Sunday, July 23, 2017

Finding a Message in Your Books by @KathyKulig

As an author, do you write a message or have a specific theme in your books? As a reader do you look for messages, possibly hidden ones, within the books you read? And if you do discover a message, what ones are your favorite?

All these ideas came to mind after reading a blog post where an author asked: Do you have messages in your books? If so, how do your readers respond?

I think authors tend to write a similar theme in most every book they write, even if they write in different genres.

Here are a few themes:

  • without trust, true love won’t survive
  • good triumphs over evil
  • money can’t buy happiness
  • home is where the heart is
  • let go of the past to grow and move forward
  • money can’t buy love
  • the strength of family can overcome hardship
  • don’t be afraid to reach for your dreams
  • there’s no place like home
  • let go of fear and take a chance of love
  • with courage love finds a way


After writing several books, I realized that last one (with courage love finds a way) seems to be my message in my books. Most of mine have the hero and heroine struggling, sometimes for the lives, over an outside person or situation. This is common in many romance novels, and I think it’s what draws readers to this genre.

In my stories, there’s an element of danger or devastating disappointment if the hero or heroine doesn’t succeed through the obstacle. My books may touch on some of these other themes too, but courage appears to be the strongest element, besides the romantic element, that resonates with me. That’s why I like to write adventure-type stories.

So what types of themes do you like to read? Or do you like to write?
Another side thought that came to mind while reading that author's blog post was a question a young couple asked of me while I was on vacation recently. Dh and I were in Punta Cana and chatting with a nice young couple who had just got married. They were on their honeymoon!

We told them we had gotten married in the islands too(St. Lucia), but that was almost 16 years ago, and we were very happy. The groom asked me what our secret was to a happy marriage. What a great question for a young married couple to ask us older folks.


I said, have a good sense of humor even during tough times, do fun things together, and don’t sweat the little sh*t. They seemed to like that. Do you have any marriage advice for this young couple???



HIS LOST MATE, a sexy paranormal romance, is an example of 'with courage love will find a way' theme.

Googleplay: http://bit.ly/21bvxOZ

BLURB: While on an excavation in the jungle, archaeology student Lauren Halpern uncovers an ancient mystery far beyond the average artifacts. Ancient evil, tragic love and danger surround her and the project leader Deven Chandler. Lauren senses the supernatural connection between them holds the key to the dark secrets and explains the heated passion they're trying to resist. But Deven, the scientist that he is, simply won't believe her esoteric beliefs or warnings.

Once they tumble into a sizzling affair the real trouble begins. From the ancient ruins, a ghost of a Mayan shaman lures them deeper to into the jungle where lies the deadliest evil of all. When danger arrives, can Deven learn to trust her and risk everything to save her?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Power of Music

I graduated from high school in 1974. (You do the math.) Throughout school, I listened to The Beatles, The Monkees, Paul Revere and The Raiders, Bread, Bobby Sherman. (I had such a crush on Bobby Sherman!) Yep, I was a pop music junkie. While most of my friends had their radios tuned to country music (it was Texas, after all), I bebopped around my bedroom to The Partridge Family.

I've always loved music. Any job became easier if I could listen to my favorite songs. When I started writing, music naturally went along with it. The type of music depends on what I'm writing. Sometimes I want to bebop along with those great '70s tunes. Sometimes a movie soundtrack will put me in the exact mood I need. Classical, rock, pop, soft instrumental. It all depends on the scene and the characters.

Imagine a funky bubblegum song playing instead of the "da dum da dum" you expect when Jaws is in the water. Doesn't work at all, does it? It's the same with writing. The music has to be right or the mood is broken.

I write erotic romance. I have to concentrate when I write a love scene for I want it to be right. I want the reader to *feel* everything my characters feel...every sigh, every kiss, every whisk of fingertips over bare skin. Listening to songs with lyrics distracts me during those crucial scenes, so I turn to New Age instrumentals. The strings, harps, and flutes all go along with the sexy mood I'm trying to convey.

Does music play an important part in your life? Tell me about it.

Lynn

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Get A Review Copy of Naughty Getaways

Last chance to sign up for the NAUGHTY GETAWAYS review tour! Eleven Sultry romance Stories by The Naughty Literati, perfect for your summer reading pleasure.


Including Contemporary, Fantasy, Historical, Magic, New Adult, Older Woman/Younger Man, Paranormal, Rubenesque, Sci-Fi, Stepbrother Romance & Threesome 

Terracotta Warriors ~ Berengaria Brown
Branden loves Sloan but he’s bisexual and craves a woman too. Will adding Naomi to the mix be a disaster or the solution they all need? *This is an enlarged and re-edited version of a formerly published story.

Dirty Diana ~ Francesca Hawley 
It’s Amateur Night at Gunnar Thorson’s strip club and Diana Rav intends to rock his world. She’s lush and sensual with generous curves she’s not afraid to move. Not anymore. She’s learned to love her body and is out to win Gunnar back with a sexy lap dance. 

An Unexpected Discovery ~ Regina Kammer 
A Parthian princess searching for the lost throne of her kingdom engages the services of a palace eunuch and discovers a treasure far more precious. 

Sinfully Hot ~ Tina Donahue 
A hotter-than-sin reaper. A badass demon. Hell doesn’t get steamier than this. 

Ice Queen ~ Nicole Austin 
In school, he was the bad boy this good girl couldn’t have. At work, he’s the boss, I’m his intern. Oh, and his dad just married my mom. It’s so wrong. We shouldn’t be doing this, but I love it. 

Peter’s Story ~ Suz deMello 
Peter Fortune, Earl Darlingside, awakened beside a corpse. Accused of homicide, he must change his dissolute ways or face life in prison. Barrister Roxanne Fox, called Foxy Roxy, is charged with his defense. Will desire derail Peter’s case? 

NY TIMES & USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR 
Tattoo Witch ~ Kathy Kulig 
At a seaside resort, Sam and Anita meet a mysterious owner of a tattoo shop, a witch whose magical tattoos grant scorching, kinky sex beyond their wildest fantasies—but there’s a catch. Each successive tattoo comes with a curse. 

FEATURING: 
USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR 
Dolphin Paradise ~ Kate Richards 
Dr. Karen Barrow has no intention of falling into the bed of the most notorious ladies’ man at Oleander College, but a week alone with him may be her undoing. After all, who will know what they do on Dolphin Paradise before the campers arrive for the summer? 

Tropical Heat ~ Alice Gaines A proper English miss, a rake, and a tropical island. Imagine what could happen. 

INCLUDING TWO BONUS NOVELLAS
Royal Alphas: One Night With The Alpha King ~ Belle Scarlett 
When Senator Anya Fortune snubs His Royal Majesty’s wedding offer, Shade wonders what an Alpha King has to do to get the woman to notice him… Claim the one, hot night he’s given by law to change her mind, naturally. Let the game of hearts begin. Winner take all. *This previously published title has been revised and reedited* 

Summer Lovin’ ~ Nicole Austin 
Cougar on the prowl, Larissa Cross is ready for a summer full of hot younger man lovin’. Rawr! Tattooed and pierced fireman JD Harmon is tempting prey but he intends to tame the wicked cougar and stake a claim on her heart. *This previously published title has been revised and reedited* 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Joy of Writer's Block by Suz deMello

The joy of writer's block??? WHAT?!?!?

The joy of writer's block is that it gives a person the opportunity to exercise her creativity in different ways. A couple months ago, I blogged about what I do when I’m blocked, which is practically all the time these days. Below is one of my approaches:

Paradoxically: stop trying. Yes, I actually mean stop writing. Instead, do something else that exercises your creativity. My favorite is refinishing old furniture. I recently moved back into my condo, where a tenant’s been living while I cared for my elderly mother. She’s with my brother now, so I can resume my life, and I love being back in my home. But there were a lot of built-ins in my mom's house, including a huge dresser, where about a third of my clothes had been residing. And I gave my now ex-boyfriend the storage I’d been using—which itself had been a rescue-and-refinish item. So I get to do the same thing all over again. Yay!

I love the process of finding the right piece, deciding what colors to paint it, discovering the perfect drawer pulls. But you have to have the temperament for this. You have to love wandering around thrift shops and hardware stores. I happen to, so I’m good.

On a lark, a friend and I stopped by a Goodwill furniture store on Memorial Day, and spotted a solid maple dresser for only $90:



I instantly knew that I had spotted a great deal, so I bought it. And at checkout, I discovered that the deal was even better than I’d thought—Memorial Day was half-off day at Goodwill! So YES! I got this treasure for only $45!

I called a Lyft and got it home, where (as you can see) I put it on my lawn. Why, you ask?

Most paint should be used in places with excellent ventilation. I also knew I’d be sanding, and didn’t want to breathe in the dust. Plus, I’m clumsy and guaranteed to get paint all over the place despite how careful I might be. So the lawn is perfect. So the grass gets paint on it—so what? It grows out and gets cut.

Stage one: taking out drawers, sanding and applying the first coat.




I chose a chalk paint on the advice of a gal at my local hardware store, who seemed well versed in the Shabby Chic school of furniture refinishing, and that’s a look I love. So I tried it.






After sanding, I got a beautiful distressed look (above). However, that paint was not going to stay on and look beautiful. It flaked off when scratched with a fingernail. So I opted for a more conventional look—used primer and an acrylic based paint, topped by a spray varnish.

In the middle of the process, it unexpectedly rained:




But I was undeterred. Because of the rain and generally odd weather (anyone doubt global climate change? I don’t. It’s not supposed to rain so much in June in SacTown, and this year it rained a lot.) I moved everything undercover:





As you can see, I chose white with the drawer fronts in pale grey. I decided upon this color scheme for a few reasons—my default color for almost everything is white. I like my home to be light and bright. As for the grey, that was about the drawer pulls. This dresser has a bizarre number of drawer pulls—twenty. No, you didn’t misread that. There are twenty drawer pulls on a dresser with nine drawers. On top of that they are in two different sizes.

The ones that came with the dresser were hideous faux early American. Clearly intolerable. When I went to a hardware store to choose new pulls, only one type came in two sizes, the cup style ones I chose. They came in brushed silver, so I chose grey drawer fronts in hope that they would sort of blend together and the finished piece wouldn’t look so busy.

I also decided against the distressed look...after I had painted the thing with multiple coats of primer and paint, and then sprayed it with polyurethane finish, it was really hard to sand through all that to get the beat-up look. So I opted for letting it be.

And here it is, in place in my bedroom:




What do you think?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Annual CHRISTMAS IN JULY Contest at Romance Books '4' Us! by Marianne Stephens



HO-HO-HO! Romance Books '4' Us announces our BIG, annual "CHRISTMAS IN JULY" contest! Visit our website at http://www.romancebooks4us.com for details. 

Authors and prizes are listed. Gift cards, ebooks, audio books, print books, and other assorted items are listed. TWO winners will each receive a $25 GC for Amazon or B&N, and FIVE other winners will split the remaining 30+ prizes.
 
Have you been Naughty or Nice? Enter the RB4U contest and see what Santa decides! Contest ends 23 July so enter NOW!

RB4U has lots of authors and their books for your to see...check each author's page!

 Marianne Stephens
http://www.mariannestephens.net
http://www.romancebooks4us.com
 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Attempting to write longer stories



The Naughty Literati are planning a project for next year with longer stories in it, around 30,000 words or a little more. Most of my books are short. I get bored quickly and like a lot of action, so of the more than 100 books I’ve written 70% of them would be 25,000 words or fewer. And most of the longer ones got that way by accident. The characters kept running off on tangents instead of solving the problem and riding away into the sunset together.

Characters do that sometimes. Refuse to listen to the writer, I mean. There was this ghost… but that’s another story.

One classic case of my inability to write longer books was a Regency romance I began that was meant to climax at the Coronation of King George IV. I spent weeks researching that coronation—the clothing, the event itself, the people who were there and more. The coronation was a really big deal, costing twenty times as much as George’s father’s coronation, the equivalent of around 26 million dollars in today’s terms. All for a one-hour-long ceremony. I even planned to mention that George’s wife, Caroline of Brunswick, was banned by George himself from attending the event.

But hey, the characters refused to cooperate. My hero, the Reverend Barnabas Ridley was in such a hurry to marry the heroine, Georgina Arnott, that the book was finished in barely 20,000 words instead of my planned 45,000.



It was also finished well before the coronation, so I wrote the story of Barnabas’ sister, Theodora. But once again the main characters seized hold of the storyline and raced off with it.



Undaunted, I began the story of the stunningly beautiful Miss Sapphira Arnott, but the Earl of Mitcham appeared out of nowhere and took control of that. I never did write about the coronation.

So wish me luck with this new project. The plan is for one longer book to go in the boxed set. Not a series of three shorter ones that won’t be right for the group.

The Regency books mentioned above are the Virgins No More series, https://www.amazon.com/gp/bookseries/B00YX5ANK0/kindle/ref=sr_bookseries_null_B00YX5ANK0

And the ghost?
Oh, he took over an entire series of books, the “Forever Yours” series.


https://www.amazon.com/Forever-Yours-Intensity-Complexity-Publishing/dp/1610342526/
or available separately as ebooks:
“Intensity”: https://www.amazon.com/Intensity-Siren-Publishing-Menage-Amour-ebook/dp/B003LSTKLI
“Complexity”: https://www.amazon.com/Complexity-Siren-Publishing-Menage-Amour-ebook/dp/B00440E0H6/
“Eternity”: https://www.amazon.com/Eternity-sequel-Intensity-Complexity-Publishing-ebook/dp/B004FV54L0/

Berengaria Brown

Thursday, July 6, 2017

From the Past to the Future

by Katherine Kingston

I’ve just finished releasing the Passions series of Medieval historical stories. I love the period and it’s been great revisiting it as I got these books ready for their re-release. But now it’s time to move onto something different. Something really different.

I’m jumping from the past to the future for my next re-release. This novella was so much fun to write! It was an assignment from my publisher at the time to write a novella to be included in an anthology of stories about space pirates. I set my imagination free to roam the universe and brainstorm the most out-there story I could come up with.

I think it worked. The story, Checkmate, has a hero and heroine who are both space pirates, though for very different reasons. They meet and fall in love, then are parted when a significant secret comes to light. But when they cross paths with the Sangari, they get trapped into competing as a team in a series of bizarre “games” that include various sorts of gladiatorial type of combat scenarios, but also some other contests that include odd sexual tests among other things.

A quick taste of one of the contests:

************

“I’ll worry about today’s problem today. I hate to ask, but…have they assigned me something to wear?”

The two men looked at each other. “I fear so.”

She sighed. “Just hand it over. I’ll do what I have to.”

He handed her a pile of fluffy, gauzy stuff that would obviously cover nothing. “You put this over it,” he added, passing something of a heavier material.

Devonne shook out the lighter fabric to find harem pants, tied together with ribbons at hips and ankles, and a tunic top also fastened with ribbons at shoulders and sides. It was all in shades of pale pink and green. “Yech. Somebody’s got really terrible taste. And pink is not my color at all. I hope it doesn’t put Raje off.”

The lawyers looked at each with a shade of relief lightening each face. They really had been worried about her reaction. Then his attorney grinned. “I don’t think you need to worry about that.”

“Well I hope not. He’s got the tougher job today. I can hardly wait to see how they’ve outfitted him.”

“It’s…interesting,” Whetlock said. “I think he may be more embarrassed about it than you are.”

************

Want to know what Raje is wearing?

Checkmate releases on August 1 and is now available for pre-order.

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0735WJ4Q4
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/checkmate-katherine-kingston/1020150183
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1252141121
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/checkmate-71

Blurb: Devonne and Raje are space pirates who were once also lovers, until the revelation of secrets in his past drove them apart. But when they’re kidnapped and forced to compete in a drastic and devastating series of contests, they need to find a way to work together, or they’ll each end up with a one-way ticket to a slave labor camp.

Monday, July 3, 2017

American Revolution Erotic Romance for July 4th!

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day, where Americans celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, severing ties with Great Britain and starting the American Revolution.

So of course I've written some American Revolution erotic romance!

The General’s Wife: An American Revolutionary Tale

An English Lady and a handsome American Patriot in a battle for her heart – will she submit to the enemy?

Seduced Into Marriage
Lady Clara Hastings is forced to leave her beloved England by her wicked husband, the infamous British general Lord Jeremy Strathmore. They arrive upon the shores of the uncivilized American colonies amidst the outbreak of that young nation's struggle for independence.

Kidnapped And Held For Ransom
Among Strathmore's enemies is a man Clara secretly desires. As his captive, she learns of her husband's debauched and sadistic past, and discovers her own passions and proclivities.

A Quest For Freedom
In the clutches of Patriot fighters, Clara’s beliefs are challenged, her values are threatened, and she is caught up in a battle for her heart in the arms of a handsome American revolutionary.

Epic Passion During the American Revolution
The General's Wife: An American Revolutionary Tale is a high-heat historical romance set in New York of 1777. This coming of age action and adventure romance follows a young woman’s adventure as she discovers new desires in rebel arms. Each man she encounters enlightens her to the varieties of love, including that of a man for another man, a man for both men and women, and the excitement of mingling pain with pleasure.

Amazon * Barnes & Noble/Nook Press * Google Play * iBooks * Inktera * Kobo


Winter Interlude: An American Revolutionary Novelette

On a cold winter’s night in 1778, two patriot soldiers recall their first sensual encounter and ponder their future together with the women they love.

Winter Interlude: An American Revolutionary Novelette is a prequel and interquel companion piece to The General’s Wife: An American Revolutionary Tale. This story delves into the relationship between Captain Samuel Taylor and Lieutenant Patrick Hamilton. Much of the action of Winter Interlude takes place in the gap between Chapter Twenty-Three and Chapter Twenty-Four of The General’s Wife.

Winter Interlude: An American Revolutionary Novelette appears in Naughty Chances: Take A Chance on Romance produced by The Naughty Literati.

Amazon * Barnes & Noble/Nook Press * Google Play * Kobo


About the Author

Regina Kammer is a librarian, an art historian, and an award-nominated, best-selling, multi-published writer of erotica and historical erotic romance. Her short stories and novels make history sexier, whether the era is Roman, Byzantine, Viking, American Revolution, or Victorian. She’s even sexed up contemporary settings, Steampunk, and Greco-Roman mythology. She has been published by Cleis Press, Go Deeper Press, Ellora’s Cave, House of Erotica, Story Ink, The Naughty Literati, and her own imprint, Viridium Press. She began writing historical fiction with romantic elements during National Novel Writing Month 2006, switching to erotica when all her characters suddenly demanded to have sex.

Keep up with Regina on her website
Subscribe to her newsletter Kammerotica News
Read her blog
Follow her on Twitter @Kammerotica
Like her on Facebook
Connect with her on Goodreads
See what’s new on her Amazon Author Page

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Hot Off the Press - 2 New Releases & a 99¢ Sale #TinaDonahueBooks #EroticRomance

I've been busy this month with two new anthos out and a sale on my historical title First Comes Desirebook one, Pirate's Prize.

First with the new releases.

JUNE 1



Includes Contemporary, Fantasy, Historical, Magic, New Adult, Older Woman/Younger Man, Paranormal, Rubenesque, Sci-Fi, Stepbrother Romance & Threesome from bestselling authors

Featuring Sinfully Hot by Tina Donahue - Erotic Paranormal

A hotter-than-sin reaper. A badass demon. Hell doesn’t get steamier than this.
Excerpt:
The nightclub door swung open on its own, like an invitation from Hell.
Accepting the lure, Jewel slipped inside. She had little choice given Satan’s increasingly unrealistic expectations. The dude was worse than a Wall Street shareholder.
Corruption hung thick in the club air, the atmosphere dark and steamy, identical to the summer night. Past the narrow entrance hall, millennials had crammed around the bar or were dancing wildly, their sweaty bodies bathed in flickering orange spotlights that resembled flames. Beast and the Harlot pumped from speakers, the metal beat loud enough to make a mortal’s ears bleed and Jewel’s molars rattle.
A nice hunting ground for depraved souls. Their oily stench drew her closer.
A guy appeared at the end of the hall, a breath away from her. She stopped abruptly and stepped back. He propped his broad shoulders against one wall and slammed his foot into the other, barring her entry.
She shouted above the music, “Excuse me.”
He stayed where he was.
A black sleeveless tee hugged his powerful chest. Faded jeans strained against his beefy thighs. His biker boots were easily a size thirteen. Every woman knew what large feet and hands meant on a man. Jewel inched nearer, catching his musky fragrance.
Her belly fluttered.
She ignored her arousal in favor of the work she had to do, and raised her voice further. “Do you mind? You’re in my way.”
He looked over.
The world stilled. To say he was a hunk didn’t do him justice. He was simply beautiful. His looks belonged to a fallen angel: lushly lashed black eyes, dark hair worn shaggy, an olive complexion, bristly cheeks, upper lip, and chin. Possibly early thirties, he was a god produced by testosterone and good genes.
She liked the tiny gold hoop in his left lobe and the sin in his gaze. Time to pump up the seduction and get to work on this bad boy. His male allure currently hid his true nature and the odor of his soul, not that it mattered. Selling him on an eternity in Hell would be fun. Maybe they’d run into each other again someday and screw themselves raw. “I’m sorry for shouting, but you didn’t hear me before.”
“Yeah, I did.”
His voice rumbled deeper than the thundering bass, mischief coloring his comment.
Her pussy creamed. “Well hi, then.”
He grinned roguishly, arms crossed, biceps bulging, tat dancing. “Hey.”
Unsteady, she poured on the charm. “Great crowd tonight.”
“It is now.”
Aw, was that a compliment? This was going to be easier than she’d thought and unbelievably hot. “What say we dance? Unless you’d like to grab a table first.”
One couple had already reached third base at theirs, the young woman’s features tight from her impending orgasm.
“Sorry.” He dragged his gaze over Jewel, his manner confident and arousing. “As much as I’m tempted—and believe me, I am—I can’t let you inside.”
Her smile felt awkward. Wasn’t often she met resistance unless the victim was hyper righteous. This guy certainly wasn’t slated for sainthood unless it was in a women’s poll for male strippers.
Determined to have his carnal attention for the night and his soul from that point forward, Jewel cupped his bulge. Hot. Hard. Amazing. Her legs went watery. “What do you mean, can’t?” She ran her thumbnail over the denim and savored his meaty balls. “Better let me in there or I might hurt you.”
He lifted his face to the ceiling. His prominent Adam’s apple bobbed. “Do your worst. But it’ll have to be something nastier than fondling my nuts.”
As if. Touching him was simply too sweet. The short, dark hairs on his throat were so luscious she struggled not to lick him. “Oh yeah? Like this?”
She stroked his rod. The thing blossomed even more beneath her loving touch.
He sighed deeply and clamped her wrist. Not enough to harm but to capture and subdue. BDSM foreplay.
No way would she complain. “Looks like you’ve changed your mind.”
“Nope.” He brushed his thumb over her knuckles. “I never have, nor will I ever allow demons to harvest souls in my place.”
Surprise jolted her. Although he radiated a mortal’s heat, now an odorless chill emanated from him. What one would encounter in deep space where existence began. The tat on his right biceps wasn’t what she’d first thought. It had appeared as nothing more than a 3D star design seemingly carved into his flesh, the artist using bright-blue and vivid-yellow ink to fill the interior, creating a fake universe. Those colors weren’t stationary any longer. They swirled, the same as celestial gasses. Within that activity, countless faces rose, mouths opened, everyone bitching about leaving Earth before their time.
Holy Hell, he couldn’t be, shouldn’t be… “You’re a reaper?”
“Yep.”
That wasn’t possible. He wasn’t homely, skeletal, and dressed like a mortician. Of course, he wasn’t a bouncer either, as she’d assumed. The Last Stop nightclub was his, which meant one thing. He was the badass who’d caused her percentages to go down. “You’re Zekiel?”
“Yes ma’am.” He smiled widely, carving a dimple in his right cheek.
She wanted to jump him and beg him to do her, then smack him for that “ma’am.” She wasn’t old. “Let go of me.”
“You first.”

She cradled his balls. He caressed her wrist. A Mexican standoff.

________________

June 27




Featuring Skin Deep by Tina Donahue - erotic contemporary

The best is yet to come…

Turning forty and losing her job in the same week sends Tori into a tailspin. At her lowest point, she meets Jon. He proves there’s more to life than work, and she’s just getting started on the future she deserves.

Excerpt:

Tori guzzled coffee at JR’s Java, a local coffeehouse, and checked her smartphone. Out of two thousand LinkedIn contacts, only ten had answered her buoyant emails. None could help her find new and interesting employment opportunities, nor had a single industry friend responded to her thinly veiled appeals.

Being unemployed was worse than having an STD.

Two full days had passed since UniAstro had axed her. She’d sent resumes to every major, midsized, and minor company in the vicinity and called numerous search firms. Her professional background, current certifications, and Stanford degree impressed, until the hiring managers and recruiters learned what year she’d graduated.

Google searches weren’t a miracle. They were a freaking curse. Even if she’d gone the Botox and facelift route, which she wouldn’t, nothing could erase a person’s history on the Net.

Edgy, she brought up attorneys. No matter her severance, she couldn’t sign the insulting separation papers without someone telling her she had no choice.

Loud laughter exploded from behind. Lucky them. They probably had jobs. Possibly her old one. Mark hadn’t fooled her. Eliminating a position was corporate-speak for wanting someone younger.

She scrolled through the area yellow pages.

A leather-and-tobacco fragrance wafted close, mingling with the cafĂ©’s rich coffee and sweet pastry scents. Someone in black jeans lingered at her table.

Curious, Tori lifted her face.

His easy smile carved a dimple in his left cheek, shadowed with beard. “Doing okay?”
She wasn’t certain how to answer. Kindness shone in his gray eyes fringed with long, dark lashes. Ruggedly handsome, he belonged in an ad for luxury cars or executive services, not here holding a coffee pot. “Ah yeah, I’m fine. Thanks.” She lifted her empty cup for a refill.
Her hand trembled. Not entirely from too much caffeine. He radiated effortless charm, the kind a guy owns when he’s comfortable in his own skin. Whatever life circumstances had reduced him to work as a barista, he didn’t seem to mind. By her guestimate, he was in his early to mid-forties, his thick black hair combed back, faint silver streaks on the temples. An out-of-work actor or model? For some reason, he seemed familiar even though she’d never noticed him here before. Of course, she’d always been glued to her phone or tablet.

______________

99¢ SALE


AMAZON - AMAZON UK - AMAZON CA - BN - KOBO - iTUNES



A hunted pirate captain. A reverend's daughter determined to bring him down.

On a lush, secluded island, one passionate adventure leads to another….

Diana Fletcher means business. The beautiful, innocent, reverend’s daughter has traveled all the way to a tropical island off Madagascar on a mission: To find her brother—and to punish the man who drove him to a life of piracy. But when she comes face to face with the enemy in question, the handsome, powerfully seductive man is not at all what Diana expected…

Tristan Kent never intended to harm Diana’s brother. A man of humble origins, Tristan claims he tried to save him from another ruthless captain. Diana is desperate to believe he is telling the truth…and that the intoxicating desire that escalates between them is true as well. But can she trust him? Or is Tristan’s story—and his heart—nothing more than fool’s gold? Amid the haze of sensual delights and soaring ecstasy Tristan has in store for her, all will be revealed…





Excerpt:

Women hadn’t been born to yield. Women could yield. They might even enjoy doing so, but only with the right man. One they desired. First came desire. Respect and love followed.

She could only deliver her heart to a man like that.

Even if Tristan wasn’t facing the gallows, he wasn’t the one she needed. His skin was warm against hers but what of it. He was handsome as the devil, yet there was the rub, because he was also brutal, violent, taking what he wanted. His mouth on hers was something she refused to consider, though she could hardly forget how he’d spoken calmly when she’d railed. She insulted and he smiled. He claimed she wanted the same as him. Diana did not. She wanted to be home. She needed to be free.

Her eyes flew open. A sound or voice had awakened her. Reclined on her side, she faced away from the door. An oil lamp had gone out, telling her she’d slept far too long, recklessly too.

Oh my God. Peter.

Diana rolled onto her back but didn’t check his mattress, knowing he wasn’t there or in the cabin.

Tristan was. His long legs, muscular calves, and thighs blocked her view of the door. He’d placed his precious book on the table. The volume was safe. She was not.

Before she could push to a sitting position or think to fight, he straddled her, his hands circling her wrists, holding her arms to each side. His touch didn’t harm, at least not yet.

Her heart pounded.

He offered a smile.

How dare he be so smug. “Release me at once.”

He tightened his grip slightly and studied her mouth, then her eyes. “Violet.” Awe flooded his face. “I wondered about your eye color but never expected this.”

She pushed and writhed but did no good against his strength. Breathless, she stopped. “What have you done with Peter?”

Tristan stared at her eyes. “Amazing color, quite beautiful. Fits your dark hair and pale skin perfectly.”

She rammed her thighs into him.

He held her more firmly. “Stop that.”

“Not until you tell me what you’ve done with my brother.” She slammed into him.

He scooted down and trapped her legs. “Peter’s on the main deck with the other men.”

“He’s a child and proved it by helping you escape.”

“This wasn’t his doing, and you’ve no reason to fear for his safety. I have James, my quartermaster, looking after him.”

“A bloody pirate, you mean. The same as you. Perhaps even worse than you.”

“No. James is a good man.” A haunted look touched Tristan’s features before he shook off whatever had troubled him and became casual. “He saved my life. He’ll take great care to watch your brother.”

She wanted to retort but couldn’t reconcile her indignation with Tristan’s previous anguish and the mean scratches she’d left on his cheek. Dried blood had gone black, the surrounding skin swollen and red. “What do you mean he saved your life?”

“Just that, ask no more for I’ll give you no other answer.”

“The only thing I want from you is my freedom.”

He stroked her wrists. “You want the same as me.”

She pushed against him, straining with the effort.

He tightened his grip, proving she wasn’t a match for his strength. If he chose to take her now, she’d have no choice except to allow him what he willed.

She didn’t beg. Wouldn’t. Not to him or any man, including Bishop. They could conquer her body but not her spirit, never her heart. Reconciled to her fate, she grew limp as she could, pulse racing. “Take what you’ve come for and be quick about it.”

“I shan’t be quick, Diana. With you, I’ll never be quick.”

Heat stung her face and throat. “You won’t be the last, either.”

His gray eyes darkened as storm clouds do, danger building in them. “What do you mean?”

“When you’re finished with me, I go to the man to whom I truly belong. Nothing will change that no matter how long you intend to take raping me.”

Despite her harsh words, he didn’t flinch or frown.

“Who is this man with whom you’d willingly lie?”

“Willingly?” She laughed. “You believe I’ve chosen him any more than I’ve chosen you? The fact is you’ve driven me to him.”

“What do you mean? Who is he? Tell me.”

She turned her face away.

Tristan brushed his lips over her cheek and buried his face in her hair.

Her scalp tingled. She could scarcely draw enough air to speak. “I said, be quick about it.”

He took his time, his lips soft and warm against her temple and ear, breath heated and sweet.

She tensed even more, determined to resist.

“Why do you fight me when you want this as much as I do?” He kissed her jaw.

Pleasure rushed through her, delight making her come alive as she never had, the feelings new, troubling, far too exciting. Her lids slid down.

“Tell me who the man is.”

Tristan’s scent surrounded her, surprisingly clean, tinged with musk.

“Tell me, Diana.”

“Why?”

He suckled her neck.

She trembled, an unfamiliar ache building between her legs, tension mounting within her. Flustered, she fought his hold and failed, growing weak from his imposing size. However, she refused to surrender, wanting him to know what he’d done to her. “He’s a wealthy merchant who agreed to help me find Peter if I promised to become his mistress, which I shall.”

“Never.” His breath skipped over her skin. “No one will have you but me.”

She fumed, her previous weakness gone. “You’ll take me. You’ll never have me.”

“Nor will the wealthy merchant. He owns this ship? Is his name Benedict Bishop?”

Tristan kept surprising her, giving her no defense. She pushed against him.

He eased back. “Is that the merchant’s name?”

“Yes. He’s the man to whom I belong.”

“Not any longer.”






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