Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Kiss at Midnight

It wasn't deliberate, or what she'd expected.

Laura had actually planned to leave around eleven. She had to work tomorrow; hospitals didn't close for New Year's Day. The one glass of wine she allowed herself was long gone. She was exhausted from last night's shift. Her jaw ached from the constant smiling. She really didn't want to hear any more about Jill's and Howie's upcoming trip to Jamaica, or Martha's promotion, or Reese's engagement. All that Laura had to look forward to was curling up in the new quilt Mom has sent for Christmas, with a paperback mystery and her plump tabby Morris for company.

She'd made moves toward the bedroom where the coats were piled, but Gretch had intercepted her and begged her to stay. Gretchen was her best friend. Laura felt guilty refusing. She accepted a plastic glass of champagne and stood by the window, watching the drifting snow. Most of Gretchen's guests huddled around the TV, counting down with the broadcaster in Times Square.

Huge flakes swirled lazily like feathers from giant down pillow. She hoped that she'd be able to get a cab. Without thinking, she sipped at the effervescent liquid in her hand. It was chill and sweet on her tongue.

"Five. Four. Three. Two. One..." came the chant from the rest of the crowd. Laura barely heard them.

She felt his presence behind her an instant before he laid a firm hand on her shoulder and turned her around. She had a confused impression of worn plaid flannel and tousled brown hair as he gathered her to his chest and brought his face to hers.

His mouth was silky and strong and tasted like champagne. His brazen tongue played along the seam of her closed lips, teasing her into opening. A rush of heat flooded her when he entered, turning her earlobes and her nipples to burning coals. The air seemed to leave her lungs, sucked out by his energetic kiss. She staggered against him, suddenly dizzy. He held her closer, one bold hand cupping her buttocks while the other supported her under her arms.

He delved deeper, fanning the flames that whipped through her body. Between her legs, under her tights, she was melting. His scent rose around her, cherry pipe tobacco and old-fashioned lavender cologne. She ventured a tentative hand up his back and felt solid muscle move beneath his shirt. His fingertips grazed the side of her breast. A spark shot from her nipples down to her sex. She gasped into his mouth and he swallowed the small sound, kissing her harder.

Laura lost herself in the velvet darkness behind her closed eyelids. She didn't want to break the spell. She relaxed into his arms, letting him explore her body as though they were completely alone. Rigidness pressed against her belly, kindling a drunken sense of triumph. He was as aroused as she was.

The kiss lasted for hours. One moment he nibbled delicately as her lips. The next, he forced her wide and plundered her mouth, grinding his thigh against her crotch all the while. Champagne bubbles had found their way into her blood. She felt bouyant, giggly, light as air.

Finally he released her. "Happy New Year," the stranger murmured into her ear, nuzzling her throat wetly. Laura gazed up at dark eyes brimming with laughter and intelligence. She realized that she was trembling.

"Do I know you?" His face was vaguely familiar, but the rich baritone voice was completely new.

"You do now," he said with a grin. He raised his champagne glass to her in a silent toast, then took a sip. "I'm Dan. Gretchen's brother. And you're Laura, right?"

"Um--right." Laura felt her cheeks burn with embarrassment. "Did Gretchen put you up to this?" She forced herself to move away from him, even though what she really wanted was to throw herself back into his arms.

"Put me up to what?" Dan raised his eyebrows in mock innocence. "It's midnight on New Year's. You're supposed to kiss the person standing next to you."

Laura looked around. Sure enough, lots of couples were locked in heated embraces. She would have sworn that Dan's kiss had taken hours, but clearly it was only moments after midnight.

"Hm--well--thank you." Her still-taut nipples pressed against her sweater. She was sure that Dan could see them. She took another step backward and was acutely aware of how damp her panties had become. "I've got to go home now. Happy New Year."

"Wait!" He grabbed her hand. His strength was obvious. Laura wished she could melt into the floor. "Don't go yet. It's early." He searched her face and she saw doubt in his eyes for the first time. "Unless there's someone waiting for you...someone else...a lover..."

Laura's resistance fluttered away like the snowflakes outside. "No, there's no one waiting for me--except my cat. I don't have a lover."

Dan's relief was obvious. He circled her waist and pulled her against him. "Now you do."

His lips claimed hers once more. Laura knew it was going to be a good year.

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a fabulous 2015!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review Tuesday: The Sweetest Thing

The Sweetest Thing by Julius Addlesee
Edited by Nan Andrews

Do you remember good old vanilla lust? Before FSOG or A.N. Roquelaures Beauty Trilogy? Before music videos full of lewdly prancing, half-naked androgynous bodies? Before twerking and sexting? Before being gay became a fashion statement? Do you recall watching your next door neighbor hang her undies or wash his car and thinking you were going to die of desire? Do you remember when sex was rare, when it was private, when you dreamed about it non-stop?

Julius Addlesees collection The Sweetest Thing will take you back to those days. Although the characters and situations in this book vary, all these stories focus on mutual heterosexual lust, seasoned by serendipity, affection, and, in many cases, lingerie. Julius’ characters often start out lonely, but when a carnal opportunity presents itself, they seize it with both hands (and get other body parts involved as well). Although most are set in contemporary times, these tales feel old-fashioned because the characters experience desire in such an enthusiastic, uncomplicated way. No one takes sexual pleasure for granted, but no one questions it, either. There’s no guilt, no angst, no inner conflicts other than some occasional embarrassment at having one’s arousal unmasked.

There’s an innocence about these tales. The mostly male narrators display a sense of wonder when confronted with the glory of women. Characters linger over foreplay, delighting in the tastes, smells, and textures of their partners, who tend not to be model-thin or movie-star handsome but who are nevertheless almost unbearably desirable. Sex is special, a sweet mystery to decipher, a gift waiting to be opened.

In “There Comes a Time”, for instance, we meet twenty five year old Justin. “Life had conspired to make him a virgin, or rather, to keep him a virgin.” His buxom, fifty-ish neighbor Brenda knows just what to do about that problem.

Neighbors help one another out again in the exuberant “Mrs. MacLeod”. In this case the protagonist is a widower who admires the lady of the title as she walks by his house each day:

His late wife had accused him many times of being a tit man. He was a tit man. He loved all the other bits, too, but it was a woman’s boobs that always drew his first glance. That, or rather those, were what made Mrs. McLeod special. Hers were big. By most standards they were too big, but when you’re a real tit man, it’s hard to ascribe the words ‘too big’ to any woman’s breasts. Hers fascinated him.

He never missed his sightings of them. She was perhaps five-eight, and although wide of hip and heavy of bust, she bore herself with considerable grace. Her breasts varied their position on her chest, no doubt depending on her choice of bra. Their bounce factor varied too, for the same reason, of course.

One glorious day, he’d seen her obviously braless. Just the once. She’d no doubt realized, as did Reg, that her breasts were too heavy to be free like that. But their heavy movement and very, very obvious nipples had been a remarkable sight. The next day, he’d even set his alarm clock - just in case. But there’d been no repeat of that delightful performance, that morning or since.

Julius likes his ladies with plenty of flesh. Age doesn’t really matter. His heroines may be fresh and sassy or mature and nurturing. In “Happy Birthday, Mr. Hewitt”, a voluptuous twenty-something woman shows up in Graham Hewitt’s office, dressed in a garter belt, lacy black stockings and a tiny thong, and proceeds to give him a very special birthday gift – only to discover her services had actually been booked on behalf of Graham’s twin brother Gordon. In “Perfect in Every Detail”, orderly and somewhat repressed Milly receives a box of exquisitely detailed, penis-shaped chocolates, mistakenly delivered to her confectionery shop rather than to the adult toy store next door. When she returns them to their rightful owner, she is introduced – much to her eventual delight – to the real-world model for the candy cocks.

Some of the stories, like “The Airman and The Lady” or “Six Miles High”, focus on chance encounters or once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Others, like “Crumpet Buttered Lips”, “Waking Dream” and “Her Fuck Was Coming”, offer peeks into the lives of established couples. Even when the couple involved are strangers, the tales in this collection take a romantic view of sex. More often than not, there’s at least a hint that the wonderfully satisfying sexual encounters chronicled in the story will be repeated in the future.

One of the more unusual stories, and one of my personal favorites, is “Time Travel Made Easy”. This scifi fantasy takes place two centuries in the future. Fertility has dropped dramatically. The narrator works in the “Female Acquisition Department”, where androids deliver healthy young women fetched from the twentieth century. The females’ eggs are harvested before they’re returned to their own time. Due to a system glitch, copper-haired Arabella shows up in the acquisition pod – a woman from 1699 rather than 1999. Born in a benighted time when women were property and men were more or less brutes, Arabella has never experienced foreplay or the pleasures of a considerate lover. As you might guess, she turns out to be a fast learner.

Another favorite was “Pussy-holic”, about an author of erotica who is more of less stalked by one of his fans. Together, they act out what had previously been only fiction.

The author is very much present in these tales. His personal feelings about women – something just short of worship - blazes bright in every story. In addition, several of the stories feature historical or cultural notes, especially the tales that draw on Julius’ own career in aviation.

Overall, The Sweetest Thing is an arousing and entertaining, if unfashionably straight, book. It left me with a sense of nostalgiaas well as an appropriately moist pussy.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sneak Peek:: Heart-mate, Mine by N.J. Neilsen


Two lives—One destiny. When fate decides two people belong together, nothing can stand in its way. Liam Kantry and Carlo Bruenelli find themselves caught up in the madness of Christmas and taking care of a child as they discover the meaning of being true heart-mates.

Liam Kantry wants to be with the man he has loved his whole life, yet incessant gossip and innuendos have labelled him the pack whore—a point he has never disputed. Now the rumours have come back to bite him in the arse.

Carlo Bruenelli is waiting for his heart-mate; he's one of the pack who truly believes they really do exist. In his heart he wants it to be his best friend, only problem is he knows Liam doesn't believe in heart-mates. What will it take to change Liam's mind? And should he even try?

Christmas is drawing near, and between snowball fights and the inter-pack gathering, Liam and Carlo find themselves caught up in the excitement and obsessing over what their future holds. Especially when a small child forms a bond with them. They learn there is more out there than they ever dreamt was possible.

Can Liam and Carlo work around the newness of their own mating to protect someone who needs it most?

CONTENT ADVISORY: This work is a significantly expanded (almost tripled in length), re-edited re-release title.

Everyone had a fear, and Carlo's was probably no different to anyone else's. His fear involved running into the love of his life, Liam Kantry, and being ignored completely. Liam often starred in Carlo's nightly dreams of who his heart-mate should look like, yet sadly Liam only ever looked at him like an annoying, dorky, younger brother--a brother you didn't want hanging around all the time. Usually, it was hard to avoid him since they belonged to the same pack. Thoughts like these had been plaguing him for the last month or so leading up to this special week.

The Moon Runner Pack had been chosen to host the inter-pack meet-and-greet on their lands where guests from other packs would be coming in hope of finding a mate. Most people didn't believe in heart-mates. Carlo was truly one of the few in the pack who actually believed heart-mates existed. Somewhere out there's the perfect person looking for me. A tingle of excitement surged through him at the mere possibility of it being true. I'm twenty-one. I'm finally old enough to attend the party. Let's hope he's here and just as eager to meet me. Wish it could be Liam, but wouldn't we have known by now if we were? Hopefully Christmas Day I'll have pushed aside my crush on Liam Kantry and I'll know whether or not my heart-mate is out there searching for me as well—that is, if he even comes to the gathering. My luck, he won't even bother turning up.

Man, he hoped he was wrong and his heart-mate existed in the here and now, waiting to meet him as well. Never once had he doubted that his future mate would be a male. Fate wouldn't be so cruel to pair him with a woman he could never really love. Being mated to a female wouldn't be fair to either of them. If it came down to his mate being someone who wasn't male, he'd simply explain everything to her and let her find someone else she could be happy with. Carlo had even heard that this year there were packs coming to attend from even farther afield than usual. This gathering also became the time new alliances were made between packs, where packs could ask another for help in any way. Bloodshed was frowned upon at these gatherings, but sometimes it became unavoidable—or so he'd been told.

The alpha had asked him, because it was his first time, to become involved this year by being seen at the meeting hall, not hiding away from the pack like he usually did. Apparently all members of the pack who had come of age and were eligible to attend were asked to help out. So here he was now, wet as all get-go—because he'd only moments before slipped and landed in a puddle as he tried to dodge a car on the street outside the hall. Dripping wet, he grumbled as he walked through the falling snow toward the last place he wanted to be—the pack town hall. Carlo hoped to avoid everything until the starting ceremony itself, but Darian and the alpha had nixed that thought early on. The plain truth was he didn't want to have to be anywhere he'd have to bear witness to Liam flirting with other people. Carlo was a coward, and he knew it. He wasn't disputing the fact at all. As he neared the building, the noise coming from within sounded muted, but still loud in a raucous kind of way.

Carlo waved to a couple leaving the crowded room as he entered. He didn't know them, but he thought it would be a polite and friendly gesture to the wolves who'd be arriving to stay with the Moon Runner pack over the next few days. He didn't even complain much when Sally Anne Meyers, the alpha's younger sister, made him strip out of his outer layers before she allowed him to step foot inside the door.

She'd joked, "If you were smarter, you'd strip in time to the music and make yourself a little money on the side." Her laughter sounded light, and Carlo knew she wasn't being mean. Being twenty-one herself, she probably also found herself being forced to be sociable. Unlike him, Sally Anne actually liked being the centre of attention, especially if it garnered the interest of a certain pack member. According to Marcus, the pack gossip, Sally Anne had set her sights on Wade Michelson this year. She'd chosen him as her mate and she'd do anything to get what she wanted.

"The only problem is they'd make me pay the money back with interest once they saw me naked," he replied, snickering before he handed her the wet clothes.

"Go sit by the fire and I'll call your mum to bring you some dry clothes. We wouldn't want all your lovely bits and pieces to fall off, now would we?"

What the fuck? Is she flirting with me? "Are you trying to get my arse beat? If you keep that talk up, you'll make Wade crazy jealous and he'll come after me."

"Hah! That big galoot wouldn't know which end faced up if someone didn't tell him." There seemed to be no heat in her words.

"I thought you were determined to be his mate?" Carlo asked, curious as he saw the glint of something in her eye.

She waved him away. "He's mine. He just doesn't know it yet. His days of sleeping around are over." She sniffed haughtily then burst out laughing. "Go on. Go warm up and I'll get you some dry clothes. I saw Liam in here earlier--not sure if he's still here though."

He gave her one last smile before he did as told. "Thank you." He wasn't sure if he thanked her for calling his mum or for letting him know Liam Kantry sat in the hall talking with friends.

The sounds of carols playing through the speakers, combined with happy laughter ringing out were enough to get even the most miserable person into the Christmas spirit. The interior walls had been transformed from their usual drab wooden bareness to having an array of colours splashed across them. The effect was kind of stunning. Whoever had decorated this year had taste.

With all the festivities going on around him, Carlo couldn't have stopped smiling even if he'd wanted to. He actually loved this time of year--always had. The fact remained he loved everything about Christmas, from the addictive aroma of the baked goods to the scent of the pine trees filling the air, but most of all he loved the feeling of family and everyone being together.

His love of everything Christmas started the year his father gave him his very own sled. That year he'd met Liam Kantry for the first time. He'd also met Liam's brothers Marcus and Theo. They'd taken turns sharing his sled while riding down the hills out on the back of the pack lands. The day seemed to rush by, none of them coming in until August Kantry, the boys' father, had come looking for them. On the way home, he'd given them all a lecture on what were safe and unsafe times to stay out playing when their parents were sitting at home and waiting for them.

Christmas was just around the corner and his family was getting ready to celebrate in style. His mother was known by many as a baking fiend when it came to roasts, but no one in the pack came even close to beating Mary Kantry when it came to baking Christmas goodies. She had become a legend among the pack, especially for her Christmas bread. Hell, even just the thought of it had Carlo's mouth watering. His thoughts came back to the present when he heard an all too familiar voice. Oh great, so Liam really is still here—yippee... not!

Author Bio

NJ needs to write like she needs to breathe. It’s an addiction that she never intends to find a cure for. When you don’t find NJ arguing with Vlad, her muse or writing about the wonderful men in her stories, you’ll find her reading work by other authors she greatly admires. NJ lives in the SE of Qld, Australia with her family who all encourage her writing career even if she does occasionally call them by her character’s names. NJ thinks that anyone taking the time to read her stuff is totally awesome.

Find N.J. Here

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Snog #155: Easy

Today's snog comes from my holiday short "Easy". You can read the full story (which is not very long) over at my website

In a way, this story rings counterpoint to my latest release, Slush. Both are narrated from the perspective of the hero. Both focus on the redeeming power of compassion. And both deal with homelessness - a special heartbreak in this season when we go home to our families.

I hope that you'll take the time to read the whole story - and to be grateful for your blessings, as the new year approaches.

After you've read my snog, head back to Victoria's place for lots more luscious kisses.

"Good afternoon, sir.”

He started, the youthful voice pulling him from his drowsy stupor.

“Ah—um—good afternoon.” She was a beacon of color in the monochrome landscape, with pink cheeks, copper curls and a long, holly-green coat. A matching green ribbon held her fiery hair away from her face. She was young, certainly no more than twenty, with a freshness that made her seem old-fashioned. That coat reminded him of one his mother used to wear in the fifties, shaped like the letter A with those funny sleeves—raglan sleeves, they were called. He felt irrationally pleased that he could remember. His mother's coat had been a sober brown, though. This woman's garment was so bright it made him blink.

She stepped closer, out of the sleet, joining him under the overhang.

“Wintery weather,” she commented, smiling up at him. Her eyes were the same startling hue as her coat. Her lips formed a perfect bow. Even in the chill air, he caught a hint of her scent, cool and fresh like evergreens in snow.

He was suddenly aware of his own funky smell, his ragged clothing and his three days of stubble. He searched the girl's face for the inevitable sympathy or scorn. He found neither. Instead, inexplicably, he recognized desire.

His cock stirred inside his sweatpants. Was it possible? Exhausted and underfed, he hadn't been horny in months.

She took his hand in her own small, bare fingers. “I know someplace warmer. Come with me.”

She drew him along the slippery path that circled the lake. Needles of sleet pricked his cheeks. His sweatshirt grew wetter with each step. In her cashmere coat and patent-leather boots, the woman seemed not to notice the weather.

Another spot of color grew before them. A Japanese-style bridge, rust-red, arched over the narrowest point in the hourglass-shaped lake. The trail crossed the bridge. He had never noticed the stairway leading down the bank. There was a ledge underneath, bordering the water, making a snug private space. He had to crouch down to follow her inside. The bridge swept upward, just over their heads.

“We're out of the wind here,” she told him, her voice like bells. “Let's sit down.” She slipped the coat off her shoulders and spread it over the dry stone.

He couldn't believe his eyes. Under the festive-hued coat, she was naked. Her skin was a creamy peach tone. The buds tipping her sweet, small breasts were a deeper rose. A ginger tangle at the apex of her thighs hid her sex. She looked like an innocent angel. Her smile as she reached for his zipper, though, hinted of lascivious delights.

“Wait—I can't...” His erection thickened by the second as she worked at his jeans but his shame was stronger than his lust. “Please, I haven't had a shower in a week. I smell...”

“I don't care,” she murmured, peeling the denim away from his hips and starting work on the sweatpants underneath. “I like the way you smell.” She gripped his rod. Her flesh was hot against his chilled skin.

“But why...?” His protests grew weaker as she pumped her hand up and down his length. “Who...?”

She stopped him with a peppermint flavored kiss. “Because I want you. Now. I can't wait.” He surrendered, sinking back onto the soft wool, entwined in her arms.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Naughty Literati

By Suz DeMello (Guest Blogger)

Introducing the Naughty Literati! Who are the Naughty Literati, you ask? We are a group of steamy romance writers who have banded together to produce excellent stories, stories so hot, so cool, so unique, so special that they deserve special treatment. We plan to give the world--the romance reading world, that is--four anthologies annually--more or less.

Naughty List, our first boxed set, of course has a winter holiday theme, but this is far from your usual vapid fare about kissing under the mistletoe and random sex at office Christmas parties. No--we have stories from the steamiest erotica to the most heart-warming happily ever after. We have medievals and futuristics, ménages and committed couples rediscovering love. You want romance? You want hot sex? We have it all.

And, of course, we also have holiday food, glorious food. And why not? Our winter memories often focus on food, from Halloween candy through the Thanksgiving feast to candy canes at Christmas to Champagne at New Year’s, and hot chocolate anytime.

In Viking in Tartan, my medieval tale of a vampire and clanswoman finding love--and each other--little Clan Kilbirnie celebrates a Yuletide wedding with what were traditional Scottish goodies: roasted lamb with a sauce made of berries and rosemary along with wheat boiled in broth and some haggis. Roasted rabbit and fish from the chilly ponds rounded out the meal, with both a sweet and a savory custard ending all.

Here’s a delicious excerpt:

And that eve, Da joined them, reciting the solemn but joyous words that would bind her to her Viking warrior forever. She glanced around. Their Great Hall wasna so great, but on this afternoon the servants had outdone themselves. They’d cleared away the remains of the previous night’s revelry and decorated every table, mantel and window ledge with fresh evergreen and holly boughs. Their fragrance and bright berries lent a festive atmosphere to the ceremony. Pale moonlight struggled through the few arrow slits uncovered by tapestries.

A fire crackled and glowed, fed by the great Yule log that smoldered in the hearth. She was relieved to notice that because the storm wind had died down, the chimney didna smoke—for they were standing in front of the hearth for the short ceremony.

Clearly aware of the event’s importance, Erland had cleaned his boots, combed his long hair and shaved with a borrowed razor. He had found the largest plaid available and, with her brother’s help, had pleated it into a kilt and wore it belted atop immaculate linen borrowed from her da. The shirt almost fit, Da having gained more than a little weight as he’d aged.

Everyone had washed and was clad in their best. She’d done her part, choosing her finest cyrtel for the event. ’Twas fashioned of a soft red wool that looked especially well with her dark hair and eyes.

Erland looked down, caught her glance and smiled gently, in keeping with the solemnity of the occasion. She smiled back, her heart warmed, her pride swelling. Her man was an unexpected treasure. He’d already shown he could defend as well as love her. And he’d managed to get on with Da and Keith, despite his Viking heritage.

What would their bairns be like? Though she was still a mite sore, she could scarce wait to have Erland again and begin their new life.

How everything had changed in less than a day! She found it hard to remember she’d been willing to die rather than be joined to a man she detested. Indeed, she had promised herself she’d never wed, would never allow herself to be used as a pawn in her da’s schemes.

And she hadna. Fate had chosen her man. But how she had fallen so swiftly for Erland?

She wrenched her mind away from her stray, tumbling thoughts when Da wrapped a swatch of Kilbirnie plaid around their crossed wrists, joining them.

They kissed but briefly, with Rhona mindful of her da and brother watching.

The onlookers’ cheers bounced off the hall’s stone walls before everyone broke ranks to hug her and Erland. He looked a bit startled before he accepted the clan’s embrace.

She hoped that amity would continue. Scots and Vikings were fierce enemies, due to the Northmen’s frequent raids. Though the Kilbirnie clan was small and their lands lay in the south and west of Scotland—farther away from Scandinavia—they nevertheless lived in fear of the raiders. The Vikings dominated the islands to the west and north and were a force to be reckoned with.

She shunted all that aside to enjoy her wedding feast. Da had ordered a young sheep, one of the lambs born the previous spring, slaughtered so they ate it roasted with a sauce made of berries and rosemary along with wheat boiled in broth and some haggis. Roasted rabbit and fish from the chilly ponds rounded out the meal, with both a sweet and a savory custard ending all. Everyone noisily crowded around the tables to share the bounty.

You can buy the boxed set here:


And here’s a recipe for the custard that Clan Kilbirnie may have eaten that long-ago Yule:

5 eggs
1/2 c honey
2 c fresh milk
1 tsp finely ground sea salt
Ground cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Mix the ingredients together and bake until firm. In the 13th century, Clan Kilbirnie would not have had ovens, not even a primitive one. So the cauldron containing the custard would have been placed on the kitchen hearth for the baking.


About Suz deMello

Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s held the positions of managing editor and senior editor, working for such firms as Totally Bound and Ai Press. She also takes private clients.

Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.

A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.

--Find her books at
--For editing services, email her at suzdemello [at] gmail [dot] com
--Befriend her on Facebook:
--She tweets @Suzdemello
--Her current blog is

Friday, December 26, 2014


It's Boxing Day. You and your family are probably recovering from too much food and drink, relaxing after a deluge of visitors, or exploring your holiday gifts.

You're probably not thinking about the fact that today's the tenth anniversary of one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern times - the Great Indian Ocean Tsunami.

I live in Asia, though, and here the memory is still remarkably fresh. On the morning of December 26, 2004, an enormous earthquake measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale ruptured the earth's crust off the west coast of Sumatra, the largest island in Indonesia. Within the next few hours, waves ten meters high or more slammed into Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia and a number of countries in East Africa, sweeping away settlements like so much trash, pulverizing buildings, stripping away vegetation and killing, overall, almost 230,000 people.

One can scarcely grasp that level of mortality. That's close to 100 times the number of people who died in the 9/11 attack in the US, and twice the number of Americans killed in combat during World War I. In many cases, those affected were poor villagers struggling to make a living from fishing or farming in coastal regions. Thousands of wealthy tourists fell victim, too, especially in the Andaman Sea resorts of Thailand, the Nicobar Islands and the Maldives.

I vividly remember the solemn mood at year end, 2004. New Year's festivities were cancelled. Everyone wore black. As new stories of devastation and death showed up each day, I had a scary sense of helplessness. We weren't personally affected, but we knew families who were. During those first weeks of January, I sleep-walked through my daily activities, numb with shock and grief.

I can't begin to imagine how I would have reacted if I'd lost anyone close to me in the disaster.

Three months after the quake, we traveled to the affected area in Thailand on holiday. An eerie quiet pervaded the resorts. The lovely beaches were deserted. Asians are seriously afraid of ghosts, and those wave-scoured beaches were viewed as haunted. The particular town where we stayed had been hit with no more than a glancing blow, but we still saw derelict buildings and swathes of land contaminated with sea salt.

Ten years later, there are thousands whose bodies have never been recovered. Those people simply winked out of existence that fateful day.

This probably isn't what you want to read about the day after celebrating Christmas with your family and friends. It's what's on my mind, though.

I feel simultaneously guilty and grateful about surviving.  The event made me realize just how fragile life is, how unpredictable a world we live in, and how important it is to appreciate every day we're given.
In this season of peace, that is what I wish, for the survivors and for those who were lost.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Cats, Bacon and Tiaras: How to Own the Internet

By Sabrina York (Guest Blogger)

Okay. Let’s be honest. I do tend to be oblivious about anything that’s not connected to my current Work In Progress, and since I am almost always writing something, that means, most of the time, I am pretty oblivious.

When I was working on my latest release, Snow Angels, I had no idea of the internet subculture surrounding cats and bacon. I did not discover this until I started working on my media kit for the story and kerpow! One google search and I was inundated.

Who knew? Cats and bacon are hot!

I should not be surprised. I love them both. And they both feature in my steamy military hero romance…just not the way you would think! Let’s explore a couple inside secrets about Snow Angels:

THE BACON: If you’ve read anything I’ve written, you know the probability of bacon is high. I have something of an obsession for the stuff. If you don’t believe me, check this out:
In this story, I took it to a new level. The bacon actually serves as a character in the story. And certainly features in the plot twists. Without that bacon, Wade and Lyssa would have been doomed. (Doomed I tell you.) But then, isn’t that the way it always is with bacon?

INSIDE SECRET: Much bacon was consumed during the writing of this story. Okay. Not really a secret to those who know me.

THE CAT. I love cats because they don’t take any crap off anybody and they are funny as hell (but don’t tell them that—they are easily offended). Since Wade and Lyssa are trapped together in a snowbound cabin, I thought it would be fun to throw a dog…and a cat in the mix. That this cat is a bacon klepto only makes her more loveable. She is also a little chunky, so when she leaps onto the table to steal some bacon, the coffee sloshes. You can picture it, right?

FAVORITE LINE IN THE BOOK: Biby rounded the couch and parcoured off the coffee table up into the mantel. Bo, hard on the cat’s tail, but lacking those razor-sharp feline reflexes, skidded in the turn on the hardwood floor and plowed into Wade, knocking him over.

TRUTH: Cats do parcour. 

INSIDE SECRET: Biby is named after one of my street team members, whose icon is a white cat.

THE TIARA: Okay, there is no tiara in this book. I am just mentioning it because it is my emblem, and I occasionally give them away to readers and I happen to be doing a Snow Angels Tiara Giveaway and I thought you might be interested.

I hope you have enjoyed this peek inside Snow Angels! Be sure to check out all the Calendar Men and see if one of them lights your fire! (You need a lit fire to cook bacon, after all!)

SNOW ANGELS by Sabrina York 
Available December 1st from Decadent Publishing

The last thing Wade Masters wants on his month-long getaway to his sister’s wilderness cabin is company. A wounded warrior, Wade is looking for complete isolation to deal with the tragedy of his life and his screaming guilt.

But company he gets, in the form of Lyssa Salk, a spunky, diminutive massage therapist. Who says she can talk to dead people.

Trapped together in the snowbound cabin, Wade and Lyssa have little else to do but help each other heal, spiritually, physically and sexually.


About the Calendar Men Series
Read all 12 stories in this brand new multi-author series for 2014...and you'll have a new book-boyfriend for every month of the year!

Off the charts swoon-factor.
Hot heroes.
A man for every month.


Told by some of best authors in the world of romance, the Calendar Men stories have contemporary settings and star strong heroes doing good while
looking great; men pose for a charity calendar to help military families of fallen heroes. Each has his own special reason for wanting to help the fictional Hero Family Fund, and each has his own obstacles to overcome.

February – February Lover by Rebecca Royce


I admit it, I am a bling addict. As a result, I occasionally need to empty out my tiara closet so I can buy more. Enter to win one of your own and a signed copy of one of my print books here:

Giveaway ends December 31st

About Sabrina York

Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy to scorching erotic romance. 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 to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!

Favorite my Amazon Author Page:
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Follow me on Twitter @sabrina_york
Check out my Pintrest boards (prepare to spend the day):


The last thing Katie expects—when she meets her friend Joy for a girls’ weekend in Vegas to celebrate her divorce—is an ambush. But Joy, determined to get Katie “back on the horse,” has submitted her profile with Madame Eve—who’s found her the perfect man.

Katie doesn’t want another man. She certainly doesn’t want or need confirmation that it’s her fault Mark could never satisfy her.
When Sebastian—scarred by the infidelity of his wife—overhears Katie’s confession, and the fact that she was faithful to her husband for ten years even though he never met her needs, he’s intrigued. More than intrigued. He’s determined to prove to this gorgeous, tempting, fascinating woman that she is not frigid. In fact, she is fierce.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Review Tuesday: Master of O

Master of O by Ernest Greene
Daedalus Publishing, 2014

Steven Diamond is an extremely successful trial lawyer in his early sixties, with strong opinions, expensive tastes, a penchant for dominance, and a heart as impervious as his last name. When his younger half-brother Ray gives him the lovely and talented fetish photographer O to be his slave, Steven’s first inclination is to decline. As one of the founding members of The Mansion, a luxurious private venue catering to practitioners of kink, he has ready access to a stable of well-trained submissives on whom he can practice his deviant desires. Steven knows how much Ray cares about O and doesn’t want to see his somewhat feckless sibling hurt. One night with O, though, is enough to make Steven realize that she’s unique. He has never met a submissive more finely attuned to his needs and preferences, nor one so eager and so able to endure the extremities he loves to inflict. She is his equal in intelligence, spirit, and evil imagination. As Master and slave, they make a perfect pair, but as time goes on, Master Steven finds he wants more.

In Master of O, Ernest Greene borrows the characters from Pauline Réage’s erotic classic, but aside from the emphasis on BDSM, the two books have little in common. The original Story of O focuses on the slave O’s experience, both physical and emotional, as she descends more and more deeply into total submission. Master of O, for the most part, is narrated from Steven’s perspective, as O walks into and, ultimately, out of his life. Story of O is a slim 200 pages, while Mr. Greene’s book runs to over 900. While Réage’s novel partakes of a dream-like quality, with O drifting in and out of scenes of pain, humiliation and debasement, Greene’s opus is hyper-realistic, laden with detail that at times becomes excessive.

I have somewhat mixed feelings about Master of O, but I can honestly say that despite its length, I did not get bored. The story, which revolves around Stevens deepening attachment to O as well as their joint plot to hook Ray up with one of Os models, moves along smartly, punctuated by frequent, lengthy and explicit BDSM scenes. A lively cast of secondary characters joins in the orgies of bondage, flogging and fucking. Most of the time, the nicely varied sex scenes do play some role in advancing the plot and/or revealing the natures of the characters. In some cases, theyre just for fun, for instance, a wild six-way romp in a private jet, with several Mansion slaves costumed in latex stewardess uniforms.

Steven and O live in a world where D&S activities are the norm. Everyone around them is kinky. Ray makes his living publishing a high-class fetish magazine. Os photographs of beautiful women bound and abused are partially responsible for the magazines success. Stevens ex-wife Marie runs The Mansion as well as supervising a bevy of aspiring slaves in her own home. Even Stevens secretary is comfortable with bondage, piercings, and nipple clamps, at least as a spectator. And everything is consensualthe slaves clearly enjoy their roles as much as the dominants.

At the same time, this book does not treat D&S entirely as play. The scene in which O accepts piercing and extensive tattooing to mark her as Stevens property has an almost transcendent quality - a dignity, a level of ceremony, that attests to its significance in the kink community. As O willingly undertakes painful hours under the needle, she is surrounded by her sister slaves, as well as Marie, Ray and Steven. All are left spell-bound by her beauty and her glad suffering.

Stevens and Os interactions go beyond mere amusement or sexual satisfaction. Linked by complementary fantasy and mutual perfectionism, they engage in a quest for increasingly total controlStevens control over O, Os control of herself.

In one of the most memorable scenes, Steven and O contemplate a set of erotic drawings together:

The image was powerful. A tall, spectacularly curvaceous woman of perhaps thirty-five lolled in the arms of a muscular, bearded man many years her senior. He stood, holding her barely upright, close against his broad chest. His penis, jutting up under the womans back, was equally impressive. He looked down at her with a strange combination of severity and tenderness. The womans eyes were closed. Her face was transported with an ecstatic transcendence familiar from the images of martyrs O had seen on the walls of many an Iberian church.

But the most arresting aspect of the drawing was the scrupulously rendered evidence of intense and prolonged flagellation. The woman was marked from her collarbones to the bottoms of her feet. A variety of different instruments had been used on her with great patience and skill. A layer of broad strap marks had been applied first, followed by a global lashing with some kind of slender, cutting whip that left long narrow welts, the deepest of which oozed tiny rivulets of blood. The whipping had obviously gone on for hours until ever inch of her exposed flesh was covered in thin stripes inflicted with sufficient restraint to fade within a couple of weeks.

The woman was collared but otherwise unrestrained and though clearly too exhausted to flee or resist, showed no evidence of wanting to do either. Something profound had clearly transpired between the two of them. The viewer was left to conjecture the specifics from the visible aftermath.

Now thats my idea of a good whipping,Steven said.

You could whip me like that if you wanted,O replied without an instants hesitation, eager at the prospect.

Steven looked over at her gravely.

Careful what you offer. You know Ill do it.

Why would I offer otherwise?

They looked into each others eyes for a long moment.

This is one of the most erotic moments in the 900 page novel, in my view. All Stevens clever instruments of torture dont begin to turn me on like this admission of shared deviance.

Later, toward the end of the book, Steven makes good on his promiseat Os insistence. Shivers run up my spine at the thoughtnot of the beating itself, but at Os determination to endure it.

As illustrated by the quote above, the writing in this novel ranges from mostly competent to occasionally inspired. Mr. Greene has a talent for clever observations.

The shades were down over the glass wall, and no light came from beneath. Somewhere deep in the empty park across the boulevard someone was playing the violin, quite expertly. Once again, Steven laughed at the town where the Department of Incidental Surrealism was the only agency that worked overtime. (p 142)

Performing complex procedures without losing concentration on their purpose was the BDSM equivalent of walking and chewing gum, yet few of those who had topped her possessed that ability. (p 631)

[When youre out about being kinky]Try making a campaign contribution and see what happens. You know youve achieved infamy when politicians wont take your money.(p 683)

In short, Master of O provides plenty of kinky action, a bit of deeper exploration into the psychological aspects of BDSM, and decent writing. Why do I say that I have mixed feelings about the book?

First of all, its rife with typographic errors, missing or incorrect words, even sentences that trail off without completion. At once point, I notice that the main characters name was spelled wrong. At first I bookmarked each error; after about hundred pages I didnt bother anymore. An author who allows his book to be published with these sorts of problems loses a lot of my respect, no matter how sexy a story he has penned.

Second, despite his generally competent command of language, the author has serious problems maintaining a consistent point of view. Im not a purist, eager to condemnhead hoppingin any form, but in this book the POV shifts from one character to another without any signal or justification. In some cases this tendency interferes with comprehension. In others, its merely irritating.

Finally, the books obsessive descriptions can become wearying. I understand that, by mentioning every element in Stevens wardrobe, including his watch, his pen, his jewelry and his wallet, the author is trying to convey the characters preoccupation with, and desire to control, these details. Once or twice would have been enough, however, to make this point. Instead, whenever Steven goes outthroughout the full 900 plus pages - were treated to a litany of clothing and brand names.

Some of the BDSM scenes suffer from similar problems. By exhaustively describing every implement and recounting every action, the author paradoxically reduces the immediacy and intensity of the scene.

In some cases, though, the books preoccupation with detail makes it more effective. Unlike the encyclopedic enumeration of Stevens (and Rays) clothing, the descriptions of the female slaves and their fetish gear managed to be arousing rather than annoying, The scenes of Stevens fencing lesson, Os photo shoot, and Rays computer graphics session all benefit from the realistic details. I really liked the occasional mention of Stevens testosterone pills and Viagra; they lent verisimilitude to his potency in his role as a Dom. And I truly appreciated the fact that Mr. Greene describes the physical toll a BDSM session takes on both the top and the bottom.

Overall, I enjoyed Master of O. Id consider reading another book by this authorif and only if he manages to find a better editor!

Judging from the enthusiastic reviews on Amazon, I gather that many readers dont really care.