My Arcane Crossbreeds series is set in San Francisco. I fell in love with this charismatic city when my dad took me there as a high school graduation gift and my fascination with it didn’t dim when I revisited several years ago. However the city is so multi-faceted and complex that I always learn something new when I research it. In A Little Bit More, Gabe is looking for a new location for he and Kel to start their new life which meant I spent more hours than I should have researching areas of San Francisco. I stumbled across Coit Tower which is a piece of architecture that shoots up from Telegraph Hill to offer a 360 degree view of the infamous city by the bay. Although fascinating all by itself, it’s the unusual woman to which the tower was financed by and dedicated to: Elizabeth “Lillie” Hitchcock Coit. Being a woman in the last part of the Nineteenth century is a restriction most of we ladies today would never tolerate. And neither did Miss Lillie. Not only did she participate on a volunteer fire fighting company but she was know to smoke and drink and put her pants on one leg at a time with the rest of the men. At one point, she even held a middleweight boxing match in her drawing room. In a way, my character Kel Sheridan personifies the spirit of Miss Lillie. Both women gave little regard to the expectations of their gender and blazed forward according to their beliefs. I hope Kel Sheridan would have made Miss Lillie proud.
Download it for FREE here (this week only).
Kel Sheridan is a crossbreed and Gabe Ferrar is a pure blood. No two people could come from more different backgrounds and yet they still managed to overcome all obstacles to build a life together. Or have they? What happens when life throws just a little bit more at them?
Kel staggered as she shimmered into one of the uppermost floors of the Incog building. For one brief moment the room blurred around her, but she blinked it into focus…including the face of the Drachon she’d just teleported.
“Stop blowing your fire breath in my face,” Kel groused and pushed the young Drachon out of her space. Like the Sanguen, Drachon were another species of the Arcane, a longer-lived link off the same evolutionary chain as humans. A couple weeks ago her partner Raife Merrick, one of two Drachon she could actually stomach, had mated a crossbreed Sanguen being experimented on in a Triumvirate lab. Once word got out that it was possible for Drachon to mate outside their species, the bastards were lining up to help Incog take down the lab in hopes of finding more compatible females.
They had to fly beneath the radar of the Triumvirate, a trio of powerful witches who ruled the Arcane with a healthy amount of tyranny and kept a keen eye on Incog. It would be counterproductive for the bitches to know Incog intended to take out one of their supersecret Frankenstein labs. Kel was the only Sanguen with high enough security clearance to know the location of the incoming Drachon. That meant she’d spent the better part of the week teleporting a fucking dragon army to Incog from secret, outlying locations. And right now she was beyond exhausted and fighting some killer nausea.
All she wanted to do was crawl into her bed and avoid life for at least two days, but since they were taking down the lab after sundown, sleep wasn’t likely to get marked off her to-do list for at least another twenty-four. More’s the pity.
The Drachon leaned in to scent her. Kel palmed his face and pushed him away. “Don’t start.”
In order to survive past their final heat, Drachon needed to mate and impregnate a compatible female. If she had a nickel for every time she’d been sniffed this week…
His nostrils flared, and he frowned in disappointment.
Yeah, that’s right, you smoke blower, this incubator is already in use.
“I appreciate your assistance.” He bowed formally.
Kel waved him away and turned to leave. Whatever.
She was so done with this. Blowing out another breath, she shuddered in revulsion at the conflict going on in her gut. How could someone be starving and nauseous at the same time? Was that even possible? This baby crap already sucked, and she was only a few weeks into a nine-month sentence. She tried not to think too hard about it, tried not to look too far into the future. The problem right now was taking down that Frankenstein lab experimenting on other Arcane.
Then she would sleep for at least two days, skipping the eating again since this kid couldn’t decide if it wanted to be fed or just make her heave. It stood to reason that any spawn of hers would be difficult.
From her belt the deep sounds of Chopin’s Funeral March chimed, drawing the attention of the surrounding Drachon. Kel didn’t look down at it because there was only one person with that ringtone. “It’s been fun, boys.” With a jaunty salute she shimmered.
Kyeros Forestor didn’t look amused when Kel appeared in his office. She was just a tad to the left of where she actually intended to appear, and she’d knocked over a potted plant in her bid to catch her balance.
Bent over, she drew short breaths through her mouth to still the sudden urge to puke and dropped her gaze to her boss’s prized bonsai on the floor, the pot in pieces. Shit.
“As you can see, my men’s concerns are valid.”
Kel jerked upright and immediately wished she’d moved just a bit slower. The room tilted, and she grabbed the back of the chair she’d intended to teleport in front of. Looking for the source of that comment, she frowned at the big man standing to her far right near Forestor’s desk. Judging from how big the asshole was, she’d guess he was Drachon. No surprise there. Those fuckers knew no other way to grow them other than supersized. However, there was something different about this one. He wore the same black BDU pants that most of the others wore with a long-sleeved, gray thermal. He was leaner in the hip, his feet braced, and his gray eyes were a bit hard and wild.
A scrapper. She recognized that edge about him that promised he would do what was necessary to survive; she had seen it in the mirror for years. He’d also been here before. A couple weeks ago when Raife had brought his mate back from the Triumvirate labs.
“Brim Fallon, right?” He was some kind of go-to guy for the Drakes, the leaders of the Drachon.
He gave a curt nod, but his lips were thin and disapproving. Those gray eyes were flinty as he looked at her.
“Well, Brim Fallon, tell your ‘men’ to mind their own damn business.”
Kel snapped her mouth shut at the soft but authoritative warning from her boss. For all the shit she gave him, her respect for Kyeros Forestor was unconditional and complete. He’d pulled her from hell, given her purpose, and for that she would serve him until she cocked up her damn toes.
“I’ll take care of this,” Forestor said to the other man. “I appreciate you bringing your concerns to me. Please make yourself comfortable. I only ask that your men not leave the floor they’ve been assigned to.”
Brim nodded and moved to leave but paused next to Kel. His nostrils flared and something soft moved behind his eyes. “You should better care for yourself.”
Kel didn’t get the chance to spew the snarky comment that came to her lips because all that was left of him was a blur of movement before the door closed with a click. The bastards could move fast when they wanted to. It made getting the last word in damn hard. She glared at the door. Damn. She liked getting the last word.
Kel blew out a breath and dropped down into the chair she’d been clinging to. Leave it to Forestor to get right to the point. “Yes.”
Forestor was a Guardian in his prime, capable of using his every heightened sense to appraise his surroundings and those who were in them. His dark eyes studied her, and she knew he was using those abilities to evaluate her. By the way his brows lowered she could tell he wasn’t pleased with what he saw.
“Where is Marshal Ferrar right now?”
Kel quickly defended her mate. “Doing some House bullshit somewhere. I talked to him this morning.” Gabe called her at least twice a day. He said it was because he needed to hear her voice, but she suspected he recognized something was off with her but couldn’t quite figure it out. Her blood gave him some Guardian extrasensory abilities; he just wasn’t accustomed to using them. Otherwise, he may have known about the pregnancy before she did. “He’ll be back tonight.”
Kyeros folded his arms over his chest. “Why is he not here now? You are Sanguen. You have needs only he can meet. I expected more from him.” There was a flare of power as though his body heat expanded to brush over her, and she squelched a wince. Kyeros was protective by nature but more so over her than the others. It was most likely because he’d carried her broken body out of hell when she was barely a teenager. A muscle in his jaw ticked. “I will speak with him and make him aware of his responsibilities.”
This time Kel did wince. “I’m a full-grown adult, Kye. You don’t have to defend my honor. Besides, we’re already mated, so no need to go get your shotgun, Paw.”
Kyeros lifted one brow in that expression that said he was exasperated. He used it so often with her it had long ago lost its significance. “This is not humorous, Kel. You are obviously suffering because of his neglect.”
Kel sighed. “It’s not neglect. He doesn’t know.”
Today I have Lisa Eugene on the blog, talking about dealing with life. Welcome Lisa!
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DEALING WITH LIFE/FINDING TIME TO WRITE
Working full time, three kids and a husband (really four kids) makes finding time to write very difficult. Literally, there are many times I’ve taken my laptop into my closet to write. The problem is that I get so immersed in my characters and my scenes that I forget where I am until a loud voice or a scream (usually a scream) intrudes and I realize that I’m sitting on the floor, in the dark, in the cold, with a pair of slacks wrapped around my neck and my toes tucked into a sweater vest keeping me warm! Sometimes, I’ll start talking to one of my characters or whoop really loud because one of them has done something hilarious. That’s usually a dead giveaway that mommy’s in the closet again. There are times when my kids will come in to ask me questions then leave and pull the door close.
Overall, my family has been very understanding about the time I need, and about how I get so engrossed in my characters. My little one especially, because he may get to sneak an extra cookie without mommy noticing. He hasn’t realized yet that I count them! My husband can get a little surly, especially if I accidently call him by my current hero’s name (I’ve learned that’s a total no-no!) The only way to placate him is to remind him that all my heroes are absolutely gorgeous and well endowed. I beg him to for forgiveness because…hmmm…the similarities are just so close. That usually puts a smile on his face and I’m free to return to my closet!
The problem is that I never know where creativity will strike or where the end to a crazy scene will finally become clear. It could be while I’m at the playground with my son, or at work, or in the bath. My husband says I go into a trance and my eyes start to roll excitedly. Just because I stare straight ahead and block out the world I wouldn’t call it a trance. Doesn’t every writer do that? At any given time I may have a bag full of coffee cups with scribbles, napkins with paragraphs written in eyeliner, or yes even leaves with strange markings that is only recognizable to me! These things I will protect with my life until I’m able to get to my laptop and God save the person who accidentally tosses them out!!! Spontaneous creativity may only strike once!
Blurb: Conservative Emergency Room Physician, Nina Henley has always followed the rules. Her life has been dictated by her unwavering commitment to medicine. Wade Connolly, renowned medical malpractice attorney and ‘New York’s sexiest bachelor’ enters her life and challenges her with his bold sexuality and intense passion. One look into his gorgeous blue eyes and Nina is forced to acknowledge needs that have long been repressed. When she becomes involved in Wade’s perilous malpractice case she realizes that she is at risk for not only heartbreak, but betrayal as everything she’s worked so hard for is threatened. Will Wade’s passion and love be enough to save her or will she lose everything…including her life?
Excerpt of STRICTLY BUSINESS rated ADULT:
Professional, she kept repeating to herself. Gorgeous and huge! Another voice kept insinuating itself into her overheated brain. The air in the room was thick and the only sound that echoed off the walls was the steady rhythm of their mingled breaths. Nina moaned as he lifted her top, exposing her black lace bra. Cool air teased her hot skin, making her shiver. A finger tormented her nipple and she was sure she whispered “please” before he groaned huskily and closed his mouth over her breast.
Caught in a cloud that was all sensation and need, she trailed her fingers down to the waistband of his pants.
“God…I want you. Where can we go? Is it safe in here?” His husky breath floated against the shell of her ear, sending a hazy buzz along her skin.
The loud jingle of the beeper hanging precariously from her scrub bottoms sliced through the moment like a sledgehammer. They both stared at each other, stunned, wide eyed, and wanting.. She exhaled an unsteady breath as she skimmed a hand over her hair, ignoring the jab of several pens. She quickly checked the state of her scrubs. She couldn’t believe that she’d acted so impetuously—like a sex starved lunatic! Remorse stabbed at her. Thoughts of her promising career and the life she’d built all twirled around in her head like a frenzied tornado, threatening to disappear into the fuzzy distance…
BUY STRICTLY BUSINESS
Previously on Budget Romance, I mentioned that a fun and romantic thing to do with your partner is to take a dance lesson. Many dance studios offer free first lessons in hopes of enticing you to purchase full classes. While taking these free lessons can be fun, they can also be intimidating. Who wants to dance in front of others if they have two left feet?
Or perhaps you’ve tried the inital dance class, loved it, but can’t afford to take the full class? What then?
Well, you can teach yourself, of course! I ran into lessons while doing research for one of my books (not published – yet ). Youtube has a huge selection of dance lessons aimed at the beginner. Whether you want to try some Latin dances, some trendy dances, or you just want to moonwalk like Michael Jackson, there’s something for everyone.
So grab your partner (and perhaps a bottle of wine) and give it a whirl. You may not master the steps right away, but I’ll guarantee that you’ll have a lot of fun.
Don’t know where to begin? Give these lessons a try…
Today we have Shanae Branham on the blog. She’s sharing a deleted scene from her book, DiSemblance. Welcome Shanae!
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While writing DiSemblance, I learned a lot about relationships, especially the relationship between character development and the overall tone of the narrative. In order to keep the relationship tender between Boston and Jason, I had to delete one of my favorite scenes for Boston when I revised DiSemblance for the second edition (This scene is still in the first edition copies of DiSemblance.).
What I really like about this scene is how Boston stands up to Jason. I had to delete it because there wasn’t enough time in the story to have her plausibly get angry with Jason and then happy with him again. The overall tone of the story was just better without it. In the following scene, Jason and Isaac are inside a computer program in the hologram machine playing cards with a digital copy of Boston in a room resembling their kitchen.
I hope you enjoy it.
Jason ate his sandwich while the DC dealt the cards, and Isaac stared off into space. The grandfather clock in the hallway struck 9:00 just before they heard Boston call out from the other room. “Jason, Isaac…anyone home?” Then the door to the computer room opened, and the real Boston stepped inside.
Jason stood up as Isaac darted into the pantry to hide. Boston grabbed her purse from the computer terminal, turned around and saw Jason staring at her through the holodeck window. “Your front door was open.” She held her purse up in front of her like a shield. “I forgot this, and my Mom needed the car keys in it.”
Jason looked at the DC. She set her cards down and waited patiently for the game to start. He felt his face flush as he realized that it looked like he was alone with Boston’s replica.
“You jerk!” Boston cried. “Is that supposed to be me?”
“It’s not what you think,” Jason said.
“What do you think I am? Stupid?”
Jason closed his eyes, and the DC disappeared from the program. “Of course, not.”
Boston put her hands on her hips. “Does she fulfill all your needs?”
“Most,” Isaac said, stepping out of the pantry.
Boston flung the purse as hard as she could at the computer terminal. It slammed against the keyboard. Jason felt the hologram room shake. Then its lights flickered as the program’s image flipped, blurred, and then vanished.
Intense darkness surrounded Jason. …Then suddenly, the hologram room switched on again. …He stood up and placed his hands on his hips. “Now look what you’ve done!”
“What I’ve done?” Boston’s face flushed red.
“You overloaded my programming.”
“Did I destroy her?”
Her question surprised Jason. “We’ve got a back-up file.”
Boston frowned, regaining her confidence. “You’re not the hero I thought you were!” The comment was more of an accusation than a statement.
“I wasn’t trying to be a hero.”
“Did you hear me?” Boston cried.
Jason threw his hands up in the air. “Just push the restart button.”
“Won’t that mess you up?”
Jason turned his back on Boston, composing himself. He did not want to yell at her. When he turned around again, he felt much calmer. “My energy signature has a separate system with its own power source.”
“Why can’t you just walk out the door?”
“I’m locked in stasis until I have a program to enter and exit from.”
“Perfect.” Boston picked her purse up off the computer terminal and headed toward the door.
“Where are you going?”
She stopped. Savoring the moment, she straightened her blouse, combed her fingers through her hair and turned back to face him. “Get your copy of me to do it for you!”
“You’re being unreasonable!”
“I’m being unreasonable? You’re the one stuck in a machine!” Boston strutted angrily from the room.
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Subgenres: Sci-fi, suspense, mystery, paranormal
ISBN: ISBN-10: 1477527761
Number of pages: 272 pages
Word Count: 55, 894
Jason Tanner lives between two worlds. Problem is, only one is real.
As a computer prodigy, Jason has spent his life with limited social contact due to his father’s secretive work on a hologram machine that can create digital immortality. When his father is murdered and framed as the Comfort Killer, Jason is targeted as the killer’s new fall guy. Having spent much of his youth living in the virtual world his father created, he must now go on the run if he is going to save himself, his brother, and the beautiful girl next door.
An exciting, action-packed ride to a future happening today, Shanae Branham’s modern techno thriller is the perfect exhilarating adrenaline rush for a technosavvy generation. Expertly weaving cutting-edge technology with almost unbearable suspense, she crafts a wild, white-knuckled thriller that pushes the boundaries of science. Full of intensity and extraordinary vision, DiSemblance attacks the senses as it challenges the mind and imagination.
“Branham does a brilliant job creating suspense….She ramps up the tension by keeping readers guessing over the identities of Jason’s foes and about how Jason’s situation ties in with the hunt for the killer.”
“Jason’s love for his father and his motivation to find out what happened to him are particularly refreshing.”
“The characters of Jason and Isaac are … cool enough to rise to the occasion … making readers feel like they are rooting for real young men.”~ Jill Allen, Clarion Review (4 Stars)
Buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/DiSemblance-ebook/dp/B008ZLPU4M
The lines between reality and virtual reality are about to blur—and the result is murder.
Lloyd Tanner is a former MIT computer physics genius turned private sector visionary: he has created a hologram machine that can create digital immortality. This revolutionary technology is both a blessing and a curse. There are many who would steal the technology, and Lloyd’s family has had to live secluded from the world. But no matter how careful you are, there is no such thing as a well-kept secret, and there are those who will stop at nothing to get their hands on Lloyd’s.
Detective Bruce Durante has been handed the case of the Comfort Killer, a serial killer so named because he abducts terminally ill patients and returns their corpses to their families in refrigerated coffins. Picking up the trail, Durante finds it leading straight to the home of Lloyd Tanner.
When Jason Tanner’s father is murdered and framed as the Comfort Killer, Jason destroys all of the evidence in an attempt to save his father’s name. Trouble is, now Jason is in the crosshairs to become the fall guy. Having spent much of his youth living in the virtual world his father created, he must now go on the run for real if he is going to save himself, his brother, and the beautiful girl next door. But the secrets of his father’s invention run deep and Jason, his brother Isaac, Boston, the Comfort Killer, and Detective Durante hurtle towards one another on a deadly collision course that leaves everyone’s life hanging in the balance.
About the Author:
I am a professional writer with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a minor in grammar. I have also attended several years of classes and workshops in screenplay writing at the Los Angeles Screenplay writer’s Expo.
I love suspense thrillers and am a master at plot and character development. I enjoy stories with happy endings. I promise all my readers that when they put one of my books down or walk away from one of my movies, they will be enthused with excitement and joy. This does not mean there will not be some sad parts, because you have to feel the bitter in order to understand the sweet.
I was born and raised in a small town in Idaho. I am the second out of six children. When I was in my early 20′s my mother was killed by a drunk driver. This one incident drastically changed my life. I have always had a passion for reading and writing fiction. Owing to a life long struggle with Dyslexia, early teachers discouraged me from pursuing a career in writing.
As I have spent over twenty years wrestling with my language disabilities-turning them into professional writing skills, God has honed my insatiable passion into an incredible vision.
My Christian upbringing has instilled within me the belief that “…with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37). This has sustained me through the hard times. Because of my language disability, I have had to learn the structure of the English language like other people learn math – building block upon building block.
I am grateful for this experience because it developed in me a skill and love for diagramming sentences, which unfortunately is becoming a lost art.
I want my life to be a living testament that with God’s help anyone can achieve their worthwhile dreams. What God requires is the humility to change, a childlike teach-ability to learn, and the patience and persistence to practice and work until their weaknesses are transformed into strengths.
Today I’d like to mention a brand new blog set up by my friends Ella Portman and Lana Savage. These two ladies love to read erotica and erotic romance and wanted to set up a blog dedicated to their passion. At this site, which debuts next week, they’re hoping to bring erotica authors and readers together in one place to exchange ideas and have a little fun.
If you’re a reader, make sure that you sign up for email notifications in the right side bar. You don’t want to miss any of the contests, exclusives or discussions we’ll be hosting.
If you’re an erotica or erotic romance author, then go here to see how you can participate. There are many things you can do, from paid advertisements, to guest blogs, to exclusive excerpts, to contests, and more. Don’t be shy, email Ella (ellapartman1 @gmail .com – no spaces) for availability.
Lana tells me that for now, they’re sticking with erotica and erotic romance. Depending on reader response, they might expand to a more mainstream romance site by the end of the year, so stay tuned!
Today I’m thrilled to have Randi alexander on the blog. She’s promoting her F-R-E-E book, Double her Fantasy, as well as telling everyon eabout the power of free in book marketing. If you haven’t gotten your book yet, you should. It’s risk free, and a really hot read. Take it away, Randi!
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Free Book! Double Her Fantasy by Randi Alexander, and a Chance to Win a Sexy Nightshirt and Two Other Fun Prizes
Hi – I’m Randi Alexander, and I’ve got a couple fun things going on this week. My erotic menage romance is free at Amazon June 4 – 8. Published by The Wild Rose Press, it’s a hot and romantic story that I hope you’ll enjoy.
Drop by my website for multiple chances to win a cute nightshirt (sizes S – 3X) with my tagline printed on it, a big coffee mug, or a handy flask necklace. Click here to enter: http://randialexander.com/2013/06/win-sexy-nightshirt-prizes/
The theory behind my book being free is very interesting. My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, now pre-publishes all their e-books on Amazon KDP Select. This means, they’re available exclusively on Amazon for 90 days, and for five of those days, the book is free.
Wild Rose contends that this is one of the best promotional ideas out there. I think it’s great. All you wonderful readers get to download my book today, and maybe, if I’m lucky and you like the book, you’ll post a review for me.
Many writers use KDP Select as a way to promote their books on a budget, and a few authors I know swear by it. We get our names out to a large group of people who may not otherwise ever hear of us.
Today’s the last day of the free download, and you can bet that I’ll be pestering my editor in the next few days to tell me how many people grabbed it. I’m all for trying something new, and being as frugal as I am, I’m looking forward to seeing how this marketing idea works.
Thanks for having me here today, and don’t forget to get your free copy!
BOOK BLURB: At a comic book convention, artist Megan Shore is thrilled to meet action movie hunk Garret McGatlin. Usually reclusive, Megan flirts with the leading man of her sexual fantasies. He invites her to his suite for a drink, but when she arrives, his rancher brother Trey opens the door and unleashes Megan’s cowboy fantasy. Both men pour on the charm, and she can’t decide which of them she desires more.
The McGatlin brothers have shared women, but none of them were like Megan, irresistible and perfect for both of them. Working together, they execute a potent seduction. During a hot, amazing week, the three-way relationship becomes emotionally charged. When they’re thrown into the media spotlight, Megan fears the exposure will trigger a past threat. Garrett and Trey need to prove they can keep Megan safe as well as happy and satisfied in their arms.
Available at Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/ZFyXI1
EXCERPT: The brothers liked sharing women, had been addicted to it since Garret was just out of high school. It’d been many months since they’d spent a night as a threesome. Trey held up his phone. “I can find out who she is.” Their eyes met. “She looked tall.”
“Heels. But she had to be nearly six feet without them. She was…” He leveled his hand across the top of his nose. “About five-ten, five-eleven.”
Trey let a soft groan escape. Tall women with dark hair charmed him senseless. “Curvy?”
“Yeah. Real nice.” His brother adjusted the front of his jeans and Trey felt his own pants tighten a bit.
Trey pulled out his phone and accessed the internet. “She’s part of the convention. They called her Megan.”
“Heard that. Might not be her real name, though.” Garret slumped lower in the seat and dropped his head back. “She’s got attitude. Spunk. She’d be a lot of fun.”
“Here she is. Megan Shore. Huh.”
Garret rolled his head to face him. “What?”
“She’s a graphic artist. One of the best in the world. From Canada.”
“Canada? Shit.” He turned his head forward again. “That’s halfway around the world from Texas.”
Trey laughed. “Did you flunk geography?” He touched a link to her website. “And anyway, who said we’re bringing her home with us? Least, not until we get to know her a hell of a lot better.”
“True. She may have the personality of a cactus and the brains of a donkey.”
Trey stared at Megan Shore’s avatar. A cartoon image of herself. Had she drawn it? It was really good. “Private person.”
Turning the face of his phone to his brother, Trey grinned. “Artist’s rendering instead of a picture.”
“Shit, even in the drawing she’s sexy.”
“For the face and body you swear she’s got, I’d spend the time getting to know her.” He accessed her bio. “See if she’s got a personality, and a…” Her education was impressive. “Says she’s got a master’s degree. So much for your donkey brain theory.”
“Aw, hell.” Garret chugged down his water, crushed the bottle, and tossed it in the trash bin. “She recognized me in the elevator. She’s gotta think I’m the biggest ass this side of Mexico.”
Trey sucked in a breath as a plan formed. “You willin’ to apologize to the lady, little brother?”
Their eyes locked as ideas wordlessly flew back and forth between them for a few seconds. It’d be Garret’s decision whether to pursue her or not. He was always alert to the possibility of choosing the wrong woman, someone who’d sell their story to the tabloids.
Garret sat up. “Make it happen.”
* * * * * * * *
I hope you like Double Her Fantasy, and good luck in the contest!
“Rode Hard and Put Up Satisfied”
Double Her Fantasy is free in digital format at Amazon
This week’s budget romance idea goes hand-in-hand with spring cleaning. For many of us, there’s a long list of things projects that need to get done around the house. There might be something that needs to be fixed, or you might want to try some new home improvement. If this is the case, why not attempt the project with your partner and make a date of it?
Do know how to do something? Today there are endless resources to help. Take a class at a “do it yourself” store like Home Depot. Look up an instructional video on youtube. When all else fails, read the directions that come in the box. *grins*
Whether it is staining a piece of furniture, making a bird house, doing a bit of landscaping, or assembling a play-set for the kids, working together toward a common goal is a great way to bring both you and your partner closer together. Not only will you learn a lot about each other, but you’ll both have a sense of accomplishment when the project is finished.
Today we have Ann Gimpel on the blog talking about how she organizes her writing life. Thanks so much for stopping by today, Ann!
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Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. I hope the following is what you were looking for. It actually makes my life seem dull as dishwater, but maybe it is.
How I Organize my Writing Life
At least for me, a writing career encompasses three distinct parts: writing, editing, and marketing. Back at the beginning, I used to maintain an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of where I’d sent my submissions and who’d rejected them. I still do that to some extent, but as my track record has improved it’s gotten simpler to just sub something to a publisher I’m fairly certain will take it and wait to hear back from them.
Writing is like any other job. Keeping to a schedule makes it manageable. Like they say with most things, the devil is in the details. What works for me may not work for someone else. I can write anytime which helps. Some of my writer friends need to write early or late, so they organize their lives around a schedule which supports their muse. Mine is such a pushy broad, she nags me all the time. Accommodating her has never been a problem.
I love writing. Straight up love it. So it’s not a task or a chore. When I’m working on something, I turn out a chapter a day, every day. My chapters run about 3000 words. The next day, I’ll reread/edit the previous chapter to get me back into the “mood” of the book and then I’ll get the chapter du jour written. Time wise, it takes me roughly three hours to edit a chapter and write a new one. That’s not to say I don’t have days when I turn out 5000 words, but when that happens, not much else does and it makes for unhappy family members. Once I’m done with a manuscript, I let it rest for a couple of days and then I go through it at least once, usually twice, before subbing it. (Hey! I’ve gotten better. I used to edit my stuff four times before I sent it in.)
Most of my days begin with an hour or two of some sort of marketing. I do that over breakfast and a couple cups of coffee. Then I slot in a spot of housework. (LOL, that one is a low priority.) Sometime before the morning is over, hubby and I and the dogs go for a couple hours’ worth of trail running or skiing or some other sort of exercise. Unfortunately, my gym time has dwindled to practically nil. I keep kettle bells at home and work out with them, but not enough.
After lunch, I settle in to write. Unless I’ve had edits come back from one of my publishers. Contracted work always takes priority. I have a system for that, too. I go through and accept or reject the editor’s suggestions and make comments. Then I go through and reread whatever the editor sent in “final” view. I inevitably find errors both the editor and I missed. I insert my fixes with Track Changes and back to the editor it goes. Probably by the time one of my manuscripts is published, I’ve read it about ten times. Enough so I know if a comma’s been moved.
Recapping, I write every day when I’m working on something. I edit as I write, and again once I’m done. And yet again for both content and final line editors as my stories return to me. I market most days, although I admit to taking a day off here or there when I need a break. I get exercise every day and do things which aren’t related to writing. Someone very wise once told me a writer who only writes eventually turns out very dull material. I believe them. Writers need lives to infuse vitality into what they write.
I’m interested in other writers’ processes. Tell me what works for you in terms of organizing your writing life. I’d love to know.
By Ann Gimpel
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Release Date: 5/20/13
Tina made a pact with the devil seven years ago. It’s time to pay the piper—or die.
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Independent to the nth degree, Tina meets everything in her life head-on—except love.
When an almost-forgotten pact with the devil returns to haunt her, Tina knows she has to go back to the Andes to face her doom.
Caught between misgivings and need, she signs on as team doctor for one of Craig’s expeditions. Though he was once the love of her life, she pushed him away years before to keep him safe. Even if he doesn’t love her anymore, there’s still no one she’d rather have by her side in the mountains.
Trapped in a battle of life and death, passion flares, burning hot enough to brand their souls.
A heavy weight jammed Tina McKenzie against her mattress. I’m dreaming, her sleep-saturated brain insisted. The pressure doubled and then tripled. Her eyes snapped open, but her bedroom was inky black. She couldn’t see a thing. Breathing became a struggle. Her physician-trained brain panicked. She writhed against an invisible mass lying on top of her. It pushed back.
A burnt odor with overtones of something dead and rotten invaded her nostrils. It smelled like the cadaver lab but without formalin. An insidious cold seeped into her bones. Whatever held her down was freezing her from the inside out. Her heart stuttered. Breath clogged in her throat, unable to move past her squashed larynx. How long could she live without oxygen before she sustained brain damage? A few minutes at best. Her mind shied away from what was happening. The thing in her bedroom wasn’t human. It couldn’t be; it wasn’t breathing. Shit. I’m going to die here.
Her body thrashed against her unseen assailant, but she couldn’t budge it more than an inch or so. No point wasting energy screaming. She lived so remotely, no one would hear her. She tried to raise her arms; they were pinned against her sides. A flickering white haze fractured her vision. People don’t die in dreams.
I’m not dreaming, another inner voice chimed in.
“No, you are not dreaming.” A guttural voice sounded deep in her mind. Accented, it reminded her of… Understanding slammed home and left her reeling. It wasn’t possible. Shivers cascaded down her body. Her blood turned to ice.
“Good,” the voice continued. “You remember me.”
“What?” she sputtered, struggling to get words out. “You can read my thoughts?”
“Of course.” A quiet chuckle. “You made me a promise, doctor. You had seven years. They are nearly expired. Consider yourself fortunate I was kind enough to remind you.”
“Y-you tracked me down?” Her teeth chattered uncontrollably.
The chuckle morphed into a laugh. “I have always known where to find you. Did you delude yourself you were invisible here in the United States? Blood for blood, doctor. You owe me.”
As quickly as it had come, the pressure on her body vanished. Tina shot to a sitting position and sucked air until her oxygen-starved body quit shrieking. She wanted to scream—to curl in a ball and howl—but she was afraid if she gave in to hysteria, she’d never get herself under control again.
Even though common sense told her the danger had passed, she couldn’t stop shaking. Once she thought her legs might support her, she tottered to the window, grasped the light-blocking drapes, and shoved them aside. Medical school and residency had destroyed her natural sleep-wake cycle. She’d installed the room-darkening shades in an attempt to normalize it, except it hadn’t worked. She still was awake until very late; most nights she struggled to get four hours of sleep.
She gazed out the window, frosted from cold. It must have frozen last night. The sky in the east had a pearlescent cast. Dawn. It would be a sunny autumn day in Leadville, Colorado. Too bad the sun wouldn’t percolate into her soul. Tina wrapped her arms around herself. She was so cold she wondered if she’d ever get warm again.
Think, she commanded herself. There’s got to be a way out of this.
Yeah, like what? Years had passed since she’d entered into what she’d always considered a pact with the devil. The further away she’d gotten from that nightmare in the Andes, the more certain she’d become she’d never have to keep her end of the bargain.
Tina walked slowly to her dresser. She tugged the ragged, sweat-soaked T-shirt that doubled as a nightshirt over her head and stood surveying her chilly bedroom. For once in her life she was unsure what to do. Gooseflesh rose, a visceral reminder of her nakedness. She pulled black sweatpants and a top out of a drawer and put them on, followed by half socks and her running shoes. She picked up her iPhone to consult its calendar and then dropped it back onto the top of the dresser. She knew what day it was: October 15th. In two months and ten days, her time would be up.
Adrenaline shot through her. Her stomach roiled. Bile burned the back of her throat. She strode down the hall and stopped in the kitchen long enough to pour water and beans into the coffee maker and set the timer. Tina let herself out the back door. Her jogging route was always the same: eight miles and two thousand feet of gain. It took a little less than ninety minutes. She did it every day she was home despite the weather. In winter it took longer because she used snowshoes.
Tina turned to glance at the buff-colored, turn-of-the-century, two-story farmhouse she called home. It had been in her family for ages. A few miles out of town, she’d always considered the location perfect because no one bothered her. Wind blew the last of the leaves off the aspen trees. She considered returning to fetch a hat, but didn’t want to go back inside. Her house wasn’t hers anymore. The thing—mountain spirit or shaman or whatever the fuck he was—had invaded her territory. It felt sullied. Unclean. I’m going to have to get over that.
Problem was she didn’t believe in the paranormal. She was a scientist, goddammit, trained to believe in what she could see and feel and touch, in what was illuminated under her microscope when she worked in an Emergency Room. Her experience nearly seven years before had been so surreal—she’d relegated it to high altitude hypoxia.
Tina ran hard. Sweat slicked her sides. Her breath came fast. She’d buried the memory of what happened in Bolivia. It came roaring back with a vengeance, almost as if it resented the hell out of the subterranean prison she’d confined it to at the very bottom of her psyche.
* * * *
Tina struggled against wind that wanted to flatten her, or worse, blow her off Illimani’s long summit ridgeline. She was by herself. Twenty-two hundred vertical feet separated her from her camp on the edge of the glacier. “At least I can still see,” she muttered. “And I got the summit.”
She glanced at her watch, illuminated in the beam of her headlamp. One in the morning. Normally, she would have waited until then to start climbing, but wind shrieking like a banshee had made it impossible to sleep. She’d set up her camp at eight p.m. and headed for the mountaintop without stopping to think too hard. She wanted Illimani’s summit. It was the second highest peak in Bolivia and a huge massif with five separate highpoints.
And now I’ve done it.
Careful, a different inner voice cautioned. Ninety percent of climbing accidents happen on the way down.
A vicious blast of wind buffeted her. Tina slammed one of her ice axes into the snow to anchor herself to the mountain. As if her inner voice had been prophetic, clouds descended, obliterating what had been a clear sky in a matter of minutes.
What the fuck? She peered through impenetrable muck. “Shit,” she spat. “I can’t see.” Surely the clouds were a momentary event. They’d pass by, especially in this wind. They had to. Minutes ticked by. Visibility eroded even further. She took a steadying breath and then another. No sat phone. No radio. No one even knew where she was. Yeah, I broke a bunch of really important rules.
This peak was supposed to be easy, one of her inner mavens whined.
Oh shut up.
“Got to pull myself together.” Tina spoke out loud to calm herself. She visualized where she’d been on the mile-long ridge. She’d passed the false summit so she had to be close to the lip that dropped off a fifty-degree cliff. Her heart thudded against her ribs. She panted from more than the twenty thousand foot altitude. She tried to swallow, but dry throat tissue grated against itself. Stooping, she gathered some snow in a glove, made a ball out of it, and placed it in her mouth.
Another blast of wind was so intense she planted her other axe. “Get going,” she instructed herself. “Now.”
Moving by feel, one painstaking step at a time, Tina worked out a rhythm. She probed the snow ahead with an axe. If it held, she moved down to it and stopped. To counteract the vertigo from navigating through thick fog, she counted steps. Her first guess was it wouldn’t take more than five hundred to reach the edge of the ridge. On three fifty-six, one of her axes punched through into open air. Tina threw her body backward, gasping. This was how climbers died. By getting cocky and making bad decisions.
She got to her feet; her legs shook. She shoved an axe into the snow and a chunk fell away. She moved a few degrees to the right; more snow flaked off. By the time she’d inscribed a forty-five degree arc, she knew she had to be at the end of the ridge. Tina fumbled at the hardware belt hanging from her waist and got an ice screw. She threaded it carefully into what felt like firm snow, clipped in a carabineer, and ran her rope through it. Next came a breaker bar attached to her harness so she could rappel down the steep part.
Her breath came fast. She moved more by feel than anything else. Her headlamp beam was weakening and she didn’t have fresh batteries. She tossed out a silent prayer to the god who took care of climbers, double-checked her rope and attachments, and turned to face the slope. Her ice axes dangled from her wrists; her crampon points bit into the snow. She backed down until she felt the slope steepen and then moved the hand that would control her descent out to the side. Her other one gripped the rope over her head to steady her descent.
The minute she put her full weight on her anchor, it ripped out of the snow. The rope, worthless now that it wasn’t attached to anything, hung through the breaker bar. An end whapped her in the face. Holy Christ. I’m falling…
She flailed her axes like a wild woman; one connected with something and held. Tina slammed in the other and her front points. She screamed. Wind ripped the sound away as soon as it left her throat. Fright balled her stomach into a burning knot. One of her crampon front points slipped.
Can’t stay put. Got to move down. No point in going up. Nothing solid to rap off of. Thoughts of falling to her death pounded through her head. To keep from going mad, she lectured herself.
“Move one thing at a time. Three solid points of attachment before I move anything. Test everything. Then test it again… Okay, let’s go.”
Finally, the angle of the slope eased. Her rope had been nothing but a pain in the ass, dangling from the breaker bar attached to her harness. She’d stabbed her front points through it time and time again. She let herself move a little faster. The edge of the glacier was the most welcome thing she’d ever found. She tugged the rope free and tried to coil it, but her hands shook so badly she couldn’t. Tina dropped the rope into the snow, sat on it, dropped her head into her hands, and cried. She was a long way from safety, but the sheer relief of being off the steep face was overwhelming.
The wind hadn’t let up at all. Though not as bad as it had been on the ridge, it was still gusting at forty or fifty miles an hour. She unbuckled her pack and forced herself to eat an energy bar, washed down with water from the bottle stashed in her parka to keep it from freezing. Her headlamp flickered. She shut it off.
Tina shivered. She was still a thousand feet above her camp and she had to cross a glacier riddled with crevasses. The transit would be child’s play on a sunny day; a night like this one, with near zero visibility, turned it into a deadly game of Russian roulette. If she’d brought a sleeping bag, she would have stayed put for what was left of the night.
She wasn’t even certain exactly where her camp was. She hadn’t thought to set wands to mark her route. She didn’t have a GPS with her. Tina struggled to her feet and buckled her pack into place. She’d made a series of neophyte climbing errors, beginning with assuming clear weather would last the next twenty-four hours. She’d badly underestimated Illimani. The mountain was laughing at her.
Tina thought about laughing back, but didn’t want to tempt fate. Besides, she didn’t feel much like laughing. She flicked her headlamp back on and checked her compass to make sure she wouldn’t descend the wrong side of the mountain. Back to counting steps, she contained her fear as best she could. The glacier wasn’t particularly steep, but…
A brutal chop of wind sent her sideways. She planted both axes; the snow beneath her gave way. Tina tumbled into blackness. Aw shit, it’s a crevasse, a crevasse, a crevasse, echoed in her mind. She crashed through two snow bridges. The third one held. She was afraid to breathe. Afraid to do anything to weaken her fragile hold on life. In the feeble beam of her headlamp, she glanced upward. Fifty feet. I fell fifty feet. Thank God nothing’s broken.
Snow bridges were always thicker at their ends. She moved ever so cautiously until she was right next to the smooth inner ice wall of her tomb. She slung an axe into the ice. It bounced off. She tried again. Same result. She kicked with her front points. After many attempts, she was sweating and panting. “Goddammit,” she shrieked. “Fuck.”
“Got to get hold of myself,” she muttered. “If I don’t, I’m as good as dead.”
Tina shut her eyes. If she couldn’t climb out with her tools, maybe she could pound in ice screws. They had threads. She wasn’t certain she had enough to make it all the way out, but she’d freeze to death if she didn’t keep moving. It was very cold in the crevasse. Colder than it had been out on the glacier.
It took a long time to twist the first ice screw in. The second one was easier. Using screws, carabineers, her rope, and jumars, she made it about twenty feet from the snow bridge when her headlamp died. “Shit.” She pounded impotently against the ice. “I can’t believe I was this stupid. Shit. Fuck. Damn it all to hell.”
I can curse all I want—I’m going to die here.
She hung limply in her harness. Her sweat-damp body shivered. The doctor part of her wondered how long it would take to die. Freezing to death was a lot like going to sleep. She wasn’t certain what time it was, but it couldn’t be much past four. Dawn was at least two hours away. Maybe she could hold on, but she didn’t think it likely.
A putrid smell filled her nostrils. It got even colder. “Human woman,” sounded deep in her mind in a strangely accented voice.
“Who said that?” Her neck twisted from side to side, but she couldn’t see a thing in the blackness.
“I offer you a chance to live.”
“How could you possibly do that?” Am I losing my mind? Hypoxia? Harness cutting off my wind?
“If I rescue you, you will return to me and live out your days with me in the Cordillera Real. You must give me your word.”
“Huh? What do you mean return? I’m already here.” Tina’s brain felt wrapped in cotton batting. None of this made sense. Maybe she was already dying and her mind was playing tricks on her.
“You will have seven years in your human world. Once it is over, you must return to me. Do you agree?”
What the hell? “Um, sure. If you can get me out of here, go for it.”
“Unlatch that thing holding you to the wall.”
Fear sluiced through her. Her hands tightened on the rope. “Not on your life.”
A macabre chuckle filled the icy hole under Illimani’s glacier. “No, doctor. It is not my life but yours.”
She started to ask how he knew she was a doctor when a high-pitched whistle bounced off the crevasse walls. The infernal screeching stabbed ice picks into her brain. Cold air closed around her. It smelled like a charnel pit, ripe with things dead long enough to rot. Her ice screw popped from the wall; she made a grab for the rope and closed her arms around it. Air currents jockeyed her upward and out onto the glacier.
Tina blinked. The thick cloud cover was gone. Between an almost full moon and a sky full of stars, she could see without her lamp. She started to coil the rope, but the same insistent air pushed her. “Okay, okay.” She held the mass of Perlon against her chest and staggered down the glacier. It was easy to avoid the crevasses now that she could see where they were.
Her mind rebelled at what just happened. Maybe she’d died in the crevasse or maybe she hadn’t fallen into one at all. Maybe she’d hit her head when she’d fallen off the ridge, had a seizure on the glacier, and this was a postictal state. She shook her head sharply, willing a return of rational thought.
“We are not done, doctor. Stop there.”
Tina tried to keep moving but her feet were mired in place. A glowing form took shape next to her. She stared up at it and gasped, surprised she had any adrenaline left to react. This isn’t possible. It can’t be happening. The thing was over seven feet tall; it shimmered so brightly, she couldn’t look directly at it.
An unseen force yanked one of her arms away from her body. The rope fell in a pile at her feet. Bright light descended; it cut through her jacket and the clothing beneath. She tried to twist her body away, but couldn’t. Blood welled and dripped onto the snow. Golden light enveloped her.
“What are you doing?” Terror skittered along her nerves; it made her shake uncontrollably.
“You made me a promise, doctor. I am sealing your word with a blood bond. Seven years. If you break your vow, I will kill you.”
Tina opened her mouth to protest, to tell the thing it hadn’t told her everything before she’d agreed, but the pulsating light vanished. She turned in a circle to make certain she was alone. Blood dripped from her arm, staining the snow crimson. Her tent shone pale yellow in the moonlight not a hundred yards away. She staggered to it, uncertain what had just happened to her.
I can’t think about this now. If I do, it will drive me mad. Inside her tent, she stripped off her jackets and long underwear. She flicked on a lighter and took a look at her arm. It needed stitches, but they’d have to wait. She was just too tired. As a stopgap, she doused her arm with Betadine, wrapped it with a pressure bandage, and fell into an exhausted sleep.
* * * *
Tina glanced around. It took a moment to orient herself. She was still about a mile-and-a-half from home. Colorado sunshine shone warmly on her, but she was chilled to her bones.
After leaving Bolivia, she’d returned to the rental house she shared with Craig Robson in Denver. He’d been guiding clients in Antarctica, so she had the house to herself. At first, she’d thought that was good, but the harder she tried to make sense out of what had happened to her on Illimani, the more tangled things got. She wondered if she were having a late schizophrenic break, or if she’d truly traded away her humanity in a pact with the devil.
Craig had blown through their front door one day in mid-January with a huge smile on his face and a ring in his pocket. Tina grimaced and forced herself to run faster. It was hard to think about the day Craig asked her to marry him. There’d been no way she could be his wife. She had no idea what she’d gotten herself into in Bolivia, no inkling of what the ramifications would be. The whole thing was too weird to even try to explain and she was frightened she’d put Craig at risk if she told him anything. Even without Bolivia, she’d had other reservations as well. She hadn’t been ready to marry anyone—not then, and not in the years since. The look on his face when she’d turned him down still haunted her.
She slammed into her house, blowing hard. Usually, she cooled down. Today she was too edgy, nerves jangling with tension. Maybe she should put in another few miles… Tina poured coffee into an oversized mug and slugged some back. It burned, but its bitterness tasted good. She savored it and waited for the blast of caffeine to hit.
Cup gripped in her hand, she forced herself into her study. No more running today. She had things to do. Reaching down, she booted up her computer. There was no getting around it. She had to go back to Bolivia. If she didn’t, she had no doubt the next supernatural visit would mean her death. Better to die on her feet in a direct confrontation than pinned to her mattress.
The Microsoft menu scrolled across the screen. She brought up the Internet and typed in the URL for Craig’s guiding service. If she got really lucky, he’d have a trip to Bolivia planned in the next couple of months. She wanted to see Craig one last time before she faced whatever had hauled her out of the crevasse and threatened her this morning in her bedroom. She’d signed on as team doctor for his expeditions over the last couple of years, but they’d never talked about anything personal. This time she’d gird her courage and apologize.
About the Author
Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent. Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Several paranormal romance novellas are available in e-format. Three novels, Psyche’s Prophecy, Psyche’s Search, and Psyche’s Promise are small press publications available in e-format and paperback. Look for two more urban fantasy novels coming this summer and fall: Fortune’s Scion and Earth’s Requiem.
A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)
Today I have Sarah Brookes on the blog, telling us about all of the little “geeky” things she added to her newest series, Geek Kink, to make it authentic for readers.
****Sara will also be awarding a $50.00 gift card to Starbucks and a Perfect Shot (coffeehouse in Taking Over Me) coffee mug to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.****
So glad to have you here today, Sarah!
With a series name like Geek Kink, and main characters who are sometimes geeks, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to drop many, many geek-laced tidbits into the books of the series. With Taking Over Me, the first book of the series, the main female protagonist is named Allison Stuart. Pretty innocent and free of geekiness, right? Wrong. Allison’s last name came from Star Trek: The Next Generation alum Patrick Stuart, the one and only Jean Luc Picard.
That’s not the only Star Trek reference in Taking Over Me either. Allison’s office building is located in Farpoint Square. So named for an early, and one of my favorite, Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, Encounter at Farpoint.
Most references to geek culture are subtle. For instance, Allison attended university at Pacific Tech in California. What’s so geeky about that? Pacific Tech is a fictitious college from the movie Real Genius. Some references aren’t subtle and are blatantly mentioned for exactly what they are. Allison sports an origami unicorn on her back. She explains to Patrick that the tattoo is from one of her favorite movies, Blade Runner.
Writing this post makes me realize that I never sat down and tallied up all the geek culture references in Taking Over Me. Nor in Rock Your Soul, the second book of the series. Hrm…I may just have to keep track as I write the third book in the series.
~ ~ ~
Taking Over Me, Geek Kink-Book 1
by Sara Brookes
He’s everything she didn’t know she needed…
Allison would rather fix computers than worry about sex. That is, until the newest barista in town changes everything. All it takes is one hot stare with his sinful baby blues to remind her she’s not just one of the guys. She has lusty needs only he can fulfill.
Patrick’s coffee shop is on the verge of an epic failure, until Allison takes charge of his computer system. He may not know anything about motherboards, but he does know how to take control both in and out of bed. Now Patrick is determined to get what he wants—Allison in his cuffs. His sensual mastery awakens an intense passion and under his command, he’ll unlock the geek girl’s darkest desires.
Warning: Collars. Cuffs. Clamps. Coffee. You may never look at your local barista the same way again.
EXCERPTS (Please choose only ONE to use with your post):
“The point is that neither of us will know until we try.”
Without a word, he tossed the napkin down on the table, pushed his chair back and stood. He offered his hand, her stomach jumping as she reached out to wind her fingers with his. He even kissed her fingertips as they walked through the busy restaurant.
She expected him to leave, but instead, he guided her to the restroom, walking right into the men’s side without care. She tugged on his hand in warning, but he simply turned and lifted a finger to his lips.
What the hell is he up to?
After he’d checked the stalls to ensure they were alone, he pulled her into an empty one and locked the door. He brushed away a few strands of hair that had fallen into her face. “I agree, we won’t know. So, with that in mind, I think we should take things a little further. We’re not in the warehouse—yet. But I am exactly who I want to be, Allison. Especially whenever you’re around.” He withdrew a package from his pocket. Gleaming silver foil sparked under the overhead lights. “Here, this is for you.”
“What is it?”
“Open it and find out.”
His mischievous smile gave nothing away. Could it be the collar he’d spoken about? She tested the weight in her hand. No, it was too flimsy and too light to be the kind of collar she suspected he’d want to wrap around her throat. Something about the wrapping paper was off as well. It was too fancy. He’d present the collar in a silk-lined box, similar to the cuffs.
“If you don’t open it soon, I’ll have to open it for you.”
“Impressive.” A line formed between his eyebrows as he frowned. He leaned forward, peeking over the gold bar that ran the length of the knee wall. “Good-sized crowd down there. And we’re the only ones up here. Is that normal?”
She led him to a row, sitting in the center seat. “It is if you know the projectionist. Gamer buddy of mine, Cooper, puts on these festivals once a month, a different theme each time. Most of the time the movies are older, classic Hollywood. Bogey and Bacall. The Rat Pack. John Wayne. This month he picked Hitchcock.”
“An extraordinary storyteller.”
“I agree. We tend to sit up here because while crowds have their place, a lot of people tend to dilute the sound quality.”
Patrick smirked. “Well now, that makes sense. Movie buffs would go for where the sweet spot is in the theater.”
“We tend to be creatures of habit, sadly.” She shrugged off the light sweater she’d worn to keep the chilly spring night air off her bare shoulders. Comprehension sank in at something he’d said. She turned to find him smiling almost expectantly. “Wait a second. You know about the sweet spot?”
His smile widened, melting her insides a little. Great, as if I wasn’t already infatuated enough, he has to flash that intoxicating grin.
“My life isn’t just about coffee and tea, Allison. I may not be as technologically savvy as you are, but there are a few things I can hold my own with.” His voice dropped a bit as he leaned over the padded armrest. “And just for clarification purposes, I know about quite a few sweet spots.”
The Southern Ridge Grille was packed to capacity, but Patrick had somehow been given a secluded table in the farthest corner of the main seating area. It backed to the knee-high wall separating the bar area from the dining room, which allowed them to feel alone despite the hustle and bustle.
“I like this place. Very atmospheric. Dark without being annoying.” Allison also marveled at the way the waitstaff pampered them both. They’d already been here twenty minutes and her water glass had barely slipped past the quarter mark. “Did you charm the staff to wait on us hand and foot?”
“I’m sure if I paid someone enough, I could arrange it. But no, I didn’t. Genevieve Lambert owns the restaurant. She’s the one responsible for those pastries you picked up the day you decided to play superhero.”
Allison blushed. Four weeks had passed since that day in the coffee house. Thirty-six days since she’d first laid eyes on Patrick and nearly twenty-four since his unbelievable phone call. Prior to that day, she never suspected her life would make this drastic of a turn, at least the sexual part of her life. Now she couldn’t imagine not being with him or his warehouse.
It was her little secret. Both the clandestine room he kept for sexual indulgences and the man himself. She’d gone through the day more on edge than ever. She wanted him to tip her over that edge and more than anything she wanted to take him with her.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sara Brookes is an award-winning author who has always been fascinated by the strange, the unusual, the twisted and the lost (tortured heroes are her personal favorite). She is an action movie junkie, addicted to coffee and has been known to stay up until the wee hours of the morning playing RPG video games. Despite all this, she is a romantic at heart and is always a sucker for an excellent love story. Born and bred in Virginia, Sara still lives there with her husband and daughter. The entire family is owned by two cats, Galahad and Loki, who graciously allow the family to cater to their every desire.
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/authorsarabrookes
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Ellora’s Cave: http://www.ellorascave.com/taking-over-me.html
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Today I have T.Michelle Nelson on the blog talking about her favorite books. Do you agree with her, or do you have your own favorites? Tell us about it!
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What’s Your Favorite Book?
I think people are surprised when I say my favorite authors are Edith Wharton and Margaret Mitchell. Maybe they expect me to be an Anne Rice stalker since I write vampire books. Not that I don’t like Anne Rice, by the way.
I hate when people ask what my favorite book is. That’s like asking a musician “What’s your favorite song?” There’s so many to choose from, how do you pick just one? I typically just stick with the safe answer and reply with either House of Mirth or Gone with the Wind. Much like favorite songs, sometimes I like a book for a short while, then I forget about it and move on to another. These two books however, are my standby favorites.
But I think a better question to ask an author might be, what book do you love that would shock people to find out? I write romance, so even if I don’t choose a vampire book, any book with romantic elements isn’t too far of a stretch to imagine me liking. What might surprise people to know is other favorites of mine include Sun Tzu’s Art of War and I was a total Harry Potter fanatic. For you bloggers who interview authors often, remember this and see if you can catch someone off-guard. So many times we feel like we should answer in the genre we write, it’s more fun to mix things up!
Author: T.Michelle Nelson
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: April 24, 2013
Length: Super Novel
ISBN: (print) 978-1-939590-04-6
ISBN: (ebook) 978-1-939590-03-9
With a doting husband and a new job training a vampire military, Lily Drake was living up to the prophecies of being the best. Her life was seemingly perfect, until tragedy strikes bringing her a loss she’s not sure she can endure.
The hard-working super mom / vampire slayer, Lily Drake, has just learned problems still exist even after you become immortal.
As everyone knows, even if you find your soul mate, you don’t always get a happily-ever-after. Lily may have found temporary happiness being a newlywed, but the honeymoon is over. When she finds her husband going out for late night bites with another woman, Lily has to fight to try and regain what she wants most, love and a happy family.
If Lily thought being a single mom was hard, she’ll find being married can be a bloody mess.
About the Author:
T. Michelle Nelson is a native of Benton, Kentucky and a graduate of Murray State University holding a degree in Education. Currently she resides in picturesque Mount Vernon, Ohio, which is also the setting of her Lily Drake series. The first book in the series, Life and Death of Lily Drake, is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, and your other favorite online book stores in paperback as well as e-reader formats. The second book, ‘Til Death Do Us Part, is being released by Inkspell Publishing in April of 2013 and currently, T. is working hard to finish her third book.
When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her singing out of key while playing Rock Band with her husband and son, watching B-Horror movies or wrestling with her two ill-behaved fur babies, Buddy Perro and Bunchie.
‘Til Death Do Us Part – Lily Drake 2 is touring with Fiction Addiction Book Tours.
The swag giveaway linked to this tour is open to US/Canada only and a Rafflecopter giveaway
The swag consists of: