Excerpt and giveaway: ‘Tortured Souls’ by Kimber Leigh Wheaton

Tortured-Souls banner

Tortured Souls (The Orion Circle #1)
by Amazon Bestselling Author Kimber Leigh Wheaton

YA Paranormal Romance

Amazon * Goodreads

Sometimes Rest in Peace isn’t an option

Kacie Ramsey sees ghosts—and it’s ruining her life. Her mother left, her father blames her, and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t keep the ghosts away. Now a new power has emerged. Nightly visions of grisly murders and a relentless predator draw her to the brink of insanity.

When the phantom appears at a party, Kacie’s longtime crush, Logan, saves her. He invites her to join the Orion Circle, a group of supernatural hunters with chapters in schools all over the country. Through the Circle, Kacie learns to embrace her spiritual powers, and for the first time in her life she feels in control rather than a victim.

But the Foxblood Demon will not give up so easily. A demented serial killer in life who trapped the souls of the thirteen children he murdered, imprisoning them within the walls of his mansion. Now in death, he plots his return while drawing power from the pure souls of the children. He recognizes something in Kacie he’s never seen before—a medium powerful enough to provide a vessel for his tainted soul.

Kacie can’t ignore the tortured souls of the children crying out to her every night. With Logan at her side, she will fight the Foxblood Demon. But can they banish this powerful phantom, or will Kacie lose not only her body, but her eternal soul to the monster.

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Excerpt

Deafening music shakes the walls, vibrates the floor, and pounds a rhythmic beat in my skull. Gyrating bodies turn every bit of space into a dance floor. Sweat breaks out on my forehead, and my heart races. Strobe lights flash, teens dance with wild abandon. Shrieking laughter bubbles around me.

“Gotta take a leak!” my dance partner shouts over the music.

He races off, weaving through the thick wall of bodies. Mike or Mick or something—I didn’t catch the name he yelled when he asked me to dance. Doesn’t matter, he wasn’t my type at all. I mean, the guy guzzled beer while dancing. After grabbing a diet soda from a nearby cooler, I’m about to search for my friends when a dark feeling washes over me. My feet refuse to move, and I stand rooted in place.

The once loud music is now hollow in my ears. I gasp for breath, choking on the lack of air around me. Tiny hairs on the nape of my neck rise to attention. Something wicked is behind me. I know I’m the only one here who feels a difference in air pressure. An oppressive weight presses against my skin, making me feel as though I’m underwater. I blink a few times, watching the people around me continue their manic dancing—oblivious to the bogeyman that just entered the room.

Afraid to turn around, I stand my ground, sipping my soda. I pretend I’m unaware of the shuffling noises behind me, sounds I shouldn’t be able to hear over the blaring music. Swaying my hips, I hum along with the music, trying to ignore the ominous presence crushing me.

Whatever it is, I can’t let it know I sense it. Evil pours off it in waves, blanketing the entire room. I close my eyes, willing the creature to go away, return to whatever mausoleum or grave it calls home. Malevolent spirits feed on fear. I must control mine at all costs.

When I open my eyes, I’m gazing into the face of an angel. Not literally, but he may as well be in my book. Logan glances behind me, and I know he sees the spirit. He doesn’t gasp or scream or faint dead away. His golden eyes narrow as though he’s in a staring contest with the specter.

“You’re not welcome here,” Logan says to the presence behind me. He meets my gaze again. “You know it’s there.”

It’s not a question but a statement. I nod, a weak bob of my head, unsure whether this intimate moment with my dream guy is a good thing or not. Meeting over a nasty phantom is not my idea of romantic. And yet I can’t stop staring at the way his blue t-shirt hugs his broad shoulders and chest—how his light brown hair curls around his earlobes. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. For six weeks I’ve wanted out of the friendship box with Logan, but I was hoping for girlfriend, not crazy girl.

“Kassandra,” a voice rasps behind me.

tortured souls teaser

Giveaway

Enter to win HERE!

About the Author

kimberly wheatonKimber Leigh Wheaton is a bestselling YA/NA author with a soft spot for sweet romance. She is married to her soul mate, has a teenage son, and shares her home with three dogs, four cats, and lots of dragons. No, she doesn’t live on a farm, she just loves animals. Kimber Leigh is addicted to romance, videogames, superheroes, villains, and chocolate—not necessarily in that order. (If she has to choose, she’ll take a chocolate covered superhero!) She currently lives in San Antonio, TX but has been somewhat a rolling stone in life, having resided in several different cities and states.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest

 


Release day blitz: ‘Endre’ (Elsker Saga #2) by ST Bende

Endre

Before I launch into the festivities, I just wanted to add a little note to this post. I’ve read both the first book in the series, Elsker, and the novella prequel, Tur (which, by the way, you can get for free if you want to try ST’s style before you buy — there are links at the bottom of this post!). I’m planning to put a review of Tur up in the next few days, and Endre is on my TBR list. The series is a sweet romance with hot Norse gods in it. If that sounds like your thing, these are the books for you! — Cass

Endre (Elsker Saga #2) by S.T. Bende
Upper YA/NA Paranormal Romance

Sometimes, finding your destiny means doing the exact opposite of what The Fates have planned.

Winning the heart of an immortal assassin was a dream come true for Kristia Tostenson. Now she’s knee deep in wedding plans, goddess lessons, and stolen kisses. But her decision to become immortal could end in heartbreak — not only for Kristia, but for the god who loves her. Because while Ull would do anything to protect his bride, even the God of Winter is powerless against the Norse apocalypse. Ragnarok is coming.

And the gods aren’t even close to ready.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

The Amazon bestselling Upper YA Paranormal Romance series inspired by Norse mythology and featured in USA Today.

What reviewers are saying about The Elsker Saga:

“The characters will leave an imprint on your heart and mind for a long time to come.” — Lisa (Bound by Books)

“Bende takes classic bits of Norse mythology and throws in original elements to create her own tasty Nordic blend… I’ll definitely be checking out the sequel!” — Bookalicious Reviews

“One of my favorite books of the year.” — White Zin Bookends

“Action packed with a heart pounding romance!” — Curse of the Bibliophile

“This book was nearly impossible to put down and I’m dying for the sequel!” — Brittany and Bianca Blab Books (now BiblioBelles)

ENDRE_E-BOOK

Excerpt

When I came to, my chest heaved with sobs. Cold sweat cloaked my body from my forehead to the backs of my knees. My hair was damp, my pulse was racing, and my fingers gripped the sheets so tightly my knuckles ached. I was in my room at Ýdalir, the one place I had always felt safe. Only now I was absolutely terrified.

I ripped the covers off and wrapped my arms around my legs. My nose twitched at an unfamiliar smell. I pulled the cord on the bedside lamp, and looked around to see what might be burning. There was no smoke in the room; all of the furniture seemed to be intact. But when I glanced down, I saw the hems of my pajamas. They were black, singed from the fire I’d desperately hoped had been part of a dream.

This time things had gone too far. If my smoldering pant legs were any indication, being injured in a vision could have far-reaching worldly consequences. And if Elfie had come that close to killing me . . .

Ull had his rules, but I no longer cared. I jumped out of bed and raced down the hallway. When I reached his door I pounded on the distressed wood. Tears streamed down my face but I didn’t bother to wipe them away. The downpour was too intense; it wouldn’t have done any good anyway.

The door flew open and Ull stood on the other side. He wore a loose pair of grey sweatpants and nothing else. Oh hot bejeebus. There was no way this guy was for real. It just wasn’t humanly possible to look that good.

Oh, right. Ull wasn’t human.

Despite the agony coursing through my awakening consciousness, this was a moment of glory I’d remember forever—the first time I saw Ull’s naked torso. His sweats hung low on his hips, affording me a view of the cut just above the bone.

Holy Lord.

“Kristia?” Ull rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He took in my matted hair, tear-streaked face, and shaking hands. “Great Odin. What happened?”

He pulled me to him, crushing my face against the muscles of his chest. The knot in my stomach loosened infinitesimally. Just being near Ull gave me peace, but being this near Ull was like taking a sedative. Breathing in his woodsy smell made my panic subside. And when he pressed his hands against me—one to my hair, the other against the small of my back—my gut knew I was safe. Nothing bad could happen to me so long as I was in Ull’s arms. I inhaled again, letting his familiar scent fill me from the inside until my shaking stilled. Then I pressed my lips against his skin. Hard.

“Sweetheart?” he asked again.

“I had another vision and it freaked me out. Can I stay with you?” I didn’t take my lips off his chest as I spoke. I couldn’t. He tasted divine—like spruce and soap and home. There was a very real possibility my mouth might be permanently adhered to his flesh, like a kid who’d tried to lick a frozen railing.

Only this was far less unpleasant.

Giveaway

Enter to win an ebook copy of Endre HERE!

Young and beautiful bride with the flower bouquet in winter fore

Tur: An Elsker Saga Novella (Prequel)

 AMAZON – BARNES&NOBLE – KOBO

 Inga Andersson is the envy of every girl in Asgard. On the surface she has it all — great friends, a job as Odin’s personal fight choreographer, and a happy ever after with her realm’s hottest assassin. But when evil invades Asgard, her perfect world comes crashing down. Someone is planning to kill off the gods, and Inga’s best friend Ull is first on their list. With the Norse apocalypse a nanosecond away, Inga has to decide how she’ll spend her final moments of freedom. Because from the moment this battle begins, Inga’s happily ever after will be nothing more than a memory.

Some things are worth fighting for.

 Elsker: The Elsker Saga Book One

AMAZON

You don’t win the heart of an immortal assassin without making a few enemies along the way. Kristia Tostenson prefers Earl Grey to Grey Goose and book clubs to nightclubs, but when she transfers from her one-stoplight town to Cardiff University in Wales she falls in love with Ull Myhr. Her new boyfriend isn’t exactly what she was expecting. He’s an honest to goodness Norse God – an immortal assassin fated to die at Ragnarok, the battle destined to destroy Asgard and Earth. Kristia’s crazy visions are the only thing that can save their realms.

Her orderly life just got very messy.

About the Author

ST BendeBefore finding domestic bliss in suburbia, ST Bende lived in Manhattan Beach (became overly fond of Peet’s Coffee) and Europe… where she became overly fond of McVities cookies. Her love of Scandinavian culture and a very patient Norwegian teacher inspired the books of The Elsker Saga. She hopes her characters make you smile and that one day, pastries will be considered a health food.

Find ST on Twitter @stbende or her blog. While you’re at it, introduce yourself to @UllMyhr — when he’s not saving the cosmos from dark elves, he loves meeting new friends. Especially the human kind.

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This Writer’s Space: Amber A. Bardan

This Writer's Space

Today’s guest is the lovely Amber A. Bardan, whose debut, For Her Protection, came out on 30 May; as I draft this post it is climbing the Amazon charts! And because it’s her release week this post also includes a fabulous giveaway! Prizes include a $100 Amazon Gift Card, Romantic Swag, and 3 eBook copies of For Her Protection.

Where I Write

It used to be the lounge room couch with my laptop balanced on my knee. For the first time I now have my very own work space. I’m more than a little in love with it. It contains everything I need to work—including a closable door!

Mum’s you get it.

My favourite thing about where I write is that I’m surrounded by things that boost my creativity and inspire me—colours, scented candles, writing awards, my wedding photo, favourite books, not to mention it overlooks the backyard where I can watch my children play as I work.

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Where I’m Inspired

There really is no one place. I’m inspired by so many things, but if I had to choose one thing or place that inspires me it would have to be Pinterest. In the time sucking arms of Pinterest I can create boards and fill them with all kinds of inspiration—pictures of characters, places, quotes and anything that matches my theme for a plot or story.

Amber_Where I'm inspired

To Be Read

I mostly buy eBooks these days so I keep track of what I want to read on Goodreads. It’s really a mix, but romance and fantasy top my lists.

Amber_To be read

For Her Protection

You shouldn’t mix business with pleasure.

Yet pleasure seems to be the one and only thing on Charlize’s mind the moment Connor steamrolls into her life. Desperate to save her family company, prove she’s more than a pretty face and worthy of being CEO, pleasure is a distraction she can’t afford.

She doesn’t want a bodyguard, especially not one whose caveman heroics kick her libido into hyperdrive. But surrounded by enemies and an attacker on the loose, there’s only one man she can trust with her life.

Connor knows better than to get personal with clients. Yet there couldn’t be anything more personal about his feelings for Charlize. From the moment he clapped eyes on her he wanted nothing more than to throw her over his shoulder and really give her something to scream about. He’ll get his uptight she-cat to unwind, preferably one orgasm at a time.

With Connor in her office, her home, driving her to sweet, merciless distraction, there’s only so long Charlize can resist his sexy, dominant brand of protection

About Amber

Amber A Bardan

After spending years imagining fictional adventures, Amber finally found a way to turn daydreaming into a productive habit. She now spends her days as a graphic designer but her nights writing gritty, raw, erotic romance with heart.

She lives with her husband and children in semi-rural Australia, where if she peers outside at the right moment she might just see a kangaroo bounce by.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

 

 


Review: ‘Wicked After Midnight’ by Delilah S. Dawson

Wicked After Midnight

A contortionist and a rakish brigand navigate the cabarets of Paris to rescue a girl taken by slavers in the third steampunk-tinged romance of the Blud series.

Life as a contortionist in Criminy’s Clockwork Caravan should be the height of exotic adventure, but for Demi Ward, it’s total dullsville. Until her best friend, Cherie, is stolen by slavers outside of Paris, and Demi is determined to find her.

On the run from his own past, Vale Hildebrand, a dashing rogue of a highwayman, hides Demi from the slavers…but why? He pledges to help her explore the glittering cabarets of Paris to find her friend, but much to Vale’s frustration, Demi soon attracts a host of wealthy admirers. The pleasures of music, blood, and absinthe could turn anyone’s head, and it would be all too easy to accept Cherie’s disappearance as inevitable—but with Vale’s ferocious will and Demi’s drive to find her friend, they soon have a lead on a depraved society of Parisian notables with a taste for beautiful lost girls. Can Demi wind her way through the seedy underbelly of Paris and save her best friend before she, too, is lost?

Wicked After Midnight is the third and final book in the Blud series, a set of three steampunk fantasy romance novels set in the same world but with each following a different pair of main characters. You could pick up any of the three and read it without having read the other two, and you’d be fine.

I love this series. Love love love. The world, a sort of medieval parallel to modern day Earth, is rich and dark and has clockworks and magic in equal measure. Plus Dawson’s love interests in each book are smoking hot, strong, dangerous to their enemies and respectful of their leading ladies (which is one of the reasons they are smoking hot, in my book!). Wicked After Midnight brought us more of the same in that sense, while telling a different story.

The bulk of this book is set in the Blud equivalent of Paris, populated mostly by daimons — magical creatures that feeds on emotions — and the humans they need to survive. The main character, Demi, is a bludman (basically a vampire but with a bunch of unique aspects that separate them from your typical Dracula or Edward), and — due to her awesome contortionist abilities — quickly becomes a star in the cabaret. I love the movie Moulin Rouge and there were a lot of elements of that in here. I pretty much had the soundtrack stuck in my head the whole time I was reading.

The only fly in the ointment for me is that Demi is a bit of a diva. At the start of the book she basically harrasses her best friend, Cherie, into running away from the caravan to join the cabaret (despite all the warnings she gets about how this isn’t the glamorous life she thinks it is). When Cherie goes missing, Demi decides the best way to find her is to follow through on her original plan and become a star. She then gets so swept up in her new life that at times she completely forgets about her friend. If it wasn’t for Vale, quietly reminding her every so often that he’s still pursuing her friend, Cherie would probably never be found.

Now, in Demi’s defence, a lot of cabaret girls have gone missing, presumably taken by the same people that took Cherie, and her plan to make herself bait and investigate the clientele for hints of her friend isn’t a bad one in and of itself. And she does regret the self-absorption, when she realises what she’s done.  But I would’ve liked to see more active searching as well, maybe a couple of scenes early on that involved her actually going out into the city looking for clues, just so I didn’t feel like her decision to join the cabaret was her deluding herself into thinking she was “helping”.

The overall theme of this book is quite pertinent despite its fantasy setting: mysogyny, rape culture and women’s fight against it. And any qualms I had about Demi were blown right out of the water by her defiant reaction to that culture and the things that are expected of her as a dancer and a courtesan. There’s no doubt that if anyone actually tried to force themselves on her, she’d gut them. For example, I love this quote:

My only choices were play nice, get raped or die?

Yeah, no.

The Blud series is a great read, and definitely worth your time if you like stories about carnivals and dancers; hot vampires; steampunk technology (and let’s take a moment to acknowledge the awesomeness that is Coco in this book — she’s only in two scenes and she steals them both); respectful men who are apparently fantastic in bed (*fans self*!); and strong women who know what they want and aren’t afraid to take it.

Four-and-a-half stars


Interview: Rachel Schieffelbein, contemporary romance author

Today I’m interviewing Rachel Schieffelbein, young and new adult contemporary romance author. Her newest release, Don’t Fall, came out on 27 May.

Don’t Fall is acontemporary version of Rapunzel (and I love the pun in the name, by the way!). What is it about fairy tales that inspires you?

I’m kind of a romantic. I love true love, and magic, and all that stuff. I wanted Anya and Zander’s story to still have that magical, fairy tale feel to it.

Tell us about Anya and Zander. What is their relationship like?

It’s very sweet, I think. They’re very tender to each other. But Zander does get frustrated with the secrecy, and he doesn’t understand Anya’s relationship with her mom.

What about Anya’s relationship with her adoptive mother?

It’s a bit more complicated. Anya desperately wants her mom’s approval, and her mom isn’t a very demonstrative person. Her mom loves Anya, but because of things in her past she’s very over-protective, and has a hard time expressing that love.

What trend in publishing do you feel the most strongly about, either positively or negatively?

I try not to pay too much attention to trends, to be honest. But I have noticed that we seem to be moving away from the bad boys, and there are more ‘good guy’ characters out there. Which I love. I don’t mind a bad boy, but some of the ones out there have really straddled the line of being dangerous. Plus, I dated a bad boy in high school, and I learned they aren’t as glamorous as they seem. 😉 I married a good guy and he’s worth a hundred bad boys.

What advice would you give to new writers?

The obvious one, read a lot and write a lot. You’ll write a lot of stuff you don’t like before you start writing stuff you do like, so don’t let the bad stuff stop you. Also, connect with other writers. I heard that advice a lot when I started. Find critique partners! But I’m from a small town and didn’t know how to do that. The answer, as it turned out, was online! Start blogging, tweeting, whatever works for you. There are so many wonderful, supportive writers out there.

If you could have dinner with three characters from any books, which would you choose?

Hmm, this is a tough one! I’d say Zuzanna from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor, because she’s hilarious and awesome. Sierra from the How To series by Cassie Mae, because she’s so sweet and spunky. And Death from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, because how fascinating would that be?

Quick questions:

What was your favourite childhood toy?

A plastic dog I got when I was three. I actually still own it and my kids play with it now.

What secret talent do you have?

Um . . . I don’t know if this counts as a secret talent, but I ride and show Arabian horses. I’ve won several National Champion and Reserve Champion titles in the US and Canada.

What book are you reading right now?

Right now I’m reading Catch a Falling Star. I’d never heard of it before when I saw it at my kids’ book fair and it sounded good. Plus the books were buy one get one free. 😉 So far it’s super cute. I’m also beta reading a MG fantasy by Jenny Morris that is fantastic. I swear one of the best parts of being a writer is getting to read stuff by your CPs before the rest of the world!

Don't Fall

Seventeen-year-old Anya leads a very secluded life in a house on the edge of town with her adopted mother. She doesn’t go to school, but instead has a private tutor. Her over-protective mom keeps her so sheltered that she doesn’t even have a best friend.

But Anya doesn’t seem to mind. She has her books, her photography, and her daydreams, and would do anything to please her mom. Until one day at the library, the only place she’s allowed to go, she takes a picture of a beautiful boy.

Before long she’s lying to her mom, and sneaking out late at night to meet Zander. But Zander wants more than a secret romance. If Anya wants to be with the boy of her dreams, she will have to risk her relationship with the only other person she’s ever cared about.

About Rachel

rachel run for rosesRachel grew up in a tiny town in Minnesota. She still lives there, with her husband and their four kids. She coaches high school speech and theater, rides Arabian horses, reads as much as she can, and writes stories.

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‘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.

Now available from:

Amazon | iTunes | Barnes & Noble | Other Retailers

Add on Goodreads

Excerpt

“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?”

“Who?”

“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.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads

Aria Kane Photo

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

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Tumblr

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.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Tumblr

Constance Phillips_pic4blogs

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.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads

MelindaDozierAug13b


Interview: Tamara Mataya, new adult author

Today I’m interviewing Tamara Mataya, whose new adult contemporary, Just Breathe, came out on 6 May. This one is totally on my TBR, you guys!

Elle, the main character in Just Breathe, has synaesthesia, a condition you have direct experience with. What can you tell us about it?

It’s not as rare as people think, and there are MANY types. Basically, it just means there are extra connections in my brain between different senses. Most people know about the synesthetes who taste sound, or “see” the music. Mine’s tactile/audio. The exact same as Elle’s, but to a way lesser degree. It can be a challenge, but when I love a song, I REALLY love a song!

What is your favourite thing about Elle, Dominic and Jason?

That they’re real, and make mistakes, and aren’t perfect. A reviewer expressed disappointment in Elle making a bad choice near the end of the book. Of course she does! She’s 21-years-old! She’s going to make crappy choices, react emotionally, be impulsive! It’s part of that age. Hell, it’s part of being human. Things happen, and people aren’t perfect. Jason’s a douche, but not necessarily an evil guy. He’s just incredibly self-centred. Dominic is delightful. I love how considerate he is.

Old booksWhat draws you to writing new adult books? Does the category have its own section in your library yet?

I’ve always written NA – or rather what I think NA is. My New Adult isn’t as… angsty as some that’s out there. Sure there’s conflict and angst, but so many in the category are so dark and depressing. Mine tend to be a little more fun (I hope!). I think it’s just such a fun age to play around in. My library doesn’t have its own NA section, but we’re still in a temporary Sprung Structure because of last year’s flash flood. Our collection is only about 1/3–1/4 of what it was. 😦

Can you tell us about your next project?

My next book comes out in December, and is loosely based on my experiences during the flash flood last year. Though I never had sex on a pool table with a dirty talking firefighter. But all the stories in the book actually happened to people in my town. They’re awful, and real, and people are still recovering 11 months later. The book is called, Taken By Storm.

CoupleYou’re a co-creator of the PitchMas contest. What inspired you to start a pitching contest? Given how time-consuming they are to run, are there ever moments when you want to throw in the towel?

Jessa Russo came to me and said, ‘I want to do a pitch contest, and I want to do it with you!’ So that was how it started. At the time, neither of us had agents ourselves, so we were sort of paying it forwards, but in reverse. Contests are INSANE to run, and take up a surprising amount of time, but they’re so rewarding. Knowing we’ve played a small part in helping someone’s dream come to fruition is AMAZING. Its ultimately up to the writers, but we’re a sort of bridge. They’re a lot of work, but worth it.

What new releases are you looking forward to?

Burned by Karen Marie Moning, and Shaman Rises by CE Murphy

If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advance, what would it be?

Ooo this is tough. There are so many things I’d love to warn myself about, but I feel like by getting my past self NOT to do them, I’d be robbing myself of great life lessons, and hard-won wisdom. Change enough of my past and I might be unrecognizable today. BUT if I could, I’d stay in piano lessons when I was 9 years old, and NOT go on that ski trip when I was 16 – I had an accident and twisted my knee and tore all the ligaments and tendons in my hips. Oh, and not hauling those 50 pound bottles of water that month when I was 26 – that screwed up my wrists and I had to stop playing guitar for years because of the damage. NOT getting those injuries would be excellent.

Choose one! Coffee or tea? Spike or Angel? Sweet or savoury?

-Tea! (I’ve been drinking it since I was three, and my mum is British).

-SPIKE. ALL THE SPIKE! Obv. Is it weird that I thought Angel was cuter when he was full on ripply browed vampire?

-Savoury. Or sweet. But not together. I haven’t yet hopped on the salted caramel bandwagon, but maybe only because I haven’t tried it.

About Tamara

Tamara MatayaTamara Mataya is currently a librarian; she lurked there for so long recommending books to patrons and shushing people, that she suspects they only hired her so it would be less creepy. Now she’s armed with a name tag, and a thin veneer of credibility. She’s also a musician with synaesthesia – which isn’t an issue until someone plays a wrong note, which makes her want to squirm inside out. It makes for a good live show. Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog


Excerpt and giveaway: ‘Wonderfully Wicked’ by CJ Burright

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Wonderfully Wicked
by CJ Burright

 A dreamcaster with the ability to channel creatures from her nightmares, headstrong and cynical Kalila Montgomery longs for a peaceful, picket-fence life…until the man literally of her dreams kidnaps her. Survival quickly becomes her number one goal, yet a growing attraction to the man in her nightmares is impossible to ignore. While she fears he will kill her, other, more terrifying enemies surround her, and Kalila succumbs to his scheme to escape. She may be his one hope for freedom…A deadly combination of power, cunning, and cold-hearted charm, Lydon v’al Endrian fears nothing. Feels nothing.

Chained to a brotherhood of men with the supernatural ability to invade dreams, he hunts dreamcasters to be harvested for their dreams and killed. His target: Kalila Montgomery. But Kalila awakens an undeniable dark desire and a longing for a freedom long-lost. To gain everything he craves, Lydon must seduce Kalila before his plot is discovered…a hopeless challenge which, if failed, will earn him a death-sentence. Caught up in a dangerous world of secrets and obsession, doubt and betrayal, Kalila and Lydon face the nightmare of their lives, where love will either deliver them—or destroy them both.

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Wonderfully Wicked 800 x 1200

Giveaway

Enter to win here!

Excerpt

“I took great effort to see you.” His tone hinted the act made him deserving. “You sleep; I’ll keep watch. And my vow of yesterday stands. I won’t molest you.”

To her annoyance, her pulse danced a country jig. Whatever efforts he took on her behalf were of questionable nature, not romantic. She made a rude noise in case he held any such illusions.

“Keep watch for what? No one besides you could reach my window and my door’s bolted.”

Lydon laced his hands behind his head, his lips twitching as though fighting a smile. “Then I’ll watch you. Like before.”

Horror prickled over her in a rushing tide. She leapt up. “You watched me sleep? Not skulked around in my bedroom to attack me?” She groaned, imagining him watching her drool, snore, or grind her teeth.

He laughed, low and warm. “You’re so lovely when you dream, Lils. An angel.” He patted the empty spot beside him.

Her traitorous body, defenseless against him, obeyed. The red, silken comforter hissed beneath her knees while she climbed onto the opposite side of the giant bed. The lone lamp by the bed cast a mystical glow over Lydon, catching golden highlights in his light hair, the silver shards in his eyes. “Watching people sleep is creepy.”

He shrugged. “Not people, just you. Besides, I am creepy.”

Definitely not creepy. Kalila settled into a cross-legged position and fixed him with a no-nonsense look. “Since it seems you have nothing better to do than lie there like a sloth, be useful and fess up. Why am I being treated as some freaking porcelain doll in a glass case? How can my nightmares benefit the V’alkara? Can the V’alkara really take my dreams away? None of you seem sick—and no, mental doesn’t count—so what’s wrong? And when will you take us home?”

Lydon jiggled one black boot. What she thought might be disapproval flickered in his eyes. “I won’t waste our alone time answering inquiries. I have other plans.”

She swallowed hard. Maybe she’d misjudged him. Maybe he was so confident in his assassin abilities—and her helplessness—he felt sneakiness was unnecessary.

He sat up in a blink of an eye, moving with inhuman speed. One large hand was planted next to her knee. His breath fanned her chin. The scent of the outdoors and a tinge of smoke drifted from his clothes. His voice whispered spider-soft.

“Do you care to know what other less attractive names some call me?” The world seemed to shrink to Lydon and the force of his gaze. “Angel of Ruin. Living Nightmare. Scourge.” His eyes gleamed, darkened. “As you might guess from such monikers, peace in my life is rare. I’ll relish any fragments of it I happen to stumble across for as long as possible.”

His fingers trailed her cheek to cup her chin. In the span of a heartbeat, his face changed. From beautiful man to skeletal beast then back to beautiful man. A chill coiled around her soul, deep and cold as a winter storm. Who—what—was this guy?

“Do you feel it too?”

Kalila’s heartbeat rumbled in her ears, kicked at her throat. Her fingers jerked with a fierce need to touch him. Instead, she fisted the blanket. Admit nothing to the enemy. Yet the urge to nestle her cheek into his palm and purr grappled with reason. She had to take control before she did something stupid.

About the Author

CJ blames her love for reading and all things Medieval on her father, who plied her often with fantasy novels ranging from Sir Lloyd Alexander to Piers Anthony.  Her love for romance, however, lies completely at the feet of her best friend Michelle, who dared to give her a romance novel for her birthday.  She smiled, politely said thank you, and tossed it in the corner, where it gathered dust.  In a moment of desperation, when only the revolting romance remained in her almost-always toppling stack of awaiting books, she sucked it up and read the romance.  Doomed.

She started writing fantasy and paranormal romance for the cathartic experience, decided she liked it, and after two overlong, horribly written novels joined RWA and the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal special interest chapter.  Best classes and critique groups ever.  Double doomed.  Now, writing is a necessity, not just a hobby.

In her spare time, when she’s not writing or reading or actually working, CJ might be found in the dojang (4th Dan Black Belt, baby), rooting on the Mariners (who will some day win the World Series), working out (P90X, anyone?), gardening (a little dirt never hurt anyone), or playing Music of the Night on the piano (without mask or cape). She lives in Oregon with her fabulous husband and daughter. Not to mention her minions, a herd of cats.

WONDERFULLY WICKED is CJ’s Burright’s first novel.

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Book launch: ‘One Lucky Night’ anthology

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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.

Now available from:

Amazon | iTunes | Barnes & Noble | Other Retailers

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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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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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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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Book (re)launch, excerpt and contest: ‘The Best Man’ by Ana Blaze

Those of you with especially keen memories may recall that I’ve promoted The Best Man before. This was another of the books published by Entranced. It’s now being re-launched, with a cover that I personally love more than the original. And do you know what the best part is for you, as a reader? Another giveaway! Also, that excerpt makes me want to rush out and buy the book RIGHT NOW!

The Best Man

The Best Man
by Ana Blaze

Genre: Contemporary Romance Novella
Rating: Steamy

Available now in e-book or audiobook!

Beth Chase is too busy planning perfect weddings to worry about the lack of action in her own love life. But if she was looking for a man, she wouldn’t be looking at Colin Pratt. Her boss swears that Best Man Colin is a quiet scholar and science fiction writer who couldn’t possibly cause a fuss at his own brother’s wedding. He’s clearly never met the man in question.

Snarky, sexy and more than a little inebriated, Colin is the final obstacle between Beth and the last perfect wedding she needs to make partner. Of course, when she helps him into a taxi at the end of the night she has no idea that he’s only just begun to poke holes in her professional exterior. Colin might have the skills to seduce a romance professional, but can he convince her that he’s the best man to share her happy ever after?

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Giveaway

Enter here to win a $10 Starbucks gift card (open internationally)!

Excerpt

Colin was right; she let him take her to dinner. He wanted to call and have a limo pick them up, but Beth insisted on driving. She did let him pick the restaurant from a list of suggestions.

They were seated at a very nice Italian place with an old stone fireplace and a dozen small round tables covered by pristine white cloths. Classical music played quietly, allowing for the possibility of private conversations.

Colin smiled at her from across the small table. “You look lovely.”

“You already said that.”

“It’s still true.”

“Thank you. You look rather handsome yourself.”

“Wait until you see me without any clothes. I’ll blow your mind.”

She bit her lip to keep from chuckling too loudly. “I have seen you without your clothes on.”

He nodded. “That’s right. How did that go over again?” His head dipped to the side and studied her.

“I was under the impression you knew how to behave in public as long as you weren’t dosed with Xanax and the entire contents of the courtesy bar. Should I have prepared a list of appropriate dinner topics for you?”

“Ah, like the rain in Spain? No worries, love. If I have learned anything from television we are now expected to surreptitiously survey the couples around us and guess at their lives.”

Beth giggled. “Is that so?”

“Definitely. Take this lovely couple to our right.” He inclined his head in the direction of a grey-haired woman who was arguing with the white-haired man across from her. “Oh. Don’t look directly at them! Sneakiness is an essential part of this mating ritual. So, what do you think, first date or high-priced escort?”

Charmed and feeling playful, she leaned closer. “No way. Clearly, they’re spies. Only they work for enemy organizations. Twenty-five years ago they met on an assignment that involved seducing each other and accidentally fell in love. Now they meet in secret once a year in honor of the life they couldn’t have because of their duty to their respective groups.” She sat back in her chair and grinned.

“That’s good.” Colin nodded. “Damn, that’s brilliant. You must go on a lot of dates because you are very good at this game.”

She nodded to a young couple across the room. “Go ahead. Try again.”

He nodded. “Cause a distraction so they don’t see me looking.” He glanced over at them quickly and then back. “Challenging.”

“If you’re not up for it …”

Colin held up his hands. “I didn’t say that. I’m just suggesting that successful completion of this mission should allow me access to the next level.”

“The next level of what?”

“Us. I want to know your middle name, at least one honestly embarrassing story, and I want to be in your bedroom tonight.”

Grinning, she shrugged. “Deal. Impress me.”

“This is their third first date.”

Beth raised an eyebrow.

“Hear me out, love. Their first, first date went horridly awry. He made an utter fool of himself but knew immediately that she was the only girl for him. Seeing no other option he obviously created a vessel for time travel and went back to try again. Their second date went only slightly better, so he is trying a third time in hopes that she will agree to go out with him again.”

“Do you think she’s going to say yes tonight?”

His eyes softened when they met hers. “I hope so. But if she doesn’t he’ll keep trying until she does.”

“He does seem persistent — what, with the whole time machine thing.”

“He has to be. He’s never fallen for a woman quite so hard before, and first impressions are very difficult to override.”

Beth nodded. “My middle name is Rose.”

“That’s … My mother was named Rose.” His voice took on a wistful note.

“If another man told me that I’d be sure it was a pickup line.”

He smirked. “And it no doubt would be. All other men are total scum. You should give up dating them completely.”

She rolled her eyes. “What kind of stuff do you write? You write, don’t you? You said that last night.”

He stared at her for a moment before responding. “How do you feel about poetry?”

Her lips twitched. “You write poems. Poems?”

“Of course not.” He shook his head. “Only total saps write poetry. I write manly guides to … manliness, and also … motorcycles.”

“So that’s a yes on the poetry? I thought you said something about short stories.”

He sighed. “I write, in general, everything. The poetry is the worst. I’m complete rubbish at it, but I like it the best. I also write short stories — generally in the science fiction genre. I have one entirely un-publishable novel and a few more unfinished, but almost equally unlikely to find an audience.”

“Tell me one of your poems.”

He leaned across the table. “No.”

Beth leaned in and dropped a sweet kiss on his mouth, smiling as she sat back again. “I’m glad I came out with you tonight.” She was having fun, nearly too much fun given their temporary status. The air sparked between them.

He grinned and sat back in his chair. “I am too, Beth. But, I’m still not going to recite any of my poetry.”

“Fair enough, though I’ll bet hearing one would have gotten me all … hot for you.”

Colin snorted. “Doubtful. Besides, we both know you just changed the subject so that you could get out of telling me your embarrassing story.”

Beth nodded to the waitress as she placed their food on the table. Colin gave the woman a quick smile and said, “Thank you.”

“I don’t have any embarrassing stories.” She twirled some pasta around her fork, brought it to her mouth, and groaned in appreciation. Colin was smirking at her. Beth blushed. “This is really good.”

“I’m very happy to see you enjoying it.”

“This whole don’t-mind-me-I’m-just-a-shy-book-guy thing is totally an act, isn’t it?”

“Book guy?”

“You know what I mean. The nice manners and excellent vocabulary come in handy by getting girls to lower their shields, and then you swoop in with all the innuendo and … touching.”

“Ah, yes. You’ve got me. I’m a dreadful rogue.”

 About the Author

Ana BlazeAna lives just outside Washington, DC, with her very supportive husband and three rather demanding cats. She loves the ocean, Indian food, Ikea, and cooking. Before settling down as a writer, Ana was an elementary school teacher, a preschool teacher, a camp counselor, a waitress, a research assistant, a canoe tour guide, and one glorious summer during college she spent eight hours a day placing stickers inside library books so they would be part of the fancy new automated checkout system. She won’t say which job she liked best.

Ana is a member of Romance Writers of America.

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