Sizzling Summer Nights Blog Hop

•August 1, 2014 • 46 Comments


Welcome to my blog on the Sizzling Summer Nights Blog Hop.

If you started with my blog, you need to go HERE and get on the blog bus.  Along the tour there will be chances to enter to win all sorts of prizes from the participating authors and the grand prize a 16 GB Kindle Fire.

While I am donating a download of one of my Monette Michaels’ books to the prizes for the hop, I will give away a copy of one of my Rae Morgan books to one lucky commenter on this blog post.  My Rae Morgan books are listed HERE.

And as part of the Summer celebration, I am sharing the first chapter of Moon Magick, Book 2 in my Coven of the Wolf series.  Brenna Lindsay, a witch, discovers something dangerous during her Summer Solstice ritual. Hope you enjoy.

Excerpt from Moon Magick:

Brenna Lindsay stood silently in the circle she’d formed of white beeswax candles. The full moon bathed the clearing with silver light. Cool night air met the still-warm ground, creating wispy patches of ground fog blanketing the earth like a sheet of transparent white cotton.

Her wolf, White Star, sat on his haunches next to her, alert and on guard. Her other companions, twin shape shifters, Boris and Igor, prowled the perimeter of the glen, watching for any hint of danger.

Coven of the Wolf, #2

Coven of the Wolf, #2

A hoot of an owl and the rustling of a small creature were the only sounds detectable on the night air.

Brenna relaxed, trusting that her companions would stand guard. She resumed her preparations for the Summer Solstice ritual. Normally, at the lesser Sabbat of Litha, it was common to seek the Goddess’s blessing upon earth’s bounty and protection for one’s home. With the veils between the worlds of light and dark at their thinnest, a witch has the charge to maintain the delicate balance.

This year, that duty was of higher consequence.

Evil was afoot, and had gathered strength since June’s crescent moon. It was then that she’d received the first warning, a note tacked to one of her herb farm’s drying sheds – – We’re watching you, witch. Stay out of business that doesn’t concern you, or else!

After several more ominous threats and some incidents of vandalism, she contacted the head of the Coven of the Wolf in Chicago, Drake Morgan. Briefly, she’d considered going to the local law. The new sheriff was reputed to be a fair and impartial man, but she quickly discarded the notion. No matter how open-minded the sheriff was, once the words “witch” and “magick” became involved, his liberalness would vanish more quickly than ice in Hell.

Drake’s response had been gratifyingly immediate. He sent two men from his security team, the Russian twins, Boris and Igor, to investigate – – and provide protection. They’d arrived yesterday, just in time for the midsummer ritual.

A light breeze blew her azure-colored cloak against her legs and caused the blanket of light fog to shift and move as if it were a living, breathing creature. She shivered as some animal screamed in the forest at the edge of the clearing. Star stiffened beside her, nose raised to sniff the air. After a moment he relaxed, nudging her hand in reassurance, urging her to finish the night’s business.

Whatever was out there was not a direct threat to them, or Star would’ve attempted to drag her away.

Turning back to her preparations, she placed several large amethysts and other protective stones that she would ask the Goddess to bless. The larger stones she would bury around her house and those of the other local coven members. The smaller stones she would fashion into protective amulets for her non-coven employees to wear while on the job.

But her magick could not insulate the countryside. So, she would seek a visualization of the evil. She hoped that once she knew who or what was the cause, she would be able to stop it before anyone got hurt.

In the exact center of the circle lay a small pond. It was this she would use for the scrying.

“Woo-oof.” Star nudged her hand.

She looked down at her pet and smiled. The white star marking around his eye almost glowed in the moonlight. It was the only lightness on him other than his silver-colored eyes, his pelt being as dark as a moonless night. “What is it, boy? Do you wish to hunt whatever is rustling out there in the woods?”

Star showed his teeth and nodded.

Laughing, she stroked her pet’s head between his ears. “Go on with you. Boris and Igor will protect me. Just don’t bring whatever you catch home. I don’t want rodent parts in my house.”

Star rubbed his head against her leg in obeisance, then took off for the wall of trees at the edge of the clearing. His dark body merged into the inky shadows.

“Why do you put up with that wild animal?” asked Boris, or was it Igor? She still had a bit of trouble telling the two apart.

“He’s no wilder than either of you.” Her glance swept over the twins, who’d shifted from their wolfhound form into human. They stood outside the circle, their pale, naked bodies almost glistening in the bright moonlight, waiting to be invited inside.

“Please enter. All be blessed who come within.” After the two crossed over, she re-consecrated the circle and began to light the white beeswax candles. “Didn’t you bring any clothes?”

“No,” said one of the twins, she thought it might be Igor, since his tone seemed serious. “We thought summer solstice rituals were performed sky clad.”

“Traditionally they are,” she said, “but this spot is adjacent to public forest land, so it is safer to have clothing at hand.”

“Be assured, Mistress. If someone comes, we’ll shift back to animal form,” the other twin said. This had to be Boris. Igor had stopped calling her mistress yesterday evening. She thought Boris, who’d proven to be somewhat of a smart-aleck, did it to pull her chain.

“Boris, I asked you not to address me as mistress.” She turned to complete the arrangements for her ritual. “My employees are beginning to wonder about our relationship.”

Boris stifled a snicker.

She glared at him. “That wasn’t meant to be funny. This is a small town, and all I need is for one of the non-believers to go to the new sheriff and tell him I’m a dominatrix. Or, that I’m having orgies with two of my employees.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Boris said, grinning like a loon.

“What can we do to help?” asked Igor as he punched his brother in the arm with his fist.

“Nothing. Just stand and listen.”

Brenna arranged a wreath of white flowers on her hair, then removed her outer cloak. Both men gasped, but she refused to acknowledge their recognition of the sheerness of her robe. Igor was correct – – most rituals were performed in the nude. To honor the tradition, but protect her modesty in case someone stumbled onto her during ritual, she preferred a sheer gown.

Taking her staff of polished oak, she pushed it into the earth. By grounding herself to Mother Earth, she would prevent an inadvertent crossing over into the dark world. Closing her eyes, she felt the flow of the Gaia’s life force seeping its way into her. She was now ready to plumb the high energy of the summer solstice. If things went well, she would garner that energy for protection and seek out the root of the evil.

Picking up the chalice containing wine she had pressed from last year’s grape harvest, she took a sip, then held her hands to the sky.

Goddess, we bring thee gifts to celebrate the time of light and dark.
Help us seek balance.
Bless these stones to protect our home and those within.
Provide us with the wisdom to preserve the gifts of your bounty.

As her words ended, the crystalline stones she’d placed around the circle shimmered and glowed. She turned toward the East and took another sip of the wine.

Goddess, send the winds to refresh our land.

The eastern breeze increased in its intensity, clearing out the heavy night mist. She turned toward the South, toasting the Goddess once more with her cup.

Goddess, send the sun to warm the earth and allow all life to flourish.

A strobe-like flash of light from the south swept over the circle, then vanished into the ground at Brenna’s feet. She rotated another quarter-turn toward the West and sipped her wine.

Goddess, bless us with rain to help the bounty grow.

The rumble of thunder and a flash of lightning came from a cloudless sky and the pond rippled with the droplets of a phantom thunderstorm. She turned one final time.

Goddess, send the seasons in their proper time.

Brenna took the green cord knotted about her waist and kissed the ends, ending the traditional Litha ritual.

Going to the four-points of the compass on the circle, she laid offerings of flowers and cookies for the nature spirits, asking them to aid in the protection of her home.

Kneeling by the pond, she grew warm from the power she’d taken. Stirring the waters in a clockwise fashion, she imparted some of the energy to the cool liquid. Within the misty swirls, images began to form as she sought knowledge of those who threatened her and those she protected – – maybe even the why of the threats.

Goddess, all we have asked of you,
We welcome with open hearts full of light and goodness.
Please reveal who seeks to harm me and mine.

The waters bubbled and boiled as the air within the circle whistled and screamed like a banshee. A white owl swooped down and landed at the edge of the pond, a mere arm’s length away from Brenna. Its golden-eyed gaze captured hers with its intensity. Boris and Igor closed in on the bird. She stayed them with a shake of her head.

The owl spoke to her mind:

Daughter, you have done right in seeking me out. There is a darkness upon the land. The dark ones are using you and yours for their own evil purposes. Soon, you will discover their perfidy and must choose your path to reestablish harmony. Be warned, you must not battle the evil alone, for you are of the light. Look to the waters. See the other that will make you whole. Together, in balance, you will defeat the threat from the darkness.

The owl blinked once, then flew off with a flashing of wings.

Brenna gazed at the waters. Among the ripples she saw many things. Death would come this very night. Evil would reign over the land. The only way to halt the onslaught of darkness and defeat evil’s takeover was to find her opposite, a man of strength, formed in the fire of battle. A warrior.

At the last image, she closed her eyes, but still she saw – – him. The one. He was naked, his bronzed body sculpted by a master’s hand. His hair was long and silky black, touching his shoulders. His profile was formidable – – his nose straight as a blade, his face, rugged. But what was indelibly etched on her mind’s eye were his hands, long-fingered, as they reached for her as she lay, naked, on an unfamiliar bed in a room she had never seen.

Shaken by what the Goddess had revealed to her through the owl, she didn’t shrug off Boris’s assistance in standing. On her own, she might never have gotten off the ground.

“Correct me if I’m wrong, Brenna,” said Boris, for once being sober. “But aren’t owls symbols for the crone aspect of the Goddess?”

“Yes.” She shivered and looked around for her cloak. Igor held it for her and she slipped it on, grateful for its warmth against the damp night air. “The trilogy of the Goddess – – Maiden, Mother, Crone. The crone represents wisdom, thus the owl. The full moon is the phase associated with the crone.”

“What did the owl tell you?”
Before she could frame an answer, a howling erupted from the darkness. The sound raised the hairs on her arms.

“It’s Star. He’s found something.”

She ran toward the sound of Star’s cry. Shifting into their animal forms, Igor and Boris ran alongside her, then quickly out-stripped her two-legged pace with their four.
She followed them into the forest’s foreboding darkness.

When she found them, the trio stood in a semi-circle at the base of a large oak tree, gazing upwards at something she could not see from her angle of approach. Hurrying to join them, she hit a wall of energy, as solid as if it were made of bricks. Malevolence exuded from the psychic barricade, making her queasy.

Star whimpered, then called to her. “Woof!”

She fought her way through the thick murk to join her companions.

Treading carefully, she walked around the oak’s trunk. Her hand automatically reached out to calm Star, who whined, low and incessantly, at the back of his throat. She looked up to see what had captured their awful attention.

“Blessed Goddess.” She would have fallen if one of the twins had not shifted shape to catch her within his strong arms.

A beam of moonlight had fought its way through the canopy of trees and highlighted the oak’s trunk. Like a black-and-white horror show, it outlined the figure of a man staked to the tree. His blood ran darkly down his naked body and dripped onto the forest floor.

Muttering a prayer to God and the Goddess, she sought a swift passing for his essence to the other side. But it was not to be.

The man’s spirit pummeled her senses with his need to be avenged, seeking entrance to her mind.

Be calm, angry spirit. I will listen . . .later. There are actions that must be taken first.

It was as the visions in the pond had revealed – – the duty to seek out the evil and vanquish it belonged to her and the man she had yet to meet. Until that time, she had to follow mankind’s laws. There was no way to hide this death from the authorities.

“We have to call the sheriff,” she addressed the twins. “One of you has to go and report this. The other has to go to the clearing and clean up the circle. I’ll stay here.” The naked male warmth plastered against her back, enveloping her, caused her to add, “and for goodness sake, get some clothes.”

“One of us can stay here,” argued Igor, his warm breath caressed her cheek. His arms were the ones that had caught – – and still held her. Closely, too closely. His nakedness added to her unease with what the night had brought – – that and the knowledge that he was not the “one.”

“No,” she said as she sought to move away from his possessive embrace. Igor growled low in his throat as his grip tightened for a mere fraction of a second, then went slack.

Before he could rethink his position, she stepped out of his arms and turned to capture both twin’s gazes with her own. “I have to stay. I need to make an attempt to reach what might be left of his life force.” And that of the evil which lingers here, but they didn’t need to know that. “Besides I’ll have Star with me. He and I will do just fine.”

“Brenna, you can’t get mixed up in this,” said Boris. “With the threats to expose you as a witch – – ”

“He was killed near my land. I’m already involved. Besides, a death was prophesied by the Goddess for this night. His death. The balance has shifted to the dark side. She has informed me it is my duty. I have to shift it back.”

Igor’s sharp blue eyes swept over her face. “Just what did you see in the scrying?”

“The future.” My future. “And somehow this man’s death will bring it to me.”

****

Don’t forget to make a comment to enter to win one free download of one Rae Morgan book.  Thanks for hopping with us.

SFR Brigade Starry Nights Blog Hop

•June 21, 2014 • 23 Comments

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Welcome, fellow travelers. You’ve reached one of the stops in the SFR Brigade’s Midsummer Blog Hop. If you wish to start at the beginning, CLICK ON THE STARRY NIGHTS LOGO to the left.

If you wish to pick and choose whose blog to visit, go HERE for a full list of participants.

And, yes, there are prizes from the authors participating in the tour. Here are the prize packages, and boy, do they look good!

First Place Prize –$100 Amazon or B&N Gift Card plus Tales from the SFR Brigade, Heart of Stone, Her Cyborg Awakes, Anja’s Star, Silver Strife, Corwint Series 4 Book Gift Pack, Earth’s Requiem, Alien Blood, Starwoman’s Sanctuary, one book from Jessica E Subject’s SFR backlist (ONE ebook title out of the following: Alien Adoration, Alien Admirer, Alien Lover, An Unexpected Return, Another Night Another Planet, Celestial Seduction, Crash Landing, Hey Santa, His Alien Virgin, Made For Her, Never Gonna Let You Go, Never Gonna Desert You, Never Gonna Say Goodbye, Satin Sheets in Space, Sudden Breakaway, or Unknown Futures), LodeStar Series Books 1-3 (Stark Pleasure, Creed of Pleasure and Captive of Pleasure), Reunion trilogy, Terms & Conditions Apply, Wreck of the Nebula Dream, Starheart, Kuralon Rescue, A Matter of Trust, Earth’s Blood, Roman’s Gold, Wolf Born, The Marann, Nightfall, Unrequited, Butterman Time Travel Inc., Legend Beyond the Stars, Hathor’s Legacy: Outcast, Removed, Midwinter Crisis, Shlyer: Finding Home, Boyfriend’s Brother, Surviving the Trap, Captive, Tower in the Woods, Catching Red, Underlighters. (42 books)

Second Place Prize– $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card plus Tales from the SFR Brigade, Heart of Stone, Her Cyborg Awakes, Anja’s Star, Silver Strife, Corwint Series 4 Book Gift Pack, Earth’s Requiem, Alien Blood, Starwoman’s Sanctuary, Tangled In Time, Terms & Conditions Apply, Escape from Zulaire, Lana’s Comet, Heart’s Bounty, Glad Hands, Nikolai, The Trial of Tompa Lee, The Tribulations of Tompa Lee, The Midas Rush, Prime Obsession, Daughters of Suralia, Morning Star, Hey Santa, Tower in the Woods, Catching Red, Underlighters, Alex Wales:Promise, Recast trilogy (Wither, Clash, Shiver). (33 books)

Third Place Prize–3 separate winners each receive a $25 Amazon or B&N Gift Card plus Tales from the SFR Brigade, Heart of Stone, Her Cyborg Awakes, Anja’s Star, Corwint Series 4 Book Gift Pack, Hey Santa, Tower in the Woods, Catching Red, Underlighters. (12 books each)

Enter through a Rafflecopter giveaway. There will be no substitutions. Authors donating e-books will attempt to accommodate the winner’s required format.

See below for how to win a prize from me on this blog.

In keeping with the blog hop’s theme of Starry Nights, I’m sharing an excerpt from Prime Obsession, Book 1 of the Prime Chronicles.

Post a comment in this blog, and I will award one lucky traveler, a download copy of Prime Obsession.  I’ll choose that award  on June 25th after 8 PM (EST which is GMT -4).

Blurb:

Melina Dmitros is a seasoned battleship captain for the Galactic Alliance. Calls from ships in distress are not all that uncommon in the outermost spirals of the Milky Way. Calls from the warlike Prime were. Now that they were allies, Mel figures she’d better get used to working in conjunction with the chauvinistic race. She never expected to be attracted to one of them.

The Prime, one of the oldest species in the galaxy, were known for going their own way. But with problems on Cejuru Prime and increasing attacks by the Antareans, the Prime joined the Alliance to lend their expertise in battling the warlike reptilian species–and ultimately, to survive as a race.

Captain Wulf Caradoc, the eldest son and heir apparent of the Prime leader, looked forward to the trip to the Alliance ambassadorial planet. His mission is ostensibly to deliver the diplomatic team to the new Prime embassy. His real mission is to meet his fated mate, his gemate, one of the Lost Ones. Wulf hadn’t anticipated the diplomatic mission being attacked by pirates–and he especially hadn’t anticipated his gemate, Melina Dmitros, being the one sent to rescue his ship.

Two strong people pulled together by biology and fate. Their union will be forged in a crucible of survival, treachery and duty.

Now that you know what the book is all about.  Settle back and enjoy the excerpt.  And don’t forget to comment to get a chance to win a FREE download of this book.

EXCERPT from PRIME OBSESSION, Book 1 of  the Prime Chronicles:

Well-rested after a solid seven hours of sleep, Mel entered the Captain’s conference room in search of Wulf.

He sat alone. Beyond him the expansive port window framed a fiery red, blue, white and peach display of a star cluster in a nebula thousands of light-years behind the Galanti.MM_PC1_PrimeObsession_240x360

How many times had he sat in the observation area, watching as the galaxy whizzed by? How many times had he sat in that chair, attempting to figure a way out of a tight corner? How many times had he questioned his place in the grand scheme of things, wondering when his number might come up and if he would live to see another mission?

“Too many times to count, gemate. Too many damn times.”

He turned and smiled at her. What had put that smile on his face? With a light mental touch, she read his emotions. Happiness. Love. Both emotions were tied to her–only her.

A sense of well-being swept over her. This was right; they were right.

He held out a hand, beckoning her to join him. “I now have more to fight for. To live for. I have you and our future together. So, I expect that I will find myself in this chair, watching the galaxy whiz by many more times.”

Mel walked over and kissed him lightly on the lips. “But no longer alone.”

“Yes,” he whispered against her mouth. “No longer alone. Forgive me for my loss of control earlier?”

She pulled away from the luscious warmth of his mouth then leaned against the arm of his chair. “Nothing to forgive. We still have much to learn of each other. We are both used to being in control, to acting as we see fit. It’s a learning curve, this battle-mate relationship.”

She stroked the back of his sinewy hand with one finger. “More like a learning cliff. The biological connection is there and has been ever since that moment we first met in the maintenance tunnel. For me, the emotional connection has been there also, almost from the beginning–though I tried to deny it.” She shook her head, laughing at herself. “I didn’t trust it, at first. It’s the psychological connection, the learned trust, I have the most trouble dealing with. Sharing command decisions goes against all my training and experience. But, I know that it, too, will come.”

Wulf reversed the grip she had on his hand and brought hers to his lips. “Thank you. I’m not sure I deserve your understanding, but I’m grateful for it.” He rubbed his cheek against her hand. “For me, it is the emotional connection that is overwhelming. Intellectually, I know you are strong and capable, but my fears for your safety override my brain and I react emotionally. I’ve never had that happen before. I will try to overcome the issue, but it might take time. Prime males have deeply rooted protective instincts when it comes to their mates, even strong battle-mates. Have patience with me?”

“Always. You’re worth the trouble,” she teased. Pulling her hand away, she cupped his jaw and stole another kiss.

His eyes glowed with love as he reached for her face and took control of the kiss. His tongue swept into her mouth and claimed every single millimeter like the conquering warrior he was. It was a kiss that promised hot nights on cool sheets. And even hotter, sultry afternoons of tangled sweaty limbs.

Mel moaned, returning the kiss, trying to get closer to the promise of passion.

The quarter-hour reminder of yellow alert status sounded, startling them both.

Groaning, Wulf pulled away and whispered, “Later, gemate.”

Sitting back in his chair, his molten gaze traveled over her, setting her nerves ablaze. One look from Wulf was worth more than all the foreplay any other male of her acquaintance had ever attempted.

“You are rested?” His voice was husky with restrained heat.

Taking a calming breath, Mel walked to his other side and sat down. “Yes.” Answering his unspoken question, she added, “My cuts and bruises were minor. I’m fine.”

Another of his heated searching glances and, then, a light mental touch had her pulling up the maintenance report on the status of the weapons systems to distract him from his intimate examination of her wellbeing. “I’m fine, Wulf. How’s the weapons’ recharge going?”

A disbelieving grunt was his only response.

Obviously, she hadn’t masked the lingering pain from the injuries she’d obtained during her EVI walk. If she could have, she would’ve denied all injury. But he’d seen the evidence in the EVI staging area and, later, after he’d escorted her back to their quarters. Once there, the doctor quickly examined her, efficiently wielding the ice gun on her bruises and lasering her lacerations and abrasions.

Wulf had stood over them both, alternately cursing each hurt as it was revealed, then lecturing her on the prime importance of her safety for his mental health and the ultimate well-being of every single crew member–for every living being in the galaxy. Then he’d dismissed the doctor and tucked her in bed. As he kissed her, he had pressure-injected her with a sleeping agent which had put her under for over six and a half standard hours.

The sneaky bastard.

She would’ve done the same for him. They really did think alike. She grinned.

Still working on shifting Wulf’s attention back to work and away from her physical status, she commented, “Looks as if we’re still at least five standard hours away from full power on the two forward weapons and two standard hours on the aft.”

“They are making progress.” Wulf caressed her left hand as it hovered over the keypad. “When we get to Tooh 10, let’s take some time, visit Maren at the embassy on Tooh 2. Maybe stay at the resort for some rest and relaxation, and what the Terrans call a honeymoon.”

She smiled and turned her hand up to clasp his. “That sounds like a plan.”

*****
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Other Books in the Prime Chronicles series:

Book 2

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Book 3, Coming Soon

Cherise Sinclair’s Edge of the Enforcer

•May 13, 2014 • 10 Comments

CS_DoDH4_EdgeoftheEnforcer_coverinThe Edge of the Enforcer is the fourth book in the Dark Haven world … well sort of.  The first two novella-length books set in Dark Haven were in anthologies, Doms of Dark Haven and Doms of Dark Haven 2, and the third book was My Liege of Dark Haven.  For this fourth book, Cherise chose Zander DeVries, the “Enforcer” of the San Francisco BDSM club called Dark Haven, owned by Xavier, who was featured in Book 3.  Book 4 pulls in the main characters from previous Dark Haven books and the two Mountain Masters’ books.

Loose-Id Buy Link

Don’t miss the chance to win an e-book copy of Master of the Mountain.  Read through to the end to find out how to win.

What’s Edge of the Enforcer all about?

Alexander “Zander” DeVries is an operative for Simon Demakis’s security company (Simon was in the first Doms of Dark Haven antho) and a part-time mercenary. DeVries has just come back from a mercenary kidnap-and-rescue mission where one of his fellow mercs was killed and deVries was shot.  As a Dom with sadistic proclivities, after such a mission, he really needs to work out his anger, frustrations, and just all-round pissed-off-ness on some poor masochist’s body.  Since deVries has a lot of stress and dark emotions to shed, he can’t trust himself to scene with a sweet sub like Lindsey who owes him a blow job and anal sex, a debt she incurred by losing to him in the Dom-sub paint ball games (from the play party at Logan Hunt’s mountain lodge/resort in My Liege of Dark Haven).

Lindsey, who is attracted to deVries, is not into pain. She knows she owes him, but assumes since he hasn’t bothered to collect that he’s not interested in her. She feels it’s probably a good thing since she can’t allow herself to get involved with anyone because she’s on the run from crooked law enforcement officers who’ve framed her for two murders.  Until she decodes some encrypted files and proves her innocence, she has to remain solo, just in case she needs to pick up and run.

Her plan to stay uninvolved with deVries goes awry when he chooses to call in the debt she owes him.  He gives her a whole night of fabulous DS play and hot, Hot, HOT sex.  The morning after he mistakes something she says and it triggers one of his “hot” buttons. When he leaves, he does so in a callous manner that hurts Lindsey and allows her own insecurities to raise their ugly heads.

But the misunderstanding is temporary. After deVries seeks her out, arriving just in time to rescue her from a bad situation in a dangerous neighborhood, she’s hooked on deVries.

But is deVries hooked on her? Can Lindsey handle his level of sadism?  Can he be happy with a sweet sub who likes rough sex and some erotic pain, but no more? And even if the sex issues work out, will her past force her to leave deVries, the only man she has ever truly loved?

Since I don’t want to spoil the twists and turns Cherise takes the reader through, I’ll just leave you with those questions.  You need to read the book to find the answers.

Trust me, if you liked Sam and Linda’s story from Masters of Shadowlands series [This Is Who I Am], you’ll love deVries and Lindsey’s story.

Both Sam’s book and deVries’s deal with the emotional and psychological needs of the SM dynamic (and other plot issues, of course). While it’s true Sam and deVries are both classified as  sadists, they aren’t identical in their needs and urges.

For example, Sam likes to work with true masochists, and if they are also submissive, like Linda, then all the better. Hurting a true masochist makes Sam feel good in that he is fulfilling the masochist’s need for pain. He pushes Linda’s limits, knowing that is what she needs to release her pent up tensions. Sam’s sadism and Linda’s masochism satisfy their particular emotional/psychological needs and are a part of their “normal” sex life when they become partners. Their relationship is, in a way, symbiotic. Putting Linda into subspace, puts him into Dom-space.

DeVries likes to mete out pain to release his own tensions. His role as the Enforcer of Dark Haven allows him to alleviate his tension often, allowing him control in all other aspects of his life.  When his stress gets too strong, he needs to scene — and only male masochists can handle the punishment he dishes out. But after he’s meted out the pain and shed his demons, he wants sex — and not with the male masochists he’s hurt.  At that point, he looks for female subs as partners.  The resulting scene can include rough sex. It can be D/s. It can be sensual, almost vanilla.  It can include a lower level of pain per the sub’s tolerance levels.

DeVries knows himself and his urges well enough to accept that he doesn’t have to have a masochist in his personal sex life/relationship.  He could be happy living with a sweet sub like Lindsey.  This is unlike Sam who needs a submissive masochist for an intimate relationship outside the club.  DeVries can slake his strongest sadistic urges at the club with a male masochist and then go home and make love to a woman like Lindsey.

Does deVries push Lindsey’s limits on pain?  Sure, but he also knows when to call a halt.  DeVries can also be sweet.  He sleeps with Lindsey after he collects the debt she owes, giving her more pleasure than she has ever known. He then stays the night — and he cuddles!

The above is an example of why I like all of Cherise Sinclair’s erotic BDSM romances.  She focuses on how BDSM works for the individual. She doesn’t paint all sadists, all masochists, all Doms and subs with the same broad brush. Her characters come across as real people and not caricatures.   The  fact I can even see Sam and deVries as romantic heroes is why I consider Cherise Sinclair the premier BDSM romance author.  I believe in Sam and deVries. I like them.  I want to meet them.  They are good men despite the fact they like their sex lives with a huge-ass smattering of kink.

If someone had ever told me, I would enjoy and want to re-read erotic romance stories in which the hero was a sadist and who caused his lover pain — I would’ve called them crazy.  But Sam’s story is one of my top five favorite Cherise books, and deVries’s just bumped another book down a notch. [I'll list my top five fave Cherise books at the end -- this is determined by how many times I'll go to one of them for a comfort read.]

Cherise’s characters, be they Doms, subs, masochists, sadists, lovers of menage, new to the BDSM scene or veterans, are not one-dimensional.  They have real lives.  Some clean offices. Some own construction companies. Some are kindergarten teachers. Some are ex-military and work in security or law enforcement.  They have families. They give back to their communities. They are, in fact, people you might run across at the local grocery store and think, “hey, that person is really nice.”

Cherise’s characters are you and me. Their sexual preferences are just not vanilla.

Other than strong characters with real emotions and real lives – – what makes Cherise a top notch author in any genre, not just romance?

A. She plots extremely well. Her romance arcs have just enough angst to make the characters work through things to reach their happy ever after. She smartly avoids the super-angst of soap operas. [May I just say I hate super-angst and TSTL characters who don't talk to each other?] It’s a fine balance, but she perches on that narrow line very well, making her stories often heart-wrenching. A reader knows going into one of Cherise’s books that she will be put through an emotional wringer, but that there will be a happy-ever-after for the main characters when the end is reached.

The external conflicts usually have some sense of danger or suspense which propels the story along at a good pace and puts extra pressure on the characters who are struggling with the emotional issues of trust and love. I have to say I am a sucker for external conflicts that exacerbate the characters’ personal journeys.  It’s what I write, and what I like to read.

B. Cherise’s voice is clear and strong with a hint of playfulness — and after all, sex, even kinky sex, should be fun. Her voice has a strength of purpose. What purpose?   Showing a sense of right and wrong in both the BDSM world and in the real world in which her characters act out their stories.  There is a deep sense of justice and humanity in Cherise’s books that sucks me in.

C. Her sense of place is spot on.  You always know where you are and what things look, smell, and sound like.  Setting is important — engaging the senses is important — and Cherise knows that and delivers.  She also never sacrifices the story to showcase nit-picky details.  No info dumps in her writing.  Cherise knows what she is — she is a story-teller, not an interior decorator or a travelogue writer.

So, if you haven’t read a Cherise Sinclair erotic romance — and you are an open-minded reader who enjoys being entertained by excellent writing — give her a try.

I promised to list my Top Five Cherise Sinclair faves.  These are the books I like to re-read when I can’t find anything new to read and I want a well-told story with characters I like — and, of course,  hot sex.

Monette Michaels’ Top Five Fave Cherise Sinclair Books:

1.  The Dom’s Dungeon – a stand-alone book.  I love the set up. I love the humor. I love Alex’s dominant traits and his humanity. I love this book so much I own it in e-book and print.  It’s my first pick when I need a sexy comfort read to take me away from the stress of a bad day.

2.  Breaking Free, Masters of the Shadowlands, Book 3 - Beth and Nolan’s story.  This is a sigh-worthy book.  And a several hankie story.  Nolan is rough and tough and scary-looking, but he has a mushy middle when it comes to Beth. Beth has had a horrific past, but has valiantly rebuilt her life. She still has fears and needs which are often in conflict.  She is a true submissive, but her trust has been so abused she has a hard time getting past her fears.  She can’t believe her good fortune in finding Nolan, the prefect Dom and lover for her. The late-in-the-book crisis is perfect (which demonstrates that Cherise has the Three-Act plot structure down well) and the scene leading to the HEA in this book is one of the best I’ve ever read. I also own this one in both e-book and print.

3.  If Only, Master of the Shadowlands, Book 8 – This book features a menage relationship among three characters who were supporting characters in past books in this series.  Cherise gave enough hints in earlier books that these three would scene.  The book was worth waiting for.  The heroine is sub Sally, who is very outgoing and smart (Master’s in Computer Forensics smart), and the two FBI agents, Galen and Vance, who led the investigation into the sex-slave-trafficking story arcs from Books 5, 6, and 7. Galen and Vance finally get Sally where they want her, and discover she is not the carefree sub she presents to the world. Each character has a bunch of emotional baggage which complicates their being together while they all, independently and then together, attempt to shut down the last vestiges of the trafficking ring.  I normally do not like menage books, but this one I like.  It works.  The three need each other. This is the power of Cherise’s writing – she pulled me into these three characters’ story and convinced me the menage would work for them.

4. This Is Who I Am, Masters of the Shadowlands, Book 7– Sam is a sadist, still stinging from a really bad marriage and divorce.  He helped rescue Linda from the sex slave traffickers (in To Command and Collar) and she is just trying to forget what had happened and get back to her normal life.  But she can’t.  She’s not “normal,” whatever in the hell that is. She is a masochist and a submissive.  She “needs” the release pain gives her in order to deal with every day life.  She visits Shadowlands and finds the one Dom who can give her what she needs is Sam.  In his own way, Sam needs Linda as much as she needs him.  I am so not into pain, but Linda’s character is so finely drawn that as a reader I understand why Linda needs it.  Some people run miles and miles a week or exercise to the point of exhaustion or do extreme sports to get the endorphin high that allows them to function on a daily basis.  Linda needs pain and then the pleasure. Sam gives her both. I went into the book with trepidation. I was so sure I wasn’t going to like Sam the sadist, but I ended up loving him. He and Linda are perfect together — and the life they forge is “normal” for them.

5.  Edge of the Enforcer, Dark Haven 4 — I explained why I liked this book above. DeVries cuddles! And likes to perform oral sex.  And has a wicked way with a Violet Wand. Says it all.  I’ll also add that Xander and Lindsey are perfect together.  I imagine them getting married, having lots of babies, and being blissfully happy.  Yeah, I’m a romantic. But so is this book.

What is YOUR favorite Cherise Sinclair book and why?  One comment will be chosen and the winner will receive an e-book copy of Master of the Mountain.

Visit Cherise Sinclair’s web site to find out more about her books.

Paige Tyler’s New X-OPS series is now live.

•May 6, 2014 • 2 Comments

HerPerfectMate_CVR USA Today

I am so excited for my friend Paige Tyler.  Today Book One in her X-OPS series is coming out.  I’ve read the book and it is a good one, folks.  It is a paranormal military thriller with a sexy alpha-male hero, a kick-ass heroine, and lots of really bad guys.  And of course good kicks evil’s butt.  My kind of book. 

*****

HER PERFECT MATE (X-OPS Book One)

Showing Special Forces Some Love

Why My Hero is Army Special Forces

When I came up with the idea for the X-OPS Series, the Navy SEALs were popping up in the news a lot. But with my husband’s army background, I knew that Army Special Forces had been engaged in similar action-packed and heroic work on behalf of the U.S.—they’re just a lot better in making sure people don’t hear about it. And with all the press that the SEALs were getting (gotta love a soaking wet guy in tight swim trunks), I decided it was about time for the Army Special Forces to get a little love (that Army Combat Uniform is sexy as hell, too). With that thought in mind, I pulled a Special Forces team into the ultra-covert world of the Department of Covert Ops.

The hero Landon Donovan and his A-Team are from the 5th SF Group out of Fort Campbell simply because the 5th happened to have teams in Afghanistan at the time I was writing HER PERFECT MATE (Book 1 of the series), which is where Landon is when we first meet him. But I plan to pull guys from other Groups (Book 3 has SF operators out of the 7th SF Group in Florida).

By the way…to any SF heroes and fans out there reading the series…I tried to get as much right as I could about you and your organizations, but if I screwed it up, I hope you can forgive me and accept the appreciation I’m attempting to throw your way.

Blurb:

He’s a High-Octane Special Ops Pro

When Special Forces Captain Landon Donovan is chosen for an assignment with the Department of Covert Operations, he’s stunned to find his new partner is a beautiful woman who looks like she couldn’t hurt a fly, never mind take down a terrorist.

She’s No Kitten

Ivy Halliwell isn’t your average covert op. She’s a feline shifter, and more dangerous than she looks. Her feline DNA means she can literally bring out the claws when things get dicey. She’s worked with a string of hotheaded military guys who’ve underestimated her special skills in the past. But when she’s partnered with special agent Donovan, a man sexy enough to make any girl purr, things begin to heat up. He doesn’t think she’s a freak-and he’s smokin’ hot. Soon they’re facing a threat even greater than anyone imagines…and an animal magnetism impossible to ignore.

Excerpt:

“That’s our man,” Landon confirmed. “Call in air support.”

Diaz turned to follow out his instructions, but then stopped and pressed his hand to his earpiece the way he always did when he listened to something on the radio. He frowned as he spoke into the mic. “Say again, all after ‘abort.’”

Landon did a double take. Who the hell would be calling an abort now?

Diaz looked at Landon, a stunned expression on his face. “Captain, we’ve been ordered to break contact and immediately move back to the extraction point.”

“Did you tell them we have Qari in our sights and were about to call in air support?”

“Yes, sir, but it was the old man himself, and he didn’t give a crap. He wants us at the landing zone yesterday.”

Landon swore under his breath. The original plan was for his team to head to the landing zone once the mission was done, unless there was an emergency. There wasn’t an emergency and their mission wasn’t done, so why the hell would the battalion commander order them to bail? He and his team had been after Qari ever since they’d come to this country. To be pulled out now, when the big payoff was at hand, was nuts. Who knew what information they could find in that compound?

Resisting the urge to get on the radio and argue with the commander, Landon barked orders to get the gear packed.

They got to the landing zone two hours later to find a Black Hawk waiting for them, rotors turning. Landon immediately headed for it, only to stop when his executive officer, Major Bennett, stepped off the bird. Some serious shit had obviously hit the fan for the battalion’s executive officer to be out here.

“Major,” he said.

“Captain.” Bennett surveyed Landon’s teammates with a critical eye before turning back to him. “You’re the only one who’s going out on the Black Hawk. I’m taking over your team.”

He sure as hell hadn’t expected that. No formalities. No Hey, great job finding Qari. Just a harsh, straightforward I’m taking over your team.

Landon glanced over his shoulder to see his teammates looking at him in disbelief. He felt as if he’d just been hit with a ton of bricks. Well, he wasn’t going anywhere without some answers. That might take time, though, and he didn’t want his guys exposed out there while he got them.

“Set up a perimeter,” he said to Angelo, then turned back to Bennett. “Sir, am I being relieved of command, and if so, why?”

“No, Captain, you’re not. You came down on orders. That’s why you’re being pulled out.”

 

Reviews:

“An absolutely perfect story-one I honestly couldn’t put down. One of the best books I’ve read in years. I hope this is the beginning of a very long series, because I definitely want more of Paige Tyler’s shifters.” – Kate Douglas, author of the bestselling Wolf Tales and Spirit Wild series

“A wild, hot, and sexy ride from beginning to end! I loved it!” – Terry Spear, USA Today bestselling author of A SEAL in Wolf’s Clothing

“Once I began, the outside world ceased to exist. It’s exciting and fast paced.” – Paranormal Kiss

“I love a good paranormal romance and this series has started off with a bang!” – Hopeless in Literature Reviews
Buy Links:

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Mate-X-Ops-Paige-Tyler-ebook/dp/B00HUTVFXU/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396465890&sr=1-9

B&N:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/her-perfect-mate-paige-tyler/1116882566?ean=9781402292095

ARe:
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-herperfectmate-1446168-152.html

iTunes:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/her-perfect-mate/id796984054?mt=11

Sourcebooks:
http://www.sourcebooks.com/store/her-perfect-mate.html

Bio:

Paige Tyler is a USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, romantic fiction. She and her very own military hero (also known as her husband) live on the beautiful Florida coast with their adorable fur baby (also known as their dog). Paige graduated with a degree in education, but decided to pursue her passion and write books about hunky alpha males and the kickbutt heroines who fall in love with them.

She is represented by Bob Mecoy.

Author Links:

Website: http://paigetylertheauthor.com/

Blog: http://paigetylertheauthor.blogspot.com/

Facebook Profile Page: http://www.facebook.com/paige.tyler.9

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/PaigeTylerAuthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/PaigeTyler

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/paigetylerauth/

Google+: http://plus.google.com/u/0/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2300692.Paige_Tyler

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/BBrEP

Email: paigetyler@paigetylertheauthor.com

 

 

&

Muse Wednesday — Pauline Baird Jones

•April 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Brimstone in the GardenIt is hard for me to pick THE one book that made me want to be a writer, though like Monette Michaels, Mary Stewart played a large part in my love for, and my desire to write, romantic suspense.

Dateline: 1967

A 12 year old reader in search of a book noticed a book called Brimstone in the Garden (known as The Greenwood Shady in Britain). The author was not familiar to her, but the title intrigued, so she pulled it out and read:

“The River Starr begins its course as an insignificant trifle in Berkshire.”

Not exactly a grabber, but books sometimes started slow back in the day, and readers were okay with that. Like that opening line, the story started as a trickle but achieved excellent flow. Nowadays, readers are a lot tougher on slow starts. I’m glad I stuck with it, though. Otherwise I would never have “met” Cousin Clarry.

“Cousin Clarry arrived, looking larger than ever. She was of average height, but her great bulk made her appear almost as broad as she was long. She wore a voluminous tweed cloak, which Elinor remembered having seen on Aunt Winifred twenty years ago. Her hat was of the kind known as a straw boater, and was affixed by a piece of black elastic to the back of her collar.”

There’s more, much more to learn about Cousin Clarry and the denizens of Deepwood. They felt real to me then and yeah, they still do. Somewhere Aunt Clarry still lives.

I’ve reread the book many times (it is one of my comfort reads) and learned some important things about being a writer from the sheer craft displayed in this book.

First, characters matter. I know that’s a duh, oh-so-obvious point, but I have many times studied the seemingly effortless way Cadell brought her characters to life, looking for clues to how she managed it. Many of those techniques shouldn’t work with todays’ readers…and yet…when Cadell used telling, instead of showing, I never noticed until I went back to study her work. She made telling fun. She made showing fun.

The lady could write.

I always had the feeling that she chuckled while she typed. For my own writing, if I’m not getting a kick out of a characters—even my bad guys—then they get kicked to the curb. Why would the reader enjoy something I’m not?

The other thing I learned from her—and this goes against current marketing wisdom—was to follow my Muse to the stories. Cadell wrote what is loosely called “women’s fiction,” but her books wander widely between “simple” romances, gentle mysteries, and stuff I don’t think there is a genre label for them. One of her books is a journal, another told from a child’s point of view that is not a middle grade book.

As a reader, I followed where she led because I loved her writing. I loved the way she used words. I loved her characters and her quirky plots. I was willing to go where her Muse took her and be grateful for the ride.

The lady could tell a story.

I wanted to be “a lady who can tell a story,” but in my way, not hers.

As an author, I’ve tried to be true to her standard and true to myself. My books wander the genres like the T-Rex did in Jurrasic Park when the power went off. And though I try not to chomp things, I keep the stakes high. My goal is to deliver to the reader an adventure that only I could write.

Maybe, just maybe, some new writer fifty years from now (ouch!) will be inspired to become an author because of something I wrote. Hey, I’m an author. I can dream.

 

My bio:

me-smallPauline Baird Jones had a tough time with reality from the get-go. After “schooling” from four, yes FOUR brothers, she knew that some people needed love and others needed shooting. Pauline figured she could do both. Romantic suspense was the logical starting point, but there were more worlds to explore, more rules to break and minds to bend. She grabbed her pocket watch and time travel device and dove through the wormhole into the world of science fiction and even some Steampunk.

Now she wanders among the genres, trying a little of this and a lot of that, rampaging through her characters’ lives like Godzilla because she does love her peril (when it’s not happening to her). Never fear, she gives her characters happy endings. Well, the good characters. The bad ones get justice.

rr-web_medPauline released her 13th novel, Relatively Risky, in 2013. She’s not superstitious about it, well, maybe a little. She’ll be glad when #14 is officially out. But the whole loving/killing thing that needs to be done? Doing it fictionally is just better for everyone. And particularly for Pauline, who hates the thought of getting strip searched and jailed.

 

The Alien Has Been Named!

•April 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment

MM_TPC3_PrimeImperative  Congratulations to Margaret S. !!

My son chose her entry for naming the scavenger-pile-of-rags-looking creature in my next Prime book, Prime Imperative (still being written — patience, please.)

The pile of rags creature will be officially known as “wefiantooth” or weaver tooth in Galactic Standard.  It is a spider-plant hybrid from Jangalweorld in the Mu Area solar system (where Tooh 2 and Tooh 10 are located).  And my son modified one of Margaret’s nicknames into “ragbug,” because it was descriptive and not too cute. He’s a guy. :)

Margaret, I will e-mail you to find out how you’d like to be acknowledged in my book.  You’ll receive an advanced review copy of the PDF (when the book is done and fully edited) from which the other e-book formats are created.  This means other than my beta-readers, crit partners, and editors, you’ll have it before anyone else. :)

Thanks to all the other entries.  I really enjoyed the participation and creativity of all of you.

 

 

 

Evanescence is Out!

•April 7, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Formerly published  in Edge of Night Anthology

Formerly published in Edge of Night Anthology

 

It’s out now!

Buy Now at Liquid Silver Books

Blurb:

Security specialist Kai Axton blends into the night, a mist-like shadowy image of his human form. Because of his freakish nature, he feels doomed to live his life alone–until he meets Sian York.

Sian is not who or what she seems; her past is shrouded in a veil of mystery. As Kai prepares to make his move to claim her, Sian’s past explodes onto the scene, forcing him to reveal his darkest secrets. Can Sian accept Kai’s nature, or will he be doomed to live in the shadow world, forever alone?

 
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