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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sample Sunday excerpt is from guest author Heidi Hall

A Dose of Reality By Heidi Hall

In every perfect life, there comes a time for A Dose of Reality.

Pharmaceutical Heiress Chloe Avalon has always had the best of everything. But then again, a perfect wardrobe, the swankiest address, glamorous parties and limitless trust funds are the norm when you live in the realm of the über-rich. The only problem is that all of it has become a tad bit...tedious.

But life starts to get a little too interesting when her brother, Luke, sends her an ancient relic--and promptly vanishes. A mysterious voicemail from Luke's oldest friend (and Chloe's girlhood crush) adds a new layer of intrigue. Then, on the eve of her 30th birthday, things really begin to fall apart.

From Southampton to New York to a private island in the Caribbean, Chloe plunges into a dangerous race against an enemy she never expected and discovers there really are some things that money just can't buy. 
Excerpt:

I love getting packages in the mail.
Not just presents, although I especially like presents, but any box will do. It could be something silly I saw on late night TV and sleep-ordered or the latest pair of shoes from my favorite designer that hadn’t yet hit the stores. Even if it’s a power cord for my cell that I had to buy because I’d somehow misplaced the forty other ones—as long as it comes shipped to my house in a sturdy brown box, I’m a happy camper.
This particular box was heavy and I tore into the industrial strength packing tape with abandon. My thirtieth birthday was fast approaching and I just knew it had to be something wonderful. I peeled back the final flap and plunged my eager fingers into the plethora of pink packing peanuts. Finding something solid to grasp, I carefully lifted my prize into the light.
Huh?
I had to sit down to study the decomposing piece of metal that had emerged from the depths. I’m not usually the ungrateful type when it comes to gifts, but when your big brother sends you a dirty piece-of-crap sculpture for your thirtieth birthday… well, let’s just say I wasn’t overwhelmed by the warm-fuzzies. No card, of course, because that wasn’t Luke’s style. I knew it was from him; even without a return address on the label, I recognized my brother’s chicken-scratch writing style.
Happy-freaking-birthday to me.
I removed my gaze from the disappointing relic to look out the window at the snow falling lazily toward Central Park and tried not to feel sorry for myself. It was a peaceful scene and one which I normally appreciated throughout the year and especially so during the holiday season. But recently everything around me, like my latest gift, appeared tarnished.
My elite address at 15 Central Park West had been a bribe from my father, a way to get me to accept a summer-long mission of mercy on behalf of Avalon Pharmaceuticals. Spending three months in war-torn and impoverished countries all over the globe had not been my idea of a good time. Especially when my friends were spending their summer after college graduation cruising the Mediterranean on private yachts or other more leisurely pursuits.
Okay, I don’t have a lot of friends, but I have a few—alright, one—and she had certainly not been flying coach—on standby—to every hellhole on the planet.

Buy A Dose of Reality: 
http://www.amazon.com/A-Dose-of-Reality-ebook/dp/B004UWPFM2

 About Heidi:
I love lying... um, I mean, I love making up stories! Heiresses, assassins, witches... there is something about creating a world, losing yourself inside it, and coming away thinking - that was really fun! A dose of reality let me get in touch with the wanna-be socialite in me (she insists I spend incredible sums of money on purses and sunglasses… I don’t argue with her very often). I hope you enjoy reading it, because it was a blast to write. Adventure, mystery, romance and suspense... who says you have to color within the lines?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Snippet from Devon Ruthin and a Vampire in Love


Meanwhile, Drew had followed the girl in the car to a shopping mall and was wondering how he would approach her without being in the sunlight. The parking was all outside on large flat areas of ground.
The girl knew Drew had followed her and was parking behind her. She was pleasantly surprised by how attractive he was. She had been flattered that he had followed her. It did not enter her head that he might be a danger in his expensive opulent car. She waited for him to get out of his car and perhaps introduce himself, but nothing happened he remained parked behind her. Maybe he was on the phone she reasoned, and then she got out of her own car and walked to his.
Drew put down the electric window, not fully but enough to talk to her, for her to see how attractive he was again. Drew turned on his charm, his ability to convince was extraordinary and he asked her to sit in his car for a few moments, they could exchange numbers, meet later for a drink. The girl walked around to the passenger side as another car pulled into a car parking space next to them. She opened the door and slid onto the leather seat where Drew had quickly made space for her, his hat and coat thrown onto the back seat. Drew smiled at her as she closed the door so that the adjacent car driver could open their door. Once inside the window tint masked virtually everything to someone outside of the car, and anyway the other shopper was in a hurry, and did not even glance at them.
Drew reached over her to the glove compartment saying he would give her his card and the girl enjoyed this closeness. Drew was extremely handsome she was thinking, when he turned, and kissed her, his hand on her neck deceptively gentle. He kissed her again, his hand straying to her breast, stroking her nipple through the thin fabric of her top. The girl felt a wave of desire and as she returned his kiss, he felt the overwhelming need to taste her blood. He moved back from her and gave her a smouldering look with his blue eyes and then he smiled first before he bit into her neck. His hand was now covering her mouth as she tried to scream, his extreme strength snapping her collarbone as he drained her. Drew left her limp, and lifeless body slumped in his passenger seat as he drove away.
http://www.amazon.com/Devon-Ruthin-Vampire-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B005SIXIZI
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Devon-Ruthin-Vampire-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B005SIXIZI

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sample Sunday Romantic Excerpts continue with guest author Ellen O'Connell


Dancing on Coals

Story Summary: from
Ellen O'Connell

He is an Apache warrior whose parents were killed by whites who then imprisoned him in a white school for years. She is a white woman who has traveled and hunted all over the world. Forced into an uneasy alliance after an ambush by Mexican Rurales, Gaetan and Katherine form a strange bond. When the bond turns to love, can they admit it? Can they bear the consequences?

 Excerpt from Dancing on Coals

She tiptoed to the bed as if he could hear her and slid in next to him. Her body heat could at least warm his good side. As she touched him, he rolled, pulling her against him, her back to his chest. His good arm fit under her in the curve of her waist, the splinted forearm hung over her ribs.

A protest slipped from her throat as she started to fight, but he gave her nothing to fight against—he didn’t try to hold her. Because she was free to leave, she stayed, sinking back down and relaxing against him. He was cold, so cold. Diving into a snowbank back home had to be warmer than this, and snowbanks didn’t shiver.

Why had he come to her instead of Echo, Sigesh, Bácho, or Lupe and Itsá? Because of the bond. Probably he would deny such a thing existed, but it did. Getting away from Hierra had forged some strange bond that wove its way around the hate, fear and distrust, and everything that happened after only strengthened that bond.

She touched the icy fingers of his splinted arm. What if she had bound it too tight and cut off his circulation? She pressed his cold fingers flat between both of her hands. At least she could feel that he was still breathing.

The shivering stopped. That had to be good. The hand in hers felt more like flesh. What about the wound? Had he bled through her clumsy bandage? She reached back and felt the cloth. Still dry, at least on the outside. Instead of pressing just his one hand between both of hers, she cupped the fingers of each hand over his, startled when his fingers tightened, curling back around hers.


He didn’t move again. His breathing stayed slow and regular. Keeping her feet against his no longer demanded a martyr’s dedication. If her feet were better, his had to be too, didn’t they? She moved a foot slightly, feeling the extra length of his. Not just his foot, she realized. Her body lay curved inside the larger curve of his. He was taller, every limb longer, his shoulders wider.

For the first time in memory, Katherine felt not just female, but feminine. This was what other women had and she never would. If she had been able to marry a man she wanted instead of one who would have her, it would be like this every night. She would lay in a husband’s arms and feel like this. She swallowed the lump in her throat and blinked away tears. Every one of her brothers could give her a stern lecture on the soul-sapping effects of self-pity.

Tonight she wasn’t giving way to regret or self-pity. Tonight she was staying awake and glorying in every minute of this one chance to know how it felt. He was warm now and sleeping peacefully. In the morning, Echo would set the arm and doctor the wound, and he would be fine. He would. And for this one night Katherine Grant was going to pretend the man holding her was hers and would still be hers tomorrow.

In spite of her every effort, Katherine fell asleep shortly before dawn. When she woke, he was gone.
Buy the book : 
Ellen O'Connell's website; http://www.oconnellauthor.com/

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Steamy Sample Sunday Feature excerpt from 'Eulogy's Secret'

Sample Sunday Gently Steamy Romance from guest author Grace Elliot

Eulogy’s Secret - a story of greed prejudice and a stolen identity.

In the four weeks since her guardian’s death, Eulogy Foster has lost everything. She travels to London seeking the help of Lord Lucien Devlin, the estranged brother who doesn’t know she exists. But Lord Devlin turns her away and alone on the streets, Eulogy is robbed and thrown onto the mercy of a passing stranger.

Jack Huntley - bitter, cynical and betrayed in love -believes women are devious, scheming creatures and not to be trusted. So when one night he saves a naive young woman from rape, little does he suspect how life is about to change. Despite his growing attraction to Miss Foster, Jack has a problem: Eulogy Foster has a secret involving his bitterest enemy, Lord Devlin.

As Eulogy learns the haunting story of her mother’s past, she knows she will only marry for true love. Deeply drawn to Jack Huntley, she needs him to confess his love before she shares the secret of her birth. Caught in a deadlock, with neither able to confess their true feelings, events take a sinister turn as it becomes clear someone wants Eulogy Foster dead.

 Excerpt from Eulogy's Secret
First Kiss
With a humph, Eulogy soaked a rag in the hot water and, studiously ignoring her leaping pulse, touched his hot skin to wipe away the dried blood.
“You are lucky.” Eulogy avoided looking into the hypnotic depths of his dark eyes. “The cut has missed vital vessels by an inch. The bleeding has stopped with pressure and the wound should stitch well.”
Such supple skin made for caressing and kissing. Eulogy licked her lips, anticipating the taste of clean sweat, male warmth and musk, as heat ignited in her belly. Desire struck with such unexpectedly force that her hand slipped.
“Have a care!”
“Sorry.”
Stormy eyes met hers. Angry and yet amused. Trapped by their unfathomable depths, her heart raced afresh. What was the matter with her? Doctor Foster said she was impulsive, but she hadn’t believed him until now. It took all her strength not to lean in and kiss Mr. Huntley in a most un-ladylike way. It was as if an invisible hand was forcing her toward those sensuous lips.
“You seem distracted, Miss Foster?”
She felt, rather than heard, his deep, rumbling voice.
“Well if this wasn’t like treating a tame bear, then I wouldn’t feel intimidated and my hand wouldn’t slip.”
Blood thundered in her ears as she met his stare, and then, the corners of his taut mouth twitched into a grin and Eulogy couldn’t stop herself from smiling in return.
 “Touché, mademoiselle. Few would be brave enough to call me a bear. But the comparison is not unwarranted.” He grew serious. “Besides, you have had a fright this evening and here’s me acting the child.”
His concern was disarming, sending a fresh wave of heat surging through her blood. Eulogy composed herself; this wasn’t like her to act the dolt.
“That’s quite all right. I’m sure I don’t know how to thank you.”
“Really?” His voice sounded oddly hoarse.
Eulogy froze, as his good arm slid around her waist, his touch burning her skin through her gown as he pulled her close. “I think you do.”
To avoid the wide wavy lips closing in on hers, she started gabbling.
“AsIwassayinganinchclosertoyourneckand…”
“Hush, it’s just a kiss. Call it a thank you. My reward for services rendered.”
Quietly, he placed a finger against her lips. Really, he was hypnotically handsome and one little kiss as a thank you for saving her life, was it so very wrong? Something throbbed deep inside her, rising to an ache as he caressed her jaw. Then his lips grazed her neck, soft as heated velvet. He drew back, waiting for her protest, and yet she did not.
And when his mouth found hers, she parted her lips in welcome.
“One kiss,” he crooned. “I won’t tell. Just one.”
“Just one,” she heard herself repeating his words. It was as if she had become two people:  one askance at her brazenness, the other craving this stranger’s touch. She felt his breathing jerk beneath her fingers. He nibbled her lower lip, his tongue sliding into her mouth, feeling peculiar and yet exciting. A moan broke the silence, and blushing, she realized the sound issued from her throat.
“Miss Foster, I do believe you like being kissed.”

Eulogy's Secret is available at
Smashwords.
 
Amazon US

Amazon UK.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Steamy Sample Sunday Feature, Guest is Katie Salidas

This Sample Sunday we have an excerpt from Katie Salidas. Katie writes Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Erotica.
 Hunters and Prey Book two in The Immortalis series


I stormed into the master bedroom, slamming the door behind me. I needed some alone time, and a hot shower to help wash away the stress of the day.
The shower had always been a place where I could relax and be at peace with my thoughts—something I desperately needed at that moment. Between the near-death experience with Quentin and Lysander’s stubborn anger about Fallon, my nerves were on edge.
Why does he have to hate my best friend?
I walked into the bathroom and found my reflection in the vanity mirror. Mimicking
Lysander’s monotone voice I repeated, “Then accept that your friendship is over. Our two worlds cannot co-exist.”
I rolled my eyes and turned away to start the shower. A high-pressure cascade of water shot out of the showerhead as I twisted the brushed nickel knob.
“Just because it hasn’t happened, doesn’t mean that it can’t. Who’s to say we can’t remain good friends? I mean, she already knows about us.” I shrugged off my coat and unbuttoned my jeans.
“Thank goodness for Rozaline. At least she seems to be on my side.”
I slid the jeans down around my ankles and stepped out, and then made quick work of my top and bra.
“How do I get him to understand? We’re not that different, Fallon and I. We can remain friends when this mess is all over.”
Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, naked, I studied myself.
“Okay, maybe we are a little different.”
No sign of the previous fights marked my perfect, smooth skin. Amazed, I fingered the spots where I remembered the bullets tearing though me. I noticed how closely my skin matched the vanilla ice cream-colored walls. I almost blended in like camouflage. Only the pink of my nipples, the blue of my eyes, and the red of my hair made me stand out. It still surprised me, even after months of life as a vampire, how different I was. As a human, I should have been dead, or at the very least, scarred and mutilated from all of the action I had seen. But my immortal body always returned to its original state of perfection, healing with no trace of injuries.
“Well.” I turned away from my reflection. “Even if we are a little different, I’m not losing my best friend again.”
Steam flowed from the shower, telling me the water had reached the perfect scalding temperature. I loved the heat. My poor circulation and slow beating heart left me in a constant state of chill—especially in places like my toes and fingertips. I loved to be around any form of warmth.
I stepped into the shower, enjoying the momentary shock, the initial hot sting from the temperature change. It quickly turned into a sensual, full, heat that warmed my entire body. I felt some of my stress melt and slide away, disappearing down the drain. Facing the water, I let it hit my face and run down my neck and breasts, washing away whatever grime might be left from the day.
The door opened, and from the corner of my eye I saw the dark hair and athletic figure of Lysander. There went my relaxing shower.
“I don’t want to talk to you right now,” I shouted.
I turned around and let the water run down my back and busied myself by opening a bottle of citrus-scented shampoo. I didn’t feel like being lectured by him anymore and hoped he’d take the not-so-subtle hint to go away.
“I do not wish to fight with you. But you must understand my position.” His voice carried that annoying hit of authority he used when he wanted things done his way.
I ignored him, spreading the shampoo into my long hair, massaging it into my scalp, creating a foamy mountain of lather on top of my head.
“Alyssa, stop acting childish and listen to me.”
His choice of words were far from endearing and had the opposite effect on me. I turned my back, facing the water, letting it wash away the bubbles. The rushing cascade muffled Lysander’s words.
The shower door opened and Lysander stepped inside. His hand grasped mine, pulling it from my hair. With one twirling motion, he forced me around to look at him.
 “You will not ignore me,” he said, a note of frustration in his voice. He stood naked before me, holding me, crushing me against his hard body.
“I have nothing to say to you.”
I didn’t need another lecture. I had done what I thought best at the time, for better or worse. There was no way to go back and change those actions. Harping on me wasn’t going to solve anything. I tried wedging my hands between our bodies, but he wouldn’t allow it.
“You endangered us all. Don’t you see that?”
“No. I endangered myself,” I snapped at him. “Do you think I would have willingly done things to hurt the clan?” I pushed again at his body, trying to free myself from his grasp. “You think I’m so naive, that I have no sense at all, don’t you?”
He looked down, locking his eyes on mine. I felt the odd press of his mind, trying to delve into my own. I knew he was trying to use his power to subdue my anger, and I didn’t want that. I had every reason to be angry with him, and that anger helped me focus enough to break his stare. I turned my head away from him—the only real defense I had. I was no match to play mental games with a two-thousand year old vampire, and I knew it.
A low growl rumbled in his throat. I could feel the rage like an electric current, vibrating inside of him. A small voice in the back of my head told me to just be quiet and let him say his piece, but anger consumed my better judgment.
“I left you at the hotel. I went after Fallon, alone. I never once involved you or the clan in my attempt to save her. When we escaped, I brought Santino to a neutral spot. Never once did I contact you or give you or the clan’s location away. So you tell me, how the fuck I endangered anyone but myself?” I slammed my fist into his chest, punctuating the anger in my words.
He stood silent for a moment. Against my better judgment, I looked up, intending to demand his answers and apology. Our eyes met, but I didn’t see anger there. Pain was etched across his face. My rage faltered. The hypnotic pull of his twilight eyes caught me in my momentary weakness. His voice whispered in my mind. I thought I had lost you.
My head began to swim, feeling heavy as his power invaded. Fear crept into my mind—not a fear of Lysander or of death, but of the all-consuming emptiness of a broken heart.
I never want to lose you, Alyssa. He whispered in my head. I was so afraid for you. You are my reason to continue living. You ended my loneliness. Be angry with me for acting as a leader and reprimanding you, but please do not endanger yourself. I could not bear that loss. I need you at my side.
He wanted me to feel everything: the fear, the pain, the sadness, the loss. He wanted me to feel how hurt he had been when I left him there in the hotel. And I did. The crushing weight of those devastating emotions enveloped me. For a brief moment my own heart ached as if it were being slowly ripped from my chest. A lump formed in my throat, and tears welled in my eyes. It felt like my world had fallen apart.
He released me from his mental hold, and I collapsed into him.
“Please do not make me worry like that again.” His tone gave away the emotions he felt. He sounded so wounded. So lonely.
My head cleared and the tidal wave of heartache receded. I understood his anger and pain, and felt terrible for causing him to feel that way; but he needed to understand my motivations. “I’m sorry, but I had to. You wouldn’t have let me save my friend.”
“Alyssa, you will always bring trouble, won’t you?” He reached a hand up and stroked my hair.
I buried my head into his hard, muscular chest, unsure how to take his words. Did that mean he understood? It certainly didn’t refute the fact that he wouldn’t have saved her.
“I don’t know,” I whispered. “Probably. Trouble loves me, right?”
Lysander wrapped his arms around me. “It seems you live only to attract danger. You are my heart, Alyssa. You allowed me to feel for someone again. You could have been killed. I don’t know that I could survive that.”
“It was my life at risk, and it was a risk I was willing to take. I couldn’t let them harm my friend.”
“Your life is not something I want to risk. You are young, and though immortal, you are not invincible. I do not want to lose you.”
“But I brought her into this. I had to save her.” I felt like I would have to drill the point into his head to get him to understand.
“You did not have to bring her into this.”
“What’s done is done. I can’t change what’s already happened, and you have harped on me long enough for this.”
“You are right. I know your intentions were good. As the leader of this clan, I cannot condone your actions, but as your mate, I’m glad that you did what you felt you had to in order to survive, even if that meant bringing a mortal into this.”
I smiled, my face still buried in his chest.
He’s never called me his mate before. “You consider me your mate?”
His hand trailed up my back. Long soft fingers twisted into the hair at the base of my neck. I breathed a deep sigh, enjoying the gentle caress of his touch.
He slowly pulled me away from his chest, urging me to look up at him.
“Yes, Alyssa, how could you think we were anything less? I love you. I want us to share immortality as mates, like Crystal and Drew, or Nicholas and Rozaline. You are my heart.”
I melted as his words sunk in. He loved me. He cherished me. Underneath that hard, aloof exterior his heart beat for me.
“I love you too, Lysander,” my voice was barely a whisper, but I saw the acknowledgement in his eyes. 

Links to buy:
Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords