Friday, July 25, 2014

For Better Or Worse

By Ashley Ladd (Guest Blogger)

Have you ever found out that one of your favorite authors uses a pseudonym? Have you ever wondered why an author might choose to do so?

I’ll come forward. I’m one of them. “Ashley Ladd” is my pseudonym for my erotic romance novels.

I, like many other authors I’m sure, have several good reasons for using one.

First, my mother’s family is very straight-laced and religious. I couldn’t envision telling my very sweet aunt or my very prim and proper uncle that I write graphically explicit male-male-male love scenes. As it turns out, one of my children is now transgender female, and when I admitted that to them, they couldn’t, wouldn’t accept her.

Secondly, I work for a religious ministry full-time. I have a suspicion that my employers wouldn’t look favorably upon my extra-curricular activities. I might very well end up unemployed if they were to learn about my erotic romance novels. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to retire and write full time. Not yet anyway.

Unfortunately, one of my coworkers discovered my alter ego. One day we were friends and the next she unfriended me on Facebook and ran away from me at lunch. When I got up the nerve to ask why she’d unfriended me, she admitted she was disappointed in me. She’d found out I wrote erotic romance.

Additionally, I don’t want my activities to adversely affect my family. The mother of my son’s best friend stopped allowing her child to play with mine because my husband had made and displayed a ceramic dragon. She was very religious and thought we’d joined a satanic cult because of a silly figurine. I can only imagine that she’d look even less favorably upon what I write.

I’m sure other authors have other good reasons to hide their identity as well. I’d love to hear them.

Deciding to use a pseudonym was only the first step in the process. Next I had to choose a pen 
name.

I was watching a Cheryl Ladd movie during the decision-making process, thus it was one of many last names on the list of possibilities. Next, I wanted to choose a first name that was popular with the twenty-forty year old crowd. After that I made a long list of possible combinations and asked my critique group which one they liked. Ashley Ladd won the vote.

However, I wasn’t done there. I didn’t want to use another author’s or famous person’s name, or even a name I found on the Internet. Then I googled the name. At that time, no one else named Ashley Ladd came up on a Google search. So I adopted the name. When I googled Ashley Ladd to find mentions of my recently released romance novel Cooking Up A Storm, however, I found at least five other people named Ashley Ladd. Worse, a few years ago I received an email from another Ashley Ladd accusing me of stealing her name. By then, I had several books published as Ashley Ladd, and hopefully a following.

I don’t know if it’s possible to choose a unique name. I work with a large data base at my day job and very often see two or more people with the same “unusual” name. Most of the time when I speak to someone like that they presume they are the only person on Earth with that name, so I know it’s not a family member.

Should I have made up a really unusual name like Swanzetta to use for my pseudonym? It probably wouldn’t have helped. I’ve seen this name for a real person.

For better or worse, I am Ashley Ladd. To date, Ashley’s name is on seventy plus books, the most recent being a contemporary male-male erotic romance Business or Pleasure just made available today (July 25) for download at Totally Bound. It will be available on Amazon, ARe, and other booksellers as of August 22.

Blurb

Guy Rogers is extremely attracted to his new realtor, Tom Beaudreaux. As a passionate vegetarian and animal activist, he’s ecstatic that Tom is a kindred soul. He could never be with a carnivore. Unfortunately, Tommy isn’t really a vegetarian or animal activist. He never said he was either, he just didn’t eat meat when he was with Guy. And maybe he emptied his house of all meat and dairy products before inviting Guy over. In fact, Tommy’s family owns the most popular barbecue restaurant in town and if his family has their way, he’ll manage the new location.

When Guy finds out that Tommy eats meat and his family owns a restaurant that is a monument to eating meat, he’s livid and doesn’t know if he wants anything else to do with Tommy.

But then Guy’s life gets crazy –his dad’s paranoia blossoms into violent dementia, he gets arrested for picketing a doggy mill, and then he winds up in even more legal trouble. When Tommy sticks by him through all his trouble and does everything he can to help him, Guy wonders if he’s been too militant and narrow-minded. Perhaps he can learn to live with people who have opposite views.

Excerpt

Gunshots rang out as they turned onto Guy’s street.

Tommy looked at him and mouthed, “Shit! You don’t think…?”

I hope not. I don’t know.” Guy pressed the gas pedal to the floor and the car shot forward, fish-tailing.

Tommy fisted the door, hanging on tight. “I hope we’re wrong.”

Guy’s intuition told him he wasn’t. His knuckles turned white they held the steering wheel so tightly. Unafraid for himself but scared for his dad, he pulled into his driveway and jumped out of the car, with Tommy close on his heels.

The woman next door ran outside screaming, tearing out her already tattered hair. She pointed at her front door. “Your father’s shooting up my house and is holding a gun at my dad’s head. He’s going to kill him. You’ve got to do something.”

Tommy yelled as he began dialing on his phone, “I’m calling the police.” As if on cue, police sirens blared in the distance and grew louder by the second.

I’m going in. I have to stop him.”

Wait for the police. Don’t put yourself in danger,” Tommy ordered forcefully.

I have to take the chance. He could kill someone before the police get here. I can’t let that happen.” He put himself in harm’s way for animals, so certainly he could risk his life for his own father and other fellow human beings. He had no choice. It would be his fault if someone got hurt.

So he ran through the open door flailing his arms, hoping he would be in time. “Dad! It’s Guy. Don’t do anything. I’m here. You’ll be okay.”

He’ll be okay? What about me? He’s got a shotgun pointed at my head threatening to blow it off,” the elderly neighbor cried.

Buy Link



Contest! Leave me a comment with your email, telling me what you think about Guy and Tom. I'll give a $10 bookstore gift certificate to one of you!


About Ashley

Ashley Ladd lives in South Florida with her husband, five children, and beloved pets. She loves the water, animals (especially cats), and playing on the computer.

She's been told she has a wicked sense of humour and often incorporates humour and adventure into her books. She also adores very spicy romance, which she weaves into her stories.

You can find Ashley at:





Thursday, July 24, 2014

Defiant

[You're going to love this excerpt from Sabrina York's new Regency, Defiant. Certainly I did! ~ Lisabet]





DEFIANT, by Sabrina York
Noble Passions, Book Five

When rakish Ned falls in with the wrong crowd, his brother decides to send him to the Continent for “seasoning”. For Sophia, this just won’t do. She’s loved Ned for ages—and also longed for adventure. She runs away from her boring suitors and disguises herself as a cabin boy on the Defiant, the ship sailing Ned to Italy.

Ned knows he’s not good enough for Sophia, but once they’re on the Defiant, he can’t stop himself from touching her, tasting her, loving her. Not when a wild tempest and a band of ruthless pirates threaten them. Not when every look from her gives him such pleasure. And certainly not when she comes, warm and wild and willing, to his bed.

If they survive their voyage, Sophia’s brother might kill him, but it will have been worth every moment and every hot, sweet kiss.

A Romantica® Regency historical erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave



READ AN EXCERPT

Sophia stood on the bow of the boat in the dark as the wind and rain lashed her face. She loved it. Loved it. Not only was the storm elemental and fierce, it hid her tears.

Surely she hadn’t expected Ned to greet her with open arms. Not when she had barged in on his adventure as she had. But she certainly hadn’t expected him to be so horrid. His expression had devastated her.

Foolish girl, it said.

But then, her heart agreed.

She was foolish.

Foolish to ever think that he—

You’re soaked.”

She whirled around, though she knew what she’d see. More glowering.

She was right.

What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

I’m reveling.” She thrust out her chin, in case he didn’t believe her.

He gaped at her. “Reveling?”

Yes.” She didn’t mean to shout, but his wintry demeanor annoyed her tremendously. She threw out her arms. “Look at this!”

It’s a storm.”

It’s beautiful. The waves are wild, untamed—”

You could be swept overboard.”

The wind is howling and the rain is savage. It’s glorious.”

It’s freezing. Come inside.”

It’s not freezing. It’s summer.”

I’m cold.”

Then you go inside.”

Sophia Fiona—”

Don’t call me that.”

It’s your name.”

You sound like Ewan.”

I’m starting to think Ewan is a saint.”

She glared at him. “What a beastly thing to say.” She hated that her chin wobbled a little. Hated that he winced.

I’m sorry, Sophia. This has been trying for me.” He sluiced the water from his face. “Won’t you please come inside?”

All right. Fine.”

You will?”

You did say please.”

He blew out a breath and offered her his arm. She frowned at it. “I’m a cabin boy, remember? You don’t offer a cabin boy your arm.” When he didn’t lower it, she smacked it. “Someone will see.”

That caught his attention and he slowly lowered his arm. “Right then. Come inside.” He followed her back to the cabin, his stride decidedly unsteady. If anyone was tipping overboard, it was most likely him.

When she once again stood in his chambers, she realized the folly of her actions. She hadn’t brought a change of clothes and she was drenched. So was he. Without a word, he relit the lamp and then opened his trunk and pulled out several shirts, two of which he tossed to her. “Change.”

That was it. One word. Just “change” and then he presented her with his back. She huffed a breath, but did as he asked because she was really rather cold. The feel of the cloth falling over her chilled flesh warmed her. Because it was his shirt. It had touched his skin. She wasn’t sure why the thought sent heat scudding through her belly.

Use the other shirt to dry your hair,” he suggested, as he began toweling off as well.

She huffed a laugh. “All of your clothes will be wet.”

They’ll dry. Are you clothed?”

Yes.”

He turned. And froze. His gaze locked onto her bare legs. “I-I thought you said you were clothed.” A squawk.

I am.” But the intensity of his stare made her self-conscious, so she slipped into the bed.

Close your eyes,” he said as he unbuttoned the damp linen clinging to his chest.

Why?”

I need to change as well. I’m f-freezing.”

Okay.” She did. But she peeked.

He ripped off his wet shirt and her breath caught at the sight of his broad back. Muscles rippled as he moved and she swallowed. He was beautiful. He tugged the fresh shirt over his head and she nearly whimpered as that magnificent vision disappeared. But then, he unfastened his trousers.

All pretense of not peeking evaporated.

He sat and took a moment to work off his boots. And then he stood. His trousers were tight, as was the fashion, and he had to peel them off. As he bent, she caught a flash of his bare behind.

She must have made a noise because he whirled around. His cheek bunched when he saw her watching. “You’re supposed to have your eyes closed.”

She hunkered in the covers, as though that would disguise the fact that her eyes were open wide.

Sophia…”

It was probably wrong to grin at him, but she couldn’t help it.

Sophia Fiona!”

Stop calling me that. It always makes me think I’m in trouble.”

You are in trouble. You have no idea how much trouble you’re in.”

She tipped her head to the side. “We both know Ewan will be so relieved to see me, he’ll forget how angry he is—”

Ned stilled and fixed her with a dark glare. “What makes you think I’m talking about Ewan?”

I… ah…”

I’ve a mind to bend you over my knee.”

Why a shiver rippled through her, she had no idea. She’d been spanked once or twice as a child and she hadn’t cared for it in the slightest. But something dark and domineering in Ned’s tone made her womb warm.

You-you wouldn’t.”

Wouldn’t I? Now, look away. Your brother would skewer me if I gave you the education you’re about to have.”

She attempted not to snort. Ned—and everyone—thought her a prim and innocent miss on account of the polish she’d acquired at Lady Satterlee’s. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a child, before Ewan had made his fortune, they’d lived a hand-to-mouth existence in the slums of Perth. She’d seen more than one couple rutting against a wall in a dingy alleyway. And at one point, she and her brother had taken refuge in a bordello. She’d been only seven, but if she’d had an education, she got it there. She could probably teach Ned a few things.

Still, because he seemed to expect it, she squeezed her eyes tight and didn’t hardly peek at all as he finished changing. Besides which, the spot she was interested in was mostly shadows.

With a great huff, he threw himself back into the chair. “Now, go to sleep.”

Don’t you want me to put out the light?”

No. I want to be able to see where you are.”

I’m not leaving again tonight.” Probably. Unless her despair overcame her once more.

Leave it on.” A grunt, and not a very nice one at that. Why he had call to be annoyed, she couldn’t fathom.

Blast and damn, he was an annoying man. Sophia grunted as well and rolled over, facing the wall of the cabin. She studied the patterns the swinging lamp made for a long while, listening as he shifted one way and then the other.

It was really unfair for him to have to sleep in the chair. This was his room. But he would never share her bed. She grimaced at the way the words came out, but it was true. He wouldn’t. Unless…

She rolled over again and watched him twist in the chair. He caught her eye and frowned.

Ned?”

An impatient groan. “Yes, Sophia?”

Ned, I’m cold.”

He stilled. Then barked, “Put on another blanket.”

There aren’t any more.” She faked a shiver. She wasn’t cold in the slightest. She never was. Ewan said she ran hot. “Brr. My teeth are chattering.”

His glower became a frown.

I hope I don’t get ill.”

He paled. “You shouldn’t have gone out in the rain. Why did you go out in the rain?”

She sneezed. Or something like it. “I don’t know.”

Sophia?”

Am I running a fever?” She put her palm to her forehead. “I think I’m running a fever.”

His brow wrinkled. He stood and made his way across the tiny chamber as though on his death march. He set the backs of his fingers to her cheeks. His frown darkened.
You are warm.”

No. I’m cold.” She shivered and peered up at him, her eyes as wide as she could make them. “Won’t you warm me?”

He wrenched his hand away as though she’d burned him. “What?”

Lie here beside me and warm me up?”

There’s not enough room for both of us.”

I’m small.”

Sophia.” She’d never heard her name in such a strangled voice, not even when Ewan was at his wit’s end.

Just for a bit? You can be on top of the covers. Surely that is decent.”

The muscle in his cheek bunched again, as though he were grinding his teeth.

Please?”

He gusted a sigh. “All right, Sophia. Scoot over and make room.”

She did. With alacrity.

And roll over, facing the wall.”

She frowned at him “Why?”

Just do it. Please.”

Oh, all right.” But only because he said please. And because, when she was facing the other way, he couldn’t see her grin.

He settled in behind her and a shiver rocked her. He was warm. And he smelled delicious. Not fishy in the slightest. It was delightful, lying here with him. She closed her eyes and imagined he wanted this as much as she.

If only. If only.

Check out the other books in the Noble Passions Series from Sabrina York
Follow the decadent exploits of friends and enemies as they find love and passion in the glittering world of the Regency—and its dark underbelly.

2014 EPIC eBook Award Finalist
2013 Passionate Plume Finalist


Widowed and threatened with penury by her heartless in-laws, Eleanor--Lady Ulster--hatches a plot to save herself. Determined to produce the Ulster "heir", she seduces a stranger at a tawdry masquerade. Little does she know, this magnificent masked lover is none other than her husband's greatest nemesis. And God knows Ulster had plenty.

Ethan Pennington is mortified to arrive at a house party and discover Lady Ulster in attendance. He has wanted her and hated wanting her--his enemy's bride--for years. When he overhears Eleanor's predicament and her plans to place a cuckoo in the Ulster nest, he is more than willing to oblige. The opportunity to finally claim her--while taking the revenge he craves--is more than he can resist. Ethan strikes a bargain with Eleanor, promising to provide her with the heir she so desperately needs...if she will meet his needs in return. Every decadent one of them.




The sizzling prequel to Folly
2014 Winner of the Carolyn Readers’ Choice Award

When Lady Helena Simpson flees an unwanted marriage to a revolting lord, she finds refuge with James, a charming, handsome man unlike any she’s ever known. Helena concocts the perfect solution to her problem. She asks—begs—James to ruin her. Surely her betrothed will repudiate her if she is no longer pure. And if all her efforts fail and she still ends up married to a horrid man until the end of her days, she will at least once have known true passion.

But James is not all he seems. He is, in fact, a wicked lord with a dark fancy. When Helena awakens his desire, he becomes determined to take everything she has to offer and more. No matter the cost.








Edward Wyeth, the Dark Duke of Moncrieff’s life has been turned on its end. His well-ordered home has been invaded. By destitute relatives. From Scotland. How on earth can he write Lord Hedon’s salacious novels with hellions battling in the garden and starting fires in the library? But with the onslaught has come a delicious diversion. His cousin’s companion, the surprisingly intriguing Kaitlin MacAllister. He is determined to seduce her. Using her desperate need for funds and her talents as an artist, he convinces her to draw naughty pictures for his naughtier books…and he draws her into his decadent web.

But Kaitlin has a secret. She’s fled Scotland—and a very determined betrothed. When Edward’s cousin is kidnapped and held in her stead, Kaitlin is honor-bound to return to her homeland and rescue her—much to Edward’s chagrin.
Because suddenly he can’t bear the thought of Kaitlin marrying another man. He can’t bear the thought of losing her at all.






Kidnapped and held prisoner by menacing Scottish brigand, the notorious McCloud, Violet Wyeth does her best to persevere…and resist his rakish charms. But when she realizes The McCloud is really Ewan St. Andrews, the boy who once saved her life, the boy who once kissed her and made her heart flutter, she is lost.

Ewan has every intention of marrying Lady Kaitlin MacAllister. He desperately needs the entrĂ©e into the ton this bride can provide. But when his bride is delivered—bound and gagged—it’s not Kaitlin. It’s Violet Wyeth—the girl who betrayed him and ruined his life when he was a boy. He keeps her, determined to punish her for her sins. But when he discovers the truth about what really happened so long ago, and seething passion rises between them, he can no longer hold on to his rusty grudge. By the time he realizes how much he loves Violet—that he always has—he’s lost her.

All he can do is follow her. Follow her into the bowels of hell—and partake in the torment of the glittering London Season, where the harpies are far more dangerous than a Scottish brigand.

About Sabrina York

Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York is the award winning author of over 20 hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy erotic romance to scorching BDSM. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Business of Revenge

By Elizabeth Andrews (Guest Blogger)

As some of you may have guessed from that title, I am a big Princess Bride fan. Okay, that may be an understatement. I saw the movie in the theater when it was originally released eons ago, and I cannot even begin to guess how many times I have seen it in the years since. So many times that my children refuse to watch it with me, because they hate when I recite lines with the characters. (Of course, my children feel the same way when I recite lines with Harry Potter and his friends, or when I'm watching any LOTR films, or Dirty Dancing... Now that I think about it, my sons may have a point and I might have a problem.)

Anyway, one of the best parts of the movie, aside from the romance and the humor, is Inigo Montoya and his quest to avenge his father's death. He's been on this mission nearly all of his life, and he hasn't thought past his search for the six-fingered man. I suppose, having been on that hunt for so long, he may have given up hope of succeeding, which would account for not thinking about what he might do after he's killed the six-fingered man. After all, he's failed for so long, success must seem unattainable. Then, when he finally reaches his goal, well, what's next? He's survived and now he has an unplanned future staring him in the face. Now what?

While I was thinking about Inigo, I realized he isn't the only character I enjoy who's got revenge on his mind. Westley gets his own revenge on Prince Humperdinck for killing him and trying to marry Buttercup, though his is less final, more 'haha, I won, you lost'. I just sat through Wyatt Earp again last week, and there's all sorts of vengeance-seeking in that one, old West-style, on both sides. A really terrific revenge story arc takes place over the course of the most recent Batman movie trilogy, with events in the first movie setting the stage for the daughter of Ra's Al Ghul to get some payback on Bruce Wayne in the third installment for killing her father.

Another of my favorites is Troy, though Agammemnon shamelessly uses his brother Menelaus's quest for revenge on Paris for the theft of his wife as a really good excuse to take over another country. But Achilles does seek and get revenge on Hector for his accidental killing of Achilles's cousin. I must admit, though, that all the revenge is not my favorite part of this movie--it's the Greek mythology (okay, and Sean Bean, if I'm being totally honest; that man is mine! Mine, I tell you! Ahem.) If you're a fan of Greek myths, as I am, there are plenty of great stories there filled with quests for revenge, not to mention romance! The gods and goddesses aren't above getting their own vengeance either, taking many opportunities to show one another up or smack down a fellow deity for a slight. Aphrodite's unlovely husband Hephaestus gets a little revenge on his unfaithful wife when she strays with Ares. Even Zeus's wife Hera seeks revenge more than once on the objects of her husband's affections, or on the offspring his extra-marital affairs produce. Poor Hercules. She really puts that guy through the wringer before grudgingly allowing him to take his place on Olympus.

A Greek myth I've always found fascinating has to do with Perseus and Medusa. Medusa, depending on the version of her story that you read, has either been extremely foolish and bragged about her hair being more beautiful than Athena's, or been raped by Poseidon in Athena's temple, and then turned into a monster. Either way, I feel bad for her.

Perseus, however, is on a quest to rescue his mother from the clutches of a lech. Perseus hasn't had it easy--his grandfather locked his mother Danae away in a tower after being warned her son would one day kill him. Pretty girl locked in a tower = no son, right? That's what Acrisius thinks, but he's forgotten about Zeus and his proclivity for shapeshifting to get his women. Fast-forward a few months, and Acrisius locks his daughter and infant grandson into a trunk and dumps them in the sea. Except a fisherman rescues them.

Eventually, the king Polydectes sets his sights on Danae, who has no interest in being his queen. The king is persistent, and wily. He pretends he's chosen a new bride and each of his subjects must give him a gift; Perseus must bring him the head of Medusa. Eventually, after a series of adventures and misadventures, he does just that, wielding it to turn Polydectes to stone and get a bit of revenge for his treatment of Perseus and Danae.

In my paranormal romance, Hunting Medusa, I've taken Medusa and Perseus's story and twisted it a little. My hero Kallan Tassos is a descendant of Perseus, and he's still bent on killing Medusa, getting revenge for her escaping his family for millenia and some glory for himself. Only the Medusa isn't the monster he's been taught about all his life. And there go all his plans for revenge.

I want to offer enormous thanks to Lisabet for offering to host me on her blog. This has been so much fun for me, and hopefully for you, too! I would love to hear about some of your favorite stories of revenge, whether movie, book, or mythology. For everyone who tells me about those revenge stories within seven days of this blog post, I'll enter you into a drawing for my ebook!

~ Elizabeth Andrews

Hunting Medusa
The Medusa Trilogy, Book 1

When Kallan Tassos tracks down the current Medusa, he expects to find a monster. Instead he finds a wary, beautiful woman, shielded by a complicated web of spells that foils his plans for a quick kill and retrieval of her protective amulet.

Andrea Rosakis expects the handsome Harvester to go for the kill. Instead, his attempt to take the amulet imprinted on her skin without harming her takes her completely by surprise. And ends with the two of them in a magical bind—together. But Kallan isn’t the only Harvester on Andi’s trail…



Excerpt

It was one of those days when having the Medusa’s fabled power to turn people to stone would really come in handy.

Andrea Rosakis did not, however, have that ability, not this week, anyway. Even though she was the reigning Medusa.

She glared at the man on her back porch, wondering if he could ever understand how lucky he was she wasn’t suffering from PMS this week. And why wouldn’t he stop talking? Her fingers itched to slam the door.

“…if you just have five minutes, ma’am,” he concluded.

She narrowed her gaze on the vacuum beside him. “No, thank you.” And how the hell had he found her all the way out here? No one ever bothered to follow her rough, muddy driveway all the way to the top, even if they did ignore the “No Trespassing” signs posted at the foot of it. Not to mention the protective warding she had set at the boundaries of the entire property. Sure, it wasn’t the heavy artillery of protection spells, but no one else had ever gotten past it. This man however, had not only ignored the signs and the subtle “go away” protections, but managed the entire bumpy, muddy track into the woods and halfway up the mountain. Just to hear her say, “No.”

And he didn’t look discouraged. At all.

Andi almost wished she were PMSing this week, though it would be a real pain in the ass to have to get rid of a life-sized stone statue of a vacuum salesman.

Or maybe she could keep it. He was very pretty, even if he annoyed her. He was tall and broad, his inky black hair was a tad too long, and his bright green eyes held her attention. At least as stone, he’d be silent and still pretty. She gave herself a mental shake. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for this—”

When would be a better time?”

Never.”

He did blink at that, but his smile never disappeared. “I’ll have to check my calendar.”

She snorted, then clapped her free hand over her mouth. Laughing would not discourage the man. “Look, I’m sure it’s a great vacuum, but I don’t need it. I don’t want to see how it works, and I’d like you to get off my property.”

His smile did fade a little bit. “Well, I suppose, if that’s what you really want.”

She quirked an eyebrow, trying not to smile again. He had the faintest hint of an accent, but she couldn’t place it. Not without hearing him talk some more, and she didn’t want to encourage that either, or he’d just keep trying to sell her an expensive vacuum she didn’t need.

Maybe I could talk you into meeting me for coffee sometime then,” he said.

Her jaw dropped. The cute salesman was hitting on her. For half a second, she indulged the fantasy of a date with the hunk. A real date, maybe ending with a real kiss. Her pulse quickened. Then she remembered one good date led to more, and eventually, it led to guys running away from her, gibbering like idiots when PMS struck. She shut her mouth and ignored the regret burning in her middle. “Sorry, but no.”

You’re a hard woman,” he said lightly, his bright gaze sliding down to her mouth. “I’ll leave my card in case you change your mind. About the coffee, that is.” He forced a small card into her hand and picked up his vacuum.

Andi stared after him as he strode off her porch. The bulky vacuum looked like it weighed nothing in his hand, swinging at his side on his way to the shiny, new truck parked behind her car.

When he took one hand from the steering wheel to wave at her, she stopped herself from lifting her hand in response. He turned the truck around and vanished down the drive into the trees. Frowning, she went back inside and shut the door, then locked it and re armed the alarm. He’d tossed the vacuum into the bed of the truck. A very strong salesman.

Who didn’t seem to care the impending rain was going to damage his expensive vacuum.

She turned back to the door and stared out the narrow window beside it, her heart beating faster now with alarm. Maybe he didn’t realize. Or maybe he really hadn’t come here to sell her a vacuum.

She swallowed hard.

Aunt Celosia had always told the cousins stories of the Harvesters, the men who still hunted for the Medusa. Somehow, Andi had always thought they’d be more frightening. More obvious. Ugly men intent on murder.

If this vacuum salesman was a Harvester, he was sneaky. Of course, if he was a Harvester, he would be sneaky, as Perseus had been when he killed the first Medusa.

She was in a lot of trouble.



Hunting Medusa is available now from Samhain Publishing: 



About the Author

Elizabeth Andrews has been a book lover since she was old enough to read.  She read her copies of Little Women and the Little House series so many times, the books fell apart.  As an adult, her book habit continues.  She has a room overflowing with her literary collection right now, and still more spreading into other rooms. Almost as long as she’s been reading great stories, she’s been attempting to write her own.  Thanks to a fifth grade teacher who started the class on creative writing, Elizabeth went from writing creative sentences to short stories and eventually full-length novels.  Her father saved her poor, callused fingers from permanent damage when he brought home a used typewriter for her.

Elizabeth found her mother’s stash of romance novels as a teenager, and-though she loves horror- romance became her very favorite genre, making writing romances a natural progression.  There are more than just a few manuscripts, however, tucked away in a filing cabinet that will never see the light of day.

Along with her enormous book stash, Elizabeth lives with her husband of twenty years and two teenage sons, though no one else in the house reads nearly as much as she does.  When she’s not at work or buried in books or writing, there is a garden outside full of herbs, flowers and vegetables that requires occasional attention.


Blog: Elizabeth Andrews Writes http://elizabethandrewswrites.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @elizwrite
















Monday, July 21, 2014

Sneak Peek: Hearts in Ruin by J.C. Conway

[Got a sweet and sexy one for you today, by a very handsome male author of romance. Enjoy! ~ Lisabet]


Blurb

Andrea had one goal in life, a quiet career as a mainstream archaeologist—nothing more nothing less—and she's one ancient secret away. When she is teamed with maverick prodigy Daniel Fuchs at his controversial pre-Clovis dig on tribal land, she soon realizes his wild theories may sidetrack her career. Her smartest move is to expose him and that is exactly what she plans to do. Except…he’s hot, sexy, and there is a chance his theories may be right.

As the dig deepens and outside forces mount, Andrea and Daniel find their careers and their shaky relationship on the brink of ruin. Who can she trust? To survive professionally and emotionally, Andrea must decide between what is expected and what she believes, because time is running out and the developers' bulldozers are poised to level the site.

Delve into the mystery and excitement of an archaeological dig in the New Mexico desert and experience the drive, determination, and passion surrounding the quest to unlock the Paleolithic past in this contemporary, romantic suspense. Hearts In Ruin…no shovel required to join this adventure to discover an ancient truth!

Five-Star Review by Romance Junkies:

"My favorite part: wait until you get to their first kiss. Never in the history of romance novels has there been a kiss like it. The second kiss leads to even better things."

And now an excerpt including that raved-about first kiss....


Later in the evening, Daniel slipped out to the patio for a reprieve—just a few moments of peace. The wide balcony overlooked the east side of campus with the lights of town beyond, backed by the night shadows of the mesa. He inhaled. Even here, amid streets, buildings, miles of surrounding commercial and residential neighborhoods, the scent of the uncivilized desert predominated. Its stillness soothed him.

“So there you are.”

He turned, startled. Andrea stepped into view, stunning in Pamela’s dress. He’d seen her in it all evening, but not in the moonlight like this.

He struggled for composure. He hadn’t expected anyone to join him here, especially Andrea. She was a hit at the dinner, a fresh young woman, as smart as the stuffy regulars, but piercingly direct and good humored.

“Is everything all right?” he asked.

“Sure.” She stepped toward him. “Except my date ditched me.”

“I didn’t think you needed me in there.”

Her eyes glinted. “So, you tired of the crowd?”

He laughed. She could not have nailed it much better. “Let’s just say I’ve already been to enough meetings, dinners, and functions of all kinds with this group to fill a lifetime.”

She stood next to him now at the railing and stared across the campus. “It’s a pretty school.”

He shrugged. “It has its charms.”

A subtle hint of perfume mingled seamlessly with the desert breeze. Amazing. Most of the women inside seemed anxious to disguise or completely cover up the smell and feel of the dry desert environment. But Andrea, who had never lived in the climate or even visited the desert before, chose a fragrance that accepted it and even complimented its arid beauty.

“Not all fake Ivy-League like the U,” she explained.

He smiled. “No. And if you have a thing for adobe and stucco then you can really learn to love it.”

She turned, leaning back against the railing. “The people seem nice,” she ventured. “I don’t really know why you left. Just because they didn’t support the dig? It seems you could’ve worked it out with these folks.”

Daniel could not tear his gaze from her profile and the bare shoulders just touched by soft and inviting golden-brown hair. But he was held by more than that. All of her qualities were admirable. Not only was she fascinatingly attractive, and perhaps even in spite of it, she was brilliant and clear minded, and she loved her work.

“They um…” Daniel’s throat thickened, as if he were trying to talk underwater. There was something about her—something between them that transcended this project, he knew. He’d been avoiding it. He wanted no complications during the dig. But that was only part of the problem. The fact was, he didn’t want to draw her too far into his private quest. He couldn’t do that to her. Not now, not at this critical juncture with her career poised to launch. It was bad enough that she was the project leader, and he hoped she didn’t have to explain that away the rest of her life after he finally published his findings. But why then, if he felt that way, did he recruit her? She was clearly in the running for a post at a good school. This project, once the controversy surfaced, was not a good stepping stone on that path. Did he really think if he kept her role limited that it could minimize the fallout to her career?

It had been different for him. He didn’t work so hard for his opportunities. He had been young when he reached that point. Just eighteen, still a kid. He met Madeline and willingly abandoned most of the career courses Andrea should follow. He was committed to his project. He never saw it as a choice. But how could he lead Andrea down the same path—especially after she worked so hard for so many years to gain a solid foothold in academia?

Andrea’s brow furrowed with contemplation and she turned to him. “I think you should have just stuck to your guns here. They like you more than you know.”

He drew a breath. “Not all of them.”

She lowered her chin. “You’re about as likeable as they get.”

He smiled, and without thinking, touched her hand. She didn’t retreat. The air warmed with electricity. A remnant of his rational mind searched for a response to her statement—a quip, a compliment, a rebuttal…anything. But the futile effort was overshadowed by the sharpening of his senses, an awakening triggered by her presence and warm touch.

“I uh…”

She turned to face him squarely. He touched her arm, feeling the impossible softness of her skin. Her hand touched his stomach and slide to his waist. Her expression shifted. Her eyes surveyed his face. Was she searching for resistance or its opposite? He didn’t know. He wasn’t sure he cared. But he could tell that this closeness was something they’d both thought about before.

The moment grew, nearly eclipsing all else. He knew in his mind and heart that if he didn’t embrace her now, the moment could vanish forever. His heart pounded. He did not weigh options. This was not a matter of choice. It was roaring compulsion. He leaned close. He felt the heat of Andrea’s cheek, her warm breath. Their lips brushed across each other. Daniel savored the soft pass once, twice, then opening slightly more and connecting, pressing, tasting and melding. His chest filled with fire. The world fell away. He reached around her, pulling her close. She nestled in, leaving no gap.

He felt no barrier between them. His lips touched her nose, her cheek, the crook of her neck. He returned to her lips and they tasted each other again. Andrea mewed. It felt right to be lost in her touch and her breath. Their chests heaved together. Their embrace softened. Daniel roamed the curve of her spine. She responded with equal, soft passion. He felt the release of a long, satisfied sigh.

They touched foreheads.

He smiled. She giggled lightly.

A rough, “Ahem,” broke the moment like shattered crystal. They weren’t alone.

Eyes widened, they released their holds and turned.

“I don’t mean to disturb you.”

Daniel regained his bearing. William Lassiter and Morgan Hamilton stood near the patio door holding cocktail tumblers.

HEARTS IN RUIN is available at:
About the Author

J. C. Conway is a romance, science fiction and fantasy author, writing novels and short stories for adults, young adults and teens. Hearts in Ruin is his debut novel. He is a grand prize winner of the Yosemite Romance Writers Smooch contest. He will have short stories published this summer by The Colored Lens and Comets & Criminals. His writing passion began with a grade-school assignment to write anything he liked, which, at the time, included dinosaurs, robots, army heroes and alien invaders. Since then he's added deep simmering passion, tense internal conflict and emotional dilemmas. To learn more, visit his website at http://jcconway.com, his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/J.C.Conway.Writer, or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jcconwaywriter. Also feel free to visit http://HeartsInRuin.com, the website dedicated to his debut novel.