Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cravings


Congratulations to "Julie O" the winner in Misty's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Oscar Wilde once wrote: “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.”

So let’s play a little game. Finish this sentence: “Today, I’m craving…”

Today, it’s Halloween, so I’m craving dark chocolate (okay, I crave that all the time), a witchy costume to dress up in, and a dark, paranormal story or two to read tonight. I prefer gutsy heroines and damaged heroes. I want them to be tempted beyond belief, to literally crave the other’s presence, and finally, against their better judgment, to give in with their whole heart and soul. If it just happens to be All Hallows Eve and their souls are literally on the line, all the better!

According to psychologists and other ‘experts’, women crave romance while men crave sex. A recent article in Psychology Today asserted that some men crave romance, too…they just don’t have a clue as to how we like out romance served (and it’s all about us, right?) Wine and roses? Opening doors? Compliments? Grand gestures or small, intimate ones? What is it, exactly, that women crave in romance?

In my urban fantasy, Revenge Is Sweet, the hero, Radison, wants to make amends for leaving Kali, my vengeance demon, at the altar three hundred years ago. He’s still in love with her and he’s determined to prove it. 

But how could he, I wondered while writing the story. How did a guy, demon or human, make up for such a heart-crushing faux pas, and romance the woman he loves back into his life?

So I asked Kali what she craved…

In the story, Rad starts by showing up at Kali’s door every day with a hot cup of her favorite coffee. Yes, this is secretly one of my wildest fantasies. A rock star god showing up at my door with coffee. A box of rich, sinful muffins would be good too.

Anyway, Rad befriends Kali’s friends. She doesn’t have many – and some are…ahem…unusual, but again, I find that’s a sexy quality in a guy, fiction or not. In real life, my friends are like family. Love me, love them.

When Rad discovers Kali’s been kidnapped, he helps her break free and kill the vampire king using her for her blood. A little heroic Superman thrown into the mix. Of course, Rad’s more of the Batman type, but I digress…

Kali’s no pushover and romancing her is a delicate operation. An operation Rad is up for as you can see in the following excerpt. Rad knows when to push and when to back off and let Kali’s craving for him be her undoing:

Our eyes met. Because he was my blood slave, I could see his bone-deep desire to take my blood shining in his eyes. I could feel his craving, as palpable as my own, coursing through me. His need called to my blood, his emotions entangling with mine, and my own desire kicked low in my stomach. My pulse jumped.

His hands slid under the cape at my shoulders, sliding the red garment down my arms and letting it linger around my waist to keep me close to him. I shuddered at his touch. At his too-close body and the need rolling off of it. The blood lust was evident on his face but so was pure old human desire. He wanted to kiss me. Wanted to wipe away my disgust with myself and my fear of facing the Council. Instead, he tossed my cape on the end of the couch and handed me the champagne…

And so their romance continues, rocky and dark and heart-breaking at times, but balanced out with a love so fierce, you have no doubt these two were meant to be together. Their romance is more blood and sacrifice than wine and roses, but in the end, they’ll find their happy ending.

Giveaway:
So tell me, how did you finish the sentence? What do you crave? How do you like your romance? Comment and be entered to win a copy of Revenge Is Sweet, A Kali Sweet Urban Fantasy.

Bio:
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Misty Evans has published over twenty novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. She likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys hanging out with her husband of twenty-four years and their twin sons. Learn more and sign up for her newsletter at www.readmistyevans.com. Like her author page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Symphony Of Light & Winter


GIVEAWAY Alert!

SYMPHONY OF LIGHT & WINTER

Symphony of Light, Book 1
Publisher:   Etopia Press
Publication Date:  June 21st, 2013

One woman. Seven men. All bound by one man’s undying devotion.

Fundraiser Linden Hill has a knack for reading people. She always knows which conversations will put a prospect at ease, which drink will loosen a patron’s lips—or his wallet, and how cleavage will make a donor sweeten the deal. She’s even foreseen her dateless weekends four hundred and sixty-four times in a row.

But ten years after watching life drain from her former mentor’s and first love’s eyes, her skills for divining the predictable are lost. When Cyril returns, he’s still gorgeous, but this time he’s beyond human, far less dead, and pissed. His lack of memory drives him to desperate acts, and his turbulent re-acquaintance with Linden pulls her into his war with a creature hell-bent on his destruction. His group of six supernatural men share a tantalizing secret, but despite the hunger, it’s love that leads her to sacrifice everything to save him…

Buy Links
Amazon.com
BarnesandNoble.com
AllRomanceeBooks.com
Kobo.com

About the Author

Renea Mason writes steamy romances to help even out the estrogen to testosterone imbalance caused by living in a house full of men.
When she isn’t putting pen to paper crafting sensual stories filled with supernatural lovers, she spends time with her beyond-supportive husband, two wonderful sons and three loving but needy cats.
She is also a founding member of the http://coffeetalkwriters.com/

Contact or follow Renea Mason

Excerpt 
My amusement was interrupted by the absolute last thing I needed. Cyril. As if being in a room with a bunch of men who wanted me but didn’t know why and hated me for it wasn’t bad enough. In his black custom suit, he radiated power. He pulled at his cuff links as he stopped to survey the room.

Instead of trying to make my escape, I seized an opportunity to antagonize him. I was really starting to enjoy tormenting him.

“Good morning, Grim, it is nice of you to join us.”

“Grim. Ha! She called him Grim.” Rhys clapped his hands as he laughed.

Cyril didn’t acknowledge me or Rhys’s comment. He stood there for a very long time and looked around the room at each man. Nobody met his gaze but me. Cyril’s fists clenched at his side, jaw tight, and face furious.

“I warned all of you,” he addressed the room. He didn’t growl but rather wrapped his words with a subtle menace.

“Leave them alone. You know this is entirely your fault. If you would just think things through, you’d stop fucking everything up. I do have to say, of all your fuckups, this one is certainly the most impressive and entertaining from my perspective.” I winked at Overton, who managed to glare at me even with his head practically bowed. Why were they so fucking subservient to him?

The next thing I knew, I was yanked from my seat and hoisted onto the counter. Cyril grabbed my ass and pulled me to the edge, forced my legs open, and stepped between them. He wrapped his arms around me and placed his head against mine. It wasn’t his voice I heard but rather his mind. It felt like when I talked to myself but somehow I knew it was him. Strange, he had tone and inflection while communicating.

“You need to stop showing off in front of my men. Yes, I fucked up, but do you really want them to give in to their urges? Do you think you can fend them off? I could toss you to them and see how far you get. Is that what you want? Maybe I should let them have their way with you and pull up a chair to watch. I want you to think about something before you start to defy me. I’m the only one who can keep you safe. So it’s best you stop being a smart-ass for five seconds and listen to me. I’m going to do something that will piss you off. I’m warning you now it’s for your own good. You need to go along with it, no matter how angry you are at me. Don’t fight me. I’ll try to fix this but until then, I need to take a few precautions.”

I wasn’t sure how to respond. If I thought something, could he hear me? Was this two-way communication? I tried to push him away.

He tightened his grip and his voice was in my head again.

“Stop it! Let me remind you that I have a special connection with these men. Not only can I read their thoughts but I can’t block them. I don’t have to try to receive them. I know exactly what each person in this room, besides you of course, is thinking right now.”

So that’s what Overton meant when he said Cyril had ways of finding out.

“The thoughts that assaulted me when I entered this room would make a porn star blush; every one of their little fantasies featured you.”

I giggled.

The voice growled. “Don’t laugh. I won’t pretend I’m not jealous and angry. I am. But if you knew the things they were thinking you’d better understand why I need to do what I’m about to do. Do you see Dominic over there? Let’s just say his tastes run a little dark. Ever spend considerable time naked with your hands bound behind your back and a ball gag in your mouth? He’s picturing you that way, this very instant.”

I stiffened. That didn’t at all appeal to me.

“Thor seems to think that you’d enjoy all of us taking you at the same time.”

And he seemed so quiet and sweet.

“Sinclair wants to shove his cock down your throat until you choke, all the while telling you how it’s your entire fault. Rhys is thinking of how you would look sprawled out on the hood of his new sports car, and Overton...”

“NO!” I yelled.

It seemed like a violation of privacy with Overton. Unlike the others, I considered him a friend. I respected him too much.

“See, like it or not, I’m going to tell you what he’s thinking since it pisses me off the most. He thinks I’m going to fuck you right here on this counter, to lay my claim. Once he gets past the fantasies of watching me fuck you, which he finds exceptionally arousing...”

There was a momentary pause to the voice and when he started again, he was angry.

“He then knocks on your bedroom door after you run crying from the room. You invite him in and he holds you in his arms while you cry about how I violated and humiliated you. He wants to comfort you. He wants to be your savior. He wants to save you from me. But he knows he can’t.”

I felt the moment he left my head, because a sudden wave of dizziness came over me.

With no more words, he tilted his head and placed his lips against mine. I fought the rigidity that tried to seize my body. I knew it was best to give in. I wouldn’t fight him, but I knew every time he got close, I ran the risk of losing myself. I was still way too angry to just give up.

His lips danced with mine as he nestled himself between my open thighs.

Was Overton right? How far would he take it? If it did go too far, would I be able to stop him? He was such a fucking weakness for me I honestly didn’t think I would.

He was gentle and softly stroked my back as his tongue made love to my mouth. With one hand he cupped my ass and pulled me flush against him, and with the other he reached up, cupped my breast, and squeezed hard. His kiss grew frantic and I became caught up in the sensation, forgot where I was, and that I had an audience. He pushed me hard against his erection as he rubbed himself rhythmically against my core. “You are mine. You belong to me. Now say it! Let them all know who you belong to.”

Was he kidding? I hesitated.

He ran his fangs up the side of my neck in warning. He whispered in my ear, “Say it. You need to say it. Let them hear it come from your lips.” His hand drifted from my breast to the hem of my nightgown and pulled up one side so it rested in the crease where my leg met my hip.

Somehow the part of me that knew he was right surfaced, and the stubborn part of me took a momentary vacation. If I was his, they wouldn’t dare defy him. It would keep me safe.

His fingers toyed with the edge of my panties before tugging the fabric to the side to allow him to stroke my moist skin. He positioned himself at the juncture between my legs, allowing my naked flesh to gather friction from his cloth-covered cock.

“Yes, Cyril, I’m yours.”

With that, he struck. His fangs pierced my neck. The second of pain from his bite passed and the pleasure grew, igniting my veins with liquid desire. One arm tightened around me, pulling me harder against his cock. The other held my head while he sucked harder. Each pull he took was linked to the sensitive place between my legs. He ground his hips into mine and I moaned. The first wave of climax hit, tensing muscles and pushing my breath out in a rush. This was new. He could do this just by biting me?

I shook in his arms as he drank. Tremor after tremor seized me as he took his fill. I was so caught up in the sensation I only vaguely noticed the moans and growls that escaped from behind his teeth. With one final pull, and a thrust of his hips, he finished with a crushing embrace as he removed his teeth from my neck.

“Mine!” he roared. He enveloped me in his arms and held me close. He dipped his head to lick closed the small punctures on my throat.

I threw my head back. My breathing slowed as the cloud that had invaded my head receded.

Son of a bitch! I just came in front of everyone while sitting on the kitchen counter!

I was afraid to open my eyes but when I did, he stared back.

He nuzzled my cheek. “I’m sorry. I only want to protect you. If you’re mine, no one will dare touch you. I needed to lay my claim but I didn’t want to take anything you hadn’t already offered. Since you’ve replenished me before I thought this might be more acceptable.”

I was angrier with myself than him.

He caressed my arms and back. When I mustered enough courage to look around, we were the only
people in the kitchen, with the exception of Overton, who stood in the doorway holding the keys to my car.

Cyril softly lifted my chin so that my eyes would meet his. “Again, I’m sorry. I know I end up saying that far too often. But I need you to know, hearing those words from your lips...ah, hell. I can’t even explain it. Perhaps someday, you’ll utter them in truth.”

He placed his forehead against mine, took a deep breath. “Fuck. Maybe Overton is right. Maybe someone should save you from me.”


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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Real-life Ghost Story


Congratulations to "Julie O", the winner in Amanda's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

With Halloween just a few days away, I thought I would share my favorite real-life ghost story, which was actually the inspiration for my YA time travel novella, 1816 Candles. This novella is a mash-up of a famous ghost story in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, as well as Charles Dickens’ classic story, A Christmas Carol.

Alexandria, a picturesque town on the shores of the Potomac River older than our nation’s democracy itself, is full of ghost stories. The most enduring of Old Town’s ghost stories has even been featured on History Channel’s Haunted History — The Legend of the Female Stranger.

This is what is known of the story:

In September 1816, a ship (believed to have originated in the West Indies) docked in Alexandria, which was a neighborhood of Washington, DC at the time. This was not unusual in and of itself, as Alexandria was a bustling seaport in those days. But no ship was expected at that time, so all the townspeople paid close attention.


A man and woman emerged from the ship and made their way up Cameron Street to the City Hotel, which at the time was owned by John Wise. (Today we know this building as Gadsby’s Tavern, which was famous in American history as the site of George Washington’s last two Birthnight Balls. Other prominent historical figures known to frequent the tavern include John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Madison, and the Marquis de la Fayette.)
The presumed husband and wife were shown to Room 8, and it was soon discovered that the woman was ill. Her condition continued to deteriorate until finally the husband summoned the doctor, hotel staff, and even the owner’s wife to Room 8 to ask a very unusual request: everyone present must swear an oath never to reveal their identities. Those in attendance agreed, which in turn began rampant speculation amongst the townspeople about who the strangers might be.

The mysterious woman in Room 8 died a month later, and the man with her commissioned an elaborate tombstone, which still sits in St. Paul’s Church Cemetery just outside of Old Town. It reads:

To the memory of a
FEMALE STRANGER
whose mortal sufferings terminated
on the 14th day of October 1816
Aged 23 years and 8 months

This stone was placed here by her disconsolate
Husband in whose arms she sighed out her
latest breath and who under God
did his utmost even to soothe the cold
dead ear of death.

How loved how valued once avails thee not
To Whom related or by whom begot
A heap of dust alone remains of thee
Tis all though art and all the proud shall be

To him gave all the Prophets witness that
through his name whosoever believeth in
him shall receive remission of sins
Acts. 10th Chap. 43rd verse


Shortly after the female stranger’s death, Alexandria’s merchants went to collect the debt from her “husband.” The tombstone and funeral cost $1500 (worth roughly $25,000 in today’s money), plus the strangers had racked up a month’s worth of room and board at Gadsby’s, as well as medical expenses. Extending a large amount of credit to a refined gentleman was not unusual, but despite the seeming distasteful nature of inquiring about money in the wake of grief, the merchants were now owed a significant sum.

When the merchants arrived at Room 8 to collect, they discovered that the male stranger had disappeared. He’d left town without paying his debts, and was never heard from again. It would be human nature at this point to forget about the supposed “oath” never to reveal the identities of the strangers and to seek justice, but the Alexandria townspeople kept their word. The hotel register was scrubbed clean and all that remained of the event was the anonymous tombstone in St. Paul’s Cemetery and local lore.

Throughout the years, speculation about the Female Stranger’s identity has remained a favorite pastime in Alexandria. Some believe she was Theodosia Burr Alston, the distraught daughter of disgraced Vice President Aaron Burr. Alston was believed to have drowned at sea almost four years before the events unfolded in Alexandria, but of course the gossips said she had faked her own death to leave her husband in order to run away with her lover.

Others believed that the Female Stranger was a kidnapped European princess or possibly even Napoleon in drag. Those who believed the latter story point out that he had been exiled from France in 1815, and that the “23 years, 8 months” on her headstone would date her supposed birth in February 1793, which was the month in which the diminutive French general declared war on England. This theory posits that Napoleon, disguised as the “female stranger,” faked his death and used the burial as a hiding place for treasure stolen from the aristocracy during the French Revolution.

Still others believe the entire situation was an elaborate scam devised by con men, and that both the Male and Female Strangers escaped from the town with a large amount of money, laughing all the way to the bank. The “oath of secrecy” may have been devised by the townspeople themselves to cover up for being duped.

Or then there’s my husband’s favorite explanation — aliens.

Who knows? It all happened nearly two hundred years ago, so perhaps “ancient aliens” would be a more accurate description. Besides, the only people who were ever privy to the events are long dead, so we’ll never know.

Local lore claims that the Female Stranger is known to haunt the hotel to this day. She — or at least a woman in Regency era clothing — is occasionally seen in the upstairs window of Room 8, holding a lit candle. Docents at the Gadsby’s Tavern Museum say they have heard the sound of someone walking around upstairs, only to find there is no one there.

The historic ballroom at Gadsby’s Tavern was the setting of many “public assemblies” in its day, and today remains an important part of “living history.” Playing on the popularity of Jane Austen among young women, the Gadsby’s Tavern Society and the Living History Foundation host frequent costume balls in which attendees dress in period attire and do the famous dances of the time. (Doesn’t everyone want to meet their own Mr. Darcy?)

I first heard the story of the Female Stranger while attending an Alexandria Colonial Tours “Ghosts and Graveyards” tour during a stop in front of Gadsby’s, where I’d already been taking English Country Dance lessons for nearly a year under the tutelage of dancing master Corky Palmer.

After explaining the background events from 1816, the tour guide told us that one evening during a dance that was held there, a young man spotted a woman across the room flirting with him. The reenactment year for the dance was 1799, but she was wearing a dress from about a decade and a half later than that, which struck him as odd. He looked again, but she was not there. But he was intrigued, and walked right down the middle of a longway set, disturbing the dancers in his quest to find her. There was only one place she could have gone that quickly, and that was a nearby bedroom, which happened to be the same one in which the famous Female Stranger had died.

As the man entered the room, he spotted a lit candle on the night stand. Thinking it was a bad idea to have a candle lit in an unattended room, he went downstairs to complain to the hotel manager. After the two returned to the room, they found the candle as if it had never been lit, the wick still white with wax.


I became intrigued by this story, and when I decided that I needed a novella to kick off my new time travel series (although 1816 Candles occurs first chronologically and will be published first, I’d actually written Julie’s story, Party Like It’s 1899, five years earlier), the Female Stranger seemed perfect for exploration. Who was she? Why did her “husband” disappear? Whereas my husband likes to say “maybe it’s aliens,” I tend towards saying “maybe they were time travelers.”

As for combining it with A Christmas Carol, well, you know, ghosts and the past. Besides Dickens’ Victorian morality tale is awesome.

And thus 1816 Candles was born!

Oh, and pssst…the girl and guy inside the snow globe on the cover of 1816 Candles? That’s me and Mr. Brice, when we attended the Jane Austen Ball at Gadsby’s Tavern a few years ago.

Giveaway:
Do you have any favorite ghost stories? Share for a chance to win a $5 gift card to Amazon!

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 29th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustParanormalRomance.com with a subject title of JPR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Beneath The Veil Blog Tour


Giveaway Alert!

Beneath the Veil
Anthology
Books One through Five
Available on October 1st.

A Kiss Beneath the Veil
Daphne became a ghost whisperer when the Veil was lifted and the others came out of hiding. Now she’s intent on using her new ability to track down a serial killer who’s been terrorizing children in her small town. Isaac is an ancient vampire pursuing Daphne as she runs from his love and the promise of his immortal kiss. He will do anything to prove that they belong together, forever, including slaying a real monster for her.

A Taste for Moonlight
Anne gave up on finding her Prince Charming exactly one divorce, two kids, and (ahem) several pounds ago. Besides, she’s too busy building her business and being a good mom to even miss love anymore...usually...sometimes. But all that changes when she finds herself tricked into going to a werewolf strip club on her birthday. That’s when Thomas sees her for the first time and realizes that she is the mate he’s searched centuries for.

A Darker Shade of Dawn
Roschana doesn’t have many friends. Maybe it’s that whole I-eat-sex-for-breakfast thing? Too sexy? Too creepy? Whatever. She can’t help that she’s a succubus or that when most people find out about her eating habits they usually get the wrong impression and bolt, or drop trou on the spot. Eeww. But Thomas isn’t like most people. He’s a nerd who understands the stars better than he understands people. Who knew that the fastest way to a succubus’s heart was through a telescope?

A Heart of Stone and Fire
Athena is dying. There, she admitted it. So now what? In a world made topsy turvy by the lifting of the Veil, a girl ought to be able to find a cure for something as banal as cancer. And if she can’t? Well, then there’s always shopping. Gestein has guarded Athena since their paths first crossed when she was just a child. He would do anything to save her from the fate she has in store, but he’s bound to honor the vow he made not to interfere in her life. And a gargoyle always keeps his word.

A Constant Rapture
Constance is searching for a miracle; because that’s the only way she’ll be able to save her little sister and herself from the Ochi’s grasp. Xavier is working as a stage magician on the Vegas strip when Constance barges in and disrupts his carefully ordered plans: work, drink, rinse, repeat. He doesn’t see how his one shite talent could possibly help in her search until he’s already neck deep in Ochi mercenaries. By then there’s the complication of him starting to fall for his dream girl...

Author Bio
I was born and raised near Las Vegas, NV and grew up dreaming of rain. I also dreamt of heroes and villains and the women that inspired the best and worst in them.
It seemed like every book I read as a teen was a classic bodice-ripper. Wimpy-virgin-heroine always making bad choices and getting herself in trouble, cue the macho hero, yadda yadda yadda. Those books are what inspired me to write my own stories, not because I loved those retro-romances, but because I constantly found myself tossing them aside and fuming. I would think of all the ways the story would have been better: if she had just picked up the sword and stabbed the bad guy when she had the chance...

I LOVE writing and I love the new direction that fiction has taken over the last decade. So many amazing, strong female leads now! And so many new writers that finally have a voice in the indie publishing community.

I was blessed with a wonderful husband who supports my passion for writing and reading and who really helped me focus my desire to publish my work. When I'm not busy enjoying my daughter and husband I'm usually developing a new story idea or sneaking in a bit of free time with my favorite authors.

I'm a bit of a hermit, they called it being "shy" when I was a kid, but I love hearing from fans. I also love ferrets, hiking, chili dark chocolate, strong coffee, nursing mamas, and rain.

Twitter @aimeeroseland


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