Cover reveal: ‘A Hand of Knaves’ anthology

As I mentioned in my last post, the A Hand of Knaves anthology (in which I have a story) is having its book birthday this month — on 30 September, to be exact. And now I have a sexy, sexy cover to share with you. The cover art is by Canberra local Shauna O’Meara. It has been a delight to work with the team for this anthology, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the stories.

I don’t have links for this one yet, but when I do I’ll share them on the socials. In the meantime, enjoy this gorgeous piece of art. ❤

Rogues, thieves, pirates and ne’er-do-wells abound in speculative fiction. Sometimes heroic, sometimes villainous, often somewhere in between, rogues are as likely to steal one’s heart as one’s purse, and show little remorse while helping themselves to either.

So why do we love them? Because they’re imperfect, fallible, and even vulnerable under that carefully-maintained, world-weary exterior.

Rogues represent something we rarely see in our daily lives: ordinary people prepared to take on the “powers that be” by way of guile and subterfuge. But are they only in it for the loot, or are they — deep down — romantic at heart?

Nineteen science fiction, fantasy, and horror tales from twenty of Australia’s best established and emerging writers.

Eugen Bacon
Amy Brown
David Coleman
Tom Dullemond
Maureen Flynne
Rebecca Fraser
Edwina Harvey
Isobel Johnstone
Grace Maslin
Chris McGrane
Claire McKenna
Cassandra Page
CH Pearce
Simon Petrie
Louise Pieper
Robert Porteous
Charlotte Sophia
Helen Stubbs
David Versace
Angus Yeates

Buy links

Coming soon

Review: ‘Arcanum Unbounded’ by Brandon Sanderson

An all-new 40,000-word Stormlight Archive novella, “Edgedancer,” is the crown jewel of Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection, the first book of short fiction by #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. A must read for fans of the series.

The collection includes nine works in all. The first eight are:

“The Hope of Elantris” (Elantris)
“The Eleventh Metal” (Mistborn)
“The Emperor’s Soul” (Elantris)
“Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania, Episodes 28 through 30” (Mistborn)
“White Sand” (excerpt; Taldain)
“Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell” (Threnody)
“Sixth of Dusk” (First of the Sun)
“Mistborn: Secret History” (Mistborn)

These wonderful works, originally published on and elsewhere individually, convey the expanse of the Cosmere and tell exciting tales of adventure Sanderson fans have come to expect, including the Hugo Award-winning novella, “The Emperor’s Soul” and an excerpt from the graphic novel “White Sand.”

Arcanum Unbounded also contains the Stormlight Archive novella “Edgedancer,” which appears in this book for the first time anywhere.

Finally, this collection includes essays and illustrations for the various planetary systems in which the stories are set.

I heard about this book a while ago (it came out in 2016), but didn’t buy it at the time because I hadn’t read the novels in all of these Cosmere worlds and didn’t want to expose myself to spoilers. However, after I finished Oathbringer (Stormlight Archive #3), I had such a massive book hangover and withdrawals that I bought this audiobook so that I could have a little more Stormlight.

This book was everything I could have asked for. I have a terrible long-term memory for details, so I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to follow some of the short stories and novellas, but that wasn’t the case at all. I read Elantris a couple of years ago, and I had no issues at all slipping into that world when I read the novella set in that city. So I can say with confidence that this anthology would be accessible to those who haven’t read anything by Sanderson.

I loved all of these stories, though the stand outs for me were ‘Edgedancer’, ‘The Emperor’s Soul’ and ‘Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell’. I also loved ‘Mistborn: Secret History’, although that one in particular does contain massive spoilers for the Mistborn trilogy, so handle with care. Both ‘Sixth of Dusk’ and ‘White Sand’ were also excellent and left me craving more of those characters’ stories (‘White Sand’ in particular seemed a little truncated, which makes sense given that it’s an excerpt). Oh, and ‘Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania, Episodes 28 through 30’ was whimsical and made me laugh out loud (for real) with a dangling modifier joke that convinced me that Brandon Sanderson is my soulmate. 😉

The whole anthology was excellent. What really made it stand out for me, though, were the introductions that set each world into the broader context of the Cosmere (the universe in which all of these planets and their stories co-exist). Sanderson’s ultimate plan is to have crossover between these worlds; the ambition of it blows my mind. The post script notes by him also gave fascinating insights into his process and each story’s history, which were to me — as a writer — utterly fascinating. And apparently the hardcover book contains maps.

When I win lotto, I will repurchase all of my Sanderson novels (which I have as audiobooks) so that I can see the illustrations for myself.

Fans of Sanderson won’t regret buying this anthology, which also provides an excellent taster for those curious to experience his amazing worldbuilding and magic systems.

Review: ‘Three Slices’ anthology

Three Slices

Three Slices presents three novellas by modern fantasy writers:

A Prelude to War by Kevin Hearne

After an old friend is murdered in retaliation for his mercenary strikes against the oldest vampires in the world, Atticus O’Sullivan must solicit the aid of another old friend in Ethiopia if he’s going to have a chance of finishing a war he never wanted. Meanwhile, Granuaile MacTiernan starts a private war of her own against Loki, the lord of lies, and if it brings Ragnarok early — so be it.

Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys by Delilah S. Dawson

The number one rule of the circus? Don’t kill your volunteers, even accidentally. That’s how young magician Criminy Stain ends up on the run in a forest, where he meets a beautiful woman holding a bucket of blood. But is Merissa the answer to his prayers — or the orchestrator of his ruin?

Interlude: Swallow by Chuck Wendig

Miriam Black is back. Miriam is tired of her curse and finally believes she knows how to be rid of her ability to see when and how other people die. She follows a lead to the mountains of Colorado, where she believes she sees signs of a serial killer she thought she already killed. (Set between THE CORMORANT and THUNDERBIRD.)

It’s very rare to find an anthology where you’ve read all (and are up to date on the relevant series by) the contributing authors. It’s never happened to me before, at any rate! So of course when I saw Three Slices, which has stories by three awesome urban fantasy writers, I had to buy it.

I maybe should have guessed from the title, but all three stories have one thing in common: oracular cheese. (Yes, cheese.) That element was really cute, and was one of the things that tied the stories together. There were a few other things, some of them more subtle than others — Kevin Hearne gives a nod to Chuck Wendig’s heirloom apple obsession, for example, while Chuck uses the Polish expression that is the title of Delilah Dawson’s story. I loved seeing those little easter eggs sprinkled throughout.

On the stories themselves, I enjoyed all three, although Delilah’s story was probably my favourite, mainly because — of the three of them — it was the one that stands alone the most cleanly. For fans of her Blud series, seeing how Criminy Stain winds up in the circus he’s the ringmaster of in later books is very entertaining, and Criminy is still my favourite smoking hot magician vampire.

Wendig’s Swallow was a little peek at how Miriam is going; the mystery within the story is resolved internally, but does heavily reference previous books. (Also, note that although I enjoy Wendig’s raw style, it may not be for everyone — I shelve this series in “horror” on Goodreads for a reason.)

As for A Prelude to War, I did enjoy catching up with Atticus, Oberon and Granuaile, but this story is the least able to stand alone. If you haven’t read the series up till this point, you will be lost. Still, it was very satisfying to see Granuaile’s interaction with Loki, though.

Very, very satisfying.

Four stars

Never Be Younger anthology blitz, excerpt and giveaway

NeverBeYounger Anthology

Written by nine authors, Never Be Younger is a Young Adult collection of Shakespeare retellings. From Othello to Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet to The Winter’s Tale, each story has been crafted with a new spin.


From the halls of a high school to hip night clubs to the depths of space, Never Be Younger gives Shakespeare’s classic plays and sonnets a fresh spin for a new audience. Nine authors pay tribute to the Bard by taking his timeless tales to new heights, entrancing readers all over again. A Shakespeare story by any other name still reads as sweet.

All proceeds from the sales of Never Be Younger go to United Through Reading, a charity dedicated to uniting military families through reading.



To Undreamed Shores by Cortney Pearson

I bask in the brisk air, hands aching while the pocket of pain still gnaws at my shoulder.

“That moon shines on those other places, just like it does here in Bohemia. I want to see it from somewhere else. To see what it’s like, knowing something so constant is with me no matter where I go.”

Cove stares at the moon. After several moments he says, “I have something I’d like to show you. Will you come for a ride with me?”

“What, you mean now?”

He laughs, “Yes, now.”

“But I’m—” Sweaty, dirty. Dreadfully behind on this order. If I have any chance of going with Christabel in a few weeks, I’ve got to step it up—I haven’t even started on her pots yet.

Cove takes my hand and, as with last night, I’m instantly aware of how smooth his skin is against the rough spots on mine.


Enter for a chance to win a suite of prizes, including a Nook, several books, an Amazon gift voucher, and more!

About the Authors

Rachel Bateman: Editor
rachelRachel Bateman is a writer and editor who spends too much time thinking she can out bake the Cake Boss. (Spoiler: She can’t.) She lives in the middle of Montana, but dreams of the South. Rachel is the owner of Metamorphosis Books, an author services company offering formatting and interior layout for independent authors. When not writing, editing, or reading books, she can be found playing with her husband, young son, and small zoo of pets. You can find Rachel on Twitter, and her website.

S.M. Johnston: Star Crossed Lovers and A Gargoyle’s Prom Nightmare

sharonS.M. Johnston is a writer of weird fiction and soulful contemporaries from sunny Queensland, Australia. Her family includes a husband, two sons and a number of fur babies of the feline and cavy variety. You can find Sharon on Twitter, and her website.

Jessica L Pierce: A Day of Errors

jessicaJessica is a somewhat crazy – yet loving – blond. She lives in Green Bay, WI, hates the cold, and loves her completely awesome camo coat. She is passionate about football, baseball, photography and writing, and won’t go near cooked peas. (Raw peapods are fine.)

She is a student at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, and will graduate in December 2015 with a degree in Communication with emphasis in Journalism. She is a sports photographer and her work can be found at: You can also find Jessica on Twitter.

Cortney Pearson: To Undreamed Shores

Cortney Pearson is the author of Phobic and Such a Secret Place, a mother, musician, and a lover of pink and sparkles. You can find Cortney on Twitter, and her website.

E.L. Wicker: Star Crossed Lovers & A Gargoyle’s Prom Nightmare


E.L. Wicker lives in Hampshire, England with her husband and two children. Fueled by the bossy voices in her head, she writes New Adult fiction with a side of romance. You can find E.L. on Twitter, and her website.

 Nicole Zoltack: Any Way the Wind Blows

Nicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranormal, or regency. When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys, with another little one on the way. She enjoys horse riding (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead. You can find Nicole on Twitter, and her website.

Olivia Hinebaugh: Mark The Music

Olivia Hinebaugh spends her free time writing. Obviously. The rest of her time is spent playing and reading with her two young children. She also loves: watching Sia’s music videos, quoting Mean Girls, and folding laundry. She actually really does. You can find Olivia on Twitter, and her website.

Adrianne James: A Witch’s Life


Growing up Adrianne James couldn’t get her hands on enough books to satisfy her need for the make believe. If she finished a novel and didn’t have a new one ready and waiting for her, she began to create her own tales of magic and wonder. Now, as an adult, books still make up the majority of her free time, and now her tales get written down to be shared with the world.

During the day, Adrianne uses her camera to capture life’s stories for clients of all ages and at night, after her two children are tucked up in bed; she devotes herself to her written work. Adrianne is living the life she always wanted, surrounded by art and beauty, the written word and a loving family.

As a New Adult Paranormal (and sometimes contemporary) author, Adrianne James writes strong women, powerful magic, and love that lasts a lifetime. You can find Adrianne on Twitter, and her website.

Christina June: The Scarf

christinaChristina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and the world’s most rambunctious four-year-old. You can find Christina on Twitter, and her website.

Review: ‘Losing it: A Collection of V-Cards’ anthology — part two

Losing It

22 Bestselling YA authors reveal what went on behind the curtain in your favorite YA novels! From paranormal to contemporary, this collection features over 200 pages of ALL NEW CONTENT full of deleted scenes, extended endings, and more from the young adult series’ you love.

In this YA/NA crossover collection all of your favorite heroines are cashing in their VCards! YA just got steamy, sexy, and not afraid to go all the way!

Due to the graphic nature of some content, this collection is recommended strictly for mature readers.

Note: I was given a copy of this anthology in exchange for an honest review.

I reviewed the first eleven stories in this anthology here. My apologies to those authors I didn’t get to, but I didn’t just want to write a sweeping, generic review that didn’t touch on any specifics. And there are twenty-two of you!

Of Fire (A Dark Faerie Tale series) by Alexia Purdy. This is a fae fantasy — again, I expect you guessed that — and is also written from the man’s point of view, which I found captivating. The only thing that bothered me is when he thought about his lady love as being pure, untouched by another. Maybe some people like that, but it gives me an icky feeling, because it suggests that once you’ve had sex you’ve been tainted.

Our Someday (The Double Threat series) by Julie Prestsater. A contemporary tale, this story was sweet but the balance felt a little off. There was no lead-in to the two characters going to their hotel room, but then there was a lot of looking back and introspection, even immediately before they had sex. The scene afterwards was good, though.

The Ultimate Prize (The Elsker Saga) by S.T. Bende. I’ve read a book and novella set in ST Bende’s sweet new adult urban fantasy world. It features the Norse gods, especially the very hot god of winter, Ull. This scene is actually Kristia dreaming of seducing her traditionalist boyfriend, and of him losing control. I was as disappointed as she was when she woke up!

The Release of Rae (Ovialell series) by Tish Thawer. I looked this series up on Goodreads and saw that it’s an adult PNR series, which surprised me — I thought the books this anthology draws on were all YA (with some NA, like Elsker). Still, this story was magical — fae — and sweet rather than sizzling. It felt more YA than some of the YA-inspired stories!

A Valkyrie’s Song (The Runes series) by Ednah Walters. This UF/PNR had a decent introduction before the main event, which I’ve come to conclude from reading this anthology is my favourite kind of story. The encounter was magical, but I felt a little cheated by the memory loss at the end. That’s a personal thing — it feels like just about the meanest thing you can do to a character.

Fire Stone (The Cornerstone series) by Misty Provencher. The start of this story really, really reminded me of the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, so I was hooked — far more by the setting and the events than by the sex, to be frank. Also, the prose was beautiful. I then spent ages reading reviews on Goodreads trying to find out more! Another for my TBR pile.

Selfish (The Waiting series) by Ginger Scott. A contemporary told from the point of view of a reformed jock with his quite timid new girlfriend, this is a really sweet look at a guy seeking to prove himself worthy of her. It’s not my usual genre but is very well done.

Sealing the Bond (Forged series) by A.O. Peart. This story is a paranormal with a fantasy vibe. Unfortunately I couldn’t get into this one — there was too much backstory, largely expressed through sometimes stilted dialogue. Your mileage may vary, though.

Rosaline’s Redemption (The Arotas series) by Amy Miles. Another paranormal romance (or maybe urban fantasy — given the context it’s hard to tell!), this story is told largely through flashback to a battle that feels medieval but may be set in the future. Ultimately it doesn’t really matter, though. A combination of the setting and the encounter itself make this story stand out from the rest.

Adventures in Dating (Funeral Crashing Mysteries) by Milda Harris. This is a cute contemporary. I loved the narrator’s voice — at first I was a bit alarmed that things seemed to escalate from first kiss to touchdown in the space of one scene, but it all makes sense in the end. 

Wolf Passion (The Wolf Trilogy) by M.R. Polish. There is one last paranormal romance / urban fantasy to round out the set. The scene was sweet, but I was a bit shocked at how naive the leading lady was about certain things, especially as she is apparently at least eighteen (if the blurb for the first novel in the series is to be believed). Still, her surprise was kinda adorable, and I had a genuine laugh out loud moment.

Final thoughts

One thing I’ve come to realise in reading this anthology is that I’m not wild about sex scenes where magic enhances the experience in an intangible way. Fangs, claws and wings are fine because they are solid things that I can imagine, but bursts of tingling energy — on their own — don’t really do anything for me. That might be just me, though. :p

There’s definitely going to be something in this anthology for everyone who is interested in male/female pairings (sadly there were no LGBT encounters), regardless of your tastes in genre fiction. And it was a great way to discover new-to-me authors.


Four stars

Review: ‘Losing it: A Collection of V-Cards’ anthology — part one

Losing It

22 Bestselling YA authors reveal what went on behind the curtain in your favorite YA novels! From paranormal to contemporary, this collection features over 200 pages of ALL NEW CONTENT full of deleted scenes, extended endings, and more from the young adult series’ you love.

In this YA/NA crossover collection all of your favorite heroines are cashing in their VCards! YA just got steamy, sexy, and not afraid to go all the way!

Due to the graphic nature of some content, this collection is recommended strictly for mature readers.

Note: I was given a copy of this anthology in exchange for an honest review.

You might think the idea of an adult content anthology based off a bunch of young adult stories is problematic, given the primarily teenage audience of the originals. But given there are a lot of adults (myself included) who read young adult fiction, and that teenagers grow up, it actually works.

There’s a huge variety of genres on display here within the young adult/new adult age bracket, so there’s something for everyone — so long as you want to read naughy scenes about folks’ first times. It’s also a great way to discover writers you might have otherwise not heard of.

My big regret with this anthology is that there was a certain amount of time pressure on me to read it, because these are the sort of stories that you want to read in isolation and savour rather than plowing through in one sitting. (Or maybe that’s just me!)

In fact, since I decided to write a paragraph on each book, I’ve decided to post this review in two halves. I have read more than I’m covering here, but I’ll save them for the next post.

Discovery (The Grimoire Saga) by SM Boyce. This one was intruiging. At first I thought it was set in a sci-fi universe, but it became apparent that it was parallel world thing. The male (I’m not sure man is the right word, though he has man parts), Braeden, spent a lot of time during his first, um, encounter, worried that he might shapeshift somehow and that bad things would happen. I kind of wanted to see what would happen next if he did!

Unrequited Death (The Death series) by Tamara Rose Blodgett. This is one of my favourite stories in the anthology. It is part of a near future urban fantasy series. There’s just enough backstory that I could follow what was going on, it’s long enough that I had time to get immersed into the story, and the main action between Tiff and John was realistic, sweet and hot, all at the same time. I’ll be adding this series to my TBR pile.

His First Everything (Penny Black trilogy) by Stacey Wallace Benefiel. Another near future urban fantasy story, this one was over quicker than I’d like (often the case with firsts, I suppose!). The setting caught my eye, though, and I liked Penny, the female lead.

One Hour (Dirty Blood series) by Heather Hildenbrand. A paranormal story featuring werewolves, this one jarred a little bit for me. The writing was beautiful and the sex was steamy (lol), but the means by which Tara and Wes ended up together was bizarre. Maybe it’d make more sense if I’d read the books? Still, I enjoyed it.

Eternally Free (The Mythology series) by Helen Boswell. Another paranormal, this time with demons and something that is suggestive of vampires, but I’m not 100% sure about that. It didn’t really matter, though — the encounter was sizzling.

Jess and Giovanni (Stories About Melissa series) by Bethany Lopez. This is the first contemporary in the book, and although I love my spec fic, it was actually refreshing to read something where I wasn’t trying to guess the supernatural angle. The sex was more realistic too — no simultaneous climax, which is definitely a feature in a lot of the other stories. But it was still fun for everyone. Hooray for considerate male partners!

Wedding Night (Keegan’s Chronicles) by Julia Crane. This is an elvish urban fantasy — a genre after my own heart. But I found it a little hard to get into, as the story picks up at the start of the wedding ceremony, and includes all the vows. It was interesting to see a story written from the male’s perspective though. (Even the ones that are dual POV tend to switch to the female partner for the actual act.)

Suffering (The Tate Chronicles) by K.A. Last. This story is part of an urban fantasy series about angelic vampire hunters, and I was lucky enough to beta read it before Losing It came out. For me, it stands out because of the dark emotions that are part of the encounter. (The name of the story probably gives that away.) Not every first time is fireworks and passion. Regret is a real thing.

A Reunion Most Desired (Fragile Creatures) by Kristina Circelli. Another contemporary YA, this story tells of a late teens girl with an older man. Most of the stories so far have had more inexperienced male partners — with the attendant consequences — so I enjoyed seeing something different. And Caster is hot!

Love Spell (The Spellbound trilogy) by Nikki Jefford. A paranormal story containing witches, warlocks and a love potion (hence the name), this one is sizzling … although I wouldn’t want to be Gray when she comes back to herself after the potion wears off. Massive buyer’s regret, I suspect…

To Love a Werewolf (Judgement of the Six series) by Melissa Haag. Saying this is a werewolf-y urban fantasy doesn’t feel like I’m value adding much! I read from the author’s bio afterwards that she usually writes sweet NA and that doesn’t surprise me, as this is heavy on foreplay and fades to black on the actual sex. Still, that might be your thing!

I’ll post the other 11 mini-reviews in a few days time. (When I do, I’ll edit this post to link to them.)

Edit: you can find them here.

One Liner - Kristina Circelli

Excerpt and giveaway: If Ever I Would Leave You: ‘Arthurian Stories For A New Generation’ anthology

If-Ever-I-Would-Leave-You-blitz banner

Bronwyn Green


A year after Tabby Nolan’s sister vanished from the Lake Michigan shore with her boyfriend, Liam, Tabby visits the spot where the two were last seen– and finds herself pulled into the crumbling world of Avalon.


Since his disappearance, Liam has been trapped in the mythical land, with no link to the world he knew. Now, their shared memories of Tabby’s missing sister are all they can cling to as Avalon dies around them.


But Tabby doesn’t want to be a replacement for her sister, and her growing attachment to Liam feels like a betrayal. As Avalon fades around them, Liam and Tabby must rely on each other– or be lost with the ancient kingdom forever.


Albion’s Circle: The Deepest Cut
Jessica Jarman


For nineteen years, Anna has been plagued by dreams of lives lived only in legend. Finally free from the family that believed her hopeless and worthless, she’s ready to start her life over—alone.


When Anna meets an enigmatic stranger claiming to be the legendary wizard Merlin, she is forced to question the very reality she’s struggled to accept. With the mythic figures from her dreams intruding on her waking life, Anna learns that she’s been reborn to fight an ancient evil alongside King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.


Caught in an ages old conflict, Anna is the key to stopping a dark magic that will destroy the world—and Merlin wants to make sure that this time, Anna isn’t alone.


A Choice Fit For A Queen
Jenny Trout (writing as
 Abigail Barnette)


For perpetual overachiever Madison Lane, a summer studying Arthurian mythology in the Welsh countryside with professor Thomas Evans is a dream come true, and the adventure of a lifetime.


Of course, the enormous crush Madison developed on the professor after a semester of his lectures at U of M has absolutely nothing to do with her desire to learn more about the enduring legend of Camelot. At least, that’s what she’s telling her parents.


When Madison meets fellow student Rhys Crewe, sparks fly, throwing her plans for wild fling with Professor Evans completely out of whack—as do her unexpectedly complicated feelings for Thomas. With tales of Arthur and Lancelot haunting her every waking moment, Madison has to make the most difficult choice of her life.

If Ever I Would Leave You_Cover


Enter to win a DVD prize pack or one of two $25 Amazon gift cards.


From A Choice Fit For A Queen

To say that the Rose and Pig was off the beaten path would have been an understatement. There were no streetlights. The street wasn’t even paved. It was barely more than a dirt two-track leading past the low stone fence that surrounded the field. At the end, a two-story wattle-and-daub house stood, chimney smoking. The light spilling from its windows promised warmth and a place to get dry. Though my feet ached and stung with raw blisters from jogging around airports all day, I practically sprinted the last leg of my journey. Mud splattered onto the legs of my jeans, and I didn’t care. All I wanted was to get inside, away from the hellish downpour. I reached the door, prepared to fling it open and launch myself into the warm embrace of a charming Welsh pub.

It was locked.

No. Visions of sleeping in the cold, shivering in the dark, wet, pneumonia-encouraging night put urgency into my arm as I pounded on the door. “Hello! Hey, is anybody inside? Can anyone help—“

A guy opened the door. A hot guy. An annoyed hot guy. One look at him and my heart jolted. I froze in shock, but managed to stutter out, “m-me?”

He was absolutely gorgeous. Flawless dark brown skin stretched over a face that made the words “aesthetically pleasing” an understatement. His cheeks were full, like he’d retained baby fat in the exact right places, and his lush lips spread in a smile that was half “let’s be friends” and half “let’s be friends with benefits” as he looked me over.

Unfortunately, the longer I stared at him, the more his smile faded. He leaned his shoulder against the door and slung a white bar towel over the other to cross his arms over his chest. “Let me guess. American white girl, thinking, ‘What do you mean, they have black people in Wales?’” He held up his hands in mock apology. “Sorry, we’re everywhere. Hope you’re not too disappointed.”

“N-no, I wasn’t—“Explaining was not going to work if I couldn’t talk like a normal human. I had to glance down and push my wet hair from my face to concentrate and steel myself against his good looks when I raised my head again. When I did, I managed a smile. I hoped I didn’t look goofy. “I was actually thinking, ‘wow, the guys are a lot hotter here than at home.’”

His smile returned slowly. “Yeah, all right. You’re forgiven. Come on inside.”

His accent. Oh god.

About Jenny Trout

Jenny Trout is an author, blogger, and funny person. Writing as Jennifer Armintrout, she made the USA Today bestseller list with Blood Ties Book One: The Turning. Her novel American Vampire was named one of the top ten horror novels of 2011 by Booklist Magazine Online. She is a proud Michigander, mother of two, and wife to the only person alive capable of spending extended periods of time with her without wanting to kill her.

Jenny Trout


‘One Lucky Night’ excerpt and giveaway

One Lucky Night blog tour banner

One night can change everything…

The crew at Boston’s Brazen Head Pub hasn’t been very lucky in love. Can a mysterious visitor inspire them to look past old hurts and misconceptions and give romance a chance? One Lucky Night is a collection of five sexy interwoven novelettes by Aria Kane, Grace Teague, Ana Blaze, Constance Phillips and Melinda Dozier.

Lucky Break by Aria Kane

Four years ago, chef Derek Chase walked out of Andrea Rivera’s life after a tragedy neither of them were prepared to deal with. When she’s called to the Brazen Head to repair a dishwasher, old sparks ignite buried feelings.

Lucky Star by Grace Teague

When her life is threatened by a mugger, Charlotte Price realizes she’s in love with her best friend, Tommy Leung. The Brazen Head seems like the perfect neutral place to confess her feelings, but nothing goes according to plan.

A New Tune by Ana Blaze

When it comes to dating, Holly Hall has one unbreakable rule: no musicians. Not even gorgeous ones. Especially not gorgeous ones. Dating them only leads to heartbreak. So why did she let singer-songwriter Cian O’Neill kiss her? And why is she thinking about doing it again?

Lexi’s Chance by Constance Phillips

As a bartender, Sean Whalen meets all kinds of women every night, but none turn his head the way that Lexi has. She’s been playing cat and mouse with him for weeks. Tonight, Sean’s determined to get Lexi to quit teasing and take a real chance on him.

Drink or Dare by Melinda Dozier

A bachelorette party Drink or Dare game pairs paramedic students, Rachel Robertson and Killian Whelan, in a flirting match. Soon, the dares threaten to turn their academic rivalry into something much more.

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“Lexi’s Chance” by Constance Phillips from One Lucky Night

How many hours had she wasted on this bar stool laughing at Sean’s jokes and doing her best to flirt back with someone who’d mastered the art? She’d spent way too much time looking for a sign of sincerity in the compliments he paid her and wishing on some abstract four leaf clover he’d suddenly become the kind of guy who’d be happy with just one lady.

Was she just pretty enough to flirt with, but not over-the-top hot, unlike the nearly six-foot red-head with willowy legs and ample breasts he poured drinks for now? Why was that woman at The Brazen Head instead of walking a fashion runway in New York?

She used her shoulder to tap Julie. “What is it about her?”


“The woman Sean can’t take his eyes off of.”

Only his gaze wasn’t as locked as she believed. As if he could feel her stare on him, he turned and caught her. One wink from him and her heart turned into a gooey mess.

She pivoted away, hoping he didn’t catch the blush that warmed her cheeks. “How does he do
that to me? I’m not fifteen anymore.”

Julie snickered. “I think the bigger question is why do you keep resisting him? He is so gorgeous!”

“And he knows it!” Lexi shifted her weight on the stool. “I’m an intelligent woman. I should be able to see through all that flirting.”

“If you want to leave—”

“No!” She could no longer imagine herself anywhere else on a Friday night. Especially tonight, this is where she wanted to be. Three years had passed since her choices had inflicted life-altering pain on her sister. Going home and facing Alissa and the past hovered low on her to-do list. It took all the strength she could muster to deal with the not-so-distant past repeating itself with Billy.

“We’ve already ordered our food.” Lexi reached for her wine glass, hoping to drown the regrets.

“We can have it boxed up to go.”

Julie pushed her buttons on purpose. She’d been advising Lexi to take the lead and speak her heart for weeks now.

Lexi's Chance Teaser 2

Book launch giveaway

The authors are giving away two Amazon giftcards!

About the Authors

Aria Kane is a recovering mechanical engineer and romance writer. As a military brat, she grew up all over the country, but now lives in sunny Florida with a 60 lb mutt who thinks he’s a chihuahua.

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Grace Teague lives in Pittsburgh with her spouse, children and a cat named Mr. Sushi.

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Author Grace Teague

Ana Blaze lives near Washington DC with her charming husband and three cats who firmly believe they are royalty. Ana is a member of Romance Writers of America.

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Ana Blaze

Constance Phillips lives in Ohio with her husband, two ready-to-leave-the-nest children, and four canine kids. Her perfect fantasy vacation would involve hunting Dracula across Europe with her daughter, who also digs that kind of stuff.

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Melinda Dozier teaches English to middle schoolers by day and writes at night. She lives in Guatemala, Central America with her college sweetheart and three sons.

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