Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Foxes' Den: Teresa Noelle Roberts

Foxes' Den
Dual and Donovans--The Different, Book 2

 by Teresa Noelle Roberts

Love has a trick up its sleeve…

Duals and Donovans: The Different, Book 2

Some guys just don’t take rejection well. Sure, Akane’s affair with an uptight sorcerer’s boy toy backfired, but two hundred years locked in a mortal body is cruel and unusual punishment for a Trickster avatar. To free her fox form, she needs sex magic with a male of her own kind. Except none exist.

Adorable Trickster-touched fox dual Taggart Ross-Donovan is the closest she’s found. Even better, he’s married to Paul Donovan, whose red magic sizzles the air around him. One night with them will generate the extraordinary power needed to set her free.

The last thing Tag and Paul expect to find under a sorcerer’s curse is a kitsune, a beautiful one who gets under their skin without even trying. Tag is more than ready to take the risk she needs. Paul has reservations, but it’s nothing Tag can’t overcome with a little sensual persuasion.

No one goes into the ritual with more hope than Akane…or more fear. Failure will leave her forever entrapped. Worse, she’s falling for two mortals. And there’s only one thing that can kill a kitsune—unrequited love.

Warning: Contains sly fox men (with tails), foxy fox women (with multiple tails), sexy witches chasing tail, Trickster magic, cranky sorcerers, and enough gay, het and MMF sex to torch your Kindle.

Buy Foxes’ Den: Duals and Donovans—The Different, Book 2

Foxes' Den
Dual and Donovans--The Different, Book 2


The being who currently called herself Akane Moritomo froze.

The hair on the back of her neck prickled, not entirely unpleasantly.

Someone recognized her for what she was. The curse had left her with that pathetically small power, to know such things.

No one had recognized her in decades. Even trapped in this form, she’d occasionally be spotted in Japan. But never in America.

This time, she had been.

Cautiously, pretending she was retying her boot, she scanned the people around her, looking for someone who was not the ordinary human he or she appeared to be.

The Agency?

Her heart raced, though once she would have scoffed at mortals trying to capture her. If the Agency discovered she was a non-human Different passing for human, even though she’d taken care to do no harm in this form, she might be deported back to Japan. The shame of that would be unendurable. The confinement beforehand would be worse.

She’d die inside. But trapped in human form, she couldn’t even will her own fading as a kitsune should when her heart was broken.

Something caught the sharper senses that still simmered below the dull human form. Someone in the outdoor café was not what they appeared. Might be Agency. Might be a potential ally. In either case, it was worth checking out. These days she might not be able to perceive more than, say, a half-trained mortal witch, but any information was better than operating blind.

It wasn’t the dreadlocked student bent over her books or the old couple sharing a piece of cake. She turned her attention to the two young men holding hands at a table off to the side.

For a second, she studied them with her merely human senses, appreciating the view. One was tall and elegantly lean and so blue-eyed she could make it out from across the street, his dark hair worn long and loose, waving past his shoulders in a sweep most women would envy. The other was shorter and solidly built, broad shouldered, with a collar-length, red ponytail and a warm smile. Not for her, not from the way they seemed to shut out the street and its noise to be together in their own world. She knew better now. But their sheer beauty made her shiver.

Beauty didn’t prove a thing. Masao and Hiro had been beautiful too, and look where that had gotten her.

She turned her other senses, hampered though they were, on the handsome couple.

Maybe it was a good thing they didn’t work as well as they ought to. After so long in the human world, using human senses, she had to blink, protecting her eyes against the blinding glare of power from the dark-haired one. It poured off him in streams of healing white, herbalist green, psychic blue and the vivid crimson of sex magic.

Nothing dark, though. No demon taint or hint of blood magic on that one. Just strong, well-trained, positive power. The few times she’d met a witch in America, their magic was weak, wild, disordered, or tainted with impure practices. She’d known there were powerful witch families in America, but, as in Japan, they kept to themselves and came forward only when they felt there was need.

Had her need for release finally called out to one of them?

His power certainly called to her. He might have the knowledge to free her after two hundred years of suffering. It was unlikely—after all, the conditions of her curse were stringent and specific—but if anyone would know how to get around them, it would be a strong, well-trained witch with powerful red magic.

And if he didn’t have a clue? At this point in her unwanted mortal life, Akane would take what fun she could get, and chatting with a handsome man would brighten her day.

Even if he was holding hands with another handsome man, which meant he was off-limits.

She crossed the street without looking, shrugging off the squeal of brakes and the “Hey, watch it!” from a bike messenger who barely missed her.

It was only when she got closer that she sensed what his partner was.


Not like her. He had the sweet, hot, alluring smell of mortality on him as much as any human, and besides, there were no males of her kind. A dual-natured one, with a fox who walked inside his human appearance, waiting to come out to play.

Until you lie with a male of your kind, Hiro had said when he’d cursed her. There were no male kitsune. But perhaps coupled with the other’s powerful magics, the fox dual would do.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Vaughn Demont: House of Stone

A modern knight, a noble quest, and a magical sword. What could go wrong?

Welcome to the City, where gods run nightclubs, goblins hire out as mercs, sorcerers work their magic, the Fae hold court over every neighborhood…and humanity is blissfully ignorant of it all.
For minor Fae noble Richard Stone, life is going well. He has a decent fiefdom (okay, it’s a slum), a budding acting career (okay, so it’s porn), and one of only five magical swords in the City. An arranged marriage is barely a blip on his worry meter—until his family blade loses its magic. The shame of it puts his noble standing in jeopardy.

To regain his status, Richard needs help. Fortunately, his new bride is a sidhe knight and his servant Simaron has, er, his back. Together they embark on a quest to find the demon who slew his father, investigate a conspiracy that goes to the highest echelons of Fae nobility, and discover a secret family legacy that could ruin his House.

All while keeping up appearances to a society that demands perfection. And they say a noble’s life is easy…

Warning: This book contains explicit gay sex, not-so-explicit gay sex, explicitly implied gay sex, routine breaking of the fourth wall, occasional bouts of Pearl Jam fanboy-ism, and plot. Side effects include confusion and headaches, and are best avoided by reading the pages therein in numerical order.

Buy House of Stone from My Bookstore and More

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Gay-Lesbian Romance
ISBN: 978-1-60928-061-1
Length: Novel
Price: 5.50
Publication Date: June 22, 2010
Cover art by Mandy M. Roth
Read An Excerpt Online

House of Stone
Vaughn Demont
“Did your scene go as expected, Your Excellency?” I’m greeted as always by Simaron, my manservant. Sim’s father served my father, his grandfather served my grandfather, you can probably see where this is going. He’s a couple inches shorter than I at six flat, and built more solidly than I as well, and dressed impeccably in a butler’s uniform. Short black hair, bright blue eyes, his skin a bit lighter than mine. You’d never guess there was sidhe blood in him.

“Well as can be expected, Sim. We’re on lunch for the next hour. The new kid came too fast so he needs time to recover.”

“Very well, my lord.” He motions to a platter of fresh fruit and a goblet of poured wine. “I have prepared a small meal, sir. I apologize for the limited selection. May I assist you with your armor?”

I nod, primarily because he’s the one who put it on me in the first place. His fingers work the straps and catches, and within minutes I’m wearing naught but a padded vest and my armor is on a stand. I’m still exposed from the waist down, but Sim sees me naked every day when he dresses me. (He has made comments about my usual taste in attire. “T-shirts and jeans are not proper for a man of your station, good sir.”)

“You seem a bit tense, Your Excellency. Is there anything amiss?” I see his eyes dart down to my groin for the barest of seconds, and realize I’m still rather erect. I shake my head once.

“Everything is fine. Any tension is from wearing that armor all day.” I stretch my back and grab an apple, biting out a hunk of it. I have no idea where he finds fresh fruit and good wine in St. Benedict (or just the Benedict as the locals say), but I’m not about to ask. “I didn’t get to finish the scene, so I’m afraid I’m still a bit eager in that regard.”

“Would you like me to attend to it, Your Excellency? My skills are as always at your disposal.”

“More than anything I’d like a shoulder rub. My back is full of knots.” Cool air slides over my body as I take off my vest. After I hand it to Sim, he dutifully folds the vest and places it on the table. I toss out the apple after taking another big bite and lie down on the cot, which Sim has furnished with satin sheets. My boots are still on. But considering how long it takes to get them off with all the laces, it’s best to leave them where they are. While on my stomach, I hear the bed creak as Sim straddles my thighs, the fabric of his slacks rubbing against my skin.

I put my face in a pillow so I won’t moan too loud when he works his magic on my shoulders. He isn’t professionally trained or anything, but after doing this for fifteen years he’s rather well-acquainted with my musculature and knows how to work out anything he’ll encounter.

“Harder, Sim, I’ve got less than an hour.” I wriggle a bit to get comfortable, sandwiching my penis between my stomach and the mattress. His fingers press harder, changing their positioning, aiming for deep tissue to find the tension and work it out as his hands travel my shoulders and spine.

“As you wish, my lord.” I can already feel the stress and tension melting away, he’s that damned good at his job. “A message arrived for you by courier this morning, sir.”

“Was it an actual courier,” I say, well, half-moan. Like I said, he’s good at this. “Or are you talking about the mailman again?”

“The post arrives in early afternoon, sir. The message was from a courier of Her Grace, Duchess Cadwyn.” His hands immediately move to the knots that just bunched up in my shoulders. There’s a bit of tension in them, now.

The City has many counties. Not counties you might think of. I mean actual counties with counts and viscounts, baronies with real barons, as well as two duchies, all part of the Kingdom of Rainbows (because when my ancestors first arrived here, there was, you guessed it, a rainbow overhead). I’m the viscount of a small part of St. Benedict that no one among my people really cares about. Duchess Cadwyn is the Duchess of Tolon Wood, right in the middle of Allora, surrounded by the rich, the famous and the cultured, which everyone among my people cares about.

And since the Queen has other areas of her kingdom that require her attention, most of the responsibilities fall to the most powerful and favored noble, who is Duchess Cadwyn. And if she sent her courier, it means one of two things, which I can discern by asking one question.

“How was it addressed, Sim?”

“To His Excellency.” His voice immediately takes a formal tone. “Count Pembroke Kendrick Llewellyn Richard Firemane, Lord of the House of Stone, Knight of the Realm, Viscount of the Benedict Shores, and Custodian of the Azure Blade.”

Damn it.

“Nice calligraphy?” I ask, but it’s a given.

“And in silver ink, sir,” he says, putting some accent on silver. His hands gently inspect my shoulders, my spine. I’m not tense, it’s just…I really don’t want to go. When you get an invitation written in silver ink from the Duchess of Tolon Park, to your full formal title, though, you go, lest you gravely insult her and humiliate yourself, your father, your grandfather… “Shall I continue the deep-tissue massage, my lord?”

“When is it?” Might as well find out so I can get it over with. I know that he opened the message, it’s his job to. It’s probably why he didn’t drop it on me until he was already giving me a rub down.

“Tomorrow, sir. Your presence is requested at dusk, formal attire of course, so your armor will need to be properly cleansed.” I hear the soft sigh, and I know what’s going through his mind: Thank the gods that Count Kendrick and Countess Regina are not alive to see their son treating family heirlooms in such a fashion.

Hey, I could be doing worse, like using the hilt of the family blade in a rather vulgar fashion in these films.

Still, tomorrow?

“Sim.” I try to keep the grumbling out of my voice. “Right now I believe I will need a much deeper massage to lift my spirits.”

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bonnie Dee: Jungle Heat

Jungle Heat Excerpt 1

Congo Free State, 1888

On a mission deep in the jungle, Oxford anthropologist James Litchfield comes face-to-face with a local legend: a wild man who wanders with mountain gorillas and lives as one of their own.

The chance encounter with the savage, whom James calls Michael, leads to a game of observation and exploration. Their mutual curiosity turns to an attraction; one that Michael has never experienced and James is desperate to deny.

When members of the expedition unearth James’s secret discovery, a living specimen of man at his most primitive, Michael becomes a pawn in their quest for fame.

As their relationship deepens, James is compelled to protect Michael from the academics who would treat him as nothing more than a scientific acquisition and London society, which threatens to destroy their passionate bond.

Jungle Heat

Text Copyright © 2010 by Bonnie Dee

Congo Free State, 1888

Odd One watched, as still as the tree trunk by which he stood, not moving more than his eyes as Old Grunt had taught him. His pale, furless skin caked with river mud was nearly the same gray-brown as the tree. His light hair was also matted with mud and his face smeared so only the whites of his strange blue eyes might give his position away. He could never hide in plain sight like the Others, but he did the best he could.

Something was moving loudly through the underbrush—a foolish animal without enough sense to slip quietly between the leaves or to step lightly on the ground. The footsteps were different from any creature he’d ever heard, a heavy tread. It sounded as if there were more than one. He judged that the approaching animals had the weight of a leopard but not the stealthily padded paws.

Excitement tingled through him, making the hair rise on his nape. He clenched the sharpened stick in his fist, pressed his back against the rough bark and waited for whatever was coming.

One of the creatures made a sound as it came closer. Not a screech or cry, not a groan, hoot or whimper, but a noise unlike anything he’d heard before yet strangely familiar. A dim memory struggled to float up in his mind. He reached for it, and it was gone.

His heart pounded and he breathed faster as he glimpsed one of the creatures between the leaves. It walked upright on two legs just as he did and like the Others did some of the time. He wanted to leap forward, to see all of it at once instead of flashes through the undergrowth.

There were two of them, one walking behind the other. The pair communicated back and forth with their strange calls. He caught his breath. These were like the sounds he sometimes made when he was all alone in the forest, the noises his throat and tongue made that none of the Others could duplicate.

The pair moved into the clearing in front of him where they stopped and stood looking around. His heart raced even faster. The two creatures looked like him, or what he’d seen of himself reflected in still water. Their faces and hands were naked like his with the same prominent noses and fully formed lips. Hair grew on the lower part of their faces. Their bodies were covered with something that was neither fur, skin nor scales but something completely foreign.

One of them took a thing off the top of his head and ran a hand through sweat-flattened hair—hair like his, not fur as most animals had—and white like the streaks in Old Grunt’s ruff. These animals were his kind. There were more in the world like him. He wasn’t alone.

He turned his attention to the other one, studying the face closely. The creature’s brows drew together in a frown as he communicated with his partner, using hand motions to emphasize the sounds coming from his mouth. His hair was brown. He was younger than his companion. Odd One couldn’t take his gaze from the creature’s eyes, the way they blinked and moved and squinted when his mouth widened to show his teeth. Baring teeth meant aggression to the Others, but the stranger didn’t appear angry. He seemed pleased. His eyes crinkled at the corners and lines grooved his cheeks. A quiet chuckling sound rumbled from his chest and came out his mouth.

A warm feeling rushed through Odd One. He found himself mimicking the stranger’s expression, his lips lifting at the corners, his teeth showing. What would the strange animals do if he came toward them now? He would drop his sharp stick on the ground and come with his head lowered, his eyes down-turned to show his intention wasn’t to harm. Would they make their noises at him and welcome him as one of them? But he wasn’t of their clan so maybe they would drive him away. Better he stay still until they’d moved on, then follow and learn more about the invaders in his world.

He waited and watched. After the two bent down to look at something on the ground, they rose and headed back in the direction from which they’d come. Odd One followed, slipping silently over the forest floor without rustling a single branch.

James couldn’t shake the feeling something was watching him and Professor Hatchett as they forged their way through the wood. Dense foliage surrounded them on all sides, and the canopy overhead filtered the light, giving the impression of being under murky green water. The primary purpose of the expedition was to catalog the flora, fauna and primitive people that inhabited this area of Africa. It was the kind of study James had dreamed of all his life. But he hadn’t counted on the unsettling feeling of vulnerability that the isolated place gave him. Nature here was huge, powerful, untamed rather than displayed in a museum case, zoo or park as it was in London. Every time they hiked away from the base camp, James felt he’d be swallowed by the jungle, never to return to civilization.

There probably were eyes watching them. Animals were abundant on this tropical mountainside. And birds. He’d never seen so many colorful birds. Even the flocks of pigeons inhabiting Trafalgar Square couldn’t compare in number. Parrots’ raucous cries were nearly deafening, especially in the mornings as they heralded a new day.

As he trudged along the path he and Hatchett had beaten through the undergrowth, James suddenly realized why he felt especially unsettled today. The birds were too quiet, as if the presence of something dangerous had made them fall silent. The cheeky birds had never seemed too alarmed by the presence of foreigners in their midst before, but today even the gossiping colobus monkeys high in the canopy were mute. The silence was ominous. Was a threatening predator upsetting the natural noise of the jungle?

“Hold up, Professor,” James called to Hatchett. “Listen.”

The older man obligingly halted, removed his pith helmet and mopped his brow with the sweat-drenched handkerchief from his pocket. “What am I listening for?”

James scanned the area, trying to see between the trees and green leaves, ignoring the brilliant flowers or flashes of feathers as birds darted to and fro. He knew jaguars sometimes hid in the branches overhead and leaped down on their prey. One of the big cats might see a strolling Englishman as a weak, easy victim.

James reached for the holster at his side and pulled his revolver. He had no wish to harm any of the beasts they came across. This was no game hunting trip. But in order to measure, photograph and catalogue the local fauna, the scientists must sometimes collect specimens of the beasts. He tilted his head back and scanned the branches overhead, searching for a spotted pelt, but there was only green, green and more green.

Suddenly there was a flurry of movement in the woods and a streak of gold burst from the undergrowth in front of him. A leopard bounded across the clearing. James raised his gun to shoot but knew claws and fangs would rip him apart before a bullet stopped the beast, and that was assuming his aim was good. He depressed the trigger at the same moment a blur of motion from his right intercepted the beast hurtling toward him. A man exploded between him and the leaping leopard, arm raised, and drove a spear into the animal.

The big cat gave an unearthly scream and twisted in mid-air, knocking the spear from its side. Landing paws down, the animal vanished into the brush as quickly as it had appeared, yowling as it ran.

James sucked in a breath and chambered another round in the Enfield just in case his rescuer decided to attack him with that spear. The naked man, covered in mud from head to toe, turned toward James. For one breathtaking moment they stared at one another, primitive and modern man connecting across the vast chasm that separated them. Worlds apart yet both human, their gazes stitched them together.

James’s heart pounded so hard he could hardly hear. An honest-to-God aboriginal stood before him. He wasn’t slight as the Pygmies of the Congo were rumored to be but stood average height, his build lean and well-muscled. It was difficult to distinguish his mud-covered features, but beneath the gray mud his skin did not appear to be dark like the natives James had encountered so far in Africa.

James’s gaze flicked over the man’s face and body to fix on the hand clapped to his shoulder. The primitive had been shot. James’s bullet had missed its target and winged the man who’d rescued him. He took a step forward and reached out a hand. “You’ve been hurt.”

As quickly as the leopard had disappeared, the man melted into the forest, the lush tropical plants closing in behind him.

James started after. “Wait!”

Hatchett came up beside him and grabbed his arm. “Don’t try to follow, lad. He could be dangerous.”

Considering the man had gone out of his way to save them, James doubted it, but he knew there was no way he could catch up with a native who didn’t wish to be approached. Disappointment flooded him. This may have been his one chance to interact with an unspoiled primitive and he’d ruined it by moving too fast and frightening the man away.

He stooped to pick up the man’s spear from the ground and examined the pointed end. “Look at this.”

“No iron, which isn’t surprising. But this doesn’t even have a head of stone or bone,” his mentor said. “This is hardly a spear at all. Merely a sharpened stick.”

They both marveled over the point, which appeared to have been charred in fire then shaped with something hard—perhaps a bit of flint. It was amazing the thing had even pierced the leopard’s hide. Nevertheless, it must seem an engineering marvel to its owner, who’d labored to make it. The stick-spear would be a loss to the hunter.

James weighed the weapon in his hand, testing its heft and balance. He could leave it here in case the man returned for it, but as an artifact of a primitive culture it was too precious to surrender. He raised the stick like a walking staff, feeling the warm, smooth groove left by the other man’s hand. A shiver went through him at the sense of connection to a life so utterly foreign to his own.

“Well, that was remarkable.” Hatchett’s voice drew him back from his reverie. “Come. Let’s return to camp before something else befalls us. It must be nearly time for tea for my stomach’s rumbling.” The older man started down the trail.

With a last look at the emerald leaves hiding the spot where the man had disappeared, James followed after him.

Odd One clutched his upper arm where the wasp had stung him, pulled his hand away to examine it and found blood coating his palm. Perhaps not a wasp sting after all. There had been a sharp thunderclap of a noise right before he was stung. If he hadn’t been so intent on stopping the leopard, he might have been frightened by the sound. As it was, his entire attention had been focused on saving the foreign creature before the jungle cat ripped open his face.

Now he was hurt and the strangers had walked off with his weapon. He had no choice but to follow them, not only to find out where they came from but also to get his sharp stick back.

Odd One packed cool, damp leaf mold against his oozing wound. He looked up the mountain where the Others would be foraging, then he turned and trotted after the strangers. They hadn’t attempted to hide their trail, but instead blazed a path through the forest that was easy to follow.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ride the Lightning by Rebecca Goings

Can she save his life in the past to give him a future?

Rumors of a ghost cowboy didn’t stop Jillian Brady from buying a rundown ranch in Cold Creek, Texas. When a mysterious horseman appears during a storm, she thinks it’s the locals playing a prank.

Mitchell Crenshaw is a ghost. Murdered during a thunderstorm in eighteen seventy-seven, he’s been riding the lightning ever since. Yet every time the storm moves on, he’s pulled back in time, forced to relive the day of his death.

Unless Jillian can intercede and save Mitch’s life, he’ll be doomed to ride the lightning forever…

Riding the Lightning
by Rebecca Goings 

“I suppose you want to know how it happened?”

She cleared her throat. “I wasn’t going to ask.”

“Why not?”

With a shrug, she said, “Figured it’d be...impolite.”

He smiled. “You can ask me anything, Jilly. If you asked me for the moon, I’d try my hardest to reach up and pluck it out of the sky for ya.”

Her hands clamped down on the mug she was holding. If she set it down, she’d be too tempted to take his hands, touch his chest, anything to get closer to him. The man oozed a certain kind of easy charm that was downright sexy. But remembering he was a ghost brought her to her senses.

“I was a witness to a murder.”

Jillian’s loud gasp reverberated throughout the room. Her eyes widened, and she couldn’t help the look that must have crossed her face. He nodded at her shock.

“Watched a man gun down a woman for nothing at all. Mr. Fred Hennessy. Told the sheriff what I’d seen. But Hennessy had already high-tailed it out of the area. Or so I thought. It would seem I’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time. He hadn’t expected there to be anyone to witness his crime. Guess he figured if he got rid of the witness, he could get the murder charge dropped.

“There was a bounty on his head after I’d told my story to the sheriff, so Hennessy couldn’t show his face. But he was pissed enough to seek me out at my own home.”

“Oh my God.” Jillian covered her mouth.

Mitch sat forward and rested his elbows on his knees, clasping his hands together. “It was storming that day, like it is now. I’d saddled Gypsy and went exploring up Bunker’s Hill because I’d heard a gunshot. Someone was shooting on my land. Thought maybe rustlers had come for the cattle or maybe one of my ranch hands was having a dispute. I needed to find out what was going on.

“So, I rode up the hill, heard another shot, and Gypsy went down.”

Jillian’s eyes filled with tears, and she covered her mouth. She’d wanted to know how he died, but now that he was telling her, she wasn’t so sure she did.

“I couldn’t get out of the way fast enough. Her body landed on top of me as we tumbled back down that hill, and I remember hearing all sorts of snaps and pops.”

“Oh, Mitch...”

“I was in agony, pinned under my horse, when that bastard Hennessy walked right up to me and raised his gun. That was the last thing I remember before riding the lightning. Been appearing as a ghost ever since.”

She sniffled and scooted closer. She wanted to soothe him, to soothe herself, and almost reached out to touch him.

“But that’s not the worst of it.”

Her heart stopped. “How can it not be?”

He gave her a look of pure sorrow. She scooted even closer.

“I’ve been appearing with every thunderstorm that rolls across the countryside in all the years since my death. And every time the storm is over, I have the pleasure of getting sucked back to that day, reliving it again and again. No matter how I try to do things different, no matter how much I try to change things, at the end of the day, I’m dead, and a new thunderstorm is brewing in your present.

“You wanted to know where I go when I disappear. Now you know.”

Jillian didn’t know what to say. She stared at him, not able to comprehend what he’d told her. Not only was Mitch a ghost, but he had to relive the day of his own murder. Every inch of her skin prickled and her eyes fairly burned.

How many times had he died?

Holy shit.

“Mitch,” she managed to say after a few moments of silence. “Are you sure you go back? How do you know it’s not just a memory of your death? Maybe you’re stuck in some kind of...of limbo. Maybe it’s just—”

“The pain, Jilly. I know from the pain.”

She stared at him, dumbstruck. His eyes were hollow, haunted. He was an exhausted, lonely man, stuck in an endless loop of terror and misery. She didn’t know what to say, what to do, that could possibly be a comfort to him.

Lifting her hand, she smoothed away the lock of hair that had fallen over his forehead. He turned toward her and let her touch him, watching her all the while. She felt the soft texture of his hair, the curve of his ear, and the prickly stubble on his cheek.

“I’m so sorry,” she whispered.

In that moment, something changed in the air between them. Mitch grabbed her and dragged her to his lap before she’d even seen him move. His arms were like bands of steel as he held her close. He lowered his head and hid his face in her neck.

“I want it to end, Jilly,” came his tortured reply. “I want to rest. I want to die. Truly die! Why is there no heaven for me? Why can’t I go there?”

His warm breath puffed on her skin, sending ripples of awareness across her body. “I don’t know,” she said. Her fingers trailed through his hair as she clung to him.

“No matter how I try to change what I do that day, no matter how many times I live it, I can’t stop what happens. If I don’t go up the hill, Hennessy shoots me in the barn. If I don’t go to the barn, he breaks down my front door. If I confront him, I’m never quick enough on the draw.

“I’ve set traps for him, I’ve surprised him, I’ve even tried running away, but he always finds me, he always...kills me.”

“Don’t talk about it,” she said. “Don’t think about it.”

“How can I not?” he asked, pulling back to look into her eyes. “When I leave you, that’s what I’ve got to look forward to. The only solace I have now is dying again to be with you.”

Swirling heat pooled in her belly. What he’d just said was much too intimate for mere friends.

“When will that be?”

“Whenever there’s a thunderstorm.”

“Mitch, I...I can’t wait on the whim of the weather. And you’re a ghost. You’re not—”

“A real man?” he interrupted.

She nodded and held his eye contact, no matter how much it pained her to do so. She wanted him, Lord, how she wanted him. But this was madness.

Mitch set his jaw and twisted his hand in her hair.

“The storm’s moving on,” he whispered.

Jillian’s heart hitched. No, not now. Not yet. Clutching him closer, she straddled his thighs. “I don’t want you to go.”

“I’ve got no choice.”

“Will you think of me? When you go back?”

“Every damn minute.”

“I don’t want you to die again!” More tears sprang to her eyes before she could stop them.

“Oh, honey, I do. I want to die so I can come back and hold you, just like this.”

His arms tightened, bringing her flush with his body. Every hard inch of his cock pressed against her. She had no doubt what he wanted. She wanted it too. But was it even possible?

“I don’t know if we...can,” she said.

“You can feel me, right?” He raised his brow and cupped her ass.

“Yes!” she yelped.

“Then we can. Do you want to?”

“Mitch...” She rested her head on his shoulder.

“Jilly, I’ve gotta go, honey.”


“I have to leave. Tell me you want me. Please.”

She couldn’t help herself; she kissed her way up his neck and across his cheek. “I want you, Mitchell.”

He pulled her mouth to his in a rough kiss. His stubble scraped her cheeks, but she didn’t care. All she cared about was his tongue, stabbing into her, rasping against her own. His lips were an inferno, raging on hers.

“Don’t leave me,” she whined against his mouth.

“Damn it, I have no control, Jilly. I can’t hold on much longer.”


This book is coming soon from Cobblestone Press. If you read it, I hope you fall in love with Mitch and Jilly, just as I did. Everyone deserves a happily ever after--even time-traveling ghosts.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Texas Tangle by Leah Braemel, Excerpt One


This is a sneak peak of my upcoming erotic romance, Texas Tangle, that will be released June 2010 by Harlequin's new digital-first line, Carina Press.

Thanks to her cheating ex-husband and her thieving brother, all horse breeder Nikki Kimball has left is a bruised heart, an over-drawn bank account and an empty home. When sex-on-legs Dillon Barnett and his brooding foster-brother Brett Anderson start showing more than just neighborly attention, Nikki is intrigued…and a little gun-shy.

Dillon and Brett have a history; back in high school, the two friends fought a bitter battle over Nikki. Now, ten years later, Brett still longs to be the man in Nikki’s life, but he’s determined to stand back and let Dillon win Nikki’s heart.

Society says Nikki must choose between the two men she loves. Is Nikki strong enough to break all the rules in order to find happiness?

Copyright by Leah Braemel 2010

Chapter One

“No, no, no!” With steam billowing from the hood of her truck, Nikki maneuvered blindly easing the vehicle to the side of the road, making sure the horse trailer she was towing wasn’t blocking traffic. “You can’t die here. We’re so close to home.”

With a sigh, she killed the engine, climbed from the cab and kicked the front tire. “You couldn’t have held on for another three miles, could you? No-o-o, you had to blow out the rad here, you piece of shit.”

She waited in the inky black night for ten minutes before a vehicle crested the hill, its high beams blinding her until the driver dimmed the lights. She moved to the side as the Jeep zipped past, not even slowing to see if she needed help. A half-dozen cars zoomed by over the next half hour without a single one slowing. She was starting to consider unloading her newest horse and riding him home when a familiar white pick-up slowed then parked in front of her truck.

First a long, booted leg, then the rest of the driver’s body unfolded as he clambered down. Dillon Barnett jammed a dusty black cowboy hat on his head before he ambled over. “Hey, Nik. Need some help?”

“Yeah, my truck's overheated.” Trying to ignore the shivery feeling that had her nipples hardening every time she set eyes on her neighbor, Nikki reached for the hood release.

Dillon caught her wrist and stopped her. “Whoa, don't touch that yet. Let it cool down a while longer, or I’ll be hauling you off to the burn unit.”

Before she could stop herself, she leaned in and filled her lungs with his scent, detecting only a hint of the aftershave he’d used that morning behind a heaping of good honest sweat. Mostly he smelled of machine oil, sawdust and…mesquite? She scrunched up her nose and took another sniff. “You been at a barbecue?”

Dillon chuckled, a dark delicious sound that reminded her of humid summer evenings eating barbecued ribs and drinking cool beer. Of star-filled nights that promised long sessions of hot, sweaty sex.

Where had that come from? Maybe because she hadn’t been with a guy and had hot, sweaty sex in a couple of years?

“We’ve been cuttin’ down some mesquites out back of the old Pritchert place. New owners are plannin’ on putting in a pool and hired me to do the landscaping around it. I figured I might as well get started in there with my machinery.”

When he released her, she took a step back, stopping her sigh before it could escape. Stop with the fantasies, Nik. If Dillon was interested in you, he’d have made some move after Wade moved out. Oh, he was always over checking on her, helping her fix the fences the horses or weather knocked down, but not once had he given her any indication he was interested in her.

No, Dillon just did those things because he’d been raised to be a good neighbor, willing to help the struggling divorcee with the measly forty acres of scrub behind his spread of two hundred and fifty. Still, a girl could fantasize. Oh. My. The fantasies she’d been having about him lately.

But had she imagined the way he’d held her after pulling her against him? Or the way his hand stroked the small of her back? That couldn’t have been accidental. Could it?

Text Copyright © 2010 by Leah Braemel

Cover Art Copyright© 2010 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.  All rights reserved. © and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Erin Nicholas: Just Right

Genre: Contemporary
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Publication Date: 03-30-2010
Length: Novel
ISBN: 978-1-60504-947-2
Buy the book from Samhain's My Bookstore and More

To save one good man, she’ll have to let her inner bad girl out to play…
ER nurse Jessica Bradford is a good girl. Okay, a reformed bad girl, but she’s done her late father proud. Now she’s one step away from landing Dr. Perfect, aka handsome, sexy, heroic Ben Torres—the hot fudge and cherry on top of her hard work scooping out a respectable life.

Ben learned the art of sacrifice from his missionary parents, but when a drunk driver he saved kills three people, he quits. To be precise, the fist he plants in the man’s face gets him suspended. And the first dish he wants on his newly empty plate is Jessica—preferably naked.

Jessica can’t believe the Ben she’s found drowning his sorrows in a bar is her knight in shining scrubs. And he won’t be pried loose until she bets 48 hours of her time in a game of pool. She loses. And the next morning she stands to lose much more.

The Chief of Staff’s recommendation for the promotion she’s been after rides on her ability to keep Ben out of trouble until things blow over.

Except “trouble” is all Ben wants. And despite herself, Jessica finds that she’s more than willing to go down with him…

Product Warnings
Contains hot love in a store dressing room and in the front seat of a car—at the expense of a very nice strawberry patch, unfortunately—oh, and hooker boots. Can’t forget the hooker boots.

Just Right
by Erin Nicholas

Jessica’s nipples were perfect. The entire left breast was damn nice. He was assuming the right matched, but it was still covered with terrycloth.

Even if it didn’t, Ben was currently the happiest man on earth.

The towel she’d wrapped herself in had slipped as she reached overhead for the bottle of mouthwash in his medicine cabinet. Ben was glad he’d put the bottle up high. The more she reached, the lower the towel slid. She was, of course, unaware that the mirror in front of her reflected to the mirror on his dresser, which he could see perfectly from the bed. He’d never noticed it before but was now very thankful for the way he’d arranged the room.

Jessica in his bathroom, in nothing but a towel, warm and still wet from her shower, was a fabulous way to start a day.

She reached up again, retrieving dental floss, and Ben knew exactly what to do.

Jessica was known as a non-dater, a non-flirter, a non-partier. It wasn’t that she wasn’t friendly to the staff and downright magical with the patients, but she didn’t go out. Period. She wasn’t nasty about it or judgmental about those who did. She just always said no thank you.

Well, he was in the mood to do a whole bunch of stuff definitely including flirting and partying, and Jessica was, for some reason, the only person that he wanted to do it with. It didn’t make sense, but he’d had a lifetime of trying to make sense of things and he was tired of it.

If his attraction for Jessica didn’t make sense, it certainly didn’t mean that he couldn’t enjoy it.

He was going to try something new—he was going to just go with it.

Ben pushed himself up out of bed, pausing only long enough to drop his boxer shorts near the clothes hamper.

His major morning erection would impress Jessica, or scare her. Either way, there was no time like the present to start getting to know each other better.

“Good morning.”

Jessica sucked in a quick breath and grabbed the top of her towel. The fact that the top edge of the towel came below her left breast registered in the next second.

She yanked the towel up and spun to face him, her face red.


Her gaze dropped, her cheeks got even redder and she pulled her eyes back to his face. But her eyes dropped to his jutting erection again.

Ben grinned. This was going well.

“I…” Jessica croaked. She stopped to clear her throat, lifted her gaze again and blinked a few times, then turned her eyes up toward the ceiling. “Good morning.”

“You look great in the morning.”

“Um, thank you.” She continued looking up.

“Your neck is going to get a kink in it,” Ben told her, amused.

“You could use a good duster,” she replied conversationally. “There are cobwebs all over that light.”

He glanced up, never having noticed the fixture before, not to mention the cobwebs. “I certainly wouldn’t be offended if you reached up there and tried to brush them away,” Ben said.

She looked at him and frowned, opened her mouth, then glanced down at her towel. He watched as her mind put the pieces together. Reaching up, towel sliding down, breast exposed, him here in front of her…

He wondered if her imagination went as far as his did. Like to him taking her nipple into his mouth, sucking, making her moan.

A certain part of him liked the idea a lot. He grew harder. Not that Jessica noticed. Her eyes were back on the ceiling.

Ben crossed his arms and leaned a shoulder against the glass shower door. He decided to let it go. For now. He had no doubt that he would eventually be very familiar with Jessica’s nipples. “Are you finding everything you need?”

Her eyes remained trained on the light fixture overhead. “Yep. Yes. Um, yes. I’m fine.”

“Don’t need anything at all?”

Without looking where she was going, Jessica began inching toward the door.

“Coffee,” she said. “I definitely need some coffee.”

Ben grinned watching her, and vowed to make Jessica more comfortable being naked around him as soon as possible. Practice made perfect, after all.

“I’m going to shower and I’ll be right out.”

“Gre—” Jessica’s response was cut off when she slammed the door behind her.

Jessica was dressed in record time. There was no coffee pot so she was now she was searching Ben’s cupboards for something, anything, other than Pop-Tarts that would pass for breakfast food. She was trying to keep her pulse at a normal, steady rate too. Which she might have been able to accomplish if she could quit thinking of Ben standing in the bathroom in all his glory.

It wasn’t her fault that all of the food in his kitchen reminded her of him. Naked. Aroused. Largely aroused.

That guy was simply made to be naked. It wasn’t fair to cover all of that up with clothes.

She opened the cupboard near the fridge. It held a jar of peanut butter. Only a jar of peanut butter. Peanut butter that would look good smeared all over Ben…for her to lick off.

Jessica groaned, slammed the cupboard shut and yanked open the drawer by the fridge.

The Twinkies were penis-shaped. She stared down at the three individually wrapped cakes. Okay, they weren’t exactly penis shaped. But in her imagination, at the moment anyway, it didn’t take much.


For more information about Erin and her books, visit:  www.ErinNicholas.com, http://ninenaughtynovelists.blogspot.com/, or http://samhainpublishing.com/authors/erin-nicholas

Return to Leah's blog

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lisa Pietsch: Freedom's Promise

Excerpt from Lisa Pietsch's Freedom's Promise, Book #3 in the Task Force 125 series from Sapphire Blue Publishing.

When one of their own is taken hostage and the Agency turns its back, the members of American Swift must take matters into their own hands.

This time they’re off the clock and on their own.

Freedom's Promise


Jason turned to face her.  "Yeah?"

"Are we going to be able to do this?"

His eyes wrinkled with the laughter he was probably holding in.  "Any monkey, even an Air Force cop like you, can mount an M-60 to a chopper, Sarah."

Sarah found no humor in the joke today.  Her shoulders sunk and she shook her head.  "That's not what I'm talking about."

His voice dropped a little deeper when he spoke.  "I know, Sarah."  He grabbed her shoulders and looked her in the eyes.  "Never, ever allow room for doubt in your head, your heart or your gut.  We've got the best equipment and people in the business right here on this little sandbar.  Always remember, who dares wins."

"Where have I heard that before?"

"Okay, so it wasn't original but it is appropriate.  It's the British SAS motto and its every bit the truth.  Have you ever heard of the SAS failing at anything?"

Sarah gulped back the frog growing in her throat.  "No."

"Exactly."  Jason shook her shoulders.  "We're the heroes, Sarah.  Don't forget it.  We're going to save Vince, kill the bad guys and then we'll all live happily ever after."

"How can you be so sure?"

Jason placed his hands on either side of Sarah's head and pulled her close until their foreheads touched and their eyes were just inches apart.  "Because the alternative is unacceptable and because we have this."  He walked over to the covered helicopter and pulled the tarp away from the nose.”