Monday, April 23, 2018

The book that shouldn't have happened @pjmaclayne #WolvesGambit #shifters #giveaway

Wolve's Gambit cover

By P.J. MacLayne (Guest Blogger)

I have a confession to make.

I never set out to write a paranormal romance.

And I never imagined writing an urban fantasy/paranormal romance series. To this day, I haven't read books or seen the Twilight movies. And maybe that's a good thing.

Because the premise for Wolves' Pawn came to me in a dream, and I decided to try to turn it into a short story. And it was free from the influence of other paranormal stories. Then the original characters took aver and turned the short story into a book. But once it was complete and I'd decided it was good enough to publish, I thought I was done with it. I turned my attention to a new story with new characters.

But something funny happened as I wrote the third book in my mysteries series.

I wasn't even halfway through the first draft when a minor character from Wolves' Pawn started bugging me. She nagged me to write her story, and convinced me it was a good one. So Wolves' Knight happened. And again I thought I was done with the paranormal storyline.

But once I went back and completed the third mystery, it happened again. Another character from Wolves' Pawn started talking to me. I mean, she appeared on all of two or three pages of the book, she was so minor. But she had a story to tell, and I was elected to be the one to write it.

And that's how Wolves' Gambit, my newest book, was born.

Of course, the story isn't what I planned. I started the story in Wyoming, and expected to move it to the East Coast after the first couple of chapters. It didn't happen that way. Lori Grenville, the main character, took over and decided the entire story would take place in Wyoming. That meant I had to revise the entire plot, but it worked out, and made it a better story.

So my stand-alone first book is now a series, although each book is a separate story. And I can see more books for that series in the future. Heck, I can imagine an entire new series springing from one scene in the last book!

With that said, let me introduce you to Lori Grenville, the main character from Wolves' Gambit, the book that should never have happened.


Wolf-shifter Lori Grenville was rescued from near-slavery and a brutal pack leader by the Free Wolves. To pay back the favor, she's dedicated her life to helping others in the same situation, leading shifters to safety and a new start, risking her life in the process. She's faced down alphas and has no qualms in undermining pack structure.

Now she's challenged with the task of restoring an alpha to his rightful place. If she gets it right, she can stop a war from ripping apart two packs and spreading across an entire state. If she fails, she'll be among the first to die.

There's still the option of walking away and letting the Jaeger and Destin packs destroy each other. That means she'll fail in her original mission of rescuing the daughter of the Jaeger alpha before the girl is forced into marriage for political gain.

Lori hasn't failed in a mission yet. This one may be the exception.


With a smooth motion, she swung the shotgun to her shoulder. Without taking time to aim, she squeezed the trigger. The recoil pushed her against the wall, which held her up. The wolf, still advancing, snarled and tightened the muscles in his hindquarters. Lori didn't have time to figure out his plan of attack. She fired the second barrel. He dropped to the floor, whined, and crawled under a table.

She retrieved two more shells from her pocket and reloaded. Outside, a lone wolf howled. It echoed in the night but received no answer. Surely Eugene hadn’t taken down an enemy already? Or had he abandoned her?

With her back against the wall, she took a deep breath and braced herself for another attack. An oppressive silence, broken only by her breathing and the soft whimpering of the wolf she'd shot, blanketed the bar. Lori jerked her head, trying to shake a few stray hairs away from her eyes. She didn't dare loosen her grip on the gun.

Then two wolves, side by side, emerged from the darkness outside and hurtled through the window frame. A third followed. The first two paced towards her shoulder to shoulder. When she pulled the trigger, the scatter of one shot hit both of them. One stumbled for a fraction of a second, but didn't stop. In two steps, they'd be on her.

She fired again, the recoil pushing her hard against the wall. The double damage at close range forced them back. One limped to the window and crawled out. The other sought refuge behind the bar.

She still had the third wolf to deal with and empty chambers. She broke open the gun and dumped the spent casings. They clattered to the floor, rolling towards the center of the room. The last wolf gathered himself for his onrush. Her hands shaking, Lori pulled more ammo from her pocket. One slipped from her fingers and rattled to the floor. There was no time to get another. She dropped the lone round in the chamber.

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About the Author

Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne still finds inspiration for her books in that landscape. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who currently lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she's not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests and parks. In addition to the Free Wolves’ stories, she is also the author of the Oak Grove series.

P.J. MacLayne can be reached on:

And now that you've reached the very end, how about that giveaway? To celebrate the release of Wolves' Gambit, I'm giving away one or more e-book copies of Wolves' Pawn, the first book in the series. The more entries I get, the more books I'll give away.

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Charity Sunday: Courageous Kitchen - #CharitySunday #Cooking #PoorKids

Charity Sunday banner

Welcome to another Charity Sunday. I am a few weeks late because I was traveling—I wanted to make sure I was here to promote the post so we get as many comments as possible.

Fate works in mysterious ways. Earlier this week I was pondering what charity I should select for this month, when I saw a Facebook post from an old friend recommending Courageous Kitchen. This is a really creative organization that works with poor, at-risk children to improve nutrition, life skills, language skills and self-confidenceby running cooking classes! The organization was founded by people from the US, but is currently focused on helping kids in Bangkok, Thailand, especially children of migrant workers.

I’ve always loved to cook. I got started cooking seriously when I was only seven. My mom had severe pneumonia and I had to help my dad put meals on the table for the family, including my two younger siblings. At one point, my husband and I had a floor-to-ceiling bookcase full of cookbooks. We did some purging before moving to Asia, but we still have a long shelf of our favorites. 


Anyway, the classes run by Courageous Kitchen are both fun and useful. Kids get the chance to practice English and to eat great food, all in the context of learning a skill that could lead to better work opportunities, or simply more independence. Go explore their web site: you can book cooking classes for adults or with the kids. You’ll even find some delicious recipes!

As usual, I’ll donate one dollar to Courageous Kitchen for each comment I get on this post. So don’t be shy!

Meanwhile, I have a hot and spicy excerpt from my cooking themed ménage erotic romance, The Ingredients of Bliss.

One sexy French chef. One kinky American TV producer. One ambitious Chinese gal who thinks she wants them both. The ingredients of bliss? Or a recipe for disaster?

Youve got nothing to hide now.With his lanky frame, mussed hair and crooked grin, Harry almost looked like a teenager. A very horny teen, considering the substantial erection bobbing hopefully at his groin. He flipped back onto his side and fixed me with a slightly fuzzy gaze. He was irresistibly cute without his glasses.Everythings out in the open.

But its all socomplicated!As usual, my objections began to melt in the warmth of his smile.

He danced his fingers up my outstretched thigh and my pussy clenched in anticipation.

On the contrary, I think this considerably simplifies the situationMs Wong.Etiennes voice was deferential, but I read a mirror of Harrys mischief in his expression.I serve you. You serve Harry. Each of us gets what he or she wants.

Theres no more need for secrets, love. Or for surreptitiously administered enhancements to the libido, either…” Harry slipped a fingertip between my moist lips and grazed a fingernail across my clit.

My annoyance paled next to the flare of pleasure kindled by his touch. Before I could clamp down to hold his hand in my crotch, however, he’d snatched it away.

Oh no!I groaned, fighting arousal and disappointment.You told him?

I had my suspicions in any case. It doesnt matter. Your methods might have been dubious, but Im grateful for the results.Etienne glanced down at the livid marks from my beating, a set of parallel strips leading up his lean thighs toward his rearing cock.I might never have had the courage to act on my desires if not for yourumintervention.His voice held quiet pride.

You dont have to be ashamed or embarrassed,Harry added.All we wantboth of usis to satisfy you. To please you and make you happy. Cant you just accept that?

Harry hooked an arm around my neck and pulled me down into lush kiss. His tongue was assertive as ever, yet I caught a hint of uncertainty in his manner. Under his brashness, he worried that Id reject the solution he and Etienne had worked out. If I did, would I choose him, or the suave, glamorous chef?

I relaxed and let him plunder my mouth, offering reassurance via my physical surrender. His hands roamed over my body, visiting all the sensitive spots hed discovered in our months together. There was no pain now, only bliss, pouring from him into me.

Warmth pressed against my back. I smelled vanilla and thyme. Etiennes fingers joined Harrys, tracing along the top of my corset. He stroked the tender flesh under my arm, making me shiver, then let his palm wander down my side to the curve of my hip. His uncharacteristic boldness increased the thrill of his touch. Youll be sorry, I thought, giddy with desire, as Harry continued his hungry kisses. Ill trash your butt until you cant sit down.

Etienne knew hed be punished. We both knew that was part of his motivation.

Only part, though. I felt the hair lifted off my neck, the moist, gentle pressure of Etiennes lips between my shoulder blades. The eloquence of that simple gesture almost brought tears to my eyes. I eased my lips away from Harrys, beaming him a look I hoped was full of love. Then I swiveled to offer my mouth to Etienne.

The chef accepted my kiss with the eagerness of a starving man. He opened to the probing of my tongue, letting me drink my fill of him. I tasted the walnut mousse hed sampled earlier at LAuberge de Francois-Martine and the Courvoisier hed used to wash it down. Under it all, I caught a hint of some half-bitter flavor that reminded me of rainy autumn afternoons in Jardin les Tuileries. As I kissed him, I realized Id been craving this since the first day hed graced me with that haughty smile.

While his mouth was subservient, his hands became increasingly more brazen, palming my breasts and thumbing my nipples, then sneaking down to tease my lower lips. Meanwhile, Harry was busy unlacing my corset. I hadnt appreciated how much the garment had constrained me until he managed to slip it off, somehow without breaking the lip-to-lip connection between Etienne and me.

I paused to draw in a lungful of the sex-scented air and looked from one man to the other. Had Harry minded my kissing Etienne? Did Etienne think I was rejecting him for Harry?

Both of my lovers wore broad smiles. Relief washed over me. The last vestiges of guilt evaporated. And I was too horny to be embarrassed.

* * *

Don’t forget to leave a comment! Every one helps Courageous Kitchen serve more needy kids.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Saturday Seven: seven things my characters don’t do - #SaturdaySeven #personality #bloghop

Characters image

I’ve been traveling for the past two weekends, hence didn’t post a Saturday Seven, but I thought I’d remedy that today.

I’ve written a lot of books and stories—it’s difficult to figure out exactly how to count, but I probably have at least a hundred novels, novellas and short stories available. That’s a lot of characters!

While I strive for variety in my characters, the people I create have certain commonalities. In particular, there are some activities they’re very unlikely to ever engage in. This generally reflects my own life and preferences—for the most part these are things I don’t do, either.

1. Play hockey

I know that sports romance is quite a popular genre, but I could never write one. I have zero interest in team sports, either amateur or professional. And I probably know less about hockey than any other sport except rugby. (Okay, I do have a rugby team in an upcoming book. However, they don’t actually play the game in my story.)

2. Smoke cigarettes

In fact, smoking provides a quick way to establish certain sorts of characters (for instance, the hard-boiled, world-weary private investigator so popular in noir tales). So I won’t go out on a limb and claim I’ll never write a character who smokes. I can’t think of anyone I’ve written who does, though.

It’s a bit odd, because many of my characters drink alcohol. Especially wine!

3. Watch TV as a regular pastime

I haven’t owned a television in more than thirty years. When I think about ways to spend my time, TV doesn’t even occur to me. Hence, the same tends to be true of my characters.

Anyway, they tend to be busy doing more interesting things!

4. Trick someone into getting her pregnant

Having a heroine seduce a hero in order to get pregnant is a trope I’ve encountered in some romances. To be honest, I find this notion horrifying.

The idea that a character might deliberately sabotage a woman’s birth control so he can impregnate her is equally repugnant.

Child-bearing is too serious an issue to play with, even in fiction.

5. Be celibate

I might have a character who starts out being celibate (or a virgin). However, given my favored genres, which are erotica and erotic romance, it’s quite unlikely such a character would remain so by the end of the tale.

All right—I can imagine writing a tale with a character who engages in sexual activity in his or her fantasies only. That might be a challenge. I’m not sure you could really claim such a character was strictly celibate, though.

6. Take a selfie

I’m sure it’s a function of my generation, but I find the current passion for constantly photographing oneself to be embarrassing, even a bit pathetic. My characters use their phones mostly for the original purpose of communication.

7. Abuse an animal

I’ve written a few truly despicable villains, people who have no compunctions about rape, torture or murder. However, I don’t think I could ever create a character who was deliberately abusive to animals. Just thinking about that makes me queasy.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Jade by Valerie Ullmer is free! #PNR #FreeBook #LimitedTimeOffer @ValerieUllmer

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Jade never wanted a mate. She loved being an assassin and she had a family in her fellow assassins, their mates, and little Silas. She truly had everything she needed. But when Ghost assigned her to track the same immortals who tried to kill Xander’s family, she couldn’t refuse.

But the complication arises when Ghost requests she partner with Noah, a human and ex-special forces soldier. Jade has never worked with a human before, much less one that hated her from the moment he laid eyes on her. But she was a professional and if she could play a part in destroying the immortals who threatened her family, she could accept the human. If only she knew how to fight her attraction to him.

All Noah Hale wanted was to kill the immortals who lured his best friend and fellow ex-Navy SEAL to his death. He had no desire to be teamed with a beautiful tracker who mesmerized him the moment she turned her emerald eyes his way. But in order to stop other soldiers from pursuing the same fate, he needed to swallow his pride and work with a group of immortals he didn’t trust.

As Jade and Noah track the group of shifters through the mountains of Colorado, the danger lurking around every corner threatens everything they both hold close. Will they be able to find a way through, together?

Free on Amazon from the 19th to the 22nd of April!

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Jade caught a scent of a human as she entered the fourteen-story building in downtown Snowfall. It wasn’t just any human scent, but something that made all of her instincts flare. She knew that she’d never caught this particular scent before, but something told her that this human might be important to her. She tried to brush it off as quickly as the thought came, but she couldn’t find it coincidental she smelled it in the same steel building owned by Ghost and housed the headquarters of Dark Company.

As she dismissed the fleeting thought of searching for the scent, her heart thumped once, hard, in her chest at the thought of not finding its owner. She forced herself to walk toward the elevator bank, ignoring the unwanted perusals she received from the men in the lobby. Even in an unassuming hoodie and black yoga pants, she drew unwanted attention. A side effect of being an immortal.

The elevator opened as soon as she pressed the up-button and she kept her gaze down as she walked into the elevator. She entered the code to get to Ghost’s private floor, her movements too quick to be caught by the human eye, before she squeezed into the corner. Jade used her other senses as three men in suits and two women entered the enclosed space with her. There was no need to glance at the glass interior that covered the back wall to see what she looked like.

She sensed eyes on her. Instead of searching out the gaze, she whipped her long, straight dyed black hair into a bun on the back of her head with quick movements before sneaking her hands into the front pockets of her hoodie.

Jade waited patiently as the car traveled toward the penthouse, her ultimate destination, but she couldn’t help but try to find the intriguing scent from earlier.

After my meeting.

All she knew was he hadn’t used the particular elevator she was in and the higher the lift took her in the building, the more his scent dissipated.

In her entire existence, or what she remembered of it, she’d never been attracted to…anyone. She’d never felt the pull to find someone either. But lately, she’d felt increasingly restless whenever she had any downtime and her skin tingled in a way that had nothing to do with signaling immediate danger. It was as though her body tried to convey something she didn’t understand.

Her thoughts were interrupted when a man who had gotten into the elevator with her on the first floor stepped into her personal space.

Hey, beautiful?”

Jade rolled her eyes and raised her head to glare at the man. Of course, he wouldn’t take the hint that she wanted to be left alone. To emphasize the point, she crossed her arms and leaned against the wall, moving away from his intrusion.

The man decided to take this as an invitation and moved to wrap his arm around her waist. The move gave her a clear shot to his ribs and she took it, gently moving her elbow back and making contact. She flinched when she heard a distinctive crack, realizing she hadn’t been careful enough. Before she could apologize, the elevator door opened and he ran off without looking back, holding onto his side.

She sighed.

About the Author

Valerie writes paranormal and contemporary M/F and M/M erotic romances. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her wonderfully supportive husband and their funny and wise black lab. She's addicted to coffee, crime shows, and reading and writing character-driven romances.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fear of Flying - #mash-up #steampunk #risks

airship image

It would have been much faster to fly.

Alas, Cecily Harrowsmith—special agent for Her Majesty the Queen, expert in the martial arts of three continents, past mistress of princes, potentates and the occasional prime minister—was afraid of flying. She despised herself for this weakness, but not enough to board one of the Empire’s sleek, viridium-powered airships, strap herself into her seat and hope for the best.

Hence the current tedious journey. Cecily peered out of the window of her carriage at the endless expanse of russet-coloured desert stretching in all directions. The mere sight of all that sand was enough to make her throat burn. She sipped her tepid tea, wondering for the twentieth time why she’d accepted this bloody assignment.

Thus begins my sixth novel, Rajasthani Moon, a book that deliberately defies categorization. It contains elements of the steam punk and paranormal sub-genres, plus quite a lot of moderately extreme BDSM and a M/F/M ménage. It features a kick-ass Rubenesque heroine, a billionaire Rajah and a sexy, deliciously disreputable bandit. It flirts with non-consensual fantasies and lesbian attraction. It has some funny moments, not infrequently associated with sex. Oh, and it's a romance, with what I hope is a sublimely satisfying happy ending (although I won't tell you who ends up with whom!)

Writing this book involved taking risks. I've observed how readers cling to their favorite genres. I broke rules right and left with this novel. Would the market embrace my mash-up? Or would readers run away in droves, terrified of the unfamiliar?

Producing the same sort of stories, again and again, can be comfortable. It may help sales, too. To grow as authors, though, we have to leave safety behind. We must step out onto that high pinnacle of creativity and let go, defying the fear that we'll plummet ignominiously to the ground. We have to get over our fear of flying.

Rajasthani Moon was like nothing I'd written before. Well, that's not strictly true. Like most of my books, it has plenty of erotic content. What I mean is that I've never felt so free as I did writing this book. I gave myself permission to follow my imagination, no matter how wild its suggestions. I found this difficult at first. The further I ventured out onto my self-constructed limb, though, the easier I found the process.

The result? Well, I'm pleased with it. I have no idea what other people will think. But I am not going to worry. That's out of my control.

And Cecily? She conquers her fear, too, eventually:

The passenger compartment was about ten feet long. Its walls were chest height. A canopy shaded one end, including the brass and quartz crystal control panel. The other was open to the sky, though the gas bag a dozen feet above them shielded them from the most direct rays of the sun. She was not surprised to discover that the floor was covered by multiple layers of intricately-patterned carpets and strewn with fat, multi-hued pillows. The Rajasthanis seemed to have little use for furniture.

Amir busied himself at the controls while Pratan lounged on the cushions, looking rakish and indolent. “Come here, Cecily,” he ordered. “Sometimes the take-off is a bit bumpy.”

Her heartbeat accelerated and her palms started to sweat at this reminder of what lay ahead. She gave him a sharp look. She could have sworn he was suppressing a chuckle.

Nevertheless, she reclined beside him, as he’d instructed. He slipped his arm around her shoulder and held her tight against his chest. His strength reassured her, but she still felt as though her stomach was turning somersaults.

A low frequency vibration hummed under them as Amir started the engine.

Here we go,” called the Rajah. “Prepare to lift off.”

Kiss me,” said Pratan. He took possession of her mouth without waiting for her acquiescence.

Amir released the tethers binding the dirigible to the roof. They retracted into their housings with a snap and the gondola swayed in reaction, springing upward a few feet. Cecily’s heart climbed into her throat. She gritted her teeth against sudden nausea. Pratan’s agile tongue wormed its way between her lips, urging her to relax and open, and the spell passed. Meanwhile, his hands wandered over her body, pulling her loose clothing out of the way so that he could stroke her breasts and belly.

His scent enveloped her, sandalwood and smoke superimposed on animal musk. The wolf had not returned since their encounter on Mount Abu, but Pratan still smelt like something feral. He burrowed into her, sucking on her tongue and nibbling her lips, while his fingers teased her nipples into hungry knots. Cecily moaned as the pleasure mounted. She lay back, cradled in the nest of cushions, and allowed him free access.

~ ~ ~

Rajasthani Moon is available at all your favorite bookstores.