Jun 182013
 

I posted my second Tuesday Teaser of HEARTS IN HEAVEN on my Facebook page. This one if from a cat’s point of view. And I’ve been getting great reviews for MO’S HEART from the Tasty Book Tour. Today’s reviewer called it “Absolutely charming.” She compared it to Robyn Carr’s Virgin River books. Of course, I’m honored by that. A MIRACLE PIE reviewer said that, too, and added Susan Wiggs and Kristan Higgins. I love that reviewer! lol

I’m giving away five Digital Copies of MIRACLE PIE and $20.00 Amazon Gift Card for the Tasty Book Tour. Because I’m so technically inept, I’m sending you here to enter.
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So, how is your Tuesday going?

Jan 072012
 

I put Dead People In Love up for sale three days ago, and I’ve been so busy I’m first announcing it now. Dead People In Love is a short story sequel to Dead People. It’s 12,348 words. It features Cassie and Luke from Dead People, and it’s all in Cassie’s point of view.

It was a pleasure to get into Cassie’s mind again. I fell into her voice with the first line. Dale Mayer created the cover, and I think it’s perfect. Some of you might recognize the Chicago skyline. Here’s the cover, the blurb and a short excerpt:

Blurb

Some people will do anything for the perfect address…

Ghost therapist Cassie Taylor is hired to get rid of a ghost haunting an upscale Chicago condo. But the elderly resident doesn’t want her gentlemanly apparition to leave. She loves him and he loves her.

Too bad her grandson and his fiancée insist either the ghost goes – or she goes.

Too bad she’d signed the deed to the condo to her grandson to help him avoid inheritance taxes.

Too bad the fiancée has plans of her own.

Throw in a pretty neighbor, a dirty family scandal, and Cassie’s very new, very sexy and sometimes very grumpy husband, and anything can happen…even murder.

Excerpt

Cassie stared down the guy who was supposed to be her Happy Ever After and wanted to give him a good kick in the ass.

Sitting on a stool, holding his guitar as if it were a part of him, Luke Rivers stared back at her. Not giving anything away.

Neither was she.

“I’m going. You don’t have to come with me.” Standing in the middle of his tower studio in their pre-Victorian home, she took a quick glance around at his recording equipment, his guitars, the window with a view to the lake. The floor they’d made love on.

“Stay and brood about Erin’s visit with her mom.” She turned back to him. “I have a gig.”

He scowled. “Talking to a ghost.”

“That’s what I did before we married.” She looked up at the ceiling, as if their house ghost would appear any second. But, no, Isabel was probably gleefully eavesdropping on them, as if they were arguing just for her entertainment. “It’s what I do now. And it’s what I’m going to do, whether you come with me or not.”

Without waiting for a reply, she headed out of his studio.

“Where are you going now?” he called after her.

“To pack.” She stomped down the stairway to their bedroom on the second floor, not looking back.

“You think I’ll come after you?”

She still didn’t look back but she smiled. Yes, she did.

They weren’t on their honeymoon anymore. Not after seven months of living together. Five months of marriage. But they were still at the jumping-into-bed stage. Or the couch. Or the bathtub. Or the shower. Or the pier outside—until mosquitoes drove them indoors.

Sex wasn’t the best part about being married to Luke. Being loved and loving was. But Luke was as good at it as writing hit songs. So was she, as good at it as talking to ghosts. She’d like to say “taking them to heaven,” but she couldn’t get their own ghost to leave. Isabel said she was having too much fun watching them. A sad commentary on Isabel’s former life.

Cassie reached the landing when footsteps thundered down the steps behind her. She sauntered down the hall and could feel his gaze on her butt. Her butt was hard to miss, and lucky for her Luke didn’t want to miss it.

“I’ll go with you.” His voice was growly, like a bear that woke up in a bad mood. “I can look up some old friends in Chicago while you’re doing your ghost therapy thing.”

She whipped around and glared at his scowling face…then she smirked. “I knew you’d cave.”

His eyebrows lifted. And he did something that would surprise most of the people who knew him casually. He grinned. A grin that said it was great to be alive.

He took a giant step toward her.

She turned and ran. “Catch me if you can.”

If he didn’t catch her, she’d swing around and catch him instead.

She laughed from deep within her belly. Ghosts, sex and when they were in Chicago she wouldn’t have to cook one meal. Life was good.

Then she remembered Rose Bellington’s wobbly voice, telling her that she had to get rid of her condo ghost or her grandson was going to say she had dementia and put her in a nursing home.

A reminder that it wasn’t the dead people who did the worst things. It was the live ones.

Her laughter died. She knew all about being treated badly by the people who were supposed to love her. Making her feel that she was a freak. Unlovable and untouchable.

Two hundred years ago, she would’ve been the crazy relative locked in the attic.

Strong arms curled around her. “Got’cha! What happened? That was too easy.”

She twisted around and reached for his neck. “Hold me, Luke. Just hold me.”

His expression changed, his eyes gentling. Hugging her tightly, he rocked her. “Anytime, babe. Anytime at all.”

Her breasts flattened against his chest and her head smooshed against his shoulder. She breathed in his familiar scent and let it strengthen her, using it to stop tears from falling. Her self-pity changing to anger.

Raising her head, she gazed into his blue eyes that looked back at her with a mix of love and desire and caring. “What do you think about a man who’s trying to force his grandmother into a nursing home?”

“Huh?”

Buy the book for only 99¢: Amazon AmazonUK AllRomance Barnes&Noble Smashwords

Sep 092011
 

I have so many friends who have new books out, all great writers, and I need to put up a post about ALL of them. But today I want to talk about Trish McCallan. Trish is a former critique partner and blog partner. I’ve been reading excerpts of her book as she wrote it, and her writing is strong and gritty and compelling. So are her characters. The title of her debut book, FORGED IN FIRE, is a good way to describe Trish and most every writer I know. Especially the ones who have been honing their craft for a few years. Learning and writing and rewriting.

It’s paying off for Trish. FORGED IN FIRE has been available for only two days, and right now on Amazon it’s 12,367 in the Kindle Store for paid books. This out of hundreds of thousands of books! So, here’s the cover (created by the amazing and gorgeous Laura Morrigan), the description, and below that an excerpt. You can see for yourself what I’m talking about.

Canvassing the rides took next to no time. Still, when they arrived at the shooting gallery, a crowd had gathered.

“Man, he hasn’t missed once,” a weedy teenager said.

“Neither did the other one,” someone to the teenager’s right responded.

They slipped between a balding man who reeked of cheap cologne and a brassy-haired woman who reeked of cigarettes. Beth gagged and held her breath.

“You wanna bet they’re cops?” a stooped man with graying hair said to his stooped and graying wife.

“I doubt it, dear. Those muscles didn’t come from donuts.”

They weaved their way through a flock of teenage girls wearing shorts that skirted the edge of decency, and discovered that the front of the crowd consisted of children.

They broke into the open as Rawls leaned down and handed a plastic doll to a tiny Asian child in a frilly sundress.

“Here yah go, darlin’,” he said, his blond head gleaming like platinum in the sunlight.  “I’d have got pink to match that purty dress—but pink’s Cosky’s favorite color.”

“I’m not the one asking for dolls,” Cosky said with a pointed glance at the half dozen Barbie knockoffs clutched in tiny hands.

Beth glanced over the front row of children; they all held an array of cheap toys.  Her gaze lingered on a red-headed little boy and the purple dinosaur he cradled to his fragile chest. Her heart started aching. Something about him reminded her of Kyle. Maybe it was the shyness in the dip of his chin, or the way he avoided everyone’s eyes, or that bright red hair.

“What?” Zane’s gaze was locked on Rawl’s grinning face. “You decide to break the vendor by winning all his toys?”

Rawls looked up and shrugged. “The guy we came for is off-site on lunch break. Since he’s not answering his phone, we figured we’d try our luck while we waited. Might as well give the rugrats some mementoes.”

“We’d have upgraded these cheesy toys by now if Rawls would spend more time shooting and less flirting with the ladies.” Cosky winked at the cluster of grade schoolers.

“Cosky’s just jealous,” Rawls shot his buddy a smirk. “Poor bastard couldn’t hit the hull of a sub from the dock.”

“Pay attention, prettyboy—” Cosky slapped a five dollar bill down on the waist-high counter and waited for the scowling attendant to scoop it up and move out of the way. “—while  I show you what real shooting looks like.”

He raised the BB gun to his shoulder. A steady phuffitt, phuffitt, ping, ping filled the air, and the metal ducks toppled over in a massacre of sunny yellow.

Beth stared at the rifle. According to Chastain, his son had used one of those guns. Touched one of those guns….

She’d read various books through the years that had featured psychic heroes or heroines, and then there were all the televisions shows. In the movies and books, just touching an object could spark a vision. It was hard to believe she was actually considering the idea—Lord knows she’d never put much stock in psychic phenomenon. But it was little hard to dismiss the possibility considering everything that had happened since that damn dream.

She turned to Zane, and lowered her voice. “Can you pick something up off the rifle? Agent Chastain’s son must have touched one of them.”

He glanced at her, surprise flaring in his eyes. “It doesn’t work like that, at least not for me. I’ve never gotten anything from an object.”

“Oh,” Beth murmured, surprised by the quick rise of disappointment.

Zane studied her face for a moment, and then turned back to the counter.

It wasn’t until the last target fell and the puffing pinging sounds dissipated that Beth heard the excited whispers rising from behind. She turned to find half a dozen teenage girls admiring Cosky, Rawls and Zane’s long, lean frames. Several of the girls adjusted their blouses to display maximum cleavage.

“Hell,” Mac said from the sidelines where he stood with his arms crossed and his feet spread. “You call that shooting? Took fifteen seconds to take them down. If they’d been snipers we’d be dead by now.”

Snipers?

Beth stared at the smiling yellow ducks and rolled her eyes.

Dropping his arms, Mac stepped forward and snatched the BB gun from Cosky’s shoulder. Beth snorted beneath her breath. Good Lord, they’d regressed to kindergarten.  Her gaze shifted to Zane. Well, at least three of the four had. Zane appeared to be the only one—

She dumped that comparison when Zane stepped forward and made a grab for Rawls’ gun. As Mac started shooting, and that oddly rhythmic phuffitt of escaping air and ping, ping of metal hitting metal once again filled the booth, Zane dug into his pocket and pulled out a money clip.

Beth glanced at the prices affixed to the post in the middle of the booth and did some quick mental gymnastics. A snicker escaped. If her calculations were correct, it cost two bucks to win a prize that cost about fifty cents at the dollar store.

“If you want to impress Beth with some fancy shooting,” Rawls drawled, “you better let me keep the gun.”

“Not another one!” The waif-thin teenager manning the booth groaned as Zane dropped a wad of bills on the counter. The attendant stalked over to the rope that stretched the length of the booth and plucked down the peach-colored pony Mac pointed to. He fired the stuffed animal to the commander and threw up his hands. “Why don’t you just give me your wallets and I’ll hand over the prizes. It’ll save time.”

Mac caught the pony and handed it off to a dark-haired sprite in a yellow dress. “We want to upgrade these shitty toys.”

As Zane brought the BB gun up to his shoulder, another man pushed his way through the crowd.

“What the fuck?” Freckled, skeletal hands plunked down on bony hips. He glared at the multitude of toys in the first row and then transferred his ire to the booth attendant. “You giving them away?”

Mac glanced over and froze, then lowered his BB gun to the counter. Beth turned toward the new arrival. From the commander’s reaction, he had to be the man they’d come to see. Zane set his gun down as well and just like that all four men morphed from competitive schoolboys, to steely-eyed men on a mission.

It’s available at AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwords. I think she has a winning book here, and I’m sure I’ll see her much higher up on Kindle’s bestseller list.

What writers do you know who are on fire?

Jul 122011
 

One of the best things about being a  writer is that you meet so many other authors who write great books. One of them is Dana Taylor, who is also a healer, which is very cool. I read and enjoyed Ain’t Love Grand? and I’m happy to share an excerpt with you – and to give away an ecopy to a commenter! I’ll announce the winner here on Thursday.

 

Ain’t Love Grand? Excerpt

Now also available as ebook for $1.99 at Amazon & Nook

Winner 2005 Best First Book Golden Quill Award

The Healer vs. the Lawyer. Energy healer, Persephone Jones, has a new neighbor in Peeler, Oklahoma—hot shot lawyer, Jason Brooks.  She’s a vegan; he likes his steaks rare. She’s about saving Mother Earth while he protects the interests of Big Business. Their attraction is mutual, but disturbing. And life gets even more complicated when the whole town is caught in a conflict that pits these two on opposite sides of a political fence….Foreword Magazine says AIN’T LOVE GRAND? is “written with a fresh voice, an impeccable sense of comedic timing, vivid narrative, and fascinating characters.”

Setting: Peeler, Oklahoma. Big city lawyer, Jason Brooks, has just moved next door to herbalist, Persephone Jones, with his mother and daughter.

Scene set-up: Jason’s mother wandered to Perse’s house for a neighborly visit and helped herself to a little too much wine.

Trotting in his direction, I hollered, “Mr. Brooks! I need to talk to you.” I gasped for breath.

He nodded to his mechanic and headed in my direction with a kind of John Wayne thing going in his walk. Suddenly, I felt self-conscious of my ratty clothes and wild hair.

I stopped about three feet in front of him, panting, pushing curls out of my face. He gave me an amused grin. “Good evening, Ms. Jones. Is this a social call?”

“It’s your mother…” gasp, pant, gasp.

His expression changed instantly to one of concern. “Oh, God, what now?”

“She’s alright. She’s at my house. Asleep, sort of. She came over for a visit, and I was cleaning the kitchen and she asked for a glass of wine and…”

Without waiting for further explanation, he struck out for my property. I ran beside him to keep up.

He shot me a disgruntled look. “How much did you let her have?”

“I only poured her one glass. But evidently, she poured herself a few more.”

“She’s an elderly, frail woman taking a medicine cabinet full of drugs. Do you know what alcohol does to her?”

“Well, I do now. She caught me unawares, and then she started crying and telling me how you gave away all her things. She was just so unhappy. How could you sell everything out from under her like that?”

He stopped in his tracks and towered over me. “Not that it’s any of your business, but did she mention the fire?”

I backed up a little. “Well, yes, she did mention a small kitchen fire.”

He reared back his head and laughed. “Yeah, it started in the kitchen but spread to three more rooms before they got it out. What didn’t burn was either smoke or water damaged. Did she mention that?”

Chagrin crept over me. “Actually, no. I guess she doesn’t have a clear grasp of the facts.”

He started moving again. “My mother doesn’t have a clear grasp of reality, especially when she’s sauced.”

We ran the rest of the way home, and I kept my mouth shut. He headed up my porch steps, yanked open the screen door, and then turned to me in disgust. “I’d think someone who supposedly helps the public stay healthy would know better than to tank up a seventy-five year old woman.”

I crossed my arms in a defensive stance. “I did not tank her up. She arrived uninvited and requested alcohol. I was trying to be a polite hostess.”

He stood over her, hands fisted on hips, shaking his head sadly. “I hate the thought of having to put her in a nursing home some day.”

Okay, he got me with that one. I melted and sighed. “If you’ll carry her to my truck, I’ll take you both home.”

He nodded. “Yes, I guess that’s the most practical course of action.” He reached down for her. “Come on Mama, time to go home.”

 
Praise for Ain’t Love Grand?

Dana Taylor is a fabulous new author who has written a laugh-out loud romance between a hero and heroine who are so different from each other, yet still manage to fall in love. This is comedy at its best. The plot is strong, and you can’t help but become engrossed in the daily lives of Persephone and Jason. You just know they are meant to be together. AIN’T LOVE GRAND? is a wonderful story that you surely will not want to miss. -Robin Reo Romance Reviews Today

~~~

Dana Taylor writes stories with a mystical touch. Her work as an energy healer influences her tales of flawed humans seeking spiritual and emotional healing. Born and raised in California, she graduated from the University of Redlands. She has been published in various magazines, including the Ladies Home Journal. She hosted the Internet radio program Definitely Dana! at HealthyLife.net.  and won various contests with the Romance Writers of America, including Best First Book from the Desert Quill Awards. Her published works include AIN’T LOVE GRAND?, SHINY GREEN SHOES, and DEVIL MOON: A MYSTIC ROMANCE. Her latest release is a spiritual memoir entitled EVER-FLOWING STREAMS: CHRIST, REIKI, REINCARNATION & ME. Her blogsite is www. DefinitelyDana.wordpress.com. She is a founding member of the on-line community SupernalFriends.com and can be reached at supernalfriends@yahoo.com.

Mar 222011
 

We have a winner! Congratulations to Barbara White Daille! It’s clearly Barbara’s lucky week, as her May 2011 Harlequin American Romance, A RANCHER’S PRIDE, has received a 4-1/2 Top Pick review from RT Book Reviews! Yay, Barbara!

One lucky commenter will receive a free copy of Foxy’s Tale by Karen Cantwell and LB Gschwandtner. Both authors are already Kindle bestsellers. I’ll announce the winner on Thursday. Enjoy the blurb and the excerpt!

Authors and their book: Karen Cantwell (Take the Monkeys and Run) and LB Gschwandtner (The Naked Gardener) decided to collaborate on a  book for and about women, but it had to be fun and they really wanted to throw a vampire into the mix. But their vampire would be . . . different. The result, now available for readers on Amazon’s Kindle, is Foxy’s Tale:

Foxy Anders has a list of problems as long as a shopping spree receipt from Neiman Marcus. She’s a retail spender with no money to spare and a former beauty queen with no man in her life. After a nightmare divorce she’s left with one asset, a building off Washington, D.C.’s classy DuPont Circle. By turning the ground floor into an antique shop, Foxy figures she has an excuse to spend money … that she doesn’t have.

Foxy also has a teenaged daughter, Amanda, who likes to blog secretly about her biggest problem – Foxy. At least, she thinks Foxy is her biggest problem. But that’s all about to change when she hooks up with Nick, a cute guy at school who evidently has a gift for attracting older women. Amanda just doesn’t know HOW much older they really are.

When Foxy rents the garden apartment to stylish, shoe-fettishista Knot, who turns out to have a knack for talking wealthy Washington A-listers into Foxy’s antiques, it looks as if Foxy will make it on her own after all. Except that Knot is also a genius at creating problems … in his love life.

They’re a quirky threesome to be sure, but when mysterious, bumbling, Myron Standlish arrives on the scene with a suitcase full of Yiddish-isms, he brings along his own set of problems, larger and stranger than all of theirs put together. Oy vey. How will Myron’s personal journey affect their lives? Well … that’s Foxy’s Tale.

A comic, chick lit, coming-of-age, vampire tale (sort of) where family triumphs over adversity and mother and daughter learn how to face the world as grownups – together.

It is dark when Foxy returns, a large shopping bag clutched in each hand at her sides as if she were a milkmaid with buckets on a yoke. She can’t decide which one to put on the ground so she can feel around in her purse for the house key and then, as if he appeared from thin air, Myron Standlish is standing next to her.

“Vell,” he says. “I can open the door for you maybe?”

Foxy looks up, or rather down, and he is smiling that little crooked smile. In the dark she can’t see much of his face.

“Oh thank you, Mr. Standlish,” Foxy says in her most gracious, charming, southern-girl voice. “I’ve been out all day.”

Myron reaches forward and sticks the key in the slot. He swings the door open and beckons for her to precede him inside. They stand awkwardly in the small foyer for a few seconds and, in the light, Foxy notices that Myron’s color has returned to his cheeks and he looks a bit boyish. He carries a small black satchel, like an old fashioned doctor’s bag. She also notes a small red stain on his collar.

“Oh did you eat Italian tonight?” she asks, just for small talk, as she follows him up the stairs to her apartment.

“Me?” He seems stunned that she would ask such a thing. “I never.”

“You never eat Italian?”

“Never.” His head shakes emphatically and scowls as if eating Italian would kill him.

Foxy tries to hide her smile. He’s such a funny little man. They reach the second floor and Foxy veers off to her door and places her bags on the floor.

“I never heard of anyone not liking Italian,” she says, just conversational, her head down, searching for her keys again.

Myron continues to the next landing and his room on the third floor. When he’s almost to the top of the staircase he leans over to look back down at Foxy who has finally located her keys. As she’s sliding the key into its slot, she hears him say, softly, as if they are conspirators, “With me it’s simple. Italian, Greek, Chinese, eh, who needs?”

~~~~~

What people are saying about Foxy’s Tale …

“Full of snappy characters, laughs, and mystery, peppered with lively details of Washington, DC., and brimming with enough shoe shopping to satisfy any fashionista. This new joint effort from Karen Cantwell and L B Gschwandtner is guaranteed to please! Can’t wait for the next installment in this lively new series!” – Misha Crews, Author of Her Secret Bodyguard

“Foxy’s Tale is irresistible fun – full of lively characters with a knack for trouble, laugh-out-loud dialogue, and story twists that will keep you reading deep into the night.” – Kim Wright Wiley, Author of Love in Mid Air

From now until April 25th, Foxy’s Tale is available for just .99 cents at Amazon and Barnes&Noble, so if you’re looking for a light, fun read, give it a try today!

Mar 202011
 

When I wrote Dead People, the first book of my Haunted Hearts series (still on sale for only 99 cents!), I started each chapter with alternating excerpts from a book my heroine was writing, Confessions of a Ghost Therapist, and selected verses from the songwriter hero’s songs. In one my last revisions, I decided they slowed down the action. I deleted them but didn’t throw them away. You can find in my Extras page. I’m working on my second Haunted Hearts book, and thought it would be fun to put up the excerpts. This was the first.

I was chatting with the ghost of a former politician, and a woman popped up and started screaming at him. It was apparent she was his mistress before his unfortunate encounter with an armed and disgruntled constituent. He gave me a frantic look, then he disappeared.

“Come back here, you coward,” she yelled, but he was gone to the other side, the one some call Heaven and others call “the next life.” I personally don’t know, as no ghost has returned to share this with me.

Though I didn’t deserve the credit, I got paid for getting rid of the politician.

Probably a lot of people would like to pay me for getting rid of politicians.

Sorry, folks, I only do it if they’re ghosts.

Feb 252011
 

Witches Anonymous, Step 3

In this continuing novella series, as reformed witch Amy Atwood wrestles with completing the third step of Witches Anonymous—turning her will over to a higher power—she’s counting the days to her six-month magic-free anniversary. However, when Gabriel steals half her soul, claiming she’s cast a spell on him to keep him from returning to Heaven, the odds of her sticking to her magic-free oath shrink. He demands she break the spell keeping him Earth-bound…or he’ll kill her and damn her soul for eternity.

But Amy’s not about to go down without a fight. Having once been the Devil’s right hand witch, her soul’s already bound for Hell, and while Gabriel now owns half, the other half belongs to Lucifer…and Amy knows exactly how to use Luc to stop Gabe.

While Amy will do anything—outside of using magic—to reunite the halves of her soul, the powers of good and evil also control her free will. As she works to uncover the real witch behind the spell holding Gabriel prisoner, she finds herself back in Lucifer’s arms…and her Witches Anonymous goal spinning further and further out of reach.

The next thing I knew, Lucifer’s voice was waking me. I’d lost consciousness somewhere along the line. “Amy? Can you hear me?”

Gabriel was gone. Luc’s hands felt like hot brands on my chilled skin as he grasped my shoulders and gave a gentle shake. “Open your eyes, witch. Look at me.”

“Don’t.” The shaking made my ribs rub against each other. “Hurts.”

He stopped, and as he leaned over, the heat of his body warmed me to a crisp. I cracked one eye open and looked into his face. His brows were knit together in a deep scowl but his eyes were filled with concern. “What the hell did you do to Gabriel?”

What had I done to Gabriel? What the hell had he done to me? Taking a hesitant breath, I grimaced at the fire in my chest cavity. My voice came out breathy and rough. “Noth…ing.”

“Gabriel doesn’t kill humans over nothing.”

My brain continued floating in fog. I caught myself mesmerized by Luc’s jet black hair, hard jaw line and full lips. He was so handsome, and not just to me, to everyone. To me, he was more than unabashed good looks, though. I’d loved him for seven years. Given him my soul. We’d shared a history no one on Earth would ever understand. Or experience.

I laid a hand on his arm. “You fought him for me.”

Luc’s eyes narrowed, watching me closely. His head tilted as he sized me up, surmised I was loony, and shook his head. He glanced up at the cracked tile overhead. “How hard did you hit your head?”

The first time Gabriel and I mixed it up, I’d also whacked my head and woken up in Eden—the original Eden, complete with beautiful gardens, animals, and a sin-free policy. Fun place to visit. Wouldn’t want to live there.

Glancing around, I made sure I was still in the fire station’s locker room. Fluorescent lights, cracked tile, leaky shower head. Everything seemed normal. “My head is fine. The rest of me, not so much.”

Lucifer’s gaze went to the spot between my breasts where Gabe’s fist had been planted. He swallowed hard, but his eyes didn’t stray, which I appreciated, and he glanced back up at me as if to ask permission. I nodded, hating myself for being willing to let the Devil lay his hands on me in order to get rid of the pain, but there it was. I’d do anything to get Luc’s hands on me.

Wait, that wasn’t right. My brain backpedaled. To feel better, I corrected myself.

The pain eased the instant his hand touched my chest, and whatever damage Gabe had done began to heal. For several minutes, neither of us spoke, my head, still not functioning at full capacity, filling with memories of Luc’s hands on other parts of my body. A flush pervaded my skin, heating it, and more memories flashed across my mental landscape. Happy times. Satisfying times. Lust and sex and love all wound up and permeated with the magic only Luc could spin.

I wasn’t the only one feeling the heat. Luc’s eyes sparked with a familiar, devious glint, his body relaxing into his normal confident self. “Better?”

The cavity in my chest disappeared, the pain with it. My breathing returned to normal, if a little fast and shallow, thanks to the inappropriate sensations coursing through my body.

Although all appeared to be healed, however, my chest cavity felt lighter, emptier than it had a few minutes prior. “Yeah, I think so.”

Luc helped me up and handed me the towel rather reluctantly. “Was Gabriel really trying to kill you?”

After securing the towel, I rubbed the vacant-feeling spot, hoping the weird empty sensation would stop. All it did was trigger a ripple of goose bumps over my bare skin and a renewed sense that something was out of place. As in literally gone. “He accused me of casting a spell on him. Wanted me to reverse it. When I told him I didn’t know what he was talking about, he got pissed.”

Luc lifted one eyebrow in question. “And?”

“And what?”

Luc inspected the cracked tiles again and then the back of my head as if unconvinced I was tracking right yet. “Did you?”

I jerked away and a wave of dizziness almost toppled me. “You mean, did I cast a spell on him? Of course not. I’m two days and a few hours away from making my six-month magic-free anniversary. I’m certainly not going to jeopardize that with spellcasting. Besides why would I cast a spell on Gabriel?”

Luc laid a hand on the tile behind my head and leaned in close. The heat coming off his body hit me in waves. As another chill swept through me, I fought the urge to snuggle up to Luc’s warm body. Every cell, every muscle, every bone wanted to press against him.

Luc narrowed his eyes as his gaze stopped on the hand rubbing the spot between my breasts. “Are you still in pain?”

“Not pain.” The sensation was hard to describe. “Just…empty. Like there’s a hole in my chest.”

The showerhead let go a series of rapid drips and all the muscles in Luc’s body tensed.

His gaze scanned me from head to foot, hyperaware, as if he were searching for something. “A hole.” It was said in an unemotional way, but all his nonverbal intensity made the warning bells in my head ring like Immaculate Conception calling me to prayer.

“Probably nothing.” I forced a smile, stopped rubbing the spot, and took a step to the side. “Anyway, it’s over. Hopefully he won’t be back.”

“Oh, he’ll be back,” Luc said, staring again at my chest, although not in his usual, rakish manner.

“Why is that?”

He straightened and lightly touched the spot with the tips of his fingers. “Because, Amy, he took a piece of your soul.”

Buy the book: Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords

Misty has a fun NAME A WITCH Contest (with BIG PRIZES) for her next Witches Anonymous book! Be sure to check it out. For her DRAGON BLUES release party giveaway, she’s offering either WICKED SOULS or the first novella of the series, WITCHES ANONYMOUS to a lucky commenter.

Comment on all 26 DRAGON BLUES Release Party excerpts for a chance to win more free books! Winners will be announced on Monday, Feb. 28. If you’d like to look at the schedule of events, click here.

Feb 252011
 

Have you ever wanted something so badly it hurts?

Annie Jacobs has dreamed of the day she would become a mother since the first time she held her Baby Tenderlove doll. Unfortunately, biology has not cooperated with her plan, and she finds herself dealing with a diagnosis of unexplained infertility instead of picking out baby names.

Across town, stay-at-home mom Sarah Anderson is just trying to make it through the grocery store without her toddler hurling a box of rice at a fellow shopper. She is exhausted from managing the house, a first grader and a toddler, all without any help from her work-obsessed, absentee husband.

When Annie and Sarah meet through a Classics Book Club, each thinks the other one’s life is so much better than her own. But is the grass truly greener on the other side of the fence?

At 35 years old, Sarah Anderson discovered something quite shocking. She had Attention Deficit Disorder – she didn’t get any. Men saw right through her, slightly noticing the children she was usually toting about – one hanging on her leg and one in her arms – but quickly dispelling her, as if the kids were somehow suspended in mid-air, like receivers on Monday Night Football. She wasn’t sure if she had made this correlation herself or had seen it as a joke on the comedy channel, but what did her sleep-deprived brain know anyway?

As she neared the end of the grocery store aisle, her cart came to a screeching halt, barely missing the man wearing a business suit and cell phone who just cut in front of her. He continued his conversation, rolling over her foot as he passed.

“I’m in an all-day meeting on Monday. How’s Tuesday look?”

“Asshole,” she whispered, hoping her son would not hear. “C’mon, Alex. Let’s get this over with.”

The toddler was playing his favorite shopping game, throwing things from the cart at passersby. Alex had a small box of rice in his hands. Sarah mistakenly thought shaking it might amuse him, but instead the little guy was ready to chuck it at the pink-babushkaed head of an octogenarian when Sarah turned around from choosing a linguine. Spotting the just-released rice, she leapt across the aisle, caught it on the fly and tossed it in the basket. Alex cried at being thwarted. Sarah smiled, only to be admonished by the pink-scarved lady for not knowing how to keep her child quiet in the store.

“These kids nowadays. They run the show, not the parents.” The little woman, oblivious to her near-miss, pushed her cart past Sarah’s, who stared in shock as the pink head became lost in the crowd of shoppers. Alex cried louder. Sarah gave him some fish crackers and continued on.

At last, they were finished and headed for the check out lanes. “Hey! Record time. You were a pretty good boy in the grocery store. Mommy really appreciates that.” Sarah kissed her son on the check. Alex responded by smiling and slapping her in the face.

Reprinted from A Whisper to a Scream by Karen Wojcik Berner, Copyright © Karen Berner, 2006

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You can find out more about Karen and her books on her website, her Amazon author page, and Facebook.

One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of Karen’s A WHISPER TO A SCREAM. Comment on all 26 DRAGON BLUES Release Party excerpts for a chance to win more free books! Winners will be announced on Monday, Feb. 28. If you’d like to look at the schedule of events, click here.

Feb 252011
 

Musician Tempest Moon knew the world was a rough place. Raised in the inner city of Detroit, the only way to succeed was to be smarter – and tougher – than the next guy. Being a sexy, talented singer/lead guitar player with her own band was her way of being in charge of her destiny. Whether anyone else liked it, or not.

Tempest’s band was gigging in yet another downtown dive. The club was almost empty due to the arrival of the worst blizzard the city had seen in a century. With one more set to play before she and the band could escape the smoky lounge, a mystery man walked in. Even dripping wet from the relentless onslaught, Tempest could tell the man was unusual. If only because he was the most gorgeous male specimen she’d ever seen. But he was a little pale.

Malveaux had ducked into the bar to avoid having to kill anymore of the worthless minions set upon him by the local vampire territory boss. Under most circumstances, he’d have enjoyed tracking the idiots, and tearing their hearts out. He’d learned long ago to take pleasure in his work. But Malveaux wasn’t dealing with usual circumstances. A sexual obsession, passed to him by his sire and suddenly overwhelming, had changed all the rules of the game. He knew if he didn’t find an “offspring” – a female to serve his needs – he’d go mad.

When he laid eyes on the charismatic musician on stage, he knew he’d found his “child.” She wouldn’t need to know he was an assassin. But she’d find out his deeper secret soon enough when he sank his fangs into the pulsing vein in her neck.

Together they’d take on the human underworld and the undead.

A burst of frigid air hit Tempest as the front door opened, and she gazed at the entrance. She’d hoped a few more customers might brave the sudden ice age to show up for the last set. It sucked to play for nobody. She was disappointed to see only a solitary man step inside. He shook his hair away from his face, sent a shower of melting snow down the walls, and straightened the collar on his coat. The entryway was directly in front of her at the far end of the club, and there were a lot of overhead lights, so she got a good look at the new arrival. Even with his long, dark hair snow-covered, wet, and plastered against his shoulders, she felt her breath catch – and not from the cold air. He had to be the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen. Tall, with light skin and piercing eyes. She appreciated the cut of his leather duster and suspected it was high dollar. What the hell was a fancy number like him doing in a crap hole like this? Maybe he was another one of those mafia jerks. They were always showing up to extort one kind of payment or another.

Hidden in the darkness of the stage, she followed him with her eyes as he strode purposefully to the booth tucked back in the far corner. The bartender, along with every other life form in the smoky room, had gone completely still as the man passed. The newcomer paused next to the booth, removed his coat, then shook it to dislodge the melting snow and ice. A smile spread across Tempest’s face as she noted the form-fitting leather pants and muscle-hugging, light-colored t-shirt he wore under the expensive coat. It didn’t take much creativity to imagine how it would feel to run her hands over that muscled expanse, but Tempest had creativity and imagination in abundance. So much, that her body stirred in satisfied anticipation of the unexpected possibility that had just magically offered itself for later that night. She would’ve been happy to bounce on Stan again, but as far as men went, new was always better than familiar. She’d learned that the best thing about her looks was being able to pick up any guy she wanted. Pitiful that males were so easily controlled, held hostage by their little heads, but it was just as well, since she so enjoyed being in charge.

She watched the handsome stranger fold himself into the booth, and out of the corner of her eye, she saw Chaz, the bartender, spring from behind the bar. The previously laid-back – read stoned – fellow practically fell over his own feet in his frantic attempt to reach the leather man. He hovered near the booth, wringing his hands, and nodded energetically at whatever the new customer said. Chaz finally pointed toward the pay phone near the shelves of liquor, and speed-walked in that direction, leaving the man alone.

Tempest realized she’d been holding her breath during Chaz’s strange performance. Of course, she’d only met the bartender that day, so she had no idea what his normal behaviors were. But still, the vibe he gave off around the stud muffin was unusual, almost as if he was afraid or something. She could feel the thrum of his anxiety from her observation post. No surprise, really. Most of the businesses in the inner city were mob controlled. Maybe the eye candy in the booth was high-up on the motherfucker feeding chain. She smirked. A lesser woman might take a pass on rolling around with a member of The Family, but she always enjoyed a challenge. None of the assholes had gotten the upper hand with her yet, and she felt confident she could call the shots with this yummy specimen, too.

Tempest watched the leather god for a couple more minutes, trying to guess what drink he’d ordered, but when Chaz returned to the booth, he was empty handed. Gorgeous Guy nodded at Chaz, who slinked away. The mystery man tilted his head back against the wall of the booth and closed his eyes. The movement appeared oddly vulnerable.

The commotion of the other musicians returning from their break surprised her out of her daydream. She couldn’t believe she’d been standing there in the dark for the entire fifteen minutes. She hadn’t even gone for her usual shot of tequila. It was completely out of the ordinary for her to be so intrigued by a man. Usually she just selected a likely candidate during the course of the night, and collected him at the end. Not much pre-boink lust indulgence. Something about this guy was different. Arousing. Dangerous.

Leon, the bass player, eased around her, reconnected the PA, and clicked on the bar’s cheap stage lights. As the dim colors framed her, Tempest saw the man in the booth jerk his head in her direction, predatory eyes locked on hers.

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Find out more about Lynda Hilburn and her books at her website.

One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of Lynda’s UNDEAD IN THE CITY. Comment on all 26 DRAGON BLUES Release Party excerpts for a chance to win more free books! Winners will be announced on Monday, Feb. 28. If you’d like to look at the schedule of events, click here.

Feb 252011
 

What if everything you always thought you wanted could be yours simply by saying “I do”? Billionaire Jordon Bennett needs to find a wife, now, to secure his position as CEO of B.H. Holdings. Reed Mohr could use a miracle to help pay for her alternative elder care facility, Potters Woods. Inside and out of the dojo, can these two survive sparring with each other? Find out in SPARRING PARTNERS, an exciting new contemporary romance novel.

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

Finn met Reed at the bottom of the stairs with steaming herbal tea in the oversized mug Jesse had given Reed for Mother’s Day.  A giant squished bug on one side and jagged letters on the other philosophizing, Sometimes you’re the windshield; sometimes you’re the bug.

It was looking like a bug kind of day.

“What’s going on?” Reed asked taking the tea, wishing she’d never let Finn talk her into giving up coffee.  Caffeine, good.  Rooibos, not quite the same kick.

Finn raised her eyebrows and her shoulders.  “Apparently we’re getting a new driveway and wheelchair ramps.”

“I thought we were broke.”

“We are.”

“Then why are we doing this now?  I thought the bank was hounding you for cash since the appraisal came in at less than what we owe.”

“They are.  And ‘we’ aren’t doing anything.”

Reed set her tea down on the hallway table.  It was Charlie’s table from some manor house in England where Shakespeare supposedly wrote something, probably a grocery list.  She grabbed a coaster from the drawer and placed it under the teacup.  The table was hideous, but Charlie loved it.  She wasn’t going to be the one who made rings on the wood.  Charlie would have her polishing it for a year.

“So what’s going on?”

“You asked, and daddy-war-bucks is making it happen.”  Finn looked at her watch.  “Less than twelve hours and Cinderella’s pumpkin is already turning into a gilded carriage.”

“You’re mad at me?  What did I do?”

Finn seemed to crack and she got that worried look in her eyes, like she did when she was sure Reed had just stepped in major doo-doo that wasn’t likely to wash off without leaving remnants of its stink on Reed’s skin.  But it wasn’t until Finn enveloped her in a lavender scented hug that she truly began to worry.  She repeated her question.

“What did I do, Finn?  Please.  Tell me.”

Finn pulled back, tears dampening her clear blue eyes.  “It’s bad, baby-girl,” she said, still holding Reed’s shoulders, making Reed feel small and vulnerable.

“You married a billionaire.”

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Find out more about Leigh Morgan and her books at her website.

One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of Leigh’s SPARRING PARTNERS. Comment on all 26 DRAGON BLUES Release Party excerpts for a chance to win more free books! Winners will be announced on Monday, Feb. 28. If you’d like to look at the schedule of events, click here.