Friday, June 30, 2017

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “Hearts in Ruin” by J. C. Conway

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome romance author, J. C. Conway, and an excerpt from the Romantic Suspense novel, “Hearts in Ruin.”

Everything Andrea has worked for is being threatened … and she’s not going to just stand still and take it! Passion, lies, and betrayal clash in the wake of a plot to destroy an ancient truth. You’ll love "Hearts In Ruin," a suspenseful romance from the pen of author J. C. Conway.

First Kiss Excerpt
Later in the evening, Daniel slipped out to the patio for a reprieve—just a few moments of peace. The wide balcony overlooked the east side of campus with the lights of town beyond, backed by the night shadows of the mesa.

“So there you are.”

He turned, startled. Andrea stepped into view, stunning in Pamela's dress. He'd seen her in it all evening, but not in the moonlight like this.

He struggled for composure. He hadn’t expected anyone to join him here, especially Andrea. She was a hit at the dinner, a fresh young woman, as smart as the stuffy regulars, but piercingly direct and good humored.

“Is everything all right?” he asked.

“Sure.” She stepped toward him. “Except my date ditched me.”

“I didn't think you needed me in there.”

Her eyes glinted. “So, you tired of the crowd?”

He laughed. She could not have nailed it much better. “Let's just say I've already been to enough functions of all kinds with this group to fill a lifetime.”

She stood next to him now at the railing and stared across the campus. “It's a pretty school.”

He shrugged. “It has its charms.”

A subtle hint of perfume mingled seamlessly with the desert breeze. Amazing. Most of the women inside seemed anxious to disguise or completely cover up the smell and feel of the dry desert environment. But Andrea, who had never lived in the climate or even visited the desert before, chose a fragrance that accepted it and even complimented its arid beauty.

“Not all fake Ivy League like the U,” she explained.

He smiled. “No. And if you have a thing for adobe and stucco, then you can really learn to love it.”

She turned, leaning back against the railing. “The people seem nice,” she ventured. “I don't really know why you left. Just because they didn't support the dig? It seems you could've worked it out with these folks.”

Daniel could not tear his gaze from her profile and the bare shoulders just touched by soft and inviting golden-brown hair. But he was held by more than that. All of her qualities were admirable. Not only was she fascinatingly attractive, and perhaps even in spite of it, she was brilliant and clear-minded, and she loved her work.

“They um…” Daniel's throat thickened, as if he were trying to talk underwater. There was something about her—something between them that transcended this project, he knew. He’d been avoiding it. He wanted no complications during the dig. But that was only part of the problem. The fact was, he didn’t want to draw her too far into his private quest. He couldn’t do that to her. Not now, not at this critical juncture with her career poised to launch. It was bad enough that she was the project leader, and he hoped she didn't have to explain that away the rest of her life after he finally published his findings. But why then, if he felt that way, did he recruit her? She was clearly in the running for a post at a good school. This project, once the controversy surfaced, was not a good stepping stone on that path. Did he really think if he kept her role limited that it could minimize the fallout to her career?

It had been different for him. He didn't work so hard for his opportunities. He had been young when he reached that point. Just eighteen, still a kid. He met Madeline and willingly abandoned most of the career courses Andrea should follow. He was committed to his project. He never saw it as a choice. But how could he lead Andrea down the same path—especially after she worked so hard for so many years to gain a solid foothold in academia?

Andrea’s brow furrowed with contemplation and she turned to him. “I think you should have just stuck to your guns here. They like you more than you know.”

He drew a breath. “Not all of them.”

She lowered her chin. “You're about as likeable as they get.”

He smiled, and without thinking, touched her hand. She didn’t retreat. The air warmed with electricity. A remnant of his rational mind searched for a response to her statement—a quip, a compliment, a rebuttal…anything. But the futile effort was overshadowed by the sharpening of his senses, an awakening triggered by her presence and warm touch.

“I uh…”

She turned to face him squarely. He touched her arm, feeling the impossible softness of her skin. Her hand touched his stomach and slid to his waist. Her expression shifted. Her eyes surveyed his face. Was she searching for resistance or its opposite? He didn't know. He wasn't sure he cared. But he could tell that this closeness was something they'd both thought about before.

The moment grew, nearly eclipsing all else. He knew in his mind and heart that if he didn’t embrace her now, the moment could vanish forever. His heart pounded. He did not weigh options. This was not a matter of choice. It was roaring compulsion. He leaned close. He felt the heat of Andrea’s cheek, her warm breath. Their lips brushed across each other. Daniel savored the soft pass once, twice, and then opening slightly more and connecting, pressing, tasting, and melding. His chest filled with fire. The world fell away. He reached around her, pulling her close. She nestled in, leaving no gap.

He felt no barrier between them. His lips touched her nose, her cheek, the crook of her neck. He returned to her lips and they tasted each other again. Andrea mewed. It felt right to be lost in her touch and her breath. Their chests heaved together. Their embrace softened. Daniel roamed the curve of her spine. She responded with equal, soft passion. He felt the release of a long, satisfied sigh.

They touched foreheads.

He smiled. She giggled lightly.

A rough, “Ahem,” broke the moment like shattered crystal. They weren't alone.

“Hearts in Ruin” is available through:

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “Once Upon A Duke” by Sandra Masters

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome romance author, Sandra Masters, and an excerpt from her Historical Romance novel, “Once Upon A Duke,” the first book in ‘The Duke’ series.

Serena, an artist and widow, has no desire for another husband. When she meets Geoffrey Austen, attraction sizzles to a scorch. Stolen days and nights ignite forbidden passion. Geoffrey asks Serena to be his mistress, but she wants commitment, love, and marriage, not an affair with a notorious rake.

Geoffrey realizes Serena might be the one woman who can care for his tortured soul, and maybe release his demons. The magic they shared is shattered when he learns she has been forced into an engagement with another. He vows to save her even at the cost of his own life.

First Kiss Excerpt

Lord Austen’s stance was presumptive with his feet wide apart, one hand held his riding crop at his hip. “I do not know which of us you mean.”
“Perhaps you will figure it out,” she flirted back.
Serena noted the twinkle in his blue eyes, as his full dimpled smile emerged. She had a sudden desire to touch that arrogant face. What was it about this man? Her gaze centered on a straight scar down his right cheek. It intrigued her.
“Allow me to explain,” Lord Austen laughed. “You see, I am considered quite unsuitable for marriage to most respectable ladies. My reputation precedes me, in part because I allow it. The rest is a fabrication of gossip I refuse to dispel.”
“You are a true rogue? Should I be worried? Are you good at your craft? I am told that a man with a rake’s soul can be a dangerous excitement.”
“So many questions, my lady, which require a thoughtful response. Let me say I have had no complaints.”
“It grieves me to wound you, but since I have not heard about you or your notoriety, could it be possible we do not travel in the same social circles? Should I swoon and fall at your feet? Perhaps I do not find you irresistible.”
Her stomach tightened when he strode toward her in lightning-fast motion. Her breath quickened. His arms uprooted her from the seat, his finger rested under her chin with just enough pressure to tilt it upward.
“Have you not been unattached long enough? Do you desire a man in your bed? If so, I could be persuaded.”
“Perhaps I am the one who needs persuasion.” Against the warning bell in her head, she opened to him when his lips claimed hers. Their tongues teased and the kiss lingered, laced with intimacy. Her body swayed, and made Serena aware of her heartbeat against his chest.
She traced the scar at his cheek, curious how he’d sustained such an injury. Perhaps her heated fingertips would erase the memory of pain to fade away. Serena knew too much about such marks. Her uncharacteristic response, in spite of her fear, confused her. His allure difficult to resist.
She embraced him, pressed her breasts against his chest and experienced a pleasurable frisson that warmed her, his spice and clove cologne an additional attraction. Serena again enjoyed how his mouth plundered and tasted her lips. His skillful tongue flicked in erotic foreplay, something she had heard of but never experienced. She quivered when he pulled his mouth from hers.
“My reckless lady, your kisses are the sweetest I have tasted. I must have more.” He again crushed her against him. Seeking. Tasting. Wanting. Taking. Demanding.
Lord Austen set her body afire as he explored, tantalized. An odd sensation stirred within her and caused a tingle in her lower body. Strange, to her it had no name, but it delighted.
He untied her hair ribbon, released the untamed dark curls that fell free against her shoulders. The red band lay unheeded on the pine-needled ground.
“I like you this way,” he whispered, his breath warm against her ear. “Do my lips satisfy your desire, my lady? You look wild and wanton, an eager beauty I must possess.”
“I am no man’s possession.”
She reeled from Lord Austen’s sensual assault. His blatant arousal pressed against her and rather than desire, it filled her with fear. His nearness too intimate. His touch too hot. His desire too obvious.
A sinful leer crossed his face. He took her hand and placed her palm against his hardened manhood. “This is the kind of rake I am.”
She yanked away from him, and sent a hard slap to his face. “You assume too much. I do not play this game.”
“I think you are well-practiced in such games, dear lady.”
“How dare you tarnish me so? You go too far.” She chastised herself for her role in fanning the flames, but she’d never admit it to him. Serena raised her chin in defiance, looked away, and pointed an accusing finger toward the fall of his breeches. “A mild flirtation does not cause that. I suggest you swim in the cool lake water to ease your discomfort.”
She reached for her large canvas bag of art supplies, marched straight to her horse, and attached the bag to the custom-made leather strap on her saddle. She mounted Sheba and reined her horse to face the man who stood with his mouth agape. “Do not visit this place again if I am here. This is not a request, Lord Austen. If you do not abide my wishes, I will report your transgression to my brother. Do I make myself clear?”
Lady Serena lightly touched her horse’s rump with her whip and cantered off without a backward glance.

Lord Austen rubbed his cheek, ran his finger down the welt that would soon bruise….He recalled the pleasure when her generous breasts pressed against his chest and he’d envisioned his body above hers. In his mind, he saw her writhe in ecstasy beneath him. She would beg him to make her his own.
Lord Austen closed his eyes and imagined the pleasure of touching her most intimately, inch by inch, and time and time again, until they were both exhausted and sated. He would wager she wouldn’t slap him then.
He mounted his stallion and gave another hearty laugh. “Solomon, I am tempted to place a bet in the White’s Club books that she will be mine by week’s end, perhaps even sooner. He guided his horse along the well-worn path to his host’s large manor house whistling a bawdy tune.

Once Upon A Duke” is available through:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Meet the Characters - An Interview with Sally from “Planting the Seeds of Love” by N. N. Light

Today we’re talking to Sally Rayton from the romantic novella, “Planting the Seeds of Love: A Novella,” by N. N. Light.

Mrs. N: It’s my great pleasure to introduce you to one of my favorite characters, Sally Rayton. She’s the leading lady in “Planting the Seeds of Love: A Novella.”

Sally: For Pete’s sake, you’re going to have them think I’m a celebrity, like Kristin Kreuk. I’m just a normal girl trying to figure out what I want to do with my life.

Mrs. N: This was your idea, Sally. Now’s not the time to be modest. These fine readers want to know more about you. *pauses to look down* Now then let’s start with the first question. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Sally: Hmm, I used to think that opening my own café in the city, away from the Rayton Farm and all the gossipers, was my idea of happiness.

Mrs. N: And now?

Sally: Now, I’m conflicted. I mean, on one hand I have Trevor and life with him in the city is perfect. We make the perfect couple and both have our sights set on becoming a success in the city. But then there’s Jack…

Mrs. N: Ah yes, Jack, the sexy boy next door who’s loved you since you were little.

Sally: *rolls eyes* You always bring that up. Yes, Jack’s my best friend and I guess he could be considered sexy, although I don’t see him that way.

Mrs. N: You don’t?

Sally: Well… maybe a little. *clears throat nervously* Can we move onto the next question?

Mrs. N: Sure… What is your greatest fear?

Sally: Oh, that’s easy, ending up like my sister. My sister got pregnant when she was fifteen, ran away from home with the Mayor’s son and hasn’t been heard of since.

Mrs. N: Why is that a fear of yours?

Sally: You should realize that since my sister was six years older than me, the gossipers reminded me on a daily basis what a disappointment she became and an embarrassment to the Rayton name. See, we’re one of the oldest families in the county and well-respected. But my sister messed up and people used her misfortune to make themselves feel better. I vowed when I was fifteen, I would NEVER allow people to talk that way about me.

Mrs. N: Good for you. You’re a strong woman and I admire that trait in you. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Sally: I hate liars. I’m a big girl. I’d much rather someone speaks the truth to me than lie. I guess I learned that from my grandfather. I remember when I was about six years old, I chased rabbits into the woods behind the barn. I knew I wasn’t allowed back there but I did it anyway. When it was time for supper, my grandfather asked me where I’d been. I lied and told him I was off playing in the wheat field. He scolded me for not only going back into the woods (which he saw from the barn window) but lying about it. “Never lie, Sally, especially to me. It’s the worst thing you can do.” I never forgot and adopted his view on lying.

Mrs. N: I already know the answer to this next question. What is your greatest extravagance?

Sally: Oooh, my books. I love books and have a nice collection of leather-bound classics. Trevor gave me a first-edition of one of my favorite books and it was the nicest birthday present I’ve ever received.

Mrs. N: How lovely. That must’ve cost him a pretty penny. First editions are expensive but even more so in hardcover.

Sally: I don’t know how much it cost but evidentially he thought I was worth it.

Mrs. N: No need to be defensive, dear. I was merely pointing out a fact.

Sally: I’m sorry, I’m a little touchy when it comes to money.

Mrs. N: It’s okay, I know how much Trevor means to you. Let’s move on to the last question. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Sally: *Laughs* You’ll think it’s funny but I’d love to come back as a bunny. They’re soft, fluffy and hop around the garden finding food to nibble on. Think Peter Cottontail, that’s me.

Mrs. N: *Laughs* Only it would be Sally Cottontail in your case. Thank you, Sally, for sitting down for a few moments and chatting with me.

Sally: It was my pleasure.

Mrs. N: If you’d like to find out more about this fascinating love triangle—Sally, Trevor and Jack—now is a great time to purchase “Planting the Seeds of Love: A Novella.” It’s $2.99, but the price will go up to $3.99 July 1st. If you are a subscriber to Kindle Unlimited, you can read for free!


Friday, June 23, 2017

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “Perfect Odds” by Lashanta Charles

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome romance author, Lashanta Charles, and an excerpt from her Contemporary Romance novel, “Perfect Odds,” part of the “All In For Love” Anthology.

When a jilted bride meets the man of her dreams, will she embrace the new plan, or cling stubbornly to the old one?

First Kiss Excerpt

I watch him as he pulls out a dessert with a golden brown crust and some ice cream. And then the smell hits me—peaches! He made me peach cobbler! He glances up at me with a smirk and I grin my ass off in response. I happily lose myself in the mouth-watering aroma of baked peaches and nutmeg, as well as the warmth finally lurking in those blue eyes. I wish I could say that it’s always there, but it isn’t. I want to be extremely cheesy and say that the coldness is only for others, but the truth is, that’s just him and these rare glimpses of warmth and heat that I get are just that – extremely rare. I’ll take it though.

Deft fingers grab a spoon and plop a dollop of ice cream on top of the cobbler, muscles stretching and flexing against his t-shirt as he moves. I barely resist the urge to touch him. That smirk still plays on his lips, so he knows the exact effect he has on me. Arrogant bastard. He picks the bowl up then moves closer to me. Placing the bowl on the counter, he turns and gripping my waist, lifts me onto the polished, white surface. Snatching up the bowl, he situates himself between my legs. I slide forward, leaving no room between his large frame and the cradle of my thighs. A devilish smirk appears on those full, sensuous lips of his.

“Taste,” he says as he holds a spoonful in front of my face.

I do as I’m told and my mouth experiences an explosion of ooey-gooey-delight. The warmth of the peaches and the thick, sugary glaze contrasts perfectly with the coolness of the ice cream. I can’t imagine a Georgia girl who loves any dessert more than peach cobbler, done right. I close my eyes on a moan and open my mouth for more after I swallow. He chuckles and places another spoonful in my mouth. Hearing the clatter of the spoon I open my eyes to see him carelessly tossing the bowl aside.

“Share, little dove,” he murmurs before his mouth crashes against mine.

“Always,” I moan and sweep my tongue into his mouth. The taste of him is captivating—sugary sweet with a hint of the whiskey he drank during dinner and something inherently Jayce. His hands grip low on the curve of my hips, fingertips digging into my ass. Our tongues glide against each other’s and wanting him closer I wrap my legs around his waist. He groans and grinds against me before slipping one hand up to the nape of my neck. Gripping a handful of my hair, he pulls, tilting my head to the side, allowing him to deepen the kiss. I revel in his ability to take control, never asking permission, just manipulating my body the way he wants in order to maximize the pleasure for us both. His teeth sink into my bottom lip forcing a low moan from me before he soothes the sting with his tongue.

I dig my heels into his back, wanting him closer still and before I realize it, we’re moving. He yanks on my hair again, pulling my head back and his lips lock onto my neck. He drags his teeth along the column of my neck and I fumble with the buttons on his shirt. I hear a door slam shut and then I’m enveloped in the softness of his bed. I don’t recall ever being this thoroughly kissed and lucky me, I also find out how insatiable he is in bed—remarkably so. Which isn’t a bad thing considering how good he is at that, too—supremely. That glimpse of arrogance he showed me yesterday was very well warranted.

“Perfect Odds” is part of the “All In For Love” and is available through:


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Meet the Characters - An Interview with Brooke from “Brooke Runs Away” by Carrie Padgett

Today we’re talking to Brook Richmond from the upcoming romantic novella, “Brooke Runs Away,” by Carrie Padgett. The book is scheduled for release this summer.

I like to sit with my characters and have a cup of coffee. Even their choice of coffee tells me a lot about them. Then I dive into some other questions.

So first up, Brooke Richmond, what kind of coffee can I get you? Or would you prefer tea?
I would love a cup of hot, black coffee. I’m from a German and Mennonite heritage, and we like our coffee the way our women are: strong and hardy.

How old are you and what is your relationship status?
I’m 28. Although some members of my family think I’m a spinster who should be rocking and knitting, I’ve been pretty happy to be single. I had one serious boyfriend back in high school, but we broke up when he went away to college and I stayed home in Harts Leap to take care of my mother who was dying of cancer. I’m dating a man now, and … I think it may be serious. We’ll see.

I’m sorry about your mom. And losing your boyfriend, too. Double heart break. Tell me about Harts Leap.
Thank you. *She smiles broadly* Harts Leap is a small tourist destination town in the Sierra Nevada, just outside Yosemite National Park. I’ve lived there all my life. My family has apple orchards, just down the hill, at a lower elevation. I’ve spent many hours picking and sorting fruit. Now I’m a second-grade teacher at Harts Leap Elementary school.

Name three of your favorite things.
*She lifts her coffee cup in a toast* Well, this is one for sure! Then my seven-year-old niece April. She’s my brother Jake’s daughter. We all live in the family ranch house that’s been handed down through the generations. My brothers are building me an apartment over the garage, so I’ll be living alone soon, but still close by. My sister-in-law … well, Anna likes a house run a certain way and it will just be easier on everyone if she and I don’t live together. So that’s two, right? Coffee and April. And I love waking up on a Saturday morning with nothing to do but read a great book, then go for a hike or bike ride.

Are you close to your family?
We are super close. Partly because I live with my brother and sister-in-law. And partly because all my brothers work together. I have four brothers. They run the orchards and the business now. My dad helps out, but he’s semi-retired. I adore my niece April. Did I mention April yet? She has blonde curls. Her permanent teeth are coming in, but they’re still all crooked and adorable.

Name three things that tick you off.
That’s easy. *Brooke leans closer and whispers* Anna knows how to push my buttons and it drives me crazy! *She relaxes against the chair again* And dishonesty of any kind really makes me angry. I don’t care if you don’t like me, just be honest about it. I respect that. And thirdly … anyone who insults my family or my hometown.

What was your first impression of Austin? How did you meet?
*Brooke sighs deeply* Well, my first impression was that he was slick and glossy. *She laughs* Because I saw him on a magazine cover! He was the next bachelor on that reality show, Date My Son! I thought he was good looking—I mean, hello?? Have you seen his dimples? —but in a far off, I’ll-never-meet-him kind of way. So I when I ended up on the dating show—completely by accident—I was blown away by how kind and genuine and transparent he is. Even surrounded by all those women wanting him to fall in love with them. Not to mention his mother tagging along on all the dates and having a say in who he kept on the show. It was crazy. But we laughed a lot together, and I think that made both of us more comfortable with each other, in spite of the cameras and all the reality drama.

That’s sweet! If you could go back in time, what one thing would you change in your life?
Wow, that’s tough. I’ve had two things I would change in a heartbeat, if I could. First, I would keep my sister close. She moved away and cut all ties with the family. I’d do everything I could to keep her in my life. And of course, I’d invent a cure for cancer so my mom would still be here.

Those are two very heavy things. I don’t blame you for wanting to change them. Now, on to something lighter. What is your favorite food?
I love a good, juicy burger. With cheddar cheese melting down the sides.

Now, I’m hungry. Thanks a bunch. And thanks for the coffee and chat, Brooke!

Watch for news about the pre-order link on Carrie’s blog and Facebook page 

Friday, June 16, 2017

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “One Night With a Duke” by Sandra Masters

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome Sandra Masters and an excerpt from her Historical Romance novel, “One Night With a Duke,” the fifth book in her Duke series.

Reclusive, cold as ice, the politically powerful Raven, Duke of Ravensmere, denies love after the tragic deaths of his duchess and baby. He is bound by his vow never to allow love to enter his heart again. Samantha Winston permits him to seek refuge in her carriage in a time of need, and what started as a kiss in the name of safety, becomes something more pleasurable and not so safe after all. In spite of every caution, his interest escalates into unexpected desire.

First Kiss Excerpt

The distraction had Raven cling to the walls that shadowed him. Raven moved carefully to the end of the alleyway to round the corner of Langham Place and another corner to Regent Street, which held a more fashionable row of homes. A few meters down the pavement, through the muddle, he spotted a carriage with lanterns lit. The street seemed deserted, but the men’s clamors a short distance behind sounded in the night hour. The desolate area offered a perfect opportunity for them to do damage if they caught up with him.

Raven cat-footed his way to the coach aware the coach driver stepped down to steady the horses. With the driver occupied, he opened the door, entered the carriage, closed it, and dropped on the brocade seat. A well-dressed woman seated there gasped. She held her reticule high, poised to strike him.

He gripped her arm. “Bravo,” he whispered, a grin curling his lips. Nonetheless, he kept his voice low to allay her fear. “I’m a gentleman in dire straits whose life is in danger. May I share your company for a moment? I will not harm you.” He removed his top hat, placed it and his cane on the shadowed opposite seat.

“You frightened me with your abrupt presence. Pray tell, sir, what are your intentions?”

Outside the coach driver’s voice pierced, “Git away, rowdies, or I’ll take my whip to ye. No need for trouble if ye leave.” One of the louts climbed on the conveyance, and it swayed.

Raven slid closer to the woman. She didn’t move, so he embraced her and placed his cheek against hers. “If you scream or shout, our lives will be in jeopardy.” He bent his head to capture the woman’s lips, pressing her against the seat. Raven sampled the sweet mint taste of her mouth. Her lemon fragrance pleased his senses, a rare combination of forbidden pleasure and danger that caused his groin to ache. He lingered in enjoyment. True, his lips held the kiss longer than the moment required. What started as a kiss in the name of safety became something more pleasurable—and not safe at all.

Raven placed his gloved finger to his mouth. “Shush.” The brunt of her shoe connected to his shin, and he held back the profane words he wished to say. “Place your arms around me now. Perhaps if we pretend to be lovers, they will leave us alone,” he whispered. He paused and spoke a word a duke would never utter. “Please.”

Her arms encircled him as she dropped her reticule to the floor. His broad back shielded her from outside harm should anyone attempt to enter. Her generous breasts against his chest had his blood surging through his veins until the sensation settled uncomfortably in his loins—a long ago forgotten desire. The naiveté in her kiss reminded him how jaded and bored he’d become. A delicious awareness invaded and reeled his senses. The touch of her hands to his hair tingled his scalp. Damnation, her fingers were magical. A purring moan escaped through her racing breath.

The ruffian peered through the curtained window and chuckled. “No one here ’cept some clod with his doxy,” the mob spokesman shouted and he jumped to the pavement. “Let’s move on to better pickin’s.” They surged away down the street.

Raven’s heartbeat pulsed at his temples, not from fear, but from potent desire. He broke the kiss for a moment and moved his body a whisper-breath away to better study her. He savored all he saw, as did his male parts. He moistened his suddenly dry lips. “I don’t hear voices, but it would be best to wait to make sure the mob has gone, my lady. Nor do I want to attract attention to your coach by my departure. It could place you in danger.”

“I’m sure it’s best to be cautious,” she said. “However, you should be aware, I don’t usually entertain strange men in my carriage. The driver has held the horses against the ruffians and the commotion. Explain yourself, or I will summon help.”

“My boot sheaths my knife, and my cane is also a sword. Have no fear. I would have kept you safe.”

She arched one brow in a challenge, and simply held his gaze. Her devastating smile ensnared him. “And who will protect me from you, sir, and the marvel of your rakish kisses?”

“Dear lady, I would guess we’d protect each other. The magic of your hands fingering my hair must have presented quite a lover’s sight. Wherever did you—”

“I read it in a penny novel. I presume it sufficed? I have limited experience in that regard.”

“Indeed.” His grin contradicted his serious tone.

“One Night With A Duke” is available through:

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “William, Mary & Percy: Passion in the Office” by Adam Mann

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome Adam Mann and an excerpt from his romantic short story, “William, Mary & Percy: Passion in the Office.”

William and Mary are effectively the accounting department in a property investment company (boring, but part of the story!). The Company is taken over, and they are asked to prepare a report so they work late into the evening, and then visit a local restaurant, but not really a date. Mary asks William to walk with her home as it is now dark, which he does, and is offered a bed for the night.

First Kiss Excerpt

She went out closing the door and I began to take off my clothes. I looked at the larger bed which had a duvet under the covering blanket, and began to get undressed. I looked outside and then nipped across to the bathroom. I came back and stripped down to my boxer shorts, and got into the bed. 

I had forgotten to turn off the lights but Mary came back into the room wearing just a nightgown, turned off the lights and got into the smaller bed.

We said goodnight, but about half an hour later I felt Mary climbing into the other side of the larger bed with me in it!

She had to touch me as the bed was too small not to, and I noticed the soft fabric of her nightgown as she snuggled up to me, and put her arms around me.

I turned to face her, and she kissed my chin. She smelt very feminine, without using any discernible perfume.

I put my arm on her waist, and then up to her back.

I was a bit startled as the back of her bra felt like canvas webbing through the soft nightie, but she snuggled up me again without saying a word.

I moved my hand to her bottom and found another canvas garment there, which was like a pair of knickers made from thick denim material.

“That’s my chastity belt,” she whispered. “Go to sleep,” she commanded.

William, Mary & Percy: Passion in the Office” is available through:

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Meet the Characters - An Interview with the 12th Earl of Claverlock from “If Wishes Were Earls” by Luanna Stewart

Today we’re talking to Edward Penhallion, the 12th Earl of Claverlock, from the historical romance, “If Wishes Were Earls,” by Luanna Stewart.

What is your relationship status?
I’m thrice widowed. Some busybodies in the neighbourhood are whispering that I’m cursed. Perhaps I am. Or perhaps I’m an idiot where women are concerned.

What is people’s first impression of you?
I’m sure they find me dour, disagreeable, and something of a hermit. For the most part they are correct. Few things amuse me, and I’m happiest left alone with my books.

Name three things that tick you off.
Rude people, interfering people, and willfully ignorant people. In short, most people of my acquaintance.

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
If the choice were up to me I’d have inscribed “Dead as a doornail.” As I’m sure you know, that is a phrase from Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part II. Unfortunately I’ll be departed from this world and unable to voice my preference. My heirs will no doubt choose something salubrious and maudlin, like “And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” Or, god help me, “Tears water our growth.” I’m confident there will be no tears shed at my funeral.

Now on to something lighter, what is your favourite drink?
Whisky and soda. Some days call for more of the former and less of the latter.

What is your favourite food?
I don’t have one but the day must start with coffee. Hot and strong. I’ve heard whispers amongst the servants that I’m a bear without my coffee. They’re not far wrong.

What would you most like to forget?
The past year and the disastrous marriage I contracted. I have few regrets but marrying Catherine is an enormous one. I’m doing my best to avoid contact with any and all eligible females because any relationship will just become a major cock-up.

Do you care about what others assume about you?
I don’t give a rat’s ass what others think of me. Most people of my acquaintance are small-minded idiots.

What is your most prized possession?
My house and all its memories and responsibilities. This land has been under my family’s stewardship for centuries and I’m determined to leave it better than I found it. Only one wing of the house is original – a fire took a good portion of the manor in the 1600’s. My grandfather built the back wing that houses the library. My father installed modern plumbing. I’ll be making improvements to the kitchens, otherwise I’ll have to endure continued sniping from Sinjun, my butler.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I’m a morning person otherwise I feel as though I’ve wasted half the day. There are fewer dark corners in which to hide secrets or misdeeds during the daylight hours.

IF WISHES WERE EARLS is available through:

Friday, June 9, 2017

First Kiss Friday – An Excerpt from “It Takes a Cat Burglar” by Cailin Briste

Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome Cailin Briste and an excerpt from her Romantic Suspense, Sci-fi romance novel, “It Takes a Cat Burglar: A Thief in Love Romance.”

When Darcelle Lebeau throws off the invisible chains that keep her bound to her family, she discovers a new vocation. Tempted to enter the illegal playground of a man she nicknames Matou, she becomes a cat burglar in training. Deeply ensnared with each task he entices her to fulfill, she fails to discover his identity and true intentions.

First Kiss Excerpt

“There’s a price for my services. It’s time for you to pay.”

Heat bloomed through Darcelle. What did he mean? Hadn’t she been serving him this whole time?

He rose and moved to stand behind her, placing his dexterous fingers on her shoulders and gently massaging her taut muscles. Head tipped to the side, she succumbed to his ministrations even though she ought to resist. Over the last year she’d dreamed of him seducing her, and now the man of her most erotic fantasies was rubbing his hands over her. A tremor coursed through her body.

He nuzzled soft lips against her check and whispered, “That’s better.”

Resistance had drained away. He clasped her hand and led her to a sofa. “Sit with me.”

Darcelle sat at one end of the sofa. A faint gasp fell from her lips when he positioned himself next to her, his thigh touching hers. She dropped her gaze to her russet, reddish-brown fingers engulfed in his warm beige hand. When he spoke, she looked once again into his eyes, her heart thudding.

“I’m an artist of sorts. A dilettante. I abhor that the wealthy keep so many of the universe’s masterpieces to themselves. I cannot change that, but I can recover works that have been stolen from venues open to the public.”

With one finger he brushed a trail from her temple to her jaw. “I rescue beautiful things.” A smile played along his lips, and he withdrew his hand.

“I need a partner. You.”

Darcelle’s mouth fell open. “What?”

He smirked. “I’d been looking for some time when I discovered you.”

One question moved through Darcelle’s mind like sludge. Discovered me? She was pulled back to the conversation when Matou squeezed her hand.

“You surpassed my expectations.”

“Did I?”

His gaze softened. “Yes. You’ve passed your initial training, but more will be required before we can work together. Once you’ve completed the next phase, you may decide whether to join me. If you choose to, you can leave now, and I will never contact you again.”

“What does the next phase involve?”

“You’ll be learning the rules I require of anyone who works with me. A series of tests will help me decide where to focus your training. Simulations will play an important part in preparing you to be under me. It shouldn’t take more than a month.”

Under him. Gods, she wanted to be under him. Had he meant what that word implied? Her nipples tingled. Stop it! This is your life. It’s more than getting laid.

Considerations raced through her mind. One more month and she could be done with this whole thing. Or not. What was another thirty days of cat burglary? Her clandestine adventures had offered the most fun she’d ever had. She didn’t want to quit. But could she handle going solo? She slid her gaze over Matou. He wasn’t just a handsome face. He was built like a sleek black panther, lean, muscular, and thrumming with lethal energy. What would it hurt to discover what this mortally alluring man had in store for her?

“I agree.”

Matou tipped his chin up and looked down at her. “Take time to think about it.”

“I’ve thought. I agree. But, you must allow me to continue to work. I can’t lose my job.”

He dropped his chin, his gaze blazing with heated satisfaction, and grinned wickedly at her. “I can arrange a leave of absence from the Institut for you. I will pay your usual salary while you are with me.”

“Okay.” The butterflies attacking her stomach were 20 percent apprehension, 75 percent anticipation, and a 5 percent dollop of good old-fashioned lust.

He picked up a packet from a side table and handed it to her. “Here is the knife you came for. You were to retrieve it first. In future, if you do not adhere to my instructions, you will be punished. Use your escape route to leave. I’ll dispose of your skin suit. You won’t need that shabby relic again.”
Her eyes widened. “This really was a burglary?”

“I wouldn’t waste your time or mine.” He rose, pulling her hand up with him and waiting for her to stand.

She was nearly his equal in height. He caught her with his pale green gaze, mesmerizing her. Could he see inside her? Read her mind? She was laid bare before him. Who she was and what she believed, everything was open for him to examine and to judge. Gods, she wanted to be worthy of him.

He leaned in and brushed his mouth across hers. Those artfully sculpted lips were touching her. She accepted the caress, her body both rigid and boneless at the same time.

He pulled away, and the loss was painful. She needed more.

“We need to leave, minou. You’ll be hearing from me.” When she didn’t move, he stepped beside her, placed his palm firmly on her bottom, and scooted her forward. “À la prochaine.”

Yes. She couldn’t wait until next time. She turned at the study door and looked back over her shoulder, but he was gone. Damn, he was quiet.

“It Takes a Cat Burglar” is available through: