Wednesday, March 23, 2016

One, Two, Three, Even More!

I’m utterly fascinated by ménage stories. My tastes run the gamut. Put together three or more people and have them navigate sexual and societal pressures, and you’ll have me riveted. I don’t have a particular preference for an established couple bringing someone new in, or three people new to a relationship together forging their way. I’ll read it all!

Unconventional relationships have become more mainstream in the last decade. Big Love and Sister Wives let us have a glimpse into polygamy, both fictional and real life. BDSM has come into huge mainstream appeal with the Fifty Shades books. Romance authors have been throwing open the bedroom door in their books. Publishers big and small have taken chances on books featuring ménages and have found readers clamoring for more.

So, what is it about ménages that appeals so much? Is it the idea that three people are willing to share their love? Is it that if two are good together, three would be even better?

One thing I’m particularly fascinated about is the social aspects of a ménage, especially how families react to the news that their relative has found love with not one, but multiple, people. Does the titillation factor impact acceptance? Do the family members worry about their loved one’s standing in the community, or professional life?

I’m just about to finish my summer story for the Naughty Literati, and in it, I feature a ménage that is as unconventional as it gets. I find myself having great fun examining what will happen in this grouping’s future. There’s a child involved, which always complicates things. But oh, how I love these sorts of complications!

What are some of your favorite ménage titles? Do you have a specific grouping that is most to your taste?

Look for Kismet in Naughty Heatwave, releasing this summer!

Friday, March 18, 2016

It's Never Been a Better Time to Read the Naughty Literati! by Suz deMello (@goodreads #free #amazon #romance #boxset)

Why, you ask?

Because in March, 2016, the NL have embarked upon an orgy of giving--each and every one of our anthologies will be offered for free this month. 

And although most of the month has passed, here are three great deals for you:

RIGHT NOW (right now!!!) Naughty Reunions is FREE!

These nine naughty little stories celebrating reunion romances were very kindly reviewed--readers said stuff like:

By Dana Busenbark on September 29, 2015

By Elaine Lara on October 21, 2015

on November 7, 2015

And lucky for you, the freebies don't stop there. On March 21, 
Naughty Chances will be free for five days or so.

Here's where you can score a copy:

Seven of us put stories in this one, and here's what 
readers  thought:

on January 10, 2016

And lastly: Naughty List, our first and best-selling anthology, will be FREE 
on  March 26! Now, we don't need to offer this box set for free--it's always
 sold well and consistently. But hey, we're nice people, so our fabulous set 
of thirteen naughty holiday tales will also be FREE. Find it here: 


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Naugthy Lovers Contest Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered our contest celebrating the release of our latest boxed-set, Naughty Lovers: Love Is In The Air. The contest was a smashing success with more than 3,600 entries. Our winner was chosen at random by the contest widget.

And the winner is...
Melissa J from Gurnee, IL. Congratulations, Melissa! You'll be receiving an email from us shortly. We hope you enjoy the Kindle full of great books!

Happy Reading,
The Naughty Literati

Monday, March 14, 2016

Words of Doom: "Let's Just be Friends" by Marianne Stephens

 "Let's just be friends."

Good Lord. Those four words can send you into a tailspin, crushing your world and causing you to crash land while your heart breaks. It signifies the other person doesn't feel the same "need, want, desire" for you as you do for him or her.

Relationships are so stressing, especially if one person is more committed to it than the other. If one seeks "more" than the other is willing to give, the "just friends" words will end whatever hope for a future the dreamer has.

Sometimes romance books have the hero and heroine begin as friends...and sometimes they're not exactly enemies but end up on opposite sides of arguments. The ones that are friends, seem to fight the attraction pulling them closer together, as if they need to avoid that giant step to a more committed relationship.

When I met my then 24-year-old husband-to-be, he had a 6-year plan of what he would do, where he would be, and told me he wouldn't get married until he was 30. I said, "Fine." I figured we'd date...but I'd already made up my mind he was "the one" for me.

Being "just friends" didn't work out as he'd planned. Five months later, we got married and will celebrate our 40th anniversary this year.

When it's meant to happen, the hero and heroine are fated to fall in love. They can still "be friends", but on a much more interesting and sexy level!
Photos: Flickr: Tiago Riberio, Juliana Continho, and bobafred's photostreams.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Excerpt From THE WYNDRAIDER'S CONQUEST by Charlotte Boyett-Compo

Part of the NAUGHTY LOVERS boxed-set, available now. here to purchase e-book from Amazon

Prime Reaper Xandon Cree must pick the next test pilot to fly a super-secret war craft. Picking a female for the job is not what he had in mind.

Paranormal, Speculative Fiction, shapeshifter, were-vamp, Reaper, woman warrior

Copyright ©Charlotte Boyett-Compo, 2016


“The new Fiach comes off the line today.”

Cree looked back around. “What did you name this one?” Not that he cared, but each time a new model was released, he was given one for his personal use. It was the only perk of the job he liked.


“The ultimate, eh?” Cree translated.

“This one has everything the Burgon suggested we incorporate in the top-of-the-line models reserved primarily for WindWarriors. They won’t be sold to the general population.”

“Sleek war machines.”

“Precisely,” Degendesch agreed. “Runabouts with the capacity for stealth bombing and strafing if needed.”

“Black hulls?”

The colonel shook his head. “We’re calling the new color midnight wine. The deepest, darkest burgundy and—in accordance with the Burgon’s orders—it is made from a material that does not generate heat signatures, nor will there be any markings to identify the craft.”

Cree frowned. “No Reaper insignia?”

“No markings mean no markings. Don’t worry. You’ll get the second craft to roll off the assembly line. King Gabriel Leveche will get the honors of the first production.”

Nodding, Cree pulled the chair from his desk and was about to take a seat when the vid-com on the wall opposite blinked on.

“Commander Cree?”

Gods, how he hated the old woman’s husky voice. “Aye, Helga?”

“The Fleet Academy transport carrying the new candidates for test pilot will be arriving in precisely three minutes and twenty-two seconds.”

Pursing his lips, Cree thanked her then pushed his chair back under the desk. He swiped his vid-pad from the desktop and used his middle finger to scan to the file which contained the names of the candidates. “I guess that’s my cue to do the meet and greet.”

“Be gentle with them, Reaper,” Degendesch said. “One of them comes from a very famous family.”

Cree glanced down at the list of names on the vid-pad. He didn’t recognize any of them.

“Incognito. Not even I was given the candidate’s real name.” Degendesch lowered his voice. “Hush-hush, need-to-know only I was told.”

“Great,” Cree grumbled. Not that he would have treated the son of a wealthy asshole any different that he would have treated any other candidate. He headed for the door.

“Remember, Cree,” Degendesch said. “On your very best behavior.”

“Aye,” came out from between clenched teeth.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Excerpt From BLAST FROM THE PAST by Katherine Kingston

Part of the NAUGHTY LOVERS boxed-set, available now. here to purchase e-book from Amazon

Lynn’s past relationship with Ryan wasn’t healthy, but when she meets him again after a long separation the old flames reignite. Can they have a more mature relationship now?

Contemporary BDSM, reunited lovers

Copyright ©Katherine Kingston, 2016


Lynn’s feet hurt and her back ached, but she still had two hours left on her eight-hour shift. She longed to go home and soak in the tub, but they had a substantial crowd that night and she needed every penny she could make. A big business conference in the hotel meant lots of expense account dinners and good tips.

Marion, the hostess, had just seated a group of two women and four men at table twenty-four. Despite her exhaustion, Lynn pasted on a smile and pushed down her discomfort as she approached them. A cheerful smile and perky attitude always improved the tips, though a group this size tripped the automatic gratuity. “Hi, I’m Lynn, and I’ll be your server this evening.” It came out okay, but she caught hints of tiredness in her words. “What can I get you to drink?” She pulled the pad from her pocket as she glanced around the table.

She took a minute to recognize the man in the middle chair on the left, but she almost gasped and dropped the pad when she did. She caught the reaction just in time. He couldn’t be the same man. And if he were, surely he wouldn’t recognize her. She’d cut her hair into a short bob and let it revert to its natural dirty blond color. Besides, no one she’d ever known would expect to see her in these circumstances.

“Can we see the wine list?” one of the men asked.

She nodded absently, because the man she couldn’t believe was there was staring at her. His expression suggested he knew but couldn’t quite believe what he was seeing.

She drew a deep breath and handed the wine list to the man in the corner.

 “I’ll have a water, please.” That was the older of the two women.

“Water for everyone?”

A couple of them nodded.

“I’ll give you a minute to look over the menus while I get the waters.”

She turned away and breathed a quick sigh. How could this have happened? What were the odds that Ryan Harper would ever walk into the place she worked in Baltimore? A man who lived hundreds of miles away. Dear heaven. Fate hadn’t been hard enough on her already?

Would he believe it was her? Ten years ago, they’d known each other very well, had even talked about getting married, until her parents had driven him away. She hadn’t seen him since the day she’d refused to elope with him, though she’d spent many sleepless nights wondering how her life might have turned out if she had.

All that was irrelevant now. She collected the pitcher of water and, steeling herself not to react to his presence, went back and filled each glass. Her hand didn’t shake at all. It helped not to look directly at him. “Are you ready to order?” she asked the table.

The man at the far side tapped the wine list, forcing her to circle the table and lean over between him and Ryan. “Can we get a bottle of this?”

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Excerpt From SAPPHO'S SISTERS by Berengaria Brown

Part of the NAUGHTY LOVERS boxed-set, available now. here to purchase e-book from Amazon

Lady Eustacia Lumley, the only child of the Earl of Wentworth, must marry well and ensure the succession. Only problem is she’s falling in love with another woman.

Regency romance, Lesbian romance, forbidden romance

Copyright ©Berengaria Brown, 2016


That evening, the women settled into a comfortable sofa in front of the fire in the yellow sitting room at Green Meadows with their embroidery.

“It’s good to be home again,” said Eustacia. “I like the hustle and bustle of Town, and shopping and parties are always fun, but I prefer to come home and sleep in my own bed.”

“Thank you once again for inviting me to stay with you for three months. Poor Papa is at his wits’ end wondering what to do about us all. Now that I’ve turned eighteen, he’s suddenly realized that Anne is very nearly twenty-two and time is running out to find her a good husband.”

“Four children in four years. Ugh. That’s one aspect of marriage I have never accepted—a baby every year.”

“No. I find that concept unappealing too. In fact, I find most men unappealing—selfish, arrogant, and quite often, silly. So many of the notables I danced with at Almack’s could not think past their clothes and their horses. They all either owned, or would inherit, property. Shouldn’t they be thinking about their lands and the needs of their tenants? Papa is always concerned about the lives of his parishioners.”

“Maybe they thought they shouldn’t talk about such things with a young woman.”

“Possibly.” Margaret did not sound convinced.

“Do you not want a husband and children of your own?”

“What I want is irrelevant. Papa can’t keep supporting us all, and what else is there for a woman who’s noble-born but impoverished? I’ve thought seriously about becoming a teacher or governess, but families wanting a governess usually also have sons, so they won’t hire a young woman like me. I could be a companion to an old lady. I can sing, and draw, and sew, as well as speak passable French. But I suspect agreeable old ladies wanting a companion are few and far between, and I’m much more likely to end up with a most disagreeable old lady.”

They both laughed, and then turned the conversation to happier topics.

Much later that evening, Eustacia noticed Margaret screwing up her eyes and frowning. “What’s wrong, Margaret?”

“I have the headache. I seem to get it more and more often these evenings. I don’t understand why. The light here is good for sewing, much better than at home. Good wax candles are so much more expensive than tallow,” she said and sighed.

“It’s almost time to go up to our chambers anyway. Would you like me to come and massage your head? My nurse used to massage mine and it really helps.”

“Yes, thank you. That would be nice.”

They put away their embroidery and walked companionably up the stairs together. Eustacia’s maid was waiting for her and soon Eustacia was in her night rail and robe, her hair brushed out. She dismissed the maid before walking down the hall to Margaret’s room. Margaret, who had no maid, was just tying her robe.

“Sit at your dressing table and let me undo your hair,” Eustacia said.

Slowly, she pulled out the pins and untwisted the braid. Margaret’s long, shiny brown hair rippled across her shoulders and down her back. Eustacia picked up Margaret’s hairbrush and drew it through the thick, wavy hair, pulling carefully and steadily from root to end in smooth sweeps.

“That does feel good. I can remember when my nanny used to brush my hair. I always enjoyed it.”

“I want you to enjoy this, too,” Eustacia whispered, letting her hot breath tickle Margaret’s left ear as she kept up the smooth strokes with the hairbrush. From front to back, from root to tip, Eustacia drew the brush through the hair in firm but gently soothing sweeps.

Margaret’s eyes closed and her shoulders relaxed some of their tension.

Eustacia noticed this, nodded to herself, and put down the brush, replacing it with her fingers as she pressed against Margaret’s scalp and began her massaging. First she rubbed in deep circles, beginning at the left ear and working her way across Margaret’s head to the right ear. Then she moved to the front of Margaret’s head, massaging deeply, pressing her fingers firmly against Margaret’s scalp, kneading from front to back this time.

By the time she’d finished, she could tell Margaret was much more relaxed, her shoulders no longer tense, her brow no longer furrowed.

Eustacia bent and pressed her lips to Margaret’s still-exposed neck, kissing it with soft, light, butterfly kisses from left to right across her neck, ending at her right ear, which she gently sucked into her mouth and nibbled on. Eustacia blew into that ear, then began to kiss her way across to the other side and repeated her caress on the other ear.

“Mmm, feels so good.”

Eustacia let her hands rest on Margaret’s shoulders, rubbing them softly, then more firmly, soothing and stroking down to the elbows, and then back up again.

Margaret’s eyes were closed, her breath coming more harshly, her body totally relaxed in Eustacia’s hands.

Eustacia rested her palms on Margaret’s sides, and when Margaret made no move to complain, she ran them up to cup the younger woman’s breasts. Margaret’s nipples were hard little points under the soft velvet of her robe. Eustacia pushed the robe apart so she could touch Margaret’s breasts through the thin linen of her night rail. The breasts were full and round, her nipples now engorged, and just touching them made cream seep from Eustacia’s cunny.

“Take off your night rail. Let me see you naked.”

“You first.”

Monday, March 7, 2016

Excerpt From SWING FOLLIES by Regina Kammer

Part of the NAUGHTY LOVERS boxed-set, available now. here to purchase e-book from Amazon

Blimey. Delia’s besotted. With Edward. But when an old flame from Edward’s revolutionary past swings by and steams up the laboratory, has Delia missed her chance at love?

Steampunk, M/F/M, M/M, bisexual romance, gay romance, interracial romance, polyamory

Copyright ©Regina Kammer, 2016


Newcastle, England
April 1879

Professor Edward Ockham gripped the ratchet handle more tightly as a frisson of lust roiled within. Before him his lovely assistant Delia Bennett awkwardly adjusted herself in a swing suspended four feet above the linoleum, her skirt and petticoats in riotous disarray. She was charming in her helplessness. Her arms, secured by leather wrist cuffs, stretched above her head. Her stocking-clad legs, extended and splayed, were held in the air by silken slings supporting each ankle and knee. Her rosy cheeks and bemused expression were slightly at odds with the bizarre eroticism of her predicament.


The sound of her name tripping off his tongue echoed like a melody in the cavernous laboratory, the gentle hiss and thrum of the boiler adding a syncopated undertone.

Delia. No longer the more formal Miss Bennett during working hours. She was, by agreement, Delia.

He could say her name over and over and over again. Delia, Delia, Delia.

Her chocolatey eyes widened. “Yes, Profess—Edward?”

Edward. She was Delia and he was Edward.

“Are you comfortable?”

She wriggled her buttocks, each pillowy cheek cradled in its own sling leaving her quim exposed to the air. “Perhaps something across my bum, you know, a bolster above the crack—” She suddenly blushed crimson to the roots of her raven curls.

The door to the laboratory swung open with a dramatic flair.

“Well, well, well. What have we here?” Sebastian Broadchurch sauntered in from the hall, a little rumpled from whom and whatever he had done the night before. He stopped before Delia, his predatory stare traversing her as he combed his fingers through his flaxen hair. “Our Miss Bennett finds herself in yet another delicious quandary.”

“Good morning, Sebastian.” Edward arched a brow. Morning had but a minute left to it.

Sebastian brandished a scowl before turning his attention to the rigging holding Delia. He pursed his lips as he studied the mechanism. His gaze followed the silken slings upward to where they attached to a swivel bolt mounted to a cable. He perused the cable to where it connected to a system of belts and pulleys housed on a sturdy wooden frame. He glanced at the diminutive steam engine then grunted in comprehension as he took in the exposed gear shaft and long ball-end lever of the control box.

“It spins, does it?” he said.

“It does,” replied Edward.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Excerpt From CINDERELLA SCANDAL by Nicole Austin

Part of the NAUGHTY LOVERS boxed-set, available now. here to purchase e-book from Amazon

It was a onetime indulgence—a random encounter between strangers. A good girl’s dirty little secret with her bad boy stepbrother. Anything else is forbidden. Or is it?

Stepbrother Romance, New Adult, new lovers, secret lovers, scandalous romance, forbidden romance

Copyright ©Nicole Austin, 2016


Chapter One


I pushed hard, grunting as I used all my strength to cram my overstuffed bag into the bin, but it stubbornly refused to succumb to my will. Glancing toward the front of the plane, I saw the scowling flight attendant headed my way.

“Dammit, get in there.” No way was I paying to check my stuff so the airline could lose it. We all know how that goes. So not happening.

A warm body moved in behind me and two large, tanned hands appeared next to mine on the red fabric. Soft lips brushed my ear, deep whiskey-rough voice instructing, “Harder, sweetness.”

Fuck me. The guy bracketing my body from behind smelled like hot wild sexa combination of spicy cologne and musky male. I hissed in a breath through my teeth when his hard angles met my soft curves, his pelvis fitting perfectly against my ass as he slammed forward and we crammed my bag into the small space. My entire body heated and melted into him, making it difficult to move away.

I sighed heavily as I forced my feet into motion and ducked into the row, claiming the window seat. Turning toward the aisle, I flashed a grateful smile at my hero, intending to utter a quick thank you. The words died on my lips as my eyes landed on the most gorgeous bad boy ever.

Instant girl boner.

Tall, dark and muscular with an unmistakable edge of danger. The exact kind of guy my mom warned me to steer clear of, which of course made him unbelievably attractive. He oozed sex appeal from his just-fucked artfully mussed black hair to smoldering blue-gray eyes and the cocky grin on those sensual lips. Then there was his body—lean and muscular, powerful and athletic, pussy clenching hotness. Sinful as fuck.

A Nine Inch Nails concert shirt molded to his sculpted torso, covered by an open button-down that matched his eyes, cuffs rolled up to bare his forearms, just a hint of ink peeking out beneath the material. The faded straight-leg jeans he wore weren’t too tight or too loose, fitting him just right.
“Sir,” the flight attendant called out and he turned to face her, giving me a great view of his fine ass lovingly encased in soft denim.

The older woman licked her lips and blatantly let her gaze wander over him. She placed a hand on his biceps, fingers stroking, feeling him up right there in the aisle as boarding passengers scooted around them.

“Is there anything you need?” she purred.

Strong emphasis on anything. Damn, she looked thirsty. Her tone and flirtatious demeanor made it clear she’d fuck him in a heartbeat. I’m sure the majority of the women on the plane would.

Bad Boy’s gaze took a long stroll over her plastic body by Mattel before he leaned in close and whispered something that had the woman all but drooling on him. She let that wandering hand stray to his pecs and gave him a saucy wink before reluctantly turning to assist an elderly woman.

Irritated and irrationally jealous, I called out, “Bye, Felicia.”

Bad Boy flashed a smirk my way and shrugged, his self-assured, arrogant attitude silently declaring, They all want me; what’s a hot guy to do?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Excerpt From BASTARD'S BONUS by Terry Rissen

Part of the NAUGHTY LOVERS boxed-set, available now. here to purchase e-book from Amazon

There is no love lost between the Glass Spinners' Guild and the Tavern Keepers' Guild. For Ian and Zane, it means they can never be together, or risk losing everything.

Fantasy, M/M, magic, guild

Copyright ©Terry Rissen, 2016


Arcs of molten glass steamed in the damp morning air as Master Glass Spinner Ian Etheridge directed them from the crucible into the new mold. He preferred working freeform, but a commission was a commission, even if it was tedious. Master Tavern Keeper Zane Tandy wanted a gross of goblets for his restaurant and was willing to pay for the prestige of having a master glass spinner make them. They would have been a fraction of the price had he simply gone to the Guild and ordered them there. Any halfway competent senior apprentice could make flawless goblets, but Tandy was adamant. He wanted a Master’s mark on the stems. No, he wanted Ian’s mark on the stems…and no apprentice was to touch them.

And Ian welcomed any commission from Tandy. From Zane. It was one of the few socially acceptable ways they could interact. While there was no official barrier between them being friends, Ian couldn’t be just friends with the man he loved. Zane had said much the same to him in their youth. But as neither of them were from wealthy families, membership in their respective Guilds was more important than who they loved. In public they argued and seemed to barely tolerate each other. It was, in its way, a courtship of sorts, but not one anyone else would recognize.

So Ian had charged him five times the going rate. Who would ever think he was in love with, or even liked Zane if he gouged him at every turn? He’d registered his master’s mark as a work of art in and of itself, and no matter how much they hated it, the Board hadn’t been able to find a reason to overrule him. That let him set his own bastard’s bonus without the Guild getting their fingers into his coffers. Ian would still give a generous portion to the Guild, specifically to the Apprentice Hall. Not even Leo, the most obstreperous of the Guild Elders, could do anything if he was always generous to the Guild, despite distributing his largess on his own terms.

Leo had never let anyone forget he himself had been presented to the Wizards’ Guild as a youngster. He postured and preened, focusing on the invitation rather than the fact that he’d failed in his first year and been sent home.

Ian, too, had been presented, but he’d always wanted to be a glass spinner, so at the tender age of nine, he’d declined the Wizards’ Guild’s offer. He’d dreamed of working the red hot streams for as long as he could remember, and the day he’d been accepted as a Guild apprentice had been the happiest day of his life—until he got his Master’s mark and opened his own shop. His mother had been so proud. She’d also been relieved since he wouldn’t be spinning her goblets into bird’s nests or spider webs or any of the other fanciful, beautiful, yet useless shapes his heart desired.

Ian checked the cooling spells on the mold. This was apprentice-level work, but Tandy was paying and even though it irritated him, Ian couldn’t deny the value of staying in touch with the basics of his craft. It didn’t hurt to have his own apprentices see him doing even simple tasks. Nothing that came out of his shop could be less than perfect. Once apprentices got over the shock of seeing a master doing menial tasks, creating work-a-day objects with the same attention to detail he applied to one-of-a-kind pieces, they started down the path of true mastery of the craft.

He sealed the shelf holding the mold and moved to yesterday’s pouring. Ian began releasing the spells that held the glass in the mold, and then one by one, he began to remove the dozen delicate looking goblets and set them on the work bench.

He’d set the fifth one down when the musical chime on the door sounded, and then Malik, his newest apprentice, spoke. He couldn’t tell what was said, but he didn’t need to.

Zane Tandy had arrived and despite Ian’s iron control while he worked, his breath caught for a moment and butterflies took up residence in his stomach.

Every morning when he unmolded the new goblets from the day before, Tandy showed up before he finished. He said he wanted to see them as soon as he could, then he’d watch the apprentices pack them—his only concession to Ian. Once packed, he’d pay Ian for that portion of the commission, nod stiffly, and leave, Tandy’s apprentice in tow with the box of goblets.

Today he would pick up the fifth pouring. Ian paused, the goblet in his hand glittering in the sunlight streaming through the workroom windows. Yesterday was the unmolding of the fourth pouring, and Tandy had arrived as he’d removed the fourth goblet. He wondered if Tandy had a spy in his shop, tipping him off about when Ian started the unmolding. Ian smiled as he set the fifth goblet next to its fellows.

“Bright Morn, Master Spinner.” Tandy entered the workroom with the same gravity and grace that he always did. Ian continued his work, carefully releasing the sixth goblet from its mold and setting the surety spell to keep it from breaking for years to come. While he didn’t mind charging a bastard’s bonus when he deemed it warranted, he did feel he might have overdone it in this case. The least he could do was give Tandy his money’s worth. It cost him nothing, especially since he had no desire to accept or refuse another such menial commission. Once was enough.

“Bright Morn, to you, Master Tandy,” Ian replied. He focused on his work. Release the spell, raise the goblet, inspect it visually and magically, set it with the others if it was flawless. Ian hadn’t produced a flawed goblet in years. Teaching aside, he should be more annoyed by this odd commission than he was. He knew why he wasn’t, but he didn’t want to deal with the reason.

Zane Tandy was out of reach and always would be. The Guild would have his hide if he courted a Master of Tandy’s Guild.

And that was the short and long of it. On the surface, he and Tandy had a somewhat adversarial relationship. Tandy would commission all sorts of things from Ian, and insist Ian produce them all by himself. Ian, for his part, would dine at Tandy’s restaurant, insisting that Tandy prepare all the dishes and deliver them to Ian’s table. Ian would be both grudgingly impressed and mildly offensive in his praise. Tandy would graciously accept it and blame inferior workmanship in the kitchen and tableware for any perceived deficiencies. All of which had been made by Ian.

It was not by accident that Tandy had named his establishment The Glass House.

But always they kept each other at arm’s reach. Ian was “Master Spinner” in his shop, “Master Etheridge” in Zane’s restaurant. Only in the privacy of his own mind could Ian use Zane’s given name. In public he had to be “Master Tandy” or “Tavern Master” in his own place.

“Does the pouring meet with your approval, Master Tandy?” Ian carefully kept his eyes on his own work and his mind out of the rabbit hole of regret.

“It appears adequate thus far, Master Spinner,” Tandy replied. Ian glanced over his shoulder to see Tandy holding up one goblet to the light. Rainbows danced around the room as he turned the glass. “Quite adequate, Master Spinner.” He set the goblet down, releasing it with a gentle stroke over Ian’s mark. Tandy met Ian’s eyes for a brief, heated moment, then his usual taciturn manner reasserted itself and he stood tall and self-contained, his hands clasped behind his back.

“If you would care to sit, I could have a chair brought to you,” Ian set the eighth goblet on the workbench as he spoke.

“Do you think me so feeble I cannot stand for a time?” Tandy sounded mildly amused.

“I think you a guest in my workroom,” Ian said, “an unannounced guest, but a guest nonetheless.” Ian fell into their typical mild sniping with practiced ease.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Excerpt From RENAISSANCE by Alexa Silver

Part of the NAUGHTY LOVERS boxed-set, available now. here to purchase e-book from Amazon

Kira meets Sage, one of the guys from her favorite band, at a "rock workshop". Can she trust this handsome rockstar or is he after more than her talent?

Contemporary, rock star, friends to lovers

Copyright ©Alexa Silver, 2016

“How to be a rock star. They make it sound so easy.” Kira McGrath looked at the poster and tried not to fidget. The Fantasy Rock World camp had been a dream of hers for ages, and now that the pre-camp registration day was here, she was a nervous wreck. Hotel check in had been fine, but she was at the end of a long line of music fans now and she was having serious second thoughts. She could go home, sure, but that would be admitting defeat and Kira was not about to fail.

“Oh my God,” the woman in front of her said. “I cannot believe Joe Clinton will be here. He’s like, the best.” She grabbed Kira’s arm, her purple fingernails digging into Kira’s black leather scuba jacket. “Isn’t he the best?”

“I guess,” Kira said, shrugging. She wasn’t a fan of Joe, who was the latest and greatest heavy metal shredder. She was more old school. Give her Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

“I’m Brenda,” the woman continued, releasing Kira’s arm. “I’m a guitarist. You?”

“Kira.” She extended her hand, shaking Brenda’s. “I’m here for the songwriting track.”

“Oh yeah.” Brenda’s eyes drifted back to the poster, where Novell Vinge’s name was blacked out and a TBD had been hastily added in red marker. “I wonder who is replacing Novell. That sucks; he’s a great songwriter.”

“Yeah.” Kira had been excited at the idea of doing a week of workshops with the fifty-something music legend, who’d written more than two dozen top ten hits. But Novell had broken his arm badly and rumor had it he was in surgery. Nobody knew yet who would be replacing him, though names of potential counselors abounded. Paul McCartney and Elton John would be incredible, but that so wasn’t going to happen. Personally, Kira was hoping for someone from one of her favorite bands, but that was impossible. Nocturnal Lions were in Europe, Enigma was in Asia, and Synergy was recording in New York.

“Do you play?” Brenda asked, motioning to her guitar case. Kira couldn’t fathom why Brenda and many others in line brought their music cases to registration. They’d just sign in here, not play. Not yet, though there was a rumor that there would be an open jam session tonight.

“A little,” Kira allowed. “Guitar and keys. And I sing some too.”

“Ohh!” Brenda’s expression turned calculating. “We should try to play together. Do you play much?”

Kira shrugged. Though she’d been expecting this, she hadn’t worked out what her response would be. “Yeah, my band works steadily.”

“You a local?” the guy in front of Brenda, with spiky blond hair and more facial hardware than the average home improvement store, asked. “You look familiar.”

Uh oh.

“I’m local,” Kira said, trying to look nonchalant. “My band plays in the area.”

“What’s your— The Cats! The Cats by Day!” the guy exclaimed and Kira’s face went hot. Shit. She didn’t need this at all, much less as she started at the camp. The guy turned to Brenda. “They’re a tribute band. They do a lot of Nocturnal Lions stuff. Check them out on You Tube.” The guy’s eyes narrowed and Kira knew she was being measured.

“What?” she asked, trying to stay calm and keep her irritation out of her voice.

“Why are you taking a spot from one of us?” he asked, sounding every bit like a petulant child.

Kira had to work hard not to roll her eyes at that. She’d learned, the hard way, that a lot of men in the music industry didn’t grow up, and she was sick and tired of the posturing that belonged on a middle-school playground. “I’m doing the songwriting program, not the performance. And I didn’t take a spot from anyone. We all applied, paid our fees, and are here.”

“Songwriting?” the guy asked just as Brenda’s phone blared out Done, the biggest Nocturnal Lions’ hit, with Kira singing, fronting her tribute band. “You guys do everyone else’s songs. What do you need with songwriting?” the guy asked.

Brenda gasped. “Don’t be an asshole.” Dismissing him, she turned her attention to Kira. “You’re good. Ignore him, he’s just being an insecure jerk. Let’s talk later.” She squeezed Kira’s arm, her expression open and welcoming.

“Sounds good,” Kira murmured, wondering if she should get out of line, pack her bags, and request a refund. Maybe she really didn’t belong here.