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Friday, January 19, 2018

Caressed by the Edge of Darkness by Amanda J. Greene πŸ’• Book Tour & Gift Card Giveaway πŸ’• (Vampire Romance)



Hardened by centuries of torture, former blood slave, Gabriel Erhard, is driven by an insatiable need to destroy his enemies. Violence darkens his battered soul, leaving no place for mercy in his world. Gabriel’s only desire is vengeance—until he finds her.
Seized by vampires, bound as a slave, and placed on the auction block, Jordan Culver is instantly entranced by the dangerous male who claims her. Jordan’s new captor vows to set her free, but his haunted gaze burns with savage desire and his wicked kiss makes her crave his touch and...complete surrender.
While Gabriel battles his enemies, he will break every sacred law to achieve his ultimate goal—uniting the Outcast Society and creating a new vampire Clan. But the distracting human with mesmerizing violet eyes jeopardizes his plans. With very soft whisper she evokes his tormented memories, testing his sanity and challenging his every boundary. Can Jordan help him overcome the miseries of his past and find a future with her?


Gabriel set her on the edge of the tub before turning to the cupboards lining one of the walls. He began to rummaging through their contents, searching for something.
Steam rose from the water and Jordan couldn’t resist dipping her fingers into the warmth. Bad idea. She tumbled and fully anticipated to meet the water. A large hand gripped her shoulder and pulled her upright. “Can’t leave you for a second.” Though Gabriel’s tone was sharp, his eyes sparkled with amusement.
“Sorry, I haven’t recovered my balance yet.”
He shrugged then tossed two pink discs in the water. They instantly began to fizz and the room filled with the scent of midnight blooming jasmine. The water foamed over, billowing clouds of bubbles took shape.
Gabriel reached over and turned the faucet off. “I should give you some privacy, but I’m afraid of leaving you alone.”
She smiled. “I promise to stay in the shallow end.”
That earned her a chuckle. “See that you do. I’ll be right back. Try not to slip or drown in my absence. I’d hate to have spent so much energy saving you only to have you perish from an accident in my home.”
How is a girl supposed to respond to that? She shrugged. He’s a sweetheart.
Jordan’s fingers trembled as she unsuccessfully worked the buttons of the shirt. This was going to take forever. After another futile moment ticked by, frustration got the best of her. Gripping the material with both hands, Jordan tore it apart. Buttons flew like tiny missiles, some binged off the mirror over the double sinks while others bounced and rolled across the floor.
Once free of the shirt, she scooted her bottom back and gingerly slipped into the welcoming heat of the water. “Oh, yes,” she sighed, her eyes closing. This was exactly what she needed. She sank further under the bubbles and rested her head on the rim. The warmth eased her aches and twinges and chased away the cold that permanently settled in her bones.
“Good. You survived while I was gone.”
Jordan’s eyelids snapped open. “Y-your back already.” Did she just squeak like a mouse?
The edge of his lips twitched, but he didn’t smile.
She cleared her throat and eased into a sitting position. Stretching her arms wide, she drew a mass of bubbles to her chest to conceal her breasts. “Not going to lie, it was touch and go there for a minute.”
Again he resisted a smile. Why? He’d be beyond gorgeous if he smiled.
Gabriel set a way too large black robe on the counter then headed back to the wall of cupboards to pull out a stack of fluffy white towels. After placing the pile beside the tub, he said, “That should be everything you need. I’ll remain in the room to grant you privacy.”
“No.” The force of her tone even caught her off guard and the panic that had laced that one word struck her like a blow to the gut.
“Jordan?”
“Sorry.” She flashed her best I’m-fine smile. “For the last few days…weeks? Damn, it could’ve been months, I’ve been locked away. Isolated. I missed having someone to talk to.”
Anger flashed in Gabriel’s eyes but vanished as quickly as it appeared. He gave her a tight nod then crossed to the counter. Leaning against the granite edge, he folded his arms over his wide chest.
“You’re staying?” she asked, trying her hardest to hold back her surprise.
“Warning, I’m not one for chatting.”
“A man of few words, uh? I like that.” Jordan smiled then dipped below the water’s surface. Slicking her matted hair back, she reached for the bottle of shampoo. Her fingers still trembled. She cursed when the bottle slipped from her grip and banged to the floor. Gabriel abandoned his post to retrieve it.
Studying her hands, she curled and uncurled her fingers. Was it the shock of the night’s experiences, the remnants of adrenaline? Or was it withdrawals? How long ago was her last dose?
“What time is it?”
“A little past eight.”
Her eyes went wide. “In the morning?”
He answered with a nod.
“Shouldn’t you be dreaming of nocturnal rainbows and blood fountains right now?”
Gabriel arched a single golden brow. “Nocturnal rainbows?”
“Yeah, or…whatever vampires like.”
“Such as unicorns.”
Jordan gaped. Had the rough and gruff vampire made a joke?
“The sun doesn’t rule us all,” he added.
“In other words, you’re old and very strong.”
Again, a silent nod was her answer. How interesting, she thought. Her aunt had explained that powerful vampires could resist the call of the sun. Rumor was some could even walk under its rays without becoming as crispy and chard as burnt fried chicken. Could he chill on the beach and not burst into flame?
Gabriel offered her the shampoo. This time, Jordan reach for it with both hands, but still couldn’t hold on to it. The bottle dropped into the tub and water splashed across Gabriel’s shirt. “Sorry. My hands won’t stop shaking.”
He dipped his arm into the water and retrieved the bottle. “Would you like me to help you?”
Heat stung her cheeks. His hands in her hair? Oh, yes. Lord, please! A simple touch could lead to so much more. Did she want more? Was she ready for more? Never had she been so completely attracted to a man. Her interest in the opposite sex normally rated next her love for oral surgery—seriously low. But Gabriel Erhard, the Chief of the misfit Outcast Society, was no ordinary guy a girl would meet walking in the mall. He was a warrior to the bone: lethal, powerful, and sexy as sin. His dangerous aura and I’ll-protect-you-from-everything-but-me gaze called to her wild, base instincts. She wanted him with a ferocity she never knew existed inside of her. Since the night they’d met at the bar, she’d been infatuated with him and while she languished away in Hell, her desire to see him, to hear his voice, to feel his touch one more time was torturous. Gabriel Erhard, the enemy of her enemy, the male who dared to break the laws of his society to save the humans and bring peace to the realm of darkness, was a man she’d fight to possess.
Jordan mentally shook herself. She’d never been the brazen type and short of throwing her naked body at him, she wasn’t sure how to seduce the big, bad vampire. Was he single? Did he find her attractive? She’d felt his erection earlier—hadn’t she?—while she drank his blood.
Whoa. I didn’t drink his blood. That had been a dream. Jordan’s brows pinched into a frown and she began nibbling on her bottom lip. That hadn’t happened. Right? Her hopes dwindled as she realized she’d likely imagined his reaction to her when he placed her on the bed.
“Jordan?”
At the sound of his forceful voice, she violently flinched, sending water cascading over the side.
“Are you feeling well?”
She met his gaze and the concern she saw there made her heart melt. “I just got lost in here,” she tapped her temple, “and I’m not used to having company.”
Gabriel’s eyes flickered black with rage then return to their serene, normal green. “You’re here now and you’ll never experience that again.” He went to his knees beside the tube. “Turn around. I’ll wash your hair.”
Mouth suddenly dry, Jordan gave a silent nod of her own. She turned in the water and dunked her head under again. When she came back up, Gabriel was ready. His large hands worked the shampoo into her matted hair. His touch was so light, so gentle, and welcome. Her eyes drifted closed and she swore she heard purring, from him or her?


   

A Star Called Home by Marina Landry πŸ’• Book Tour & Gift Card Giveaway πŸ’• (Sci-Fi Romance)



Jul Kisling's heart aches for the homeless children living beyond her office window. Her father, Chancellor of the Third Quadrant of Akila, refuses to use his power to help them. Frightened but determined, Jul secretly searches for transportation to bring some of the children to a newly-colonized planet.

Marc Prejean is an out-of-work, out-of-money Earth starpilot living on the land of his Cajun ancestors. Wrongfully convicted of smuggling and recently released from forcedsleep, he reluctantly agrees to Jul's proposition. His desperate situation, the betrayal of his wife and brother, the loss of his starpilot license, and his stolen six years have left Marc angry and withdrawn.

Marc and Jul begin a journey of agonizing mistrust, smoldering sexual desire, and the shared goal of safeguarding the twelve children. Pursued by ruthless adversaries on both sides of the law, they soon realize they are delivering the children into even greater danger.


Hearing her voice break as her sadness eclipsed her anger, the wave of her compassion flew straight into him. He looked around at the small, dirty faces, remembered their quiet ways. Now he understood why they didn't act like other children. "But why are you taking them to Orum?"
He knew it was a mistake as soon as the words left his mouth. She seemed to curl inside herself, her eyes darkened with wariness, her fingers clutching the bedsilks at each side of her.
"No need to tell me anything you don't want," he said roughly. "I promised you no questions, and I still mean it. It's none of my business."
Gradually, she relaxed her grip on the silks. "I understand you must be curious. Just, please, don't ask me that, again. I'm sorry."
The regret in her voice prevented Marc from being offended, but she obviously didn't trust him. Well, he didn't know what was going on, but he knew one thing: no child was going hungry on his ship. "I'll need some help carrying everything."
"I'll help, Stackit."
Marc turned to see a tall, lanky teen-age boy. At least, he was pretty certain it was a boy under the nondescript clothes and chin-length ropes of hair. Did he say help stack it? Stack what?
"I'm Sev. Moldest. They trust me. Make me myth you to marry the mood."
The words coming out of this boy's mouth seemed like they should make sense, but they just didn't. Was this some kind of Akilan dialect? Marc turned to the professor again.
"The others will trust Sev to carry their food. He's right. You should take him with you."
So she'd understood what he'd said. Why did he talk that way? What did trust have to do with carrying food? Marc was struggling to make some sense of it when he felt a tug on his sleeve. He looked down at a husky child with a plascord for suspenders. He was chubby in comparison to most of the others who were much too thin. The boy thrust his round chin up and said rapidly, "I'm Brad. I wanna help." Marc could see the eager gleam in the dark eyes, and the pink tongue darting out to wet his lips. This boy was very hungry. Dammit, he should have offered to feed them the night before.
"Come with me," Marc ordered, his jaw tight in frustration. "You, too, Sev."
He stormed back to the bridge. When he looked back, Sev was talking quietly to a very agitated Brad, still in the corridor. Clearly, the younger boy wanted desperately to find the food, but he didn't trust Marc.
"Brad, come here."
The boy shook his head and squirmed away from Sev's hand on his shoulder.
"I can mandolin myself, Stackit," Sev offered.
Stack it again? In a flash, Marc got it. Pile it. Pilot. Okay, he'd solved one convoluted puzzle. Now, what to do about Brad? He was making the boy more afraid and withdrawn the more he insisted.
"Sev, you and I cannot manage all of this food by ourselves. We need someone else to come tell the computer which kinds of food to make. I'm thinking someone like Brad would be the best. What do you think?"
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Brad walk back toward Sev. The teenager cleverly did not look at the younger boy as he took a step forward and said, "Brad would be best, but we might mask one of the mothers."
Quickly, Brad grabbed Sev's hand and tugged him forward. Marc sighed. This was exhausting. Talking to these kids was like navigating blue crab traps. How did she do it? He looked further down the hall and his chest tightened. Jul Kisling was gaping at him.
Marc guessed the criminal low-life was exhibiting more humanity than she expected from "his people."
He walked stiffly to the panel next to the right rear portal where the computer sent the food from the automated galley. "Belle, send up six servings of each: number two, oatmeal bars; number ten, pork strips; number eleven, beef strips; every type of fruit we have."
Marc slammed the depression to open the wall panel, retrieved several containers, and handed them to Sev and Brad. Sev loped back to the cabins balancing boxes and pouches in his arms. Brad seemed frozen to the floor. Grace, what now? He remembered the raw hunger he'd seen in the boy's face.
"Brad, I need you to go sit down and try some of this here food. Tell me which kind tastes the best."
The boy folded himself to the floor and started eating. He kept his eyes on Marc, obviously expecting the food to be taken away at any moment. Marc turned his back to Brad and ordered juice, crystal water, and soy drinks.
Sev rushed back with that jerky lope Marc was gradually getting used to. The young man was grinning widely, and Marc found himself grinning in return. He handed him another armload of food containers and pouches of drinks.
The next time Sev returned empty-handed, Brad stood next to him with his grubby arms reaching to help. Marc handed the young boy several drink pouches. Once they'd had their fill, he swore, he was talking to that woman about why she let them stay so filthy.
When Sev and Brad went through the portal with the final loads of food and drink, they closed it behind them.
Marc had never noticed how uncomfortably silent the main cabin could be.

   


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Saint's Mercy by Cecile Tellier πŸ’• Book Tour & Gift Card Giveaway πŸ’• (Motorcycle Romance)



Lucien Rossi grew up on the streets of Santa Cruz, California. He had little to nothing to call his own, and ran with a rough crowd. He only had two things he cherished in his life, the most important was Luz Ramirez. When he met her he knew she was someone he would die to protect. Years later and now a president of the Saint’s Mercy Motorcycle Club, he’s about to find out that Luz is still a grenade to his best intentions.

When her mother passed away, Luz Ramirez was given a second chance at a happy life with her foster mother. What she didn’t count on was that she would meet the dangerous but magnetic Lucien. Even after forcing herself to move away rather than become like her mother, it only takes a few days back for this bail bondswoman to recognize who her heart belongs to.


1. What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I don’t know if these count, but I’ve gone to Ohio, Nevada, Maine, as well as Lake George and Staten Island, NY for signings/workshops.  I love travelling especially for writing!

2. What is the first book that made you cry?
Well, books frequently make me cry but I would say Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire.  She was my first major author addiction, and I fancied myself a bit like Claudia.

3. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Comparisons.  This is a trap for new and seasoned writers as well.  You should never compare yourself to others.  At the end of the day you are your own biggest competition.  Every project I take on, I hope is better than my last.

5. Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Ego is often talked about in the negative but it is just someone’s sense of self-esteem or importance.  We should have good self-esteem and definitely a sense of importance. When having a big ego hurts a writer is if it stops them from accepting criticism, or relating to their readers.

6. What is your writing Kryptonite?
Time, I have to manage my time wisely.  I think most writers who are also mothers, wives, etc., have to balance their time.

7. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I don’t really have a choice but to be original.  I dream my books so I write whatever I happen to have dreamed about.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t get an idea sometimes or plan something out for special projects, but I wouldn’t write something that I didn’t feel inspired to do.

8. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Get contracts for absolutely –everything-.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Hands down I would say conventions and signings.  If I didn’t have an opportunity to come out and meet everyone it would be so much harder to make some of the reader connections that I’ve made.  I truly love hanging out with everyone!

9. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I absolutely love Owls.  They’re all over my offices and I have actual barn owls that moved into our barn shortly after we bought our house.  They aren’t domesticated but they leave me gifts on the porch in the form of partially digested rabbits and mice.

10. What does literary success look like to you?
I think that changes for me all the time.  I always have a higher goal set than what I’m accomplishing.  When I set out to write for publication my goal was to be published.  It has evolved since then.

11. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
The internet is amazing, however, if I can’t find information that I can trust on the web, I will contact someone who is an expert.  An example of this would be the time I asked about a rocket launcher and was given a million youtube links of what they actually do to buildings.  That was research gold.

12. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I think it’s writing the character in a genuine way but not catering to stereotypes.  I don’t tend to focus on the gender of my characters as much as the character of them if that makes any sense.

13. What did you edit out of this book?
Oh boy, well I have to say I edited more –into- it than out of it.  I don’t tend to like the delete button but I will sometimes replace or add things to a book.  In my mind once it has been written it’s like it happened so I hate to undo it, though I do if it’s not benefitting the story.

14. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I love this question.  I sometimes do read them but I’m not obsessive about reading them or knowing how many I have.  If a blogger does a nice review I will often share it and thank them.  If I receive a “bad” review, I will typically analyze the information and if it’s helpful use it in my next project.  If the review is not necessarily helpful I will just accept it and move on.  I never engage with people over reviews, other than to thank them.

15. What is your favorite childhood book?
It wasn’t one book, it was a collection of old versions of Fairy Tales and Fables.  My favorite story was Billy Goat’s Gruff and the Princess and the Pea.  My mother had a hilarious way of doing Billy Goat’s Gruff that I ended up feeling bad for the troll.

16. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Balancing the artistic creation with the business piece of this industry.  I know I’d love to do nothing but crank out stories I love all day every day but there is so much more to writing and being a professional in this industry.

17. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It really depends on the time of year, how forceful the muse is, and how long the book is.  I would say if the stars all align about a month or two at most for a full-length book.  I can finish a book in a few weeks if it’s a novella sized story.

18. Do you believe in writer’s block?
I do believe in it.  I don’t tend to suffer from it because my muse is my dreams.  I never lack for material in fact I sometimes am overloaded.  I have friends who write however that have had stretches of silence from their muses.  I think the best you can do is keep writing, even if it’s a grocery list or a journal.  Listen to music, take in the arts.  I feel like the first thing that jumpstarts the muse is other creative outlets.




Leaning forward he pressed his forehead against hers with a smile he couldn’t hold back. "As to the state of my purity, don't ask questions you don't want the answers to. You live in a world of black and white where the guilty are punished and the innocent live happily-ever-after, but my world is and has always been full of shades of gray."
Luz's eyes darkened to that near black as she looked into his. "I've not yet found a happily-ever-after, and I'm far from innocent. I don't need your charity, your pity, or your protection."
Lucien saw the look of hurt flash over her face before she once again hid behind that blank mask she so often slipped on when she dealt with the outside world. He'd be damned if she'd use it on him, though. Before he could stop and think rationally about his next move he was kneeling on the floor in front of her. "I've never pitied you, and your acquaintance to me has been anything but charitable for you. My protection you will get, whether you like it or not, Luzzy. Even when I'm not there, I'll be damned if someone gets anywhere near you to hurt you."
Luz opened her mouth, and before she could get a word out, Lucien’s impulse and need collided, resulting with his hands speared into her curls, and his mouth eating hungrily at hers. Her muffled shriek of surprise was quickly turned into a moan against his tongue as he took no time in plunging it between her lips when they opened. He knew this was the worst possible thing he could have done, as they'd always been like gas and fire when angry, but he couldn't deny himself.
When her head snapped back he was certain she was going to slap him, or worse. Instead, she gasped for air briefly, then grabbed his ears and pulled him back in for another meeting of lips, teeth, and tongue. He'd never known Luz this way, not for lack of wishing, and he was quickly regretting that he'd not tried this sooner. The sound of persistent banging was the only thing that had him breaking the kiss and backing away from her.

    



Cross Stroke by Elizabeth Hartey πŸ’• Book Blitz & Gift Card Giveaway πŸ’• (Contemporary Romance)



Tracey…

One night left my heart shattered and my reputation ruined, and now my only hope is to transfer to another university far from home. Although I’m a champion figure skater and am used to succeeding, I can’t dump the burden of distrust and intimacy I’m carrying.

But when I literally crash into the cocky captain of the hockey team, sparks fly, and the attraction is as undeniable as it is unwanted.

No way is this arrogant hottie the one to help me move past my fears. Or is he…?

Dak…

Overwhelmed with guilt and remorse, I can’t forget the tragic accident that killed my first love. To avoid ever feeling that kind of agonizing loss again, I vow to stick with one-night stands with every puck bunny who glides my way and focus on keeping my position on the hockey team.

But after I meet a feisty figure skater and am then thrown together with her as a lab partner, I find I want to melt the icy walls we’ve built around our hearts.

If we don’t strangle each other first.


Dak
The courage to be responsible for someone’s life and happiness again is something I lack in a big way. In the end, being responsible for someone else’s life and happiness is what a real relationship is all about. Being with the one special person you want feels great…most of the time. However, if something goes wrong, it can be decimating for both people. Once you cross the relationship line, both people possess the power to destroy each other. I know what it’s like to be bulldozed by love. I can’t risk it again. But did I already cross the line by kissing her the way I did? Because she’s all I think about, all I see when I close my eyes. I don’t get this.
I thought I loved Abbey with all my heart. I thought we would be together for the rest of our lives. I guess we were. I just didn’t know the rest of Abbey’s life would be so short. But if all those emotions for Abbey were real, how can I be feeling what I’m feeling for Trace now? She’s so different than Abbey. I’m consumed by the guilty feeling that if Abbey had lived, in time I might’ve fallen out of love with her and destroyed her in a different way.
We were both young. I’m not exactly ancient now, but three or four years in time and experience in college can make a world of difference. I’m a different guy than I was when I was a freshman, learned a lot about life and love. That doesn’t mean I know for sure what the future holds and I don’t want to do anything to Trace to hurt her somewhere down the road. She deserves way better than me.
See what I mean about relationships? I’m a perfect example. A few months ago, I had figured out how to live my life on my terms: hockey, school, surfing, the casual hook up with the next consenting hot girl to come my way. Now I’m a f…ed up mess trying to figure out what I’m feeling for Trace. She deserves more than this guarded, emotional wreck.


The Billionaire’s Betrayal by Mika Lane πŸ’• Book Blitz & Signed Book Giveaway πŸ’• (Contemporary Romance)



I own the hottest boutique hotel in Manhattan. Only the rich and famous stay here. They’re the only ones who can afford it. And they’re the only ones we allow.
I’m busy, I’m successful, I’m rich, and I can seduce any woman I want. So when I agreed to another god-awful “bachelor auction” fundraiser for some freaking charity, I prepared myself for a date with some crazy chick who blathered on about her cat, and how many children she’d like to have one day.

Thanks, but no thanks.

So when my “date,” the winner of the latest auction of my bad boy self, emailed me to set up a rendezvous, I planned on having one drink and bailing. My assistant knew exactly when to call me so I could fake an emergency.

Only this date was different. Sure, she was beautiful—Manhattan is full of stunning women, mostly looking for rich husbands. But this one was the brilliant CEO of a tech firm. And she could have given two craps about me. Before I knew it, her half-empty martini sat on the bar wearing the slightest smudge of her red lipstick.

Was she beating me at my own game? I couldn’t let that happen. I wouldn’t.



What was different about Nara was how she held herself, so unselfconscious. She had a ridiculously large bag thrown over one shoulder. It must have been heavy as hell because she had to lean in the opposite direction to keep from toppling over. And while she wore those expensive, fuck-me style pumps, she was a little pigeon “toed. Not enough to look dopey, but enough to look like she wasn’t trying too hard. Her hair had been pulled back into some messy confection at the nape of her neck and from where I sat, it looked like strands were poking out all over. She looked real.


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