Tuesday, 30 November 2010

With These Words - Adrienne Wilder

Dragons, yes please !!!

My fascination for the big, scaly, and scary began somewhere around the age of three when I escaped my mother's arms and ran down the aisle during a showing of Pete's Dragon, screaming, “Don't hurt my friend!”  In my defense, it was the scene where Elliott the dragon is captured by the villains, so could you blame me?

Anyhow, my passion for artwork started around that same time, and I took to drawing my own “Pete's Dragon” on the walls of my room.  Something my mother didn't discourage, by the way. The writing came soon after that, when I learned those strange shapes on paper could tell you amazing things.  By the time I was in the fourth grade, I was reading full-length novels.  And back then there were no books for kids like “Harry Potter” and the ones that were available were never scary enough or exciting enough for me. 

It wasn't long before I was sneaking off with my mother's books: Stephen King, Jean Auel, Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, Anne McCaffrey, and many more.

Other than my penchant for reading, writing, and drawing, I guess I was just an average kid.  I didn't excel in school, except for maybe art, and I was constantly getting notes sent home for “asking too many questions,” “talking out of turn,” and--I kid you not--“over active imagination.”

To keep myself from getting in trouble, I began writing stories.  By the time I was in high school I'd written several “novels” as long as seven hundred pages, and in those novels, there were usually big scaly dragons that breathed fire and owned the skies.

I knew I wanted to be a writer early on but I realized pretty quickly it wasn't going to be an easy way to make a living.  While I never gave up writing, and wrote many stories between my adolescence and adult years, I didn't pursue getting published until a few years ago.  It's a journey that I don't regret and could have never done without the support of my mother and my friends.

Since dragons were constantly the subject matter of my artwork and my writing, it only made sense to use them in the creation of my first series. But I wanted something different.  The dragons in the books I read were dumb, innately evil, magical, some version of “human”, or had human-type beliefs.  So I set out to create a species that while they could look like Humans, they weren't. And unlike humans, they had no such thing as religion, morals, or even sexual taboos.

Crossing that with my love for science--specifically genetics-- I wound up with Kin. 

Blood Bonds is the first book in the City of Dragons series.  It is not, however, the only series I am working on that takes place in this alternate contemporary Atlanta, GA where big scary monsters roam the streets. The City of Dragons series focuses more on the “domesticated” Kin who are trying to survive in a human world, following human rules and face many daily obstacles.  My other stories look at the darker side of Kin and their less-than-pure-bred offspring - the Lesser-Breds - as well as humans who align themselves with dragons and choose to live in the visceral part of the city known as the Gray Zone.

My novels are erotic, dark urban fantasy love stories and love is a continuous theme in what I write, but romance isn't.  For me, love is eternal, romance is simply fleeting, or perhaps the journey a person takes to get to “love.”  As humans it's something we instinctively search out and want to experience, but Kin don't believe they are capable of love…that it's just a human emotion.  So when it does happen, it's usually without any type of courtship or expectations. It's simply pure, devotion so deep it doesn't have words--and more importantly--limits.

The City of Dragons series and the Lesser-Bred stories will give romance readers something different to chew on.  There is violence, brutality, and death, but at the same time an amazing capacity for sacrifice, loyalty and most of all, love.

For more “Den” news or developments in the Gray Zone you can visit www.theatlantadens.com

© Adrienne Wilder

Featured Book

Blood Bonds

Series: City of Dragons Book 1

Author:  Adrienne Wilder

Publisher:  Liquid Silver Books

Genre: Paranormal

Buy Link

Living with Humans is never easy. They don’t do scent exchange, they don’t lick palms, and they have this thing called personal space.

As the first and only Kin Agent for the Center of Folk and Kin Relations, Haley Night’s job is to help keep the public safe by helping keep the peace. But after an interview with serial man-eater Niles Fury goes terribly wrong, Haley finds herself face-to-face with a plot to destroy her species--genocide.

With the help from her best friend and partner Farley, she sets off on a race against time to stop a madman’s plot to destroy Kin. It’s a journey that will put to the test everything she thought she knew: Kin have no God, survive at all costs, and love is only a Human emotion.

Welcome to Atlanta, Georgia, City of Dragons

Excerpt

Find Adrienne

Website

Twitter

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Delicious

Adrienne’s Art

Enjoy your time in the City of Dragons, and remember: don’t wander into the Gray Zone after dark © Adrienne Wilder

 

Welcome to the world of publishing Adrienne and I wish you every success.…..

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Monday, 29 November 2010

This made the UK Papers today and I am not really surprise !!!!

Women writers at war over fake book reviews on Amazon Read more:

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Author Rosie Alison became so incensed by a series of barbed reviews on the website that she called in investigators to see if rival publishers were behind the stinging criticism

Guidelines set by Amazon state that reviews should not be posted by anyone with a financial interest or a competing book.

 

But the online giant accepts anonymous reviews from anyone with a customer account.

 

This has led PR firms to provide favourable reviews of new books, at a price.

 

Nathan Barker, of Reputation 24/7, offers a service starting at £5,000.

 

He said: ‘First we set up accounts. For a romance novel we’d pick seven female profiles and three males.

 

‘We’d say we like this book but add a tiny bit of criticism and compare it to another book.’

 

Mr Barker claims this is common practice among publishers.

 

© Daily mail

 

Read the full article: HERE

 

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Review - Size Matters © Stephanie Julian


Size Matters
Author: Stephanie Julian
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Genre: Paranormal
Carrie Benton’s got the best job in the world working as a reporter for the Weekly News Journal. Chupacabra picnicking at the Jersey Shore? Check. Aliens in the White House? Absolutely. Bigfoot stalking the forests of northern Pennsylvania? Well, okay…but Bigfoot is so Left Coast.

Tim Sattizahn can’t believe his luck. The six-foot redhead who crashed into his forest during a snowstorm is gorgeous, funny and hot for him. Everything would be perfect except for the fact that she’s looking for Bigfoot.

And, unfortunately for Tim, she found him…

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Tim Sattazahn watched the red-haired goddess trudge through the snow as she kept up a running conversation with herself.

She obviously had a lot to talk about because she never shut up.

Tim didn’t mind. It was nice to hear someone else’s voice, even if every other word was a half-assed obscenity.

Besides, her dirty mouth was turning him on.

She’d used “freaking” more times in one sentence than he’d ever heard other women say in their lives. Most of them she used in reference to someone named Bill.

He hoped Bill had his health insurance paid up because this woman was going to kick his ass when she got home. And from the looks of her, Tim figured she could do it.

Her legs looked long, lean and athletic in a pair of skintight jeans. The rest of her was bundled into a blindingly pink parka but he couldn’t imagine the rest of the body wouldn’t fit the legs.

Damn, the woman was gorgeous. He just hoped she wasn’t seriously injured.

He’d been out gathering wood when he’d heard the car engine chugging along. He’d had just enough time to wonder what the hell someone was doing out here in the middle of what was expected to be a two-day storm when he’d heard the unmistakable crunch of metal-on-tree-trunk.

As the only resident within a forty-mile radius, he’d known he had to check it out. The driver or passengers could be injured. They might need help.

He hadn’t been close enough to alert her to his presence when he saw her leave the car and start walking, which he wouldn’t have done anyway. He’d started to make his way toward her, keeping out of sight, but even he’d been bogged down in the fast-falling snow.

As he’d gotten closer, he’d slowed, not wanting to scare the crap out of her by barreling up to her, especially not the way he looked now. But he would try to herd her in the right direction if she wandered off the track, now nearly invisible in the snow.

In the five or so years since he’d lived here, only three people had ever found the dirt track leading to his home. Just dumb luck that she’d found it in the snow.

If she kept walking, she’d reach his house in a few minutes. It sent a shiver up his spine that had nothing to do with the cold. It’d been a while since he’d had anyone in his home, much less someone who looked like a Valkyrie.

She had to be nearly six feet tall, with autumn-red hair in a braid down her back and a body that made his blood run hot. All long limbs, lush curves, full mouth and big eyes. She could have stepped straight out of a Titian masterpiece. Aphrodite or Danae.

He wanted her. No two ways about it.

© Stephanie Julian

My Thoughts

Sometimes all I need in a book is something that hits the spot and Stephanie Julian certainly did that with SIZE MATTERS...

With a heroine that is no shrinking violet, mentally or physically I was treated to a sweet romp between  Carrie Benton and Tim Sattizahn.

Carrie is on the hunt for big  foot in the not so wilds of northern Pennsylvania. Not daunted by the weirdness of the project, as a reporter Carrie knows it takes all kind to make a decent reporter and she is doing her bit in the big scheme of the rag trade industry.

Not really expecting to find anything more than snow and more snow, she is however pleasantly surprised to find Tim, a hunkier than the average man instead and he was doing all kinda wonderful things to her libido.

When one comical event leads to another they quickly cut to the chase and make beautiful music, but Carrie is about to find that big foot do exist and this hunk of a man that has swept her off her feet has his own set of secrets to hide..

SIZE MATTERS is a sweet read, there is no two ways about it. It is also a really short book which literally gives a snap shot of the time when Carrie meets her big foot.

The plot line is not rocket science and it just calls me to go with the flow of it and have fun. The few side cast that were introduced did add to the comical aspect of this book and I ended up laughing out loud a time or two with these people..

A fun read and a nice catch up book from Ms. Julian....

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Some week one book really makes a difference

A weekly event hosted by Sheila - Book Journey to discuss your reading week ~ the books you've read and those you plan on reading in the coming week.

Books I completed last week

Tressie Lockwood - Something Unexpected

Fiona Brand - Blade's Lady

Mark Alders - Shadows of the Mind

Angelia Sparrow & Naomi Brooks - Like a Corset Undone

P.J. Trebelhorn - From This Moment On

Clara Nipper - Kiss of Noir

T.A. Chase - Nowhere Diner - Finding Love

B.K.Wright - Treys Daddies

Destiny Blaine - Menage Amour - Breakfast by the Sea

Book Pimping

Embrace

Megan Derr

Buy Link

When Aubrey returns home after many years away, he is welcomed back with the extravagant gift of a Pet he never wanted and secrets he never dreamed existed...

Many years ago, the race of creatures once known as 'vampires' agreed to surrender their freedom, rather than face eventual annihilation. They exist now as Pets to the lords and ladies of high society, forced to serve forever the human whose blood they first drink.

Detesting the practice, Aubrey has always avoided taking a Pet for himself. But upon his return home from school, he is gifted with a Pet by his father. His Pet, however, is like none he's ever known, and only the start of an old and complicated tangle of secrets.

Greenwood Manor
Shannon Leigh

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Laura Flannery needs a vacation from her boring life and a break from nosy neighbors. So when a postcard arrives in the mail announcing the grand opening of a bed and breakfast in New Orleans, she decides to give it a try.

Deposited on the doorstep of what appears to be a beautifully restored mansion, Laura finds it odd the cab driver is so eager to drive away; and that’s just the beginning… From a butler who seems to avoid any physical contact whatsoever, to a housekeeper who floats rather than walks, Laura can’t help but start questioning her sanity. Then, when a man she’s never seen before appears and claims he’s her dead husband, she has to decide if it’s time to head for the hills or stay and discover what secret past she has with Greenwood Manor and its handsome–albeit deceased–owner.

Up next on the reading deck

Paige Tyler - Good Cop, Bad Girl

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Sunday, 28 November 2010

The Sunday Salon – It’s that time of the year

Its almost December, the month when the loonies with credit card clutched tightly in their fist comes out of hibernation, it also the month when kids ready to throw a tantrum as the slightest indication that they wont be getting that desperately needed gift from the big guy are let loose in supermarket and department store – I hate that..…

For me it’s the month when I stay closer to home to avoid the madness, I also start planning and sorting out some of the things I want to get done for next year and it’s also the month when I meet all the kidlets teachers to see how the first term of the school year has been so far…

On the blog.

The Erotic/a Romance Reading Challenge is on it’s final month and I am hoping I can get round to all the participants this week to check up on their status…

Most participants have completed the challenge months ago, If you haven’t post your completed list, Make sure you jump over to the ERRC blog and add your link..

The 2011 challenge sign up sheet will go up soon as well…

With These words

I have finally gotten round to doing a post for getting involved in the With These Words feature on my blog…  so new authors drop me a line if you want to book your slot and let us know about your  first foray into the publishing world..

A few days closure

I will be taking a few days off from the blog later on in the month, around the 21th until the next week as I want to give some of the stuff that I know will crop up some undivided attention.

I also want to spend some time finishing up some of the mini albums that I normally give as pressies to my friends and family over the world…  I am also my family’s historian and I do try to catch up on births and death at this time of the year, for people who do genealogy you will know how time consuming that venture is – but I love doing it..

Here are a few pic of an album I am doing now and some tags…

I am a big fan of journaling, so I try to keep some tags for writing memories on..

One of the kidlet is making a very simply one for one of the girlfriends – he found these yesterday when we were in the market.. I told him it’s going to cause problem, because whichever girl he gives it to she is bound to show it off and the other girl friends are going to come calling…

He has been warned!!!!!!

 

Have you guys dragged out the diaries or calendar yet to get organised or are you just winging it and dealing with stuff as they crop up?

 

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 November 2010

Sending wonderful wishes to you this weekend……

The weatherman told us the weather was changing this weekend.

Then another one said “ Not this weekend more like Monday or Tuesday”

My Mom said “what do they know, I’m freezing my arse off now…”

Guess who was right !

 

It’s freezing, but I had a great day with the boys outside..

Wherever you are, warm or cold ..

Hope you had a great day and wishing you

A wonderful weekend..

 

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Friday, 26 November 2010

With These Words - Rhonda L. Print

Why I write paranormal

I always wanted to write a book and when my last child was in the first grade I decided it was time. I love reading paranormal romance and always found myself thinking about what I would have done differently, or what if this happened.

The ‘what ifs…’ got me and before I knew it, Leah, Ian and Joaquin were born. The characters just came to life in my head and demanded to be put on paper.

I began doing research on the various aspects of the paranormal when I decided to write Nightwalker, A Leah Wolfe SINS Novel. The possibilities are limitless and what fascinated me most was how many myths are based on fact. It’s kind of like the chicken and the egg. Which came first, myth or reality. Dating back as far as the fifteenth century there are legends of vampires, half-man/half-animal beasts and zombie infections. A Countess, who murdered hundreds of young women from her village to bathe in their blood and retain her youth and beauty, graves exhumed and the corpses showing no signs of decomposition and containing fresh blood, vaccinations to cure the human vampiric virus and witches burnt at the stake.

The idea of bringing those things to life in a modern day society fascinated me. How would they hide? How would they fit in? Could they exist undetected? What or who would they eat? Would they fall in love? I let all of these questions and many, many more roll around in my head and added a healthy serving of imagination.

Each goal was a learning process. It began with writing the book then on to creating a synopsis and query letter. I had to learn how to submit it and who to submit it to. My wonderful editor, Sharis walked me through the process of ironing out all the wrinkles and the cover artist April brought a face to the characters that had been talking in my head for months. All the while the unending support of my family and friends to push me along when I slowed, dried my tears when I got rejections and listened to me rant when my characters weren’t behaving themselves.

Nightwalker, A Leah Wolfe SINS Novel was born.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please feel free to pop over to my blog www.rhondaprint.blogspot.com or my web page www.RhondaLPrint.com and leave me a comment or ask a question. I love hearing from my readers and look forward to chatting with you.

© Rhonda L. Print

Featured Book

Nightwalker

Series: A Leah Wolfe SINS Novel

Author:  Rhonda L. Print

Publisher:  Liquid Silver Books

Genre: Paranormal

Buy Link

Leah Wolfe has retired from serious police work in favor of seeking a normal life. Her unique, yet not fully discovered supernatural abilities allow her to speak to the souls of the dead, providing vital information in the search for their killers. Her abilities have also cost her almost everyone she has ever loved including her mother, who abandoned her to fend for herself on the streets, and, most recently, her ex-fiance Joaquin Wildhorse, Chief Detective of the Native American Reservation Police Department.

But when Joaquin’s new lover is found brutally murdered on the reservation, he turns to Leah for help. The hunt for a vicious killer leads Leah to sexy Ian Nightwalker and Leah is unable to walke away from the case that may cost her her most guarded posession of all.

Her heart.

Excerpt

Find Rhonda

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Website

Welcome to the world of publishing Rhonda and I wish you every success.…..

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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Excerpt Day - Idaho Battlegrounds © Sarah Black

Excerpt

 

“UNIT 12, this is Base. Sheriff, I’ve got a message for you.”

 

Grady thumbed the button on the radio. “Base, 12. What’s doing, Sanchez?”

 

“All quiet on the western front. How was the council meeting?”

 

Grady thought about all the people who could be listening in to the sheriff’s department radio. “It is what it is, bud.” Civilian speak for the military’s FUBAR. He had listened to forty-five minutes of discussion about enforcing the assigned parking spots for city council members at City Hall. When Grady had finally had enough of the whining and complaints, he suggested they had more critical issues to discuss, and proposed repeat parking offenders be drawn and quartered during the Thursday evening concert series. The council members had not been amused. Grady thought he would have to work a little harder to curb his irritation with the people who funded his department.

 

“I got a message for you, Boss. Some dude said to tell you book club’s cancelled for tonight.”

 

Grady frowned at the radio. “10-4, Base. Out.” Cancelled? What the hell? Damn cheese farmer. Didn’t he know you don’t blow somebody off before the first date? He grabbed the radio again. “Sanchez, I’m taking lunch.”

 

“Boss, it’s ten thirty.”

 

“So?”

 

“Um, nothing. Out.”

 

Sanchez was a good guy. They were in the same National Guard unit and had only been back from Afghanistan and out of uniform about six weeks. Sanchez had two babies at home, and to hear him tell it, there would be another bun in the oven any day now.

 

Grady drove his cruiser along one of the back roads in Canyon County, Idaho. This was farm country, full of hard-working people, and his job was to keep them safe. He turned onto the road that lead to Edward’s little dairy farm.

 

Edward Clayton had fifty fat Jersey cows, a ramshackle barn, a milking shed, a tiny creamery, and a run-down little house. They had met the week before at the library in Melba. After Edward had left, the librarian, Miss Middlesex, had given Grady the rest of the story. “I don’t know what that man’s doing here,” she’d said. “He used to be some big-shot lawyer with the ACLU. Does he strike you as the back-to-the earth type? I think he’s in hiding.”

 

Grady didn’t know what the back-to-the earth type looked like. Compost under the fingernails? Maybe some loose alfalfa hay somewhere about their person? Edward was handsome, with long, slender fingers and a bony, elegant face. He had kind gray eyes, and Grady immediately wanted to see him in a silver-gray cashmere turtleneck. Or a cashmere robe, open at the neck. Grady spent all his time with men in uniform—Army National Guard, Sheriff’s Department. The high and tight was the haircut of choice. None of them had chestnut curls on the back of their necks, and Grady suspected this was the reason he kept reaching for Edward Clayton’s curls in his mind every time he closed his eyes.

 

He pulled into the farm, left his cruiser next to the house, and walked out to the barn. This time of day a busy farmer would be with his cows, or in the creamery making cheese. Most of the cows were already in the pasture next to the barn, their sweet brown faces turned up to the sun.

 

“I know you’re scared, but I’ll take care of you. Just take this in your mouth and suck on it a tiny bit.” Grady raised his eyebrows, watched Edward with the damp newborn calf in his lap. The baby was not interested in taking the bottle. He kept rooting around at Edward’s lap, covered now in a bright red apron with the words Curds and Whey in script.

 

“He’s looking for his mama, not some bony ACLU lawyer with a bottle.”

 

Edward looked up, and Grady felt a moment of dizziness, like he was falling into deep cool water. “I’m sorry about book club, Grady. I’ve had a death.”

 

“Cow, not human, right? Because I haven’t been informed of any human deaths.”

 

Edward gave him a crooked smile, hitched the baby up in his arms. “Cow,” he confirmed. “This baby’s mother died in childbirth, because I didn’t know what to do. And if I don’t get him to take his bottle, I’m going to lose him too.”

 

A woman came into the barn, drying her hands off on her apron. She had a worried, time-worn face, and she wore her thick dark hair bundled up at the nape of her neck. “Edward, there’s a Sheriff’s Department car at the house.”

 

Edward stood up quickly. “Mrs. Rodriguez.” Grady saw the alarm on her face, the quick blanch when she caught sight of him. “Sheriff Sullivan, this is Mrs. Rodriguez, my housekeeper. Temporary housekeeper. Emilia, this is Sheriff Grady Sullivan.”

 

Grady reached out and shook her hand. She was still pale, her dark eyes darting nervously from his face to his gun belt, and her hand was shaking slightly. “I’m sorry if I startled you. I just came to assist Edward in feeding the orphan.”

 

Mrs. Rodriguez and Edward studied him carefully from the tips of his polished black boots, up the knife creased khaki trousers, to the sturdy gun belt and the shiny badge pinned to his breast pocket. Edward was laughing, but Mrs. Rodriguez turned away with a sniff. “I hope whoever does your laundry knows how to get out milk stains,” she said, and she disappeared around the corner of the barn.

 

Grady shrugged. “I don’t think she likes my looks. Or maybe the cops are a little bit scarier wherever she’s from.”

 

Edward was next to him now, smelling of sweet buttermilk and smiling with those kind eyes. “Maybe we should have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy regarding the immigration status of my farm workers.”

 

Grady narrowed his eyes. “I am very familiar with that policy, being as I served four years on active duty in the Army. I would have to say such a policy sucks. But I don’t plan on rousting your temporary housekeeper. Whatever that means.”

 

“What are you doing out here, Grady?”

 

“I took my lunch break to come out here and kick your ass for blowing me off.”

 

“Your lunch break? Then the least I can do is feed you.” He put the little calf down in some straw.

 

Grady gestured to the door of the barn. Three pairs of brown eyes were peeking at him from around the corner of the big door. “Looks like you’ve got some more temporary housekeepers come to help.”

 

Edward gave him a look but waved the children in. The oldest was a girl, about eight, and she kept her two little brothers behind her. Edward gave her the bottle. “See if you can get the baby to take some of this milk,” he said, and when they left, the children were kneeling next to the calf, petting it and talking to it in soft Spanish voices.

 

Edward pushed open the door to the little creamery, and Grady followed him in. “How’re the elections going? Every time I go to town, seems like there’s a fight about to break out in the diner over the sheriff’s election. I’m not from around here, though, so nobody tells me anything.”

 

“I was elected six years ago,” Grady said, sliding onto a stool. Edward opened a big stainless Sub-Zero fridge and pulled out a couple of plates of cheese. “Then our National Guard unit was deployed to Afghanistan. We were gone with one thing or another for almost four years. About half of us were members of the unit. The ones that weren’t were left to run things. They hired some temp workers to fill in. When we came back, the maneuvering started. The temps claimed discrimination when the vets went back to their old jobs. There isn’t very much work out here, so the scramble for jobs was deadly serious, you know?”

 

“Did they do a good job while you were gone?”

 

Grady felt his jaw harden, and a muscle twitched along his temple. Edward had instincts like a shark. “No. They did not. The changes I’d made in the first two years disappeared, and the man chosen to be acting sheriff ran the county like an old fashioned mobster. Favors, threats, bribes. He’s managed to get a lot of people in debt to him or obligated to him in some way. And now he’s pulling in favors with both hands. I don’t know if he was counting on my not coming back, or maybe he thought I would come back too banged up to fight him. But I did come back, and I kicked his ass out of my chair and started to clean up.”

 

“That’s Devlin Barry?”

 

“Yeah. So he went back to his old job at dispatch and started shaking the trees. He convinced the city council to hold special elections, and he’s running for sheriff against me. He may win too. Maybe this place likes his way better than mine.”

 

“What’s your way?”

 

“I follow the rules. The laws. If they’re unfair, or unjust, the right thing to do is change them. There’re too many dangers to people when we live in the gray areas, adjusting the rules for every new situation. My job is the safety and security of the people of this county.”

 

Edward washed a bunch of red grapes in the sink and set them on one of the plates of cheese. “I think of the law as all gray areas, like it’s something alive, and it’s always evolving from this to that, depending on our understanding and interpretation. But that’s the way a lawyer is trained to see the law: open for interpretation. I get what you mean. For those charged with enforcing the law, you can’t waffle. The line you walk can’t change with every person.”

 

“What did you do with the ACLU?”

 

“GLBT rights projects and some immigrant rights.” He put a knife on one of the plates, and reached into a cabinet for a zip lock bag of crackers. “Try this fresh ricotta first,” he said, dipping the knife into a fluffy mound of white cheese. “I just made it this morning.”

 

Grady bit down into the cheese- it was light and sweet and rich, with a tiny hint of lemon. Like cheese ice cream. “Hey, that’s good!”

 

“I’m going to toast a couple of pieces of bread,” Edward said. He slid one of the plates closer to Grady. “That hard cheese there, that’s Manchego. Usually it’s a sheep’s milk cheese, but I made this version with the cow’s milk. I really like it. So nutty and rich.”

 

Grady tasted a piece of the cheese, and then reached for another. Edward was right: nutty, salty, and rich, but mild at the same time. “That’s really good. I probably don’t have the vocabulary to describe it properly.”

 

“I’m a fairly new cheesehead myself.” Edward leaned across the counter, rested on his elbows, and took his sweet time watching Grady eat.

 

Grady popped a grape into his mouth and looked back. Edward was just the sort of man he kept hoping to find. Hoping, trying, being disappointed by. He had a long list now of the things he didn’t want in a friend—he didn’t want a drama queen. Jealous was out. He wanted a man, not a leech, not some pretty boy looking for an easy berth. And smart. He needed smart. He was a lot more lonely for someone to talk to than he was for someone to warm his bed. And he needed someone who would respect his job. Respect the work he did and understand he didn’t take his responsibilities lightly. “So what’s your story? Miss Middlesex at the library thinks you’re in hiding.”

 

Edward grinned and turned to pick up the toast. “What, from the mob? I’m from San Francisco. We do have the Lavender Mob out there, but I don’t think I’ve pissed off any of the old queens. Here, try some of this one.” He scooped some runny-looking cheese with a white rind onto a piece of toast and handed it over. “I’m more partial to the hard Italian cheeses myself, and the fresh soft ones, but lots of people like French-style cheese.”

 

It was ripe and tangy with a lingering smoothness. Grady was having a hard time choosing his favorites. Edward handed him a glass of water, and then turned away to put some coffee on. “Can you drink a cup? I usually take a break about this time of the morning to have some cheese and coffee and toast.”

 

“I can drink a cup,” Grady said. “So, what’s your story?”

 

Edward glanced at him, smiling. “I wasn’t trying to blow off your question. I just haven’t figured out how to describe what I’m doing out here without sounding like some sort of weirdo cow-milking flake!”

 

Grady cut off another little piece of the Manchego. “That’s really good. If you’re growing pot out on the back forty, you better tell me now.”

 

“I guess that wouldn’t look good with the sheriff’s elections, what, three weeks away? No, two weeks.”

 

“No, it wouldn’t.”

 

“I’m not growing pot. These cows eat everything that grows, and there isn’t a fence they can’t get through. You’ll never find livestock on a pot farm.”

 

“That’s a good tip, thanks,” Grady said. “Now stop fussing around and sit down.”

 

Edward slid a cup of coffee across the table and took a stool. Grady broke off a bunch of the grapes, put them on Edward’s plate, and scooted the cheese wedges across the counter. The coffee was rich and black, and just for a moment Grady took this memory, the smells of coffee and cheese and toast, the man’s beautiful face and elegant fingers, his smile, and he tucked it away in his heart. The way he felt right now, this moment, he might need to remember this one day when he was cold, or lonely, or in a tough spot.

 

“I felt like I was getting farther and farther all the time from things that were real.” Edward was toying with one of the pieces of toast. “I knew the work I was doing was important, but I was so very far away from seeing any change. I mean, you don’t close your computer down with a hearty sigh and think, there, I just saved somebody’s life. At least, I didn’t. I just wanted to get out of the law library and see some real people. Do some real work.”

 

Grady thought about this. “So you went from immigrant rights with the ACLU to a farm? Cheesemaking? I understand what you’re saying perfectly. And you can make a mean wheel of cheese.” He was silent for a moment, adding up the things that didn’t make sense. He glanced up, and Edward wasn’t meeting his eyes. There was a faint flush on his cheeks. “So how’s it going?”

 

Edward looked at him now. “It’s good. It’s work that feels real and strong and needs to be done.”

 

Grady wondered for a moment if he should just let it go. The man wasn’t talking about cows. But he was sitting here in his uniform eating Edward’s cheese, with a couple of little brown kids in the barn trying to feed the baby cow. “Edward, is there anything you need to tell me? Anything I should know? I promise I’m not the bad guy.”

 

Edward shook his head, reaching across the table with a grateful smile. “No, Grady. But thank you for asking.”

 

© Sarah Black

 

Idaho Battlegrounds

Author: Sarah Black

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Genre: GLBT

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Sheriff Grady Sullivan returns to Canyon County, Idaho, after his second tour in Afghanistan to find his department in disorder and his authority undermined. He’s determined to restore discipline, but he soon finds himself fighting for his job. The bright spot in his life is kindred soul Edward Clayton. But Edward isn't just raising dairy cows, and Grady is soon pulled into Edward’s Underground Railroad for illegal kids.

As noble as Edward’s work is, it’s illegal, and Grady is suddenly faced with losing everything he’s worked for and everything that matters to him as he’s forced to choose between Edward and the work that has always defined him.

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Excerpt Day - Overdue For Pleasure © Shelley Aikens

Excerpt

 

Brad's tongue on my nipple was soft, pulling it up to an aching peak inside his beautiful mouth, his hand travelling down my body, tempting me with its slow, circling progress. I arched my hips toward him, trying to hurry his fingers towards my hungry, wet cunt, but still his fingers stayed teasingly out of reach. I moaned in frustration, surprised when I heard an echoing moan coming from the next room. Brad seemed oblivious to the sound, his hand and mouth continuing to travel across my body, his sparkling blue eyes smiling as my frustration mounted.

 

Gradually, the distant echo became clearer—it sounded like someone was in the next room, singing badly out of key. As the singing got louder, Brad's touch started to lighten, to fade away, as though he was nothing more than a ghost. And then suddenly he was gone, and the singing was now even louder than ever.

 

I opened my eyes with a groan of understanding—it had been nothing more than a dream and, sadly, Brad Pitt wasn't really here in my bed seducing me. The only man around was my boyfriend, Martin, who was in the bathroom belting out a Rolling Stones song: "I can't get noooo satisfaction..."

 

I sighed as the truth of the words struck me. I could feel how turned on I was, how frustrated. Nothing like almost having sex with Brad Pitt first thing in the morning to get a girl hot and bothered, I thought. I reached down to satisfy the ache, but I knew that I needed more than just an orgasm. I needed to be fucked as hard as possible, as soon as possible.

 

But I knew that it would be a long shot to get Martin interested in sex right now. After all, it wasn't Friday or Tuesday evening, or Sunday afternoon, which were his preferred times for sex. But then again, what man would ever turn down sex?

 

I could hear the shower running and knew that I had a few minutes, so I ran down to the guest bathroom, quickly brushed my teeth and hair, and assessed my naked body in the mirror. Not bad, I thought; most guys wouldn't turn me away. Thin but not too thin, curvy but not too curvy, average height, strong and fit, with breasts that were large but not too large, an ass that wasn't too lumpy, and my favorite asset of all—my long, shapely Rockettes legs, my one and only vanity.

 

I decided that I looked pretty good for first thing in the morning, my long, brown hair falling halfway down my back, a bit frizzy but free of tangles now, my lightly-freckled face and blue eyes looking unusually fresh and awake after a not-quite-sufficient sleep last night and a somewhat restless awakening. I guess making out with Brad Pitt does a body good.

 

Confident I was working with the best I had, I went back to the master bathroom, where Martin was just stepping out of the shower. He smiled at me, his sparkling-white, expensively-capped teeth flashing. "Good morning, darling!" he chimed, as usual at his perky best first thing in the morning.

 

I smiled in return, giving him a lingering kiss on the lips. "Good morning, honey. Thanks for the serenade."

 

©  Shelley Aikens

Overdue For Pleasure

Author: Shelley Aikens

Publisher: Carina Press

Genre: Erotica, Ménage

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Mandy is content with her job as a librarian, her longtime boyfriend, Martin, and the lovely home they share. So what if their sex life is vanilla? She's not the wild type anyway.

But when she wakes up one morning—unsatisfied—from an erotic dream starring her favorite movie star, Mandy starts to crave sexual adventure in real life. Too bad Martin won't oblige, because it's not Tuesday or Friday. Then Mandy finds out what Martin's been doing the other days of the week—or rather, who. And suddenly she needs to prove to herself that she's not boring in bed.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of smoking-hot men willing to help her on her sensual quest: a nameless library patron who could be Brad Pitt's twin, a coworker she suddenly sees in a different light, and the neighbor who usually rubs her the wrong way wants to show her he can rub her the oh-so-right way, too! Lucky for Mandy, her lovers are more than willing to share...

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Excerpt Day - But I Never Said I Didn't Love You! © Andy Dunn

Excerpt

 

As he watched from the sidelines, Callum couldn't believe how Brian transformed out on the dance floor.  He ground his hips to the music's tempo and rolled his torso in a serpentine fashion.  Callum had seen his male relatives and friends dance at weddings and nights out, but they all seemed to flail about, trying to find the music.  Not Brian; he felt it and transformed it into an embodiment of passion.  It might have been the song, too, the way the guitars pounded and the hushed singing cut into Callum's brain.  He knew the song quite well, but the way Brian danced brought a new, sexual dimension to it he didn't know exist.

 

Maybe all gay men are just good dancers. Callum took a sip of his drink.

 

A twinge of jealousy hit Callum as he watched Brian attract the rest of the pack.  Two others, half Brian's age, tried to match his undulations.  They didn't have the graceful sleaze Brian projected, especially when they moved so that Brian was between them. One ground his hips against Brian's ass as the other rubbed his ass against Brian's crotch.  It didn't work  and just broke the magic of Brian's performance.  Brian declined his suitors' advances with quick kisses and moved away from them, then turned his attention to Callum.

 

The second Brian looked at him, Callum saw him in a different light.  This wasn't Brian the coworker who playfully flirted with him.  He was now Brian the bright, vibrant, incredibly sexy man who touched upon an inner desire Callum hadn't felt in ages.  He now saw Brian as somebody he could spend a lot of time with. 

 

Maybe not a lifetime, but enough to get into loads of trouble.

 

The attention embarrassed and thrilled Callum at the same time; he hadn't been singled out for anything ever.  Callum imagined he was back at school and it was physical education time.  The class was choosing sides for a quick game of football and Brian was one of the team captains.  Much to his surprise, Brian chose Callum first.

 

The song changed to something slow by Madonna and Callum decided he couldn't leave Brian alone any more.  Still, it meant he'd have to go out onto the dance floor, put his arms around Brian, and hold him close.  How could he do that when he knew everybody in the club was watching him because he had a wife at home?  His heart beat frantically as he set his glass on the rail next to Brian's coat then joined Brian.

 

© Andy Dunn

But I Never Said I Didn't Love You!

Author: Andy Dunn

Publisher: Aspen mountain Press

Genre: GLBT

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Callum should have come out years ago, but getting married seemed like a better idea. When his coworker Brian begins to flirt with him, Callum starts to question his earlier decision. Shortly after his divorce, Callum and Brian start dating. Nothing serious. Just a laugh and a pint or three down at the pub.

Even though he’s uncertain how strong his feelings are for Callum, Brian encourages him to see other guys. This backfires in a rather unexpected way: Callum meets his second boyfriend Simon. Simon might just be a better suitor – he’s a bit more romantic and a lot less brash than Brian.

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Excerpt Day - Sleeping With The Wolf © Maddy Barone

Excerpt

Chapter One

It wasn’t the crowd that made Carla’s palms sweat, or even the fact that this crowd was made up exclusively of men who were staring at her. She had spent most of the last five years standing on stage, singing her songs and playing her guitar for thousands of enthusiastic fans at a time, both men and women. She’d even received half a dozen marriage proposals from men she had never met. None of that had ever made her suffer from nerves before. There were only a few hundred men fixated on her here, but her sweaty hands were shaking worse than they ever had before a show. The difference was none of her adoring fans had a snowball’s chance in hell of marrying her, but one of these half-savage men lining up to fight for her would be her husband in a few hours. God help them.

 

How could she have gone from being a rising country music star in the year 2014 to a piece of merchandise in 2064? Useless questions raced angrily around her head, bringing her perilously close to tears, so she scowled at her surroundings.

 

The theater she was in now must have been a showpiece in its glory days, and maybe a historical site later. Right now it was a shell. The majority of one wall had been knocked out and replaced by mismatched windows so light could come in. The afternoon sun lit the interior like a spotlight on a once elegant but now aging diva. Half the fancy chandeliers were missing, and half of those remaining were missing most of their crystals. The balconies, like the one she stood in now, lined the only intact wall. Carla could see traces of the gold paint that once embellished the ornate carved wood. The raised stage was below and to the left of her balcony, framed in carved wood, but the curtain was gone. The slightly sloping floor was bare wood, marked with rough spots where the seats had once been fastened. The stage had a large square marked off to designate where the fights would take place.

 

Several of the men made a point of standing below her balcony while they stripped off their shirts and shoes to get ready to fight. They preened for her, stretching muscled lean bodies trying to catch her eye. Some made kissing faces at her. She pointedly ignored them.

 

Her fingernails, showing only chipped remnants of Cherry Bomb nail lacquer, were ragged while they bit into her palms. If she counted correctly, today was The Day. If her world hadn’t ended four days ago she would be singing the national anthem at game five of the World Series tonight. But that world was gone. No cell phones, no cars, no computers, no planes. At least none that could fly ... When she left Minneapolis after a show four days ago and boarded a plane to Denver, the world had been sane. Highways were full of cars driven by people who listened to CDs and played DVDs for their children. There were restaurants and grocery stores and malls in every town they flew over. The plane had been full of businessmen tapping away on their laptops and families with teenagers who were glued to their cell phones. And then ... the world ended. Somehow the plane had gone fifty years into the future. And this future was after the apocalypse.

 

Carla glanced over at the woman on the balcony beside hers. Lisa Anton was beautiful. Of course she was beautiful: she was a model. She had long blond hair--natural blond!--perfect skin, perfect body, perfect makeup. At least, her makeup had been perfect when she’d got on the plane. Carla, already in her seat, had cynically tagged her as a Blonde, not too bright, way too vain, and useless. But when the plane went down and the survivors tried to dig through the wreckage to find others, the blonde model had done more than her share of digging and lifting. Her perfect makeup had been smeared all over her face, her perfect clothes torn and dirty. She’d held a little boy while he died and smiled for him the whole time, not crying until after he was gone. While others were hysterical when their cell phones and laptops didn’t work she managed to stay calm. When the only surviving member of the plane crew asked for volunteers to walk to try to find help, she immediately offered to go. Three groups of two survivors each set out in different directions to find help. Carla had been impressed by the blonde and hadn’t minded being paired up with her as one of the teams going to find help.

 

Help? A fat lot of help they had gotten. They had been glad and relieved to see the farm people after hiking for a day with no signs of life. The two-lane asphalt road they found was badly cracked and overgrown with grass and weeds. They didn’t know where they were, except somewhere between Minneapolis and Denver, without any cell-phone reception. There had been nothing to see but grassy plains for miles. The first town they came to after walking for two hours was totally empty except for rusted shells of cars and sagging buildings. They continued to struggle on, confused by the emptiness around them and worried about the people they left behind. They passed a number of empty ruined farmhouses without ever seeing a person. It made no sense why miles of farm and grazing land were empty. Carla grew up on a ranch in eastern Wyoming, and it wasn’t unusual for ranches to be spread far apart, or to see an occasional older house or barn abandoned. But a dozen empty houses? Carla knew there was something weird about that. But she never in a million years would have guessed they had gone fifty years into the future. The crash had been completely unexpected. It was a beautiful day for travel, so when the turbulence hit it caught all the passengers by surprise, and Carla had felt terror close her throat when the plane jolted violently and began to descend. So many had been killed or hurt she felt almost guilty to be merely bruised. But the crash didn’t explain the eerie emptiness of these houses and towns.

 

The walled farming community they found the following morning was weird too. The men guarding the gate had worn plain dark clothes, and held some sort of shotgun or rifle which Carla didn’t recognize. A militant Amish community? Or some strange group like at Waco? If she and Lisa hadn’t been so tired and hungry, and if their feet hadn’t hurt so much from walking in high-heeled boots, they would have passed on. But these were the first people they had seen, and the people from the plane needed help.

 

There were plenty of suspicious men, but very few women in the Odessa farming settlement. The farmers wore plain pants and shirts, and their wives wore ankle-length dresses. These farmers did without phones or televisions or computers. They seemed odd but not aggressive in spite of the armed guards at the gate. Their religion was rigid, and all-prevalent. At the midday meal the elder had prayed for “the two worldly strangers from the Times Before whom God sent to us as a gift to save us from the harsh winter.” Carla had to bite her tongue to keep from saying something rude. The women had fussed over their blisters and torn clothes and set up skimpy baths of water heated over the stove, like in Little House on the Prairie. The men agreed to take Carla and Lisa to the nearest town so they could get help for the survivors.

 

Right. Fooled by a bunch of Amish farmers. The farmers had taken them in a horse-drawn wagon into a nearby town that looked like a cross between an Old West town and a military base, to the so-called mayor, Ray Madison. The town was strange, with tall walls made of stone sectioning off some blocks and no signs of technology anywhere. There were no cars, no lights, no fast food places. They passed a building that had once been a popular chain restaurant, but the familiar sign was bleached by age and weather. Some men and boys were on the streets, staring at the two of them like they had two heads each, but they saw no women. Ray had looked them over like they were prime livestock while they had explained about the plane and the survivors needing medical help. Ray hadn’t shown much interest in that. He only gave the farmers some boxes and bundles in trade for the two of them. The farmers had left them with Ray. Lisa had cried. Carla had argued. But Ray had rubbed his hands together gleefully and announced that he would offer them as prizes in a Bride Fight. It seemed that two unknown women in their twenties were hot commodities in this future hell.

 

So that’s what they were now, prizes the best fighters could take home. And no help yet for the plane crash survivors. Had either of the other volunteer teams found help? Carla met Lisa’s eyes just for a minute and saw the model shaking. Her fair skin showed the signs of tears. Carla hoped her own tanned face was calm. She was so furious she’d like to punch these men. If there hadn’t been four guards standing behind her chair she’d have tried to escape. But where could she go?

 

Ray, the man who had bought her, stepped into her balcony. He smiled at her, showing a few gaps between yellowed teeth. Dental care must be hard to come by in this place. He indicated the men below. “One of those fine men will be yours in just a little while. You got a preference, little lady?”

 

His father-of-the-bride attitude rubbed Carla the wrong way. “My preference is to go home,” she said between clenched teeth.

 

Ray looked pitying. “Can’t,” he said patiently. “We’ve told you over and over that your world doesn’t exist anymore. Hasn’t for fifty years. Same thing happened a few years back. My missus told you about them other women from the Times Before who showed up out west of here. They never got back neither. They got good husbands now, and couple kids too, I heard. But I ain’t never heard nothin’ about them complainin’. So, buck up. You got twelve men fighting for you.” He sounded like he was congratulating her. “No more than what might be expected, a healthy-looking gal like you. You have a bit of meat on your bones. Gives a man something to hold on to.”

 

Carla’s teeth were in danger of shattering. She wore a size twelve, and a size twelve was not fat.

 

“But,” Ray went on, “even that skinny yellow-haired gal has eight men fighting for her, including my son.”

 

Ray was proud of his son, and with good reason, Carla had to admit. Eddie was a golden god, as handsome as any model Lisa might have worked with in the past. And he had been nice to her and Lisa when he tried to explain about terrorist nuclear weapons destroying most major US cities fifty years ago, and the asteroid that had hit Texas the following year, and the epidemics that wiped out more women than men, and how hardly anyone alive now even remembered computers or phones. Only a tiny percentage of the population was older than fifty. Eddie had made it plain that this wasn’t a dream, and even if they found help for the plane crash survivors they could never go back to their own time. His mother, Darlene, and his sister, Bree, had told them this wasn’t the year 2014 anymore, and having two more women in town increased their number to an even two hundred. There were over 4,000 men in the area, and about 1,000 of them were of marriageable age but unmarried. Lots of men would like to marry them, but only a couple dozen would be allowed to enter the Bride Fights. Carla wanted to believe everyone lied to them and it was not 2064. But what else could explain the lack of cars, the lack of modern appliances? Sure, crazy fundamentalist technophobes could all move out to the middle of Nebraska and make their own community without street lights or phones or electricity, but that didn’t explain the obvious age of the tumbled buildings or the fact that her cell phone wouldn’t place a call to her mother or even 911.

 

“But you got good men fighting for you,” Ray went blithely on. “Like Doug Gray, there. He don’t have much to offer a wife, but he’s got education. They say he might be able to get some of these gadgets from the Times Before to work someday. You’d like that, hey? And he comes from a pretty well-respected family, too. Bill Russell is a blacksmith. Don’t let his size scare you. My wife says he’s a real gentleman. He’s got a good business. His wife would be taken care of real good. Or there’s Taye Wolfe. He’s head of the Pack from north of town, and he’s got ties to the Lakota hereabouts. Nobody would be stupid enough to mess with his wife. Got probably fifty men under him. They’re a bit odd, those wolves, but good people. My daughter says he’s a handsome man. Whatchu think?”

 

Without meaning to, Carla followed Ray’s pointing finger. Taye Wolfe was tall and dark, and he had just taken off his shirt, showing an impressive expanse of taut brown skin. Native American? He met her gaze and inclined his head to her before turning away to talk to someone. Carla frowned angrily and jerked her eyes back to Ray.

 

“You don’t have the right to do this,” she snapped at Ray. “I am not a slave! You can’t sell me off—”

 

Ray had heard it a dozen times already. “Yes, I can. Common sense says you need to be married. This ain’t the Times Before. You are a grown woman without a husband, a father, or a brother. There’s too many men here and hardly any women. If you don’t get a husband quick the men will fight over you, and not the nice organized fights like these are gonna be. They’ll ambush each other, kill each other. They’ll commit outright murder. Just to get hold of you. You want that?”

 

Carla opened her mouth to reply, but he didn’t give her a chance.

 

“And I ain’t selling you! All these boys have paid an entrance fee to be able to participate in the Bride Fight. I’ll take my fair cut, but the rest goes to the town, to fix the streets and what not. I’m letting only the best men enter. The ones that have enough goods to support a wife, and ones who have a respected position in the town. Sure, Doug Gray’s not as well off as the rest of these others, but he’s respected. All of ’em are good fighters. The best fighter deserves to have a wife. That way the best genes will pass on to the next generation.”

 

Carla said a word she seldom used.

 

“And,” Ray went on, raising his voice to cover her profanity, “my wife got final pick of who got to enter. She made sure all of the fighters are good men. They’ll treat you right. She thinks any of these men would be good enough for our own daughter. If they’re good enough for Bree, they’re good enough for you.” He gave her a fierce nod. “Now I’m going to go over to the other gal and give her a pep talk too.”

 

Carla forced her fists open and took deep breaths, not bothering to watch Ray leave. Pep talk. Right.

 

“Ma’am?”

 

A low, deep voice made her jump. It was Taye Wolfe, standing just below the balcony. Carla realized that he was a handsome man, with thick shiny black hair cut neatly at his nape, but long enough to fall into his eyes. His eyes were dark too, with surprisingly long lashes, under elegantly curved black brows. And he was younger than she had thought, maybe only twenty-three or twenty-four. His mouth was full and soft, a contrast to the hard angle of his jaw, and a hint of a dimple showed at the corner of his mouth.

 

“Ma’am,” he said again. “I heard that you are from the Times Before, and you don’t want to be here. Is that so?”

 

Maybe it was her love of putting sounds together to create music that made his deep voice so attractive to her. It gave her shivers. She leaned over the balcony, holding her long walnut brown hair back so it wouldn’t fall past the railing. “Yes! I need to go back to the plane! People are dying!” She looked around and noticed several of the other fighters scowling at Taye. She lowered her voice. “Can you help me get away?”

 

“No, ma’am.” His teeth were very white against his brown face when he smiled at her. “I plan to win this fight and marry you. But I want you to know that I’ll always take good care of you. I don’t know you yet, but I hope we’ll love each other someday. Until then I can promise you respect and gentleness.” He nodded once and walked away, leaving her gaping after him. He paused and turned back. “And I think I should tell you that I’ve read a bunch of those romance novels from the Times Before, and I know what a woman likes. I promise you’ll be satisfied in our bed.” He smiled again, a wicked white slash in his brown face, and sauntered away. Carla stared after him, appreciating the narrow waist and wide shoulders before remembering why he was here. Curse him. Curse them all!

 

Carla’s thoughts raced around her head. Like it or not, she was going home with a stranger after this tournament. Did she have anything in her purse that could be used as a weapon? She had a lot to choose from in there. After carrying it for a day and a half she knew how much it weighed. She picked it up from the floor beside her and rummaged through it, cataloging its contents. She was vaguely aware that Ray was down on the stage now, making announcements. She heard her name and the roar of applause from the crowd and looked out at them, glaring. Now, what did she have? Keys for an apartment and car that had no doubt been destroyed in the past fifty years. Wallet with useless money and credit cards. Knitting needle? That could be a weapon, but she was knitting socks on tiny double-pointed needles that her brother called toothpicks, so probably not. Nail file? It was blunt and pretty small, from a purse-size travel kit. Darn the airline security regulations. She was wearing a leather belt with her barrel-racing championship buckle. The buckle was large and solid. If she swung it by the belt and hit someone, it could cause a lot of damage. Even kill a person. But was she capable of that?

 

The preliminary fights had already taken place when she decided to start paying attention. By the time she figured out what was going on, there were only eight men left on the stage aside from the referees, four fighting for her and four for Lisa. The contenders for her were on the right. She knew this because Taye Wolfe and Doug Gray were there. Lisa’s men, including Eddie, were on the left. Eddie kissed his fingertips and flicked his hand up, smiling at Lisa in the balcony besides hers.

 

Carla looked over at Lisa. The blonde tried to smile at Eddie, but she was terrified, and not hiding it well. Eddie would probably make an okay husband. Carla hoped he would win. He would treat Lisa nicely. Only two days ago Lisa had been only a name and a picture in magazine. Now she was like a sister. Carla wanted Lisa to be okay and happy, if possible. She looked down at the stage again, and her eyes met Taye Wolfe’s. His face was tilted down so that when he looked up at her it was from under level brows. His dimple flashed with his quick smile. Carla folded her arms and glared briefly before looking away.

 

She couldn’t help but look, though, when Taye and Doug Gray went into the square and both turned to face her. They nodded formally, almost like a bow, then shook hands, and at a word from one of the referees began to fight. It was a brutal mixture of boxing and wrestling. With four brothers, Carla had seen plenty of fights, but this was vicious. Compared to Taye Wolfe, Doug Gray was lanky, not as muscular. He fought well, though. Taye was hurt, but he won in the end, pinning his opponent in a strangle hold. Doug Gray slapped his hand against the floor to signal his defeat. Taye Wolfe helped him up and they shook hands. Doug Gray nodded to Carla, and Taye Wolfe sent her another wicked smile. Jerk. Did he think she was glad he had won? She looked away and yawned as if bored.

 

But actually, her stomach was jumping around so much she thought she might throw up. She barely watched the next fights because she wasn’t sure she could keep her face cool. She knew Eddie won his last fight because Lisa gave a half sob and said, “Thank God!” audibly, and then the spectators began applauding and chanting Eddie’s name. That was good. Lisa liked Eddie, and Eddie was obviously smitten with her. Ray’s voice was proud when he announced that the hand of Miss Lisa Anton had been won by Eddie Madison.

The spectators quieted down when the last two fighters stepped into the square. Taye Wolfe was facing a large, heavily muscled black man. Wasn’t he the blacksmith Ray had pointed out to her? Taye was barehanded, but the black man had a knife. Was that allowed? It must be, if the referee didn’t take it away or try to stop the fight. Carla couldn’t quite suppress her nervous shiver. One of these two men would own her. Taye was almost slender compared to the other man. The smooth way he moved seemed like a ballet to Carla. For all that, the fight was brutal. The black man had pinned Taye Wolfe down with his teeth sunk into his chest, trying to stab him with the knife. But Taye managed to free himself and kick his opponent in the head. He had a gouge in his chest from where the black man had bitten him. Blood ran in a dark stream down his chest. Carla turned her face away, teeth clenched. She didn’t look again until she heard Ray shouting that Taye Wolfe had won her. An unearthly howl rose above the roar of the spectators. When she forced herself to look she saw the black man lying still in a pool of blood and Taye with his head flung back and his mouth open in the howl that made her shudder.

 

Taye Wolfe was her new owner, and he looked as feral as his namesake.

 

© Maddy Barone

 

Sleeping With The Wolf

Author: Maddy Barone

Publisher: Liquid Silver Press

Genre: Shifter

Buy Link

Sterling Silver title

Rising country music star Carla boards a plane in the year 2014. But it crashes in the future, fifty years after Armageddon has destroyed technology and plagues have reduced the female population to a precious few. She finds herself offered as prize in a Bride Fight, where only the strongest and fiercest men are allowed to compete to win a wife.

Alpha werewolf Taye knows Carla is his mate. He wins the Bride Fight and takes her to his den, ready to give her everything, even his heart. Will Carla ever be ready to give him anything?

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Excerpt Day - Forbidden Passions © Aurora Rose Lynn

Excerpt:

"Did anyone follow you?"

 

The interior of the luxurious penthouse suite facing out over misty gray Chicago faded from view as Belle stepped into the room and closed the door with a soft thud. Every inch of Randall Lambert's body screamed to rush forward and take her into the breadth of his arms with whirlwind speed. Instead, he stuffed his clenched hands in his pockets, and refrained from giving a low whistle of appreciation. He knew he wanted her with an intensity that defied comfort, but fleeting uneasiness threaded through him.

 

Belle had nothing more to do than step into the same closed space with him, and his mouth watered with such fierce arousal that nothing but making love to her would sate him, at least momentarily. Two weeks earlier, he'd determined she was a lovely aphrodisiac, and a healing balm to his soul, although he knew nothing much about who she really was. Not her last name, or if she lived in the Big City, or where she worked. When he asked discreet but probing questions, she neatly evaded them with tiny kisses along the side of his neck.

 

Ultra-long, dark lashes fluttered before her silver gray gaze lifted playfully to his. Her heady fragrance of verbena and roses swirled around him, leaving him in a powerful vortex of seduction from which there was no escape, had he chosen to do so. She was bundled up to the neck in a black, three-quarter-length wool coat, its collar trimmed with fur. The only sign she showed that she'd been out in sub-zero weather was the faint tint of pink in her high-boned cheeks. The wind had tousled her usually sleek golden brown hair. She gave him a delicate smile, although he knew from experience there was little fragility about her. "I don't think so."
Which meant that once again she'd been carefully evasive in case anyone decided she was worth following. For the thousandth time, Randall wondered why she was so cautious.

 

Was she in trouble of some sort? The question whirled from his mind as her softly spoken reply practically turned him inside out, heightening his ardor and his fevered anticipation. His cock immediately began to swell, and the skin along his upper arms goose bumped. His gaze settled on her bow-shaped mouth set in a small curve. Her lips were so darned kissable, so perfect, full and rich on the bottom and heart-shaped on the upper.

 

He quickly closed the distance to her. A spark of electric fire arced between them as he swirled the tip of his finger against the uppermost button of her coat under her slender throat. The slippery fastening was ice cold, and sent shivers through him. From his office downstairs, he'd ridden the glass enclosed elevator thirty floors up, and hadn't been aware of just how freezing the weather outside had turned.

 

Several times, she blinked, her lashes briefly feathering her cheeks. Was she pondering telling him something important? Belle couldn't, wouldn't tell him they were over. She had no reason to, did she? He choked back the welling near panic.

 

© Aurora Rose Lynn

Forbidden Passions

Author: Aurora Rose Lynn

Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press/ Sapphire Nights

Genre: Erotic

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Beautiful Belle Cassel has a secret identity that might destroy the man she loves.

Randall Lambert is that man. He is pressing past the point of no return to discover who she really is.

Unknown to both, the tragic future is only minutes around the corner and will destroy much of what they've believed in...including each other. The minutes are ticking....

 

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Excerpt Day - The Guardian © Chloe Cole

Excerpt

 

Serafina Tottingham sat on the edge of her bed, her legs trembling, as she waited for Caleb to call to her. Barely resisting the urge to wipe her damp palms on her dress, she glanced on the clock on the mantle. 8:00 p.m. The servants had all gone for the evening but her maid, Emelda, whom she had dismissed to her quarters.

 

Too tense to sit a moment longer, Fina stood up once again to look at her reflection in the gilded mirror. She looked like a bit of a heathen, she noted with no small amount of satisfaction. Her cheeks were pink with excitement, her lips red and swollen from gnawing at them.

 

She ran her hands over the front of her dress, trying to press out any imaginary wrinkles. It was a diaphanous creation, if she did say so herself. Caleb had bought her a length of the most sumptuous emerald silk for her nineteenth birthday. She had fallen in love with it instantly and had taken three months poring over patterns and designs before she would even dare cut it.

 

When she had shown Emelda three different sketches with variations of the dress, the girl had crossed herself when she’d seen the last one. Fina knew then that she had found a winner. She spent the next month cutting, sewing, and fitting. Now, as she gazed at herself, she hoped it had been enough. She had one shot at this, and she couldn’t live with herself if she didn’t give it her all.

 

She thought back to the years before Caleb had become her guardian. A long-time friend of the family and protégé of her father, he had been a regular at the dinner table when she was growing up. As a child, Fina had thought him quite dashing, idealizing him as a hero. Although he was ten years her senior, she daydreamed that one day he would be her husband, and they would dance, and he would call her “darling” and she him “dear”.

 

Her father was very fond of him and treated him as a favored younger brother. His quick wit and dark, gypsy-like good looks had made him popular amongst not only the family, but also other guests and even the servants at the house.

 

Although he spent quite a bit of time at the Tottingham household, during Caleb’s five-year commission in the Queen’s army, long stretches would go by where they wouldn’t see him.

 

It was during one of these extended absences that Fina’s parents were killed in a carriage accident. By the time word reached Caleb and he was able to get back to London, she was living in veritable squalor. A distant cousin of her father’s had laid claim to the house and her guardianship. There was no one else to do the job and Caleb, who would have been her father’s pick for the task, had not yet returned. In just three short months, Billy had gambled and drunk his way through the family money, along with most of the contents of the house and even many of Fina’s personal belongings.

 

When Caleb finally returned and whisked her off to his home in Cambridge, she had been so relieved she could have wept. If he had seemed like a hero before that night, he achieved an almost god-like status in her eyes after it. Billy had been happy to let her go since the money was gone and she was naught but an expense to him now.

 

Five years later, Fina no longer viewed Caleb as a god, or even as a hero. She saw him as a man. A man she wanted more than anything in the world. Unfortunately, he still thought of her as a child.

 

But tonight was the night she would change his mind. If not, in a week’s time, he planned to unleash her upon London for the season where he hoped to find her a good husband. This was her only chance to convince him that she was right where she belonged.

 

Fina recalled, as she had so many times since, the night her love had changed from the naïve, innocent love of a child to the burning, passionate love of a woman. Her cheeks burned with heat at the memory…

 

The previous autumn, Fina had awakened to a loud thump that sounded as if it came from the salon. It was the middle of the night, but she would be too nervous to go back to sleep if she didn’t investigate the cause. She reached out, picking up her bedside lantern, and headed down the stairs. As she reached the bottom, she heard hushed voices coming from the salon. The door was slightly ajar.

 

Her heart pounding wildly, she assumed she had come upon thieves in the midst of a robbery. She extinguished the lantern and moved quickly, heading back to the stairs to wake Caleb. As she reached the bottom step, she heard his voice, followed by a low groan. She rushed back to the salon door, panicked that he might be wounded.

 

She reached out a hand to push the door open, terrified of what she might find, when a feminine peal of laughter rang through the room.

 

“Hush up. You’ll wake my ward, you naughty tart,” Caleb said, his voice a low growl.

 

Fina’s cheeks had burned as she realized what she’d almost walked into. She turned to go but stopped in her tracks as Caleb let out a long moan that made her stomach pulse low and deep. Heat suffused her breasts. What would it hurt to peek in and see what they were doing?

 

She held her breath and nudged the door open an inch, leaning forward, closing one eye and pressing the other against the crack. She swallowed a gasp as she took in the scene before her.

 

A woman, naked but for her crimson corset, knelt before Caleb. Inky black hair hung down her bare back like a curtain, swaying as she bobbed and moved.

 

Caleb stood, shirt open, his lean belly exposed, pants to his knees, as he held her head, firmly guiding her mouth up and down on his swollen knob. He whispered words of encouragement and groaned in approval as she sucked him.

 

“Yes, that’s it. Take that cock. Take it all the way.” He gritted his teeth and closed his eyes in obvious ecstasy.

 

Fina knew she should be horrified, knew she was wicked, but all she wanted to do was push the trollop out of the way and take her place. Taste him, suckle the hard length of him. Her mouth went dry as she watched.

© Chloe Cole

The Guardian

Author: Chloe Cole

Publisher: Cobblestone Press

Genre: Erotica/Historical

Buy Link

Young, willful Serafina Tottingham is used to getting what she wants, and what she wants now is her guardian Caleb.

Set in 19th century London, Fina explores her sexuality in a very contemporary way as she tries to convince Caleb that he has met his match.

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