Today I’m happy to share the cover for one of my dearest friend’s upcoming release. BETRAYAL by A.S. Fenichel is the third book in the Demon Hunters series. These books are action-packed, spicy historical/paranormal romance. Intrigued? You should be. 🙂
To survive as a scullery maid requires hard work, discipline, and a stiff upper lip. To survive as a Demon Hunter is something else entirely. Elizabeth Smythe learned this after she was captured by Demons and rescued by Hunters. Now a Hunter herself, Elizabeth’s first task in this new and strange world is to aid the recently wounded Lord Reece Foxjohn, and get him back into Demon-slaying shape. . .
Reece Foxjohn is used to defying convention. He enraged his family by becoming a Demon Hunter, and prefers eviscerating the spawn of Satan to mixing with the ton. He is a man who doesn’t hesitate when he knows what he wants, and what he wants is Miss Elizabeth Smythe. From the moment he set eyes on the fiery Hunter, he’s wanted to claim her for his own. To watch her behead the progeny of Evil is to behold a thing of beauty.
Book 3—The Demon Hunters
Available December 8, 2015
Pre-order your copy today:
About the Author:
A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.
Multi-published in historical, paranormal, erotic and contemporary romance, A.S. is the author of The Demon Hunters series, the Psychic Mates series, and more. With several books currently contracted to multiple publishers, A.S. will be brining you her brand of edgy romance for years to come.
Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the East Texas with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, and puttering in her garden. Her babies are both rescues and include a demanding dog and a temperamental cat both of which bring constant joy and laughter.
Connect with A.S. Fenichel online:
Sharona women and barbarian Lahon men maintain separate lives until libidinal fever strikes, and the Sharona are forced to mate.
Stricken by a mysterious terminal illness, Reena, the Sharona queen’s daughter, jumps at the chance to accompany a cousin on her mating journey so she can at least see a Lahon before she dies.
Garat, leader of the Lahon, has only hatred for the Sharona because of the woman who birthed and killed his son years ago. Now that a massive earthquake has left his people with precious little water, he has the perfect excuse to avenge his son’s death by driving the Sharona from their homeland to take what the Lahon need.
When he encounters Reena on the mating journey he takes her hostage to force the Sharona to capitulate to his demands, but finds himself drawn to her instead. As his desire rises, lust for revenge wanes.
But after what he’s done, can he convince her of the evil that lies in the palace in time to save her life?
Karla: Congratulations on your newest release! I’ve read snippets from The Goddess’s Curse on your blog and I can’t wait to dive in and enjoy the entire story. Thanks for stopping by to answer some questions about the book.
The blurb is very intriguing. What were the inspirations that influenced The Goddess’s Curse?
Cara: Thank you for having me, Karla. You’re always so gracious about opening your blog! The Goddess’s Curse was inspired by the Amazon women warriors, a mythological race of women who lived separate from men until they needed to procreate. They would raise the daughters who resulted from their liaisons, but kill or give the sons to the men to rear. Another influence is the misogyny that has led to attempts to control or curtail female sexuality. I thought, what if women did have a sexual power that could be used against men? What if men were right to be wary? That power became “libidinal fever” in The Goddess’s Curse.
Cara: I plan for it to be a trilogy, which I’m calling the Heartmates series. I’m a pantser so I won’t commit to a certain direction, but I think I’m going to focus on the same hero and heroine in all three books—unlike Rod and Cane and Breeder, in which each book has a different H/h. I did “seed” The Goddess’s Curse so I could write about other couples, however, think those relationships will be subplots.
Karla: How is The Goddess’s Curse and the Heartmates series different from your Breeder sci-fi romance trilogy?
Cara: It is the reverse! The background for Breeder was a male dominated culture/planet where women had little power or value. After writing that, I needed to give women equal time, so in The Goddess’s Curse, women are in charge! However, the men are still macho, hero types. I wanted to demonstrate feminine power. It’s different from male power, but it’s still effective.
Karla: You’re a very busy author. Do you make a schedule of upcoming projects and write to that agenda, or do you have a muse that dictates what book you will write next?
Cara: I keep a list in my head, but at the start of 2015, I finally wrote a business plan—and then immediately deviated from it when I wrote and published a thesaurus, Naughty Words for Nice Writers. I had that slated for late in the year. I approach writing as a business, but I don’t want to focus so much on goals that I lose the joy of following my muse, which is what drew me to writing in the first place.
You may not know this, Karla, but you influenced Breeder. I’d been planning to write Reasonable Doubts, Rod and Cane 5, when I got the idea for Breeder. I wasn’t sure if I should pursue RC 5, which had gotten “cold,” or work on the story idea that was burning a hole in head. You advised me to go with the one I felt the most passionate about. So I did, and wrote the Breeder trilogy before Rod and Cane 5. I’m glad I did, because not only did I have the enjoyment of writing the Breeder series, but Reasonable Doubts turned out to be a much better book than I think it would have been if I’d written it earlier.
Karla: I didn’t know that! I’m so glad I helped, and that you followed that idea and your muse, because Breeder is an awesome story (and series). It’s great that we can chat online, Cara, but one day, we must meet in person. I know we could talk for hours, plus I have dozens of questions I’d ask you. Before I let you get back to writing, I’ll settle for asking just one more—is there anything else you’d like to tell us about The Goddess’s Curse?
Cara: Thank you, Karla. Some day we will meet! I love your writing and the humor in your books. I would like to add a couple things about The Goddess’s Curse. First, it will be available in print besides ebook. I’d planned to release both at the same time, but ran into a glitch, so the paperback will be delayed by a couple of weeks. If readers want to be notified of its release, they should sign up for my newsletter. Lastly, I’m known for writing spanking romance, but there is no spanking in The Goddess’s Curse—nor will there be in any of the other books of the Heartmates series. Spanking is fun to write, but it limits story concepts and plots, and I wanted to branch out. Thank you so much for having me today!
Karla: I look forward to the day we meet face-to-face! Thank you so much for being here today, Cara!
The Goddess’s Curse is available now from
About the Author
Cara Bristol continues to evolve, adding new subgenres of erotic romance to her repertoire. She has written spanking romance, contemporary romance, paranormal, and science fiction romance. No matter what the genre, one thing remains constant: her emphasis on character-driven seriously hot erotic stories with sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine. Cara has lived many places in the United States, but currently resides in Missouri with her husband. She has two grown stepkids. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading and traveling.
Connect with Cara Bristol
Goddess Reader Drawing!
If you’re going to read The Goddess’s Curse anyway, why not enter the Goddess Reader Drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card? All you have to do is post a review (good, bad or ugly) on Amazon by March 31, 2015. Then email a link of your review to carabristol50 (at) yahoo (dot ) com. Put “I Read the Goddess!” in the subject line. And you’re entered. The winner will be selected by random drawing and announced on April 6.
An Excerpt from The Goddess’s Curse by Cara Bristol
Under a caress of sunlight, Reena floated in the pond, grateful to have escaped the watchful eyes of servants, advisers, and bodyguards. Well, most of them. She cracked an eyelid. Yep. Carinda was still there, keeping a firm grip on her electrical impulse disruptor and a steady gaze on the perimeter. Her bodyguard’s caution and devotion were admirable—but unnecessary. No danger could penetrate the protected grotto.
Reena rolled over and dove deep. Tiny fish scattered. She touched the sandy bed then swam along the bottom until the need for air forced her upward again. She broke the surface and flung her hair out of her eyes.
Hip deep in the water, Carinda splashed toward her. “Oh my Goddess. You scared me to death.” The big, burly guard looked like an oversized drowned rodent. Reena would have laughed except for Carinda’s contorted, stricken expression. She didn’t want to scare anybody; she only needed solitude. “You worry unnecessarily. I have been swimming since I was a little girl.”
“I can barely float, Princess,” Carinda replied. “Anything could have happened. I feared you were drowning.”
“I apologize. I shouldn’t have frightened you. Why don’t you return to the palace and get some dry clothes?”
Carinda shook her head. “No, I won’t desert you.”
“You’re not deserting me. You’ll be right back.” Please, give me a moment to myself. No attendants, no servants, no guards. “I’ll be safe. Promise.” She flashed her most beguiling smile.
“I am not asking.” Treading water, Reena compressed her lips in frustration. “I command you to return to the palace.”
Carinda bit her lip then shook her head. “I’m sorry, Princess, the queen’s wishes supersede yours. I have been ordered not to leave you alone, in case…something befalls you.” Her hurt expression turned questioning. “I don’t know how you got out of the palace without anyone seeing you.” She stopped speaking, probably willing Reena to fill the silence with an explanation.
The bodyguard would have a long wait. The existence of the secret passage would go with Reena to her grave. She hadn’t shared that information with anyone, not even with her cousin Honna, her closest ally.
Reena lifted her chin, and Carinda conceded the battle. “It was fortunate I spotted you while patrolling the grounds.”
Unfortunate. Reena refused to feel guilty. “Please go to the palace. I won’t be long.”
“You are not well.” Carinda held her ground.
“I’ll stay with her.” Honna stepped from the path onto the beach.
Having her cousin nearby didn’t qualify as being alone, but Reena much preferred her presence to the guard’s. Despite a seven year age gap, they were best friends, as close as sisters.
“If anyone can take of me, she can,” Reena argued. She owed her continuing life to her cousin. The Goddess had gifted Honna with a natural talent for the healing arts, which she had honed by intensive training. If not for her, Reena would have already died. Once, she would have become Shara, but her mysterious illness cast doubt she would live long enough to ascend the throne currently held by her mother, Ellynna.
Carinda waded out of the pool. Dripping and shivering, she planted both feet on the bank.
“If you catch a chill in those wet clothes, then how will you protect me?” Reena called.
Carinda’s resolute expression wavered. “What if there are invaders? Barbarians who would catch a woman alone? The Lajon.”
“At the very center of the palace gardens? Unlikely,” Honna scoffed. “They would have to scale the perimeter wall, neutralize our guards, storm the palace, and then choose the right path to this bathing pool.”
And if barbarians did achieve the near-impossible and breach their defenses, a lone bodyguard would be no match for them. Pointing that out would cause worrywart Carinda to freak.
“I suppose you’re right,” she conceded, wrinkles of doubt lining her forehead.
Reena swam toward shore until her feet could touch the bottom and then stood. Water lapped at her shoulders.
“Go,” Honna said. “Everything will be fine.”
“Everything will be fine…” Muwahaha….Famous last words.
I’m happy to share in the cover reveal fun for one of my best friends, the lovely A.S. Fenichel. DECEPTION is Book 2 of The Demon Hunters series, an exciting blend of steamy historical romance, paranormal elements and action! Isn’t that cover just gorgeous? And after you ooh and aah over the cover, be sure you scroll all the way to the bottom, because there’s a Rafflecopter draw for a $25 gift certificate!
When Demons threaten Regency London, only a Lady can stop them.
Lillian Dellacourt is beautiful, refined and absolutely lethal. She’s also the most feared and merciless demon hunter in The Company. She’s come a long way from the penniless seamstress’s daughter sold to the highest bidder, and it wasn’t by trusting a man, let alone an exiled Marquis with more on his mind than slaying the hellspawn. . .
For Dorian Lambert, Marquis de Montalembert, being sent to keep track of Lillian is no mean task. He’s wanted the fiery vixen since he first heard of her five years ago. But wooing the lady while fighting the demon uprising is no easy feat, especially when the lady’s tongue is as sharp as the Japanese sai blades she favors for eviscerating the spawn of hell.
These two will have to learn to trust each other fast, because the demon master is back, and he’s planning to turn Edinburgh into a living hell…
Publication Date: July 7, 2015 by Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing
And while you’re waiting for DECEPTION, grab ASCENSION, Book 1 of The Demon Hunters…
Connect with the author online:
Today I have the lovely Cara Bristol visiting. Even her dominant alpha heroes would have to admit, Cara is definitely in charge when it comes to Domestic Discipline romance! Spanking and tenderness go hand-in-hand in Cara’s books. If you haven’t read her yet, I absolutely recommend you do!
REASONABLE DOUBTS, Book 5 in Cara’s highly popular Rod and Cane Society series released a few weeks ago.
To celebrate, Cara is treating us to an excerpt from REASONABLE DOUBTS, along with her thoughts on something very important to any good story—chemisty.
Take it away, Cara…
The chemistry of relationships
By Cara Bristol
Some define chemistry as a “spark.” I think of it as “glue” that bonds two people together until they can get to know each other in a deeper way and discover if true compatibility exists. At least initially, chemistry is a temporary, albeit powerful attractant.
I didn’t marry until I was 33 years old. Between the ages of 18 and 33, I dated a lot, but most ended at the first date because of a lack of chemistry. With only one exception , all dates in which I had chemistry resulted in long term relationships—and one in marriage.
When you meet someone with who you have chemistry, there is physical awareness, of course, but also a rapport, comfort instead of awkwardness, and an ease of communication, all of which build and begin to solidify a relationship. Chemistry is usually instantaneous—although not always.
(When I first saw the man who would become my husband, my exact thoughts were, “that’s the kind of guy I could go for.” And then I talked to him, and the actual attraction to him grew quickly. Our first date was the most comfortable first date I’ve even been on.)
Chemistry can develop over time. People can begin as platonic friends, but then start “noticing” the other person. But for chemistry to work, i.e. bond two people, it must be mutual. It’s not always.
(I believe there is a chemistry to platonic friendships as well. We have many acquaintances, but far fewer friends. Some people we automatically “click” with and others we don’t. The one’s we click with become our friends while the others remain acquaintances).
Chemistry is so powerful, it can lead people to make bad decisions such as get involved with individuals who are wrong for them, remain in a bad relationships, or cheat on spouses, break up families, and destroy a good marriages. (There are other reasons for infidelity of course, but I think a common one is that chemistry may wane in a marriage, and then a spouse develops chemistry with someone else).
In Reasonable Doubts, widow Liz Davenport thinks she knows what she wants when she starts to date again. She wants a man like her late husband: an older, experienced disciplinarian. But chemistry draws her to Grant Davis. He’s not older. He’s no more experienced than she is, and he’s never spanked a woman in his life. Against her rational judgment, she gets involved with him.
How do you think chemistry affects a relationship?
Reasonable Doubts Blurb
Widow Liz Davenport assumes when she begins to date, her new man will be like her late husband–a member of the Rod and Cane Society and an experienced disciplinarian who can provide her with loving guidance she requires to feel grounded and secure. So why is she attracted to Grant Davis, an ex-Naval JAG officer who works for her nemesis and has never spanked a woman in his life?
Events in his recent past have forced Grant to take stock of his life and try some new things. But spank a woman? He’s never considered that before, but with Liz’s coaching he’s willing to try.
But when the past collides with the present, will he be able to step up and become the disciplinarian Liz needs?
Reasonable Doubts excerpt
“Let’s go.” Grant swatted her ass. A wave of longing rolled through her like thunder traveling across an open plain. She squeezed her eyes shut for a moment and swayed. More. Please more.
But there wouldn’t be more, because Grant wasn’t that way.
Why couldn’t he be a gentleman and a spanker? Was she foolish to start a relationship with a man who could give only half of what she needed? She’d never settled before. But at the idea of walking away from Grant, a little pang shot through her.
But maybe that ache afforded reason enough to call it quits—get out now before she became more attracted, more attached. She needed a man with the confidence to take her in hand and provide what she needed without her having to ask. A head of household who provided stability, structure, and discipline. A mother-may-I guy would not fit the bill.
Grant was a nice man. A good man. They had no commitments, but eventually she would meet someone who could provide everything she needed, and she would move on. It wasn’t right to use him to stave off the loneliness or to scratch an itch. He deserved better.
“Hey…are you okay?” Grant settled a gentle hand on her shoulder, and she realized a long moment had passed since she’d agreed to leave.
Dating did not get easier when you got older. If anything, it got more complicated. She took a deep breath and turned. She didn’t want to disappoint him, to hurt him. She liked him. Enjoyed his company, his conversation, his laugh.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I can’t do this.”
“If you’re not ready, we don’t have to. I understand,” he said.
He didn’t understand. She would not be ready, ever. Not with him. But the words to mark paid to their fledgling relationship refused to leave her lips. Why did he have to be so nice? Attractive. Sexy. Damn him!
“Why don’t we go have some tea and dessert?” he suggested.
“All right,” she agreed, because she couldn’t bring herself to ask him to take her home.
She slipped out of his sports coat and felt an instant loss of warmth. “Thank you.” She returned it, giving back more than his jacket.
“Are you sure? It’s still chilly in here.”
The only thing she was sure about was how confused she was. “I’m good. Thank you.”
Grant shrugged into his jacket, and they exited the gallery. Misery thickened Liz’s throat, but she held her head high as they strolled down the corridor. They avoided the crowded elevator for the empty stairwell. Liz started to descend the steps, but Grant stopped her on the landing. He lightly gripped her upper arms.
“Listen,” he said. “I’m attracted to you, and I want to sleep with you. But it has to be right. You were married a long time, and this is a big step. We’ll take it at your pace. I’m sorry if I came on too strong.”
He brushed his thumb over her face, and Liz realized she was crying. Her face heated with mortification.
“Hey….” He wrapped his arms around her in a hug, and she hid her face against his neck. He chuckled, a sound of such tenderness, Liz cried harder. “Sweetheart?” Grant rocked her. “Tell me why you’re so upset.”
Because she wanted to sleep with him, but she needed him to spank her. Because her emotions were stronger than she’d thought. She craved discipline, but she desired it from him. Grant had wrapped himself around her heart the way his arms fit so snuggly around her shoulders. “B-because…I don’t know. Because I’m crazy.”
“I like crazy women.”
“Nobody likes crazy women.”
“I like you.”
“Then you’re crazy.”
“See? We’re perfect for each other.”
She smiled through her tears. A measure of heartache receded, but confusion still reigned. “I’m a basket case.”
“I like baskets.”
Laughter snorted out her nose. She thumped his chest with her fist. “You’re too nice to me.” You don’t make it easy.
Or maybe she complicated the situation. She and Grant had connected. Perhaps she should get out of her own way and let nature run its course. Stop analyzing and go with the flow. Counselor, counsel thyself. Many friends had sought her advice, used her as a sounding board to work through relationship woes. She could read people and had an instinct for who would be good together. How many couples had she matched up over the years? Dozens, probably. But her life was a mess. A turmoil of conflicted emotion.
Fix me a spanking, won’t you, darling?
Some people drank to calm their nerves. Others exercised or meditated. She’d been spanked. So many times, after a grueling day at work, Otis had taken one glance at her and taken her in hand.
Spank me, Grant.
“Can I reconsider?” she asked.
“Reconsider?” he raised his eyebrows.
“I’d like to sleep with you. Tonight,” she said.
“You don’t have to do that. I can wait,” he said, but a lopsided, hopeful smile slid across his face.
She shook her head. “I don’t want to wait.”
As if he feared she might change her mind again, he hustled her down the stairs.
REASONABLE DOUBTS is available now:
Connect with Cara Bristol online
How would you like to become card-carrying member of the Rod and Cane Society? To receive a membership card, leave a comment for Cara about Reasonable Doubts or this blog AND your email address in the body of your comment. Cara will contact you to arrange to send you a membership card. This is not a drawing. Everyone who posts a comment with an email address can receive a card—as long as supplies last. In addition, by commenting on this blog and leaving an email address, you’ll be entered into a drawing for Rod and Cane coffee mug.
Antonio returns from the Marine Corps to begin a new life as a civilian. While visiting Cape Cod, he meets a strange woman who reads his Tarot cards. He doesn’t believe in such nonsense; after all, he’s a Marine. When he returns to Boston, he receives a ticket to a rock club where he runs into the one woman he never forgot.
Lina can’t believe Antonio is back in town, right before her wedding. Being around him again resurrects long-buried feelings. Will she be able to resist temptation in the form of a dark-haired Italian Marine, the same man who once broke her heart?
Available now from:
“These guys are awesome,” Krystal shouted over the music. “Impossible not to have a good time at their shows.”
“Glad I brought you,” Lina replied. “I doubt this would be Brett’s scene.”
They danced and sang along for several songs until the singer announced, “We’re going to take a break. Get a drink, take a piss, and get ready for the second part of the show, which will blow away the first.”
Lina and Krystal were among the first to get to the women’s room. By the time they came out, a line was forming out the door.
“Drink?” Krystal suggested.
“Yeah, let me think. What do I want?” She glanced up at the bar. “Oh, my God.” She turned away and looked up to the ceiling, which had dozens of rubber bats hanging from the rafters. “Oh, God. Oh, God.”
Krystal turned to her, perplexed. “What?”
“My ex is here.”
Krystal scanned the room. “Who? Where?”
“The tall one at the bar. Black hair, black shirt. Tattooed arms.”
“The guy standing so straight like he has a rod up his back?”
“Yes. He can’t help it. He’s a Marine.”
Krystal’s mouth became a perfect O. “Holy shit. The one you were crazy about?”
Lina couldn’t respond so she nodded, unable to tear her eyes from him. Three years had passed, but he appeared as young and as vibrant as when he was a teenager. His black hair was shorter than when they’d first started dating, but not as close cut as while enlisted in the Marines.
His eyes still conveyed a sense of amusement and burned with an intensity that could render women speechless, including her when they’d first met at a club like this one. His body was leaner than when she’d last seen him; he’d lost some weight that further defined his muscles. He resembled a boxer more than a bodybuilder. The whole package was one she’d never been able to resist. A sucker for dark, brooding Italian boys, he captured it so well he should have been on tourist brochures. It would get her on the first flight to Italy.
Krystal brought her back to earth. “Are you going to say hi to him?”
Lina’s mind scrambled. “I don’t know what to do.”
He must have felt her eyes staring as he turned her way and caught her eye. She froze, unable to break the stare.
“Looks like he knows you’re here now.”
“Uh, ah, um…”
Krystal nudged her arm. “Snap out of it, Lina. No matter what happened between you, he’s still just a guy. It was a long time ago, and you’ve moved on. You’re a strong, confident woman. Don’t let that hot shit with a poker up his ass undermine that.”
Lina faced Krystal. “You’re right. It’s—unexpected. Last I heard he was over in Afghanistan.”
“And now he’s coming your way.”
Lisa Carlisle is a USA Today Bestselling author of romance and suspense. She loves stories with dark, brooding heroes and independent, caring heroines. Her romances have been named Top Picks at Night Owl Reviews and All Romance Ebooks. When she was younger, she worked at a variety of jobs in various countries. She backpacked alone through Europe and lived in Paris before returning to the U.S. and draws on her travels for inspiration for settings. Lisa also owned a bookstore for a few years as she loves to read. She’s now married with two kids, has a cat and many fish.
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Today I’m happy to share a new release by the lovely Lisa Carlisle. Congratulations, Lisa!
Highland Gargoyles 1
Gargoyles, tree witches, and wolf shifters have divided the Isle of Stone after a great battle twenty-five years ago. When Kayla, a tree witch, hears about the unconventional rock concerts in the gargoyle’s territory, she sneaks from her coven and into their territory to see for herself. Night after night, she returns to see one in particular shift into human form and play guitar at these unconventional shows.
For several nights, Mason has kept watch for the pixie-like female. He plans to seduce her, thinking she’s a visitor from another island. When he discovers she’s one of the tree witches, he retreats, attempting to keep his distance. The temptation is strong, but forbidden.
Kayla and Mason attempt to meet in secret, but other elements on the isle command their attention. A magical cloak created by the three clans on the island is thinning, leading to repercussions for all the clans. Kayla and Mason are caught in the middle of it, and their actions may change the fate for all.
This novella was originally released as part of the USA Today bestselling Highland Shifters paranormal romance boxed set.
The crowd pushed Kayla closer to the stage as the last trails of fiery sunset faded. They knew what happened once darkness fell. She recovered her footing and focused again on the five life-sized stone gargoyles perched on pedestals on the perimeter of the stage. The space between them was set with instruments—guitars, a drum set, mic stands, and massive amplifiers, while a bonfire in a pit behind them cast the statues in a warm glow.
A stagehand with tartan draped over one shoulder climbed onto the stage and walked to the closest statue. He fastened the kilt over its shoulder and around its waist with a thick belt, covering the statue’s massive thighs. Kayla flushed, picturing why the coverings were necessary once the transformation began. The kilt had become a key detail in her fantasies about the guitarist, since it was the only clothing he wore. The stagehand continued dressing each statue with the same brilliant blue tartan worn by the gargoyle clan.
The last vestige of sunlight disappeared from the sky, and night draped the stage like a closing curtain. The statues loomed, dark silhouettes barely discernible by the crescent moon with the backdrop of the craggy cliffs and the rugged peaks of waves in the Atlantic Ocean behind them. The murmur of voices was replaced by silence. Waiting…
Five torches blazed on the stage all at once, lit by an unseen force. The audience erupted in cheers as the dancing lights from the flickering fire basked the statues. The flames lowered, casting the gargoyles in an eerie, almost reverent glow.
Movement. So slight, Kayla wondered if it was simply a play of light and shadows in her anticipation for the change. She fixed her gaze on the statue in front of her, the one she’d gravitated to each time she’d had sneaked out to see the show. Its massive gray form stood straight on two legs built for sturdiness. Its chest jutted out proudly. Gray wings with detailed feathers etched in the stone arched from a point below its shoulder blades. Eyes cast straight ahead on a face that appeared to be a mixture of canine and lion. Its right hand twitched, so slightly she would have missed it if she hadn’t stared so intently. Then a clawed foot inched forward.
Murmurs of astonishment burst from the crowd as the transformation began. Their cries of fervor grew louder as the monstrous statues transformed into taller, slimmer figures with the bronzed skin of warriors who battled under the midday sun. The tartan fabric fell over their thighs as they stood erect, covering their nudity.
Kayla barely blinked, mesmerized as always, as the statue before her stood to full height, taking on the form of a human male, but with beautiful raven wings. Hair just as black snaked rebelliously past his chin. The stony eyes flickered with animation, turning to a mossy green. His deep gaze seared the audience, seeming to burn anything in the path. When he found Kayla, he stopped. His expression was unreadable, but the intensity in his unblinking eyes made her swallow. She froze under the scrutiny as if hypnotized, unable to break eye contact. Her stomach lurched, heart pounded, and every muscle in her body tightened, fueled with blood now scorching through her veins. His penetrating appraisal affected her so. When his eyes took on a smoldering glint, her skin tingled and a red-hot awareness grew between her thighs.
He broke the stare and continued to assess the audience. She gasped, not realizing she had been holding her breath, and panted while she tried to breathe at a normal rate.
He turned on robust legs and strode to a guitar stand. She tore her eyes from him to note the other gargoyles. They, too, had shifted into the form of striking males. One had black hair draped further down his back, one had long blond hair, and two had reddish-brown hair—one wavy and shaggy, the other straight. They took their place at other instruments. She sought the guitarist again and caught the first sound of the pick striking the strings. On hearing the guitar projected through the amp, the crowd roared again, pressing Kayla forward.
The freak show was about to begin.
Spotlights flooded the musicians, powered by solar panels near a massive amplifier. The guitarist continued playing and the others joined in, playing a raucous crossover between hard rock and heavy metal. The one with long blond hair grabbed hold of the microphone and belted out a shattering cry that sounded like a call to battle. The crowd went pin drop silent to listen and then cheered in unison as the band played on. The front man sang piercing growls and low croons about the Knights in Stone, the protectors of the ancient forests, battling against the evil tree witches.
KNIGHTS OF STONE is available now. Pick up your copy here:
Connect with Lisa online:
Seems all my friends have pretty new covers to show off this week. 🙂 Today, I’m happy to share Siobhan Muir‘s newest, for her soon-to-be-released CLOUDBURST ICE MAGIC.
And here’s the blurb…
CLOUDBURST ICE MAGIC releases August 11th. Until then, Siobhan has provided us with a little taste of the story. 🙂
Excerpt of Cloudburst Ice Magic
Copyright © 2014 Siobhan Muir
All rights reserved.
Sleet laughed, saluted, and was gone in a hissing sprinkle of snowflakes. The desert air sucked up the moisture before it hit the ground and took Zach’s smile with it. He shoved the last of the totes into the back of his truck and closed the tailgate, grateful Sleet didn’t push too hard. He wasn’t ready to tell anyone of his impulsive choice to mate with Lily.
Speaking of which, why hasn’t she answered my texts? He checked his phone again to be sure, but he found a big ol’ nothing. He shook his head and sprayed a little shower of water around him. Crap. Nevada had launched into its warmer spring temperatures and he needed to make himself scarce in the lowlands or get out of Dodge entirely. He locked the empty cabin and glanced at his phone again, willing it to beep with an incoming text or email.
A chill ran up his back from his gut and all his crystalline hair rose to stand on end. Something’s wrong. He inhaled the balmy spring air and scanned the softly dripping world around him, but everything appeared in order. Still, the eerie feeling of dissonance rattled the crystals of his hair and he gritted his teeth as he strode for the driver’s side of his truck. What is it?
His phone rumbled with a red hawk’s scream, the sound he’d chosen for emergency contact texts. He jerked it out of his pocket and touched the screen.
Snowed in bad. Whiteout conditions w/hikers on the slopes. Miss you and love you. Lily.
Zach’s stomach flipped over and dropped to his boots. He punched her number immediately and listened to it go straight to voicemail. “Dammit, Lily! Where are you?”
He took a deep breath and thought back to where she’d said she worked. Cloudburst Resort in Cloudburst, Colorado. He slid into the driver’s seat and punched the maps icon on his phone. Cloudburst showed in the mountain range in the southwestern corner of the state.
Zach nodded. Too much time between Vegas and Cloudburst if he took his truck, but he needed his gear with him. Gritting his teeth, Zach started the engine and called a buddy of his who played in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
“Snow, my man, what’s up?”
“Cade, I need a favor.” Zach headed down the hill toward the freeway.
“Anything, man. What’s going on?” The mellow voice on the other end sharpened.
“Do you know any Ice Demons in the mountains of southwestern Colorado?”
“Sure. Got a couple of friends there. Why?”
“Can you find out if they’ve got any Spring Flings going on right now? I’m on my way, but I’m still about nine hours out.”
“Whoa, man. Are you moving this direction?”
“Yep, but I gotta get there ASAP. Can you find out and call me when you know?”
“Yeah, sure. Not a problem.” Cade paused. “What’s the big rush, Snow?”
Zach sighed as he hit the turn-off to the 215. How much would Cade understand? “You know I’m in Search & Rescue for the humans, right?”
“Yeah, I’d heard you have a thing for them.” Cade chuckled. “What of it?”
“I got news that some humans are caught in some heavy weather in southwestern Colorado and one of them’s a friend of mine. If I could, I’d be out on the slopes right now. But I can’t enter someone else’s territory without an intro.” Ice Demons tended to be territorial unless visitors went through the proper introductory channels. “Do you think you could have someone meet me in Cloudburst, Colorado as soon as I get there? I gotta get these folks out, Cade. It’s important.”
“I’ll see what I can do, Snow. Just promise me you’ll tell me the full story when you get here.”
“I’ll text or call you when I got something.”
“Thanks, Cade.” Zach floored the accelerator past the Aliante exit.
“Not a problem. Talk to you soon.” The phone clicked off. Zach dropped it on the seat and slowed down before the cops got too interested in him. He’d have to send texts to Sleet and his folks, but he could do that when he reached a rest stop.
Waiting at the light to get onto I-15, he tapped a quick text to Lily.
Hang in there. I’m coming. Z
He prayed to Freya Lily would receive it. All he had to do was get to Colorado. He just hoped he’d arrive in time.
About the Author:
Siobhan Muir lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, with her husband, two daughters, and a vegetarian cat she swears is a shape-shifter, though he’s never shifted when she can see him. When not writing, she can be found looking down a microscope at fossil fox teeth, pursuing her other love, paleontology. An avid reader of science fiction/fantasy, her husband gave her a paranormal romance for Christmas one year, and she was hooked for good.
In previous lives, Siobhan has been an actor at the Colorado Renaissance Festival, a field geologist in the Aleutian Islands, and restored inter-planetary imagery at the USGS. She’s hiked to the top of Mount St. Helens and to the bottom of Meteor Crater.
Siobhan writes kick-ass adventure with hot sex for men and women to enjoy. She believes in happily ever after, redemption, and communication, all of which you will find in her paranormal romance stories.
Siobhan’s latest release, Cloudburst Ice Magic, is a sequel to Christmas ICE Magic in the Happy Holidays from the Crescent Moon Lodge anthology. She has published A Hell Hound’s Fire (a free read) and The Beltane Witch in the Cloudburst Colorado series. Siobhan has also published Bronco’s Rough Ride and The Navy’s Ghost in the Bad Boys of Beta Squad series, Not a Dragon’s Standard Virgin and Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack through Siren Publishing, and Her Devoted Vampire through Evernight Publishing.
Connect with Siobhan online:
I’m so happy to help my very good friend, author A.S. Fenichel, reveal her beautiful new cover for her upcoming release with Kensington Publishing-Lyrical Press. I “oohed” and “aahed” when she first showed me, and I still think it’s simply gorgeous. Plus, you’re going to love the story inside the cover when Ascension releases this fall.
Isn’t it stunning? And here’s the equally intriguing blurb:
Find out more about Ascension, The Demon Hunters, Book 1, from…
I met author Lisa Carlisle at EC’s annual RomantiCon convention. She’s adorable & a lovely person. She has a new release this week, so let’s check it out!
After the worst fight of their relationship, the last place Stephanie wants to be is a wedding reception. She still can’t get over what happened. Could their five years of marriage be destroyed after a blast of heated words? Johnny suggested separating. Separating! Now with her marriage on the line, she has to put on a brave face and pretend love is grand.
Johnny doesn’t know why he’d freaked out the way he had and is left with one emotion. Regret. He doesn’t want to lose Stephanie. He must find her and make things right.
Stephanie enters the reception, fearing the end of her marriage. Johnny has something else in mind—a much more decadent proposal that will turn her friend’s wedding into an event they’ll never forget.
A short erotic romance for only 99 cents!
An Excerpt from Better Than Cake by Lisa Carlisle
Who gets ditched at a wedding? Stephanie paused and took a deep breath before walking into her friend’s reception. Something like this could only happen to her.
Ditched wasn’t a strong enough description. “Maybe we should try separating.” Johnny’s words echoed in her mind, lashing her psyche raw with repetition.
Separating! She closed her eyes. Unthinkable.
It’s okay. You can do this. Stick it out for a couple of hours and then you can deal with the mess.
How would she explain her husband’s sudden absence? He was at the ceremony, but wouldn’t be at the reception. What would be a reasonable explanation? They were spending the weekend here in Cape Cod so it would be tough to feign a work or family excuse.
Illness. Yes, something about seafood. That would be plausible at a seaside resort. Food poisoning. She had an excuse—but it didn’t make her feel any better about the situation.
Beyond the Sea wafted out from the ballroom, appropriate for this Cape Cod seaside resort. She glanced up at the imposing exterior of the multi-level hotel. Her hand trembled so she clutched her silver purse tighter. She raised her chin to steel herself and entered the hotel.
Stephanie scanned the place settings to find hers. Mr. and Mrs. John Silvio. Table nineteen. She dropped her purse to her side, but her fingers still clenched it. The last place she wanted to be after a killer argument with her husband was a wedding. She forced herself to enter the reception area, squeezing through all those decked in suits and evening gowns. Searching the table numbers for nineteen, she followed them to the back of the room. She guessed she’d be furthest from the head table, since she was neither family nor close friend, but an old college roommate of the bride. She made her way to the back of the room, braved a smile, and introduced herself to the couples already seated.
“Hi. I’m Stephanie.”
“Elaine,” a heavyset woman with puffy blond hair said. “You’re alone?”
Great. Just fantastic. Starting right with the topic she wanted to avoid. “Yes. My husband couldn’t make it tonight. Something he ate earlier,” she babbled. “Probably the shellfish.” She shrugged.
The others introduced themselves as she sat down and peppered her with questions about where they bought the seafood. A few shared their stories of food poisoning.
It was going to be a long night.
Once the attention was off her, she replayed the fight for what had to be the fortieth time since it happened. After a ripple of snide comments evolved into a tsunami of a fight, she stormed away from Johnny and ended up talking to herself like a crazy person as she pounded through the surf.
“Separating? Why does he take a small argument and blow it up into something like this? How could he do this to me at my friend’s wedding? What the fuck!”
A couple of miles later, she had calmed down. It wasn’t all his doing. She was the one who’d dragged them here when he had other plans. Her fury decreased as the sun sank lower in the sky, replaced by a cloak of sadness.
She didn’t want to split up.
Her eyes began to water. How the heck would she make it through the night without breaking down? Her marriage could be over. How long could she sport a brave face before it dropped?
“Excuse me,” she said and hurried into the ladies room. She barely made it through the door before her eyes pooled with tears.
She grabbed tissues and blotted them, fixing her smudged makeup the best she could.
“You can do this,” she told her reflection in the mirror.
As much as she dreaded being at a wedding while her own marriage hung in jeopardy, she had to put her feelings aside for the sake of Caryn. She’d only get married once.
* * * * *
Johnny caught glimpses of the ocean from the cab and couldn’t help but brood on what he had said to Stephanie down the beach this afternoon. A cold black cloak had surrounded him since, fastened with shackles of regret. The same question echoed in his head ever since.
Why had he freaked out the way he had? Said the things he had? The day had started out great. They woke up at the bed and breakfast and had the morning free before the ceremony. They’d rented bikes on the Cape Cod Rail Trail and had ridden past sand dunes and shacks, cranberry bogs and duck-filled ponds, villages and pine forests, and even a couple of lighthouses. The scenery was one thing, his beautiful wife riding alongside him something else. He could barely keep his eyes off her lithe body and on the trail.
When they’d stopped to buy sandwiches from one of the beachside shacks and had a picnic lunch on the beach, things were still good. It wasn’t until after the seaside wedding ceremony this afternoon that he’d opened his mouth and all kinds of stupid fell out. And for what? Something trivial, not something to throw away a marriage over.
Their argument had stirred weeks before. He resented her for dragging him to a wedding when he’d already had plans for his monthly camping trip with his buddies, He had stormed about it for days, but downright exploded on the beach earlier. Telling her she was too controlling, she shouldn’t speak for him and make him cancel his plans to do something she wanted. How his outdoor trips were how he decompressed from work and if she didn’t get it by now, she didn’t get him. She’d countered, saying he used the same justification for his softball games, and sometimes he had to suck it up and act like an adult. Snide comments had escalated into verbal jabs. Past grievances were drudged up as their defenses rose. Accusations flew, growing uglier, and digging up past perceived injustices, until finally, he had suggested a trial separation.
He still wasn’t sure why he’d said it. A heat of the moment incident, blurting out something to end the fight with something he didn’t even mean.
Her shocked expression had turned to one of hurt as she blinked back tears. Then she’d lashed back at him. “If you’re so shallow and selfish that you consider a weekend away from your buddies such brutality, then yeah, maybe we should.”
When she had stormed away from him across the beach, he had turned away thinking to hell with her and pounded through the sand in the opposite direction. It wasn’t until he had turned back several minutes later to see she was gone that he realized he might have made the biggest mistake of his life.
◊ ◊ ◊
About the Author
Lisa loves stories with dark, brooding, isolated characters and tough, independent, caring heroines. Her reading tastes very widely and she’ll read almost anything—especially mysteries, romance, and non-fiction on any new topic of interest.
She is thrilled to be a multi-published author writing since she’s wanted to write since the sixth grade. Her travels and many jobs have provided her with inspiration for novels, such as serving in the Marine Corps in Okinawa, Japan, backpacking alone around Europe, or working as a waitress in Paris. Her love of books inspired her to own a small independent book store for a couple of years.
Lisa lives in New England with her husband and their children. She spends her days writing for corporate clients and her evenings writing stories and novels.
Visit her website for more on books, trailers, playlists, and more:
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Today I’m happy to share the shiny new cover for one of my very good friend’s upcoming releases. TRAINING RAIN by A.S. Fenichel is the third book in her Psychic Mates series, and if you enjoy action-packed paranormal romance, you won’t want to miss it!
Coming Soon from Ellora’s Cave Publishing!
While you’re waiting for TRAINING RAIN to release, check out the first two books in the series…
Connect with A.S. Fenichel online: