Saturday, 31 July 2010

Weekly Geeks – 50 years of “To Kill A Mockingbird © Harper Lee”


July 11th marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, a Pulitzer Prize winning novel, and arguably one of the most influential cultural books of its kind in the U.S.

Have you read To Kill a Mockingbird? When did you first read it? Did it affect the way you think about race and class in the U.S.? Do you agree that it's an influential and/or important book?

If you read the book but don't live in the U.S., how did the novel influence your opinions about race in the U.S.?

Here's a link to one of the many stories about the novel's anniversary. Have you come across any other interesting stories about the book or the author, Harper Lee?

What other novels have you read that have affected the way you view culture, either your own or others?

My Thoughts.

This week the Geekers are asked to looked back at our first time with To Kill a Mockingbird (TKMB), I read this book for the first time during the summer between my primary and high school years and my love for this book has not waned – not by an inch.

As a young girl whose reading literature at the time consisted of stuff like The Year in San Fernando, Some Mills & Boons, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and such books, reading TKMB was simply a pleasure.

As a teenager I connected immediately with Scout Finch, In a way I had me my own "Boo" Radley in our neighbourhood and the family dynamics presented in the book was one I knew only too well. Over the years as the analysis of the book and how it relates to today's society and all the other fiction/real world descriptions got branded about by different people who read this book got more and more grandiose – for me I always look at this book as really one of the books that highlighted one of the best summers of my life.

I met characters that even after twenty odd years – I have not forgotten them.

The lesson, concept, plot line is as relevant today as it was when the book was written.

It is one of those book that crosses a whole lot of societies barrier – It connected my entire sixth form from our drama club to our debating outings.

Keeper shelf material  - I still have my original hard cover copy filled with notes and autographs from friend of the day.

It went on to film adaptation and coupling the magic of the  book with  Gregory Peck – It’s a winner of a film…

When I eventually got the book as one of the text for my literature exam I have read the book all of five times already – My teacher at the time  had us take it apart and there is so much issue, lessons, value, moral judgement  and love wrapped up in this book that really some of us got it and some didn’t but not one of the group of year nine did not love it…

I still remember one thing that the teacher said  during  one of those early  literature  lesson “Lee wrote what she knew and she wrote from the heart and that more than anything else makes a truly great story”

I still believe that up to this day.  Lee’s work wasn’t the reinvention of the wheel – she used her skill as a writer to write what she knew and she gave it her all and that made TKMB magic.

There really is no excuse not to have read this book – or watch the film. Happy 50th To Kill a Mockingbird.

Here are a few other novels that I have read that have affected the way I view culture, my own or others.

Roots – Alex Haley

Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys

Peyton Place - Grace Metalious

The Year in San Fernando - Michael Anthony

The Colour Purple - Alice Walker

Animal Farm - George Orwell

Have you guys read TKMB or any other books that have affected the way you view culture, either your own or others?

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Friday, 30 July 2010

I is tired

 

Today has been one of those days – no bad, but just needed a few more hours in the day to get it all done in a timely manner…. It got done in the end but whew!!!

I seriously hope you guys had or is still having a Tiger-ri-fic day and looking forward to a rocking weekend…

See you in the morning….

 

Happy Friday Ya All

 

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Thursday, 29 July 2010

Excerpt Day - Valley of Shadows by Phoenix Emrys

Excerpt

“Congratulations, Ellery. The Warrior’s Tale has topped the best-sellers lists for the third week in a row. Copies of your book are flying off the shelves. Hanover House is very happy with its hottest property.”

“How alliterative of you, Max.” I can hear the dollar signs in her voice. “Are you sure you aren’t considering a career change?”

“Not on your life.” The sound of her light chuckle tickles my right ear. “I’ll leave the writing to you. I’m quite happy to stay in your shadow managing your career. It might not be as glamorous, but so far it’s proven extremely lucrative.”

No arguments there.

“My shadow, my ass!” Now it’s my turn to chuckle. “Max, please, you’re about as shy and retiring as a barracuda!”

“All the better to get you the best deal possible, my dear,” she airily ripostes.

“Of which you take a generous cut!”

“Ellery, I earn every percentage point! Quit complaining. I’ve made you a very rich man.”

“Okay, I’ll give you that.” I take a quick sip of my tea. “On both counts. Just think: but for you—and your endearingly nosy niece—at this very moment I might be anonymously languishing away in a garret somewhere in glorious, anonymous poverty.”

And definitely not having this conversation. Hmmm. Considering the circus my life has become as a result of the entrance of the redoubtable Maxima into it, the garret option sounds pretty good. On both counts.

Max giggles. Not a sound one often associates with her. Trust me on this one.

“Oh, Ellery, get over yourself already. Languishing is not your forte, and while a garret probably seems romantic to someone with your unique sensibilities, there’s nothing glamorous about poverty.”

“I never said there was. Anyway, how the hell would you know? Being born with a silver Porsche in your mouth hardly qualifies you as an expert on the subject.”

“Admit it, Ellery,” Max continues, “Carrie’s curiosity about her fiancé’s mysteriously reclusive roommate and the equally mysterious manuscripts he was so protective of—her going behind your back and going through them was the best thing that ever happened to you. To both of us, actually.”

“Oh, yes, lucky, lucky me.” I roll my eyes, serene in the knowledge she cannot see the visual expression of my total lack of enthusiasm for my supposed fortune. “What an incredibly serendipitous stroke I drew a college roommate engaged to a charming young lady with no concept of personal space, boundaries, or property. And what were the odds, her aunt happening to be a hungry literary agent looking to make her mark.”

With luck like this, I shoulda booked passage on the Titanic.

Sarcasm is wasted on Max. The idea someone—namely me—might not actually enjoy being routinely victimized by the Machiavellian media publicity engine in which she has me ensnarled doesn’t figure in her reality. Power mad beast that she is.

Pull my life over; I want to get off now.

She blathers on about how bleeping lucky I am to be me. I tune her out and check my watch. Nine fifteen. No sign of the other significant female in my life. That’s odd. I wonder what’s up. She’s not usually tardy. It’s not like she would have slept in or anything. Maybe she’s finally moved on. Pushed off, cleared out, flown the coop, decided to find some peace and leave me to mine. Not that I’ll get any, even if she has headed off for greener pastures, but a man can dream.

“Five best sellers in a row.” Max again. Oops, is she still talking? “The movie rights and DVD residuals alone are keeping me up nights. You, Ellery Joyce James, are one supernova of a hot literary commodity. I don’t know how you do it.”

It’s a secret, and I plan to keep it that way.

“The detail in your stories is incredible; it’s like you’ve actually been there. In the past, I mean. The events you describe, the people, the places, everything you write; it’s all so… well, it’s almost spooky how real you make it all. I don’t even want to think about how much time you spend researching. Then there’s the actual writing. You do sleep, don’t you, Ellery? You crank these babies out so fast! Especially this latest one. Ellery, I swear, it reads like you actually lived Marcus’s life!”

Well, someone did, all right, that much is true, but it wasn’t me.

Pop goes the bagel! It’s about time!

“That’s great, Max, I’m pleased you’re pleased.” And I’ll be pleased as soon as I sink my teeth into this little bakery beauty here. “But I sense you’re not calling to dazzle me with a deluge of praise and award me another laurel wreath to rest on.”

’Kay. Bagel has been fished out of the toaster and plated. Whee. Excellent, we are mere seconds away from achieving breakfast. Next step, cream cheese.

Oy, this poor fridge is ever so bare. Nothing much left of the odds and ends I picked up to tide me over until I make a proper re-provisioning run. I’ve been back now almost forty-eight hours, and I still haven’t gone outside. I will, I will; it’s just…. I have to keep reminding myself I’m not in New York anymore. It’s okay to leave the house. This is sleepy little Birchwood. I’m not gonna get swarmed by paparazzi the second my foot hits the sidewalk.

I hate big cities. New York in particular. Damn publicity tours! Every time I get conned into doing one, I swear it’ll be the last. Maybe this time it’ll finally be true.

The solution to making it all go away is simple. I must cease feeding the beast. When I stop pumping out the moneymakers—if there are no more big, shiny books to bally-hoo—I’ll no longer be useful to those making a killing selling little pieces of me. I’ll drop off everyone’s radar. The world will forget me and move on. Ah, bliss. Definitely something to look forward to. Can’t quit yet. As much as I hate the machine, the cash it’s cranking out is largely funding the work I really care about. My other really big secret. That won’t always be so; all that insider info has been turning my investments into gold. A little while longer and I won’t have to write the books any more.

Soon, soon. I’ll hang it up and fade back into my wallpaper, here. No more touring, no more book signings, no more stupid interviews and talk show appearances. No more getting the crap scared out of me turning a corner unsuspecting and seeing my face plastered all over the newsstand on the cover of some stupid tabloid.

Calm down, Ellery, it’s all over for now. The big, bad city is behind you, and you’re back home, safe and sound in good ol’ Birchwood. Breathe and focus on the task at hand.

Cream cheese, where’s the cream cheese? Aw, don’t tell me I’m out of cream cheese!

“You know me too well, Ellery,” Max sighs. “Why, yes, now you mention it, I did have an ulterior motive for making this call. I was wondering when we were going to get a peek at your current masterpiece in progress.”

Ah! There it is! Cream cheese! Yum! Step three, flip the lid, insert knife, and spread.

“Not yet, Max.” I wedge the cell between my chin and shoulder so as to expedite lid-lifting. “I’m not ready to let anyone see it yet. It’s kind of… uh… experimental.”

Yeah. Experimental. Sure, why not. That works. Sounds good too. Way better than owning up to not having even started the damned thing yet.

Aw nuts! The container is empty! This is not happening.

“Not even me?”

I can hear her pouting from three thousand miles away.

“Nope, not even you,” I heartlessly return.

No cream cheese. I am officially bummed out here.

“Now I’m really intrigued. You’re not usually this mysterious about your work, Ellery. This one must be something extra special.”

You just keep on thinkin’ that. Me, I have to cut this conversation short. There is no way I’m eating this stinking bagel without cream cheese. I don’t have to and I don’t want to. However, the cream cheese shortage means my toasty friend here is destined to be a discard. The trashcan gets a bagel. My stomach gets squat.

I have no breakfast. Dommage.

That’s French for “woe is me.”

Well, this bites. Big, big appetite. No bagel. Bummer.

Now what?

Oh boy, I really don’t want to go back to Dinah’s Diner yet, but being hungry enough to start gnawing on the knotty pine is a powerful motivator. I can’t keep avoiding the place forever, especially as their reopening has removed my excuse for not making an appearance. Other than being chickenshit, that is. I’m not ready to return, but I’m really, really hungry. And you know what else? Even when I have crummy cream cheese, these stupid bagels are a lousy substitute for their lovely breakfasts to which I\'ve become not so much accustomed as addicted. My mornings haven’t been the same without Norma’s utterly divine Eggs Benedict.

God, I’ve missed that place, and Norma and Molly and—the unfortunately late and deeply lamented Martin.

“You writers,” Max laughs, snapping me back into the conversation. “You’re all such prima donnas. Fine, suit yourself; be mysterious. As long as you produce, I don’t care if you want to hole up in your ivory tower and remain completely incommunicado for the next six weeks.”

“Is that your not-so-subtle way of reminding me of my deadline?”

“Ellery, would I be so obvious?” She laughs again. “All right, I’ve wasted enough of your time; I’ll stop talking and let you get back to work. Be brilliant, and see you in a couple of weeks?”

“Looking forward to it, Max.”

Please let her be done. I don’t ask for much, but definitely asking for this.

“Oh, Ellery, before I forget, there’s just one more little thing.”

Argh. Of course there is. Hunger is making me hallucinate. I swear I see bagel-shaped spots in front of my eyes.

Without any cream cheese.

“Now I know every time we’ve talked about this you’ve refused to listen to reason, but you know me.”

Indeed.

“I’m willing to give you another chance to see things my way.”

Now there’s an offer I can’t refuse.

“Ellery, I really think you should reconsider the bodyguard issue.”

Absolutely not.

“No, Max.”

“Not even after the incident in New York?”

That was New York. The Big Apple. This is Birchwood. The Small Potatoes. I’ve lived here long enough to be on speaking terms with almost everyone in town. I’m fine with them, they’re fine with me. We’re all fine. Birchwood is good, and so am I, as long as I’m here. End of discussion.

Honestly, I don’t know why she thinks I need “people.” Things are complicated enough around here already; adding additional warm, nosy bodies to the population of my happy haven is the last thing I want. Or need. Yet for some unfathomable reason, Max seems determined to encumber me with an entourage. Personal assistants, secretaries, gophers, researchers, bodyguards—you name the species of superfluous lackey, she’s had a go at running them by me and inciting me to employ them.

I don’t get it, but I won’t have it—or them—either. No matter how much she nags. But so far it hasn’t stopped her from trying. She has been going on, and on, and on, about this bodyguard issue for the last six months. Still not gonna happen. It’s bad enough I let her run my public life. I’ll be damned if I’ll put up with some no-necked bruiser telling me what to do once I’ve escaped the fishbowl and returned to my private domain.

Especially a no-necked bruiser she’s handpicked and programmed to be her puppet proxy. Anyway, the whole idea of me needing personal protection is ridiculous. I don’t know what the heck she thinks could happen to me in Birchwood.

“No, Max.” Geez, give it up, already.

I hear an impatient hmph on the other end of the line. Max is becoming miffed. She’s not used to resistance, especially from me. I don’t often dig my heels in—with good reason. Brooking Maxima Collins is not to be embarked upon lightly. Nor is it for the faint of heart. Trust me, when going head to head with a mega-diva of truly epic proportions, you pick your battles.

Every one I do, I win.

“Well, we’ll leave it for now, but this isn’t over, Ellery.”

Yeah, it is. Deal with it.

“Seeing as how you’ve suddenly become so tediously unreasonable, I suppose there’s no point in discussing disposing of that backwater monstrosity you’re living in?”

Hey, don’t diss my digs. It’s a very nice monstrosity. Loaded with atmosphere, lousy with history, oozing quirky charm and character, all with a foyer you could bowl in. Aside from the fact I dropped a bundle to restore it to its former glory and a little more besides, after having barely survived the insanity masquerading as my most recent New York experience, backwaters suit me just fine.

“La, la, la, got my fingers in my ears.”

“Seriously, Ellery, even after what little you’ve done to it, the place is too hideous for words. It gives me nightmares just looking at it. You’re absolutely adamant about living in the creaky old place?”

Oh, I am, I am.

“We could still gut the entire interior, and then possibly I could persuade Darren to pop down there, inspect the building, come up with a floor plan that would make the place habitable.”

In your dreams, sweetheart.

“La, la, la, I can’t hear you.”

“Mind you, the property isn’t a total loss. The grounds are lovely, and it is a good location. For the middle-of-nowheresville. How about this, demolish the old, in with the new, we could completely do away with that shabby old eyesore and put up a beautiful new, modern building.”

“You need to stop talking now, Max.”

Speak to the phone, the El has stopped listening.

“Honestly, you’re such a child,” Max wearily scolds me. “I can’t talk to you when you get like this.”

I know. That’s the idea. Bad, bad Ellery.

“I’ll get back to you when you’re prepared to be more reasonable.”

That would be… never!

“Kiss, kiss,” Max signs off, and breaks the connection.

“You should marry that girl.”

Ah, there she is. The other woman. So much for my hopes of having a completely normal day for the first time in….

God, I don’t even remember how long it’s been since she hasn’t been….

Haunting me.

“Good morning, Mrs. Sheridan,” I sigh, tossing my cell phone on the kitchen counter and the bagel and empty cream cheese container in the trash. “Don’t you ever knock?”

“Most amusing, my darling boy.”

I turn and see all five feet of her, from the top of her silvering head to the fuzzy pink tips of her over-sized slippers. Her sparkling eyes are set like ironic agates in the comforting creases of her time-tracked face as she stands in the middle of my kitschy country kitchen, smiling indulgently at me.

“Marry Max? That’s possibly the most bizarre thing you’ve ever said to me.” I cross my arms and frown at her. “And given some of the odder conversations we’ve had over the years, we’re talking a whole lot of bizarre, here!”

“You need someone in your life, dear,” she says with a sad smile.

“Whether I do or not is neither here nor there, and also none of your business,” I irritably retort. Thankfully we don’t have this conversation much, well, not much any more, that is; even so, I’m growing more than tired of it. Max and I have a successful business relationship. So far we haven’t killed each other. I relate to her on a personal level as personally as I’ve ever been with anyone living and breathing. The relationship is what I need it to be. Comfortably functional. Max is definitely not a touchy feely kind of person. And she’s far too preoccupied with running my life to expend much energy actually discovering who I really am or what I can do.

Exactly what I need her to be.

“Max is a good friend, and an even better agent. She’s also the last person I’d consider getting involved with.”

If I were considering getting involved with anyone. Which I’m not. Life is complicated enough without adding intimacy to the insanity. No, it was made clear to me a long time ago it’s better for me and everyone else to never, ever go there.

The price I pay for being me.

Marry Max. Mrs. S. should take her act on the road; she’d totally knock ’em dead in the Twilight Zone. I’m not in the market. Not now, not ever. Even if I were, she wouldn’t be on my short list. Not simply because she’s Max. Or because she’s engaged. Again. She’s… she’s not the right one.

If I weren’t half-dead from hunger, I wouldn’t be thinking about this at all, and I certainly wouldn’t admit that for all my “I walk alone” bravado, I do have a short list. It’s short. Only has one name on it. No, that’s not right; it’s not a name, because I don’t know it. Not a name. A face.

I try not to let it happen, but sometimes, despite my best efforts to keep it away, when I lie awake late at night or surface in the morning, caught in that twilight state between the world of wakefulness and dreams—I see it. The face. Just a hint, teasing, ephemeral features dancing in the recesses of my awareness, not long enough to be able to pick him out in a lineup, yet leaving enough of an inner impression for me to be certain I know him. I know I’ve never met him, he probably doesn’t even exist, and yet….

Forget it, and him. Stuff all this nonsense back in the oubliette in your head and have done with it.

“It’s not like you know a lot of other women, darling.” Mrs. Sheridan gives me a pointed look over the tops of her wire-framed glasses. “Or any other people for that matter. You spend far too much time with—”

“And whose fault is that?” I snap at her. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be getting so irritated. She means well, and God only knows, if it weren’t for her tirelessly running interference and helping to keep certain things under some semblance of control, my daily existence would bring fresh new meaning to the concept of “living hell.” All the same, being a constant in my life for over twenty years doesn’t give her the right to run it!

“Have you had breakfast yet, dear?” she soothes. “No, of course you haven’t,” she confidently carries on before I can reply. “You wouldn’t be this grumpy. You can be quite rude when you’re hungry, you know. There’s obviously no talking to you at the moment, dear, so scoot now and eat something, and why don’t you take the morning off? We’ll postpone the appointment until after lunch. How does that sound?”

“That sounds fine, Mrs. S.” I sigh and rub my eyes. “Now, buzz off so I can shower and get dressed. Go… go knit something.”

“Now, dear, you know I can’t knit anymore.” She blinks, favoring me with an ingenuous smile. “I’m dead.”

Poof, she disappears.

Thank God, I thought she’d never leave.

Oh, I’m sorry; did I not mention Mrs. Sheridan is a ghost?

Yes, it’s true, I’m crackers. Ever since I was a boy, I’ve been seeing and hearing this sweet, little old dead lady hanging around, constantly popping in and out of my life. Why? I dunno, you tell me. But for whatever reason she’s here, seems like I’m stuck with her, or her with me. I’ve kinda gotten used to her and the whole talking to a dead person all the time schtick, and it wouldn’t be so bad if she were the only one.

Oh, God, if only she were the only one!

Step out of the shower, quickly toweling off, yes, I will take the time to shave, dammit. It’s my face, and if I want to shave it, I will. Screw Max and her “Now Ellery, I thought we settled this, you look so much sexier with the scruff. We’re going to forget about the razor for the rest of the tour.”

I hate stubble. It itches like crazy, and I don’t like the way my face feels when I don’t shave. I hate it almost as much as I hate this hair. Black and straight and way too long. I want to drag a towel over my head and go. Not stand here staring at myself with a blow dryer. I hate blow dryers. I hate my face, my black, supposed bedroom eyes, my chiseled, dimpled chin and all. I hate the entire “Ellery, it’s all about image. You’re the whole package. You not only write it, you could be on the cover. We’re going to give you a total Fabio make-over. You can carry it off, and the public will love it. Just… give it a try. Especially the hair. You’ll learn to live with it. Trust me.”

While I’ve been blowing, foaming, scraping, frowning, and frothing at the mouth, I’ve moved way past hungry and into frankly freaking starving. I hurl myself into my closet and throw on some clothes. Now I finally need to commit to where we’re heading next.

Eat out or fetch provisions and cook in? Truth be told, I’m equally unthrilled with door number two. The grocery store option. Especially after the last encounter I had at the deli counter. Not something I’m anxious to risk repeating. Certainly not on an empty stomach.

Grocery shopping could prove to be an equally unpleasant alternative to daring Dinah’s, depending on who’s hanging around whom while they’re prowling the produce aisles hunter-gathering, completely oblivious to the fact they’re being relentlessly stalked by their recently dearly departed.

Lucky bastards.

So, what’s it going to be, the deli or Dinah’s? Either way, I really need to go out. I checked out the obits in the paper this morning. It’s been pretty slow on the death front recently, so maybe I can get to wherever I decide to go and back again without encountering any spectral stalkers.

Oh, Ellery, just suck it up and go already!

I slip on my jacket and grab my cell and the manila envelope for my mailing service: a week’s worth of wrapping up loose ends messages from the out-of-towners. I’ve lost track of how many of these post-mortem missives I’ve sent out over the years. Literally thousands of cards and letters along the lines of, “Hello, you don’t know me and I prefer to keep it that way, but Fred wants you to look in the tool shed under the third brick from the bottom. I don’t know what that means, but he says you will. Have a nice life and sorry for your loss, but if it’s any consolation, he’s looking well.”

Or similar variations on the same basic theme. Beyond-the-grave instructions, blessings, and words of love, last good-byes from those taken before they could be spoken, pleas for the bereaved to let go and move on. So many things left undone, unsaid, postponed until a tomorrow these souls took for granted and never got to have. Most of these other-side supplicants were basically good people, their requests well meant and worth fulfilling, but as in life, so also in death, some, but not all. Occasionally I’ve run across some bad ones, twisted and bitter while they were alive, death evidently not evincing any improvement in their character. They come to me reeking with envy and resentment, still wanting to strike out and hurt the ones they’ve left behind. Those kinds of messages I don’t pass on. Hey, I don’t have to do this at all, and I certainly don’t get a postage allowance for it!

I’ve often wondered what effect these little metaphysical missives have had on the recipients. I hope they’ve done something good for someone out there, but as I have no plans to do any follow-ups on this end, I guess I’ll never know. Maybe it’s just as well. I don’t know anything about them or their lives, and they are equally unaware of me and mine. That’s what works best for me, and that’s the way I plan to keep it.

So far, so good. No one—that is, no one living—knows I can do this. Not that it’s been easy to keep this so-called “gift” under the radar. Hey, you try to carry on a conversation with a real person while a dead one is attempting to flag you down. Eventually the haunts I encounter during the course of my daily existence work out badgering me non-stop is akin to flogging a dead horse. If you pardon the expression. I’ll deal with their dead baggage for them, but I’ll do it in my time and on my terms. If they don’t bother me until I’m ready to deal with them, I tend to be much more co-operative.

As for the ones who come from all over the frigging world—and I haven’t a clue how they find me—Mrs. Sheridan does an excellent job keeping them at bay. Nothing like having my own personal otherworldly secretary and spectral screener at my service twenty-four seven. Thanks to her, nobody and nothing bothers me when I’m at home. My personal living space is sacrosanct, my sole refuge from the otherwise constant bizarreness also known as my life. She keeps the magnificent and Max-maligned mansion-slash-mausoleum-slash-former-B&B I was bequeathed off limits and out of bounds to anything not breathing. They don’t get to waft through my walls unless they’ve got an appointment. Seriously.

While this little arrangement, for which I’m quite grateful, gives me sanctuary from the psychic storm constantly swirling about everywhere else outside these ivy-covered walls, it also means I don’t get out much. ’Cause as soon as I venture outside my—literal—comfort zone, I’m fair game.

Oh well, let the games begin.

© Phoenix Emrys
Valley of Shadows
Author Name: Phoenix Emrys
Genre: GLBT
Publisher: Dreamspinners Press
Buy Link

Ellery James, a celebrated author of historical romances, shuns the spotlight, preferring the solitude of his small town sanctuary to risking media scrutiny. He harbors a closely guarded secret that is not only the bane of his existence, but the source and inspiration of his bestsellers.
His strictly proscribed existence goes south and sideways when the grimly dangerous Boone Dantrell blazes into Ellery's life. Ellery is alarmed to experience a tentative but undeniable connection to the haunted, mysterious stranger with secrets of his own, and the burgeoning attraction between them grows almost as swiftly as the danger dogging Boone.
They’ve barely met before their secrets and worlds collide, thrusting them both into unimaginable peril. The battle they must wage together spans this world—and the next—and losing it could cost them not only their lives, but their very souls.

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Excerpt Day - A Visit from the Truth Faerie - Katica Locke

Excerpt

Simon glanced around for something to put on, finding nothing besides the towel in his hand and his bloodstained boxers on the floor. Wrapping the towel around his waist, he hesitantly opened the door and stepped out.

"Julian?"

"Yes?" Julian's voice came from within the bedroom.

"I-- I need some clothes..." He trailed off as Julian appeared in the doorway, his jeans undone to reveal a pair of black boxers with red hearts on them stretched tight over Julian's arousal. Simon swallowed hard. "Where's my robe?"

"I asked Raven to wash it," Julian said, taking a slow, fluid step toward him. "It'll be dry in about an hour...if she doesn't forget about it, of course."

"Maybe I'll just go remind her," Simon said, trying to slip sideways out of the short hall, but Julian grabbed his arm and pulled him back. "Julian, please don't do this," Simon said, bracing a hand against the vampire's chest. "I don't want to hurt you."

Julian laughed, a surprised sound.

"You really think you could?" he asked.

Simon shook his head.

"I meant, if I give in, if we...I can't get past what you are, Julian, and if we have sex, that's all it will be--meaningless sex, and I know you want more than that, but I can't--I just--I don't want you to be hurt." He couldn't believe he was saying it, and even more surprising was that he meant it. Julian was a nice guy, even if he was a monster, and Simon didn't want to hurt him. He glanced up to find Julian smiling at him, one of those warm, soft smiles that made his knees weak.

"You're sweet, Simon," he murmured, "but you've apparently forgotten the assholes who are watching my house, and the assassin that's coming tonight to kill me. Getting my feelings hurt is the least of my worries right now. Are you really going to make me spend the last few remaining hours of my life alone?"

Simon knew a line when he heard one; he knew when someone would say anything to get into his pants--or rather, into his towel, as the case happened to be--but Julian was also right. They were probably all going to die in less than twelve hours...and it was all Simon's fault.

"No, I won't," he said, reaching down and untucking the end of his towel, a shiver running up his spine as the damp terrycloth slid down his legs to pool around his ankles. Julian looked surprised, his gaze creeping down Simon's body and a dark hunger filling his eyes.

"If I had known it would work that well, I'd have tried that line months ago," he said, stepping backward into the bedroom and motioning for Simon to follow. As Simon entered the room, he glanced around, at a dark painting hanging above the dresser that hadn't been there the last time, at the rumpled, burgundy colored satin sheets on the bed, and at the heavy, wrought iron head and foot boards. He'd had dreams about this room, lurid, vivid fantasies. Nothing like this. This was...anticlimactic.

© Katica Locke

A Visit from the Truth Faerie
Author Name: Katica Locke
Genre: Suburban Fantasy
Publisher: Shadowfire Press
Buy Link

Simon learns that it isn't smart to lie to a truth faerie.

Simon still hasn't gotten used to living next door to a vampire, and even though Julian is not the monster Simon expected, Simon can't see past the fangs. When a sadistic faerie turns up on Simon's doorstep looking for Julian and tortures Simon for the information, Simon has no choice but to seek refuge with his vampire neighbor. Putting his life in the hands of the last person he ever thought he could trust, Simon discovers a few things about vampires and a little about himself, too.

Julian, never short on charm, wastes no time in coaxing Simon into his bed one last time before they all die. Except that Simon isn't in danger. Julian is the only one they want. Feeling used and betrayed, Simon leaves Julian to face the threat alone, a decision that may prove fatal.

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Excerpt Day - Melt the Ice Bk2: Sultry In Sweden – Sloane Taylor

EXCERPT:

Disa ran her fingers along Colt’s deltoids, watching the strong muscles flex under her touch. His shyness had been endearing along with confusing. She wondered if his physical problem went farther than the normal aches and pains of a professional athlete. If so, she intended to help him overcome the situation. If not, then he was in for a satisfying surprise. She hoped.

A quick scramble across the sheet gave him more room, then she tugged on his shoulders so he would lay back against the pillow. He winced, but continued to draw his legs up onto the bed.

She combed her fingers through the crisp auburn hairs sprinkled across his broad chest, descending to his beautiful hard dick nestled in a curly, reddish tuft. She swallowed hard, fighting her desire to suck him until he came.

“You are a fine-looking man, Colt.” She rose onto her knees, then traced a fingernail around his tight balls, her inner muscles clenching with desire.

He laid a hand on her calf and slowly eased it up toward her thigh, caressing her. His fingers climbed higher. A shudder ran through her from his gentle massage over her rear end up to the small of her back, then down, slipping a finger between her cheeks. Pressure built when he circled her sphincter, dipping his fingertip into the tight circle, out again, then back in.

She nipped at his balls, laving the tight sacs, savoring their salty taste. Her hand pumped his cock, starting slow and increasing the speed. His hips jerked, rocking with her rhythm, thrusting along her palm.

Deftly, Colt maneuvered out from under Disa and knelt facing her. He wrapped her in his arms and kissed her with a passion she had never known. She clung to him, loving his strength, savoring his taste. He pulled away, the skin pulled taut over his cheekbones.

“It’s time to make you happy, baby. How about rolling over?” He tugged on her hip until she faced the brass headboard. “A little more to the center, so we can watch in the dresser mirror.”

She scooted across the rumpled linen and glanced into the antique glass. Their eyes met in the reflection and breath caught in her throat.

“Spread your legs, Disa.” He gently nudged her shoulders to the mattress. “I promise to go easy.”

Kisses rained down her back as he mounted her. His thick cock played against her wet labia, the swollen head teasing into her. After a smooth thrust, he was inside, filling her. One firm palm kneaded her lower abdomen, while his long fingers curled through her pubic hair, covering her mons. He stretched a finger along her nether lips, separating the folds, and massaged her fiery clit.

Tingles shot through her, watching their wavy images across the room. His arm muscles bulged as he moved his hands to her hips, gripping them tight, guiding her to him.

He rocked into her, the strokes faster and faster, his balls slapping against her perineum. He clutched her hips, slamming into her, riding her hard. She reared back, keeping pace, clenching her muscles to hold him tight, straining to swallow him in deeper. She gritted her teeth, biting back the scream that tore through her. Her body pulsed with his touch, screaming for release from the magnificent torture that only he could provide. She clutched the sheets, wadding the warm material in her fists, and burrowed into them, inhaling his musky scent.

“Come for me, baby.” His voice rasped against her back. “God, I need you…”

© Sloane Taylor

Sultry In Sweden
Author Name: Sloane Taylor
Genre: Contemporary / Sports / Athletes / Contains Some group sex
Publisher: Amber Heat
Buy Link

Battered hockey player Colt Coltrane arrives in Sweden with one thing on his mind–victory. A bad spill later, however, and he’s at the tender mercies of the sexiest masseuse he’s ever seen. From that point, all his good intentions go straight to hell when he strips for the Swedish iceberg.

Disa Ellstrom has had it with sports figures who always expect more from her than a massage. She can’t believe her friend Carl sent the American goalie to her. Unable to ignore the man’s pain, however, Disa takes on Colt and soon finds her heart melting faster than a spring thaw.

Combine a hot-blooded American and a Swedish spitfire and they’re sure to set Stockholm ablaze…

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Excerpt Day - Nature's Own © Nica Berry

Excerpt

Amun, bloodhound to Loridan, prince of the fae, arrived at the underground compound too late. Ash littered the ground, and black smoke still rose in thin trickles from the ventilation shafts. He showed off a badge, spoke authoritatively about being part of a task force representing kidnapped Americans, and the Mexican policía grudgingly let him through. Amun could smell death, the same sickening stench that had never left his memory, despite the passage of three thousand years. Images flashed before him: bodies burning, fae screaming as they died…

“No survivors,” one of the policía said in Spanish, jerking Amun out of his flashback. “We counted fifteen dead either from burns or smoke inhalation.”

“I wouldn’t mind having a look myself,” Amun said. It wouldn’t be easy, as he already felt far more raw and vulnerable than he’d expected. He had to keep reminding himself that he’d come because of Loridan, who’d taken ill because of what had happened here. Amun accepted the breathing mask before he descended, flashlight in hand. Flame had scoured the place, leaving blackened, scorched walls and skeletons of furniture. The place went on for hundreds of yards -- room after room that held a single bed, a shelf, a sink, and a toilet. Cells, Amun thought with a shiver. And the policía was wrong about one thing -- there were more than fifteen bodies, just not ones he could recognize.

Fae had died here, dozens of them. Amun’s discomfort grew as he counted. No wonder Loridan had been so badly stricken; nearly every cell he passed had a pile of dust on the floor that, to Amun’s eyes, still glowed faintly. Some had the healthy golden glow that a fae should have, while others emanated an odd shade of green Amun had never seen before.

Puzzled, he stooped down beside one of the greenish piles. He scooped some of the dust into a cloth bag and tied it shut. Loridan was spiritually tied to every fae; perhaps he would know what to make of it.

Amun continued on into a larger room that resembled a laboratory. The fire must have started here; nothing remained intact. Metal twisted and bent by heat pinged against Amun’s shoes. Glass crunched beneath his feet. Fae had died here too; Amun counted three glowing piles of dust.

He studied the room uneasily, feeling as if he’d been here before. He’d once known a half fae with a laboratory quite like this one, and he prayed that the two had no connection.

A scratching noise in the corner caught his attention. At first he took it to be debris falling, but -- no. A glow emanated from the far corner of the room, one far too bright to belong to someone dead. He started forward, the policía just behind him. Amun didn’t need the flashlight, but one of the policía aimed his beam into the corner.

Madre de Dios,” the policía said and crossed himself.

A naked, filthy young man raised his arm to ward off the blinding light. “Put the light down,” Amun said in Spanish. His voice sounded hollow through the mask. The policía lowered the flashlight from the survivor’s eyes, and slowly the young man moved his arm so Amun could see his face. With his matted brown hair, he looked hardly older than eighteen or nineteen, which in fae years meant he was at least two or three times that age.

He looked warily at the policía, but his eyes widened when his gaze settled on Amun. “Who are you?” he asked in English.

“My name is Amun. I’m a special agent come to investigate the fire here.”

At that, he panicked. “I didn’t do it. I swear I didn’t! She came after me, and she burned.” He shuddered, a look of terror on his face. “The fire came from her and touched everything. It hurt…” His voice trailed off.

Amun held his hands up in a gesture of peace. His heart went out to the young fae. “It’s all right. We don’t think you did. We just want to know what happened.” Something about the young man drew Amun toward him. Amun had the irresistible urge to comfort him, to hold him and kiss him and --

One of the policía had the same reaction. He went toward the boy, the bulge in his pants making it obvious why. Amun put his arm out to stop the man. “I’ll handle this.” He removed his jacket and wrapped it around the young man. Almost instantly, the policía relaxed, although he still looked a bit like a hound after a bitch in heat. Gods. Not only did this fae have some sort of extreme talent for healing, but he had a sexual glamour as well, and even if he knew how to turn it off, he was too traumatized to do so.

“What’s your name?”

“Shane.”

“We’re going to take you someplace safe, all right, Shane?” Other than a few layers of dirt, he looked perfectly fine. No burns and he breathed regularly despite the smoke that had filled this place. He shivered, but whether it was from fear or cold, Amun couldn’t tell.

“Are you my new owner?”

So he’d been a prisoner here. Amun had guessed as much with the number of dead fae. Someone had collected them. “No. I’m a friend. I’ve come to take you home.” And the sooner the better; the policía had already started to gossip. “I’m going to carry you out. I don’t want you walking around here in bare feet.”

“My hero,” Shane said but gamely wrapped his arms around Amun’s neck.

Amun picked his way carefully through the debris. Taking care of the boy kept his mind off his own terrible memories and his suspicions about the compound’s owner. A few steps and Shane went limp. He’d fainted. Amun’s worry spiked. He needed to get the boy to Loridan, but he couldn’t do that until he got Shane alone and a fair distance away from the policía.

He carried Shane outside, relieved to be out in the fresh air and sunshine. The policía followed behind, muttering among themselves about el fénix. One of them set a hand on Amun’s shoulder. “The doctor is here. I will take you to him.”

An ambulance sat a few feet away with paramedics waiting. Amun’s heart pounded. Physical human contact would traumatize Shane further, and Amun couldn’t risk letting them strip him for an examination, because they wouldn’t be able to control themselves. “The Americans requested that I see to any survivors personally. I’ll look after him.” He’d had plenty of time to learn about the finer points of healing fae.

The policía scowled, then shook his head. “You can’t take him. He’s got to go in for questioning.”

Amun gave him the imperious look he’d learned from Pharaoh. “In this condition? He’s filthy, scared, and exhausted. Let him rest for tonight, and you can ask him whatever you want tomorrow.” Hopefully the policía wouldn’t be able to find them tomorrow. Amun planned to be long gone by then.

The policía obviously had the same idea. “There’s a motel back in town. You can look after him there. We’ll take you and post a man with you. For your own protection, of course.”

“Of course.” Amun forced a smile. There would be no easy way of getting Shane back to the Otherworld. Amun could only open the door outside and away from any man-made structures.

The motel room was cheap and small with only one large bed and a radio atop a small table, but at least it had its own bathroom. Shane hadn’t stirred during the ride over, but he roused enough to let Amun help him in the tub. He watched Amun as if he expected something. Sex, probably, which meant that his trauma came from more than the destruction he’d seen. Physical contact with humans slowly poisoned a fae’s mind; sex tripled the effect.

Amun’s gut curdled at the thought. No telling what Shane had endured in the compound, especially with that sweet, trusting face of his. Amun filled and emptied the tub twice more before he deemed Shane clean. It struck him how much the boy looked like a younger version of Loridan, with that shock of dark hair and the lithe, pale body, just waiting for Amun to --

He took a deep breath. Two. It wasn’t fair to put his own desires onto Shane just because of his worry about Loridan. He made to help Shane stand, but Shane surged upward and wrapped his dripping arms around Amun’s neck.

The sudden warmth sent a thread of desire straight to Amun’s groin. Gods. Not here. Not now. The body tucked against his was willing and perfect with no sign of any injuries. Shane’s hips moved against his with an erection that encouraged Amun’s throbbing cock to join it.

Amun kicked himself mentally. Stupid, stupid to be so attracted to this one. He’d rescued thousands of fae and never once had this kind of reaction. The glamour. It had to be the glamour. Fatigue and stress had decreased Amun’s defense against it. Loridan. He had to think of Loridan, not this young fae who looked so much like him.

Gently, he extracted himself from Shane’s arms. “I won’t ask that of you.”

He ignored Shane’s visible disappointment as he handed the younger fae a towel. Shane made no move to take it but kept watching Amun with that pleading, needy gaze. With a sigh, Amun lightly dried him off and wrapped the towel around his waist.

Someone knocked on the door. Amun opened it to see one of the policía had been thoughtful enough to bring food for both of them along with a pair of plain cotton pants and a loose shirt that looked as if they might fit Shane. Another policía still guarded the door, rifle in hand. Amun wouldn’t be leaving. Not through the front door, anyway.

Shane’s eyes lit when he saw the fresh tortillas, beans, rice, and tacos. He didn’t bother to wait until Amun had set everything out on the bed. As they ate, Shane edged closer until their legs touched. Shane’s hand wandered over to caress Amun’s inner thigh.

“No,” Amun said with reluctance. He moved Shane’s hand away. “I want to talk to you.”

“We can talk and play at the same time.” Shane ran a finger down the center of Amun’s chest. “Come on.” He shoved the food wrappers onto the floor and tried to push Amun onto his back.

“Shane…” He stayed upright because of his greater strength. “Can you tell me what happened at the compound?”

Shane’s playfulness vanished. He went still and looked Amun in the eye. “Everything burned.”

“Yes, but how did it burn?”

Shane reached out to touch Amun’s face. “You’re different. Like me. Like the others, the ones who --” He broke off abruptly.

Died, Amun had the feeling he meant to say. Gods. He was fae, and he didn’t know it. “Tell me about them. The different ones.” Shane didn’t answer. “Do you remember?”

“Not much,” he admitted. “I remember Vince -- Vincenzo. My owner.”

Amun went cold at hearing the name. Vincenzo. He shuddered as he brought to mind the image of the young, angry half fae that he’d caught using his gift to torment humans. Vince had a talent for alchemy, for exploring the chemicals and elements of life. In a better world, he might have been a superb doctor or scientist. Instead, his gift had darkened and turned inward. Amun had brought Loridan in the hopes of saving Vince. Vince might have cooperated had Loridan agreed to his one request: to change him into a full fae as he had Amun. Loridan refused. Vince had disappeared, bitterly angry.

Shane continued, heedless of Amun’s unhappy memories. “He liked to bring me visitors. Most of them were regular people who wanted sex. I didn’t mind. Some of them could do things, like walk on the ceiling or start fires without a match.” He shivered. “Hold me.”

Amun shouldn’t. He knew he shouldn’t. But he couldn’t deny the young fae. Shane’s trembling quieted as soon as Amun wrapped his arms around his shoulders. “Tell me about that one. The firestarter.”

“She wanted sex too. I meant to. I tried. But she went crazy and lit the mattress on fire. I ran toward the lab. Vince should have been there. He should have helped me, but the fire girl followed. There were so many bottles and jars. Everything exploded from the heat. Some of it caught fire. People were screaming…”

Shane’s body shook from sobs. Amun rocked back and forth a little to soothe him, but he knew from experience that such a trauma would not be easily dealt with. His own emotions leaked through: his hatred at anyone keeping another person captive for their own amusement, the grief he shared because he knew the anguish of watching others die.

He let Shane wear himself out before prodding him again. “This Vincenzo. Vince. Why did he want you and the others?”

“Dunno,” Shane said. “He never said. If he did, I don’t remember.”

And there was the crux of it all. The only survivor of a disaster that had deeply wounded Loridan, and Shane was too badly burned by human contact to remember anything of use. Amun bit off his disappointment. He’d have to get the boy purified before he had any hope of getting any useful information out of him.

Shane drew back enough to see Amun’s face. “How come you don’t want me? Everyone else would have been fucking me by now.”

“I can see through your glamour. It doesn’t affect me.” He didn’t mention the lingering ache in his groin.

Shane shook his head in puzzlement. “I still don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”

Amun didn’t have the wherewithal to explain. Not here, not now. He was as worn-out as Shane and worried sick about Loridan. “Sleep on it, then.”

“Leave the light on. I don’t want to be in the dark again. And don’t let go. Please.”

Amun balked at the request, then chided himself. It wasn’t sex. He was comforting a terrified fae, which Loridan would want him to do in any case. So he lay down with Shane still in his arms and tried not to think about how nicely Shane fit there. Since Loridan had rescued him, Amun had never been intimate with anyone else. He didn’t intend to start now.

He didn’t intend to fall asleep either.

© Nica Berry, July 2010

Nature’s Own
Author Name: Nica Berry
Genre: LGBT Paranormal Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC
Buy Link

Amun, born with the gift of seeing the auras of other fae, is on a mission to aid his lover Loridan, the ailing fae prince. While there, Amun finds Shane, a young fae with gifts for both healing and sexuality who apparently has only one thought in his head: to get Amun naked and in his bed.

But Amun doesn’t have time for Shane despite his deep attraction. He’s busy searching for the madman who is corrupting nature by introducing fae gifts to humans and killing Loridan in the process. He’s also preoccupied with the knowledge that while Loridan won’t touch him anymore, the prince apparently has no problem inviting Shane into his bed.

Shane won’t give up on sleeping with Amun, but by the time Amun realizes how much he loves Shane, it’s too late. Amun must go on a desperate search to save both Shane and Loridan while struggling to accept the first rule of the fae: to be true to one’s own nature.

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Excerpt Day - Halle Shifters, Bk1: Bear Necessities © Dana Marie Bell

Excerpt

“Ohmigod, ohmigod.” Tabby pulled her hair, staring into her closet. It was six forty-five and her mate would be here any minute, she didn’t know his name and she had nothing to wear.

“Little black dress.” Cyn stuck her head in Tabby’s bedroom, grinning at the pile of clothing around Tabby’s feet. “Can’t go wrong with a little black dress.”

“Guh.” The panic was threatening to tear Tabby apart. She stared at the three black dresses hanging in her closet, her hand moving between them like a demented butterfly.

Glory’s head peeked in from the other side of the doorway. “The sleeveless one.”

“Uh?” She held up her sleeveless black dress, the one with the red belt and matching shoes.

Two heads bobbed in agreement.

Tabby stripped, more than used to being naked in front of her roommates. Hell, when she’d first moved in with them, they’d been shocked at how easy she felt being nude. Glory had actually asked her if she was gay and trying to tempt them to “the dark side”. She’d giggled and said that she might be susceptible to temptation if the dark side had chocolate. Tabby had just shaken her head and put some clothes on. She’d spent so long as a Wolf, she’d forgotten some of the basic parts of being human, like pants. The first time she’d used a toilet after so many years had been an interesting experience, something Mrs. Anderson still chuckled about.

When Cyn and Glory had found out what she was, they’d freaked a little. They hadn’t accepted her immediately. In fact, there’d been another girl, Brit, who’d worked at Living Art. Brit had left, refusing to believe what she’d seen the night Tabby, drunk off her ass for the first time in her life, let her Wolf loose in the middle of the apartment. She’d gone so far as to quit her job when Glory and Cyn refused to fire her or kick her out of their apartment. But Glory and Cyn, after the initial shock had passed (and after, they claimed, they wiped up the dog drool), had accepted her without reservations. Hell, they’d mocked her once the hangover had passed. There was still a huge bag of Kibbles N’ Bits in the pantry the bitches refused to throw away “just in case”.

If she thought they’d take it, she’d make them Pack in a heartbeat. She missed having that connection, the knowledge that there were others for her to rely on without a shadow of a doubt. Part of her wondered if her dipshit ex had ever told his father the truth, or if he’d shrugged and let it go. Let her go.

Tabby shook her head and reached for her hairbrush, smoothing down her hair. That didn’t matter now. Her mate would be here any minute. She slicked on some berry gloss and stared at herself in the mirror. Then she stuck out her tongue and made a face. She was so nervous, her Wolf was whining. She slipped her feet into the red high heels, grabbed her favorite purse and headed for the living room. “Well?”

Cyn circled her finger. “Twirl.”

Tabby twirled.

Glory wolf-whistled. “See you at work tomorrow.”

Cyn snickered and threw a bunch of condoms at her. “You’ll need these.”

Tabby swallowed. “I’m gonna throw up.” Nausea roiled in her belly. She bent and picked up the condoms just as the doorbell rang.

Glory had the door open before Tabby could hide the packets. “C’mon in!”

In stepped the hottie from the store. He wore a green shirt that really emphasized his hazel eyes, dark wash jeans that looked painted onto his thighs and thick-soled black boots. Now that she was upright, she could see how tall he was. He towered over her, the top of her head barely reaching his upper lip, even in her four-inch heels. She’d hit his chin in her bare feet. His bald head gleamed, his jaw clean-shaven. She could see the tattoo that circled his biceps and her fingers itched to trace the design. In his hand, he held a daffodil.

My favorite flower. How did he know? Tabby smiled, knowing her mouth was trembling. She couldn’t remember the last time someone had given her flowers. “For me?”

He held it out, a smile on his full lips. “Hello, Tabby.”

“Thank you.” She reached for the daffodil.

He coughed. “I’ll take those.” He reached over and removed the condoms from her hand, grinning at her embarrassed squawk. “It’s okay, honey. I’m just glad one of us is, um, prepared.” He eyed the condoms. “Very prepared.” He unrolled them, one eyebrow rising in disbelief. “And optimistic.”

Glory was practically doubled over with laughter. Tabby’s face was beet red. She snatched the condoms back with her free hand, snarling as one got left behind in his big paw. She could hear Cyn snuffling and snorting behind her and just knew they were practically choking on their laughter.

She turned to her two roommates with a smile. “Don’t make me forget I’m housebroken.” They stopped, but from the way they were clinging together, Tabby figured it was only a matter of time before one of them broke again. She turned back to her new mate. “And you, whose name I don’t even know.” She smiled at Mr. Chocolate. “Thank you for the flower. My name’s Tabitha Garwood.”

Mr. Sin held out his paw, the condom miraculously gone. “Bunny.” She wondered if he’d dropped it or shoved it into his pocket for later.

Wait. “Bunny,” she repeated carefully.

“Alexander Bunsun, but everyone calls me Bunny.” He grinned.

She sniffed. Nope, his scent is definitely Bear.

“Are you laughing at my name?” Bunny’s hands went to his hips, but she could tell he wasn’t pissed by the way his lips quirked up.

She blinked. “Yes.”

He coughed, but she could tell he was trying not to laugh. “Dinner?” He held out his arm.

She gave him her sweetest smile and took it. “Yes.”

“Hold on.” Glory stopped them by placing her hand on Bunny’s arm, her expression worried. For all that Glory liked to flirt like mad, when it came down to actual dating she could be a real worrywart.

Bunny chucked her under the chin. “I’ll take care of her. My word on it.”

Glory studied him, and Bunny stood still, allowing her intense scrutiny. Glory relaxed and nodded, looking relieved. Tabby wasn’t sure she felt the same.

© by Dana Marie Bell
Bear Necessities
Author Name: Dana Marie Bell
Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Buy Link

To hold onto his love, he must release his beast.

Halle Shifters, Book 1

Once a Bear sets his mind on a mission, it’s best to stay out of his way. Alexander “Bunny” Bunsun is that Bear. Something’s not right with his cousin Chloe, and he’s come to Halle, PA, to sort it out, turn his Harley around and head home to Oregon. Until an enticing scent lures him into the local tattoo shop.

There she is. An inked, Southern-drawled she-Wolf with lime-green hair. His perfect mate.

Tabitha Garwood’s rotten day just got worse. Her Outcast status makes her a target for harassment with alarming regularity. And now, in the middle of a root touch-up, looking like a half-melted Skittle, she’s met her destined mate. The only upside? She finally has a protector in the form of a huge, tattooed, shaved-head Bear who vibrates with carefully restrained power.

When Chloe is left for dead and Tabby is threatened, only Alex can keep his growing family safe. Giving Tabby the loving home she needs, though, could come at a price—Alex must give up the control he’s worked a lifetime to attain.

Which means someone could die at the hands—and claws—of his beast.

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Excerpt - Blood Hero © Madeleine Drake

Excerpt:

Rihat knelt before the limestone statue of Marduk, more out of despair than reverence for the stern-faced war god. Tomorrow, Rihat would seek out the monster that was ravaging his village, and tomorrow, he would die.

Once he was dead, who would protect his sister from the beast?

Anger tightened its hold on his throat, and he growled, trying to clear the ache that threatened to choke him. He'd wasted too much time already, first begging his fellow soldiers to fight with him, then trying to bribe palace staff to give him an audience with the king of Babylon, and finally spending his last few shekels on a scrawny pig for Marduk's priests to sacrifice on his behalf, hoping they could tell him how to defeat the monstrous akhazu by himself. All for nothing.

What could he do now but face the beast himself and die with his honor intact?

If he died well, perhaps Marduk would protect his sister.

As he opened his mouth to repeat his prayer, a fierce prickling crawled over his skin. Invisible, fiery needles pierced every inch of him, stinging his arms and legs, burning his belly, inflaming his cock. The air turned thick and heavy, and he gasped, blood pounding in his temples, a sudden, involuntary erection straining against his loincloth, lifting his kilt. His strength ebbed; the muscles in his thighs trembled.

Had Marduk noticed the frustration behind his plea, and chosen to punish him for it?

Behind him, a scuffing sound. Rihat jumped to his feet and whirled, lightheaded with the effort, grunting with the pain of stiff knees forced to move too quickly.

A woman.

Not just a woman. A beautiful woman. The most beautiful woman he'd ever seen.

She wore a robe of white linen so sheer he could see the red-brown circles of her nipples and the dark, furry triangle between her legs. Her skin shimmered gold, like the desert sand at midday. Her hair, black as pitch, was unbound, flowing down her back to brush against the back of her thighs like a veil. A huge carnelian, like blood turned to stone, hung from the intricate chain around her neck.

His cock throbbed harder, as if trying to tear through his clothes to get to her. If he were naked, it would be pointing straight at her.

Why hadn't he heard her enter the room?

She examined him deliberately, head to toe. When her kohl-lined eyes paused at his groin, she smiled and licked her lips with a delicate pink tongue.

"Who are you?" he rasped.

"Rejoice, Rihat," the woman answered. "Your prayer has been answered."

                              * * * *

She could smell his arousal with every breath, a musky, salty scent far more pleasing than the smoky-sweet myrrh permeating the temple. He was clearly a soldier, dressed in the standard leather tunic reinforced with bronze scales, a fringed wool kilt and battered sandals. Alert brown eyes over his straight nose, broad cheeks tapering down to his strong chin, wavy black hair pulled back with a cord--she would have found him attractive even if she hadn't been half-mad with the need to feed.

Iltani reined in her hunger, ignoring the deep ache in her core, the dampness between her legs. She'd finally found a warrior who might suit her purposes. She couldn't risk frightening him off before she'd had a chance to talk to him.

Even if he doesn't accept your offer, he might let you feed anyway. Few men had the willpower to resist an ardat-lili. As much as she hated what she'd become, Iltani could only restrain her hunger for so long.

He looked like he was about to speak. "It won't help to call out," she said. "No one will hear anything until I'm finished with you."

"Who are you?" the tall, well-muscled warrior demanded again. His fingers twitched, clenched into fists. "How do you know my name?"

"I heard you praying. You may call me Iltani."

The warrior took a sharp breath. Sweat beaded on his brows, highlighting the rapid pulse at his temples. "What are you?"

"My father is Ea."

"A goddess," he breathed, fear flickering over his face. He banished it with a scowl that in no way distracted Iltani from the prodigious lump beneath his kilt.

She was so hungry. "Half-goddess. My mother was human."

"What do you want with me?"

The prayer Iltani had overheard was for his sister, and Rihat was clearly prepared to die in order to protect her. A man who could love that deeply deserved the truth. But was he brave enough to look that truth squarely in the eye? Or would he recoil with disgust as soon as he learned what she really was?

"I served as one of Ishtar's handmaidens, until the goddess caught her consort Tammuz ogling me." Even the anger roused by the memory of her exile wasn't enough to eclipse her swelling hunger for Rihat. She wanted to push him down, to kiss him, to drink in the vitality he radiated. The delicate linen of her robe, soft as it was, seemed to scour her swollen nipples with every breath she drew. The tingling between her legs grew stronger. "Ishtar cursed me to be an ardat-lili and banished me to live in your realm."

Rihat didn't back away, or start praying, or make that silly gesture humans believed would protect them against evil spirits. Was he that brave? Or did he simply love his sister that much? He asked, "Why me?"

Hope welled in Iltani's heart. Had she finally found a man who would help her? She'd already released three others from their vows of service--two because she caught them abusing their newfound abilities, and a third because he'd proven too squeamish about her curse to be reliable.

"I require a warrior to help me break the curse. In return, I can give you the strength to defeat your akhazu."

Rihat regarded her in silence.

"Once the curse is broken," Iltani added, "You'd be free again. But until then, you must serve me without question."

"Free," he repeated dubiously. "Why would you release me once I've agreed to serve you?"

She shrugged, tried to hide the trembling thrill she felt as his eyes followed the movement. "That is not your concern."

                              * * * *

"How?" Rihat asked, barely able to think for the thunder of lust through his veins.

"How what?"

"How would you help me kill the akhazu?" It was a mistake to bargain with her. How many men had she killed, seducing them and feeding on their souls? Sucking them to husks and abandoning them, the poor bastards still crying for her touch with their dying breath. No matter that her father was the God of Wisdom, this woman was a demon, and any sane man would run from her.

But if she could save his sister, he'd give up his sanity as willingly as he'd give up his life.

Iltani licked her lips again and the muscles in his thighs shivered, his aching cock shifting beneath the fabric that restrained it. He was certain all the blood in his body was gathering in his groin. Even knowing what she was, he wanted her more than he'd wanted anything in his life.

"The blood of the gods still flows through my veins," Iltani answered. "Drink from me, and you'll have the strength of fifty men. For a while."

He could barely talk, he was working so hard at restraining himself. He wanted to seize her, to back her up against the wall and take her. Right now. "How long is a while?"

"Long enough to save your sister."

"While I serve you, you'll...feed from me?" he asked.

"I won't take enough to weaken you. I need you to be strong."

Did he believe her? Did it matter? She was the only hope he had of defeating the akhazu. A deal with a demon. It was foolish, but he was desperate.

No doubt, he would enjoy serving her as much as he would regret it. "I'm ready."

The ardat-lili smiled. "Take off your tunic."

© Madeleine Drake

Blood Hero
Author Name: Madeleine Drake
Genre: Paranormal erotic romance (vampire, succubus)
Publisher: Excessica
Buy Link

When Rihat discovers that his village is being terrorized by an akhazu demon, he seeks help at Marduk's temple. He meets Iltani, a demigoddess who's been cursed by Ishtar to live as an ardat-lili, enslaved by lust, a night-maiden who feeds on sexual energy.  Iltani offers Rihat the power to slay the akhazu, if he'll agree to serve her every need without question. But will the price of that power be more than Rihat can bear to pay?

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Wednesday, 28 July 2010

I’m out visiting today – I’m at Kris’ place

I am sharing my thoughts on Manga, Amine, Comic and Yaoi in general today at Kris’ place….

You do know Kris…

She of the $$%%..///&&&$ Mouth

With the $&&&$455%… Language

and the @@444***&&7$ Attitude

Yes that Kris….

Join me

HERE

I’ll be back later with Excerpt Day

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Review – Fearless & Lawless (Fearless 2)© Sarah Black

I recently read IDAHO PRIDE by Sarah  Black and was so impressed with the book – mostly the characters to be honest but so much so that I knew I wanted to spend some time with this authors work.

I decided to just dip my toes into a novella by her that is in the FEARLESS Anthology and before I knew it, I was two books deep and I was loving it.

 

Fearless (Anthology)

Author: Sarah Black

Publisher: MLR Press

Genre: GLBT

Buy Link

Lt. Colton Wheeler understands the law and the people of the Arizona-Mexico borderlands and his lover, Dr. Diego Del Rio. But a shocking act of violence leaves a battered dead body in their home and Diego charged with murder.

Suddenly everything Colton thought he knew turns out to be wrong. What can he still believe in? Who can he trust? He believes in his lover, but Diego is on the run.

My Thoughts

This is just a slice of the going on into the life of  Lt. Colton Wheeler and  Dr. Diego Del Rio. They are lovers, they are in love and they are prepared to be everything and do anything for each other.

The book opens with them in the cliché position – and they are sweet if truth be told. Colton makes time for Diego because as a trainee doctor he has limited time for things like lunch and time for himself – so Colton goes to him more often than not.  Colton however is like a character from the wild west, and he acts it as well – and just like the people of that time he has some good, some gentle and some rather bad weeds in his family – and they are literally the stuff of legends for people who cross’ the Mexican Borders .

Diego is the boy made good on his own terms but things can’t ever be easy and this is how Diego finds himself back in Mexico hiding and scarred, as well as worried about his lover and how the future will pan out..

The book moves fast and could do with some added details no doubt but what worked like characters, sexual tension and just keeping me the reader interested enough to move on to the next book – worked well. 

This book actually feels like a taster and if I had just read this book without the follow up I would be left seriously wanting – as FEARLESS although choke full of all the stuff I like, great characters, a nasty mystery, even more eerie stuff on the horizon it ultimately is a book where only the bit and pieces of scenes and conversation is used and ultimately not the greatest introduction to this authors work. 

P.S. The blurb does give alot of this book away.

 

 

 

Lawless (Fearless 2)

Author: Sarah Black

Publisher: Liquid Silver Books

Genre: GLBT

Buy Link

Lt. Colton Wheeler is the law in a lawless land. A year after his lover, Dr. Diego Del Rio, lost his eye in a vicious hate crime, trouble from across the border threatens to shatter the life they’re building together.

An old lover stakes a claim, and Colton suspects he wants more than Diego. Colton’s family comes under attack, a missing Apache boy is accused of cattle rustling, and bloody tribal masks from the old rituals are being worn by someone carrying a whip, bent on terrifying the people of the borderlands.

Colton only knows one way to protect his people. By walking into trouble, by drawing fire, by putting himself between the people he loves and those who mean them harm.

My Thoughts

One of the pleasures of checking out an authors back catalogue is that sometimes like in this case an author can go back and tighten up or extend on a novella or just for whatever reason he or she decides to revisit their characters - they do.

LAWLESS is a longer book on the life and times of Colton and Diego. The book picks up a little while later after the novella and Colton is now in charge of his own office, he is also a much respected officer by not only his co-worker as but the very people who he is trying to protect. Colton has also redefined his life and his now living with Diego and has come to certain decision regarding his ranch.

Diego is really just living – his career is assured but it’s not the thing he really really wants to do – that dream has been scrapped more due to Diego pig-headedness that his visual disability. He is all about Colton and is every moment is taken up with thinking about making life easier or just enjoying the moments they have together…

Things are however not well with them as a couple, as Diego has an old lover who refuses to go away. While he is prepared to ignore it for the most part – Colton knows that this needs to be nipped in the bud and right now. The truth of that does not come home to Diego until Colton is threatened, he is willing to put up with alot but Colton’s life being threatened places a whole different light on the situation.

Even with that situation happening in their personal life, on the work front there seems to be little fires happening that Colton needs to address and after just a little investigation – he realises he might be onto more than he even thought was possible.

They need to call in help, they need to act smart and they need to not let emotions rule the day. All of this is difficult for Colton – but he has people around who are willing and strong enough to sit him down and put some home truth to him. Diego on the other hand – while concern for what is happening finds himself suck into life on the ranch and other little things that just seem to be popping up.

The two are having to spread themselves thin to get it all done and at times it feels as if they have nothing left in the tank to carry on – but they have too much to lose if they give up.

LAWLESS is definately more than I expected but also less than I expected as well. As I mentioned before I was just so chuffed to find that Ms. Black carried on with Colton’s and Diego’s story as in the novellas so much was alluded to, so much of the finer details were missing and although there was a pretty intense mystery – the novella wasn’t long enough for it to developed properly..

That said I love that although I missed out on those things in the first book Black uses other things to tie this second book together – the old lover angle – it worked for me. Not that I was left in limbo with the old story line – that was cleared up – but  I for one was glad it was put to bed as Colton and Diego had other wars to fight.

Characters that I didn’t get the chance to see come into their own – she brought them back and gave them life. Even the bad guys were just something to behold. I really can’t say enough about how much I love Black’s characters – they grew on me, they made me see them and they were un-repented in whatever they did and for that I loved them all.

I liked that the story moved around – from the US side of the border right over into the Mexican region. From city to ranch setting… I really saw these people come into their own and it did make a difference to my reading pleasure.  

I like Black’s style – it might not work for everyone and I can see where readers of heavier reading  material will have problems with it – as Black does have a way of breaking the scenes at rather intense times to fill in emotional scenes or just jump around to some of the sub plots in the book… Me - I loved it.

I also liked that she didn’t gloss over the harsher areas of the book – this was a hard area of the US Mexico Border region – anything can happen and it did for the most part. The bad guys were nasty and they played the game and lived the life and as such good guys got hurt but even better men died.

This might be petty on my part – but I love when due justice is played out – I hate an easy finish, a quick death. Give me torture and hurt and a few busted knee caps along the way – I was totally satisfied by how the bad  guy got his, justice was was definately served.

Bottom Line

It is not often that I have had to visit two different publisher in order to find follow up books – but I did in this case and it was so worth it.

I met some wonderful people through the pen of Sarah Black, people I wont or want to be forgetting anytime soon. While I accepted FEARLESS as a quick insight in the life of Colton and Diego I was please Black came back with LAWLESS – a longer book, a book that address alot of the unknown, the assumed and tied up a whole of the  loose ends.

Black’s style works for me, I loved her characters as they more or less carried this book. While some stood out of the pack as heroes none gave less than a hundred percent to the part they played. The little touches of sarcastic humour was not bad and  I was so in tune with these people that it felt like I could reach in and touch them at any given moment…

FEARLESS AND LAWLESS – A pleasure.  

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Wednesday Musings - To Put It Simply, I Want You

To Put It Simply, I Want You

by Iloveit

I want to be your companion
and walk hand in hand,
your strength enveloping mine.
Autumn leaves falling,
scuffing feet and laughter,
sharing nights, not finished by the dark.


I want to be your confidant
as you pen your deepest
thoughts, as your heartaches
bleed and finally break free.
Your dreams, I keep as if my own.
I want to smile as you smile
and giggle with you
at nothing at all.


I want to be your lover
and find the passions
that move you to action.
I want to be the softness
that induces you to trust.
I want to be the naughty
that makes you come back for more.
I want to please you.


I want to share your breakfast
and your dinner,
I want you in the shower
and in your bed and
with soft steps to bring you coffee
(I take mine black)
Your strong arms, the legs
that power your thrust,
your lips of pleasure,
these are the fuel of my desire


no it is no secret, my love,
and to put it very simply,
I want you.

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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Until I get back – Let me share my work area with you…..

The boy kids took these for me when they came home last week.. I love bric-a-brac and novelty stuff – so  I was quite chuffed that they put some thought into it…. The floaty thing has balls filled with liquid and some coins attached to it… my guess is that he got it at some fun fair..

The other is just a hand puppet….

Because I want to keep them near me – at least for now….. I am keeping my bracelets around the floaty thingy and I have place the hand toy over it…

This is where it sits for now until I move it somewhere else… it won’t fall off, it’s actually behind the monitor cords, I just moved it to take the pic..

 

Do you have anything groovy on your desk…?

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