Wednesday, October 24, 2018
NEW ~ FR*EE in KU
All my life I have thirsted for revenge. It was all that mattered...until I saw her. I cannot let her sacrifice herself. I will do anything to save her... Even if it means confronting my deepest fears.
~ EXCERPT ~
“Take off your T-shirt.” Her voice was rough.
His eyes widened.
She’d surprised him. Good. She had to keep one step ahead of him.
He looked at her from under hooded eyes. “You got it, babe.”
Oh, she hated it when he was all flippant. That careless charm hid a far more complex man, one whose feelings she was just beginning to sense.
Reaching down, he grabbed the edge of his T-shirt and began to peel it off.
The scent of him grew stronger, hot and heavy with an undercurrent of spice that hinted at his desire. It curled around her, pulled her, and tugged at her core. She grew wet. She wanted to mirror his actions, draw her dress down her shoulders, bare her breasts, and rub her aching nipples against his hard chest.
She took a step forward in his direction, as if drawn by an invisible thread.
He dropped the T-shirt on the table. The whisper of cloth on the surface rasped over her skin. Her nerve endings seem to come alive all at once.
She drank up the sight of his bare chest, the tendons of his neck that stretched and bowed with each breath, the sculpted beauty of those hard planes, the rounded nubs of his male nipples…and oh!
A pleased smirk jerked at his lips. “Like what you see, babe?”
She sensed he knew exactly the kind of impact he was having on her, but she nearly forgave him his cocky assurance. He was magnificent. She could almost understand where that self-confidence was coming from. She should step back and turn and leave and get away while she could… Her fingers twitched, ached to reach out and touch the object of her fascination. She simply had to. “Can I?”
“What?” She sounded drugged, almost pleading.
“Grammar, babe, grammar. My adoptive parents were of Italian origin, but don’t forget I grew up in New London, went to a public school after all.” A bead of sweat slid down the line that demarcated the perfection of his pecs.
“May I…please?” Without waiting for his response, she slid forward into the space between his thighs. She reached for the ring that threaded his left nipple and dragged it down slightly.
His shoulders bunched. The muscles of his stomach drew in. His chest planes seemed to harden even more. He froze.
“Does it hurt? I didn’t mean to…” Even as she said it, she knew that wasn’t the case, and she really didn’t want to know the effect of her little experiment, and really, she had no idea what she was thinking anymore. She’d lost all capacity to string a coherent sentence together. She straightened and made to step back.
His palms landed on her hips, and he held her in place. The heat of his fingers burned through the thin cloth of her shirt. “Don’t do that again, not unless you want to finish what you started, not unless you intend to replace your fingers with your mouth, got it?”
Sunday, October 21, 2018
NEW ~ FR*EE in KU
Morgan le Fay thought the last bounty-hunting job she'd do for the faerie queen would be easy. But the target, hapless vampire Philippe, has unexpected ties to her family, which means she'll have to deal with old wounds and risk her powers – and her heart - to secure her future.
~ EXCERPT ~
Morgan studied the island through the pair of binoculars she'd packed in her bag. The boat rose and fell with the waves, but the motion didn't bother her. The water did.
The lake lay like a mirror, the gray sky a perfect reflection on its surface. She watched the boy try to skip stones, but he wasn't coordinated enough yet, and the stones sank rather than skipped. The water absorbed the ripples before they got too far, the liquid more like quicksand. The heaviness of the humid air didn't help the sense of oppressiveness and only confirmed what she'd been thinking—she needed to escape Avalon.
Morgan blinked the memory away. The past liked to intrude when she felt unsure of the present. The trick of the water had been Merlin's, and indeed, rather than the usual tumble of waves along the shore, the sea only lapped at the edge of the sand.
Getting past that would be her first challenge.
"There's a defense spell at the shoreline." She lowered the binoculars and looked at Elric. "Remind me what's so special about…?" She inclined her head toward the island.
Elric only shrugged. "Maeve wants him. That's all you need to know."
Morgan raised the binoculars again. She caught a glimpse of something moving in the foliage. They'd had the captain drop the anchor and shut off the engines and lights so no one would know they were there, but the tingling feeling at the back of her neck told Morgan they'd been spotted. A twin pair of red lights appeared.
"Crap, he's hungry." And there was no telling what a starving young vamp would do. But there was something strange about how he moved. He reeled, almost drunkenly, or that's how it appeared from the motion of the lights. She lowered the binoculars and shook her head. There was definitely something weird going on.
"I've inflated the raft." Elric gestured to the rubber dingy that now floated next to the boat.
"Right." Morgan put the binoculars back in her bag and walked to the rail. She dropped her bag into the flimsy-looking vessel and took a deep breath, ignoring the chemical-plastic smell. Next to still water, she hated small watercraft the most. "And I have to bring him back alive?"
"Yes." Elric's mouth had almost disappeared into a straight line, and a tiny muscle danced along his jaw. "You can't collect on a pile of ash."
"Damn." Flimsy boat, hungry vamp, secured island… What could go right?
She swung a leg over the rail, followed it with the other one, and then climbed down into the raft. The oars were inside. With a sigh, she took off toward the island.
After about ten minutes of rowing, the momentum of the surf took over, and she floated closer and closer to her target. Then the raft bumped into something that allowed the water to pass through, albeit in a muted fashion with smaller waves, but stopped her progress. An almost electric buzz hummed beneath her, and fog rolled in from both sides, obscuring her vision.
Ah, at least that felt familiar. Merlin had modernized his spell, but she guessed it was similar to what had protected Avalon. Not that Merlin had come up with that one—it had preceded him by centuries—but it hadn't taken long for him to figure it out and refine it.
Morgan whispered the Celtic phrase that had parted the mists at Avalon, but of course it didn't work. She needed a modern phrase for a modern spell. Merlin had always had an ego, so she searched her brain for phrases he would appreciate in reference to himself.
"Merlin, greatest wizard of all time." The fog rolled, but it didn't part.
"Merlin, he who must be obeyed." Okay, she didn't really think that one would work, but it was worth a shot.
"Merlin the Magnificent, advisor to kings and head of the Truth Seekers."
A keypad made of mists appeared in front of her. Aha, so she'd summoned the lock. What would Merlin use as his password? She thought about trying 1-2-3-4, but while she would've appreciated the irony, she didn't know how many shots she'd get. So she tried the one date Merlin would always cherish—the date of the coronation of Arthur, when Merlin had secured his own place of power. Calendars had changed, but Morgan had a good sense for when dates were and had been. She punched in the date, and the fog rolled away and allowed her little dinghy to proceed.
"One down," she muttered. The water guided her vessel to bump gently against the sand. She pulled a stake crossbow from her bag. She loaded it with what she called her baby stakes—non-consecrated wood and without a silver core. If the vamp charged her, she'd at least be able to slow him down without killing him. At least not before she could deliver him to Maeve. If he died soon after, she'd at least have met her part of the bargain.
The sound of crashing in the foliage just beyond the shoreline made her duck into the boat. Then she remembered it wouldn't provide much of a shield. She jumped out and ran along the sand so she'd at least not be in direct sight of whatever it was when it emerged.
She crouched behind a fallen tree and watched. A figure stumbled out of the forest and sprawled on the sand.
"Fucking birds with your fucking berries," a male voice slurred. The creature lifted its head and looked around, the dim red of its eyes illuminating the sand around it.
Morgan's jaw dropped. A drunken vampire? How in the world could that have happened? Then something smacked her in the back of the head.
Friday, October 19, 2018
BOX SET ~ 99¢ SALE
A sinfully steamy twist on three classic fairy tales.
Beauty's beast is a dragon, the big bad wolf is big indeed, and there's only one bear for Goldi...
~ EXCERPT ~
~ Goldilocks and the Bear ~
Ramsay snorted, unable to blame his guest for bypassing the other two bowls. After wolfing down his portion and Heldreth’s serving, he made his way into the bedroom. It wasn’t until he reached for his blankets that he noticed the golden head peeking out from beneath the covers.
Had they sent him entertainment instead, deciding the best way to coerce their new Father Bear into a vacation would be for him to take his comfort in a soft woman? The plan seemed devious enough for Little Bear, with a hint of Heldreth’s busybody nature. Hadn’t she been the one to suggest for him to claim a mate and do it soon?
Ramsay grunted. Had the others not preferred their beds to be unsuitable polar opposites, he would have crawled into one of them instead. For a moment, he didn’t know what to do, confused by the girl’s presence. She didn’t smell like bear or have the broad shoulders and muscular physique of a shifter woman.
Peeling back the blankets for a look at her confirmed his suspicions. Her slight frame, fragile and fine-boned, would have broken beneath a bear woman’s fists. Her blonde hair spilled as gold as the sun over his pillows, and freckles stood out against her fair cheeks.
Not knowing what to make of it, he admired her longer. The fact that she’d chosen his bed couldn’t be a coincidence, so he threw caution to the wind and crawled in beneath the blankets.
Her hair smelled like lilacs, and when he curled his arms around her, she snuggled in closer against him. While she’d gone to bed in too much clothing—her simple nightshift interrupting the skin-to-skin contact he would have preferred—she was still an improvement over sleeping alone. He nuzzled her once or twice but found her sound asleep, unresponsive aside from a content, indiscernible murmur.
The peaceful rhythm of her breathing lulled him to sleep. With his arms around her, he held her safe and secure.
An explosion of pain in the abdomen jerked Ramsay awake. He tumbled back and out of the large bed, landing on the wooden floor.
Ramsay’s mind jumped to a dozen possibilities, the worst of them being that they were under attack. He got his bearings and prepared to shift, leaping to his feet before he realized the girl was crouched above him on the bed with a dagger in her hand and fire in her eyes.
“What in the stars was that about?” he roared. The pain rapidly faded, but the bewilderment only worsened with each passing second.
“Who are you?” his assailant questioned in his language, her Oclander flawed but understandable. “How dare you welcome yourself to my bed as if I were some strumpet to be fondled in sleep?”
“Your bed?” he growled low, the noise rumbling through his chest. “You invade my lodge and my bed, then have the sheer cheek to pull a knife on me?”
“Do you often crawl into bed with strangers?”
“When I’m tired and want my bed, yes,” he snapped back. When he moved closer, the girl feinted with the blade and warned him back again. It made him want her even more. For a human, she had nerve. A spine of steel, something he wouldn’t have expected of a fragile non-shifter. “Come back to bed with me.”
“No. In fact, I think I’ll be leaving.”
Thunder cracked overhead and shook the cabin, making them both glance toward the nearest window. Another booming roll soon followed.
“You won’t be going anywhere in this weather. Now, who sent you, girl? Was it Talbot?”
Her brow creased. “No one sent me here at all.”
Studying her long enough to take in her state of partial undress, his eyes swept the dimmed room until he located travel leathers and a cloak. “So you’re an intruder who chose to help herself to my lodge.”
“I didn’t mean to,” she said in a more apologetic tone. “In fact, I’d planned to beg your kindness to escape the storm.”
“But I wasn’t here.”
The knife wavered and lowered an inch as indecision furrowed her brow again. “I will leave if I must. Putting you out wasn’t my intention.”
Ramsay ran his fingers through his short blond hair. A beautiful woman had landed in his lap by chance, and she couldn’t wait to be away from him. “You haven’t put me out. If you must know, I’d expected the company of my fellow clansmen, who won’t be joining me after all. I’d say help yourself to my lodgings, but you’ve already done that.”
Hot color spread across her cheeks. “I planned to leave some coins if no one showed up before I left, and I did clean up my mess.” Her gaze drifted lower and passed over his chest, only to jerk upward again to his face.
“Coin isn’t necessary. I’ve plenty of my own. Ah… listen. Stay the night then, and we’ll call this a misunderstanding. The storm is raging out there, and your poor horse doesn’t deserve the punishment.” He gestured to the bed. “Go on then.”