Tag Archive: guest blog


It’s been a while since I got to share space with another author, and I’m excited that the one to break that drought is Alice Orr, who has a new book in her ‘Riverton Road’ series releasing this week!  At my very first writers’ conference a long, long time ago, Alice was one of the speakers, in her former life as a literary agent.  Now I get to host her here with her own romance novel, so I’m excited.   Welcome, Alice!

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A Time of Fear & Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 5

Mike & Amanda’s Story

by Alice Orr #Romance #Suspense #MFRWauthor #IndieAuthor

 

I’m not used to readers reacting ambivalently toward my female characters, much less getting upset with them, but this is precisely what might happen with Willow Fowler. She’s an old friend of my heroine, Amanda Miller, whom I suspect most people will like, maybe even a lot. Willow, on the other hand, is a restless soul. That restlessness gets her into serious trouble sometimes, and she is about to drag Amanda into serious trouble as well.

 

I might have my doubts about Willow too if she weren’t, now that I think about it, a little like me. She’s headstrong and sometimes impulsive. She knows what she wants out of life and what she does not want. She goes after what she wants, occasionally without as much forethought as would be wise. I’ve been known to do that myself.

 

But, the problem here is this. What kind of mess can Willow get our Amanda into, and how will she find her way out of the mess while saving Willow also? Or, is any of that even possible?

 

 

Excerpt:

Amanda had survived her unexpected encounter with Mike Schaeffer. She’d been cool and impersonal. She hadn’t allowed herself a blink of an eye when the rasp in his voice made her want to touch the tanned skin of his throat where she might feel the sound. Part of her was still infatuated with him, but she hadn’t let a single sign of that betray her and she never would. She was repeating this resolve to herself and fitting her keycard into the slot in her hotel room door when Willow Fowler was suddenly there also.

“Get inside. Quickly!” she said.

Before Amanda could fully comprehend her surprise, Willow’s delicate fingers with their perfectly shaped nails were flat against the door, shoving it ajar. She slipped through the opening as urgently as she’d spoken into Amanda’s ear a moment ago. She followed inside and watched her old friend hurry to the window, yank the draperies closed, then peek between the folds.

“Please, shut the door,” she said, sounding even more anxious than she’d been in the hallway.

Amanda dropped her luggage and slammed the door’s lock guard shut as if her friend’s anxiety might be contagious. She’d seen Willow’s eyes just now, and something in their lustrous brown depths had leapt across the room. Amanda found herself suddenly apprehensive and not liking the feeling.

“What’s going on here, Willow?”

“I’m in the most desperate trouble, Amanda. You have to believe me.”

“I believe you. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”

“And I cannot thank you enough for coming.”

Willow darted to Amanda’s side to grasp her hand.

“I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to tear yourself away from your responsibilities,” Willow said. “I know how busy you must be.”

“I needed a break,” Amanda answered. “Besides, I haven’t forgotten how you helped me all those years ago when I needed you.”

“Be that as it may, I do not recall anyone ever doing anything this kind for me. Not ever.”

Amanda smiled. Willow had always used phrases like, “Be that as it may.” Even when they were girls together, she’d sometimes talked like an old spinster lady with tatted doilies pinned to her furniture. At the same time, Willow was anything but spinsterish in most ways. She was irrepressible. Amanda’d had her own high energy in those days too, driven by her determination to get out of the North Country and never return.

Even so, her father’s relentless need to dominate and her mother’s distracted indifference could deflate Amanda’s enthusiasm. Those were the moments when having Willow for a friend was a special blessing. Amanda would plug into Willow’s exuberance and, before long, feel recharged enough to take on Jake or Millicent or anybody. Maybe Amanda could return some of that gift now. The possibility felt good to her, and right too. What didn’t feel either good or right was seeing Willow’s usual liveliness transformed into a state of near panic.

“What exactly has your husband done to you?” Amanda asked.

Buy A Time of Fear & Loving HERE.

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ALICE ORR is the author of 16 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. A former book editor and literary agent, Alice now lives her dream as a full-time writer. She has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and resides with her husband Jonathan in New York City and New Jersey.

Alice’s Website – www.aliceorrbooks.com

Alice’s Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter

Alice’s Twitter Page – https://twitter.com/aliceorrbooks

 

 

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I’m getting ready for work, but I wanted to pop in to let you all know I have a guest blog post going live today, hosted by the always-awesome Delilah Devlin.  I’d love if you stopped by and shared your thoughts on the subject.  Oh, and there’s a giveaway!

Happy Monday!

early spring gardens

I had no idea this month was going to get so crazy.  I had intentions of getting a giveaway post up here (and still will before the month is over), and so much writing to do!  But tonight is not the night for either.  I’ve just finished the bi-weekly grocery shopping expedition after a super-long work week, and we won’t even get into all of that fun stuff now.

Tonight I’m really just stopping by because tomorrow, I have a fun guest blog post up here for NaNo prep.  How many of you are getting ready to write your fingers off next month for NaNo?  I haven’t done it yet–retail in November is not conducive to increased word count, but this year I think I’m dipping my toe in the pool.  I must have lost my mind, since November at work isn’t any less crazy than October has been so far, but I think it might be the only way I’m going to get close to making my writing goals for the year.  And in case you need a little inspiration, Robyn Bachar has been hosting a whole lot of guest bloggers this month in preparation for NaNo, including mine for tomorrow.  I hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think.   And let me know if you’re getting ready to write your brains out next month!  I can use some company in the padded cell when we’re finished.

This is just a drive-by posting.  My plans for the week went haywire, so I wasn’t around to share this yesterday:

The lovely Delilah Devlin allowed me to share another guest post at her blog yesterday, and there is a giveaway involved.  To check it out, go see Delilah’s blog.

Now I’m off to try to catch up on the things I missed the past few days while dealing with parental stuff.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

 

Caged Magic Tour Banner

A long time ago, in almost another life, I used to write book reviews for an online site.  I discovered so many fantastic authors that way, and many of them I still love.  One of those authors I discovered was Jennifer Lyon, with the first book in her ‘Wing Slayer Hunter’ series, Blood Magic.  Witches in hiding, the sexy, dangerous men hunting them, what’s not to like?

When I worked for seven years at Borders, I always had romance readers looking for something new, and if they were looking for paranormal romance, it’s a safe bet that I handed them that book or, if they were some of my regular readers, the latest in the series since I would have already hooked them at the beginning.  Now I am absolutely thrilled to get to share a little bit of the latest book in the series with you.  And make sure you read all the way through to the end, because there is so much awesomeness here, including an excerpt and a giveaway!

CagedMagic Cover

Caged Magic Blurb

Risa Faden is a witch whose ultra-powerful shield magic is slowly breaking her mind. But when her beloved goddaughter is snatched by a demon, she’ll risk anything to rescue the baby—including lying to the handsome, intriguing stranger who has the power to help her keep her sanity, save the child…and steal her heart.

Linc Dillinger is a Wing Slayer Hunter whose sexy, rich, bad-boy charm hides a treacherous betrayal that left him emotionally scarred. As a result he risks his life to protect innocents, but is incapable of love—until he meets a beautiful witch who can save his cursed soul. Risa’s fierce courage and loyalty reaches past his barriers and he begins to believe she has the magic to free his caged heart.

But Risa’s lie explodes into dark danger that forces Linc into a hellish high-stakes gamble: He must either win the witch he loves and her godchild…or endure a loss that will destroy them all.

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Now, how about a little bit of story for all of you?

 

 

The ache he’d just satisfied tingled, heat spreading at the thought of him inside her. He’d been patient, seducing her, showing her she could trust them. Time for her to do her part. They both needed to seal the bond. But she’d never forget this moment with him.

Even when he hated her later for lying.

Anxiety edged in, but Risa held on to his gaze and slid her hand over his stomach. Jeez, the ridges of his muscles entranced her. The man felt as cut as he looked.

Focus. She knew how to do this. Reaching his belt, she—

He caught her hand. “Wait.”

“Why?”

“You feel the bird, right?”

She nodded. The sensation of the creature winging gently around her magic almost protectively resembled being hugged from the inside.

“He’s helping you harness the magic. Let’s see if we can find your girl, now. As long as you feel him, he’ll keep you safe.”

Startled, she stared up into his eyes filled with wings. This man constantly surprised her. “Don’t you want to break your curse?”

“Fuck yes. Even more than that, I want you, want to feel you, to take our pleasure together.”

“Then…” She tried to understand. Kendall was his ace card, the one he could play to make sure she gave him that. “Why wait?”

“Because more than all that, I want you to be free to choose, Risa. Right now, you’ll choose to do this for Kendall. And God, baby, I respect the hell out of that. But it’s not what I want.”

Confusion spiraled. “What do you want?”

His gaze pierced hers. “For you to do this because you want to, not because you have to.”

Hot tears threatened, and her chest ached. Why? Dear God, why did Linc, this man who’d endured being sold by his mother, caged and used in ways that she couldn’t fathom, why did he have to be so kind to her?

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I’m already in love with Linc, how about you?  Ready to track him down and take him home?  Me, too.  And you can find him in all of the following places:

Caged Magic Buy Links

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | GooglePlay | Kobo

 

 

Jennifer Lyon Author Pic

About the Author

Jennifer Lyon, who also writes as Jennifer Apodaca, lives in Southern California where she continually plots ways to convince her husband that they should get a dog. After all, they met at the dog pound, fell in love, married and had three wonderful sons. So far, however, she has failed in her doggy endeavor. She consoles herself by pouring her passion into writing books. To date, Jen has published more than fifteen books and novellas, including a fun and sexy mystery series and a variety of contemporary romances under the name Jennifer Apodaca. As Jennifer Lyon she created a dark, sizzling paranormal series, and The Plus One Chronicles, an emotionally sensual adult contemporary series. Jen’s won numerous awards and had her books translated into multiple languages, but she still hasn’t come up with a way to persuade her husband that they need a dog.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Giveaway

There are 3 tour wide giveaways!

Open to US, CAN, UK

(1) grand prize $50.00 electronic gift card (Amazon or B&N)

(2) runner up winners of one $25.00 electronic gift card each (Amazon or B&N)

 

Enter the Giveaway HERE!

 

Follow the Tour

For more interviews and guest posts with Jennifer plus Caged Magic reviews & Spotlights stop by the tour every day!

The complete schedule can be found HERE!

 

I hope if you haven’t read any of the books in this series, you’ll want to give them a try now.  Not only am I really ready for Linc’s story, I feel the need to go back and start from the beginning of the series now.  I haven’t read some of these books in much too long.

Hey, everyone!  I’ve been working very hard at the day-job the past couple of weeks, so I am very pleased to have the opportunity to introduce you to another guest author!  If you like your romance grounded in pure fantasy, you definitely want to check out D. R. Grady’s new release, which is out this week!  And if you’re a dragon fan like me, then you definitely need to check out The Dragon Chronicles: Learning.  

LEARNING-Soulmate 805_805x1275

The Dragon Chronicles: Learning
Blurb
Peace has reigned for so long, most beings believe dragons are mere myths, including elf professor Dr. Lindy Veles. After meeting attractive Dr. Alex von Schreider—a surly professor from a bear shifter family who possesses plenty of paranormal power, yet can’t shift—things start to spiral downward. Especially when he catches Lindy’s strong shifter scent. Elves don’t normally shift. Alex finds the compelling elf’s denials suspicious. Lindy thinks he’s crazy to believe she’s a shifter.

As they delve into the ancient Dragon Chronicles, tomes about dragons, it quickly becomes clear their efforts are no mere academic exercise. Dragons are suddenly becoming all too real. When Lindy shifts into one, Alex discovers he’s meant to control her dragon—the most powerful creature on earth. The pair is caught in the middle of two raging battles . . . their own personal emotional war and the war to save their world.

With the clock ticking, Lindy and Alex must surrender their misconceptions about themselves and dragons, and unite to begin the fight for their very existence.

Hook
A carefree elf and a surly bear non-shifter have to unite to save the world. Too bad no one believes in dragons, until she turns into one under dire circumstances.

Excerpt: 

“Was there a fire?” Keely brushed wayward curls from her cheek.

“Yes.” Alex’s eyes swept over Lindy, then dismissed her.

Keely gasped. “What caused it?”

“We think some fire elementals might be coming into their powers. Fortunately it was caught immediately and some water elementals managed to put it out.”

“When can we go back to bed?” An English professor whose name escaped her spoke up.

“In a few minutes.” Alex scribbled something on the bottom of the paper.

“Every wing is being checked by the fire department. They’ll give us the signal when they’re finished.”

With those words, Phil nipped away, probably to finish his head counting.

The blanket swathed around Lindy slipped and with an absent air she caught it. Another section drooped, so she unwrapped the covering in order to wind the material more securely around her.

As her attention drifted to the heavy muscles of Alex’s chest, his eyes narrowed on her. Lindy actually turned around to see what he was scowling about.

No one else stood in his direct line of vision. She returned his ill-tempered frown. Fortunately, Keely snagged her attention with a question.

She hated having people mad at her, but this was different. What had happened in those first few seconds of their meeting to change his mind about her? The answer eluded her. Her fists curled.

Well, it’s not your problem, is it? She didn’t know what had happened, but her course of action remained the same—continue to avoid him.

Though she’d have to forget all about his yummy chest and those amazing arms.

———-

DeAnnpic

D.R. Grady lives with her husband near Hershey, PA. She adores chocolate, laughing, collecting bags, books, and shoes, and adores writing stories that resonate with others.

Website: www.drgradybooks.com
Twitter: @drgradybooks https://twitter.com/drgradybooks
Facebook Page: D.R. Grady https://www.facebook.com/drgradybooks
Google+: D.R. Gradybooks https://plus.google.com/u/0/114138197846185543554/posts
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007HR0ULS

 

 

Happy End of January!

Okay, so I’m not sure that I’m actually happy it’s the end of January, especially since we’ve still only had a little snow here–nothing more than a couple of inches at a time.  After actually having a real winter for a change last year, this year is very disappointing so far.

My main purpose in this quick post tonight is to let you all know I have a guest blog post up at Limecello’s A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet today to finish off her blogiversary celebration.  I’m talking about celebrations, and there’s a little peek at Hunting Medusa, plus everybody who comments there on her blog by February 2, 2015 will be entered into a drawing for an e-book copy of Hunting Medusa.  I’ll be doing the drawing on February 3, 2015, most likely after I get finished at the evil day-job.

I also wanted to start giving you notice I’m participating in a multi-author booksigning in Mechanicsburg, PA on Valentine’s Day!  Yes, my very first booksigning, and I am so excited, because I get to sign with some women I’ve known for many years, and some truly awesome romance authors!  All the details can be found here, and I hope to see some of you there if you’re not too far away and Mother Nature cooperates.  I might even have a few goodies to share there, too.

In the meantime, though, go check out my guest blog post, and get your comment in for your chance at a free e-book!

Hi, everyone!  I’m so happy to get to introduce you to my guest blogger today: Kryssie Fortune.  She has a new release out this week, and she’s going to tell you all a little bit about it.  Enjoy!

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Knights Vampire2
Hi Kryssie Fortune here. I’ve dropped by to tell you about my latest book. First of all, a big thank you to Elizabeth for having me.
The Secret History of the Knights Defender

King Henry 1 of England founded the Knights Defender to protect his itinerant justices, but the order grew into a pan-European order of crusader knights. Renowned for protecting the innocent and upholding the law, the Knights Defender were respected by all. But they had a dark side.

Their Grand Master practised black magic but with good intentions. He foresaw the fall of the order and decided the world needed his Knights as an eternal police force. He picked out the best of his men, and with their permission, he made them immortal. By turning them Vampire.

Most of his Knights clung to their belief in law an order, but they hadn’t expected their feelings to leach out of them over the centuries. They feel nothing unless they find and claim their soul mate – but if they pick the wrong woman, they die.

Worse, the Grand Master’s vision was as flawed as his decision to dabble in the dark arts. He changed some Knights who turned rogue. Now they prey on humanity.

Thanks to the rogue Knights some of the Defenders were changed without an explanation, and like Blaxton de Ferrers, they were left to flounder alone.

Blaxton de Ferrers died at the start of the 13th century—killed by his cousin while on Crusade with Richard the Lionheart. He didn’t stay dead. That night, he rose as a vampire.

Finally, in the twenty first century, Blaxton returns to the castle where he was born. He’s sucked into an ancient mystery. Then there’s the woman. The one who makes him feel whole—but to claim her, he’ll have to kill her.

Blurb:
Betrayed by the Knight Defenders and murdered by his cousin, crusader knight Blaxton de Ferrers rose as a vampire. For nine centuries, he’s preyed on the people he once swore to protect. Gradually, as his emotions leach out of him, he forgets how to feel. Then he meets Harriet.

Harriet Mortlake’s a strong sassy woman who battles her weight and her temper. Her job is to seek out the ancient secrets of the castle that was Blaxton’s childhood home. Instead, she finds the love of her life.

When danger threatens Harriet, Blaxton steps in. Harriet and Blaxton, are a match made in heaven. Except… he’s a vampire and to fully claim her, he’ll have to kill her.

Buy links:
Loose ID
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon AU
All Romance Books

Author Social Media:
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Amazon Author Page

Excerpt:

“How dare you embarrass me like that?” Harriet Mortlake planted her hands on her hips and glowered at the man she’d cornered outside the cafe. Spitting mad, she wanted to slap the condescending smile off his face. Normally, she was iceberg cool, but as hard as she tried to keep her expression neutral, she could feel lightning bolts flashing from her eyes.

“It’s a temple, not a chapel,” he insisted.

Stubborn. Damn. Male. She’d been showing the big guns from the Castles’ Management Trust round the building, but they clearly thought her too young for her role as Whitborough Castle’s archivist. She’d almost been too angry to think when this know-it-all first sounded off. Now he infuriated her all over again.

Harriet snorted. “As if! No way would medieval Christians build a pagan temple on their grounds. Superstitious locals would probably have accused them of devil worship and burned them at the stake. Any fool knows that.”

Her degree in library science made her suitable for the post. The castle manager had told her afterward that she’d been the only applicant. She’d almost stuck her tongue out at the head office guys and yelled Beggars can’t be choosers.

Despite Mr. Condescending’s interference, she’d managed to impress the big bosses—she thought. He flashed her a smile so electrifying it would have lit up the dingy, underground chapel where he’d embarrassed her earlier. The way he sat there dripping sex appeal, her anger might have evaporated. If only he hadn’t needed to have the last word.

He took another sip of coffee. “You really should get your facts right.”

Stupid, arrogant male. She couldn’t decide whether to show him her diplomas and degrees or kick his shins. Professional to the core, she’d reined in her temper while the higher-ups carried out their inspection, but now that they’d left, she felt free to vent her rage.

Hands still on her hips, she tapped her foot at him. “Lost for words without an audience? Or maybe you can’t back up your cock-and-bull story? Put up or shut up, Mister. Tell me why you think it’s a temple.”

Mr. Condescending sat outside the tearoom as if he hadn’t a care in the world and enjoyed the early afternoon sunshine. He didn’t know it, but his interference when she’d shown the bigwigs into the chapel could have cost her a job she loved. Whitborough Castle’s extensive records needed cataloging, and she considered herself fortunate to work here. Only sometimes, she got a someone’s watching me feeling that unsettled her.

The last two archivists had vanished, and the police were “looking into it”—whatever that meant. Now people viewed the post as a poisoned chalice. Harriet knew an opportunity when she saw it, and she’d grabbed it with both hands. Everything should have been perfect, but it wasn’t. From day one—just four weeks ago—she’d felt as if the castle’s ghosts studied her as eagerly as she studied the records. Paranoid or what?

After an early start, she met the bigwigs from Castles’ Management Trust for the first time. Things had been going well. Okay, they’d been surprised by her youth, and clearly considered her too inexperienced for the post of archivist. By the time they reached the chapel, she’d almost won them over. Then Mr. Condescending here stuck his oar in, and if she hadn’t handled him right, she’d probably have lost her job.

Teeth gritted, Harriet had thanked him for his interest and told him politely that he was mistaken. Intimidating and so tall she had to look up to see his face, he made her think of the Norman conquerors who’d built the castle. He was all muscle, sex, and sin—but his stubborn assertion that the chapel had been a temple sparked her temper.

Her mouth had watered when she’d first seen him, but his cavalier attitude infuriated her. If her employers hadn’t been watching, she’d have told him exactly what she thought. She’d have regretted it later—maybe—but her temper had helped her survive ever since as a young girl she’d dragged her mother to the women’s shelter.

There he went with that dazzling smile again. He had to be the most handsome man she’d seen in… Well, forever. His masculine essence—sandalwood and exotic spices—wrapped warm tendrils around her heart. Her breasts perked up beneath her blouse, and they ached for his touch.

Her favorite bra suddenly felt so tight it abraded her nipples like sandpaper, and an unfamiliar tingling started in her cunt. Why did her anger evaporate, just because he smiled? What sort of fool woman caved just because a man had the most kissable lips ever? Lips she wanted to taste…repeatedly. Not that having such a tempting mouth made him less condescending. She paused, seeking the right riposte to tear him to shreds.

He stood up and held out his hand. “Pleased to meet you. I’m Blaxton de Ferrers.”

His voice—a deep, masculine rumble that made her want to beg him to say her name—thrilled her more than his smile. This man just kept getting better, but she’d come here to confront him, not drag him over the table and kiss him until they ran out of breath.

Something wild, almost primal, stirred inside her, but she wasn’t the sort of predatory female who encouraged strange men into her bed. Apart from one disastrous night with Martin, she was practically a virgin. Afterward, he’d told his friends she was frigid, and they’d christened her “the ice queen.” She’d squared her shoulders and stood tall—half an inch short of six feet—and ignored them. But her dating confidence had sunk to zero. After that she’d channeled her anger into her studies rather than sex.

Today her body went into sensual overdrive and demanded— Hell, she wasn’t sure what she wanted, but it was all bound up in Blaxton de Ferrers, aka Mr. Condescending.

He told her quietly, “It’s polite to shake someone’s hand when they offer it.”

She kept her hands firmly on her hips. Where did this jerk get off, reprimanding her about her manners? He took condescending to a whole new level, but he’d picked on the wrong girl when he’d heckled her. “Not when they damn near cost me my job. I needed to make a good impression, and you took over like you knew everything there is to know about this place. And heads-up, Mister. It’s rude to stare at my breasts.”

He grinned again. His smile melted her heart and warmed her soul. “Actually, I was staring at your name tag. Harriet’s a pretty name. It suits you.”

Talk about open mouth and insert foot. Harriet blushed and wished she’d said nothing. And hang on… De Ferrers? The family who once owned this castle? Someone once told Harriet she was part cat—always curious, always asking questions—and she supposed they’d been right.

She silently ran through the property’s history. Henry II had gifted the lands to Peter de Ferrers, and he’d turned the wooden stronghold into a magnificent castle. Maybe Mr. Condescending was a distant descendant of the original family.

Blaxton flashed that smile again, the one that made her heart beat double-time. He had to be the tallest man she’d ever seen. Not a beanpole, just a wide-shouldered, broad-chested piece of perfection.

He rested on hand on her arm. “Harriet, I’m sorry if I was out of line this morning. Let me make amends with coffee and cake; then I’ll explain why it’s a temple.”

His touch made her blood sizzle through her veins. She didn’t care that he invaded her personal space. Sitting here at one of the tearoom’s outdoor picnic benches and staring out to sea or watching him smile sounded amazing. Drinking coffee while his bass voice washed over her would make her lunch break perfect. Or maybe she’d enjoy it more if he kept his mouth shut. He made great eye candy, but she still raged about the arrogant way he’d interrupted her presentation. Even now, he wouldn’t see sense about the chapel.

She wanted to storm back to her office, find the original documents, and prove him wrong, but she hated when her temper got the better of her. She deliberately rolled her shoulders and relaxed. “I should apologize too. I try not to be so quick-tempered, but what can I say? Today was an epic fail, and I’m sorry.”

A wayward, feminine part of her still obsessed over his lips. Her common sense shouted for her to get out of there, but sometimes being sensible sucked. “Maybe just a coffee, but no cake. A lifetime on the hips and all that.”

He smiled, clearly taking her words as an invitation to study her curves. His scrutiny made her cheeks burn, and she knew she blushed again. Maybe I should give the low-fat diet another go.

Then, as if he’d read her mind, he told her, “I think your hips are perfect.”

Okay, he was silver-tongued and gorgeous, but it didn’t change facts. She’d gotten through university on a diet of pasta, rice, and chips—anything inexpensive so she didn’t get too deep in debt—but all those carbohydrates had settled on her hips and breasts. Men like Blaxton de Ferrers wanted slender fashion plates on their arms—and in their beds. Still, if he was interested, she’d starve herself for someone as downright sexy as him. The South Sea diet’s supposed to be good. Yeah, like I’ve ever managed more than a few days on a diet.

She sat opposite him. “Just a black coffee, please.”

His predatory walk made her mouth water, and she wondered what he’d be like in bed. He’d look amazing naked and… Her own thoughts made her blush. She knew nothing would ever happen between them, but a girl could dream.

Once he’d proved his point, he’d be on his way. It was probably for the best. Harriet wasn’t letting anyone into her bed easily, no matter how much they made her drool. Not after that disastrous one-and-only night when Martin had stopped over and things ended…badly. His insults had gotten under her skin, and she’d flung his clothes out the window. When he objected, she shoved his naked ass out the door and slammed it behind him.

She’d have been fine if he hadn’t compared her to an iceberg—stationary and freezing. One look at Blaxton de Ferrers and her panties grew damp with desire. How embarrassing was that? Especially after he interrupted her debut presentation to her bosses.

Moments later he returned, a mug steaming in each hand. “Your coffee, milady.”

He’d gone from condescending to charming in the space of a few heartbeats, but she still needed answers. She blinked hard, stunned by the pull this man had on her. Normally reserved, she hated how her nipples pebbled in his presence.

In his crisp jeans and button-down shirt, he looked expensive and…edible. He’d rolled up his shirtsleeves. His arms were rock-hard, muscular, and suntanned. When she looked closer, she thought his watch was the same brand all the Hollywood stars wore—a solid gold one at that. His sun-bleached hair fell in casual disarray over his collar. She knew an expensive haircut when she saw it.

Harriet studied him as though he were a bug beneath a microscope. “De Ferrers? Are you a descendant of the original family that ruled here in medieval times? Do you really know things about this castle that no one else does? What makes you think the chapel was really a temple? And if it was, who worshiped there? And if it was a pagan stronghold, then why do the oldest documents mark it with a cross?”

He raised his hands in surrender. “Slow down. You’re firing questions the way a machine gun fires bullets. Yes, my ancestors once ruled here, but it was a long time ago. How about you tell me why you believe that black hole’s a chapel? It looks more like a dungeon to me.”

She threw back her head and laughed. “Clever, turning my own question back on me. Okay, I’ll play. I’m the new archivist here, but back in Victorian times, they unearthed an original map of the castle. Your dungeon, temple, or whatever you want to call it was marked with a cross. See? Temples are pagan strongholds, not places for Christian worship.”

He grinned that devastating smile that melted her bones, and tossed her a tidbit of information. “The cross on the plans. Were all the arms the same length? Was it bright blue on a silver-gray background, and did the arms have cut off triangle bases inverted and stuck on their ends?”

Harriet’s breath came faster, and as she stared down at her hand, it shook so hard she almost spilled her coffee. “You mean like a Knights Templar cross but in different colors? Azure and argent? Sorry, you’d call them sky blue and silver. Those were the Knights Defender’s colors, weren’t they? Do you really think it was one of their temples where they carried out their most secret and sacred rituals? Really? It’d make my career if you’re right, but we don’t have any Knights Defender connections here.”

Hot coffee scalded Harriet’s throat, but the quicker she drank it the sooner she could return to her office and check out the original map. Proving a Knights Defender connection could make her reputation and impress the higher-ups who’d doubted her. “I’ll dig out those original plans and check, but I can’t believe anyone could make such a foolish mistake. Can I have your phone number or something, and if you’re right, I’d love to talk.”

Mortified, she realized she’d just asked this stranger for his phone number. He wound her up like a clockwork toy, and when she chased after him, he talked with such authority she almost believed him. Besides, even if he’d made his wild story up, she really wanted to see him again. Who was she kidding? She needed to know if he tasted as great as he smelled—all sandalwood and exotic spices. If he did, she’d surely find him addictive.

Blaxton grinned, pulled out a business card, and scribbled a cell phone number underneath his business contacts. “Here. That’s my personal number.”

She studied the card and laughed. “It says here you’re a property developer. I can’t see you being able to do much with a twelfth-century castle, even if it wasn’t grade one listed.”

He stared out to sea, and for a moment he looked lost. His smile returned so quickly Harriet wondered if she’d imagined his brief withdrawal.

He finished his coffee and stood up. “Maybe I could demolish the damned temple and replace it with a real chapel. I’m not staying in Yorkshire long, but would you have dinner with me tonight? We can discuss the Knights Defender if you like. How about we meet up in the Italian restaurant by the harbor? I’ll book a table for eight o’clock tonight if you’re free.”

Harriet blushed, but she smiled back. Tonight she’d be dining with the best-looking guy in the town—if he turned up. She’d been stood up so many times by her ex before she’d stupidly let him share her body and her bed. After the way he’d treated her, dating came hard.

Blaxton de Ferrers seemed genuine. Part of her wanted to run out and get her nails done right along with her hair. What the hell am I going to wear? She wasn’t some sophisticated London beauty, but she cleaned up okay despite her extra ten pounds. Besides, no way would she miss a chance to pump him for information. And if he wants to kiss me goodnight… Well, I might just let him.

 

I’ve been very lucky lately to have some great ladies guesting here, and today we have another: Sara Ellwood, with a snippet from the first book in her ‘Colton Gamblers’ series!  She’s sharing a little about herself and her story, and I can’t wait to read more of it.  I just love a wounded hero.

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Gambling On A Secret
Book 1 of The Colton Gamblers….
In anticipation of the June release of Book 3: Gambling On A Dream, Kensington Publishing has put Book 1: Gambling On A Secret on sale!

***ON SALE FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY FOR $0.99***

Blurb:
When Charli bets everything on a secret, will she find the deck stacked against her?

Former runaway-turned heiress Charli Monroe is hiding her sordid past and planning a future in Colton, Texas. Attending the local college for a degree in social work, she intends to raise cattle on her newly purchased ranch, which she plans to open as a home for troubled teens. Only a few glitches—the Victorian mansion is crumbling, the barn needs a roof, and her oilman neighbor wants more than friendship. When she meets Dylan Quinn, Charli is willing to take a chance on the town drunk to help her rebuild the rundown ranch.

Dylan has his demons, too. The former Special Forces commander can’t get past his ex-wife’s betrayal and the botched mission that left him with much more than a bad limp. Certain the greedy oilman next door to Charli wants much more than just her heart, Dylan’s even willing to stop drinking in order to protect her.

When things get dangerous and secrets of the past are revealed, is he only looking out for his new employer, or is she the new start he so desperately needs?

COVER QUOTE: “Full of intrigue, tangled pasts, and raw emotions, this one is guaranteed to keep you turning pages from start to finish and then wishing for one more chapter!”
Carolyn Brown, New York Times bestselling author.
Ms. Brown also named Gambling On A Secret as one of her favorite romance reads in 2012 in the Happy Ever After Blog on USA Today.

“HONESTLY this was a FABULOUS read. Gambling on a Secret is a gripping, entertaining and an absolutely delightful romantic read which is set in the town of Colton located in Texas. Sara Walter Ellwood has scored with this book. This has been one of my favourite reads for 2013…” Read the rest of this 5 Satin Pillow review at Satin Sheets Romance

 

Excerpt:

Dylan regarded her for a long moment and cocked a brow. Damn, was he making fun of her? He looked her up and down. “Wouldn’t a woman like you be more comfortable getting manicures and massages in a Dallas spa, not worrying about cattle breeds and barn roofs? It’s no secret around town you’re the heiress to the Monroe Farm Equipment fortune, and you sold a huge ranch in Oklahoma your grandfather left you. Why on Earth did you buy a dump like this?”

Now he’d pissed her off. Charli might have more money than she’d ever dreamed of having. She might like to dress in designer clothes, but it was none of this jerk’s business which ranch she bought. Or why she wanted it. She had a business plan and a vision for the ranch; what else mattered? “I happen to like this place. It suits me better than the ranch I sold.”

“Is that so? Did you bring any equipment with you? A tractor, a planter, hay mower, baler, anything?”

He would bring up one of the stupidest things she’d done. Sighing, she admitted, “I sold the equipment with the ranch when I decided to leave Oklahoma. One more reason I need a manager.” Her cheeks burned. “When I sold the ranch after inheriting it, I didn’t intend to buy another.”

“Why did you buy another ranch?” He slid his gaze back to hers and peered at her as if he could read her every thought–but what had her swallowing hard was the spark of something hot in his eyes.

She tightened her arms in the hug she gave herself–a self-protecting, insecure gesture she’d acquired while she lived with her abusive lover in Las Vegas as a teenage runaway.

“Buying a ranch the size of this one isn’t something most folks just wake up and decide to do, Miss Monroe. A ten-thousand-acre spread takes commitment and dedication and is damned hard work.”

Yeah, she knew that.

He looked down at her multicolored Manolo Blahnik five-inch heeled slides. The ghost of a smile touched his lips again, but this time little crinkles formed at the corners of his eyes, which held a spark of interest she didn’t want.

Damn, he was good-looking. She squelched that notion like the roach she’d killed earlier in the house. Hadn’t her life with Ricardo taught her a handsome face meant nothing but trouble?

“I can’t imagine you stuffing those pampered and polished feet into rubber boots to muck around in the barn.”

Me, either. But she would if she had to.

She drew in a breath and dropped her arms to her sides. “I think we should get back to asking questions about you. When your sister called about my newspaper ad, she said you were exactly what I’m looking for.”

He shrugged again in a not-a-care-in-the-world way again. What was this guy’s problem? If she weren’t running out of time, she would tell him to leave. She couldn’t waste this year, which meant she had to get someone hired. And her prospects were limited.

“Can you do the job?”

“Affirmative.”

She waited for him to elaborate, but when he didn’t, she frowned. “Do you have any references?”

“I expected you to ask. Everything you need to know should be in here.”

She moved closer and took the folded sheet of paper he held out the window. After glancing at it, she wasn’t surprised it was a resume, but his listed experience had her heart beating a little faster. She looked up at him. “You have a degree in agricultural business from Texas A & M, started up your own ranch and served in the Army?”

He looked off in the distance. “I was in the service for thirteen years, three years in the Corps of Engineers, four in Airborne and the last six in Special Forces.” His jaw clenched, making his face the chiseled block of cold stone again. “And I know something about building. When I wasn’t deployed, I built the house and barn on my two-hundred acre ranch.”

“You don’t own the ranch now?”

“No. My ex-wife got it in our divorce settlement. I planned to get out of the Army after my last tour in Afghanistan and raise cattle. But things never happen the way we want them to.”

The bitterness of his tone had her stepping away. She shivered again and busied herself with looking at the resume. Whatever his ex-wife had done to him, it wasn’t good. “Your reference list is pretty skimpy.”

“The first name is my old commander, but I just got word he’s shipped out on a secret mission.”

Something wasn’t adding up. Either he was hiding something or his sister had lied about his experience.“Your sister said you worked on Oak Springs Ranch while in high school, but it’s not listed on your resume. Are you related to the owner, Leon Ferguson? You said your mother grew up there.”

His eyes narrowed and his lips thinned into a tight line. “Leon is my mother’s stepbrother. While my grandfather was still alive and ran the ranch, I worked there until I joined the Army after he died. I chose not to mention it.”

But why? She didn’t press the matter. She wasn’t seriously considering him for the job anyway, was she?
She studied the resume again. “Brenda Dailey. Is this person off-limits, too? Or can I speak with her?”

“My ex-wife. I’d appreciate it if you don’t involve her. I put her on there because of the ranch.”

She looked up at him. “The divorce that bad, huh?”

Dylan shrugged and looked away. He gripped the top of the steering wheel hard enough to whiten his knuckles. “Suppose it’s no secret. Our divorce has only been final four months, and she married her baby-daddy the day after it became official. You figure it out.”

“Ouch. Okay, I won’t call your ex. Nevertheless, I’d like to see your house. Your sister mentioned you were a carpenter.” She glanced at the address of his former ranch. “Killeen’s south of here?”

He nodded. “It’s your two hours and tank of gas.”

“Thank you for stopping by. Your number’s on here. I’ll call you.”

“Thanks for your time, Miss Monroe. Good luck with this place.” He looked around at the buildings and over her before he turned the key in the ignition. The rusted bucket of bolts sputtered and the starter groaned before the engine turned over.

As he pulled away, she looked at the piece of paper in her shaky hand and studied his name at the top.
Damn, she’d hoped he was the one.

She crumpled the paper, and the memory of his weathered eyes, as dull and gray as her ranch buildings, came to her. What ghosts did he see when he closed them?

She opened her palm and stared at the wad of paper. Feeling haunted by the past was something she understood very well.

 

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Google

Sara Walter Ellwood (7)

Bio:

Although Sara Walter Ellwood has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her contemporary westerns. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia. Sara Walter Ellwood is a multi-published and international Amazon bestselling author of the anthology set Cowboy Up. She also publishes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name Cera duBois.

Author links:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Also look for:

Book 2: Gambling On A Heart at Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Available now for preorder—Book 3: Gambling On A Dream at Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

 

I am in countdown mode right now:  only four more days until Hunting Medusa is out in trade paperback.  This is as exciting as pub day last January, if only because it means I’m going to get to hold my book in my own hands at last!  Also, I know I have some friends and readers who aren’t so wild about e-books, so they’ve been waiting impatiently for the paperback so they can read the story, too, and I’m excited for them to get to read it finally.  If you have been waiting for the paperback, too, it is up for pre-ordering at Samhain, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.  I’m looking forward to getting to pet my pretty cover when it’s attached to the rest of the book at last!

My shiny new cover art! isn't it pretty?

My shiny new cover art! isn’t it pretty?

Also, I have a guest blog up this morning with the generous Jessie Clever here.  It’s been so much fun doing these guest posts, and answering some of these questions was challenging.  I hope you’ll all check it out.

Now I’m heading back to the fresh rewrites on my second Medusa.  And counting down, not just to paperback release day, but the Facebook party I’ll be hosting on paperback release day.  I’ve got goodies to give away during the course of the day, including, books, gift certificates, and a big box full of things at the end of the party.  I hope you’ll come join me.