Thursday, September 29, 2011

MUST LOVE VAMPIRES by Heidi Betts

MUST LOVE VAMPIRES by Heidi Betts

Love At First Bite

Nightclub dancer Chloe Lamoureaux just met the man of her dreams: Aidan Raines is charming, considerate, rich, and hot. Of course, he's a little mysterious about his age. And his favorite drink. And he's not much for sunlight. But he's asked her to marry him, and she's ready to do it. Sure, she has a few secrets too - but they'll have plenty of time to work things out while they're living happily ever after. Right?

Her identical twin sister, Chuck, isn't so sure. Maybe reporting for the local Bigfoot-sighting tabloid doesn't make her an expert, but to Chuck, Aidan and his brother Sebastian look like honest-to-Dracula vampires. Especially Sebastian: beguiling, seductive, and just a hint of dangerous. Maybe she wouldn't mind him taking a little taste. But with Chloe's life in the balance, she has to know - do they want hot love or hot blood? Or maybe...a little of both?

And don’t miss...
ONE LAST BITE (an epilogue to Must Love Vampires)

The tantalizing happily-ever-after finale to the story of Sebastian and Charlotte, Aidan and Chloe, available as a free e-book download.

Download your copy today!

~Excerpt~

Chuck couldn’t believe it. She was sitting on the sofa beside an honest to goodness vampire. A vampire!

She was almost giddy with excitement. Sure, there was a fair amount of trepidation roiling in her belly, too, but mostly she was just too darn pleased with herself.

Even if Sebastian went all feral and ate her for his supper, she figured she’d die happy in the knowledge that she’d been right! She wasn’t crazy, and she hadn’t let the wild imaginings of her previous stories for the Tattler get her all whipped up over nothing. Sebastian Raines was definitely something.

Whoo-howdy, was he ever. Was it wrong to be sitting here, drinking his wine, silently writing up bullet points for her article, and lusting after him like a sailor on shore leave? Well, like the female version of one, anyway, whatever that might be.

“I want to interview you,” she blurted out suddenly, bouncing up on her knees on the soft sofa cushions.

It had never occurred to her before—probably because she’d never intended to actually come face to face with him. Follow him around his own casino, dig into his past and present, and sneak through his penthouse looking for clues to his otherworldliness, sure. But actually sit down with him and ask him questions directly? It was an underpaid tabloid reporter’s dream come true.

Careful not to spill her wine in all her sit-up-and-shake puppy dog excitement, she asked, “Would you let me?”

His dark lashes fluttered over his even darker eyes. “I’ve never been interviewed,” he replied slowly. “Get more requests each week than you can imagine, but I’ve never granted a single one.”
“I know.”

And she did; she’d scoured the internet, old newspapers and magazines, even microfiche, for God’s sake, for any hint of something personal about Sebastian Raines in Sebastian Raines’s own words. She’d found nothing. Oh, there had been plenty of articles written about him—about his properties, his multi-million dollar corporations, even a few with a where-did-this-guy-come-from? tone—but always from an outsider’s perspective.

With a small inclination of his head, he said, “I told you I’d tell you everything, so I will. But my frankness comes with a price.”

Chuck’s heart leapt. Whatever it was, she would pay.

Did he want actual cash? Probably not, since he had about nine thousand, sixteen trillion more dollars in his bank account than she did, but she was still willing to offer.

If he was more in the market for a live-in maid, or even a live-in mistress . . . well, she was up for that, too. She’d already been drooling over him from afar, so putting herself out there like that (ha—putting out) for the story of a lifetime wouldn’t exactly be a hardship.

As for the other . . . well, she could scrub a toilet as well as anyone, she supposed.

“You won’t remember anything once I finish.”

She blinked, slamming on her brain’s brakes and laying rubber until she could pull a mental U-ie. Wait. What?

“What?” she repeated aloud, knowing she was blinking like a camel in a sandstorm.

“That’s the deal, Char— Sorry. Chuck.”

He said her name as though he didn’t particularly like it, and definitely wasn’t used to calling a woman by a man’s name. She got that a lot.

“What does that mean?” she asked carefully.

Was he telling her that he wouldn’t allow her to use anything he told her when they were finished? An off-the-record-type interview. Or was he telling her she wouldn’t remember the interview when they were done in a Mafia Boss, you’ll-sleep-with-the-fishes sort of way?

She honestly didn’t know which made her feel more sick to her stomach. Swimming with the fishes would be bad, but not being able to use the most coveted interview on the planet would be devastating. Heartbreaking. Even if he didn’t put her in cement shoes and drop her to the bottom of Lake Tahoe, she would probably take a voluntary dive off the Hoover Dam, anyway.

“It means that I can answer your questions. I can tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know. But when we’re done, your memory of this evening will be completely erased and you’ll remember nothing.”

“How . . .” When her voice squeaked on the word, she paused, collected herself, and tried again. “How exactly will that happen?”
One corner of his mouth quirked up in a self-deprecating grin. “Come now. Do you think all vampires do is drink blood from unsuspecting victims?”

Inside her chest, Chuck’s heart was ka-thump-ka-thump-ka-thumping to beat the band. Holy hell on a hamburger bun. That was as good as an admission that he was, indeed, a vampire.

Granted, he hadn’t come right out and said, “Why, yes, ma’am, I am a bloodsucking fiend of the night. Wanna see my fangs?”

But she’d seen the fangs, hadn’t see? No full-on, double fang action, but there for a second, just a minute or two ago, she’d definitely seen . . . more tooth where most people had less tooth.

And though she hadn’t asked him directly whether or not he was a vampire, she’d certainly made it clear that’s what she was after, and nothing he’d said so far led her to believe his answer would be no.

The glass in her hand trembled, and her lips started to go numb. Was she having a heart attack? Was this what one felt like? Or maybe she was simply on the verge of a panic attack.

Either way, this was IT. Big I, big T, nothing was ever going to top this in her entire life. If she one day gave birth to a litter of porcupines and got into the Guinness Book of World Records, she would still look back at the night she’d sat across from an honest-to-goodness vampire and gotten the story from his very own blood-stained mouth, and consider it the most exciting thing that had ever happened to her.

But could she go through the most exciting event of her life, get all of her nagging questions answered, know she’d finally proven that vampires really did exist . . . and then consent to having it all wiped away as though it never happened?

She thought about it for all of about a milli-second. The time it took for her fingers to flex more tightly around her wine glass and her gaze to once again zero in on Sebastian’s impressive, almost Romanesque profile as he reached for the bottle to refill his own glass.

Yes. Yes, she could. She had to know. Wanted it more than her next breath or her daily top secret Snickers bar.

It killed her, absolutely killed her to think that when she woke up the next morning, she might not remember a single thing about tonight, but it was a risk she was willing to take. Who knew, maybe his vampire mojo or whatever it was wouldn’t work. Maybe she would wake up not only remembering the events of this evening, but as far back as having her ass slapped by the doctor when she’d been born.

A frown crossed her face as one last thought occurred to her. “This whole . . . erasing my memory thing,” she murmured, nibbling at one side of her bottom lip. “It doesn’t involve any sort of electro-shock or frontal lobotomy-type stuff, does it?”

He chuckled. “No, I assure you it’s entirely non-invasive. Except for the loss of recent memories, of course.”

Of course.

Taking a deep breath, she nodded, and forced the words past a throat closed tight with anxiety. “All right. As long as you promise not to leave me a drooling vegetable staring at Phineas and Ferb all day, I’m in.”

“Who?”

She waved off his question with a flip of her wrist. “It’s a cartoon. For kids.” Something she knew only because she spent way too many hours awake when she should be asleep, with only the Disney Channel for company.

“No, I will not leave you drooling over this Phillius on Verb, or anything else. You’ll be perfectly fine, except for a few missing hours of your life you’ll probably wonder about. After a while, you’ll even forget that they ever went missing.”

“Then I want to know,” she told him, making her voice strong and sure in hopes of convincing herself, as well.

He inclined his head. “Where would you like to start?”

Well, shoot, she wasn’t expecting that. Her brows crossed. Where did she want to start?

She already knew he was a vampire. At this point, that was a given. He’d never come right out and admitted as much, but . . . yeah, it was a given.

And she assumed he drank blood, couldn’t go out in sunlight, and had been around since the invention of the wheel or soon thereafter. The whole nine undead yards.

She wanted to know more than just the everyday minutia of an immortal’s existence. Although, yes, she was sure that was all fascinating. She’d come back to it later. But for now, she wanted to dig deeper, learn something a little more substantial than whether or not he slept in a coffin or had to carry dirt from his native land in his pants pocket twenty-four/seven.

When she thought about it, what she wanted to know most was really pretty simple. And probably what had driven her to go after Sebastian like a pitbull with this “there’s a vampire living in Las Vegas” theory in the first place.

Licking her lips and meeting his steel gray gaze, she asked, “How does it feel to know you’re going to live forever?”

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THE BITE BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Heidi Betts

THE BITE BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Heidi Betts

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Vampires...

Vampires turn to fanged and fabulous matchmaker extraordinaire Angelina Ricci to help them find that special someone to curl up with under the mistletoe in this charming (read: sexy) and delightful (read: funny) holiday collection by national bestselling author Heidi Betts. Because vampires need love, too. (Biting optional. Hot sex guaranteed.)

"All I Vant For Christmas"

Millionaire vampire Connor Drake loves trimming the tree, baking gingerbread cookies, and hanging the mistletoe for Christmas, but his Goth and gloomy vampire siblings won't have anything to do with it. Enter Angelina, who sends party planner Jillian Parker to the rescue. But when Jillian - who's mortal -discovers that she's decking the halls for a family of vampires, will she run...or will Connor have a beautiful woman to share the holidays with?

"A Vampire in Her Stocking"

When Vivian learns that her secret crush, Sean, is terminally ill, she is heartbroken. Confiding in her matchmaking friend, Angelina recommends the obvious - give Sean eternal life by turning him into a vampire, too. But when Vivian refuses, Angelina decides to play Santa (with a side of Cupid) and changes Sean for her, leaving him wrapped in a bright red bow on Vivian's doorstep...

"It's A Wonderful Bite"

Although Angelina is happy with her longtime lover, Ian, she's ready for a commitment. After drinking eggnog and watching It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve for the (literally) four millionth time, Angelina falls into a dream where she is mortal, and Ian is involved with someone else. Talk about the nightmare before Christmas! But Santa must have checked his list twice, because this Christmas, Angelina's wishes are about to come true...

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~Excerpt~

“Don’t you ever miss the comfortable, cozy feeling the holidays used to bring?” he asked quietly. “That sense of togetherness, the remembrance of what’s truly important as the minutia of everyday life falls away.”

“You forget, love, that I’m the old-fashioned type, just like you. I still celebrate the holidays, complete with all the trimmings.”

Connor took a sip of his AB-negative, then gave a weary sigh. “Only a few weeks until Christmas. It’s going to be the worst one yet, I expect.”

“Not necessarily.” Setting her glass on the table beside her large, brocade wing-back chair, Angelina uncrossed her legs and leaned forward slightly. “I know someone,” she told him. “A professional.”

Working hard to hide his astonishment, he allowed only one dark brow to dart upward. “You’re offering to send me a prostitute to cheer me up over the holidays?”

She threw her head back, her smoky laugh filling the entire library where they sat. “Don’t be silly. There are other professions women can excel at these days, you know. I like to think I’m a perfect example of that.”

Her lips twisted in the intimation of a pout, but he knew she was really amused.

“No, I know a professional event coordinator. She’s very good, and I think she may be able to put together a Christmas event for you that won’t have you praying for Hailey’s Comet to strike you dead.”

“If only that would do the job,” he muttered beneath his breath.

“Let me talk to her. If she’s available, I’ll have her give you a call.”

“Is she also a miracle worker? Because I’m afraid that’s what it will take to convince Liam and Maeve to sit still through a four-course meal and not burst into flames at the sound of ‘Jingle Bells.’”

“I don’t know about that, but I do think she’ll be able to give you the holiday you’re wishing for, whether your brother and sister decide to behave themselves or not.”

Despite Angelina’s assurances, Connor didn’t hold much hope that her prediction would come true. But then, what did he have to lose?

“Fine,” he replied without inflection. Then, as he lifted his glass to his mouth to drink, he added, “But I think I might be better off with the hooker.”

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BLOOD MOON BETRAYED by Teresa D'Amario

BLOOD MOON BETRAYED by Teresa D'Amario

Sean has known nothing but betrayal in his heart for many years. He's lost the leadership of his pack and with that, his wife. His daughters barely speak to him. Now he wants peace, and the only place to search for it is in the darkness of the forest. But the scent of a human female in peril drags him from the recesses of his pain, crushing what little balance remains.

Caden was once the popular cheerleader dressed to the nines. But when her ex-husband comes in search of blood, she realizes her past is nothing compared to the future she desires. Just as she's about to breathe her last, a voice tells her everything will be okay. But Caden knows different.

Beneath the light of the Blood Moon Festival beats the heart of the ultimate betrayal. Murder strikes so close to the heart, shattering Sean's soul, and destroying Caden's hopes of the future.

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An Excerpt from: Blood Moon Betrayed
Copyright © 2011 Teresa D'Amario

All rights reserved, Freya's Bower.




By reading this excerpt, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are younger than 18 years old, you must exit this site at once.


Dierdre was still beside him, her hands brushing Sean’s arm. He jerked back, but not before the female offered a grin.

“Keep your hands off my mate, you bitch.”

“He’s mine,” snarled the shewolf.

Caden shrugged, moving onto the balls of her feet. She considered dumping her heels, but decided they may just give her the advantage. The wolven female wore sensible, soft-soled shoes. The bitch’s kicks would be soft, though solid. Caden’s would hurt more, but might not knock her as far. But most never understood the power of a well-made stiletto. A well-placed heel could be as painful as a bullet.

“I don’t know what you think you’re getting out of this, but you’re going down. Here and now,” Caden taunted her, waiting for the first strike. Caden knew Dierdre was measuring her weaknesses, just as she watched Dierdre’s. Someone tossed the shewolf a branch. The wood was a foot longer than Caden’s cane, but was made of pine. Pine was one of the weakest woods there was. One good hit, and it would break.

Dierdre charged. She swung her branch, and Caden countered. The thrust was powerful, and Caden’s arms shuddered beneath the power of the strike. Bark flew from the female’s staff, showering Caden, with bits falling toward her eyes. She grunted, blinking away the debris, and holding the shewolf back.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

MOMENTS IN LIFE by Shanbreen

MOMENTS IN LIFE: A Collection of Short Stories by Shanbreen

Moments in Life is a multi-cultural collection of 15 stories about human lives that coaxes, teases, explores, and entices our emotions to examine the inner-self and scrutinize the lives of those who live around us.

The book flirts with mystery and crosses ethnic boundaries. It touches on women’s issues and confronts abject poverty in India. It focuses on the absorption of American values and the stumbling blocks faced by a segment of the immigrant population. It also relates to everyday life in America and stretches our imagination toward the nature of mankind.

 From social issues to coming out of the closet of a gay heterosexual couple to horror and supernatural to the power of love, this collection challenges and entertains the reader.

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An Excerpt from: Moments in Life
An excerpt from The Emancipation of Anjali
Copyright © 2011 Shanbreen

All rights reserved, Wild Child Publishing.

After they finished packing, Anjali said a prayer for him. She held Raju’s hand while they waited for a cab, and then with a final wave of her hand at the fast disappearing cab, she allowed herself the luxury of tears. “Good-bye, my son, good-bye,” she whispered again and again, as she trudged back into the house.

Anjali had no idea what to do next. She wanted to talk to someone, but she did not know whom to call. She would have loved to call her sister in India, but she did not know the number. Ramesh never let her call long distance, and she had no friends in her own town.

For a moment, she looked at her reflection in the large mirror that hung in their living room. Under the cloudy distortion of her teary-eyed vision, she saw a once beautiful, young girl staring back at her. She remained in awe of her perceived reflection in the mirror, her hand reaching out to touch the youthful face, but the contact of her hand against the cold reality of the mirror made the apparition disappear and brought into focus the shriveled, undignified woman who stared back. She looked away in a hurry and labored her way back to the kitchen where she took two large swigs from the Jack Daniels and poured a generous amount in a glass. This time, she did not bother to refill the bottle with water or cheap whisky.

She sat at the dinette with the large four-finger-deep liquor in her glass, making no effort to conceal it. Her fragile body was shattered by the deep sorrow in her heart—a discarded over-used raggedy doll, pulled and broken, cast away to rot, confined within the walls of the garbage can.

She sat in the kitchen, nursing her drink. A smile teased her lips as if to say, “I have done it. I have dared to defy my destiny. I have climbed the highest mountain. Nothing Ramesh can do will hurt me anymore.”

She sat there for a long time in the dark, not bothering to brush her teeth, or use mouthwash, or braid her hair in a single ponytail. Other than the time when Ramesh and she had visited one of his friends for dinner, this was the first time in their thirty years of marriage she did not bother to cook for her husband.

~ ~ ~ ~

Excerpt from the story Marriage of Convenience
For a long time, Sonia sat, as if lifeless, just staring into space. Thoughts travelled around in her head at an unbelievable pace. She had to concentrate hard to hold one tight before it evaporated and another thought took its place. She didn’t understand where Satish was coming from. To her, it was the other way around. It was Satish who had nothing to talk about except their kids, money, and the TV shows he watched. He had, according to her, no interest in politics, or for that matter, in art, culture and history. But she still didn’t say anything, just waited for Satish to get everything out of his system.

Satish sighed when Sonia did not respond to his accusations.

Sonia caught his hesitancy, knowing he was confused. The way his gaze darted from her to the floor, not quite knowing where to rest it. But he continued, apparently deciding her silence was a green light, so to speak, for him to go on.

“Sonia,” he said, “you project sensuality, but to me you seem perched on a glass pedestal that would come crashing down if I approached you in an intimate fashion.”

Oh, thought Sonia, here he comes back to his main topic of interest, ‘sex’. This was not where she wanted the conversation to head. So far, in their lives, they had never analyzed their sex life, although she knew he would have, if given the chance.

“Sonia, for you, ‘sex’ is an obscene word. You have too many headaches and are forever tired. Tired of doing what, I ask? Every time I try to talk about it, we have a fight, and then we don’t speak to each other for days.”

Sonia was about to defend herself when Satish stopped her. “Over the years, I have conditioned myself to stop thinking about sex,” he continued. “It has taken some doing on my part to lie next to you and do nothing. At first, masturbation kept me going, but that did not provide me with the mental release I needed. Fortunately for me, I no longer feel the burning need for you,” he said.

Sonia stared at him, her mouth agape, saying nothing. How could he be so cruel? Her defences rose, she could give as good as she was getting, but before she could say anything he spoke again.

“After all these years, sleeping next to you with very few intimate moments, I can in all honesty say you have succeeded in making me, if not completely impotent, at least semi-impotent,” he finished with an audacious smile.

Sonia badly wanted to change the conversation, take it away from sex to things she believed were the real issue. But she could not bypass the opportunity presented to take a jibe at him. “Well, since that’s taken care of, let’s not talk about it anymore and get back to what happened today,” she said.

But Satish did not give up on it. “Tell me,” he asked, “do you have sexual needs or does the once in a while thing do it for you?”

“Oh, God! Sex! Sex! Sex! Is that all you can think of? Seems like that’s all you can talk about. For a person who has been made impotent by me, you still seem to be thinking about it all the time. Anyway, let’s get it out of your system. To answer your question…no, I am not frigid, if that’s what you mean.”

“Are you seeing someone?”

“No, I’m not.”

“Then what do you do for it? Masturbate?”

“Stop being crude. But since you asked, I have my ways.”

She didn’t tell him her need for sex was not that great, and when she did need it, it was he who took care of it. She knew how to arouse him when she wanted to. It was not that bad in a dark room, where in her mind, she could make her husband take on the guise of George Clooney or Saif Ali Khan.

~ ~ ~ ~

Excerpt from the story ...And the Old Man Cried
The old man was so thin it was easy to count his ribs under the stretched-out translucent skin that seemed to have shrunk in proportion to his flesh. His Dilentin levels were getting harder to control. The varying concentrate of the medicine in his blood stream had caused him to lose his balance a few times or have epileptic attacks in the most unfortunate places—when he was in the bathroom or in a crowded place such as a restaurant, a shopping mall, or a country fair. The results of his falling down had led to two broken bones and a hip replacement.

The irony of it all was his eldest son had also died and left him alone. After his son’s death, there was no one to look after him in Dubai. It had taken quite some doing, after he fell and sprained his wrist, for his other sons and daughter to convince him to come and live with them in America.

The old man could not understand this country. It wasn’t just the strange culture of “these people” that he didn’t get, but he also found it difficult to converse with them. He tried, but his English was not that good. Why did his children always ask him to say “thank you” every time he was given something that was his to have in the first place, and why should he have to say “sorry” for such trivial things as dropping the spoon while eating? He had not dropped the spoon with an intention to be difficult or annoying, and besides, was he not making an effort to eat with silverware instead of using his right hand as he was accustomed to do? To top it all off, there was this “tone modulation” his children insisted on. What was the difference in saying, “Please, give me food,” in a soft or a loud voice? It seemed that even when he said “please,” his Americanized children were not always pleased.

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THE KONA DOG by Ruth G Zavitsanos

THE KONA DOG by Ruth G Zavitsanos

Akela, THE KONA DOG, brings a smile to everyone she meets. She is sweet and caring to all those working and visiting the coffee plantation and pineapple grove.

To please her master, Akela makes her rounds on the plantation, assuring safety and offering encouragement with her gentle ways. When the plantation is threatened with closure by the banker man, Akela and her master's older son, Keoki, join forces to enlist the banker's daughter, Penny. Akela knows something makes the girl sad. If they get her to laugh and smile, perhaps they can save the plantation. But Penny isn't talking, and the plight of Akela's home doesn't look good either.

Faced with defeat and the loss of her home, Akela must use all of her bravery and instinctive abilities to bring everyone together. Can she soften their hearts in time to stop the banker man?

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An Excerpt from: The Kona Dog
Copyright © 2011 Ruth G. Zavitsanos

All rights reserved, Wild Child Publishing.

“This is a good sign,” Malia said. I heard the smile in her voice. And then my ears perked up, I turned my head and ran toward the rumbling sound of my master’s truck.

I barked again and again.

“Yes, Akela, your master is finally home.” Malia and Keoki followed. My master’s truck made its way up the winding road onto the red dirt-covered driveway.

My master stepped down from the truck with a smile. He hugged his wife and reached an arm out to his son.

“There is good news, Father?” Keoki asked.

“Yes and no. We have the promise of a visit from the investor’s bank advisor, but we must continue to work hard and prove the plantation is worthy of saving.”

I nudged my master. He patted my head. “Yes, this includes you, too, Akela. You must continue to watch for the safety of the workers and keep them happy.”

I wagged my tail. The Kona Dog is what everyone calls me even if they know my name. I am the first to greet the workers and visitors. If there is an accident, I run for help. Keeping the workers happy is what I enjoy doing most. Often while they stop to refresh themselves with a cold drink of water, I run over to give them encouragement by gently brushing my fur against their rough hands. They know I belong here on the plantation.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

UNWRAPPED by Erin McCarthy, Donna Kauffman, and Kate Angell

UNWRAPPED - A Christmas Anthology

From the streets of Chicago to the back roads of Kentucky to the wild dunes of a Scottish isle, mistletoe and mischief are this season's hottest gifts...

BLUE CHRISTMAS by New York Times bestselling author Erin McCarthy

While a blizzard blankets the world outside, Blue Farrow burrows into the arms of her highway hunk at the No Tell Motel. The road might be closed for dangerous conditions, but the couple navigates their own Kentucky Christmas curves. Nice and oh-so-naughty, Blue and her man open up to each other as they keep the Yule log burning.

SANTA IN A KILT by USA Today bestselling author Donna Kauffman

The wind-whipped December sands of the isle of Kinloch invigorate Kira McLeod as she sets out to tame rugged Shay Callaghan, a Scottish bachelor as wary of a wedding ring as a snowman is of the hot sun. It'll take all the wiles of the canny islanders to weave a perfect Celtic Christmas for all.

SNOW ANGEL by National bestselling author Kate Angell

Snowed under in Chicago, free spirit Allie is trapped in Dutton's department store on Christmas Eve when the lights go off and the holiday romance heats up. Our snow angel finds herself face to face with the dashing Aiden, the heir to the retail riches and her host for a night of winter wonder.
 

Chapter One

"Santa can suck it." Blue Farrow kept an eye on the highway and tried to hit the buttons on the radio to change the station. She was going to grind her teeth down to nubs if she had to listen to Christmas songs for another twelve hours. It was like an IV drip of sugar and spice and it was making her cranky.

Was she the only one who thought a fat dude hanging around on your roof was a bit creepy? And why were those elves so happy in that Harry Connick Jr. song? Rum in the eggnog, that's why. Not to mention since when did three ships ever go pulling straight up to Bethlehem? She wasn't aware it was a major port city.

Yep. She was feeling in total harmony with Scrooge. "Bah, Humbug," she muttered when her only options on the radio seemed to be all Christmas all the time or pounding rap music.

Blue had never been a big fan of Christmas, never having experienced a normal one in her childhood since her flaky mother (yes, flaky considering she'd named her daughter after a color) had done Christmas experimental style every year, never the same way twice, disregarding any of her daughter's requests. The trend on feeling tacked onto her parents' Christmas had continued into Blue's adulthood, and this year she had been determined to have a great holiday all on her terms, booking herself on a cruise with her two equally single friends. She had turned down her mother's invitation to spend the holiday with an indigenous South American tribe and her father's request to join him with his barely legal wife and their baby girl, and instead she was going to sip cocktails in a bikini.

Maybe.

The road in front of her was barely visible, the snow crashing down with pounding determination, the highway slick and ominous, the hours ticking by as Blue barely made progress in the treacherous conditions. Planning to drive to Miami from Ohio instead of flying had been a financial decision and would give Blue the chance to make a pit stop in Tennessee and visit her old friend from high school, but the only thing heading south at the moment was her vacation. It was Christmas Eve, her cruise ship departed in twenty hours, and she'd only made a hundred miles in six hours, the blizzard swirling around her mocking the brilliance of her plan as she drove through the middle of nowhere Kentucky.

She was going to have to stop in Lexington and see if she could catch a flight to Miami, screw the cost. Not that planes would be taking off in this weather, but maybe by morning. If she flew out first thing, she could be in Florida in plenty of time for her four o'clock sail time. All she had to do was make it to Lexington without losing her sanity from being pummeled with schmaltzy Christmas carols or without losing control of her car in the snow.

When she leaned over and hit the radio again and found the Rolling Stones she nearly wept in gratitude. Classic rock she could handle.

But not her car. As the highway unexpectedly curved and dipped, she fishtailed in the thick snow.

Blue only managed a weak, "Oh, crap," before she gripped the hell out of the wheel and slid sideways down the pavement, wanting to scream, but unable to make a sound.

She was going to die.

If there hadn't been anyone else on the road, she might have managed to regain control. But there was no stopping the impact when she swung into the lane next to her, right in the path of an SUV. She wasn't the only idiot on the road and now they were going to die together.

Blue closed her eyes and hoped there were bikinis and margaritas in the afterlife.


Santa was the man. Christian Dawes sang along to the radio at the top of his lungs, the song reminding him of his childhood, when he had listened carefully on Christmas Eve for the telltale sound of reindeer paws. Tossing the trail mix out for the reindeer to chomp on, putting the cookies on a plate for Santa, the magic and wonder and awe of waking up to a ton of presents, those were some of his best memories.

Someday when he had his own kids, he'd create all of those special moments for them, but right now Christian was content to play awesome uncle, arriving on Christmas Eve loaded down with presents for all his nieces and nephews. His trunk was stuffed with spoils, and he'd brought enough candy to earn glares from his two sisters and potentially make someone sick. But it wasn't Christmas until a kid stuffed his face with candy then hurled after a session on the sit and spin. That's what home videos and infamous family stories were made of.

Unfortunately the lousy weather was slowing him down on his drive from Cincinnati to Lexington. He'd left work later than he'd intended anyway, then by the time he'd hit Kentucky, he'd been forced down to thirty miles an hour because apparently the road crews had taken the holiday off and had decided not to plow. He hoped his family wasn't holding up dinner for him at his parents' house.

If he wasn't gripping the steering wheel so hard he would call someone and let them know he still had a couple of hours ahead of him, but he had no intention of reaching for his phone. A glance to the right showed a car next to him, but other than that, he could barely see the road in front of him. He needed Santa to dip down and give him a lift in his sleigh or it was going to be midnight before he arrived.

What he didn't need was a car accident.

In his peripheral vision, he saw the car next to him slide, spinning out so fast that Christian only had time to swear and tap his brakes before he hit the car with a crunch and they went careening towards the guardrail. When his SUV stopped moving a few seconds later, despite his efforts to turn the skid, he had the other car pinned against the railing.

"Shit!" Christian turned off his car and leaped out, almost taking a header in the thick snow, but terrified that he'd injured someone. "Are you okay?" he asked, yelling through the howling snow as he peered into the driver's side window.

The major impact of his SUV's front end had been in the backseat and trunk, so he hoped if there was an injury it wasn't serious. But with the snow smacking him in the face and the window plastered with wet flakes, he couldn't really see anything.

He knocked on the glass and when it started to slide down, he sighed in relief.

"Are you okay?" he said again now that the person in front of him could hear him.

"Are you okay?" she said simultaneously.

He nodded.

She nodded.

And Christian became aware that he was staring at the most strikingly beautiful woman he'd ever seen in his whole life.



Chapter Two

Blue sat in her car chest heaving, nodding rapidly to the man staring at her in concern as she tried to calm down. She was alive. Not dead. Everything on her body was intact and she had no pain.
"I'm fine. God, that was scary. I'm sorry, it was my fault, I skidded."

He leaned forward into the window, his face coming inches from hers. "Say that again, the wind is really howling."

"I said I'm sorry," she repeated loudly, suddenly aware that the guy she'd collided with was damn cute.

Wearing a knit winter hat and a camel colored jacket, he looked very rugged and outdoorsy, his chin sporting some scruff that matched the color of his coat. He had deep brown eyes and when his mouth spread into a grin, he had a warm, crooked smile.

"Well, you don't have to yell at me," he said, tone teasing.

Blue felt her heart rate returning to normal and at his words she felt her shoulders drop in relief. She laughed. "Okay, I'll leave that to your wife."

It was a comment she would have made to any man under the circumstances, but she had to admit she was a little curious what his answer would be.

"No wife. No girlfriend. No one at all to yell at me."

Yes. Not that it mattered. At all. But she could hear the flirt creeping into her voice. "Then I guess this was a thrill for you."

He laughed. "Totally. I'm going to move my car then we'll just have to back yours up, okay? Let's see if we can get you back on the road."

Right. The car accident. The fact that he was standing in the middle of a blizzard. Her crunched vehicle. Those were relevant. Not his dimples or broad shoulders.

"Okay."

"Wait for me to move before you try to back up."

Blue became aware that her teeth were chattering. "Got it." As soon as he walked away, she rolled her window back up and turned up the heat. She wasn't wearing a coat and it was finger-numbing, nipple-raising cold outside.

For a split second as he pulled his SUV back onto the road in front of her, heading in the correct direction, Blue wondered if he would just take off and leave her there. But her cynicism, while well honed, didn't even last a full minute before it was obvious he was walking back to her car, pulling gloves onto his hands. His bottom half, which hadn't been visible before, was just as hot as the top. Those were nice jeans, hugging in the right places.

Blue hoped there would be a multitude of smoking hot guys on the cruise because her sex drive had kicked into high gear for whatever reason.

"Okay, try to back up and I'll guide you," he said when she rolled her window back down.

She did, and her tires just spun in the snow. "Damn." She leaned her head out. "How deep is it?"

"Pretty deep. And you can't rock it because you're halfway through the guardrail. If you accelerate too hard you could go off the cliff."

Yeah, no thanks. Blue frowned at her steering wheel. This complicated things. She tried to reverse again, but her car spun ominously to the left.

"You need to get out of the car. This is looking dangerous. We'll call you a tow."

Leave it to her to screw up a vacation by nearly driving off a cliff. Turning her car off, silencing John Lennon mid-lament, she grabbed her purse and her jacket and pushed the door open. She wasn't wearing appropriate shoes. She had wanted to be comfortable so she was wearing zebra print ballet flats with jeans, a vintage Motley Crue T-shirt and a funky red scarf. Her jacket was a thin black velvet designed for indoor use more so than out. This was going to suck. A lot. Much more than listening to Santa and his ho ho hos.

The wind slapped her in the face as she pulled on her jacket and tried to button it. After a few seconds, she realized it was futile and tried not to whimper as snow cascaded over her mostly bare feet. Her nose instantly froze, her shoulders hunched in revolt, and her jeans decided at that moment to slid down, allowing her midriff to be pummeled by wet fat flakes.

At least her companion was looking at her in sympathy. "Come sit in my car while we call somebody."

By the time they hiked the twenty feet to his car and Blue slid into the passenger seat, her mouth was stuck open as little gasps of horror escaped. Her entire body felt like someone had repeatedly stabbed her with a million sharp pins. Her companion had turned his car off in the interim so it wasn't really any warmer than it was outside, but at least there was no wind and no snow smacking her in the face and torturing her feet. She stomped her shoes to remove the excess snow and tried not to whimper.

He cranked on the car and the heat and looked at her. "Is that the only jacket you have?"

She nodded.

"Shoes?"

"This is it unless I want to change into flip-flops. I'm going on a cruise. I didn't want a bunch of winter stuff with me." Blue touched her nose. It was still there, despite her not being able to feel it.

"Here." He leaned into the backseat and rifled through a bag. He emerged with two wool socks. "Put these on."

They were like crack to the addict, dangling in front of Blue, as tantalizing as a winning lottery ticket. But it seemed really weird to take socks from a stranger. "Don't you need these?"

"They're just socks. I can get more." He gave her a look of amusement. "Just put them on. You look like a Popsicle. But a cute one."

That made a certain body part unthaw slightly. "Thanks." As she kicked her ballet flats off and bent her knee so she could drag on one of the thick socks, she added, "I'm Blue, by the way."

"What?" He looked at her, his expression one of confusion. "Don't worry, you'll warm up. I don't think you're at risk for hypothermia yet."

Blue laughed. "No. I mean, I'm Blue. That's my name." She abandoned the sock for a minute and stuck out her hand to him. "Blue Mariposa Farrow. Pleased to meet you."

Understanding hit Christian and he felt like a first-class idiot. "Oh, shit, sorry. I'm Christian Dawes. Nice to meet you too, though I wouldn't have minded better circumstances."

"No kidding. And don't worry about not catching my name. I'm well aware it's unusual. My mom was going for unique and lovely territory, but she just landed in weird."

Blue went back to struggling with his sock, and as Christian watched her long and elegant fingers, and took in that wide smile below her high cheekbones, he thought that the name actually suited her. She had black hair with blunt bangs, the sides angling down past her chin. Her eyes had dark shadow on them and her fingernails were painted a deep blue. There was something very edgy yet playful about her appearance and her expressions. He'd only spent ten minutes with her and he could already see that she emoted with exaggerated facial expressions. She did the eyebrow arch, the head tilt, and a whole variety of movements with her lips.

Lips that he wouldn't mind being on his.

"It's definitely a unique name, but it's actually very pretty. Mariposa is butterfly in Spanish, isn't it?"

"Yes." Blue finished with the socks and sighed. "Ah, that feels good. And if you think Blue Butterfly is a pretty name for a grown woman you're smoking something and I don't mean a Marlboro. It's a corny name. But I'm used to being Blue." She did a fake drumroll on her knees and grinned. "Ba dum dum."

Christian laughed. "Well, I guess my parents went for the obvious. My sisters' names are Mary and Elizabeth. I think if they could have gotten away with naming me Jesus they would have."

"See, my mom would have just gone for it. So be grateful."

He was perfectly content sitting in his warm car staring at her, but Blue pulled her cell phone out of her purse.

"I better call someone if I hope to ever get out of here."

Right. Her wrecked car. Christian picked his phone up out of the cup holder, figuring he should call his family and warn them of the delay. Except he had no bars on his cell phone. He tried to call his mom anyway but it didn't do anything. "Is your phone working?"

Blue was frowning at her own cell phone and holding it up in the air. "No. Damn, this could be a problem."

"It must be the hill messing things up." They had slid to a stop nestled in a curve where the highway had been carved out of a steep hill. Given the curve and the incline, it was no wonder Blue had lost control in the piled-up snow. Christian rolled down his window and stuck his phone out, hoping miraculously it would start working. It didn't.

"Where are we? Are we close to an exit? I guess I'll have to walk."

Christian dropped his phone back down and hit the button to put his window back up. Then he shot the woman next to him an incredulous look. "Are you crazy? You can't walk in this. And if you think for one minute that I would let you walk in this, then you have another think coming. It's probably two miles to the next exit and you're half naked."

"I'm not half-naked!" Her face scrunched up. Okay, maybe that had been melodramatic but he was appalled at the thought of her walking in a blizzard with a velvet jacket without gloves and those stupid girl shoes that exposed the tops of her feet. Sexy, yes, practical, no.

"Well, you're certainly not dressed for taking a stroll in a snowstorm. And I would be a complete jerk if I let you do that. I can drive you to the exit, it's no problem."

Her mouth opened like she was going to argue, but then she just nodded. "Okay, thanks, I appreciate it."

"I'm going to run back and grab your suitcase. You might be stuck in town in a motel overnight before they can tow your car." Seeing her about to protest, Christian argued, "And before you say you can do it, just let me do it. I'm wearing boots."

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Monday, September 26, 2011

JUST LIKE CATS AND DOGS by B.A. Tortuga

JUST LIKE CATS AND DOGS by BA Tortuga

If there's one thing Sam knows for sure it's that you can never go home again. As a feline shifter who grew up in a family of wolves, he's used to being a freak. He stays in the city and tries to get his family to visit him, but when a loved one passes away, Sam has to go back to the New Mexico desert for a last goodbye.

Gus only comes back to the pack at gathering time, once in a blue moon. He's usually a wanderer, but he's with the pack when Sam comes home. Gus and Sam have never gotten along, but this time around Gus is surprised by the attraction he feels for this new, slinky version of his high school nemesis.

Sam and Gus may not be able to resist each other, but finding time to be together and overcome their differences might be too much for them, especially when danger lurks just around the corner, and all around the world. Can cats and dogs live to learn together, or are Gus and Sam destined to fail?

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~Excerpt~

Gus watched his mom and brother packing up casseroles and soup bones and all manner of shit to take over to Mona's. Jesus, he couldn't believe that Pop Finn was dead. The man was a fucking fixture in their neck of the woods, and everyone loved the guy, even if they disagreed with him.

"Are you coming, Gus?" His mom pushed her crazy red hair behind one ear. She was that way as a wolf, too, with a deep, reddish coat and one floppy ear. Pete was just the same way, and it used to pissed Gus off, when they were kids, that he looked like Dad, all shaggy and brown and shit.

"I'm not sure, Mom." He smiled wryly. "I didn't always get on with all the Finns."

"You don't say." Her lips twisted in a half grin. "It's been fifteen years. You're coming."

"Yeah." He shook his head. This wasn't about his issues. Pop Finn had been a good man, a solid man. Hell, that family had adopted every fucking stray that came across their land for the last forty years, up to and including a bunch of rowdy pups who just needed a place to blow off steam. He wasn't sure turkey casserole was an adequate expression of how they all felt, but he guessed it would do. He helped his mom carry everything out to the truck, getting it packed so it wouldn't slide around and spill.

"I'll take my truck, too, in case one of us needs to stay or something." Right, because baby brother Pete had a serious hard on for Lizzie -- the second to the youngest of Finn girls.

"Asshole." He grinned when Pete flipped him off. Gus did love fucking with people when he was home.

"You two behave or I'll beat you both." Mom hopped into the truck. "Get your ass in here, son."

Gus climbed into the driver's seat, bumping off toward the Finn's place.

"I want you to be nice to that boy while we're there."

"What boy?" All of the Finn kids were too old to be boys and girls.

"Augustus..."

"What?" He grinned. "Oh, you mean the pussy."

"Augustus Fieri, I will beat your heinie!"

"Yeah, yeah. I'll be good." He would. Unless pussy boy was an ass. In which case he'd kick the lanky little fuck into next week. Yeah, the beating sounded like a good plan. He grinned, which made his mom pop him on the arm. "Ow!"

"Stop it. You have evil in your eyes. That poor boy was Pete's best friend, even if he was different."

"You know, I want to know why everyone assumes it was my fault we didn't get along." It was offensive. Really.

She just looked at him. A lot. With her eyes.

Okay, so he'd bitten Sam. Chased him. Growled. Treed the little fuck once. They'd been boys. Boys did that. Just like Sam had scratched his leg so bad once that he'd had to get stitches. Had shredded Gus' favorite jacket in high school.

And that didn't even count the time someone who'd never been caught had put Nair in his conditioner.

God, he didn't want to do this. He hated funerals and gatherings for funerals and planning shit like that. He could be in a tourmaline mine somewhere...

"Thank you for coming out with me. I can't believe Michael died during the gathering."

"Yeah." Gus rolled his eyes. The gathering. It made it sound like a movie. They all got together during the harvest moon, once a year. It wasn't sinister or anything; it was a damned family reunion kind of thing.

"Do you... You and Petey, you'd be okay without me, right?"

"Don't even think it, Mom." He wasn't going to ponder it too hard.

"It's going to happen sometime, son."

"I know, Mom, but I could just as easily get smooshed in a cave-in." He shrugged. "We'd survive, but I won't lie and say it would be easy."

She vocalized softly, petting his arm. "Well, I hope not. You ought to miss me a little."

"Stop it." Gus couldn't help but growl some. It had been him and Petey and Mom against the world for a long time. He'd miss her like a lost limb.

"I think we should go to Burger King after we pay our respects."

"I think that's a great idea." Meat. Ketchup. Yum. He even liked fried potatoes.

"Me, too. Pete will be busy sniffing after that pretty little girl, so we can duck out." Mom winked at him.

"There you go." He patted her leg, knowing she needed contact as much as he did. "I'd miss the hell out of you, Mom."

She nodded, sighed softly. "Poor Mona."

"She has all those kids, huh?" What, eighteen? Lord.

"Yeah. Sam sends money home to her, so do Gray and Helena."

"She'll make it." She had to. The greater pack really wouldn't know what to do without Mona Finn.

They pulled into the drive, the place filled with trucks and cars and SUVs. Everyone had turned out. Gus felt a little queasy, but Petey was right there in front of them, and he came to help their mom out of the truck. "I'll be along in a minute, okay?"

"Sure, honey. I'll be inside with Mona."

He walked around the side of the house, needing some air, something. He turned the corner and ran smack dab into someone, the two of them crashing together.

"Shit!" He stumbled, but instinctively tried to catch whoever it was. Gus knew he was big. He could do some damage. "Sorry."

"No problem." The voice was soft, slinky, pure sex somehow, making his hair stand up on end.

He stepped back to look at the man, because it was definitely a male, and his eyes widened. "Pussy boy?"

One black eyebrow arched impossibly over a bottle green eye, then he was flying, back hitting the ground before his fucking chin started hurting from the kick it had received.

Shiny black boots appeared by his head, only for a second. "Indeed."

Then they were gone.

Holy fuck. Gus sure didn't know where Sam Finn had learned to kick like that, but damn. That was something.

Kinda hot, too.

Somehow the whole funeral thing had just gotten a whole lot more interesting.


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Sunday, September 25, 2011

THE LAST PRINCESS by Stacey Espino

THE LAST PRINCESS by Stacey Espino

Pack Seduction Book Three

Delia is the last princess. Since her sisters have chosen mates, it's up to her to continue to wage war against the royal family. She recruits the help of Caleb, a fox shifter, to help find her sisters and get back to the home she escaped from long ago.

A childhood friend is now guarding the palace, and the male she's betrothed to is determined to have her. She's in for the fight of her life if she's to remain unmated and change the old customs passed down to every generation. Will Delia become a martyr for her cause, or give in to the love of three determined shifters?

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Excerpt:

Ulric climbed up from between her legs and lowered over her body. The roughness of his denim jeans teased her hypersensitive pussy. He kissed her, offering her a taste of her own flavor. "You're ready for us now, Delia." She knew her eyes were glazed over as she could barely focus. The afterglow of her peak lingered on and on.

He rolled her to her stomach. Every nerve was hotwired and responsive. Each touch brought her dangerously close to a new orgasm. She wasn't sure how much she could take, never having had the chance to explore her limits. When she glanced up, Alexander was stroking his erection, pumping it back and forth like a piston. She was mesmerized by his size, the beauty of his male form, and the intensity in his eyes as he watched her.

"Ouch!"

Ulric bit her right on the ass. A play bite, but it still hurt. "Should I stop?" he teased.

"Just behave," she said.

"It's a full moon, princess. We're both alphas on the verge of shifting. You're naked on my bed, filling the room with your pungent scent." Alexander laughed, still stroking himself. "We will most certainly not be behaving tonight."

She could feel the moisture seeping from between her legs. Ulric kissed her ass to make it better, trailing more kisses lower. When he spread her cheeks apart with his hands and kissed her puckered rosette, millions of little sparks fired to life making her shudder. She'd never realized so much pleasure could be encased in such a small, forbidden area.

Delia thought of Caleb alone at the hotel, maybe worrying if he'd woken up. Her heart cried out to him, wishing he were here. The fox was so different from these males, more emotionally attentive, gentler. This experience tested all her boundaries.

Ulric's tongue lapped at her nether hole, as he spread her legs further apart. Her breasts pressed against the bedspread, taunting her pebbled nipples, increasing her needs. She craved more attention. She truly must be a royal princess because she realized less than three males would never do. Without saying it aloud, she'd chosen of her own free will. Delia would bond with Caleb, Ulric and Alexander. Perhaps having one royal suitor would appease her mother, but it would still happen this way regardless.

It was as if everything orchestrated as it had for a reason. All her years of lonely suffering led her back home, into the welcoming arms of three delicious and worthy males. Although she had yet to get to know Alexander, Ulric would never have allowed him to get close to her if he thought negatively of the wolf. She always knew she'd take at least one wolf if she chose mates—her she-wolf demanded it.

"I know you have a stockpile of toys, Alexander. Pass me the lube."

Delia turned her neck around. "For what?"

Ulric lapped at her ass cheek, flashing thick, white canines at her when he grinned. She gasped as the thrill of his dominant display sent a thrill rushing through her womb. "For your cute little ass. It will be a snug fit for my cock, don't you think?"

What was she doing? She tried to remind herself that Carna and Freya had been down this road long before her and lived it every day of their lives. Carna had four alpha males and Freya three. Surely Delia could handle a little double and triple action. She was the eldest and supposed to be the most experienced. But in matters of sex she knew very little, only what she'd experienced with Caleb earlier in the night.

Alexander handed Ulric a small white tube. She heard a spurt of liquid and then a cool jolt as he pressed a moist finger deep into her ass. Delia bit her lip not to squeal. She abhorred weakness in women even more than men. "You're tight. You've never taken a cock in your ass before, have you?"

She shook her head, glad he knew the truth so he'd take it easy on her. If Caleb were here he'd be a patient and loving teacher. Of course, he was just as inexperienced in the bedroom as Delia, so she needed these wicked men to thrust her into their world. She only hoped she'd come out unscathed on the other side.

Ulric eased his finger in and out, slow and steady. The tight hold her anus had on his digit assisted in igniting countless dormant nerves. He leaned over her back, his heat scorching her skin. She sighed, savoring the intimacy, the physical affection she lacked for so long. The bear snaked his hand between the mattress and her body, searching until he found her clit. Then the torment truly began.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

DIARY OF A SEX ADDICT by Scott Alexander Hess

DIARY OF A SEX ADDICT by Scott Alexander Hess

Witty, dark and explosively carnal, Diary of a Sex Addict chronicles a gay New Yorker’s month-long descent into a circus of anonymous hook-ups as he struggles to erase the pain of a failed romance and blot out the routine of a soul-numbing day job. Bizarre gang-bangs and fleeting attempts at celibacy are interspersed with visits to his wealthy and eccentric dowager aunt, visits which awaken lost memories of a chaotic youth.

Written in prose that is at once poetic and unabashedly lewd, the novel offers a glimpse into a forbidden fringe world of longing and debauchery that ultimately reveals the narrator’s fervent search for something to fill a profound emptiness.

Inspired by the transgressive works of the Marquis de Sade, Dennis Cooper and Bret Easton Ellis, Diary of a Sex Addict blends wry humor, elegant language and graphic sex to offer a novel that is “relentlessly erotic and divinely written” (Richard Labonte, Bookmarks).

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EXCERPT:
Note: contains sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.



December 7

So I’m fucking his face, I mean really fucking it. Long harsh thrusts that take in all my anger -- the lousy job, the rattling bank account, the lost boyfriend, the twelve hundred dollar Manhattan rent -- all the rage I keep sunk in my desperately shaped-up little gym ass. I’m rage-shoving it easily into his mouth. It’s all I can do not to say “take it fuckhead,” because I know he’s dying for me to say it and I want to but, honestly, the look of his big white eyeballs and lips and fat dog-like slobbering tongue is almost enough to get me off.

We’re ten minutes into it, on the floor of my kitchenette, and I’m flagging a little, speaking in hushed tones because my studio shares a wall with the apartment of a sweet twenty-something couple. Through the wall I can often hear them chatter about Pottery Barn and Cheerios. I imagine they will hear me yell “Suck my white cock with your hot black lips.” So I whisper it and he -- let’s call him Bing -- Bing seems to really like my softer tone. But I can see his knees hurt. I touch his shoulder as he groans in what I think is pain.

Bing’s skin is slick from an elegant mix of dewy perspiration and funky Ethiopian oil. Of course it could be baby oil for all I know, but I imagine it more exotically. Truth is, I know squat about Bing. We typically talk as he exit-dresses, never before. During our second fuck, it came out that he was a jeweler by day, a painter by night. Disappointing, because I had fantasy tagged him as a 22-year-old brain-damaged drug dealer on parole.

Bing has shifted, panting, with my cock in his mouth. He’s losing momentum as he lifts his knees and leans back on his haunches. I am meant to follow, to stray forward to keep our fifteen minute rush of wild sex moving. Because in too long a pause, the whole delicate fantasy collapses. I do lean forward, but hesitate, realizing Bing’s knees must really ache. I wonder if I’m being cruel or a bad host, which opens a peep hole into my bland, non-sexually charged thoughts and in milliseconds I wonder if the floor is clean enough to be kneeling on and if Bing could ever replace my ex-lover and why this sex right now is so mind-numbingly hot and so much better than the rest of my awful day.

I tilt my head back and for a split second glimpse, on my kitchenette wall, a yellowed image of the exploding USS Shaw battleship. Scrawled in the image’s corner is Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. I need to take it down at midnight and put up my dead mother’s advent calendar, something she did religiously on this date when I was a kid. The calendar kicked off her three week build to Christmas. My father, also dead, served in WWII, which is why they hung the Pearl Harbor thing in their kitchen the rest of the year. The advent calendar is cheerful and has little gifts that stick onto days of the week. This whiff of nostalgia is having a dreadful effect on my hard-on.

If I linger here, I will fall dangerously close to the sex death spot of uber-realness. Before my cock slackens and melts out of the side of Bing’s mouth I thrust mega-hard and speak loudly the lines we both love: “Suck it! Love the white cock! Say you love it, fucker!” And he does say it, and I cum as expected. Not “in your fucking black mouth,” but safely on his soft cheek, a few drops on his shoulder as he falls back and then. Bing leaves.

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BEHIND THE SCENES by Rebecca Royce

BEHIND THE SCENES by Rebecca Royce

Kyra Soloman has been a successful actress in Hollywood since she was fifteen years old. Now, about to turn thirty, she's had enough of the scene. She wants to move to New York City and rediscover her love of acting.

Brent Hallow is the new 'it' guy in town. He's recently starred as a vampire in a teenage angst movie. He's also twenty-four years old, and the fact that Kyra is attracted to him makes her feel very old.

But one hot night at a Hollywood house party will show them both they share more than the love of acting...and the real desire for rough sex as well.

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~Excerpt~

She giggled. “I’m just about to turn thirty. Not that I should admit it. I’m never supposed to own my age. People think I’m two years younger than I am and I’m already losing roles.” If her voice cracked when she said that, she pretended like she didn’t notice. Why was she telling him anyway? It was as if she’d opened her mouth to say something and now she couldn’t shut it. “I liked this kind of scene when I was twenty-four, too.” Behind them laughter erupted again and Kyra rolled her eyes. “Which way is out?”

He pointed in the opposite direction than the one she’d walked, and she chuckled.

Brent’s face was unreadable to Kyra. She wondered if anyone could ever tell what he thought. Maybe he was really good at hiding his feelings. “I think if you keep walking in this direction you’re going to reach the maid’s house, where our host and some of his friends are enjoying some kind of orgy.”

Visions of an orgy with Brent filled her mind. She wasn’t much for group sex, but any kind of encounter with Brent would be fine as long as he was there stroking her with his long, strong fingers.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

PERFECT LIMIT by Sara Brookes

PERFECT LIMIT by Sara Brookes

A Sypricon Masters Book

Deputy Brigade Manager Rayna Donaghy is convinced she's imperfect. Abandoned and left for dead, Rayna now lives on Sypricon, a frontier planet known for its scarred surface. After a fatal blaze at one of the planet's quarries, Rayna seeks an escape at the landmark BDSM club, Tawse.

Burke, a Dom at the club, is captivated with the woman who has been under his command for the past several months. However, he's finally had enough of her self-loathing and is determined to help Rayna overcome her fears. In the center of the action, Burke lays her bare for all to see in order to show her being perfect is simply a matter of perception.

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~Excerpt~

“Block them out. Focus on me. It’s just the two of us. We’re the only ones who matter.” His voice was steady and relaxed, a sign he recognized her agitated state.

Her throat dry, she had to swallow a few times in order to gain her voice. “I can’t.” She broke protocol by not tacking on his preferred title at the end of the statement, but she blamed her shock at the suddenness of everything. Of the knowledge only moments ago she’d leaned against the wall watching Merc and his submissive.

She had to fight off the panic attack burning her gut because she felt as if hundreds of eyes openly gawked her.

“You just think you can’t only because you haven’t tried. Dig deeper find out what everyone else can see. It’s there. Believe it.”

Lack of oxygen burned her legs as she fought to breathe and Burke lifted his hand to skim it over her clavicle as he walked around her again.

“You should know better. No one is perfect here or even pretends to be. They make no apologies for what they see as the different flavors of life. Black, red, white, or purple—skin color didn’t matter. Race doesn’t matter either because nothing matters. We all step through the front door as equals, regardless.”

The inflection in his voice and his words soothed her, settling the acid violently churning in her stomach. She inhaled slowly, exhaling in order to calm her racing heart. The beat settled and found a normal rhythm again after some effort.

“Good, little one. You’re doing excellent.”

A quiet murmur rose from those in front of her. It wasn’t the reaction she expected. The whispers were muted but loud enough she could still hear them. They held an interesting quality she hadn’t expected—they sounded fascinated in her.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

EX FUMO, GAUDIAM: FROM STEAM, COMES JOY by Nobilis Reed

EX FUMO, GAUDIAM: FROM STEAM, COMES JOY by Nobilis Reed

Roma Fervens: Boiling Rome , Book 1

Ex Fumo, Gaudiam: From Steam, Comes Joy is a novella that marks the first instalment in Roma Fervens: Boiling Rome, a new steampunk series that combines Ancient Rome, steam, and the fertile mind of Nobilis Reed.

In a Roman Empire powered by steam, Procurator Marcus Amandus has fallen in love with the wrong woman. Makki is a barbarian, native to the newly discovered Western continent. Unfortunately, Marcus is betrothed to the governor's daughter Livia Ambrosia who has arrived for a tour of the colony. Just when he thinks he has the situation under control, Makki's cruel husband Wotanake returns. Marcus must prove himself a lover and a fighter to protect their lives and his honor.

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~Excerpt~

When we entered my cabin she turned her back and quickly stripped off her buckskin garments. In the narrow space, even across the room, she was close enough to touch. Propriety demanded that I leave her alone to care for herself, but I stood dumbstruck. The sight of her naked back brought a twofold reaction. On one hand, I couldn’t help but appreciate the curve of her buttocks, the lovely arch of her waist, and the full breasts that were visible even from behind. On the other hand, the bruises and welts on her back, some fresh and some faded, inspired sympathy. No one should abuse such a beautiful woman so. When she was free of the sodden leathers, she wrapped my cloak around herself even tighter, and turned towards me but kept her eyes downcast.

“I thank you, Pale King,” she said.

And then she looked up. Her eyes were like polished obsidian, so brown they were almost black. The moment lingered long past its time, but ending it would be a sin more dire than murder. Then the corner of her mouth quirked, a warm edge of a smile, and the moment was over. She had seen the emotion in my own expression.

I swallowed, composing myself, nodded in response to her thanks, and turned to look out the porthole at the water rushing past. “Tell me, where is your home?” When I looked back, her head was bowed again.

“No home. Uncle sell me Wotanake.”

I tried not to judge her intelligence from her simple vocabulary. The trade language did not have complicated words.

“Sell you?” I scowled. As far as I knew, the native people in this area didn’t practice slavery. For my own part, the Emperor had forbidden it after the Fourth Servile War, and while there would always be laboring classes, with all the suffering and privation that entailed, at least they would be free to work wherever their skills could take them.

“Wotanake pay uncle marry me. Wotanake bring me home. Wotanake have four other wives. Wotanake put me in house. Stop me go out. Wives make me work all day. I weave, I mend, I sew beads, I weave. I rest, they beat me. Wotanake lay in bed I was tired, and...” She trailed off, but I knew from the pain in her voice what she dared not say.

My scowl deepened. Even with all of our differences, the woman’s situation struck a chord with my own. While the door had not yet closed on mine, she had escaped her marital prison. I had not suffered as deeply, no doubt, but I was trapped just the same.

“No more talk,” I said, holding up a hand. There was no need to embarrass her. “Uncle know you not like marry Wotanake?”

“Yes. He not have money. Uncle is not chief, like Wotanake. Not pale king like you.”

I nodded in understanding. Calling me a king was inaccurate but there was no way to correct her with such a simple vocabulary. “Why did you come to me?”

“I hear story of stone boat. I hear story of far away king. You go far, Wotanake not chase. I hear stone boat, I run to catch it.” She murmured something in her own language and rubbed the fabric of my cloak between her fingers. There seemed to be more that she wanted to say. She looked up again, eyes wide with hope and curiosity. I nodded, inviting more with a gesture.

“Your life is full things not seen. I see them.”

I stepped back, cocking my head.

This was certainly a surprise! A mind so curious that she would leave everything she knew, putting herself at the mercy of mysterious strangers, to investigate. And in a woman, no less! My own curiosity was piqued. I had to learn more about her.

“You come with me. Sleep in my house. You work. No man no woman beat you. Tell me your name?”

“Makkitotosimew, Pale King.”

“Marcus Amandus.” She nodded once and lowered her head again. I reached out to lift her chin. “Owned person looks at ground. You are not owned. You work, I give you food, a place sleep, things for trade. You not owned.”

She trembled slightly at my touch, but did not flinch or look away. A faint smile touched her lips, and as our eyes met, I felt that warmth again, but stronger.

“You want food, Makkitotosimew?”

She smiled broader this time. “Yes, Marcus Amandus.”

I took a chain from its hook on the wall and yanked twice. The bell summoned my secundus, and while he fetched some food, I folded the little table out from the wall. Makkitotosimew was fascinated with its operation, peering intently at the hinges and the latch.

“You see?” she said. “Things not seen.”

I pulled a seat from the wall and indicated that she was to sit on the bed. By the time we got settled, my secundus arrived with a loaf of crusty bread, some warm sausages on a skewer, cups of steaming spiced wine in conical cups, and a bowl of hot water with towels. He set them down between us and saluted. I returned his salute, glanced at the door, and he left.

Makkitotosimew watched curiously as I washed my hands, and then took the bowl from me and did the same for herself without a word. I would have liked to have engaged Makkitotosimew in conversation over the meal, but as soon as I had taken my first bite, she immediately started in with such gusto that I couldn’t interrupt. After two sausages and a hunk of bread, she paused long enough to hold up the last sausage and ask, “What animal?”

I chuckled. “Pig meat, herbs, grain. Sausage.” I gave her the Latin name for it, farcimen, as I knew no word for it in the trade language.

She peered at it, and then her face lit up with a big grin. “Ah! Pig meat cut very very small. This gut, yes?” She poked the intestine casing with her finger.

“Yes.”

She took a big bite and smiled as she chewed.

The evening turned into an impromptu Latin lesson. She pointed to things, and I told her the words for them. Bread. Cup. Wine. Table. Plate. Knife. Armor. Robe. She had a powerful appetite for them. There were enough things in the tiny room for us to study like this for hours. I was happy to oblige. I had given up on finding such an agile mind among the women back home in Rome. To find one out here in the wilds of the Antipodes was beyond credibility—but here she was.

As the meager light coming down from the overhead reflector failed, there was a pop-hiss as the ship’s artificial lights came on, bathing the room in a pale red glow.

She started in surprise, and stood to get a closer look at them. “What is this?”

“Carbolux,” I said, again giving her the Latin. I stood next to her, regarding the lamp. “It is very small fire.”

“Where is wood?” She peered at the lamp intently.

I searched for words, but they weren’t there. I shook my head and shrugged. “No words in trade-speech.”

She turned back and looked into my eyes. “Carbolux make you look strong,” she said.

I came around the table, taking her shoulders before she could get too close. I could see the hope in her eyes, hope for something that I could not give her. “Makkitotosimew,” I said, “No.”

She laid her hand on the bed where she had been sitting. “What is word for this?”

“Lectus.”

“This is your bed?” she asked, confirming the trade language, with one eyebrow just slightly raised.

“Yes.”

“I am in your bed, this night.” It was not a question, it was a statement of fact, and I could see that there was great significance in her eyes.

“It does not mean—”

She silenced me, her fingers on my lips, and then pushed past my hands to press her body to mine. “Marcus Amandus, I see your eyes. You see mine. You feel this.”

My cloak slipped from her shoulders, and in that moment, I was lost. My hands moved down her back, across the rippled scars. I winced in sympathy, but instead of flinching at the touch, she purred and snuggled in closer.

The irritating whine of the aeolipile faded into the background. My attention was completely taken up by the warm, naked body pressed against my armor. “Makkitotosimew. I...I...” I swallowed. The words wouldn’t come. “I am not free.”

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RISKWEAR by Nobilis Reed

RISKWEAR by Nobilis Reed

Tales of Love and Engineering , Book 1

Frank invented a fabric that can become any material. Marta developed software that turns it into any garment. While attending the fashion show where the fruits of their labor are unveiled, they discover two things. First, her desires mesh perfectly with his dominant nature, and the clothes they have made are the perfect toy for living out their fantasies. Second, their system has a disastrous flaw.

Working together to fix the bug transforms their invention from a plaything of the elite into something far more exciting, and their relationship switches from simple compatibility into something that carries a risk for them both.

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~Excerpt~

“Please, just don’t...go too far,” Marta said, tremulously. “These people are clients, not friends, not strangers. Some of them wouldn’t understand.”

“We’ll see,” I said, fully intending not to go too far, but I couldn’t help ratcheting up her anxiety another notch.

We went back in to the party and found a knot of people gathered around the door where Darlene Collins had entered the room. Someone had put a glass of champagne in her hand, and servers moved through the room handing them out to everyone present. Marta and I took one each, and when the toast was spoken, Marta held hers up, shouted “Prost!” and downed it in one go.

Once the furor had died down, we finagled our way through the crowd and managed to get close enough to Darlene to get a few words in. “Congratulations,” I said, offering my unadorned right hand for a shake. “You’ve done some amazing things with that material.”

“Ah, yes, well, I couldn’t have done it without you two. Speaking of which, Marta, have you given Mr. Sarenti his bonus?”

Marta nodded, a little too enthusiastically. “Ja, ja. He is wearing them.”

The exchange puzzled me for a moment, until I realized she was talking about the suit. “It was very generous of you,” I said, giving her a nod. “I know how much they cost.”

“Use them in good health.” She gave a wink. “And be sure to have Marta show you everything it can do.”

“No doubt of that,” I said.

Marta let out a whoop of laughter that was cut short by a hiccup.

“Are you alright?” I said, quietly, as we drifted away from the knot of people surrounding Darlene.

“I’m fine.”

“You seem a little tipsy. Maybe it’s time we go?”

“But you haven’t done anything yet!”

“I don’t want to take advantage of you. Come on.” I led her to the door and out to the elevator. Once inside, the mirror-polished surface of the door allowed me to see her pout.

“Are you getting bratty on me?” I asked, turning to look her in the eye.

“I thought you were going to use the controller again.”

“What...like this?” I made a gesture over the controller and her blouse started sliding up her arms and into her corset as if there was a reel inside, winding the fabric together. She gasped and put her hands over her chest where the corset was barely covering her nipples. The blush that had been only playing over her cheeks now came out in full force. I pulled a floppy, rubbery square out from the back of her corset, rolled it up, and stuck it in my suit pocket. That square had been her blouse, but now it was just a lump of inert nanomachines in their “at rest” state. “Keep up the attitude, and you’ll get more of the same,” I said.

“Ooh, do you promise?” she asked with a giggle. The doors opened, letting us out into the hotel lobby.

“I thought we were going to your room?” she asked, starting to pout again.

“No, you need a little air, I think, and a little exercise. Burn off some of that alcohol.” I steered her out the door. It was only a bit past sunset, and the sidewalks were still busy with tourists and late commuters. We walked down to the corner and across the street into a beautiful public garden full of broad walkways lined with trees.

As we walked past a little carousel whose client√®le included children and adults in equal measure, I leaned in and spoke softly. “I don’t want to take advantage of you while your judgment is impaired. I want you fully awake and aware of what I’m doing.”

“Ach, I’m not that drunk.”

“I’ve never been drinking with you. I need to be sure.”

“Alright then, let’s just walk—hand in hand, as if we were lovers.”

We weren’t alone. The gardens were full of couples out enjoying the dusky evening, watching the city come alive with light and sound. Marta’s hand was soft and warm in mine, if a little sweaty, and I realized as we were walking that the simple action prevented me from accessing the controller.

When I slipped my hand out of hers to scratch the back of my head, I heard a slight gasp, and I knew that she’d been holding my hand on purpose to prevent me from using the controller. She tugged on her corset, trying to keep it from slipping down.

She was giving me a brave face with her teasing and bravado, trying to show me that she wasn’t afraid of what I could do with her little machine, when in fact she was turned on by the risk. I decided to remind her of exactly where the equities lay.

I moved my hand to her hip and steered her in the direction of one of the sculptures surrounded by a grassy lawn, and stopped to admire it. I dropped my hand to her posterior, eliciting another sharp intake of breath. Using my own body for cover, I lifted the back of her skirt and sought out the slit in her panties, and the sensitive skin revealed there. Her high heels and leggy build made it easy for me to reach without having to bend down.

She clamped her legs together, pinning my hand in place, but then relaxed as I twiddled my fingers between her thighs. “Frank,” she said, in a voice so faint it was no more than a breath, “I’m not drunk anymore.”

“That’s good,” I said. I could hear it in her voice; she was, indeed, sober again, or at least sober enough to judge rationally what we were about to do. “Do you still want to do this?” I asked.

“Ja.”

I gave her another stroke with my finger. It wasn’t really fair but it seemed like the thing to do. “You trust me?”

“Ja.”

“Good. Then I want you to walk back to the hotel. I’ll be behind you a little ways. Don’t look back, don’t run, just walk straight to the hotel.”

She nodded and gave me her purse, but didn’t move until I withdrew my hand from her skirt and gave her a little pat on the backside. “Go.”

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