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Archive for January, 2011

New York Times Best Selling Author Mary Burton’s 2011 Valentine’s Day Recipe

Whether she’s writing a bestselling romantic suspense novel or baking up a storm in her Rich­mond, Virginia kitchen, Mary Burton doesn’t do anything half-heartedly—and that includes her 2011 Valentine’s Day recipe, Merciless Peanut Butter Brownies. This year she’s created a combo that’s mercilessly indulgent and deadly delicious. Go ahead! Feed it to your honey—by hand—on Valentine’s Day!

Mary Burton’s latest books SENSELESS and MERCILESS (out January 25th) have just been published.

 

Merciless Peanut Butter Brownies Love at First Bite

Brownie Batter:

½ cup (1 stick) of butter
1 cup of cocoa
1 teaspoon of brandy
2 cups of sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 egg yolk

Filling:

1/3 cup of peanut butter
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon brandy

Topping:

8 oz of melting chocolate

Melt butter and pour over cocoa in a mixing bowl. Add in brandy, sugar and salt. Mix in eggs and yolk. Set batter aside and mix together peanut butter and confectioner’s sugar. Form into balls. Evenly spread half the batter in a baking pan. Arrange peanut butter balls on batter. Cover with remaining batter. Bake for 35 minutes. When the brownies have cooled pour melted chocolate over them and let set. Slice and enjoy!

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Just saw this come through on Facebook, posted by Sylvia…how beautiful is this cover? SEVEN YEARS TO SIN comes out August 30, 2011.

The longer the resistance…

Seven years ago, on the eve of her wedding, proper Lady Jessica Sheffield witnessed a licentious scene no innocent young miss could imagine. Shocked, yet strangely titillated, she’d held her silence regarding scandalous Alistair Caulfield, and walked down the aisle as expected. But through years of serene, unremarkable marriage, Caulfield’s image remained burned into her imagination, fueling very illicit dreams…

…the sweeter the reward

Alistair ran far from the temptation of the prim debutante with the fire of passion in her eyes–all the way to the West Indies. As a successful merchant, he has little in common with the rakehell youth she knew. But when newly widowed Jessica steps aboard his ship for a transatlantic passage, seven years’ worth of denied pleasures are held in check by nothing more than a few layers of silk–and the certainty that surrender will consume them both…

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Noble Blood winner

 

The winner of NOBLE BLOOD by Dana Marie Bell is

JenM

Congrats! Please email me at lillie80 at gmail dot com to claim your prize.

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For Lord Duncan Malmayne, it was love at first sight with his true bond, the lovely half-Sidhe, half-leprechaun Moira Dunne. Yet something is missing from his relationship with the fiery redhead, something that prevents him from completing the Claiming and making Moira his forever.
As problems multiply in what should be a magical, idyllic time, the depression weighing on Moira’s Sidhe heart signals a potentially devastating condition. Mate sickness. Her instinct tells her what’s missing: Jaden Blackthorn, Gray Court vampire, Duncan’s bond brother and closest friend—who tactfully withdrew from their lives after Duncan declared his love.

Jaden is both heartbroken and elated that the two people he loves most in the world are together. It’s best he cut off all contact to give them space to complete the Claiming. But trouble is brewing in the Malmayne clan, and when Jaden’s forced back into their lives by the Hob, their extremely rare tribond clicks with a reaction that’s swift, sensual and all-consuming.

But not everyone looks upon it as a blessing. In fact, the price of their love could be a potentially fatal shift of power…


Product Warnings

This book contains explicit sex, graphic language, and M/M/F love scenes between a Sidhe lord, a vampire and a leprechaun. And no, that’s not the start of a dirty joke no matter what my Beta readers said.

~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~

A leprechaun, a vampire and a Sidhe walk into a bar…

Okay, so only the vampire walks into the bar, but still. You get the idea. I knew as soon as I introduced Jaden in Dare to Believe that he was going to need someone special in his life. He almost took over the book, demanded his own happily ever after in a way very few characters have. And by the time I had him meet Moira, I knew exactly who he would wind up with. Or should I say, which two someones.

No one can object to his bonding Moira. She’s strong and feisty and beautiful in his eyes, and he knows when he first blood bonds her he’ll have someone of his very own to love, someone who can’t be taken from him. So he can’t wait to introduce his bond brother, the other person he loves most in the world, to the woman who’d stolen his soul. Then Duncan Malmayne steps out of his limo and spots Moira. Jaden’s hell starts with a single kiss as Duncan stakes his Claim on her right in her parent’s front yard. Jaden had found the one woman the Sidhe could truebond with, and the overwhelming joy he feels shooting down his bond with Duncan seals Jaden’s fate. Moira, just like Duncan, would never be his. So Jaden lets them go, believing that he has no real place with them. They’re destined to be together, and who is he to fight that? Besides, if either of them has to mate someone else he couldn’t think of anyone better.

Or so he tells himself even as his heart breaks.

But Duncan and Moira both become increasingly depressed, unable to complete their Bonding and unaware of why, until Moira takes the initiative and calls her mother. Together they realize exactly what’s wrong, why Duncan can’t bring himself to complete the ritual that will tie him to Moira for life: mate sickness. Duncan and Moira are both pining for Jaden, a man who thinks they don’t want him, let alone need him.

What do you do when the vampire you need more than your next breath has disappeared without a trace? And when he finally comes home, how do you convince him you want him to stay… forever? It’s up to Moira to take the first step in making sure Jaden, their soul, their center, will forever be theirs, noble blood be damned:

Moira wanted to kick Jaden and Duncan’s collective butts. How could they have danced around each other for so long? The heat between the two of them was burning her up! But the worry and fear in Jaden was reaching critical mass. She needed to diffuse it fast. “Duncan is suffering from mate sickness.”

Jaden turned on her so fast her head spun. She knew he was quick, but she’d forgotten exactly how quick. “Why? Why won’t you complete the mating?” He stalked towards her, black bleeding out to the whites of his eyes. “C’mon, sweet. You can tell me.”

She shivered, the deep purr in his voice calling to her, a siren’s song she longed to answer. Where she found the strength to keep from responding to his vampiric lure she didn’t know. She took a deep breath, drawing in his coppery scent. “We couldn’t. Neither one of us could work ourselves up to it.”

Red flames danced in his eyes. “And why is that?” He stroked his finger down her cheek. “I can tell you that if I had you waiting in my bed there’s no way I’d hold off on making you mine.”

She smiled. He was trying to intimidate her. She shook her head, amused. You’d think he’d know better than that. She had to make him understand why they hadn’t been able to recite the Vow and complete the Binding. “How can you bond to your heart when your soul is missing?”  He frowned, confused. For the first time she wondered if he even understood what a true bond really meant. “Do you know what each step of the bond entails?”

He huffed out an irritated breath. “There’s the Claiming, which begins with a kiss and ends with a fuck.” She winced. He was being deliberately crude. “Then there’s the Vow and the Binding. The Sidhe recites the Vow, magic swirls, and the Binding takes place. Voila, you are married for eternity, life forces bound together.” He tilted his head to the side. “I hear Leo’s Binding with Ruby was quite the light show.” He smiled, the expression full of evil pleasure. “Kaitlynn was so pissed.”

She nodded. She’d been there. She knew that if anyone had laid a hand on Ruby at that moment, Leo’s power would have destroyed them. It was never a good idea to get between a Sidhe lord and something he wanted. “It was. And you know what was missing from my Claiming with Duncan?”

“No, but I’m sure you’ll tell me.” For the first time since Duncan left the room Jaden looked truly worried again.

She reached up and stroked his cheek, pleased beyond belief when he nuzzled into her touch. “You, Jaden. You’re the other third of our bond.”

He started to laugh. “Oh, that’s a good one. Try and sell me a bridge. C’mon. You know you want to.”

She kicked him in the shins.

He leaned down and clutched his leg. “Ow!” The surprise in his face would have been amusing if the situation wasn’t so serious.

“I’m not joking. You left, and Duncan and I both went into mate sickness. We were pining for you and didn’t even know it.” She figured the only reason she hadn’t been even more sick was her leprechaun blood. It must have shielded her. Duncan had taken the full brunt of it, the mark of his anguish left on his body for all to see.

“Uh-huh. Sure.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “So how come after all this time I’m not bound to him? I’d think in the hundred years we’ve been together he would have popped wood over me at some point.”

Oh, he was going to be a pain in the ass about this, she just knew it. “My mother thinks—”

“You talked to your mother about Duncan’s erectile dysfunction?” He glared down at her. “Has he considered taking your TV away?”

She rubbed the bridge of her nose with a weary sigh. “Jaden.”

“Hey, it’s not like we were together for a hundred years or anything.” He tapped his fingernail against his teeth and sucked in a breath. “No, wait.”

He barked out a startled laugh. “God, I love vicious women.”

She smirked up at him. “Listen. We think the reason Duncan didn’t feel the pull towards you was because of your blood bond. We think it masked the need to Claim you. When you went away and cut off all contact the mating sickness set in.”

Jaden was shaking his head. “Duncan isn’t gay.”

“No, he’s not.” Jaden’s expression turned cynical. “He’s bi, just like you.”

Jaden frowned. “Honey, Duncan has never shown an interest in men. Believe me, I would have known.”

“Of course not. He had you.”

Jaden’s eyes rolled, which looked really weird. They were still vampiric, black with red hot flames in the center. “If Duncan was ever into men then he’s been so far in the closet he’s been living in Narnia.” Jaden turned his back on her. “Are you sure some other funky Sidhe sickness isn’t holding him back?”

“I’m positive.” She put her hand on the small of his back, smiling when he jumped. “He finally Claimed me today.”

“Good for you.”

God, the pain underlying that cheerful façade would drop a stronger man to his knees. She could feel it roiling within him. “Jaden, he couldn’t Claim me until you were here. And frankly, I think it was what you were doing in the shower that tipped him over the edge.”

His face turned bright red, his eyes leeching back to normal in shock. “Oh God.”

“Jaden, it’s all right.”

“No it’s not. He’s going to kill me.”

“Why?”

He shot her a disbelieving look. “I saw you naked. I rode, uninvited, in his head while he…” He gestured towards her body. “On the desk, no less!”

She laughed. Her sexy vamp sounded so prissy! “Are you kidding me? He was thrilled!”

His jaw dropped. “I have to get out of here.”

“Oh no you don’t.”

His hand curled around her throat, but she wasn’t afraid. She could never be afraid of him. “Sweetheart, how are you planning on stopping me?”

She knew just the thing to do. She got up on her tiptoes and kissed him.

Jaden froze against her, his eyes wide. When her tongue reached out and tasted his lips he moaned.

She had to get him to stay. She had to. There was only one other man who tasted this wonderful, and no way would she lose either of them. She buried her fingers in the darkness of his hair and opened her mouth, offering herself to him. He tried to pull back but her hand in his hair stopped him. Unless he wanted to lose some of the silky strands or, worse, hurt her, he couldn’t get free.

And she knew now that Jaden would never deliberately hurt her.

The tip of one of his fangs touched her lip. She ran her tongue along the tip, uncertain how he would react.

He sucked in a breath and moaned, his hands going to her hips. He held her trapped, unable to move as his mouth devoured hers, taking everything she’d offered and more. She allowed that small spark of Sidhe power inside her to rise to the surface, to surround them both. She dropped her Seeming, letting everything she was sink into him, needing him to accept everything she’d been telling him.

They were meant to be together, and now she knew it without a shadow of a doubt. He was meant to be hers.

He pulled back with a gasp. His expression was horrified. “No.”

She was panting, so aroused she could barely breath. “No?”

“You’re Duncan’s. He deserves you.”

She blinked. The way he’d phrased that struck a cord. “And you don’t?”

His jaw clenched. “Duncan deserves the best.” His smile was wistful. “And you’re the best.” He kissed the tip of her nose and let her go. “Let me go, Moira.”

“Can’t.” She grinned up at him. “I’ve begun Claiming you.” She patted his chest, feeling justifiably smug. “You belong to me now, and you’re not going anywhere.” She blinked up at him as innocently as she knew how. “You don’t want me getting sick, do you?”

“Are you serious?” She nodded. Oh yeah. She was deadly serious, and he’d just have to get with the program. “Uh, no. I don’t want you to get sick.” He gulped. He looked like someone had just poked him in the ass with a stick.

“Good.” She brushed a kiss on his chin and let him go. She watched him turn on his heel and damn near stumble out of the office. She leaned back against the desk and chuckled. There was no way her stubborn vamp was leaving Malmayne property any time soon.

This was going to be fun.


P.S.: Someone asked me how the hell you make a leprechaun sexy. The answer?

It’s all in the tights.

P.P.S.: Noble Blood is book 2 of the Gray Court, and is M/M/F. So if you don’t like man bits touching other man bits, please give this one a pass. I promise, I won’t be offended. The next set of Gray Court books will be M/F (at least until I meet another Jaden).

P.P.P.S.: Anyone who wants to win a download of Noble Blood, please comment below!

~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~

Many thanks to Dana Marie for joining us today!

For buy links and an additional excerpt, please visit www.danamariebell.com/NobleBlood/html. Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win NOBLE BLOOD. Good luck! 😀

*Contest closed*

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Samhain Publishing revealed their shiny new site last night and in that reveal was the gorgeous new cover for STORMY SEDUCTION by Vivian Arend, release date April 12, 2011. To read the first chapter, visit www.vivianarend.com.

 

Sensual water shifters meet volatile air shifters—there’s a storm coming.

Pacific Passion, Book 2

As morning-afters go, this one is looking pretty bright. Both air shifter Laurin Marshal and water shifter/shaman Matthew Jentry are aware, though, that trouble won’t be long in coming. And they’re right—before they’ve barely begun to work out the details of their mystical bond, the People of the Air find them to challenge Laurin’s right to choose Matt as her mate.

Fending off Laurin’s would-be suitors is easier than Matt anticipated, but there’s another dilemma still to face. His own people. Laurin is just beginning to trust that his heart and body are completely hers, a radical change after she’s spent the past two years alone and on the run. What will happen when his skittish, innocent partner encounters the playful, sensual—even lusty—ways of the Otter Clan?

Especially since they are arriving at the peak of the traditional summer solstice fertility rituals. And tradition demands they be the main attraction…


Product Warnings
Incoming extreme passion yielding one otherworldly adventure. Don’t let the book length fool you—there’s enough heat in this story to challenge global warming. Four plus two equals one ceremony so explosive it may throw the earth off its axis.

~*~*~*~*~*~


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Don’t forget the Pleasure Me With Romance blog event starts Monday (January 17th) with 35+ historical romance authors and bestsellers like Sabrina Jeffries, Madeline Hunter, Lorraine Heath, Lisa Valdez, Julianne MacLean, Sarah MacLean, Monica McCarty, Hannah Howell, Lucy Monroe and many more.

And you won’t want to miss the upcoming two-part interview with JAYNE ANN KRENTZ (Amanda Quick)!!

WHEN: January 17th through March 1st
WHERE: http://tiny.cc/lmdcg
WHAT: Daily Giveaways and at end of the event a Grand Prize and two Second Prizes
TWEET: #PleasureMeEvent

Youth and beauty are a courtesan’s greatest assets. At forty-one, Lady Ruth Attwood appears to have lost both, as her latest lover just abandoned her for a younger mistress. Struggling with the knowledge that she’s no longer considered desirable, she’s uncertain whether to be offended or flattered when a younger man makes her an unusual offer. In need of funds, she agrees. But then she does the unthinkable. She falls in love.



Despite his reputation as a man’s man, Baron Garrick Stratfield has never been with a woman. His physical impairment is such that he knows not even a whore will touch him, and he needs a mistress who’s willing to be kept without sharing his bed. But passion is just a delicious kiss away because his new mistress is wreaking havoc with his senses. Worse yet, someone is not only out to ruin his reputation, but frame him for murder.

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Estella

wins GUNS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR by HelenKay Dimon

*

Congratulations! You have 48 hours to contact Mad at mad at romancereaderatheart dot com to claim your prize.

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I found this book yesterday on Dana Marie Bell’s “Coming Soon” page. It was only a blurb then without a cover, but I will still super excited. Today, the cover is up!

Coming Spring 2011!

Maggie’s Grove Book 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 978-14268-9144-1

Carina Press

A seduction-gone-wrong leaves vampire Parker Hollis with a new vegetarian lifestyle and on the run from a vengeful
witch. Moving to small-town Maggie’s Grove, Parker meets a redheaded dryad with green, leafy blood that draws him in a
way he hasn’t experienced in decades. His new neighbor smells divine, and it isn’t long before craving gives in to need.

In a unique community of supernaturals, tree-loving outcast Amara Schwedler has never quite fit in. She’s scarred by a
traumatic incident and feared by the local townsfolk. She’s convinced Parker will look elsewhere for a mate once he
discovers she’s not one of the O-positive set, and can’t believe it when Parker finds her irresistible.

When the witch who’s been plaguing Parker’s life discovers the newfound attraction between Parker and Amara, she
takes out her anger on the town. Can the supernaturals of Maggie’s Grove accept Amara and band together in time to
withstand the assaults of the enraged witch?

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I do not usually make New Year’s resolutions for a reason. I never stick to them and then I feel like a loser but this year is going to be different. I’m setting realistic goals for something that is near and dear to me. Reading!

In the past, I have been quite content to surround myself with auto-buys, comfort reads, and rereads. That’s my happy place and maybe I shouldn’t rock the boat but I feel like I need to. I’m sure I’m missing out on some great books.

My two reading resolutions are simple:

  • Read more new-to-me authors
  • Read outside my comfort zone

I am making progress with this. I’ve read/am reading 15 books so far this year and 5 of those have fallen into the resolution categories. That’s not a lot but I’m taking baby steps!

New-to-me authors

Dominique Adair

I started off the year reading the three books in the Jane Porter trilogy. They were short, hot, and fun and were a great introduction to this author. Plus, the first book is free on kindle right now. That’s a bonus. And I’m counting all three books toward my resolution.  😀

Lena Matthews

Doesn’t that cover just make you say “Aww”? I’m sucker for the pregnant heroine story line. Add in a couple working through their problems and I’m a very happy camper. I enjoyed this one a lot and plan to look for more books by Ms. Matthews in the future.

Stepping outside the comfort zone

Steampunk

A few months ago, I received an ARC of WILDERS’ MATE by Moira Rogers (blurb and excerpt here). It is steampunk and I’m not ashamed to admit that freaked me out a little. It is in a historical setting (which I very rarely read) with a fantasy (which I never read) feel to all the inventions and lifestyle. Imagine my surprise when I liked it! The romance was the focus, it had a dose of paranormal, and the world was explained in a way I understood. This was easily a 4 star read for me so I started to feel a little more comfortable with this genre.

Which led to my second book of the year…

THE IRON DUKE by Meljean Brook

(Also new-to-me author)

I saw this book on just about every “best of 2010” list around. I’ve had trusted reading friends recommend this book to me. And, like I said, I enjoyed the one steampunk book I’ve read. This one should have been a slam-dunk, right? Not quite. I spent the first few chapters totally lost. There was a lot of terminology used that I didn’t understand that wasn’t explained until later (a “bugger” is not what you are thinking it is) and all the very intricate world building dragged it down a little for me. I can understand why a lot of people are fans of THE IRON DUKE but it just wasn’t for me. However, I do plan on buying the next book when it comes out in hopes that it will be faster paced now that I understand what I’m reading about.

Futuristics

UNDERCOVER by Lauren Dane

This is my current read. I’ve read all of Ms. Dane’s books except this series. It’s sci-fi, futuristic, and it’s not even set in this world. UNDERCOVER is so far outside my comfort zone I can’t even see it from here. But it’s a Lauren Dane book, it’s a menage, and I’ve made it to chapter seven without scrambling for a comfort read. So far, so good!

What about you? Did you make any reading resolutions? And have you read any awesome books that might fall in my resolution categories? I need recs!

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Before the recovery project was even up and running, its first case exploded on the scene

Agent Holden Price didn’t have to go far to find his next case—it crashed right into his living room! Not only had the beautiful blonde lost control of her car, but if she was telling the truth, someone was also trying to kill her. As a recovery agent, he had an obligation to investigate. And he couldn’t deny that Mia Landers interested him more than she should.

Nothing made sense to Mia—especially not the attempt on her life. All she could do was trust Holden, the tall, dark and devastating agent who discovered that he and Mia had a common enemy…and a fierce attraction. But in order to act on it, they’d first have to come face-to-face with their darkest fears and a deadly revelation that might put their newfound love on the line.

~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~

It’s a little scary to start a miniseries.  Who am I kidding?  It’s really scary to start a new miniseries.  There’s pressure for people to like the first book enough to keep reading through the rest of the releases.  I’ve written related books before, but this Harlequin Intrigue miniseries is an actual miniseries in that the books are connected by an overarching conspiracy in WitSec, the Witness Security Program.  Each book has a separate hero, heroin and villain.  You can read one in the middle and be able to follow along.  Still, they go together and that increases the nail biting for me.
Looking back now, I see consistency in the books in a few ways:

  • The heroes are pretty damaged guys. They lost their cover (they’re undercover agents) in a previous book, UNDER THE GUN (Intrigue, March 2010).  They live to protect and serve and are stuck in this holding pattern while other people decide their fate. And they have individual issues which come up in their individual stories.
  • The heroines are tough.  Maybe not on the surface, but these are not the shrinking violet types who wait around to be saved. They do a little saving of their own.  🙂
  • The villains are nasty fellas.  They have different reasons for doing what they do, but they are definitely the bad guys.
  • But no one is as good or as bad as they seem.
  • All of the books take place in and around Washington, DC, which is fun for me since I lived there for more than a decade.

What you won’t see:

  • Secret babies.
  • Anyone with amnesia
  • Cowboys.
  • Royalty of any kind.

I don’t have a problem with any of those hooks.  In fact, I am dying to write an amnesia book and have an idea for a different kind of secret baby book, and boy do I love cowboy books, but the ideas didn’t work in this series.  Maybe next time.  I’m trying to think if there is any hook that I definitely wouldn’t try.  I can’t think of one.  Anyone have a hook that either really works for you or really doesn’t?

~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~

Many thanks to HelenKay for joining us today!

To learn more about HelenKay Dimon and her books, please visit her website at www.helenkaydimon.com. And for a chance to win GUNS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, leave a comment answering the above question. Good luck! 😀

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