Alison’s Awakening By Anna Daye

AlisonsAwakening4Alison’s Awakening
By
Anna Daye
Can a passionate night with a coworker give her the confidence to pursue the man of her dreams–her boss?
Alison Connolly has always followed the rules—a fact that has helped her excel at her job, but hasn’t done much for her personal life. When a dirty-talking, sexy coworker makes a move while they’re working late, the rules don’t stand a chance.        
Will the erotic dalliance in the conference room ruin her chance of being with the man she really wants—her boss—or will it give her the courage to show him that his star employee is better after hours?
Genre:
Contemporary Erotic Romance/Erotica
Buy Links:    
Amazon           Barnes & Noble          AllRomance
Author Anna Daye:
Anna Daye lives in the desert with her husband and pets. When she’s not wrangling cats or her husband, she is writing romantic fiction with a spicy edge.
She is a staunch believer in happy endings and unicorns. One of these things is definitely true.
Website           Twitter                        Blog                Facebook
Excerpt:
I relaxed at the familiar tone, but only slightly. “You scared me, Daniel.”
“Did I? That’s because you’re so tense. Jumpy.”
He was probably right, but his hands on my shoulders felt good, too good. He rubbed slowly but with perfect pressure. A soft moan escaped my lips.
I knew I shouldn’t—it wasn’t proper—but I couldn’t help but lean into his massage. The pressure on my tense muscles felt so amazing. And it was wonderful to be touched.
Then his hands were gone. I blinked and pushed down the sudden feeling of loss. Half the lights in the conference room flickered off, leaving the room only dimly lit.
“Can’t really work with the lights off, Daniel,” I said, keeping my tone light.
“You work too much,” he replied.
I shivered at the low tone in his voice. Did he sound husky, like our small touch had affected him, too? No. That wasn’t possible. He had plenty of women chasing him, and
he’d slept with more than his fair share from the rumors I’d heard. Such a small touch wouldn’t affect a man like him. Especially not with someone like me, a mousy woman at least a couple of years older than him.
“Well, these reports won’t finish themselves.” I kept my tone as light as I could, but couldn’t help the slight catch in my voice.
“There will be time enough for those after.”
“After what?” I turned to look at him, blinking in confusion as he pulled off his tie and tossed it on the conference table.
“After we both relax a little.” The shadows in the room cast his face in an odd light, making his grin seem more dangerous, his eyes darker.
“I don’t know what—”
“Stand up, Alison.”
 AlisonsAwakeningBanner

Interview with Sidney Bristol

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Thank you for joining me in the shadows. Pay no attention to that odd silhouette over there. Weird things live here.  
That’s okay. I’m pretty sure my ferocious, man eating cats will protect me. Or smother anything that breathes with their fur. Oh yuck, it’s in my mouth. Even I am not safe.
Where do you hail from?
The land of tiaras and chocolate covered men.
Oh wait, you’re serious?
I live in the middle of the Dallas-Ft Worth metroplex in central Texas.

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Tell me about your latest book. What makes it stand out from the crowd?
My latest book released on July 19th, it’s titled The Harder He Falls and is the second installment in my So Inked series. The series is kind of like an LA Ink in Dallas, except my girls are pretty badass and fall in love. Eventually.
This book in particular is different in a few ways. When I wrote the first book I never anticipated writing a series, so I poured a lot of “me” into the book. I knew writing this book would be difficult because the heroine is bi-racial, being half Korean, and she’s the primary care giver for her grandmother who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. And that’s just her! The hero is a mixed martial arts coach and single father. I not only get to delve into the intricacies of tattoo culture, but I get to talk about MMA, mixing cultures and my experiences with a family member with Alzheimer’s. It’s a pretty emotional book. I’ve never cried before when writing one, but I did with this one.
Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
This is still so new, I still can’t release all the details yet. I’m going to have a new series coming up that’s very much suspense romance, still with the erotic twist. I’m super excited to be writing something that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Write. Write when you feel like it. When you don’t. When there’s only five minutes. Build that discipline to put your butt in the chair and get the words out. All the craft in the world can’t help you when you don’t exercise that writing ability.
How did you deal with rejection letters? Any tips for unpublished writers?
With red velvet cake and tiara wearing.
No, really. I have a tiara shelf for Serious Writing Tiaras. In the case of a rejection, I need the added tiara power to work on a project.
Okay, I’ll be serious – while wearing my tiara, which yes, that does happen – I’ve been lucky to get very few rejections. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been rejected. There’s usually a moping period, where I’m disappointed, but it’s not personal. It’s a business choice. Once the moping is over, it’s time to evaluate where the project will fit best and submit it again.
Tips, keep spreadsheets of where you send what, the response and timeframe the replies are given. Those concrete stats help me. I also have a list of publishers and their guidelines arranged in order of my preference based on where I know I fit.
< span style="font-family:"font-size:12pt;">What tools of the trade are must-haves for you? 
I’m a pretty simple girl. Give me my laptop, a blank Word document and I’m ready. I do like to use OneNote for organizing information, the plot and other tidbits. I recently downloaded Scrivener, so that’s going to be part of my arsenal now.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to research a story?
This year I enrolled in Citizen’s Police Academy for a future book in the So Inked series – and wound up with the material for my Good Guys Wear Black series!
What do you like to read?
A little bit of everything, really. I cut my teeth on science-fiction and fantasy as a teen and only discovered romance as an adult. I read a ton of the classics as a teen. These days I do stick close to the romance books, but if something grabs my attention I’ll read it.
Who is your favorite author and why? 
I have to pick one? Oh man, this is super tough. Probably Cynthia Eden. I love her gritty prose and the emotion of the characters. I always know her books will be exciting, sexy and damn good!
Now for the fun questions.  Let’s strip away the veil of invisibility. Do you have a day job alongside writing and will you tell us about it?
I do have a day job! I actually really enjoy it. I don’t talk about it when wearing my author hat though. Suffice to say, I work for a small, woman owned IT company that just flat out rocks.
If you weren’t a writer, what career might you have chosen?
Humanitarian. I actually graduated college with the idea of running around the world, helping people. I was in the process of getting funding together when the economy tanked in ’08. I’ve spent a lot of time overseas working with orphans. If the world was a different place, I’d do what I could to make that happen now.
Who is your favorite superhero (or heroine)? Can be from a comic book, movie, novel, cartoon, video game or anywhere else heroes reign.
My childhood was pretty much a tribute montage to Indiana Jones. I grew up traveling from rodeo to rodeo with my mom and dad. Often the only toys I had were my pony/horse and what we could find. Can’t tell you how many times we discovered the Ark or drank from the Cup of Life!
Your favorite book hero?
These questions are hard! I don’t know that I can identify one hero,  but my favorites are usually a paranormal, very alpha shifter. Love those!
You finally have an evening free to spend any way you want. Money is no object. Where do you go? What would you do?
To my couch, where I would stare at the TV. It being on is optional.
Nah, if I had an evening free, I’d like to get some friends together and do something, play games, go to a hockey game. I’m so sadly easy.
You’ve been gifted (or cursed) with the ability to shift into another form by a witch. What kind of shifter are you? Why?
If I got to choose – I’d be a feline shifter. Maybe a panther, tiger or jaguar? Ye
ah, one of those for sure! I’ve always liked cats, and it would be nice to be graceful for a change.
Thanks so much for being my guest today! Anything else you’d like to share with my readers?  Don’t forget to give us links to your website etc.
Thanks so much for letting me drop by today! Check out my latest book, The Harder He Falls, and the other forthcoming So Inked books.
It can never be said that Sidney Bristol has had a ‘normal’ life.  She is a recovering roller derby queen, former missionary, and tattoo addict. She grew up in a motor-home on the US highways (with an occasional jaunt into Canada and Mexico), traveling the rodeo circuit with her parents. Sidney has lived abroad in both Russia and Thailand, working with children and teenagers. She now lives in Texas where she splits her time between a job she loves, writing, reading and belly dancing.
theharderhefalls_msrThe Harder He Falls, So Inked #2   Ellora’s Cave | Barnes and Noble | Amazon
A woman who doesn’t have time for love…
A hot night full of hotel-destroying sex was all Kellie wanted from her client-turned-sex god. Between family and work, there isn’t room for love, just hot, sweaty lust. An arrangement for mutual gratification is exactly what Kellie wants, but every kiss, each mind-blowing orgasm twines her heart around a man she cannot have.
A man building a new life…
Quinton’s assumptions about the So Inked shop owner are turned on their head after one session under her tattoo machine. Kellie’s not the vandal he’s looking for, but she’s the woman he wants. In his bed, on the desk or under the stars, he’ll take her any way he can get her. But Quin has secrets and someone is out to destroy him. Someone who has their sights set on Kellie now.
Excerpt
Kellie  shifted on the wooden bench, still restless. The evening breeze was cooler than normal thanks to a cold front blowing in. It was ridiculous that dropping into the nineties was considered a cool spell, but in the height of Texas summer, you took what you got. She swept her hair up into a knot and tipped her head back. The slight dampness of her skin, courtesy of the ever-present humidity, was a small price to pay for being able to sit outside. She’d shed the formfitting dress for jeans and a tank top and felt more like herself for it.
“How hot does it get here?” Quin plunked down their dinner and sat on his side of the picnic table. Behind him the food truck was starting to pack up.
“Can’t handle the heat?” It was too much to ask that the man be able to cope with everything. He’d sat through the tattoo yesterday without complaint, being a heat weenie wasn’t terrible.
His brilliant blue eyes stood out in the dim illumination of the parking lot light. “When you have A/C, why should you?”
“You do realize that it’s going to get at least ten degrees hotter and stay there, don’t you?” She unwrapped the tacos and inhaled the spicy aroma of peppers and onions mixed with tender beef.
Quin made a show of wiping his forehead with a napkin. “I’m going to melt.”
“Why the hell are you still here then?”
He hefted his burrito and wrapped the tortilla tighter. “Family.”
She nodded, understanding that reason above all others.
They descended in
to companionable silence while they ate. The garbled sounds of a Tejano station melded with the distant sounds of Highway 75 and the light street traffic up and down Greenville Avenue.
“What are you so wound up about, doll?”
Her head snapped around. Quin watched her with one brow arched.
“What?” she asked.
“Your knees are bouncing and you keep looking around. Are you expecting someone I don’t know about?” He glanced over each shoulder.
The bubble of anger swelling in her breast burst. It wasn’t Quin’s fault she was suffering from a case of bitchitis.
Instead of snapping at him, she put her taco down and massaged her temples. “No, I’m just sitting on too much energy and not enough time to expend it.”
“Ah.” He nodded as if he understood. “We used to call that the fight or fuck stage.”
It was her turn to quirk a brow at him. She shivered despite the heat. He had a point; one or the other would help. “Fight or fuck stage? What did you used to do?”
“First I was in the Marines, then I used to fight MMA, semipro.”
Her eyebrows crept upward. Mixed martial arts? She saw Quin in a whole new light, and when she looked at him in this proverbial light, he looked damn good. Fighters came with their own set of issues, but as an MMA hobbyist herself, Kellie had to admit that her bad boy draw was sitting across from her. Growing up around the gym meant she’d become more than competent in a few martial art forms. As an adult, branching out into the grappling, wrestling and more violent aspects had given her a much needed outlet.
Kellie grabbed her drink, the cup covered in condensation, and gulped it down to get moisture back in her dry mouth.
“Why’d you stop?”
“I got hurt. Fractured a few vertebrae. Everyone was amazed I could walk after that. Realized there was little to no chance of me coming back from the injury, so I switched over to training. I like it.”
“Do you train around here?” An invisible fist clenched her heart. There had been a time when she would have known the different gyms, who trained where, which ones were worth going to and so forth.
Quin didn’t answer immediately. He chewed his food without haste and took a drink before replying. “I’m transitioning locations. Parting with someone. It’s a little messy.”
Her nose wrinkled. “Yeah, I’ve been there. I’m lucky to have Mary as my co-owner. The guy I worked with before her was a man-child.”
He snorted. “Man-child?”
“Yeah, you know. Frat boy types.”
He tilted his head back and laughed. “That’s a good one, doll. Man-child. I’ll have to remember that.”
The pet name slid over her nerves as if it were sandpaper. “Do you have to call me that?”
“What?” He blinked as if he had no clue what she was talking about.
“Lay off the doll crap already.”
He shrugged. “You look like a doll.”
Her scalp itched and her hand balled into a fist. “You think I look like a whore?” she growled. Moments like these she felt as if she were a passenger in her own body. The urge to do something, or even the man across from her, had her muscles too tense and her nerves strung too tight.
Quin jerked his face away from his cup. “What? No. That’s not what I meant. You’re attractive and exotic-looking. You look more like a doll than a real person.”
Heat crawled up her neck and she was thankful the parking light was their only illumination. It was the most convoluted compliment anyone had ever paid her, and it turned her on even more. She folded her taco wrapper into a neat square.
“You realize the term china doll is what men called Asian prostitutes and war brides?”
“The fuck—no. No, that’s definitely not what I meant. Hey, guys probably hit on you all the time. I figured I had to be a little creative.”
She rolled her eyes. “At least you don’t talk to my boobs.”
His gaze dipped to her chest and her nipples perked up at his inspection. She squeezed her thighs together. This was ridiculous. She was not an a
nimal in heat ready to throw herself at some random guy.
“Well, in their defense, most guys probably only come up to your chest, so it’s not entirely their fault.” One side of his mouth kicked up in a roguish smile.
She chuckled and rolled her eyes. “Yeah, blame it on me because I’m tall.”
“It’s not your fault you’re tall. It’s their fault they’re short.”
Her phone buzzed against her hip. Conversation forgotten, Kellie dug it out of her pocket and unlocked the screen. The home-care provider always texted her when Grandma finally went to bed. She breathed a sigh of relief when nothing else was mentioned, which meant the day had passed without incident. She had all night before she would need to go home and face those troubles. For now she was her own woman.
“Everything okay?”
She glanced up from the phone. “Yeah.”
“Good.”
“So you moved here for family. Wife? Girlfriend?”
“None of the above.”
He was unattached and available. She went very still, the possibilities running through her head.
Quin cleared his throat. “My schedule right now doesn’t lend itself to dating.”
Even better. She laid her palms on the rough wooden surface of the table. “Neither does mine.”
His stillness echoed hers. A predatory awareness came over him, but she wasn’t prey. “That’s a shame.”
She looked him over, even as he did the same. He wouldn’t be the first client she slept with, she wasn’t a saint. But neither did she know him.
“Excuse me.” The food truck cook had walked up on them without either noticing. “I need to load the table, sorry.” He smiled and wiped his hands on the dirty apron.
Kellie swiped the napkin across her face. Had she really inhaled the burrito? Judging by the sad remnants left, yes she had.
“That’s fine. Thanks for the food.”
She rose, gathered up her trash and tossed it in a recycling bin, then leaned against the front of Quin’s truck, out of the way while Quin lent a hand to their cook and helped load the table. Too many thoughts spun around in her head, she needed a minute to get her head screwed on straight, but she wasted those watching Quin’s arms and the way his t-shirt stretched across his back. She pretended she hadn’t been staring when he headed for her, perching her elbows on the hood  and leaning back. The truck’s grille pressed into her back but with her elbows perched on the edge, it thrust her breasts out. As if she needed to draw any more attention to them.
Quin’s gaze roved freely over her body and she could already anticipate his strong touch. He would be an energetic lover, but would he be gentle? Or rough? Did he always have to stay in control? Because sometimes she liked to put a man through his paces.
“I can’t tell what you’re thinking and I’m dying to know.” He stopped less than a foot away.
She smiled slowly, already having a pretty good idea what his answer to her question would be. “I was wondering if you would like to get a room?”

Tigress for Two – Marissa Dobson

MD-T4T-ATN-SmashwordsBlurb:
 
A life lived in fear…
Kallie lived her life hiding from everyone and everything except selected members of her clan, fearing someone would discover who she was and what she had fled. She would not be tortured again, no matter if the cost was her life. When Taber enters her life, she isn’t sure if she should trust him or run as fast and as far as she can. His presence changes everything, and to let him in means she must remove the guards keeping her safe since her escape.
A debt that is owed…
Taber owes the Alaskan Tigers more than he could ever repay. They supported him and his Kodiak bear sleuth when they needed backing the most. He has joined their fight against the rogue tigers in order to repay his debt. Finding his mate among the Alaskan Tigers was unexpected. He always wanted a female bear as his sow mate, and to raise a few cubs of his own. What he didn’t need was a tigress with trust issues.
A love that could destroy them…
Finding his mate should be the best day of Thorben’s life, but when he comes to Taber’s aid and discovers his destined tigress mate is already his brother’s mate, brotherhood must overcome nature, because bears mate for life.
Buy Links:
Print: Sunshine Press ~ Amazon
Excerpt:
Taber Brown rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand for the umpteenth time in the last twenty minutes. Hour after hour, they scanned every shred of evidence Adam’s team brought back from San Francisco once they seized Victor. They hoped to discover something that would lead them to Pierce, but nothing so far. Everything they discovered reinforced their belief—Victor only teamed with Pierce to further his own agenda.

Could Pierce be so daft he wouldn’t have seen Victor’s true motivation? That was the question haunting not only Taber, but the Elders of the Alaskan Tigers as well. If they could see through Victor, surely Pierce had as well.
The papers cluttering the table detailed Victor’s plans to bring Bratva—the brotherhood, a Russian shifter terrorist group—to the states. Over the years, it appeared Victor had been gathering followers from different shifter groups with like-minded beliefs.
Taber pushed papers aside, searching for his squeeze bottle of honey buried somewhere under the clutter. With hours left, before the day’s end, he needed his honey to see him through. Where did that damn bottle go?
“Bear.” Adam growled when Taber shoved more papers out of the way. “You finished your honey an hour ago.”
“Shit.”
“We stocked some for you in the compound’s kitchen. Go get a refill and then get some damn sleep. You’re grumpy when you’re tired.”
“I’m a bear, damn it.” He rose, stretching his long legs. To him being a bear explained everything, but to the tigers well it might have been another story, especially after Adam raised an eyebrow. At that moment, Taber didn’t care.
He’d swing by the kitchen for another bottle of honey before checking in with the men guarding Victor. He also hoped to find Ty or Raja before hitting the sack, to see if any progress was made gaining information from Victor.
The kitchen was on the far side of the main compound building, away from the private quarters of the Alpha and Lieutenant, giving them both seclusion and security. He slipped his hand into the front pocket of his sweatshirt, his fingers wrapping around his cell phone. As he turned the last corner, leading to the long hallway toward the kitchen, he collided with a woman.
“Shit,” she said. Coffee covered the front of her shirt.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t expect anyone to be around here this time of the night.” Being nearly seven foot, he stared down at her. The white stripes sprinkled through her long, curly brown hair caught his attention. Did she do those on purpose? According to his cousin, they were highlights, but Taber couldn’t fathom why anyone would want such stripes painting their hair.
“You’re a damn shifter. You should have sensed me coming!” She growled at him, blotting the coffee stain with a napkin, but it only served to make matters worse.
“I said I was sorry, what more do you want woman?”
“Obviously nothing.” She snarled, shoving the napkins in her nearly emp
ty coffee cup. She released a heavy sigh and moved to pass him.
He reached out, wrapping his hand around her small arm. She winced as if expecting him to cause her pain. He hated seeing fear resonating in her eyes. What happened to cause her such distress? “You’re right, I should have sensed you, but I wasn’t paying attention. Let me get you another cup.”
A sudden shot of electricity vibrated through their contact. He couldn’t tear his gaze from her.
This can’t be happening. My mate can’t be a tigress. I won’t have it. Especially a tigress with haunting in her eyes.

“So you can spill it over me again? I think not.” She pulled her arm free and pushed past him. He turned, his gaze following her as she sauntered down the hallway away from him. The sway of her hips drew his attention to her long, lush legs. The three-inch high heels she wore only served to add more sashay to her swaying hips. He wanted to run after her, to explore the electric jolt he received from her contact, but he instructed his feet to remain where he stood. He didn’t want a tigress as his mate, and he doubted he could help ease the pain within her eyes.

New Release: Mismatch by Nana Malone – USA Today Bestselling Author.

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Mismatch
Nana Malone
BLURB:  Spunky artist manager, Jessica 
Stanton, isn’t looking for love.  She’s looking for a savior.  When a business rival steals yet another of her rising stars, she’s in danger of losing everything she’s worked so hard for…and the only person who can save her fledgling business is the one man she shouldn’t want.
Art authenticator, Eli Marks, doesn’t have time for love. He’s too busy saving his brother from the demons of his drug addicted past.  For the past ten years he’s cultivated a façade to keep his distance from everyone else.  But when a string of high-profile art forgeries threatens the security of the only family he has left, he must turn for help to a woman who breaks through his carefully constructed façade every time she’s near.
Will Jessica and Eli save each other? Or will secrets and lies stop them from finding true love?
EXCERPT: Jessica shifted uncomfortably under the scrutiny of the strange man’s jade green gaze. Tsk Tsk Jessica, you’re just horny from watching sex d’art. Poindexter isn’t even my type. At least that’s what she told herself. But she was powerless to tear her gaze away from his. With dark hair to contrast the jade green eyes, and an angled jaw to make male models jealous, he was handsome enough to draw any woman’s attention.
But he wasn’t her style at all. From the looks of him, he was way too buttoned up. His suit, though exquisitely tailored, was extremely conservative. Same for his shoes—expensive but bland. He screamed, I’m repressed. Except for his hair. Touching his collar and curling at the ends, it was the only non-conservative part about him. She preferred tattooed, too-skinny guitarist types. She was willing to bet Poindexter didn’t have a tat anywhere.
All her misgivings aside, she couldn’t tear her gaze from his as she pushed her way toward the bar. He looked like an accountant. No, strike that, too polished. Like a Wall Street type, except he didn’t have the air of smarm. Maybe it was his too-direct gaze. There was nothing hidden in his eyes. Just interest and lust. And it made the hairs on her arms stand up. God, what was he doing staring at her? The uptight type generally preferred too-thin models with no hips. Oh, and normal. They veered away from alternative types.
As Jessica pushed through the crowd, his gaze followed as if he were silently drawing her to him, willing her to come to him. The way he insolently leaned against the bar made him even more appealing. When he said something to the bartender, she glanced at his companion. Also handsome, darker, more olive-toned skin, bulkier, too.
The green-eyed devil had the build of someone who worked out for the pure purpose of staying in shape, not to bulk up.
Jessica dragged in a breath to calm her racing heartbeat. She wasn’t here for this. She was here for Samson Marks. Unfortunately, so was every other woman in the room. Some men, too. With everyone who wanted to talk to him, she’d already been waiting forty-five minutes, and she wasn’t interested in waiting any longer. She’d just leave her card with Gabe and try and track him down if he didn’t call by Monday. She wasn’t letting this guy get away from her. If he could whip her into a sexual frenzy, he had something special.
When she momentarily lost sight of Poindexter, Jessica felt more like herself and less like a throbbing, heaving-bosomed mess. What the hell was wrong with her?
She finally made it to the end of the bar and made eye contact with the bartender. Over by the other end, she caught sight of her mystery man. She might be here to work, but what would it hurt to play a little? It had been a while. Okay, longer than a while considering the last two guys she’d dated she hadn’t even bothered sleeping with.
“What can I get you?”
“Are you Gabe?”
He grinned. “You want to bid on the piece sight unseen?”
She grinned back. “Nope.”
He frowned. “You here to tell me I got a kid out there or something? ‘Cause I’m not particularly interested in hearing that.”
“That happen to you a lot?”
“You’d be surprised.”
She lau
ghed. “Tonight’s your lucky night. I’m not here for that either. I need to get a message to Samson Marks.”
Gabe raised his eyebrows and nodded as if this wasn’t the first request of this type he’d had tonight. “Yeah, what’s the message?”
She handed over her card with a note scrawled on the back. “I’m a manager. Tell him to call me.” She shrugged and glanced at Poindexter again. “You can tell him he’s safe from me. I have something else entirely planned for tonight.”
Moving away from the end of the bar, Jessica spotted the guy in the suit again and made her approach. “So are you going to stare all night, or were you ever going to come and talk to me?”
His lips twitched as he met her gaze. “Excuse me?”
Jessica raised a brow. “’Cause I gotta tell you, if you weren’t so good looking, it would be borderline creepy.”
Poindexter barked a laugh. “Only borderline creepy?”
She shrugged as her eyes met his. “This is L.A. after all. There’s a whole different definition of creepy.”
A small smile tugged at his lips. “Do you always say what’s on your mind?”
“I know it’s a little odd for L.A., right? But I find it cuts through the bullshit.”She looked around. “Is that your friend?” She nodded in Mr. Italian Stallion wannabe’s direction. His bulky build and darker skin, combined with the gel he wore in his hair gave him a Jersey Shore effect.
The beefy guy grinned and his face transformed, making him look like a schoolboy with his first crush.
“I’m his only friend.”
“Well hello, friend.”
Friend smiled at her and said, “Hello, gorgeous. You going to cheer my friend up here? He’s in a bit of a mood.”
This was fun. Go figure. Since Ryan’s call, she’d been in freak out mode. This felt easy and natural. “Now why are you in a mood? There are a dozen women that are throwing you hungry eyes right now.”
He blinked as if her candor surprised him. “Too bad for them. I’m otherwise engaged.”
“Lucky bitch.”She grinned. “I’m appointing myself as your cheer up committee for the rest of the evening.”
There it was again. The corners of his lips twitched. If just a partial smile was enough to tantalize her, then what would it look like when this guy really grinned? Jessica pictured panties dropping in neighboring cities.
“What, you mean to tell me you don’t have any friends here ready to rescue you from the creepy, staring guy?” His tone was teasing.
“I prefer to rescue myself.”
This time he did grin. And holy fuck, what a smile. Straight, even teeth. Eyes crinkling at the corners. Her own panties, if she’d been wearing any, would have started migrating south.
“You really will say anything, won’t you?”
So this was what flirting felt like; it had been so long since she’d bothered. Man, she missed it. Nothing like flirting to heighten the anticipation. “You never did answer my question.”
“What question was that?”
“Whether or not you were going to work up the courage to talk to me.”
He chuckled. “I was working my way up to it, but I figured you might be trouble.”
“You were right about that. Lucky for you, I believe in taking matters into my own hands. Now, do I have to lead too, or can you dance?”she asked as she tugged him to his feet. Music thrummed and vibrated through Jessica’s entire body. His big, warm hand wrapped around hers, and she shivered in anticipation.
This was something she could hold onto. Something she could use to drum out the annoyance at her mother, the insecurities of her job. The loneliness over losing Izzy. All of it. She could use the anonymity on the dance floor to combat the feelings she wasn’t ready to confront.
Bodies of other dancers jostled her until she found a spot with enough space. Her partner looked unsure. She leaned in to make sure he heard her. “Relax, forget about them. All you need to do is concentrate on me.”
His intense green eyes focused on hers, and in a second of irrationality, she wanted to shrink from the feeling of intimacy. She didn’t even know his name, but felt like he could see deep inside her.
“Am I going to get a name out of you?” As he leaned in, his breath warmed her, and his stubble chin rubbed against her temple.
She shivered. “Giving you my name would only ruin the spell.” And while he didn’t look the type, he was still club crawling in L.A… He wasn’t likely to give his real name anyway, so why pretend?
His lips twitched in that sexy way that made her stomach flip.
God, being that handsome should be a sin. Jessica studied him, confused about her reaction to him. Buttoned-up was so not her thing. She preferred tats and piercings and some good old-fashioned hair dye. But this guy set all her receptors to come and get some. Worse, something about him made her want to spill her darkest secrets.
“And if I want to call you tomorrow?”
She shrugged, even as his large hand landed on her waist, drawing her hips into his. “That’s the thing about cheer up committees. You don’t want to overuse them. It affects their potency.”
His eyes traveled her body and heat flushed her whole body. “Somehow I doubt that.”
Jessica met his eyes again. Once more, electricity crackled between them, and again she shut down the connection by turning in his arms to dance. The DJ changed tracks to the latest bass-pumping song by a female rapper, and Jessica let her partner meld their bodies together, enjoying the feel of him around her. For a moment, she let herself relax and enjoy the music.
When he gently turned her to face him, she tried to resist, but then he smiled.
They were jostled again, and he took her hand to lead her through the throngs into the back lounge area. The bouncer at the door greeted him like an old friend and said something she couldn’t decipher. When they were let into the closed lounge area, the door shut, silencing the din from the club.
“What did you say to the bouncer to get us back here?”
“A magician never reveals his secrets.” He smiled again, and Jessica forgot her own name. “Besides, I wanted to be able to hear you. It was a little crazy out there. If you’re going to be my personal cheer up committee, I’d rather it be quiet.”
Jessica chewed on her top lip and averted her gaze. He might look like Poindexter, but his thought process was right up her alley. “I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
“I prefer it when I can see your eyes.”
She tried to avoid his gaze and swallowed around the lump in her throat. Intimacy was not on the menu tonight, at least not the emotional kind. If he kept insisting on seeing her and talking to her, he’d ruin her about-to-have-anonymous-sex buzz. And he was replacing it with something else that felt like nerves.
She searched through her cache of awesome one-liners for a flippant quip but couldn’t think of one. The slow caress of his fingers at her lower back robbed her of the ability to think properly. Her instincts told her to bolt. Get out before he saw too much. Before he got a gander at her soul. Before he had the chance to run first.
She cleared her throat and made an effort to disengage. But he held her still. “You can run if you want to, but I have a feeling you want to find out if what you’re feeling is as combustible as you think it’ll be.”
“I—” She froze when his head dipped down to hers. Even though her brain gave the command to bolt, her body rooted itself in his arms. His body heat wrapped around her like flames. His scent mingled with hers, and the combination of citrusy musk, spice, and flowers made a potent combination. She swayed into him, and she sensed his smile of triumph. Before his lips met hers, one of his big hands scooted to the top of her ass and tucked her body flush against his. She gasped as she felt the full length of his arousal throbbing and pulsing against her belly.
On the parting of her lips, his mouth covered hers.
BUY LINKS:
Other titles by Nana Malone:
Reluctant Protector, Available now on Kindle Nook Kobo All Romance eBooks iTunes & Audible
Forsaken Protector, Available now on Kindle Nook Kobo All Romance eBooks
Game, Set, Match, Available now from Kindle  Nook Kobo All Romance eBooks & iTunes
Sexy in Stilettos Available now on Kindle Nook Kobo All Romance eBooks & iTunes
About the Author:  USA Today Best Seller and iTunes Breakout Books author, Nana Malone’s love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she borrowed from her cousin.
It was a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana, and Nana was a precocious thirteen. She’s been in love with kick butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.
While she waits for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, in the meantime Nana works out her drama, passion and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.
 Mismatch ~ Nana Malone ~ Banner

The Last Execution By Jerrie Alexander

TheLastExecution_w7178_7502The Last Execution
By
Jerrie Alexander
Release Date: June 7th, 2013
Blurb:
To survive, she must put the past behind her. To love, she must learn to trust.
Homicide detective Leigh McBride’s first assignment with the FBI brings her face-to-face with a past she’s tried hard to forget. And when her temporary partner, a cynical ex-marine, lights a fire in her she thought long-extinguished, her darkest secret is threatened.
Scarred both physically and emotionally, Special Agent J. T. Noble is a man of few words. He prefers to keep people at a distance—until he meets Leigh. He’s attracted to her strength and drawn in by her secrecy. But in their line of work, secrets can be deadly.
When the killer they are hunting aims his vigilante justice at Leigh’s past assailant, the fine line between right and wrong blurs. To heal the past—and find their future together—Leigh and J. T. must learn that only through trust and forgiveness can love grow.
Ethan turned his head sideways as he studied J.T.’s face. Wide eyed, the boy pointed at the scar with his index finger. J.T. wasn’t surprised. The kid was probably curious.
“How’d you get that?”
“A piece of shrapnel—” He paused and considered Ethan’s age. “I was in the war. A bomb went off and a piece of metal smacked me in the face.”
“Does it hurt?”
“Not anymore.” J.T. marveled at the innocence in Ethan’s eyes.
“Can I touch it?”
“I guess so.” J.T. breathed in and waited. Ethan hesitated, leaning closer.
“I’m not supposed to talk about your scar.”
“Who said?”
“Mama.”
“It’s okay. I won’t tell.”
J.T. turned his head to the side. No one had outright asked to touch the constant reminder of a day when his best friend caught the worst of an IUD. Hell, people shied away from his right side. Except Leigh, she looked him square in the face. He lay still while Ethan poked a finger into the scar a couple of times. After a few seconds of investigation, the kid cupped the scar with his small hand and patted lightly. The oddest thing happened to J.T.’s heart. It swelled inside his chest and then clenched.
“Mama said you were a brave soldier.”
Alien emotions swirled through J.T. and an unexplained urge to hug Ethan put a weird lump in J.T.’s throat. Unable to cope or understand, his mind raced for an idea, anything to end the moment.
Giveaway
Win one of two copies of The Green-Eyed Doll by Jerrie Alexander
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZTU2MWEzNzQwNjU2YTNmNzMwOGE3ZjViYWI4OTFlOjE=/
 The Last Execution - Jerrie Alexander - Banner
Jerrie AlexanderAuthor the Author: A student of  creative writing in her youth, Jerrie set aside
her passion when life presented her with a John Wayne husband, and two wonderful children.
A career in logistics offered her the opportunity to travel to many beautiful locations in America, and she revisits them in her romantic suspense novels.
But the characters went with her, talked to her, and insisted she share
their dark, sexy stories with others.  She writes alpha males and kick-ass women who weave their way through death and fear to emerge stronger because of, and on occasion in spite of, their love for each other.  She likes to torture people, make them suffer, and if they’re strong enough, they live happily ever after.
The author of THE GREEN-EYED DOLL, and THE LAST EXECUTION, Jerrie and her husband live in Texas. She loves sunshine, children’s laughter, sugar (human and granulated), and researching for her heroes and heroines.
Website   Blog   Twitter   Facebook   Goodreads   Pinterest

The Demon Side Series By Heaven Leigh Eldeen

The Demon Side - CoverThe Demon Side Series
By
Heaven Leigh Eldeen
The Demon Side (The Demon Side Series, #1)
Blurb:  “Every kid has problems. Every kid has even more problems when they move to a new home. But when a kid with problems moves to a new home that has a Demon living inside it—look out!
Etta’s world is about to spin out of control when she encounters her new roommate—and Rahovart, that ancient trickster, is in for a few surprises too. So don’t mind all the crashing and rumbling; that’s just the normal noise Angels and Demons make when they’re fighting an epic war in the attic.
One thing’s for sure: Etta and Rahovart will have to go through Hell to Heaven and back again before that old Victorian home in Quantico Town finally quiets down… ”
Excerpt – The Demon Side:
Etta plopped back onto her bed and stared at the ceiling for a few moments. I wished I could hear her thoughts. Her father had just admitted to being a murderer for all practical purposes, though that was not how I viewed him. I truly believed John only tried to save the village, but his fervor and some help from a desperate Alastor, turned what should have been a heroic act into a bloodbath. Many men have unknowingly fallen from grace in the name of the greater good. Now, hopefully Etta would see that her father was just the victim of blurred lines between good and evil.
“What are you thinking?” I asked as I lay down next to her on the bed.
“Can a person still go to Heaven even if they’ve killed someone?”
“Well, I’m not in the business of getting people to Heaven, Etta. That’s the last place I want them to go,” I reluctantly replied.
“Even if it were me?” Etta stared hard at me with watery eyes, looking right into my blackened soul. I never gave much thought to where her soul would go, except to stop her from mistakenly giving it to me.
“That is a choice for you to make. I can’t force you to choose a side. I can only put the temptations in front of you.”
“You didn’t answer my question.”
“What do you want me to say? I want to see you burn in the depths of Hell? You’ll never hear that from me. Only you and your actions can decide where you go when you leave this world.”
“I would go if it meant I could be with you, you know.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” As much as I would have loved for that to be the case, her comment angered me. I couldn’t imagine a person like her becoming something like me.
“I know that when you’re around I feel safe nothing could ever hurt me. I get butterflies in my stomach when you touch me. I know your soul, Ra. I don’t know how, but I know. I knew it the second I saw you. You weren’t meant for this existence. You fought for good once, and I’m certain you will again.” Etta was strong in words. She spoke with solid co
nfidence. She described what I felt.

The Human Side - CoverThe Human Side (The Demon Side Series, #2)
Blurb:  From above, Etta’s life seems to be calming down in the town of Quantico, Virginia, but with every passing moment away from his love, Rahovart finds the emptiness unbearable.
After redeeming himself once again as an Arch, Rahovart is still unable to let his past go. Needing to be near Etta, he strikes a deal with Father—except it turns into a mission with great consequences.
With Arch Angel Gabriel in tow, Rahovart sets out to prove himself worthy of Etta’s love, only to face discouragement from Etta’s father, John, and her new boyfriend, Tristan—on top of the threats made to Etta. Would he be able to protect her if she no longer remembered him or shared the love the once held so dearly?
One thing’s for sure: The past, with all of its secrets and lies will come back to haunt them all.
Excerpt – The Human Side:
“I have two solutions, but the choice of which to accept is up to you. There is plenty of time to think about these choices, but remember, whatever you choose, you will be bound to it.”
“What are the choices Father?”
“Your first choice is an exchange. Swear never to interfere with Etta’s life again, and all you have lost will be restored, including rank and principalities. If and when she returns to Heaven, her memories will be restored. Break the promise at any time for any reason, your soul shall be sent to Purgatory and Etta’s Guardians will be removed from her detail. As for the second choice, go to Earth in human form with no wings, no abilities. Show Etta the same cruelty and disdain as when the Demon Rahovart met her. Etta fell in love with a Demon once. It should be quite interesting to see if she can do it again. She must profess her love without coaxing or prompting. There can be no mention of our deal or what lies beyond the veil, including who you truly are, where you come from. Fail to abide by the rules or rekindle her affections, your days shall be spent on Earth with no recollection of life beyond the veil. But, succeed, and you can return home with the added benefit of continuing your relationship with her. Visit her anytime as long as it does not interfere with work.”
I listened intently as Father explained my options. Both carried heavy consequences if I failed to abide by their guidelines. He’d given me a life or death decision to make, but I didn’t need time to think. Without thought or question, I gave Father my answer.
Available at:
 The Demon Side Series - Banner

About the Author:  Heaven Liegh Eldeen started her writing career three years ago after being challenged by a relative. With her ‘Oh, Yes I can!’ attitude, determination and support from her family, she completed her first novel The Demon Side, which released in October 2011 and has been a finalist for Best Paranormal Romance in Romcom Inc.’s 2011 Reader Crown Awards as well as Oklahoma Romance Writers of America 2012 International Digital Awards. On November 28th, 2012 she celebrated the release of The Human Side; book two of The Demon Side series, which won Turning the Pages YA Paranormal Romance of the Year.
When she’s not kissing owies, climbing Mount Dishmore, or obsessing over her Facebook book page, you can find her at the computer revising or editing one of her five works in progress or Saturday evenings as a co-host to KMYC’s 1410AM The Dirt’s with Lori Schulz.  Having lived in many states, she has now settled down in California with her husband, her son, and a beta fish named Barry and guinea pig Skunkers.
Website   Blog   Twitter   Facebook   MySpace

Winner! Winner!

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by to visit during the hop! I will be posting the grand prize information a little later as the hop coordinator is still sorting that out. I wish I could give all of you a book, but of course there can only be one. (Insert Highlander music. Wow! I love that show.)

Without further delay….Drum roll please!

The winner is Michelle Willms!

Congratulations, Michelle!


Update! Grand Prize Winners

Kindle Fire – Lisa Anderson (From Lissa Mathews’ blog)


$50 Amazon Gift Card – Jennifer Mathis (From Adriana Kraft’s Blog)

Looking for another chance to win? I’m participating in the Digital First Read-a-Thon too! To be entered into that giveaway go visit http://thebookreadinggals.com/2013/07/dfrat-fires-ice-by-brynna-curry.html#comment-8691 and click the rafflecopter giveaway. Your chances are very good!

Thanks for visiting In Shadows!

Blessings,
Brynna

Carry Me Home by Alexa Bourne

Carry Me Home
Alexa Bourne
Book Blurb:
After six months in the city, Mary MacDougall returns to the Scottish Highlands to finalize her divorce. Because of a past tragedy, she doubts her husband Jamie can possibly love her with the same unbridled passion as before and insists ending the marriage is best for both of them. But Jamie has other ideas….
Jamie MacDougall has no intention of letting his bonnie lass go. At least not without a fight. Aye, they’ve suffered heartache, and she may be ready to call it quits, but he refuses to throw away the partnership they’ve built since they were children. Instead, he’ll remind her they were meant to be together, forever.
Can this marriage survive pride and grief to allow love to carry them home?
Excerpt:
“What do you want, Jamie?” She’d not get caught up in his soulful amber eyes. No, she would not.
“You’ve had your bit of fun, but I want you to come home.” He tilted his head to one side and drifted his fingertips along her bare arm.
She yanked away. “I’ve come to get my papers from you, to say good-bye to those I love, and to move on with my life.” She stepped around him and continued down the path to the center of Glenhalish. “I’ll be at the Kierlain House until Sunday. Please bring the forms and leave them with the front office.”
“I don’t have them.” He nearly shouted with glee. “I tossed them out.”
“I thought you might say that.” Smiling on the heels of another small victory, she fished through her handbag and pulled out another copy of the divorce papers. She’d come armed with a half-dozen copies just in case he chose to be difficult. She strode back to him with her chin held high and slapped the papers against his chest. “Here.”
Jamie stared at the lass’s fine arse strutting away from him. Her hair had been cut, straightened and the summer dress with the flowery print accentuated all the curves he’d fallen for so many years ago, the curves he knew so intimately. And those heels, for the love of St. Bridget, Mary hadn’t worn high heels like that since she left school. They’d brought her closer to his height, yet she still only reached his shoulders.
She’d left Glenhalish in January, a cold, distant housewife, and come back this alluring woman. For a moment, panic set inside his gut. He’d intended to convince her to come home so they could face their grief and move on together, but seeing how much happier, sexier, and sophisticated she was, perhaps Edinburgh was good for her, better than he could be.
But he wanted her back, wanted to get through this rough patch they’d strayed onto after the lad’s death, and return to the partnership they’d shared since primary school. They had too many years left. She couldn’t leave him. He wouldn’t survive without her.
The lass may have plans to leave him forever, but Jamie MacDougall wouldn’t give her up without a fight.
Buy Links:
Reviews:
“Deeply moving…this is a must read!”~ Jan Hudson
I started reading Alexa’s books last year. I like that they are all set in the UK – and yet they are contemporary. Which tends to be rare in romance. This book was a short – sweet – happy ending type of book that was just perfect to read before bedtime! The thing that I liked most about the book was that the author did not make the characters daft to other’s feelings or situations. She threw them together and had them work it out. I like smart books with smart characters that don’t run around 50…more”This book was a short – sweet – happy ending type of book that was just perfect to read before bedtime! “Cheryl Rae  on Goodreads rated it 5 of 5 stars
“The story came to life on the first page. It tugged at my heart and never let go…If you want a story filled with passionate moments, a beautiful setting, and heartfelt emotion, Carry Me Home is a must read.” 5 out of 5 stars- By Kathleen Gallagher
Author Bio:
Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romance writer by nights, weekends, and all school holidays. She also teaches online classes for writers throughout the year. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance and is thrilled to have the chance to share her love of Great Britain with readers everywhere.

When she’s not concocting sinister plots and steamy love scenes or traveling and exploring new cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV and thinking about exercising. She loves to interact with readers, so visit her web page, hang out at her blog, follow her on Twitter or drop her a note at Alexa@alexabourne.com!

Website    Blog    Twitter    Facebook    Goodreads

Death Lies Between Us by Jody A. Kessler

Death Lies Between Us CoverDeath Lies Between Us
Jody A. Kessler
Saving the life of someone you love should not be the worst thing you have ever done, unless you are an Angel of Death.
Disgruntled with his position in the afterlife and conflicted by his feelings toward his new client, Nathaniel Evans forgoes the rules and saves nineteen year old Juliana Crowson from being hopelessly stuck in Forge Creek. This alters Juliana’s destiny and she finds herself in a series of near death accidents.
In the mountains of Colorado, Nathaniel comforts Juliana as she struggles to understand her paranormal abilities while coping with her brother’s drug addiction. When an ill-tempered Native American Shaman teaches her the difference between ghosts and place memories, she decides she wants nothing to do with the supernatural world. Too bad she doesn’t know that Nathaniel is part of it.
Will fate bring these two together, or has Nathaniel made the biggest mistake of his afterlife?
Death Lies Between Us by Jody A. Kessler - Banner
Excerpt 2:
He turns to stand in front of me, silent as a shadow. His hand lifts out of the dark. His fingertips brush the underside of my chin gently tipping my face up to his. How does he move and make no sound?  His fingers move to my temple, brushing away a hair then trailing down to the edge of my jaw where they halt. He watches my face and looks into my eyes. I feel a surge of loneliness from somewhere deep inside him. I don’t understand it or have time to dwell on it but it makes me want to hold onto him. His gaze lowers to my mouth.
He’s so close. I didn’t see it before, but he glows. The slightest iridescent shimmer encapsulates him, so totally different than the way Chris’s aura looked. He smells good too, like I remembered, and more. It’s so familiar, but I can’t say where from. The ozone smell of clean air after a storm and hints of cinnamon and honey swirled in cream. It’s intoxicating. Even the feel of him standing near me is like a caress passing over my skin. I can’t believe myself. I’m going to let this vague stranger kiss me, and I want him to.
Jody A KesslerBio
Jody A. Kessler enjoys writing paranormal novels and is a member of Pikes Peak Writers.  She is a yoga instructor, Reiki Master, and a graduate from the Colorado Institute of Massage Therapy. When she took an extended leave from her massage practice to stay at home with her newborn she returned to her first true passion —writing. She spends most of her time being a mother, writing, and teaching yoga, but also likes going to concerts, hiking, practicing herbal medicine, and reading anything that catches her interest. Jody lives in the mountains of Colorado with her family.
She welcomes visitors to her website www.jodyakessler.com
Buy a copy on AmazonBarnes and Noble
Or connect with her here:  FacebookGoodreadsTwitterPinterest

Spotlight: Desire in Tartan by Suz deMello

desireintartanDesire in Tartan by Suz deMello
Dugald Kilburn was sure that he’d never find love. And why should he?
‘Tis rare for vampires and their mates to reproduce successfully and Dugald kens that. He’s certain his lust caused his first wife’s death in childbed.
Innocent Alice Derwent presents Dugald with a dilemma. She’s different than any woman he’s known, different and altogether alluring. And while the lady is innocent, her feelings are anything but.
Will he bed and wed the lady, risking her life? Or remain celibate, sparing her?
But when threatened with death, Alice decides she doesn’t want to die without knowing Dugald’s love. Can he resist her charms?
Like what you read? Buy it here:
*****
Excerpt:
Book Two of the Highland Vampires series from Ellora’s Cave
***
Glasgow, Autumn 1759
Dugald left most of his company of men back at the inn with strict instructions to stay out of trouble, but he had no illusions. The men would drink as much as they could hold before finding the loosest bits of muslin available. If they were still able to perform, perform they would, as long and as hard as possible. He hoped that he’d be able to rescue the less experienced of the lot out of whatever scrapes they fell into. The youngest, Malcolm, came with Dugald as his companion. He wouldna leave Malcolm in the care of the rest.
The mop fair was a mad scene. ’Twas combined with a street fair and a farmer’s market, so the entire population of Glasgow had seemingly crowded itself into the square with a market cross in the center. Food stalls, redolent with the spicy aromas of roasting fowls and sausages were fronted by cooks and ’prentices bawling out the prices of their wares. Nearby, penned livestock emitted a less appealing miasma of straw and shite, with the autumn wind swirling the scents along with dry leaves.
Turning to Malcolm, Dugald raised his brows. Without speaking, the two Kilburns started to walk along the disordered rows of booths. Once they’d passed the food stalls, the fair became even more riotous, with knots of maids and men looking for hire, screeching their qualifications. Each brandished a tool of his or her trade, cooks with rolling pins or wooden spoons, coachmen with their whips. Country girls in their Sunday dresses crowded in a knot, peering anxiously at well-dressed passers-by whom Dugald guessed were the stewards of the grand houses. Every once in a while one would stop and question a rosy-cheeked lass, occasionally leaving the fair with a new maid or tweeny in tow.
He stopped, arrested by a sweet fragrance that rose from the reek of unwashed bodies like clean mist drifting on the surface of a loch. He hadn’t detected it before. Mayhap it had been cloaked by the pungent roasting sausages and the other scents at the food stalls—herbs and the like.
He lifted his face into the air and sniffed. Yes, ‘twas there, elusive but definite.
Malcolm did the same. “I smell it too.”
“That’s our lassie,” Dugald said.
The stripling looked mystified. “A sweet smell means a governess?”
“Milady gave me questions to ask.” Dugald patted his sporran. “If she passes, she’s the one. But this is how we’ll be finding her.”
At the end of the row of coachmen, stable hands, maids and cooks fluttered a gaggle of…what? Somberly robed figures resembling a flock of giant crows or, mayhap, vultures. Exuding the stinks of mothballs and body odor, they all appeared to be flapping about one small, drab figure, a female who couldna contrast more with her oafish companions.
Dugald’s first impression of the woman was of narrowness, so at odds with her tempting scent that all he could do was stand and gape at her like a looby. Dressed in unrelieved black, she had slender shoulders and a tiny waist. Slight hips. When she turned, he could see she possessed but a small bosom. He raised his gaze and didn’t bother to stifle a gasp at the sight of her pure and perfect profile. Intelligence sparkled in her hazel eyes, completely belying the rest of her dull demeanor.
Her face… He could stare at that face forever without a single moment of boredom.  Pale, though not as white as a Kilburn’s, for a smattering of freckles spattered the bridge of her straight little nose and sprinkled
her high cheekbones. She had well-cut lips with a definite Cupid’s bow, the one distinct curve on her serious face. A semi-circular half-moon dip.
He wanted to slide his tongue into that dip before kissing her with every mite of passion he possessed.
*****

Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written over sixteen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s worked for Total-E-Bound, Liquid Silver Books and Ai Press, where she is currently Managing Editor. She also takes private clients.

Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.

A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.

Find her books at http://www.suzdemello.com

For editing services, email her at suzswift@yahoo.com
Befriend her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sueswift, and visit her group at http://www.facebook.com/HotWriters
She tweets her reading picks @ReadThis4fun