Book Promo and Giveaway: Christie Palmer

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Please welcome the amazing Christie Palmer, author of Shadow Play.

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Shadow Play

Book 1 of the Tracker Series

Christie Palmer

Book Details:

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal

Publisher: Jinx Fantasy Fiction LLC

ebook: 978-0-9885557-0-9

Paperback: 978-0-9885557-1-6

Word Count:  375

Cover Artist: Jaycee De Lorenzo of Sweet N’ Spicy Designs

Book Description:

A small town in the mountains of Marshall, Montana is being plagued by an unknown entity. It’s mutilating and killing the women of the town. At his wits end the Sheriff of Marshall has nowhere to turn but to a friend. A friend, with the abilities to track and kill any prey.

Ryder doesn’t normally do mortal issues. However, he can’t turn his back on a friend. Besides he is the best at what he does. After all he is a Tracker, an ancient race with unparalleled abilities to track down any prey. With one of the three essential elements: Taste, Touch or Smell. Heartless and cold, Ryder knows what needs to be done and performs his duty without feeling.

Kyra, an Air Element and the only female Elemental Enforcer, is sent on a fact finding mission to Marshall, by the Druid Council. She needs to find out exactly what is happening in Montana before the Tribunal goes in and kills everyone.

The last thing she expects to find is a Tracker, and is even more surprised to find out that he is on her side. But can they get past their initial feelings upon meeting and the sexual tension? Or will the evil that is living in the mountain kill them both.

Ryder and Kyra must learn to work together to destroy the shadow and save Kyra from a fate worse than death. When pure evil is involved is love enough?

 

Chapter 1:

Grisly pictures of a mutilated female body stared up at him from where his brother had tossed them at his feet it had been a woman now ripped apart. Her remains resembled a plastic baby doll with its arms and legs torn off and haphazardly flung away. Ryder knelt down and gathered up the pictures before turning to his brother.

“You needed something?” Ryder asked.

“How long are you going to ignore Max’s request for help?” Lykar asked waving the pictures he still held at Ryder.

“It’s a mortal issue.” Ryder rose to his feet and handed the pictures back to his brother. He had seen them already. Ryder did not do mortal issues, regardless of the person requesting the help.

Besides, he had not ignored Max’s request. He had looked over the information Max had sent, and he didn’t want anything to do with what was going on. He was sure that Max would be able to figure out what was going on and take care of it. The killing could be mortal, but he doubted it. The entire issue reeked of Other, and he wanted nothing to do with it. Hundreds of years of following his instincts had kept him alive. Although he owed Max, and the injustice of turning his back on a friend clawed at his conscience with sharp talons.

Lykar waved the pictures in Ryder’s face. “A mortal is not capable of doing this …” He stammered, “This type of torture, mutilation … it just isn’t right.”

If anything, mortals would be just as capable of this kind of horrifying act as Others, and they both knew it. Ryder raised one eyebrow. “Tell me you’re kidding.” He pushed past Lykar in order to leave the study.

“The Council thinks it is unusual. Something they have never seen before. They are worried the Tribunal will get involved.” Ryder snorted at Lykar’s ominous pronouncement. It is problematic, Ryder thought. But with his mind set, he would not get involved.  “The Council does nothing these days unless it benefits them.”

“The last victim was only fourteen.” Lykar’s voice dropped low and solemn, making Ryder hesitate for just a fraction of a second before slamming through the door and into the hall. Lost innocence no longer affected him; the emotion of sentimentality is something an immortal Tracker shouldn’t dwell on.

He didn’t want to get involved. Why did it have to be him? “Because,” his conscience whispered, “Max asked for you.”

“You are the only one who is capable of tracking whatever is doing this.” Max’s words haunted him.

The last victim had only been fourteen, way too young to have her life snuffed in such a brutal manner. Could it be a mortal? Or an Other? Five women in three months. It could be a serial killer. He tried to pull the cold-hearted warrior back into place. Nevertheless, he faltered, leaving him swearing at himself for caring.

“Son of a bitch.” Ryder slammed a fist into the wall, leaving a gaping hole in the paneled wood. Lykar opened the door of the study and looked from the hole in the wall and back to Ryder. A smile played at the corner of his lips.

“Where is Marlee?”

“Just sent her a text. She’ll meet you at the airport.”

“Of course she will.” Ryder rolled his eyes, his annoyance ratcheting up a few notches. “If this is some reckless mortal serial killer, I’m going to tear him to shreds and feed him to Marlee.”

“Whatever.” Lykar shrugged. “Just take care of it before the Tribunal gets involved. There are several different communities of Others in the region.”

Ryder glared at his brother. “And when have the lives of mortals or Others meant anything to me?” Beside his brothers and a select few, Ryder couldn’t give a rat’s ass for anyone else. His brothers often accused him of not having a heart, but it had never paid off to be sentimental, so he just didn’t bother with it.

Lykar stopped him as he headed up the stairs. “Um, by the way, Marlee isn’t happy about this, with the full moon only having been last night. Also, my information says the Council is sending someone else in. If the Council picked him, whoever he is won’t be able to tie his own shoes without help, so I wouldn’t worry about him. Just be aware you might not be alone.”

“No shit,” Ryder muttered, more to himself than to Lykar. Stopping halfway up the stairs, he said, “Tell me why you aren’t doing this.”

Lykar gave him a serious look, “’Cause, bro, you’re the best.”

Yeah he never failed to complete a track, never brought feelings or emotion into play. If it defined him as heartless, he could live with it. He did his tracks with skill and precision, no feelings involved.

 

Kyra sat for several minutes after she’d pulled over, waiting for the motorcycle to cool, during which she’d been able to listen, and she hadn’t liked what she heard whispered on the breeze. The air barely rustling within the trees, as if in doing so the trees themselves would be punished. Evil hung in the air like the blade of a guillotine, hovering moments before its plummet through silent air toward its victim’s fragile throat.

Kyra swung one leg over the seat of her Honda VTX and looked out into the woods, the trees so dense she could see only several feet into the thick forest before it closed in, hiding its secrets from peering eyes. The overhanging trees and thick moss covering rocks and roots shrouded the malevolence like a blanket.

She planted her feet into the dirt path and soaked up the senses of the earth below her, taking several deep breaths, trying not to gag from the filth suspended in the air.

Kyra focused all her Elemental powers, blocking out the sounds of screams and the smell of old and fresh blood. The sounds of the surrounding air started to whisper to her, and she shuddered at the pain emanated there. So much pain and loss, years, even centuries choked her. Whoever had perpetrated the killings chose well. Darkness flourished within comfortable surroundings. Surroundings where murder and pain had been committed unfettered. This forest thrived on the darkness and secrets held within its shadows.

Kyra gazed through the thick branches. The sun just peeking through the shroud of branches, creating a halo of light in the exact spot where she stood. She tilted her face up to the sun soaking up the light, pulling it into her chest and deep into her soul. It fueled her power and chased the shadows away.

Holding her hands out, she felt a shiver pass over her as she phased into a smoky and mist. A power Air Elements had giving her the ability to flow with the breeze over the rough earth, letting the air and gentle wind take her where she needed to be. It pulled her forward

around and through some trees, the path uncertain. The air she floated on stopped suddenly. Cold air tickled her nose, sending chills down her spine as she came to a halt.

Her feet settled into the earth as she rematerialized, her biker boots sinking into the moist soil. Everything in her recoiled she wanted nothing more than to pull her feet back as visions of what had passed assaulted her. Shadows of things that had been done: clips, whispered screams, mumbled pleas, and vindictive horrifying laughter, both male and female. Frightening and unclear, without any substance, the horror of it churned her stomach. Kyra was shocked at the state of the problem facing her, it was Other, but now what? Visions assaulted her, feeling as if the horrors had happened to her. Unable to control herself, she doubled over and retched into the bushes, adding to the damage already done to the area. Swearing, she spat and wiped the back of her hand over her mouth. Still nothing moved. Even the air seemed to be holding its breath.

This type of action wouldn’t go unnoticed for long by mortals or the Tribunal. Kyra didn’t have a lot of time to get information back to the other Elemental Enforcers and the Council. She soaked it up, committing it to memory for her report.

Kyra had learned darkness and a brutalizing type of death would taint a place, would steal the air and life. She looked up through the shadows, trying to find a shred of light. To feed her starved Elemental senses.

“What did this?” she asked the shadows, not expecting an answer. Darkness held and kept its secrets.

When a Shade appeared, Kyra stepped back in surprise, stumbling. The Shade’s transparent body bled through the bushes Kyra had just emptied her stomach into. “He comes!” the Shade shrieked, pointing toward the woods behind Kyra. Kyra covered her ears, the shriek loud and overpowering.

Kyra shook herself and examined the woman in front of her. She wore a long white dress, which meant she could be lingering from one hundred years ago, or one of the latest victims. Shades seldom shared why they lingered in the mortal plane. They differed from ghosts, which held memories of people and how they had died. Shades, on the other hand, had substance, knew that they no longer lived. However, something about this Shade made the small hairs at the base of Kyra’s neck stand on end.

She looked over her shoulder in the direction the Shade had pointed. Reaching out with her Elemental senses, she sensed something, but couldn’t place it. Human or Other? At its current distance, it wouldn’t be a threat. Trying to ignore the Shade Kyra moved past her to continue to look for evidence.

The Shade didn’t like that and stepped in front of Kyra. “You must run,” she wailed, pulling at her curled brown hair hanging in waves around her shoulders.  Kyra reached forward and put her hand into the chest of the screeching woman.

“Who did this to you?” Kyra asked the apparition she closed her eyes trying to see what secrets the Shade held. Images assaulted her, nothing she could focus on. Nothing to give her any idea of who or what had happened. Just snatches of pain and dissolution.

“Run!” the Shade screamed, making Kyra jump back in surprise. The Shade shoved her farther into the bushes. Kyra yelped in pain as she fell back into a thick bush, the small branches scratching at her face and neck as she fell back landing on her back.

“Bloody freaking hell,” Kyra cursed. Rolling out from beneath the bush, she froze. All her Elemental senses going haywire: the nonhuman, non-Other entity she had sensed miles away now stood in the clearing ahead of her. Power radiated from whatever was no closer than she would have liked to let anyone much less an unknown entity. Kyra knew this meant trouble. She

remaindered herself there happened to be a murderer in the woods, and she may have just stumbled onto whatever it might be.

Taking shallow breaths, Kyra steeled herself before looking up. Several yards in front of her stood the largest man she’d ever seen. Short dark hair cut close to his scalp, shoulders so broad, Kyra would be unable to wrap her arms around him and touch her fingers in the back. He looked as if he could snap her in half without even trying. Jean-clad legs spread wide in a fighting stance. A black t-shirt  stretched over a broad chest. He radiated power, control, and deadly intent.

Kyra pushed herself to her feet and stood and palming the Glock strapped to her back. She didn’t pull it out, but if the man made one move toward her, she had no qualms about firing it into his beautiful face. He may not be mortal, but that didn’t necessarily mean immortal. The way he looked at her made her want to shoot first and ask questions later.

“Who are you?” He tilted his head at her in such an animalistic way, it gave Kyra the chills.

“Who are you?” she fired back.

He stared at her with black eyes, nostrils flaring. Recognition tickled at the back of her mind, but she pushed it aside. Trying to figure out what type of creature he was didn’t rank at the top of her list. The top of her list? Did he want to kill her?

“Can I help you?” she asked in her most adult voice, a voice her brother Eric always laughed at.

A low growl surged from deep within his chest, raising the hackles on the back of her neck. When he did speak, it rumbled, like a thunder cloud. “I only ask once.” He stepped forward, sucking up all the air between them; Kyra couldn’t control her involuntary step back.

If her brother Eric could see her now, he would laugh his ass off. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d backed away from anything, mortal or otherwise. But damn, the guy stood six and a half feet tall and just as broad. Muscles no guy outside of a bodybuilding room should have rippled as he rolled his shoulders. It looked like an involuntary movement. And then he took a breath, drawing in the smells of everything around him. His eyes narrowed as if making up his mind about her. By the look he gave her she had somehow come up on the losing side.

Kyra planted her feet and squared her shoulders, refusing to move another step back. She didn’t know of a creature capable of moving with his speed he had moved up on her without her notice and nothing she knew of had that type of ability. She reached out again and faltered when she felt a Lycan moving in fast on their location. Kyra wished she had received a proper invitation to the party this had turned out to be. The only question? Whose side would the Lycan be on? Kyra would bet it wouldn’t be hers.  It was just the way her day had gone.

Fiona had sent Kyra to find out all she could and bring back information to the Druid Council. The mission did not include stopping the killings. This was to be a simple fact-finding mission. What could be easier? She felt the need to kick something. Why did things just not work out the way they should? The way Kyra wanted them to?

She had been sent to gather information and bring it back to the Enforcers, and then a plan would be made. Kyra hadn’t come to fight, but that didn’t mean she would back down from a fight it cornered. After all, she had been raised as an Elemental Enforcer. It didn’t mean she could retreat until she better understood her foe. It just meant living to fight another day. And she hadn’t come to cause more unnecessary deaths.  Especially her own.

“So, would you like to tell me what you’re doing here?” she asked, trying to decide if she would shoot him or not. Maybe it would help decipher what type of creature he was. Most importantly, whether or not he could be killed.

The thought whizzed through her brain just as the Lycan stepped through the trees, freezing Kyra in absolute shock. Kyra shook her head, sure she was seeing things. The Lycan, stood around six feet tall, wore skinny jeans, a tight T-shirt that read “I’M THAT BITCH” printed in black across her ample chest, and red stilettos, the heals sinking into the soft earth. She relaxed into a casual stance looking like she totally belonged, as if everyone dressed in such attire while tracking and killing helpless women. Kyra wondered how the hell she traversed the soft earth with those shoes. The Lycan stood with her hands on her hips and looked from Kyra to the man. She didn’t look happy. Kyra could smell the irritation rolling off the woman. Unhappy didn’t begin to encompass the Lycan’s feelings.

“Ry?” the Lycan asked, her painted lips taking on a practiced pout. It made Kyra want to rub her beautiful face in the dirt. Nobody should look as good as this Lycan did at that moment.

“Shut up,” the man growled. The Lycan bristled, but closed her mouth.

“He keeps you on a short leash, doesn’t he?” Kyra asked, knowing Lycan’s had very short fuses. Getting this one riled up would be an easy task and a perfect distraction.

Kyra just telegraphed his launch as he growled low, sending shivers up her spine. She phased out just in time, but still felt the breath of his hands close around her shoulders. When she reappeared several feet back, the woman hunched down into an attack pose, her breathing heavy. Her red fingernails dragging in the soft earth.

“What are you?” the man asked.

“What are you?” Kyra threw back.

“I’m your worst nightmare,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest. Nightmare isn’t the category she would put him in. His voice resonating deep in her chest. The saner side of her brain marked him dangerous as hell, but she wouldn’t classify him in the nightmare category, but with just enough dark ruggedness to make her think twice about his actual motives.

Kyra let the corners of her mouth turn up. “Cliché’ much? Besides I’ve been told something similar before but …” She raised a palm to the sky in a shrug. “I just don’t seem to scare that easily.”

“I’m really going to enjoy killing you,” the woman snarled.

“I could say the same to you.” Kyra didn’t even turn to look at the woman, keeping all her attention on the large man several feet away.

Kyra hated to disappoint the woman, but she didn’t have any plans on dying today, or any other day. Instead Kyra pulled her gun out from behind her and pointed it at the woman, her eyes steady on the man.

“My silver bullets say otherwise, sweetheart, so back the hell off.”

The Lycan bared her teeth. “I don’t believe you.” She glared at Kyra before exchanging a look with the man they shared a moment of silent conversation before the Lycan stepped back growling low.

Kyra heard the growl and shook her head as she pulled the trigger, planting a bullet into the dirt within an inch of the Lycan’s left hand. The show of dominance died a quick death as the Lycan saw that Kyra did, in fact, have silver bullets in her gun. When you dealt with immortals of all kinds on a daily basis, you always came prepared for a fight. Silver could hurt and kill a substantial number of Others. Kyra refused to shoot any other kind of bullet.

“Short leash,” Kyra said, again wanting to keep the Lycan on edge because she didn’t yet understand the man in front of her. She needed to keep the pieces of this puzzle moving, and keeping the Lycan pissed would be a good start. As long as she kept the pieces moving, she had different plans for her escape. Once the pieces stopped moving, she hoped to be in an advantageous position.

“Kill her now,” the Lycan snarled between her teeth. Kyra wondered if she would start foaming at the mouth soon if the man didn’t make a move of some kind.

“Are you the one who has been killing the women?” he asked Kyra in a voice that bounced off the inside of Kyra’s skull, making her want to run screaming into the woods. She blinked refocusing on the man in front her. What the hell? She wanted to spill her guts about everything she had seen in her mind’s eye since arriving in the cursed place. Kyra shook her head again and blinked. Clamping her mouth shut around her traitorous tongue, drawing blood in the process.

“What are you?” Kyra asked, her voice sounding weak even to her.

“I’m the one asking the questions. And if you’ll remember, I only ask once. So if you want to answer my questions, now would be a good time.” He leveled the words at her, his black eyes swirling with gray. His words burned into her brain like lava. Kyra felt each word as if it was being etched in her the small lines of her brain making her wince in pain.

The hand holding her gun started to shake and she feared dropping it. Something trickled from her nose, and she realized she was losing this battle. The pieces of the puzzle screeching to a sudden and furious halt. Kyra glared at her two unknown opponents, before using everything she had left to Shift away. Reappearing next to her bike, she wiped the blood from her face and pulled on her helmet.

What type of creature had those abilities? Kyra thought as she climbed onto her bike and took off.

She searched her brain for a species with the power to control someone with voice. But her head hurt and she could barely keep her bike on the road. Nothing came to mind, which only pissed her off more. It disappointed her that this situation would require a call to Fiona for further information before moving forward.

The question seemed to taunt her as she drove down the road, ignoring the posted signs. Kyra felt the urge to wrap her bike around a pole. She had either just made contact with whatever had been killing the women here, or she had stumbled onto something else. She hoped it would be the latter. If these two were the ones doing the killings, Kyra didn’t know if she had enough fire power on her own to stop them.

 

“You need to get the hell out of there,” Fiona barked into the phone so loud, Kyra almost dropped it. The fact that Fiona was freaked out spurned Kyra into action. She grabbed her saddlebags and threw everything she had into them.

“What is he?” Kyra asked as she packed.

“Tracker,” Fiona said, but the word froze Kyra in her steps.

“But Trackers are extinct.” Kyra breathed the words. She scrambled through everything she knew about Trackers, everything she had learned while in training, which was little. The things she did know, they had an extraordinary sense of taste, touch, and smell.

“The only species with voice compulsion are Trackers. And not even all of them have that ability. I believed them to have died out several thousand years ago.” The last Fiona

mumbled more to herself. Kyra could imagine the look on her face, she would be chewing on the inside of her cheek.

“You can’t fight him alone,” Fiona said.

“Have they been known to be murderers? Monsters who would kill helpless women?” Kyra asked.

“I will need to do some further research. Get moving and come home now.” She grabbed her bag at Fiona’s rushed words and headed for the door. “How long until you are a safe distance?”  She barked.

Based on the limited knowledge she had about Trackers, Kyra knew she wouldn’t be able to hide or get away from him. She only hoped she hadn’t been in contact with him long enough for him to get her scent. Maybe he wouldn’t be able to track her because of her ability to Shift. You can’t track something that’s not there, right?

“How long?” Fiona asked again. To Fiona, it would mean enough of a distance so the Tracker couldn’t locate Kyra.

“Give me twenty-four hours. If I need to, I’ll ditch the bike and take a plane.”

“Ditch the bike and get on the damn plane. Forgo everything else. Just get back to the Haven.” Her urgency made Kyra’s head pound harder.

“I’m going, I’m going.” Kyra threw her bag over her shoulder and headed for the door.

With one hand on the doorknob and the other holding the phone, she was lifted off her feet as the door and part of the wall exploded, it picked her up and threw her into the opposite wall of the motel room behind her. She rolled to her side, gasping for air and getting a lung full of smoke and debris.

“What the fuck?” Debris, smoke, and fire rained down all around her. She covered her face and head with her arms.

“Kyra?” Fiona screamed from the phone but rubble and dust made it impossible for Kyra to see where the phone had landed. “KYRA?”

“Do I get to kill her now?” a female voice asked from somewhere over her head.

“Fuck.” Kyra muttered, pulling out one of her guns. She pointed it into the thick smoke, waving it around as she tried to pick out movement. But the edges of her vision started to get fuzzy. She blinked, forcing herself to stay conscious.

“No, not until we have the information we need,” the male from the woods said, somewhere to her right. Kyra scrambled back, hoping the smoke and remnants of the room would camouflage her, hoping for the few more seconds it lasted, they would be as blind as she.

She watched as two figures emerged from the dusty plume. Kyra didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger, and bullets flew at the couple. Her aim off, the three shots went in different directions, going left when they should’ve gone right. She shook her head again trying to hone in on her attackers.

The male shook his head in disgust. “The room is on fire. Get her out of here.”

Kyra snorted smoke and coughed. “No shit, Sherlock. You just blew a hole the size of a train into my room. I hear explosions cause fire.” She snapped lowering her guns as her vision blurred again.

The Lycan kicked the gun out of Kyra’s hand and leaned down so they were face to face. “Hello again.”

“Fuck you,” Kyra spat. At least now every part of her body felt as miserable as her head.

“Tsk, tsk. It will go so much better for you if you just stay quiet,” the woman said, placing her index finger against Kyra’s lips. She pressed until Kyra tasted blood, proving she and her freaky ass companion had complete control. “Now isn’t that better?”

Kyra kept her mouth shut, instead glaring at the woman. The Lycan stood and arched a perfectly shaped brow at her companion. “If looks could kill.”

“You’d have died a hundred years ago,” he quipped before bending down and picking up Kyra. He leaned her against the wall. Kyra couldn’t hear Fiona screaming from the phone any longer and new the old Druid had stopped to listen, to gather any information she could. Fiona never stopped when one of the Elements could be in danger. It defined who she was.

“Are you going to come with us?” the male asked. His voice vibrated over her skin and sunk deep into her brain. At the moment, she would do anything if he would never ever use compulsion on her again.

As she no longer seemed to be in control, Kyra clamped her mouth shut. If the Lycan didn’t want her to speak, she would keep quiet.

“Have it your way.” He leaned close and whispered the next part into her ear, making her shiver for a different reason. “But remember I told you, I only ask once.” She didn’t see what knocked her out. But blackness swept up and swiftly consumed her. Kyra welcomed it, sinking into oblivion.

 

 

Author Bio:

selfpicChristie was born and raised in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Ut. She lives less than a mile from the home she grew up in. World traveler she is not. But what she lacked in travel she more than made up for in her imagination. Within her vivid imagination she has traveled the world over as well as different worlds and different times.

She works a full time day job to pay the bills but loses herself in books and her writing whenever possible.

She is a loving mother of two wonderful children that she admits she is obsessed with. She has been married for 18 years to a very tolerant man that is grounded in reality in order for her to fly to the heights of her own imagination.

She started writing when she was a teenager after reading a book that she didn’t like the ending too. Took a hiatus to raise her wonderful children but has dedicated herself to becoming a published writer for the last several years.

http://www.author-christiepalmer.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/christie.palmer.5011

Twitter: @christieauthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/11563672-christie-palmer

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Guest Post: Jacqueline Paige

Please welcome Jacqueline Paige….

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All about Dade (Autumn Dance)

 

Sometimes when you’re writing there’s one character that just jumps in and fills all the little blanks in the plot, Dade Jones is that character throughout the whole Magic Seasons series.

While writing the first book in the series (From Beltane Magic) Dade was supposed to be in the back ground as a secondary character. Of course when I started the first book, it was going to be a single story and not an entire series.  It didn’t take long to see that there was no way Dade was going to stay in the shadows as he kept stepping up and being the white knight in the book.

I’m not saying he’s infallible, not but any means, Dade gets himself into more trouble throughout the series than any of the other characters do, but his caring heart always helps to redeem him.

I was so thrilled to write his story and finally let him get the girl by the time Autumn Dance came to light. (Even though I’m going to give away little bits of the story line, there’s so much packed into the first four books, I won’t be spoiling any of the good parts.  J)

Aside from everyone using Dade as their sounding board throughout the series (at all hours of the day or night) this is a few other things he’s done that won him a place in readers hearts;  He takes the lead in repairing the bridge after the storm so everyone can go home.  He has no problem chasing down killers, whether on foot or car chase.

Here is a new excerpt from Autumn Dance and a little taste of poor, lovable Dade and how well he gets himself into trouble.

Steven shook his head slowly and walked through the door. He stopped suddenly and Dade walked into him.

Looking around the other man Dade saw the women they’d just mentioned standing in his living room with their hands on their hips looking very unhappy. All four of them, he thought. “Oh, shit,” he whispered.

“Uh-huh,” Steven answered back.

Rachel smiled and walked over to Steven. “So, Doc, how’s the…” She studied Dade half hiding behind her fiancé, “Patient this evening?”

Steven wasn’t sure if falling to his own knees would save him any cross fire so he just quietly answered. “He’ll live.”

“That’s debatable,” Leena said walking over. She stopped and glared at Dade—or what she could see of him from behind Steven. “Head okay, Dade?” she asked quietly. He shrugged. “Good,” she said sweetly.

Kasey looked around the living room again then turned and glared at Dade. She walked towards them and both stepped aside as she opened the kitchen door and looked in the room. “There isn’t a clean place to sit anywhere,” she said looking at Cora. She spun back towards the men.

Steven went to step away and felt Dade grip his shirt from behind in a silent plea. “Don’t sit on the couch—uh, we poured water over him.”

Dade looked at him in surprise.

“Did you think Rachel wouldn’t share the details with us?” Cora asked in a hissing voice looking at Dade.

He swallowed and shook his head. He studied her face trying to see, something.

Leena blew out a breath and walked over and looked in the kitchen. “Well, at least it’s dry in there.” She pointed to the kitchen. “Sit.”

Neither man had ever heard her use that tone and immediately turned and walked into the kitchen. Steven turned and looked at Rachel.

She smirked at him. “Stop looking like the guilty child, Doc, we’re not mad at you.”

He put his hand over his heart and let out a quick breath.  “Whew.” He stood behind her and pulled her back into him. Then looked to see Dade sitting at the table looking around at the three women hovering looking at him.

Kasey leaned on the table and brought her face down level with Dade’s. “Well?”

He looked up at her. Then down at the table. The buttons were sitting there. Leaning forward he put his hands over them. “I’m an—asshole,” he said quietly searching for the right word to make them happy.

She snorted. “Clearly.”

“Kase?” Chris’s voice bellowed from the door.

“In the kitchen, Chris.” All heads turned towards the door as Chris stepped in.

He looked around and rubbed his jaw. Then gave Dade a sympathetic look. “Need a lawyer?” he asked him quietly with a smirk. Kasey glared at him. “Sorry,” he said softly and leaned back against the counter. He looked at Dade sitting on the hot seat and shook his head with sympathy ‘you’re on your own’ his expression said clearly.

Dade let out a long breath. “I appreciate the concern…”

“Concern?” Cora hissed. “You appreciate the concern?”she repeated. Slapping both hands on the table she leaned down and stared at him. Speaking quietly in a low voice she hissed, “Do you have any idea, any inkling of an idea how worried we’ve all been for the last two weeks, Dade Jones?”

He opened his mouth then closed it and shook his head. “I didn’t realize…”

“Realize what?” Kasey spat at him stepping back to the table.

Owen stepped into the room and looked around. He smirked at Dade. “Bet you wished you did die now, you dumb son of a bitch.”

Dade closed his hand over the buttons and started to stand. A slap of wind knocked him back into his chair. He looked around to see Rachel shaking her head.

“We’re not finished yet,” she said almost sweetly.

He stuffed his hands into his pockets shoving the buttons in. He watched Steven glance towards the table then his hand. Looking around at them he shrugged. “I fucked up. I was messed up…”

“From?” Cora asked quietly crossing her hands over her chest.

He opened his mouth, then clenched his jaw thinking.

“Do you know anything that’s been happening in the last few weeks, Dade?” Leena asked him. He shrugged. “You know we have a handfast happening in three weeks?”

He grinned and nodded.

“And that you agreed to be a witness with Cora for all of us?”

He looked at Steven for confirmation. He nodded at him. Not knowing what to say he looked back at Leena.

“Did you know Owen sold his house?

He grinned. “Yes, I know that,” he added quickly.

“To Cora,” she finished quietly.

He looked from Owen to Cora. “Oh.”

Kasey crossed her arms. “Did you know Kevin was going to be working here and is subletting Cora’s apartment?”

He looked quickly at Cora then back to Kasey and shook his head.

Kasey threw up her hands and walked out of the room leaving the bottles on the counter rattling. “I can’t talk to him right now!”

Chris shot Dade a look and went after her.

Dade let out a slow breath. “I’m sorry, more than you know. I’m over it. It won’t happen again.” He rubbed his hands over his face.

Cora hissed out a breath and walked out of the room.

He watched her go then turned to look at Leena. “Lee, I can’t talk about this to everyone, I just…”

Leena looked at him sympathetically for a moment and turned to look around then walked out.

Owen looked at him and shook his head. “Well, when you fuck up you do it large, Bro.” He followed Leena out.

Dade groaned and sat back for a minute. He looked up at Steven who raised his hands then dropped them back to Rachel’s shoulders. Rachel was looking at him.

Shaking her head she turned and walked out the door.

Steven dropped his head down and let out a long breath. Smirking at him he quipped, “Well, you’re still alive.” He opened the door then turned his head and whispered, “You are going to be sucking up for months over this one.”

 

Thanks for having me here today! J

 

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Autumn Dance

Book IV in the Magic Seasons series

At the autumn gathering twelve angry and determined witches use their power to draw out the killer before anyone else can become a victim.

With his magic ability Dade has control like no other— if he had that in his everyday life he could have the one thing he wants.

Coralee is a woman that represents grace and simplicity.  She has the skill of being able to feel emotion, aura and see beyond the now.  The pain sometimes associated with this gift has forced her to live her life from a distance.  She decided early in life what she wanted, and returned from her years away at school set to obtain her biggest dream. Unfortunately she has found the past few years lacking just that as she waits for the man she wants to stop and look at her instead of every female that throws themselves in his path. 

Dade is a man that follows life simply, yet his charitable personality brings him a wealth of   satisfaction.  He is the first to lend a hand, the last to stay and help and the one everyone calls when something goes wrong.  Even though his own generous nature fills his life, he still manages to find time enough to get himself into a mess at every turn and spends most of the time imploring forgiveness from the one sexy voodoo woman he can’t seem to get close to.

 

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Book Promo: Nashville Nights Series

Nashville Nights Series Button 600 x 425

Careless

Nashville Nights, Book Eight 

Cheryl Douglas 

Genre: Contemporary Romance

ASIN: B009AZLYQ0

Number of pages: 207

Word Count: 69,019

Book Description: 

Detective, Mike Cooper, loves a challenge. So when his father, Josh, asks him to consult on a tough case, he can’t resist the temptation. He agrees to take a brief leave of absense from the police force to accompany country singer, Tori Warner, on tour. His objective? To find the crazed fan who’s been stalking her. If only Tori wasn’t so determined to play hard and fast with the rules.

Tori is tired of living in a bubble. She’s been allowing this stalker to control her life for months, and she’s sick of it. So when some hotshot detective decides to become her self-appointed bodyguard, she’s determined to show him that she’s the one calling the shots.

Tori is the most infuriating woman Mike has ever met. She refuses to take orders, even when her life is at stake. He’s tempted to let her fend for herself, but Mike can’t walk away knowing some maniac is out to get her. Especially not after one explosive night makes him lose his objectivity. Suddenly, this case is personal, and Mike can’t rest until he knows Tori is safe.

Hopeless  Nashville

Nights Book  Seven 

Cheryl Douglas 

ASIN: B0091N9JAE

Number of pages: 199

Word Count: 63,328

Book Description: 

When Jay Cooper has to hire a new black belt instructor for his karate studio, he doesn’t expect the most promising applicant to come with a huge chip on her shoulder. He knows there must be a story behind those tortured brown eyes, if only she would let him get close enough to find out why she seems so determined to keep her past a secret.

Victoria Pierce grew up in the foster care system. For her, martial arts was more than a hobby, it was her best hope of survival. She learned at an early age that the only person she could count on was herself. She doesn’t let anyone get close enough to hurt her, not friends, boyfriends, and definitely not her new boss. She shuts Jay down at every opportunity, so why does he keep coming back for more?

Heartless 

Book Six Nashville Nights 

Cheryl Douglas

ASIN: B008RH5IH8

Number of pages: 181

Word Count: 60,365

 

Book Description: 

Derek McCall was devastated when his college girlfriend married his best friend, Josh Cooper. He respected the boundaries of friendship for years, but one night they gave in to temptation. Feeling guilty for betraying his best friend, Derek left town determined to put the past and Ashley behind him. Ashley Cooper has loved two men in her life, her ex-husband, Josh, and her ex-boyfriend, Derek. The single mom of two grown boys is finally ready to start dating again when Derek comes back to town, eager to throw his hat in the ring. Her kids are against the relationship, but is she willing to risk their disapproval for a chance to re-write history?

Relentless 

Book Five Nashville Nights

Cheryl Douglas

Print Length: 192 pages

ASIN: B008EW4MGY

Book Description:

Nikki Spencer is all grown up, but the world still sees her as the little girl she used to be. She’s ready to prove to her adoring public, and a certain rough riding rodeo champion, that sweet little Nikki isn’t as innocent as everyone seems to think.

J.T. McCall has a reputation as a rough rider, both on the bull-riding circuit, and in the bedroom. So what’s he to do when an innocent, like country crooner, Nikki Spencer, sets her sights on him? He plans to do what any good old country boy would do, save the lady from herself. But who will save J.T. when this little firecracker sets his world on fire?

Reckless 

Book Four Nashville Nights

By Cheryl Douglas

Book Description:

As a publicist, Avery Collins knows that mixing business with pleasure is a recipe for disaster so she has one rule. Her bedroom is off limits to clients, no matter how enticing and persistent they may be.

Ty McCall is country music’s newest rising star, but he needs the best team in the business to help him make it to the top. That team includes Avery, the woman who gave him the most unforgettable night of his life only to disappear the next morning.

Avery agrees to work with him, but Ty isn’t willing to settle for a professional relationship with the woman of his dreams. Can this sexy cowboy convince her that rules were made to be broken?

Ruthless

Book Three Nashville Nights

By Cheryl Douglas

Book Description:

Marisa Turner has wanted Luc Spencer forever, but she also wants a baby, and it seems Luc isn’t up to the challenge. She has to choose between the man she loves and the family she hopes to have. Fortunately, there’s another man waiting in the wings who would love to make her baby fantasy a reality.

Luc Spencer is tired of hearing about marriage and babies. He loves Marisa, but he’s not a forever kind of guy. After two years together, she tells him it’s over. He’s not worried; he believes she’ll be back. But what will happen when he finds out there’s another man waiting to take his place?

Fearless 

Book Two Nashville Nights

By Cheryl Douglas

Book Description:

Lexi Brooks has overcome adversity to build a successful real estate business that will enable her live life on her terms. The life she envisions includes travel, fun, and excitement, not marriage, kids or commitment. But will Trey’s sexy bodyguard throw a wrench into her plans?

Being a cop taught Josh Cooper to take calculated risks, but he’s tired of living with the daily threat of danger. He’s ready to settle down with someone who wants to be a step-mother to his two teenage sons. Too bad Lexi isn’t that woman.

She’s smart, sexy, and head-strong, and they’re totally in sync in the bedroom, but she isn’t willing to ‘settle’ for a life of domestic bliss. Or is she?

Shameless

Book One Nashville Nights

By Cheryl Douglas 

Book Description:

Trey Turner may be topping the country music charts but his life has been going downhill since his wife left him five years ago. He’s desperate to make amends for the mistakes he’s made and convince Sierra their love deserves a second chance.

Sierra Brooks is happy for the first time since her divorce. She has a career she loves and a fiancé who loves her.

Unfortunately, her fiancé isn’t the only man professing his love. He may be able to offer her safety and security but will she decide to risk everything for another chance with the man who broke her heart?

About the Author:

Cheryl began her professional career as a nutritionist, but her love of books started at an early age. She studied writing for many years before she decided to pursue her passion as a full-time career. After receiving constructive criticism from several well-known authors, Cheryl finally had the confidence to write her first romance novel.

The first book in the Nashville Nights series, Shameless, was a book that had been dwelling in Cheryl’s subconscious for years. For her, the surprise came when the manuscript began taking on a life of it’s own. Characters came to life, secondary characters became more prominent, outlines were forgotten, and a single title evolved into an eight book series, and another eight book spin-off series entitled Nashville Nights, Next Generation.

One word would aptly describe Cheryl: workaholic. She lives and breathes her writing, when she’s sleeping, watching TV, driving, reading… it’s always in the periphery of her mind. Her imagination rarely takes a holiday, even when she escapes to a sandy beach with her husband and son, she’s planning, plotting, outlining, and daydreaming.

Cheryl feels blessed to be able to get up every day and do something she loves. The thousands of fans who have embraced the Nashville Nights have made that possible. She writes for the readers who ask for more, she writes to satisfy the muse residing inside of her, but most of all, she writes because she couldn’t imagine doing anything else with her life. It took her thirty-seven years to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up, but now that she knows, she’s convinced she’s found her purpose.

Website: http://www.cheryldouglasbooks.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cheryldouglasbooks

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5761770.Cheryl_Douglas

Blog: http://www.cheryldouglasbooks.com/updates.html

Guest Post and Giveaway: Kym Grosso

Please welcome Kym Grosso…..

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Thanks so much to SMARTMOUTHTEXAN Book Reviews with a Texas Twang for having me as a guest today.  I really appreciate the opportunity to share my new release, Luca’s Magic Embrace, and guest post with your readers.  My guest post is about the most magical moments in Luca’s Magic Embrace.  Magic and intrigue fill the pages of my novel as does love and romance.   I hope you enjoy my post and thanks again for having me!  It is wonderful to be here!

The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.  ~Eden Phillpotts

 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

Top 3 Most Magical Moments of Luca’s Magic Embrace

MagicBookIn my new release, Luca’s Magic Embrace, Samantha Irving doesn’t want to be a witch, yet that’s exactly what she is.  After failing to elicit her magic, she escapes to the mountains in an attempt to resume a semblance of her previous human life.  Sexy vampire, Luca Macquarie, concerned for her safety, is determined to bring Samantha back to her coven.  His mission is to go find the novice witch and bring her home, nothing more, nothing less; falling for her is not supposed to be part of the plan.

When an arsonist torches her cabin, Samantha’s worst fears are realized.  Aware that her life is on the line, she reluctantly agrees to return to New Orleans with Luca. In the Big Easy, Samantha and Luca embark on a spellbinding journey, searching for a mystical amulet that promises to release her obligation from an ancient, lethal vampire who’s been threatening her life.

During the story, we watch Samantha develop her powers, finally accepting her magic.  There are several scenes where she’s forced to use her magic, driven by emotion to change the impossible.  Without providing spoilers, here are my top 3 Magic Moments in Luca’s Magic Embrace:

1.  A Burning Cabin.  An intimate, mid-morning lake swim is interrupted as Samantha’s cabin is set fire. This is the first time we see Samantha use her magic, although she doesn’t know quite how she’s done it.

2. An Evil Enemy.  In a fight for her life, Samantha must learn how to focus her magic during the ultimate battle or be destroyed by her enemy.  She also learns what kind of witch she is and how to control her power.

3. Acceptance of Magic.  Even though Samantha doesn’t want to be a witch, she must process what’s happening to her.  Not only do we learn if she accepts the magic, but how it will forever change her life.

bigstock-Blazing-heart-12992480In the end, Luca’s Magic Embrace, is a “happily ever after”, an erotic paranormal romance.  But while the heroine is a witch and there are spells, the true magic within the book is not necessarily literal magic.  Perhaps, the real magic in my book can be seen in the emotional journey and relationship between Luca and Samantha and their love story.  Despite all the mayhem and mystery, the moments of intimacy and commitment are the most magic moments…moments we all hope to have in our lifetimes.

 

Love can sometimes be magic. But magic can sometimes… just be an illusion.  ~Javan

Lucas Magic Embrace Tour Button 300 x 225

Luca’s Magic Embrace

Immortals of New Orleans, Book 2

Kym Grosso

Book Details:

Genre:  Paranormal Romance, Erotic Paranormal Romance

ISBN-13: 978-1480199262

ISBN-10: 1480199265

ASIN:  B009SFWOM0

Approximately 255 pages in pdf.  Varies in e-copy.

Word Count:  80,799 words

Cover Artist:  Carrie Spencer, CheekyCovers

 

Book Description:

An erotic paranormal romance…

Sexy vampire, Luca Macquarie doesn’t do love; especially not with humans. Yet, ever since he rescued Samantha Irving, he can’t deny the enigmatic attraction he’s developed for the alluring mortal woman. Concerned for her safety, he’s determined to bring Samantha back to her coven. His mission is to go find the novice witch and bring her home, nothing more, nothing less; falling for her is not supposed to be part of the plan.

Samantha doesn’t want to be a witch, yet that’s exactly what she is. After failing to elicit her magic, she escapes to the mountains in an attempt to resume a semblance of her previous human life. When an arsonist torches her cabin, Samantha’s worst fears are realized. Aware that her life is on the line, she reluctantly agrees to return to New Orleans with Luca.

In the Big Easy, Samantha and Luca embark on a spellbinding journey, searching for a mystical amulet that promises to release her obligation from an ancient, lethal vampire who’s been threatening her life. With cryptic clues and clandestine allies, will Luca and Samantha destroy the dangerous amulet before others acquire it, setting forth a chain of catastrophic consequences? And will Luca give into his erotic desire for the witch who magically captures heart?

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Excerpt:

“Yes,” was the only word he heard in response to his proposal; Luca lost control. Passionately and provocatively, he took her with a hungry urgency. It wasn’t sweet. His mouth claimed hers, savagely taking what was his. The intoxicating nectar of Samantha only made him kiss her more deeply. He wanted her in a way that he’d never wanted any woman. Determined to possess every part of her body and mind in the moment, he would claim her tonight. She’d be his forever.

Luca tore his lips from hers. “Bedroom. Now,” he commanded. Leading her by her small soft hand, he stopped her before they got to his bed.

“I will have you tonight, Samantha. After tonight, you’ll never forget that you are mine. And I will be yours.”

Samantha silently nodded in response. She was ready to commit to this man, this vampire. Luca was everything she’d ever wanted in a male: strong, loving, trustworthy, and passionate. She knew in her heart that giving herself over to him was all she desired now and for her future.

Luca unraveled the belt on her robe, slid his fingers underneath the soft fabric and slowly pushed it off Samantha, letting his hands glide from the smooth skin of her shoulders to her hands. As the robe pooled at her feet, he gently took her hands in his. She stood bare before his eyes. “You’re enticing, Samantha. I cannot seem to get enough of you. So the question is, do you want to play with me tonight? Be honest with me, darlin’, because I plan to take you to places we’ve never been before.”

Samantha felt womanly, exposed to Luca. She trusted him completely as he released her hands and placed his on her waist. “Luca, please, hurry. I can’t seem to keep my hands off of you.”

“Well, I guess we’ll have to do something about that,” he smiled knowingly. “Turn around, face the wall. Don’t move unless I tell you. It’s time for some fun.”

Without question, she complied and waved her bottom at him, shooting him a sultry look that said, ‘come and get me’.

Luca loved how responsive she was under his direction. He didn’t ever bring women into his home, and certainly engaging in a little light bdsm was something he rarely did anymore. Yet he’d wanted to do this to her since the minute she’d danced with him in the club. Luca slid his hands slowly up the sides of her waist, under her arms, pushing them upward and placing the palms of her hands against the wall. With the same precision, he glided his hands back down her arms, waist, until finally, he reached her bottom.

“Samantha, you are everything I’ve ever wanted in a woman; beautiful, smart.” She let out a small moan; he rubbed his hard aching bulge against her. He wanted to fuck her right now, but he wouldn’t dare. No, he planned to make her beg for mercy as he slowly brought her to orgasm over and over.

Though he was still fully clothed, she could feel his magnificent erection against her bum. She wanted him in her now; she grew wet from the intense ache between her legs. “Please, Luca.”

His hands slid from her ass around to lie just beneath her sensitive bosom. She moved slightly to urge him to cup her breasts. He smiled, smelling the overwhelming scent of her desire, but he wanted to draw out the anticipation, tease her with delight. “No, no, no, darlin’. Not tonight. You don’t get to decide when or how the pleasure happens. You wanted to play, so play we shall,” he whispered into her ear. Goosebumps ran over her skin in response to his hot breath. “Tonight is about wanting what you can’t have until I give it to you. It’s about me savoring every stroke of your flesh. The ultimate pleasure, tasting you while you come, screaming my name. Now, do you want me to touch your lovely breasts? Tell me, Samantha.”

 

Author Bio:

IMG_3529-001Luca’s Magic Embrace is my second paranormal romance novel, which is the second novel in the Immortals of New Orleans Series. I have also written and published several articles about autism. I developed a late interest in writing after my son was diagnosed with autism and I started advocating on his behalf. Three years ago, I started my own website, http://www.AutismInRealLife.com and now blog and write articles for PsychologyToday.com.

I live in Pennsylvania with my husband, two children and our dog, Ace. My hobbies include autism advocacy, reading, tennis, zumba and traveling. New Orleans is one of our favorite places to visit with its rich culture and unique cuisine. But we also love traveling just about anywhere that has a beach or snow covered mountains.  I love reading mysteries, romances and about all things regarding vampires, werewolves and other supernaturals.

Website: http://www.KymGrosso.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KymGrossoBooks

Twitter: @KymGrosso

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5785692.Kym_Grosso

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Giveaway Info:

Giveaway is a ecopy of Luca’s Magic Embrace (Kindle version) and an ecopy of Kade’s Dark Embrace (any format-Kindle, pdf, epub).

Just leave a comment. What did you think of the Excerpt?????

 

Book Promo and Giveaway: A Purrfect Match

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A Purrfect Match

Chris T. Kat

Book Details:

Genre: m/m romance, paranormal (shape-shifter)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

ISBN: 9781623802356

Number of pages: 236

Word Count: 66,000

Cover Artist: Shobana Appavu

Book Description:

When a bad day at work culminates in losing out on a promotion, Jim Sanders shifts into his animal form to let off steam. Then his bad day turns into a bad night—while prowling his Atlantic City neighborhood as a large gray house cat, he’s caught in a torrential downpour. What little luck he has washes down the gutter when his new boss, Andrew Wright, catches him taking shelter on his porch, brings him inside, and starts calling him Mr. Frosty.

As a feline, Jim becomes the inadvertent confessor for his boss’s lonely son, Tony, a victim of schoolyard bullying. As a human, he feels drawn to Andrew, a man he wanted to resent. Finding love was never part of Jim’s plan for the future—not with his bizarre secret—yet suddenly he finds himself navigating that minefield anyway. But not everything is easy, especially for an interracial gay couple dealing with prejudice in the workplace, at Tony’s school, and even within their own families.

 

Chapter 1 Preview:

Monday

Wet darts pelted the cat’s thick fur. Annoyed, the feline meowed before hurrying along the sidewalk, looking for shelter. He should have stayed at home, in his nice little apartment in Venice Park, Atlantic City, where he could overlook the Atlantic Ocean—dry.

None of the buildings he encountered appealed to the cat even though his long silvery fur was already soaked, itching slightly. Still, the cat dashed on, ignoring the increasingly uncomfortable feeling of clotted fur.

After a while, he reached the outskirts of a neighborhood and slowed down marginally. Inspecting the neighborhood more closely, the cat realized he was a long way from home. He should have realized this when he’d run over Albany Avenue bridge, but he’d been occupied by his desire to find a warm shelter.

His stroll had taken him to Chelsea Heights; he’d probably have sore paws by the time he was back home.

The rain’s intensity increased, making it difficult for even the cat to see. The feline rounded several houses and looked for cat flaps but found none.

Even more annoyed, the silver-furred cat took refuge on a small porch, where he curled his shivering body into a tight ball on the doormat. At least he wouldn’t get any wetter there. The cat shrieked when the door suddenly burst open, revealing a small blond-haired boy with thick glasses hiding bright-blue eyes.

The boy lifted the cat into his arms, his quick reaction surprising the cat and making it impossible for the feline to give in to his initial flight reaction. Talking soothingly, the boy cuddled the big cat against his chest. Not wanting to hurt the boy, the cat didn’t fuss.

“Tony!” a man called from inside.

The cat, who had frozen in the boy’s embrace, turned his face toward the man’s voice. A blond-haired man, his longish hair cut in a fashionable style, dressed in tightly fitting dark-blue sweatpants and a gray hoodie, came into the cat’s focus.

“Tony, you can’t just pick up a strange cat! It’s all wet and what if it hurt you?”

“But, Daddy! Animals don’t hurt me. They know I’m harmless,” the boy answered, a hint of exasperation showing in his voice. The boy and the man had obviously had this conversation before.

The father of the boy crouched down behind his son and sighed. He didn’t get any further because Jim, the cat, suddenly hissed. Jim’s eyes narrowed and he readied to attack the man in front of him—the man he had met for the first time today, only a few hours ago. The man who had taken the position Jim had applied for.

 

A few hours ago

Jim Sanders walked into the office building and over to the elevator, where he pressed the call button. As he waited he held himself stiffly, angry anticipation coiling in his stomach. He clutched his briefcase, the knuckles of his hand turning white from the pressure of his grip.

He stepped inside the elevator, nodding to a secretary who rode with him. Catching his reflection in the shiny steel interior of the elevator, Jim sighed inwardly. He saw a visibly enraged African-American man with his jaw set in a stubborn way and his dark-brown eyes blazing. No wonder the secretary threw nervous glances in his direction.

Jim tried to pull himself together. No matter what, he wouldn’t give anyone the satisfaction of seeing his anger. The job as an art director for TLC Publishing should have been his. He had the right qualifications, the right age, hell, he even represented a minority. Hadn’t it said in the job advertisement “minorities preferred”? So much for that.

When the owner, Marshall Trimpter, had notified Jim he didn’t get the job, Jim had been tempted to play the minority card, or even accuse his boss of prejudice. To complicate matters further, Marshall was also a friend.

Jim hadn’t fought Marshall’s decision because he wanted to get the job for his talent. But that didn’t change the fact that he was furious. The job went to thirty-year-old, white Andrew Wright. How can someone who is five years younger than me get the job that belongs to me?

Jim scowled at his own reflection, starting when the elevator dinged softly. The doors opened, allowing the pale secretary to flee. Jim almost snorted in disdain. Just because he looked grim didn’t mean he was dangerous. The secretary probably only registered Jim’s impressive height of six foot six and his weight of 240 pounds, all stuffed into a dark charcoal suit, crisp white shirt, and navy-blue tie.

Jim made another attempt at pulling himself together. He straightened up, breathed in and out deeply several times, then darted another quick glance at his reflection. Good. He didn’t look dangerous anymore, only slightly pissed off. It was at least an improvement.

He strolled out of the elevator and was walking toward the small office he shared with Brian, one of the other illustrators, when Marshall called out for him. Jim managed not to grimace and instead pasted a polite smile on his face. “Good morning, Marshall.”

“Good morning to you too,” the older man replied. Marshall was in his midfifties, a compactly built man with a rapidly growing waistline. Behind him stood a significantly younger man. Marshall gestured between Jim and the other man. “Jim, this is Andrew Wright, our new art director.”

Jim stiffened imperceptibly but held out his hand for the younger man to shake. Wright’s eyes widened subtly when Jim engulfed his hand. Jim watched Wright’s Adam’s apple bobbing up and down several times in quick succession before he regained his composure. Wright smiled up at him, large green-blue eyes twinkling as he brushed a stray strand of dark-blond hair from his forehead.

The man was beautiful. Jim swallowed and reminded himself forcefully that this… this kid had stolen his job.

On the other hand—it didn’t mean Jim wasn’t allowed to drink in the sight of one of the most beautiful male faces he’d ever seen. Wright’s skin was lightly tanned, and freckles covered his nose and across his cheeks. A deep chin cleft—one that even compared to Michael Douglas’s cleft—completed Wright’s face.

Jim estimated Wright’s height around six feet and his weight at no more than 180 pounds, but in comparison to Jim, Wright seemed almost delicate. Most people seemed delicate next to Jim, which at times made things easier, but usually his impressive build intimidated everyone around him, complicating his life.

Wright cleared his throat and wiggled his fingers. Jim realized he hadn’t let go of Wright’s hand. Marshall eyed him curiously. Repressing the urge to rub his thumb over the smooth skin on Wright’s hand, Jim squeezed Wright’s hand again, then let go. “Welcome aboard, Andrew.”

“Thank you.”

Marshall laid a hand on Andrew’s shoulder, prompting him to turn around. He glanced at Jim and said, “I’ll introduce Andrew to everyone. I expect you to join us in my office at ten thirty so we can discuss the next campaigns and book covers, etcetera.”

“I’ll be there.”

Marshall nodded and guided Andrew over to one of the web designers, Carla Mendez. Andrew bestowed a dazzling smile at Carla, eliciting an equally broad smile from Carla. Jim turned abruptly on his heels. Just what I need—salivating after the man who snatched away my job.

 

Somehow, Jim managed to get through the day. His feelings alternated between envy and arousal whenever he happened to be around Andrew, which happened quite a lot during the day. Jim didn’t know whether he approved of those circumstances or not.

He was close to admitting to himself he liked Andrew when the man made a crucial error—he criticized one of Jim’s works. Andrew wrapped his critique up in otherwise nice and complimentary words, but only the criticism stuck with Jim.

At the end of the day, he left early, claiming he had a headache from hell. He did have a headache, though it wasn’t as unbearable as he made it out to be. Fact was, he didn’t trust his newly blossomed anger not to spill over and lead him to act on impulse. As much as he loathed Andrew’s presence, Jim didn’t want to lose his job.

He drove home, ate a light dinner, then paced his small living room. Eventually he gave in, shifted into his feline form, and hurried out of his apartment. He welcomed the easy, carefree set of his mind, how all his worries, and especially his anger, fell off him when he shifted into his cat form. His feline alter ego did wonders for his temper.

He just didn’t expect the rain. Nor did he expect to seek shelter at Andrew Wright’s home.

 

Present Time

Andrew Wright hastily pulled his hand out of reach of the hissing cat. Jim’s body vibrated from barely restrained anger, a feeling he couldn’t recall ever having had in his shifted form.

“Daddy! Don’t yell, you’re scaring Mr. Frosty,” the boy protested.

Jim pushed his forepaws against the small clavicle and stared at the boy. Mr. Frosty?

“Mr. Frosty?” Andrew echoed Jim’s confusion perfectly.

The boy, Tony, lifted his chin, daring his father to object. “Yes, Mr. Frosty. It’s the name I gave him.”

“Tony,” Andrew sighed.

“I want to keep him,” Tony declared.

Deciding this could be interesting, Jim changed tactics. Instead of hissing and pushing away from the boy, he snuggled closer and purred loudly. Tony tightened his arms around him. Laboriously, the boy clambered to his feet with the big cat in his arms.

“Tony,” Andrew sighed again, his voice taking on a pleading edge.

He carded his left hand through his hair, ruffling it until he looked decidedly disheveled. Jim gazed up at him, waiting for Andrew’s next words.

“Tony, I know you’re missing Lady, but we can’t just take in a stray cat.”

“Why not?”

Yes, why not?

Jim watched Andrew, how he struggled to find the right answer. “Well, we don’t know what kind of diseases this cat has. It doesn’t have a collar or anything, and I don’t want either of us to get sick.”

Jim saw Tony mulling this over. Obviously he didn’t take the comment lightly. Jim reverted to an unfair tactic—he pushed his head against Tony’s cheek, rubbing and eliciting happy giggling noises.

He heard Andrew mutter in defeat. “Oh, great. All right, let’s take Mr. Frosty inside and towel him off.”

Point one for Jim, the cat.

 

Tony carried Jim inside, all the while chattering nonstop—how beautiful he was, how much fun they’d have. Jim felt a pang of guilt for leading the boy on. He seemed like a nice enough kid, one that simply wanted a pet to cuddle and take care of.

Before Jim had time to process his feelings, Andrew came over, holding a towel. “Okay, Mr. Frosty, I hope you have no objection to me drying you off?”

Carefully and slowly, Andrew reached out for the cat. Jim cocked his head to one side, ready to bat at Andrew’s hands purely to be an ass, but Tony slid one small hand under his chest, lifting him up a notch.

“It’s okay. Daddy won’t hurt you. He’s good with animals and he’s helped a lot of them. Sometimes we took them to a vet because we couldn’t help….” Tony rambled on about all the good deeds of Andrew Wright.

Jim couldn’t help the resentment building up inside of him. Not only had Andrew taken Jim’s job, he had the looks to turn heads, and he was also the father of an adorable kid and rescued animals in need. Mr. Perfect, eh?

It was more than Jim could bear at that moment. Lashing out with his forepaw, he left a deep scratch mark on Andrew’s hand.

Point two for Jim, the cat.

Andrew cursed. He also grabbed Jim and swiftly carried the struggling cat to the front door.

Damn! One point for Andrew!

“Daddy!” Tony cried.

Little feet pounded on the floor as Tony ran after his father. Jim had to admit—albeit reluctantly—that this obviously wasn’t the first time Andrew had held a struggling cat. Jim caught a determined expression on Andrew’s face, one that clearly said Jim wasn’t welcome here anymore.

“Daddy, no! Please!”

“Tony! It’s a stray cat. It’s bad enough it lashed out at me for no apparent reason, but I won’t take the risk of you getting hurt by it. This is not up for discussion. Please open the screen door for me.”

Tony planted himself in front of the door, his arms crossed over his little chest and a deep scowl firmly in place. “No.”

“Tony! Move it!” Andrew raised his voice while he glared down at his son.

Jim stopped his struggle momentarily, darting a worried glance from Andrew to Tony. The boy’s lower lip trembled suspiciously, but he held his ground. Andrew’s eyes glistened brightly, and finally it dawned on Jim—Andrew was scared for his boy’s safety. He most likely also felt bad for yelling at his son, and this whole turmoil was all Jim’s fault.

Damn! What the hell is wrong with me? Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t get the job. Who’d want such an angry and spiteful man to be their boss?

Not sure whether he would be able to salvage the situation, Jim licked Andrew’s hand with his rough tongue, a loud rumbling purr reverberating through his body. Andrew stared down at him with a wide-eyed expression.

Tony took a step toward them before tentatively placing his hand on his father’s forearm. Softly he said, “Maybe Mr. Frosty was scared. He’s not mean. See? He’s trying to make it all better. Maybe he’d feel better if I rub him down? Please, Daddy?”

Jim saw Andrew’s eyes soften, the love and affection for his son showing openly. He breathed a sigh of relief when Andrew replied equally softly, “Okay.”

Andrew carried Jim back to the sofa, where he placed the cat on his son’s lap. Tony crooned to him as he carefully rubbed Jim’s fur dry. Andrew hovered next to them, ready to grab the cat and rescue Tony in case Jim went ballistic again. Jim didn’t blame Andrew for his bout of overprotectiveness.

When Jim’s coat was to Tony’s satisfaction, the boy scooted back to a corner of the sofa, pulling the cat with him. Jim got the hint and stretched out atop Tony’s abdomen, purring in a never-ending drone and butting his head against the boy’s chin every now and then.

He heard Tony whisper, “Can we keep him? Please, Daddy.”

“He seems to be an outdoor cat, Tony. I don’t know if he’d like to stay with us,” Andrew replied hesitantly.

“Oh, but he’ll like it here just great, you’ll see,” Tony stated with conviction.

Andrew patted his son’s legs before he gathered the wet towel and stood up. “We’ll see. By the way, how was school?”

Jim felt a shiver roll through Tony’s small form. The boy slung his arms around the cat, then pulled Jim further up, until he was able to stick his nose into Jim’s thick fur.

“Okay,” Tony mumbled.

Jim stopped purring. Even he could tell the boy was lying. Jim pushed his head firmly against Tony’s cheek and meowed, as if asking Tony to go on and elaborate.

Andrew came back to them, a frown on his face. “Tony?”

Jim nudged the boy’s face gently. In shock, he saw Tony’s eyes fill with tears behind his thick glasses. Andrew crouched next to them, one hand cupping the back of his son’s head as he asked, “Hey, squirt, what happened?”

Tony’s lower lip trembled and he pulled his glasses off to rub his stinging eyes. Andrew pressed a kiss to his temple, waiting patiently for an answer. Jim wondered why Andrew didn’t push for an answer, seeing that Tony was so upset. To voice his impatience, he meowed again.

“Silas… Silas picked on me.”

“Do you know why?”

“Because I have no mother and because… because you’re a horrible, sick person. Since you’re horrible, I am as well. He told the other kids not to play with me,” Tony choked out.

Jim stared at Tony’s tear-streaked face, his heart going out to the distressed boy. He heard Andrew swallow audibly several times. He wondered why another kid would accuse Tony’s father of being awful.

“Tony, I don’t understand. You’re not horrible! Why would he say something like that?”

“He says you’re sick because you’re gay.”

 Author Bio:

christikatChris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of almost 15 years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks, or crafts.

Blog: http://christikat.blogspot.com

http://christikat.livejournal.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/christi_kat

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ChrisTKat

GLBT bookshelf: http://bookworld.editme.com/ChrisTKat

Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Book Promo and Giveaway: Fire in the Blood

Fire in the Blood Tour Button 300 x 225

Fire in the Blood

Bad Witch Book 3

Robyn Bachar

Book Details:

Genre: Paranormal romance

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-61921-173-5

ASIN: B008PGMPYK

Number of pages: 139

Word Count: 33,000

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Book Description:

It’s good to be bad… Patience Roberts is the last summoner standing between magiciankind and certain demon invasion. After banishing two or three demons a day for too long, gods know she’d like nothing better than a little down time with her number one distraction—Faust.

But with vampires, hunters and assassins lined up to take her out, who has the time? Still, she has to admit her resistance to the amorous faerie is wearing thin. Not that she’ll ever let on—after all, faeries are notorious for their short romantic attention spans.

Faust, a Shadowspawn faerie, watched as his outcast clan dwindled to nothing. Determined to hold on to the woman he loves, he’ll do whatever it takes to protect Patience. And one day build a life with her.

When an old demon enemy punches through the barrier between the worlds, Patience must draw on every ounce of her reputation as a cast-iron bitch to temporarily banish him. To get rid of him for good, she’ll have to sacrifice one too many pieces of her soul to leave room for love…

Warning: Contains a hero and heroine so hot they’re literally on fire, naughty faerie sex, post-coital cuteness, angsty magician drama, and yet more gratuitous violence against vampires, demons, and innocent furniture.

Excerpt:

“You still haven’t eaten,” Harvey reminded after I hung up the phone.

“Drive through. Don’t let me forget.”

“You said that this morning.”

“I did?” I asked in surprise.

“Yes, you did.”

Damn it all to hell and back, my brain must really be fried, because I had zero memory of that. At least I’d been chugging black coffee all day, so there was something in my system, even if it was only caffeine. I couldn’t keep up this pace for much longer, but I didn’t have a choice. I was the only one left to handle the demon problem. I’d tried to call in extra help from the coasts, and everyone turned me down. They were too afraid of the hunters, and though I couldn’t blame them for that, it still pissed me off. I outsourced what work I could to the local guardians, but it wasn’t enough. They weren’t specialists like me.

I was trying to bail out the Titanic with a teaspoon. It was only a matter of time before we all drowned.

“Well, this time I mean it,” I said lamely.

“Of course, Mistress.”

I grabbed my black cashmere coat from the rack and donned it along with my scarf, then slung my messenger bag over my shoulder. This time I made it halfway across the room before I was stopped, but it wasn’t the phone that interrupted me. It was a faerie invasion, and I had only a moment to recognize Faust by the smoky lenses of his round, dark glasses before he pounced on me. He kissed me fiercely and nudged me back until I stumbled into the front of my desk.

“I dislike this overcoat. It’s much too bulky.” He reached for the buttons and I batted his hand away.

“I’ll be in the car, Mistress,” Harvey called out loudly before vanishing. He’s not a voyeur, and he disapproved of my relationship with Faust. I didn’t approve of my relationship with Faust either. Every summoner knows you shouldn’t get involved with a faerie, because it always ends badly.

“Cut it out. I’m on a call,” I warned.

Faust grinned, and my chest tightened with an emotion I fought not to show. Yes, this was headed toward disaster, but I couldn’t help myself. Faust was the most addictive temptation I’d ever met. He was just so damn pretty—tall for a faerie, which made him about my height, and dark haired with a pale complexion that spoke more of a vampire than a faerie. Faust had an angular face with high, sharp cheekbones that reminded me a bit of a runway model, a finely-drawn brow and a smile that could make a girl weak in the knees in 0.5 seconds.

“It can’t wait,” he insisted. “I’ve missed you.”

He tugged my scarf aside and kissed my neck, and it was suddenly much too warm to be wearing my coat. I didn’t fight him as he unbuttoned the garment and slid it off. I kissed him and indulged in the lovely diversion of letting his nimble hands roam for a few moments, because the past few days had been all business and no pleasure. But I had an appointment to keep, and I pushed him away with a disappointed sigh.

“I missed you too, babe, but I don’t have time for a break. I’m on call 24/7 now.”

“I know you are.” Faust’s expression sobered, and he caressed my cheek. “You’re a brave woman, Patience, and I admire that about you. But that’s also why I’m here.”

“You’re here because you admire me? Funny, seemed more like desire a second ago,” I teased. The corners of his mouth twitched, and I bit back the urge to kiss him. Experience had taught me that if I encouraged him I’d end up naked and bent over the desk.

“There’s a problem—” he began, and I cut him off.

“I don’t have time for more problems. We’re all full up here.”

“This is serious. Zachary has hired someone to kill you.”

About the Author:

Robyn Bachar was born and raised in Berwyn, Illinois, and loves all things related to Chicago, from the Cubs to the pizza. It seemed only natural to combine it with her love of fantasy, and tell stories of witches and vampires in the Chicagoland area. As a gamer, Robyn has spent many hours rolling dice, playing rock-paper-scissors, and slaying creatures in MMPORGs.

http://robynbachar.com

https://twitter.com/RobynBachar

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRobynBachar

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3517688.Robyn_Bachar

http://therobyn.blogspot.com/

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Giveaway Info: $50 Amazon Gift Card
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Candy Cane Kink Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the newest Hop on the block….. Candy Cane Kink.
Candy Kane Kink
For this Hop I will be pimping the anthology Hot For the Holidays, featuring Lora Leigh, Angela Knight, Anya Bast and Allyson James.

hfthlg

Something passionate. Something mysterious. Something sexy.

And something totally inviting.

It’s the perfect gift for the holidays.

Four bestselling authors invite readers to spend the night with these never-before-published novellas spiced with sexy romance and paranormal passion. So come in out of the cold and experience the thrill of a soul-stirring new tale of the Breeds from Lora Leigh, a return to the beguiling world of the Mageverse from Angela Knight, and two more mesmerizing and unexpected stories of sensual surprises and seasonal spirits from Anya Bast and Allyson James.

Excerpt from Lora Leigh:

Colorado

There was something about a winter snow fall that Jessica Raines had always loved. A sense of warmth, despite the cold. A sense of wonder, a remnant of her childhood that she had never lost.

Now, as she moved through the soft heavy winter white that fell around her, she had never felt less a child. At twenty-four, she felt old, worn and tired.

Christmas was coming. Lights were strung around the wolf breed compound of Haven and windows were lit up with the festive colors of the seasons as lavishly decorated trees twinkled merrily into the winter night.

Christmas was coming and Jessica had never felt less festive.
The snow was beautiful though. She had missed it last year during her imprisonment in the underground cells that the Wolf Breeds had kept her confined to. Because she had been a traitor. No matter how reluctantly, still, she had betrayed the very people she had believed so deeply in. Even as she had done it, helpless against the compulsions rising inside her, Jessica had raged, fought, screamed silently. But still, she had hidden information, relayed defense maneuvers and revealed the residences of the wolf breed alpha and his mate, as well as their second in command to her father.

The pure blood society he had worked with had nearly killed them. If she hadn’t found the strength to pull two of the mates from their homes before the attack, then they would have been killed.

She pushed her fingers through her hair, tugging at the tender roots as she fought to make sense of the betrayal her father had dealt her. He had been sending her to certain death. He had to have known it. The drug he had slipped into her food and drinks when she visited, the orders he had given her, he had known beyond a shadow of a doubt that she would be caught, and that she would die. And still, he had done it.

She couldn’t even ask him why he had done it. He was dead now. The society he had been a part of was disbanded. Advert, the small town outside the breed compound was under wolf breed control, but still, Jessica suffered.

She had lost everything because of his hatred for a species of humanity that hadn’t asked to be created. One that was determined to survive now that it lived. He had sacrificed his daughter, and then his own life, for nothing.

She lifted her face to the falling snow and imagined the dampness on her face was the moisture of the melting ice. It wasn’t. It was tears and she knew it. Her father wasn’t the only one that had lost in his bid to destroy the breeds, Jessica had lost as well, much more than anyone could imagine.

Pausing, she leaned against the large trunk of a towering oak and gazed up at the close canopy of thick, dark clouds. The snow was flying thicker, harder. It had a heavy, ominous feel to it suddenly, as though nature were moving in to exact vengeance for crimes untold.

Or perhaps against her.

Grimacing at the flight of fancy she shook her head before moving quickly to turn back to the cabin she had left. That sudden movement was followed by a loud retort and a chunk of bark striking her in the face.

There was that second of disbelief. That pause as knowledge filtered through her system that someone was shooting at her, before Jessica jumped behind the tree, heart racing, fear pounding through her system.

Someone had just fired on her.

She was in the middle of the forest, no coat, no weapon, no guards. She was undefended in a place where she shouldn’t have needed defending.

Now what?

She stared around the bleak winter landscape, fighting to catch her breath through the pounding of her heart as she tried to think quickly. Logically.

She couldn’t see anyone, couldn’t sense anyone. Right now she would give her eye teeth for those nifty super senses the breeds possessed. Advanced hearing, seeing and senses of smell would come in handy right now.

She couldn’t stand here much longer, she told herself. She was going to have to move soon or the shooter could work his way around until he had a line of sight on her that she couldn’t escape.

There was only one course of action. She gripped the rough trunk of the tree hard before throwing herself past it and racing for the large rocks and boulders a short distance away.

Shots fired behind her. Clumps of dirt thre up, striking against her as she ran. Throwing herself the rest of the distance she slid into the snug embrace of the boulders, flinching on a hard shudder as another bullet exploded against the side of a huge rock.

“Cowards,” she bit out furiously, pushing herself as close against the rock as she could rock. “Bastards.”

Surely to God one of the breeds would have heard the gunshots by now. Haven, the wolf breed compound was patrolled by one of the best breed security forces in the world. So where were they now? Maybe it hadn’t really been such a good idea to slip away from her bodyguard.

On hands and knees she crawled through the mess of boulders lying around like a child’s toys tossed haphazardly in place.

The sharp retort sounded again, this time sending chips of stone flying over her head as she wedged herself between upright columns and fought to make herself as small as possible.

She was dead. The breeds should have just killed her a year ago when they were debating the action, because she was definitely going to die now.

Where the hell were the breed patrols? Or was that who was shooting at her?

Fear rushed through her system in a surge of adrenaline as the next shot sent a bullet tearing into the stone above her head. They were getting closer. She wasn’t going to survive. She would die here, in the cold and the snow, and it would probably take a while a find her. Evidently no one was too concerned with her now that she had been released, though she was confined to Haven. It was probably a breed trying to kill her.

“Jess.” A hand clamped over her mouth as she pushed herself past the boulders and strong hands jerked her behind the rocks as another shot struck beside her shoulder.

Heated, hard and male, the large body she was suddenly cushioned against was a welcome relief, a place of security as she recognized the voice at her ear.

Hawke Esteban.

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I am giving away a paper copy of Hot for the Holidays to one lucky commenter.

What’s your Holiday Kink?

A special thanks to Close Encounters with the Night Kind and Natasha Blackthorne for hosting this freaking amazing Hop.

Check out the link to the other Hoppers….