Thursday, July 2, 2015
My name is Vicki Crum, and I write contemporary and paranormal romance. Welcome to my blog tour.
When I first sat down to write Once in a Blue Moon, I hadn’t given much thought to where the story would be set. In the original version, hot-guy-Jake wasn’t even a werewolf. He was just a regular old, run-of-the-mill, Harley-riding, denim and leather clad, too-gorgeous-for-words rebel, who roared into town one day on a whim. And knocked my heroine for a loop the moment she laid eyes on him.
Casey is on the sidewalk in front of the clothing boutique she co-owns with her best friend when the growl of the Harley snags her attention. When I wrote that, I immediately pictured a street in the heart of the small beach town where I live, and that’s how Manhattan Beach became the setting for the book.
Manhattan Beach is a wonderful place to call home. It’s a lovely town filled with quaint shops, good restaurants, two miles of golden sand beaches and blue, blue ocean. It’s a place where residents often run into people they know around town, at the library, the bank, out to breakfast on a Saturday morning, and at summer concerts in the park. It’s a small, close-knit community less than ten minutes from Los Angeles International Airport, and seventeen miles from downtown L.A. Manhattan Beach is a city that offers the best of both worlds, a small town environment with all the benefits of big city life close at hand.
It was great fun to set my novel right in the middle of my own personal stomping grounds, making our little beach town a minor character in the book. It also made doing research on my setting a breeze, always a plus for a writer! Having my story take place in a beach community also sets up an interesting conflict for my hero, Jake. You can imagine how difficult it is for a hot-blooded werewolf to be confined in an urban area for a prolonged period of time. What if he needs to resort to his alter ego and run wild and free for a time, without the risk of being discovered?
It becomes a bit of a quandary for Jake, especially when he comes up with a plan for revealing to Casey who she really is, a rare species of werewolf with a case of latent genes. His plan, by necessity, may include trying to jolt the woman he loves into making her very first transition by revealing himself in his most organic form.
Try to find a secluded spot in a busy beach town to introduce a werewolf who doesn’t know she’s a werewolf to her feral side!
If you were Jake, what would you do?
Once in a Blue Moon
Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Rebecca J Vickery
Date of Publication: May15, 2015
Number of pages: 171
Word Count: 70,000
Cover Artist: Joshua Shinn
Casey Montgomery’s lifelong addiction to “bad boys” has brought her nothing but heartache. Just as she swears off alpha males forever, a brief, torrid encounter with one of the hottest, Harley-riding, leather-jacketed hunks she’s ever seen leaves her reeling---and worse, jeopardizes her carefully laid plans to meet and fall in love with a nice, dependable nerd.
Jake Benedict has been around the block enough times to recognize his mate when he meets her, a gorgeous werewolf with a case of latent genes who doesn’t have a clue about her true identity. Jake is just the were to teach Casey about her ancient heritage and coax her feral side into revealing itself.
While Casey can’t resist the intense physical attraction she feels for Jake, she’s determined to freeze him out emotionally. Can Jake break through Casey’s defenses and prove to her once and for all that he’s one bad boy who’s playing for keeps?
Casey Montgomery snapped to attention, her gaze darting toward the street, as the snarling roar of a motorcycle engine ripped through the tranquil morning. There were two things guaranteed to make Casey sit up and pant like a puppy. One was the deep musky scent of well-worn leather, and the other was that sound—the sound of speed and power that had her blood sizzling like hot oil and a wicked vision of vibrant, seductive man shimmering in her brain. It was a conditioned response she didn’t seem to have any control over.
Casey’s gaze latched onto the bike, and the broad, leather-jacketed back of the guy who guided it deftly through traffic as though he and the bike were one. She ached with the need to see him better, to learn something about him…where he’d come from and where he was headed. To climb up behind him and hang on tight, feel the warm wind caressing her face and whipping through her hair.
Heaving her purse into the back of her lime-green VW convertible, Casey slid behind the steering wheel, cranked up the engine, and squealed backwards out of her parking spot. It was fortunate that someone was waiting to pull in behind her, slowing the flow of traffic on the busy downtown Manhattan Beach street.
What madness spurred her to dash in and out of traffic for the next half-mile or so until she was directly behind the motorcycle, pursuing it down the coastal road out of town, she would never know. But pursue it she did, as if every last brain cell she possessed had turned to rot. For as long as Casey could remember, she’d had a weakness for bad boys. Her affliction went beyond mere feminine curiosity, or even a fascination with what some might call the masculine mystique. No, what Casey suffered from was a serious case of throw-your-good-sense-out-the-window-and-jump-right-in syndrome when it came to this particular brand of men.
The stranger sat the bike with the confidence and poise of a man certain of his place in the world. He had an aura around him, something indefinable, some kind of mysterious X factor that filled Casey with a wild, reckless yearning to be near him.
When the road widened, she hit the gas and swung out into the left lane, drawing abreast of him just as a red light up ahead forced them both to slow to a stop. All she wanted was a look at his face. She willed him to turn and look at her, and when he did her breath got all balled up in her chest. His eyes were hidden behind mirrored sunglasses, but what she could make out below the line of his helmet—lean cheeks and a strong, masculine jaw—Casey had to bite her lip against a raw, almost feral surge of attraction.
The light turned green, and he shot Casey a smile as he revved the powerful engine and took off. She was so rattled by the brief encounter, it was all she could do to keep the VW in her own lane as she stomped on the gas pedal and shot forward after him.
Dear Lord, what was happening to her? She’d suffered through enough disastrous relationships with alpha-male types that she’d long since sworn off anyone who could even remotely be classified as a bad boy, a maverick, a renegade. A man whose inbred machismo blinded him to any other needs but his own. Even at her lowest point, she’d never behaved quite this irrationally.
Releasing her death grip on the steering wheel, one shaky hand at a time, Casey dried her sweaty palms off on her skirt. As she did so, she spotted a place to pull off the road in a secluded little turn-out and regroup. With her heart still careening along like an out-of-control bobsled, she steered the tiny convertible over into the right hand lane and off the road.
After bringing the car to a too-sudden stop, Casey turned off the engine and flipped down the sun visor to squint into the small rectangular mirror. Sure enough, her cheeks flamed as bright as a blood-red sunset. What a mortifying turn of events. Dare she hope the man hadn’t observed her chasing him down like a wild beast?
Casey fanned her face with one hand, while taking a surreptitious glance around. She was parked in a shady nook across the road from a popular local beach. The lure of the ocean and the warm Southern California sun had drawn the usual crowd out to enjoy the early summer day. Ripples of laughter could be heard from across the way, mingled with the occasional bark of a dog and the ever-constant roar of the surf tumbling against the shore.
Casey’s pulse rate had almost returned to normal when her stomach leapt at the familiar purr of a fine-tuned Harley coming from over her left shoulder. The powerful machine came to a halt about fifteen feet away in a rolling cloud of loose dirt. Casey wet her lips as she watched the most gorgeous man she had ever laid eyes on swing one denim-clad leg over the leather seat and dismount. Her mouth fell open as he ambled toward her, pulling off his helmet to reveal a healthy head of sable brown hair highlighted by an occasional streak of gold. The streaks in his hair and his deeply tanned skin testified to what she already knew—he was accustomed to spending a lot of time outdoors.
“You all right?” he asked, casually dangling his dark blue helmet from long, lean fingers.
He stood not three feet from her car, hip cocked to the side, tall and solid and so strikingly handsome Casey thought he must be a mirage.
Easy enough to find out, she thought, opening her door and stepping out. She’d come too far. There would be no retreat from this humiliating predicament, so she might as well bluster her way through. She reached up with the intent of removing his sunglasses and quickly found her wrist caught in a firm, yet gentle grip. The sharp sound her breath made as it got stuck in her throat echoed loud in the silence.
“I just wanted to see your eyes,” she said, her voice nothing more than a faint puff of air.
One dark eyebrow rose above the thin metal rim of his shades. “Yeah? I was wondering why you nearly ran yourself off the road back there.” He punctuated his teasing comment with a deliciously sexy grin.
Who cared about his eyes? That smile was enough to turn her insides to pureed squash. That and the aroma of leather that jumped out and blind-sided her as he moved in close. Leather and something even more feral. Whatever it was invaded her bloodstream and set every cell in her body on fire.
He let go of her wrist to cup the side of her face. Casey was ridiculously touched by his
gentleness even as her desire to be as close as humanly possible to this man raged out of control.
His need suddenly seemed to rear up and collide with hers. Yanking her into his arms, he
pressed close, close enough that she could see every minuscule line and tiny freckle on his face.
Then his mouth crashed down over hers.
About the Author:
Vicki Crum writes both contemporary and paranormal romance. She lives with her husband of 40 years in a small, enchanted seaside community in Southern California. She has two grown daughters and two adorable grandchildren, Bella and Jackson, whom she loves to distraction. Vicki loves to talk to her readers.
To Overthrow Evil
Out For You
Genre: MM Paranormal
Publisher: ARe Books
Date of Publication: 6/1/15
Word Count: 20,600
Cover Artist: Erin Dameron Hill
Before they can be out together, they must rid their pack of the evil within.
Sean Ridge, the Alpha’s son, harbors a dangerous secret about his long-time best friend. Ben, the son of their pack’s Beta, also happens to be Sean’s destined mate.
However, same-sex matings are forbidden by pack law and those who defy tradition risk death. To survive, Sean and Ben must live a lie. But they’re not the only two who want pack law to change. A group of wolves are planning an uprising to overthrow the evil Alpha.
Will Sean and Ben choose to run and forever look over their shoulders? Or will they take a stand and fight for the right to choose their mates and live in the open?
Available at ARe
Sean Ridge and Ben Frizz stared out of window toward the forest while the rest of the pack ran. It was a full moon, and only those of the pack who were unable to change stayed indoors. The hairs on Sean’s arm stood on end as he thought about what he’d just witnessed.
“I don’t know if I can stop being sick,” Ben said, putting a hand to his stomach. They were both seventeen and the best of friends. Their fathers were the alpha and beta of the pack. When they were both old enough they’d take their places, bringing protection and guidance like both of their fathers before them.
Sean no longer looked toward the thick forest but down at the town square where two men had been made an example of. The very sight of them, hung up on posts, sickened him. There were a couple of people who were admiring the death before them. His own father had done this before his very eyes. He’d never known and never wanted to know anything like it again.
“How could they punish them, Sean?”
“I don’t know.”
“When you’re mates, it shouldn’t matter. Both men were mates.” Ben shook his head stepping away from the view. “I can’t look. I don’t know how those people can even stand to look at it.”
“Both our fathers did that, and those people agree with it.”
“They’re outlawing same-sex mates. If they don’t leave the pack, they’re going to kill them.”
He didn’t know what to say. Leaving the sight, Sean sat on the bed, drawing his knees up against his chest. He didn’t know if another pack allowed same-sex mates.
Closing his eyes, he tried to hold in the shudder as he recalled his father’s disgust.
“I will not have this disgusting order in my pack. If any of you wish to fuck one of your own sex get the fuck out, or you will end up like these two dirty bastards.” His father had spat on the floor, the disgust inside him clear for all to see.
“Mates don’t have a choice, Sean. Those two men lost their lives because the fates decided they were supposed to be together.”
“And our fathers made sure they couldn’t. I don’t know what to say, Ben. We can’t allow ourselves to worry about it. Our mates will be women, and we won’t have to deal with our fathers’ wrath.”
Ben came to sit beside him. “I’m not worried about our mates. I don’t want to be part of a pack that can do that to fated loved ones. We’re a pack. There shouldn’t be any law above mates, and yet we’ve just witnessed two men humiliated and murdered.”
Shaking his head, Sean rested his chin on his knees. “I can’t think about this right now. I really can’t.”
In one quick move, he left the bed to rush toward the bathroom. He brought up all of his dinner until there was nothing left. Sean heard Ben enter the bathroom while he was throwing up.
“It’s okay,” Ben said, rubbing his back.
Resting his head on the side of the toilet, Sean didn’t know how much more he could take. He loved his family, but his father had very strict beliefs. Over the last couple of months he’d witnessed a vile destructive quality to his father.
“Is it okay?”
“They might be the only two out there.”
“I doubt that. Dad is going to tear this pack apart. There’s something different inside him, Ben. An evilness that unleashes near every full moon.” Tears filled his eyes, which he tried to force down. It wouldn’t do him any good to cry.
“We can survive this together. I swear.” Ben grabbed his head, and Sean didn’t do anything to fight his touch. This was his biggest secret. Every time Ben put his hands on him it sent warmth throughout his entire body. Lately his dreams had been consumed by Ben. Every time he closed his eyes, Ben was there, talking to him, guiding him, kissing him, loving him.
The hotter the dreams, the more excited he became.
Licking his dry lips, he pulled out of Ben’s hold. He couldn’t hurt his best friend and, the way his feelings were going, he could easily do it.
About the Author:
Sam Crescent is passionate about fiction. She loves a good erotic romance and so it only made sense for her to spread her wings and start writing. She began writing in 2009 and finally got that first acceptance in 2011.
She loves creating new characters and delving into the worlds that she creates. When she’s not panicking about a story or arguing with a character, she can be found in her kitchen creating all kinds of havoc. Like her stories the creations in the kitchen can be just as dubious but sometimes things turn out great.
For more information on other books by Sam, visit her official website: www.SamCrescent.Wordpress.com
Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/sam.crescent
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Somebody To Love
Out For You
Genre: MM Contemporary/BDSM
Publisher: ARe Books
Date of Publication: 6/1/15
Word Count: 30,500
Cover Artist: Erin Dameron Hill
If you love someone…don’t let go.
Lonely and miserable, A.J. Tucker lives a life of quiet desperation. When he’s chosen to assist an award-winning author booked to speak at his school, the teacher realizes the shameful secret he harbors could be revealed. And it’s one that could destroy his quiet, private life if his family and school board find out.
Logan Williams has come to this small North Carolina town for one reason only: to get revenge on the submissive who left him with little explanation. The powerful Dom plans to do whatever it takes to convince Tucker to resume the lifestyle and relationship he left behind.
When these two men come together in a powerful clash of wills, the love between them resurfaces. Ultimately they are forced to reexamine everything they thought they knew about one another and themselves.
Available at ARe
“Quite a storm we had last night,” Tucker said to break the awkward little silence that had fallen between them. “I wasn’t sure my Jeep would make it here this morning.” He turned to smile at Logan politely and his face froze. Logan was gazing at him like a predatory cat—like Tucker was a juicy meal and he hadn’t eaten in a month. He felt his cock twitch in his pants, and he glanced quickly away.
It had been almost six long years since they had been together in the same room alone like this, and Logan still made him as nervous as a teenage girl on her first date. His cock was suddenly so hard he felt like it might rip right through his pants, and he was glad for his long overcoat that helped hide it. What the fuck was wrong with Tucker thinking about how good-looking Logan was or what color his damn eyes were, for Christ’s sake? He had to get a grip on his emotions.
He took the chair across from Logan, sternly telling himself to cool it. He sank too far down into its luxurious depths almost at once. He pulled out and perched on the edge of the chair, glancing over at Logan irritably, as if he were somehow the cause. Logan gazed back at him serenely, though the fact that his gaze was roaming up and down Tucker’s body hadn’t been lost on Tucker at all. As a matter of fact, it was making him almost unbearably hot.
Sweating a little, he thought about taking off the coat now that he was sitting down. He shrugged out of it, glancing over at Logan. “Warm in here. Mind if I take this off?”
“No, not at all. I want you to be comfortable.”
Tucker glanced at him sharply to see if he was teasing him. The words were perfectly proper, but Logan had always had a knack for keeping him off-balance. He pulled out the essays from his briefcase and then dug for his pen. Damn it, he felt like he was coming off as an idiot here, awkward and inexperienced, when he wanted to be smooth and professional—typical when he was around Logan, just like in the old days. He felt himself blushing hotly as he realized he couldn’t find his pen.
“Do you, uh…I don’t suppose you have a pen I could use?”
Logan didn’t comment, but he did quirk up one imperious eyebrow and then nodded. Logan rose with a languid grace and rummaged through a piece of furniture by the bed before coming up with a pen.
Tucker’s complexion had always been the white, milk-fed kind that showed his every strong emotion clearly by staining his cheeks bright pink, and he felt like they must be blazing now. Once, long ago, Logan had told him it was an endearing trait. Trying to pretend he hadn’t been checking out Logan’s rather spectacular ass in his well-fitting jeans as he bent over the drawer, Tucker quickly returned his gaze to the notebook in his hand, glancing up when Logan stood over him.
“Thanks,” Tucker said tersely, taking the pen and numbering each paper. “I didn’t get a chance to do this before I arrived. I think that numbering them would be the easiest way, don’t you? That way you won’t be swayed by names or anything. Not that you would be…I mean, I’m sure you don’t know any of our kids. And even if you did, I didn’t mean to imply…that is, I’m sure you wouldn’t…” Tucker knew he was babbling but couldn’t seem to stop. Finally, he thrust the small stack of essays out toward Logan, who was staring calmly back at him.
“Do I make you nervous, Aubrey?” he asked softly.
About the Author:
Shannon West currently lives in the South with her husband and family. A lover and avid reader of M/M romances, she began writing them a few years ago and now has over sixty short stories, novellas, and novels to her credit. Shannon is a 2013 and 2014 ARe top ten bestselling author. She loves men and everything about them, and believes that love is love, no matter the gender. Though there is never enough time, she tries to work every day, giving in to the demanding men in her head and writing their stories. She writes shifters, sci-fi and BDSM along with contemporary, and loves, traveling, reading and watching scary movies on TV.
For more information on other books by Shannon, please visit her official website: www.ShannonWestBooks.com
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Top 10 Authors Whose Darkness Inspired Mine
My Looking Glass Gods series is a fairly dark epic fantasy, particularly the latest book, Idol of Blood. I’ve always followed the standard advice to heap challenges on your character. I could have sworn it was Stephen King who said it, but I can’t find the exact quote—something along the lines of “imagine the worst thing that can happen to your character…then make it ten times worse.” So in Idol of Blood, I did. Here are ten authors whose writing helped me find the darkness in my own:
10. Stephen King (yes, you knew he had to be in this list)
What I love about Stephen King is how he writes about the worst things—and the most unimaginable ones—that can happen, and yet manages to make it entirely believable. I had to sleep with the lights on while reading It, because evil clowns waiting to drag you down into the sewers with them? I was totally on board. His love for his characters is also evident—he’s not torturing them just for the shock factor—but he spares them nothing.
9. Laurell K. Hamilton
When I read Hamilton’s first Anita Blake book, Guilty Pleasures, I found the stark violence almost jaw-dropping. The descriptions of the squish of blood in the carpet around Blake’s tennis shoes as she examined a mutilated torso seemed almost out of place with the sassy, sarcastic voice of her stuffed-penguin-loving character, but it totally worked. She’s since proven she can go much darker.
8. Nancy A. Collins
Collins’ Sonja Blue vampire series is well crafted and intensely dark. It was difficult to get through her books due to the sexual violence that occurs, but even so, I couldn’t stop reading. Sonja Blue’s vengeance against the ones who’ve wronged her—and those she sees wronging others—is deeply cathartic. Those characters totally have it coming.
7. Anne Rice
Anne Rice really knows how to prolong internal character misery and to take characters that seem callous and irredeemable, and then show us more, making them completely understandable and sympathetic. I could completely relate to Akasha in Queen of the Damned.
6. JK Rowling
At first glance, the Harry Potter books are fairly light reading, but the deeper we get into the story, the darker they become. One of the things I admire about Rowling is how she doesn’t spare characters out of sentimentality, which would be easy to do, particularly in YA. Some of the people Harry loves—and readers love—have to die. If they didn’t, Harry and his friends wouldn’t become the heroes they become.
5. Lynn Flewelling
Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner books are traditional epic fantasy with a sweet romantic subplot, but there’s a lot of darkness in them. My favorite is Shadows Return, in which the main characters are relentlessly tortured for almost the entire story. I devoured that book in one sitting. There was no way not to become immediately invested in what happened. And The Bone Doll’s Twin was a work of brilliance.
4. Jacqueline Carey
All the Kushiel’s Legacy books are fairly dark, an inescapable consequence of having a main character who’s an anguisette—someone who has a magical capacity for deriving great pleasure from great suffering. But what happens to Phèdre and Joscelin in Kushiel’s Avatar, and Imriel’s trilogy that follows from that book, are about as stunningly dark as anything I’ve ever read. The unspeakable things that happen to Imriel in his childhood—and how his sweet nature survives through it all—make him the most sympathetic, appealing, and powerful character in all of her books. I’m still in love with him.
3. Storm Constantine
With her Wraeththu series set in a post-apocalyptic world, a dark undertone is inescapable. But Constantine manages to create a hopeful future—and a new kind of humanity and sexuality—out of what’s left of a seemingly hopeless world. Like Anne Rice, she also shows us the other side of characters whom we initially see as being self-serving through another character’s eyes, making their actions more understandable, and adding layers of complexity as their stories go on.
2. Tanith Lee
I read Lee’s Blood Opera series while working on the original draft of Looking Glass Gods. Her luscious prose and the sensuous treatment of the dark events and questionable actions of her characters made the story irresistible and compelling even as some of it repelled. I definitely attribute the darkness that developed in my character MeerShiva at the end Idol of Blood and throughout Idol of Glass to Lee’s influence. Her books gave me “permission” to let Shiva be who she needed to be.
What would any writer be without Shakespeare’s influence? Hamlet is the quintessential, original “goth” who inspired my youthful and enduring love of wearing black and pondering morose concepts like whether the fear of the “undiscovered country” might be the only thing keeping a person from ending their suffering in this life.
Inspired by these authors, I delved deep and gave my characters in Idol of Blood plenty to ponder. You may be surprised by how some of them answered Hamlet’s soliloquy.
Idol of Blood
Looking Glass Gods
Genre: Dark fantasy
with erotic and romantic elements/
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Date of Publication: June 23, 2015
Number of pages: 232
Word Count: 80K
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
The price of revenge may be her sanity…and the lives of those she loves.
No longer haunted by memories of her life—and death—as the Meer of Rhyman, Ra looks forward to a quiet existence with her lover Jak in the Haethfalt highlands.
Having made peace with Ahr, her consort from her former life, Ra can finally explore her new relationship, free of the ghosts of the past—until she unwittingly unearths Jak’s own.
Out of instinct, she uses her Meeric power to heal the pain of Jak’s childhood trauma.
But all magic has a price, and Ra’s bill has come due.
Succumbing to the affliction inherent in her race, Ra flees to the mountain ruins where her mother’s temple once stood. As the madness takes hold, she resurrects the ancient city of AhlZel in a tremendous act of magic that seals her fate—and threatens to destroy those who would give up everything to save her from herself.
Product Warnings: Contains dark themes, violence, gender-bending sex, and recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse.
Since the light was beginning to lower, they set up camp, only a dozen leagues from the green riverbanks of Rhyman. Jak and Geffn lay on either side of Ra, a peculiar triad of necessity, and Geffn, fatigued, was asleep almost instantly.
Ra curled away from him toward Jak beneath her blanket, eyes seeming to glint like a cat’s, though nothing else was visible in the darkness. “We haven’t really had a moment alone since…” The soft murmur trailed off. Jak knew precisely what moment Ra meant. Before they’d left Rhyman; before Ra had disappeared in the night to rescue little Pearl—a Meerchild bred in captivity and kept in a cage by the prelate of In’La; before Ra had set fire to the temple there, and the prelate with it, Jak had thrown caution to the wind and climbed into bed with a goddess. The commitment to celibacy Jak had tried to maintain since before Ra’s arrival in Haethfalt had been tossed aside like a cheap shirt.
After returning to Rhyman with Pearl, Ra had made no further overtures toward Jak, and Jak hadn’t presumed to make any toward Ra.
“It’s all right. We don’t need to—” The weak protest died on Jak’s lips as Ra’s descended on them. Her kisses had a tendency to take one’s breath away, as if she gathered it all into herself, holding it, holding time, before giving it back.
When she finally let them both breathe, Ra slid beneath the blanket and rested her head on Jak’s breast. “I could deepen Geffn’s sleep.”
Jak considered it for a rash moment before squelching the thought. “No. That wouldn’t be fair to him.” That was an understatement. Screwing one’s new lover while asleep next to the jilted lover whose heart one had recently broken would be in bad form, to say the least. And it would add more to that invisible price Ra must be paying if she were to expend magical energy when she had so little physical energy to spare. “We’ll have time enough when we get home.”
“Home.” Ra snuggled closer. “That sounds very nice. I’ve never had a home before. Just a temple.” She said the word as if it meant “jail”. While she spoke, however, her hand moved down Jak’s arm with feathery strokes, dipped over Jak’s hip and across Jak’s belly, and played at the loose drawstring waistband, fingers just inside it.
Jak placed a hand over Ra’s, meaning to stop her, but Ra entwined their fingers and slid them lower. As if it were an act of self-pleasuring, Ra used Jak’s fingers to delve deeper and press against the supple flesh, tentative, leisurely motions encouraging Jak to show her how to proceed.
“When we return to Mound RemPetaJakGeffnMelKeirenRa—” She murmured the absurdly long name of their Haethfalt household as if they were only having a quiet conversation—“I’d like to make a quilt by hand.” She drew Jak’s fingers in a complex pattern, up and down, over and across, doubling back in infinity symbols that ended in sharp, insistent points, like the edges of rings bisecting each other. “Do you like this pattern?”
Jak shivered and breathed ascent as Ra pressed Jak’s fingers into the center point of the bisection. Her motions became smaller, tighter and more definitive.
“Some little rosettes where the squares join,” Ra whispered. “One. Two. Three. Four…” She demonstrated. “With a diamond in the center. Right…there.”
Jak had to grab the blanket and bite down on it to keep the sweet little crooning howl Ra had inspired from escaping audibly.
“And another, there.”
Jak struggled not to thrash, rationing sharp rhythmic breaths into the fabric of the blanket.
“And then just there.”
In the grip of a wave of pleasure so intense it was almost unbearable, Jak clutched Ra’s hand so she could no longer effect her blissful torment, the other hand digging into the bedroll as pantomimed moans were buried in the crook of an elbow.
“Perhaps in peacock blue with threads of gold,” Ra continued as if she hadn’t just destroyed Jak utterly, her other hand casually stroking once more up Jak’s arm. “The colors of Ludtaht Ra. Though it may be time for new colors. I’ve always liked indigo.” She nestled against the hollow of Jak’s neck, putting a little kiss there before relaxing with a sigh to match Jak’s heaving breath. “Does that work for you?”
It took a moment to remember how to swallow and speak. “Work for me?” Jak let out a nervous, whispered laugh. “Just about killed me. I’m crazy about it.”
Jane Kindred is the author of epic fantasy series The House of Arkhangel’sk, Demons of Elysium, and Looking Glass Gods. She spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publisher: Jillian Stone
Date of Publication: June 19, 2015
Number of pages: 334
Word Count: 90,000
Cover Artist: Jillian Stone
Book Tagline: 10 sexual encounters. No strings attached.
Hotshot copywriter Gracie Taylor-Scott has a reputation—for her artfully edgy ads. A rising star at Darcy Wexler Dean, New York, the long hours are perfect cover for Gracie’s fear of intimacy issues.
Great job. Great pay. No life—including her on again off again sex life. Then one night, she is plunged into darkness with a handsome stranger.
Bradley Craig is the new head of DWD’s research division, and this ad man has secrets of his own. Much lauded in his field of consumer behavior, there’s a darker side to the attractive ad man—his erotic, list-maker side.
Gracie and Bradley are assigned to work on the biggest new business pitch Darcy Wexler Dean will be in all year, and the two tangle immediately, battling copy concepts and focus group findings along with their explosive attraction to each other.
Bradley has a proposition: they make a list. Ten erotic sexual encounters, no strings attached. What’s at stake? Two Super Bowl spots and two fragile hearts.
“Close the door, Gracie.”
I checked the hallway through the floor-to-ceiling glass by the exit. No one was about. Coworkers were in their offices, filling out time sheets, getting ready to call it a day.
I shut the door with a soft click.
“I believe there’s a light switch on the wall.” He used a huskier voice, more like the elevator Bradley.
I pressed the controls, and the conference room dimmed enough not to be seen by passersby, as long as we kept things quiet. Nose to the door, I stared at the smooth, matte-black surface.
“I know things got a little heated––” I stopped myself and cringed. Was I talking about last night or the testy words between us several minutes ago? And since when weren’t things heated between us? I sucked in a calming breath and exhaled silently.
It occurred to me, this attraction to Bradley might well be the hottest, most erotic experience of my life. I pivoted away from the door to face him.
“Sorry I can’t be more enthusiastic about creative testing, it’s just that I’ve been screwed by research in the past, and not in a good way.”
Bradley flopped down on the sofa and raked me over with his gaze. He patted the seat next to him. “You and I need to build some trust.”
I approached slowly. “Have you any idea how many focus groups I’ve sat through where smirking research geeks underlined every word or phrase that didn’t test high enough—some of them the best words and phrases I’ve ever written in my life?”
I dropped my bag on the floor for emphasis. “Just once, I’d like to believe research has my back.”
He clasped my wrist and tugged. “Since we’re going to be working closely together…” He pulled me lower.
I settled a knee to each side of his thighs and straddled him. It was about time I climbed on the man. “How close?”
“Intimate close.” He easily worked through the buttons of my pants.
“You’re staring at my belly button.”
“You have a piercing.” His gaze turned darker, hungrier—as if I were a mocha chocolate truffle and he had a craving for Godiva.
About the Author:
Jillian Stone was born a storyteller. A skill that got her into considerable trouble as a youth until she solved the problem by becoming an advertising creative. And the career did seem to suit her as she won many national ad awards including the Clio and the New York Art Director’s Club Gold. What more could she ask for? Create her own worlds? Become goddess of her own universe? Yes! So, she began to write fiction. Her Victorian Romantic Suspense novel AN AFFAIR WITH MR. KENNEDY won the 2010 Golden Heart and sold to Pocket Books. Her sexy, controversial steampunk novel THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK won the 2010 Romance Through The Ages Erotica category and sold to Kensington Brava. Jillian lives in California and is currently writing a new spin-off novel to the Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series as well as book #2 in the DO IT LIST series.
Twitter: @gJillianStone https://twitter.com/gJillianStone