Category: event


This is the last week you’ll hear me talk about my birthday till next summer. I got a gorgeous box of chocolates from someone I work with the other day–these chocolates are so beautiful, it’s a sin to eat them, but I will, eventually.

My cheesecake will be here this week, but because my birthday falls on the busiest day of the week for the day-job, we’ll have birthday dinner and cake on the weekend next week. I’m still pondering dinner, but the cake was already decided on.

Today’s post really is about gratitude, not birthdays, though. I always try to find things to be thankful for, even on the hard days. Today I am grateful for a couple of things:

  1. My next door neighbor. She is an older woman who lives alone, though occasionally her son will stay with her for a few days. I sometimes take her dinner, but usually we visit in the yard. I worry about her right now, with this wretched virus still on the loose, and don’t see her as often–because of this virus, I’m trying to have as little physical contact with the rest of the world as possible, and her adult kids mostly are doing the same to avoid carrying any germs to her. I happened to be hauling trash out this afternoon, though, and she was working in her garden. It was 99 degrees here at that point, so it was hot, and she was in full sun. Just walking out the door into our carport, the heat and humidity just about took my breath away. But we got to chatting anyway, and I was reminded how nice it is to have a good neighbor. She welcomed us when we moved here almost twenty years ago, when her kids still lived at home, and mine were in grade school. We talk gardens, and flowers, and anything else under the sun, and it’s nice to be able to do that, even if we have to keep our distance right now.
  2. My garden. I have eight or nine tomato plants just going to town right now. The yellow cherry tomato plant looks like it’s done, and one of the Roma tomatoes looks like it might be giving up the ghost after just a few tomatoes, but the others are just kicking into high gear. (I swear my grape tomato must have a couple hundred tomatoes on it, and I’ll have to start freezing tomatoes much sooner than usual to keep up.) My herbs are big and sprawling, and some are blooming so the honey bees are all over them right now. And my hibiscus is absolutely loving the hot weather. It’s got a couple dozen flowers blooming and tons of buds all over it. It makes me happy when that starts to bloom every summer. The flowers are big and pretty. What’s not to like?

 

Before I go figure out some supper, I have a little story snippet for you, from Light the Way Home.

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Lucie should’ve known nap-time would be an issue.

Hayden frowned at her from the foot of the steps, hands fisted at his hips. “I’m not tired.”

She tamped down a smile at that bald-faced lie. “I promised your dad we’d do nap-time, and I don’t break promises, buddy.”

The little boy’s expression shifted to something different, more cunning. “You said you take naps.”

She smiled this time. “I do.”

“Then you gotta take one, too. Wif me.”

Gotcha. “Well, first I have to clean up our lunch mess.”

His frown returned. “You hafta nap, too.”

“Are you going to help me clean up in the kitchen?”

“’Kay.” He trotted toward her again, startling her.

He was good. She restrained a sigh and followed him into the kitchen. The clean-up wouldn’t take long really. She might actually have to take a nap, or at least lie down with him. Wouldn’t be the first time–just the first time in a couple of years–she’d been outsmarted by a pre-schooler.

Hayden actually did try to help, putting his plate and cup in the dishwasher, and his napkin in the trash, plus a bunch of crumbs on the floor. Lucie ruffled his hair. “Thanks, buddy. Now it’s time.”

He didn’t argue, just led the way upstairs, but he came to a stop in the doorway to his room. “I don’t think you’ll fit in my bed, Lucie.”

“I don’t either, buddy. But I can sleep on the sofa.”

He narrowed his blue eyes. “But then I can’t see if you’re nappin’. You hafta nap up here. I’ll get you one of Daddy’s pillows.” He ran across the hall before she could stop him, then reappeared, dragging a pillow with him. “Here. You can sleep beside my bed.” He swung the pillow toward her.

Lucie caught it. “Okay.” There was no point arguing. If she lay down next to his bed until he fell asleep, no big deal.

Hayden climbed up onto his bed and wrestled the blankets for a moment until he could slide between them. “Right there,” he said, pointing at the floor beside his bed.

She put the pillow down, then tucked his blankets around him. “Okay. Close your eyes.”

“When you do.”

She smiled. “All right.” She lowered herself to the floor, winking when he leaned over to watch, then stretched out. “All right, I’m going to close my eyes. One, two, three.” She shut her eyes, listening to him flop down and sigh. “Are your eyes closed?”

“Yep. Have a good nap, Lucie.”

“You, too, Hayden.”

For a few minutes, she listened to him fidget. Then it got quiet. She smiled again.

“Lucie?”

She winced. “Yeah, buddy?” She kept her tone low.

“I’m glad you moved here. Micah is too.” He sounded drowsy.

“Who’s Micah?” She should’ve let that go instead of keeping him talking.

“The lightkeeper.”

“Oh.” That explained that. “Okay, sleepy time,” she whispered.

“’Kay,” he whispered back.

This time when it got quiet, it stayed that way. She relaxed, listening to his even breathing. She needed to finish lunch clean-up. And maybe think about supper. She wondered what was in Nate’s fridge and freezer. Maybe after nap-time, she’d take Hayden over to raid her fridge–she probably had something in it that would need to be used up soon. She couldn’t remember right now what she’d picked up at the store.

She jerked awake, then blinked up at the small face hovering above her.

“You really took a nap.”

Lucie took a slow breath. “I told you I take naps.” She just hadn’t meant to do it today.

Hayden smiled, still hanging over the side of the bed. “I din’t believe you took naps.”

She reached up to tweak his nose, making him giggle. “Now you know I don’t lie.” She pushed upright. “Okay, buddy. Time to think about what you’re having for supper.” As she got to her feet, he scrambled out of bed.

“It’s not suppertime yet.” He caught her hand.

“I know, but if I figure it out now, you’ll be able to eat on time.” She bent to scoop up the pillow from the floor. “Can you put this back for me? I want to wash my hands.”

“’Kay.” He took the pillow and hurried across the hall while she went into the bathroom next door.

Her shoulder-length hair was a mess from her unplanned nap, so she did her best to finger-comb it into order again, then headed downstairs with Hayden, who plopped onto the sofa with a book while she continued into the kitchen.

No meat in the fridge, she discovered, so she opened the freezer. Plenty there, but now that she stood in front of Nate’s food, she remembered the chicken in her fridge. No defrosting necessary. Plus veggies in the crisper. She could roast them all together and have dinner in one pan. Less clean-up later.

“Hey, buddy!” She turned away from the fridge and came up short when she found Hayden a foot away, a book in one hand. “Oh, there you are. We need to run over to my place to get some things for supper. Let’s get your jacket.”

“What’re we havin’?” He followed her into the mud room and dropped his book on the bench inside the door.

“I’m going to roast a chicken and some veggies to go with it. Are you a good baker?” She helped him into the jacket, then tugged her sweater on.

“I help Grandma bake cookies.”

She made sure the back door was unlocked before she shut it behind them. “Well, that’s excellent. I was thinking maybe we could bake a cake for dessert.”

“I like cake.”

She laughed. “I bet you do. Come on, let’s do this.”

In under ten minutes, they were back at Nate’s. Hayden pulled up a step stool to the sink, and she let him ‘scrub’ potatoes and carrots with the vegetable brush while she prepped the chicken.

“What can I do next?” he asked when she handed him a towel and took over the veggies.

“Hm, let me think about that. After your fingers are dry, why don’t you get your book from the mud room until I get this into the oven? It’ll only be a couple minutes, and then we can mix up the cake.”

“Okay!” He swiped at his hands with the dish towel, then threw it at the counter before he ran to the next room.

Shaking her head, Lucie quickly finished cleaning the potatoes and carrots, then added them to the roasting pan, sprinkled some salt and pepper over everything and drizzled a little oil before she covered it and put it into the oven. When she turned around, Hayden was seated at the table, but instead of looking at his book, he watched her. She smiled. “Do you like icing on your cake?”

“Oh, yeah!” He nodded solemnly. “Chocolate is the best.”

“You think so?” She congratulated herself for thinking to grab the cocoa powder while they’d been at the other house. “Well, we might be able to do something about that.” She winked at him when his eyes rounded.

He helped with the cake, too, dumping cupfuls of ingredients into the bowl for her, though she had to admit it wasn’t as big a mess as it could have been. Teddy had been a much messier kitchen assistant. Lucie slid the cake pan into the second oven less than fifteen minutes later.

“Okay, now we mix up some icing, and clean up our mess, and we can actually read some of that book before the cake is ready to come out. What do you say?”

Hayden rushed at her and wrapped his arms around her legs. “Thank you, Lucie!”

She bent and gave him a hug. “You’re welcome.” Her chest squeezed a little, too, but she ignored it. “Thanks for being such a good helper. Okay,” she said as she straightened, “let’s make our icing, and then clean the table so we can read.”

She needed more than a nap, she mused. She needed a good night’s sleep to make up for last night. She was being too sentimental. A full night’s sleep, and she’d be as good as new.

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I have a guest blog post scheduled this Thursday, July 30, at Delilah Devlin’s blog, so I hope you will pop over and check that out, too. There might be a prize.

And maybe pop by my Facebook page on my birthday. I’m thinking about virtual cake (no calories!) and cocktails in the evening. Maybe a couple of party games, too. See you there!

 

Hiya! This is just a quick post to share a fun event I am participating in, now through Sunday. This features thirteen authors with seventeen books, all including fathers to celebrate Father’s Day! There will be a different group of authors featured each day, and I am in the Friday group. Plus there are goodies to be had.

Check out the event page.

And then maybe you want to enter to win a copy of all the books featured in the event? Of course you do.

I’m a little nervous, because this is the first event I’ve done in a long time with someone else at the helm, so do me a favor and check it out. I’d love for it to be super-successful. Plus what’s not to love about a great dad?

 

I have an old 80s song stuck in my head this week, “I’m So Excited” by the Pointer Sisters. My shiny new website has launched, and it is so pretty! I love what my web designer did for me, and I hope you all like it, too. Check it out here.

I’m in the middle of the last couple weekend chores right now, so this post is just a fly-by. I have a quick excerpt from Light the Way Home for you today.

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“I really do appreciate this, Lucie,” Nate said from where he stood at the sink.

“It’s nothing, Nate,” she said lightly. “Keeps me from having to spend endless hours on job search sites and getting more depressed than I already am.” She kept her head down as she buttoned her sweater up to her chin.

“It isn’t nothing to me.”

His firm, quiet tone snared her attention, and her mouth went dry. The shadows in his brown eyes made her curl her fingers around the edges of her sweater to keep from reaching out.

“I’m not accustomed to asking for help.” He cleared his throat. “I appreciate it.”

She swallowed. “It’s no problem,” she whispered. Dammit–hot, attracted to her, and vulnerable. Shit, that was trouble. She took a slow breath. “I’ll see you in the morning then.” She inched toward the door.

A hint of awareness darkened his eyes, but he stayed where he was. “Good night, Lucie.”

She took two more steps, clearing the doorway to the mud room, and a little relief sank into her belly. Until she heard footsteps behind her.

Within reach of the back door, she whirled. He stood at the open doorway of the kitchen, undisguised desire in his eyes this time. Her heart skipped a beat, and she felt a quick rush of excitement that she tried to squash as he stepped into the mud room. She held her breath as he took another step. One more. Until he stood a foot away, and her breath rushed out.

He studied her face for a long moment, and she wondered what he saw, what he was looking for. Impulsively, she moved closer to him, noting the way his eyes rounded, and she stretched up to brush a kiss on his mouth, lingered for a second, then stepped back.

“Good night, Nate,” she whispered, reaching behind her for the doorknob.

His dark gaze followed her out the door, and she turned away, a smile curving her lips.

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It’s an absolutely gorgeous Sunday here, and I am going to enjoy having all the windows open while I get to work on some revisions, once I get the laundry into the dryer. What are you up to this week? Something fun, or drudgery? If the latter, I hope you find time for the first, too! Have a great week!

 

 

( Young woman reading book – Depositphotos )

I think right now, there is probably a lot of this going on, sitting somewhere comfy with a good book and a hot drink. Reading is a good way to get away from all the bad news around us right now, an excellent distraction from worry. For some of us, it’s the writing of those books that helps us to think about something else, something positive for a while.

For a lot of people, today would be a day for their religious celebrations and family time. For us, it is just a family day, so I’m missing seeing the boys for dinner. Some of the other people in our neighborhood don’t seem to care that it’s not a time for company or visiting, but for stopping the spread of this virus, and are just doing what they would normally do. It’s frustrating, because that behavior will just have us all stuck at home for even longer.

But my husband and I will still eat well today. I have veggies roasting right now that smell amazing, and we’ll throw some fish and sausage on the grill in a little while. And then I’ll go back to work on revisions for Medusa #2, Protecting Medusa.

Before I go back to dinner prep, I have a little snippet of story for you from Light the Way Home which is available now from all your favorite booksellers.

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Nate set the juice glass down and crossed the floor to where she stood. “I need to know,” he said, bending to catch her soft mouth with his.

She made a startled sound, then set both of her hands flat on his chest, her lips parting.

He’d been right. She tasted sweet. He slid one hand into her loose hair, ignoring the slight dampness to tip her head so he could delve deeper.

She let him. God, she let him.

He pulled back, his heart knocking hard against his ribs. Lucie’s eyes opened slowly, and he noted the way they had darkened. “Tell me I’m being stupid.”

“Maybe we both are,” she said huskily, a faint smile curving her puffy lips. “I haven’t been stupid in a long time, and right now, I have no idea why.”

“Shit.” He dragged in a rough breath. “One of us should be smart, right?”

She shook her head. “I’m tired of being the smart one.” Her fingers slid up to his shoulders, cautiously, warm through his cotton shirt. “Being the smart one got me dumped with no warning, being smart left me jobless.” Her smile widened. “Though that got me here, so that’s something.”

Nate’s fingers tightened on her hip. When had he grabbed her hip? He loosened his grasp. “You’re not staying, so it wouldn’t be smart for us to do this. I’m not looking for a relationship. I have all I can handle with Hayden and my business.”

“Then this might be just exactly what we both need. Something temporary.” Her eyes rounded, and her smile faded. “I’ve never tried temporary until I came here.”

He’d never tried it. Not knowingly, anyway. “Maybe…” He broke off at the sound of running footsteps upstairs. “Slow down, buddy.”

Lucie startled, then stepped away, blushing.

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So, instead of your usual Easter Sunday activities, what are you doing today? And what does the week ahead look like for you? I’ll be continuing my work-from-home for the day-job, and will keep plugging away at these revisions.

And if you are looking for a quick, light read and you haven’t picked up a copy yet, maybe you want to check out Light the Way Home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This will be short and sweet, but I had to make sure you all know to come on over to my Facebook page today from noon to 5 p.m. EST for some release day fun!

Today is the day Light the Way Home is out in the world, and I’m so excited. I hope you like it!

 

 

If you come around regularly, you know I’ve been talking about this for ages. I’m way overdue for this story to be released, but it is finally time, and I’m excited to share it with you. Nervous, too, since it’s been such a long time since I had a book out. I hope you all like it. In case you like to pre-order so your reading material shows up on release day, I have a link where you can find your favorite online book-seller to pre-order Light the Way Home.

I’ll be hanging out over on my Facebook page on release day, Friday, March 27, 2020, from noon to 5pm EST, and I’d love if you stopped by to see me. I have a few ideas for discussion, and some games to play, so please don’t let me be there all by myself.

I’m working on our Sunday family dinner right now, but before I go, I have a little snippet for you, from Light the Way Home:

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Lucie had been on Mac’s Light Island for almost three weeks, but the view from the back door of her temporary home still took her breath away. Right now, she realized she’d been standing there staring, slack-jawed, at the sunlight glinting off the grey-blue ocean waves for a good five minutes. Shaking her head, she pulled the door shut and stepped down onto the sidewalk, feeling in her purse for her car keys.

She closed her fingers on the fob as a giggle reached her ears. She turned to the white picket fence that bordered the property next door as a big multi-colored ball sailed over it, toward her. “Oh!” She caught it before it hit her in the face, then started across the grass, balancing the ball on her hand.

Another giggle sounded as she neared the fence, so she adjusted her direction a tiny bit and came to a stop looking directly down onto a tousled blond head.

“I think you lost something,” she said.

The little boy’s face tipped up quickly, his blue eyes wide with surprise–as if he couldn’t believe she’d found him already.

Lucie grinned and held the ball higher.

He smiled as he got to his feet, brushing off his jeans-clad knees.

From seeing him playing outside several times already, she’d guessed he might be four, but now at close range, she scaled that back to three.

“Hi, I’m Hayden,” he said, holding out his right hand.

It was her turn to be surprised. She shook his hand, bemused. “Hi, Hayden, I’m Lucie.” Not too many three-year-olds had such good manners. Aside from the ball toss at her face, that is. “Nice to meet you.”

He glanced up at his ball. “Me an’ my dad are your neighbors.”

“I see that.” She noted he hadn’t mentioned his mom. “Who were you playing with?” She gave the ball a little bounce.

“Maybe you wanna play with me.” Guileless blue eyes locked on her face.

Ah. She squelched the pang in her chest. “I wish I could, but I’m on my way to town. Maybe we can play another time?” she added when his grin vanished.

“Like this afternoon?”

“Hayden!”

The deep voice got her attention–and the boy’s–just before a tall, sandy-haired man rounded the back corner of the next-door house.

Lucie’s mouth went dry. Wowza!

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Now I need to go check on some homemade mac and cheese for my guys, before I prep for my first week of work-from-home for the day-job. I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy, and that you will stop by for release day on Friday if you can! It’ll be a little distraction from being stuck at home for many of us.

 

( Silhouette of kissing couple – Depositphotos )

We’ve had a couple of crazy weeks at the day-job, and it occurred to a few of us the other day that we go a long stretch from the end of year holidays (Thanksgiving/Yule/Christmas/New Year) until there is another ‘day off’ holiday. Not that there aren’t holidays–Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day–just that they don’t get work holidays. Our next one is Memorial Day. It’s a long stretch from January 1st until May 25th. I’m kind of glad I have vacation time to fit in all year long, though I’m still going from my long weekend last month until the end of March before my next long weekend. I didn’t plan that well, did I?

This week is Valentine’s Day, the holiday for romance. I have a couple of fun gifts for my husband, things he will appreciate (I hope), because they involve hobbies he enjoys. We won’t be out joining the other people cramming restaurants Friday evening, we don’t necessarily need to do that anymore. Honestly, this is grocery week, so that’s where I will be heading right after work on Friday, before I go home. But we do other things for one another that are more meaningful than a once-a-year holiday. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate a good Valentine’s Day box of chocolate, because I absolutely do–my husband knows where my favorite candy-maker is locally. I’m just saying that after so many years together, there are everyday things that are just as important.

I’m about to go work on some novella things, but I have a snippet of my fifth shifter story for you first.

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Piper realized she was staring and dragged her gaze away from Joe’s wide chest, back to the book on her lap, flushing hotly. Holy shit.

He cleared his throat. “Sorry, I didn’t realize you were in here.”

“It’s your house,” she mumbled. She heard a soft sound and hoped it was his shirt going on.

“And you’re a guest here.” He cleared his throat again.

She dared a peek and found him watching her, hands in the pockets of his low-slung jeans, a faded blue t-shirt stretched over his chest. “Don’t be silly. You should be able to do as you like in your own house. And we’re only here for a few more days.”

He exhaled roughly. “Really?”

“I spoke to someone this afternoon at a complex in Auburndale, near the office. They have a vacancy.”

“I’ll go with you to look at it.”

She frowned. “That isn’t necessary.”

His mouth flattened. “It is. Is it a shifter complex?”

Piper narrowed her eyes at him. “That doesn’t matter.”

Irritation sparked in his eyes. “It matters, Piper. You can’t take your child somewhere that’s not secure.”

She clamped her jaw shut. Telling him to butt out of her business would be stupid at this point. Without his concern, she’d be scrambling to feed Keely on tips and less than minimum wage hours at a seedy, dive diner. She forced herself to take a slow breath.

Joe sat on the low table in front of her, and she noted the softening of his mouth. “I just want to be sure you two are okay.”

“Why?” She blinked. She hadn’t meant to ask that.

“Because you don’t have anyone else to do it.”

She looked away, stung.

He touched her knee, and she slanted a wary glance at him. “I didn’t mean that the way it sounded. Like I wouldn’t do it otherwise. If I’d realized sooner–”

Piper closed the book and got to her feet. “I’m not your responsibility, Joe. Not the annoying tag-along little sister.” She ignored the burn in her chest and turned away.

He caught her upper arm and swung her back as he stood. “Don’t put words in my mouth, Piper.”

She opened her own mouth to say…something. But she didn’t know what, and it didn’t matter–Joe kissed her. Kissed. Her. Hard, open-mouthed. For a second, she froze, and then realized she was kissing him back.

Stupid, Piper. 

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What are your plans for this Valentine’s Day? Something romantic? Spontaneous? Casual?

 

 

 

 

Hello, everyone! I am happy to say we have a returning guest this week, with a quick interview and a hot excerpt of her shiny new release, The Viscount’s Pet. Welcome back, Kryssie Fortune!

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Quick Fire Quiz:

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Definitely energize. I get bad tempered if I don’t do something to inch my writing forward every day.

 Ballpoint or fountain pen?

Ball point. I write in a notebook, type up, then read it through before moving on to the next chapter.

What time of the day is best for you as a writer? 

Anywhere, anytime. If I have a free moment I put pen to paper. A lot of my early writing was done on the bus on the way and from work.

Who are three of your favorite authors?

Kresley Cole, Georgette Heyer, and  currently J.S. Scott. The last one changes but I’ve loved the other two for years.  ,

Which book – of all the books you’ve written – do you like the best? 

Always the one I’m working on. I’m proud of Taken as Theirs because it was my first book to hit the top ten on its category. I love regency romance, and I love my latest very hot Regency romance. Georgette Heyer would be turning in her grave.

How do you research your locations?

Internet and visits. A lot of my books are set in Yorkshire, England. That’s my home county. For my Westhorpe Ridge series, I hounded friends in North Carolina to check details. For my current WIP I visited Lindisfarne in Northumberland to scout the island. (Any excuse for a weekend break with my husband.)

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Long Blurb

When her brother tries to force her into a marriage with a detestable baron, Julianna Halstead flees the family estate she has helped manage since the death of her parents. But as she makes her escape late at night, Juliana’s carelessness nearly results in her being trampled by a galloping horse, and the steed’s handsome rider takes it upon himself to correct her right then and there.

Though having her bottom bared and soundly spanked on the side of the road leaves Juliana blushing crimson, the punishment arouses her intensely and her body’s helpless response cannot be hidden. To make matters worse, the gentleman over whose lap she was so firmly chastised turns out to be none other than Viscount Stonehurst, someone she has known since childhood.

When Stonehurst learns of Juliana’s predicament, he decides to make her his bride. She will be no ordinary wife, however. She will be something much more shameful. But even as she is leashed, collared, and put on display in a cage wearing only a tail, then brought out to be used in ways no proper lady should enjoy, will Juliana come to love her new life as the viscount’s pet?

Publisher’s Note: The Viscount’s Pet is a stand-alone novel which shares the Regency-era setting of Wickedly Used and His Innocent Bride. It includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

Excerpt (Hot):

The horse and rider appeared from nowhere.

Julianna sidestepped and dropped her bag. Her ankle twisted beneath her, and she tumbled to the ground. When the horseman tugged hard at the reins, the coal-black stallion reared, its forelegs pawed the air. She screamed and closed her eyes. Curled into a ball, she waited for its ebony hooves to pulverize her.

The rider swore, the horse whickering as it planted its feet in the dirt by her face. Tiny dust clouds rose from the road. She coughed and crablike, she scuttled to the fallen oak at the edge of the copse. The bracken smelled earthy, and the thick foliage cushioned her bruised ribs.

Her heart beat overtime when the horseman dismounted and stalked toward her. Wearing a black greatcoat and muffler, he towered over her. Grabbing her wrist, he hauled her upright.

Even in the evening twilight, his hair shone the same blue-black as a raven’s wing. His features were familiar, but she had no idea why. One glance at his steeply angled eyebrows and she wondered if he was the devil come to claim her.

Her brother would have grabbed her shoulders and shaken her until her head ached. That or hurled vile insults at her. Instead, the dark horseman’s eyes twinkled with good humor. She couldn’t decide if they were midnight blue or ebony black. Their mysterious depths and sloping eyebrows gave him a demonic air.

His high cheekbones were so sharp Michelangelo could have chiseled them from marble. There was a cleft in his square chin that she wanted to stroke. His broad, kissable lips made her want to lick and taste, but they were set in a stern, disapproving frown. If he smiled, his dark charisma would mesmerize any nocturnal creatures. Bats, foxes, and badgers would flock to his side.

His utter masculinity sent shudders along her spine. Devilish and terrifying, he emanated menace and danger. She should be shaking in fear, but he sparked wicked longings in her soul.

Untouched and innocent, she hated how her nipples pearled and damp heat creamed between her legs. She needed his lips pressed against hers and his hands on her body. For a woman who’d sworn never to marry, that scared her more than his fury. If not for his tight grip on her shoulders, she’d have run off into the night.

Her pulse still raced, but she buried her fear beneath a haughty manner. “Unhand me, sir. I’m late as it is.”

Rather than let go of her arm, he tugged her closer. He smelled of citrus fruits and freshly gathered mint. When her gaze meshed with his, lightning bolts sizzled between them. Head bent, he moved toward her. She puckered her lips in anticipation.

Blinking, he straightened abruptly. “I could have killed you, you little fool.”

Disappointment crushed her soul. Her ribs ached from Kit’s assault and her ankle throbbed from her fall. Sniffing back tears, she thought of her mother’s pampered cat and tried to out-stare him. “My apologies, sir. I should have been paying attention, not daydreaming along in the twilight. Since neither of us is hurt, we can go on our own ways.”

“Not until you’ve learned your lesson,” he snapped.

Pulling free from his hold, she rubbed her wrist. Nervous, she retreated toward her portmanteau, ready to grab it and run. Shooting forward, he hoisted her over his shoulder. The undignified position made her ribs throb. His hand splayed over her rear end, caressing and stroking it as he pinned her in place.

Five steps and he’d carried her back to the tree trunk. Once settled on it, he thrust her over his knee. “Naughty little girls who risk their lives deserve a spanking. And I’m just the man to give it to you.”

Buy links

Amazon USA

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

Where to find Kryssie online:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

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From time to time, we get to visit with a guest author, and today is one of those fun days! I have an interview with Alice Renaud, whose new story “The Sweetest Magic of All” is out now in the anthology Mystic Desire. (Isn’t that cover gorgeous?)

Let’s get right to our interview.

What is your best reading memory?

It’s a bit of a cliché for someone who write fantasy, I know, but I have to answer, discovering Tolkien’s books. First “The Hobbit,” then “The Lord of the Rings.” The Hobbit transported me to another world, full of adventure, poetry, and dragons. Oh, the mysterious door in the mountain, that can only be seen at a special time, by moonlight, when the thrush knocks… I was there, with the dwarves and the hobbit, holding my breath as the light fell on the keyhole!

What is the first book you ever wrote?

“The Salty Kingdom,” an epic fantasy with a wizard called Ariel and a mysterious land that the sea covers entirely once every thousand years. It never got published… but Ariel pops up again in the book I’m writing now, “Mermaids Marry in Green,” the third in my “Sea of Love” series. Ariel is relocated to London, younger, and a lot hotter! He is also mentioned in my story “The Sweetest Magic of All,” he is the hero’s brother.

What is your favorite thing about your current heroine?

Sapphire Seaborne, the heroine of my short story “The Sweetest Magic of All,” is a good girl, who discovers her naughty side at the same time as her magical powers. I like repressed heroines who throw off their shackles and grab life with both hands. It helps if there’s a sexy warlock to grab as well.

What does your travel bucket list look like?

I’d like to visit Jerusalem, watch whales, and go to Glastonbury, England’s biggest music festival. I haven’t given up hope to do all those things one day.

Also: don’t miss our great Halloween “Mystic Desire” book party on 31 October! There will be games, a chance to chat with the BVS authors who contributed to the anthology “Mystic Desire,” and many great prizes to be won!

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Blurb

Mystic Desire is a collection of brand new supernatural romance stories by award-winning BVS authors!

The Sweetest Magic of All by Alice Renaud:

When a sexy apprentice witch and a hot warlock go back in time to locate a magical amulet, they find more than they bargained for. It’s May Eve, the most magical night of the year, and normal rules don’t apply…

An Awareness of Evil – Dee S. Knight

Only two things stand between evil and a small girl: the visions of Amanda McMasters and Detective Brendan Gilchrist. Neither can afford to be wrong.

Bewitching the Wolf – Zia Westfield

The Witch, Alice Humphreys has poured her heart and soul into creating a magical B&B where guests experience the fantasy vacation of their dreams!  Brodie MacEwan has been sent to investigate the mysterious death of his uncle. He never expected to discover his soul mate in his dreams. But is the illusion real? Alice knows that there is something all too predatory about the Scotsman and he makes her body tingle in places it shouldn’t!

Calling All Angels – Lora Logan

Elijah Baker, an immortal tasked with fighting against demons that exist on earth, finds peace when he meets his new neighbor, Celeste. But when he realizes that their love comes with a cost, he is faced with choosing between his calling and a chance at true love.

Dream Catcher – Callie Carmen

Long ago, a medicine man had made a matched set of dream catchers as a wedding gift to protect the Chief’s daughter and her warrior husband. He had called upon the benevolent spirits to keep the two soul mates safe and in a loving, healthy marriage. It was foretold that if the two dream catchers were ever divided the new owners would be drawn together as soul mates. Was that possible?

Life Saving – Anne Krist

Saving lives isn’t just for adults. Sometimes the innocent magic of a child can do the job better.

Love from the Mist – Patricia Elliott

When Jace Warden learns that his brother plans to announce his engagement at a family get together, he flees to the other side of the world to escape the joyous celebration.

Or at least attempts to…  His plane never makes it, and he winds up trapped on an island. Little does he realize, he’s not alone; there’s a mischievous little entity milling about, and she wants to play.

Love Knows No Apocalypse – Patricia Elliott

Getting stranded in the middle of a storm was not Samantha Wheeler’s idea of an ideal situation, especially in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. But fighting zombies was the easy part; her heart, though, was a whole other matter. Thanks to a man named Steve Jones.

When they find themselves in danger, she has to decide what’s more important – dying for someone she loves or surviving.

Love that Binds – Carol Schoenig

On the outskirts of a small town where nothing grows, a young girl, Ianthee, is being bullied and accused of being a witch. Young Caleb, inexplicably drawn to Ianthee, comes to her rescue. Before they can explore their feelings, Caleb and his family disappear. What happened to him, and what part does a long-ago legend play in their lives?

Love’s Ghost – R.M. Olivia

“Sorry, babe. I know it hurts to hear.” John frowned.  I’ll make this brief. I spoke to the man in charge and he is giving me one last chance.”

“Come again?”

“I’m allowed to make love to my wife one last time before I have to cross over. So, are you ready for your husband? Are you ready for me, Ingrid?” He lifted my chin up and ran his thumb along my lips.  I felt a chill go down my spine. How could this be real? How could this be happening?

The Anniversary – Richard Savage

A cruel twist of fate wrenched Evelyn and Peter apart on their wedding anniversary. Evelyn’s life descends into darkness.  James enters her life giving her a chance of happiness. Evelyn discovers a piece of jewelry, that has the power to grant her time with Peter on their anniversary. She adores James, but needs Peter.  Can she ever really let Peter go, while there’s still a chance they can be together?

The Mortal Vampire – Suzanne Smith

Remy enjoys life as a vampire, never giving a thought to sucking every last drop of tasty blood out of his unfortunate victims and leaving them door nail dead. But his cold and carefree existence changes the day he crosses paths with the beautiful and mysterious mortal Angela.

Through the Veil – Jan Selbourne

A beautiful March day in 1875 ends in tragedy when the wagon carrying Helen and Marcus plunges down the mountainside. Generations pass before Rachel Finlay finds an old sepia photo of a man and woman. She knows them but she’s never met them and now, for the peace of mind she desperately craves, she goes back to where it began. In time, through the veil, knowing she may never return.

Unconditional Lust – Breanna Hayes

The massive, hideous merrow leader, Muruch, craves the taste of human flesh. Confined to the ocean, he feeds his horde with sailors from ships pulled into the maw of the Bermuda Triangle. When US Army Captain, Nurys Shaye, puts her life on the line to save him after being captured, his hunger for human flesh is shadowed by the desire for her body and her love. Will she be able to see past his appearance and trust him to break down her walls and teach her to feel?

 

Bio

Alice lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she’s a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and time-travelling witches. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in a fantasy romance trilogy inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second book, “Music for a Merman,” is on pre order now. Alice has also written a short story, “The Sweetest Magic of All,” included in the BVS “Mystic Desire” anthology, on pre order now.

Alice loves reading and writing stories, and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!

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Raspberry tart – Depositphotos

Yes, it’s July, which means party month, right? Cake for everyone, I think, though we’ll start small. Doesn’t that look yummy? I’ve actually been dreaming of Junior’s Cheesecake for my birthday, and as it happens, since the national Romance Writers of America conference is in New York this year, I will be there on my birthday, so that wish is coming true. I’ll actually be traveling home that day, but will be able to pop across the street from the conference hotel before I head to the train station and get my cake. I can’t wait!

And speaking of the conference, I spent some time last night trying to narrow down my workshop choices and printing out handouts that go with some of them. Which led to the demise of my black ink cartridge, so I have to run out and pick up ink this morning instead of spending all day writing as I had hoped. So this is going to be a short post. I have a little story snippet to share with you from my Common Elements Romance Project novella.

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Lucie didn’t argue when Nate refused her help with the dishes. Her insides were still shaky from the realization that he was attracted to her.

“I’ll see you in the mornin’, Lucie!” Hayden shouted, hopping on one foot.

She smiled as she put her sweater on. “Yes, you will, buddy.” They’d already decided that Hayden would join her after breakfast so Nate could cram in a few hours of work before he headed to the hospital to see his dad and try to get his mother to come home to sleep in her own bed rather than the less-than-ideal pull-out chair-bed in his dad’s hospital room.

She wasn’t sure that was a battle he would win, but she could absolutely understand his concern.

Hayden gave her a quick hug and then ran back to his book in the living room.

“I really do appreciate this, Lucie,” Nate said from where he stood at the sink.

“It’s nothing, Nate,” she said lightly. “Keeps me from having to spend endless hours on the job search sites and getting more depressed than I already am.” She kept her head down as she buttoned her sweater up to her chin.

“It isn’t nothing to me.”

His firm, quiet tone made her look up, and her mouth went dry. The shadows in his brown eyes made her curl her fingers around the edges of her sweater to keep from reaching out.

“I’m not accustomed to asking for help, or needing it, for that matter.” He cleared his throat. “I appreciate it.”

She swallowed. “It’s no problem,” she whispered. Dammit, hot, attracted to her, and vulnerable. Shit, she was in trouble. She took a slow breath. “I’ll see you in the morning then.” She inched toward the door.

A hint of awareness darkened his eyes, but he stayed where he was. “Good night, Lucie.”

She took two more steps and cleared the doorway to the mud room, and a little relief sank into her belly. Until she heard his footsteps behind her.

Within reach of the back door, she whirled around. He stood at the open doorway of the kitchen, and there was no disguising the desire in his eyes this time. Her heart skipped a beat, and she felt a quick rush of excitement that she tried to squash as he stepped into the mud room. She held her breath as he took another step. One more. Until he stood a foot away from her, and her breath rushed out.

He studied her face for a long moment, and she wondered what he saw, what he was looking for. Impulsively, she moved closer to him, noting the way his eyes widened just a little, and she stretched up to brush a kiss on his mouth, then stepped back.

“Good night, Nate,” she whispered, reaching behind her for the doorknob.

His dark gaze followed her out the door, and she turned away, feeling a smile curve her lips.

Well, that was nice. She could deal with the repercussions another day, and, for now, be reminded she was still alive.

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Now I’m off to get some ink, and then I can spend at least the afternoon writing. While I think some more about birthday cakes. What kind of cake do you like for your birthday?

Biscuit cake with strawberries – Depositphotos