People often ask me why I chose romance when I decided to write books. The answer was easy–it’s what I enjoy reading! And let’s face it, there’s nothing that makes my heart beat a little faster than a sexy hero (like Mr. Nina) and a romantic gesture.
I didn’t come at romance through the usual avenues of Judy Blume or sneaking Harlequin novels from my mother’s stash. Nope. I jumped right into romance around the age of 13 with The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. What’s not to love about family saga, a forbidden love affair with a priest and illegitimate babies? This romance had it all! I was hooked. I spent summers throughout high school and college poring through every book of Danielle Steel’s and moving onto Nora Roberts (I bow to the queen of romance) and Sandra Brown.
So I was challenged to find 7 words, 7 sentences or 7 paragraphs of sexiness from one of my books. Since I’m totally smitten with Brenimyn, the hero in my romantic suspense novel, GARDEN OF SERENITY, I thought I’d share a scene and give you a sense of this sexy man.
Patience. That’s what was required of him. 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.
Sometimes it’s hard to give something up. Especially when you’re totally in LOVE with it. For yeeeears I worked with a prologue to my latest romantic thriller release IN HIS EYES and though I REALLY wanted to keep it in, beta readers, writer friends and eventually my editor all told me … let it go Nina. So I did.
Though it didn’t make it into the book, I’d like to share it with you.
The wooden coffin rested eerily over the wounded earth, the deep hole as hollow as the hearts of the two mourners. The man stared past the spray of wild flowers adorning its lid to his stepmother cowered on the opposite side. The reptilian slit of his eyes and the malevolent smile communicated loathing—and power. The widow’s eyes, puffy and glazed from weariness, watched him with a melancholy sort of understanding. The corner of her mouth lifted in a tremulous smile of acceptance. There were no tears when her husband died, none came now, and none would fall later.
Though the heat rose in currents from the tar road nearby, the young widow shivered. Standing in the shade of the oaks, the minister was the sole witness to the exchange. Reading from the book of Psalms, he faltered only momentarily, but finished the ritual graveside prayers without acknowledging what had passed between them.
Perhaps the minister also imagined how things would unfold.
Her life had not been hers for a very long time—now it belonged to him. She deserved no more love than he doled out to her in meager portions. No one thought she was worthy of anything, least of all her. She believed her life—each wretched day she survived, right up to her last breath—was preordained by this path she’d chosen to walk years ago. The way it would end was also a foregone conclusion.
Just days after the funeral, he sold his father’s house and packed their meager possessions into the old Cadillac. Crisscrossing the country, they stayed in seedy apartments where no one looked them in the eye. It was easier to ignore their pain that way. No one asked any questions, provided the rent was on time each Friday. She had no idea where they were and didn’t really care as long as he kept the needles in the bedside table filled with liquid heaven. He was gone most days and used her in unfathomable ways long hours into the night. He’d learned from the best and added new tricks of his own. But she accepted it all as her lot in life.
Now, he no longer needed her. She’d outlived her usefulness. They both understood that. She’d taken him into her bed only to prolong the inevitable. She didn’t plead or cry out with fear. She was just numb—or perhaps relieved it was going to be finished. Maybe it was the sweet wash of drugs coursing through her veins. Whichever the case, she didn’t care.
From the moment his father had fallen ill, everything had been destined. She may have been four years older, but her stepson had the maturity of a man twice his years and he dominated their relationship in every sense of the word. There hadn’t been any questions when he replaced his father at her side.
During their time together, she accepted his beatings, the verbal and sexual abuse, and the neglect. It was all either of them knew. Somewhere, in the back of her brain, she understood this wasn’t love, but she didn’t know what was. She had no yardstick with which to measure her worth. They’d cut her off from the rest of mankind so long ago, she barely remembered anything existed outside the confines of the world where they held her prisoner. She had no immediate family, so there would be no one to miss her when this was finished. Only he knew she still walked this earth and after it was done, only he would know she no longer did.
On this day he’d roused the woman early. Bathing with her in the communal bathroom of the apartment building, he’d taken great care washing her hair and body. With touches so gentle, he’d acted as if he’d felt something for her. His skilled hands had pleasured her without pain. He’d held off his own need until they were back in their room on the soiled sheets. With a passion neither of them knew existed, he’d made love to her. Whispering into her ear, he’d apologized for all that had been and all that would come.
Mutely, she let him brush the black waves of her hair and masterfully massage lotion over the yellowed bruises his fists had left. She watched him tenderly put the needle into her arm. He held her while the liquid worked its magic on her body and mind, taking her to that blissful place of detachment. He took her again, more urgently, but still with great affection. That’s when she’d known for certain that it was finished. She would not live to see another sunrise, never again feel a gentle breeze caress her skin, nor feel the pain of brutality.
He dressed her and took only a few of his belongings. When they climbed into the car, she didn’t ask where they were going. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered.
They traveled for hours, waiting for the blackness to cloak them in its secrets. She looked over at him now. In the green glow of the dashboard lights, his rugged features were contorted with grief. Turning from the road, he smiled at her. A heartrending smile filled with regret. Even in her drug induced fog, she could see the tears welling in his eyes.
They stopped somewhere. A city perhaps, but she couldn’t be sure. He’d fed her pills and alcohol for her last meal, so the edges of her reality were blurred. He lifted her from the car, carrying her like an infant into the darkness. He laid her down gently and her body melted into the lumpy surface. The stench curled around her nose and brought bile to her throat, but giving into the retching would displease him, so she swallowed it down. Hiking up her skirt, he removed her panties. He hacked off her hair with the knife he perpetually carried. Plastic rustled as he moved her. He’d laid her with the garbage. How appropriate. The cold sting of his tears fell upon her face as he pressed his lips to hers for the last time.
She wanted to touch him, to tell him she understood, but she couldn’t lift her hand or form the words on her lips. She was tired, so very tired.
His face was a smooth canvas of detachment when he pushed the final needle into her vein. With one last caress of her cheek, he left.
The cold rain continued to fall long after he turned his back on her, long after she slipped into oblivion.
I LOVE this story. It was many years percolating before it became a published novel. Here are some of my favorite lines from GARDEN OF SERENITY.
1. Jahara Khateri’s life was over. As she stared out the windows of the crowded helo-train, she knew nothing could change the course of her life. She felt the hollow reality as obvious as the barren expanse of the desert stretching between her and the horizon.
2. Gabriella Bresilee settled her bony frame in one of the chairs across from Jahara. The yellow suit she wore covered every inch of her alabaster skin, save for her face, hands and feet. Tucking stray wisps of auburn hair back into the braided bun at the top of her head, Gabriella’s mouth curved in a predatory grimace.
3. Brenimyn’s hand engulfed hers and he leaned in close, the warmth of his breath stroking her cheek. “My dear, I was not in your head. You crawled into mine somewhere around the barn scene with Nazaret and the replay of our lovemaking.” He nipped the bottom lip of her gaping mouth. “Which, I might add, has been a pleasant vision while we rode.”
5. The anger riding on his words pushed her away. “I…I’m not sure. I haven’t had time to process this. I need…” Her voice fell away. She had no idea what she needed.
“What, Jahara? You need what?” Brenimyn pressed his palm between her breasts, the contact buzzing through her, quickening her pulse. “The truth you seek is right here. Feel it. Feel me.”
6. Mikalyn would never, as long as she lived, forget the ultimate powers of healing she witnessed the day before. The light poured forth from Jahara, radiating from her heart down her arms, to her hands, buried deep in Lukiam’s arm. Jahara’s upper body glowed with a brilliance pouring into Lukiam until the unconscious man became luminescent with the healing power flowing out of Jahara. It had been only minutes they’d been joined in that halo of light, but the vision of it would be seared in Mykilai’s mind forever.
7. “Brenimyn’s the one for me. I wasn’t looking, but there he is. There’s always been something missing.” Jahara pressed a palm to her heart. “With Bren, my heart is whole.”
8. A picture of Jahara standing in front of the government building filled the wall monitor. Brenimyn’s heart nearly stopped at the image of her. She looked lost. He knew he couldn’t have saved her from that moment, but guilt knotted his gut. He hadn’t told her how things would go today. The vision his sister had shared with Brenimyn made him the scapegoat. No one had known how the Government would accomplish it, but he was here only to pave the way for the true warrior. The battle was Jahara’s to win or lose. He was never meant to stand at her side while she fought.
Okay, I’m going to come right out and say it … I’m a beach bunny. Ya know, like a snow bunny, only warmer and in a lot less clothes. 😀 And it’s really hard for me to watch the summer winding down. (And just like every year I’m wondering … where the heck did it go???)
Yep, I grew up on the coast of Maine. I worshiped the sun so much that I never lost my tan lines in the winter. Seriously. I didn’t know until I went off to college and didn’t have quite as much time in the sun, that a white bikini in the shower wasn’t normal. LOL! (Of course back then I was too young and stupid to worry about the ozone layer and skin cancer. *eyeroll* Foolish youth.)
Those hours lounging on a towel shaped my romantic fantasies. There is nothing sexier to me than a man without a shirt, a pair of jeans and bare feet. The bare feet are a must. And if he was sitting around the bonfire at the river, laughing and hanging (and maybe doing a little flirting), well I was in definite lust.
I learned to sail on the ocean and snorkel it’s waters. I got my first kiss at the beach. (Probably shouldn’t mention it was during a game of spin the bottle. Yeah, pretend I didn’t say that.) Held hands for the first time walking along the sandy shore in the blue wash of a full moon. And yep, after I met Mr. Nina … a little nookie a time or two in the privacy of the dunes.
I’ve enjoyed sunsets and starry nights. The soft brush of an ocean breeze and the crisp bite of the ocean waves. The ocean is the most romantic place I’ve experienced. It’s no wonder the smell of salty air makes my heart go all squishy.
I’ve set a couple of my books at the ocean, the scents and sights always an integral part of my stories. My sexy romantic suspense novel, Deceive Her With Desire (book #2 of the “Dangerous Affairs Series“) takes place on 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 right toward it. What a fool. It was a beautiful fall night. No doubt lovers were using the upended craft for a little private party of their own.
Turning on his heel, he started to walk away, when 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 hiccupping, it was female.
Ayden shot a longing look over his shoulder, debating between the refuge of the path and the complications under the boat.
Chivalry won out and 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 and fell back down. “Crap!” Her hand flew to her head.
“I’m sorry, you okay?” Ayden reached for her, but she shook him off.
She looked up at him. Even in the pale light, he could see the sadness in her eyes.
“Actually, I’m not all right.” She pushed herself up, ducking her head away from the oarlock. She brushed the sand off her ass. “You scared the living shit out of me.”
Biting back a smile, Ayden watched her glistening tears turn to fury. That he could handle. An angry woman was one hundred times easier to placate than a despondent one.
“Again, I apologize.” He held his hand out as a peace offering. “I’m Austin Schaeffer.” How easily that name slipped off his tongue.
“Deirdre Tilling,” She shook the hand he offered.
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.
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.
So what about you? Do you have fond memories of the ocean? or perhaps another spot makes your romantic knees go weak? Tell me about it.
I’d like to welcome award-winning and bestselling author TINA DONAHUE.
Tina’s erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance novels have been published by Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Siren Publishing, and Kensington. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. I’m pleased to welcome her here to The Block to give an enthusiastic shout out for her sexy new boxed set BROUGHT TO HIS KNEES which is available for $0.99 for a limited time.
The Alpha male. Strong. In control. Letting no one and nothing rule him…until he meets the one, and all bets are off. The world tilts, the bed rocks, and suddenly that tough guy finds himself Brought to His Knees—in more ways than one.
This collection of ten hot to erotic novellas and one short erotic novel will take you on journeys of lust, love, and adventure, leave you breathless and quite possibly in need of a cold shower.
Enter with anticipation. Finish satisfied…
Dark Wolf Enterprises, A.M. Griffin ~ Murder, mayhem and imprinting with a hot wolf shifter… And they say being an accountant is boring.
Building Bridges, Amy Ruttan ~ A vet tech and a lone wolf rancher ride out a sudden storm, but can they weather the emotions they stir up in each other…
Three Strikes, Anya Richards ~ Two lonely men. One secret affair. Irresistible passion that will push them both to the breaking point, and beyond.
A Cowboy’s Seduction, Cynthia D’Alba ~ One exhausted cowboy + One uptight accountant x A tropical resort = A hot seduction. But who is seducing whom?
Born to Sin, Danica Avet ~ A tomboy in love makes a desperate attempt to seduce her best friend and succeeds beyond her wildest dreams. But this Alpha male isn’t easily tamed and has secrets that could very well tear them apart.
The Sound of Your Name, Felice Fox ~ Their silent erotic encounters change his luck and awaken his soul, but secrets and cowboy superstitions can only keep them apart.
Beneath the Pages, Jennifer Kacey ~ One wicked night with her did nothing but whet his appetite. Now he’ll settle for nothing less than her complete submission.
Cruising for Love, Lynne Silver ~ A vacation cruise comes with surprises—like the BDSM theme and her high school love, the one man she can’t resist.
Whipped, Sabrina York ~ A scalding attraction. An irresistible passion. A pity she’s the one woman he can never have…
Chief Sin, Sayde Grace ~ A taste of Sin isn’t enough. Instead she wants all of him, including the heart she once broke.
Make Me Surrender, Tina Donahue ~ When it comes to two of the hottest guys in town, she has a proposition…to win their attention, passion, hearts.
Please enjoy this excerpt from Tina’s sexy ménage novella, MAKE ME SURRENDER:
Travis slammed the pickup’s door and went around to the bed.
Mercy reached it just as he did. “Can you hand me the cooler?” She pointed to it.
She’d painted her nails the same shade as her lips. He recalled her finger in his mouth, how good the frosting and her skin had tasted. A sudden shock of heat spread from Travis’s belly to his crotch.
“There’s a fridge inside, right?” she asked.
It took him a moment to catch up. He nodded. “Your own private bath too.” Just in case she’d planned to use the one in Dutch’s cabin or his, driving both of them over the edge.
“Thanks.” She took the cooler from him and pulled out a single-wrapped Popsicle. Cherry-flavored. “Want one?”
Travis’s answer died in his throat at her tongue snaking around the tip of the pop. She worked the treat between her lips, in and out, as she would a man’s stiffened rod. Unable to speak, he shook his head.
Mercy licked the corners of her mouth, her tongue stained scarlet. “If you do later, go ahead and take as many as you want. Sure is hot today.”
His damn underwear was practically smoking.
After giving him another smile, she followed her girlfriend to the cabin. Like a lovesick puppy, Travis followed, staring at Mercy’s plush ass, the backs of her thighs. All that pale, smooth skin had him breathing hard.
She stopped. He couldn’t, at least not quickly enough, and bumped into her, his cock snuggled against her butt. Mercy looked over, submission in her eyes, a drop of Popsicle juice on her lower lip.
It glittered in the afternoon light, inviting him to taste its sweetness, the cushiony comfort of her mouth.
With a shitting lot of willpower, Travis stepped back, letting Mercy lick her lip before he did.
On a sigh, she turned from him and considered the cabin’s interior again. Bright and clean, smelling of disinfectant and Febreze. He and Dutch had worked on the damn place for hours.
“Wow. This is really nice.” Mercy touched the wooden bedframe, small kitchen set, and freshly washed curtains as though they were made of gold.
Travis wondered what she would think of his old place in one of San Francisco’s most exclusive high rises, or his parents’ many mansions. He’d willingly walked away from so much when she hadn’t had the choice. Rotten luck had caused her to be alone, to work at Fast Fill and here in order to take care of herself.
Mercy didn’t seem to mind or care about money at all. In that they were so alike, making Travis admire and like her even more.
She offered a grateful smile. “You did an awesome job.”
“Way better than Carl would have,” the girl with her gushed, then added, “I’m Jill by the way. Carl’s my guy. That’s his pickup you drove,” she said to Travis. “Thanks for not hitting anything with it.”
Mercy gave him and her friend a disapproving look. “Travis wasn’t driving that fast. He’s just in a hurry to get me moved in. Do you have plans later?” She spoke to him and Dutch. “Either of you? Am I interfering?”
Travis had thought about calling one of the women he knew, maybe grab a pizza, catch a movie, screw until they were both raw then call it a night. “Nope. Dutch probably does.”
“I don’t,” he said immediately, and smiled at Mercy. “We’re all yours.”
She nodded slowly and licked the length of her Popsicle.
Travis’s throat constricted. He cleared it and said, “After we bring in your things, we’ll set up the ground rules for this arrangement.” He gestured to Dutch. “Let’s go.”
When they reached the pickup’s bed, Dutch spoke quietly. “Ground rules? You mean her hours of work. What she’s supposed to do.”
“Yeah, along with you keeping your jeans zipped and wearing a damn shirt when she’s around.”
“Like you’re doing? Oh wait, you’re not.”
“I didn’t wrap my arm around her.”
“It was a friendly gesture. Hell, I do the same with my grandmother. It’s not a felony.”
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One of the reasons I love reading and writing romance is falling in love with hero even as he chases down a criminal, fights his internal demons and of course … falls in love with the heroine.
But my sexy romantic suspense sci-fi A Touch of Lilly has TWO heroes to love! Dallas, a human FBI agent and his sexy humanoid partner, Thaegan aren’t expecting the human bounty hunter they interrogate will become their willing partner …
Dallas swigged the last of his Regent’s ale. Anyone who’d been watching would believe the human’s alcohol consumption would have him waxing the floor with his face. The fact he staggered away from the bar barely caused a ripple of interest. But when he bumped into the Braugtot alien disguised as a human female on the dance floor and made a rather lewd body motion—several aliens took notice.
“Baby! How about you dump this loser Ka’al and come home with me?” The words slurred from Dallas’ mouth as he wrapped himself around the Braugtot’s body. From the smell he even wondered if it was really female. But whatever the sex, the jealous Ka’al reacted just the way he’d hoped.
“Rrracht narctch, rraollk.” She’s with me, asshole. Beefy hands grabbed his shirt and flung him through the air. Dallas landed unceremoniously on the nearest table, breaking up a quiet conversation between two Xericks.
Sometimes he hated this part of the job. Dallas came up swinging. A left hook to one head and a right uppercut to the second and the male Xerick went down, taking out several unsuspecting Drikspa dancers. Dallas ducked as a chair flew.
Alcohol, male hormones and boredom created the diversion they’d hoped for. The fight spread like a virus through the tavern. Dallas avoided a tussle between two Ka’als, took down another Ickbata and made his way toward his partner, hoping Thaegan had managed to stop Lilly before she got through the door with their man. A very unladylike scream from the front of the bar confirmed that the alien had things under control in that area.
Dallas pushed his way to the door, watching Grebetz slip out onto the street, a Xerick close at his heels. “Gamma Team. Phase two. Znedu loose. Track him and report.” It was all he got out before meeting up with Thaegan and Lilly.
“Roger that,” echoed in his ear.
“I’ll let you up if you stop fighting me.” Thaegan had the woman face down on the floor, her arms behind her back. The Ka’al was more than twice her size, still Lilly kicked and bucked, trying to work herself free. As the fight around them escalated, Lilly’s body stilled, but not her mouth. Dallas didn’t know many dialects, but it was clear Lilly knew the word asshole in all thirty-two common languages of the Nebulae Galaxy and several more he’d never even heard of. He had no doubt the words she strung with it would have gotten him several weeks detention from the nuns at St. Christopher’s Academy back home.
He bent low and met her eyes. “Lilly, we have no intention of hurting you.”
The fear in her eyes softened to confusion and immediately hardened to anger.
Well, didn’t this just suck? Lilly had no idea how’d she’d gone from mentally counting her reward to a face plant on the sticky floor of the tavern. No amount of maneuvering had budged the three-hundred-pound Ka’al holding her down. And now the man who would star in her nightly fantasies for the next month stared at her with an amused expression.
Though Lilly knew fighting wasn’t going to get her anywhere, she screamed her frustration and kicked out, trying to dislodge the monster holding her down. She only managed to slam her foot into a table leg, which just pissed her off all the more. Dallas didn’t do a very good job of hiding his amusement.
“If you know the asshole doing chiropractic on my spine, could you kindly ask him to let me up?” she asked, her tone dripping with sweetness.
Dallas nodded and the Ka’al stood, hauling Lilly to her feet in one effortless move. The alien’s mahogany skin glistened with the coppery sheen of a man under stress. His muscular chest, barely covered by the deeply V’d tank top, heaved. Holding her down had taken no effort, but the energy she’d tried to use on the Znedu was still high and the Ka’al was paying the price of touching her.
Lilly’s body pulsed and throbbed. Her nipples were oversensitive and her sex tingled. There was no way in hell these two guys weren’t also feeling the effects of the current snapping in the air. If the residual energy she’d pulsed through the Znedu hadn’t done it, then her anger at being stopped at the door would be enough to have these males dropping to their knees. If only the Ka’al would let go of one of her hands, she might be able to do a little more work up close and personal.
Lilly leaned toward Dallas and yelled over the confusion, “I didn’t need saving this time either, but thank you again.”
I’d like to welcome Tina Donahue to the Block. Tina’s got a new sexy novel releasing this week and I’m so pleased she’s taking some time to stop here and chat about it. Take it away Tina …
I’d never been a sci-fi fan. At least, when it came to stuff like Star Wars or Star Trek.
Films such as Blade Runner, Gattaca, and Avatar changed that.
Although my Outlawed Realm series is billed as erotic paranormal, it still has elements of sci-fi in it. For example, the world building I do. I got the yen for that after seeing Avatar. Wow, what a freaking cool film.
In plotting Outlawed Realm, I had the idea that Earth would have five dimensions, rather than only one. With the realms travelling at different speeds, the inhabitants of each plane are unaware of each other.
Unless, of course, a portal opens.
The series begins with UNENDING DESIRE. My hero, Nikoli, is from E2 (the second dimension on Earth). It’s his job to monitor portals, which open spontaneously, and to make certain no one crosses over to his side. While doing this, he sees Regina who lives in Seattle (E1). His world shifts, and he’s never the same. You see, in E2 everything is controlled, emotion isn’t allowed, the men are identical in appearance. All the women look like each other. Regina’s literally a breath of fresh air for him, and she’s in danger. He crosses over to save her, which throws both of them into peril.
In book two, ILLICIT DESIRE, I introduced E4, a twilight land filled with jungles. Here, the rulers of E2 have built the Pleasure Palace where they keep sexual slaves for their enjoyment. These slaves are human, but they weren’t born. They were grown in artificial wombs, never knowing freedom. They don’t even have names. Two of the slaves have fallen in love and risk their lives to escape their prison.
SHAMELESS DESIRE, book three, concerns Kuma, a shifter who lived in E4’s jungle, but crossed over to Seattle when a portal opened. Like Nikoli in Unending Desire, he needs to protect Gwen, the heroine, from danger.
Stolen Desire, book four (March 11; available for preorder), takes place on E5, a dimension of ice and fire. Paige, my heroine, awakes to find herself in a world she can’t comprehend, faced with a man she doesn’t know but has to trust. Her life and freedom, their future depend upon it.
Avatar kept popping up in my mind while I was writing Stolen Desire. I wanted the same sense of wonder in it as I discovered in the movie. To create a world so unique, thrilling, dangerous, and in many ways beautiful, that a reader couldn’t help but be enthralled. There’s also a moving love story, and yes—lots of hot sex. 🙂
Her freedom depends on one man. A criminal to his realm…
Outlawed Realm, Book 4
One minute, Paige Ross is outside a Seattle bar, grieving a failed engagement. The next, she jerks awake in a weird, candlelit room with velvet walls, black silk sheets, and a man who motions for silence.
Paige has little choice but to trust the powerful stranger who promises a way out of what looks like Satan’s brothel. And pray his promise to keep her safe is as real as the heat burning in his eyes.
Banished from E2’s ruling elite for supposed crimes against the realm, Zekin risks everything to rescue those brought to E5 for the guards’ carnal pleasure. Paige will be leaving this inhospitable realm of fire and ice—if he can somehow forget the way her trembling body melts in his arms.
Safe—temporarily—in an underwater world populated by strange creatures, Paige’s sexual awakening explodes into an unquenchable need that consumes them both. But the guards will be looking for her. And Zekin’s plan to send her home is a dangerous journey she cannot—will not—take without him.
Warning: Scorching-hot sex and loads of aching tenderness between a drool-worthy hunk who’s determined to do the right thing and a woman who’s not about to give him up.
Thick gray clouds rolled above them, heavy with more snow. A sliver of bluish-white light poured through a gap in the cloud cover, as though the moon were trying to bleed through. Its rays swept across the land, which shimmered in the frail glow, sparkling like thousands of diamonds. The effect lasted only a moment, and then the light receded, with shadows once again taking over the hostile terrain.
As though that worried him, Zekin increased his already fast pace, pausing only once to shove her clothing into a snowdrift, burying it.
Paige wasn’t able to ask. She struggled to keep up, gulping air. It should have been icy, hurting her throat, but wasn’t. The transparent mask no doubt heated it. How was that possible? Desperate for answers, she cried out, “Where are we going?”
Zekin looked over. “A colony where you’ll be safe.”
Paige dug her fingers into his hand. “Where are we? What is this place?”
What in the hell was that? A government installation where scientists conducted classified studies and had pleasure slaves on the side? That made absolutely no—
Wait a sec. Suddenly, Paige recalled Zekin mentioning E1 when he’d first come into her room.
“I’ll do all I can to bring you back to E1,” he’d promised her then.
Instinctively, she held back. Just as quickly, Zekin yanked her forward.
“Don’t fight me,” he warned, “or you’ll end up like the others you saw outside the guards’ outpost.”
Paige shivered so badly, her voice shook. “Did those bastards throw the bodies out there after they murdered those people?”
“Only some. The others they pushed out there to die.”
“They weren’t useful any longer.” Again, he glanced over. “When one of the guards found you and brought you here, they got rid of the other woman. That’s what they do when they tire of females from your realm, or the pleasure slaves they haven’t already killed.”
Paige was about to pepper him with more questions. Instead, her mind snagged on one word—realm.
“You mean country?” Maybe she’d been wrong about his nationality. It wasn’t Greek or Middle-Eastern but Russian. Could be this was Siberia. In a weird sort of way, that made sense. “Is that what you meant—my country? The USA? America?”
He regarded the landscape past her. “We have to hurry before the other guards return and see us.”
Paige couldn’t imagine how that was possible. The material covering them was the same tint as their surroundings, making them virtually invisible…unless the guards had some kind of special eyewear, like night-vision goggles, that allowed them to see what the naked eye couldn’t. “How far is the colony?”
“Past that body of water.” He gestured toward what appeared to be an enormous frozen lake ringed by drifts.
As Paige scanned the area beyond it, searching for some sort of building, a flock of birds flew over the lake. At least she thought they were birds. Their thick feathers were an ashy white, their wingspans enormous, like nothing she’d ever seen.
*** This Giveaway is closed ***
Tina is giving away one of her award-winning, best-selling books
from the list below to one person who comments on this post until
midnight MARCH 10 EST. (Please be sure to include your email with your comment)
1. Adored – RWA award-winning; EPIC 2011 Finalist; 4 Stars RT
2. Deep, Dark, Delicious – EPIC 2011 Finalist; Holt Medallion Award of Merit
3. Lush Velvet Nights – EPIC 2011 Finalist; Golden Nib Award
4. In His Arms – SIX 5 Star Reviews; 4 Stars RT
5. Sensual Stranger – 2010 Book of the Year (erotic); 4 Stars RT
6. The Yearning – Top Ten Bestseller
7. Take Me Away – #1 Pick, Miz Love Loves Books
8. Unending Desire – Best Book Rating LASR
9. SiNN – Nominated for Book of the Week LASR
10. Sinfully Wicked – Magnificent – Romancing the Book
11. Claiming Magique – Top Pick – NOR
12. Illicit Desire – Four Stars Romantic Times
13. Come Fill Me – Five Stars – Guilty Pleasures
Tina Donahue is an award-winning, bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, and Kensington. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic romances (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were named finalists in the 2011 EPIC competition. The French review site, Blue Moon reviews, chose her erotic romance Sensual Stranger as their Book of the Year 2010 (erotic category). The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for Lush Velvet Nights, and two of her titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition (2011 and 2012). Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). Tina is featured in the 2012 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. She was the editor of an award–winning Midwestern newspaper and worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.
I’d like to welcome guest blogger, Molly Daniels, author of the ARBOR UNIVERSITY series. Molly Daniels resides in the Midwest with her husband, three children, and various household pets. Her fifth-grade teacher showed this avid reader how to write the stories swirling in her head, successfully unleashing her imagination upon the written word.
Kenzie is the ‘wild child’ of author Molly Daniels. They cohabitate nicely inside the brain of a woman in Indiana who’s the mother of three and ‘Aunt Molly’ to the entire neighborhood. A devout chocoholic, her hubby has learned to watch out when the characters in her head take over and not get too upset when the words are flowing and all concept of time is lost. (LOL)
Thanks for having me today, Nina! All this week, I’ve been the featured Author-of-the-Week over at the Secret Cravings blog, and I’ve decided to extend the deadline for you to have a chance to win a free download of their choice of my back list.
I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to two special ladies, Caitlyn McCarty and Susan Best. Both are Education Majors at Arbor University, and both have wonderful singing voices-
C: How do you know?
S: Oh please, the entire dorm has heard you singing Penny Lover by Lionel Richie. And when you come over to study, we’ve always had a tape or the radio on.
C: True. When I’m at home, my choir director at church used to have me sing solos during the service. My favorite is Amy Grant’s Arms of Love.
S: Lucky. My choir director told me I have a nice voice, but since I’m not one of his ‘pets’, I’ve never been given the chance for a solo.
C: His loss. You sing like an angel.
S: Thank you!
Caty, would you be willing to let our viewers know a little background on you, Bryan Johnson, and Peter Criswell?
C: Bryan and I began dating right after our sophomore year of high school, and all went well until our junior year of college. We only saw each other on weekends, since we were three hours apart. Bryan had a brush with the law and was falsely accused of vandalism, and after he was cleared, I couldn’t make it up to see him one weekend and a girl accused him of getting her pregnant. I’d met Peter several months before, but after Stephanie crashed her car, we discovered he owned the first car lot we went to. He messed with my head-
S: No, he didn’t. He simply opened your eyes to the fact you have tunnel vision when it comes to Bryan.
C: (bristling) Whose side are you on, anyway? Do you know how scary it is, to believe you have your future mapped out, only to have it ripped away your final year in college?
S: You’re right, I don’t. But I do know how scary it when you think you’ve lost your best friend. Rob and I dated in high school too, but he cheated on me when I wouldn’t sleep with him.
So that’s another thing the two of you have in common.
S: Yes. Rob went to another school, and while we had a wonderful summer together, he broke up with me over Labor Day weekend to be with Michelle. I’d met Travis the weekend before, and since all my friends were paired up, I felt jealous and decided to encourage him. But when I started singing with his friend’s band, I felt pressure to lose a few pounds, so I began a crash diet-
C: Sweetie, that was no diet.
S: All I tried to do was keep the calories low. You know how hard it is when there are three other girls who can eat what they want, when they want, and stay the same size? If I even look at the candy machine my jeans feel too tight.
C: I admit, we didn’t make it easy for you. But all you had to do was talk to us.
S: Let’s not have that argument again, please? I don’t think Molly wants us to fight.
Okay, let me get this straight. Cait has tunnel vision when it comes to Bryan and Susan doesn’t feel anyone understands her issue with food.
S: I think that’s right.
So are you still seeing Travis?
S: No; I felt betrayed by everyone. Over the summer, I reconnected with Rob’s brother Jamie, who helped me see I’d made some wrong assumptions, going clear back to junior high-
C: You know what they say about assuming things….they make an ass out of u and me-
S: I know, I know. You’re one to talk. You did the same thing about Peter.
C: (blushing) Yeah, well, we all make mistakes.
Okay ladies, thank you for being here today!
“Because, I don’t want to lose our friendship.” Caty sat back down. “I’ve come to value it. I know this sounds selfish, but I enjoy spending time with you, and-”
“Hold it.” Peter held up a hand, shaking his head. “Don’t use me as a substitute, Caitlyn. I’m not the kind of guy who will listen to you gripe and complain about not being able to spend any time with him and who listens to you sing his praises when you do. That won’t work with me.”
“No buts. I put up with some of your bullshit last fall, but that was because you were confused and not sure what you were going to do. Then you made a decision, but since Mommy and Daddy didn’t like it, didn’t support your decision, you went running back to good ole Bryan, whom everyone approved of, and you stopped rocking the boat. What’s going to happen, Caitlyn, if you butt heads with a coworker, principal, some other administrator, even a parent, who doesn’t like what you are teaching in your classroom? Are you going to stick to your guns, or will you change your lesson plan? Are you going to be the teacher who changes policy because one of your kids has a need that’s not being met, or will you be one of those teachers who hide behind the school’s policy? What do you see yourself doing?” Peter swallowed the rest of his coffee after that speech and got up to pour another cup.
His words hit her hard. “I-I guess I never thought about that. I hope I get a school system that stands behind me in starting up the drug awareness program, but if they don’t, I guess part of me would wait until the next year to try again.”
“What about talking with other people in the community?” He sat down again. “Couldn’t you build support then approach the school board again?”
“I guess so.”
“Come on, Caitlyn. Where’s your fire? Where’s the go get ‘em attitude you had in October?” Peter bit into a slice of bacon. “Or did your parents manage to destroy all your faith in yourself?”
Shaken, Caty stood and collected her coat. “They didn’t destroy anything. I see this was a mistake.”
Peter moved to stand beside her. “You’re doing it again. Nobody’s giving you the answers you want, so you walk away. Look at me.” He cupped her face in his hands. “I see a beautiful, strong, caring young woman who has a problem breaking away from her parents.” He bent down and placed his forehead against hers. “Or maybe the parents aren’t ready to let her go. Anyway, I believe in you, Caitlyn. I believe you have the strength, the power, the will to do whatever you want with your life.”
BUY from Amazon
“Hi, guys.” Happy to see them, she stood up and hugged her friends. “No, we’re just talking about making a slight change in the last set.” She introduced the band members.
“We just got here. Let’s go find a table and get a round of drinks. Break a leg, kids.” Gretchen ushered the rest toward the bar.
Susan excused herself to use the rest room and overheard a disturbing conversation between two other girls.
“…can’t believe she’d have the guts. I mean, did you see the size of her thighs? And that shirt. Good lord. You’d think people who pork out like that would have the decency not to tuck their shirts in like that.” A toilet flushed.
“I know, and can you believe her voice? I sing better than that in the shower.” Water running and the hand dryer drowned out the voices.
Are they talking about me? I’m not leaving until I know they’re both gone. She peeked through the crack between the stall door and the wall and saw the two girls touching up their makeup.
“She needs to get with the times. The Madonna look is so three years ago.”
“At least she’s not wearing a miniskirt.” Their voices disappeared as the door slammed closed.
Stunned, Susan left her stall. She looked at her reflection in the wavy mirror and studied herself. They’re right, I am a fat slob. My stomach has this bulge at the zipper, instead of being nice and flat. She stuck out her tongue and washed her hands. And my thighs do look awful in these jeans. Why oh why did I even wear them?
Because you were in a hurry. You were so happy after messing around with Travis, you forgot to be careful with what you wore tonight. Now people are talking about you!
How can I get up on that stage and wow them for another ninety minutes? They don’t want to see me or hear me. I heard that woman! I sing like I’m tone-deaf or something! Susan brushed aside the few tears. I’ve got to get back out there and fake it. Nobody’s forcing me to continue after tonight. I’ll finish this last set, even though my friends are out there, hearing us for the first time.
BUY from Amazon
Again, thank you sooooo much for having me today Nina! And visitors, don’t forget to leave your contact information in your comment! I’ll be choosing a winner and announcing it tomorrow.