twirling in his hand. When he glanced over his shoulder at her, a sly smile covered his lips. She remembered when his hair was blonde, but recently he had dyed it black and cut it into a short spike. It made his skin look paler than normal; his thin lips looked redder. The corners of his brown eyes wrinkled as his smile widened.
She set her jaw. There were so many things she could say to him, the first and foremost that he was an idiot, but she pressed her lips into a line. Why would he bring that up at that particular moment? What did it matter? With a shake of her head, she faced forward and threw the ball in the air. Pretending it was Wes’s head, she smashed her racket into it with all her might. It sailed over the net, and her opponent moved to the right to intercept it. A forehand shot sent it back toward Katie and Wes. It was beyond her court realm, so she let Wes get it. Inwardly, she kind of hoped it would hit him in the mouth, maybe swell up his lips so he couldn’t speak. It didn’t. He was ready and backhanded it over the net. The two teams volleyed a few more times, then the girl on the opposite side hit the ball a little too hard, knocking it out of bounds.
“Yeah!” Wes pumped his fist in the air, then approached Katie for a high five.
Reluctantly, she gave him one. The other team readied to serve, but the bell rang. Thank goodness, Katie thought. After leaving the tennis courts, she followed the rest of her class into their respective locker rooms.
Not being one to dilly-dally in the locker room and catch up on the latest gossip, it didn’t take Katie long to shower and change. Being naked around other girls made her nervous. She was more developed than they were, and the way they stared and huffed at her, like she could control nature, made her uncomfortable. The sooner she could cover up her body, the happier she was. She stopped at the bathroom mirror to quickly run a comb through her hair. With her dark brown hair wet, it looked black. It touched her shoulders, so it didn’t take long to get the comb through. She made sure the part in the middle was straight. Her hazel eyes caught the fluorescent lights and glittered for a moment. She leaned closer to the mirror and applied chapstick to her pouty lips. Tucking her hair behind her ears, she turned and headed out of the locker room.
As she stepped out the door and headed for the gym, someone grabbed her wrist from behind. The touch was familiar, and, if she was honest with herself, expected. Especially after what happened on the courts, an apology was in order. The action didn’t surprise her, and she didn’t cry out. Instead, she allowed herself to be pulled toward the storage area near the girl’s locker room that held the gymnastic mats. Her wrist was released and she turned to face him, crossing her arms over her chest. Wes hopped onto a stack of mats. It was typical of him to bring her someplace private, away from prying eyes, after making a spectacle in public. Wes was good at apologizing, but he was horrible about admitting he was wrong in front of others.
“Sorry about what I said on the court, but you needed some motivation. They were creaming us. I figured the best way to get you to play better was to make you mad.” He smiled.
Katie rolled her eyes and turned to walk away. She didn’t make it very far. Wes wrapped his legs around her thighs and pulled her backward. He draped his arm across her left shoulder and rested his hands on her ribs, right below her breast. She shuddered. His mouth was right next to her ear; his breath tickled her lobe.
“Why don’t you still have a crush on me?” he whispered. He traced his fingertip gently across her shoulder and down her arm.
Goosebumps rose on her flesh. Her stomach fluttered; a chill ran down her spine. The smell of soap and mint drifted into her nostrils. The heat from his body radiated through her, making her feel safe. It was a short-lived sensation though, and the flutter in her stomach quickly turned into a lump. She lifted her arm and dug her elbow into his side. He grunted and let go. Without a word, she stomped toward the gym.
Wes caught his breath and jumped off the mats. “Katie, come on. Come back. I’m sorry.” She turned around, her face red with anger. “Just leave me alone!”
She tried to keep her emotions in check, but the words came out louder than she expected. She spun around quickly, not wanting Wes to see how upset she was. As she did, she ran into someone. Jerking back, she opened her mouth to apologize, but the words stuck in her throat. Bright blue eyes met hers, then quickly flicked over her head. She took in the boy’s short light brown hair styled with gel, the full lips that turned down in a frown. The muscles bulged beneath his shirt, and she fought back the urge to place her hands back on his chest. Josh Evers.
“Everything all right, Katie? This guy bothering you?”
Oh, my God! she thought. He knows my name. Josh Evers knows my name!
It took her a moment to find her voice. “No, I’m fine. Thank you.”
The redness in her face that had been there from anger quickly turned into embarrassment. The desire to run and hide from both boys overwhelmed her.
“Hey, Josh, why don’t you mind your own business? Katie and I were having a private conversation.”
Katie glanced over her shoulder. Wes had placed his hands on his hips but hadn’t moved forward. She looked back at Josh.
“If you ask me, it doesn’t look like she wants to talk to you at all.” He balled his hands into fists at his sides, a gesture that didn’t go unnoticed by Wes.
“Oh, really? What are you going to do about it, Josh?” Wes spit the name out before taking a step forward.
Josh also took a step, and worry coursed through Katie’s body. The tension in the air was palpable. She didn’t want them fighting on her account. Although, in the back of her mind, the action flattered her. Especially coming from Josh. He had just transferred to their school at the beginning of the semester. As the captain of the baseball team, he was the desire of every girl in the school and the envy of the boys. Katie hadn’t thought he knew she existed. Yet, there he was coming to her rescue and calling her by name. It was enough to make her swoon. And she would have if the situation had been different. As it was, she needed to stay alert. A teacher could come by at any moment. She didn’t want them getting in trouble for her. She had no idea what she would say, but she could probably come up with something if she really needed to.
Not that she had anything to worry about from Wes. He’d never do anything to hurt her. He wasn’t lying when he said she used to have a crush on him. She’d liked him since they were in kindergarten. At times, Wes even made it seem he liked her back. Then, at other times, he made it perfectly clear he didn’t reciprocate her feelings. Those moments crushed her, sent her home crying on more than one occasion. But those moments of tenderness, the ones that made her believe he liked her, sustained her, kept her hoping that maybe someday something would happen between them. He had toyed with her emotions for their entire school career.
By her senior year in high school, she’d had enough. She couldn’t take the roller coaster of emotion, didn’t want to feel like she was being strung along. She resolved to stay away from Wes, convincing herself she could do it. Only one more year, then she’d leave for college, and she’d never have to see him again. But he showed up her in homeroom, then in her gym class. She wanted to burst into tears when he took the desk next to her. Why was he making this so difficult? Still, she wasn’t going to let her resolve fail. She would ignore him, pretend he didn’t exist.
When Josh showed up, he made pretending Wes wasn’t there so much easier. On top of that, he was standing up for her honor, defending her against a rival. As he stood in front of her, so close to her body she felt the heat radiating from him, thoughts of wrapping her arms around his waist and kissing him ran through her mind. She imagined how firm his muscles would feel under her hands, how soft his lips would be. She inhaled deeply and the spicy tang of aftershave caressed her nostrils. It took every ounce of self-control to keep from molesting him.
Josh took another step closer to Wes. Without thinking, she placed her hands on Josh’s stomach to stay him. As she suspected, the muscles were hard under her fingers. The seriousness of the situation flooded back into her mind. If she didn’t say something, a fight could ensue and someone might get hurt.
“Josh, no, please. He’s not worth it.” She glanced over her shoulder and stared at Wes with narrowed eyes.
Wes held his hands out to his sides. Hurt crossed his face.
Without saying another word, Josh wrapped his arm around Katie’s shoulders and escorted her into the gym away from Wes.
About the Author:
In 2009, eTreasures Publishing published my first novel, a sci fi adventure story. Since then, they have published my two YA zombie novels, my religious zombie novella, two children’s picture books, and two novellas with romantic elements. I have an urban fantasy novel about dragons and a vampire novelette that was published by MuseItUp Publishing. Musa Publishing has published my novelette with romantic elements and a collection of short stories. I have a middle grade urban fantasy novel that was published by Little Devil Books. My nonfiction book about slasher films was published by Scarecrow Press.
Writing is my passion. I enjoy creating fantastic worlds and memorable characters. I’m an active promoter of my works and love to talk to readers at book signings and readings. Doing giveaways on Goodreads has been an exciting experience, and having contests for readers has been fun. I actively promote various authors on my blog and participate in blog tours to promote my own work.
I write under several different pen names. For my children’s titles, I write under J.D. Pooker, and for my YA and adult novels, I write under Pembroke Sinclair. My nonfiction work is done under my real name.
I am a member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and am on a committee to create membership criteria for iPAL, which is a sister group to the Published Authors Liaison group and focuses on independent and self-published authors. I am also a member of the ALA and really enjoy doing library visits.