Tilling Passions

Opinions are like noses … everyone’s got one..and they all smell!

Okay, so that’s not exactly how that saying goes, but I thought I’d clean it up for my public. Anyway, the point is, no matter where you turn in the writing world, someone has some tidbit to help you on your way. Unfortunately, much of the time it conflicts with the last great bit of advice someone gave you. And if you’ve been doing this writing gig for any amount of time you know of what I speak!

It starts with the first critique of your writing whether it’s a friend or a contest. Heroine’s wishy-washy. Heroine’s overpowering. Too much description. Too much dialogue. Too much internal angst. Not enough deep POV. You just can’t make everyone happy.

And there it is and it bears repeating. You. Can. NOT. Please. Everyone!

All of us have different things that pull us in and throw us out of stories. What works for me may be a can’t-possibly-finish-wall-banging trope for you. Ask anyone who writes erotic romance and they’ll tell you they hear as many “I don’t like when X” as “there’s never enough X”. It’s because readers bring their own personal experience to the table when they open your book. What they love, what they hate, and what makes a book go on their keeper shelf are dependent on so many factors that the author can’t control.

But why am I even mentioning this? Because I’m analyzing and re-evaluating my self-published books. As I get ready to put up the last of the Tilling Passions Series I’m trying to figure out how to increase the sales. I’ve been pretty open about the dismal showing they’ve had. While others are talking about paying college tuitions and buying new cars I’m barely making enough to take my family out to dinner … at McDonald’s … dessert not included. And please don’t tell me one more time this is a marathon and not sprint. I have the patience of a kid on Christmas morning. I’d like to see results. NOW, thank you very much. Maybe not pay-the-mortgage-vacation-in-Europe kind of money, but something that is worth the gas to cash the check kind of money.

Okay, that being said. I’ve rewritten all three books from their original published manuscripts. (Well, I’m finishing the third.) Gave them new titles and spiffy new covers. Had every person I know enlist their family and “tag” and “like” them. Wrote new blurbs and put them up on Amazon/Barnes & Nobel/Smashwords and soon All Romance Ebooks. But they sit buried in the noise of thousands of releases making tiny little Horton Hears a Who quiet cries, trying to get noticed. Unfortunately, it seems there are no elephants to pluck my books from obscurity.

So now, I’m giving something new a try. In this world where people have no more than 30 seconds to check something out before they have to answer email, chat on the phone, move another load of laundry from the washer to the dryer, tweet, go pick up a kid at practice, finish making dinner or update their Facebook status there isn’t a lot of time to be reading through book descriptions on Amazon. I’ve honed the craft of writing back cover blurbs that cover a full story in 180 words or less. Intrigue. Romance. Lust. The story that took a whole book to unfold, boiled down into a few short sentences that grab the reader. Remember the days standing in the bookstore or library and reading the back cover? There was plenty of time to get a feel for what might lie between the covers. Well, it seems those days are gone.

So I’m trying something new. Quick, short blurbs in my book descriptions. A few sentences that hopefully will hook a reader before they surf to another page.

BLIND HER WITH BLISS:
She’s trying to find herself. He’s attempting to hide. Together they’ll discover a truth that threatens them both…

Investigating the death of her best friend, uptight accountant, JULIE TILLING, discovers an erotic world of adult nightclubs and Internet intrigue. When shock jock DAMON COREY rocks her world in a wild night of lust, she wonders if she’s found love…or the key to solving a murder.

DECEIVE HER WITH DESIRE:
A woman determined to protect her heart. An agent hell bent on proving himself. One night that changes their lives…

DEIRDRE TILLING had no way of knowing that attending her friend’s party would throw her into a dangerous world of corrupt businessmen and police stings. Of course her sexual romp with undercover DEA agent, AYDEN SCOTT only pushes her deeper into the drug smuggling ring running up the Maine coast. As the heat rises between Deirdre and Ayden, one thing becomes painfully obvious…their relationship has jeopardized his mission and now someone wants them both dead.

There you have them. I don’t know if they’ll work. But the theory of grab ’em quick seems to make sense. I’ll let you know if it works. What do you think? You can check out the original blurbs HERE and HERE. I haven’t changed them at B&N.

Obviously I seem to be having a some crisis of identity. Some internal search to figure out my place in this world. More specifically, where I fit in this whole crazy-ever-changing-dear-lord-what-have-I-done world of publishing.

I’ve been thinking about blogs and the WIDE universe of the internet and how many people every day who are seeking our attention. I don’t take a lot of time surfing blogs. Very little as a matter of fact. Which I believe is directly proportional to the number of people who stop by The Block on a regular basis. (And I love and enjoy chatting with all three of you. *g*)

I have only a couple of blogs I visit nearly every day Julia Rachel Barrett because Julia blogs on everything from movies to television to interesting authors she enjoys reading. And Penelope’s Romance Reviews because I just relate. The rest of my blog surfing is done from recommendations. But since I’ve dropped out of most of my Yahoo loops, I don’t get many of those anymore either.

So what makes you visit a blog? Besides the three dear friends who come all the time … what brought you here today? Just curious.

And if you’re up for following me around the internet, I’m trying to do a bit of marketing at Hesperia Loves Books because she’s showcasing indie authors for the next couple of weeks. And also at The Tiki Hut, Author Island’s guest blogger hang out. I’ll be there all week.

Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

I’m going to admit a couple things here.

1) I had never purchased a book until 4 years ago when my friend had her debut novel released. (I was a library kind of gal.)
2) I STILL don’t own an e-reader. I know … scandalous right? Because I can’t afford an iPad, I vascillate between a Nook and a Kindle and people who own either “think they’re the best”. Anyway, I’m currently reading e-books on my computer.

So what’s the point of “true confession Friday”? Well, I have no idea how the buyer of digital books thinks. Are they looking for bargain books and willing to try new authors and genres? Are they still only buying their auto-buy authors? And what about freebies?

Yeeeeah, what about freebies? Do thousands of people just automatically download all free books on Amazon, Kindle or Smashwords thinking they may read them and if they don’t … whatever? Or do they pick up the free book by an author thinking they may find a new-to-them author? Does that in turn entice them to go buy more books by that author?

Or are so many books being offered for free by so many authors that readers have become leary of the quality of the writing? With the instant availability of publishing to anyone with a computer the writing/story can range from fabulous to OMG! is English the author’s first language? Leaving the reader to wonder if the author knows the definition of “edit”.

Is a reader more likely to read a book if they have to pay even a minimal amount for it? Say $.99? Does even that small amount of outlay give value to the purchase?

Of course I’m asking because I currently have two sexy romantic suspense novels in my “Tilling Passions” series up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Blind Her With Bliss and Deceive Her With Desire. And now that I’m very close to getting the third book in this series published, I’m thinking about my pricing strategy.

Does giving away the first book entice people to read the second and third in the series? Or will it sit unread in the libraries of Nooks and Kindles across the country, never to be opened? I have no idea. This whole self-publishing seems to be a big fat roll of the dice all the way around.

So what about you? When you see a book on B&N or Amazon for free do you assume certain things? Do your feelings change if it’s $.99? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this because I’m currently BEYOND confused on what is best at this point.

You know when your life is completely insane and you wonder if you’re really going to be able to survive the storm of craziness that fills your days? Yeah, well, that’s been the kind of summer I’ve had.

But this week the planets finally aligned and I managed to find my mojo and get back on track. With the redesign of the Tilling Passions series book covers (including new titles) I feel re-energized with the series. I’m working really hard on the final edits for the third book “Cheat Her With Charm”. With some hard work it should be released by the beginning of October.

And since I’m looking at all the exciting things that happened this week, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Facebook. Because yeeeeeeah, that’s exciting … NOT! I know it’s true it’s a FREE social media and they can do whatever they want, but as an author I am expected to have an active presence over there. So yeah, I think I have the right to say they’re really pushing my technical abilities into the abyss of chaos. Every time I have some sort of handle on this “making friends” and posting pictures, they change the way I’m supposed to do something or other. And that scrolling update thing is really too many moving parts for my liking. There are many blogs I don’t visit because of the moving advertisements in the sidebar. I know it’s not going to change anything, but complaining like Facebook can not only hear me, but gives a s**t what I think, certainly makes me feel better.

On a disappointing note, this week Romanticon, EC’s reader convention, begins. But I won’t be there. Life conspired against me and I had to cancel my reservations. But lots of my friends and fellow authors will be there enjoying the cavemen, a little pole dancing and LOTS of laughter. That’s what I’m going to miss the most. Just hanging out and having fun. Enjoy everyone … and hug a sexy caveman for me!

I’m crossing my fingers that the house we’ve been trying to buy since May, might actually be ours before the end of this month. Which means all my stuff that has been in storage for six months will finally be back in my home. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned around wanting that foolish little thinga-ma-jig tucked in the waaaaaay back of the cupboard that you only need once a year. Of course this summer it seemed I wanted something or other every other week! Anyway, it will be nice to be back to normal in our new community.

I’m looking forward to another productive week. What about you? Anything exciting happening in your corner of the world?

There has been a lot of talk on the internet about authors like JA Konrath and John Locke who have made A LOT of money self publishing their books. Heck, even NYT best selling authors are looking to put their backlist up on Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble. And why wouldn’t they? There is money to be made from digital savvy readers looking for a fix.

Why shouldn’t it be my book?

I’m not going to talk about HOW to do it. There seems to be all kinds of self-help blogs and books about the actual process. Let me just tell you … it’s easy. Don’t be fooled into thinking formatting is something only IT techs can do properly. Seriously, I did it myself and as the saying goes “If I can do it…”

Of course I decided to upload books that had already been edited and published through traditional electronic publishing routes, so a freelance editor wasn’t something I needed to consider. I did have someone design covers, Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs worked with me for the Tilling Passions series. I would highly recommend her. Her prices are reasonable and she didn’t charge me for all the “tweaking” stages. 🙂

But I digress. Really I wasn’t going to talk about the process. I want to talk about the results. Though many authors are finding HUGE financial rewards within only a month of putting their book on Amazon, some of us … just aren’t. And we don’t know why. I’ve looked at the marketing studies. I’ve read the blogs of authors who are now paying quarterly taxes for the first time because their sales are overwhelming. I’ve tweeted and facebooked and blogged and toured and … well, suffice it to say … for me nothing has been the magic bullet.

I understand it’s a numbers game. And I’m working on that. The third book in the Tilling Passions series, Arranging Love should be on sale by the end of August. I’ve got two more books that require a major round of edits before they’re ready to go up for sale. But I’d like to have both of those out before next spring. Perhaps that’s the answer. I’m not sure.

I know I’m not alone in this. There are many authors whose sales are lackluster at best. Since I’m on a loop with them, I know they’re out there. So just to let you know, not everyone finds gold in this self-publishing venture, let me share my three months worth of sales for Blind Love:

Kindle: 65
Smashwords: 10
Nook: 18

I understand this is a marathon and not a sprint, still it is a little discouraging when someone on an indie loop I’m on is wondering why her sales dropped below 100 that day and had anyone else experienced the drop. I haven’t experienced the sales. Bleh.

I’m not suggesting anyone shy from self-publishing. Like I said, it’s uber easy to get books up on the three venues I mentioned above. (Though I understand All Romance eBooks is a little more difficult with their formatting requirements.) I really just wanted authors to know that their results may vary.

I’d like to welcome all the visitors following the Summer Reading Trail and thank you for stopping here. I hope you’ve found some wonderful stories and been introduced to new authors.

DECEIVE HER WITH DESIRE (Exerpt)

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. “Damn.” Her hand flew to her head.

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

“I’m fine.”

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

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

“You come to Jameson’s parties often?” He immediately slipped into detective mode.

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

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

“Here, let me take a look at it.” He ran his fingers through her hair. It was soft as silk sliding over his hand. “Oh, yeah. You did a nice job. Probably could use a little ice.” At this rate, so could he, but not on the head on his shoulders.

“I did a nice job? Me? You were the one sneaking up like some pirate looking for lost treasure.”

The woman had no idea how close to the truth she was. “I wasn’t sneaking up on you, I heard you crying.”

And just like that the white knight had rendered her speechless.

Deirdre had started the evening with her moral compass pointing the way to a mindless hookup that would break her sexual dry spell. She’d quickly lost her way after her encounter with the brunette and the mansion’s owner. She was ending her evening hiding on the beach crying into her proverbial beer over not taking a damn risk.

The whole thing with Shawn earlier had been stupid. There had been nothing untoward about the man. Her own insecurities had total screwed with her head, imagining danger where none had existed. She’d run from a perfect gentleman like a skittish rabbit afraid of being snared.
Perhaps she’d been granted a second chance.

“Yes, well, as you can see I’m fine.” Deirdre looked at the guy standing over her. Her head throbbed, but it didn’t stop her body from reacting to his hungry gaze. He had nice features. A strong jaw that softened with the smile he kept flashing her. The light of the moon reflected in his eyes that held an attentive kind of glint. Her pulse rate skipped about with anticipation rather than concern. But he was a man. She hadn’t been with a guy since Bobby Mullins eighteen months ago, and she remembered vividly what a horrible, drunken decision between friends that had been.

Deirdre had sworn off men at that point. She shivered at the recollection.

“You cold?” He rubbed his hands up and down her arms.

“No, I…” His hand grazed the side of her breast, and her nipples immediately pebbled. “Yeah, maybe a little.” She had not just fluttered her lashes at the man. But what the hell? After the rejection from the woman in the great room, Deirdre was feeling more than a little needy. For goodness’ sake, she’d just been bawling her eyes out over not getting laid. What was the difference between the dildos she kept in the box under her bed, and real, live flesh and blood pumping into her? Emotional attachment, that’s what. But she was feeling hopeless enough to risk it.

“You want to go someplace warmer?” Austin’s hands continued to trail awareness up and down her arms.

“I live really far away.”

His head tipped back as if she’d struck him, and he dropped his hands. Then he laughed. “I was thinking up to the house. But I wouldn’t turn you down if you wanted a nightcap at my place. It’s not far from here.”

Heat pulsed in Deirdre’s cheeks. She’d been so focused on going home with someone—anyone— that she was practically throwing herself at this man. How could she have misunderstood? “No…don’t feel obligated. I mean, well…oh, hell, I’m not very good at this.”

He trailed his knuckle from her cheek bone to her chin. “A drink at my place. What do you say?”

“That sounds nice. But I’ll take my own truck.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
KINDLE lovers click HERE
NOOK lovers click HERE
All other formats HERE

I’ve been pretty quiet on my own blog about my decision to re-release my Tilling Passions series direct to Kindle and Nook. I LOVE these sisters. I was so stoked when Liquid Silver first released them in 2008. At that time they garnered some readers, but really didn’t find their stride at LSB. Sadly they sat with very little attention. And as much as I love LSB and the publishing family I found over there my purpose isn’t just to publish my books, but to get my stories out to the readers.

Soooo, when the rights reverted back to me, it seemed only logical to dip my toe into this brave, new world of self-publishing. Of course the decision was easier for me as the books had already been through the editing process. I just had DAR ALBERT design new covers and I was off.

Let me just say that many people are panicking about “formatting” their manuscripts to upload to the various sites for sale. Since my books were already formatted for digital publishing it was uber easy for me to upload my book. If you’re thinking about stepping into self-publishing I would highly recommend it. I just see it as being market savvy, spreading my books across many formats as to find the biggest audience. I have the first book on sale now. I hope you’ll check it out.

BLURB:
He’s a shock jock looking to reform. She’s an accountant hoping to cut loose. Can love open their eyes to forever?

Uptight CPA and oldest sister, JULIE TILLING, is the glue that binds her family. Everyone depends on her to do the right thing. When her friend from high school dies and Julie is the only one who believes he didn’t commit suicide, she takes it upon herself to investigate his death.

DAMON COREY didn’t come to Maine to become a shock jock. But when his dream career of becoming a concert pianist seems unobtainable, the radio station’s offer is too good to pass up. When mysterious brunette Jewel, hooks up with him at the night club run by a college frat brother, their one night fling wraps around his heart and makes him believe in love at first sight.

But can Damon expose his inner soul without pushing Julie away or will his enigmatic shock jock persona become Julie’s sexual undoing and reveal him as the missing piece that solves the puzzling questions surrounding her friend’s death?

EXCERPT:
“Does it ever get tiresome watching it?” Julie asked, daring to dip her toe in the waters of seduction.

“What?”

Good, her question threw him off-kilter. “You know. The people and what they’re doing? You see the two men and that woman over there?” Julie leaned to the side so Demon could see around her as she pointed to a shadowed corner of the bar below. “I thought they were dancing, but there’s definitely something more going on.” A nervous giggle escaped her lips. “The man in front is definitely buried deep in the woman, and the man in back…well, I’m not sure what he’s doing. But with their mouths open that way, I’m thinking they’re all really enjoying themselves.” She leaned back, her bottom grazing his thigh.

“Oh, they’re definitely getting it on.” Demon braced his hands on either side of her, pressing the solid plane of his chest against her back. They were both testing the waters. “And yes, I get tired of watching.” He leaned close to her ear, his breath the only thing separating his lips from her skin. “They put in extra spotlights that shine on the platform for me so I don’t have to stare at them all night. I mean, even a saint would get a hard-on seeing people go at it for three hours.” He rubbed against her. There was no mistaking his arousal.

Julie was enjoying their brazen flirtation. “I suppose you’re right.” She turned around to face him, purposefully rubbing her breasts across his chest. He didn’t move. “Did you originally bring me up here to relieve a little of that tension, Demon?”

“I don’t think you want to know what I was thinking before we got in the elevator.”

She tilted her head and cocked a brow, inviting him to share. “Oh, but I think I would.”

“This is probably a very bad idea.” He took a step back, but she moved with him.

She’d come this far and she had no intention of stopping now. “Maybe I was a little tipsy in the elevator, but I’m stone-cold sober now,” Julie said, laying her palm in the center of his chest. Her gaze swept the strong lines of his face, gauging his reaction. Even in the muted light of the office she could see the hunger sparking in his eyes. “We’re way past the stage of chivalry, Demon. I don’t need your protection.” She slid her thigh up his leg, surprised by her own audacity.

“You think that’s what I’m doing?”

She dragged a nail through the dark whiskers along his jaw, thrilling in the quick inhalation of his breath. “Oh, you play the animal, but the heart of a gentle man hides in here.” She kissed the center of his chest, her body warming with the power of her seduction.

“Then it may shock you to learn I intended on having my way with you when we got up here. That phone call pulling Elvis away was his attempt to give me privacy.”

“No more than it would shock you to learn that’s what I’d hoped.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Julie and Damon don’t know what hit them. She’s a CPA looking to cut loose and he’s a shock jock looking to reform. Neither of them is happy with their life at the moment. But when Julie begins looking into the suicide of her friend from high school that begins to look like murder, she worries that Damon is somehow involved.

Here’s an excerpt from the first book in the “Tilling Passions” series …

Damon walked behind Julie. He should be focused on her friend’s connection to Elvis, but the intoxicating sway of her hips hugged with leather made his cock throb and spiraled his thoughts in another direction. Watching the couples in the basement had been the initial impetus for his blood-pounding erection, but Julie’s luscious curves beckoned, and now his dick pressed uncomfortably against his jeans. All he could think about at the moment was burying himself in her silken heat.

Unlike Julie, this evening’s tour hadn’t taken him by surprise. Elvis had been the one to coax Damon to Maine and get him the DJ spot at the radio station. When funds had become tight two months ago, and Damon couldn’t make rent, it had been Elvis who offered to hook him up with an acting gig. Damon might have prostituted himself with the shock jock performances, but there was no way in hell he’d get his rocks off while others watched on the Internet. He’d go without food before he’d stoop that low. And that’s what it had come to. Now the radio show was paying him bonuses, and the extra appearances it brought netted him a nice living. It just wasn’t what he wanted to do. Damon had had other plans when he’d arrived in Maine.

Despite what she’d just witnessed, he knew the woman bouncing up the stairs in front of him wasn’t thinking about her sex life. He needed to get his head out of Julie’s pants and wrapped around the conundrum of Jason’s death. Damon was beginning to think Julie’s worries about her friend’s death weren’t as unfounded as they’d first appeared. It seemed Jason had tangled himself in an interesting spider’s web of deceit.

“I’m not sure it’ll help seeing one of the rooms we rent to our more passionate patrons, but knowing all of this business can’t hurt.” Elvis stopped halfway down the hotel-like hall and slid the card key into the door lock.

The room they entered looked like something out of a honeymoon brochure. The heart-shaped bed, covered in plush black velvet, dominated the space. Mirrors on the walls and ceiling reflected the red lights, settling on them like a sultry summer night. Sheer fabrics in rainbow shades looped from the ceiling and down the walls, adding to the fantasy.

“We even have cable for erotic channels and video cameras available.” Elvis pointed to the flat screen TV mounted on the near wall. “Of course, our patrons have no idea the feed for the pornography comes from one floor down.” He turned abruptly and stared down at Julie. “And before you even ask, Miss Tilling, the only taping that goes on these rooms are the movies the patrons make themselves.”

Tension eased out of Julie’s shoulders, and a smile flitted across her lips.

Elvis walked over to the wall and opened a door that revealed an opulent bathroom. “Every room comes with a Jacuzzi bathtub. Optional amenities are available for an additional fee.”

Damon didn’t even want to speculate on what other services Elvis provided.

A cell phone chimed. Julie’s autopilot sent her searching, only to come up empty. He forced himself not to dodge the daggers flying from her eyes when they locked on his. It had been selfish when he insisted she leave the phone. But no man would blame him for wanting this sexy woman all to himself.

Elvis answered the device and spoke briefly before snapping his phone shut. “Sorry, I’m needed upstairs. Seems some patrons are asking to speak with the owner.” Elvis pressed his cheek next to Julie’s and kissed the air. “I miss Jase terribly. But maybe we’re both looking for something that isn’t there.” He shook hands with Damon. “Forgive me, friend. I should never have doubted your intentions. Sometimes love and sadness warp the images right in front of us. I should have known you’d never betray me. Not with Jase or anyone.”

Damon pulled Elvis into a fierce hug before the man left them alone. Sometimes kinship had nothing to do with blood relations.

“Well, we should be going.” Julie wiped her palms down the leather molding her thighs.

“I think Elvis intended for us to enjoy the privacy.” Damon held up the keycard Elvis had slipped into his hand.

“Damon, really, it’s late and…”

Damon stood over her, the heat of his lips branding hers. “And you’re going to turn into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight?” He pressed his body into the supple curves of her. “That happened over an hour ago, Julie. What I see in front of me is no garden flower.” He dipped his fingers into the silken strands of the wig she’d slipped on before leaving the house and grazed her parted lips with his thumb. “I see a beautiful woman who invaded my body and thoughts less than twenty-four hours ago, and now every breath I take is filled with her scent.”

BUY THE BOOK

This excerpt is from Arranging Love, the third book in the Tilling Passions series. Meghan and Peter are engaged, but looking for something just a little hotter …

Meghan held Peter’s gift in her lap, sipping at the wine, which was going down faster than she’d anticipated. Now that she’d been staring at it for several hours, she had to admit it was a beautiful book.

Artistic nudes of women, bound in different positions and photographed in a myriad of locations, filled the pages. Every one of them was a tribute to the power and joy of human sexuality. There was nothing sordid or deviant about the images. They were beautiful–and sensuous.

Meghan sat on the couch in the office at home, the feeble glow of the lamp wrapping her in a soft cocoon of light. She flipped through the images until she found the picture that continued to draw her attention.

A young woman lay prone on her back in a wine cellar. Candles flickered in the crevices of the cement room. Sunlight sifted through a small window, shafting light on her body curved gracefully over two wine casks. Her arms were bound to a post behind her head while ropes secured her ankles. Her legs were pulled wide, exposing labia that were swollen and glistening with moisture. Her bottom lip was clenched tightly between very white teeth as if holding back a moan of pleasure.

A deeply tanned man stood beside her, the muscles of his chest lean and well-defined. A partial leather mask shielded his identity. The lower half of his body was hidden by the barrels, leaving the observer to speculate on his nudity and level of arousal. But if the steepled points of their nipples were any indication, both partners were sexually charged. In his left hand he held a whip-like instrument made of many tails of leather.

The woman’s heavy-lidded eyes stared up at him, anticipating the next move of his right hand currently splayed on her inner thigh. The soft smile on the man’s face spoke of love and tender lust. This was not a couple intent on pain and amoral behavior. This was a woman surrendering herself to her lover and allowing him to bring her to that sacred place of euphoria.

Her fingers grazed over the picture as if touching the couple would reveal their innermost desires. Peter chose that moment to come slamming through the front door, the chill of the evening swirling around him as he stamped his feet on the Aubusson rug.

“Damn that friggin’ garage door opener.”

Setting down the wine glass, she padded into the foyer. “I couldn’t get it to work, either.” Her voice was soft in the darkness. “No snow’s coming tonight. The cars’ll be fine in the drive. We can mess with it tomorrow.” She hugged the book to her chest, wondering how they would break through the wall of tension that had been erected that morning.

Peter focused on hanging his coat in the closet. “I pressed the button, but the stupid thing doesn’t move.” He shut the door and stepped toward her. “I just need to check and see if it needs batteries, rewiring, or replacing.” Resting his hands on her shoulders, he bent and brushed his lips across hers. There was no heat, just routine. “A mechanical engineer should be able to figure out his own garage door, for chrissake.”

She had to agree. It had been working sporadically for at least two weeks, but Peter hadn’t been home long enough to know that and pointing it out at this moment didn’t seem like it would help span a chasm of disagreement.

Peter looked over her shoulder at the half bottle of wine and the empty wine glass. “You started without me?”

She pointed behind her at the second glass. “Actually, I was waiting for you.”

“Meghan, I…” Peter pulled the book from her hand. “You’ve been looking at it?” His gaze roamed from the book to her eyes.

Her fingers moved on their own volition, reaching up to caress the firm muscles of his chest. “Peter, I’m sorry. It was very shortsighted of me not to listen to you this morning.”

“No, Meggie. I shouldn’t have jumped you like that.” He held the book up. “This isn’t something couples just plunge into. It should be discussed and negotiated and discussed some more.”

“Well, then, I’d like to discuss page seventy-eight.” Meghan stretched up on her toes and pulled his bottom lip into her mouth, grazing it with her teeth.

“You don’t have to…”

“No, I don’t have to do anything, but after I calmed down and thought about it, I realized there are probably a lot of couples who find this very satisfying.” She kissed his goofy grin. “And Jules said she and Damon…”

“You talked to your sister about it?” He laughed even as he pulled her to him. “How we men face each other, knowing nothing is sacred among the Tilling sisters, is beyond me.”

Meghan ground her pubic bone against his growing erection. “As I was saying, Jules said it can be fun and add a little spice to things.”

The room spun pleasantly as Peter scooped her into his arms. “Well, if your older sister gave her blessing, who am I to deny my fiancée the thrill of domination?”

BUY the BOOK

This excerpt is from my erotic suspense novella Blind Love book I of the Tilling Passions series available from Liquid Silver Books.

Damon strode along the back of the bar on his way to Elvis’ office, trying to avoid the crowd. He and Elvis were good friends. He liked the man. Elvis was one of the few people who knew the real Damon Corey.

He stopped when he saw the black-haired beauty from the dance contest staring down the bouncer. She stood defiantly with her hands on her hips. Her breasts pushed forward, brushing Joe’s barrel chest.

“Well, I guess I just don’t understand. You’ve let all kinds of people go through that door behind you. I’ve seen them coming and going. Why not me?”

Twenty minutes ago, this woman had acted like she didn’t understand what was going on when the spotlight flooded over her. Damon had seen lots of women appear all innocent until they were nearly naked, gyrating in front of the crowd. Not this one.

He’d watched as she’d ridden her partner’s thigh, her lids hanging heavy with desire. Damon thought she’d be like all the rest, slithering out of her clothes and satisfying herself in public. But she wasn’t. She’d done some kind of slink and roll and extricated herself quite gracefully from the writhing bodies on the dance floor. Then disappeared.

“As I told you, only members can go through, or guests on the list.” Joe looked down his crooked nose at her, the strobe lights reflecting off his bald head. He pounded his stubby finger on his clipboard. “Ma’am, if you’re not on the list, you’re not going in.”

“Ma’am? Do I look like a ma’am to you?” she asked, poking Joe in the sternum.

She was feisty. Joe intimidated most patrons of Starry Knight, but not this one. Damon’s c**k throbbed behind his zipper. Maybe he could save Joe, give the woman what she wanted and get a little something on the side as well. A man couldn’t watch people getting it on all night, and not be looking for a little piece of action for himself.

“Hey, Joe.” Damon stepped out of the shadows, getting a closer look at the sexy brunette. “How’s it going?”

“Hey, Demon. It’s going just fine. Nothing I can’t handle.” He inflated his chest and stepped between Damon and the woman. “You going back to see Elvis?” Joe reached for the door handle behind him.

“Yeah, and I’d like to take the lady with me.”

“This one?” Joe’s face wrinkled in confusion. Quarrelsome women weren’t usually Demon’s style, but tonight a little intellectual stimulation might be an interesting mix with some slap and tickle.

“Yeah, she probably didn’t mention she was waiting for me.” He took the woman by the arm and pulled her around Joe’s sizable bulk. “I guess we got our signals crossed, babe.” He leaned in and gave her a gentlemanly peck on the cheek. “I wanted you to wait by the bar, not the door.” He winked at her.

She flipped her hair and batted her lashes. “I just can’t keep anything straight.”

Damon bit back a laugh as the woman sent Joe a smug look and filled her lungs, no doubt to tell Joe exactly where he could go. Not wanting to referee another confrontation, Damon hustled her through the door Joe reluctantly held open for them.

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