IT’S HERE! IT’S HERE! When the concept of this firefighter box set stole into my brain back in May, this day seemed a loooong way off. But it’s finally the release day for UNCONTROLLED BURN, my firefighter novel found exclusively in the INTO THE FLAMES anthology.
1. The smile was reptilian, as if Satan himself had taken possession of this wayward soul.
I’m so excited to announce my newest release, UNCONTROLLED BURN, which is COMING SOON exclusively as part of a fireman anthology boxed set. I’m teaming with amazing authors, NJ Walters, Desiree Holt, Cindy Spencer Pape, Liz Crowe, Adele Downs and Sam Cheever to bring you seven smoldering fireman stories.
I can’t tell you too many details, but I can share with your the smoking hot cover art for my novel. As always, it’s been created by the amazing DAR ALBERT.
A woman forced to live a life she didn’t choose. A vampire bound by honor to protect humans. A deadly game of revenge that threatens both their lives …
Thirty years ago, a horrendous attack thrust Chemistry professor, ALEXANDRA FLANAGAN into the secret world of vampires. Saved by the blood of an ancient vampire, she unhappily walks among immortals. Now, deadly fires in her quaint town have brought her to the attention of REESE COLTON and his elite RISEN team. Undercover as a firefighter, Reese has been called in to flush out and eliminate the rogue vampire burying a string of murders in the ashes of deadly fires.
With the body count climbing and the number of fires escalating, the evidence pointing to Alex is piling high. Discovering the identity of the vicious vampire hell-bent on revenge may be the easy part of Reese’s job. But bringing a murderer to justice could mean the difference between honoring his duty—and losing his heart.
I’m so glad you could make it. At the time of this post the northeast United States is being hit with the trifecta of winter elements: a blizzard with 12-18 inches of snow and record high tides that may cause flooding (thanks to the new moon) are expected where I live, and record low temperatures. It seems like the perfect time to share one of the chilling scenes from my newest release IN HIS EYES, a romantic thriller that just may give you a few more chills! The scene below will give you an idea of how creepy the villain really is!
It’s always wonderful to be noticed … or is it?
To those around her, Maggie Callaghan appears to have the perfect life…a handsome husband, three beautiful children, and her own business. But beneath her thin veneer lies a dark past and self-doubts. When evidence of her husband’s infidelity surfaces, Maggie leases a cottage on the Maine coast and prepares for her inevitable divorce. But a serial killer is on the hunt—and he’s marked Maggie as his next victim. Now her beachside retreat is the focus of an undercover FBI investigation targeting the murderer who’s left a trail of bodies across two states. As lies and secrets are revealed, Maggie realizes her life depends on knowing who’s protecting her—and who’s got her in his sights.
Like most nights, he sat in the alabaster sand, sifting grains slowly from hand to hand as if measuring time. Watching.
People rarely saw him, unless he chose for it to be so. And the woman meandering along the water’s edge was no exception. She had no idea he was admiring her. Appraising her. Measuring her.
With the tide so low, he’d been able to study the exotic creature whose hair rode the wind like black silk. She dragged her feet in the shallow surf, her eyes cast down as if the ebb and flow of the ocean could soothe away her troubles. The dip of her chin and the graceful arch of her neck spoke of a heavy burden.
She walked without a companion. Alone was good.
Lord, she was beautiful.
The sadness that curved her body in on itself made her that much more irresistible. He imagined he could hear the sweet strains of her loneliness carried on the evening breeze.
He didn’t know he was searching. Didn’t realize the moment had come again.
It had been a long time since he’d found someone who obviously hungered for the kind of solace only he could offer. He replayed the scene over and over again, long after she’d left the beach, long after the day had surrendered to the night. How serendipitous for her to be here on his beach.
He sat, quietly measuring time in handfuls of sand, thinking about the grace of her walk, the gentle swell of her hips and breasts, the lovely mane of hair—and he knew.
You are the one. I’ve been waiting for you.
In the solitude of the new moon, he sat for a long time committing to memory every detail of their encounter and formulating a plan to make the woman his own. Satisfied, he strolled back to his cottage—his heart and soul as dark as the murky shadows swallowing him.
**** CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED *****
Okay, so with all the cold and snow and wind I’m thinking I’d like to get away this weekend with a good book to one of my favorite warm-weather destinations … The Virgin Islands. I was lucky enough to spend 10 days in the sand and surf doing research while I was in college. It was amazing and beautiful.
If money were no issue, where would go … and it’s okay if you enjoy winter (brrrrr) and you’d like to go somewhere cold … and what book would you take with you? Curious minds want to know.
Anyone commenting on this post between now and SUNDAY, JANUARY 5 at 4:00pm EDT will be entered to win a prize pack including a $10 Amazon gift card, some IN HIS EYES goodies, a bookbag and a print book from my backlist. (Shipping to US or Canada only. An international winner will win a $25 Amazon gift card in lieu of prize pack.)
Thanks for visiting. Enjoy the rest of the hop!
For those of you joining us on our Midsummer Night’s blog hop … Welcome! I hope you’re enjoying yourself as you bump around the internet checking out hot guys and hotter excerpts. *wink* For those of you who have just stumbled here, perhaps you’d like to join in the fun and start HERE (beginning July 19) to find new authors (and all kinds of cool prizes)!
You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about men lately. The heroes of my stories, that is! (Get your naughty minds back here on the blog, ladies. *vbg*) I mean, it’s hard enough finding a name that fits. No one wants a romance hero named Chester or Gerald or Ralph. And names like Raphael and Dominic have a certain ethnic ring to them. The name has to fit who the man is and what he does for a job.
And there’s the rub. It’s tough to find the profession that both fits my hero and my story and is still, well … hero-worthy. In DIVINE DECEPTION, Nicholas Gradin is a chemical engineer. It just seemed to be a natural offshoot of growing up on a vineyard and learning to mix wines. Of course the engineer in and of itself isn’t sexy, so I’ve got him riding a Harley. Yep, that’s a hero I can get behind! *snort*
In SHADOWS OF FIRE Reese Colton is not only a firefighter (How hot is that?), but a vampire as well. *sigh* I love him.
Then there are the professions that just scream I’m an alpha male!. You know those totally take charge men who square off with a feisty heroine and rock her world. Like Aiden the DEA agent in DECEIVE HER WITH DESIRE or my police chief, Cole Takoda in BONDED SOULS. Nothing says don’t worry ladies, I have your back (and your front and …) well, like a man who’s protecting others.
So what about you? How do you feel about a romance hero’s profession? Can they make or break a romance story for you? Any certain professions that just make your knees go weak or have you throwing a book against the wall? Inquiring minds want to know.
**** CONTEST NOW CLOSED ****
One random person commenting on this post between now and 4 PM EDT on SUNDAY, JULY 21 will be chosen to receive a $15 gift card from Amazon and a print copy of DANGEROUS AFFAIRS. (Shipping to US residents only. An international winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card only.)
The hero or should I say heroeS in my newest release A TOUCH OF LILLY, are FBI agents looking to take down a nasty assassin who’s been killing off world leaders.
Ex-Chicago detective LILLY D’ANGELO has a secret she doesn’t share with anyone. A master of the one night stand, she’s given up ever finding a soul mate and thrown herself head first into her career. That is, until she captures the wrong alien. Kidnapped and sold into the sex slave trade, she’s shipped into deep space. Barely escaping with her life, Lilly now travels the galaxy working as a bounty hunter using her secret talents to bring down criminals and seeking revenge on the one male who ruined her life.
Agent DALLAS SAWYER works for deep space’s version of the FBI. After a disastrous mission that left several of his team members murdered, a president executed, and Dallas near death, he’s determined to take down the assassin targeting government officials. When a sexy human female gets between him and his goal, Dallas and his alien partner find themselves on the receiving end of a passionate night they won’t soon forget and a proposition that may very well blow up in their faces.
Because in deep space … true love can happen with just a touch.
“I know who Grebetz’s boss is,” Lilly said. Okay, so that might not be the truth. Lilly suspected she’d seen Venair Grebetz’s boss. The hologram of the Braugtot had certainly flustered the otherwise confident Znedu. But if this was a bargaining chip to keep her from QAL headquarters, then she’d go all in.
Dallas walked up to her. “What do you mean you know his boss? Have you been hunting him?”
“She’s lying,” Thaegan said. “The witch is trying to buy some time.”
“Shut up, Thaegan.” Dallas kept his dark eyes focused solely on her. Her stomach did a slow roll that had nothing to do with fear.
“Lilly, tell me exactly what you meant,” Dallas said.
“I haven’t exactly been hunting him.”
“How about if you elaborate.” Dallas dragged the words out slowly.
He reached for the dagger in her hand and she gladly handed it over to him. What Lilly needed was for Dallas to trust her. She no longer wanted to get away from this man, quite the contrary as a matter of fact. It had been so long since a human male had touched her with the passion Dallas had, and Lilly wanted more of that even if Dallas didn’t believe she had control over his desires.
“I’ll tell you only if I still get the bounty for Grebetz,” she said bravely. Even male companionship wouldn’t keep her fed.
“I don’t think you’re in a position to make any kind of deal, Seraphelium,” Thaegan said.
Dallas turned abruptly to his partner. “Damn it, Thaegan, I’m warning you…”
And if you’re not hot enough already, how about a few more professional men to add to your fantasy list (you’re welcome *g*) …
I’d like to welcome JD Favor to my blog. JD is the author of the The Edge of Texas romantic suspense series…
I’m so excited to be here today, Nina. Thank you so much for inviting me. I’m celebrating the release of BAD VIBES, the third novel in my romantic thriller series: THE EDGE OF TEXAS.
The setting for this series is about 25 miles north of the Mexican border on the lower Texas coast. South Padre Island is a beautiful semi-tropical resort separated from the mainland and the small coastal village of Port Isabel by the two-and-a-half mile Queen Isabella Causeway spanning the Intracoastal Waterway.
BAD MEDICINE was the first of THE EDGE OF TEXAS romantic thrillers and it’s FREE today. I hope everyone has a chance to download it.
BAD MEDICINE is followed by BAD KARMA, and BAD VIBES picks right up where BAD KARMA leaves off. BAD VIBES is the story of Deputy Darla Calhoun. She’s both depressed and angry over her husband’s suicide some six months previously, but she has to carry on for the sake of her twin 4-year-old sons. She is a member of the tight-knit law-enforcement team under the leadership of Sheriff Rafael Solis (the hero of BAD MEDICINE).
Darla arrests a vagrant, hanging around the marina, but after he’s cleaned up, she discovers a hunky, hard-body with a smoldering gaze hidden beneath the filthy rags. He turns out to be a federal agent working undercover. He’s after a gang of human traffickers using the Intracoastal Waterway to bring sex slaves into the United States from Mexico. Rafael assigns Darla as liaison officer to work with the feds, bringing her face-to-face with the “Iceman”, Mike Burke, the undercover agent she arrested. Darla, Mike and his partner tear up and down the Intracoastal Waterway in pursuit of the human traffickers, but when two local women disappear, the search becomes personal.
After a failed mission Darla and Mike are left alone on the boat, which leads them to an unplanned night of passion. The following excerpt takes place the next morning.
The sound of weaponry being discharged caused Darla to awaken with a jolt. She was lying naked in Mike’s arms.
It was the starter’s pistol for the regatta that had awakened her. She knew what it was immediately and sank back down into the warm embrace of the man who had made love to her in the wee small hours of the morning.
She gazed into his eyes. It was like staring into a reflection pool, deep and fathomless. She couldn’t read him at all, but he smiled and pulled her closer. She had been starved for tenderness and as unlikely a source as Mike Burke had seemed, he was proving to be a wellspring of affection. He stroked her hair with one of his large, yet surprisingly gentle, hands. She rested her cheek against his chest and closed her eyes.
She judged that she had only been able to grab a couple of hours of sleep, and considering the probability that this day would unfold to be as demanding as the last, she should run to her bunk and burrow her head under the covers. But Mike was stroking her bare skin with his fingertips.
His touch stirred her passion, a passion that had raged out of control earlier and, once awakened, lurked just under the surface, ready to rage again. The raging thing was new for Darla.
He kissed her forehead next to her eyebrow. A sweet gesture in any other setting, but considering that the full extent of her nude form was pressed against his, it was definitely a sexual act. She soaked it up like a sponge, lifting her lips to his.
Resistance is futile.
Mike’s kiss deepened. He seemed to have some kind of radar when it came to reading her. He knew how to make her senses sit up and beg, and he knew how to deliver.
His gaze alone could arouse a deep longing within her. A need for something she didn’t have or perhaps never had…that sense of belongingness that comes when two halves come together to make a whole. It seemed that when Mike was touching her and kissing her; when his body was speaking to hers, she felt that oneness she had read about in romance novels, but never truly experienced. And he seemed to take his job so seriously, the job of pleasuring her.
She wanted to tell him how much he thrilled her, but the words couldn’t seem to come. She felt tongue-tied, unwilling to admit that she had been starving and that he was giving sustenance not only to her body but to her soul. His ardent attentions restored her sense of self as a woman.
He kissed her, and then kissed her some more, as if he couldn’t get enough of her. His lips and tongue caressed every part of her body. She thought if she were to be swabbed for DNA, Mike Burke would be found guilty. But he wasn’t acting guilty. He was performing the act of making love the same way he did everything else; competently, thoroughly and in great detail.
His hands were on her thighs, gently caressing them with his fingertips. Her heart pulsed in her ears. She wanted him to touch her and to kiss her…and yes, she wanted him to make love to her with such single-minded intensity.
He grazed the inside of her thigh lightly with his tongue. She tried to play it cool, knowing where this was leading, but she couldn’t contain her grin. He pressed his tongue into her wetness, found his objective and proceeded to torment his target until she was gasping for relief. When waves of desire roiled low in her belly, he kneaded her with his finger and then when she couldn’t stand it anymore she pulled him toward her and embraced him by wrapping her legs around his hips. Not very subtle.
“Are you ready for me?” he whispered.
She wanted to scream, ‘Oh, hell yes!’ but managed to nod her head, not trusting herself to speak. When he guided himself into her, she felt all the sensual impact of their joining. The image of oneness returned, but she brushed it determinedly away. This can’t last. This is going to break my heart again.
But Mike couldn’t hear the lecture she was giving herself, so he was taking care of business in his own unique way. With each thrust he was bringing her to a higher and higher crest. Her body was filled to capacity by the man she was trying unsuccessfully to resist. He was hitting all the right parts. She lifted her hips to meet his thrusts and then when the first wave of orgasm hit her she latched on and rode it with him through the last swell.
He relaxed against her, but held her close, one hand under her hip. At least he was breathing hard. “Darla… Honey, I…”
Her breathing and heart rate were out of control, but she loved being held. She loved that he didn’t give her a peck and roll over. She loved…Mike…Oh, my God! I love him.
He found her lips again. It was a good kiss. It wasn’t a “Thanks for the sex” kiss or an “I’m done with you now” kiss. It was an “I’m just getting started” kiss.
I hope everyone has a chance to visit South Padre Island and the Lower Rio Grande Valley. In the meantime, you can visit through my series and keep up with the happenings. My goal is to entertain…and keep you up nights. 😉
J.D. Faver lives near Houston, Texas. She writes contemporary romance and mystery/suspense. She writes daily, but finds time to enjoy her family and friends. Her many hobbies include cooking, sailing, gardening, and painting. She’s active in writer’s organizations in the area. She belongs to National RWA and is a member of all three Houston area chapters. She is owned by two cats and a small, yappy rescue dog. Her idea of a great day would take place on a beach somewhere. Find out more about her books by visiting her website or following her on facebook or twitter.
I’m squeeing happy. I got the release date for my next book “Bonded Souls” which will be out APRIL 21! Yay! That’s only a few weeks away. That book is the prequel in the Shifting Bonds series. And to make a wonderful week even better Sensual Reads gave “Bonded by Need”, the next story in this series a 4 STAR REVIEW.
Kimberly had this to say:
Nina Pierce makes a statement with Bonded by Need. The characters are intense and passionate while the story just pulls you in. This is a great paranormal story that will appeal to readers who enjoy shifter stories. Bonded by Need is a four star work with an amazing sense of sensuality and sizzle. I am looking forward to the second book in this Shifting Bonds series.
I’m so pleased I’m snoopy dancing! I thought I’d share an excert from “Bonded by Need” with you:
She looked up the side of the mountain, down into the ravine and back up the rock wall, anywhere to avoid looking at him. “Yes, well, I guess we need to find a way to get out of here. And quickly.” Jayda used the wall to get to her feet, but her head spun again and she swayed. She slumped into Zane’s embrace and he held her while she retched.
“Really, Jayda, I’m pretty sure you have a concussion.” He brushed the hair from her face, his gaze raking over her features. The upturned nose fit perfectly with the rounded cheeks and full lips. Christ, she was beautiful.
Whoa, back up. What the hell was wrong with him? He had just been named head of the cougar shifters. Even considering getting involved with a wolf shifter was just a bad idea all the way around. And here he was, thinking lusty thoughts about the mate of the head honcho. Down, boy, down. He mentally refocused his libido. “There’s no hurry. We need to take this slow. Getting up the ridge may prove a little trickier than coming down.”
Once again she realized how close their bodies were and pushed from him. “Yeah, well, I think there is a reason to hurry.” She shot a glance over her shoulder. “Let’s just get out of here. You can take me back to the clinic and you and your cougars can come back and find the kits.”
The kits. He’d forgotten all about them. Zane went down on one knee and purred low in invitation. They popped out of the small crevice one at a time.
Jayda cooed. “Oh, you found them!”
“No, Jayda, you found them.” He picked one up by the scruff of the neck and smiled. “Not that I’d recommend this method again, but we have them.” Zane looked up the wall. “Now we just have to figure out how to get everyone back up to the truck.”
“Well, how did you get down here?” Jayda looked up, shading her eyes against the noonday sun. “I’m not sure I can climb.”
“I came down in cougar form. But I came in from that direction.” He turned and looked at the slope, trying to work out a solution. “I could carry you on my back.”
She didn’t respond. He turned to see her appraising him and his cock immediately stirred under her probing gaze. Embarrassed, he bent and let the kit join his sibling. “Stupid idea. Why don’t we both shift and we can each carry a kit in our mouths.” He shot her a look over his shoulder. “Do you feel well enough to shift?”
Her face flushed. “Yeah, but…” She looked from his ass to her body. “But then there’re no clothes for me when we get to the top.”
His fingers dug through his hair and he blew out a breath. Driving home with a naked Jayda next to him was definitely more than he could handle. “How about you wear my shirt and I wear my pants?” He stood, giving her a view of his shoulder, his hands covering his over-anxious cock. In all his life, Zane was sure he’d never been naked in front of woman and tried to keep his interest in her a secret. “We just need to get the hell out of here. You shift and I’ll follow.”
“Well, turn around. I’m certainly not getting naked in front of you.”
“Oh sorry.” He turned his back to her. Zane heard the rustle of clothing and imagined that tight little tank top coming off and her bra falling to the ground, leaving her full breasts exposed. He bit back a groan when the zipper of her jeans rasped, but he couldn’t control the surge of blood to his cock. He was slime. The woman had nearly lost her life trying to save the tiny cougars and all he could think about was her curvaceous, naked ass.
“Okay, I’m shifting.”
He waited a heartbeat and turned, expecting to see a wolf. But the form before him rolled and shimmied in an odd mix of human, wolf and cougar parts. The kits cried and backed away from Jayda. Zane wasn’t sure how to help her. Tears welled in eyes that were surrounded by the round nose of a cougar then the full shape of a wolf and finally she gave up, her naked form appearing on her hands in knees in front of him. Her breasts hung seductively and her ass curved ever so provocatively toward the sky. Shit. Zane needed to focus. Obviously Jayda was upset.
“What’s wrong with me? I’ve never had problems.” She looked at him, frustration and fear drawing deep lines on her face. “I can’t feel it. My wolf isn’t here.” She pressed her hand over her heart and Zane’s did a little stutter step of its own. “What’s wrong?”
Zane knelt before her, working to ignore the fact that her body was even more alluring without clothes. Unshed tears were glistening in her eyes. She needed him. He pushed her back on her haunches, creating distance between her luscious lips and his. With gentle fingers he lifted her chin and forced her to look into his eyes. “How do you usually shift?”
“I’ve never shifted without Cole. He helps me…relax.”
She grabbed the flimsy top and covered her breasts. “Zane, this is just stupid. We can find another way up. Maybe you should just try to take me up.”
“No, you can do this.” Zane cupped her face. “How does he help you relax?” he asked firmly. From the flush of her skin, he suspected he already knew the answer. Still, if he moved on Jayda before she was ready, that wouldn’t help her shift either. “How does he help you, Jayda?” This time his tone was more firm even as his thumb traced the line of her jaw.
“He takes my mind off it…but it’s stupid. I can do it myself.”
Zane held her gaze a moment before his eyes roamed her face and settled on her pouty mouth. He brushed his lips to hers. Her breath puffed, the sweet scent feathering his face. Uncertainty sparked in her eyes, but she didn’t pull from him. With a gentle caress, he sucked her bottom lip into his mouth. Jayda sighed and closed her eyes. He changed the angle and pressed his lips to hers. Soft heat exploded at his mouth and radiated down his torso, straight to his cock. He broke the contact but kept his face pressed to hers. “Feel me, Jayda. Feel the animal within. Give yourself over to it.”
He brought his mouth to hers again and sank into the sweet taste of her. Jasmine and honeysuckle filled his nose and he didn’t know if it was her scent or the summer breeze caressing his body. His tongue ran the seam of her lips, inviting her to open for him. A shock of desire jolted him as her silken tongue caressed his. Zane’s hand reached up to caress her breast but came up against the solid wall of muscle and fur as he filled his lungs with the scent of her,. He pulled back, witnessing Jayda’s cougar stretching and changing her bones. He hadn’t expected her cougar to emerge. Pride swelled his chest. He’d brought out this part of her.
He understood she was his destiny.
She never knew a man was her future.
Yay! I LOVE RELEASE DAY! It never gets old … trust me! And this particular book is very close to my heart. I poured into the hero, Brenimyn all the traits I’d fallen in love with since I began reading romance in my early teens. And boy, did I have A LOT to share. I love Bren. I really do. And I think I found the feisty raven-haired beauty in Jahara who could give him a run for his money.
But this book is so much more than a love story. There’s an interesting twist on discrimination and social ignorance. It was really a challenge to explore that aspect of the story. And as a little teaser I’ll leave you with the blurb and a new excerpt (you can check out chapter one on the Jasmine Jade website).
In the female dominated society of the 23rd century, mating with a male, even if it is to save the human race, is a distasteful task and one Healer Jahara Hriznek has successfully avoided-but time and excuses have now run out. Obligated to reside at the procreation facility known as the Garden of Serenity, Jahara finds more than pleasure at the hand of the one man who refuses to leave her bed.
Brenimyn is a gifted breeding instructor at the Garden. Forced to copulate with all females who request his services, he’s tired of the sexist government enslaving men. He yearns to find the one woman who will fulfill his destiny and help him bring about social equality. When Jahara arrives with the new class of breeders, Brenimyn’s body immediately aches for her. But convincing the stubborn healer that sex is more than just an act for procreation proves to be a challenge he refuses to fail.
Jahara doesn’t want to enjoy the sinful rapture only Brenimyn brings to her body. Brenimyn has no intention of dousing the flames of desire licking at them until Jahara is completely his-mind, body and heart. But when the government finds their burgeoning relationship a threat to the natural order, there may be more than their stubborn wills at stake.
The sound from the crowd rolled up from the grass. The noise engulfed him like a thunderous storm. He had never delivered the words with such enthusiasm and confidence. Putting his arm around Jahara, he was showered with the strength flowing from her. He kissed her passionately, barely able to control the impulse to run his hands down her body and feel her respond to his touch. She melted into him and he held her until the noise diminished, satisfied in the minimal contact.
Knowing the next step would be the hardest, he hugged Jahara close to him. Her body tensed. She understood what was coming. “Most honorable friends.” He raised the book, waiting for the din to subside. “The time has come. We have waited and now it will begin.” Pausing a heartbeat, Brenimyn let the suspense hang in the air. “Men, no longer will we submit to the domination of the female gender.” The breeders whooped and raised their fists. “No more will we be treated as animals good only for increasing the female population.” Some men jumped to their feet. “We will no longer accept that we are not worthy of gifts and education.” Even with the amplifier, Brenimyn had to shout to be heard over the celebrating crowd.
“Women, you will no longer be forced to procreate for the sake of continuing humankind. Mating will be a choice, one’s body freely given to another for the sake of love, not obligation for reproduction.” Everyone was on their feet. “The time has come to stop ripping your children from your womb and your hearts.” He watched the pregnant women cradle their swollen stomachs. “We have waited long enough, the time is now.”
He let the crowd have their moment before lifting the book to silence them. The crowd settled back into the grass. The murmurs of approval still rippled over them like a pebble dropped in water.
“The prophecy says two great warriors, a woman and a man, shall join together to ready an army for a monumental battle. It will not be fought with weapons as our ancestors had done, but with intellect and cunning. This war will oppose all common beliefs and bring about a new world order where men and women, as equals, shall reign.” Jahara went slack in his arms. She braced her hand on his chest, her gaze flicking wildly about the people below. Holding her quivering body, Brenimyn knew only his arm kept her from collapsing. This was a burden anyone would find difficult to shoulder.
“Many visionaries have confirmed the prophecy. As you know, from a young age, I understood I would be chosen to begin the fight. I accepted the responsibility many years ago and have prepared the way, waiting anxiously for the woman who would stand at my side.” The crowd stilled, holding a collective breath, already knowing the words he would speak. Unsure of her reaction, Brenimyn looked down at Jahara. He watched her transformation in rapt fascination.
Stepping away from him, she stood with her feet planted, pulling herself up tall. She filled her lungs, her bare breasts held high. The dark triangle of her womanhood was visible through the gossamer fabric of her breeches billowing in the breeze. She looked so feminine. Yet, under the lifted chin and unpretentious set of her mouth, he could see the fierce warrior the visionaries had promised. She held her arms casually at her side, not at her hips in defiance as many would.
And don’t forget to check out the contest (in the upper right corner of my sidebar) I’m having to celebrate the release.
I am so pleased to have Naima Simone here at the Writer’s Block. Naima is brand new to Ellora’s Cave and she stopped by today to talk to us about her debut novel, Sweet Ultimatum.
Tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing
Hi, Nina! A little about myself…Well, my name is Naima Simone, I live in the southern US, but my dream home would be in one of Thomas Kinkade’s paintings! Complete with steepled church, cottage and lighthouse. I’m married and have two kids who-since I’ve received my first sale with Ellora’s Cave-go around the house yelling, we’re going to be rich!! I keep trying to explain, look, mom has to write a lot more books before that happens, but as we speak my son is listing all the PSP games he wants to buy and my daughter is stomping down the toys in her chest to make room for more! LOL! Like most writers will say, I’ve been writing all my life, but the milestone that set me on the road to romance was the day reality pimp-slapped me and I realized the odds of me playing guitar in a rock band, meeting Ralph Tresvant from New Edition and marrying him were nil to “not gonna happen”. So, I decided to create a world where I it would! It’s been romance ever since.
Hey, I had that same band dream, only I wanted to be Barbra Steisand. Yeah, that is so not gonna happen. How about we not sing and you tell us a little about your book?
My book is titled, Sweet Ultimatum, and it’s a new release with Ellora’s Cave on October 23rd. Whoo-hoo! Ahem. Sorry. I promised my husband I would show some decorum in this interview. So, six years ago Caitlin Madison, my heroine, devastated Selig Richardson by breaking off their relationship and leaving. Now they’ve come face to face again and he plans to exorcise her memory that’s haunted him for all these years. And he intends to do it with her body. What Selig doesn’t know is Caitlin hurt him to save his life. That danger has now reawakened with their reunion and is stalking them again. So Caitlin has another choice to make-a life with the man she’s never stopped loving or break his heart again and save his life. You can read an excerpt HERE under the Books tab for your reading pleasure. A longer excerpt is under the Coming Soon page at Ellora’s Cave. Page 2. Third row. Second from the left. Or there about…
We’ll see if we can find it with those vague directions, Naima. *g* How about telling us a little more about Caitlin and Selig and how you discovered their story?
First, my guilty pleasure is tortured heroes. Whether they’re in historical, contemporary, paranormal or romantic suspense. I love ‘em! Selig is bitter, shipwrecked by a professional and moral crisis, and to top it off, he’s reunited with the woman who betrayed him after he’d given his soul to her. And Caitlin has a quiet strength that made me love her even as I wrote her. She faced a “suck and suckier” situation, as Dianna Love Snell would call it. She could risk Selig’s life by staying with him or save his life by letting him go. No matter which choice she made, she would lose. It took strength to make the decision she did, but it also takes courage to face the consequences of that decision six years later.
Wow, that’s an impossible decision for Caitlin. No right answer. I bet she wishes she could have waved a magic wand to make it all better. What if you had super powers? What would they be and what would you call yourself?
Definitely the ability to run super fast. I’m going to reveal my age here, but as a kid I loved Thunder Cats! Cheetarah was my girl! So to run at supersonic speed would be my superpower. But, not just to run-run in really sexy knee-high boots with a five-inch heel. ‘Cause my costume would be a red leather catsuit. And I’d have a weave ponytail swinging against my butt. I’d call myself “Dang, she’s fast and sexy”! You can see I’ve thought about this a while…
I could have sworn I saw you at the grocery store in that costume. Not you? Hmmm … perhaps you could tell us a little bit about your writing space.
My writing space is wherever and whenever! Of course I have my desk at home, but I also carry my NEO so whenever an idea hits, I whip it out of my purse…hold on just a minute, Nina, because I know my husband is reading this…Yes! It is a purse, not a suitcase!…Okay I’m back. So, as I was saying, I just whip it out and get to writing.
Sounds like you’re prepared anytime you have a minute. Could you tell us a little more about your writing process?
You know, a couple of years ago, I would’ve been like, what is this process thing you speak of? LOL! But, yes, I definitely have a process. I’m a plotter so I outline the characters, idea, plot, setting, etc. Super Notecard and the templates from Dianna Love and Mary Buckham’s Break into Fiction are the tools of my trade! And a large cup of McDonald’s coffee with seven creams and nine sugars. My father always said I could ruin a perfectly good cup of coffee! LOL! I don’t know about other writers, but the TV must be on, even if it’s muted. Also, I absolutely must have music. For romantic scenes, preferably Chicago-yes! Chicago! (I’m glaring at all those snickers!) And for the sexy scenes? Well, it depends on what kind of sex they’re having. It can swing from Jamie Foxx to Nine Inch Nails to…Chicago. I’m embarrassing myself, aren’t I? LOL!
Yeah, totally strange choice in old music (hides her Chicago albums behind her back). So that’s a little insight into Naima. But what if I asked your friends to name 3 personality traits, what would they say?
They would say I’m vivacious, fun and charming because I have too much info on them. LOL! Okay, let me see…they would say I’m friendly, good for a laugh and sarcastic…but I don’t get that at all!
The sarcasm thing totally elludes me. Not sure why they would say that. *g* So tell us, what happened to the first novel you ever wrote?
The first novel I ever wrote was about a cucumber named Fred. I think my mother may still have that in the collection I fondly call the Blackmail Archives. My first romance novel is in a deep dark trunk wrapped in chains and locks. And if anyone opens it they risk letting loose the apocalypse. In other words, I ain’t telling!
LOL! Well, then let’s just change the subject. I just got my royalty check and I’m trying to decide if I should buy these heels or these boots. What do you think?
Boots with heels!! Knee-high, black stiletto boots from Frederick’s of Hollywood that would make me feel like Mistress Naima.
Hey we could be twins, boots it is! Now enough about my footwear. I know you just went through editing. How did you find the process?
Honestly, I was intimidated at first and afraid to open the email attachment! LOL! But, I just completed my third and final round and it truly wasn’t as bad as I imagined-and I promise you my imagination is active and in Technicolor…and it TIVOs! I’ll admit though, I did learn a very valuable lesson during my editing. Apparently I kept…uh…erroneously describing a certain aspect of the male anatomy. Finally, my editor had to “sit me down” and explain the correct…uh…placement. She was very nice about it, but I’m sure she was thinking, isn’t this chick married?? I called my husband and told him what I had discovered, and as head of Research and Development, he called a mandatory conference and what do you know? She was right! LOL! I’ll never make that mistake again!! See how valuable the editing process is? We never stop learning!
Oh, you so know I want to know more details about what you described. *g* But we’ll move on. Which would you prefer a hot soak in the tub or a smokin’ BBQ with friends?
Food wins every time!! BBQ. And as long as the friends bring their own, they can eat, too!
A woman after my own heart, urrr, my dinner. LOL! If you were sick in bed which movie would you watch and why?
Hands down Mystic Pizza and Dirty Dancing! Mystic Pizza is the prototype chick flick. You have girlfriends and romance. Each character and relationship is unique but has its own happy ending, just in different ways. Dirty Dancing! I mean what woman didn’t wish she was Baby and had Johnny as a lover and dance partner? “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” That was the corniest line in the move, but one of my favorites!! I love that movie…It’s sexy, funny and triumphant. It’s a classic!
Oh, Patrick Swayze and Dirty Dancing! Be still my heart. I totally agree with you! Those are some great movies. Now that you have your first book on its way, what advice would you give aspiring authors?
Join RWA. Join your local chapter of RWA. The knowledge, experience and support there is priceless. Find a good, supportive critique partner and guard her/him like gold. They’re that precious. And most of all press and have faith. My father shared something with me that continues to lift me up to this day. “Faith is hope standing on tiptoes”. As long as you have faith and hope that what you can’t see right now will come to pass, you’ll always press toward it. Even when it seems like every response is a rejection. Take it, learn from it and continue to move forward. I’m still doing it.
I love that saying of your father’s. Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?
Yes…Those PSP games are expensive so please buy the book! LOL! First and foremost, I’m a reader. Before I could pick up a pen, I read about Cinderella and Snow White. My goal is to make you feel how I did when the prince slipped the glass slipper on Cinderella. If my books accomplish that, I’m thrilled. I’m so excited that I have the opportunity to share Sweet Ultimatum with you. I hope you fall in love with Selig and Caitlin like I have. It’s available from Ellora’s Cave on October 23rd. I’m going to have a contest with give-a-ways the week leading up to the 23rd, so visit me at my website, for news and details. Also, when you go to the website, go under the Links tab and drool-I mean, view the Art Gallery. If you join my Yahoo Announcement group, I’ll keep you updated on my release date, debut of my cover, where I’m blogging at and whatever else I’m up to. Also, comment on my Hawtie of the Month. I blog on the newest Hawtie every 5th of the month. Hey! That’s today. Email and tell me who you think should appear as Hawtie of the Month! Please, feel free to drop me an email about Sweet Ultimatum, writing, this blog…I would love to hear from you. My email address is nsimone books @ aol.com (without the spaces).
Today, I’d like to welcome Jessica Anderson, author of the Final Prophecy series available through Signet publishing. This is an amazing series about the dooms day prophecy of December 21, 2012. Welcome Jessica!
Hi, and thanks for joining me today as I talk a bit about SKYKEEPERS: A NOVEL OF THE FINAL PROPHECY!
(Mmmm… love that cover. Not much beats a half-nekkid hunk with a big knife … I’m just sayin’.)
From the back cover:
Ancient prophecy holds that 12/21/2012 will bring a global cataclysm. Mankind’s only hope lies with the Nightkeepers, modern magic-wielding warriors who must find their destined mates and fulfill the legends to defeat the rise of terrible Mayan demons.
Michael Stone is a man with a dark secret that has skewed his magical abilities dangerously toward the underworld. Seeking redemption, he sets out on a perilous mission to save the daughter of Ambrose Ledbetter, a renowned Mayanist who died before he could reveal the location of a hidden library. The Nightkeepers must find the library before their enemies gain access to its valuable cache of spells and prophecies.
Sasha Ledbetter grew up hearing heroic tales of an ancient group of powerful magi who were destined to save the world from destruction. She never expected that her bedtime stories would come to life in the form of Nightkeeper Michael Stone, or that she’d hold the key to the warrior’s survival. As Sasha and Michael join forces to prevent the imminent battle, sparks of attraction ignite between them, and they’re forced to confront the unexpected passion that brings them together … and also tears them apart.
Now … I love me some alpha heroes, and the term abso-freaking-lutely describes Michael Stone. But at the same time, I don’t care for fluttering-Miss heroines who are always waiting around for the tough-guy hero to come save them. I like a woman who does her best to save herself, one who makes the hero stronger when they finally connect with each other, creating a united whole that outperforms its parts. Enter Sasha Ledbetter, who doesn’t think of herself as tough or resourceful, but discovers those things about herself as she struggles to escape from her captors and make a new life for herself among the Nightkeepers without losing herself to Michael or the darkness within him.
But rather than blather on about my opinions on gutsy heroines, I though I’d let Sasha show you what I mean. The following is an excerpt from SKYKEEPERS. I hope you enjoy it!
Sasha awoke, blinking up into the light thrown down by an unshielded fluorescent tube. Something’s different, she thought. But a quick look around her said it wasn’t the scenery.
She was still in hell. It wasn’t the Christians’ fire-and-brimstone hell or her father’s nine-layered Mayan underworld of rivers and roads and monsters, though. No, this hell was one of cool, blank walls and a narrow cot in a ten-by-ten cell with gray walls, floor, and ceiling. This hell was being the prisoner of an enormous, green-eyed, chestnut-haired man who called himself Iago, but whom the others called “Master.”
Where is the library? his red-robed, forearm-tattooed interrogators asked her over and over again while drug-spiced smoke oozed from stone braziers carved into the shapes of screaming skulls. Each time, her muscles screamed protest at the crucified position they’d tied her in, roping her to a wooden cross that represented not the son of the Christians’ god, but the world tree of the Maya and Aztec, with its roots delving into hell, its branches reaching to the sky. Where did your father hide it? Sometimes they lashed her with stone-tipped flails that drew bloody, purple-black lines on her body. Other times they didn’t hit her at all, but rather somehow put her in agony without touching her, watching with avid eyes as she writhed and screamed.
She would’ve given anything to make the torture stop, but she couldn’t tell them what she didn’t know. She’d kept insisting that Ambrose had never told her anything about a library. They didn’t believe her, though, which meant that the cycle kept repeating over and over again-days of impotent, drugged fugue interspersed with pain and terror. She thought they might have moved her once or twice, but the details had blurred together, growing ever more distant as her mind insulated her consciousness from the reality her body was suffering. Each time the interrogators had opened the cell door, reality had receded further, her burgeoning fantasies coming clearer.
She knew the waking dreams were nothing more than illusions, constructs that her mind created for her as an escape. But she clung fiercely to the fantasies in her drugged stupor, because if her consciousness was wrapped in the dreams, she wasn’t aware of what was happening in the interrogation chamber. And that was a blessed relief.
Sometimes the fantasies brought her to a strange cave, a circular stone room that should have reminded her of the interrogation room and the horrors within it. But she wasn’t terrified in this chamber, wasn’t hurt. Instead, she was wildly aroused, wrapped around a big, powerful man with long, wavy dark hair and green eyes that reminded her of the pine forests up in Maine. In the dreams, she breathed him in, lost herself in his kiss, and felt, maybe for the first time in her life, like she was exactly where she belonged. Which was how she knew it was a fantasy, because Sasha had done many things in her life, but she’d never truly fit anywhere.
Other times the dreams brought her back to Boston, to the pretty, sun-filled studio apartment where she’d lived across the hall from a firefighter’s widow, an elderly ex-concert violinist named Ada, who’d become her friend. Sasha had cooked for her neighbor a few nights a week, gladly trading pumpkinseed dip and spicy barbecued shrimp for snippets of Bach and Mozart, and the knowledge that someone cared whether or not she made it home at night. Only she hadn’t made it home, had she? Instead she’d gone looking for Ambrose and wound up in hell, stuck there as her menstrual clock told her months passed, almost a year, while she lay dazed by drugs and hopelessness.
Except she wasn’t drugged or hopeless now. She felt sharp and energized for the first time in what seemed like forever.
Hardly daring to trust the sudden change, she sat up on her bunk and braced herself for the pain to hit. It didn’t. Instead, nerves and excitement and all sorts of other sharp, hot emotions poked through the numb confusion that had cloaked her for too long.
“What the hell is going on?” she asked, and jerked at the sound of her own voice, the alien clarity of words that weren’t drugged mumbles or throat-tearing screams.
Starting to shake now-with hope, with fear-she took stock. She was wearing the sturdy bush pants she’d had on when she’d been captured, along with a too-big navy sweatshirt she’d had for a while now, though she didn’t know who she’d gotten it from, or when. Her underwear, T-shirt, and socks were long gone to rags, her boots confiscated. All that was the same as it had been. The cuts on her palms, though, were new.
She stared at the shallow, scabbed-over slices as a hazy memory broke through. Had she dreamed of a brown-haired man bending over her with a serrated combat knife, his eyes flickering from hazel to luminous green and back again? If so, it was a new, less pleasant fantasy than the others, her imagination run amok. But no, she was positive he had been there; she had the scabs to prove it. Had he done something to neutralize the tranquilizers they’d been mixing in her food for so long? Or had the red-robes withdrawn the drugs for some reason, wanting her fully aware for whatever they had planned next?
But she wasn’t just awake; she felt damned good. Energy coursed through her, effervescent bubbles running in her veins, making her want to leap up and run, to scream with the mad exuberance of being alive. More, she was warm. Hot, even, and suddenly needy in a way she hadn’t been in a long, long time. Her heart pounded; her skin tingled. She thought of her dark-haired, green-eyed dream man, and ached for him, for the press of his flesh on hers.
Lifting her hands, she cupped her suddenly flushed cheeks, then let her fingertips drift down to skim across her collarbones and along her ribs. Surprise shuddered through her at the feel of smooth, toned flesh. Slowly, almost afraid to look, she lifted the hem of her sweatshirt so her eyes could confirm what her hands had found. Although it seemed impossible, the festering sores on her hips and shoulders had healed overnight, and the crosshatched welts, scabs and scars of the repeated whippings had faded from her skin. Her wasted flesh had been restored; her arms and legs were muscled, her butt and breasts rounded, as they had been before her captivity.
Stunned, she let the sweatshirt drop back down to cover her irrationally taut, toned stomach. Her head spun with disbelief, but not with drugs.
If she’d believed in miracles, she would’ve called it just that. How else could matching slashes on her palm cause her body to heal itself?
“Doesn’t matter,” she told herself as the embers of the strong woman she’d once been kindled to a low, guttering flame of determination. “Don’t waste whatever time you’ve got trying to figure out what’s going on. Just get your ass out of here.”
Rising from the narrow, blanketless cot, she stood for a moment, thrilling to the sense of balance and power that coursed through her, the awareness of her own body. She acutely felt the weight of her sweatshirt and pants, the press of the floor against the soles of her feet. In the back of her head there was a splash of fear that this was nothing more than another sort of torture, that Iago had given her back herself only to take the feeling away again. But on the heels of fear came determination. “If that’s your plan, you bastard, you’re going to regret it,” she said softly. “That’s a promise.”
For more on the Nightkeepers, check out Jessica’s website (which is way cool with it’s clock counting down …) And remember, SKYKEEPERS (which can be read as a stand-alone, although you may want to go back and read the others after) is available in a store near you!
Thanks a TON for visiting, Jessica. I’d just like to say I loved loved LOVED Dawnkeepers and will be heading out to my local Barnes and Nobel this weekend to pick up my copy of Skykeepers. I can’t wait to read the continuing journey!