Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Book Birthday to #JustGottaSay & #NorthofNeed! Celebrate with me...

I'm celebrating two book birthdays today! It's the two-month publication anniversary of my contemporary erotic romance, JUST GOTTA SAY, and the one-month publication anniversary of my contemporary fantasy romance, NORTH OF NEED! 

Like to win one of these? Leave a comment with your email address and follow my blog (over yonder on right-->), and leave your blog follower name, and I'll choose two ebook winners on Friday 12/2!
Oh, and what a great birthday present for North of Need! It's received four 5-star reviews in the past two days, including one at Sizzling Hot Book Reviews that enters it in the Sizzling Hot Read of the Month contest! Please consider voting today!
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm Kissing & Telling! FF&P 9-Author Blog Tour! *P*R*I*Z*E*S*!

And the winners of the $5 amazon GCs are:
miki - from your post at SexxyBlogger
latishajean - from your post at I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read
Catherine Lee - from your post at Sarah Makela's Blog
CONGRATULATIONS! Trading card winners are noted below!
I'm one of 9 authors participating in the Kiss and Tell Book Tour, November 28 - December 6. Every day, your comment can win you a full signed set of my romance trading cards. PLUS, every comment along the tour enters you to win one of THREE $5 amazon gift cards

Here's my stops:

**All trading card winners were picked by blog hosts - any duplicate winners will receive a few additional swag items in recognition of their multiple wins!

11/28 Sexxy Blogger ~ Hot North of Need Excerpt! & 5-star review! winner: Sophia Rose
11/29 I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read ~ On First Kisses & 5-star review! winner: winnie
11/30 Cocktails and Books ~ On Desperate Kisses & 5-Cocktail review! winner: Christine Bails
12/2 Manga Maniac Cafe ~ Interview winner: Kathryn M.
12/3 GraveTells ~ The Power of a Kiss winner: Vanessa
12/3 Rage, Sex & Teddy Bears ~ Four Favorite Kissing Songs winner: seriousreader
12/3 The Wormhole ~ Romantic Ideas for the Wintertime winner: TBA
12/4 Lisa's World of Books ~ Hot North of Need Excerpt! winner: Vanessa
12/5 A Chick Who Reads ~ Hot North of Need Excerpt! winner: TBA
12/5 Sarah Makela's Blog ~ 5 Romantic Christmas Songs to Warm Your Heart! winner: Sophia Rose
12/5 KayDee Royal's Blog ~ What Makes My Hero and Heroine Tick winner: Sophia Rose
12/5 Coffee Beans and Love Scenes ~ Hot North of Need Excerpt! winner: Tracey D
12/6 Mila Ramos' Blog ~ Hot North of Need Excerpt! winner: Catherine Lee
12/6 For the Love of Reading ~ North of Need 5-star Review! winner: Sophia Rose

Fun times will be had by one and all! So comment early and often! And good luck!

Thanks for reading,

Monday, November 28, 2011

E-book & E-reader Statistics Show: E-books are Perfect for Cyber Monday!

The statistics on e-books and e-readers show that all things digital are coming to dominate book sales and book formats. So, in celebration of Cyber Monday - when retailers hope you'll direct that Black Friday shopping enthusiasm to online buying - I'm sharing some informative and heartening e-book statistics:
Credit Media Bistro and AAP
  • E-book sales now outpace print book sales, as sales of e-books nearly tripled in the US from 2009 to 2010.
  • Industry predictions indicate that by 2015, there will be twice as many owners of tablet PCs than there are of dedicated e-readers
  • Over a million tablets were sold in the US in the first 9 months of 2011
  • Over 11 million iPads were sold in the US in the first 9 months of 2011
  • 11% of the US adult population owns a tablet
  • 77% of those adult tablet owners use it on a daily basis
  • 61% of tablet owners are women
  • 1/6 Americans own an e-reader, and another 1/6 plan to buy one within the next six months
  • 94% of e-reader owners have bought a book in the past year
  • While 16% of all Americans report reading 11-20 books a year, 32% of e-reader owners report reading 11-20 books a year
  • The Kindle Fire reportedly sold 95,000 on the first day
  • Smashwords hit the 3,000,000 words published mark in September, after hitting the 2 million mark just four months earlier. It took them two years to hit the 1 million mark
So, if you find yourself online today and in the mood to shop, please consider one of my four available titles - which would make a great gift this holiday season: for yourself or someone you love! Make your purchase into an awesome wrap-able present by buying a super-cute thumb drive (like these, for instance) and loading e-books on it. 

Three of my titles are amazon bestsellers (Hearts in Darkness, Forever Freed, North of Need) and two won or have been nominated for awards (Hearts in Darkness, Forever Freed). North of Need was recently recommended by Paperback Dolls as THE romance to buy as a gift this holiday season! Give one or all a try!

I personally own a Nook and have the Kindle app on my iPhone. How about you? Thanks so much for reading, and happy Cyber Monday!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

#SixSunday #37! A God Chases His Humanity...

Welcome to Six Sentence Sunday, and I hope my Stateside friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration! I'm sharing six from my contemporary fantasy romance North of Need. Here we go...
“Love you,” she panted, her breath coming in shallow gasps and throaty moans.

Pleasure clawed up Owen’s spine, ripping him apart, pulling him back together again, preparing to reassemble him into a new man. Into a human man. It was the most beautiful torment, and he chased it with every wet stroke, every open-mouthed kiss. His release would be like no other—for it would not only be physical, but psychic.
Love this moment! Hope you did, too!

Be sure to read the Other Sixers' Posts! And follow the #sixsunday hashtag on twitter!

Thanks to everyone for reading and, hopefully, commenting!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday *S*A*L*E*S* For You!

In the spirit of the holiday-buying season, I'm very excited to share some coupon codes for my books that are good all weekend long!

JUST GOTTA SAY is 30% off this weekend at Smashwords! Use code SM59Q

Get HEARTS IN DARKNESS and FOREVER FREED 30% off at The Wild Rose Press! Use code e8f302ffef on Friday! The Black Friday sale is over, but use code 3b9ceb5854 for 25% off!

NORTH OF NEED and FOREVER FREED are also 20% off at Books on Board!



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Gift for You...2011 Garden Gourmet Cookbook! Includes 2 recipes from me!

This is the perfect time of year to celebrate good food and great books! And one of my publishers, The Wild Rose Press, has put the two together in their annual free holiday cookbook! Among other goodies, look for two recipes from moi!

And Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for reading,

5 Writerly Things for Which I'm Thankful

The day before Thanksgiving is the perfect time to stop and reflect on the things for which I’m thankful in my journey as a writer so far. Here's what tops my list:

In editing right now!
Editors. Half a dozen books in, and I still cringe when I read an editor’s first-round comments on my manuscript. I get that sinking feeling in my gut, have those kneejerk reactions (What? How can she not like that? LOL) and feel daunted by the work that needs done. But I can tell I’m growing in this regard because now, even though those feelings are still there, I’m glad for all those red markings. Because, while they’ll be hard and time consuming and force me to kill my darlings and rethink things I thought worked, I know the book is going to be so much better than it was. Editors catch my goofs, cover my butt, and help me give readers the best book I can. And for that I’m thankful.

Covert Artists. Man oh man, have I won some cover art lotteries! While I like all my covers, the first time I knew I’d struck cover gold was with my HEARTS IN DARKNESS cover by Tricia Schmitt. She does just the most fantastic cover art, and for a lot of big names, so I was SO fortunate to have her work on my book. And that was after I’d had the chance to meet her in person and know she was just the sweetest gal ever! And then I get to Entangled with my new Hearts of the Anemoi series and wham, bam! Heather Howland gifted me with two totally stunning covers (and I’ve seen the bones of the third, and it’s just as breathtaking!!!). I know how important good covers are to readers, so I’m thankful for cover artists.

MRW Critters - I'm in the green shirt/tan jacket in the bottom row
Critique Partners and Beta Readers. Every writer needs other writers who they can trust to read their drafts and offer useful, thoughtful feedback. Not only am I totally lucky that my best friend, YA paranormal author Lea Nolan, is a freaking awesome crit partner (and willing to read right behind me as I write on deadline, as she recently did for my draft of West of Want) but I also belong to a critique group within the Maryland Romance Writers chockfull of wonderful writers and critters. These ladies raise their hands every time I need something read, and I simply couldn’t be more thankful for the help, encouragement, and support all of them have offered!

Writer Friends. One of my favorite experiences of being a writer so far is the huge number of writer friends I’ve made, both through my MRW chapter and online. I have been completely surprised and pleased at the amount of support, cheerleading, and advice-giving I’ve found even with online friends I’ve never met. I sense a real community within my writers’ groups and among romance writers in general, and I value that greatly.

Readers. You didn’t think I’d forget you guys, didya??? *winks* Truly, I am thankful for all the people who have bought, reviewed, tweeted, facebooked and otherwise talked up my books with their friends. I view this whole experience as a partnership between me as the writer and you as the readers—after all, every time you read my books—or any author’s books—you’re bringing my characters to life, letting them play out their story and have their happy ending, over and over again. And it’s totally thrilling to me that figments of my imagination become living, breathing parts of yours. Readers make it possible for me to do the thing I’ve found I love most to do, and I’m so thankful to them for that.

So, I'd love to know, what are you MOST thankful for this year?
Thanks so much for reading, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Welcome Guest Author Rachel Brimble!

I'm very pleased to welcome guest author
Rachel Brimble
to the blog today!

Welcome, Rachel!  Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use. And, everyone, see down below for a giveaway!

I am British born and bred and live with my husband, two daughters and black Labrador near the famous Georgian city of Bath in the UK. I am lucky enough to be able to write full-time at the moment (around the kids), so I tend to write from 9am to 3pm every day and then pop backwards and forwards to the laptop whenever I can after that!

When I’m not working, I love reading, walking, socializing and drinking chilled white wine! ;)

Awesome! So, tell us a little about your latest release.

My latest release is a contemporary romance set against the backdrop of the UK’s nightclubs and pubs. It is a grittier romance than I have written before but I love it. Hope my readers will too!

It is about Grace, my heroine, who runs a nightclub for her father and what happens once she meets Jimmy, social worker and all-round good guy. The two of them are the most unlikely pair ever but when they’re together…yum!

Yum sounds right! Which character is your favorite and why?

I am 100%, totally in love with Jimmy. He was an absolute joy to write. I could hear his dialogue so clearly in my head that most of the time, I felt like a secretary taking dictation rather than a writer. SO good when that happens. Jimmy will always have a special place in my heart.

Yeah, I love that, too! As the author, what surprised you about this story?

The different reviews to it! I have to be honest with your readers – the reviews have ran from 1 star (eek!!) to five stars (yay!) so I have no idea how each person is going to react to it. Some people have said that it’s not strictly romance but I don’t agree. If you take Grace and Jimmy’s story as a whole, I think it is one of the most romantic stories I have written.

Let me know what you think after you’ve read it…(shameless hint!) ;)

I totally will! And it’s also very brave of you to talk about that, because it’s the fear every writer has! What are you working on right now?

I am just polishing a new contemporary romance that is very humorous and very sexy. It is set again in South West England and about my heroine who is forced to move her sex shop from the High Street to her home address…much to the chagrin of her new sexy neighbor, who happens to be a single dad to four-year-old twins.

Let the fireworks begin! This story had me laughing out loud in places, I hope it does my readers too.

OMG what an awesome premise! What happened to the first book you ever wrote?

It was published, yay! My first book was Searching For Sophie, which I contracted with The Wild Rose Press in 2006 and was released in July 2007. I still regularly sell copies today which is fantastic as my writing has changed so much over the years but people still really enjoy this book.

That’s excellent—good for you! Have you incorporated actual events or people from your own life into your books?

No, not until now but with my next book which I plan to start in the New Year, I will be incorporating the terrifying experience my family and I endured in 2010 when we were rescued by helicopter from the French Floods.

People assumed I would write about it straight away but it’s taken this long to write about it objectively and skillfully and at the same time using the height of the emotions involved. It goes without saying, this will be romantic suspense ;)

Wow. How interesting. Is there a theme or message that runs through your work?

I didn’t realize I had a theme or message that ran through my books until a loyal reader picked it off for me…Trust or regaining trust.

That’s the central theme in my work.

That’s a good one. I deal with that one a lot, too. Which romance book or series (or other genre, if you don’t write romance) do you wish you had written?

The Chesapeake Bay Saga by Nora Roberts

LOVED these books and would recommend them to any aspiring romance novelist of how to write a good and realistic romance. My favorite is the first, the romance between Cameron Quinn and Anna Spinelli is beautiful!

It’s on my TBR list! Okay, now, just for fun:
Milk chocolate or dark chocolate? Milk Chocolate

Salty or sweet? Sweet

Bed or kitchen table? Kitchen table

Beach or mountains? Beach

Give or receive? Give

Paying The Piper is available now from Lyrical Press – here’s the blurb:
Nightclub manager Grace Butler is on a mission to buy the pub where her mother's ashes are scattered but the owner wants to sell to anyone but her. And that owner happens to be her father...who has a secret she will do anything to discover.

Social worker and all around good guy Jimmy Betts needs funds to buy a house for three special kids before their care home closes. Time is running out and he's desperate for cash. He agrees to a one-time 'job' for bad-man Karl Butler. But in a sudden turn of events, Jimmy finds himself employed by Karl's beautiful, funny and incredibly sexy daughter, Grace.

Their lives couldn't be more different, yet one thread binds them: they're both trying to escape the bonds of their fathers. Maybe the only way they'll be free is by being together, instead of alone.
Everyone, Rachel is giving away one pdf format ebook from her backlist! Please leave your email address to enter to win. Open to international. Contest through midnight EST 11/22. Good luck!
Thank you for being my guest! Now, everyone leave Rachel some comment love! Thanks for reading,
Laura & Rachel

Sunday, November 20, 2011

#SixSunday #36 - Playful, Sexy Times from #NorthofNeed!

Happy Sunday everyone! I'm still in love with my latest release, North of Need, so I'm sticking with six from this story again this week. Enjoy Owen and Megan:
“Too many clothes,” she murmured around their kiss.

“Mmm, couldn’t agree more.” Fingers threaded under her panties at both hips and pulled them off.

Megan gasped, drawing her legs up and closed out of surprise, and pointed, pretending outrage. “You, not me, you!”

His self-satisfied smirk told her he’d known just what she’d meant.

Hope you enjoyed some sweet, playful sexy times this week! Thank you for reading and hopefully commenting! Don't forget to read the Other Sixers' Posts and follow the #sixsunday hashtag on twitter!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

TRS Thanksgiving Party & #ForeverFreed Book Birthday #Giveaways!

  • I'm celebrating big time this weekend, because it's the 6-month book birthday of my vampire romance, FOREVER FREED!!!!
  • Plus, I'm still celebrating the release of my fantasy romance based on Greek mythology, NORTH OF NEED!!!!
Comment all weekend on my posts at TRS's Party Site and each comment will give you another entry to win a $20 amazon gift card! Giveaway is international, runs through midnight on 11/22, and winner will be announced on 11/23! And, not only can you win big by commenting, but you can help me win big also--the author (dozens and dozens participating!) with the most comments on their party posts will win a year of free advertising from TRS! Awesome!
And the winner of my amazon GC is...CHRISTINE BAILS! CONGRATULATIONS! And thanks to everyone who commented/tweeted/etc!
Here are the posts/links to all my posts, so you don't miss commenting!
Note: Some are scheduled for later in the day on Saturday and may not be available yet...
I'm up for Favorite Author of the TRS Party, also, another way to win free advertising there! Please vote for me? Thanks!
Thanks for reading, commenting, and partying with me!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Guest Author Rachel Haimowitz Celebrates Release Day w/a #Giveaway!

I'm very pleased to welcome guest author
Rachel Haimowitz!

Everyone, Rachel has a hot excerpt and an even hotter giveaway! Read on...
Bridging the hatred of centuries did not come easy for Freyrík Farr and Ayden Vaska. As prince of a war-torn human province, Freyrík could ill afford to fall for an enemy. And Ayden, and elven warrior with three hundred years of bitterness in his heart, wanted no part of love—not elven, and especially not human. Yet they came together despite themselves and despite the will of their peoples, joining heart and mind to fight a race of Dark Beasts threatening the extinction of mankind.

But the Dark Beast threat pales beside the dangers of the human High Court, home of the Aegis Exalted and the harshest test yet of Ayden's and Freyrík's fledgling love.

While Ayden is stripped of his magic, Freyrík is forced to choose between his love for elf, Aegis, and brother, all the while seeking the one uncertain path that might save his doomed race. Time is fast running out for mankind, and only by making peace amongst themselves and with their ancient elven enemies can they end the Dark war—and undo the tragedy that's plagued humans, elves, and Dark Beasts alike for the last three hundred years.
It is the twilight of mankind. Depleted by generations of war with a dark race, the human kingdoms and their ancient alliance stand on the brink of extinction. The outlands are soaked with the blood of the fallen. The midlands are rotting with decadence and despair.

Elfkind, estranged by past crimes, watches and waits for nature to run its course.

And then the two collide.

Ayden's life has long been guided by two emotions: love for his sister, and hatred of all things human. When he's captured in battle, he must for his sister's sake swallow his pride and endure slavery in the service of a human prince. To his dismay, this close-up view of his enemy is nothing like he expected. Now curiosity and contempt make a battlefield of his soul, even as he struggles to pick up the pieces of his shattered worldview.

Freyrik Farr, Crown Prince of Farr Province, finds his new elven prisoner puzzling. He's always known elves to be beautiful and dangerous, but never has one affected him as deeply as Ayden. Can his life of service to his people leave room for this attraction? Dancing on a dagger's edge between duty and high treason, Freyrik discovers that some choices can change a life, and some an entire world.

Between prejudice, politics, pride, and survival, Ayden and Freyrik must carve a new path, no matter how daunting. For nothing less than the fate of both their peoples rests on the power of their perseverance -- and their love.

Crescendo Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Freyrík had long ago come to realize the gods rarely intervened in the lives of men, no matter what prayers or sacrifices were made. Yet only recently had he come to see their indifference as a blessing, for when the gods’ great shadow fell upon you, it might well blot out the sun.
Which was how he found himself in the darkness now, tucked down in the canopy bed of his traveling tent with the man—the elf—he loved. The elf he’d sworn to see safely home. The elf he was now escorting to the one place more treacherous than even the darker forests: the High Court of Aegea.
“No,” Ayden said, and none too gently at that. “How many times do I have to say it? I’ll not run away without you.”
Freyrík rolled over to face him, glad for once of the elfglow in the dark tent, wondering if Ayden could see him back in a light that was not—according to the elf—truly there. “You know I cannot leave.”
“Then neither can I. Go to sleep.”
Before Freyrík could try a new tack, Ayden rolled away. For a moment, he thought the elf angry, but then Ayden pressed his bare back to Freyrík’s chest and tugged Freyrík’s arm over his waist. He held to it with both hands as if he suspected Freyrík might take to pacing. Which, admittedly, was tempting.
“I can hear your thoughts roiling,” Ayden grumbled. “Sleep.”
As if he could, with the dangers of the morrow looming so. “Not until you’ve heard me out.”
Ayden sighed, but then pressed up tighter against him, his arse grinding against Freyrík’s groin. “Fine. Speak.” Another wiggle that would have ended all conversation were Freyrík not so anxious. “But know my thoughts are not on your words.”
Freyrík clenched his fist. ‘Twas all he could do not to push the elf away and shake some sense into him.
He startled when Ayden’s hand snaked between their bodies, probing. “Perhaps your thoughts aren’t, either?” Ayden said.
And gods befanged, but those questing fingers raised evidence to support the elf’s theory. A moment’s trying to coax more from Freyrík, then another. Freyrík grunted and pulled Ayden’s hand away before he lost the will to stop him.
Ayden hmph’d and did not try again.
Freyrík sighed. Had he hurt the elf’s feelings? What he wouldn’t give for the power to hear them as Ayden could. Mayhap then he’d know the right words to make the elf understand.
He settled for nuzzling his face into the back of Ayden’s head, nudging tufts of hair flat with his cheek. “You have sacrificed so much for me already,” he whispered. “I would not see you sacrifice more. Were you my subject, I would order you home. But I cannot, so I beg of you: Go. Now. Allow me to decline your selfless offer.”
Ayden shook his head, squeezed Freyrík’s arm. “’Tis selfishness, you idiot, not comity.” A marvel, how Ayden could make such harsh words sound so fond. “I could not bear to see you executed for treason. But I can bear High Court. We’ve been through worse together already and come out the other side.”
‘Twas true, and yet… He pulled back, dropped a kiss on Ayden’s shoulder and ran fingertips down the fine web of scars on his back. “You nearly died. What if—”
“I’m fine, Freyrík.”
“But will you still be when they bind your magic?”
Freyrík winced as Ayden tensed in his arms. ’Twas a cold, cruel thing to have said, but he’d say it again and again if it would breach Ayden’s stubbornness. And mayhap it had, for Ayden remained stiff and silent in his arms.
“Tomorrow we ride upon the Splendor," he pressed. “Once we cross the first gate, there is no turning back. You must go now. The ambassador’s escort—”
“Will think you complicit!”
“Beat me, then. Bind me. Make a show of it.”
“It would not work,” Ayden said, and gods but the weariness in his voice stabbed at Freyrík’s heart. “You have intervened for me too often in the past to escape suspicion now.”
Then make it work, Freyrík wanted to say. Break me. Kill my escorts.
But he couldn’t betray his men so. Besides, deep in his heart he knew Ayden was right. None of it would suffice in the eyes of High Court.
He ground his head against the pillow in frustration. “Let them blame me, then. You have paid in blood for me; I would do the same for you.”
Ayden’s elflight flared so bright that Freyrík, startled, snatched his hand back to shade his eyes.
When he could see again, Ayden was standing. Pointing.
“’Tis not blood they would take,” the elf growled. Not shouting, no—too aware of men who might overhear—but his words were no less sharp for it. His anger pricked at Freyrík’s skin like a thousand blow darts. “’Tis your head. I have seen the cages strung like lanterns along the outer wall, displaying what remains of slaughtered commoners and kings alike. Do not try to tell me you would be exempt!”
No, he supposed he wouldnt, but nor did he think it would come to—
“Wait, you have seen the cages?” He sat up, swung his legs over the side of the bed. “You’ve been to the Splendor?”
Ayden lowered the finger he’d been jabbing at Freyrík and nodded. “As a child, with my father. Things were different then.”
Despite himself, a smile crept upon his lips at the thought of Ayden as a diplomat’s son, dressed to the chin in finery and standing still and mannerful at his father’s side—likely with that mop of unruly hair to ruin the impression—
“What?” Ayden demanded, folding his arms across his chest and scowling, and gods befanged but if that didn’t turn Freyrík’s grin into a full-blown laugh.
“Apologies,” he huffed when he could speak again. “I’m merely”—he shook his head, scrubbed a hand across disobedient lips—“I’m merely imagining you being polite, is all.”
“Well, stop it.” Ayden’s scowl deepened, but Freyrík needed no elven magic to hear the smile behind it. “I’ll have you know I was a terror, even then.”
“I do not doubt it,” he said solemnly. His grin cracked through again and he held his arms out, inviting. Ayden stepped into his embrace, the warmth of him soaking right through Freyrík’s skin as arms hugged round his shoulders and one smooth cheek came to rest against the top of his head.
Freyrík closed his eyes and let himself revel in Ayden’s shelter.
But only for a moment, for though he’d surrendered the argument, the danger still loomed. He gave Ayden’s arm a tug, guiding the elf to sit on the bed beside him. They angled toward each other, knees touching, hands tangled together between them. Ayden gazed upon him, eyes questioning.
“You must not be a terror this time.” Freyrík said.
Ayden squeezed his fingers. “I know.”
“The Crown Prince will greet us at the gate to the inner ward. You must seem to him a slave broken and trained.”
“I know.”
“And gods pray, do not wander off. Ever. I cannot protect you if you leave my sight.”
“Yes, yes, I know.” Ayden pulled his hands free and cupped them to Freyrík’s cheeks with just a bit too much pressure to be tender. “Now if you’ve finished fretting, human, I would you still your tongue that we may put it to better use.”
He could fair taste the elf at those words, and next he knew he was on his back, a hot heavy weight across his hips, his manhood straining against Ayden’s arse. Hands on his cheeks again, drawing his eyes up to Ayden’s hungry, focused grin. When Ayden leaned in to claim him, he didn’t fight it, just slid his hands round Ayden’s arse and splayed his legs, opening up beneath him.
After all, ‘twould be ungentlemanly to refuse an invitation so sincere.

Rachel is an M/M erotic romance author, a freelance writer and editor, and the Managing Editor of Riptide Publishing. She's also a sadist with a pesky conscience, shamelessly silly, and quite proudly pervish. Fortunately, all those things make writing a lot more fun for her . . . if not so much for her characters.

When she's not writing about hot guys getting it on (or just plain getting it; her characters rarely escape a story unscathed), she loves to read, hike, camp, sing, perform in community theater, and glue captions to cats. She also has a particular fondness for her very needy dog, her even needier cat, and shouting at kids to get off her lawn.

You can find Rachel at her website, Tweeting as @RachelHaimowitz, chatting in the Goodreads forums, and blogging at Fantasy Unbound. She loves to hear from folks, so feel free to drop her a line anytime at metarachel (at) gmail (dot) com.
One commenter will win an ebook of Book 1 in the series, Counterpoint. Ends midnight Friday 11/25! Must leave email address in comment. Open to international! Good luck!
Thanks for reading, everyone! Leave Rachel some release day love!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Haz Happies For Your Eyes! Cover Reveals & Book Boyfriends! #Mancandy!

I'm a grinning fool today because I'm on eyecandy overload! Here's what I have for you:

1) Look down below for the WEST OF WANT cover reveal! There's more chatter about it here, where you can also win some cool stuff, but I had to show it off on my own blog, too!

2) Look at the 11/16 AND 11/17 posts on the Books and Things blog! Yesterday, Melissa featured HER idea of NORTH OF NEED hero Owen Winters as her Book Boyfriend! And me likes her idea a whole whole lot! *winks* TODAY, she's featuring MY idea of Owen Winters, plus some sizzling excerpts that match a picture too hot for words. You have to check it out!

Now, for my new WEST OF WANT cover!!!!! :

Everyone, I'm pleased to introduce you to Zephyros Martius, Supreme God of the West Wind and Spring. Isn't he lickable pretty? Do you have a favorite detail???

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to visit my and Melissa's book boyfriends!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Celebrating Stephanie Draven's New Release! #Giveaway of #DarkSinsandDesertSands!

I'm thrilled to feature my good friend and local RWA chaptermate
Stephanie Draven's
latest Mythica series book here on the blog!

Escaping a hellish Syrian prison, U.S. serviceman Ray Stavrakis emerged with uncanny mind-control powers and an eerie ability to morph into a mythical Minotaur. As a half man, half bull, Ray had legendary power, but only one woman could prove his innocence. The woman who'd driven him to the brink of insanity with her cool-eyed interrogation and her hot-blooded sensuality.

But Vegas psychologist Layla Bahset had no memory of Ray or her past. Only a feeling of being stalked by a nonhuman predator. Was it Ray…whose eyes condemned her soul even as his hands ignited her body? Or was another evil force at work? But nothing could stop Layla from remembering what she was…and what her evil creator had planned for her and her soldier lover….

Read on for a hot excerpt...

It wasn't difficult for Ray to find Layla Bahset's office. She hadn't gone to any trouble to hide her identity. She was listed right there in the Las Vegas phone book like she was just an ordinary woman and not evil incarnate. This had probably been a mistake—to come directly to his interrogator's office in the middle of the day. They'd have him on the security cameras and someone might be able to identify him. But unless he planned to stalk Layla Bahset down the street, like he'd done with the guard in Aleppo, this was the easiest way to handle things.

"Hola," the woman at the desk purred, eyeing him with unabashed interest while her fingers arranged a vase of flowers. "My name is Isabel. And aren't you just trouble in a tight black T-shirt..." 

She was a glamazon with cinnamon-brown eyes, Latin curves in all the right places, and a smile that could cause a war or two. Ray felt himself flush under her magnetic charm. She was sexy as hell and it'd been a long time since anyone looked at him with anything other than malice, but Ray couldn't let himself be distracted by flirtation. He'd come here for Layla Bahset.

He'd come here for justice. He'd come here to clear his name. Nothing less would satisfy.

"So, will the doc see me, or not?" Ray asked.

"Lucky for you, Dr. Bahset's a workaholic. I'm sure she'll squeeze you in, Papi."

Were they already to the nickname stage? "Thanks, Cha-cha," Ray returned, swiping a piece of candy from her desk. He popped it in his mouth hoping the sugar would steady him, but the intense sweetness put him even further on edge.

Dr. Bahset's office door was half open, and he took a moment to watch her. Was it just Ray's imagination, or had he been in prison so long that every woman looked like a goddess today? Layla Bahset was as flawless as he remembered her, and Ray found that comforting. If a wisp of her black hair had escaped the confines of her severely upswept coiffure, it might’ve given him pause. If her lips had been slightly chapped instead of delicately glossed, he might’ve hesitated. But she was perfect.

Beneath the demure white blouse and dark skirt, there wasn't a single crack in the facade through which her humanity might have shone through.

Yet here she was, in the flesh.

It all happened in slow motion—fractional increments of time. He stepped into her office and locked the door, hearing the satisfying sound of the bolt sliding into place. Layla Bahset looked up, her emerald eyes disarmingly and deceptively warm. He remembered those eyes, as green as the Nile and as timeless as the pyramids. Eyes so penetrating and pitiless that his throat had constricted with every question she'd asked. Now he made himself just as hard and pitiless. His boots rapidly closed the distance between them and her smile faded. His coat caught the edge of a low end table and overturned it just as she rose to her feet to call for help.

Then he had her.

Kicking her chair out of the way, he slammed her against the bookshelf and felt her go boneless with fear. Rage blinded him as he wrapped his hands around her throat and he struggled not to let the beast in him take over. He reminded himself that he wasn't here to choke her; he just  needed to keep her from screaming. He let her exhale and felt the heat of her breath on his face.

Her palms flattened against his chest to fend him off but the rest of her was surprisingly warm and yielding. He could actually feel the heat of her through his shirt. She smelled like something sweet and fragile, like a desert blossom. Like something he could trample and destroy.

Damn. It had been a mistake to touch her. More than two years had passed since he'd touched anything so soft, and the intimacy of skin against skin might be his undoing. Her eyes were closed, lips trembling. He could almost taste the salt of her fear-induced perspiration. It should've given him a feeling of satisfaction or mastery, but it only made him hungry for her. Urges he no longer knew he had clawed their way to the surface. With his blood running hot and his knee between hers, he nearly forgot what he'd come here for.

"Look at me, damn it," he growled close to her ear until her pulse quickened beneath his fingertips and her eyelashes fluttered open. "I bet you thought you'd never see me again, did you? Take a good look and hope it's not your last."

Her eyes frantically searched his face as if for something she might recognize, and it infuriated him. Her face was burned into his memory. Her questions were branded in his flesh. That she could have forgotten him was unthinkable. He let his eyes blaze a path to the edge of her mind, but he was so angry he could barely focus on controlling her. The top button of her white blouse had come undone, baring her collarbone, and he wanted to press his mouth into the hollow of it.

After everything she'd done to him, she was finally at his mercy. He could have her. He could show her his strength and power now that he wasn't in chains. The desire to take her was so strong that it actually shook him out of his stupor.

He wasn't that kind of monster, after all.

He let his grip relax, fingers splayed over her shoulder as she took a desperate breath. "You're not going to scream, okay?" She nodded and in spite of his admittedly tenuous hold over her mind, she didn't scream. She didn't claw at him either. Instead, she did the most astonishing thing. Her delicate hand slipped over the taut sinews of his forearm in a caress. "Let me help you," she whispered.

He couldn't remember the last time another human being had touched him in gentleness, and the intensity of it was unbearable. Unbearable. He was an escaped create of the black dungeon. 

Perhaps he wasn't meant for the sounds, scents, or gentle sensations of the world anymore. Perhaps he knew only pain now. Her touch left him unbalanced. Unsteady. He had to pull away. "Sit down at your desk," he commanded, but he wasn't sure if it was his power that compelled her or just the fear.

"I want to help you," she repeated, settling into her chair.

"You didn't help me when I was in Syria," he snarled. "You just asked me all those questions, and they'd swirl in my head like you were some kind of sorceress. Like you'd bewitched me. And when I wouldn't answer, you'd send me back to have my hands and feet beaten until they bled. Of course, that was before you tried to make me think you actually cared about me…"

She shook her head as if she didn't know what he was talking about and it made him even angrier. "Oh, give it a second and you'll remember me. You see, everything has a price, sweetheart, and your bill has just come due."

Stephanie Draven is a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. She lives with her favorite nocturnal creatures, three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. When she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books. Stephanie enjoys re-imagining myths for the modern age. She doesn't believe that true love is ever simple or without struggle so her work explores the sacred within the profane, the light under the loss and the virtue hidden in vice.

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