Sunday, 28 February 2010

The Sunday Salon – Time Management, Author Power and Reading

Hey readers near and far – I hope you had a great week this past week. Loads of stuff to see and hear is always happening in book world.

For me time seems to run away from me at every turn – there just doesn’t seem to be enough in the days for me and I am away from the PC more often than I am and I have been very redundant in responding to my comments – but I am getting on top of them today and hopefully this week will flow a bit smoother.

I did spend some time doing some notes this week on some review I NEED to post on the blog – they are of books that I really enjoyed and books that surprised me alot.. Two such books are S.L. Danielson - NUMBERS and Bridget Midmay -Corporate Seduction…

   

When I posted the cover (the one on the left) a few weeks ago, a few commenter commented on the fact that the heroine’s boobs were a bit too full bodied to be on the cover of a book – For some reason I don't have a problem with it – it feels more real somehow. The cover on the left is the other cover for the book which I think more people took to.  Irrespective of the covers this was pretty good read for me - Check back later in the week to see what I thought of the book..

 

  • Author power was in full force this past day, as Rick R. Reed highlighted the submission requirement of The Wild Rose Press as of  late Friday night. Along with Nix Winter who did a rehash of the wording, did a short but intense piece on submission and what is acceptable.

Up to Friday on the TWRP website.

"Please note the elements that we do not accept within any of our lines:

No depraved or illegal acts

Hero and Heroine should not be already married to one another except in certain circumstances such as marriage of convenience.

Heroine and Hero should not be married to other people when they begin their relationship.

No bestiality

No degradation of women (rape)

No pedophilia* (no sex involving underage characters)

No homosexuality** (our romances celebrate heterosexual monogamous relationships)"

After the Article on Saturday Evening

Please note the following Special Submission Requirements which are for all lines in the company:

We publish stories between a man and a woman - (we do not, at this time, take submissions with homosexual romance).
Hero and Heroine should not be already married to one another except in certain circumstances such as marriage of convenience. 
Heroine and Hero can not be married to other people when they begin their relationship (no adultry).
Although we do accept stories containing explicit sex in most of our lines, it must occur between consenting adults.

 

Please stop by and read the comments they make for some interesting reading. I say however  go author power – can you imagine if they all got together to tackle this piracy matter. Yup that would be something..

As a matter of interest, as readers how much interest do you pay to the submission guidelines of a publisher – I have been reading The Wild Rose Press books for years and I haven’t looked – for the obvious reason, I didn't need to, but have any of you guys looked, as although I have supported TWRP – this info does make a huge impact and me rethinking some standards….

 

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  • Shiloh Walker told us about her pet peeves in reading and I find they are mine as well – As I read a whole bunch of genre, there tend to be something's that are par for the course in particular genres, but there are just some things that have or are becoming stereotypical now…

Branding/labeling 

Powers that make no sense

Big does not equal sexy

Overly independent heroines

Follow the link to see how she expands on them – I think the third one is one of my current major pet peeve at the moment… HERE

 

  • Janna from Erotic Romance Reader did a wonderful piece I thought about reading preferences. And while the piece was well thought out and well presented, the comments gave an added flavour to the article as all the commenter's are serious readers and quite direct in their opinions.

Give it a read – HERE –, graphic heavy site.

 

 

Until next week – cheers

From  site –

What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....

That's what happens at the Sunday Salon, except it's all virtual. Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book

 

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Saturday, 27 February 2010

Weekly Geeks: Commenting, What’s It all About

Commenting. It can be a fun way to connect to your readers. It can be the a source of frustration as a blogger. A comment can make your day. A comment can cause an imageargument. Today let's talk commenting


Do you have a commenting policy? For example:

Nope I don’t -  All are welcome, I do have a policy in regards to awards though.. Pull the comment box up and you will see it.


*Do reply to all comments? If you do, how do you do it? Email? On the blog?

Yes I reply to all my comments – even if it’s days later. I always do and I do so on my blog.

*Do you use moderation?

No I don’t – I do get the odd one or two spam, but not enough that I am worried. Word verification does well enough for me.

 
*How do you handle trolls? Flaming?

Keeping my fingers cross – Not had any…


*How much do you tolerate from a belligerent commenter before you close or delete comments?

Another thing I am blessed not to have had – I am quite relaxed with my blog and the commenter that stop by my place are just as courteous to me as I am to them.

Have you ever gotten a comment from someone you admire? An author? A superstar blogger (the ones with the book deals)?

A few – Authors mostly as this is after all a book blog…

How do you feel about author comments? Are they welcome or do they make you nervous?

They are most definately welcomed here and why would I be nervous -

Word verification? Yay or nay.

Yay

And then there's spam. How do we combat the evil that is spam?

Depends on the amount you get – Word Verification and moderation seem to be working for loads of people – If there is another method…. I hope people  share, as although I don't have a problem with spammers, I always want to know what my options are.

Talk about your experiences with any of the above. Share your wisdom with other bloggers. What works on your blog? What doesn't?

Be courteous, respond to each and all comments where possible. Visit other bloggers and at least get involved in something, but pick your battles. Not because it’s there that means you have to jump on the bandwagon.

Step outside of your comfort zone a time or two and have fun and see how the other half live.

If you are feeling brave, try something new and report on it later in the week (a new commenting widget or spam catcher. These will vary depending on your blog).

No thanks – Why twik a good thing…

Or comment on some blogs you've never commented on before. 

I do that every day – I try to visit blogs that follow the people who follow my blog. I have found some wonderful blogs that way…

 

I did a Discussion Point post a few weeks ago – Go check it out and see what a load of people have to say about commenting. HERE

 

 

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Thursday, 25 February 2010

Excerpt Day – From Afar © Ava March

 

Excerpt

 

He turned from the washstand and scanned the room. The navy velvet coat and brocade waistcoat strewn near the foot of the bed had to belong to Raphael. Aleric didn’t even bother to pick them up. Given the man’s slighter frame, they wouldn’t fit anyway. His trousers alone would have to do for now.

More to give himself something to do than anything, he grabbed the candle and left the bedchamber to have a look around. There was only one other door at the end of the corridor, the room Raphael had planned to use last night.

Not last night. Day.

It would definitely take a bit of doing to rearrange his thinking.

That wasn’t the only thing he’d have to grow accustomed to. That sense of looking for something, that constant itch for something more that had pushed him to be a reckless lad, always searching for adventure in the staid countryside, was absent for the first time in as long as he could remember. But while a part of him embraced the open possibility of his new life, everything was still much too new, too startlingly strange for comfort. Nor did he have any notion of how he would go about this new phase of his life. Where would he spend his days, hiding from the sun? He hadn’t a shilling to his name. His apartments wouldn’t be a viable option for long.

And above all, there would be no going back to how he had been before Raphael had made Aleric like himself.

It will get easier to accept with time.

Raphael’s words drifted through his head, a calming balm that soothed the unease. He went down the stairs and opened the door at the end of the short corridor.

A stale scent hit his nose. The candle threw splashes of light and shadow onto the ghostly shapes scattered throughout the room. He made to take a quick step back then realized it was simply furniture draped with white sheets. Well, they had once been white. A light layer of dust covered the peaks and valleys outlining two settees, a few chairs and small round tea tables. As with Raphael’s bedchamber, mirrors and paintings in heavily gilded frames lined the white paneled walls. An intricate plasterwork pattern covered the ceiling edged with elaborate molding.

This had to be the main drawing room of the house. Did Raphael never have use for it? He investigated the other rooms, even going down to the first floor to check the dining room and the ground floor to check the kitchen before returning to the drawing room. Except for the small library with its bookcases spanning from floor to ceiling, every other space resembled the drawing room. As if it hadn’t been inhabited for years. And the ornate, Rocco-influenced d├ęcor marked it decades old. It left the house with the eerie impression it had been frozen in time some forty or fifty years ago.

If felt distinctly…lonely. How could Raphael live here? Or perhaps this wasn’t his home. Perhaps he merely borrowed it, its true owners long removed to the country. It certainly didn’t feel like a gentleman’s residence. He could almost sense the echo of an elegant older lady who still insisted on donning a powered white wig.

That brittle sense of loneliness vanished. Warmth filled his chest. The stale air now rich with the scent of—

“Aleric.”

Before he was aware of it, a smile had stolen across his lips. He turned to find Raphael striding into the room.

Perhaps this was his home after all.

A red silk ribbon held back the length of his hair. Pristine white lace cuffs spilled from the sleeves of his amethyst velvet frock coat. Silver satin knee breeches hugged the lean muscles of his thighs, with white stockings covering his calves. And those shoes. Low-heeled with diamond-encrusted buckles. On any other man, the ensemble would look ridiculous. But it somehow fit him.

“Evening, Raphael. You’re turned out quite smartly tonight.” Odd, to feel so comfortable around him. His presence so familiar, like Aleric had known him forever.

“Did you find my note?”

Aleric nodded.

“My apologies for my absence. A few errands required my attention and I thought it best to see to them before you awoke.” A hint of worry slipped into his features, drawing his brows together the slightest bit. “Last night you asked if there were others like us in London. I have made arrangements for us to pay a call. An introduction to the clan.” Before Aleric could open his mouth to voice his question, Raphael added, “I’ll explain on the ride there. The carriage will arrive shortly. Before we can leave you need to change into something more appropriate.”

“Despite the lure of purple velvet, I highly doubt any of your clothes will fit me.” He flicked his fingers to his trousers. “Everything else I had on last night is unfit to wear.”

“Not to worry. I stopped by your apartments.”

Did you now? The stiff bristle of irritation dug sharp and hard into his spine. “I don’t recall handing over the key.”

“Your bedchamber window wasn’t locked,” Raphael called over his shoulder as he strode from the room.

“My apartments are on the third floor,” Aleric pointed out, following Raphael up the stairs.

“And easily accessible from the rooftop.” Raphael opened the door to the other bedchamber. “This room is yours for as long as you wish to stay.”

“Thank you,” Aleric said, taken aback by the man’s generosity. At least he needn’t worry about finding himself without a roof over his head anymore. Though he would have preferred to remain in Raphael’s room than to have his own. “And thank you…for last night.” When I behaved like a complete and utter fool.

Raphael tipped his head, the edges of his lips lifting in an understanding smile.

Thankful Raphael did not elaborate on the subject, Aleric turned and set the candle on the dresser beside a full decanter of brandy on a silver tray complete with an empty glass. The fire in the grate looked warm, but it must have been newly built for the heat had yet to take the chill from the room. Under the cool air was a hint of the same stale scent that permeated the other rooms in the townhouse, except Raphael’s bedchamber and the small library. He had the impression someone had recently removed the white sheets from the furniture. The bed appeared freshly made. The gold-patterned coverlet straightened, the white pillows fluffed.

“It is your home, correct?” Aleric asked.

“Pardon?”

“The townhouse. It’s yours?”

“Yes.”

“Have you always lived here?”

“No. I grew up in the country.” Raphael prodded the fire with an iron poker, nudging the flames to full life. “The townhouse was my grandmother’s. She left it to me when I was a boy. The house lay dormant for years before I had a need for it.”

“Was that when you cut ties with your family?”

“I had no need to cut ties. My parents had passed away a couple years before. But I didn’t think it wise to continue to reside in their home—curious neighbors and all—so I relocated to London.” He rested the poker against the marble fireplace surround and indicated a narrow door along one wall. “You’ll find a change of clothes in there. If you have need of anything, you have only to ask.”

Aleric wanted to know so much more about Raphael—what was his life like before he’d been turned, did he miss it or had he embraced his new life?—but the way in which he changed the subject indicated he preferred not to discuss his past. So he made do with another “Thank you.”

“How do you feel?” The heavy regard in the man’s eyes begged an honest answer and not merely a polite, conversational response.

“Damned fantastic. But I’m thirsty.” Those last three words popped out of his mouth without conscious thought. But he had spoken the truth. He was parched. Not hunger, but thirst. Sharper and more acute than after a long summer’s day spent under the hot sun.

Raphael pushed up one lace-edged sleeve, held out his wrist to Aleric. “Here. Drink.”

“Ah…I-I don’t think I should…” Even though uncertainty waged within, his feet moved, taking him closer to Raphael, to that beautifully bared wrist.

“I had more than enough last night. Take what you need.”

“We can drink from each other?”

The hesitation before Raphael nodded did not inspire confidence. In one swift movement speaking of practiced ease, Raphael brought his wrist up to his mouth, slashed his fangs across his own skin.

An all too familiar sweet, slightly metallic scent wafted from the wound, surrounding Aleric. He flared his nostrils, drinking in the delicious scent. He vaguely registered the prick on his gums as his fangs descended. All his attention had focused on Raphael’s wrist, the blood pooling over the wound, the strong pulse in his vein.

One tantalizing crimson drop slid down to the back of his upturned hand, clung to his skin for the briefest of seconds, poised to drop…

Aleric grabbed Raphael’s arm. The instant blood touched Aleric’s tongue, something lurched inside him. A raw, primitive need coupled with a sense of absolute completion.

Liquid flowed into his mouth and down his throat. Heat pooled in his stomach, warming him from the inside out. So sweet. So satisfying. Each swallow demanded another and another.

A low moan filled his ears. Raphael. Suckling greedily, Aleric glanced up. Raphael’s head had tilted back, his long lashes resting on his cheekbones, his lips parted. Swaying on his feet, he grabbed Aleric’s shoulder, fingers digging into the muscle and tendons.

Even above the almost overpowering scent of blood, he could detect Raphael’s arousal. Male musk and the hint of pre-come carried on the heat pouring off the man. His own body reacted instantly.

 

From Afar

Ava March

Publisher:  Samhain Publisher

Buy Link

Some rules are destined to be broken.

Loneliness. A concept with which Raphael Laurent is very familiar. He’s lived a solitary life for thirty-six years, shunning the excesses of the local vampire clan—until he spots Lord Aleric Vane, the handsome and dissolute third son of a duke. For three years Raphael has watched from a distance, for only when he is near Aleric does the hollow, empty ache in his chest ease.

Cut off from his family for refusing to follow his father’s dictates, Aleric’s nights are filled with vice. But after three years in London, the city has lost all appeal. Desolate and penniless, his future appears bleak. Until a mysterious man drops from the shadows to drive off a trio of murderous thieves.

When Aleric awakens, he finds himself forever changed. The itch for more that drove him to London is gone. In its place is the feeling that he’s known the beautiful Raphael all his life.

But to save Aleric, Raphael had to break the rules, giving him a chance to love the one man he never thought he could have—a chance that could be ripped away by Aleric himself…

 

 

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Excerpt Day - The Seduction of His Wife (Bk 1- The Logger Series) © Janet Chapman

 

Excerpt

Alex Knight fought the fatigue weighing on his eyelids and brushed an unsteady hand through his hair in an attempt to wipe the fog from his brain. He needed to stay focused on the road ahead, to avoid the final irony of cheating death in the jungles of Brazil only to die in a car wreck less than ten miles from home. He rolled down the window of the rented sedan and sucked in the crisp November air, hoping the scent of fir and spruce and pine would perk him up. Not three days ago, he'd thought the rotting jungle would be the last thing he smelled and screaming monkeys the last thing he heard.

But he was home now, thanks to a healthy amount of luck and the determination not to die in that stinking jungle at the hands of some crazy rebel bastards. Well, luck and the thought of his father and brothers who needed him, and his two would-be orphaned children who needed him even more.

Alex came fully awake the moment he turned onto the Knights' private logging road, anticipation quickening his pulse and making his foot heavy on the gas as he passed the sign that said he was entering NorthWoods Timber land. Only eight miles of blessedly familiar gravel road, and he would be back in the bosom of his family.

Alex dodged frozen puddles as he picked up speed, guiding the car around a sweeping curve and thumping over the solid wooden bridge that crossed Oak Creek. He'd rebuilt that bridge two summers ago with Ethan and Paul, and he remembered the arguments he'd had with his brothers over the bridge's design. Ethan had wanted to use steel beams, Paul had wanted to make it single-laned, and Grady, their father and patriarch of their little clan, hadn't cared how it was built as long as it got done before a loaded logging truck ended up in the creek.

Alex frowned as he pushed the car recklessly faster. Where in hell was everyone, anyway? He had called home countless times from the U.S. embassy in Brazil three days ago; he'd tried again from Mexico yesterday, and yet again this morning when he'd landed in Maine. No one had answered, and this morning all he'd gotten was a mechanical voice saying the message machine was full.

Some homecoming this was going to be. He was back from the dead, dammit, and nobody knew it! The company he'd been working for in Brazil had told Alex they'd sent two men to Oak Grove eleven days ago, to tell his family he had been killed and that his body had likely been swept downriver when a murdering band of rebels had attacked the dam site where he'd been working as a road engineer. Which meant everyone should be home mourning their loss instead of running around the countryside, but it appeared that the five people he loved were about to miss his miraculous resurrection.

Alex slammed on the brakes when the dense forest suddenly opened to reveal a spectacular view of the lake, then waited for the frozen dust to settle as he stared out the open window. He sighed long and painfully hard, emotion welling in his chest at the sight of Frost Lake's northernmost cove stretching deep into the densely forested mountains. The view never failed to move him, and this morning it was especially sweet.

Completely unbidden, Alex remembered another homecoming ten years ago, when he'd brought home his bride. He'd stopped in this same spot, and they'd talked about their future -- Charlotte about her plans to update the lodge's kitchen and Alex about his hope to expand their landholdings by another hundred thousand acres within two years.

He shook his head at how naive he'd been at twenty-two. Or, rather, how blinded he'd been by Charlotte's beauty that he hadn't seen the dollar signs in her eyes. She'd left him and their two children five years later, once she had finally understood that profits went into land and equipment purchases and that redecorating meant only a new stove. Four months later Charlotte had died in a car wreck, leaving Alex a widower and the sole parent of Delaney and Tucker. Delaney was ten now, and Tucker had turned seven only three months ago.

Yes, marriage was one mistake he was in no hurry to repeat. He had his kids, his father and brothers, and their logging business; he had everything a man could hope for in life. A life he was getting a second chance at and would never take for granted again, Alex vowed as he stared at the Knight homestead, snuggled in a stand of old-growth pines three miles up the rocky shoreline.

He could just make out the dock jutting off the south side of the peninsula, and he noticed that the floatplane was gone. But there was smoke rising from the chimney of the seventy-year-old lodge, which meant someone was home. So why weren't they answering the phone?

Alex heard the 22-wheeler coming toward him just moments before he saw it, and he stepped on the gas and spun the sedan to the side of the road. He rolled up the window to avoid the dust storm that arrived along with the deafening blast of an air horn as the tractor-trailer loaded with sawlogs went speeding by.

It was Wednesday, Alex realized, so the crew was hauling today. And tomorrow was Thanksgiving, which meant Delaney and Tucker had this week off from school and that his father had likely taken them to Portland in the floatplane as he did every year. Grady must be trying to give his grieving grandchildren some sense of normality, hoping to get their minds off their loss for a little while. Ethan would have gone in Alex's place as their pilot, and Paul was likely taking advantage of having the house to himself, dealing with his own grief by sitting in front of a crackling fire with a lady friend.

Alex headed home with a grin, thinking about the little tryst he was about to walk in on. He soon turned off the main hauling artery and onto a narrow lane for the last mile of his fantastical journey, which had begun with the sound of gunshots thirteen days ago in the mountainous jungles of Brazil. He'd spent the next eleven days in that hellhole of a rain forest, trying to make his way down to civilization while hiding from the murdering rebels hunting for foreign hostages to fund their personal war. Then there'd been two days of embassy red tape and unanswered calls home, and all day yesterday and last night spent in a succession of airports as he made his way back to Maine.

Alex finally pulled into the yard at the back of the lodge, shut off the engine, and unfolded his aching six-foot-two body out of the rented sedan. He absently brushed down the front of the jacket he'd bought at the Cincinnati airport and scanned the dooryard with a frown. All four pickups were parked beside the machine shed, which meant the loggers working farther up the road were on their own. That wasn't unusual, as the experienced crew was more than capable of cutting and loading the pulp and timber onto the trucks without supervision.

So he must have guessed right: Grady and Ethan and the kids were gone in the floatplane, and Paul had shut off the phones to hide out with his girlfriend. Alex leapt over the single step onto the back porch but stopped with his hand on the screen door handle. Should he just barge in on them? He'd likely give his baby brother a heart attack.

Hell, Paul deserved a good scare for drowning his sorrow in the arms of a woman while he thought his brother was floating facedown in some jungle backwater. Alex opened the screen door with a grin of expectancy and twisted the doorknob to burst inside with all the drama of a returning ghost.

But his shout of hello ended with a grunt when he came to a halt against the solid wood door. Alex stepped back and rubbed his forehead as he twisted the knob again, only to realize that the damn thing was locked.

They never locked their doors! It was an unwritten code of the woods never to lock a house with a telephone inside in case of an emergency. Alex pounded on the door so hard he rattled its frame. "Paul!" he shouted. "Get the hell out of bed, Casanova! It's past noon! Paul!"

His only answer was silence.

"Paul, open up!"

Still silence.

"Dammit, don't make be break down this door!"

"Paul's not here," came a soft, barely audible reply.

It took Alex a good five seconds to realize the voice he'd heard was female, and several more seconds to notice the face peeking from a crack in the curtain of a nearby window.

He stepped over and grinned down at the unfamiliar brown eyes staring up at him. "Where's Paul?" he asked in a more civil tone.

"He's in Augusta, lobbying against a tree-harvesting bill."

"And who are you?"

"Mrs. Knight."

"Mrs.?" Alex repeated, straightening in surprise. "You're married to Paul?"

She gave a small shake of her head.

"Ethan?" he whispered. "Ethan got married?"

She shook her head again.

He took another step back. "You married Grady!"

Her eyes widened at his shout, and she violently shook her head with a yelped "No!"

Alex stepped up to the window and bent at the waist to put his eyes level with hers, finding a perverse pleasure in seeing her lean away and the curtain close. "Then who in hell did you marry, lady? There are no more Knights."

"I married Grady's oldest son, Alex. I -- I'm his widow."

Read the entire first chapter HERE

 

The Seduction of His Wife

(The first book in the Logger series)
Janet Chapman

Publisher: Pocket Star

Buy LInk

He set out to seduce her for all the wrong reasons -- but found himself falling in love with her for all the right ones.

Alex Knight is dead -- or so everyone thinks. A widowed logger baron with a risk-taking streak, he took on a South American engineering project and was reported dead after a rebel attack. So when he turns up back in Maine very much alive, his grieving family is shocked. But the biggest shock is Alex's, when he discovers he's now married -- to a woman he's never met.

Sarah Banks is ready for a change from running a quiet Bed & Breakfast, and working for the Knight family offers not only a bigger opportunity, but also the family life she yearns for. So she's glad to help secure custody of Alex's orphaned children, whom she's come to love, by marrying their father by proxy before he's legally declared dead. But when Alex returns, the sexy, determined woodsman upends all of Sarah's plans. Because suddenly she's married to a passionate stranger with an easy smile...and tumbling headlong into a fiery dance of seduction.

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Excerpt Day - I Spy a Wicked Sin (Bk 1- The Shadow Agency) © Jo Davis

Excerpt

 

“Sweet Christ.”

Elbows on the ratty desk, John Sandborn dropped his face into his hands. In the wake of this terrible exercise of connect the dots, he’d be goddamned lucky if he didn’t wind up at the bottom of the Atlantic. In five different oil drums.

Because a traitorous, murdering bastard was coming for him. No doubt about it.

If he had a whisper of a prayer of avoiding a grisly fate, he had to work fast.

Clicking the X in the top right corner of the laptop’s screen, he closed the classified file and opened another. Fingers flying, he activated a program he’d hoped never to use, but was damned glad he’d put into place. Next, he composed a simple coded message a ten-year-old couldn’t decipher, yet not so difficult a trusted operative couldn’t, either.

“Okay . . . got it.” He blew out a deep breath. It wasn’t perfect, but would have to do.

Last, he opened his e-mail and hit Send. He waited, every muscle tense, while the new files, along with the classified one, shot to six different destinations and burrowed into six different hard drives. A high-tech worm that would make any hacker cream in his shorts—and just might save his ass.

Action complete.

“Thank fuck.” Sandborn attacked the keyboard again, clicking rapidly. His instincts screamed Get out, but he didn’t dare leave the last two tasks undone.

Precious seconds were whittled away, scraping his nerves raw, as he accessed the script file he’d written to initiate the virus that would destroy his hard drive. The final box popped onto the screen, and he executed his CTRL+F+U command.

Sandborn gave a grim chuckle at the double entendre in his chosen three-finger salute and wiped the sweat from his brow. Time to make like a ghost.

The door to his motel room burst open, hitting the inside wall like a gunshot. Sandborn spun, the SIG from the desktop already in hand, arm leveling at the leader of the traitor’s cleanup crew.

Too late. A pop split the air, and pain blossomed in his chest. He stumbled backward, managing to get off a shot, the explosion deafening in the tiny space. The leader went down with a grunt as Sandborn trained his gun on the second man, tried to squeeze the trigger. And couldn’t. His arm fell limp and useless to his side.

The second man crossed the room, a smirk on his ugly, pockmarked face. Cold overtook the pain, spreading from Sandborn’s chest to his limbs. Numbing every muscle. Looking down, he stared in fascinated horror at the dart embedded in his left pectoral.

He swayed, speaking quickly. His life depended on it. “Tell your boss I know everything. I put safeguards in place, and he’ll never find them without me,” he rasped, the drug freezing his vocal cords, fast. “If I die . . . the whole world will know . . . what he’s done.”

Sandborn’s legs buckled and he slumped to the floor, completely nerveless. Aware, but paralyzed, along for the ride and at their mercy. A nightmare.

A pair of heavy-soled leather boots appeared in his line of vision as the second man paused, obviously peering at the laptop. “You smart-ass sonofabitch,” Crater Face hissed.

Sandborn pictured the cartoon gopher dancing across the screen, shooting the finger at the henchman, and a hoarse laugh barked from his dry throat. The boots backed up a couple of steps.

John Sandborn’s last image was a snapshot of the man’s right shitkicker rocketing toward his face.

 

I Spy a Wicked Sin

(The first book in the Shadow Agency series)
Jo Davis

Publisher: NAL

Buy Link (Amazon Link)

The mission: Seduce…and Eliminate.

Jude St. Laurent is a former assassin for SHADO, a covert homeland security agency. After a mysterious accident causes gaping holes in his memory, he embraces his career as an artist, pouring vibrant, colorful life into his erotic paintings, and he often seeks solace in the arms of his subjects. But when he’s haunted by visions of the past, he turns to his new personal assistant for help—and she knows just how to make him forget.

Lily Vale is not what she seems. An agent as deadly as St. Laurent , she uses sex to manipulate her targets—and always gets her man. When she’s sent on a mission to kill Jude, she’s startled—and aroused—to find that he’s not the monster she expects. As Lily succumbs to Jude’s decadent sexual lifestyle, one wicked sin at a time, she realizes that there’s more to this case than meets the eye—and if she’s going to save them both, she’ll have to found out who’s pulling the strings.

 

 

 

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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Discussion Point – The Techy In Me and You

This week I am not going to let you guys think too much – this week I want to know all your secret bits and bops that you use to make blogging easier for you.

I am going to share with you three bits of  software that I just could not manage without and I do mean could not manage without. 

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Window Live Writer

For people who have been with me from the beginning on the blog you all know that I swear by WINDOWS LIVE WRITER – I am probably one of the few bloggers who actually do not know how to post directly from the blogger new post setting. I have never posted directly from the blogger post setting.

WLW is the all rounder piece of kit for me. My template is set into mine so I can preview my work before I post – I can add plug-in as and when suitable.

Picture manipulation is a breeze – Fonts coordination is so easy. Really I cannot say enough good things about WLW. One of the ultimate best thing about WLW for me is that from that one piece of software I can get into all the blogs that I own or assist with…. I don't need to  physically go into  them…

Download Here..

Review Here

 

BBCodeXtra 0.2.5.6

This is a download I found while doing one of my many blog idling moments – This is a add on to Mozilla Foxfire and what it does is make doing stuff like formatting text so much easier.

It basically sits at the end of your cursor and all it needs is a right click and you easily italics, bold, add Url, underline and other neat stuff. So forget about copying and pasting codes to get the formatting that you need…

The only draw back is that it only works in Foxfire – but as that is my main browser I don’t have a problem – it makes my life so much easier

Download Here

Review Here

 

A good browser and more than one

 

I can’t stress enough how important it is to use a decent browser. I am one of those user who don't use Internet explorer – I have not used it in more than 5 years…

I have three browsers on my computer -  Mozilla Foxfire, Chrome and Opera that I use. My main Browser is Foxfire – just because of the plugin’s and the ease at which I am able to manipulate the back end of my blog. It is also a stable browser for me and software updates are a breeze..

I use Chrome as a backup for when things go haywire – some times when things go wrong all it takes to remedy the problem is logging in through another browser…

I am sure I don't have to sell you guys on any of these however if you know of another one shout out and let me know…

So let me know all the tips and tricks that you use to make your days on the net easier… Be creative with your suggestion the sky is the limit…

Wallpaper

Music Player

Note Pads

Plugin’s

Add-ons

Picture managers….

You get the idea – tell me all..

 

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Wicked Wednesday - Susan Lyons

An interview with Susan Lyons for the Erotica Romance Reading Challenge

 

1.  Welcome to our little slice of the pie .... Firstly let us know what genre do you write and why...

I write the full range of romance, from sweet short stories through to sexy/erotic short stories, novellas, and novels. In a image long romance, I do like the relationship to get spicy – there’s nothing like sex and intimacy to bring the heroine’s and hero’s emotions and issues to the fore. I love romance! To me, it’s about meeting that special person who challenges you to confront your issues and fears and have the guts to be a better, stronger person (we writers call it “character arc”) and to deserve and win love.

2.  Currently you have series and individual books in your repertoire , Can you give us a 101 on them.....

Susan Lyons/Fox 101. LOL. Let’s work from short to long.

I have twelve sweet short romances (one for each month) with The Wild Rose Press. They’re available as individual downloads and are also collected in CALENDAR OF LOVE.

I have three short erotic romances with Harlequin Spice Briefs, which form the EROTIQUE series. They’re three stand-alone stories but all take place in a private sex club called Erotique where three different heroines realize their fantasies.

In novellas, I have completely standalone stories in two firefighter anthologies, THE FIREFIGHTER and MEN ON FIRE for Kensington Aphrodisia, a Christmas novella in UNWRAP ME and a novella coming up in March’s SOME LIKE IT ROUGH (these are Aphrodisia too), and then in fall 2010 I’ll have another holiday novella in THE NAUGHTY LIST (Brava) under the pen name Susan Fox.

For novels, I’m writing series. I started with the Awesome Foursome series for Kensington Aphrodisia, about four 20-something best friends who each find their own sexy romance. I loved writing about four friends who each appeared in all the books – so the books are standalone, but for readers who are following the series, they really get to know each girl and they get to follow the first romance through four books, the second romance through three books, and so on.

So, next, I pitched another four-book series to Kensington, this one about four sisters, the older three single sisters traveling home to their baby sister’s wedding. This is the sexy “planes, trains, automobiles, and a cruise ship” Wild Ride to Love series. The first book, SEX DRIVE came out in December. Then Kensington decided to move the series to the Brava line. The second book, LOVE, UNEXPECTEDLY, will be out in April. It and the other two books will be under the pen name Susan Fox (my publisher’s idea, not mine, in case you were wondering).

Also, while all that was happening, I sold a book to Berkley Heat. SEX ON THE BEACH came out in January. I wrote it as a standalone (set in Belize, it’s three interlocked stories in one book, about three couples who fall for each other in the week before a destination wedding). I had an option book with Berkley, and in discussions with my editor, we decided on SEX ON THE SLOPES, a similar concept but set at a destination wedding in Whistler in winter (it’ll be out this December). We’re also discussing making the next Berkley Heat SEX ON THE SEA, set on a pre-wedding cruise in the Greek Islands, but that hasn’t been decided yet. One heroine in each book is a wedding planner, all from the same firm. So, my Berkley books have turned into a series too!

So, that’s where things stand, in terms of books on the shelves plus books under contract.

3. The anthologies that you have taken part in - do they relate to any of your single titles and if not - have you consider expanding on any of them.

No, they don’t relate to the single titles, though the characters from the secondary romance in my novella in THE FIREFIGHTER (the heroine’s grandmother and her guy) do appear in my novel SEX DRIVE, giving a bit of relationship advice on the flight from Sydney to Honolulu.

I haven’t really thought of expanding them because when I work on a story idea, it has to be an idea that fits the targeted length. A novella can’t have as many complex issues, subplots, and secondary characters. Of course occasionally I do have a secondary character (in a novella or a novel) who I think might get a story of their own one day. We’ll see what happens with that. There are so many fascinating characters and great ideas. I just can’t write them all!

4. Tell us about your Heroes and your Heroines.... What are some of the basic traits that you bring to your main protags....

My heroes are, of course, the kind of men who most attract me. Their most important quality is having a strong character and integrity. They’re definitely not arrogant; they’re just quietly confident and competent. They’re the people that others turn to when there’s a problem to be solved, a person to be helped. They all have a sense of humor and they’re  very smart. They also love and respect women. Hmm – maybe that’s their most important attribute! Oh, and of course they’re physically strong, fit, and definitely attractive! But they can’t be perfect, because where’s the fun in that? Each one has some kind of issue he needs to work through, and it’s not going to happen until he meets that incredible woman who will challenge him to be the best he can. And of course, those women are my heroines.

My heroines are each spunky in her own fashion, and competent out there in the world. But they often have a bit of insecurity about their attractiveness and sexuality and/or they have problems with intimacy. They need the right man to help them realize their true female strength and power. And those men . . . well, you know who they are. My heroes!

5.  Which genre are you most comfortable writing in, and which genre would you be willing to experiment with.

I love romance and relationships of all sorts. As well as love stories, I enjoy writing about female relationships (friends, sisters, mothers and daughters). So, right now I’m very happy writing sexy and erotic contemporary romance. I’d love to experiment with Gold Rush historical (I have – you guessed it – a series in mind) and I’d love to write books that tend toward women’s fiction and also have romances in them (I have a series in mind there too, that I’m working on now, in hopes of one day selling it).

6.  What are some of the no-no's for you in writing and why.

Writing something I don’t believe in or can’t identify with personally. That doesn’t mean I can only write about things I personally know or have done, but the things I write have to resonate with me. I can write about exotic dancers and P.I.s (my novella in SOME LIKE IT ROUGH), though I’ve never done either job. But I’m not in general a big fan of English historicals, vampires, or BDSM (yes, I’ve read some great books, but those subgenres aren’t my favorites), so I’m not going to write them just because they happen to be hot.

7.  A cheeky question for you - what are some of the positive and negatives about being an author...

Lots of positives! Doing what I love to do (even though it’s hard work). Setting my own schedule (yes, meeting deadlines and working my butt off, but choosing the hours that I work). Working at home. Being in the world of writers, readers, booksellers, and editors – my favorite people! Being able to call reading “research” and justify doing it. LOL. And I guess, mostly, bringing characters I’ve created into the world and hearing from readers who tell me my characters have touched them, resonated, made them laugh, made them cry, made them think.

As for negatives, to be honest the worst thing is the low income. I could be an attorney (I have a law degree) making pretty good money, but my passion is writing and it, like most of the arts, is a seriously underpaid occupation. It’s really hard to scrape out a living – and most of us writers aren’t exactly independently wealthy! The other big negative is the uncertainty. A writer gets a contract, then has no idea of whether she’ll ever sell another book again. The publisher has to buy it, which means that sales on previous books have to be good, which depends on so many factors. And beyond that, the publisher has to believe that subgenre is still going to be alive by the time the book is actually published, which could well be two years down the road. Then, let’s add in the fact that the future of the industry is so uncertain at the moment… It’s definitely not a career for the faint-hearted – or anyone who wants to strike it rich!  

8. What’s on the cards for Susan Lyons in 2010 and beyond....

In March I have the third Erotique story, EROTIQUE: ALEX and my novella “Private Eyes” in SOME LIKE IT ROUGH. In April I have my first Susan Fox Brava, LOVE, UNEXPECTEDLY. In April I’ll be attending the RT Booklovers Convention in Columbus, OH. I’ll be giving a writing workshop and be on a panel discussing “Sin-sational Scenes,” and of course I’ll be at the book fair and other events. In May, I’m thrilled that SEX DRIVE will be Cosmo magazine’s “red hot read”! (How cool is that?) In October, THE NAUGHTY LIST comes out, and in December it’s SEX ON THE SLOPES. After that, there will be the third and fourth Wild Ride to Love books and, hopefully, SEX ON THE SEA. After that… we’ll just have to see!

9. Enough about the books - now to the good stuff... give us a sneak peek of one of your favourite Heroes from your books in action....

This is from SEX DRIVE, the book Cosmo chose as a “red hot read.”

Damien and Theresa, total strangers, are seated side by side on the flight from Sydney, Australia, to Honolulu. Damien, a thriller writer, has been voted one of Australia’s ten sexiest bachelors; Theresa is a shy, inhibited professor. By the time the flight arrives, they are no longer strangers, if you get my drift. And he’s persuaded her to stop over in Honolulu with him. In this scene, he’s fresh out of the shower.

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    When he walked out, Theresa was at the desk, sun gilding her auburn hair, plugging in her own computer next to his. Flushed, she said, in a rush, “I really should call Vancouver. And get email going. Let everyone know about my change of plans.”

    “The flight hasn’t even left Honolulu yet. You have lots of time.” He walked over and rested a hand on the collar of the robe, then eased the fabric down so the sun could touch her skin and he could caress her nape. “We have a date, remember?”

    She ducked her head, giving him better access. “I’m not very experienced at this.”

    How did she manage to make him feel tender and horny, all at the same time? He slid his hand along her neck to her jaw, then cupped her cheek and tilted her face toward him. “That doesn’t matter. What matters is, do you want this, Tezzie? You and me, doing all the things we couldn’t do on the plane?”

    Her lashes lowered, then she blinked and gazed straight at him, those billabong eyes dancing with green and blue sparkles in the morning sunlight. “Yes, I want it. Sorry to be so . . . waffly.” Her jaw firmed. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want this. If I didn’t want you, Damien.”

    Those were words that heated him even more than the sun that burned through his robe. The sun’s touch warmed him from the outside, but Theresa’s desire kindled a spark that made his blood fizz and his cock surge with need.

    He caressed her cheek, stroked damp hair back from her face. “Then let everything else go for an hour or two. Right now, all that exists is the two of us.” He bent to kiss her and her lips met his, warm, giving, seductive.

    When he straightened again, her gaze drifted down to the neckline of his robe, the V where one side wrapped over the other. Where his tanned skin and curls of dark hair were a stark contrast to the white terry. “You want me to take this off?” He touched the robe’s belt, which he’d looped at his waist.

    Slowly, her gaze following his hand rather than returning to his face, she shook her head and edged the desk chair around so she sat facing him squarely. “No. I want to take it off you.”

    “Be my guest.”

    Hand trembling slightly, she took hold of one end of the belt. The way he’d looped it, one pull would undo it.

    She tugged. When the belt fell, the bulky robe loosened, but not enough to reveal his body. He stood in front of her and waited.

    She raised both hands to grip the sides of the robe at mid-chest. And paused. Her shoulders rose and fell as she took a deep breath. Then she spread the sides wide.

    Her breath sucked in with a gasp as she saw he was naked and aroused.

    As if mesmerized, she rose slowly to her feet and eased the robe off his shoulders. It fell to the floor. The sun caressed his back and her eyes blazed a heat trail across his front.

    “You really are beautifully made,” she murmured.

    “Glad you approve. See anything you’d like to touch?”

    A quick grin, a glance upward under eyelashes. “All of it.”

    “Then it’s all yours.”

    Hesitantly she touched his shoulders, running her hands over them and down his upper arms, then squeezing, feeling the muscle and bone below. “How did you get to be in such good shape? And so tanned? Writing’s a sedentary, indoors job.”

    “I run, swim, work out. I need to because yeah, it is sedentary, and I’ve always been a physical person.”

    She began to explore his pecs and when her fingers circled his nipples, he caught his breath. Then managed to finish his thought. “Exercise helps me work out story problems too.”

    “Really?” She glanced up, then went back to teasing his nipples. “I do the same thing. When I’ve been working so long my thoughts are muddy, I change into shorts and go for a run.”

    How about that? The idea of Theresa in shorts was almost as arousing as the touch of those soft, persistent fingers, whose every tweak made his cock throb and twitch.

    Her hands traced his ribs and down over his abs, which tensed under her touch. A quick circle of his navel, and then one hand gripped his shaft. Lightly, tentatively.

    He let out a moan of pleasure.

    Still holding him, she sat in the desk chair again, then subjected his cock to a brush-of-fingers exploration that covered every inch of skin. From the base, where his hard-on jutted out of a nest of dark curls. Up the raised, throbbing vein that was so responsive to each stroke. Lightly ringing the top of his shaft, just under the crown. Then, finally, brushing and circling the head, finding a drop or two of pre-cum and smoothing it into his achingly sensitive skin.

    He pulsed under her hand, trying not to thrust, but arousal was hot and thick in him. Burying his hands in her hair, he said, “Hey, Prof, you’re killing me. Have you almost finished your research?”

    “I believe in being thorough.” Her voice was throaty and, when she raised her face to his, he saw how flushed she was.

    Thank God he wasn’t the only one who was so turned on. “Could you be thorough wearing fewer clothes?”

And of course your Heroine from your books in action...

That same scene carries on in her point of view.

    imageStaring up at Damien, I had a sense of unreality. This couldn’t be me, in a luxury hotel on Waikiki Beach, with a man who’d been ranked one of the ten sexiest bachelors in Australia.

    A man who deserved that ranking. His body was amazing, hard and masculine, gilded by the sunlight. On him, the dragon and sea eagle tattoos didn’t look overdone or tacky, they gave him an intriguing edge.

    His coloring was beautiful, his features strong. An illustration of how mixed-race heritage could produce gorgeous offspring. Oh yes, he was a treat to behold. But the most incredible thing was the ardent blaze in his gray eyes, the huge engorged penis filling my hands. The indisputable evidence of how aroused he was. By me. An academic, not a sex goddess.

    And yet, the heat that pulsed through me – that tightened my nipples, turned my skin pink, made me tingle and ache between my legs – was all about sex. And the size of his erection, the desire in his eyes, did make me feel like a goddess.

    But . . . he’d been with so many women. Women who were prettier, sexier, far more experienced than I. How could I possibly measure up?

    Not that he’d complained so far. Which meant, I must be doing all right.

    I was intelligent. I could take my cues from him. Learn as we went along. The way my fingers had learned how his penis liked to be caressed.

    My instinct – my craving – right now was to lean forward and take him between my lips. But he’d said he wanted my clothes off, so instead I let go of him and rose. My legs were shaky and my fingers trembled as I reached for the belt of my robe. On the plane, he’d sort of seen my body, but only in the cramped, poorly lit lavatory.

    “Uh-uh.” His hands stopped me. “I’ll do that.”

    I stood, breath fast and shallow, quivering from head to toe as he undid the knot I’d tied. Then he shoved the robe off my shoulders. I fought the instinct to grab it, and instead held my arms away from my sides so the terry fabric slid down freely. My gaze followed the robe and saw it fall in haphazard white folds on the sun-kissed terracotta tile.

    Leaving me utterly naked, exposed in bright sunlight to Damien’s scrutiny.

    “You are so beautiful.”

    His words, spoken in a tone that sounded reverent, made me raise my eyes to his face. He didn’t notice, because he was staring at me with a smug “oh man, look what I’ve got” smile tugging at his lips and lighting his eyes.

    I knew my body was okay. Not fat, not skinny. Breasts either a B or a C cup, depending on the bra. An average body, functional and healthy but nothing to write home about. Then I remembered what Damien had said about Goldilocks, and how average really meant perfect.

    All these years, I’d thought the only special thing about me was my intellect. And no one had told me anything different. But Damien’s expression was giving me a whole new, flattering and exciting, message. It gave me the courage to raise my hands and cup them under my breasts, plumping them up and offering them to him. “See something you like?” I echoed the words he’d spoken earlier.

    “Everything.”

    A thrill that was arousal, but more than that – a brand new female power – rippled through me. “Just going to stand there and look?”

    “Trying to figure out where to start.”

    No longer nervous, I drifted my right hand down from my breast, across my abdomen, out to the flare of my hip then back in across the top of my thigh. Ending with my thumb a couple inches away from the V between my slightly spread legs. “There are no bad places.”

    I’d meant no bad places to start, but he interpreted differently. “God no. All your places are very definitely hot.”

    My guess was, he’d go straight for my breasts, but he surprised me. He lifted both hands and ran his fingers through my hair, which was almost dry. He stroked back from my temples then forward, fingers gently caressing my ears, my cheeks, down to my lips, my chin. My neck, out to my shoulders, down my arms. As if he was learning, memorizing, the outline of my body.

    His touch was more sensual than overtly sexual, but it brought every cell to alertness.

    When he reached my fingers, he squeezed lightly, then released them and started again, this time at my breasts. But rather than tease them the way he’d done on the plane, he used that same drifting caress. Over them, down my ribcage, abdomen. Thumbs skimming my pubic hair, making my sex tense in pleasant anticipation.

    But no, now he was stroking outward, to the curve of my hips, moving down the outside, following the same path my own hand had taken a few minutes ago. Coming to rest with his thumbs almost touching my sex. I held my breath, wanting him to travel those couple more inches, to brush against the damp, swollen flesh that hungered for his caress.

    Instead, he took his hands away and stood, arms at his sides, not touching me. Except with his gaze, which travelled back up, retracing every inch of the path his hands had taken. He finished by looking into my eyes, smiling almost bemusedly. “I’m one hell of a lucky bugger.”

    Then he stepped closer, put his arms around me, pulled me against him so every sensitized cell in the front of my body came into contact with his heated flesh. His hardness against my softness. My breasts flattening against his firm pectorals. His erection pressing insistently against my stomach.

    Arousal made me tremble and I wasn’t sure my legs would support me. I wrapped my arms around him and lifted my face for his kiss.

    Now he stopped being gentle. He slanted his mouth across mine, opened my lips with his tongue, and thrust inside. On the airplane, I’d thought how a kiss mirrored sex. Then, the kiss had been a leisurely, sensual exploration. Now, his kiss was urgent, demanding. Between us, his penis was rigid. Moisture dampened the inside of my thighs as my body wept in need.

    He broke the kiss, stepped out of the embrace, and I moaned in protest. But then he lifted me, carried me, dropped me on the bed with more haste than finesse. He kissed me again, hard, then left my lips and dropped a frenzy of hot, moist kisses over my face, my chest, then my breasts.

    I grabbed his head and held him there, pressing myself against him as he teased a taut, aching nipple into his mouth. The suction of his lips, the flick of his tongue, soothed my flesh and at the same time tormented it. Everything inside me focused, clenched, craved more of this delicious torture – yet craved release too. “Oh God, Damien. What are you doing to me?”

Our Guest Today is:

Susan Lyons / Susan Fox is the award-winning author of sexy contemporary romance that’s passionate, heartwarming and fun. She is published by Kensington Aphrodisia, Kensington Brava, Berkley Heat, Harlequin Spice Briefs, The Wild Rose Press, and Freya’s Bower. Reviewers say:  “Ms. Lyons’ gives readers characters you can relate to, genuine emotional context and undeniable passion wrapped up in a compelling storyline that leaves you eagerly anticipating her next release.” “Susan Lyons is a talented storyteller with a voice like no other author. Her characters will touch not only your heart but your soul too.”

Susan is a Pacific Northwester with homes in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. She has degrees in law and psychology, and has had a variety of careers, including perennial student, computer consultant, and legal editor. Fiction writer is by far her favorite, giving her an outlet to demonstrate her belief in the power of love, friendship, and a sense of humor.

 

 

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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

By Appointment – The Kiss

Ooh La La, The Kiss!

“You should be kissed and often – and by someone who knows how.”

No, I didn’t write that, Margaret Mitchell did. That’s Rhett Butler, talking to Scarlett O’Hara. And doesn’t it just make you tingle? Don’t we all deserve to be kissed like that?

 

Kisses are strange things. They can be absolutely awful! But the right kiss, from the right person, at the right time . . . Ooh la la!

 

Isn’t it why we read romance? Oh yes, we love the thrill of watching two people fall in love, as each of them meets challenges and becomes a stronger, better person and they work things through together – so that in the end we, the readers, have that wonderful sense of satisfaction. Yes, those two belong together and will live happily ever after.

 

But what’s that one peak moment? So often, it’s the first real kiss. Not a peck on the cheek, but the kiss where they truly connect and we, the readers, understand this is special. These two people are destined to be together.

 

Each first kiss is unique. Of course it is, because each heroine and each hero is unique. And isn’t it wonderful when the first kiss is absolutely perfect?

 

For example, in “Sex With the Proper Stranger,” in Sex on the Beach, Tamiko’s a successful model but she has a secret past: abuse that’s made her believe she’s frigid. When she attends a destination wedding in Belize, sexy resort owner Ric has no idea of her past. They’re strangers. Yet, when he rescues her after she almost drowns, and he kisses her . . . Well, see for yourself how it goes.

image She stared up at him, those huge, dark eyes starry as they reflected the moonlight. Her lips parted, and she drew in a shuddery breath that made her breasts shift against his chest.

Caught in her spell, he lowered his mouth to hers until their lips touched. Still she didn’t move away. Her warm breath puffed in and out rapidly, and he captured it in a kiss.

Her arms came up, not to push him away, but to twine around his shoulders. Long fingers threaded into his thick mass of unmanageable hair. Her lips answered his tentatively, almost as if she was as out of practice with kissing as with swimming.

He responded in kind, cherishing her mouth with soft brushes and gentle licks, sucking and nibbling her flesh tenderly.

“Oh,” she sighed. Her tongue ventured out to flirt with his, and when it retreated, he followed it back into her mouth. She was sweet, tasting like a fruity cocktail. Sweet, too, in the ingenuous way she met his kiss.

How could a drop-dead gorgeous woman like this, with so much sexual experience, kiss like a virgin?

Tamiko trusts Ric because he rescued her, and she’s drawn to him. Yet, if he kissed her intensely, forcefully, he’d awaken her fears and she’d push him away. Instead, he cherishes her – which is something she’s never experienced before – and she responds. And no, they don’t make love now; it’s too soon and she’s too vulnerable. But when they do, of course Ric takes it slowly, tenderly, and he awakens her sensuality and sexuality.

 

Contrast their first kiss to the one in “Sexy Exes,” also from Sex on the Beach. Giovanna and James are exes who’ve barely spoken in years because every time they talk, they fight. Yet, because they love their daughter, they both agree to attend her wedding. Sparks – the bad and the good kind – fly, and when they dance a salsa together those sparks burst into flame. The exes arrange to meet secretly in her cabana.

image

 

Inside her cabana, Giovanna pulled her hair back from her flushed face with trembling hands.

James. Dio mio, the man was sexier than he’d ever been. Like wine—and Giovanna herself—he’d improved with age.

She wanted to taste him. All over. Her entire body ached for him.

But this was insane.

When he opened the door and stepped inside, she planted her hands on her hips, tossed her hair back, and glared at him. “We don’t even like each other.”

He locked the door and gave a ragged chuckle. “No, but we sure as hell—” Then he pulled her into his arms and bent his head, his intent utterly clear in the indigo blaze of his eyes.

She groaned with relief, lust, God knows what, flung her arms around his waist, and clung as his lips brushed hers.

That first touch was sweet yet potent, like those tropical cocktails she’d been drinking. Deceptively innocent, just a brush of lips against lips, and yet behind it passion surged with an intensity she’d never felt before.

“Damn you, James,” she said against his lips as she pressed closer, feeling his lean hardness, a body that was new yet achingly familiar.

“Damn you, too,” he returned, then thrust his tongue into her mouth and claimed her.

Their teeth clicked, their lips ground together, their tongues thrust and parried as their mouths made love and war at the same time.

His mouth was a wild, wet world where she could lose herself.

He grabbed her butt and squeezed, pulling her belly against his rigid shaft.

Everything inside her turned to molten heat and raw yearning. She squirmed against him, rubbing against his cock as shamelessly as a cat in heat.

These two have so much history – of passion, hurt, and anger – that of course it all comes out when they first kiss each other after many, many years. No surprise that they end up in bed immediately. But don’t you also feel, from that first kiss, that they’re going to get back together? The emotion is so strong, they can never be indifferent to each other. This second time around, they’ll both be more mature and find a way of making it work.

 

 

Often, a kiss just happens, but sometimes one of the partners serves notice, or issues an invitation. That’s what thriller-writer Damien did with Theresa, the sexy but up-tight professor sitting beside him on the plane from Sydney to Honolulu.

 

This opportunity – this woman – was too good to pass up. “Remember the ‘all work’ thing?” Damien said. “Isn’t the prof allowed some time off to play?”

“Well . . .” Her cheeks were pink again. “Dare I ask what you had in mind?”

“I think you just did.” He gave her his full-wattage smile. “Whatever we feel like. A little more talk. Maybe . . . ” With his index finger he smoothed hair away from her temple. “A kiss, right about here.” Then he touched her nose. “Another, here.” And, finally, her lips. “And definitely one here.”

“You’re –” Her voice came out croaky. She cleared her throat. “You’re giving me warning you intend to kiss me?”

“Let’s say hope rather than intend.” He studied her face, which reflected a mix of embarrassment, uncertainty, and arousal. The physical signals – flushed cheeks, gleaming eyes, beaded nipples – said she was turned on. But would she get over her hang-ups and acknowledge her desires? “Figure that might be more fun than grading exams?”

Humor sparkled. “Undoubtedly. But . . .” She ducked her head. “Maybe you shouldn’t have asked. Maybe you should have just gone ahead.”

“No. I want you to opt in.”

Slowly she raised her head and gazed into his eyes. “To what, exactly, Day?”

“Three kisses. Temple, nose, lips. And then we’ll see.”

Those enticing lips curved. “That doesn’t sound too awful.”

“If it is, we stop there.”

The curve deepened. “And if it turns out to be enjoyable?”

“Then it’s your turn. You pick the next three things. Kisses or anything else you want.”

She sucked in a breath, and he wondered what she was imagining. Something that made her cheeks flame again, and that could only be good as far as he was concerned.

Now they’re both anticipating those kisses – and aren’t you, too? There’s nothing like anticipation and sexual tension to make the moment even sweeter – and spicier – when it finally happens!

That’s from Sex Drive, the first book in my “planes, trains, automobiles, and a cruise ship” Wild Ride to Love series (and, by the way, Sex Drive is Cosmo’s choice as “red hot read” for May 2010!).

 

In the second book, Love, Unexpectedly, it’s Theresa’s sister Kat’s turn to take a wild ride to love. Kat’s always been attracted to her neighbor Nav, but he’s her best friend and she refuses to risk that friendship. Nav’s crazy in love with her but can’t break out of the “buddy trap.” Her train trip from Montreal is his opportunity to play “stranger on the train” and seduce her into seeing him in a whole new light – and realizing he’s the man of her dreams. So, he plays the role of a “stranger,” Pritam. Yes, Kat knows who he really is, but if she opts into the stranger game, she can have sexy fun with “Pritam” then (or so she believes) return home to her safe old friend Nav. Of course Nav has a very different agenda!

 

As friends, they’ve shared casual kisses on the cheek, but here’s their first kiss as prospective lovers, with him playing Pritam.

 

We had both turned in our seats, facing each other. He leaned closer and caressed my cheek, making me tremble. “Between us, it would be more. You feel that, don’t you, Kat? There’s been a connection ever since we got on this train and our eyes first met.”

He was reminding me of the game. I could accept Pritam, and we might end up in bed. Or I could treat him like Nav, my good friend and neighbor—the one I’d forbidden myself from having sex with—and call it quits now.

His face moved closer as I watched, fascinated. Nervous. Hopeful.

He was going to kiss me. Should I let him?

I wanted that kiss. Really, really wanted it.

And yet, it would be a make-or-break moment. What if our lips touched and things didn’t click? Or the kiss was clumsy? Or it was nice but no passion sparked? Or, if it was great but I got hung up obsessing about my friendship with Nav? If any of those things happened, then so much for the game, the fantasy, the scarily glorious sense of possibility.

Oh damn, I believed in action, so why was I doing all this uncharacteristic analysis? I tilted my head and moved closer in clear invitation.

His eyes, warm and brown, filled with something that looked almost like wonder. Then, those sensual lips met mine, soft and gentle, tentative for a moment. But only a moment.

They firmed, and confidently he took possession of my mouth in a kiss that seared me from head to toe, especially all the deliciously sexy places in between.

His tongue demanded entry and I accepted it eagerly, answered back with my own. All the attraction I’d felt since I’d seen this man—whether he was Pritam or Nav—came together with relief, hunger, passion. This kiss was more than thrusting tongues, nips and nibbles, the liquid heat in his eyes. Something sparked, flamed, between us.

My body tightened, ached, moistened. Talk about possibilities. Our kiss more than hinted at them, it promised, and I threw myself headlong into it.

Suddenly he broke away. He scrubbed a hand across his face, sucked in a long breath, then blew it out again.

I was trying to catch my own breath when he said, eyes twinkling, “Now that was a damned presumptuous first kiss.”

I laughed softly at his wording. “You didn’t see me objecting, did you?”

A quick grin flashed. “No, thank God. But we are on a train. We don’t want to get booted off before we get to Toronto.”

I flushed. I’d been so caught up in the sexy world we’d created together, I’d forgotten our surroundings. “This is embarrassing.”

No big surprise that, when the train stops in Toronto, he persuades her to share his hotel room. And that’s just the start of their sexy journey! Love, Unexpectedly will be out in April. It’s written under my pen name Susan Fox.

 

Now, readers, it’s your turn. What are the best kisses you remember – either in your own life, in books, or in movies? Is there a first kiss, or special kiss, you’ll never forget?

 

 

Our Guest Today is:

Susan Lyons / Susan Fox is the award-winning author of sexy contemporary romance that’s passionate, heartwarming and fun. She is published by Kensington Aphrodisia, Kensington Brava, Berkley Heat, Harlequin Spice Briefs, The Wild Rose Press, and Freya’s Bower. Reviewers say:  “Ms. Lyons’ gives readers characters you can relate to, genuine emotional context and undeniable passion wrapped up in a compelling storyline that leaves you eagerly anticipating her next release.” “Susan Lyons is a talented storyteller with a voice like no other author. Her characters will touch not only your heart but your soul too.”

Susan is a Pacific Northwester with homes in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. She has degrees in law and psychology, and has had a variety of careers, including perennial student, computer consultant, and legal editor. Fiction writer is by far her favorite, giving her an outlet to demonstrate her belief in the power of love, friendship, and a sense of humor.

 

 

P.S. This was originally posted at The Erotic Romance Reading Challenge – I thought I would post it here as well… As I liked it so much..

 

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Review – The Manny © Sara Bell

Title:  The Manny

Author: Sara Bell

Publisher: Torquere Press

Main Characters: Tate Fuller's & A.J. Boyd

Tate Fuller's life is a God-awful mess. He's flat broke, his dead lover's parents are suing him again and his asshat landlord A.J. Boyd is evicting him from his bike shop, the one constant in Tate's life. He's starting to think things will never look up when sees an ad in the paper for a night and weekend nanny. So what if the guy who's doing the hiring is none other than A.J. himself, or if A.J. makes Tate's blood heat with something other than anger?

After having his wife dump him because she claimed a bisexual man could never be faithful, A.J. Boyd has stopped being surprised when life throws him curve balls. Stopped being surprised, that is, until he finds out his ex-wife has died and left him with a six-week old daughter he didn't even know he had. Now he's sleep-deprived, scared stiff, and ready to do something really stupid, like hire the stubborn, infuriating, cocky Tate. And if the tension between them's hot enough to restart the Chicago fire, well, so be it

The process server came to let Tate know the Michaelsons were suing him -- again -- exactly ten minutes after he got the disconnect notices for the gas and electric at his shop. Since it was Tate's experience bad news came in threes, he couldn't help wonder what fresh hell was in store for him next.

His answer came an hour after the process server left, when A.J. Boyd, his landlord and all-around pain in Tate's ass, strolled into the shop with a triumphant smile on his too-handsome-not-to-have-had-some-work-done face.

"You're late on the rent." A.J. was practically bouncing on the balls of his Italian-leather clad feet.

Tate swallowed. He had exactly forty dollars in his checking account, his credit cards were maxed out, and he had yet to notify his lawyer of this newest development with the Michaelsons. "I'm not even a month behind yet." Close enough. Twenty-eight days, but still… "Look, I'm good for it. I've got three bikes as good as sold and another guy who's waiting on financing. As soon as the money comes in –"

"I'm filing evection proceedings first thing tomorrow," A.J. said cheerfully. "No hard feelings."

Tate felt like he was drifting in the middle of the Atlantic in a leaky washtub. No matter the bad shit that had happened to him in the past two years, he'd always had his shop to fall back on. His former landlord, Red Hanks, had been a mentor to Tate, teaching him the ins-and-outs of the bike building trade, selling him the business and renting him the building. They'd been more than business associates: they'd been friends up until a year and a half ago when Red had a massive heart attack walking through his own living room on his way to the Sunday dinner table. Red's wife hadn't wanted the responsibility of paying taxes, keeping up codes, etc. etc, and so she'd decided to sell the building Road Hog Custom Cycles was housed in. She'd offered it to Tate first, of course, but thanks to the Michaelsons, he couldn't finance a stick a Juicy Fruit, much less a commercial property in Chicago. Enter A.J., who'd snagged the building from Red's widow for a song and had proceeded to make Tate's life hell ever since.

"You can't do this," Tate said. "I have rights."

"You and Red didn't have a lease, which means you and I don't have a lease." A.J. looked at him with something akin to pity in those emotionless blue eyes of his. "You're month to month, buddy. I don't have to have a reason to want you out. I --" From the pocket of A.J.'s black suit coat, his cell phone chirped. He held up one slender finger as he answered. "Hold that thought."

A.J. walked to the far corner of the main garage space to take his call. With his white-blond hair and sun-kissed skin, A.J. looked more like a California surfer god than a real estate mogul, but Tate supposed everybody had their talents. Too bad one of A.J.'s chief accomplishments was adding to Tate's mile-long list of woes.

"Yes. No, I understand," A.J. was saying into the phone Tate couldn't help but notice he was holding in a death grip. "No, I'll be there in fifteen minutes. Right. Goodbye." He killed the connection and looked at Tate, all the color gone from his cheeks. "I have to go. Remember what I said." All the warmth had drained from him along with the color. "I want you out."

Tate watched him go, wondering which of them was the more miserable bastard.

The Manny © Sara Bell

 

My Thoughts.

THE MANNY is one of those books  where the beauty lies in the detail and I did enjoy those details. The books does not really veer far from the blur so this is more a round up of my thoughts on the book.

I came across Ms. Bells work recently and decided to start with this short read, The story begins straight off with the two main protags at each others throats and naturally my sympathies went with the underdog, which in this case was Tate Fuller.

Tate is barely managing, who am I kidding Tate is barely surviving – with losing his partner and a pending wrongful death lawsuit nipping at his heels and to top it off he’s late on his rent, how much worse can it get. Well when A.J. Boyd walked through the doors of his bike shop it just got extremely worse – because A.J doesn’t give him a chance he wants him out and no arguments about it.

A.J. Boyd the “asshat landlord”  has his own share of troubles and a shocker is closer than he could even imagine. When A.J. finds out he is a father and not under the most ideal of circumstances he is not happy, but one look at Madeline, his six weeks bundle of pinkie goodness and he was lost.

As much as he love Madeline he knows he has to get some sleep because babies and commercial life do not go hand in hand. Luckily for Madeline, Tate is also on the hunt for a job and he has just the right amount of experience and training – A.J. is not so happy about Tate turning up at his door – but when Madeline stops crying for the first time in what feels like weeks he would have make a deal with the devil if he did that.

And so begins the dance of passing the baby over muscled shoulders and across the kitchen table into big work worn hands in and out to work, there also begins the lusting glances and the sly little smiles and I was loving it.

As expected something had to give and it did in a big way – A.J. and Tate themselves were their own worst enemy, but nastiness has away of floating to the top and when one surprise after another has A.J.’s and Tate’s backs against the wall – they have to do their own soul searching to see if they can make it together after all is said and done. 

Sara Bell is a new voice to me, but I am liking her style – it is so easy to read, before I knew it I was as caught up in the love affair between the two men just as much as members of both their families were. The support cast in this was fantastic, direct, and the look you in the eyes and put a whole lot of hurting on you type of people and I loved them.

I will say that I thought she did an great job of defining A.J. and Tate, as short as this book was I got to know them really well. The storyline itself I thought was really good and I only wish there was more of it – as it was a pretty decently put together plotline.

THE MANNY is definately one I would recommend. 

 

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