Word-Slingers – Guest Cate Dean

Today, Memorial Day here in the States, I’m happy to welcome Cate Dean (and sorry this post is going up later than normal – surgery on Friday slowed me down a bit) and her tour for her new release, Rest for the Wicked.




1) How long have you been writing?

I have been writing pretty much for as long as I can remember. I started with poetry and song lyrics, and started writing stories that I made up in my head when I was in high school. In the last few years I got serious about it, really dug in and learned the basics of story structure. I have always loved writing, in any form.

2) How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.)

I’m single, so I have fewer ball than most writers I know. I do work full time right now, which leaves evenings and weekends to write. I always set a weekly goal – 5-10k words, depending on how far I am into the book. Basically, I don’t have a social life right now – except when I write in the café at my local bookstore every Sunday. J

3) Let’s dish all about your new release, Rest for the Wicked (and what you have planned for the rest of the series, if you want to share).

It is a paranormal, with a big dash of suspense. I loved writing it – the whole story was just there, like a lightning bolt. I couldn’t type fast enough, and most of the draft was a blur. It was quite the shock to go back and read it! My characters simply blossomed, and I was surprised, and thrilled with how they turned out.
 As for the rest of the series – I am working on book 2 right now, A Gathering of Angels, which will be out in July. It deals with murder disguised as a holy cause, and people who are not what they seem. And book 3, Back in Black, is slated for sometime around Halloween. It involves ghosts, in a fun, spooky and scary way.

4) What is it about the paranormal genre that you like so much?

I grew up loving the supernatural. And it gave me the chance to break out with both my characters and the world I created. It is grounded in reality, but there is another level to it, and a depth that wouldn’t be there without the freedom that the paranormal genre gives me.

5) Do you think you’ll move to another genre, and if yes, what to and when?

I do write in another one now – I write fantasy, both adult and YA. It is where I started, and I really enjoy going back and forth between genres. Writing in each one gives me a nice break from the other, and they are close enough that people can cross over from one to the next without it being too jarring.

6) Sweet or sour?

Sweet!

7) Chocolate or vanilla?

Mmmmm, chocolate . . .

FAN INFO 


Cate Dean has been writing for, well, ever. She grew up losing herself in the wilds of fantasy worlds, and has had some of her own adventures while tromping through the UK, and a few other parts of the world. A lover of all things supernatural, she infuses that love into her stories, giving them a unique edge. When she’s not writing, she loves cooking, scaring herself silly in the local cemeteries, and reading pretty much anything she can get her hands on.

BOOK INFO
Buy Links

Book Blurb
Claire Wiche – an ordinary woman, running her Wicca shop in an ordinary California beach town.
But Claire wasn’t always ordinary, and she isn’t quite human. She hides a secret, and a past that she desperately wants to put behind her.

When that past explodes into her present, threatening the people she loves, and the community that has offered her a place to finally belong, Claire must become what she left behind in order to save them.


Book Excerpt
Claire Wiche guided her unhappy customer through her shop, one arm around the woman’s hunched shoulders.
“You know I don’t do love spells, Mildred.”
“But I know if he could see me, really see me, he’d fall desperately in—”
“Would it be real, if he’s under an enchantment?”
Mildred pouted, not a pretty sight on an eighty-year-old woman. “What happened to the customer is always right?”
Biting her lip on a smile, Claire walked her through the open door.
“Never been my policy. And I have good reasons for that.” She rubbed the old woman’s arm. “You go on home now. I’ll phone you when my new shipment of crystals shows up.”
Leaning against the narrow porch post, Claire watched her toddle down the sidewalk, sunlight bouncing off the thin silver poodle curls. The morning gloom had burned off early, and it looked like the start of another beautiful day.
She crossed her arms, cold despite the sweater she slipped on earlier. It took longer to warm up lately, a fact she did her best to ignore.
“Are you cold again, Claire? It’s got to be at least 80 in the store.”
Unless, of course, a well-meaning friend shoved it in her face.
She turned around, forced a smile. “Is it, Annie? I must have forgotten to turn it down this morning.”
“How could you not notice? The candles are sweating.” Annie Sullivan—the lively, no-holds-barred friend Claire never expected to have in her life—stepped across the small porch that ran along the front of the shop, her almost six foot height topping Claire by a good ten inches. She caught one hand before Claire could shove them in her pockets. “You’re like ice. Again.” She looked down at Claire, concern in her warm brown eyes. “And you’re avoiding. Again.”
With a sigh, Claire squeezed her hand before easing out of it. The warmth in Annie’s fingers made her skin tingle, yearn.
“Time to turn that heat down before the candles become a puddle.”
Annie followed her back inside, hovering while she adjusted the thermostat to a more reasonable temperature. She would need a heavier sweater.
“Come on,” Annie said, hands on her hips. “Give.”
Shaking her head, Claire smiled, a real smile this time. “Would I’m just cold and tired do it for you?”
“Hardly.” Annie stood in front of the counter, looking like a golden Amazon ready for battle. “But it’ll have to until I can get you drunk and pry the truth out of you.”
Laughter burst out of Claire. “I’d like to see that.”
“Yeah, so would I. If you actually touched the stuff.” She gave Claire a wicked smile. “I could always slip you a mickey.”
“You could—if I wasn’t able to smell it from across the room.”
“Slapped down again. Hey—what if we just tried—”
“Not again. Never again.” Claire still felt the residual agony from her one failed attempt at social drinking.
“How do you do that?” Those warm brown eyes narrowed as they studied her. “How do you always know what I’m going to say?”
Claire reached up and patted her cheek. “I’m a witch, sweetheart. It’s what I do.”
“Wait.” She grabbed Claire’s hand, pushed her sleeve up to reveal the bandage that peeked out. “Is that another tattoo? What is it this time?”
Claire flushed. The second reason she put on a sweater this morning.
“A triquetra.”
“More protection? Jeez, Claire, the pentacle on your hip isn’t enough?”
“There is no such thing as too much protection.” She pulled free and walked around the counter. “And the subject is closed.”
“Okay, I can take a hint. I’ll drop in sometime tomorrow, see if you need any help during the festival madness.”
“That will be most appreciated.”
Annie strode to the door, her long legs taking her through the small shop in a few paces. She paused in the doorway. “Hey, Claire—I’m worried, and I poke when I’m worried. I’ll leave it alone for now. But if you don’t get better, I’ll do more than poke.”
“Annie.” She stuck her head back in. “Don’t you even think about taking on Mildred’s love spell.”
Color rushed into her cheeks.
“I wasn’t—”
“I mean it. Last time you nearly had your victim falling in love with her cat.”
“Never gonna let me live that one down, are you?”
Claire smiled. “Not if it keeps you from trying again.”
Annie cursed under her breath and stalked out.
Chuckling, Claire made a mental note to put feelers out. Annie had more than enough power, and just enough knowledge to make her dangerous.
Without warning the pain stabbed her; a blade of ice in her gut.
Bracing her hands on the counter, she fought to breathe, fought to keep herself upright. Shaking so hard her rings clattered against the granite countertop, she gained enough control to lower herself to the chair that she recently added, out of necessity.
“God above—” She pressed both arms against her stomach, prayed for a slow morning. If she believed God would actually listen to her, after all this time, she’d ask the single question that haunted her.
Is this how it feels to be dying?

Winner & Upcoming Event Info
The winner from the Katie Salidas post is Angelica Dawson. We’ll be in touch on your prize. Stay tuned because next Monday, on June 4, I have an author spotlight coming up (my first) with William D. Hicks.

Thursday Word-Slingers – Guest Katie Salidas

Today’s guest is part of the Bewitching Book Tours family. Her book sounds great and I totally get some of her answers below! Please welcome Katie Salidas!



1) How long have you been writing?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing something. It’s in my blood. I have to write. I love it. When I go too long without doing it, I tend to get a little cranky.

2) How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.)

As a Write at Home Mom, I feel like I’m juggling a million balls in the air at once. I recently gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. He’s just adorable. I also have a mini diva 8 year old girl who keeps me on my toes with school, girl scouts, sports, etc… Then, of course there is my hubby. At times I think he’s my 3rd child. Moms, you know what I’m talking about there… So, taking care of family is my primary job, but that doesn’t mean that I treat writing as anything less than a job. I’m obsessive about making sure that the product I put out (my books) are as good as I can make them before they are released to the public. That means along with my momma duties I’m also: writer, publisher, project coordinator (working with freelance editors, cover artists, etc…), and marketing manager for my company Rising Sign Books.

To put it simply, I’m busy. But I’m not the best juggler so I tend to forget things and then frantically get to them to meet deadlines. LoL.

3) What can you tell us about your current release, Soulstone. Feel free to throw in tidbits about earlier books in the series!

At the end of Pandora’s Box (Book three in the Immortalis series) I left readers with a question, “Is Lysander truly dead, or can he be saved?” Everyone in the small vampire clan is ready to give up, feeling Lysander is lost forever to the mysterious confines of the Soulstone, but Alyssa believes there might be a way to save him.

Lysander is the mate of rookie vampire extraordinaire, Alyssa. In all her limited vampire existence, she’s been the one causing all of the trouble, but this time she’ll have to be the one taking charge and leading the clan toward a solution.

Of course, nothing can be simple in Alyssa’s world. In her fervor to find a solution she inadvertently alerts the Acta Sanctorum (fanatical religious group of hunters), and they immediately set out to eradicate the supernatural presence in Boston.
Before Lysander can be saved, the rest of the supernaturals; witches, werewolves, and the small vampire clan, will have to band together to take care of the Saints and their threat.

4) What is it about the paranormal romance genre that you like so much?

Paranormal is fun! Not only do you get the steamy romance, but you get to play with creatures that “go bump in the night.” What more could you want? Wink Wink.

5) Do you think you’ll move to another genre, and if yes, what to and when?

I do play around with Erotica every now and again. If you’re interested, check out House of Immortal Pleasures, a sexy little short about a Brothel run by vampires!

6) Sweet or sour?

Sour.

7) Chocolate or vanilla?

Chocolate

FAN INFO 
Katie Salidas is a Super Woman!
Endowed with special powers and abilities, beyond those of mortal women, She can get the munchkin off to gymnastics, cheerleading, Girl Scouts, and swim lessons.  She can put hot food on the table for dinner while assisting with homework, baths, and bedtime… And, She still finds the time to keep the hubby happy (nudge nudge wink wink). She can do all of this and still have time to write.
 And if you can believe all of those lies, there is some beautiful swamp land in Florida for sale…
Katie Salidas resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mother, wife, and author, she does try to do it all, often causing sleep deprivation and many nights passed out at the computer. Writing books is her passion, and she hopes that her passion will bring you hours of entertainment.


BOOK INFO

It’s a desperate time for rookie vampire Alyssa, and her sanity is hanging by a slender thread. Her clan is still reeling from the monumental battle with Aniketos; a battle that claimed the body of Lysander, her sire and lover, and trapped his spirit in a mysterious crystal. A Soulstone.
Unfortunately, no amount of magic has been able to release Lysander’s spirit, and the stone is starting to fade. Weeks of effort have proved futile. Her clan, the Peregrinus, have all but given up hope. Only Alyssa still believes her lover can be released. In despair, Alyssa begs the help of the local witch coven, and unwittingly exposes the supernaturals of Boston to unwanted attention from the Acta Sanctorum.

The Saints converge on the city and begin their cleansing crusade to rid the world of all things “Unnatural.” In the middle of an all-out war, but no closer to a solution to the dying stone, Alyssa is left with an unenviable choice: save her mate, or save her clan.


Amazon USA  *  Amazon UK  *  Amazon DE  *  Smashwords  *  Nook

CONTEST INFO

There are a couple of contests. One lucky person who leaves a comment below can win a copy of Soulstone. There is a tour-wide contest for an omnibus edition of the first three books in the series PLUS Soulstone.  Just follow the link HERE to get in on that action (it’s a Rafflecopter entry and I don’t get how that works – sorry folks)! Good luck to you.
Well, how do you like the sounds of Katie now? I love the looks of the book. Thanks for dropping by. Up next will be Cate Dean on Monday!


Word-Slingers – Guest Zee Monodee

Today is a little different. I have another repeat visitor, Zee Monodee. Instead of an interview with her, we get to meet and interact with a couple of the characters from Before the Morning! Let’s get to it, shall we?

Hey people! I’m Zee Monodee, the author of the Corpus Brides romantic suspense/espionage series, and it’s awesome to be here on Tory’s blog, getting to share a part of my world with ye all.
I racked my brains to come up with a topic, and I stumbled upon this document – the very first interview I did with the two protagonists from Book 2 of the Corpus Brides series, Before The Morning.
Read on for my first glimpse into these people’s minds.
A few words with Ash Gilfoy – a London-based paramedic, and the hero of this book.
How do you feel regarding this interview?
So-so. Not too enthusiastic. (Grimaces) Okay, can we get this out of the way already? You asked me to the bloody Ritz, lady, and everyone knows I hate having to wear a tie!
*chuckles* It’ll soon be over, once I get the answers I’m looking for…
(watches the dapper-looking, Josh Holloway lookalike squirm in his seat, and loosen his silk tie  and undo the collar button. What a fine specimen of male perfection… Anyhow, he’s not mine, so… *sigh*)
If you had to choose between Humanity and Nature?
Nature. Unless you betray it, Nature will never betray you first. Humanity… Let’s just say, there’s a lot of twisted shit in what makes up us humans.
Aren’t you being a little too strong here?
(lifts an eyebrow) Ye think?
I have a feeling this one’s gonna be trouble…
Your biggest achievement?
Having made a difference, in the lives I have saved. First as a cop, then as an ambulance worker.
The human foolishness that has most saddened you?
Domestic violence. Any time a man feels it’s within his right and privilege to hit a woman, to hurt her, play mind games with her… Anytime someone feels they are better than others, and thus have free rein to be bullies – that’s something I totally abhorred!
     
Your main quality?
Determination. Grit. Seeing things through once I start them.
The flaw you are most admonished for?
My temper that seems to boil over easily.
That indulgence you’re almost embarrassed to admit to?
I don’t have any indulgence. No time for it. And no need really.
Poor man. By now, I wanna reach out and hug him… but I hear his love interest is a very jealous and dangerous woman.
Happiness in one word?
(Sarcastic laugh) Does happiness really exist? Or is it simply the pursuit of something unrealistic?
Again, he needs a hug. Somebody hug that man, for goodness’ sake!
Something you abhorre?
Like I said above, men who use women as their punching bags or as their pawns in fucked-up mind games. Those pigs don’t have the right to call themselves men!
A fairy and a magic wand – if you had a chance to do it all again?
     
(Long silence) Would I change anything? I don’t know… Maybe I would’ve been there for the people who’ve needed me. Like with Rayne, my best friend when I was growing up. I should’ve convinced her to stay in England, and not get involved with that humanitarian agency that snatched her from all of us the minute she finished school. (Another long pause) And I would’ve made sure my best friend, Matt, and his wife, Karen, did not die, not like that, not through my hand…
Oh my! Ash Gilfoy is a tortured soul… Is there hope for him, a chance of happiness, of solace?
I have a feeling a woman can ease all his troubles, a woman who seems to love him – adore him, really.
But as I get to know her – Rayne Cheltham – I start having doubts, because Rayne is not what she seems…
A few words with Rayne Cheltham – a former clandestine agent (Oh. My God!) from the Corpus agency who is returning to civilian life…
How do you feel regarding this interview?
(Smiles, accentuating her beautiful, Eastern-European delicate features) That depends on the questions you’ll have for me. I already love this setting – is there a more gorgeous locale than The Ritz in London? – so now I’m waiting for what you have in store for me.
She has a smile on her face, but I can’t help but think her features are actually blank, not revealing anything… This woman is spooky, and I better be careful where I tread…
If you had to choose between Humanity and Nature?
Humanity. There’s beauty in the human heart. And humans can always overcome Nature, in most cases. We are what we make ourselves to be.
Your biggest achievement?
It wouldn’t be presumptuous to say that I have a hand in much of the peace you all get to experience in the world today. I’m proud of my service to my agency, to my country, and to the world at large.
(Pauses, eyes taking a faraway look). I might not be too proud of the means I’ve had to use to get to those ends, but it’s the result that matters, right?
The human foolishness that has most saddened you?
Not believing in love…
I wouldn’t have pegged you down as a romantic!
(laughs, a light, tinkling sound like the clink of fine crystal) I have a lot of facets – you’d be surprised at who the real me is really.
Oh, you’ve got me tickled… Who is the real Rayne?
(sad smile, that dies as she speaks) The real Rayne died seventeen years ago… She was a hopeful teenager who saw her one dream snatched from her, and there wasn’t anything she could do about that. Not without hurting the man she had always loved…
Ash?
Yes.
The atmosphere inside the suite’s salon turns heavy and wistful, and I know I need to bring us back on track. So I continue with my questions.
Your main quality?
Perseverance in the face of failure. I am determined to achieve all my aims, by any means necessary, and that’s definitely an asset in my line of work.
The flaw you are most admonished for?
Having my heads in the clouds… though most people don’t realize that I’m not really an airhead with half a brain and who spends her time dreaming about rainbows and butterflies. I tend to forget about people and the way they function, of circumstances. They call that being of a ‘sociopathic’ nature, but even a flaw can be turned into an asset.
Now this girl is giving me serious chilly vibes… Is there anything light at all inside her? Her intensity is borderline creepy…
That indulgence you’re almost embarrassed to admit to?
(laughs again, the same tinkling sound, this time more spontaneous) Ice cream! You can always bet you’ll find ice cream anywhere in the world – it’s a basic food group. Ice cream can make everything better, even for just a moment.
Happiness in one word?
Ash. To be with the one you love, in other words…
Something you abhorre?
Domineering people, and those who think they can swoop in and grab whatever they want from whoever they want, especially without having to pay any price. That attitude totally disgusts me!
A fairy and a magic wand – if you had a chance to do it all again?
     
(Long pause) I’d have told Ash I loved him a long time ago… I wouldn’t have given him up, and I’d have fought for us…
Now, that’s eerie, because Ash said practically the same thing—
He did?
Suddenly, I know I’ve won the upper hand. Rayne is no longer a creepy sociopath sitting in front of me, but a woman with a huge crush who’s just been told the object of her fantasies might feel the same about her. So cute! But I’m gonna make her stew a little…
I’m sorry, Rayne – you’re gonna have to wait for Monday, May 21, on Tory’s blog, to read the answers to his interview! Think you could last until then?
(She gives me a cryptic smile…)
“I’m gonna let you off the hook. This time…” she says with a small smile.
FAN INFO & BIO
Zee Monodee
Stories about love, life, relationships… in a melting-pot of culture
Zee is an author who grew up on a fence – on one side there was modernity and the global world, on the other there was culture and traditions. Putting up with the culture for half of her life, one day she decided she’d stand tall on her wall and dip toes every now and then into both sides of her non-conventional upbringing.

From this resolution spanned a world of adaptation and learning to live on said wall. The realization also came that many other young women of the world were on their own fence.
This particular position became her favorite when she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of writing – her heroines all sit ‘on a fence’, whether cultural or societal, in today’s world or in times past, and face dilemmas about life and love.
Hailing from the multicultural island of Mauritius, Zee is a degree holder in Communications Science. She is married,mum to a tween son, & stepmum to a teenage lad.

Buy Links:

Before The Morning: An action/adventure, romantic suspense tale on the backdrop of a clandestine espionage agency – come read the story of Rayne, a spy who leaves that life in the name of love, & Ash, the man who changes her world! 



WALKING THE EDGE (Corpus Brides: Book 1): A romantic suspense novel, wherein an amnesiac woman is on the quest for her forgotten memory… Escape from London all the way to Marseille, France, and discover the secrets, deceit, danger, & the powerful love, she uncovers during her search! https://www.nobleromance.com/Books/304/Walking-the-Edge  

Contact Links:

Facebook & Goodreads: Zee Monodee

Twitter: @ZeeMonodee


EXCERPT – Before the Morning

From the front-facing window on the second floor of the Shepherd’s Close freehold, Corpus secret agent Rayne Cheltham watched the ambulance pull away from the curb.

Shivers crept up her arms, and she hugged herself tight to ward them off.
Get a grip!
She was a professional on an assignment, an elite, trained operative from a clandestine agency that handled operations for governments and international forces as a stealthy left hand. Her agency entrusted her with the most important missions—nothing should faze her.
Before today, she would’ve said that nothing could affect her when she had her eyes on a goal.
But she wasn’t sure anymore. She’d never had her past collide with her present like a few moments ago, in the form of her childhood best friend.
Ashford Gilfoy, better known as Ash. The boy who had been there to catch her when, at six, she had slipped while climbing the chestnut tree that sat right on the border between their two houses in Hastings, two days after her family moved there from Salisbury. The boy who had taught her how to ride a bicycle without the training wheels on the long and winding, gravel-covered lane leading to her parents’ mansion. The teenager who had smashed the nose of the first lad who had broken her heart, at thirteen, during recess in the schoolyard. The young man she had left seventeen years ago on a platform at London Waterloo, on the day she bid her old life goodbye.
For the first time since that day, she was back on British soil, and kismet decided Ash should cross her path.
Why then, of all times? She was a hair’s breadth away from closing the contract on this mission. Seven months of intensive infiltration work and she was ready to achieve her aim—neutralize Nikolai Grigorievskiy’s criminal operations before she took out the man. The Corpus always sent her for the kill, but the trick was that she had to make her target’s death appear self-inflicted, at the bare minimum, or an accident, in the direst of cases. Measles, as such operations were known in their clandestine world—a planned assassination that didn’t leave any indication of the cause of death. She would then have to sanitize everything—leave no evidence, no witness, nothing that could lead back to her. Unlike her other agency counterparts, she wasn’t an out-and-out black ops assassin, but a different level of highly implicated agent provocateur.
In other words, a consummate actress who got to her ends by manipulating people and circumstances. All those years of drama school, at her mother’s insistence when, obviously, she’d be too tall to become a ballerina, came in handy. In fact, her portrayal of Lady Macbeth in the drama school’s end of year play had caught the eye of the people who had recruited her into the Corpus. Seventeen years into the agency, fifteen of them as Kali, her operative name, a sociopath with no apparent conscience who followed her orders with diligence. Never had any one of her targets come close to figuring she was an undercover agent. Her track record was flawless—each assignment undertaken with one hundred percent success rate and a marginal body count.
Until today, when she’d almost gotten burned.
Ash had recognized her down there. For a second, she’d thought her cover was blown. Then, she’d taken a deep breath and forced herself to remain in character. Never panic, always stay in control, breathe and gather your wits—the first lesson drilled inside the mind of any secret agent. Pulling on a blank face was one of her fortes, and Ash had bought the act. He thought she was Irina, clueless twenty-year-old from the dirt-poor suburbs of Moscow who didn’t speak any other language but Russian.
She’d had a few close encounters in the past, but never like that. Rayne and Kali had two separate, compartmentalized lives that ran parallel. The two should never have touched, because that would end up making a mess of her. She could keep each persona separate, as long as she could push Rayne to some dark corner of her mind. Her job taxed her, and she walked the tight line of paranoia every single second while undercover.
But if Rayne came to the front during a mission . . . .
Damn it, she wasn’t a rookie agent on her first mission. Cherries, as the CIA called them. Hell, even during her first undercover operation, she’d had no qualms and no trouble achieving her aim.
Why today, when everything was smooth sailing toward a much-desired goal?
She closed her eyes and rested her forehead against the windowpane. The glass was warm against her clammy skin.
She was sweating?
That will not do. I have to take control again.
She had to forget about Ash, about Rayne, and focus on being Irina, the one who would bring down a notorious criminal. Her agency and the whole world counted on her to take out the piece of scum. She was their last hope, sent in as the trump card after good cops got killed when trying to bring Nikolai to justice.
Someone knocked on the door, and she pulled away from the window. Damn it, she still had a job to do.
Willing confidence to steel her spine on a deep breath, she turned around. She blinked a few times, called forth tears. She was supposed to be a young wife who’d just been hit by her husband, a man she’d left downstairs at the party with a leggy blonde draped all over his side.
The moisture trickled onto her cheek, and she swiped her eyes to smear the kohl and mascara.
There—she should present the desired picture of despair.
Da?” she answered as she stepped toward the door.
The panel opened quietly. “Zdrastuyte, Gaspazha Grigorievskaya.”
Hello, Mrs. Grigorievskaya. Such formality. Only one man addressed her with such deference and respect—Boris Petrov, Nikolai’s right-hand man.
Zdrastuyte, Boris Ivanovich.” She replied him with the same formal greeting, using his patronymic name to further show her respect, as was customary in the Russian culture.
Boris was the least disposable target in the whole operation—the keystone. She had to bring him down, or at least create a rift between the two men. Everything would crumble afterward. Nikolai wouldn’t have his main pillar of support, and would thus crash down through the pyramidal structure of his operations.
“Are you okay?” he asked as he stepped into the room and closed the door behind him.
She shrugged, forced a small, tremulous smile. Russian wives, she’d learned, tolerated a lot of their husbands’ outbursts. “It’s nothing.”
“You shouldn’t listen to what Mikhail said. He is just jealous that Kolya’s attention is not wholly directed onto him any longer.”
“It does not bother me,” she said in a small voice.
Make a move, she silently urged him. For her plan to work, Boris had to capitalize on the simmering embers of passion that flared between him and his boss’ wife, and that he denied all the time. She’d already lost too much time, and had to start the measles process.
I have to take matters in my hands. There’s no other way.
She trained her eyes on him. Boris was a big, burly man in his mid-forties. Anyone could imagine him knocking out a person with just a flick of his thick wrist. Toying with him was like playing with fire—she could get burnt. But she had no other choice. The time had come. Five months to gain Nikolai’s trust and compliance; two months to insidiously plant the seeds of discord within the criminal’s entourage. She didn’t have much leeway to work at influencing outcomes anymore. No—she had to provoke.
Rayne inhaled, felt the oxygen fill her lungs and clear her brain. She forced herself into her character. What would Irina do?
She gasped, and brought her hands to cover her mouth. With rapid steps, she rushed to Boris’ side. She reached out with one hand and trailed the tips of her fingers along one of his eyes, swollen nearly shut from a blow.
“You shouldn’t have,” she said in a soft whisper, letting tears streak down her cheeks. “Not for me.”
Boris’ swift intake of air was the only sound that hissed between them. He closed his eyes under her touch.
Do it, she urged.
“I am so”—she paused and sobbed—”so sorry.” Her voice was small and breathless, heavy with sadness.
Boris settled a heavy, meaty palm on her hand, to keep her fingers unfurled on his cheek. “Forgive me, Irina. I couldn’t let him say those ugly lies about you.”
He is caving.
“Boris, please.” She pleaded with him.
“I will do anything for you.”
“I am a married woman.”
“Why don’t you leave him?”
She gasped. “I cannot. I pledged myself to him.”
“But look how he treats you!”
“Borya,” she said, using the nickname for Boris, “back in Russia, for every one like me, there are ten other girls, more beautiful, waiting to take my place.”
“There isn’t any woman more beautiful than you in all of Russia.”
She smiled, making sure she displayed sadness and resolution on her features.
“You are such a sweet man.” When he wasn’t forcing underage girls into the cargo holds of boats docking out of most major European ports, plying them with drugs before supplying them like meat to brothels and sex perverts.
“Leave him,” Boris said, the words a subtle urge.
“I can’t. Where would I go?” She gently tugged her hand from under his and took a step closer to him. “I can’t go back to that life, Borya.”
“Irina, please—”
The sound of the door opening startled them. Nikolai stood on the threshold, his tall, dark form an intimidating silhouette in the dim doorway.
Kali threw one look at Boris, shook her head softly, and took a few steps away. The back of her knees hit the edge of the window seat. She stumbled backward into a sitting position on the upholstered ledge.
Nikolai’s narrowed gaze went from Boris to her, and back to his right-hand man.
“Leave us,” he said softly, the words obviously an order.
Boris nodded and exited the room.
Good—she’d sown the seeds of doubt. Her “husband” would wonder what went on between her and Boris, and Boris would try to get closer to her. She would play on this nearness between them, subtly make people wonder if something was happening behind Nikolai’s back.
At that point, she would move her final chess piece—Nikolai would die at the same time as Boris. For the world, things would look like an altercation gone wrong between a spurned husband and a forbidden lover, with her caught in the crossfire. That’s how she’d ensure her exit from the operation.
Yes, all the pieces of the game were falling into place. She just had to play along.
Nikolai closed the door behind Boris, the click of the latch falling into place sounding louder than it should have.
He turned toward her, pressed his shoulder against the doorframe, and pushed his hands into the pockets of his Gieves and Hawkes champagne-coloured, tailor-made linen trousers.
Her “husband” focused his steely grey eyes on her.
The stare burned into her skull. Still, she refused to look up. Not yet.
And there you have it, guys and gals. Zee Monodee! Hope you enjoyed this repeat visitor. I always love having her.

Tagging Post – The Power of Four

I was tagged by my fellow Evernight author, Kassanna. 🙂 So here we go:


Meme Time: The Power of Four to start something fun and update her blog. It also gives our readers a chance to get to know us better. Here’s just a bit about me. I copy and pasted the list, put it my own answers, and now I shall tag four other people.


Four Places I have worked/Jobs I have had
Corporate law firm in Jacksonville, Florida
Corporate law firm in Denver, Colorado
“For the People” law firm in Fort Myers, Florida
Convenience stores in Oregon


Four Places I Have Lived
Jacksonville, Florida
Denver, CO
Fort Myers, Florida
Salem, Oregon


Four Movies I Could Watch Again and Again
The Avengers
Gone With The Wind
Iron Man
Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (don’t judge)


Four Television Shows I Watch
True Blood
Big Bang Theory
NCIS
Once Upon A Time


Four Authors I Enjoy
Christina Dodd
Judi Fennell
Galen Foley
Sherilyn Kenyon


Four Places I Have Traveled To
Puerto Rico
St. Maartan
Ottawa, Ontario
Seattle, WA


Four Websites I Visit Daily
Facebook
Google Reader
Dear Author
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books


Four of My Favorite Foods
Chocolate chip cookies
General Tsao’s chicken
Popcorn
Waffles


Four Places I’d Rather Be (Considering I am currently at home)
In bed, asleep
The library
The bookstore
The beach


Four People I Want to Tag
Adonis Devereux
Alison Beightol
Nikki Prince
Christine Warner


If you’ve been tagged, make your own list and link back to this post. Please note you are under no obligation to do this. Have fun with it and happy Sunday.

Alyssa Day Winner & Thursday Word-Slingers – Guest Mercy Celeste

Today’s guest is the ever popular and apparently somewhat controversial Mercy Celeste. I don’t know what the controversy is, but apparently there is some! Woohoo! Let’s get to the fun!

1) How long have you been writing?

I started writing in high school. Stopped because I was told I couldn’t and really it was bad stuff so they were mostly right. I started again in my late twenties because I was bored and needed an outlet. So really about fifteen years or so.

2) How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.)

Until recently a great many balls. My husband worked around sixty hours a week as a normal schedule. I worked part time and tried to continue school. Kids and everything that goes along with them. Keeping a halfway clean house with food on the table. And then spending a couple of hours a day writing or trying to write. Now I don’t work outside my home, three of my kids are in their late teens and early twenties. The husband has cut back to regular forty hour work week. And I delegate the household chores so that I can write as close to full time as possible. Except I find so many other things to do with all that free time now.

3) When is your next release due out and can you tell the audience about it?

I just have a book come out on May 5th. Beyond Complicated. There’s some controversy with it. Banned on Amazon and other distributor sites that sort of thing. I have a short story upcoming from Silver Publishing as well. Need You Now is due out June 2nd. It’s a nice angst free reunion story. Well sort of angst free, at least by my standards.

4) What is it about the menage romance genre that you like so much?

This is tough, ménage is usually my thing. It’s tough writing a HEA for more than two people and I do like a good HEA. I like a ménage story to be about three people trying to find room in a relationship instead of the usual committed but bored couple looking for a little fun. The three become one thing is tough to write.

5) Do you think you’ll move to another genre, and if yes, what to and when?

I write across several genres. I prefer contemporary but have a published paranormal and an unpublished historical. I write both straight and gay romance and have had success in both areas. Not the paranormal. That didn’t go over so well.

6) Sweet or sour?

Savory salty.

7) Chocolate or vanilla?

Both depending largely on the time of the month and whether strawberry is available. Give me a box of Neapolitan and I’m good to go.

 FAN INFO
Email  *   Blog   *   Twitter
Also on Facebook!

FIND BOOKS

CONTEST
Mercy is kindly offering up an e-copy of her book Beyond Complicated. Just comment for your chance to win! Good luck to you.

ALYSSA DAY WINNER
The winner by Random.Org is Comment #5, Julie Beasley. As I do not have an email address or way to contact Ms. Beasley, she has until Sunday to email me or another winner will be chosen. Thank you!

Word-Slingers – Guest Alyssa Day

I’m so excited about today’s guest I can barely sit still. I’d seen her books in stores but hadn’t read one until after I discovered she was in our local chapter of RWA, and once I did, I devoured them (I read the last four in three days while on vacation). I am of course talking about Alyssa Day’s Warriors of Atlantis series and Ms. Day was gracious enough to agree to come see me. So, let’s get to it!

1) How long have you been writing?

Professionally, since 2002, when I had the idea for EMAIL TO THE FRONT, my nonfiction memoir about life as a military family during war time.  I used actual emails that my U.S. Navy flyer husband Judd and I sent to each other; it was quite a wild ride!

2) How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.)

Hahahahahaha (insert maniacal laughter here).  I’m married to a Navy guy, so I spend at least half my time as a single mom.  I’ve moved 6 times since my first book was published.  Good grief! I hate moving.

I just went through two international moves (to and from Japan) in the past year and a half, in addition to a month’s evacuation from the country after the deadly earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown.  Glad you made it out safely. 🙂 I’m currently staring at a house only half unpacked from the delivery of everything we own.  I have two kids and two dogs, and yet, in spite of all that, I’ve managed to publish around 20 books at last count.  You rock! When I want to curl up in a ball, I tell myself I’m not doing too badly. J

3) When is your next release due out and can you tell the audience about it? (And why oh why did you make us wait – should we blame the publisher alone – for Alaric’s story??? ARRGH!)

Alejandro, which took FAR longer than I wanted it to (see above), will finally be available as an e-book this week!!  Alaric, HEART OF ATLANTIS, that you mentioned, will be out December 4.  See answer to question 2 for why it’s later than I wanted.  I know readers are impatient, and I appreciate their patience.  I won’t release a book until it’s good. Well, okay. Fine, I guess we’ll have to let you off the hook THIS time. Next time…..different story. ;P

4) What is it about the paranormal romance genre that you like so much?  

The opportunity to explore worlds and powers that are so different from our own, while retaining the very human truths of family, friends, redemption, and love.

5) Do you think you’ll move to another genre, and if yes, what to and when?

I am currently writing a young adult novel, which is a return to a genre I wrote a couple of books in several years ago.  It’s a fun change, I should say “trying to write” because everything else is definitely taking priority.

6) You started in the “chick lit” arena as Alesia Holiday. Was it a difficult transition to go from that to para-rom?

Not a bit.  I think we all have two sides to our natures; the light and the dark.  And my voice and my humor are still very much present in my paranormal novels. That’s an interesting thought. I’ll have to remember that. We’re just like the force, yeah!

7) Sweet or sour?

Salty!

8) Chocolate or vanilla?

Chocolate!

CRAZY STALKER
FAN INFO
CONTEST INFO

 Ms. Day is being awesome enough to give not 1, but TWO lucky people copies of books from her backlist. And trust me, if you haven’t read her Atlantis series (and you’re a para-rom fan), you’re missing out on something spectacular. So, get to commenting for a chance to win!

CONTEST WINNER – LEIA SHAW
Kristi Glasco, you’re the winner. I don’t have an email address for you. Please contact me so I can put you in touch with Leia (or if you know her, email her!

Thursday Word-Slingers – Guest Leia Shaw

Good morning, guys and gals. Always glad to see people come by for my awesome guests. Today I’m featuring multi-pubbed author Leia Shaw, who is promoting her Shadow of Destiny series!

1)                  How long have you been writing?

Almost two years writing romance but I’ve written in some capacity my whole life. My very first story I remember writing was in kindergarten called Motorcycle Grandma. My grandma was impressed and has encouraged me ever since. Lol.

2)                  How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.)

A lot and I’m not sure I’m managing well enough to give advice. I have two young children, one with special needs. We’re also renovating a house so it’s pretty busy. I’m lucky that writing is my full-time career so, other than family stuff, I can focus on my books.

3)                  When is your next release due out and can you tell the audience about it?

Oh goody. My favorite thing to talk about. Destiny Bewitched is book 4 in my paranormal romance series, Shadows of Destiny. Samantha, a witch we met in the first book, travels to the dangerous Underworld and pairs up with sexy demon, Geo, to save her sister from the Underworld Games – a supernatural version of gladiators. Each of my books has a slightly different feel – my last book, Destiny Unchained, was a dark suspense. So I’m excited for Destiny Bewitched because it’s very high fantasy – action and adventure, mythological creatures, and lots of fun, plus my regular humor, swoon-worthy romance, and hot sex scenes. Destiny Bewitched will be released in June.

4)                  What is it about the paranormal-romance genre that you like so much?

I can go all out with my imagination. There aren’t very many limits so the little girl in me is jumping up and down clapping about that. It’s a little dark and twisted, like me. And who can resist a vampire hero?

5)                  Do you think you’ll move to another genre, and if yes, what to and when?

I’ve already co-written a contemporary erotic novel with Cari Silverwood that’s being published by Loose ID and releasing in July. We’re working on another for that series. I normally don’t read much contemporary romance but writing with Cari is a lot of fun. I can really express my humor in a different way with contemporary. Plus, writing kinky sex is hot 😉

6)         Sweet or sour?

Sweet

7)         Chocolate or vanilla ice cream?

Chocolate

FAN INFO
I began my writing journey while I was stranded at the airport waiting for my delayed flight. I browsed the Border’s kiosk and grew frustrated that I couldn’t find the “it factor” — the perfect combination of alpha male-ness, ass-kickery, strong females, magic, and sex. So I spent the next four hours on an airplane      writing my first book on scraps of paper and an airsick bag (which thankfully I didn’t need to use).   
Now I spend too much time in my head, plotting evil villains and the hot men (and women) who ruthlessly kill them. I think far too much about fae politics, dragon power games, and how fast werewolves can change forms. But writing my paranormal romance      series has given me a productive place to express those dark places in my mind.

I live in New England with my husband and two kids. Though I will go to my grave denying it, my husband insists I would be thrilled if he suddenly sprouted fangs. 

BLURBS
Destiny Divided

After fleeing her native city — and nightmares of    a traumatic childhood — Sage Peterson meets the overbearing,    pretentious, yet haunted Professor Elias. He’s the only one who    knows about her mysterious powers, which seem to be spiraling out of    control. When he convinces her to train with him, she finds herself    thrust into a five hundred year war and on the run from vampires,    werewolves, and even worse — her budding feelings for James Elias.

Destiny United


Erin Bolton knows her former foster sister is a sorceress and a witch, but she wants nothing to do with that world.    The day before her twenty first birthday, a tall, dark, and terrifying vampire, Marcelo, turns Erin’s world upside down. He convinces her that he was sent to escort her to the safety of the Underworld, where her sister is waiting. But she wonders, who will keep her safe from him?

Destiny Unchained


They call her The Huntress. A vampire with lethal focus, Natalia hunts rogue werewolves and kills them without mercy.  She buried her heart centuries ago. Now she lives only for revenge.  But when she’s forced to team up with the alpha of the northwest werewolf pack to catch a werewolf serial killer, her carefully controlled world is shattered by the passionate Cristian.  Will Natalia accept Cristian’s claim on her heart even if it means sacrificing a part of who she is?

After reading those blurbs, I really want to read these books. How ’bout all of you? Leave lots of comments. That comment just might net you a copy of one of Leia’s books! So get to commenting and good luck.


Word-Slingers – Guest Xandra James

No, I haven’t forgotten about announcing the winner of the Gabi Stevens give away. However, as of the preparation of this post, I haven’t heard back on the issue from Ms. Stevens, so I can’t make that announcement. It will come later today, I’m sure.


Now, my very wonderful guest today is fellow Evernight (among other publishers) author, Xandra James. She’s here to promote her recent releases, Reluctant Revenge (The Enforcers Book 1) and Shadow Justice (Moon Magic 1). So let’s give her a nice, warm welcome! Hi, Xandra!


1) How long have you been writing?

A lot of years! I’ve been playing for about 24 years (wow, that makes me feel old!), although it was only 18+ months ago that I started to take it seriously.

2) How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.)

My family are relatively okay as long as they don’t wear clothes or eat etc 😉  We currently run our own business too which, at the moment, is very time consuming. So that’s two balls but when I add another ball (writing) into it, something usually has to give. And I’m proud to say it’s usually the housework *cough* 😉 I’m very lucky in that I don’t have that many responsibilities to take care of before my writing but it can definitely be tough to hold everything together, especially for someone as unorganized as me…

3) When is your next release due out and can you tell the audience about it?

My next release should be out around June-ish with Evernight Publishing. I have a short story in their anthology called Keyboard And Kinks and it’s called Her Demon Charms.

It’s about a succubus who makes a deal with the devil to turn mortal. Problems arise when the terms state she has to get someone to fall in love with her via a dating site – otherwise she’s stuck in hell, cleaning toilets for eternity 😉
 I had a lot of fun writing it and hope readers enjoy it too!
 My last two releases, back in December and January, were both paranormal action adventure romances. I really enjoyed writing them and plan to delve into their worlds again very soon.

4) What is it about the paranormal romance with a hefty dose of suspense genre that you like so much?

I’m not sure that there’s something specific I can put my finger on but I guess I really do enjoy writing, (and reading for that matter), fast paced stories with a lot of action. They go hand in hand with the paranormal suspense genre. I love to be sitting on the edge of my seat, not being able to put a book down!

5) Do you think you’ll keep writing in the mishmash of the 3 genres (para+rom+suspense), and if no, what to and when?

At the moment I’m quite happy to write whatever comes to me. I’ve never specifically sat down and thought, I’m only going to write in this sub-genre, it’s just happened that way so far. I’ll never say never to writing in different genres but I do enjoy paranormal romance.

6) Sweet or sour?

Sweet – every time J

7) Chocolate or vanilla ice cream?

Vanilla – yum 😀

Fabulous information. It’s always great getting to know the wonderful authors out there. 

AUTHOR INFORMATION
Xandra James has always wanted to write romance books. Even when she was sneaking peaks at the hot bits, too young to fully appreciate them, she dreamt of writing her own.

Now, older and wiser, she’s got the opportunity to project her slightly dark and wacky, British sense of humor onto others, whilst still writing the hot bits – bonus!

When not writing, Xandra is thinking of excuses as to why she shouldn’t be doing the housework, looking after a husband and cats that refuse to pick up after themselves and climbing the mountain in her house that’s affectionately called her tbr pile.

She currently holds the crown for Queen Procrastinator – something she’s very proud of – so you can usually find her online, somewhere, when she really should be writing.


BLURBS/EXCERPTS

Reluctant Revenge
Blurb

Nash was bound to Sienna completely – by a blood connection and a deep desire. An Enforcer for the Supranormal community, he was obligated to protect his sexy assignment, despite her family devastating his world.

After being betrayed, Sienna falls into the arms of her surly protector; a demon with a secret of his own. But can she face her destiny knowing she’s more dangerous than those Nash was protecting her from?

Excerpt
“I don’t believe you.”
“You don’t believe what?” He made himself comfortable in the ratty looking seat and turned to her, his eyes already dismissive of anything she had to say.
“About the hunter thing. Why would you tell me that?”
“I don’t lie, Sienna. Your family has been doing this for many years.” He turned to look out of the windscreen. “Too many years. And they’ve hunted a lot of creatures.” Nash turned to face her once more. “And even a human or two. Not that your family seems to have many qualms about that.” His face had hardened, she noticed, lines appearing around his eyes as he glared at her.
Sienna looked at him hard before actually making herself jump when a gurgle of laughter erupted from her mouth. He frowned at her which made her laugh harder.
“I’m sorry, I really am. But I think you might have inhaled too much gun smoke.” She wiped her right eye where a tear had started to form. “I appreciate the save earlier on and obviously we need to get to the bottom of why I was chased, but I really don’t think it was ghosts that were behind it all.”
Nash looked like he wanted to throttle her. It sobered her slightly but the mirth still hovered. This sexy man was seriously cuckoo. Why were all the pretty ones gay or nuts?
“Ghosts weren’t behind it. I believe Strix were.”
“And what are Strix, may I ask?”
He hesitated for only a moment before speaking again.
“Vampires who eat flesh with animal ferocity.”
Now, that was what she needed to snap her out of her sense of humour. He was talking blood suckers now. Did the police force know he should be suspended on medical grounds? She thought about her dilemma. Here she was, stuck in the middle of nowhere with a cop who thought vampires were real. Although she was pretty sure he wouldn’t hurt her – hell, he’d saved her from certain death earlier on – he was still a tad unpredictable. Maybe she could talk to him about it all? Make him think she believed him until he dropped her off at the nearest police station? Mind made up, Sienna smiled sweetly.
“Tell me about these vampires then. Are they like the ones in the movies?”
“They are much, much worse. Believe me.” He smiled at her and if she didn’t know better, he had figured out she was just humouring him.
“So… can I see one?”
“That wouldn’t be your smartest idea, Princess.” Sienna nodded, pretending to be deep in thought and ignored the Princess quip.
“Are you one?”
“Nope.”
“But you are human though, right?” Nash chuckled again, looking back towards the front windscreen.
“Do I look human, Sienna?” Nash turned towards her and whatever she was about to say went out the window. Her breath caught in her throat and she stumbled away from the car door.
Eyes that were once green now shined in a golden hue, his pupils dilated into slits, reminiscent of a cat. But that wasn’t what had caught her attention and made her hair stand on end. As she watched, the once tanned face that she’d admired minutes before was changing. No more was his skin clear but intricate markings had appeared in a line along the side of his face and disappeared down under the collar of his t-shirt. The hand that held the steering wheel caught her attention then and she watched in horror as the nails grew into small points and turned a deep black. 
Nash was a… he was a…
She didn’t know what he was.

Sienna’s brain finally gave her two choices. Faint, which she longed for to put her into a state of unconsciousness. Or, run. 



Shadow Justice
Blurb

Luka was a bounty hunter who just wanted to do his job and get paid. Being a banished Shadow, he’d learnt the bitter lesson long ago that he was alone, after he was expelled from his home world by his own blood. Now, he needed to understand why he was wanted dead whilst his desire for the fiery haired witch erupted, out of control.  

As a rare moon-witch, all she’d ever known was a life of misery under the oppressive Fae-Guard. Nine years ago Cerys escaped the Meta-World after regretting the forced banishment of a Shadow. Now, she leads a normal life without her abilities and all she wants is to blend in. When a bounty hunter wants to take her back for a crime she didn’t commit, she’s willing to take a chance on her future by trusting the man who had no idea she’d wronged him years before.

Excerpt
He watched as she looked incredulously at him and spun on her heel to march down the road in the direction they’d just come from. Her ass—the same ass he’d fantasised about when he hadn’t known it belonged to Cerys Bailey earlier—taunted him. So did that wavy red hair of hers. Luka had a thing for redheads. Who knew?
Cerys turned back to him, a fiery glint to her eye and stalked back toward him, standing toe to toe, “I was happy. For the first time in my life, I was happy. I wasn’t Cerys Bailey, moon-witch. I was Julie Travis, Ms Normal. And then you came along—”
“Technically, you’d already been busted. I was doing my job.” Luka tried not to grin, he really did, but she just looked so cute, all small and angry.
She spluttered for a few moments, the moonlight making her look wild as her hair fell in waves around her face and anger fisted her hands at her sides.
“I could tear you apart, inch by stupid inch if I wanted to.” She stood on tiptoes to face him almost eye to mouth, and Luka was temporarily distracted by the flowery smell that emanated from her hair. “I’m dangerous. Didn’t anybody warn you of that?”
Luka chuckled then laughed as steam practically erupted from her ears. “Sweetheart, if you could do more than heal yourself and look pretty, you’d have done it. I know that. Right now? You’re stuck with me until  we get out of the situation that you’ve got me into.”
“That I’ve got you into? Weren’t you listening? It’s you they want. I’m just a happy little bonus for them.” Luka scratched the stubble on his chin and shook his head.
“Either way, you’re still my bounty until I can figure out exactly where I stand.” Luka watched as Cerys’s mind ticked over and waited for the inevitable reaction, whatever that might be. She wasn’t a natural redhead, but she sure had their passionate temper, and that thought excited the hell out of him.
What he wasn’t expecting from her was a kick to his groin and for Cerys to hightail it back along the track through a cloud of his pain and a mass of her hair. Any blood that had amassed down there retreated to his face and ears.
Luka staggered and he sucked in his breath, pain shooting into his stomach. Moments passed, and he couldn’t move.
“Bitch!” The word was wrenched from the depths of his soul.
As soon as his eyes began to clear from the tears that threatened to fall, he began to run like a drunk chasing a ten pound note in the wind with little focus at first, but slowly he gained on her. She glanced around in panic and stumbled, allowing him to gain precious distance.
And then he switched.
Luka knew the moment it dawned on Cerys that he was no longer playing fair. The look of horror spread across her face as the inky blackness in front of her enveloped her and brought her down to the ground.
Although Luka preferred his human form, his Shadow made him feel alive—allowed him to become one with nature. He couldn’t touch her in his Shadow form but he could manipulate the air around her. It also wouldn’t stop his nuts from throbbing for the next few hours.
Appearing back to her in his human form, his mouth was inches away from hers. Cerys opened it to scream, but Luka took advantage and kissed her hard and fast. The woman was a menace. To herself and to him. The quicker he got to the bottom of all of this, the better.
She moaned beneath him, and any thoughts of resisting her charms, drifted away.
Luka didn’t want to feel anything from the kiss. He was scratching an itch that had been there since the moment he’d met her as far as he was concerned. Yet the more he tasted of her, the more he wanted. And that just wasn’t good.
Her skin was flawless, and he was momentarily taken aback by its perfection as he looked down at her. Luka swallowed as her tongue darted out to moisten her already damp lips. There was no way he should be doing this.
Pushing her away from him, he looked deep into her gorgeous green eyes and saw exactly what he was feeling—a deep longing desire.
Shit.

Well, there you go, Xandra James! Please, make her feel welcome and start up a conversation!

Thursday Word-Slingers (Part II) – Misa Buckley

And here we are with Part II of today’s 2-parter! Help me welcome Misa Buckley, please.  I’m chillin’ out right now in North Carolina!


1) How long have you been writing?

I started writing in 2007 with NaNoWriMo. I lost, but the seed was sown.

2) How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually)?

I’m mum to five kids, so life is pretty busy even though they’re at school. Chores get done first thing in the morning and once school’s out. School time is writing time.

3) Can you tell the audience about your current book, Paradigm Shift, and what inspired you to write it?

Paradigm Shift follows an observatory tour guide and sci fi geek who runs into a real life alien and a plot to take over the world. It was inspired by everything from War of the Worlds to Gini Koch’s Alien series (though my alien wears Levi’s and not Armani)

4) What is it about the sci-fi/romance genre that you like so much?

I guess I’m a romantic at heart, while I grew up watching Star Trek and Doctor Who. I have hearts and stars in my eyes, heh.

5) Do you think you’ll move to another genre, and if yes, what to and when?

I write anything out of the “norm” – I already have a Steampunk Paranormal novella written (out July 2nd) with a Western and a Dystopian in progress. One thing I’ve not done, but plan to, is write a full-on fantasy story, complete with dungeons and dragons.

6) Sweet or sour?

Sweet

7) Chocolate or vanilla?

Chocolate

FAN INFO 
Misa has been making up stories all her life, but it wasn’t until 2007 when she tried the National Novel Writing Month that she realized that writing was her calling. Though she failed to reach the prescribed 50,000 words, the writing bug had bitten and there was no cure.

Being raised on a diet of Doctor Who and Star Trek sealed Misa’s love for science fiction and the extraordinary, and she now writes speculative fiction mixed with a dollop of romance and a sprinkling of sex.


She lives in the north of England with her husband, five children, two budgies and barmy dog. When she’s not writing, she can be found cosplaying Steampunk, knitting, and watching Stargate SG1 because Ba’al is just so damned gorgeous. TM here – Oh heck yeah, he is! Made some of the movies worth watching, just for him!


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Observatory tour guide Megan Shaw has always had stars in her eyes, so when she all but runs down the otherworldly Raul, she barely blinks. It doesn’t hurt that Raul is hot – whether in his human form or his natural one – and that there’s an immediate mutual attraction.

But Raul is on the run from his alien overlords and soon Megan finds herself fighting against a foothold situation with nothing more than a couple of cattle prods and Muse for soundtrack.

However Earth is not the only planet at risk and with his species desperate to escape generations of oppression, can she really trust Raul? Or will his loyalties shift as easily as his physical appearance?

And there you have it! Let’s have a nice round of applause for Ms. Buckley. And guess what? She’ll be back in August with her NEXT tour! Isn’t that awesome? Can’t wait!

Thursday Word-Slingers (Part I) – Catherine Bybee

Today we have the good fortune to have TWO authors booked for Thursday Word-Slingers. Isn’t that fabulous? The first author I’m featuring today is Catherine Bybee.

1) How long have you been writing?

About four and a half years… Well, seriously writing anyway. I had half finished work in my computer for many years before that.

2) How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.)

I’m a wife and a mother of two teenage sons. I’m the primary cook in the family and a bus driver for my children. Writing is now my day job. I used to work in the ER as a RN…but I don’t have to do that any longer. My husband and I volunteer to help with our children’s school activities…from fund raisers to team dinners, we always have something going on. As for how I keep it all in the air? That isn’t all that hard at this point. A few years ago I was working the ER, running a cub scout pack and writing…and all the mom duties. I feel like I’m on vacation now.

3) When is your next release due out and can you tell the audience about it?

My latest release is Highland Shifter. This book was a long time coming. My fans of the original time travel series, Binding Vows, Silent Vows, and Redeeming Vows, never stopped asking for more. I’m thankful they wanted to hear Simon’s story. Highland Shifter allows my readers a glimpse into the HEA of the first three original books.
 Fans of my contemporary work need to keep their eyes out for Married by Monday…which I’ll be releasing late spring.

4) What is it about the paranormal/time travel romance genre that you like so much? What inspired you to combine time travel and the druids?

I’ve loved the romance genre since I was a teen. At that time, finding a time travel romance was rare. I always knew I wanted to write romance and knew when I did there would be a time travel written at some point. I love the romance of our past. Sure, a lack of toilet would be a complete drag, but the alpha heros and the long dresses make the past a perfect backdrop for romance.
 I combined Druids in my time travels because I wanted to add magical elements to my stories. I have a hard time reading time travels when the time travel is a complete accident. I need to buy into HOW the characters travel in time, and bringing Druids into the pages of my story made this easy to write.

5) Do you think you’ll move to another genre, and if yes, what to and when?

I already write contemporary, time travel, and paranormal… I think I’ll stick with that for a while.

6) Sweet or sour?

Sweet

7) Chocolate or vanilla?

Chocolate

FAN INFO

Website/ Blog / Facebook / Twitter 

New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Catherine Bybee has been addicted to romance since her teens. After spending a decade of her life working as an RN in urban emergency rooms, Catherine is now dedicated to writing happily-ever-afters for the world to love. Catherine is married and raising two sons in Southern California.

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Helen Adams has a knack for finding lost objects, but the Simon McAllister she finds isn’t what she expected. The missing California teen is now a grown man—a kilted, sword wielding, Highland warrior.
A mysterious Druid book and Helen’s sixth sense send her to Scotland in search of a missing boy. After being attacked by strange men dressed in medieval garb, a handsome, desirable hero answering to the boy’s name rescues her. No one is more surprised than she to find herself in sixteenth century Scotland. Unable to deny the reality of time travel, Helen discovers smoldering passion with a man destined to leave her.
Simon has lived his Druid life in two very different worlds, two vastly different times, and when Helen practically lands in his lap, he knows his life is about to change forever. There are enemies in California lying in wait for her, and an army in Scotland closing in on his family. Simon is the only person who can protect her. But when she learns his most guarded secret, will she still want him? Can Helen love a Highland Shifter? 

EXCERPT

Simon stepped closer and felt the heat of her skin. She smelled of the strawberry shampoo she used in her hair. Helen’s hands slid from her hips and fell to the side.
“’Tis time we clear up a few things in your lovely head about me.”
He stepped closer, and Helen, the wise girl, took a step back until her bottom met the edge of the desk.
She reached behind her to steady herself and keep from falling.
Like a predatory cat cornering his prey, Simon towered over Helen, watching her body twitch as her eyes travelled over his.
“Really?” Her voice wavered. After clearing her throat, she asked. “Like what?”
Simon licked his lips and glanced at hers. “I’m not evil.”
“Uhm….” Her eyes never left his mouth while he spoke.
“And I’d never lure a child into my presence.”
Simon leaned into her, their thighs touched and Helen’s breathing started to quicken. He placed one hand on the table beside her, leaving her very little room to escape should she want to. From the hunger in her gaze, and the heat coming off her body, he didn’t believe she would.
“A woman, however, might tempt me to entice her attention.”

And there you have it, ladies and gents, Catherine Bybee! Isn’t she great? Don’t forget to check out today’s other visitor, Misa Buckley.