Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Guest Blogger Marcia James - Three Cheers for Four-Legged Matchmakers ...or Why My Books Feature Canine Cupids


Don't you just love it when an animal character brings together the hero and heroine?  I'm not talking about werewolves or other shape-shifters.  Just every-day, garden-variety cats and dogs.  Of course, Smokey, my Chinese crested hairless dog mascot, would object to being called a garden-variety anything.  He's very proud of the fact that in my books, "cresties" and other dogs work their magic when it comes to introducing or reuniting soul mates.


In fiction, animals can also humanize a character.  I'm sure you've seen it in movies and TV shows: the grumpy character falls for a pet and wins over the audience.  Remember Jack Nicholson and the Brussels Griffin dog in As Good As It Gets?  Hollywood calls this device "petting the dog" -- a quick, visual way to let the audience know that a character has redeeming qualities.  Fiction authors use the same trick.  I particularly enjoy pairing a big, bad Alpha hero with a miniature pooch.  It's so much fun watching them bond.



Whether it's for matchmaking or a little crime-fighting, I have pets -- especially tiny cresties -- in all of my books.  Sometimes, a crestie might show up in a cameo instead of a starring role, but there is one in every story (just like Alfred Hitchcock, who appeared in his own movies).  The unusual canines often win the Ugliest Dog contests, but they're perfect for my humorous books.



Four-legged characters are featured in my "Dr. Ally Skye, Sex Therapist" romantic mystery series as well.  In the first book, Sex & the Single Therapist, Zack Crawford (the homicide detective hero) insists Ally drop her personal investigation of a patient's murder.  Despite Zack's frustration over Ally's amateur sleuthing, her two cats accept him.  Obviously, the cats have discerning tastes!  Not long after, Zack ends up with a temporary houseguest, a canine crime witness.  The scruffy mutt helps break down the wall around Zack's heart.

I love pets -- both real and fictional.  As a supporter of animal causes, I write fictional dogs and cats that are spayed or neutered and were adopted from shelters.  May is National Pet Month.  Join me in celebrating those who give us unconditional love and add that extra something to our romance novels!

Happy reading!
-- Marcia James



Marcia James writes hot, humorous romances featuring heroines you can root for, heroes to die for, and funny dogs.  In her eclectic career, she has shot submarine training videos, organized celebrity-filled nonprofit events, and had her wedding covered by People Magazine.  After years of dealing with such sexy topics as how to safely install traffic lights, she is enjoying “researching” and plotting her novels' steamy love scenes with her husband and hero of many years.

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/marciajames/

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Guest Blogger Lauren Smith - Bad Boys in Historical Romance

When I decided to write my regency series The League of Rogues, I knew I wanted to center the series around a group of bad boys. They would be completely bad, totally unapologetically bad…until they fell in love. I love bad boys, especially bad boy heroes in romance novels. They are the source of the best jokes, the funniest scenes, and some of the sexiest parts of many of my favorite romance novels. I love to cheer these wicked men on because I know that when they meet their heroines they will be well matched and the chemistry between them will be hot enough to light the pages of my book or e-reader on fire.

My first book Wicked Designs, features the leader of my band of bad boys. His name is Godric and as a duke, he pretty much gets whatever he wants. When a man embezzles from him during an investment deal, he decides to get revenge. In the finest tradition of being truly wicked, he develops a scheme to abduct the embezzler’s niece and ruin her reputation. It would keep her uncle from marrying her off to settle debts, something Godric knows would be the worst thing that could happen to this man. He doesn’t care that the heroine, Emily, will have her entire life ruined, not just her reputation.

So yeah…Godric is not a good guy, not at the very beginning. He kidnaps poor Emily, and takes her to his estate and thereby ruins her reputation. But she’s not an easy victim, and she turns the tables on Godric and his friends.

I think what is so fun about this book and the series is watching Godric, an ultimate bad boy, succumb to sweetness and love and turn gentle with Emily during their story. The hot sex along the way is an added bonus! That’s the best part of writing bad boys, writing the transition to where they truly become heroes and champions that we adore. I hope you all get a chance to check out Godric and his friends in Wicked Designs. If you like bad boys, you’ll love the League of Rogues!

Blurb:

The League of Rogues takes what they want—but have they taken on too much?

For too long Miss Emily Parr has been subject to the whims of her indebted uncle and the lecherous advances of his repulsive business partner. Her plan to be done with dominating men forever is simple—find herself a kind husband who will leave her to her books.

It seems an easy enough plan, until she is unexpectedly abducted by an incorrigible duke who hides a wounded spirit behind flashing green eyes.

Godric St. Laurent, Duke of Essex, spends countless nights at the club with his four best friends, and relishes the rakish reputation society has branded him with. He has no plans to marry anytime soon—if ever. But when he kidnaps an embezzler’s niece, the difficult debutante’s blend of sweetness and sharp tongue make him desperate for the one thing he swears he never wanted: love. 

Yet as they surrender to passion, danger lurks in Godric’s shadowed past, waiting for him to drop his guard—and rob him of the woman he can’t live without.

Warning: This novel includes a lady who refuses to stay kidnapped, a devilish duke with a dark past, and an assortment of charming rogues who have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into.

Buy Links

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Designs-The-League-Rogues-ebook/dp/B00H54X8EY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387504495&sr=8-1&keywords=Wicked+Designs

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wicked-designs-lauren-smith/1117685733?ean=9781619217454

Itunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/wicked-designs/id775918935?mt=11

Excerpt:
Godric St. Laurent, the twelfth Duke of Essex, leaned back in his saddle watching the abduction he’d orchestrated unfold. Covering his mouth with a gloved hand, he stifled a yawn. Things were going smoothly. In fact, this entire kidnapping bordered on the point of tedious. They’d intercepted the coach ten minutes before it reached Chessley House. No one witnessed the escort of riders or the driver changing his route. Oddly enough, the young woman hadn’t shown any signs of resistance or concern from inside the coach. Wouldn’t she have made some protestations when she realized what was happening? A thought stopped him dead. Had she somehow slipped out of the coach when they’d slowed on a corner before they’d left town? Surely not, they would have seen her. Most likely she was too terrified to do anything, hence the silence from inside. Not that she had anything to fear, she would not be harmed.

He nodded to his friend Charles who was perched next to the driver. A bag of coins jingled as Charles dropped it into the jarvey’s waiting hands.

They had reached halfway point between London and Godric’s ancestral estate. They would go the rest of the way on horseback, with the girl sharing a horse with either him or one of his friends. The driver would return to London with a message for Albert Parr and a wild story that exonerated himself from blame.

“Ashton, stay here with me.” Godric waved his friend over while the others rode the horses a good distance away to wait for his signal. Abductions were tricky things, and having only himself and one other man take hold of the girl would be better. She might have a fit of hysterics if she saw the other three men too close.

He rode up to the coach, curious to see whether the woman inside matched his memory. He’d seen her once before from a window overlooking the gardens when he’d visited her uncle. She’d been kneeling in the flowerbeds, her dress soiled as she weeded. A job more suited to a servant than a lady of quality. He’d been ready to dismiss her from his mind when she’d turned and glanced about the garden, a smudge of dirt on the tip of her upturned nose. A butterfly from a nearby flower had fluttered above her head. She hadn’t noticed it, even as it settled on her long, coiling auburn hair. Something in his chest gave a funny little flip, and his body had stirred with desire. Any other woman so innocent would not have caught his interest, but he’d glimpsed a keenness in her eyes, a hidden intelligence as she dug into the soil. Miss Emily Parr was different. And different was intriguing.

Ashton handed the driver the ransom letter for Parr and took up a position near the front of the coach. Taking hold of the door, Godric opened it up, waiting for the screaming to start.

None came.

“My deepest apologies, Miss Parr—” Still no screaming. “Miss Parr?” Godric thrust his head into the coach.

It was empty. Not even a fire-breathing dragon of a chaperone, not that he’d expected one. His sources had assured him she would be alone tonight.

Godric looked over his shoulder. “Ash? You’re sure this is Parr’s coach?”

“Of course. Why?” Ashton jumped off his horse, marched over and thrust his head into the empty coach. He was silent a long moment before he withdrew. Ashton put his finger against his lips and motioned to the inside. A tuft of pink muslin peeped out from the wooden seat. He gestured for Godric to step away from the coach.

Ashton lowered his voice. “It seems that our little rabbit chase has turned into a fox hunt. She’s hidden in the hollow space of the seat, clever girl.”

“Hiding under the seat?” Godric shook his head, bewildered. He didn’t know one woman of his acquaintance who would do something so clever. Perhaps Evangeline, but then if anything could be said of that woman, it was that she was far from ordinary. A prickling of excitement coursed through his veins, into his chest. He loved a challenge.

“Let’s wait a few minutes and see if she emerges.”

Godric looked back at the coach, impatience prickling inside him. “I don’t want to wait here all night.”

“She’ll come out soon enough. Allow me.” Ashton walked back to the coach and called out to Godric in a carrying voice. “Blast and damnation! She must have slipped out before we took charge of the coach. Just leave it. We’ll take the driver back to London tomorrow.” Ashton shut the door with a loud slam and motioned for Godric to join him.

“Now we wait,” Ashton whispered. He indicated that he would guard the left coach door while Godric stationed himself at the right.


Emily listened to the drum of retreating hooves and silently counted to one hundred. Her heart jolted in her chest as she considered what the men would do if they caught her. Highwaymen could be cruel and murderous, especially if their quarry offered little. She had no access to her father’s fortune, which left only her body.

Icy dread gripped Emily’s spine, paralyzing her limbs. She drew a breath as anxiety spiraled through her.

I must be brave. Fight them until I can fight no more. With trembling hands, she pushed at the roof of the seat, wincing as it popped open. Once she climbed out, she brushed dirt from her gown, noticing some tears from the rough wood on the inside of the seat. But the tears held no importance. All that mattered was survival.

Emily looked out the coach window. Nothing stood out in the darkness. Only the faint glimmer of moonlight touched the road with milky tendrils. Stars winked and flickered overhead, pale lights, distant and cold. A shudder wracked her frame, and Emily hugged herself, wanting so much to be at home. She missed her warm bed and her parents’ murmurs from down the hall. It was a comfort she’d taken for granted. But she couldn’t afford to think about them, not when she was in danger.

Were the men truly gone? Could it really be this easy?

She opened the coach door, and stepped down onto the dirt road. Strong arms locked about her waist and yanked her backward. The collision with a hard body knocked the breath from her lungs. Terror spiked her blood as she struggled against the arms that held her.

“Good evening, my darling,” a low voice murmured.

Emily screamed once, before she bit down on the hand that covered her mouth. She tasted the smooth leather of fine riding gloves.

The man roared and nearly dropped her. “Damn!”

Emily rammed an elbow backwards into her attacker’s stomach and began to wrestle free until he grabbed her arm. She swung about, striking him across the face with a balled fist. The man staggered back, leaving her free to dive inside the coach.

If she could get to the other side and run, she might stand a chance. She scrabbled towards the door, but never made it. The devil surged into the coach after her. Turning to face him, she was knocked flat onto her back.

She screamed again as his body settled over hers.

The dim moonlight revealed his bright eyes and strong features.

He caught her flailing wrists, pinning them above her head. “Quiet!”

Emily wanted to rake his eyes out, but the man was relentless. His hips ground against hers and panic drove her to a new level of terror. Her fears of being forcibly taken surfaced as his warm breath fanned over her face and neck. She shrieked, and he reared back away from her, as though the sound confused him.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” His voice vibrated with a low growl, ruining any promise his words might carry.

“You’re hurting me now!” She yanked her arms uselessly against his hold.

The man eased off her somewhat, and Emily took her chance. She tucked her knees up, and with all the power she could summon, she kicked. Her attacker stumbled out the open door and fell onto his back. Emily barely registered that he was winded before she turned and exited the other side of the coach.

The moment she emerged, another man lunged for her. To escape him, Emily fell back against the side of the coach. Rather than grab her, he held his arms wide to keep her from slipping by him, like he was corralling livestock.

“Easy, easy,” he purred.

Emily whipped her head to the left and pleaded with her mind to think, but the man she’d bitten rounded the corner and pounced, pinning her against the coach, his arms caging her in. His solid muscular body towered over her. His jaw clenched as though one move from her would trigger something dark and wild. Emily’s breath caught, and her heart pounded violently against her ribs.

The man was panting and angry. The intensity of his eyes mesmerized her, but the second he blinked, the spell broke and she fought with every bit of strength she could muster.


Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets—a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She's won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award.

Check her out at http://www.laurensmithbooks.com. You can follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LaurenDianaSmith and on Twitter at @LSmithAuthor. Her blog is http://theleagueofrogues.blogspot.com.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Guest Blogger Eva LeFoy - It’s nearly summer and things are heating up!

Whew. Is it warm out or is it just the hiking? I know some readers probably get enough of the great outdoors in their lounge chair poolside, but I’m more of a hands-on or feet-in-the-dirt kind of gal. I go hiking just about every weekend, until it gets too bloody hot and the snakes come out! Then, you really have to head for the hills – up into the forest – to get your exercise. The great thing about the forest is the temps are usually a bit cooler, and well, there’s plenty of cover.

Cover for what? Why, for naughty pastimes of course!

If you get tired of hiking, one can always take a break. Find a nice log or a shaded secluded area and, if you’ve brought a blanket, take a brief rest. Hopefully with someone, since that’s always nicer. I’m a sucker for sunbathing outdoors but I do prefer my privacy. Sometimes if you’re lucky, you can get both. It’s just fun to lie about naked in the woods! Very pagan. Makes me feel like a natural woman… heh!

Okay, so now you know I’m mooning the evergreens and hoping the pilots overhead don’t have binoculars. And you can see where I’d get the idea to write some outdoor sex. (Okay, I may have done that once or twice, just for research purposes!) I recently wrote some outdoor sex scenes in a little short I wrote for Secret Cravings Publishing http://store.secretcravingspublishing.com/ called Rekindling the Flame http://store.secretcravingspublishing.com/index.php?main_page=book_info&cPath=4&products_id=859

And now you get to know another thing about me: I feel your time-related-stress-pain. Yep. Totally. And you know what? I don’t even have kids! But dang. I swear hubby and I spend so much time working –he’s a farmer and a printer, so he works days, nights, and weekends, and I’ve got a nine-to-five job plus writing to keep me busy – that it’s darn hard to spend time together for a good part of the year. I’m not complaining, but I talk to the people at work and they have the same issues, plus kids, plus spouses in college, etc. It’s a wonder anybody’s relationships stay intact when we are all running like hamsters on a habitrail (or on a hiking trail, as you wish!). So it’s fairly easy to write that frustration into a story and make it sound believable. * grins *

In Rekindling the Flame, the hero Paul is a traveling pharmaceutical salesman and his wife Marcy runs an accounting business from home. Both of them are always busy. Until one day Paul has had enough…

Excerpt:

He fixed her with a no-nonsense stare. “Where’s your cell phone?”

“Right here.”

“Let me see it.”

She reluctantly dug it out of her pocket and handed it to him.

He pressed the on/off button to shut it off. He shut his off too, and shoved them both in the kitchen towel drawer.

She almost had a panic attack. “Paul, what are you doing?”

He moved toward her, scooped her into his arms as he passed and dragged her along with him. “Come on. Get in the car.”

She bit her lip. Was he mad about the meal? She didn’t want to have another fight. Not tonight. She had too much work to do. “What about dinner?”

“We’ll have it on the road.”

The road? Her jaw dropped. They were both leaving? For where? A million questions flooded her as he picked up the two small suitcases. Where were they going? What had he packed? Who’d feed the cat? This was…impossible. They couldn’t just pick up and leave. Plus, he’d shut off her cell phone. “Paul, we can’t just go. What about the food on the stove? The cat?”

“I’ve already called Alice. She’s got a key. Now get your sexy tush in the car, woman.”

Marcy blushed at his words, but felt anything but sexy. Dressed in jeans and a worn T-shirt, her hair pulled back in a simple, messy ponytail, she didn’t look the picture of hotness. Plus, she knew she’d gained forty pounds since Paul had taken the pharmaceutical company job—the one that kept him on the road and away from home. She didn’t feel sexy in her own body anymore. Still, his words made her pussy tingle.

Paul shoved the baggage in the trunk and clicked it shut. He came around the car to where she stood, mouth hanging open in shock, and gave her a solid slap on the butt. “Get in. We’re going.”

She knew she shouldn’t but still she hesitated, resisting letting go of her normal routine. This plan of his was unexpected and flat-out crazy. It would never work. “But…my phone. My clients.”

Paul towered over her, his warm breath fanning her lips. “No clients. No calls. Just us this weekend. I need this, Marcy.” He slanted his mouth over hers, planting a searing kiss on her lips right there in the driveway where all the neighbors could see. When his strong arm came around her back and pressed her body to his, she moaned at the delicious erection pressing into her thigh. Paul chuckled softly.

“Come on. Let’s go.”

Marcy had no idea where Paul was taking her, but she got in the car anyway. The promise of sex with Paul pulling her along for the ride. She needed him too badly to say no.

Buy Link: http://store.secretcravingspublishing.com/index.php?main_page=book_info&cPath=4&products_id=859

***

Ah to be whisked away to a nice weekend getaway, eh? Sounds better than the dusty hiking trail. A little more like poolside except they end up having sex in the woods… and at the beach… and ….

Well, you’ll see!

Wishing you happy outdoor (or indoor!) summer escapades,

Eva

Eva Lefoy writes and reads all kinds of romance, and is a certified Trekkie. She’s also terribly addicted to chocolate, tea, and hiking. One of these days, she’ll figure out the meaning of life, quit her job, and go travel the galaxy. Until then, she’s writing down all her dirty thoughts for the sake of future explorers.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eva-Lefoy/344907072265234

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Eva_Lefoy

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/elefoy/

Blog: http://writery.wordpress.com/

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Things I love about Florida

So Master Chef and I left the snow behind earlier this month and headed down to Orlando. After the winter-on-crack that Mother Nature threw at us this year, it was definitely time to get as far away from the cold as we could. Orlando seemed like a safe bet.

Did you know it's possible to almost go into shock when you get on plane when it's 14 degrees out (-10C) and off a plane in 90 degree (32 C) heat plus humidity?

Don't worry, we rallied :) and fell rather easily into a routine of sleeping in, touring around, eating yummy food, soaking in the hot tub, sipping drinks by the pool and enjoying every bit of that sunshine.

There wasn't a part of the trip I didn't love, but here are some highlights:

The Weather 

Six words: I need to move to Florida.

The Kennedy Space Center


This was a ton of fun. The Atlantis Shuttle exhibit is awesome and they have tons of stuff for kids. The lift-off simulator was really cool. Not sure how they can simulate those G-force conditions but it was fun.

The Beach


It's not really a trip to Florida if I don't get at least one day at the beach. Last time we checked out the gulf coast down in Clearwater. This trip we headed down to Daytona and I tried not to panic every time Master Chef grabbed my hand and dragged me closer to the waves. Apparently my argument about standing guard and watching for sharks wasn't convincing enough.

The Slingslot 


The best thing about seeing this ride up close is getting confirmation from your brain that there is nothing on this earth that will make you get on it. No way in hell was I going to be this kid!

The Magic Kingdom


This was my first Disney experience and I loved it despite the fact that there are a few rides/experiences that are out-dated. It's a Small World any one? My ears might bleed if I hear that song again any time in the next ten years. The castle lightshow at the end of the evening and the Wishes Fireworks were amazing. Plus it gave us an excuse to sit down and stop me from contemplating self-amputation. After 12 hours in the park, my feet were DONE. It was also pretty surreal to watch thousands of people all leave the park in one mass exodus when the fireworks were over. My feet are still furious with me for daring to limp my way back to the parking lot that night.

The Harley Davidson Store


I'm thinking of changing Master Chef's nickname to Motorcyle Man. What do you think?

The Wildlife

(They are much bigger in person)
By wildlife I really means the massive black ducks (I have no idea what exactly they were) that were everywhere on the resort where we stayed. And by everywhere I mean they were stalking me. I may have almost tripped over one the first night and they spent the rest of the week keeping an eye on me. On the last night I thought I would make peace and feed them. Of course the little dispensers were empty by that point, leaving me trapped on a Gazebo with the stairs (aka my escape route) blocked by the biggest of the bunch. I can't say I ever wondered what it felt like to be bit by a mutant duck until that very moment. Moments from thinking I might have to yell for Master Chef to come save me, I pulled myself together and possibly hurdle-jumped over the duck.

The Orlando Gun Club

This experience gave me a brand new appreciation for firearms. I hadn't shot any kind of gun before so the raw power and recoil in these weapons was staggering. Master Chef loved the rifle but I didn't have the strength to hold it steady for more than 1.5 seconds. Of course I we had to go with a Zombie target for practice :) and I quickly learned that I would be better off with a machete, maybe even a screwdriver, than a gun in any zombie apocalypse.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Guest Blogger Amy Sandas - How a Rebel Marquess Got His Story

“Throw-away lines.”

I was at a writers’ conference several years ago when I first heard this term. If I remember right, Mary Jo Putney was talking about how ideas for new books can form spontaneously…how a simple “throw-away line” in one book can spark and idea that suddenly unlocks a possibility that hadn’t been there before. It struck me so strongly perhaps because it had recently happened to me.

At that time, I had just finished what would become my first published book, ROGUE COUNTESS. I already had much of the follow up title, RECKESS VISCOUNT, worked out in my mind if not on paper. But something had happened while I was writing ROGUE COUNTESS. My hero in that book had a friend; a stuffy, arrogant marquess named Rutherford. He was created as a foil for the hero, a man’s man who tended to say what did not want to be heard, but needed to be.

I had no intention of giving Rutherford his own story. To be honest, he didn’t seem to be much of a hero type. He was a conventional English lord with no great back-story, no inspiring goals or challenges. He was sort of dull.

But then…one “throw-away line” changed all of that.

It occurred near the mid-point of ROGUE COUNTESS, at a house party where my hero and heroine were exchanging some barbed words and thinly veiled threats (they did not get along very well at first). Rutherford was there, unabashedly eavesdropping on the encounter, ready to take his friend’s side. Their hostess that night happened to be a woman who was relentless in her attempts at enticing Rutherford to consider her daughters for matrimony. And Rutherford was equally dedicated to avoiding such match-making schemes.

My heroine, the rogue countess herself, grew irritated with Rutherford’s intrusion and couldn’t resist pointing something out just to annoy him.

“By the way, Lady Terribury has seven lovely daughters, three not yet out of the school room. Good luck.”

And with that “throw-away line” a whole new world came into existence for Rutherford.

How fun to have such a stoic self-contained gentlemen as the target of an obsessive match-making mama with no less than seven daughters to marry off? And what if, after evading six of them, he encounters something unexpected in the seventh and final Terribury…?

Of the three in the series, REBEL MARQUESS was the most fun to write. There was just something exciting about discovering the sexiness beneath Rutherford’s staid and haughty exterior. And then to pit him up against an unconventional young woman with a quick wit and absolutely no interest in marriage, especially to him…I never knew what sparks would fly between them.

The below excerpt takes place just after Eliza Terribury unknowingly falls in with one of her mother’s plots and finds herself meeting the Marquess of Rutherford for the first time. Gratefully, Eliza manages to thwart her mother’s plan by hiding in Rutherford’s water closet. But once free of her mother, she still has the marquess to deal with.

“A clever predicament you have put us in, Miss Terribury.”

Eliza didn’t miss the way he said her name as if it were a curse. Her indignation grew. He may have reason to distrust Lady Terribury since he had been countering her machinations for more than a decade. But Eliza was getting annoyed at how readily he was prepared to think the worst of her. She did not appreciate being the object of such blind and unreasonable prejudice.

“Now just a moment. You force me to be insulted after all.” She propped her hands on her hips and eyed him with a direct, accusing stare. “I tried to be empathetic since I know what you have had to endure from my mother over the years, but I have had enough of your continued insistence that I had something to do with this when I stated I did not. I have absolutely no desire to maneuver you into a compromising position. In fact, I would prefer to avoid the whole marital business altogether.”

He harrumphed. “You expect me to believe—”

His argument was cut short by the sound of the outer bedroom door opening.

Eliza froze, her breath stopping. Surely her mother wouldn’t come back again.

Rutherford must have considered the same possibility since he stepped forward into the small bathing room and kicked the door shut behind him. He placed his hand over her mouth to silence her.

She yearned to tell him the precaution was unnecessary. But it would have to wait since she could barely move her jaw beneath his heavy palm.

As they both stood stock still listening for a clue as to who had entered the room beyond, she noticed that his hand over her mouth was not the only place he touched her. He’d wrapped his other arm tightly around her waist and held her securely against him. She suspected it was to hold her in place and prevent any movement that might make noise. When he had stepped toward her, she had instinctively raised her hands. The skin of his bare chest was hot and smooth under her fingers. Rough curls tickled her palms.

If not for his hand over her mouth, the position would have felt curiously similar to an embrace.

Time seemed to slow in a dramatic fashion as she detected the heavy thud of his heart beneath her hand and the way their breathing had found a matching rhythm. Eliza took a slow breath through her nose and drew in the scent of citrus and some unfamiliar spice from his skin. It was a clean and exotic scent that tantalized Eliza’s senses, bringing sudden warmth to her skin.

She looked up at his face. His head was turned to the side as he kept his gaze on the door, and she noticed the rough stubble of hair growth on his jaw. The steady thrum of his pulse showed at the side of his throat and Eliza felt her mouth go dry. She drew a long breath through her nose to dispel the sudden wave of lightheadedness that threatened to overtake her.

What on earth was wrong with her?

REBEL MARQUESS is available from Samhain publishing and anywhere ebooks are sold.

http://store.samhainpublishing.com/rebel-marquess-p-73389.html

http://www.amazon.com/Rebel-Marquess-Amy-Sandas-ebook/dp/B00HOFEHDU

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rebel-marquess-amy-sandas/1118069784?ean=9781619218390

Amy Sandas’s love of romance began one summer when she was thirteen and complained of boredom. She ended up with one of her mother’s Barbara Cartland books and an obsessive interest that expanded from there. Her affinity for writing began with sappy pre-teen poems and led to a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

She writes in the early mornings while her young kids are still asleep and dreams of a future when she can write all day instead of going to her “other” job. In the evenings, Amy is a full-time wife and mother who enjoys pizza, wine and dark brooding heroes … namely, her husband.

You can find Amy on her blog at http://amysandas.wordpress.com

On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmySandas?ref=hl

Or Tweet her at https://twitter.com/#!/AmySandas

Friday, April 18, 2014

First BOOK Friday-- Moira Keith




It's First BOOK Friday!  For the next few months, we're going to highlight the first book from some of our author friends!  Sometimes people find an author further down their backlist, sometimes readers think they're picking up the first book when really it's number 3 or so, sometimes the first book was just so long ago!  :)   So we thought it would be fun to revisit the books that started it all for some of our friends!


This month we're featuring the first book from Moira Keith, Buckling Down.


A note from Moira:


Buckling Down was not only my first book contracted, but it was the first manuscript I’d ever finished. When I was working on the story, Samhain announced a contemporary western romance anthology. Being my first manuscript, I had doubts, but figured I would live by one of my favorite quotes and take the shot. This was around the holidays, when life gets hectic enough, but I also had my twin’s birthday to plan for. I tried to put the submission out of my mind and let the chips fall where they may, but failed miserably. The day of my boys 4th birthday party, I came home and checked my email. There it was, sitting in the inbox, staring at me, taunting me. Gathering my courage and bracing myself for the first rejection to help thicken my sensitive author skin, I hit open. When I read that they wanted to offer me a contract, I had to go back and read it again because I thought surely, they’d just entered the wrong email address. Then I had one of those moments when I reverted to a teenage girl and said “Shut Up!” while reading. It took days for it to truly sink in that I’d just contracted my very first book!


Blurb:

When two hearts are on the line, it’s double or nothing.

A Wild Ride story.

Levi McKenna heads to Las Vegas with one simple goal: win the rodeo and cement his place in rodeo history. Then Lady Luck throws a wild card into the deck—Sydney Hart. Time and distance haven’t dulled the sharp edge of their attraction, but thanks to a long-ago promise, she will always be forbidden fruit dangling just out of reach.

Sydney wants to believe in fairy tales and happily ever after, but her past relationships leave her doubting such things exist. She’s ready to give up on love…until Levi walks into her bar. The man who’s always held the missing piece of her heart. Love may not be in the cards, but that doesn’t mean a girl can’t flirt.

Neither expected passion this hot, this fast. Yet once the cards are dealt, the only thing left to do is play them out—and see if they have a winning hand.

Warning: this book contains a sassy heroine, a scrumptious hero, blood, sweat, tears, not to mention…sex laced with Vegas heat.




Add to your library here!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Still Not In the Mood For Anything Serious

Yesterday was Tax Day, which means most of you (and most of us) need cheering up – so I’m going to do another post of happy happy silly silly.  (BTW – if you don’t do Tumblr you should really think about it. It’s full of the wild, the weird, the wonderful, the what the fuck. Ditto for Inside Amy Schumer.)
 ,

These pairs of taxidermied boxing squirrels, along with a third, unpictured one, went for $70,000 at auction


Inside Amy Schumer did an Aaron Sorkin parody starring the delectable Josh Charles, late of The Good Wife and star of Sports Night, the only Sorkin show I've ever liked (or even tolerated).  This thing is sublime perfection, the Platonic ideal of parody. If you've ever watched one episode of a Sorkin show--any Sorkin show, it doesn't matter which one--you will appreciate this.  (The clip is embedded in the article I've linked here; I think it's exclusive to Slate for the moment.)





April 5th was the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death. Frances Bean has grown into a beauty. A beauty who attended Coachella fully clothed, which I find refreshingly archaic. (Yes, I'm old.) (Also, I was going to say something about the way her fiancée is dressed, and her fiancée in general, but then I remembered that I was 21 in 1985, so I don't get to make fun of the way young women dress or the men they find attractive (coughshoulderpadsBrettMichaelscough). And if you were 21 in the 60s or 70s, you don't get to snicker either.)
 
 
 
 
Tumblr can be deep:


From Tastefully Offensive

 

 
And deeply silly.
Y'all wouldn't believe how long I giggled about this.
Or maybe you would.
 
 
 
You know the joke about the medical bracelet that says "Delete my browser history"? I need the same thing, only it says "Delete my  Pictures folder."


 
 
 
 
 
  
And this one reminds me of RT!!!
 
 
 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Guest Blogger Sabrina York - A Noble Pursuit: Writing Regency With Period Appropriate Terms

Thank you so much for having me here!

I am excited to share news about the latest releases in the scorching Noble Passion’s Series. I’ve always been a fan of the Regency period, so it was a thrill to write these books. Naturally, because I’ve read so many, I thought I knew everything there was to know about the period. What no one warned me about was that, when writing period pieces, there are some many other details to think about. Words I might fold into a narrative on a day-today basis have to be scrutinized with an eagle eye!

When the final line edits came back on the first book, Folly, I was shocked to find a plethora of anachronistic terms sprinkled throughout my manuscript. Here are some examples of words I had to change:

“Tonight she was Mignon, a French floozy who knew how to seduce a man.” The FLE pointed out that floozy/floozie wasn't in use until the 1900s. I changed it to “doxy.”

“A temblor passed through her, a garbled plea hovered on her lips.” According to the FLE, temblor wasn't in use until the late 1800s/early 1900s. I changed to “She shook…”

“He'd fantasized about taking Ulster's wife, punishing her for her husband's sins, making her beg...” Fantasize/fantasized/fantasizing -- these date to 1926. I changed to “He’d dreamed of taking Ulster’s wife…”

“He rubbed at the scar that still pinged at his temple.” According to the FLE, ping dates to 1835 as a noun but wasn't used as a verb until much later. Changed to “He rubbed at the scar that still ached at his temple.”

“Ethan felt like a heel, now, for eavesdropping.” Heel dates to 1914, according to the FLE. I changed to “Ethan felt like a cad…”

Simple changes, yes. The real challenge came in REMEMBERING as I worked on the subsequent books!

The series is a huge hit with readers. There are currently three books out, one coming April 25th and a 5th in edits. Though the books are connected, each is a stand-alone read.

Check out Dark Duke, the most recent release:

Edward Wyeth, the Dark Duke of Moncrieff’s life has been turned on its end. His well-ordered home has been invaded. By destitute relatives. From Scotland. How on earth can he write Lord Hedon’s salacious novels with hellions battling in the garden and starting fires in the library? But with the onslaught has come a delicious diversion. His cousin’s companion, the surprisingly intriguing Kaitlin MacAllister. He is determined to seduce her. Using her desperate need for funds and her talents as an artist, he convinces her to draw naughty pictures for his naughtier books…and he draws her into his decadent web.

But Kaitlin has a secret. She’s fled Scotland—and a very determined betrothed. When Edward’s cousin is kidnapped and held in her stead, Kaitlin is honor-bound to return to her homeland and rescue her—much to Edward’s chagrin.

Because suddenly he can’t bear the thought of Kaitlin marrying another man. He can’t bear the thought of losing her at all.

Noble Passions Series from Sabrina York

Follow the decadent exploits of friends and enemies as they find love and passion in the glittering world of the Regency—and its dark underbelly.

Book 1: Folly

2014 EPIC eBook Award Finalist
2013 Passionate Plume Finalist
http://www.amazon.com/Folly-Sabrina-York-ebook/dp/B00A0LC0CU/ref=la_B00856PDEO_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393037465&sr=1-11

Book 2: Dark Fancy

2014 Carolyn Readers Choice Award Finalist

http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Fancy-Sabrina-York-ebook/dp/B00AN86ILY/ref=pd_sim_kstore_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1BXH79GVAG8DY55AC15D

Book 3: Dark Duke

http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Duke-3-Noble-Passions-ebook/dp/B00ID8MAJU/ref=pd_sim_b_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1E7WS1HSZJEJ1BX9HKZ6

Book 4: Brigand

Coming April 25th: http://www.ellorascave.com/brigand.html

If you’re new to the series, download my free teaser book at http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ to read blurbs and excerpts for this popular series. Each book in the series is a stand-alone story.

Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York is the award winning author of over 20 hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy erotic romance to scorching BDSM. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!

Books by Sabrina York

A Cowboy for Delilah (Erotic Contemporary for the Cowboy Heat Anthology, Cleis Press)

Adam’s Obsession (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)

Dark Duke (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave) —Coming soon

Brigand (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave)

Dark Fancy (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave)

Devlin’s Dare: A Tryst island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary)

Dragonfly Kisses: A Tryst Island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary)

Extreme Couponing (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)

Fierce (One Night Stand, Decadence Press)

Five Alarm Fire (Erotic Contemporary for the High Octane Heroes Anthology, Cleis Press)

Folly (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave)

Heart of Ash: A Tryst Island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary)

Lust Eternal (Erotic Fantasy, Ellora’s Cave)

Pushing Her Buttons (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)

Making Over Maris (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)

Man Hungry (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)

Rebound: A Tryst Island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary, Available on Amazon)

Rebound is now available on Smashwords

Rising Green (Erotic Horror, Ellora’s Cave)

Saving Charlotte (Erotic Contemporary for the Smokin' Hot Firemen Anthology, Cleis Press)

Smoking Holt: A Tryst Island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary)

Training Tess (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)

Trickery (Erotic Contemporary with Magical Elements, Ellora’s Cave Hex Line)

Tristan’s Temptation (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)


CURRENT PROMOS

Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/

Newsletter & contest: http://sabrinayork.com/sabrinas-contest-and-newsletter/

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Like my Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/SabrinaYorkBooks

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