Sunday, December 13, 2015

Her Christmas Viking by A.J. Tipton ♥ Spotlight & GIVEAWAY ♥ (Paranormal Romance)



Christmas is hotter than ever: the Elemental Viking brothers are back!

Over a thousand years ago, four Viking brothers led by their tyrannical father invaded lands under the protection of a powerful witch. Cursed for their crimes, the brothers suffered for their wrongdoing for over a thousand years. With the help of the women they loved, they became worthy of redemption and broke their curses.

Now it's Christmas, and--with the help of a little magic--the entire family is reunited to celebrate. But when the yuletide spell bringing them together also summons their bloodthirsty father back from the veil, the boys and their lovers must band together to save the holidays.

This festive novella for adults features holiday spell work, naughty gifts, and a winter wonderland you'll never see coming.

This STANDALONE novella is part of the "Her Elemental Viking" series and features characters from throughout the series. There are no cliffhangers, and each short ends as it should: happily ever after.



Can you imagine?

BOOM! Your entire family, living and dead, materialize instantly because you summoned them. Well, these sexy Vikings didn't have to imagine it, because that's exactly what happened!

This book was a great way to catch up with the characters from the entire series. While I have only read one other book in the series, and it would probably have meant more revisiting with these characters if I had read their stories too, it was an interesting way to get introduced to them.

As usual, A.J. did a great job with the imagery. I actually felt like I was plummeting down a bottomless chimney towards my death like Erik and his wife (no spoilers!!!).

All in all, it was a really good holiday read, and I'm looking forward to more books by A.J.!

***I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***


Copyright © AJ Tipton 2015

Over a thousand years ago, a family of Viking brothers led by their tyrannical father invaded a small island. This island was under the protection of a powerful witch. The Viking invaders were punished for their crimes with curses connected to the elements. For over a thousand years, the Vikings suffered for their wrongdoing until they proved worthy of redemption. Each believed the rest of their family was gone.

Until one year after breaking their curses. At Christmas.

***


Audrey placed a comforting hand on Bram’s shoulder. “I have something to tell you, love. Your brothers are alive. All of them.”
“They’re what?” Bram’s voice echoed off the tinsel-decorated walls of AUDREY’S bar. He could barely believe it. “But, that witch, she--”
“You weren’t the only one she cursed.” Audrey stroked the taut muscles in shoulder. “And yours wasn’t the only curse that broke.”
Bram’s heart raced with joy. This is perfect! he thought. Bram had been cursed to live as a disembodied puddle in a Scottish loch for a thousand years until Audrey freed him. Of course he hadn’t been the only one the witch cursed. Now that his brothers were free, they could all be together again.
Bram’s smile stretched past what he thought his face would allow. Christmas hadn’t been a holiday back when he was pillaging villages with his Viking raiding party, but so far it was proving to be a time for miracles.
“They’re uncursed, alive, out and about.” Audrey smiled. “Lola said so.”
“That’s incredible!” Bram lifted Audrey by the waist and swung her around in a circle, grinning at her. “How does she even know?” he asked as he set Audrey back down on the stained hardwood floor of her bar.
“Because, Lola,” they said together with a laugh.
The last time Bram saw Lola, the bar’s most infamous bartender had been bench pressing a minotaur. The surly, surprised look on the minotaur’s face as the small brunette with the purple eyes lifted him over and over again had been utterly priceless.
“How are they? I mean, back in the old days, my brothers were a bit--” He tried to find the right word. “Murdery.”
“Lola says your brothers have become much better people since then. Like you, their curses changed them.” Audrey snapped her fingers and a few pint glasses floated out of the soapy depths of the sink and began to shake themselves off like wet dogs. “Lola told me, ‘They’re as normal as that weirdo boyfriend of yours’,” She nudged him with his elbow, the glint in her emerald eyes dancing with so much love he couldn’t help smiling back.
“High praise from Lola,” he said.
Audrey pulled Bram towards her for a quick kiss, and Bram didn’t want to let her go. After so many years alone in a loch atoning for his mistakes, having Audrey as the light of his life felt wondrous. With her, he could start a new life free of his haunted past. He ran his fingers through her hair, wondering at its softness. The first step towards his new life was to marry the woman who rescued him. He just had to ask her in the right way, and knowing his brothers were alive gave him an idea.
“Audrey, I think we’re running out of cherries.” He gestured at the plastic containers of garnishes on the bar.
Her eyebrows raised at his abrupt change of topic, but eyed the empty slot for cherries and nodded. “You’re right. I’ll go grab some from the basement.” Audrey twisted a bottle of whiskey on the wall and the entire display of top-shelf liquor swung open to reveal a staircase going down into the basement.
“Why don’t you just magic yourself downstairs like you do at home?” Bram asked. He’d gotten so used to seeing her zap around that seeing her actually walking down the stairs was like watching a bird hop rather than fly.
“This place has got a mind of its own,” she said. “The last time I got lazy and tried to zap myself up to the attic, I ended up in the boiler room and nearly roasted.”
Bram looked around, feeling slightly concerned.
“Are you saying this place is alive?”
Audrey laughed. “In a matter of speaking. Do you think I decorated this place?” Audrey gestured around the bar at the lights, garlands, and an aggressive amount of mistletoe. “AUDREY’S just decks itself out every Christmas Eve.” She waved her hand and a stack of limes began to cut themselves into cocktail-sized wedges on the counter. “I’m still finding hidden rooms and secret passageways, and I practically grew up here.” She started to descend the staircase, her voice becoming softer as she went below. “Sometimes I think this place has my grandmother’s sense of humor. It’s the sort of shit she loved to pull.”
Bram maintained his innocent expression until he could hear Audrey’s footsteps fade away.
He raced to Audrey’s supply closet upstairs. If I’m going to pull off the perfect Christmas, I need to do it now, he thought. The small room was lined with shelves of spell books and exotic components for complex witchcraft. The ingredients were mostly feathers or hair harmlessly removed from exotic creatures, but some of them spun and shook in their clear glass jars with eerily lifelike motions. Even living with a witch, the jars freaked Bram out a little.
Back when he was reading everything he could get his hands on to catch up on all the knowledge he’d missed in the last thousand years, Bram read about a spell that could “bring a family together” that was especially potent around the winter solstice. He scanned the shelves, finding the holly green spell book he needed next to a potted plant with white and purple petals.
“How hard could this be?” he muttered to himself as he pulled the book from the shelf.
He thought he could hear the sounds of Audrey walking around in the basement below. She was singing something off-key and a smile tugged at his lips.
Bram pulled out the diamond ring from his pocket, letting the gem catch and reflect the light. For Christmas, he was going to ask Audrey to marry him, and marriage was about family. To ask her properly, he was going to need his whole family together.
He opened the spell book and a cold wind rushed in from all sides as he flipped to find the right page.
Dragging a small cauldron to the center of the room, he tossed in the components, sniffing suspiciously at the ‘dropped troll rocks’ before adding them. Each ingredient hissed and swirled as it hit the iron of the cauldron, liquefying on impact. The cauldron hummed as the concoction churned, changing from gold to green and then blood red. With a loud pop, the cauldron and its contents disappeared.
“Okaaay.” Bram swallowed hard, a lump forming in his throat. What did I just do? Now that the spell was cast, all the stories Audrey had told him about the devastating consequences of magic gone wrong swirled in his head.
She told him once about a man who tried to use the “cupid’s dart” spell to get a girl to fall in love with him. He accidentally murdered his intended love by creating an actual arrow that stabbed her through the heart.
Panic bloomed in Bram’s chest. What if I hurt Audrey?
Bram’s hand shook as he ran down the stairs, throwing open the door to the main bar.
“Always late, little brother.” A deep, familiar voice boomed. “Even after all this time.” Mikkel, Bram’s eldest brother, was leaning against the bar with his arm swung around a redhead with short, spiky hair.
The room burst out in a chorus of “Merry Christmas”, and Bram felt his jaw drop as he looked around the suddenly-packed bar. In their modern clothes and haircuts, it took a second for Bram to recognize his brothers.
They all still had the same mix of strong and handsome physical features they’d inherited from their parents, but their expressions were different somehow. Mikkel had always been so angry and bitter, driven to almost berserker-level of violence out of mourning for his dead wife and children. The redhead next to Mikkel murmured something in his ear that Bram couldn’t hear and Mikkel’s responding smile transformed him into a calmer person who Bram almost didn’t recognize.
Besides Mikkel, there was Erik, grinning mischievously as usual--apparently some things never changed--resting his chin atop a short woman’s curly red hair, his arms wrapped around her waist. Carr, meanwhile, was leaning over to pour pints of beer, much to the embarrassment of the darker-skinned pregnant woman standing next to him.
“I can’t believe you’re all here!” Bram cried. He reached out to grip Mikkel’s forearm in greeting just as the ground began to tremble.
Bram nearly fell as glassware and liquor bottles toppled to the ground and shattered. A low rumble sounded from the floorboards, growing louder as the shaking intensified.
Audrey dashed up from the storeroom, a jar of cherries still in her hand, and leapt over the bar top in a single flying jump. She landed at Bram’s side.
“What did you do?” She shouted over the quaking din.
“Just a little spell.” Bram could barely hear his own words. “I wanted the whole family together for Christmas.”
Mikkel bellowed, “Are you serious? Why the fuck would you mess with magic after what happened to us! Why didn’t you just use a goddamned phone!”
“I wanted it to be a surprise!” Bram yelled back over the sound of the pictures on the wall crashing to the floor. “I don’t understand why the spell would do this. The whole family is already here!”
Audrey’s eyes grew wide. “You directed a spell at your whole family?”
The noise and shaking stopped suddenly. A middle-aged man dressed in plates of blood-covered armor appeared in the center of the room. He towered well over six feet with a shock of grey hair and a deep scar running down the side of his face.
________________________________________
End of this sample Kindle book.











AJ Tipton is the pseudonym of a writing team: Annie and Jessica (Get it? “AJ.” You get it). Blessed with imaginations too big for their corporate day-jobs, we spend our evenings co-writing erotic stories that amuse us and hope will also amuse others. Our running document of ideas for future series–everything from sex-robots to ghost brothels–will keep us busy for many years to come, so follow us on your preferred social media platform and let us know what series you like best. We love to hear from readers. Some common questions we get are below:


WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?
There are several projects in the works. We are definitely going to finish up the dragon shifter motorcycle club book series that started with Saved By Her Dragon Mate: A BBW Interracial Paranormal Romance and continued with Her Delicious Dragon: A Tiger & Dragon Shifter Paranormal Romance. There are three more books still go: Caesar’s (the sensitive rock star dragon shifter), Alec’s (trans tech-wizard dragon shifter), and Big Joe/Emma possibly/finally getting together.

WHAT’S YOUR WRITING PROCESS LIKE?
Writing as a pair can be complicated, but on the plus side it halves the work, keeps us accountable to keep writing, and doubles the ideas. We start with our grand archive of ideas (we’ve got over a hundred future book ideas and still going strong) and then go to a bar and outline what we think the general plot is going to be, the backstories of the characters and their motivations, and the arc of how the main plot events are going to pan out.

From there, we go home and make a very detailed outline on Google docs, working through the kinks of logical cause and effect and if certain actions would make sense for that character. We try to see if we can work Lola into the plot, because we love her and she has a strange way of writing herself. Then we chart out which character perspective makes sense for each plot point. As our books (so far) are told from multiple points of view, we figure out which of us most identifies with a certain point of view and then… let the writing commence!

The first draft we write for each of our characters. Some books it’s easier to see the different writing styles than others. Annie wrote Jo’s perspective in “Her Fiery Viking,” Jessica wrote Audrey’s perspective in “Her Steamy Viking,” and so on. After the first draft, we dive into the other’s section with enthusiastic additions and merciless cuts. The more books we write, the less shy we’ve become in editing each other’s character sections, leading to a more streamlined writing style that’s become a true blend of our different styles.

DOES WRITING TOGETHER CAUSE DRAMA?
It helps that we’ve been friends for over ten years and our strengths complement each other. Annie tends to write three adjectives when one (or none) is better, and marinate in backstory and character development. Jessica typically forgets to describe the scene or characters, but has no trouble axing the unnecessary adjectives and lyrical verbiage and writes better action and sex scenes. So by our powers combined, we’ve managed to turn out a lot of work in a relatively short period of time.

HOW DO YOU GET THESE GREAT COVERS?
Fiverr. After trying a few different artists for different books, we’ve settled on using a wonderful woman, Lydia Chai (her site is here) who turns out beautiful work very quickly for $5. All of our current covers are her creation. We provide the stock footage photos (subject and background) and she puts it all together. Tip her generously, she’s an artist.

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?
Wine.

WHAT’S LOLA’S DEAL?
We’re not telling…for now… although we welcome theories. :)

HOW CAN I GET STARTED DOING SOMETHING LIKE THIS?
Just go for it! Seriously, we were sitting around having drinks one day talking about the various smut books we’d read and loved and went “we can do this, let’s do this.” So we ran home and pounded out the first draft of “Her Steamy Viking” in under two weeks. Uploading self-published books on Amazon is incredibly easy, the entire system is designed to make author’s lives easier. There is no longer any reason to keep your great “next American sex book” in the drawer or posted in a dark corner of the Internet for free. Upload and share with the world! For money!




    



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