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Archive for the ‘September 2010’ Category

Blurb:

What begins as a quest for submission becomes an unrelenting need for love.

Harmless, Book 3

May Aiona’s crush on sexy Evan Chambers is a bad habit that should be easy to break. It’s not like he’s ever noticed her. Looking for a safe place to release the reins of control and explore her curiosity about BDSM, May takes a friend up on an invitation to visit an exclusive bondage club—all she has to agree to is a public submission.

Evan can’t help but notice the exotically beautiful May. But despite his success, the dirty secrets of his past whisper that he’ll never be good enough for her. When Evan sees her standing in his club ready to submit to his best friend, he gives in to the thing he wants most—May as his sub. After their session, he knows one night will never be enough. But loving May isn’t easy for a man always ready to take charge. She might like to submit in the bedroom, but she doesn’t like anyone telling her what to do outside of it.

When May insists she’s not in any danger from the person seemingly obsessed with her, she ends up in the sights of a deranged stalker—with Evan possibly too far away to help.

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This book can be summed up in two words. Freaking hot! A gorgeous Dom with a horrible past that has lead to commitment issues and heroine strong enough to break through his barriers. It’s a perfect set-up for me.

If you have read A Little Harmless Pleasure (book 2 of the series), then you have had a glimpse of Evan’s prowess in the bedroom. Now you get to read a lot more about that prowess. In the bedroom. In the club. On the dining room table. In the shower by himself. Did I mention HOT?

But as hot as Evan is, what really stood out in the book was the heroine, May. She is strong, confidant, and intelligent. She hasn’t really enjoyed her past sexual experiences so she decides to do research and try to find out why. And once she realizes the why, she sets out with a plan to fix it.

When someone vandalizes her car, she calls the cops. When things escalate, once again, she calls the cops. It is so refreshing to see this. No TSTL heroine here who tries to solve it herself or just brushes it aside. May uses her common sense to handle the situation.

This is the second book I have read by Melissa Schroeder and it definitely won’t be my last. I’m looking forward to seeing where she goes next in this series and checking out her backlist.

You can read an excerpt of A Little Harmless Obsession at Melissa Schroeder’s website.

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Single mom Karina Barrett is thrilled to treat her kids to a fairytale Christmas vacation… but will a sexy innkeeper make her own holiday dreams come true?

For Karina, it’s the chance of a lifetime: a free cocoa and gingerbread-filled holiday at a quaint Michigan B&B called The Christmas House.  In return, Karina will play spy and report back to the company hoping to buy out the popular hotel.  It’s all too good to be true…especially when Karina meets innkeeper Reid Sullivan. The man is a walking talking Christmas miracle—and she’s hoping to meet him under the mistletoe…

Single dad turned globe-trotting adventurer, Reid isn’t quite sure how he and his daughters got roped into helping out this year at his family’s B&B.  But once he arrives, it doesn’t take long for a certain guest to catch his eye.  Fun-loving California girl Karina is hard to miss, and Reid senses the attraction is mutual.  As Christmas approaches and the weather grows colder, things between Reid and Karina heat up.  But when the true reason behind Karina’s visit is revealed, will the holiday magic disappear before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve?

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I’ve been in a time warp lately. Specifically, I’ve been living like it’s 1999.

That’s because, when I signed my last publishing contract (hooray!), I treated myself to something new: a complete boxed set of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” So now I have forty (!) discs of Whedonesque goodness, just waiting for me to work my way through them. “Buffy” aired from 1997-2003, and I just started season five (no spoilers, please!), so that means I’m pretty much re-experiencing the late 1990s/early 2000s. The fashions! The technology! The haircuts! The CGI! The popular (at the time) music!

Everything has changed SO much in the decade-plus since then. Cell phones were bigger (and rarer). There were no iPods or Kindle readers. GPS devices hadn’t yet gone mainstream.  Nobody Tweeted or connected on Facebook. That means the plots of “Buffy” reflect those limitations…while showing the evolution of everything from hairstyling flatirons to spray-on tans to grunge music and “the ‘Net” (and amazing stories) in an engrossing way.

If I were a time-traveler from 1999 waking up today, I would be amazed! Today it’s possible to shoot video with your cell phone, e-mail manuscripts, contracts, or copyedits to your editor, and carry over 3,000 books on a device that’s as lightweight as a paperback. It’s great to have those options. And if I were in charge of slaying vampires with my trusty gang of pals, I would definitely want some of our modern-day whiz-bang gadgets to help me out.

Of course, this time warp of mine has me thinking about some story conventions from days gone by, too. For instance, when I started reading romances, heroines tended to be virginal. Heroes tended to be alpha. Time-travel romances and western historicals were easier to find. Chick-lit hadn’t yet happened. And suspense was just beginning to perk up. Trends came and went over the years as publishers started (and dropped) new lines…some of which I still miss reading (RIP, Harlequin Temptation!). The genre definitely did its share of evolving! We’re now in a place I could never have predicted ten-plus years ago, during those first-run “Buffy” days.

So now I’m wondering… What are your favorite aspects of bygone romances? What conventions are you happy to see pass into obscurity? And where do you think our favorite genre will be in 2019 or so? I can hardly imagine!

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Lisa Plumley is the USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen contemporary, historical, and paranormal romances. Her newest book,Holiday Affair, arrives in stores TODAY! Her next book, Mail-Order Groom, is the latest in her popular “Morrow Creek” series for Harlequin Historicals and will be on sale in December 2010. You can find her on Facebook or Twitter, or visit her Web site to read first-chapter excerpts from any of her books, sign up for new-book reminder e-mails, and more!

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A big thank you to Lisa Plumley for joining us today. Leave a comment for the chance to win a book autographed by Lisa! Three winners will receive their choice of either Home for the Holidays or My Favorite Witch. Good luck!

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Seven innocents have been brutally murdered in Los Angeles, yet the Shadow Alliance has no suspects and no leads. As the body count mounts, the age-old feud between vampires and werewolves threatens to explode.

Lissa Monroe—a strong-willed, ravishing succubus who entices men to surrender their souls—agrees to go undercover for the Alliance. Her mission: infiltrate the mind of werewolf leader Vincent Rand, a ferociously alluring enemy who exerts a powerful hold over her. As the City of Angels teeters on the brink of apocalypse, these two adversaries must join together in order to survive an even more lethal enemy hidden in plain sight.

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I don’t think that I’m alone in this:  When I sit down to write a book, it’s not theme that I’m thinking of.  It’s character and story.  I’m trying to craft a story that moves at a fast pace with characters that are compelling and interesting and change over the course of the story.  I’m not thinking in terms of Grand Themes or Literary Devices.

And yet after the draft is done and I’m digging back into the story, inevitably the theme presents itself.  Even more, over time, I’ve discovered that there are certain themes that I’ll return to again and again.

I imagine that’s the same for most writers.  I’ll even take that a step further and say that the old adage of Write What You Know could more accurately be couched in terms of theme:  Write What Compels You.  What plays in the back of your mind.  Write the themes that make you think or that scare you personally.  Write to work through your own issues (yeah, writing novels can be very therapeutic!).

One reason romance novels are so popular, I think, is the overarching theme of finding love.  And, sadly, one of the reasons I think that romances aren’t always taken seriously is that the theme is too universal.  Either elitists feel it’s too trite to form the anchor of a book, or else doubters don’t like to see the reflection of their most basic desires staring back at them.

That need to connect with someone is one of my favorite themes to write about—but it’s not my only recurring theme.  Second to that is the theme of Figuring Out Who You Are, especially in the sense of overcoming adversity in your background—whether it be a parent pushing you in a certain direction, or the trauma of being turned into a werewolf against your will.  Certainly paranormal characters and stories lend themselves to the playing out of that theme.  In fact, in WHEN PLEASURE RULES, my second Shadow Keepers book, both Rand and Lissa are trying to come to terms with their core nature, both in different ways.

Lissa, a succubus, has no memory of her past lives, but even so, she’s working in this life to make up for wrongs she did in the past.  She knows that inherently, and that deep-seated knowledge has made her who she is.  But she still carries the burden of the past, and until she can fully accept who she is now, she’ll remain haunted by it.  With Lissa, the theme is played out more subtly.

Werewolf Rand is a different story.  A boy who grew up in gang territory—who participated in gang killings and ultimately tried to seek redemption in the military—he’s a man who is convinced that he’s unworthy, and that he’s become the beast he was changed into.  And this despite the fact that he’s loyal, hardworking, and deeply protective of those he loves. His torment runs so deep that his very soul is tattered, something Lissa can see—and something she wants to help. But it’s a long road to believing you can be other than the person you think you are.

Looking back now, I can see those themes, but as the story first appeared on the page, it was only the characters trying to tell their story through my keyboard.  I hope you like it!

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  You can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jkbeck, Friend me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorjkbeck, or just email me at jk@jkbeck.com.

And, of course, you can read more about the series at www.theshadowkeepers.com!

Finally, I’ll give away a signed copy of WHEN PLEASURE RULES to one lucky commenter!  Don’t know what to say?  What themes are you drawn to as either a reader or a writer?

Happy reading!

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Many thanks to J.K. for being our guest today!

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THE BOUNTY HUNTERS ARE COMING SOON

PLAY DIRTY releases September 28, 2010. Order your copy today at your favorite on line bookstore or buy your copy on the 28th at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore! This is one book that won’t stay on the shelves long! Don’t miss out on your chance to meet the bounty hunters, Greg, Marc and Jake King!

PLAY DIRTY is Greg King’s story. His love life is as intense and dangerous as the criminals he hunts and captures. Greg might live on the edge, but there is one woman who knows how to soothe the beast in him.

Heartthrob bounty hunter Greg King knows how to work it—and he knows that he can have any woman he wants. But there’s more to Greg than meets the eye…and he’s still haunted by the memory of his beautiful, estranged wife. Much as he’s tried to move on, he’s never been able to stop wondering why Haley left him. Or what he could have done to make their marriage better—and make her stay…

After putting a vicious criminal behind bars, Haley King had no choice but to leave her loved ones behind and enter the witness protection program. Turns out that, in her new life, Haley has once again found herself in serious trouble—and needs help from the only person she can trust: her husband. Now, as old secrets threaten to tear them apart and danger closes in from all sides, it’s up to Greg to keep Haley safe…and convince her that this time, he’s playing for keeps.

Be sure and check out the rest of Lorie O’Clare’s books at www.lorieoclare.com. She loves hearing from her readers and you can e-mail her at lorieoclare@aol.com. Also, Lorie lists her books on eBay. If you’re after one of her older titles or her newest release, go to http://shop.ebay.com/lorieoclare/m.html. Bid on the auctions to win Lorie’s book or go to one of Lorie’s “buy it now” auctions. All books are mailed out personally autographed to the winner of each auction. Books are mailed worldwide!

Two lucky commenters will win their choice of any ebook from Lorie’s digital backlist. Have you read Lorie yet and if so, what book would you recommend to first time readers? If not, check out the above link and tell me what sounds good to you.

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Winners!

 

Regina Ross

wins DARK MOON OF AVALON by Anna Elliott

*

Tracey D.

wins BOND WITH ME by Anne Marsh

*

debp

wins COME AGAIN NO MORE by Jack Todd

*

Linda B.

wins THE MISTAKEN WIFE by Rose Melikan

Congrats to all the winners! You have 48 hours to email Mad at mad at romancereaderatheart dot com to claim your prizes.

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Far be it from me to criticize Jane Austen, but an unfortunate consequence of her popularity has been the assumption that Englishwomen living during the reign of George III spent all their time writing letters, attending card parties, and striving to make a “good match”.  Admittedly, the Bennets, Elliots, Dashwoods et al. represent a particular segment of society, the provincial middle class, but even so, were these women really so limited in their outlook and aspirations?
Undoubtedly, some of them were.

Jane Austen was too astute an observer of manners and morals to misjudge things badly.  Nevertheless, some middle class women did venture beyond the parsonage and the manor house, either through necessity or the desire for a wider experience.  I thought about these women when I was creating my heroine, Mary Finch.  She doesn’t represent any particular person who actually lived at the end of the 18th century, but when constructing her adventures I did consider whether there was a contemporary precedent for what I was planning, or whether her strengths and weaknesses were out of line with what I knew about women of her time.  So when readers ask me whether someone like Mary could really have existed in the 1790s, I say, yes, I think she could.

Let me give you examples of two Georgian women who, in their different ways, are somewhat in the Mary Finch mold.  The first is Hannah More (1745-1833).  Having been taught Latin, mathematics, and foreign languages, she and her sisters ran a girls’ boarding school in Bristol, while her parents presided over a like establishment for boys.  From an early age she enjoyed writing, and her work attracted the attention of the London literary elite.  As a young woman she made the acquaintance of David Garrick, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and Samuel Johnson, and was invited to join the exclusive Bluestocking society.  Her plays were popular and won rave reviews from the critics.  A devout Anglican, More’s writing had always had a particularly moral tone, and increasingly she devoted herself to what she considered important social and political causes: education, patriotism and respect for authority, and abolition of the slave trade.  In the last of these she worked closely with William Wilberforce and was a member of the Clapham Sect of Evangelical reformers.  Her loyalist tracts, published during the war years, sold enormously in Great Britain and America.  While of dubious literary merit, they were extremely important in providing a coherent, easily accessible platform for the forces of political, social, and religious conservatism.

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) was cut from a very different cloth.  Almost entirely self-taught, she left home at the age of nineteen to escape a violent father who had squandered the family’s resources.  After unsuccessful stints as schoolteacher, governess, and paid companion, she decided to become an author, and began supporting herself by writing stories, book reviews, translations, and essays.  Her Thoughts on the Education of Daughters was published in 1787.  While More sought to uphold values of deference, obedience, and loyalty, these were anathema to the egalitarian Wollstonecraft.  She enjoyed the company of the leading radicals and rationalist thinkers of the day, including Thomas Paine, Joseph Priestley, and William Godwin, and she published the first refutation of Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, entitled, A Vindication of the Rights of Men.  In it she attacked monarchy, aristocratic privilege, and traditional institutions that promoted inequality.  Her most famous work, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, took her arguments a step further, charging that women were being denied (and denying themselves) equality through a lack of rational education and a cloying celebration of feminine “sensibility”.  Similarly, while More attacked the French Revolution, Wollstonecraft defended it; indeed she travelled alone to France in 1792 to observe events firsthand, only returning in 1795.  Her intrepidity was also evident in an expedition she made to Scandinavia – accompanied this time by her enfant daughter – to pursue her lover’s business interests.  More never married, but Wollstonecraft’s personal life was by far the more exceptional.  She had a child with a married man, and only wed William Godwin (they were both opposed in principle to the institution) when she discovered she was pregnant.  They moved in together, but he also leased a separate workspace so that they could preserve their professional independence.

I don’t mean to suggest that More and Wollstonecraft were “average” women, or that their conduct passed without comment by their contemporaries.  Their political views won them both support and censure, and Wollstonecraft, in particular, was strongly criticized, even by some of her friends, when she revealed that her first child had been born out of wedlock.  My point is rather that despite the constraints and conventions of their time, they both managed to lead adventurous lives.

Adventurous people are necessarily unusual – and adventurous characters in novels are even more so. As Captain Holland reflects upon first making Mary Finch’s acquaintance, “He had never met a girl who said and did such odd things – and not just occasionally, but one right after the other.”  Holland’s own career is not exactly straightforward, but he has never met anyone quite like Mary.  He would undoubtedly have considered Hannah More and Mary Wollstonecraft rather odd as well.

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A big thanks to Rose for visiting today. You can learn more about her here or here http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Rose-Melikan/45491181/widget.

For a chance to win a copy of THE MISTAKEN WIFE, leave a comment below.

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Turning family history and American history into fiction

It started with a box. A fairly large, unwieldy box, heavily taped and tied with grocer’s string. Sent, with love, from my mother in western Nebraska to me in New York City in 1981.

This time, it wasn’t a box of brownies. My mother, born Maxine Marguerite Morgan in a Nebraska sod house in 1910, had shipped our family history, or as much of it as a single box could contain. Letters, family portraits, fragments of diaries, and one fairly substantial memoir, thirty-five pages single-spaced on someone’s old typewriter, left by my great-uncle Eb Jones, pioneer and frontier character in South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska.

Perhaps, my mother suggested in the accompanying letter written in her elegant hand, I could do something with all this. I don’t know what she had in mind: a family history to be circulated to the relations, perhaps? One of those Aunt Betty and Uncle Bill and the bear at the family picnic things, preserving all the family yarns for posterity?

I did read Uncle Eb’s memoir, pieced together from memory after the diaries he kept for forty years were lost in a house fire in the 1930s. It was lively stuff: frontier murders, a goldrush or two, the Civil War, a drive to bring a thousand head of buffalo from Arizona to Wyoming. The massacre at Wounded Knee, where he was a scout for the cavalry.

I put the box aside and forgot about it. Somewhere along the line, in one of my numerous moves, most of it was lost. Twenty years later, a conversation with my sister aroused my curiosity about those old letters and memoirs, because two things struck me: first, there was a doozy of a story in there, which I had been too obtuse to see the first time around. Second, there was a remarkable confluence, over a period of nearly 150 years, between the history of my family (or more specifically, my mother’s family) and the history of the United States.

The first members of the Jones family had arrived in the Boston area before the American revolution. They drifted south as far as Mississippi, where John Milton Jones was born in 1830. John Milton left the south to walk to California with seven or eight friends after gold was found on the West Coast in 1849. As far as we know, he was the only one to survive. He returned to the Mississippi River with enough capital to buy what he called a “store boat,” which he operated on the river in partnership with a freed slave until they came under Confederate fire during the Civil War.

John Milton sold the boat and moved north to South Dakota, arriving as one of the first pioneers in the Sioux Falls-Yankton area in 1863. He married a woman who was part Sioux and fathered several children, two of whom, Eb and his brother Squier, became the protagonists of my first novel, Sun Going Down.

Both boys were fluent in Lakota, but Eb was perpetually restless. He scouted for the cavalry, worked as a sheriff in Spearfish and elsewhere, tried ranching in a dozen locations at a dozen times. Squier settled down in Brown County, Nebraska and built a ranching empire, beginning with a 160-acre homestead.

It was on that ranch that the essential conflict of this trilogy was borne, when Squier’s daughter Velma, my grandmother, became pregnant by one of his bronc riders. Squier kicked the pair of them off his ranch and set them up in a miserable homestead with a tumbledown soddy. After my mother was born, the bronc rider broke her arm in a quarrel and Squier went a little farther: he drove the young husband out of the state, leaving Velma to try to figure out how to survive, along with her two small children on a desolate homestead.

She might have pulled it off, but Velma learned she had tuberculosis in 1915 and spent most of the rest of her short life in and out of the sanitarium in Denver while her children were shuffled back and forth among orphanages and various family members willing to take them in.

In historical terms, it was all there, a primer of American history in the story of a single family: the great Mississippi River and the steamboats, the California gold rush (and a later gold rush in the Black Hills) the Civil War, the westward expansion, the Indian wars, World War I, the Roaring 1920s, the Great Depression and World War II. Somewhere along the line, members of the extended Jones family were always part of it.

I set out to tell the story. Six years after I began reassembling the stories in the original box, with the help of sisters, cousins and aunts all over the western U.S., Sun Going Down was published by Touchstone Books.

The first novel began in 1849 and ended at the beginning of the Great Depression, in 1933. The second, Come Again No More, is set entirely during the Depression years and researching it was less difficult, because I heard much of it directly from my parents. They lost their farm in Nebraska during the 1930s and joined the great migration to the West Coast, moving to a small Oregon mill town where my father, a former boxer, had a job in the mill. After six months, he decided he couldn’t stand the rain and dragged the family back to Nebraska.

Like Sun Going Down, Come Again No Moreis an attempt to get at the general truth of our common history through the particular history of a single family. It is one thing to read the history of the 1930s or to review the painful statistics of a time when a third of the American work-force was unemployed. Those statistics come home, however, only when you find a way to bring alive the impact of hard times on ordinary folk.

There is an odd process a writer goes through when turning family history into fiction. The real characters fade and are replaced by the fictional characters who become as real, in the imagination, as living friends and relatives. Thus Squier Jones for me will always be Eli Paint, his fictional counterpart, and Eb Jones is Ezra Paint, Eli’s brother.

The character Emaline in both books is, of course, my mother. With her hot-tempered, quick-fisted husband Jake McCloskey (my father, the first Jack Todd) she is alive to me as both fiction and memory. In Come Again No More, I attempted to tell their story, the awkward marriage of the rather prim young woman who loved Chekhov and Balzac to a character so rough, he would drive a steel bolt with his bare fist.

As Come Again No More ventures into the world, I’m completing the third novel in the series, The Rain Came Down, set almost entirely during World War II and based, in part, on the letters of my mother’s younger brother Jimmy Wilson, a gunner on the battleship Tennessee from Pearl Harbor to Japan. The contents of another box, in other words.

A lesson for writers everywhere: beware the boxes you open. You may find yourself, years later, still entranced by the old stories, the characters who stare out at you from the black-and-white photographs, the hasty letters dated 1887 or 1910 or 1944. More novels, waiting to be born.

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Thank you Jack for joining us today! You can find out more about Jack and his books here. Or here http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Jack-Todd/44580857/widget.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win COME AGAIN NO MORE. Good luck! 😀

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FALLEN ANGELS
They rule Moscow’s seedy underworld, promising untold pleasure to the females who dare to mate them. That promise—and Brends Duranov’s own raw sexual power—has hopefuls mobbing the velvet rope outside his elite club G2’s.

But Mischka Baran has no intention of hooking up with one of the Fallen. Not even after Brends gives her an unforgettable taste of the sin and seduction he can deliver with those wicked lips. She’s after information, not a stint as some Goblin’s toy of the month. What she doesn’t know is that with a sadistic killer carving up his brethren, Brends is playing for keeps, hunting the one woman whose bloodline can end the mayhem, whose bond can restore his lost wings.

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The heroine of my September 2010 release, BOND WITH ME, Mischka Baran, keeps a collection of well-thumbed, well-read Victorian erotica in her bedside table. She’s certainly not the first woman in Romancelandia to enjoy erotica. Susan Johnson’s heroines, for example, study the sensual poetry of Persian poets, and even write erotica of their own.

Erotica is an unexpected window into some very private moments, an intimate way of sharing fantasies. Brends Duranov wants to learn everything there is to know about Mischka Baran. She’s tied him in knots and, so far, she’s refused his seductive efforts to convince her to bond with him. So when Brends finds her sexy books, he knows he’s found the key to Mischka’s fantasies.

Brends finally hit pay dirt in the nightstand beside the cream-colored bed. No condoms. No lube. Mischka Baran either slept alone, took outrageous chances or expected her company to bring his own. She hadn’t, however, even tried to hide the books. The stack of well-thumbed paperbacks included some rather esoteric Victorian erotica that you’d find in a collectibles section. If you were lucky. And only if you knew what to look for. He smiled devilishly. How very interesting.
Flipping open the first book he grabbed, he thumbed through the pages until he found a naughty domination and submission fantasy. Slid the book, marked with a particularly decadent scrap of silk lingerie, into his pocket. He’d return the book to her and she’d know that he’d been in her bedroom. That he knew what she’d been reading. And she’d recognize the invitation for what it was.

And Mischka, when Brends shares his knowledge of her fantasies—and his willingness to bring them all to life—is tempted.

Brends’ goodnight kiss scorched her toes. “Dream of me, dushka.” Lifting his head, he stared down at her for a long, hot moment. Mischka was tempted to drag his head
back down to hers.
“You dream of me,” she countered.
His slow, hot smile wasn’t fair. “Deal,” he said. “We can compare notes tomorrow.”
Watching the door close behind her Goblin, Mischka had to ask herself just when he’d become her Goblin— and why she was tempted to run after him.
Just one night. One night of smoking-hot, irresponsible, impossible pleasure.
Emphasis on irresponsible.
She couldn’t. Pell was out there, just waiting to be found, and Mischka had a perfectly satisfactory life of her own to live. Alone. Besides, bad boy there was a Goblin. No way was she dating a paranormal, and selling him her soul was definitely off- limits.
He probably hadn’t reached the street, was probably still trapped in her antiquated lift, when she remembered the book he’d returned to her earlier. Pulled it to her.
She should have been angry that he’d been in her flat uninvited. Instead, she was curious. He’d found her Victorian erotica, a favorite she kept in the bedside table.
He’d obviously flipped through the book. Clues. He was handing her clues, one after the other. If she wanted to, she could connect the dots. Discover what he fantasized about.
The thin silk of her favorite panties marked a page in the book. Almost, she could imagine the silk was still warm. He’d held them. Touched the silk that had touched her skin.
She recognized the message.
Page fifty-three.
If she dared.

Have you ever read a sexy scene out loud from a romance novel? How do you feel about a hero who tries?

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A big thanks to Anne Marsh for joining us today! To find out more about Anne, please visit her website.

For a chance to win a copy of BOND WITH ME, leave a comment below answering Anne’s question. Good luck 😀

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Dark Moon of Avalon

…coming September, 2010
from Simon & Schuster (Touchstone)

She is a healer, a storyteller, and a warrior. She has fought to preserve Britain’s throne. Now she faces her greatest challenge in turning bitter enemies into allies, saving the life of the man she loves . . . and mending her own wounded heart.

Book II in the Twilight of Avalon Trilogy

The young former High Queen, Isolde, and her friend and protector, Trystan, are reunited in a new and dangerous quest to keep the usurper, Lord Marche, and his Saxon allies from the throne of Britain. Using Isolde’s cunning wit and talent for healing and Trystan’s strength and bravery, they must act as diplomats, persuading the rulers of the smaller kingdoms, from Ireland to Cornwall, that their allegiance to the High King is needed to keep Britain from a despot’s hands.

Their admissions of love hang in the air, but neither wants to put the other at risk by openly declaring a deeper alliance. When their situation is at its most desperate, Trystan and Isolde must finally confront their true feelings toward each other, in time for a battle that will test the strength of their will and their love.

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My grandfather spent his last few years in a nursing home, dying of Parkinson’s disease.  He couldn’t walk or stand or even feed himself; for the last two or three years he could barely talk.  What he could still do, though, was read–and read he did, voraciously, day and night, every one of the stacks and stacks of books my parents and I would bring.  And though he would read nearly anything, he loved the romances–the books with a guaranteed happy ending–most of all.

In the same way, in Dark Moon of Avalon, my heroine Isolde needs to believe in happy endings and the transformative power of love.  The Twilight of Avalon trilogy takes place in the shadow of King Arthur’s Britain, in a time when the invading Saxon armies are increasingly defeating Britain’s forces.  Isolde has lost everything, her old life, her family, her home, have all been destroyed by the constant battles and warfare.

My Isolde is a healer, working with wounded soldier’s every day.  And she tells them stories, stories to lift their spirits and help them heal, stories  and the  the human spirit’s infinite capacity to triumph over even the most extreme hardship, the most bitter sorrow.  Yet the most important story in Dark Moon of Avalon is not one Isolde tells, but rather one that is told to her.  A mysterious harper appears to her one night and tells her a tale, the story that would become the ballad of Tam Lin.  In the tale, a maiden must save her true love from his imprisonment by the cruel Fairy Folk.  The Fairy magic turns the maiden’s true love from a serpent to a monstrous beast and finally to a burning branch.  And through it all, the maiden must hold her true love tight in her arms, until the power of her love returns him to himself.

In Dark Moon of Avalon, Isolde is reunited with the one true friend from her childhood, Trystan.  But Trystan has been enslaved by the enemy Saxons, embittered and changed from the boy she once knew, until Isolde questions whether she knows him at all.  Like the maiden in the tale of Tam Lin, Isolde must hold tight to the man she loves, however much he has been scarred and hardened by his past.  She must hold onto her belief in happy endings, trust in the power of love to heal Trystan’s scarred spirit and return him to himself.

To celebrate the release of Dark Moon of Avalon, I’m offering a free prequel short story, Dawn of Avalon, available for free download on my website here: http://www.annaelliottbooks.com/dawn.php

He would become the most powerful wizard in the history of Britain—Merlin. She would become Britain’s most storied sorceress—Morgan le Fay. But before they were legends, they were young. And they were lovers. Together, in the sunlight of one day long ago, they saved a kingdom. Dawn of Avalon. A stand-alone story from the universe of Anna Elliott’s Twilight of Avalon.

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

Many thanks to Anna for joining us today. You can learn more about Anna and her books here or here http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Anna-Elliott/47403192/widget.

Don’t forget to comment for a chance to win a copy of DARK MOON OF AVALON. Good luck! 😀

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Winners!

 

Barbara Elness, catie james, and Teresa W.

wins a book from Susan Squires’ Davinci Time Travel series

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Linda Henderson

wins Red Fire by Deidre Knight (Dragon*Con books)

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Giada M.

wins Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson (Dragon*Con books)

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Casey

wins Touch of a Dark Wolf by Jennifer St. Giles  (Dragon*Con books)

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Little Lamb Lost

wins Chimera by Rob Thurman (Dragon*Con books)

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runner10

wins The Bride’s Necklace by Kat Martin

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Donna S., marelou, Patti (Book Addict), Lori T., and Fedora

wins a copy of The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks

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Helen L.

wins the prize package from Louisa Edwards

Congrats to all the winners!

If you won a Dragon*con book, please email me at lillie80 at gmail dot com with your mailing address.

All other winners, please contact Mad at mad at romancereaderatheart dot com to claim your prize.

If we do not hear from the winners in 24 hours, new winners will be drawn.

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