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Saturday, 28 June 2014

Saturday Storyteller Interview: C.V. Madison

Please welcome Carrie to our blog today as she talks about inspiration and her latest release.
What’s your name and where do you come from?
My name is Carrie. I write under the name C.V. Madison. I hail from the currently balmy city of Columbus, Ohio.
Tell us a bit about your latest release.
I was part of a vampire anthology for Breathless Press with my piece Dimitri’s Walk. It features a long time character of mine, Winter, and her accomplice, Dimitri, who has fallen for the hunter. Of course he’s an age old vampire and she a fierce demon hunter.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I have a really vivid imagination. Story ideas sometimes crop up from writing prompts. Sometimes while I’m on autopilot during a massage session, ideas crop up or plotlines twist. I spend a lot of time thinking as I’m shy in social settings.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
I have three passions in life: writing, massage therapy and coffee. I’ve written since I was twelve. I’ve been a licensed massage therapist for the last six years. I worked three years in a coffeehouse and I’m considering picking up a part time job at a coffeehouse again. I miss pulling my own espresso.
Do you have a favourite character from your books? Why are they your favourite?
All of my characters become my favorites. They become real people to me with real struggles and real worries and complications. All of them have things I love about them and all of them have things I hate about them. Locke is, as he would say, “balls to the wall” and not afraid to say what he thinks. Winter is strong and capable and determined. Baby is energetic and sunny and spunky, but he has a dark center. When I have to kill off one of my darlings, I cry right along with the remaining cast.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
We live near the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. They own a water park that opens every summer. I buy a season pass and I’m there almost every week. I float around on the inflatable rings (we call them Cheerios) or lay out in the sun. They have a wave pool and water slides and on Friday nights they do dive-in movies. There is a different movie every Friday night. Last year they showed Goonies. Two years ago they showed Jaws.
What’s your greatest weakness?
I give until it hurts and then I give a little more. I fill in the cracks. Where there is a weak point, I mortar the brick. It often ends with me being worn too thin. I have gotten better about putting things down, but that’s been recent.
How do you decide how hot or not your book is going to be?
I have a lot of trouble writing heterosexual scenes. I can do romance, but when it comes to the down and dirty sex scenes, I really have to work at it. I have never shied away from hardcore scenes. One of my favorite scenes I’ve ever written will probably never see the light of day because it’s really intense.
Are there any erotic scenarios you wouldn’t write about?
Probably not. I’ve written some fairly dark stuff. I’d like to expound on one of the horror stories I wrote years ago. I’ll spare readers the details. In short, outside of rape, obvious bestiality or anything involving pedophilia (which is not erotic at all, in my humble opinion), I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t write.
Is the stuff you write about from experience or mostly imagination?
The BDSM I’ve written comes partially from experience. If I don’t know how something works, I research extensively. There is definitely something to be said for getting your hands dirty and experiencing the things your characters do. I have plans to take Krav Maga and potentially do free running for one of the books I’m currently working on.

Dimitri’s Walk by C.V. Madison
Part of the Crimson Volume 2 anthology
erotic M/F urban fantasy/horror
Release date: 03/28/2014
Buy your copy at:

After a demon hunt, Dimitri finds his love draped across the threshold bleeding and nearly dead. With his unique gifts as a vampire, he can heal her wounds and save her life, but will the siren song of her blood be too much to conquer?

Friday, 27 June 2014

First Chapter Friday: Just for the Weekend by Susanne Matthews

Chapter One
“You’re serious? A weekend in Vegas?” Cleo stared at her best friend, Michele “Mitch” Trent, and grinned. “What’s the catch?”
“No catch. I have a couple of book signings to do, that’s all.” Mitch looked away, unwilling to meet her gaze, and Cleo knew instinctively there was something else involved, something she probably wouldn’t like.
“What aren’t you telling me, Mitch? I can always tell when you’re holding something back.”
“You make it sound as if I’m trying to trick you. I’m offering you four fun-filled days in Vegas, all expenses paid. The only thing you’ll have to do is dress up in a costume and help me at the book signings during the convention.”
Alarms went off in Cleo’s head. “What kind of costume and what convention?” She gave her friend her strictest kindergarten-teacher, no-nonsense stare. The look worked on everyone, and Mitch was no exception. Cleo crossed her arms and waited—yep, there it was: the squirm.
“An alien costume, and it’s a sci-fi convention, okay? Before you say no, listen to me. My publisher has made arrangements for four of its authors to be there, including yours truly. It’s a great opportunity for free publicity with people who live and breathe the genre. It’ll be fun. It’s not as if we have to spend every second at the convention. There are lots of other things to do.”
Cleo looked around Rachel, Nevada’s, alien-themed bar and sighed. She’d gotten used to the fascination people here had for UFOs and alien conspiracies. If she applied for a transfer to Alamo for the next school year, she’d be stuck right in the middle of alien-oriented tourism, but to volunteer for an entire weekend with people playing dress-up?
“Let me get this straight. You want me to spend the Independence Day weekend with you at a sci-fi convention in Vegas dressed up as some space creature?”
“That’s it. As I’ve got to go to Alberta to do the rest of the onsite research for my new book, it’ll be our only chance to get together until late summer. What do you say?” Mitch fidgeted, waiting none too patiently for her answer.
Cleo tried to get her slightly alcohol-befogged brain around the notion. She didn’t drink often, and doing so on an empty stomach hadn’t been a good idea, but lately her life had gone from bad to worse. She hated confrontations, and arguing with Dad this morning had left her edgy. If he’d told her ahead of time he wanted to host a Memorial Day barbecue for his students, she wouldn’t have made arrangements to spend the weekend in Rachel. With Mitch’s demanding writing schedule and book tours, they hadn’t had face-to-face time together in more than a year. Dad had expected her to change her plans, but damn it, she was his daughter, not his social convener. She was thrilled he wanted to do something, even if it was something as simple as this, but she was entitled to a life, too. She’d been looking forward to this holiday. She’d stopped on her way home from school, picked up the things he’d need for his party, then packed her bag. She’d left him a note wishing him a great weekend. She’d be back Monday. Before she could talk herself out of it, she’d headed for the Extraterrestrial Highway. She hadn’t hit Warp 7, but she’d definitely pushed the speed limit.
“I don’t know, Mitch. It sounds good, really it does, but Vegas? It isn’t my thing.”
“You don’t have a ‘thing.’ When was the last time you had fun? Since your mom died, you’ve become chained to that mausoleum you call home and a slave to your father.” Mitch put her hand up to stop Cleo from interrupting. “I know what you’re going to say—he needs you. Well, I need you, too. You’re my best friend, and I rarely get to spend any time with you.”
Cleo shook her head. “I miss spending time with you, too, Mitch, but life at home is complicated. You haven’t seen Dad since the funeral; he’s changed. He’s not that Indiana Jones, larger-than-life adventurer he was. He may look the same, but he’s lost his spark. He’s become withdrawn, retreating into himself and that strict moral code he has, and I’m worried about him. When the bottom fell out of my world, he was there for me—I want to be there for him now.”
“Cutting loose for one weekend isn’t going to change that. Think of the possibilities. We’ll be registered under my pen name, and my publisher has sworn never to reveal my identity. You can be anyone you want to be. What have you got to lose?”
“I’m all for going on vacation. I know I need a break, but you know how Dad feels about Vegas. He sees it as the sin capital of the world—murder, gambling, prostitution—his list goes on. And don’t forget I work in the bastion of fundamental conservatism—even a hint of something that violates the school board’s moral code could cost me my job. We had this discussion the last time you wanted to go to Vegas.” “The professor and the other Gordon’s Grove fuddy-duddies are in a time warp. My God. I’m not asking you to do something illegal or immoral, I just want you to relax and have fun. There’s nothing wrong with Vegas. Over thirty-six million people, including teachers, travel there each year. It’s not anywhere nearly as dangerous as Chicago, Detroit, or Los Angeles, and he’d have no problem with you going to any one of those cities. He just doesn’t want you spending time with me. He’s convinced I’ve become a bad influence. The week I spent at your place before your mom died was a disaster and you know it. All he did was glower at me. I write sci-fi novels, a crime for which he may never forgive me, but I’ll bet if I decided to do some time travel thing to Ancient Egypt, he’d be among the first to offer his expertise on the period.”
Cleo giggled, proof the beer Mitch had been plying her with was doing what her best friend hoped it would.
“He’d certainly want to make sure your research was accurate, but he doesn’t dislike you, Mitch. It’s the whole space rock Internet business you have going on the side that sets him off each time I bring up your name, not your three bestselling titles. Those are on the living room bookshelf.”
“Hey, it’s a hobby, and believe it or not, there are hundreds of people out there willing to pay big bucks for a chunk of authentic space rock, and each piece is certified and verified official. I’m not a shyster, but who am I to deny them? Is it really so different from guys trying to sell authentic Egyptian artifacts?” Mitch laughed and took another mouthful of beer. “Everyone needs a hobby. You take pictures, he digs up antiquities, and I collect space rocks. Why should one hobby be more acceptable than the other?”
“I don’t know, and I’m sick of arguing about it. I’m worn out. Between the high-maintenance kids in the class and Dad’s unrealistic demands, I’m drowning. Mom’s been gone almost three years now, and he’s just as lost today as he was the day she died. I miss her too, but I can’t live the rest of my life this way. After Dave the Slug, I swore I’d never let another man hurt me again. I’d be content to live life on my own, on my terms, maybe get a cat or two, but damn it, I want a husband, a family—a house with a white picket fence. I want to meet someone who makes my toes curl just by looking at me. Is that so wrong?”
“Wanting to find love and happiness is never wrong, and your mom would be the first to tell you that. She was the best. She’d want you to go to Vegas, and you know it.”
Cleo laughed. “You’re pushing your own agenda here, but you’re probably right. Mom wanted me to experience life. Dad stopped living the day she died, and I guess I have too. Do you remember when you dragged me into that hotel in L.A. four years ago just to have a look? We ended up fighting off those two would-be Ferengi merchants who wanted to brag about their share of the Divine Treasury while we practiced oo-mox, something that somehow would have required us to be naked, rubbing their lobes. Mom found the whole thing hilarious—even Dad could see the humor in it.”
Mitch snorted. “They weren’t talking about their lobes, and they were dentists from Cleveland. It wasn’t that bad; you could have had the whitest teeth in town. We had a few laughs—no harm, no foul.”
Cleo stared down at the long-necked bottle in her hand and picked at the label. “I guess I’m just picky. I’ve been doing some thinking about maybe moving out—not just getting my own place, but leaving Gordon’s Grove. Cutting the apron strings will be hard on both of us, but Dad isn’t going to move on as long as I’m there. He needs to stand on his own two feet and so do I. There’s an opening in Alamo for a third grade teacher in September. I have the state transfer application papers in my purse.”
“Oh my God, that would be wonderful.” Mitch grabbed her hands and held them. “But right now, I need a decision. I have to let my publisher know before midnight her time; that’s twenty minutes from now. Will you or won’t you?”
Cleo didn’t understand the draw of science fiction and its accompanying alien conspiracy theories, but you didn’t have to understand best friends, you just had to love them.
“You can be as demanding as my father! Yes, damn it, yes. I know I’m going to regret this.”
The Rio Hotel and Casino was amazing. She and Mitch had dinner at one of the onsite Italian restaurants, and were now enjoying drinks in the VooDoo Lounge at the top of the hotel, with its incredible bird’s-eye view of the Strip. Cleo stood in awe of her first view of Las Vegas at night. Her friend had her eyes focused elsewhere.
Mitch had wanted to get tickets to a Chippendale show that night, but they’d sold out. Cleo wasn’t too disappointed. There’d been a number of teachers suspended and fired across the country in the last couple of years for engaging in perfectly legal activities, like attending a male dancer show, because a parent or school official found out about it and thought it inappropriate. It was okay for them to indulge in those activities, but teachers were kept to a higher standard. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t been aware of that when she’d chosen the profession. At the end of the workday, most people went home, and whatever they did, as long as it wasn’t illegal, didn’t matter. But teachers were teachers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. The old double standard was alive and well, especially in Gordon’s Grove. 
Mitch had gone into the Chippendale gift shop and bought a calendar and a few other souvenirs. Cleo hadn’t dared. The last thing she wanted were souvenirs that would set Dad up on his soapbox with a sermon on ethics, morality, and everything wrong with today’s generation. As expected, he hadn’t been happy with her decision to come here, but at least he hadn’t nagged nonstop about it. He’d urged her to be careful and remember who she was and the values he’d instilled in her, and had slipped her a couple hundred dollars. She loved him dearly, but there were times when he drove her nuts.
“Mitch, for God’s sake. Stop ogling them,” she hissed when she saw her friend’s eyes openly fixed on the two hunky guys at a table not far from them. Their suits, definitely made-to-measure, enhanced their broad shoulders and although she tried to be more circumspect than her friend, Cleo couldn’t keep her eyes from straying that way either. While the blond was attractive, it was the dark-haired, dark-eyed hunk who sparked her interest.
He was clean-shaven, with a Kirk Douglas dimple. His sun-streaked hair and deep tan suggested hours of hard work in the sun, rather than twenty minutes in a tanning booth. He and his friend were engaged in an animated discussion, and she’d heard his laughter at least twice. It sounded honest, not forced the way some people did when they laughed to be polite. When he looked her way, she quickly averted her eyes. Damn.
More than a little annoyed at herself for being caught looking, her tone was sharper than she intended. “They’ll see you. You’re practically drooling.” She reached for her Witch Doctor cocktail and sipped.
“I want them to notice us, silly. That’s the whole point. It’s called flirting or have you forgotten that too? Besides, you’re just as guilty. I’ll bet you can tell me what color tie the guy’s wearing.”
“He’s not wearing a tie.”
 Mitch nodded. “Uh-huh. Now who’s looking? Gorgeous guys like that are used to being checked out. Come on, live a little.” She turned away from her perusal of the men and took a sip of her martini.
“The bartender said some of the male dancers come up here to relax after the revue when they aren’t on duty fraternizing in the Flirt Lounge. Just look at them: tall, handsome, in phenomenal shape, and sexy as hell. They have to be Chippendales. Have you noticed they’ve been paying for each round with cash—small bills, no change. I read these guys can pick up as much as $800 a night.”
“Seriously? You’re letting your writer’s imagination run wild. This must be one of the most popular nightclubs in Vegas. I’m sure lots of attractive businessmen come up here for drinks. Many people carry small bills. I do.”
“Uh-uh. Don’t buy it. Those guys are wearing thousand-dollar suits. Why aren’t they running a tab? We are. I’m right, and you, with your old-fashioned notions of what’s acceptable for you and that outdated morality clause that hamstrings you, don’t want to admit it. I wouldn’t mind letting them entertain me.” Mitch licked her lips. “Seeing that blond in nothing but bowtie and white cuffs would definitely ring my bells … aw, damn.” Cleo’s heart echoed the sentiment.
Two women, one noticeably pregnant, joined the men, who’d obviously been waiting for them. The pregnant redhead kissed the blond, while the brunette whispered something in the other man’s ear that made him laugh uproariously.
“I should have guessed they’d be taken.” The disappointment was heavy in Mitch’s voice. “Come on, we might as well go down. It’s after midnight. If you want to check off all the sites on your to-see list, we’ll have to be up early tomorrow.”
“That works for me. Another drink, and I’d fall off my shoes.”
“You mean you’d fall off my shoes. We seriously need to do some shopping tomorrow. I think my aunt, the nun, is more stylishly dressed than you.”
Cleo frowned. It was true she hadn’t bought anything new in a while, but skin-tight clothes and stilettos weren’t on the acceptable dress code for elementary school teachers with a limited clothing budget. Living at home gave her a break on the rent, but she’d have that expense if she took the job in Alamo. Her black dress was a classic, and paired with Mitch’s spikes, she thought she looked chic and stylish. So far tonight, she’d managed to walk without a telltale wobble. It was better to leave while she still could. She stood and followed Mitch toward the exit.
The alcohol played havoc with her equilibrium, and Cleo moved carefully. The last thing she wanted to do was fall flat on her face. She looked straight ahead and tried not to notice milk chocolate eyes staring curiously as she made her way across the room. She moved passed the table, distracted by the intensity of his gaze. She’d almost made it to the exit when she realized she’d left the brochures about the Grand Canyon helicopter tours on the table. She turned to go back and get them, and watched in surprise as her dark-eyed hunk lifted his glass in mock salute and gave her an approving nod. She frowned. What kind of man flirted openly—even from a distance—with a woman when he had one sitting right beside him? She’d dated that kind of jerk. She had no intention of getting involved with another one. She pivoted on her heel and moved as quickly as she could toward the exit.
Cleo turned off the shower, wrapped herself in a towel, and went out into the suite. “Okay, I’m freshly showered, now what?” she asked Mitch. It was time to pay the piper for this long weekend getaway.
“Now, I paint you. Come on. The can says it’s good for six to eight hours and it’s best applied to clean skin right after a shower.”
“Why are you painting me? You said I was wearing a costume.” Cleo stared warily at the spray can in Mitch’s hand and the paintbrush and liquid sitting on the floor.
“It’s part of the costume. I have some too.” She removed the yellow rubber glove and lifted the sleeve on her robe to show off the mahogany skin on her arm and hand. “Don’t worry. It’s perfectly safe. I’ll use the liquid on your face.”
Cleo gasped as cold mist hissed from the can and chilled her skin. She tried not to twitch while Mitch covered most of her body in kelly green paint, and what little wasn’t covered in paint she hoped would be covered by her costume—in fact, she hoped the costume would cover a whole lot more. After the paint job, Cleo went into the bathroom to dry her hair, letting it curl and fall in waves down to her shoulders as Mitch had insisted. God, she hoped the green color came off her face easier than the green oil paint young Tyler had brought to school that had ruined her skirt and still stained the classroom floors.
“Okay. I think the paint’s dry. Where’s the costume?” She came out of the bathroom and jumped.
“Holy crap! You could have warned me.”
Mitch wore a long black wig, heavy brown makeup, and the facial ridges of a female Klingon warrior. Her body was shoved into a tight, black leather corset-styled top that accentuated her breasts and a long, leather skirt paired with heeled boots with silver toecaps. She had a knife of sorts shoved into her belt.
“Wow! You look fantastic. I could use one of the push-up bras from hell if I ever wanted to look sexy.”
“What are you talking about? You’re one of the sexiest woman I know, and you’re completely oblivious to it. Get your nose out of your father’s ancient history books and look at yourself in the light of the twenty-first century. I love you, girl, but sometimes you frustrate me.”
“Yeah, well, let’s agree to disagree on that. I don’t want to be noticed that way. There’s more to me than a set of boobs and long legs. I’m much happier out of the limelight. Now, are you going to tell me about your makeup?”
“It’s a mask. My friend Hailey works at Paramount and made it for me last year. It gets a little warm after a while, but it’s a lot easier than putting the makeup on each time.”
“I wish I had something like that. Where’s the rest of my costume? I’d better be wearing more than green body paint, blood red lipstick, and gold eye shadow.”
“It’s on your bed.”
Cleo stared at the scraps of fabric and jewelry on the spread.
“No way! There’s got to be more to it than that.”
The costume consisted of a burgundy silk bikini bra, a matching string bikini bottom with gold-colored sheer skirt panels front and rear, gold muscle bracelets shaped like snakes, and two-inch wide metallic fabric ankle shackles without the chain.
“You’ve got to be kidding. I’ll look like a semi-naked leprechaun. How does that fit into a sci-fi convention?”
“It happens to be one of the most popular women’s costumes. For the record, leprechauns wear green, and unless they’re some kind of mutants, they aren’t green. With my five-foot-four figure, the costume loses something, but on you, it’ll be awesome.” Mitch handed her a glass of wine. “Here, take a drink and relax. You showed just as much by the pool this afternoon.”
“Yeah, and whose idea was that? I don’t see why I couldn’t wear my black swimsuit this afternoon. You seem to forget about the moral turpitude clause in my contract. Lying around in the sun half-naked is pushing it. I certainly won’t be wearing that blue bikini to take the kiddies swimming at the local pool.”
“That clause is archaic, and you worry about it way too much—between your father’s ‘rules’ and the school board’s ‘thou shall not’s,’ you’re living in the past. Besides you needed a new swimsuit. Even my mother doesn’t wear a one-piece bathing suit like the one you had. I don’t even think my grandma would wear it. You chose the bikini—there was that gorgeous leopard one…”
“You mean the one cut down to my navel in front, and so high on the hips my ass hung out? No thanks. At least the bikini covered most of my boobs and butt.”
“Whatever.” Mitch rolled her eyes. “Let’s get you dressed. We need to be downstairs in twenty minutes.”
Mitch helped her put on what was surely the skimpiest alien costume in the universe. Cleo stood before the mirror staring at the creature looking back at her.
“I look like a mutant leprechaun belly dancer.” She took a sip of her wine. “It’s a damn good thing you didn’t show me this when you asked me to come. I’d have said no.”
“For the record, you’re not a mutant leprechaun; you’re an Orion slave girl. Men are powerless before you.Too bad that cutie from the bar last night can’t see you. You’re worth a dozen of the brunette he was with. Come here so I can spray the glitter on you.”
Two glasses of wine in quick succession were easing her embarrassment, but as she allowed Mitch to spray the liquid shimmer on her hair and body, she couldn’t resist one final complaint.
“Well, I’d rather wear what you’re wearing. If the air-conditioning is turned up as high as it was this morning, I’ll be an Orion slave icicle!”
“Seriously, Cleo, relax. Don’t be a prude. No one’s going to recognize you. I know you’re not used to showing so much skin, but you look fantastic, and the men will be drooling all around you. Every woman in the room is going to envy you. You’ll be the most sought-after slave girl here. ”
“God, I hope not. That’s the last thing I want. I feel like a chunk of meat on display for a starving man. You’re the extrovert, the one who wants to be the center of attraction. I’m not. I think that’s why we’re friends—because we’re so different.” Horror filled her eyes as she thought of something else. “Crap, I hope no one takes my picture. The last thing I need is to have someone see us on the Internet and recognize me. I’ll wear this tonight because it’s too late to find anything else, but we’re going costume shopping tomorrow. I’m sure we can find something a little less revealing.”
“Whatever you say, but I don’t think anyone’s going to recognize you.”
Cleo turned around and stood in front of the mirror. Her mouth dropped open in shock. Good grief.It’s even worse than I imagined. Thanks to the glitter, her skin reflected the light and looked alive, shimmering as she moved. Her hair shone the same way, and she looked alluring and mysterious. Her large, hazel eyes seemed more golden than ever. Mitch was right about one thing: she didn’t look like a kindergarten teacher from Gordon’s Grove. She looked like a sexy, alien siren. Just the look I want around a bunch of half-drunk Neanderthals. She remembered how decent guys had turned into absolute jerks at university costume parties.
“If it makes you feel better, you can stand behind the table replenishing the books as I sign them and handing out the bookmarks and the other swag the publisher provided. Come on, let’s go.”
Cleo followed her best friend out of the room. She shook her head. Why do I let myself get talked into these things?

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Book Spotlight and Excerpt:My Mistake by Anne Conley

“Are you drunk?”  He didn’t want this to be a mistake on her part.
“Not anymore.”
Jason’s heart beat wildly.  “My room’s right there,” he pointed to the row of rooms in front of the minivan.  She nodded.  “Stay here.”  He got out of the van and walked around to the other side to open her door.  She stepped into his arms, and he tasted her lips again.
Renae opened up to him eagerly as he hauled her against his body.  Something felt right to Jason when he kissed her.  He could imagine all the world’s evils dying off, all the petty arguments resolved, nothing would bother him again, not with this kiss.
Her fingers trembled against him as they wound around his neck and tangled in his hair, pulling gently.  The stinging tingles sent tremors of need surging through his body.  Their tongues entwined, and he could taste remnants of the sour sweetness of her margaritas, but it was overpowered by a taste that was purely Renae.  There was nothing like it.
He pulled back and led her by the hand to room 153, slid the card into the slot and opened the door.  Renae walked inside hesitantly at first, and turned to him, her cheeks flushed red, eyes glassy with desire.  He took her in his arms again, unwilling to let her go.
“Are you sure?”  God, he wanted this, and didn’t want her to regret it.  His conscience was saying it was a mistake to start a relationship this way, but the devil inside told him this was what she wanted.  
She nodded, and his mouth crashed down on hers, trying to wipe the fear from her eyes, as he pushed her body against the wall to the bathroom.  Their tongues fused in a sultry dance, and Jason was struck with a need to be her everything.  Suddenly, with Renae in his arms, open and trusting, he realized what life was all about.  He wanted to spend more time with her, making her feel, erasing all her fears.
But first, he was going to make her explode.
Welcome to Serendipity, Texas, where the days are hot and the nights are steamy. Meet real people with real problems, as they live life and find love in a small town. One moment of distraction, and Renae causes Jason to wreck his motorcycle, setting into motion a love affair that could be her undoing. She has big plans for her empty nest, but one night of passion changes everything. He's perfect. Too perfect, but her own stupidity entwines their lives together forever. What if she finds out he's gassy, doesn’t like kittens, has a terminal illness, or…hates babies? Jason is just visiting his dad in Serendipity, not staying. But his plans change when things with his dad are worse than he thought. Renae is a pleasant distraction, and the more he gets to know her, the more she becomes another reason to stay. When their lives entwine, they both have choices to make, hurts to get over, and ideals to let go of. Is it possible for them to do it, in order to get their happily ever after? Or will things be wrecked?

Book Spotlight: Pushin' Buttons by Em Petrova

What if 20 cowboys compete and you're the prize?

“Remember, cowboys. Keep your hands in your laps and your peckers in your pants. At least until it’s time to play your part.” Hugh paced down the line of twenty cowboys and dropped a file in each man’s hands.

The manila folders held a profile sheet containing a different woman’s photo, personal information and everything that man needed to know to rock the lady’s world, Boot Knockers style.

Hugh stopped in front of Riggs Archer, his best friend and the only guy not to follow protocol in the past. “Keep your—”

Riggs tugged the brim of his hat lower to avoid Hugh’s gaze. “I know, I know. Hands in my lap. No pushing the button until my lady comes up.”

“And keep your—”

Riggs shot him a glare. “Pecker. In. Pants.”

“Thass right, Archer.” Hugh grinned and nudged his friend’s hat with his knuckles, shoving it back enough to see the smoldering sparks in Riggs’s dark eyes.
Hugh’s stomach clenched and he passed Riggs his folder to cover his reaction.

Once the information was all distributed, Hugh watched the guys flip through the paperwork. The twenty women were hand-selected by the female production manager, Isabel. She was great at matching the men’s sexual strengths to the women’s needs.

A virgin needing deflowered? Jack was her man. He’d singlehandedly popped over thirty cherries in the four years they’d been running the Boot Knockers Ranch.

Ty excelled at treating women with body dysmorphic disorder. The women who spent a week under his care—and under his muscled body—left with the confidence of a supermodel.

And Hugh…well, he wasn’t playing this hand. Twenty women. Twenty men. He only filled in when necessary. His balls clenched at the idea of a celibate week, but he could tough it out. Maybe some lady would get kinky and ask for a voyeur.

“They’re lined up backstage,” Isabel whispered, and he gave a nod of recognition.

“You heard her, boys. Get to your seats. Fight over them a little. The show’s only for the ladies, but give ’em a good one. Make them feel special, because they are.” Hugh waved his fellow Boot Knockers toward the front of the auditorium. In three minutes, the lights would dim. In five, the first woman would walk 
onto the stage.

She might carry scars inside or out. Either way, she was leaving the Boot Knockers Ranch as one satisfied lady. Their goal was to treat much more than sexual disorders. When the invitee left the two-hundred-acre Texas ranch, she’d be equipped to pick up where she’d just left off—embarking on new relationships and sexual journeys.

The thud of boot heels drifted away from Hugh as the guys practically ran to their seats. A new group of women…and the chase was the best part. The gals selected the cowboys they were attracted to from photographs. Though the guys were assigned to one lady, they still made it look as if they won her.

Yeah, only one woman each unless Riggs gets trigger-happy again and hits the button for a gal who wasn’t assigned to him.

Women paid to come and enjoy the Texas countryside and pampering the cowboys could provide. The Boot Knockers just happened to love helping women in a lot of ways, so they each took charge of a guest.

“Hugh, would you mind looking at this lineup?” Isabel caught his attention, and he focused on her. Petite and chestnut-haired, she did everything in her power to make him take her to bed. But it was against his personal rules. She’d had a few go’s with other cowboys, and he’d heard she was a wildcat.

He couldn’t stop the grin from twitching at the corner of his mouth. He pulled his hat lower to keep her from seeing too much. Such as how he knew she liked taking two guys at once while another plugged her mouth.

Clearing his throat, he scanned the list of women about to step onstage. Isabel had chosen well from the hundreds who applied to the Boot Knockers Ranch each year. “Looks good as always, Isabel.” He let his gaze drop low enough to make her face flush.

She waved her clipboard, fanning her warm brown hair off her round face. “Thanks, Hugh. I like to get your approval before the girls go on.”

She glanced at the stage door. Women huddled there. All shapes and sizes. Some were hurt physically, emotionally. Others fighting their way back from bloody divorces. One or two might be socially backward. And there was probably at least one virgin. Jack would be happy.

Hugh looked over the fresh group of females. “Let’s get started. Cue the first l’il lady.”

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Blog Tour Stop: Restoring Lady Anna by Em Taylor

Restoring Lady Anna - Tour Bannernew


TITLE – Restoring Lady Anna SERIES – Eversley Siblings Series AUTHOR – Em Taylor GENRE – Historical Regency Romance PUBLICATION DATE – 1 May 2014 LENGTH – 55,000 COVER ARTIST – Veronica Fernandez

Restoring Lady Anna - Cover


When Lord James Eversley is accused of a murder he did not commit, he dresses up as his new brother-in-law’s footman and hitches a ride in their carriage out of town. When it seems they are no longer being followed he begins to relax until a minor accident causes them to stop at a shabby looking inn. As his “master” and his sister sip tea in the scruffy parlour, James comes face to face with Lady Anna, the woman who left him in the dead of night five years before and a familiar looking child.

Lady Anna has accepted her life as Mrs Johnstone, mother of four-year-old Viola, “wife” of Peter, the mentally ill former footman and land lady of a shabby inn on the Great North Road. Her plans for a love match with the handsome Lord Eversley were cruelly snatched away from her five years before. Her ruination means there is no opportunity to return to her family or the ton. When James turns up, dressed as a footman and demanding answers, Anna must decide whether to tell the truth.

James never stopped loving Anna and now he must learn what happened that fateful night that Anna left him heartbroken. With the truth out in the open, he must convince the love of his life to take a chance on him. He wants to marry her and restore her reputation among the aristocracy. But in Regency England reputations are easily lost and difficult to regain. Can Anna trust James enough to do what is right for Peter, despite his actions, her child and most importantly himself? Can James convince Anna to seek the help that Peter needs and return to the ton?





“Why did you leave?” he asked. “I...I... did not have a choice." 

“Were you in love with him?” 

“No.” She should lie. She knew she should, but his light blue eyes seemed to bore holes into her very soul and she could not bear to hurt him further. She could not bear to have him think badly of her. 

“Then I do not understand why you left. Was it... was... God dammit.” He took a large gulp of his ale and looked around before leaning close. “Was it the bedding? I know you were an innocent and it must have hurt but...” 

“No.” She shook her head fervently. Could he really believe that the best night of her life had driven her from him? “That night... it was very special. You were wonderful and kind and caring. I could not have asked for a better lover the first time.” 

Relief washed over his countenance before he frowned. “Then why?” 

Should she tell him? Could she? “It is too complicated to explain, except to say that it was not my choice and it was not your fault.” 

He pushed his long fingers through his blond curls and stared into his ale. “Is he—the footman—still alive?” 


He looked into her eyes—the hope that had shone there moments before was gone. 

“So you are married.” 

“We never married.” 

“You live in sin?” 

“Yes. I refused to marry him—not even to give my daughter a name. I tell people I am Mrs Johnstone, but there are no legal documents and no marriage. Therefore, you can return to the ton, my lord, and tell them that Lady Anna Kingsley is a whore and has a bastard child.” 

Now perhaps he would leave her alone to her miserable life and find someone who would make a proper countess when his father died. She swallowed hard, forcing back the tears. Willed herself to stay strong. She only had to stay strong until the damned ostlers could help Lord Ramsey’s horse. 

“Shh! I will be returning to the ton to tell them no such thing. I wished you would tell me what actually happened, if for no other reason than to assuage my fear that it was something I did or said that drove you away. You said you have a daughter?” 

“Yes. Viola. She is a pretty little thing but can be quite precocious when she wants to be. She would have made a beautiful debutante when her time came.” 

“Mama. Who is this?” She turned to see Viola standing at her side and realised it had been the child who was tugging at her skirts.


James stared at the little girl standing next to Anna, tugging on the grey wool skirt. Blond hair, blue eyes and rosy cheeks that reminded him of Rebecca when she was small. She even had the little turn up in her nose that was identical to his sister’s. But, it could not be. 

This child could not be his? They had made love but once—or at least just one night. But he had not withdrawn as he knew he should. He had been too caught up in the moment—in their love. Had Anna fallen with child that one glorious night, how old would a child be? Three? No—four! Was this little girl four? He had no idea how large or small a child should be at the age of four. He did not come into contact with many children. But he did not have to ask her age. His sight told him that Viola was his as did something else…instinct perhaps? He schooled his features so they were unreadable. Years of training to be a gentleman, to show no outward emotion, were now paying dividends. 

“This is Lord Eversley, a friend of mine.” 

“Oh. Pleased to meet you Lord Evasey.” She bobbed a small curtsey, and he noted that she over extended her back leg a bit like the actors did in the theatre at the curtain call. It was very sweet. The child obviously did not meet many members of the aristocracy. Though it was just like Anna to have taught her daughter to act like a lady in preparation for meeting a viscount or even a duke. 

“Very pleased to meet you too, Viola.” She smiled dazzlingly at him. It really was like being taken back in time to when Rebecca was a child. “Mama, he’s awake. I heard him shouting.” 

“I see.” She turned to James. “I need to go just now. I have things that must be attended to.” Anna stood and looked like she was about to bob a curtsey but seemed to the think better of it, probably remembering he was supposed to be a footman. He watched her leave, Viola’s hand in hers. He had sired a daughter and all this time he never knew. He did not need Anna to tell him that Viola was his flesh and blood—he knew it with every fibre of his being. If he said it outright, would Anna lie? Could she lie about something as monumental as him having a child? Not the Anna he once knew. But she was harder now—more resilient. He saw it in her eyes. Even though he had sensed she had been on the edge of tears, he suspected Mrs Anna Johnstone did not cry very often. But he must allow Anna to tell him in her own time. There was a lot more to this than a silly lady having her head turned by a handsome footman. 

Was the person who had just woken the footman? Why had Viola looked unhappy when she had to announce the footman was awake? And why was Anna the one working in the taproom? He would find out, and he would not leave this place until he knew the whole truth and certainly he would not leave without his daughter.


Em was born and brought up in the Central Belt of Scotland and still lives there. She was told as a child she had an over active imagination--as if that is a bad thing. She's traded her dreams of owning her own island, just like George in the Famous Five to hoping to meet her own Mr Darcy one day. But her imagination remains the same.

Unfortunately, Em was put off reading and writing by school and although she rediscovered her love of reading many years ago, she only tried her hand at writing again in 2011. After a year of writing fan fiction, she wrote an original short story for an anthology. This was followed up with two more shorts and 4 novella length books, all published under a pen name. Having fallen in love with a new sub-genre, courtesy of books by Mary Balogh and Lynsay Sands, she decided to try her hand at her new favourite genre for reading--regency.

Having bitten the bullet, she feels she has found her home in the 19th century, and it does give her an excuse to watch Colin Firth in a pair of buff breeches and riding books ad infinitum.

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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Book Spotlight: Sphinx Imagined by Christine Murphy

Skye has led a life completely separated from others because of her telepathic skills she can’t control. One bright light in her life are the images of a dream man who invades her waking thoughts and dreams. Little does she know she is about to run head long into him when she becomes the target of an escaped Wraith bent on capturing her. Almost too late, Ethan finds Skye already in the clutches of the Wraith and he must risk his own life to save the breathtaking woman who captures his heart the moment he sees her. After Ethan is seriously injured, Skye realizes she can touch him and must nurse him back to health. Caring for him, Skye is drawn to Ethan at a level she can’t explain and even after learning the truth of the Sphinx Warriors, the Wraith, and the need for her specialized Seer abilities, Skye still wants to be with him more than anything. Recovered from his injuries, Ethan must bring Skye back to the Complex, where he is torn between his family’s need of her special telepathic talents, his desire to keep her safe from the touch of others, and his own craving to make her his Power Mate. Even though Skye is thrown into the chaos of the Sphinx lives, she amazes him with her dedication to help those he loves even when the cost to her could very well be her mind. In a last ditch effort to prevent Ethan’s and the Sphinx’s deaths, Skye throws herself into the midst of one of the most dangerous battles yet. Using her telepathic skills, she buys enough time for Ethan to save the Complex but not before she is wounded and her mind is shattered. His heart crushed, Ethan can only stand by and watch as the medical team must risk Transforming Skye in order to bring her back. Skye astounds them all as she transforms into an incredible Power Seer and shows Ethan how deeply she is connected to him as his Joined Power Mate. With Skye and Ethan’s unequaled love and Power, nothing is impossible in the future as the Sphinx Warriors continue to battle against the evil Wraith.

Reader Alert:

Skye’s sensitive mind hasn’t allowed her to be touched by anyone in her life so just imagine when she realizes she can touch and be touched by Ethan. Touching every inch of Ethan is exactly what Skye desires both in and out of bed and what her experience lacks she makes up for in enthusiasm and curiosity. Skye’s innocent touch will drive Ethan over the edge and his own hands will explore every inch of the one woman meant for him. Surrounded by silver and black satin sheets, Ethan can’t get enough of touching, tasting, and stroking Skye as he uses his Sphinx enhanced purr to make her come undone over and over. Enjoy!!

To My Readers:

Come join me once again in the domain of the Sphinx Warriors, protectors of the Earth, and the women who bring out their need, passion, and love giving them purpose beyond their destined role as Warrior. The next incredible fourth book in the Sphinx Warrior Series focuses on the need to recover the one woman who can see into the past, present, and future to complete the partial Fifth Page of Seven. Accompany Ethan who is on more than just a mission to track down an escaped Wraith and rescue Skye who is the target of the Power thirsty enemy. Ever since Ethan discovered Skye’s website of incredibly accurate depictions of the Sphinx lives and wrote to her in her social media, he and his inner Sphinx have been enchanted and hopelessly lost to the need to meet the actual woman who captured their fascination on so many levels. Please join me in the next chapter in the world of the Sphinx Warriors, Sphinx Imagined, where Ethan and Skye will make a powerful match in their love, their unique gifts, and the deadly skills needed in the fight against the invasion of the evil Wraith.

About the Author:

Traveling throughout the United States and locations throughout the world, I finally found the perfect place to call home and settled down in a small town outside the Tampa Bay area in Florida. Looking out my back lanai, there is a small pond where the wild-life will gather and the flowers bloom in exotic pinks and purples. This is my place of peace and freedom that I have searched for and where my husband and crazy African Gray Parrot, Raider, hang out with me. It’s the place where my creativity runs wild as I spin tales of adventure and passion. I have been writing in my head since I was a teenager and I finally realized I needed to capture these unique characters, civilizations, conflict, passion, and love in writing. To capture the strong, spirited, and powerfully attracted characters and all of their adventures and share it with others who are searching for that very thing to make their lives more exciting. If I accomplish nothing else in life, I hope to share the romantically magical worlds and the lovers that I see with all of the passionate readers out there.