Coming in January...a 1Night Stand story from Decadent Publishing by Landra Graf
What You Need Blurb
Royce is looking for a woman who won’t
cringe at the words “sexual submissive,” and a chance for all his fantasies to
come true. The 1Night Stand he signed up for was supposed to be simple with no
attachments, but when his match is his ex-best friend, simple goes out the
window. He can’t stop seeking the answers to why Victoria left or deny his
new-found attraction to her.
Victoria has loved Royce forever, but
his rejection of her affections eight years ago caused her to walk away from
everything. She’s not the same girl from college, and no longer naive and
willing to run too just anyone. A sexual dominant born from her mistakes, she
wants a chance to start a relationship based on her terms. She’ll settle for
one night, but she’s planning on forever.
Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day, and
has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes
in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between
spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance
with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever
All things considered, not a bad year for me, writing wise.
So let's reflect...
2013 saw the publication by Decadent Publishing of two of my 1Night Stand stories, FROST and HEAT WAVE, and of BLIZZARD, a story for Decadent's The Edge line. All of those, along with two 2012 1Night Stand stories, LIGHTNING and THUNDER, were collected in the SLEEPY HOLLOW anthology which came out in late August, as a digital edition and as a paperback!
Not too shabby.
What will 2014 bring? I've committed to writing three books for some new lines. One of those is in the can, written and submitted and I'm waiting to hear back from Decadent on whether it's been accepted. I've begun another, for a different publisher and a different secret new line, but the deadline's not until the summer so I'm playing around and procrastinating. The third project is barely a glimmer in my eye. Sadly, it doesn't seem that any of those will be published in 2014. So it may be a slow and depressing year for me, while waiting for those calendar pages to flip by.
And trying to curb my book envy when peeps I know announce new contracts and show off dazzling new covers.
But in May, I'll be visiting New Orleans (my bucket list city) for the Romantic Times con.
Which brings me to my game plan for 2014. (Notice how I didn't say "resolution" there? I'm funny that way. I also know myself.)
In 2014, I hope to plan better. And not make myself too crazy doing it! How about you?
Communicating with ghosts has only ever brought Veronica
Matthews pain and grief. Afraid to love and lose again, Hunter Anderson needs
her help, but she resists risking her heart. Can a ghost help them break
through a barrier of mistrust and guilt?
Psychic and medium
Veronica Matthews hates being able to communicate with the dead and the nearly
departed.What good is it if she can’t
lead the police to the victims of violent crimes before they die? But when her
neighbor comes to her for help, she’s torn—until she understands that the ghost
haunting him is more dangerous than any she’s encountered….
After losing his
wife in a tragic accident, ER doctor Hunter Anderson’s only solace is his work
and a ghost is jeopardizing that. Turning to his neighbor seems like his only
choice, but spending time with the passionate woman, and her sassy attitude,
might do more than save his life…
She can’t risk her heart. He’s afraid to love and lose
again. Can a ghost help these two souls to live again?
“I am an idiot. The
biggest idiot ever. If you want me to pierce something for you, to prove I’m an
idiot, I have some sterilized instruments upstairs in my apartment.”
Her tongue poked
against her cheek, signaling a laugh that wanted to erupt. Suddenly, he really
wanted to be the one who could make her laugh. “Maybe I could do your lower
Her short laugh
erupted. A sweet, melodic sound that filled the small apartment.
His gaze stayed on
that full mouth and he lifted his fingers closer, compelled to touch her. She stared at him with wide eyes as he
traced the corner of her mouth lightly with his finger.
“I’m a liar. I
could never tarnish something as beautiful as this.”
Christ. What a line. Where had those words come from?
But he meant it.
Her breath was hot
against his finger as he traced the line of her lower lip. Her gaze held his.
His stomach growled again, breaking the spell, and she blinked and leaned
against the sofa.
“You know what? We
never had dessert,” she said.
He had room for
dessert. But not the food kind. He swallowed to quell his appetite for
her. “Uh…how about I make an ice cream run? Then we’ll get to work.” Enough of
this temptation. He needed to get away from her, from this pull she had on his
body and emotions.
Joya Fields has
had over 100 stories and articles published in local and national magazines.
Her debut novel, a romantic suspense, was a NJRW GOLDEN LEAF WINNER FOR BEST
FIRST BOOK OF 2012 and was nominated for RT Book Reviews 2012 Indie
Press/Self-Published Contemporary Romance award. Since then, she’s published
four more books with even more on the way.
Trained to hunt rogues and protect the human race from the threat
of shifters, Christa Baker is beginning to rethink her career choice.
Especially when her niece and nephew—who she’s raised on her own—end up in the
crossfire. Now she’s looking for a way out and disappear off Shield’s radar for
good. She never thought her out would be a gorgeous wolf who kidnaps her after
raiding Shield HQ.
Hayden Raines has always followed the rules. As the Ashwood Fall
wolf Marshal, he has to set the example for those working under him. When he
sets his sights on the beautiful human hunter things go downhill, fast. Fate
has a funny way of turning things inside out—because the woman he kidnaps, the
enemy he might need to protect his family from, just happens to be his mate.
Warning: Contains one woman on a path she’s not ready for, a
man who thought things would be different, and a heated exchange that turns out
to be the best thing ever.
Excerpt: Something didn’t ring right with Christa Baker as she sat
in the conference room listening to the new leader of Shield rattling on about
rogue shifters. He said they were growing in numbers, yet he hadn’t provided
any physical proof. Sure a few humans had gone missing, most of whom were
homeless, and according the police, their disappearances weren’t that unusual.
She failed to see his point
because shifters were born, not created. So why would they need to kidnap
Her new boss had gone on and on
for the last several weeks about an increase in shifter sightings. Again, no
proof. Christa had checked.
She could pull up anything from
the Internet. Social networks like Facebook and YouTube were the best places to
look for the weird and unusual.
There hadn’t been a human attack
by a shifter since she’d killed the beast in her home eight years ago. It had
been her first encounter with what she now knew was called a mutant, a
half-animal, half-human creature with no regard for life—its own or others’.
However, Vance Miller believed a
civil war was raging among the breeds that had spilled over into the human
world. There was something he’d left out, something bigger than he wanted her
and the others in Shield to believe. So what if the shifters were at war with
one another and killing themselves? Was it the mutants? If so, then they
deserved what they got. They’d created the damned creatures; they could all go
to hell as far as she cared.
It wasn’t Shield’s place to get
involved in the shifters’ civil war. Shield was a human-run group of rebels
that went above the law to protect mankind from the were-kind or shifters, as
they liked to be called. She didn’t care what they called themselves as long as
they left the humans alone. So far, in the eight years she’d been with Shield, the
shifters had. However, there was the occasional mishap—like the
mating-gone-wrong situation her sister had suffered.
Mary didn’t have the chance to
run when her mate turned on her in a fit of jealous rage. Or at least that’s
what Christa believed happened. Her niece and nephew, fraternal twins Brenna
and Bryce, had been only eight at the time and thankfully not at home to
witness how their mother died.
However, Christa had been the one
to ID the body.
From that day forward, Christa
had fought for Shield to protect humans from the shifter races.
Up until a few months ago, Shield
hadn’t attacked innocents or started wars between the shifters, but then Vance
had stepped in as the new leader of Shield. He’d changed the way the others
thought, more like manipulated them into believing his load of bullshit. She
wasn’t sure how he’d done it, but the others just bowed down to him and
believed every lie out of his mouth.
How could they be so blind to his
Then again, the other soldiers
couldn’t detect a shifter like she could. Sure, they all had training to know
what to look for. Eye color was the biggie. Most shifters had an unusual
coloring, and when they were challenged or provoked, their eyes seemed to glow.
Plus the pupils were reflective like the animal that lived within.
Christa had lived with two
shifters for the last seven years. She’d been there when Brenna and Bryce
shifted for the first time. She’d also helped them control their wolves, thanks
to the information her sister had shared with her when she was alive.
“My sources tell me that the rise
in shifter attacks points to a hybrid Pack of wolves and leopards called
Ashwood Falls,” Vance said then tapped on the table to get her attention.
She met his gaze and held it
until he looked away, but not before she caught the flashing shift of color in
his irises. Satisfied she wasn’t being paranoid about what he was, she asked,
“How trustworthy is this source? Why haven’t we heard about attacks from our
police contacts? It should be all over the Internet.”
Vance set his jaw and turned away
from them to study the map on the wall. “The shifters are very good at hiding
these things from humans. You, of all people, should know that, Christa.”
What she really wanted to say
was, “Like you, asshole,” but she refrained and squashed her temper down before
it got her in trouble. Again. “How sure are you?” she asked in a slightly
See? She could be calm and cool.
He peered at her over his
shoulder and smiled one of those smiles that held no humor or amusement. “If I
didn’t know better, I’d say you were protecting the shifters.”
She narrowed her eyes and wished
she had the gift of pyrokinesis so she could light his ass on fire. Okay so
maybe that was a little extreme, but she didn’t trust or like him. The darkness
he held around him put her on edge every time he was near. “I wouldn’t want to
go in and destroy the wrong den when there could be a bigger threat out there.
I just like to be sure.”
The truth was Vance had taken all
the control of research and strategy from her when he took over the unit. That
annoyed the hell out of her, and it also left her feeling as though she was
going into an OP blind.
She swore he let out a low growl
before he called the meeting to an end. Gathering her notebook and pen, she
moved toward the door, only to stop when Vance stepped in her path. She fisted
her free hand by her side and silently counted backward from ten. One corner of
Vance’s lips lifted. She wanted so badly to punch that smirk right off his
Or just shoot him.
If there was a rogue, it was him
“What’s the rush?”
She stared into his dark brown
eyes and squared her shoulders. “I skipped lunch.”
He moved to the side, and she
stepped forward. He gripped her biceps and leaned in to whisper in her ear,
“Tell the brats to stay safe.”
She jerked out of his grip and
stormed down the hall to the lobby of Shield HQ, away from the bastard
shifter-acting-human. Only then did she allow her heart to pound uncontrollably
and let fear consume her.
Pulling out her phone, she sent a
one-word text to an untraceable cell.
A few seconds later she got a
Relief flooded her system and
threatened to make her knees give out. She had to get a grip. The twins were
safe and very smart. But still she insisted on the text codes for her own piece
Although Vance had just
threatened her niece and nephew. At least that was what she took it for, a
threat. Maybe he knew they were wolves. No. He’d never met—or even seen them.
She had to get out of Shield and
disappear. Fall off the radar for good.
When she reached the lobby door,
she jerked back as it flew open to reveal a large man with black hair and
bright green eyes that bored into her as he moved forward. She sidestepped him,
but he was too quick. He snaked one arm around her waist, drew her into the
hard length of his side, while he held a gun straight out, and fired at
everyone around them.
She screamed, but no one heard
her over the gunfire. Shield soldiers came from the back offices, weapons
drawn. Two more men stepped up beside her and her captor then rushed the wall
of Shield soldiers, killing them with ease like trained assassins.
Christa twisted and kicked with
no results. The man had a death grip around her waist. “Let me go. We don’t
have money in here.”
He didn’t reply, which was no
surprise to her. She didn’t expect him to. Think,
Christa. She scanned the large lobby, and her heart ached for the men and
women she’d worked with for the last eight years. They were giving it their
all, but it wasn’t good enough. One by one, they fell.
And she was helpless, trapped in
the arms of the murderer.
One of her captor’s allies, an
auburn-haired man, advanced down the hall. He came back a few minutes later and
said, “He’s not here.”
The man holding her firmly to his
body growled. “Let’s go.” He shot the last soldier before turning her around to
She gasped. No fucking way. He
was a shifter.
The way his eyes reflected off
the light told her that. Frantic, she shoved against his chest. He wouldn’t
budge. “Let me go!”
He lifted a brow and studied her
for a moment or two as though he was trying to read her mind or something. Oh,
no he wouldn’t. She yanked her knee up and connected with his balls, hard. He
cursed and let go of her as he doubled over.
She didn’t waste time. She ran
for the door, only to skid to a halt as the auburn-haired man appeared in front
of her. What the fuck? A teleporter? No, he hadn’t materialized in front of
her. She’d seen it done before. Fucking shifter speed was what he’d used to
reach her so fast.
Christa patted her hip. Damn.
She’d left her gun in her car because it was always too tempting to shoot Vance
if she took it into the meeting.
She tried to fake a left and then
moved right to move around him when the other man gripped her by the arm. A
sharp stick in the arm made her jerk. She peered at the man as he pulled a
needle out of her arm.
Son of a bitch.
Her vision blurred, and her legs
wobbled, no longer able to hold her up.
“Bastards,” she managed to say before everything went black.
About the Author:
Lia Davis is a mother to two young adults and two very
special kitties, a wife to her soul mate, a paranormal romance author, and
co-owner to Fated Desires Publishing, LLC. She and her family live in Northeast
Florida battling hurricanes and very humid summers. But it’s her home and she
An accounting major, Lia has always been a dreamer with a
very activity imagination. The wheels in her head never stop. She ventured into
the world of writing and publishing in 2008 and loves it more than she
imagined. Writing is stress reliever that allows her to go off in her corner of
the house and enter into another world that she created, leaving real life
where it belongs.
Her favorite things are spending time with family,
traveling, reading, writing, chocolate, coffee, nature and hanging out with her
Just because I love and adore Max, my fire-sex demon and erotic artist...a little G-rated Sunday sumthin' from FROST:
Standing beneath the shower, as cold as
he could get it, he waited for the frigid water to slice over his skin, controlling
the burn. Making a trip into the mountains wouldn’t help. The new Queen of the
Succubi wanted him too badly, although she hid it better than had her deceased
predecessor, a fountain of pure evil. Still, he doubted he’d return from a run
to Demon Hall.
By the time he slid into his seat at the
head of the long, formal dining table, he’d managed to clamp a lid on the
furnace broiling within. Not that he considered himself human, even on the best
of days. But the shower had brought his temperature down. He glanced at his
reflection in the back of a soup spoon.
“Your eyes are lighter,” Blackburn
confirmed. “Almost normal.”
“Yeah, if normal is the color of dirty
snow. Or ash.”
“As a matter of fact, I could use a new
tube of Opaline gray, if you’re ordering. Also, Mars black. I’ll get you a
list.” Raines dipped his spoon into the bowl of chilled gazpacho Blackburn had
served, but looked up when the majordomo remained silent. “What?” His
razor-thin patience wouldn’t tolerate social diplomacy today.
Blackburn cleared his throat. “You could
use a woman, sir, is what you could use.”
“Yeah. Don’t go there. You know the
drill. Unless you want to sweep
Opaline gray ashes off the sheets?” His stomach grumbled and he turned to the
cold, delicately spiced mélange of tomatoes and peppers with gusto.
When the silver utensil clattered against
the delicate china, Blackburn sighed and whisked the empty bowl away. He
returned a few minutes later with a crystal goblet filled with ice and ringed
with an artistic array of shrimp and lemon wedges.
“I sense a theme.” Raines speared a jumbo
shrimp on a tiny cocktail fork and squirted it with lemon.
“I didn’t think hot
and sizzling would be your preference."
Please welcome today's guest author, Lisa Fox, announcing her new release:
Yours Release Blitz & Giveaway!!
I am thrilled to announce the release of my Quickie
erotic romance SINFULLY YOURS!
To celebrate, I am giving away a copy to one lucky
commenter on my blog. Head over to LISA FOX ROMANCE
between now and Monday, November 25, 2013 to enter!
Mardi Gras is a time of debauchery, the “last
hurrah” for all the sinners before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Bailey is on a
mission to wallow in some serious carnal delights, and Bourbon Street is
chock-full of options.
When a handsome military man appears at her side,
she knows he’s the one for her. Beads are exchanged, flesh exposed, but their
night of sinfully wicked lust ends with the coming of the dawn.
Bailey has the chance to keep the passion alive, as
long as she has the courage to take the chance of a lifetime.
Romantica® contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
A roar of cheers
and applause exploded from somewhere down the street and Bailey smiled. Someone
must have shown something very, very good. She toasted the night with the
remnants of the cocktail she had picked up before hitting Bourbon Street. The
sharp kick of cheap vodka burned pleasantly as it slid down her throat. She put
the empty cup aside, balancing it on top of a garbage can already heaped with
at least twenty others. The alcohol went straight to her head, and she laughed
as beads rained down out the sky. Music blasted from the Cat’s Meow speakers, a
pulsating beat that commanded the crowd to dance. With no desire to resist, she
moved her hips to the rhythm, letting herself get carried away.
“I think I just
found my new favorite song,” a man said from somewhere beside her.
He had a deep
voice, a panty-melting baritone, and she was already smiling as she turned
toward him. What she found only made her smile wider. He was tall, well over
six-feet, with close-cropped caramel-brown hair, and blue-gray eyes. With his
ramrod-straight spine, firm body and air of tightly controlled dominance, he
had to be military. She met his gaze and a prickly thrill tiptoed down her
spine. This was a most fortuitous turn of events.
neurosurgeon, jet fighter pilot, secret member of American royalty, seducer of
legions of beautiful, outrageously sexy angels and demons and vampires and
werewolves and the occasional pirate, Lisa Fox has done it all…in her own mind.
In reality, she can generally be found at her desk with a cup of coffee close
at hand. Or maybe a martini. It really depends on the day.
Feedback, comments, opinions, words of wisdom,
chocolate cake and the addresses of super hot men are always appreciated and encouraged.
Please feel free to contact Lisa any time.
So pleased to have Jan Meredith drop in on me today, to spotlight her debut romance novel, PLAYING DOCTOR for Entangled Flaunt!
By Jan Meredith
a fellow RN jokingly predicts that Beth Roberts will meet a tall, ripped and
totally lick-o-licious stranger who will fulfill her deepest desires, it’s
supposed to be from across a crowded room, not giving CPR to a wedding guest.
Given her tragic love life, Beth has no desire to become involved again, but
who could have predicted the ponytailed doctor with the mischievous smile would
break through her defenses?
Gabriel North blamed himself for his wife’s death. Now, after two years of
battling guilt and meaningless hookups, he’s ready to move on. When he sees the
sexy brunette at his friend’s wedding, his attraction is swift and strong, and
he wastes no time in pressing his advantage. One night with the woman who makes
him feel alive again isn’t enough, but gaining her trust is going to take more
than medical school has prepared him for.
He worked the button at her waistband
free, pulled the zipper down and drove his hand inside. His fingers slid over
her sex once, twice, and then plunged deep. Her body quaked, her inner walls
grasped and squeezed at his fingers, but it wasn’t enough.
“More,” she moaned. “I need…I’ve got to
have my hands on you.” Beth tugged his shirt free of his slacks, keenly aware
of the thick column of his cock pressing against his fly. She plunged her hands
under the soft fabric, smoothed her palms up the firm ridges of his abdomen.
She pressed her hand to his chest, just over his heart, felt the gallop and
pitch of it beneath muscle and bone.
She was in so much trouble and she
didn’t give a flying fig. Right now, at this moment, all she cared about was
this man, and that he was here, standing before her. Wanting her.
His forehead fell to hers, his
breathing ragged and uneven. He pulled her hand from his cock, grasped her hips
and dragged her in, grinding his erection against her upper abdomen. “I’ve
dreamed about you, woke up with the taste of you in my mouth.”
Her breath caught in her throat.
“I’ve dreamed about you, too. Of your mouth, your tongue on me.” She shuddered
“I came, but it wasn’t enough. It’s
not enough now. I need you…inside me. Right here, right now.”
Had she not known it was lust that
caused his fingers to bite into her hips, Beth would have been frightened, but
she knew she was safe. By the way his eyes burned with it, the way his shoulders
heaved as he fought for control, by the way his touch gentled, she knew. The
hollow feeling in her chest filled to overflowing, sealed over, and healed. A
new sensation crept in and tapped at her heart. Open up, it beckoned, and see
Fabric shifted, just enough to
accommodate. Beth toed off her shoes, slid her slacks and panties down to kick
one leg free. Gabe fought his belt open, yanked down his zipper and shoved his
slacks over his hips. His cock sprang free, heavy and full.
He bent his knees, cupped her ass in his
hands and hoisted her up. “Hang on to me. I’m sorry. This is going to be fast,”
he apologized and reached between them to align the rigid length of his cock
between her thighs. “Ah, damn, you’re so wet,” he gritted, and then slid into
Beth buried her face against his neck,
ran her tongue along the line of his jaw. His body shuddered. She wrapped
around him, wound her arms around his neck, squeezed her legs around his hips
and held him there. He was thick and hard and she thought she’d come from the
sheer bliss of having him inside her again. He pulled back, all the way to the
tip, and, when he thrust back in, the door rattled on its hinges.
They both froze.
Beth sucked in a breath. “Oh, God, as
much as I’d love for you to do that again—”
Gabe’s forehead banged against the door.
“You’d hate to get fired for getting fuckedagainst my office door.” He turned, moved to the side and braced his
back against the wall.
Beth glanced around the small room, her
gaze landing on the desk. Gabe laughed, causing his cock to flex and pulling a
moan from her throat.
“Baby,” he rasped, “there’s nothing I’d
like more than to bend you over that piece of furniture and take us both to
heaven, but unless it’s nailed to the floor…”
“Oh, God.” The image he painted, pushing
over the desk, driving into her…her pussy clenched.
“Ah, fuck! Squeeze me like that again,”
he panted. “Just…hold on to me.” Widening his stance, Gabe grasped Beth’s hips
and lifted her, angling his pelvis up as he brought her back down hard on his
shaft. Then he did it again.
“Gabe, that’s…oh, I…just don’t stop!”
Each pause was punctuated with another lift and thrust.
“No way in hell. Just don’t scream when
you come.” And then he moved, lifting, lowering, rotating his hips to find that
sweet spot that drove her wild.
It started in the soles of her feet—that
sizzle of electricity signaling her orgasm. It snaked up her legs, curled
around her inner thighs, and with a low keening sound, Beth buried her face in
Gabe’s neck and welcomed it as it speared her clit with an orgasm that clung to
every inch of Gabe as he drove into her. He was right with her, his breath a
harsh hiss against her ear as he thrust deep and held her tightly against him.
The soft brush of Gabe’s lips over her
sweat-dampened temple was in stark contradiction to the choppy breaths lifting
his chest against hers. “I’ve missed you, missed this,” he whispered hoarsely.
“Me, too.” After a moment, when she’d
caught her breath, Beth lifted her head and said, “We really…”
Let's visit with the super sexy HOT-tastic Max Raines today...just...because...
Everyone needs a hunky fire-sex demon in their lives, don't you think?
“You must come in, sir.”
Max Raines stared at his canvas through
narrowed eyes, not quite absorbing the words of his majordomo. Fever clouded
his head; his body temperature spiking off the charts. Desperate for release,
he stood, legs apart, atop the windswept bluff comprising the only wall-less
boundary of his compound in Sleepy Hollow. Below, the green waters of the
Hudson boiled. The stark cliffs of the Palisades, fringed with ragged trees,
rose with dark majesty from the banks on the other side of the river, to the
west and south, jutting into cloud-filled heavens. An ominous gray sky seemed
low enough to touch. He couldn’t capture any of it. Not in any way that
“Damn it. Still not right.” A gust
swirled the tails of his paint-spattered linen shirt, the sleeves rolled up to
reveal his biceps, in a manner more suited to the dog days of August than the
chill gloom of February.
“You haven’t eaten in two days. And the
wind’s kicking up. Nor’easter brewing.” Bryce Blackburn put more iron
insistence into his words this time. “Time to call it a day.”
Max tore his gaze away from the
unacceptable painting at last. Irritated, he tossed his brush, a No. 10 bright,
the hog bristles thick with cadmium green, onto the palette. Only the
unfinished landscape stood between the predatory beast pacing with increasing
agitation inside him and the rest of the world. His muse had deserted him.
“You picked a fuckin’ fine time to leave
Instead, the hard-driving intro of the
Stones’ classic, “Satisfaction,” popped into his head. The unwelcome earworm
taunted him. Yeah. He couldn’t get no.
That’s for fuckin’ sure.
Raines dragged a finger around his
collar, popping open the top button. If he couldn’t achieve release soon, he’d
go mad. Jacking off into his fist gave him insufficient gratification. Human
women proved too delicate and fragile, too breakable. Demons glommed onto him,
far too needy, attaching themselves with the tenacity of barnacles, draining
him of inspiration and clinging long past their expiration dates. He’d learned
from bitter experience he could crisp any woman he touched. The infamous
Maxwell Raines: a six-foot-six, two hundred twenty-five pound hunka burning
love. And now I’m channeling Elvis.
Odd, all things considered. Usually he
exhibited no more of a musical bent than he did humor. And in light of the
bland landscape he’d committed to canvas, he had nothing to be whimsical about.
His heat, his ardor, his raging
libido—all of them had to be expelled from his head and his body and poured
into his work. But the painting before him remained flat, emotionless, devoid
of his usual sensuality and passion, further frustrating him but offering no
relief from the devils that plagued him and the sexual beast that howled
Standing patiently beside him, Blackburn
shifted from foot to foot, clearly aware of his inner turmoil. The majordomo
stamped his boots on the frost-glazed lawn and blew on his knuckles. At least
one of them couldn’t get warm enough.
Without Blackburn, he’d be a total
recluse. But the other man had been with him for years, knew his secrets, his
needs, served him in every capacity from butler to valet to nanny. More family
member than servant. He even acted as manager and art agent, most recently
arranging the exhibit at the Night Gallery.
Now, he held out his employer’s overcoat,
a muffler and a pair of leather gloves. Max turned to face him and met the
other man’s eyes full on.
Blackburn whistled, but had the good
grace not to recoil. “They’re red.”
“Can’t cool down.”
“Not a good sign.” Blackburn removed one
of his own gloves and touched Raines’ bare forearm, then drew back as if his
fingers had been singed. “Fever again.”
“Through the fucking stratosphere.” He
brushed his hand through his hair.
“You’re getting worse, Max.”
Raines acknowledged the other man’s
statement by packing up the art supplies. He hoisted the easel onto his
shoulder. “Mind carrying my coat?”
“I’d carry you if I thought that would help.” Though no 90-pound weakling
himself, no one would mistake Blackburn for The Incredible Hulk either. The
smaller, slighter man eyed his employer up and down, craning his head to do so.
Raines had at least half a foot on him and a lot of muscular poundage. “But I
doubt I could without my knees buckling.” He stuffed Raines’ gloves in a jacket
pocket. “There’s still some decent light in the studio…if you must keep at it.”
Max snorted but didn’t reply.
“The painting’s not helping?”
“Not going well.” He shifted the easel to
a more comfortable position on his shoulder.
Blackburn opened his mouth then shut it
again. But they knew each other too well. He considered his assistant a friend.
“Spit it out, man.”
The majordomo frowned. “You realize the
paintings are getting darker and darker? More—”
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 1-1/2 or 2 qt baking dish.
Pour butter and corn into mixing bowl (or the casserole you'll
bake it in; it doesn't really matter, unless neatness counts!) Blend in sour cream. In separate bowl, beat eggs and stir into corn mixture. Add muffin
mix and mix. Bake 1 hour (or less) at 350.° Don't burn it. Keep checking. It's better moist and creamy inside,
golden brown, with slight crust on top. It's done when the center is firm and a
knife or toothpick comes out more or less clean.
Last month Affaire de Coeur magazine featured a contest for scaries book cover. Most of my covers are smokin' hot couples....soooooooooo not scary! But SLEEPY HOLLOW DREAMS features a raven perched on a cemetery headstone. Not an enormous field of entries but 127 votes later... and it won!
I thank all of you who helped out with your votes!
The prize was a featured chapter preview in the November Affaire de Coeur.
I picked HEAT WAVE, Book 4 of my SLEEPY HOLLOW 1Night Stand series. The chapter needed to be G-rated. And that was not easy!
Here's the full chapter excerpt:
Zena had not been to Duyvil Tand
in ages and had forgotten how intimidating Devil Tooth could be.
Upon their arrival outside the
Grand Hall of the Queen's court, twin heralds blew an unsettling fanfare on
goats' horns. Bhyrne escorted her through the enormous double doors hacked from
granite and inlaid with carved ore and semi-precious stones in a mosaic of
cryptic demon symbology.
Banners embroidered with the
devices of the noble families hung from the ceiling. Tapestries depicting scenes
from the Antynonium, the underworld book of history and theology, graced
the walls. Torches burned in sconces set like sentinels at uniform intervals.
Acrid hints of sulfur and brimstone masked by vague perfumes of incense wisped
up her nostrils.
The dark, majestic effect
intimidated and inspired awe. But most sinister and hideous of all were the
scores of demons lining the cavernous room, undisguised by the
veneers-sometimes called glamours-of the human forms they so often
adopted. Their expectant gazes riveted upon her with something akin to
bloodthirsty glee. And arousal. In more cases than she had the fortitude to
count, several demonic hands grasped groins, jiggling erections that tented
robes and other creepy underworld attire.
Upon a raised dais that increased
her dominion and authority over the gathering, Queen Velda perched on a throne
constructed of skulls, iron spikes and, a bit incongruously, jewels.
That can't be
"Approach." Velda beckoned her
closer with an imperious gesture, but held up her hand when Bhyrne also stepped
forward, Zena's arm tucked securely within the crook of his. "Not you,
savaghy. Your service with regard to your current assignment is, for the
"I would stay, My Queen." He
inclined his head briefly.
Her sharp gaze narrowed as she
examined him from head to toe. "Your state does not escape me,
A muffled titter from the cluster
of demons ringing the room confused Zena. She tamped down her gag reflexes and
shut her eyes to the pool of drool disgorged onto the marble floor by an
expectoritus demon, apparently overcome with lust. Gah. She sidled
away from the growing slick of slobber and stepped closer to the sweating
fire-sex demon beside her.
Her action drew a pointed frown
from the queen, who fixed her attention on the enforcer once more. "Attend to
yourself," she rebuked him. The pitch of her voice lowered an octave. "Or I
will." The husky quality of her tone left no question as to the form the queen's
ministrations might take.
"I will remain until this audience
is over." The guardsman's voice, deep and iron-willed, rose above another ripple
of titillated amusement from those in attendance, defying the direct order.
"You will be disciplined for your
"So be it."
"Go, Bhyrne," Zena urged in a soft
whisper. "Whatever this is, I can handle it. I don't want you punished because
"Too late for that, princess.
You'll torment me for eternity."
She barely heard his murmur as the
queen once more raised her hand and compelled her forward. Zena's hand slipped
away from the enforcer's forearm, as if it had a will of its own. She took three
steps forward. The same compulsion forced her to her knees before the throne,
her face bare inches from the spread thighs of the queen's consort, a forest
demon whose wood bulged beneath loose trousers.
Despite the charmed hold, she
managed to crab-creep backward, putting more space between her and the royal
consort before she raised her head to look at the queen.
The other succubus, once insanely
beautiful and possessed of the ability to drive mortals to madness, remained a
handsome female still. She'd aged well, but wore her history like an ermine
robe. Her dark eyes drilled knowingly into Zena. Power encased her.
"Your ingenuity, creativity,
energy, and drive have pleased us in the past, moshula. You have been a
credit to the family, beloved get of my late sister."
Great. Maybe she'd survive her
present circumstances and the queen's summons didn't portend something so bad
after all. Although the reminder of her mother, the former queen who had more
than dabbled in evil, and whose fate had not been pretty, served as a cautionary
tale. Had Zena not been sent to the Nights for fostering, and had the Nights not
adopted her and raised her as their own, along with Lily and Dagney, she might
have been wasting away in demonville for decades, searching for her lost shaker
of salt. And hell knew what might have become of her then.
"Thank you, Majesty," Zena
whispered, momentarily chastened, presenting the picture of a respectful
"But you've done nothing to
fortify or ensure the future of the royal line. You are aging. You have no
consort. No one will lie with a succubus grown so long in the tooth. You will be
unable to provide me with the mortal souls and energy I require to
Long in the tooth! Why, I'm
barely-Zena shut her eyes, suddenly certain what would come next.
"You thirtieth birthday fast
She nodded dumbly,
uncharacteristically robbed of words. A faint rustling came from somewhere
behind her, as if the fire-sex demon shifted his weight from foot to
"Have you taken a mate?" The
queen's words fell like thunder.
"You know I have not, Your
Majesty," she said, her mouth drained of moisture, so dry her ability to achieve
speech remained a mystery.
"Then you must choose."
"From one of the males now
assembled in the throne room."
An eruption of shouts and applause
thundered from the peanut gallery, battling for ascendancy with the hissed
inhalation of breath from the enforcer behind her. Somehow, he had stepped
forward without notice during the explosion of excitement greeting the queen's
Zena dragged her gaze around the
grand hall, resting her eyes on the assembled demons, one being more repulsive
than the next. So that explained their excitement, the barely contained evidence
of their arousal.
"They have come far and wide, from
every corner of the demon realms, to vie for your hand, you lucky
The array of eligibles horrified
her. Without their veneers, they were a cornucopia of scales and wings,
webbed feet and horns, plates and scabs, oozing sores and festering blisters, of
slaver and other filth, of slime and slither, and fangs longer than the
Washington Monument. She'd retch if she had to touch one of them. Bed one?
Mate one? Never. She'd never survive.
The air sapped out of her lungs,
depriving her brain of oxygen, making her light-headed and dizzy. Please
don't let me faint. Please don't let me faint.
"I've got your back, princess."
Bhyrne rose like a monolith behind her. A hot, living wall of security
separating her from the gruesome collection of would-be suitors.
His words-and the recollection of
his own recent defiance of the queen-lent her sudden strength. Could she take
him at his word? Could she outwit Velda somehow?
Bhyrne is one of the males in
Could she mate him? Make
him her own? Would he be willing? Could she convince Velda to let her
"I still have a little time then,
don't I? My birthday is not for two days."
"Yes, yes." The prime leader of
the succubi waved her hand with impatience. "That is my point."
"So you will allow me two days to
choose my consort?"
Velda sighed, as if she'd been
deprived of her evening's entertainment. "Forty-eight hours. But you'd better
make it snappy. You're not getting any younger, Zena."
Zena paced the length and width of
her luxurious suite in the royal apartments of Duyvil Tand, her teeth worrying
her lower lip in panic.
Where had they taken
Immediately following Queen
Velda's decree, two of her regal guardsmen had seized him, dragging him from the
throne room. To his credit, he'd struggled and shouted, but even a male of his
generous size could not overcome the strength of the soldiers, each even
brawnier and beefier than he. Plus, they were fully armed. Even if the fire-sex
demon had hidden an entire arsenal beneath his damp and wrinkled Hugo Boss suit,
they'd bent and twisted his arms behind his back, restraining him so he'd never
be able to reach any weapons. She did not want to think about the punishment
they might be inflicting on him.
Goddess. The way he'd stepped up
to the plate for her and defied the queen, knowing, as an enforcer, the full
consequences of his disobedience...such an absolutely worthy male. So
incredibly, effin awesome.
Her own predicament faded as she
contemplated his. She'd never met anyone like him in her life. Solid. Strong.
Dependable. Protective. Sexy. And gorgeous. Hotter than a blazing
She had to find him. Save him, if
possible. Have him whiff them both the hell out of Demon Central. She
would not rest until the massive doors of Duyvel Tand thumped them both in the
After pacing back and forth a few
more minutes, trying to concoct a game plan, she decided to contact her sisters.
Cell phone service in her room, deep within the mountain, faded in and out at
best, but she dared not stroll around the palace seeking more bars and a better
connection-and encouraging sex-crazed demons to pop out of the woodwork and jump
her bones. After a few fits and starts, dropped words here and there, she
managed to get Lily on the line and communicate her circumstances.
"Let me patch in Dag and call you
right back," her youngest sister said.
The return call came a few minutes
later, with both succubi on the line.
"Here's what we're going to do,"
Lily said. "Remember how you and Dag staged that ‘intervention' in my office and
signed me up with the 1Night Stand agency? Thanks to you guys and Madame
Evangeline, I found Campbell again. Well, Dag's contacted Madame Eve. We've
registered you with 1Night Stand. Because this is an emergency and time is of
the essence, and because Madame Eve was so successful with Dag and Max, and me
and Campbell, and because we've vouched for you, Madame Eve has agreed to forego
some of the details in the questionnaire. We've already filled in the parts we
could for you. You're all set up. It's a definite go. The date will
happen ASAP. We know you'll find a mate."
Okay. Not exactly what she had in
mind, but...Dagney and Max, and Lily and Campbell, were outstanding
together, the best evidence that the exclusive dating service worked, no matter
how grave or complicated the problem. In all matters of love and sex, Madame Eve
came to the rescue. Results guaranteed. Zena heaved a sigh of
"Thanks, you guys. Best. Sisters.
Ever." Pausing, she took another breath. She might be set...but the enforcer
remained in danger. "Is Max there?"
His deep voice rumbled in her ear.
"Right here, Z."
"Ran down some connections and
found Bhyrne for you. As luck, fate and happy coincidence would have it, he's in
the same wing, on the same floor."
This time her sigh held every
grain of hope she'd ever dared dream.
"Though they did have him in the
dungeon awhile, according to my sources." Max's voice wavered slightly. "He's
been worked over pretty good, Z. So take it easy with him. Here's the passcode
for the door." He murmured a series of numbers, which she scribbled onto a gum
wrapper she found in her purse.
"And Zena?" Max cleared his
throat. "I don't know if you've noticed how hot he is...."
"Oh, hells, yeah. I've
definitely noticed that."
"Not what I mean. I'm talking
about his actual body heat...not his, um, looks. Because of what he's going
through, I set him up with 1Night Stand when you guys visited us. I'll let
Bhyrne tell you why. Madame Eve just texted us. You've got a date."
"With Bhyrne?" Her heart suddenly
ran through an Olympics gymnastic floor routine.
"Listen to me, Z. He's in a
"Bhyrne is?" Yeah, so a
parrot had apparently taken up residence in her mouth. But the idea of Iron Man
having the vapors, no matter what his physiological or mental condition, seemed
too ludicrous to require a laugh track.
"Yeah. Bhyrne. My cousin. It's
important you don't mess with him now. So if you don't think he's the one, you'd
better decide that pretty fuckin' quick. And get the hell away from him if it's
Taryn Kincaid writes paranormal, historical and contemporary romance, sometimes spiced with a little humor or a lot of snark. Get swept away by her swoon-worthy heroes. Her latest, AMBER'S ACE, is her 3rd Black Hills Wolves book, following WOLF'S SONG and ANOTHER CHANCE in Decadent Publishing's popular multi-author series.
Visit Taryn at her website http://tarynkincaid.com, as well as Twitter, Facebook, tsu, Pinterest and Goodreads.