Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A quirky heroine, pet sidekicks and a paranormal mystery

Posted by: Angela Campbell

I have to start by saying a HUGE thank you to Veronica Scott for allowing me to post here in her spot today. Actually, she hasn't had the best week, so I'd also appreciate it if you sent good vibes her way. Get well soon, Veronica!

So, I'm really excited because the third book in my psychic detectives series releases Thursday, and shhh, just between you and me, it's probably my favorite so far. I loved writing the characters in this one so much. So what is Spirited Away about?

Here's the blurb:
Socially awkward Emma “Spider” Fisher prefers her laptop to people, so she’s more than happy to oblige her boss when he asks her to pet- and housesit while he honeymoons in London.

It doesn’t take long for accident-prone Spider to lose a dog, get locked out of the house, and set off the house alarm. Thankfully, her hot new neighbour is more than happy to come to her rescue.

But Noah West is a mystery to Spider—and one she intends to solve. Because either the man is seriously living in a haunted house, or he’s a serial killer. Either way, he’s a total hottie, so Spider will have to guard her heart while she and the animals sniff out the truth.

And because I'm feeling generous, here's an excerpt:

***

Oh yeah. She was gonna kill that mutt when she got her hands on him. And the cat too, just because.

Emma “Spider” Fisher rattled the locked doorknob one more time and glared at the animals watching her from the other side of the front window. Costello, the dog, panted happily and gave her a tongue-lolling, open-mouthed grin. Abbott, the cat, stood in the bay window beside him, watching her with disinterested, narrowed eyes as if she were the stupidest human he’d ever met.

Which was a distinct possibility.

“Ugh!” She rattled the front doorknob again and slapped the doorframe. Yeah, as if that would make it open.

It was the morning after her first night of house-sitting for Zach and Hannah, and she’d already locked herself out. Correction. One of the dogs had escaped the fence, she’d given chase in her jammies, and when she’d ran back to call for help after not being able to catch Charlie, Costello had bumped shut the door she’d left open.

Locking her out. Without a key. Without a phone.

Without a hope of not being killed by her boss when he returned from his honeymoon.

His beloved blind dog had disappeared after she’d chased him into some trees on the other side of the street. No telling where Charlie was now. God forbid, he could be lying dead on the highway. Might have fallen down a well somewhere. Joined a gang. Who knew?

In fact, who knew a blind dog could run so darn fast to begin with? She’d bet that dog had some cheetah in his genes.

Heaving a half laugh, half sob, she turned and slid down the door until her bottom met the cold concrete of the front doorstep. A quick scan of the other houses and manicured lawns lining the quiet subdivision was no comfort. Well, maybe it was. No one seemed to peek out of curtains or be aware of her humiliating predicament, although she’d have to start pounding on doors soon to see if someone would let her use their phone.

Who would she call? One of the so-hot-they-could-melt-her-panties-off guys she worked with? She groaned.

This could not be happening to her.

A flash of brown movement to her left caught Spider’s attention and sent her heart thumping wildly against her ribcage again.

Charlie was sniffing the grass and following an invisible trail beside the sidewalk in front of the house. Near the freaking road! Uttering a squeak, Spider sprang to her bare feet and hurried down the driveway, muttering “owww” and “ouch” every time she stepped on a rock or something sharp in the grass.

She had a hard and fast policy against swearing, but she was seriously reconsidering that rule this morning.

“Charlie!” Her voice carried down the street. She clicked her tongue. “Com’ere boy!”

The dog lifted his head but kept prancing forward as a car came around the curve toward him. Panic seized her chest, releasing its grip only when the vehicle slowed and turned down a side street. The too-smart-for-his-own-good canine perked his ears up and looked in that direction. Ohmygosh, he was blind and following sounds. She had to catch him. Shehad to. If he got out of the subdivision and found a main road--

She whistled and jumped up and down, hoping the noise would divert his attention. “Charlie!”

He turned and took three slow steps toward her.

“Good boy!” She whistled again and patted the front of her thighs.

The long-legged retriever mix lowered his head, wiggled his raised butt, barked, and darted in the opposite direction.

“No, no, no!” Spider gave chase. “Charlie!”

He thought they were playing a game. Oh, for the love of—!

At least he was running in circles, not straying outside the neighborhood. She had no idea how long they ran up and down the suburban street lined with a mixture of classic Georgian, English cottage and modern houses. It was mid-morning, and no one had come outside to see what she was causing a ruckus about. Geez. She didn’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. What kind of neighbors were these?

“Char…Char…Charlie!” Winded, she had to slow down until she was barely moving at all. Hands on her thighs, leaning over, she watched helpless as Charlie plowed headfirst into a neighbor’s bushes. Startled, he hunched low and took slow, careful steps around the hedge. His tongue dangled out of his mouth but, otherwise, he looked ready to resume his marathon sprint. What the heck did Hannah feed that dog? Crack cocaine?

One step. Two steps. Spider inched closer. Charlie turned, and she used all of her reserves to leap toward him.

Yes! Their bodies collided, and she rolled with him onto the grass, the forty-pound dog using her as his personal cushion, not that she cared. Not as long as she had a tight grip on him.

She laughed in triumph and then groaned when a wet tongue found her mouth. Ewww. Disgusting. Doggy slobber. So gross.

It took a few more minutes of her wrangling him on the neighbor’s lawn to get into a position where she actually could pick him up. New rule. The dogs were going to wear their leashes twenty-four seven while they were under her watch.

She’d once thought she might like to have a dog, but uh uh. Not anymore. Cats were so much easier than dogs.

The two of them lumbered back to the house and collapsed together inside the fenced yard. Oh, thank heaven. Now she just had to figure out how to get back inside the locked home she was supposed to be protecting.

Chest heaving, she sprawled on the grass for a few minutes, thinking about it.

Man, she had to pee.

Pushing herself up on her elbows, she considered each of the windows. She’d already checked most of them. Her gaze fell on one. The bathroom. Had she locked it back after cracking it open last night when someone whose name rhymed with Costello had pooped mushy stuff all over the floor?

Remind her to never give him part of her burrito again. Ever.

Struggling to her feet, she glared at Charlie as she made her way to that side of the house. He was happily prancing about the yard again as if the past hour had never happened. Insane dog.

Spider nearly burst into tears when she saw through the pane that the window wasn’t latched. Yes! She pushed it up as far as she could, lifted herself up, and…

A pulsating siren startled her so much she squealed and fell backwards, landing flat on her butt in the grass.

“Oh, no, no, no.” The house’s high-tech smart alarm system was programmed to automatically arm itself after fifteen minutes if the doors and windows remained inactive. Zach had warned her about it at least a dozen times. It was a new system he was testing for clients of his private security firm.

It took Spider a few tries to pull herself up so her waist was aligned with the windowsill. A pair of almond-shaped eyes were there waiting for her when she did. Perched on the sink, Abbott’s black and white feline body was drawn back and ready to spring as he stared at the opening in the window.

“No!” Spider yelled at him as she grappled to lift her left leg up. “Don’t even think about it, mister.”

With a growl, the cat took a leap in the opposite direction and darted through the bathroom doorway as she managed to get her leg over the windowsill. She was half in and half out. Basically. Almost. Her foot was inside the bathroom anyway. That was progress.

“Hello?” a man’s deep voice called from not too far away. “Everything okay back there?”

Oh, for the love of Pete.

Straddling the window, Spider wiggled, trying to swing her other leg over and into the bathroom. Much harder to do than she’d expected. Her left side was pressed to the pane of glass on the outside of the house. No matter how hard she pushed, she couldn’t get the window to raise high enough to let her maneuver inside.

The house phone began ringing and seconds later, the alarm stopped. Well, that was something at least.

Furry legs grabbed onto Spider’s calf inside the house.

“Hello?” the man called again.

“Uh, yeah! We’re okay.” Still trying to shove the window up, she glanced down and saw Costello humping away at her leg.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

She tried to jostle the dog off, which only managed to get her stuck in a more awkward position. Uh. She was wedged in there pretty good now.

The back fence moved inward. Spider reached a hand out and screamed, “Don’t let the dog out!”

A man she didn’t recognize grabbed Charlie’s collar just as the dog ran toward the gate. That mutt must have some superpower for detecting openings he couldn’t see. She’d swear her life on it. Her body sagged against the window frame on a loud sigh of relief that he hadn’t escaped again.

The stranger snapped the gate shut behind him and gave Charlie a generous rub on both ears. Spider snorted when Charlie lapped the man’s face with his tongue. Some guard dog he was.

“Are you sure you don’t need help?”

Seriously? He wanted to help her now?

The guy lifted his delicious green gaze, which widened when it found her. He swore. “Are you stuck in the window?”

She stifled a groan. He would have to be a total hottie, wouldn’t he?

Please, someone shoot me now.
***
Spirited Away releases Sept. 18 and can be purchased from any of the following retailers:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | HarperImpulse | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play  
For a limited time, Something Wicked, the second book in this series, is on sale for only $1.99 wherever e-books are sold. If you love ghosts, psychics and serial killer mysteries with a side of humor and plenty of romance, it's a perfect read as we head into the Halloween season. Just sayin'.
~ Learn more about Angela Campbell and her books at www.AngelaCampbellOnline.com.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone
New Releases

Back in high school, Ann Weaver told herself getting ditched by Jack Bloom was for the best. At twenty-nine, she’s way over him. He was her first, but definitely not her last.

On weekly wine night with her friends, the talk turns to regrets—and Ann finds herself pledging to fix her past, starting with confronting those who treated her like dirt. Her first target: Jack, who’s recently moved back to town to stay.

But something’s different. He’s funny, kind, and amazing in bed. He acts like he really likes her, might even love her. Soon Ann is having a hard time remembering she’s only in it for revenge. Especially when she learns the real reason he dumped her.

Jack is older, wiser, and has a hell of a lot of experience behind him. For a chance at a future with this grown-up, gorgeous Ann, he’s ready to do whatever it takes. Until her true motive for rekindling their romance comes to light, and Jack must decide if forgiveness is enough to let love push through the lie.

Amazon  B&N  Samhain  iTunes  Kobo 


Marines are always faithful, and they get the job done. Three men with women on their minds, in their hearts and in their souls, have to come to grips with a reality that’s far from perfect. Issues of trust, loyalty, and sacrifice are constant complications in a job where duty to Corps and country often have to come first. But for these Marines in love, they’ll move mountains to prove their faithfulness and dedication are true. They won’t stop until they get their women, until they’re Good to Go.

Contains A Major Attraction, A Major Seduction and A Major Distraction.

Amazon  B&N  ARe  iTunes  Kobo






***

Socially awkward Emma “Spider” Fisher prefers her laptop to people, so she’s more than happy to oblige her boss when he asks her to pet- and housesit while he honeymoons in London.

It doesn’t take long for accident-prone Spider to lose a dog, get locked out of the house, and set off the house alarm. Thankfully, her hot new neighbour is more than happy to come to her rescue.

But Noah West is a mystery to Spider—and one she intends to solve. Because either the man is seriously living in a haunted house, or he’s a serial killer. Either way, he’s a total hottie, so Spider will have to guard her heart while she and the animals sniff out the truth.

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play


***
 PRE-ORDER
Thankful for You by Cindy Spencer Pape, part of the Calendar Men series from Decadent Publishing,  is now available for preorder on Amazon, All Romance e-Books, i-Tunes and Kobo.

Appearing in a benefit calendar may have been the dumbest thing veteran Sig Nowicki ever did. Suddenly, he’s become his small town’s golden boy, and he doesn’t much like being in the spotlight. Mostly he needs a job, now that his military career was ended by a grenade.

Pet shop owner Elsie Jordan came to Michigan to start over. She’s attracted to Sig and doesn’t give a rip about his scars, but the ones she carries inside her heart are the real hurdle. She just isn’t sure she has it in her to love and trust, ever again.

Elsie and Sig set out to boost each other’s confidence and finally give in to their explosive passion. The entire town seems happy to help. But both of them need to come to grips with their imperfections and accept that they might just be perfect for each other.

***


Signing Event:
Cindy Spencer Pape will be signing books with Colleen Gleason and Melissa Keir at Frontal Lobe Coworking in Downtown Howell, MI, on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 from 5:30-8:00pm, as part of the downtown business's Witches Night Out. Witchy attire encouraged!

Friday, September 12, 2014

More Precious Than Gold: Mylunate is Coveted in the Dreamwalkers Series

Posted by: Danube Adele

Mylunate is more precious than gold on the planet of Te`re. It is an ore found in the layers of rock on the northern side of the planet where the Sunan live. The Brausa live to the south where no significant deposits exist. One culture has thrived while the other has nearly died out. The deciding factor in this generations-old war has been mylunate.

What can mylunate do? There are a number of side-effects. One is the ability to read minds. Long exposure to the ore allows its essence to bind to the mind, so those born in the north grow up with the ability making it necessary to learn how to shield thoughts for privacy. Another wonderful side effect is mylunate allows people to dreamwalk. They can follow the thread of someone's energy while they sleep, and in dreams, you can make anything happen. Think on that a moment.

The final most important thing mylunate can do is create instant travel between two places, even when light years separate them. A short transfer only requires the traveler to be wearing some small bit of mylunate, or to be standing over the deposit of it. However, to go great distances, a large amount of the ore needs to be at the start and finish of travel. As you can imagine, the beneficiaries of this gift, the Sunan, were able to begin trade with Earth and grow into the modern world. The Brausa are fighting for their survival, and manage to get their hands on some...but what do they do with it?

This is where Dreams of a Wild Heart, Book 3 of the Dreamwalkers series takes over. Dr. Cecilia Bradford has been kidnapped and taken to Te`re by the roughly handsome, stone-faced warrior named Tabron. The reason is two-fold. Her medical expertise is needed, and she can also join with one of the warriors, seeing as how there are few women left in the nation's central settlement. But will she find a way back home to Earth before her heart fills up with too many reasons to stay?

Thanks for stopping by. If you could dreamwalk into anyone's dreams, where would you find yourself tonight? Share your thoughts! You can find me at FB, Twitter, www.danubeadele.com, Goodreads


Dreams of a Wild Heart is set for release Dec. 15, 2014, though you can find it on pre-order now at:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo





Dreamwalkers series:
Quicksilver Dreams, Book 1, Jan. 6, 2014
Dark Summer Dreams, Book 2, June 9, 2014
Dreams of a Wild Heart, Book 3, Release date Dec. 15, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Release! HEARTSTORM, Bk. 3 of the HeartFast Series

Posted by: Linda Mooney
New!

HEARTSTORM
Bk. 3 of the HeartFast Series
A Sensuously Erotic Sci-Fi Romance Novel
by Linda Mooney
ISBN: 978-1-941321-19-5
Word Count: 65.2K
3.99


They were the Guardians. Seventeen special men and women with incredible powers, who had sworn their lives to the protection of their galaxy, while upholding the laws of their world.

With the birth of their daughter, StarLight and Master Hunter prepare themselves for their most difficult mission yet - as parents. Until a person from Star's past intervenes, bringing with him chaos and heartache.
Amid this turmoil, an old foe rises. An enemy the Guardians believed they had conquered. An enemy ready to strike again, now that all of Guardian Command is compromised.
Click here for excerpt and buy links.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Win-A-Book Wednesday with...Jeffe Kennedy!

Posted by: Jeffe Kennedy

Jeffe Kennedy

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook. Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and a fifth, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, will release starting in July.
She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.
Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Foreword Literary.

Pregnant, possessed, and in love with a man I don’t dare to trust-those are the consequences of the risks I took to save my life. But Faerie, the land of blood and magic, is filled with bitter ironies, and the bargains I made now threaten me and my unborn child.
The darkly sensual fae noble Rogue still tempts me to danger and desire. As we await the birth of our child, I’ve been forced to question whether our offspring is part of a bargain Rogue once made to save himself. He can’t tell me the truth due to a spell the vicious Queen Titania has him under. Would he betray our family against his will? Could I ever forgive him if he does?
Rogue insists on an eternal commitment from me, even as Titania’s forces close in on us. I don’t know if Rogue and I can withstand her onslaught, or that of the beast within me. But I will not stop looking for answers-even if it brings the walls of Faerie crashing down.

To celebrate the release this week of Rogue's Paradise, the third book in my Covenant of Thorns trilogy, I'm giving away a digital copy! If you're new to the series and haven't read the first book, Rogue's Pawn, or haven't quite caught up with the second book, Rogue's Possession, I'm happy to substitute one of those! Happy entering!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Appeal of the Alpha Hero

Posted by: Eleri Stone
There’ve been a few posts lately trying to unpack the appeal of the alpha hero, like this one here and this one here. The underlying assumption seems to be that the reason alpha heroes are so popular is because they fulfill some kind of deeply imbedded female fantasy.

As a fan of the alpha male character type, I think they’re coming at it from the wrong angle. There is an element of fantasy in all romance, but I disagree that fantasy is the foundation for the appeal of the alpha male. I think the pairing of a powerful man with a less powerful woman works for the same reason all tropes work—inherent conflict + emotional resonance.

The conflict comes from the power imbalance between the two main characters. He’s rich/strong/powerful. She’s poor/weak/vulnerable. Drop that combination into any situation or setting from boardroom to werewolf pack and you’re going to have conflict.

The emotional resonance part is a little bit trickier. A lot of people say that the reason these stories resonate with so many women is because all women want a powerful man—(because brainwashing or fantasy or whatever). But I say the emotional resonance comes more from the familiarity of the setup rather than the fantasy of it. After all, women have a lot of experience with power imbalances between the sexes. We live in a world where the cards are often stacked against us. We’ve seen this game before and have strong and sometimes complicated feelings about it. The powerful man-less powerful woman setup echoes that experience and it strikes a powerful chord. Kind of like the instant emotional response you get from a child in jeopardy story. It’s not that you like seeing children in jeopardy; it’s that it’s going to get a reaction out of you. You’re going to be invested in seeing how it plays out.

With the alpha male, you have all that built in, instantly relatable drama. And washboard abs.

The fantasy part of the romance comes later as the leads negotiate the power imbalance. Does the hero become aware of his advantage and adjust his behavior? Does he cede some of his power to the heroine or does he find a way to continue to exercise his power in a way that preserves her dignity and agency? Does the heroine discover she has more leverage than she originally believed? Does she demand equal footing or does she find a safe harbor from the world in the hero’s strength? They’re all great fantasies. Just pick your flavor. By the end of the story, the hero and heroine should be equal partners in the relationship…in whatever way they agree works for them. If you walk away at the end still thinking that the hero is an asshole, that’s a failure of storytelling. Or at least a failure of the romance part of it.

**
Eleri Stone is a RITA-nominated author of paranormal and fantasy romance. Born in New Jersey, she now lives in Iowa with her husband and their three children. All of her stories have some element of speculative fiction in them and they all end with a happily-ever-after. www.eleristone.com






Monday, September 8, 2014

Here Be News

Posted by: Eleri Stone

New Releases


Book three of Covenant of Thorns

Pregnant, possessed, and in love with a man I don't dare to trust--those are the consequences of the risks I took to save my life. But Faerie, the land of blood and magic, is filled with bitter ironies, and the bargains I made now threaten me and my unborn child.

The darkly sensual fae noble Rogue still tempts me to danger and desire. As we await the birth of our child, I've been forced to question whether our offspring is part of a bargain Rogue once made to save himself. He can't tell me the truth due to a spell the vicious Queen Titania has him under. Would he betray our family against his will? Could I ever forgive him if he does?

Rogue insists on an eternal commitment from me, even as Titania's forces close in on us. I don't know if Rogue and I can withstand her onslaught, or that of the beast within me. But I will not stop looking for answers--even if it brings the walls of Faerie crashing down.

Get it today!

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