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Blurb: When Jamie Dalton moved into the house her grandparents left her she was just looking to reconnect with her past and settle in familiar surroundings. Digging through the attic for treasures, she found a nearly life-sized statue of a wolf and a very old, very strange book, Legends of the Werewolf. Each night after returning home from her job as the town’s head librarian, she curled up in a big chair with her little black cat, Mischief, fascinated by what she read. She was shocked when her new neighbor, Mike Volka, introduced himself and the eyes watching her looked just like the wolf in the book.
Mike Volka’s ancestors once owned Jamie’s house and the book that is his heritage as a wolf shifter, the one that will guide his future, is hidden somewhere inside. He sure didn’t expect the intense sexual heat the erupted between them. When he sneaks into her house and sees her asleep in the big chair, the book open on her lap, the temptation to have her is too great for him. Using the hypnotic power of the shifter, he draws her into his web and they have sex so hot it nearly burns down the house.
But can a union born in stealth survive? Is she the human mate his family had told him might be waiting for him? Will Jamie succumb to his hot alpha impact and can she believe what others dismiss as a fanciful legend? On Halloween night it will come to an explosive conclusion but will the heat consume them or bind them closer together.
She closed her eyes for just a moment, to clear her head…and opened them again as the stroke of a hand on her cheek roused her. She inhaled sharply at the sight of Mike Volka leaning over the chair, staring at her with those hot amber eyes. His dark hair had fallen forward like a silk curtain, just enough scruff on his chin to give him that extra sexy appearance. Her breath caught in her throat when he slid one thumb lightly over her bottom lip.
“You sleep so nicely, Jamie. But this chair has to be uncomfortable.”
She shifted her body and gazed down at her lap. “Where’s my book? And Mischief?” She frowned. “What have you done with them?”
His smile set fire to her nerve endings. “I put the book over there on the coffee table. It had slipped to the floor. I didn’t think it was good for something so old to just be lying there.”
“And my cat?”
“Is sleeping peacefully.” He gestured toward the couch.
Sure enough, the little ball of black fur lay curled up against one of the throw pillows, deep in a kitty dream.
His scent tantalized her nostrils, clean and earthy, soothing and arousing at the same time. He leaned closer to her and brushed his mouth over hers. Somewhere in the back of her mind, a little voice asked her why she didn’t feel this at all odd. She was not the least bit afraid or worried or frightened by what was happening. Instead, she had a sense that this was all preordained—her moving into the house, finding the book, meeting Mike, this thing happening between them. Then her brain shut down, any chance of rational thought disappeared, and she gave herself over to the feelings consuming her.
The simple contact of his lips woke the pulses in every one of her erogenous zones. His tongue traced a path along the seam before pushing gently and coaxing her to open to him. When he thrust inside her mouth, the contact, almost animalistic, stole her breath.
Jamie lifted her hands and tunneled her fingers in his hair, the mane of black silk rich and luxurious to her touch. Reason fled as the kiss drew her into an erotic vortex. She clutched at his hair as if it were a lifeline, anchoring her as his tongue plundered and his lips bruised. When he lifted his head at last, she gave a cry of protest at the loss of contact.
About the author:
Known the world over as the oldest living author of erotic romance, and dubbed by USA Today as the Nora Roberts of erotic romance, Desiree Holt has produced more than two hundred titles in nearly every subgenre of romance fiction. She is a winner of the EPIC E-Book Award, an Authors after Dark Author of the Year and of the Holt Medallion. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The London Daily Mail and numerous other national and international publications. She enjoys football and reading and her three cats, who are her constant writing companions.
“Get out the ice water and fan…Desiree Holt delivers smoking hot alpha heroes and red hot romances.” Lea Franczak, USA Today Happy Ever After blog
Learn more about her and read her novels here:
This may not have been an incredibly exciting year with regard to novel releases, but I’ve a fair amount to celebrate with my short fiction, which just goes to show that perseverance pays off at the end. Truth be told, there’s something rather exciting about receiving a hard copy of an anthology in the mail – and one such has definitely been my appearance in Tor Books’ Midian Unmade anthology. (http://www.amazon.com/Midian-
The call for submissions came out a while ago, and I’ve always been a fan of Clive Barker’s offerings. How hard could it be to write something?
I was fortunate. The plot nugs struck at exactly the right spot, and after I finished rereading Cabal, I plunged right into the dark, dark world of Midian. When I received my acceptance I exclaimed so loudly my work colleagues just about thought I’d been bitten by… Well. Something.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that what this post *doesn’t* tell is the amount of blood, sweat and tears … and the many, many rejections that went into reaching that point where I’ve started having some wonderful acceptance letters. It’s taken *years*.
If you’re reading this, and you’re an aspiring writer, my advice is don’t ever give up. Keep going. Read as much as you can. Practice your writing, and keeping submitting. Grow rhino skin for those rejections. Don’t stop. If this is your passion, then don’t let anything stand in your way to succeed.
In keeping with the spooky theme of Halloween, I’m going to share an excerpt from my dark fantasy novel Dawn’s Bright Talons, which takes my favourite supernatural creatures into a world all of their own.
There was a small park nearby, popular for lovers’ trysts, and I made for it now. I’d surprised my meals here numerous times though I tried not to make my stalking a habit. Tall willows trailed branches into the slow-moving current, the water obsidian. Toads rasped in the undergrowth and, when I passed one of the many fish ponds, several of the amphibians plopped into the water-hyacinths that clotted the surface.
Twice I encountered couples too absorbed in each other to notice the shadow that slipped past them. They weren’t what I was looking for.
I paused by the statue of some nameless prince and stretched my senses. Here, among the greenery, the sounds of Ysul were muted. Instead a warbler called, three sharp descending notes ending in a liquid trill. River silt, green vegetative decay and there…the heat of humanity. On silent feet I stole along a meandering side path I knew terminated in a small grotto.
A young man waited here. Alone. I froze, screened by a tangle of tree ferns.
He was no older than sixteen, if I judged correctly, and he paced restlessly from the stone bench to the grotto then part of the way up the path. His face was smooth and oval, and skin milky in the dim light emitted by the low gas lamp not far off. Expressive eyes. Lips slightly pouting.
Tailored trousers and a fine silk shirt marked him as someone belonging to minor nobility, obviously slumming it. His dark brown hair hung loose about his face and brushed his shoulders to partially obscure the tilt of his neck.
“Damn, where are you?” he muttered when he stopped to straighten his shirt.
I bit my lip and thought of his blood, hot and rich as I lapped at the puncture wounds I would make. Not yet. I clenched my hands. Even from here I smelled him, the light muskiness of a young male in his prime. His flesh would be firm to the touch, holding the warmth mine lacked. My cock hardened as I considered how it would feel to run my hands over his chest and down his thigh then toward…
No. I must remain focused. I was here to hunt. Not for bedroom play. Though he was beautiful, and I could only wonder who’d stood him up.
A movement to my left, near dense reeds by the riverbank drew my attention. I stood very still and caught a faint whiff of damp rot. Sewer dweller. I almost hissed. This was my hunt. Torn, I glanced to the boy then back to the lurking figure. To have gone to all this trouble, only to have an interloper interrupt me.
Some quirk of fate decided the outcome. A woman called from some distance away. “Francois!” and the boy jogged past my hiding place.
“Heloise!” he replied. So intent was Francois on his goal that he went right past my hiding place without seeing me.
As soon as he was out of earshot, I did allow myself to hiss, and I focused my ire on the other vampire who was now well aware of my presence. He stood frozen.
Territorial scraps between Ysul’s vampires and the outcast sewer dwellers were mercifully few and rarely bloody, but my anger at having my concentration broken drove me to confront the creature. By unwritten law, he was outside of his ‘allowed’ territory and, therefore, fair game.
I shoved the reeds aside and halted three paces from the interloper.
The unfortunate must’ve been no more than ten when it was changed, but it was impossible for me to determine its gender. Its clothing was a soggy mess of rags carried on a bony frame. Large eyes were set in a pallid face with too-large mouth, its bloodless lips pulled back in a silent snarl. “Blood lord.” Its accompanying hiss slithered terror down my spine. I did not like the look of those teeth. There were too many, too long and sharp, like that of a fish.
I stepped back, now unsure of the wisdom of my approach. “Terribly sorry,” I said even as I entertained visions of its fangs sinking into some soft part of my flesh. I backed up a few more paces.
“The blood tide is rising. You’ll all die and the city will be ours again.”
My hunger retreated, and Ezekiel’s company seemed far more appealing than the inconvenience of having to set out on another hunt. I was in no mood to hang about and suffer a sewer dweller’s threats. Even if they were backed up by a bite that would rival that of a rabid dog. At this moment I despised myself for my cowardice.
Buy Dawn’s Bright Talons at Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Dawns-
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Halloween is without a doubt my favorite holiday. Silly, because I’m an adult with no children, far too old to trick-or-treat on my own, and I don’t get the day off from work for it. Nevertheless, the certain eeriness that comes from monsters in the dark gives me a thrill.
Haunting costume shops and the Halloween accessories aisle is my favorite thing to do in the early fall. So of course paranormal romance is right up my alley. I have to make it really weird and throw in a western element, because nothing says romance like Supernatural meets True Grit. You know, that element of the past plus things that go bump in the night. Ahem, um, both monsters and naughty bits.
I hope you all have a super special and spook-tacularly frightening Halloween!
Halloween Candy Bark
I’m all about the easy. It’s Christmas tradition for my family to make candy before the holidays so we’ll have something homemade to enjoy around the fire–or you know, the warm glow of the television. Whatever. Me, I don’t like to get involved in the complicated projects that take all day. So cookies or almond bark coated pretzels are pretty much my limit when it comes to candy-making. Imagine my utter joy when I found a recipe for Halloween bark. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? I’ve listed some good ingredients here, but of course, play to your own tastes. There are all kinds of good candies you could put in this.
20 or 24 oz. Package of almond bark
½ c. mini Reeses, chopped
½ c. candy corn
½ c. M&Ms, pick out the orange, brown and yellow ones for extra spooky fun
½ c. royal icing eyeballs (you can find these at Wal-Mart or craft stores)
Melt almond bark according to package in a double boiler or in the microwave. Spread melted bark on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper to ¼ inch thickness. Press candy into melted bark. Allow to chill in refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes or until fully hardened. Break into pieces and serve or store.
About the Book:
Title: Wystan (The Heckmasters)
Length: 228 pages
Pubisher: Samhain Publishing
Her search for safety lands her in a totally new kind of danger.
Certain that an ad for a job in a small New Mexico Territory town is the answer to her prayers, Nebraska schoolteacher Rhia Duke packs her sister into a rickety wagon and heads west.
Except when they reach the near-deserted town, she learns the truth. There is no job, no future, and no welcome in the bleak blue eyes of the handsome sheriff.
The minute Rhia’s runaway team thunders into town, Wystan Heckmaster feels the change in the air. One of three sons of a demon who dared love a human, he keeps watch over a Pit guarded by seven seals, and slays any Hellbound demon that attempts to free the master imprisoned within.
With a gut full of regret and a forgotten town filled with reformed demons, Wystan is certain of one thing: he can’t be the man Rhia needs. But when the truth behind Rhia’s flight from Nebraska comes to light, Wystan must open his soul—and pray there’s enough love between them to overcome the darkness rising from the Pit.
Warning: Contains a take-no-prisoners sheriff, a woman who can’t outrun her supernatural secrets, and a dusty town where hope is as thin as dust in the wind. Author recommends keeping a glass of cool spring water at your elbow while reading.
Something changed in the air the moment the wagon crossed the town’s border. Too
early to be a supply train, and there was no way in hell it was visitors. Berner didn’t host
town fairs, theatre troupes, peddlers, or bible thumpers.
Wystan Heckmaster slapped his battered Stetson on his head, collected the keys to the
jail, then stepped out the door. The first thing he saw was a pretty woman with hair the color
of maple sugar—a rich brownish-blonde. The frown on her face spoke volumes, and the air
around her pronounced trouble. She made a straight path for him.
“Mr. Heckmaster. Or should I call you Sheriff? Or Mayor? I need to discuss the ad in
the Lancaster County Republican with you. Someone placed an ad, but your brother tells me
there is no school here. I’m sure there has to be a mistake. There’s only one Berner in New
Mexico Territory. I’m very capable at reading maps. If I wasn’t, I would be ashamed to call
myself a teacher.”
He doubted she had taken more than two or three breaths during the speech. If she
made talking in rambling paragraphs a habit, no wonder she looked so peaked.
“Teacher?” He glanced along the street, but it was deserted as usual. “Lady, we don’t
have a school here. Certainly no need of a teacher.”
Her hands balled into fists that settled on her hips. The dress she wore was patched—
the egg yolk yellow faded into something even more disgusting. It had little flowers dotting
the material, but they looked as worn as her scuffed black boots.
“Then what was the purpose of placing an ad in the Lancaster County Republican?”
She spoke with the fierceness of a mama bear warning predators away from her cubs.
Wystan reached into his shirt pocket and drew out a toothpick.
“I didn’t place any ad in any Lancaster County anything.” He looked past her, expecting
Eban to saunter up the street. Eban had to be the brother she’d referred to since Tell was still
on the trail.
“Someone did,” she insisted. She fished a crumpled and much-folded piece of newsprint
out of the pocket hidden by the folds of her skirt. “See? Right here it says, ‘School teacher
wanted for spring term at Berner Schoolhouse. Wages paid based on experience. Room and
board provided. Apply in person at City Hall, Berner, New Mexico Territory.’ I’m sure my
eyes don’t deceive me.”
Wystan stared at the clipping, then back at the woman. A galaxy of freckles spattered
across her nose and cheekbones, making her look younger than her eyes said she was. Full
figured and sure as shittin’ a grown woman. The wariness and worry darkening her hazel
eyes gave her away as one with a lot of trouble on her plate.
“I can read.”
She pulled the ad away from his face, folded it, and returned it to her pocket. “Where
would you suggest I look for an explanation, Mr. Heckmaster?”
Fussy little thing. “I assure you that no one in this town did. There’s been a mistake.
Sorry to inconvenience you, Miss Schoolteacher. Now turn around and head home.”
A flush colored her cheeks. “I can’t head home! I have no home to return to. My little
sister and my friend are waiting at the doctor’s office for me to straighten this mess out. The
ad says that room and board will be provided. I’d expected to move into a room, sir.”
“You left them with Eban?” That explained his absence.
“Beryl is ill, Sheriff. This is the first town we’ve seen in days and it was past time for her
to get some attention.” Despair crept into her voice.
Wystan shifted his weight and transferred the toothpick to the other side of his mouth.
“Eban’s not exactly trained in human medicine.”
The woman’s mouth opened into an O. She shook her head and seemed to regain her
senses. “He’s a veterinarian? He seemed certain he could help Beryl.”
Wystan cleared his throat. “Sure, animal doctor. I’m sorry for your misfortune, lady,
but as you can see, Berner’s about run into the ground. There’s nothing here for you or your
friend. Might be best to move along.”
She seemed to deflate. “Move along.” Her lips moved, softly forming the words, but it
was as though she didn’t comprehend them. “We’ll move along, right down the trail into the
next town where there won’t be any teaching jobs either. Sylvie, Beryl, and I will starve to
death on the side of the road with no one in the world to care.”
Amazon – http://amzn.com/B00L501TJK
About the Author:
A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal, contemporary, and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. It’s not unusual to find her lurking in graveyards, wandering historical sites, or listening to ghost stories.
Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that’s gathering dust after it was determined that she’s better at writing fluff than hard news.
Social media links:
Blog – http://havenovelwilledit.blogspot.com
Facebook – http://facebook.com/allisonmwrites
Twitter – http://twitter.com/allison_merritt
Goodreads – http://goodreads.com/AllisonMWrites
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/allisonmwrites/
We have no Halloween where I live, I mean Romania, even if it’s better known to many people as Dracula’s country. However, there’s another tradition I can tell you about – St. Andrew’s Night.
30th November is St Andrew’s Day in Romania, a day full of symbolism as St Andrew, one of the 12 Apostles is considered the one who made the Romanians Christians. But more powerful in traditions and superstitions is the preceding night, the eve of St. Andrew’s day.
29th to 30th November, called St. Andrew’s Night, is a magic night when people have to do certain things to keep the evil away from them. St. Andrew’s Night is, in some way, the equivalent of Halloween. It has a lot of traditions and superstitions. Ghosts come out in the human world, wolves speak the human language and predict horrible things. Vampires, zombies, ghosts living-dead wander along the roads in search of human preys. People who are attacked this night by evil spirits will turn into werewolves. To protect themselves against evil, people can use garlic and spells.
Here are several customs on this special night:
– To get rid of evil spirits, and prevent them entering the house, villagers grease the doors and threshold with crushed garlic. They also use garlic to protect the stables, too. Animals are given basil in their food and housewives sprinkle the stables with holly water.
– Mothers draw small crosses on the palms of their small children to protect them.
– The young maidens who want to get married put several leaves of basil under their pillows. Or, another custom, if they want to see their fated husband – the girls should stay naked between two mirrors, at midnight, holding two burning candles in their hands. They will see in the mirror behind them scenes of their future life, including the face of their future groom.
– Housewives turn all the glasses and cups with the mouth down to prevent evil settling inside them.
– The weather this night predicts how the coming winter will be. If the sky is clear, the winter will be mild with less snow and warmer days. If the sky is cloudy, it means the winter will be a harsh one.
– St. Andrew’s Night, when the sky opens and the witches recharge their powers, is the best moment to find the answers of past mysteries and unsolved enigmas. It implies taking part in an odd ritual in a graveyard. Then, in a basin with water, over which an incantation is uttered, people will see everything that happened and wasn’t known.
Thank you for hosting me today, Brynna! I really appreciate it.
Shadows of the Past
Publisher: Wild Child Publishing
Genre: paranormal/light romance/light historical/light horror.
Blurb: Anne’s relationship with her boyfriend Neil has disintegrated. After a two-year separation, they pack for a week vacation in hopes of reconciling. But fate has other plans for them.
The discovery of a bejeweled cross and ancient human bones opens a door to a new and frightening world–one where the ghost of a medieval nun named Genevieve will not let Anne rest. This new world threatens not only to ruin Anne and Neil’s vacation but to end all hopes of reconciliation as Anne feels compelled to help free Genevieve’s soul from its torment.
Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve find her eternal rest?
A touching, compelling story of tragedy, loss and the power of endless love and good magic.
The twists and turns in this paranormal tale keep the reader guessing up to the end and weave themselves together into a quest to rekindle love.
Buy Link: Wild Child Publishing
‘The soul of a dead person, a disembodied spirit imagined, usually as a vague, shadowy or evanescent form, as wandering among or haunting living persons.’ ~ dictionary.com
What is it about ghosts that we find both fascinating and frightening, especially around Halloween? Is it their ability to walk through walls when we have to open doors? Or that they never trip over furniture but float above it? Or maybe the fact that they are portrayed as drop dead (pun intended), take your breath away sexy. Whatever the reason, they’ve lived in our imagination for as long as Halloween has been around and can hold their own against zombies and vampires.
This Halloween I’d like to introduce you to my own personal ghost, Liam O’Reilly, of the sexy variety. There’s also one of the scary variety floating around in Ghost For Sale.
Here’s the blurb and excerpt, but before I go….have yourself a scary Halloween……
Warning: Story contains ghosts and shopaholics
Caitlin King can’t believe that her shopaholic cousin actually bought two ghosts off of eBay. But she can’t ignore the truth when she starts seeing sexy Liam O’Reilly, who’s been dead for over a hundred years. He’s a fascinating specter, and the more time Caitlin spends with him, the closer they become—sending them both spiraling into a star-crossed tailspin. No matter how desperately they long for each other, there’s just no future with a guy who’s already stopped breathing.
As we reached the car, my breath went out in a whoosh. Arms and legs crossed, Liam leaned against the shiny Corvette. The street lamp limned his high sharp cheekbones and sparked the blue highlights in his hair. Plain black cotton trousers framed long legs. My heart tightened and my bones loosened. He was just so darn pretty, in a manly-man sort of way.
His stormy eyes shifted to me. He stared, unsmiling.
The ghost was still in a snit. Well fine, I was in a bit of a snit myself.
We drove home in silence. I glanced in the rearview mirror. Liam stared straight ahead, his arms crossed, pensive. At least he wasn’t white knuckling the side of the car. How strange this must seem to him.
I surfed the satellite radio till I found a channel that played old Irish ballads.
A beatific expression came over his face, making my breath catch. How could a man be so good-looking? Maybe it was a ghost thing. His expression changed to one of abject terror. “Watch out,” he shouted at the top of his lungs.
I turned the wheel sharply to the right, just missing a little old lady driving a bright red sports car. She laid on her horn and stuck her third digit out the window.
Liam stared, his gorgeous mouth open. I think a senior citizen giving me the finger shocked him worse than my driving.
I’ll send an I Love Ghosts button to the first five people who shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the header please put Brynna and Ghost and your snail addie in the body of the email.
Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.
I love this time of year just because of the colors and smells. There’s something about the aroma of a bonfire, marigolds and pumpkin spice that is invigorating. When the ash trees in my front yard burst into color, or the burning bushes begin to flame, I’m in heaven. I start my day with pumpkin spice coffee and end it with pumpkin spice tea after dinner.
I go crazy with decorating every year. I love to add fall colors to my house and unleash my creative side. A couple of years ago, I made this stack of pumpkins (using the polymer gourds you find at Michaels or Hobby Lobby) and am thrilled when I get to pull it out for the season.
And the part I love most, the baking and cooking. My family and friends rave over the seasonal treats I prepare. Here’s a recipe for one of my favorites:
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles
2½ cup white chocolate chunks or chips
1/3 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs, plus more for garnish
¼ cup canned pumpkin (you can freeze the leftover in a freezer bag for future use)
¼ cup graham cracker crumbs (plus more for garnish)
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon orange zest
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 oz cream cheese, softened
Melt the ½ cup of white chocolate chips. Stir often to keep chocolate from burning. Transfer to a large bowl. Add ginger snap crumbs, pumpkin, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, zest, cinnamon, salt and cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Transfer to a shallow bowl, cover and chill until just solid enough to roll into balls, about 2 hours.
Line a large tray with parchment paper. Melt remaining 2 cups of white chocolate and transfer to a small, deep bowl. Roll 1 heaping teaspoons of the pumpkin mixture into a ball in your hands then drop into the chocolate. Working quickly, gently spoon chocolate over ball to coat. Using a small spoon or fork, lift the truffle out of the chocolate, shake off excess and transfer to tray. Dollop a bit of extra chocolate on any ports that remain exposed, then sprinkle a few gingersnap or graham cracker crumbs over top.
Chill until chocolate is set (about an hour). Refrigerate.
If you try this recipe, drop me a line and let me know how they turned out!
A Five Senses Short
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Gemma Brocato
Date of Publication: October 13, 2015
Number of pages: 132
Word Count: approx. 42,000
Available in Digital from Amazon
Hearts entwined, their love will conquer history.
Jem Kerrigan appears to have it all. Her husband, Jack, loves her to distraction, she owns a thriving café in Granite Pointe, and she’s considering expanding her business. The only thing not falling nicely into place, the thing she wants most, is a baby bump.
Hoping to distract Jem from their inability to conceive, Jack buys Sea View House and encourages her to pursue her dream of opening a banquet space. Jem is skeptical when she sees the dilapidated wreck atop a bluff. Deserted for a decade, rumors are rampant about ghosts and ill-fated love stories. While there is something haunting about the hundred-year-old mansion, the woven hearts enchants Jem.
After discovering the tragic story of the original owners, Jem begins to understand the importance of the carvings of entwined hearts scattered throughout the house. The motif quickly becomes a symbol of Jem’s love for Jack. The promise of their future together is spirited, even if Jem’s arms remain empty.
When Jem had driven up the tree-lined lane, she found Jack relaxed against the hood of his truck, one foot on the bumper, arms crossed over his chest, staring at the dilapidated mansion that crowned the top of the bluff. As she emerged from her car, the sound of waves breaking against the rocks in the inlet below drew her attention. It was a peaceful sound despite the violent force of the water.
The unmistakable tang of salt perfumed the air as Jem approached him. A light breeze blew in from the ocean, caressing skin bared by her tank top and jeans shorts. After a distracted peck on her husband’s cheek, she leaned against the truck’s metal grill and joined him in studying the run-down manor.
“What are we looking at?” she asked after a moment of silence.
Jack slipped one arm around her shoulders and propped his other elbow on the vehicle. His fingers tickled as he swept them over her upper arm. “We’re looking at the future, Jem. Our future.”
Dimples that had won her heart peeked out as he turned his smile on her.
Casting a skeptical eye over the structure, Jem was grateful Jack had agreed to meet her after Caro’s Taste closed for the day. One of them was going to need a decent paying job. Because, if this house were an inkling of what awaited, the future didn’t look too prosperous.
Word choice was going to be very important here. Jack had that look on his face, the intent, studious look that had first convinced her to fall in to bed with him, and then later to marry him.
She weighed her words carefully before she responded. “Is this what I agreed to when the justice of the peace at the Chapel of Love mentioned ‘For better or for worse’? You know I love you, Jack, but can you let me in on your thoughts? If you see the future here, I’m all in, but I’d kind of like to know what this entails.”
He squeezed her close until she felt the rumbling in his chest as he chuckled. He turned, rested his hip against the truck, and clasped his hands around her back. He studied her with his intense blue eyes before replying. “This is all part of my master plan, sugar.”
Tapping her finger against his temple, she let a grin sneak out. “Is that the plan you keep here in your head instead of on paper? Remember, I’m a great chef, but I suck at reading minds. Use your words, Jack. Tell me what you’re thinking.” She trailed her fingers over the dark stubble on his chin, enjoying the rasping sound.
His answering smile warmed his blue eyes and creased the cleft deeper into his cheek. “We’ve talked about how we need more room at the house for expanding our family. This solves our problem.”
Jem struggled to keep sadness and frustration from her face. They’d been trying to make a baby since well before their Valentine’s Day wedding in Las Vegas. And while she enjoyed the process, she hated the journey. Jack had no way to know she’d gotten her period this morning. She’d been two days late this month, and hope had clawed at her heart. But she’d woken feeling crampy and achy. Duty called, and she was out the door to open the café before he got up. Bad enough her bubble had been burst with the spotting she’d discovered after lunch. She didn’t want to bring him down, too. The regular monthly dashing of hope hurt Jack as much as it did her.
Turning her head, she rested her cheek on Jack’s chest and stared at what he’d called their future. Yeah, that looked about right—dried up, falling apart, and about as far from fertile as a structure could get.
Blinking back tears, she focused on keeping her breathing steady and her voice upbeat. “Um, Jack? How does this wreck solve our space issues? We don’t need more room. At least not yet.”
He tangled his hand in her hair, wrapping the corkscrew curls around his finger. With a small tug on the strand, he pulled her gaze to his face. “You’re right. All we need is one more room for a nursery.” God, it was like a knife to the chest. He rubbed his thumb along her jaw. “I’m thinking about buying this and converting it to a new office for Kerrigan Construction. That will leave my home office for a baby’s room.”
She turned away from the hope in his eyes, avoiding the moment she had to tell him there was no rush.
About the Author:
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to ‘Dear Author’ were gratifying.
After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue a vocation as a romance author.
Social Media Links:
Also By Gemma Brocato:
Cooking Up Love
Hearts In Harmony
Exposed To Passion
Bed of Roses
A Winter Wedding
Playing for Love
If you’re anything like Jocelyn Gibson, the heroine of my Kensington release, Goddess, Awakened, sometimes the universe sends you signals you just can’t ignore. Such as:
- The old bed and breakfast you just bought gives off waves of wild energy.
- The lavender you plant, with which you plan to create specialty dishes for the inn, begin to attract the fae.
- The waitress at the diner in town turns into a demon, and suddenly wants you out of the picture – forever.
- The veterinarian you’re falling hopelessly in love with becomes confused by strange hauntings, becomes emotionally conflicted and oh yeah, now bears The Mark on his chest.
- Your grandmother tells you your unusual family history – that your ancestor is Iris, Goddess of the Rainbow, the bridge between mortals and the realm of the gods and goddesses.
But then, if you’re as perceptive as my heroine, you suspected all that already. Joss had long ignored her family heritage – her grandmother’s unusual skill with herbs, her aunt’s too-accurate tarot and palm readings, and her own childhood memories of fairies. But her past catches up to her once she buys an old Victorian, and the events that converge convince her that life as she knew it is gone, but at the same time, she’s come home.
Have you ever had an A-Ha moment like that in your life, when you knew things had changed irreversibly?
The Goddess Connection Book 1
by Cate Masters
With a little help from a goddess, battling evil is a piece of cake for Jocelyn Gibson.
A descendant of the goddess Iris, Jocelyn Gibson may have forgotten about the realm of magic, but it hasn’t forgotten her. When Eric Hendricks is targeted by a demon, Joss must step in to battle the evil and save the town’s awkward, but endearing, vet…who also happens to be the man she loves.
Joss’s new inn, a culinary career specializing in cooking with lavender and a new love all make for a fine recipe of disaster. She needs to embrace her inner goddess and harness the powers she never knew she had before it’s too late.
The Goddess Connection Book 1
Fantasy/paranormal romance novel
About 89,700 words
About the Author:
Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her dear hubby, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.
Direct link: http://youtu.be/_HZ2hb_wcz0
Mini excerpt for GODDESS, AWAKENED:
In starting her life over, Joss had expected some resistance, even some trouble, but not this. The bedroom floor boards trembled beneath her golden-slippered feet. Tendrils of an unseen power curled upward from deep within the ground, tingling through her toes. She paused to steady herself, then continued to put the finishing touches on her costume. The tremors grew into rumbles and their hum seeped beneath her skin. When their tiny wisps twined through her mind, she clenched her hands. Enough. Go away.
Thick as starlight on a clear summer’s eve, sweet as the lavender blossoms she had yet to plant, energy whooshed up through the cracks of the worn wood and out into the October night.
She gripped the bureau until it passed, the vibrations rolling over her in lessening waves. Bubbly, effervescent waves. “Third time tonight, Taz.” Each departure took longer, and more of the essence remained.
When the dog whined, she stroked his fur. “Don’t worry, it won’t hurt you.”
Even if tonight the waves were palpable enough to make her hairs stand on end. Oh, no, please.
Nothing could ruin tonight. More than a party, this event would determine her future. And after three years of grief, she’d never allow anything to trap her in its clutches again.
Thanks to Brynna for another fun 31 Days of Halloween! In honor of the spooky event, I’ve brought two treats to the Brynna’s blog—MYTH AND MAGIC, a novel of mystery and romantic suspense set during Halloween (on sale now for just $.99) and…a ghost.
Recently, my husband and I took a trip to Point Pleasant, West Virginia so I could conduct research for an upcoming series of novels I’ve set in the area. We stayed at the Historic Lowe Hotel. This is a very old four-story behemoth built in 1904.
I can’t begin to relay the mammoth scope of this place. With its long halls, old stairways, elaborate moldings and woodwork, there were times I felt like I stepped into the Overlook hotel in The Shining. Everything was furnished with antiques, and I do mean antiques. I opened the top drawer of the dresser and discovered a songbook from the 1920s, the pages yellowed and tattered. The second floor landing had a huge parlor with a piano, parlor benches, and chairs—this even before we ventured down the hallway to our room.
So where does the ghost fit in?
When I inquired why the hotel was billed as haunted (something I didn’t realize until our last night there), our host told us a phantom had been spotted occasionally on the third floor. Nothing much appeared to be known about this ghost, but there was a photograph someone had snapped hanging in the second floor hallway.
Our host told us the spirit was visible in the photo, so my husband and I checked it out. I wasn’t expecting a lot, but was surprised to see the image of a woman in the bottom right hand corner. I tried to grab a shot of it with my cell phone. Are you able to see the ghost?
I posted this same photo on my blog in July and it was amazed at the number of different entities people saw in this picture. Clearly there is a lot going on in the photograph. I’d love to know what you see.
But before you start contemplating apparitions, I’d like to take a moment to tell you about my Halloween-themed novel, MYTH AND MAGIC. It’s filled with Halloween happenings, pumpkins, hayrides, a mysterious house with an infamous past, and rumors of hauntings.
AS CHILDREN THEY PLAYED GAMES OF MYTH AND MAGIC…
Veronica Kent fell in love with Caith Breckwood when they were children. As a teenager, she was certain he was the man she was destined to marry. But a traumatic event from Caith’s past led him to fear a future together. He left Veronica, hoping to save her from a terrible fate. Twelve years later, Caith, now a P.I., is hired to investigate bizarre incidents at the secluded retreat Veronica manages. Returning to his hometown, Caith is forced to face his nightmares—and his feelings for the woman he’s always loved.
THEN ONE DAY THE MONSTERS BECAME REAL.
After the callous way Caith broke her heart, Veronica isn’t thrilled to see him again. But strange occurrences have taken a dangerous toll on business at Stone Willow Lodge. Forced to work together, Veronica discovers it isn’t ghostly apparitions that frighten her, but her passion for a man she has never forgotten. Or forgiven. Can two people with a tarnished past unearth a magical future?
And a short excerpt for your reading pleasure:
Veronica’s stomach clenched as a mixture of fear and dread skittered through her. The expression in her eyes must have betrayed her unease because Morgana took her by the arm and drew her aside. Across the hall, the caterer and florist were busily consulting with the head of Morgana’s household staff. Three workers wearing black shirts that proclaimed Ghosts & Ghouls, Inc. wheeled a life-sized coffin through the front door. Having attended a number of Morgana’s Halloween parties, Veronica knew trays would be fitted inside the open lid, bearing all manner of delectable treats.
“I know my son,” Morgana said, cutting through the noise and activity. “He’s stubborn, but he’s not stupid. He isn’t going anywhere, Veronica. He may not be willing to admit it, but he’s in love with you.”
“No.” She tried to draw away. “Don’t say that.”
“It’s the truth.”
She shook her head. “Caith’s terrified of love.”
“He’s terrified of loss.”
Veronica clamped her mouth shut. Morgana was right. Even if Caith wouldn’t admit it, she knew it was the defining emotion that had driven him all of his life. The reason he’d chosen a career designed to keep others safe, the reason he’d given his son another name, the reason he still couldn’t bring himself to visit Trask’s grave.
She wet her lips. “I have to see him.”
“Give him time first,” Morgana suggested. “Stuart said he was up all night working on the case. He’s barely slept and probably isn’t thinking clearly.” She smiled encouragingly, hooking her arm through Veronica’s. “You can stay and help me decide where the band should go. And the goblins. Did I mention we’re having roving goblins?”
Veronica managed a small smile. The Ghosts & Ghouls people were pushing a series of crates through the door. Tall ones, large ones, squat ones.
“Mrs. Breckwood,” a sandy-haired worker called. “Where would you like us to put the trolls?”
E-copies of MYTH AND MAGIC are on sale now for a limited time across all major online booksellers:
Mae Clair Bio
Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back. Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars.
Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with mystery and romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.
You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts: