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lordgriffinsprize_msr copy 2Tullamore Castle Ireland is an enchanted place where the unexpected happens. Phantom lovers materialize in haunted beds and a lonely griffin patrols the ramparts waiting to reclaim its mate. And that’s just the beginning.

 

For the adventure of a lifetime Maeve de’Burgo visits Tullamore to study genealogy. Through a magical act and time travel she becomes embroiled in a dangerous medieval romance and the unfinished life of her ancestor. Maeve gets thrown back in time to be captured, ravished and cherished as a war chief’s prize.

 

Ronan O’Griofa is a griffin-shifter, the most loyal of creatures. He’s been trapped in limbo as the avenging guardian of Tullamore since 1332 AD and longs to be free. When the soul of his wife returns to the castle he’s granted the privilege of becoming a man for one day to be her lover, win her heart and remind Maeve of a bond strong enough to last an eternity.

~~~*~~~*~~~

Excerpt

Chapter one

Maeve placed a gloved hand on the golden door handle of the Tullamore Castle Hotel and pushed. The glass door resisted against the vacuum of a blustery gust. The short but stormy walk from the cab to the curb had left rain sheeting from her umbrella and tall black boots.

She bore down, gave the door a firm shove and watched in awe as it swung open onto a timeless realm entrenched in equal parts modern luxury and dour medieval grit. Above the entrance a time-ravaged, iron-studded medieval shield bearing the image of a griffin held a place of honor between two Victorian-era crystal sconces, punctuating the contrast of a far-reaching past.

Maeve was too tired to care that she was tracking water across the patterned carpet as she ambled into the elegant front lobby dragging a lopsided piece of rolling luggage. For the past twenty-four hours she’d roamed airports, engaged in endless desperate bargaining with airline personnel to exchange tickets, hunted down cabs and texted anyone she could reach to tell them that her international flights and all her arrangements on the ground had been disrupted by turbulent weather.

The challenging journey from the US to Ireland had left her weary to the bone. Everything that could go wrong had. As she approached the front desk there was little wonder in her mind why the word “travel” had its roots in the original travail, which literally meant torture.

An attentive middle-aged woman, with red hair swept away from her stark face, stepped from behind the carved baroque counter to greet her. “You must be Maeve Clark. We received your message. I’m so sorry you’ve had such a difficult time getting here.” The woman reached for Maeve’s luggage. “Let’s get you signed in so you can rest.”

The woman glanced out the front entrance as the cab that had brought Maeve turned and drove away in the pouring rain. “I don’t see anyone else out there. Is Mr. Clark with you?”

“What time is it?” Maeve fought the impulse to rub her eyes with the heels of her hands and grind what little mascara still clung to her lashes onto her cheeks.

The woman smoothed the lapels of her prim navy suit. “It’s 1:11 a.m.”

“Oh god. I’m so disoriented I thought it was earlier. By the way, I’m no longer Maeve Clark. I made the reservations last year before I divorced. Didn’t I update you on the name change?”

The woman’s gaze lingered on the prominent wedding ring on Maeve’s left hand. “No name change was mentioned, but we have a beautiful room waiting and we’re pleased to have you visit with us, Miss…?”

“Maeve dé Burgo.”

The woman looked elated. “You’re a dé Burgo? Of course, now it all makes sense! Oh this is wonderful, and so appropriate. I’m certain you are aware that the ancestral founder of Tullamore Castle was Lord dé Burgo?” The woman clasped Maeve’s hand. “My name is Áine Byrne. I’m the current owner of Tullamore Castle and if I’m not mistaken, you and I are distant relations.”

“You’re the castle owner? I’m so happy to meet you, Miss Byrne.”

“Call me Áine. I’m simply thrilled to have a dé Burgo under our eaves again!”

Maeve was dumbfounded by the woman’s intense enthusiasm for her maiden name. “I’m surprised to see you working the front desk at this hour.”

“I’m a hands-on owner and a notorious insomniac. Night is when interesting things happen at Tullamore. I like seeing everything and everyone who comes through the front entrance. Hospitality is my business and I enjoy being hospitable.”

“Thank you, Áine.” Maeve was barely able to manage a smile in her exhausted state. “From the outside, the castle is so dramatic, very picturesque. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing my room.”

“Of course you are.” Áine took Maeve’s hint and hurried behind the counter to retrieve a massive leather-bound ledger with vellum pages. “Because you are a dé Burgo would you please sign the historic guest ledger?” She handed Maeve an old- fashioned feather quill and a bottle of ink.

Maeve sighed as she accepted the quill and ink. Despite her interest in all things historical, she had no experience writing with a quill and hoped she wouldn’t make a mess of Áine’s lovely old ledger with an inevitable clumsy ink splosh on the creamy page.

Áine seemed to read Maeve’s mind. “It’s not difficult. Simply dip, swipe the quill on the rim of the bottle and write far more slowly than you think you should.”

Maeve dipped the quill and sketched her name across the velum with shaky, scratchy strokes that required several dunks into the ink.

“Lovely.” Áine gazed at Maeve’s signature and set the ledger aside to dry. “By the way, the room you requested is not available. We had a slight accident with some workmen the other day and the room you reserved will require refurbishment.”

Maeve groaned in disappointment. “The cheerful little yellow room overlooking the rose garden isn’t available?”

“No.” Áine glanced at Maeve sideways. “We’re putting you in the O’Griofa suite tonight. It’s our finest room.”

Maeve gasped. She’d visited Castle Tullamore’s website many times and knew the O’Griofa suite was a sprawling set of adjoining rooms stuffed with priceless antiques and no doubt far beyond her budget.

“It’s all right.” Áine raised a preemptive palm into the air. “You will not be charged suite rates. The mistake was on our side and you shall be the one to benefit.”

Maeve exhaled. “Thank you.” A nearly forgotten thought surfaced. “Some months ago I contacted a Professor Burke to meet me here at the castle and help me to gather information about my family’s genealogy. I forgot to email him and tell him my flight was delayed. Has the professor contacted you?”

“Yes, I spoke with Professor Burke at some length and now that I know you’re a dé Burgo your research project makes perfect sense. The dé Burgos have shared a stunning history with Castle Tullamore. Your family has been here since the beginning.”

“I’ve been told I was named for a great ancestor of mine, Lady Maeve dé Burgo. I’m looking forward to learning more about her.”

Áine did not appear to be the least bit surprised by this bit of information. “There’s been a mild setback. I am sorry to say Professor Burke isn’t coming. He called yesterday to cancel your appointment. He must attend to emergency business in France and will not return for a fortnight. He apologized profusely for the sudden change of plans.”

“The professor’s not coming?” The energy drained from her. “I’m so disappointed. That was the core purpose of my trip to Tullamore.”

“Don’t despair.” Áine lifted her chin. “Another professor has volunteered to take his place.”

“Who?”

“Ironically it’s a Professor O’Griofa. He too claims a strong ancestral connection to Tullamore and has enjoyed a long association with the castle. Isn’t that an interesting coincidence?” Áine’s gaze sharpened. “Professor O’Griofa is considered the premier expert on Castle Tullamore, so it goes to show that tiny setbacks and substitutions can often be wonderful boons. I’m sure the change was for the best. Tullamore’s just that kind of place. One must expect the unexpected.” She reached for a brass skeleton key dangling from a hook. “We use an old-fashioned key for the O’Griofa suite. Come with me and I’ll show you to your room.”

Maeve followed Áine down a long corridor lined with gilt-framed oil portraits of the castle’s many occupants. They passed a staircase and approached an antiquated- looking iron-cage elevator.

“We’re going to take the lift.” Áine took hold of the iron filigree door and struggled to wrench it open. “This door can be so stubborn.” She gave the base of the door a brisk kick with the heel of her shoe until it opened. “Ah, there we go. You’re not claustrophobic or easily startled by screeching metallic sounds, are you?”

“No.” Maeve gazed longingly toward the staircase.
“Don’t worry, the lift is in excellent working condition. It’s just odd.”

Maeve lingered at the threshold. “How is it odd?”
“It’s haunted and there are a few other peculiarities.” “Like what? I would think haunted is peculiar enough.”

“Oh there’s much more.” Áine stepped into the lift, pulling the rolling luggage with her, and motioned for Maeve to follow. “Get in and I’ll tell you about its many eccentricities.”

Maeve felt her face blanch as she stepped inside the unsound-looking lift.

Áine slid the rattling door shut and pressed a button. The lift lurched with a grating noise and rose to the thumping whir of unseen gears and pulleys.

Maeve gulped a nervous breath. “I’ve never been in a lift like this.”

“You certainly haven’t!” Áine grinned with pride. “It’s one of a kind. I’ve had guests swear the lift delivered them into another time and place. Can you imagine that? A few bold souls have even claimed to encounter entities haunting the lift that encouraged them to engage in…” She hesitated. “How should I say this? Amorous behavior. Their actions were quite spontaneous and uninhibited, but I strongly suspect they didn’t do anything they didn’t already want to do.”

“Oh my.” Maeve laughed. “And they blamed the lift?”

The lift screeched to a jolting halt. Áine drew the door open. “We’re here.” She motioned for Maeve to exit. “The O’Griofa suite is at the end of the corridor.”

(Just wait until Maeve sees the handsome portrait of Lord O’Griofa. She’s in for trouble…)

Lord Griffin’s Prize is part of the Emerald Isle Fantasies book series and is available now from Ellora’s Cave. Be sure to check out the entire Emerald Isle Fantasies books series. It includes lots of talented Ellora’s Cave authors and loads of steamy, Irish enchantment. You can’t go wrong!

Jennifer LaRose “Phantom Mischief”

Rebecca Royce “Crimson Lust”

Dena Garson “Ghostly Persuasion”

And much more to come…

Ellora’s Cave:

http://www.ellorascave.com/series/emerald-isle-fantasies.html

Author Bio:

I’m an artist, an author, mother and wife. I write for Ellora’s Cave, Loose Id Publishing and a couple new publishers to be announced soon. I try to bring a touch of the mystical and a big sense of adventure to everything I write because I believe there’s a bold, kick-ass heroine inside all of us who wants to take a wild ride with a strong worthy hero.

Ellora’s Cave:

https://www.ellorascave.com/index.php/authors/index/author/slug/katalina-leon/

Loose Id:

http://www.loose-id.com/authors/a-f/amber-skyze-katalina-leon.html

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00BIXI8BQ

All Romance eBooks:

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html

Night Owl Reviews Author Page:

http://erotica.nightowlreviews.com/V5/Authors/Katalina-Leon

Pinterest:

http://pinterest.com/katalinaleon/

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/katalina.leon.142?ref=tn_tnmn

Katalina’s Blog:

http://katalinaleon111.blogspot.com/

Website under reconstruction: katalinaleon.com

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Katalina is giving away a pdf copy of Lord Griffin’s Prize, Claimed By Dragons, and The Strix. For a chance to win, just leave a comment below. Good luck!

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justonetaste_msr (2)Sarah is in Victoria to expand her father’s chain of wine bars into the Australian market. It’s a hectic job that leaves little time for a social life but that doesn’t mean she’s going to ignore her carnal needs entirely. She contacts an exclusive escort agent who promises to send her a man capable of fulfilling her every desire. David, the man who arrives, is nothing like the practiced lothario she expects, yet the night that ensues is more intensely passionate than any she’s experienced. Sarah is just starting to consider making David a kept man when she realizes the chilling truth.

David isn’t an escort at all. He’s a vineyard owner who’d planned to approach Sarah with a business proposition. She thinks he set her up but the truth is David barely expected to speak with Sarah, let alone sleep with her. It’s an honest case of mistaken identity that resulted in the best night of David’s life. And for David, one night of Sarah will never be enough.

 

~~~*~~~*~~~

Excerpt

“When I said I wondered when you were going to kiss me, I never said I didn’t want you to.”

For the second time in as many minutes, Sarah had managed to shock David dumb. She didn’t shy away but let him see the desire, the amusement, behind her bold stare. Then she took a single step forward and turned her face, proffering her cheek.

The wild pounding of David’s heart slowed—a little. Was this some American custom he’d never heard of? People in France kissed each other on the cheek all the time, even the blokes. So maybe filthy-rich heiresses from New York did it too.

Well, he didn’t want to be culturally insensitive. Yeah, that’s why you’re going to kiss her. Poor excuse or not, David was willing to latch on to it. Anything to get closer to her, even for the briefest time.

He took a step forward and bent his head. Reacting on instinct, he placed a hand on her elbow. Through the wool dress her flesh warmed his palm. The fragrant waft of designer perfume teased his senses as he leaned into her. David couldn’t distinguish one perfume from another but he did know Sarah’s chosen fragrance was intoxicating.

As his cheek brushed hers, he heard the scrape of his stubble abrading her smooth skin and cursed that he hadn’t had a chance to shave. Sarah didn’t draw away from the roughness, instead pressing her cheek closer. Her hand rose to lay across his chest and David’s heartbeat accelerated in response. She must have felt it knocking fiercely against her palm because her hand flexed, those long fingers curling against his flesh and fisting his shirt in the process.

This was supposed to be a perfunctory brush of cheeks but it was fast becoming so much more and David was within inches of making a complete fool of himself. If she leaned any closer to him she’d soon discover what should have been a polite, businesslike gesture had given him the hard-on from Hades. And he hadn’t even pressed his lips to her skin.

So do it. Kiss her cheek like she’s your grandmother and let her go as quickly as you can.

David tilted his head, brushing his lips over her cheek. He got a tantalizing sense of how good she’d taste if he had the freedom to sample more of her, and he couldn’t prevent a groan from rumbling deep down in his throat.

Sarah answered it with a silken purr before sinking closer to him, like a vine wilting in the sun. Her body bowed and melted, her breasts pressing to his chest. Her nipples poked through her underwear and thick wool dress, which only made him aware of how stiff and distended they must be. As stiff and distended as his dick was. Almost.

David struggled to maintain his sense of decency as the soft crush of her body made everything inside him respond with animalistic enthusiasm. He made to draw away but she turned her face so their lips met before he could avoid the contact.

She parted her lips against him, brushing her mouth from side to side until David groaned and pulled her closer, lost. Suddenly he was kissing her, full and robust on the mouth, tasting the champagne on her tongue and the forbidden nature of what he was doing. All of it made his head spin and thoughts of his uncle’s beloved vineyard spiral away like readily discarded flotsam.

What am I doing? He was quite possibly ruining everything. Would Sarah Harrington do business with him after he kissed her like this?

Would she do business with him if he rejected her?

The thought cooled some of David’s ardor enough that he managed to wrench his mouth from hers. Was that what this was? Was he having the hard word put on him here? I’ll scratch your back if you scratch my itch?

David drew back and stared into her face. All he saw there was dreamy desire. He couldn’t see the calculating woman it would take to make such a cold demand. “This is wrong.”

“Morally? Perhaps.” Sarah teased the hair at his nape with her long fingernails as she pressed their lower bodies together. “But I know what I want and maybe that’s all that matters right now.”

What a tempting, tempting concept. Live for the moment, forget about tomorrow, about right and wrong. David sucked in a harsh breath as she moved from side to side, teasing his erection. No way had she missed it thrusting like a stick of dynamite from his groin. “I want to be the voice of reason here but, Sarah, I’ve never kissed anyone as beautiful as you. It’s doing my head in.”

She smiled. “You do know how to flatter a girl, David. You’re very sweet.”

Sweet, ugh. David didn’t think himself the least bit sweet right now, not when he was struggling to holster some very primal urges. He gripped Sarah, stilling her sexy movements. “Please stop that.”

Sarah stared at him, working something out in her mind. At last she said, “This really is the first time you’ve done anything like this, isn’t it?”

“Hell yes.” What did she think? He’d slept his way into ownership of a barely breaking-even vineyard? It wouldn’t say much for his skills as a lover if that were the case. “Business and pleasure aren’t supposed to mix.”

“How about for tonight we forget that it’s business. All I want is the pleasure.” Winding her arms around his torso, Sarah slipped her hands beneath his suit jacket and stroked those fingernails down his back through the thinner cotton of his shirt. “If I ask nicely, will you pleasure me, David?”

 

Biography

Despite falling in love with creative writing in her teenage years, Sami worked a wide variety of jobs on her way to eventual publication. As a bartender she used to scrawl snatches of dialogue on the back of flyers advertising $2 drink specials. Now she types on a computer like a bonafide, professional author–but she wouldn’t mind finding a bar that still sells $2 drinks. If you know of one, please email her at sami at samilee dot com, or contact her on Twitter or Facebook.

An author of hot, unashamedly romantic stories, Sami and lives in Australia with her husband and two stupendous daughters. If that’s too far away for you, vist her webhome at http://www.samilee.com.

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Sami Lee is giving away 3 digital copies of Just One Taste! For a chance to win, just leave a comment below. Good luck!

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keyparty_msrBook 1 of the Mischievous Matchmaker series.

After five years of living abroad, Rachel has returned to Chicago. As a welcome-home present, one of her best friends throws a ‘70s-style key party. A night of mingling and anonymous sex with one of Petra’s hunky friends seems perfect.

Petra knows about the crush Rachel had on Ben in college, and she rigs the game so Rachel ends up with the very fine young doctor. But Petra doesn’t know the whole story. Rachel never told her friend about the scorching-hot make-out session that is now Rachel’s go-to sexual fantasy.

And neither of them could know Ben is more than looking forward to showing Rachel every carnal moment she missed when she left without finishing what they’d started that night.

 

~~~*~~~*~~~

 

Excerpt

Rachel watched a tall redhead nearly fill the foyer as he came in the front door. Her

heart just about stopped. He was ruggedly beautiful, with bright, coppery-red hair

pulled into a short ponytail and eyes that were a rich, vivid blue she could see all the

way across the room. He was huge, broad-shouldered and long-limbed—just the kind

of man who could make a tall woman like herself feel like a delicate flower.

 

No sooner had she opened her mouth to tell Petra she hoped she got his keys later

that night than he stepped sideways out of the foyer. He turned to laugh with the guy

behind him and the words froze on her tongue. The blood rushed from her head and

her heart really did stop for a moment.

 

Ben Richards—not quite as tall or broad as the redhead but long and great

shouldered just the same—said something that made them both laugh harder as they

made quite the entrance into the room.

 

Just like that, seven years vanished. Rachel could vividly remember what it had

been like to be pinned beneath him on his couch, drowning in his mouth—both wildly

lush and utterly masculine—as he kissed her freakin’ socks off. She shivered as she

recalled the way his thick black hair felt clutched in her hands, and how he hadn’t

closed his rich gray eyes but watched her while they kissed. And the way his long

fingers had felt sliding under the hem her sweatshirt to skim over her skin had been

something she would never forget.

 

They’d been studying so long that night the sun had started to show through the

window of the tiny apartment he’d had just off campus. After hours of trying

everything he could imagine to help her understand something, anything, about the

chemistry class she was failing, work devolved into her collapsing in a fit of delirious

giggles. He’d grabbed her, probably out of frustration and his own need to blow off

some steam, and kissed her.

 

It was still the single hottest make-out session of her life.

 

And the last time she’d seen him.

 

Oh God.

 

~~~*~~~*~~~

To learn more about Jayne Kingston and her books, visit jaynekingston.com. And for a chance to win an epub copy of Key Party, just leave a comment below. Good luck!

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Prelude-Book CoverAfter finishing design school six months ago, Erin Angelo left her tragic past behind in the States and started a new life in Milan, Italy. Burying the grief, silencing her demons, and living a life without any real attachments has worked well for her so far. But when Erin secures her first real job as a budding clothing designer, her controlled world is shaken to its core by the mysteriously sexy director of the local symphony.

Alek Dostov is a man who knows what he wants and how to get it. He’s successful, hot, the son of a millionaire, and women all over the world flock to see one of his performances. For Alek, Erin represents the ultimate challenge: sexy, smart, and unaffected by his charms…or so she thinks. Just like Erin, Alek avoids attachments that leave him emotionally vulnerable. But unlike Erin, his pursuit of all things pleasurable is ruthless.

Knowing how wary they both are concerning any kind of committed relationship, Alek finds a way to pursue Erin, satisfying the intense attraction between them without sacrificing the freedom they both enjoy. Sometimes the deepest passion brings out the darkest emotions. And Erin finds herself completely unprepared for the forbidden world of the young maestro and his truths and even his secrets, as she struggles to deal with her own.

Music, passion, betrayal and forbidden love spun together in one of the most romantic cities in the world.

This novel contains sexual situations and mature language. It is intended for an audience at 17+ years of age.

 

~~~*~~~*~~~

Excerpt

I’m walking in a daze.

I think I’m going to pass out. Whoa! What just happened out there? The most gorgeous, successful, beautifully arrogant man ever just kissed my hand. My best friend, Selene is going to hate me for being so lucky. I can’t wait to tell her.

“Alright, chill out, Cinderella.” I walk through my door and let all the pretense, aka Miss Control USA, go flying out the window. I hop right up in the middle of my living room floor and start doing my hot damn dance.

So, yeah, Alek’s statement about the prelude freaked me out for a second. The word reminded me of something Jada used to say. His line was just the tiniest bit corny, too. But I meant what I said when I told him I thought his words were cute. He can say anything with that accent and get away with it.

I glance at my watch. 10p.m. It’s too early to call Selene. She works as a bartender in Florence. Sometimes her nights don’t end until around 2am.

I sniff the contract Alek gave me. His scent still lingers on the paper, reminding me of the day I first experienced the scent of his cologne. That was the day I fell on my butt, and he offered me his jacket to cover my body. He’s a true gentleman. Well, maybe a little.

So what if the gesture came after I had bolted for the door because he was looking me up and down at first. I feel myself forgiving his neglect to inform me of his true identity. He’s yet to explain himself. I consider agreeing to meet him for dinner just so he can tell me why he led me to believe he was an assistant.

I shower and throw on my Betty Boop sleeping shirt, a pair of booties, and then try to bring my racing thoughts back under control. Heading to my bedroom, I lie down on the bed and pull out a romance novel Selene let me borrow.

She thinks I’m destined to become either a nun or a homicidal maniac. Her reasoning being that no normal person goes without sex as long as I have done. Selene’s boyfriend and my old design lab partner from school, Christopher, even chimed in to help drill the thought into me one day when the two of them visited. I study the book in my hands.

This just doesn’t seem right. Erin Angelo is pulling out a romance novel and actually considering reading it. Now I know something’s wrong with me.

 

About the Author

 

Meet your word sculptress…

KayLeighBWAuthorPicAuthor of the Lost Immortals Saga and the Path Seekers Series. I’m also a mother, blogger, reader, gardener, home renovator, and a slayer of undead Egyptian mummies in Tomb Raider. I believe in karma, coffee, and seriously wish that the producers of Xena would bring my favorite show ever back.

Strange things about me: Everything. I am weird, odd, unusual, and generally tend to make people think I swooped down from another planet. I don’t know. Maybe I did. Who knows? I’m also a member of the #zombiesurvivalcrew on twitter. So if you need protection from the upcoming apocalypse, don’t hesitate to call on us.

I was born in the race-car city of Charlotte, NC, and now live in the City of Alchemy and Medicine, NC, when I’m not hanging out in Bardonia (Lost Immortals). Most of my characters are based on people that I’ve met throughout my travels and adventures. People tend to stop and start conversations with me as if I’ve known them my entire life. Does this freak me out? Not really. My mom says that one day I’ll get kidnapped by one of them. I told her that if it weren’t for these lovely people then I wouldn’t be able to create the stories that I do.

http://www.kasonndraleigh.com

 

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For a chance to win a digital copy of The Prelude by KaSonndra Leigh, just leave a comment below.

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UndyingDestinyKenric St. James is out for revenge. Over 300 years ago, an ancient female vampire turned him against his will and killed the woman he loved. He’s spent more than a century building an Enclave of warrior vampires who have sworn to defend humanity against his evil sire and her minions. But when Kenric finds a woman he finally burns to claim as his own again, Kenric knows loving her means giving his sire another target.

Emily Ross just wanted a fresh start. She’s a survivor, coming off the tail end of an abusive relationship, and craves time alone to learn who she is and to save the home that holds her heart. The last thing she needed was a controlling, alpha male calling all the shots.

Meeting Kenric might just have changed her mind, though. He is wrong for her in all the right ways. But in order to keep her heart from breaking, he first has to keep the hoards of evil vamps from stealing her very breath.

 

~~~*~~~*~~~

 

Excerpt

 

“Whoever you are, you’d best have a damn good reason to continue breathing,” Kenric rumbled.

It took balls for someone to enter his secured, private quarters within the compound while he slept. A part of him respected the bravado, but he despised games.

The cold edge of serrated steel trailed down his midsection. “Now, Kenric St. James, is that any way to speak to your sire?” An unmistakable female voice whispered at his ear.

He lunged.

Kenric’s momentum propelled them both across the shielded darkness of his bedroom. Her head smacked the wall with a satisfying crack followed by the thud of the blade against the hardwood floor.

With his hand constricting her throat, Kenric hissed through descended fangs, “Death is all that awaits you here, Marguerite.” The thundering beat of his heart filled his ears. “I will see you pay for murdering Annice. And I’ll have revenge for every other life you’ve destroyed.”

A wicked smile curled her lips before she laughed. Ready to purge three centuries of vengeance from his gut, he tightened his grip.

His hand collapsed around dead air. “Son of a bitch!”

Seconds later, a force slammed into his chest, propelling him across the room. His back struck the mattress. A naked, grinning Marguerite appeared, straddling his hips. Her hand slid between their bare bodies.

Kenric snatched her wrist. “That will never happen again.” Tossing her off him, he leaped to his feet.

“Maybe this would be more to your liking?” Marguerite’s form shimmered. Her black-as-sin hair morphed into long blonde ringlets. Her body transformed. Layers of white satin and lace soon covered her nakedness.

His gaze followed the familiar white dress down to her small slippers, then up again, following her soft curves and slight bosom. A sorrow-filled lump, the size of his heart, formed in his throat. His breath hitched. The gown was exactly like the one Annice had been wearing the day he’d proposed—more than three hundred years ago.

Large blue eyes, almost too large for her face, met his gaze. He grabbed the nearest bedpost, steadying his legs. Kenric stepped forward before his mind even registered he’d moved. But reality slammed into his brain and he yanked on the brake.

How could Marguerite be this evil? What the hell was he thinking? Marguerite Devonshire didn’t give a shit. She didn’t care if she ripped open old wounds and flooded them with salt. She only cared if the action suited her own needs.

Annice was dead. And the woman wearing the masquerade had murdered her.

“How are you doing this, Marguerite?” he growled. “And what the hell do you want? You’re too narcissistic for a death wish, and I damn well don’t need a reminder of what a sadistic bitch you are.”

“Ouch, darling.” Marguerite clucked her tongue and wagged one thin finger back and forth. “Now that’s not nice. I’m here because I’ve missed you.” She rose and sauntered forward, a disturbing blend of Annice’s body with Marguerite’s voice. She lifted her hand as if to rest it on his chest. Kenric backpedaled before she could make contact. Her eyelids narrowed as she dropped her arm to her side. Yeah. It was Annice’s face, but malice leaked through her pores like venom, a stinging reminder that she was all Marguerite.

“I wanted to surprise you. Do you like your dream so far?” She caressed the curves of her borrowed image.

A fucking dream. She was inside his head and screwing with his mind. Marguerite had already taken his life and blackened his soul, but no way in hell was she going to crawl around inside his brain and infect the only part of him left that was human: his memories.

With a smug grin, she added, “I had to do something to get the master of the Enclave’s attention. We’ve been out of touch for far too long. What has it been, three hundred years now?”

If she wanted chitchat, she had the wrong enemy. He shot her a look that said, get to the damn point.

“Don’t look so grumpy, love. I wanted to remind you of how perfect we are for each other. Annice would have never been happy with you.”

“Don’t even go there. You defile her name,” he spat. “You didn’t know a damn thing about her.”

“Oh, I’m sure the pitiful human female would have wanted children, and as you know, that’s not possible. You would have made her miserable. Not to mention the bloodlust that would have plagued you each time you fucked her.”

She giggled. “Her sweet little heart would have never fared well with that healthy…” Her gaze dipped low, then back to his face,“…appetite of yours.” She released a long sigh before continuing. “We belong together, Kenric, and you need to accept that fact.”

“The only fact that needs to be accepted here is that when I find you—” his voice dipped into a snarl,“—and I will find you—you’re going to wish you’d never tasted my blood. Because I’m going to make sure Annice’s death is paid for with yours.” He wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of a reaction to her declarations about Annice—it would only encourage her. Even if she was right. Not about the children. The bloodlust. Unlike human men, he’d been gifted or cursed, depending on how you looked at it, with the benefit of never having to worry about disease or pregnancy when he fucked. The burden he carried was much worse. Sex and bloodlust went hand in hand. He never wanted to submit any female to the cravings he’d experienced during his time as Marguerite’s slave.

Marguerite scowled and whirled. “You always were a self-righteous, holier-than-thou son of a bitch. I see a few centuries without me have done nothing to improve your personality.”

His jaw ached under the pressure of his clenched teeth. She stood there, with her head held high and spine straight, as if she were the victim.

“We can see each other a little more often, now that I’ve mastered my new skill. You would like that, wouldn’t you?” Marguerite tilted her head, glancing at him over her shoulder. She reached out, intending once more to touch him. Kenric whipped his arm forward, knocking the vile appendage away. He couldn’t stomach the thought.

“Is there any point to this?”

“Tell me, my dear. I’m dying to know…” Her eyes blazed with fury, but her lips wore a smile of seduction. She stepped closer, her words hot against his skin. “Do you enjoy seeing your precious Annice again?”

A roar erupted, and his rage unleashed. With the power of a thought, Kenric launched Marguerite into the air and against the far wall. With his mind, he held her up with her feet dangling. Every instinct rebelled at causing pain to the image of innocence reflecting back at him. It isn’t her. It isn’t her. The mantra looped in his head as he stalked closer.

“This is my mind, Marguerite. It would serve you well to remember that the next time you think to play in my head.”

Her stunned expression shifted to a sneer, exposing her fangs. “You think you have the upper hand, love? You always were a little cocky.” Her gaze dropped to his groin. She licked her lips and tongued a fang.

Kenric hit her with another blast of energy, choking off her humor. The force pressed her body and head tighter against the wall. He couldn’t resist having his moment. She couldn’t die here in this delusion of her creation. But he didn’t give a damn. It was too sweet not to try to kill the coldhearted bitch.

“Fine, Kenric. You win. This round,” she conceded, lifting her shaking hands in surrender.

He sucked in a deep breath before releasing it along with his hold. Her body glided down until her feet met the hardwood floor.

“I can feel how much stronger you are Kenric, even as you sleep. Think about it. A master vampire, one with the potency that you possess, blended with the strength of my six centuries, plus the power I’ve procured—we would be a force unlike any vampire or mortal has ever seen. Nothing and no one could ever touch us.”

He didn’t think it was possible, but she’d grown even more insane. She spoke of power as if it were a lover, her eyes wild with lust. “What have you done, Marguerite?” Christ, what had she tapped into? “What is this procurement? Is that how you’re doing this?”

“So many questions.” She shook her head. “Join me, and in due time, all shall be revealed.” Marguerite planted another beckoning smile on her face.

“My answer still hasn’t changed, Marguerite. Never! Never again will I submit and give my mind and soul to you.”

She stepped forward, squared her shoulders, and pinned him with a glare. “You’re a fool, St. James. You’ll regret those words.”

“So be it.”

Her eyes shifted from blue to green. Her face, body, and clothing reversed to their original state. Her hips rocked back and forth in invitation.

She was pure sex.

But it was difficult to be aroused when his every instinct would rather rip her apart than fuck her.

“This isn’t over,” she simply stated. A red ring swirled around her green irises, giving away just how pissed she really was. Good.

He seized her chin, enjoying her sharp intake of air from his sudden grasp.

“For you, Marguerite, it soon will be.”

She pulled herself free and raked him with a hungry glare. Their gazes held once more in challenge before she erupted in laughter. Her image faded to mist.

Kenric gasped, lunging upright in bed. What remained of his bed linens lay tangled at the foot of his mattress. A fine sheen of sweat covered his body, chilling him to the core. The room was still, except for the sound of his rapid breaths. He scanned the darkness of his bedroom.

He was alone.

The shower door swung wide, striking the side of the glass block encasement, rattling its hinges. Even though it had been an illusion, it had felt good washing the touch of that evil bitch off his skin. Kenric stepped out onto his rippled bath mat and grabbed a towel from the bar.

The moment he dropped down on the edge of his bed, the house phone beeped. He groaned. It had to be Guerin. With the edges of the sun barely dipping below the horizon, the only person ringing this soon would be him, since he’d covered operations last night. Reaching over, Kenric pressed the speaker button.

“Yeah. What is it?”

“Damn, man. Good fucking evening to you, too,” Guerin said, laughing. “Who pissed on your sheets?”

Kenric let silence hang on the line and breathed deep before he took any more of his anger out on his second-in-command. “Marguerite was here.”

“Shit! How? There’s no fucking way she should’ve been able to get through without detection. We’re sealed tighter than damn Fort Knox. Do you want me to run a diagnostic on the sensors?”

“No, that’s not necessary. There’s nothing wrong with your sensors.” Kenric ran his hands through his damp hair, pushing the unruly waves over his head, and leaned against the headboard. The antique wood frame creaked from his weight. “She was here, but not in the physical sense.”

“Not in the physical sense. What do you mean? Like a ghost? What, is she dead? Could we get that lucky?”

“Shit, do you think I’d sound so pissed off if that were the case? No, in fact she’s gotten stronger, and apparently, when I’m asleep, she’s fucking found a way into my head. She’s discovered a new talent, and now she can crawl inside my mind and pay me a visit.”

Guerin whistled, long and low. “Damn, she’s one sick bitch. Any idea how she’s gained this new strength? If she’s here messing with you, she must not have found a new male to get her hooks into.”

“No. To quote you, ‘I didn’t get that lucky.’”

“We’re going to find her. It will happen, my man. But you’ve got to promise me one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“A ringside seat when you run her through. You hear me?”

“Yeah, I hear you. And you’ve got it.”

Guerin started detailing the previous night’s watch. Kenric picked at the loose fiber in his towel, the other male’s voice a distant hum in his ear. In the shower, he’d replayed every word Marguerite had uttered. There had to be a clue. She did nothing without an agenda. Marguerite was too arrogant not to have given him a hint so he’d figure out what she’d accomplished. “Blended with the strength of my six centuries, plus the power I’ve procured.” Could it be that simple? “I want you to ask Elle to research something for me,” Kenric cut Guerin off.

“Oh, okay. Spill.”

“I need her to find out everything she can on vampire lore from around the fifteenth and sixteenth century.”

“All right,” Geurin drawled. “Any particular thing she’s searching for?”

“Marguerite chose her words carefully when she mentioned her new power. She brought up the fact that she’s six-hundred years old and that she’d procured her new strength . . .”

Kenric flexed the fingers of his other hand, curling and uncurling his fist. “See if she can find any mention of ancient vampire myths pertaining to relics, or artifacts of power from that time period.”

“Good idea. I’ll get her on it.”

“Anyway.” Kenric shook his head, as if the act could erase the memory and her voice from his mind. Yeah. If only it were that easy to change his reality. Like the one where he woke every night to a dawn that consisted of shadows and moonbeams instead of UV and blue skies. If he had that kind of Etch-A-Sketch ability, he would have shaken it. “You were saying something about last night? What went down?”

“Another body’s been found. A human female. Like the rest, raped and drained dry for the euphoric high by another DE-addicted vamp. That’s three now in the past four nights.”

“Too damn many.” Kenric closed his eyes and squeezed the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. A headache hammered at the back of his eyeballs. “Where was she found?”

“The Docks. Arran found her on a side street, slumped behind a Dumpster. We took care of the remains.”

“Marguerite’s getting inside my head must be connected to the surge in the number of Death Euphoria-addicted vamps. She’s turning innocent humans then watching them kill and fry their brains. No doubt they’re her calling card to get my attention. And her presence felt too real to have been carried off telepathically from a long distance. She must be tired of playing hide-and-seek and now wants a game of tag.”

Unbidden, Kenric’s fingernails lengthened and curved into claws that dug into his palm. He needed to shift. The ability to shape-shift was the best part of being a vampire. If such a thing as a good part even existed. “Good” and “vampire” didn’t quite belong in the same sentence. God, he needed to run, run until he exhausted some of his anger, before he exploded.

“Guerin, inform Arran I’ll be on patrol tonight. Those murdering bastards are mine. Their cravings aren’t going to give them a rest, and they won’t be smart enough to find a new area for their prey. They’ll be hunting tonight… And so will I.”

~~~*~~~*~~~

For find out more about Jessica Lee and her books, visit http://www.jessicaleenovels.com/. And for a chance to win an ebook from Jessica’s backlist, just leave a comment below. Good luck!

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9780373718443_The First MoveAn unlikely encounter…but he’ll take it!
It seems like fate…or something! When Miles Brislenn spies the girl he had a crush on in high school—at his ex-wife’s wedding, no less—he can’t let the opportunity pass. He might not have had the courage to talk to Renia Milek back then, but he definitely does now. And that’s not the only thing that’s changed. Gone is the rebel Renia used to be. In her place is a beautiful woman who’s reserved, cautious…and holding on to secrets.For Miles, this second chance with Renia is too important to let her past stand in their way. He’ll do whatever is necessary to help her accept her choices and move on—even if that means a salsa lesson or two! Because now that he’s made the first move, he wants the second to be hers.

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

Thank you for having me on the blog and giving me an opportunity to talk about my new release, The First Move. The book is the second in a trilogy of the Milek siblings.

Mad said I could talk about whatever I wanted, which she may regret because I’m going to talk about dumplings. Those of you who read my first book, Reservations for Two, know I like to write about food and that pierogi (a Polish dumpling) play an integral role in the lives of all the Milek siblings. Part of this is because I love dumplings. From ravioli to xiaolongbao to samosas to kreplach, eating starch wrapped around hot and savory fillings is incredibly soothing. Dumplings are usually cheap, because they evolved from peasant food cultures. Cheap plus soothing equals the universal comfort food.

Renia Milek, the heroine of The First Move, needs all the comfort she can get. She has spent the past eighteen years of her life hiding from her past and refusing to allow herself intimate relationships, with either friends or lovers. She has a secret that even her best friend doesn’t know about. Her family knows, but they don’t talk about it. Miles, the hero, isn’t afraid of her prickly demeanor, nor is he willing to be pushed away simply because the only reaction Renia has to pain is to shove. He’s wanted her since high school and no secret is going to get in the way.

What does this have to do with dumplings? Two of my favorite scenes happen over a meal of dumplings. When Renia finally makes the decision to be open about her past, she confesses to her best friend over jiaozi (boiled Chinese dumplings much like Japanese gyoza). When she has to face her past over dinner, pierogi are on the menu and Miles is there to support her.

Renia doesn’t have an easy journey in The First Move. Though she works hard for her happy ending, I tried to give her some help along the way—Miles at her back and dumplings on her plate.

******

meduimresLohmann-0870Jennifer Lohmann is a Rocky Mountain girl at heart, having grown up in southern Idaho and Salt Lake City. After graduating with a degree in Economics from the University of Chicago, she moved to Shanghai to teach English. Back in the United States, she earned a Master’s in Library Science and now works as a public librarian. She was the Romance Writers of America librarian of the year in 2010. She and her husband live in the Southeast with a dog, a chicken, and four cats.

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For more information about Jennifer and her books, visit jenniferlohmann.com. And for a chance to win The First Move, just leave a comment below. Good luck!

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Welcome to Book Dish. This isn’t a review. It’s Mad and Lillie honestly discussing a recent book. Book Dish may have SPOILERS. And possibly bad words. Today’s Book Dish is about Wolf With Benefits by Shelly Laurenston (out March 26, 2013)

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Blurb:

Shelly Laurenston, New York Times bestselling author and a star in the paranormal romance genre, comes the eighth book is the successful Pride series, that blends outrageous humor and sexy shapeshifters to create irresistible heroes that readers fall in love with.

Ricky Lee has no plans of getting serious about anyone, but he will protect Toni Jean-Louis Parker. Not just because he’s been hired to do so, but because it’s the right thing to do. And if that means traveling around the country with one complicated She-jackal, dealing with chocolate-eating wild dogs, instigating trouble between his brothers, and having the most amazing sex he’s ever had…well, who said his job didn’t have perks?

Toni doesn’t know how she keeps getting herself into these situations. But even she has to admit there’s something about Ricky Lee Reed that she finds kind of interesting…and downright sexy. Now they just have to survive long enough to figure out if what they have is worth fighting for…

Mad: Let’s do this. *cracks knuckles* lol

Lillie: Alrighty. So we have Ricky Lee Reed,wolf shifter and the slightly goofy brother of Ronnie Lee and Toni Jean-Louis Parker, jackel and big sister to 10 prodigy siblings! That’s a lot of siblings…

Mad: Her parents weren’t playing when it came to kid-making. Haha!

Lillie: Nope! And those siblings were some of my favorite moments. The fact that she trained them to help discourage men by asking “Are you my daddy?” whenever men came near her was HYSTERICAL.

Mad: That cracked me up every time they said it. Priceless.

Kyle was a hoot, I don’t know if I would have had as much patience with him as Toni did.

And that scene when he first meets Bo and he tells him what he thinks about Bo being a hockey player? Bo replies with “I wish I could say you disgust me but I understand what you’re saying” I laughed so hard at that part.

Lillie: I liked that Toni didn’t see them as perfect. The comments of “those evil bastards”, “narcassistic brats” etc made me smile.

Mad: She was their rock and kept them grounded.

Lillie: She did and didn’t realize how special that was. I loved seeing her use those same skills in her new job with the hockey team. Watching her calm Bo was a thing of brilliance.

Mad: Yes…and the scene with the bear who hated to fly? What was his name? She handled it like she needed to.

Lillie: And I loved that Ricky Lee saw that in her from the beginning. He got what was important to her, what she needed, and handled her when necassary. I don’t think I could see any other character as a hero for her. He was just so laid back and let it all flow.

Mad: Right and he seemed like he never lost his cool and just was waiting for the entertainment to come to him, as he said to Toni. 🙂

Lillie: Speaking of entertainment, almost ALL the former heroes and heroines made an appearance in this one! Irene, Miki, Sara, Gwen, Blayne. I was so happy! It was like a big dysfunctional family reunion!

Mad: I agree, I felt that the whole time I was reading it. Loved each time a previous character came into the story.

How funny did you fine that Toni could not remember Blayne’s name to save her life? It was Blane, Blank, Bane, etc but never Blayne.

Lillie: Bwahaha! Seeing Blayne get flustered by that was awesome.

Mad: What did you think of Del, Toni’s sister? That chick was a piece of work!

Lillie: I’ve rarely been creeped out by a Laurenston character but that one did it. Pure evil. And I don’t think we’ve seen the last of her. I think her and Dee Ann will be having another Come To Jesus moment somewhere down the line.

Mad: Neither do I and it’s not going to be pretty when Dee-Ann finally gets her hands on her.

Without giving spoilers, what did you think of the new shifter that was introduced?

Lillie: That was my favorite part! More than the romance between Toni and Ricky, more than past characters, I LOVED Livy! She’s awesome! And I think Laurenston has created the best shifter EVER with her. All the hints dropped about what she was then when it was finally revealed, I squealed a little. I want her book now. Right this very second.

Mad: She and Dee-Ann together scare me …. I would not ever want to be on the wrong side of them. The things they could do…..

Lillie: Yeah, those two as friends (or as close as either of them come to friendship) is a little scary. Dee has always been the ultimate badass of this series but Livy may have her beat on the oh-shit scale. She’s got that dangerous side that Dee has but also the craziness of Sara. That combo… *shudders*

Mad: True! Which brings me to Sara…she was in only one scene but she was as crazy as ever, hilarious to see her pop up like that.

What was your favorite scene? Can you even choose?

Lillie: I honestly don’t think I can. Where Bo beats the hell out of Reece again as Ricky Lee watched? Where the 3 year old twins broke the mighty king of the jungle? The Reed brothers breaking into Brendon Shaw’s apartment again just to eat his yogurt? Soooo many!

You?

Mad: The twins chasing each other with knives/scissors…the scene where Freddy wanted to see how tall he could be if he stood on Bo’s shoulders & Bo let him? That melted me when he picked him up & stood him on his shoulders. Sissy & Ronnie Lee trying to help Ricky Lee get over his ex…when he didn’t need it. lol Or when Livy jumped that lion because he was rude to her without a hint as to what was going to happen.

Lillie: I’ve liked all of Laurenston’s shifter books but this is one of my favorites. I just loved it. Final grade?

Mad: If I could give it higher than an A+ I would….I loved everything about it! You?

Lillie: Same here. Definitely a recommended read. If I didn’t have a ton of review books I need to get to, I would already be rereading it.

Mad: I love when an author does that to me. I want to just dive right back in and just start rereading this whole series all over again.

Lillie: Me too. More Laurenston books NOW, please.

Mad: Yes. I feel like telling her WRITE FASTER, PLEASE but she might cut me like the characters she writes about 😉

Lillie: Good point. We’ll just stare longingly in her general direction.

Mad’s favorite quote:

“Can I stand on your shoulders?”

“What?”

“Can I stand on your shoulders? Just for a minute or so.”

“Why?”

“I want to know what it’s like to be tall.”

Bo was about to explain that the chances of a jackal being as tall as him – a lion-polar bear hybrid – were impossible but decided against it. In fact, he could actually hear Blayne in his head telling him not to tell Freddy that. So, Bo instead crouched down and held his arm out. The boy grabbed it with both hands and Bo lifted him, placing his small feet on his shoulders. When he had the boy secure, Bo’s hands wrapped tightly around Freddy’s ankles, Bo stood tall.

“Woooooow,” Freddy sighed out. “I can see the entire world from here.”

Lillie’s favorite quote:

“I was eighteen. She was nineteen. And kind of a,” he covered his goddaughter’s ears with his hands, “whore.”

“Now, now. That’s my cousin, Ricky Lee.” When Ricky just stared at him, Bobby shrugged. “Who is kind of a whore.”

GIVEAWAY!

We are giving away 3 digital copies of Wolf With Benefits! Nook or kindle format, winner’s choice. We’ll be drawing the names on Sunday and the book will be gifted on release day. To be entered in the giveaway, just leave a comment below. What is your favorite Shelly Laurenston book. And if you haven’t read Laurenston yet, what makes you like shifter books?

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Going from being friends to lovers can be one of the most natural and satisfying ways to fall in love. It means both parties know each other really well before the connection develops into something more meaningful. They’ve seen each other at their best and their worst; there aren’t too many nasty surprises. But the transition can also be confusing and stressful, especially when there are doubts on either side about whether those more-than-friendly feelings are returned. It takes some courage to risk a friendship and go out on a limb to make that ultimate declaration.

In my new multicultural contemporary romance, Short Soup, Toni and Dion have been friends ever since childhood. Their parents co-own a Chinese restaurant in a small seaside town. They’ve grown up together, spent heaps of time together, and seen each other at their best and worst. Toni believes she knows everything about Dion, but when she returns home after a gruelling marriage breakdown, she discovers there’s more to Dion than she used to think and he’s not the same laidback mate he used to be.

When two friends have spent so much time together they can take each other for granted. It’s a surprise (and not always a pleasant one) to realise the other has changed and maybe it’s not so easy to slip into the old, comfortable routine. In the five years since Toni last saw him, Dion has metamorphosed into someone more focussed, more determined, and strangely more attractive.

Taken aback at how Dion has changed, Toni begins to realise that she has changed too, and so have her feelings for him. But it’s not easy coming to terms with her new found attraction to Dion, especially as she’s still putting her life together after her recent divorce. After the betrayal of her ex-husband, she’s not ready to trust her feelings so quickly. It’s more sensible to ignore the flutters in her stomach every time Dion comes near, because regardless of what she feels for him, her future and career lie in the big city, not in their sleepy seaside hometown. It’s going to take something special to make these friends into lovers.

I’m giving away one copy (ebook) of Short Soup away. To enter just leave a comment below and include an email address. Giveaway is open internationally.

 

Short Soup blurb:

Short Soup_cvr compressedA story about best friends, childhood dreams, and the healing power of Chinese food…

 

Toni Lau and Dion Chan were connected from birth — first via their parents’ jointly-owned restaurant, then via their bone-deep friendship. But children grow up, and Toni leaves their sleepy hometown looking for more than it can offer.

 

Now Toni is back, raw with the knowledge that not all childhood dreams come true. Dion is on the brink of realising that both his own ambitions and his childhood friend have the power to derail all of his hard work. But loving Toni — and winning her love in return — has always been on his wish list. Can Dion really put her on the back burner while frying up his chef dreams? Or is it possible that together they can come up with a recipe for happiness?

 

Buy Links:

Escape Publishing  http://bit.ly/STdE49

Amazon  http://amzn.to/Uuxwdv

Kobo  http://bit.ly/1272Cjw

iTunes http://bit.ly/Uu22BQ

 

 

Author Bio:

Coleen Kwan has been a bookworm all her life. At school English was her favorite subject, but for some reason she decided on a career in IT. After many years of programming, she wondered what else there was in life — and discovered writing. She loves writing contemporary romance and steampunk romance.

 

Coleen lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys avoiding housework, eating chocolate, and watching The Office.

 

www.coleenkwan.com

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We haven’t drooled over a series of covers here since Jaci Burton’s Play by Play books but Alison Kent’s The Dalton Gang series…my oh my *fans self* I have no idea what kind of sacrifices or bribes are being offered up to Berkley’s art department but please continue.

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And releasing in August…

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THE DALTON BOYS TAKE THE REINS

The infamous Dalton Gang was once known for riding—and playing—hard. Now, as owners of the Dalton Ranch in Crow Hill, Texas, they’re working from sunup to sundown. But one look from the right woman can tempt them back into the saddle…

When a walk on the wild side turned into a nightmare for Everly Grant, she escaped her abusive ex by taking a job with Crow Hill’s small newspaper. Now assigned to write a human-interest story on the return of the Dalton Gang, she soon discovers that Boone Mitchell could give her plenty more than a good interview. As much as she craves safety, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to Boone’s dangerous streak. Before she takes the cowboy to bed, she lays down the law: There are no strings attached, and she’s the one in charge.

That’s fine for Boone. In fact, Everly teaches him things no other woman ever dared. Soon they find themselves wanting more than their simple arrangement will allow. But to get there, Everly will have to open up in ways she thought she never could…

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midnightaliasAn undercover DEA agent has gone off the radar. Suspecting an internal mole, the government needs Luke Dubois and his elite team of operatives to recover their man, and the New Orleans native thinks he’s found his way inside the dark underbelly of Manhattan: Olivia Taylor, the girlfriend of a mob boss and the sexiest woman he’s ever laid eyes on. His new mission objective? Get past Olivia’s defenses and convince her to take a chance—on him.

All Olivia wanted was to finish law school and live a normal life, but that dream was shattered when one dangerous night put her deeply in a mobster’s debt. Now Luke and his team will help her escape—in exchange for intel on the missing agent. But Olivia doesn’t anticipate her intense attraction to the reckless Louisiana charmer or that she’ll be forced to risk everything—including her heart.

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

Midnight Alias has a different feel than Midnight Rescue, not quite as dark and Luke isn’t nearly as cool and collected as Kane. Was that planned from the beginning or did it come about because of the characters?

 

I knew from the start that Midnight Alias wouldn’t be as dark as the first book. Midnight Rescue is darker in tone because the heroine’s background is incredibly tortured, and the mission Kane and Abby take on deals with humanity at its worst. In book two, Olivia is definitely not as dark as Abby, so the relationship between her and Luke lacks a lot of the angst of book one. As for Luke, he was introduced as a fun-loving, reckless ladies man in Midnight Rescue, so I always knew he would be lighter in comparison to Kane, who is more serious and the second-in-command of the team.

Anytime I talk with someone about this series, the always deadly Noelle’s name is mentioned. Will she be getting her own book at some point?

 

Definitely.  Noelle has a sub-plot in the third book, Midnight Games, which I think readers will enjoy because it gives a teeny bit of insight into her past. She’ll get her own story in book five, but I’m keeping mum about who her hero will be 🙂
With Isabel and Trevor, scary D, the new and intriguing Liam (who doesn’t like a man named Liam?) and many others, you have a lot of characters waiting on a story. Do you have a set amount of books planned for this series?
Right now I’m contracted for five books, but I absolutely have more stories in mind for a lot of the secondary characters, including sexy Liam, who also appears in Midnight Games.

Plotter or pantser?
A little bit of both. I usually work off a general outline for most books and toss in fun scenes as they come to me.  With other books, particularly my romantic suspense ones, I have a more detailed outline in place before I start to write.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve researched for a book?

 

The jungle! For my new Harlequin Romantic Suspense series, The Hunted, I needed to know a lot about the jungle in order to make the first book, Soldier Under Siege, come to life. I flew to Costa Rica in the summer and did a lot of fun adventure tours, spoke to a ton of people, and took hundreds of pictures. It was definitely worth it, and I think all that research comes through in the book.

What books can we be looking for in the near future from you?

 

The third Killer Instincts book, Midnight Games, which is Trevor and Isabel’s story, releases in August—I’m super excited about it! In July is Hotter Than Ever, the ninth book of my erotic contemporary Out of Uniform series. The Hunted trilogy with Harlequin kicked off this month with book one, and the next two come out in the spring.  So there are a lot of fun releases to look forward to!

A big thank-you to Elle for joining us today! To find out more about her backlist and upcoming books, visit ellekennedy.com. And for a chance to win MIDNIGHT ALIAS, just leave a comment below. Good luck! 😀

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