romance

It’s been a fairly productive week. I’ve been having a lot of difficulties with my current story. It keeps holding me up. I know I should probably set it aside and work on something else, but it’s about 3/4 finished and I’d just like to get through it and be done.

One of the things for me about this first draft is that I often don’t know exactly how the crime happened, I mean, I have an inkling of who did it and why, but the exact details elude me. In two of my books, I thought a particular person was the murderer, but near the end of my first draft someone else stepped forward and confessed. Wow! It was a shocker! My conscious mind hadn’t known, but because my stories flow organically, I let the characters lead me where they may and someone else emerged as the bad guy. Of course in both instances I had to go back and rewrite portions of the story to keep the villain’s identities a secret and yet make sure were hints for the reader. No one likes to get to the end of a suspense story and be blind sided. Misled, yes … but tricked … not so much!

I do love that part though. If I didn’t see it coming then how could my readers? Since I just got the goooorgeous cover for Heart’s Afire, the firefighter anthology which includes my vampire suspense novella, Shadows of Fire, I thought I’d leave you today with a little excerpt from chapter one. Enjoy! I’m off to see what trouble my wolfies are getting into and make myself finish that sucker!

EXCERPT from Shadows of Fire:

It wasn’t much of a noise, just a dull thud in the night. But it was enough to pull Professor Paul Morgan from his slumber. Heavy with the arms of Morpheus still around him, his blood thick with sleeping medication, Paul wasn’t sure what had roused him. But when it came again, a muffled bang from downstairs, followed oddly enough by the sound of rushing wind, he knew he needed to investigate.

Swiping at his eyes, Paul tried unsuccessfully to push away the last strands of drowsiness still clinging to his mind. Something deep in the pit of his stomach told him what had woken him had nothing to do with Zeus, his mischievous tabby and only companion since his wife had died nearly thirty years ago. Swinging his feet to the floor, Paul stepped into his leather slippers and grabbed his robe from the hope chest at the foot of his bed. Scurrying from the bedroom, fear and urgency pushed him forward.

The eerie orange glow emanating from his den at the foot of the stairs brought bile to his throat. Everything near and dear to him was in that room; his wife’s portrait, the marble Sphinx from their trip to Egypt, the antique bookcase she’d given him when he’d gotten the position at the university-the bronzed baby shoes. His feet barely touched the treads as he rushed down the stairs, caution and prudence gone with the desperate need to salvage his memories.

He came up short at the threshold. Swallowing hard, he tried to dislodge the heart stuck in his throat. A fire crackled safely in the fireplace across the room, the dancing flames sending a ballet of mesmerizing shadows along the paneled walls and casting the room in an otherworldly radiance. Fingers of fear lifted the hairs on the back of his neck. 

A quick glance at his desk in the corner reassured him his research was also safe, but did nothing to assuage his fears. The papers he’d left stacked neatly for the magistrate’s office lay strewn about. The monitor of his computer silhouetted the head of a person sitting at his desk.

“Who are you? Wha … wha … what are doing?”

There was no response save for the clicking of computer keys.

“I’ll call the police.” Paul said. 

A maniacal laugh rent the stillness, sending a chill of terror down his spine.

“No, Professor Morgan. We both know you can not do that.” With a flourish, a hand came down hard on the keyboard. The monitor flicked rapidly through several screens before going black.

“What have you done?” Paul rushed to the desk, a wave of nausea rolling hotly in his chest and bringing water to his eyes. Everything. Everything was on that computer.

I didn’t want it to happen this way.” The words carried sadness, but the face that turned to stare at him was pure evil. A face he barely recognized. “You really shouldn’t have been quite so diligent in your research you know. I’ve sent obvious warnings, hoping to push you from this foolhardy course for months. But you wouldn’t heed the signs.” The clicking tongue scolded him as if he were an obstinate child. Fingers steepled in front of lips thin with hatred. “A shame really. I will miss your friendly manner. But you have become too much of a liability for me to allow you to live.”

“You can’t get away with this.”

“Oh, I think we both know … I have … and I will again.” The monster slowly standing before him wasn’t the amicable person he’d known for decades. This person had morphed into a heinous murderer-a murderer with no conscience and a moral compass that pointed straight to hell. 

Paul threw back his shoulders. Though he understood he would not survive this night, he would accept his fate with dignity. “I’ve already sent a copy of all of that to my lawyer.” His hand waved at the papers on the desk. “He knows. He knows and understands everything. He is painfully aware of our strained relationship. None of this will stop with my death.” Paul was pleased he could push the lie steadily through the panic clogging his throat.

“Please, don’t insult my intelligence.” The murderer gathered the papers on the desk and tapped them on its polished cherry surface, elegant fingers aligning the edges before setting them neatly in a pile. “We both know these are the only copies. And we both understand what is to come is inevitable. Preordained if you will  …” The smile was reptilian as if Satan himself had taken possession of this wayward soul.

“You won’t get away with this.” Paul was repeating himself, but terror had stripped him of coherent thought.

“But I already have.” Something small flew from the long fingers. Blue flames erupted in the fireplace. A ball of fire jumped to the leather chair next to the hearth. Another flew to the Aubusson rug he and his wife had gotten on their honeymoon fifty years ago.

“Stop!”

“What you began … I will finish tonight.”

Paul lunged for the decorative throw on back of the couch, intent on pounding the growing flames into submission.

Another burst of evil laughter split the air as the glass vase on the hearth exploded in the growing heat. “That’s right old man. Try to stop it.”

Paul brought the blanket down hard on the fire spreading like a sickness across the rug. The thick smoke choking the air filled his nose and burned his lungs. It was no use. The flames were spreading faster than he could control them. He needed to get out. Abandoning the blanket, he turned to run.

He saw the small ottoman only seconds before it crashed down on his world.

*copyright Nina Pierce 2009*

It’s finally here! I didn’t think we’d ever get to today! But Monday, September 15 at 7:00 pm EDT, Furry, Fluffy, and Wild will finally be available from Liquid Silver Books! Yaaay! I’m so excited.

Back in February or so, Celia Kyle put out a call to other authors interested in participating in a shifter anthology. I jumped through the crowd of authors with my hand waving madly in the air and shouted “Me, me … pick me!” When I fell at her feet grovelling and make a fool of myself, how could she say no?

Celia and Tina are amazing writers with a ton of work under their belts and I feel very proud to be included in an anthology with them. All of our stories involve wolf shifters …

and plus size women. (I know, the cover doesn’t actually reflect that … but you’re going to have to trust me on this one.)

My novella, Blue Moon Rising, is an erotic suspense story.

Could a woman’s past decide a man’s future?

Tension between the cougar and wolf shifters in Lonesome Fork, Montana is spiraling out of control. With the full moon only days away and fear and the body count rising, Chief of Police, and head of the wolf shifter council, Cole Takoda is trying to bring peace to both humans and shifters alike. But with the head of the cougar council, Kurt Hansley, thwarting his attempts, it appears nothing will heal the growing rift. When orphan Jayda Kynslan strolls into town, rumors of polymorphic shifters come to life begin to circulate.

Two men want to claim Jayda as mate: one will stand with her and unite the shifter clans; the other will possess her and reign supreme over the human population. With the Blue Moon Rising Jayda’s decision will determine the future for all of them.

Here’s a brief excerpt:
Cole stared at Jayda’s ass as she sashayed her way to the door. Damn, she had him hot under the collar. He’d wanted to follow her immediately, but the tented fly of his Levi’s would make their intention a little obvious. It wouldn’t do for the Chief of Police to be caught in a compromising situation. When she’d bent in close, the scent and heat of her overwhelming his senses, his body had jumped to attention. Decorum and judicious prudence aside, he needed to be with her. Had she known she’d have that effect? Was this some kind of setup?

He finished his beer in one great swallow and banged it down on the bar just as the door closed behind Jayda. She hadn’t even turned around to see if he was following. Maybe she hadn’t meant what she’d said. Part of him hoped that was the case. Then he’d only have to see her safely to her car, and this whole thing would be over. There was only one way to find out what she intended. His cock led the way.

“Hey, champ, it’s cold outside. You’ll need this.” Aaron stood at the entry between the two rooms holding Cole’s leather jacket. The smile on his face was nonjudgmental.

“Shit,” Cole said as he snatched the jacket and shrugged into it. They’d been friends since their days on the reservation. Aaron would be the only one who’d know it was lust as much as fear contorting his face.

Aaron smiled. “Shit is right. Be careful, man.”

Now that he’d made the decision, Cole headed for the door. He wondered if he’d waited too long, and she’d left. That thought moved him more quickly. He’d have no way of finding Jayda if she walked out his life tonight. He had no intention of letting that happen until he knew exactly what had brought her to Lonesome Fork.

The night air slapped him in the face the moment he walked out the door. He scanned the lot, panic sweeping through him with each pass.

“Over here.” Jayda’s quiet voice called from around a truck parked in front of the tavern and off to his right. He smiled at her from the other side of the hood.

“I wasn’t sure you’d come.”

The brassy woman who’d propositioned him in the bar had once again morphed into a timid debutante. If not for her voice and the breathtaking smile she flashed, he wouldn’t have known the bashful person holding keys in her hands was capable of offering an uninhibited sexual escapade in her car.

“Jayda, why don’t we go sit in my car?” Reason found its way back to his consciousness. “It’s in the back corner away from the lights.” Police Chiefs didn’t boff strangers in the parking lot of the local tavern. But no one could fault him for finding a place for a quiet chat with a suspicious stranger, and at this moment, conversation was all he intended.

“Sure.” She lifted a shoulder with the lilt in her voice.

She came around the back of the truck, and he wrapped his arm around her waist. Jayda laid her head in the crook of his shoulder. She molded against him like her body had been made for his.

Cole’s body reacted again to her proximity; the blood rushing to his dick made it hard to think like a gentleman. “We don’t have to do this. I’d understand if you want to back out.”

Stopping, she looked up at him. “You don’t want to?”

“No, I … I mean, yes.” Damn, this woman tied his tongue in knots. “What I mean is … if you’re having second thoughts about being alone with me…”

Her hand snaked into the front of his jacket and pinched his nipple. “Not even sort of. Now, which car is yours?”

Cole hit the button on the remote starter, and the lights flashed.

Jayda clapped her hands and ran into the shadows. “Oh, such a shame, you have bucket seats, I guess we’ll have to snuggle in the back.” She didn’t even turn around before climbing in, her curvaceous ass disappearing a moment before he reached the Saab.

And of course what would one of books be without a book trailer:

I love to write. Really I do. Okay, so not every day, but hey, it’s a job and everyone hates their job a couple times a month.

But then there are the days when everything comes together, the stars align, the characters promise to behave, settings pop off the page and your prose just shines! I love those days. It’s during those times I come up with some gems that make their way to the pages of my books.

So this list is 13 of my favorite lines from my books.

Healer’s Garden

1. But damn, he’d been treading water a hell of a long time while he waited for destiny to change the course of his life.

2. “Are you finished speculating? Because I can tell you the facts if you’re interested or I can just wait here while you try to attempt to put together a puzzle with missing pieces.” He lifted a shoulder. “Either way I’m good.”

Blind Love

3. “A man intent on conquering a woman and adding her to his proverbial notched belt holds no credibility with someone as innocent as Julie.”

4.  Damon laughed and held his hands up. “I’ll go willingly. Please, just promise you’ll hurt me.”

5.  The hurt tumbled over anger, rolling into an emotional snowball that plunged headlong without regret into Meghan’s feelings.

Love’s Bounty

6.  He’d abandoned all pretense and now was as focused on getting laid as he was on collecting information from the bimbo. He figured she swung whichever way the wind was blowing. And the way he was feeling, he hoped she’d think a monsoon had swept in her direction when he found her.

7.   Biting back a smile, Ayden watched her glistening tears turn into fury. That he could handle. An angry woman was one hundred times easier to placate than a despondent one.

8. Her long, muscular legs that he’d admired in the great room, started somewhere around her neck.

Arranging Love

9. Peter wasn’t sure if the guilt weighed on his facial features like it did on his heart. 

10. Heat flushed her cheeks. “Peter, making love in the kitchen is one thing. But playing tortured slave girl to your master fetish, well … I’m just not sure that’s something well-adjusted adults do.”

Blue Moon Rising

11. Jayda Kynslan sauntered into the Whip and Bull Tavern wanting only two things: a cold beer and a hot cock.

12. Men, she’d come to believe, were nothing but scumbags of trouble on the garbage heap of misery.

Shadows of Fire

13.  Firemen fought fires as a team. They hung by their balls as a team. Go team!

I’d like to say it was easy writing my latest story. I’d like to say the words just flowed onto the page. I’d like to say there was no frustration, or throwing of pens, or late nights…

But that ain’t the case! LOL!

I worked and pushed and forced myself to put sentences together to fill the pages. My characters seemed to take great pleasure keeping their stories hidden from me. I didn’t know who they were or why they needed me to tell their story. Like a personal trainer, I pressed them and kept at them until finally they relented and told me about all their pain and hopes.

Three quarters of the way through, the villain let loose on a rampage that revealed all. Like he had to wait that long? Because that meant I needed to go back and explain it all to the other characters in the beginning chapters. LOTS of rewriting.

But let me tell you … it was worth it!

From all this work, came my latest book, Shadows of Fire. I submitted it to Liquid Silver Books for their fireman series that will be coming out in 2009.

Fortunately, they also liked my novella and offered me a contract! Yay Me! I’m still dancing!

Here’s the blurb:

Sometimes the answer you seek is right in front of you …

ALEXANDRA FLANAGAN didn’t ask to be forced from her human existence as a chemistry student at the South Kenton University in the northern mountains of California into the ungodly world of vampires. But thirty years ago, after nearly dying from a vicious vampire attack, that’s exactly what happened. Saved by the blood of an ancient vampire, she unhappily walks among immortals–facing a hollow existence she never chose.

REESE COLTON has been a vampire for centuries. A man of honor, he is part of an elite military operation known as RISEN that seeks out and eliminates rogue vampires who choose to break the unwritten codes of the immortals and not live complacently among the human population. Under cover as a firefighter at the South Kenton fire department, he and his team have been called in to investigate the unusual number of fires that have ended the lives of several humans–and vampires.

When chemistry ignites passion, Reese and Alex find themselves embroiled in an affair that catches them both unaware. With the number of fires escalating and Alex’s behavior increasingly suspect, Reese isn’t sure whether to follow his heart or the clues. Will Reese find the answers to Alex’s secrets in the Shadows of Fire?

Now, we just have to wait until next year for these bad-boy firefighting vampires to be released into the world!

Welcome to multi-published author, Shelley Munro. Shelley’s sexy books can be found at Medallion Press, New Concepts Publishing, Cerridwen, and Ellora’s Cave. I’m happy to have her visiting for the next couple of days sharing her newest release from Ellora’s Cave, Lovers at Last.

Friends to lovers-it’s one of my favorite plot devices. I like reading Friends to Lovers stories and enjoy writing them. I love being able to jump straight into an intimate situation in the first few pages of a book. The characters are familiar with each other and have a history together. They might not realize they’re even attracted to each other until one pivotal moment that changes everything, or one of them might have developed feelings for the other over a period of time, agonizing about acting on them.

A relationship like this comes with problems: does the couple want this to be a one-time thing or do they want to play for keeps? What happens if the sex between them is so bad they destroy their friendship forever? Or what if one of the pair doesn’t feel the same way?

Yes, moving from friends to lovers is fraught with dilemmas for both parties.

In Lovers at Last, Pearl and Justin are best friends. When Pearl’s current relationship fails, she seeks out Justin for comfort. Justin, who has wanted Pearl for a long time, decides it’s time to stake his claim.

BLURB:

Pearl’s master plan to catch a rich husband-results so far…A for effort, F for success.

Justin Collet wants way more than friendship from Pearl. He craves love, laughter and hot, down-and-dirty passion. A life partner. All he needs to do is convince Pearl.

A broken relationship, a few drinks and a string of pearls. Comforting Pearl takes a turn into carnal territory. Heat blossoms between them, fiery and consuming. Sweet kisses inflame and erotic whispers tempt. It’s all or nothing for Justin as he seduces Pearl into agreeing they’re lovers at last.

Here hon, sit right under this spotlight *readjusts light* and answer a few questions … if you dare! Mwahahaha! *rubs hands together*

Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?
I’d like to be a smartass and say I buy my story ideas at Walmart, but the truth is that I find inspiration everywhere. A story idea can spring from a television show I’ve watched, a newspaper article I’ve read or a book written by another author might spark a series of ideas. I’m lucky enough to do quite a bit of travel and find this a great source of ideas, especially for settings. Maybe I have a fertile imagination, but I have a continual stream of ideas and add a few brief details to an ideas folder so I can save them for when I need them.

Are you a pantzer or a plotter?
When I first started writing I used to make up things as I wrote. Now that I’m a published writer I find I need a more organized approach since editors and agents like to know how a book ends, often before I’ve finished writing it. These days I tend to be a hybrid of the two. I plot enough to know how the book ends but leave myself enough leeway so that each book remains an adventure during the writing process. (Oh, she’s good, this woman is unflappable … let’s try a few more questions.)

Where did you get the idea for your latest book?
Lovers at Last is part of Ellora’s Cave Gemstone series and is a pearl story. The pearls play a large part in the story and bring the hero and heroine together. I took one of my favorite plots, that of friends and lovers, added in the pearls and came up with a couple who knew each other well. The first scene popped into my head and the story came from there.

What makes a hero for you? Do you see them on the street, or are they simply in your head?
In short, my heroes come from my imagination rather than a real person. I have a liking for tall and dark heroes and usually start off with those two characteristics, although I have written a few blond heroes. Most of my heroes also seem to be on the alpha side and are heroic in the sense that they never abuse their position and bully those weaker than themselves. (Trust me when I say … this woman writes HAWT heroes. She’s brought a few of them with her. They are lovely … but not so well behaved! *wink* *wink*)

What’s your writing schedule like?
I write full time and treat my writing like an office job, working set hours. I set myself a writing target for each day and also fit in promo and other writing related activities such as blogging, correspondence and maintaining my website. I think I work harder now than I ever used to!

What does your writing space look like?
In a word-messy! I do try to tidy up a little between books but while I’m writing I like to keep my reference books and notes, my dictionary and thesaurus close at hand. I also have a pile of promo related stuff on my desk and of course, I can’t get by without my calendar that lists my schedule for the month. (She’s not kidding folks, I’ve shoved a couple of Starbuck’s coffee cups out of the way and there’s no place to put my notes … sigh … but I can’t complain, my desk looks worse!)

What advice would you give to aspiring erotic romance writers?
First of all–READ!. I can’t stress that enough. Read to analyze the market, take all the elements you enjoy and set out to write something unique that hasn’t been done before. Erotic romance isn’t for everyone and if you’re not comfortable writing it this shows in your work.

What’s your favorite snack or beverage while you’re hard at work?
I don’t usually snack or drink while writing, not when I’m in the zone. If I’m procrastinating I find myself making cups of tea all the time, but otherwise I write for several hours and make myself a cup of tea or coffee while I take a break.

What does your family think about you writing erotic romance?
My family is totally supportive of my writing. They offer encouragement when I need it and are always pleased to celebrate any successes with me as well. My husband has become very knowledgeable over the years and constantly surprises me. I might mention an agent or one of my chapters and he immediately knows what I’m talking about. He points out that he does listen. 🙂 (Give that man a hug for us! We love supportive husbands!)

Thanks for visiting, Shelley! She’s hanging around to answer questions so fire away. If you’d like more information on Shelley or her books please visit her website or blog. You can even friend her on MySpace! Click HERE to read an excerpt from Lovers at Last

Welcome to the sixth installment of my short story. If you’ve just found me, please feel free to scroll down the “Categories” list on the left hand side of my blog. Click on “Test Drive” and you will be able to read the first five installments.

Last week left Margo, a car salesperson, running for her life from two men who had kidnapped her during a test drive of a new vehicle. Please enjoy this next installment.

******   TEST DRIVE ****** 

Fear pushed her forward with the singular focus of making it to the water. Margo’s stocking feet were no match for the jagged gravel and sharpened points of broken shrubbery. But the pain cutting through the soles of her feet barely registered as adrenaline shot into her bloodstream, pumping her leg muscles at a fevered pitch.

Shouts erupted behind her. She blocked out everything save for the sound of rushing water. Fifty feet. Fifty feet of brush separated her from the depths of freedom.

Running through the tangle of long grass, she prayed. Prayed she’d be faster than her captors. Prayed she wouldn’t get snared in the brush. Prayed the bone-chilling waters of the river would swallow her before a bullet pierced her skull.

As if her thoughts had conjured a gun, an explosion tore through the pounding in her ears and instinct doubled her over. Still her body pushed forward through the maze of branches slapping at her face. Twenty five feet. Close enough to smell the fetid aroma of farm silage running toward the ocean. Nothing had ever smelled sweeter.

Just as she believed freedom was in her grasp, a strong arm snatched it from her fingertips. Margo fought against the vice-grip of the forearm wrapped around her waist. Her feet left the ground as he swung her back toward the car.

“Jumping in the river will get you nowhere but wet.”

She flailed against the red-haired man. Kicking at his shins and flinging her head back, she connected with nothing but air. Still she fought. Her class of defensive maneuvers rushed back in a hail of memories and survival instinct. 

“Now, that’s not very nice,” he said into her ear as one hand clamped her face and the other pulled her arms tight against her torso. She struggled against the steel wrapped around her torso, but to no avail. “I suggest you settle down before my brother decides to aim the gun at you. He’s got a rather nasty temper. I’m warning you now–don’t test its limits.”

He both carried and dragged her struggling body back toward the car. Margo shouldn’t have been fooled by the man’s small stature. The arms that held her were forged with iron. She wasn’t breaking from his grasp.

“My boss knows where I went! You can’t get away with this!” she yelled. When the words didn’t seem to have any impact she screamed. His hand slid up to cover her mouth and the next scream was swallowed by his wide palm. Her eyes bulged as she tried to draw breath. Panic swept through her as her lungs refused to fill. 

“Shut up! Shut up!” John ran to them, the gun waving in his hand. “If you don’t shut up I will put a bullet in your skull. Right here. Right now. You were a pain in the ass the moment I walked onto the lot and I have no compunction taking you down right here.”

That took the fight out of her.

“Put that damn thing away before someone gets hurt, you idiot,” he said to John as he set her none to gently on the ground and released her mouth. She drew a deep gulp of air as he spun her to face him. “Stop fighting me. We have no intention of hurting–”

Margo’s fist shot out, connecting with a sickening thud against the bone of red-haired guy’s jaw. The ball cap fell to the ground, but didn’t move the man. The shock of pain radiating up her arm was unbearable and she cried out at the sudden sting of it.

She had only a moment to register the pain before another wave rang through her face. John backhanded her. The force of contact sent her to the ground. The heat of terror burned her throat and eyes.

The barrel of the gun pointed at her nose blurred in the wash of uninvited tears.

She was going to die.

Copyright Kara Dunn 2008

This week I’ve enlisted more of my author friends who have agreed to let me post their pictures. I hope some of these are your favorite authors. (Please note: If you click on their name it will take you to their website.) It’s always fun to see if their image matches your imagination. So without further adieu, here they are …

1. Cindy Kirk is a member of Maine Romance Writers even though she lives in Nebraska. (She can’t resist the lure of the Atlantic ocean and lighthouses.) She is a multi-published author with Harlequin and Avon. Her most recent release, One Night Stand was released in May 2008.

2. AJ Matthews is one of two guys who boldly went where most men won’t venture … my blog! And happy me! AJ came in a kilt! He’s such a good sport. AJ lives on the other side of the pond and he is multi-published with Loose-Id and Liquid Silver Books. He writes paranormal erotic romance. Hot stuff!

3. Celine Chatillon designed a cartoon image of herself. She’s really into making wonderful comics. Celine is a multi-published erotic author with Mojocastle Press, eXtasy, and Liquid Silver Books. Her newest release, Beautiful Dreamer is a summer 2008 release from Liquid Silver.

 

4. Jennifer Leeland is my latest release buddy! (Sorry, Jen at the last minute, I saved both our dignity and didn’t post the other picture! LOL!) I love her. She makes me laugh all the time. She is multi-published with Whiskey Creek, Cobblestone Press, The Wild Rose Press, and of course, Liquid Silver Books. Her latest release, Resisting Command, is the second in her science fiction/erotica/BDSM “Command” series and has earned several wonderful reviews.

5. Nina Mamone is a member of the Maine Romance Writers and a really good friend! (She did some major brainstorming with me on my first shifter story … mwah!)  Her debut novella, Hard to Guard is available through Samhain Publishing. It just came out in print this spring and is available in the I Dream of Dragons Anthology – Volume Two.

7. Roscoe James’ hawt debut novel Deer Run Falls was released this week from Liquid Silver Books. He’s got several more releases coming down the pike, including White Swan, a July release from Liquid Silver.  The man looks all lawyer-like in this picture … but don’t let that fool you. Give him some Master’s (bourbon) and a kilt and the man is hanging from the chandelier. Trust me … I’ve witnessed the transformation myself! Congrats again Roscoe! *Note: Roscoe was going to show up here in his kilt … but Jen wore it home from his release party.

 

8. Teagan Oliver is a member of Maine Romance Writers. Two words sum up Teagan … “Road Trip!” The woman will pile into the car and drive hours with no particular destination. Yes, she is slightly touched. She is multi-published with Five Star and Wings E-Press. Obsidian, her romantic suspense novel will be re-released in large print in October.

 

9. Xandra Gregory writes erotic science fiction for Liquid Silver Books. If you ask her about being a writer and about writing in general … she’ll tell you … and tell you … and tell you … oh, sorry, I nodded off. No, just kidding. That’s from Xandra’s own words … she’ll talk about writing to just about anyone!

Obviously, that’s not her real picture. She just mentioned her hair got out of control and she felt like that. Here’s Xandra …

Beautiful!

 

10. Roxy Harte lives in Ohio with her wonderful husband and daughter (and another daughter, son-in-law, and grandchild down the road). Roxy is a multi-published erotic romance author with Loose-Id and Liquid Silver Books. Her very hawt stories about the BDSM lifestyle have garnered some wonderful reviews. She is my go-to author when I need help or reference material. Her newest release Unholy Promises – Chronicles of Surrender is a summer 2008 release with Liquid Silver Books.

11 Darragha Foster (who looks a whole lot like her wild great-grandmother) is another multi-published author with Liquid Silver Books. She writes fantastic stories a little (okay waaay) out of the box. Her latest release Teaching Old Gods New Tricks was recently released in print! Darragha is wonderful with tarot cards and will happily do a reading for you. (Click on the above link for all the details.)

 

12. KA Mitchell never really grew up and that’s why she sent this picture! She’s another one of those authors who found Maine Romance Writers and joined our crazy ranks … even though she lives in another state 4 hours away! (Hey I live in Maine and I’m 4 hours from the meetings!) Ms. Mitchell is multi-published in M/M erotica with Samhain publishing. Her latest release Diving in Deep was a red-hot release in March of 2008.

 

13. Jeanne Barrack couldn’t find a picture of herself so she sent this avatar. I was dying to know what she looks like … but I can’t have everything … even if it is my blog *stomps foot*. Oh, sorry, hissy fit over. Back to Jeanne. She’s multi-published with Loose-Id and Liquid Silver Books. She’s currently working on a sequel in the Terran Realm series. Jeanne loves Irish folk lore and her knowledge comes through in her stories. (I also understand she’s a wonderful singer … but she has brought her guitar over here yet!)

So there, you have it …

What?

Oh, me?

Seems I ran out of room on this Thursday Thirteen…

again…

….

….

I wouldn’t do that to you twice …

would I?

Actually, the pictures are misnumbered…

So …

the thirteenth picture is …

….

ME!

Welcome to the fourth week of my short story Test Drive. I hope you’re enjoying this free read as much as I’m enjoying writing it. Feel free to offer suggestions in the comments. It’s a work in progress and I’m willing to take the story wherever you’d like it to go!

**********  TEST DRIVE **********

“Yeah, a dozen yellow.” Rob smiled at Margo, and waved at her as she headed to the lot. No doubt he was ordering flowers for his wife–again. She didn’t even want to imagine what he’d done this time. Something told her she should interrupt, let Rob know she was getting in a car with this guy. But perhaps she was overthinking this whole thing and was being foolish. Besides, the customer seemed impatient.

Pushing down the trepidation inching up her throat, she smiled at John as she attached the dealer plate and handed him the keys. “Looks like we’re all set.”

“Could I look at the trunk before we go?” Without waiting for a response, he limped back and popped the trunk with the key she handed him. He took a cursory glance and shut it. “Looks just right for groceries and the occasional trip to the grandkids.” His smile warbled with the words.

With surprising agility he slipped behind the wheel and settled himself next to her. The man was a walking enigma–literally. Looking around as if lost, he stared at the cane in bewilderment before tossing it haphazardly on the back seat.

“We can go right over to get your wife, if you’d like.” Margo offered helpfully.

“That’s fine, but I live out in the country.” He sounded annoyed. The skin on his jaw was taut and without wrinkles, save for the occasional tick of a muscle. He stared straight ahead and pulled the fedora low on his head so Margo couldn’t see his eyes.

“No problem. We’re not in any hurry. I’m happy to pick up your wife wherever you live.”

His knuckles pulsed white as he clenched and unclenched the steering wheel and pulled into traffic. 

They drove in silence.

Margo didn’t show him the unique features on the radio, or the buttons which operated the moon roof. She prided herself on reading the moods of her customers and she knew it was neither the price of the car nor its fuel economy causing the frown on his face. She wasn’t sure where she was headed, but it definitely wasn’t to pick up Mrs. Anderson. Fear rippled up her spine and she worked hard to keep from shivering. This whole thing had been such a bad idea.

He turned onto a road that ran along the river, heading to the outskirts of town. Ten minutes out, he pulled off the main road and followed a dirt track down to the water. The dark river churned, the sun glistening menacingly off its boiling surface. Margo had no idea what was happening. But when John shoved the car into park with vehemence, she understood with the certainty that night would fall–she had wrapped herself in trouble.

Copyright Kara Dunn 2008

Yay! I’m so excited! The second book in the Tilling Passions series is coming TODAY!

BLURB:

DEA agent, AYDEN SCOTT, is determined to bring down the drug cartel smuggling heroin into central Maine. Undercover as Austin Shaeffer, Ayden is working as lead investigator for the first time since the debacle in Miami that killed his younger brother. He will use any means necessary to extract information, including seducing the feisty red head, DEIRDRE TILLING, who is employed by the suspected drug baron. But can he become embroiled in a sexual liaison while keeping his men safe and his identity secret?

Landscaping in the rural Maine town of Delmont hasn’t always been DEIRDRE TILLING’S only passion. Up until two months ago, it included her lover, Brianna. A bisexual, Deirdre has cultivated romances with both sexes, only to find hurt and disappointment her only bounty. Now, she’d like to give up on love. But with everyone in her family in a committed relationship, will Deirdre be able to find satisfaction in the sexual release offered in one-night stands or will she continue to seek out the emotional stability only a monogamous relationship can offer?

Love’s Bounty unravels the mystery of the torrid relationship between a cop bent on proving himself and a woman struggling with her sexuality and the subsequent discovery of drug running up the Maine coast.

Please enjoy this EXCERPT:

Cautious, and working to keep his jangled nerves from pumping his legs in a dead run, Ayden strolled to the shelter of the dinghy. The noise grew louder. Ayden realized he wasn’t moving away from the sound; he was aimed toward it. What a fool. It was a beautiful fall night. Lovers were using the upended craft for a little sex party of their own.

Turning on his heel, he started to walk away, and the noise came again. It wasn’t the moan of sexual pleasure. It was the keening sound of sadness. Someone was crying. And from the quiet hiccuping, it was female. Christ, he didn’t need this right now.

He pushed at the hair blowing in his eyes. Swiveling his head, he debated between the refuge of the path and the complications in the boat. Chivalry won out. He stepped warily around the bow.

The redhead sat on the wooden slats, her bare feet digging restlessly in the sand, her face cupped in her hands. Between shuddering breaths, she sputtered angrily into her bent knees, but her tears and her fingers kept the words from him.

“Uh-hmm.” He cleared his throat, not knowing how else to get her attention.

“Holy shit–” She tried to jump to her feet, but banged her head on the iron rigging attached to the upside of the boat. She fell down hard. “Crap.” Her hand flew to her head.

“I’m sorry, you okay?” Ayden reached for her, but she shook him off.

“I’m fine.”

She looked up at him. Even in the pale light, he could see the anguish in her eyes.

“Actually, I’m not all right.” She pushed herself up, ducking her head away from the oarlock. She wiped at the sand on her bottom. “You scared the living shit right out of me.”

Biting back a smile, Ayden watched her glistening tears turn into fury. That he could handle. An angry woman was one hundred times easier to placate than a despondent one.

“Again, I apologize.” He held out his hand to her. “Austin Shaeffer.” How easily that name slipped off his tongue.

“Deirdre Tilling,” she said as she slipped her hand into his.

Her grip was surprisingly firm. Ayden liked the touch of her palm against his skin. Not all soft and pliant, but callused and rough. He wondered how it would feel running up his back. His body came to full attention with those thoughts.

She was a beautiful woman. Her breasts swelled enticingly just above the bodice of her dress. Her long, muscular legs that he’d admired in the great room, started somewhere around her neck. No wonder Jameson had been seducing this lovely creature.

Jameson. Right. He mentally shook his head. Focus, Ayden. Tonight was about gathering information, not sexual conquests. But then again, there was that two birds and one stone thing.

“You come to Jameson’s parties often?” His voice sounded more at ease than he felt.

She pulled her hand from his and rubbed at the spot on her head. “What? Jameson? Oh, Shawn. No, never been to one of his parties. I’m one of his employees. Damn, this hurts. It’s already forming an egg.”

Ayden ignored the fact she’d called him Shawn. He urged his cock to relax. Obviously, he wasn’t getting any action from an employee who referred to her boss by his first name.

“Here, let me take a look at it.” He ran his fingers through her hair. It was soft as silk sliding over his hand. How good would that feel on his belly and thighs? His balls pulled up tight to his body. “Oh, yeah. You did a nice job. Probably could use a little ice.” At this rate, so could he, but not on the head on his shoulders.

I did a nice job? Me? You were the one sneaking up like some pirate looking for a lost treasure.”
She had no idea how close to the truth she was.

**

I luurrv this couple. They are so broken … each in their own way. But in their brokenness they find one another. But it’s those same flaws that nearly tear them apart.

In a romance, I enjoy reading about strong men with vulnerabilities, especially when the heroine is the one to expose them. I just sigh and fall in love with them even as they fall in love with each other.

What kind of relationships do you like reading about?

Anyone who comments here on my blog between now and 8 pm EDT on Tuesday, May 20 will be thrown into a hat. I will draw a random name and they will receive a free download of the first book in the Tilling Passions series, Blind Love.

So I’m snoopy dancing all over the house, waiting for 7 pm EDT tonight, when Love’s Bounty will be available.

Click HERE to buy your copy!

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