31 October 2009

Happy Birthday Cecile



Happy birthday Cecile. I hope you’ve had, and are still having, a blast on your birthday with lots of family and friends who surround you this day! It is 5.45 AM as I am writing this post…very early for me but in your time zone you’re probably blowing out the candles on your birthday cake and another friend is toasting on your fun filled and wicked ways. I can relate to her...oh wait…it is me LOL In thought I am there, amidst all the party goers at your place toasting you, your upbeat personality and your innate wicked streak I so enjoy to share with you *grin*


You have had a month long celebration at your place All I Want And More and I loved to be a part of that! But if you think that was it…forget it. I have two specials for you on the menu, first is a very special birthday card I’ve been meaning to send out. A man for you to call your own on your birthday…enjoy him I would say:



And then there’s Jack Cole...




When I was contemplating my b-day gift for you I knew it was going to be a man who knows his way around the women. Let’s face it, you’re Mrs. Cecile Smutty Husssy and not satisfied with your average Joe *wink* So I was lurking among my own shelves and then he came to me…all confident swagger, smug grin and an air about him that said he knew when, how and what to do with a woman and he didn’t necessarily need a bedroom to show it to her.


Oh yes…I so had me a winner for Mrs. Cecile Smutty Husssy!

Jack wouldn’t be Jack if he didn’t have a question or two to ask you himself:

Jack: Have you ever wanted to put yourself in the hands of a man whose sole purpose is to give you pleasure?

And if so

Do you want a man to see inside you, all the way to your fantasies, the darkest ones you don’t even tell your friends about, and make every one come true?

If yes…Cecile, babe, I am so going to treat you right!!

I have got no clue if he has already arrived at your home but Cecile, I hope you have a blast on your birthday with everyone you hold dear. That this new year may bring you all you hope and dream for, that Jack can give you a little bit of wicked, and that we all can enjoy your place at All I Want And More.

Happy birthday Cecile!

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29 October 2009

Amanda McIntyre's UNFORGETTABLE Part four





Written with love, for Leontine ~ in gratitude to her voracious love of books!

Unforgettable


By


Amanda McIntyre

Inspired by Leontine’s hero description/Penned by Amanda McIntyre

*not for reprint unless by permission of author (2009)

Aidian tiptoed over the bodies strewn across the smoke covered battlefield. His mission two-fold--to feed and offer his mercy. Upon his arrival through the cords of time, he'd followed the scent of blood, finding the wounded that had no hope to recover. It was to him—as he drank freely, nourishing his body—that he was doing them a favor, putting them out of their agony. He crouched, ankle deep in the rice paddy, long reeds swaying around him, shielding him from view.


Remnant fires caused by mortar attacks burned bright in the distance. The occasional sound of machine guns erupted, causing him to pause, raise his head to the possible danger waiting until it was quiet again to finish feeding. In the distance, he heard the angry shouts of soldiers speaking in Vietnamese. In all the years, having seen so many wars first hand, it never failed to puzzle him that mortals were far more capable of snatching more life than were his people.

The moon shone through the smoky aftermath of mortar fire and he did not have to look at his hands to know they were covered in blood. He bent, swirling them in the rice paddy's murky water and heard a faint sound

"Help me," a raspy whisper came from the dense reeds to his right. Aidian listened carefully and honed in the voice, cautious of those that may yet have life and mistake him for the enemy. A well-placed bayonet could cause more problems than he needed. He sloshed through the water and stumbled onto dry land.

He found the boy laying in a blind of reeds, the full moon illuminating his features. His face was covered in dirt and blood, only his blue eyes shone in the surreal light. Aidian leaned down, his hunger appeased. "What can I do for you, boy?" he asked.

The young man struggled to breathe. Aidian saw the gash that was robbing the boy's lifeblood. He fought a primal urge to dip his head and gorge himself. The boy, likely no more than twenty, if that, reached for his breast pocket with a trembling hand.

"I need you to give this to my wife. She's back in London, still." He coughed spewing up blood. "We've just had our first born…a boy."

He handed Aidian a photograph. Cautiously, Aidian accepted it and glanced down at it. He had to be careful of interaction of the dying unless he was sure they had no more time left on this earth.

"Send it back to her. It's her and my boy, Samuel. The address is on the back. Could you please write for me that my last thoughts were of her and Sam. And too, that I love them both."

He grabbed my arm with amazing strength. "Please tell me that you'll do this, I beg you."

I covered his bloody hand and flipped over the picture, making sure the address was there as he'd said. "I can try," I said, not knowing how I was going to be able to manage the task, if by doing so I could somehow change the course of things to come.

He coughed again, his hand reaching wildly for me and then he stilled. I brushed my palm over his eyes, closing them and turned the photo to read the writing on the back.

"Hurry home, we love you, Leontine and the other handsome Cavanaugh in my life, Samuel."

***

It was a week until the library fundraiser. Aidian had spent hours pouring over his computer screen, searching ancestral links to every Cavanaugh from the mid-sixties to present day. What he found made his own existence pale in comparison. Samuel Cavanaugh had married a woman from Ireland and they lived in London for a time. They had three sons, one who became a missionary to South Africa and went missing, presumed dead. The second became a musician and taught at the University, the third traveled to the States to find his fame and fortune in the publishing business. Well known as both a writer and journalist, he married a young woman from Ireland here for a study abroad program through college….

In rapt fascination, Aidian followed the lineage, waiting for the building suspicion in his gut to be revealed. He clicked the next link and there was the confirmation he sought. He smiled, easing back into his chair and thought how the fates had shown him a path directly to her.

"Born on December twenty-first, in the year nineteen hundred and eighty one." Aidian took a sip of his Loch Dhu, savoring its slow burn down his throat. He licked his lips, not wasting a drop of the charred perfection. "A girl--Leontine Grace, born to Mr. Frederick S. and Anne Cavanaugh.

He looked at the photo that he'd taken liberty of making a copy of before he'd found an envelope and slipped it into the Army mailbag being flown out that night. Aidian lifted his glass as he looked at the young woman and her smiling son. "Thank you, Samuel. Well done."

Crowds bother him. But he'd dragged himself down off his mountain for the solitary chance that this Leontine was his Leontine. She might not know it yet, but a well placed jog to that part of her psyche involving past-life and he was positve she'd remember.

Aidian adjusted his collar, surprised by his nervousness.

"Scotch, neat, sir, " the bartender pushed the glass toward him.

Aidian lifted the glass and drained it, scanning the room again. She hadn't arrived, he would have known it. He had to give the city fathers credit for what they'd done to the ballroom encompassing nearly the entire floor above the library. New floorboards, some restoration wallpaper and a few pictures and the room was a visual transport back to the Victorian era, when the town was at its height with gold mining.

Aidian drew in a sharp breath as if a woman had touched him intimately.His gaze shot to the doublewide entrance of the room and he saw her-the woman who had plagued his immortal existence. His body's response was powerful. He turned to the barkeep. "Another one, and make it a double," he ordered. With a nod of thanks, he took the glass and swallowed the amber liquid in one gulp, closing his eyes to the slow burn searing his throat.

"I see you found a reason to join the land of the living, Mr. Macquire."

Aidian turned to face the feminine voice, steeling himself from taking her in his arms and kissing her senseless. "Miss Cavanaugh, I presume?" he offered his hand and upon taking hers, instead of shaking it, he brought it to his lips, pressing a kiss on her sweet flesh. It was not nearly enough and in fact, made him greedy for more—soon.

"Leontine Cavanaugh," she offered easing her hand away as she stared curiously at him.

"A beautiful Irish name for a beautiful Irish lady," he responded offering a brief courteous bow.

Her eyes, a lush green with gold and brown flecks, sparked with interest and it hit Aidian in the solar plexus.

"You are a lover of old things, then, Mr. Macguire?" she asked

He grinned, able to answer that with utmost clarity. "Indeed, Ms. Cavanaugh, you might say that I am both."

"Both?" she asked tipping her lovely head the side.

Her dark hair sprouted corkscrew tendrils that lay against her porcelain neck. He imagined his mouth nibbling there, his teeth scraping the scent from her skin. Aidian brought himself from his reverie. "Both a connoisseur of old things and a lover, Ms. Cavanaugh."

Her sumptuous mouth dropped slightly, recovering with a quick smile. "They told me you were blunt, but I had no idea of how much."

"I don't believe in wasting time, Ms. Cavanaugh. For the living, it is far too precious to fill with wasted jargon, dribbled words that but delay the inevitable."

Her eyes blinked as if digesting his sexual magic, like incense wafting from his aura to hers.

"You don't believe in the whole getting to know someone first idea?"

"There are some things that two people know without saying a word, Ms. Cavanaugh."

She drew her hand to the base of her throat, her eyes hesitant to look at his.

"Forgive me if my manner is out-of-line. It is rare to find beauty and intelligence in one tantalizing package." He made no pretense of letting her see how he assessed her. "A tantalizing package," he repeated demanding mentally that she look at him.

There was no doubt in his mind that before the night was through, she would be his and to his liking, this time it would be for all eternity.

She swallowed and he could almost taste her lips. "May I get you a drink?" he asked.

"Riesling," she answered.

Aidian put in her order and turned to find her staring at him. He felt confident that it wasn't the suit she was looking at. He gave her an easy smile, one that you'd give your lover across the room. One that held promise that tonight was going to be magical. "Riesling for the lady."

"Thank you, Mr. Macguire." She studied me and shook her head with a smile.

"What is it?" I asked.

"It's strange, but we've never met before, have we?"

Aidian battled with projecting to her mind the last time they were together. Their limbs entwined in a tangle of sheets, her body glistening in the candlelight, the grip of her fingers on his forearms as she arched her back towards him.

Aidian shoved his thoughts back to the present and noted the glazed look in Leontine's eyes—definitely arousal. He sucked in a breath and forced himself to think of other things. It would not do to have her unravel here in the midst of the charity crowd, better to wait in private.

"Would you care to dance?" he asked, lifting the glass from her hand before she answered.

"Oh, well, I suppose—"

He placed his hand on the small of her back and led her to the small dance floor, a fake parquet, that they'd placed in the middle of the room. Above it hung a brilliant chandelier, restored with new, delicate prisms that sparkled with a low effervescence. He took her in his arms, remembering how they once danced together at the local tavern. Then a raucous jig, tonight it was a slow forties tune—Unforgettable.

Her body swayed with mine and if she was uncomfortable with how tightly I held her, not wanting the song to end, she didn't comment. Aidian, breathed in the scent of her hair, her skin, a blend of exotic scents—jasmine, lavender and ylang ylang. It would be easy to dance her into the shadows and by the mere thought of it, transport her back to his bed where he would enjoy finding out how long that zipper was in the back of her low-cut gown.

"The wine must be doing strange things, Mr. Cavanaugh," she said. "I'm feeling a bit shaky. Do you mind if I sit down for a moment?"

"Of course. Perhaps outside on the balcony, where you can get some fresh air?"

She nodded and he was pleased when she curled her arm through his without a word and followed him outside.

The moon, high in the clear night sky, was at three-quarters and a gentle cool breeze blew down from the mountains, lending a near perfect ambience to Aidian's plans.

He ushered her to a stone bench and sat beside her as he stared up at the star-sprinkled sky. He would let her catch her breath before he took it away from her a second time.

"I don't know what happened," she said, her gaze flickering to his. "I hardly know you and yet I feel as though I've known you forever."

He studied her beautiful eyes and then dared to brush his knuckle beneath her chin, tilting it ever slightly to the perfect angle. "Funny that you should say that. I feel exactly the same."

"Is that odd?" she asked, still not taking her eyes from his.

"I prefer to think of it as fate, Leontine." I held her chin. "I don't want you to be frightened, but I want to kiss you."

"Why would that frighten me?" she asked quietly, her voice drifting. Already her mind was fertile to the truth.

"You will know soon and with this knowledge will come a choice that you must make." I leaned closer, my mouth hovering over hers, drinking in her essence, feeling her lifeblood heating with arousal.

The instant my mouth touched hers, the images of our first night together exploded with fury in my mind. She'd taken me to her cottage, speaking little in our hungry quest to satisfy carnal desire. She knew what I was, and wasn't afraid. On more than one occasion while in the throes of passion, I had to reign in my bloodlust to prevent myself from taking her soul by force.

No, she had to come willingly. She had to want a lifetime of my carnal worship. I took her body again and again that night, delighting in her sighs, her screams-satisfying my sexual appetite, ravenous after a 'season.'

Firelight shimmered on her body as I waited for her answer—the one word that would change her life forever, and turn my immortal hell to heavenly salvation.

***

Aidian nipped at Leontine's lip and watched the flutter of her eyelashes as the images seeped into her sub-conscious. "I'm waiting for your answer, my love" he whispered, slanting his mouth over hers again, withdrawing as she sought to deepen the kiss. His gut clenched when a soft cry came from her throat.

"I've waited so long… so long to find you." Aidian pressed his forehead to hers, the need in his loins growing desperate. He needed an answer soon. "Please Leontine, do not make me suffer this life of mine alone." He swore that deep inside he possessed a heart, though he knew it was impossible.

Leontine's chin lifted, her lips moving silently. He listened close, entering her mind, finding himself in the bedroom of her cottage long ago. He saw himself stretched out beside Leontine, his fingers tracing the delicate curve of her neck. She'd not given him an answer.

"Now," his Celtic lover whispered.

The soft sound of her voice, pulled Aidian back to the present. He searched her face. "Are you sure, Leontine?" he asked.

"I remember now." she said quietly."I have been looking for you."

Heat surged through his system and he smiled, his incisors lengthening. He targeted the spot on her neck, where her pulse throbbed with need. "Be sure," he gave her one final chance to refuse.

She tipped her head back, offering her slender neck. Aidian lowered his head, sinking his teeth into her delicate flesh, drawing in her arousal, taking it into his body and offering back with the mental image of what he planned to do with her for a lifetime. Her body trembled, tightening with need. His breathing came in short gasps as he drove her to the edge of immortality and completion.

Aidian held her tight, sucking deeply as she tumbled over the edge and he along with her.

Inside, the band played and he knew they would be coming to find her soon. He stood, swept her into his arms, and closed his eyes. Tonight he would take liberty of the ancient Celt magic he rarely had to use and turn back the hands of time, so that when she entered the ballroom again, it would be with him.

However, he glanced down at his beautiful Leontine resting peacefully in his arms and decided he first had a few thousand years to make up for.

Only the beginning...

~The End~

Website Amanda McIntyre

McIntyre's House Of Muse Blog

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27 October 2009

Amanda McIntyre's UNFORGETTABLE Part two





Written with love, for Leontine ~ in gratitude to her voracious love of books!

Unforgettable Part two
By
Amanda McIntyre

Inspired by Leontine’s hero description/Penned by Amanda McIntyre
*not for reprint unless by permission of author (2009)
She tipped her head and pinned him with a challenging look.


"Do you think that yer charm is enough to sweep me off my feet, dark one?"

"Dark one?" Aidian scoffed rearing back to look at her. His power over her hadn't worked? Damn and he was so close to scoring.

"Do I look like the type to go to bed with the first man that comes along?" She fisted her hands on her lovely hips.

Aidian glanced over his shoulder at the chap on the ground and made a tsking sound. "I sure hope not. They have laws against that where I come from."

She frowned and then looked him over, her gaze lingering in a couple of key spots along the way.

"Why should I?" she asked.

He blinked. "Why should you come home with me, you mean?" Aidian answered her question with one of his own.

"Aye, give me one good reason, why I should agree to let you take me to yer bed. Ye haven't told me yer given name."

"Aidian," he responded quickly. Her banter was doing strange things to him, arousing him.. It was a different style of foreplay, but he liked it.

"And milady can be assured that the one good thing I can offer you, will give you pleasure beyond your wildest dreams."

Her dark brow cocked. "A braggart are ye now?"

"Just the facts, ma'am," Aidian spoke in his best Jack Webb voice. She eyed me warily.

"And ye wouldn’t be trying any of that sucking malarkey on me now, would ye?"

"Not the kind you're thinking of, milady." He smiled taking her hand and let his lips linger on her delicate skin. "But I cannot lie and tell you that sucking will not be involved." Aidian felt the rapid rush of her pulse, signaling her arousal. Oh yes, they would be good together, he was growing more, and more convinced of it if the tightness in his jeans was any indication.

"All right then, just this once, then you'll be movin' on, I suspect."

But Aidian didn't move on. He returned night after night, except during the feeding season, sharing her bed and her life. On more than one occasion, he pleaded with her to let him make her immortal, so that they could be together forever. She gave him her body freely, but to the rest, she would not relinquish.

Aidian was pulled from his reverie buy a strange ringing in his ears. He realized that it was his phone. Who would be calling at this hour of the night?

He considered letting the answering machine pick it up. These days it was either tele-marketers or someone asking a donation for some benefit. Something moved him to the receiver and he picked it up, settling it casually on his ear. The moment he did, he sensed the woman on the other end. His sensitive hearing picked up the anxiety in her breathing.

He pushed aside the rush of need in his blood, blaming it on his previous thoughts. "Hello?"

"Is this a Mr. Macguire?"

Her voice, that tone—Aidian blinked, refocusing his efforts on the present. "It is and who might this be?"

"My name is Leontine Cavanaugh. Your name was given to me as a person who might be interested in the preservation of the old library in town."

He was not half as interested in the old building as he was in this woman. But if they came as a package, he was all ears. "I'm sorry, you said your name was—?"

"Leontine Cavanaugh," she responded rather succinctly, as if she hadn't the time to piss around with details. And that was fine with him in view of how his body was responding to the sound of her voice. In all of his days of wandering, there had only been one other woman by that name. It couldn't be coincidence.

"Is that Gaelic, Ms. Cavanaugh?" Aidian asked. He turned to face the picture window that gave a view of the sleepy little town below. Scattered in the pitch black of night was a sprinkling of miniature lights-evidence of the tiny community that existed at the base of his mountain. She was down there, somewhere, maybe in a hotel room seated on the edge of a bed.

A delicious throbbing caused him to shift his stance, bring his mind back from his torrid thoughts.

"Yes, I suppose it is, Mr. Macguire. Though I've never really looked into my heritage before. I've always meant to, but, well, I haven't found the time."

He sensed the regret in her voice. He sensed everything about her, much to the discomfort in his jeans. That would teach him not to go commando. "What is it you want from me, Ms. Cavanaugh?" he asked, praying she would invite him to her room. He ran his tongue over his teeth, flicking the sharpened edges of his elongated incisors. Other parts of his body were responding with the same enthusiasum.

"We would appreciate your support in a small gala fundraiser we're giving at the library in a few weeks."

He detected the gentle swallow that followed her query. Her anxiety fluttered over the wire. Could this be his Leontine? Finally, after all these years? He'd attended enough past-life sessions to understand the possibility existed. Hell, he was a living example of it. But without aid of the curse. Was it still possible?

He fought the urge to speak to her mentally, delve quietly into her subconscious, and see for himself if she remembered him.

"I don't usually appear socially, Ms. Cavanaugh. But I would be willing to make donation that you'd find most agreeable, to your cause."

"That is most generous of you, Mr. Macguire. Do you believe then in the preservation of our past?"

The question came out of left field. He offered a quiet chuckle. "You've no idea, Ms. Cavanaugh, just how much."

"You're a very interesting man, Mr. Macguire," she said softly.

"How is that that, Ms. Cavanugh?" There was something very erotic in the formality of their words. Eerily familiar, of an era gone by where addressing a man or woman in such a way was commonplace. Yes, stealing kisses beneath a willow, while the lady addressed you by your proper name, causes more than a man’s blood to rise.

"So few here in town know about you and yet, you are so generous in preserving what means most to them."

"I love books, Ms. Cavanaugh. Is that so unusual?"

"So, I understand. Based on your sizable contribution of books on ancient Celtic lore and Gaelic legends, I assume you have a deep love for the old country."

The hairs on the back of my neck bristled. "For a woman who has not researched her lineage, you sound almost wistful when you mention the old country."

Her gentle laugh stroked his frustrated mind.

"I suppose it’s one of those places one feels a kinship to, but for whatever reasons, you cannot get there. Have you ever felt that way, Mr. Macguire?"

"Many a time," I responded, my suspicions deepening that my Leontine's soul, was buried somewhere deep inside this woman. "Perhaps we could meet and discuss your plans for the library?"

"That sounds very nice, Mr. Macguire, but unfortunately our meeting will have to wait until the gala. I'm catching a flight out tonight. I have a brother in London who is getting married."

"London?"

"Aye, London."

"Excuse me?" I gripped the receiver, a breath from transporting myself to her side.

"Oh, I'm sorry. It slips out sometimes."

Aidian sucked in a deep breath, the muscle of his jaw ticking under the strain as he fought not to seduce her right then. It would be so easy. A simple willful thought and he could be there, taking the receiver from her hand, placing it in the cradle. He'd start first with the slow thrum at the base of her neck, just below her ear, still warm from the receiver. From there he'd peel away the blouse he was sure she wore under a business jacket—black, he guessed—with a pencil skirt that hugged her hips. He could almost hear the gentle rasp of the skirt sliding over her stockings at the insistence of his hands. And the sublime joy of finding old-fashioned black lace circling her thighs.

"Do you wear black stockings, Ms. Cavanugh?" he pried taking a precarious step in the direction of his thoughts.

There was a silence on the other end of the phone. He felt her pulse quicken, her body temperature rising steadily. Damn. Aidian steeled himself against the desire to work his mouth up those silky thighs and draw her stockings down with his teeth.

"Um, I think I should go, Mr. Macguire."

Her voice sounded uncertain. He'd maybe gone too far in asking about her stockings. "I'm sorry, Ms. Cavanaugh. I admit I am a pushover for a take-charge kind of woman."

She cleared her throat. He could almost envision her stiffening her shoulders and her resolve. She was backing away. "When will you be returning then from London?" he asked, scolding himself for trekking too far into her psyche.

"Not until the night of the gala, I'm afraid."

"Do you have a date for that evening?" He didn't think before he asked.

"You've decided to come?" She did not mask her surprise.

"If you will permit me to escort you, Ms. Cavanaugh."

"I don't know quite what to say, Mr. Macguire."

"Then simply say, yes, Ms. Cavanaugh. I am quite certain you will not be disappointed. I have been told that I am light on my feet."

"Very well, then." She said with a slight lilt in her voice. "I'll meet you at the library, two weeks from today."

"The pleasure will be mine, Ms. Cavanaugh."

"Leontine," she offered quietly.

"Aidian," he responded.

"How will I know you?"

"You needn't worry, Leontine. You will know me when you see me."


Website Amanda McIntyre

McIntyre's House Of Muse Blog

Buy TORTURED
Buy WINTER'S DESIRE


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26 October 2009

Amanda McIntyre's UNFORGETTABLE Part one




A while back Amanda McIntyre was on her blog tour for her release of TORTURED and I found her with a guest blog; Build Your Own Hero at Amy from Romance Book Wyrm. She asked us to describe our hero and the winner would not only receive a singed copy of TORTURED but Amanda would also write a short story featuring the winner's hero and the name of the winner. To my utter surprise and joy I was picked and this was my reaction and hero:

A dream hero huh...hhhmmmm let me think:

Build: 6'4 (I like ‘em tall) teal blue eyes, ebony wavy hair falling onto muscular shoulders. He has sensuous curved lips that hardly smile and a four o'clock shadow.


He is broad chest, tapered waste, long, strong legs and a tribal tattoo covering his right shoulder. His chest is dusted with hair in a V shape and trails down in a small line to disappear in his designer jeans. He doesn’t care all that much what he wears as longs as it is of the finest quality.


He is a take charge kind of man, sometimes bordering on Neanderthal behavior. He is confident, oozes enough stamina for men to step aside and women to be immediately drawn to him. He is smart, likes to live on the dangerous side but also enjoys to read the classics in his cabin. He is rough, tough but never forgets his family or his responsibilities.


He can wine and dine a woman as well as tear the panties of her and show the very reason why she is a woman. He is merciless in business but anonymously donates to local charity and whenever he gets tired of the whole world retreats in his cabin only he knows how to find. (Until I knock on that door of course)


He is a dangerous, thrilling, brooding but charming when he wants to and in love when he gives a devilish grin that tells a woman she is in wicked trouble.



Written with love, for Leontine ~ in gratitude to her voracious love of books!

Unforgettable part one
By
Amanda McIntyre

Inspired by Leontine’s hero description/Penned by Amanda McIntyre
*not for reprint unless by permission of author (2009)

Aidian stared into the flames. It had been years, no, centuries since he'd felt her body beneath his. Her dark brown hair--a tumble of sensuous curls--splayed across his pillow, her smile teasing, taunting him. Even now, he grew hard to think of the scent of her skin, the taste of her lips. He swallowed, tamping down his frustration. She plagued his thoughts and haunted his dreams as she'd done for an eternity. And he had more of the same torture to look forward to.

He dropped his book on the floor and leaned forward, fisting his hands over his knees. Reading before had been a good deterrent for him, giving his mind something else to think about, but after several years, he'd read and re-read all the classics. Most recently, he'd been forced to find other books, having to try mysteries, horror, even paranormal—though he had to chuckle at their world-building descriptions. Vampyre held his interest for a time, but soon they made him homesick for Carpathia, and hungry to feel Leontine's body writhing in perfect rhythm to his.

He'd immigrated to the Carpathian mountain region with his Celt parents when he was only a boy. It was in the deep, dark wood on a day meant for adolescent fun and adventure that would change who he was—forever. Never go into the woods alone, his mother had cautioned. He should have listened. Upon entering the winding path, it was not long before he became disoriented. When a storm blew in, he searched for shelter finding the small cottage of a dark haired woman. She offered him a roof, a warm blanket for his shoulders and in a moment of passion took his virginity and made him immortal.

He never returned home, but drifted from place to place and-- tutored by the secret society of Carpathian vampyres-- he learned how to survive.

It was several centuries later, when he ran across the real estate ad in a newspaper advertising this cabin, set high in the wooded mountains of upstate New York. The closest town was five miles away, down a steep winding curve that few ventured on a good day, fewer still on a bad. No, this was his mountain and few knew about him up here. He liked it that way. On the full moon, during the time of feeding, he could travel back and forth through time, without being disturbed.

Restless, Aidian stood and stretched his arms over his head. It was a little over a week to the full moon. He always got this way. Maybe he'd go work out or run down to see Oscar, his tattoo guy. Oscar was brilliant, completely eccentric, and off the wall, making Aidian suspicious if the human canvas of ink art had dabbled too much at one time in something more serious than the Clove gum he chewed incessantly.

Cloves and cinnamon. Leontine.

He was on a feed the night he found her…or rather, she'd found him.

He'd traveled back to Britannia, when the Celts still tended the land in reverence to Mother Earth.

The air sucked from his lungs as he raised his head. His eyes met hers. Unfortunately,what she saw was not a clean kill and the subject had struggled. She stood still, frozen. The basket she was carrying, fell to the ground. A single apple rolled to his knee and he picked it up. For a moment, he stared at it, blinking several times to bring his eyes back to their natural color. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

"Oh, by the goddess almighty, what evil thing have ye done?" she asked, her eyes wide, but not with fear.

Aidian stood, turning the fragrant fruit in his hand. "It's unfortunate that you came along when you did. In a few hours his body will be dust."

"Yer one of…them, then?" she asked looking up at him. "One of the night folk?"

Her tongue had a lilt that Aidian found titillating and he was curious to know what other skills it might possess. He shrugged, having just satiated his appetite, she was not in danger of becoming a meal. He licked his lips and eyed her voluptuous curves, she was however in great danger of winding up in his bed--and for a good long while if he had anything to say about it.

"You aren't afraid of me?" Aidian took a step toward her. His fingers curved around the apple, squeezing it gently, his gaze drifting a few inches below her chin.

Very nice.

She dropped to her knees, searching the ground frantically for something. He smiled. Unless she had a crucifix or long sword, maybe a stake nearby, it did not appear he was in eminent danger. Not that Aidian didn’t understand her concern--dead corpse notwithstanding, of course.

Without shoes, he stood six foot three, maybe four the last time he'd checked. His preferred clothing for a feed is black jeans, same color T-shirt and a well worn leather suit jacket—borrowed from a nice Italian fellow one evening in Paris, who wasn't going to need it anymore. Other than that, Aidian's eyes had returned to their natural teal blue color and his fangs retracted. He took another step closer, amused by her tenacious spirit. She had not screamed, not run at the sight of him hovering over a dead body. She knew what he was, and yet chose to remain.

Interesting.

"Stop, I say! Not another step closer, mind you. Ah, there 'tis." She grabbed for something behind her, scrambled to her feet, and shoved a long string of garlic in his face.

Aidian grimaced at its annoying and pungent odor, reticent to tell her that he'd traveled back in time to feed and that his body had over the years built up an immunity to garlic.

"Dunna come any closer."

"Right." He frowned. "About that." Aidian scratched my chin, realizing he hadn't shaved this morning in his haste to feed.

She shook it violently, little wisps of garlic skin floated to the ground like snow.

"I don't think I've ever met anyone like you."

"Then I'd just soon keep it that way, if it matters not to you."

"What if I said I wouldn't hurt you?"

She laughed and eyed him, nodding to the dead man on the ground.

"I admit that may taint things, but in truth, my word is my honor." He held out the apple to her. "And you can put that away, it doesn't have an effect on me."

Her storm-filled eyes flicked from the garlic strand back to him.

"Yer word, I have it then?"

There was a measure of fear in her eyes, but she was strong, this one. Her shoulders thrust back, chin held high, her focus squarely on him.

If she'd had a bow tied around her, she couldn't have been a greater gift to his weary soul.

She took the apple and lowered the garlic. Her breasts from his vantage point rose and fell gently as she tried to control her fear.

"I will not harm you, I swear." Aidian lifted a hand to her cheek, soft as a flower petal it was. Her beautiful eyes—the color of a lush forest—drifted shut, her cheek pressed into his palm. He smiled at how easily she surrendered to his power.

I want you in my bed this night. He spoke to her through his telepathy.

"Aye, milord, take me as you wish. I am yours," she spoke in her soft dream-like state.

It was far easier than he'd expected.

Her eyes looked up at him, and she gave him a sweet smile. Aidian took it as her invitation to begin their 'date,' and lowered his head to sample the mouth that had tempted him from the first moment he saw her.

Website Amanda McIntyre.

McIntyre's House Of Muse Blog

Buy TORTURED
Buy WINTER'S DESIRE

Leontine's Book Realm will post this short story in 5 blogposts:

Monday: Part one
Tuesday: Part two
Thursday: Part three

I hope you all enjoy the read!

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23 October 2009

Time Raider interview: Merline Lovelace





Buy a copy of The Protector ~here~
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Silhouette (November 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0373618220
ISBN-13: 978-0373618224

Blurb:

Danger. Max Brody's body tingles with it when he meets Cassandra Jones, the mission specialist with whom he'll jump back to seventh-century China. Petite and guarded, Cassie may look like someone who needs Max's protection, but her essence whispers to him of untamed talents that could destroy as easily as seduce. Yet Cassie's powers and passion, if properly awakened, might be their only safeguard. For amid the splendor and intrigue of the Imperial Court of Empress Wu Jao, they will confront a formidable enemy—and an unstoppable force of nature that's beyond their control….



Merlin Lovelace – The Person:

1. What was the highlight of your week?

Hmmm, this week it was getting the green light to drive again. I had back surgery a couple weeks ago and was starting to feel house bound!

2. Last movie you watched?

THE CHANGLING, starring Angelina Jolie. Incredible story.

3. If you could have one thing right now what would it be?

The thrill of typing THE END to the manuscript in progress!!! Every book is a grand adventure that turns into extremely hard work. I’m always so thrilled to type those two little words.

4. What is your favorite store?

The Apple store. I’ve been the proud owner of at least a half a dozen versions of a Mac since it first burst onto the scene in ’84. I thoroughly enjoy making DVDs of our travels and movie trailers for my books, so I’m always checking out the latest computers and software and assorted gadgets.

5. What is your favorite vacation spot?

Oh, boy, this one’s hard! I would have to say Positano, Italy, was the most romantic spot we ever spent time in and Cairo was the most thrilling historically. It’s right up there with Beijing and Paris as my favorite cities to get lost in.





Merlin Lovelace – author of The Protector:

Q 1 Leontine: What was the first thing that intrigued you in participating in the Time Raider series?

A Merline: I loved the idea of centering our stories around on powerful women in history.

Q 2 Leontine: What are the pros and cons of writing a series with multiple authors?

A Merline: It was all pro and no con for me. I was thrilled to participate in this project with such terrific authors as Lindsay McKenna, Cindy Dees and PC Cast. We had a ball brainstorming ideas and plots and really fed off each other’s enthusiasm. We also reviewed each other’s proposals and manuscripts to make sure we kept the continuity straight.

Q 3 Leontine: What is one of the best things about writing PNR?

A Merline: You can let your imagination run wild in Paranormal Romance. You’re not bound by rules of evidence or a certain locale or even logic. Aliens assume human form, people jump back in time, historical events take a diferent twist. It’s great fun.

Q 4 Leontine: What is THE PROTECTER about and who are the main protagonists?

A Merline: The heroine is a former air force weather officer with a unique – some say eerie -- ability to sense changes in atmospheric conditions. Because of that ability, she’s selected to go back to a period when the forces of nature dominate every aspect of life, from when crops are planted to the most propitious time to conduct a royal ceremony.

The hero has his own reasons for volunteering for this time jump. He understands the critical need to locate a piece of the medallion that could save Earth. He also wants to wring the truth from the heroine about the deadly accident that took the life of his best friend.

Q 5 Leontine: The Time Raider series is at the foundation about exploring time periods and inspirational female characters throughout history. Which historical figure inspired your novel in this series?

A Merline: Empress Wu Joa, who was the only woman to rule China in her own right. I read a bio about her years ago and was absolutely fascinated by her Machiavellian rise from concubine to Empress.

I have a personal interest in China, as well. I studied mandarin in college, was stationed in Taiwan as a young lieutenant, got married there, and honeymooned in Hong Kong. My husband and I recently spent some time in Beijing and beyond, which rekindled my admiration for the Chinese people and their rich history.

Q 6 Leontine: What was the greatest challenge in writing THE PROTECTOR?

A Merline: Well… Not everyone is as enthralled with Asian culture and history as I am, so I tried very hard not to go overboard with details. I also made the hero and heroine Outlanders. They go back in the guise of a Viking warrior delivering the gift of a slave/seer to the Chinese empress. Thus readers see events through their eyes.

Q 7 Leontine: What is your daily routine as an author?

A Merline: I’m a morning person, so I’m in my office Mon-Sat around 6 am. I usually write until early-afternoon, then go exercise. After that, I work edits or correspondence.

I try to take off a month or so between books to travel and recharge my batteries. I get most of my ideas for new books on these trips, which is why so many of my stories are set in exotic locations.



Q 8 Leontine: Can you give a small enticing excerpt from THE PROTECTOR?

Sure. Here’s the beginning of Chapter Two, where the heroine blinks awake after shooting thru time.

Get away from me!”

Shrieking, Cassie leaped back to escape the fearsome creature breathing down on her. She didn’t move fast enough. It butted her shoulder and sent her flying into a mound of slushy snow. Hideous black gums and giant yellow teeth followed her down.

Scuttling backward like an oversized crab, Cassie doubled her fist and swung with all her strength at the snapping jaws. The creature brayed in pain and jerked its head up. And up. And up. Its long neck writhed like a furry python. Its hooves beat the earth in a frantic retreat.

A camel, Cassie realized when she blinked away the snowflakes clinging to her lashes. It was a camel! Complete with tasseled bridle and saddle.

A gloved hand shot out of the swirling white and grabbed the skittering animal’s reins. Cassie followed the hand to an arm sleeved in rough wool. The sleeve led in turn to a wolf pelt draped over a set of broad shoulders, a bristling blond beard and a pair of eyes narrowed to slits under a flat-brimmed felt hat.

“Do you try to escape?”

“Huh?”

With a jerk of his chin, the stranger summoned an underling to take the camel’s reins.

“Be warned, slave. Try again to escape, and I swear by Thor’s hammer I will strip you naked and whip you to within an inch of your life.”

Cassie’s jaw dropped. That was Max under all those layers of beard and fur and wool. He’d made it! They both had!

Giddy with relief, she was still trying to assimilate that astounding fact when he grabbed her arm and hauled her to her feet.

“Hey! Back off, Brody.”

His grip tightened brutally. A warning glinted in his steely eyes.

“I am Brodai the Bold. Your master until I deliver you to the Empress of China, as I have been charged to do. You will address me with respect, slave, and speak in the tongues I have taught you.”

Ooooh-kay.

Cassie struggled to reset her mind to their new reality. She was astounded Max had made the transition before her. Then again, he hadn’t blinked awake to a gust of noxious camel exhaust.

She took a quick glance around to orient herself. It was late afternoon, she noted, close to dusk. Gray clouds obscured a sun sinking fast toward snow-covered mountains. The faint glow of the rising moon shone through the haze above another mountain peak.

Squinting through the snow, she saw she’d landed a short distance from a group of travelers. They were all bundled against the cold and swirling snow. Some wore coarse blankets across shoulders hunched under the weight of corded bundles or straw baskets. Others held onto the reins of pack animals or stood between the yokes of heavily laded carts. All were watching the by-play between Cassie and Max with varying degrees of interest.

Max played to the crowd by giving her arm a hard shake. “I will not tell you again, slave. You will address me with respect.”

All right, already! She got the message and assumed a sullen scowl. “Yes, master.”

“We travel thousands of leagues to reach this point,” he said in disgust, “and you fall from your saddle like a drunken Magyar.”

That was one way of explaining of their sudden drop into the 7th century, Cassie thought as she stamped her feet against the cold. A heavy cloak covered her from chin to knees. Beneath the cloak she wore a scratchy wool tunic, baggy pants and boots stuffed with straw. The pants, unfortunately, were soaked from her immersion in the icy slush. She twitched, trying to separate bare skin from clammy fabric, and glanced behind her. The massive castle looming out of the snow made her jaw sag.

Holy cow! Professor Carswell had delivered them right on target. They’d landed not twenty yards from the gates of the fortress guarding the mountain pass that led to China’s ancient capital.

The fortress was part of the Great Wall, which snaked across steep peaks and ridges for almost four thousand miles. Damned if the fortifications didn’t look every bit as formidable up close as they had in all the pictures Cassie had seen of them. She was squinting through the snow at the high, undulating walls on either side of the fortress when Max gave her arm another squeeze.

“Your duel with the camel drew the guard’s attention,” he muttered under his breath. “Keep your story straight.”

Her heart bumped at the sight of the heavy-set solider tramping toward them. Bundled up in quilted cotton, leather armor and a bronze breastplate, his wore a distinctly unfriendly expression under his conical helmet. The two soldiers trailing him hefted vicious looking pikes. Not the kind of men Cassie had planned on messing with ninety seconds into her mission.



Click here to go to the Time Raiders websire where many, many contest are being held with fabulous prizes: TIME RAIDERS


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21 October 2009

Guestblogging @ Cecile's place today. Topic: Man-Sandwich




I am guest blogging over at Cecile's today. I'm talking about Dean and Sam Winchester and how do you take your man-sandwich? Well erm...something like this I:




Check out the rest at Cecile's place with cake, cocktails and lots and lots of hussytalk!! Of course when going to a par-tay you bring a pressie...Cecile will be surprised at home with Jack Cole and I am not making her any wiser. I want her to experience this man first hand :)

But for the rest I have another surprise in store...who wouldn't want to watch Dean and Sam Winchester over and over and over again in SUPERNATURAL?? I would, that is why my pressie/giveaway will be:



So join me in some fine man-sandwich and SUPERNATURAL talk! The doors to the All I Want And More Lounge is as of now...open.

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20 October 2009

ARC Review: Ava Gray - Skin Game


~click here to buy a copy~
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley (November 3, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425231534
ISBN-13: 978-0425231531

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Main characters: Kyra Marie Beckwith & Reyes
Origin: ARC won on author's blog.

Cover Summary:

A beautiful fugitive—wanted dead or alive.

Kyra is a con woman and a particular kind of thief. She steals with a touch, but she only takes one thing: her target’s strongest skill. Which means she can be a fighter, an athlete, a musician, an artist—anything she wants… for a limited time. Heartbroken, she turns her gift toward avenging her father’s murder; with deadly patience, Kyra works her way into casino owner Gerard Serrano’s inner circle. After pulling off the ultimate con, she flees with his money and his pride.

A hit man who never misses the mark.

Reyes has nothing but his work. Pity for Kyra, he’s the best and mercy never sways him once he takes a job. He’s been hired to find out where Kyra hid the cash—and bring her back to face Serrano’s “justice.” Dead will do, if he can’t locate the loot. He’s never failed to complete a contract, but Kyra tempts him with her fierce heat and her outlaw heart. So Reyes has a hell of a choice: forsake his word or kill the woman he might love.



Kyra Marie Beckwith has been a con artist for as long as she can remember and she is good at it, very good. So when her father dies at the hand of a very powerful man she burns for revenge, and she gets it, big time. Only, to ruffle the feathers of a powerful man such as Gerard Serrano means he wants back what he considers his, and restore his pride at the same time.

To get what he wants Serrano hires the best man for the job to hunt her down, get his assets back, and bring Kyra along for him to deal with. The best man for that job is Porfirio Ten-Bears Reyes, a.k.a. Reyes, and he catches up with Kyra as she pulls a con in a small town bar. From there a road trip commences that becomes more dangerous with each passing day. Danger is something Reyes is used to dealing with, feeling increasingly more torn between his budding attraction for Kyra and his highly valued work ethics however is something new to him.

I heard many raving voices about the novels of Ava Gray’s alter ego; Ann Aguirre, and after a while I still had not read any of her work. It was the moment where I read a blogpost on this author’s blog that I took my chances in winning an ARC of Skin Game. I entered, and lo and behold I was one of the winners. I lost my Ava Gray cherry to the story of Kyra and Reyes and I am slowly descending from a romance high. Not only did she court me as a reader with well paced action, storytelling and sultry sensuality. Ava Gray introduced me to a set of characters who had me at their hello.

The instant Kyra and Reyes meet it is spontaneous combustion between them which doesn’t diminish in any way, shape or form throughout the story. There are some wonderful opposites; he is a health nut and she needs her junk food, he has learned his skills, she steals them from others. There are also some similarities, they both like rough love between the bed sheets, they are both very good in what they do and both do it for reasons that meet their own moral standards. From the get-go their personalities grabbed my attention, I instantly liked them and I just loved the quirks that went with these two.

If there is one thing I learned from my first experience with Ava Gray’s work it is that she is an author who knows how to bring compelling characters to life. It is a certain elemental magnetism emanating from the characters, whether friend or foe, that captivates me. The way they live, love, feel, fight, work through their inner turmoil’s, it all enriches and works with the other elements in this novel. The romance is what ensnared me so in Skin Game. Gray gave me such an in-depth portrayal of both Kyra and Reyes that I understood both their emotional triggers for their individual decisions.

Kyra is a bit paranoia at times, she is also fierce, sensual, intelligent, a bit pragmatic and comfortable in her own skin with her ability, though it often also has less desirable side effects. Reyes is lethally dangerous, virile, skilled, commanding, keeps himself unattached and is not expecting anything from anyone. Together they make the verbal sparring and body language sizzle through the pages and such a pleasure to read. At times their passion and feelings were raw and demanding and at other times it was caring and gentle and I just gobbled it up like it was my next Ben and Jerry’s fix.

I was immersed in their romance and for quite a while it felt the suspense factor was in a supportive role and almost subservient to the character/romance development of Reyes and Kyra. I got to meet Gerard Serrano who fills the bill for an unforgiving and cruel enemy and if there was one secondary character who profiled himself in Skin Game then it was Addison Foster. I still remember the page where all my red flags went up in utter want of finding out more about this character. He is neither fully good or bad but in a grey area that keeps me on edge what he will do. With highly intriguing aspects regarding Foster, Ava Gray created a man who has all the right character traits to become quite the dark tormented hero.

After a well paced build up of first time encounters, revealing conversations, passion, and growing trust something happens that shot my feelings straight in to a range of shock and raw intensity. From there the suspense had twists and turns and I almost got to feel pity for Serrano…almost. The only thing that had me puzzled at times was the paranormal factor in this book, because save from Kyra’s ability there is not much paranormal to be found. Okay two things had me puzzled; I also would’ve liked an explanation in how Kyra’s ability was canceled out with a certain person, now it just appears to be a convenient solution. Upon closing Skin Game I noticed I read this novel in the blink of an eye and this is largely due to Ava Gray’s writing style which effortlessly held my attention. An easy flowing style yet fraught with all the rich emotions from the characters and a good dose of suspense from the plot.

Ava Gray wined and dined me with the best elements I love in a novel; beguiling but flawed characters, high-voltage sensuality, great dialogues and a suspense that held my attention from cover to cover. Skin Game was an exhilarating way for me to lose my Ava Gray cherry!

Quote describing Reyes:

She’d remember a face like this, hard angles softened by a spill of midnight hair, and eyes so dark they seemed to drink the light – black pool’s with azure lightning in their depths. He had skin like old mahogany, weathered but lovely.

Quote Reyes:

“I disagree with Sartre, though. Hell is not other people. Hell is you, me, a romantic sky…and no condom.”



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19 October 2009

What ever happened to...



Cael? Sometimes the oddest question pop up in my mind at the oddest times. Yesterday (10/18/09) I was flipping through some folders when I stumbled upon my very first image folder. It is a chaotic mess in there but I also rediscovered above picture, which still makes me drool a little, and it is a profile pic of Dark-Hunter Cael at Kenyon's website. That got me thinking about him again. When I finished DARK SIDE OF THE MOON I craved the next in line for release to find out how Cael was doing. Oh man, the ending of DSOTM had such a huge cliff hanger concerning his character but Kenyon gave us nada, nothing, zilch with DEVIL MAY CRY. I can still pull my hairs out thinking about it.

Do you all still remember the scene where Ravyn knocked on Cael's door when he was going all at it with his wife...and who she was. A very hot moment with testosterone induced lash-out's going back and forth between Ravyn and Cael. All I can think of right now is if he will ever have a story of his own now that the Dark-Hunter world and storyline has progressed so much. I know Kenyon has a time and place for everything but it seems like she has forgotten about Cael. After DSOTM there is no mention of him, no mention of the repercussions of what he did, or how he fared after that.

I really hate it that I am able to forget about characters like Cael after a while. I have re-read a few Dark-Hunter novels but I always grab the ones up to Unleash The Night...for some reason I don't grab the novels after that. So it isn't like I am reminded of him during a re-read. Now, with seeing such great, hubba hubba, get-over-here, profile pictures I feel the love burning again for Cael and I want to know what will happen to him. With the Dark-Hunter world that has grown explosively the last 2 years many secondary characters have been brought to the stage...very enticing ones like; Jared, Jaden, the Dogs of War or what about the Dream-Hunter M'Adoc, he really interests me too. But what about the ones who were already on that stage?

With a world that seems populated by dozens of characters it is easy to forget those who are not mentioned again...until I stumble on such pictures again, wonder about the character it represented and feel a twinge of sadness that perhaps the fabulous build up of a storyline may never come to be explored. Here are a few juicy details to enjoy about Cael and make you remember:




Real Name Cael

Pronunciation Kale

Designation Dark-Hunter Daimon

Date of Birth 9/2/879

Height 6' 6"

Hair Color Black

Motto Fool me once... die with a vengeance.

Best Friend Amaranda

First Appearance #9 Dark Side of the Moon (Ravyn & Susan)

About Cael:
Born bastard to a village wash-woman and a local nobleman, Cael grew up relatively happily and found love early in his life. At least until his father decided to save himself by selling Cael, his wife, and Cael's mother's family to the Vikings as slaves. Only the Vikings didn't want slaves-- they wanted people to practice their fighting skills on. He was forced to watch as his entire family and his beloved wife were killed before his eyes.

Since that day, he's walked the earth bitter and alone. As ruthless as he is fierce, he's taken pride in exterminating any Daimon he can find. His only friend through the centuries has been Ravyn. At least until he found the one person who finally gave him a reason to live. The only problem is, she is the one person he can never have and they both know it. Being star-crossed has never been more tragic.

It has been ages since I visited Sherrilyn kenyon's forum boards so I have got no clue if additional info about Cael is out there, if you do know, hook me up with any and all links to the info!

If you want to read more about the characters, go to sherrilyn kenyon's new revamped website

PS: Sherrilyn Kenyon has told me via Twitter Cael is not forgotten! On the contrary, that certain events had to take place regarding Stryker so Cael has a shot to tell his own story. *woohooo*

Do you have a secondary character whose story you pine for but has not been written (yet)?

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16 October 2009

In memory of Kathleen Winsor my top 16 romance list



Quote Jessica from Racy Romance Reviews: On October 16, in honor of the birth date of Kathleen Winsor, author of Forever Amber, please consider posting your top 16 romance novels. Thanks to Maili for idea. If the thought of “all time” faves daunts you, just post what strikes you as 16 of your faves on that day — no commitment to keep the list in perpetuity.

I did a bit of pondering and would've added a few other authors on this list too like CL. Wilson, Elizabeth Vaughan and Anne Bishop but the HEA does not occur within one book so I didn't include them. So in honor of Kathleen Winsor and celebrate the romance on my shelves I present you with the list of my top 16:




I did my list alphabetically:

no. 1: Anna Campbell - CLAIMING THE COURTESAN. Anna is one of those authors who keep my fire burning for the historical romance genre.

no. 2: Kresley Cole - DARK NEEDS AT NIGHT'S EDGE. This was a five star read, the romance and passion where intrinsically build up with two multifaceted characters. I would've re-read the book instantly upon closing if I didn't have such a large TBR pile.

no. 3: Jude Deveraux - A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR. The ending of this book is much debated but 'I Believe' and with that, the ending worked for me. Deveraux was a must read in my teen age years. I still have my faves on the shelves.

no. 4: Jennifer Donnelly - THE TEA ROSE. I don't know how we came to talk about this book but Marissa had read it and recommended it to me. I'm so glad she did, one stormy weekend and this book was read from cover to cover, what a powerful romance that turned out to be and much more!

no. 5: Diana Gabaldon - THE OUTLANDER. I was still in my library phase when this book showed up on the new releases table. I took it, I read it and Jamie and Clare will live forever in my heart. What a trip!

no. 6: Julie Garwood - SAVING GRACE. Just like Deveraux, Garwood was one of those authors I devoured in my teenage years and the beautiful, tender and poised romance that swept me away to Scotland has never left my bookshelves.

no. 7: Sherrilyn Kenyon - UNLEASH THE NIGHT. I love the dark-hunters, I really do, but when I want to re-read a Kenyon novel it is either Unleash or Night Play. I love Wren and Marguerite together, tender but still wild and raw too.

no. 8: Elizabeth Lowell - FORBIDDEN. I love the medieval time period and Forbidden even has a dash of Pagan magic in it. I was completely in to Duncan and Amber and the only thing I regret is that Ambers brother never got his own story.

no. 9: Karen Moning - THE IMMORTAL HIGHLANDER. After my Moning week do I still have to explain why she is one of my favorite authors and why this books ranks so high on my romance list? Adam Black, the wicked evil Fae got his own romance with a HEA that screams to one and all; this is how a HEA should be.

no. 10: Nora Roberts - CAROLINA MOON. I discovered NR with Born in Fire/Ice & Shame and from that moment a love was born. I re-read all her books I got from that period but Carolina Moon is one of my all time favorites. Because two childhood friends never got the chance to be more than that and it tugged my heartstrings like no tomorrow.

no. 11: Paullina Simons - THE BRONZE HORSEMAN. After I read Jennifer Donnelly I heard the name Paullina Simons drop in the same sentence very often and i went in search why. With the discovery of The Bronze Horseman I was transported to WOII in Russia to absorb an epic romance.

no. 12: Nicholas Sparks - THE RESCUE. This is also an author I discovered mid-twenties and my sister gave a her copy of THE RESCUE when she emigrated to Ireland. I still thank my lucky stars because it turned out to be a life-like and emotion rich romance. From there I got to read THE NOTEBOOK & THE WEDDING, both equally compelling with that Sparks bittersweet that is hallmark for his writing.

no. 13: Lisa Valdez - PASSION. I remember a roadtrip with Pearl and the conversation about this author and her debut book. I bought, I read, and was blown away. Like Anna Campbell this author delivered a historical romance novel that kept my love burning for this genre.

no. 14: J.R. Ward - DARK LOVER. it was one fall, about two or was it three years back, that I got introduced to a group of warriors. I don't remember it all that well but I do remember is that I instantly fell for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. In little time I devoured the three released novels at that time and knew I had me another keeper. (<- edit self: I didn't want to imply I didn't remember the brothers all that well, because who can forget the introduction scene of their first meeting *thud*, I was referring to the time frame of two of three years!)

no. 15 & 16: Kathleen Woodiwiss - THE WOLF AND THE DOVE & A ROSE IN WINTER. Both novel have resided on my shelves for so long that i went from paperback issue to hardcover. Also an author I devoured in my teenage years and these two novels have been re-read to pieces, romance with a capital R!

Well, this concludes my top 16 list, if you have one up on your blog let me know, I always love to lurk at other peeps lists :)


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15 October 2009

Review: Lilli Feisty - Bound To Please

~click here to buy a copy~
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Forever (May 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446541923
ISBN-13: 978-0446541923

Genre: Erotica
book origin; personal library
main players: Mark St. Crow & Ruby Scott

Summary:

FROM FANTASY TO ECSTASY

Ruby Scott is a beautiful, quiet event planner who leads an oh-so-respectable life. Yet the things that go on in her secret fantasies are anything but. She has every intention of keeping her hidden desires under wraps-until she meets a gorgeous, hard-muscled man ten years her junior. Mark St. Crow is a gifted, up-and-coming musician who collects erotic art and loves to "play" women as much as his piano. After one night of uninhibited passion, Ruby realizes there's no turning back. But as she surrenders to her deepest needs and lets Mark control every forbidden thrill, her passion for him builds. Can the wild, intoxicating nights they share lead to a love that will last forever?


Photo’s that should have never seen the inside of a gallery accidently do and with it Ruby Scott, event planner and average woman, gets recognized by an up-and-coming musician, Mark St. Crow. The instant simmering attraction pulls at both their wants and needs which reach a shocking pinnacle that night for Ruby.

Ruby promised herself one night with this ladies’ man, one night of bound pleasure and in the morning a casual goodbye. But nobody dismisses a Mark St. Crow like that…
If there is one topic that can always rock my boat than it is BDSM or D/s. I love the detailed care and the strong will of a Dominant opposite the eventual surrender of the submissive discovering her own power in the submission. This exchange is highly sensual but also very intense, emotional and very confronting for each who endeavors in this scene. There was much I enjoyed in Bound To Please but I also have a critical note in that Mark St. Crow did not work completely for me as a Dominant or Ruby Scott as a submissive.

Mark is all a great leading male should be; talented in what he does, vigorous, lean and muscular, a jeans and leather clad body, and a persona with a troubled past. The image evoked by Lilli Feisty is one that I gobbled up in the beginning. That of the musician breaking through, a man who works hard but also pursues his pleasures. I liked him as a man but his actions didn’t always seem to be that of a Dominant. He ultimately allows Ruby numerous actions that doesn’t give a clear D/s signal, he blushes after a comment on their ages and even in the end they do something that is a big no no for me in the D/s storyline. The choice of Mark and Ruby is motivated only I have trouble believing a true Dominant and submissive can change their nature like that. At times the D/s scenes felt rushed and in a grey area completing my confusion as how to perceive their growing relationship.

Ruby Scott is in her late thirties, with all the insecurities and doubt that come along at that age and in that she is the kind of woman who is recognizable for many female readers. Ruby is empowering her own sexuality by trying to accept her own sexual needs. In that regard Mark instantly understands those needs and while she will not allow the relationship to blossom in to something serious, she is more than willing to explore what he is giving her.

Of course there are commitment issues, the struggles in how to deal with the pain of the past and how to make it work as a couple with separate careers. The music is playing a key part in it and makes the struggles of both Mark and Ruby believable as it connects them on a certain level of intimacy or fear thereof. It deepens the meaning of the erotic side in their story and ignites the more romantic feelings.

I had my issues with the D/s element in Bound To Please but as an erotica romance as a whole it was a very enjoyable read. Certain scenes were refreshing to read; if only to think of the strawberry dessert in a fancy restaurant, a fetish party, a jasmine vine to be bound with. Or Meg, the friend of Ruby, who had her own sexual issues with her husband and where the solution is one I do not often encounter. The erotically-charged vibe in this story has hit the right note if you want various naughty games and venues concerning both the central couple as well as with a solid developed supporting cast. Combine it with the smooth, easy to read writing style of Lilli Feisty and you read the chapters as though it were your favorite candy, one right after the other.

Save my critical note I can tell you that from all sides Bound To Please is a rounded erotic romance that will deliver on a pleasurable read!

Quote Ruby:
When he looked at her like that, like he owned her, her insides quivered. She got wet, she got off on it. And fuck it, at this point she couldn’t deny him anything.


Click here to read Fiction Vixen's review on this novel!


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13 October 2009

Cover Discovery: Sarah McCarty - Wild Instincts




Wild Instinct

ISBN-10# 0425227618
ISBN-13#978-0425227619
Book #4-6 in the WIld series.
Publication Date: December 2009

website author

Three desperate women, hunted and on the run, bring out the animal instincts in the males who promise them more than just rescue...


Garrett-Shunned by werewolf society because of his human blood, he's been promised pack status in return for saving three women from doom.

Daire-A powerful rogue who rejected the strict rules of werewolf society, he was resigned to never finding a mate. Then he joins forces on an unusual rescue mission, saving the woman of his dreams.

Curran-His job is simple: find the fugitive were-woman. Trapping his bounty has never been a problem, yet this time his prey is a haunting woman possessing terrible secrets-and lush sensuality.


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12 October 2009

Review: Anne Bishop - Dreams Made Flesh


~click here to buy a copy~
Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages

Publisher: Roc (February 7, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451460707
ISBN-13: 978-0451460707

Summary:

Jaenelle is the most powerful Witch ever known, centuries of hopes and dreams made flesh at last. She has forged ties with three of the realm's mightiest Blood warriors: Saetan, the High Lord of Hell, who trains Jaenelle in magic and adopts her as his daughter; Lucivar, the winged Eyrien Warlord who becomes her protector; and the near-immortal Daemon, born to be Witch's lover. Jaenelle has assumed her rightful place as Queen of the Darkness and restored order and peace to the realms... but at a terrible cost.

Collected here are the beguiling stories about the origin of the mystical Jewels, the forbidden passion between Lucivar and a simple hearth witch, the clash between Saetan and a Priestess, and the choice Jaenelle must make between her magic and happiness with Daemon....


!!Warning: For some readers this review might contain spoilers!!


With four short stories Anne Bishop treats the reader on a delectable return of her Black Jewel world.

No 1: Weaver Of Dreams

No 2: The prince of Ebon Rih ~ Lucivar: 4 stars

No 3: Zuulaman ~ Saetan: 4 stars

No 4: Kaeleer’s Heart ~ Daemon and Jaenelle: 4,5 stars

Dreams Made Flesh is a bundle of stories that will only makes sense if you have read The Black Jewel trilogy. It is an elaboration of mainly the Queen Of The Darkness entry and it refers to certain occurrences or expands the existing storylines within said novel.

Weaver Of Dreams is just a sweet chapter of weaving webs, speaking of the origin of the Jewels and is nine pages long. The Jewels are such an intricate part of the Black Jewel world that it was nice to discover its birth. I will not give it stars, it was just a lovely introduction.

~

Now with the story; The Prince of Ebon Rih I surrendered to the urge and sank my teeth in it wholeheartedly because I immediately new it was going to be the love story of Lucivar and Marian. Something that was skipped in Queen Of The Darkness. Since I already felt very connected to Lucivar I had the best of times reading how he fell in love. Lucivar is an Eyrien who is rough around the edges and rather has his actions speak for him then anything else. Now he is falling for a hearth witch and has no clue how to court her.

Marian is a rose jeweled hearth witch, common, mediocre in her opinion…nothing special. Until a faithful event crosses her path with Jaenelle. This is how she ends up with Lucivar, he has to have a housekeeper who will not only manage his home, but also keep all the persistent women at bay.

The story begins with Lucivar looking about his lands stark naked and the vision swimming in front of my eyes was one of stunning male vigor. Anne Bishop has moments in her stories where she can describe a male to perfection, not only his appearance but also his nature, his gestures and attitude. She allows them to come alive for the reader, each character is distinct from the other and adds a wealth to a story.

Whenever Lucivar wants to make an advance on Marian it doesn’t turn out the way he thought it would. It is a combination of personalities, of expectations and yes, even is this world men can come from Mars as women can come from Venus. Still, when Marian and Lucivar are in sync with each other it is saturated with romance, undiluted, powerful and it was downright satisfying from start to finish.

Infuse it with a sub plotline of a jealous woman who wants Lucivar all to her own and some familiar secondary characters like Saetan and Jaenelle to have it result in a beguiling addition to the overall story of Lucivar.

The Prince Of Ebon Rih is Lucivar to the core and Marian completes his journey from his first appearance in Daughter Of Blood. A true fairytale happily ever after for Lucivar!

~

While I was still riding the wave of romance I got to meet Saetan again and he was dealing with a representative of Zuulaman, something that was referred to in QotD but was never explained. With Zuulaman I got that explanation. Saetan is married to Hekatah and she is pregnant with his son when she tries to get her way in a matter regarding another loan for her family.

This is a story of 142 pages and shorter than either Lucivar or Daemon’s story but what an impact it created. I got to witness the endearing side again of Saetan but I also was acquainted with the dark side of him as it was triggered by something that pulled on all my heartstrings.

The experience of his two sides was a stark contrast and still it was very much Saetan all the way. I know how endearing he can be, if only to think how he reacts to Jaenelle and her friends, who all lovingly call him “Uncle Saetan”. The events as unfolded in Zuulaman is Anne Bishop’s storytelling at its best. It holds such beauty my heart leaps in response to all the joy it entails, yet I also get to feel the darkest of the darkest which was answered with despair.

If I didn’t already love Saetan as one of the key characters in the Black Jewel trilogy he definitely made me fall head over heels with him now. He is a mesmerizing character of fierce love, loyalty and devastating powers.

~

The shock was still rippling through me and yet I couldn’t get enough of the stories that added new layers to what I had already read in previous entries. Kealeer’s Heart was my most anticipated story, since reading the end in QotD I was more than ready for a continuance and deepening of Daemon and Jaenelle’s romance.

Jaenelle has to recover from events partaking in the novel QotD and has many in her former first Court worried about her with Daemon leading the bunch. The worry, the concern, it builds a rift between Daemon and Jaenelle and until they reveal their most inner desires Kaeleer’s Heart will not be complete.

Daemon is the victim of a gossip campaign and though he is willing to let it slide by that same willingness is turned into a killing-edge when Jaenelle is with him during an attack. “The son is a mirror of the father”, this only should warn everyone not to mess with Daemon. So when someone wants to play a high-stake game with Daemon, be prepared to dance with The Sadist!

How I reveled in reading this story! The romance erupted in all its colors and filled the pages with a story so precious I read it in one sitting. It is a tale of coming to terms with the changes, accepting and adapting with all the love one possesses to create a future only dreams are made of. 

In various degrees every facet of Kaeleer’s Heart spoke to me. From Jaenelle who is more humanized in this tale to Surreal who has her own stuff to deal with, to Daemon whose sole purpose is to love the woman he was born to be with. Another small plotline is linked to Lucivar’s tale and sets this story ablaze with all that I’ve come to treasure from Jeanelle and Daemon but also Anne Bishop’s writing style. A wealth in imaginative writing with at moment’s lyrical prose, colored by every emotion imaginable and characters who become so near and dear to the reader with every novel read.

Kaeleer’s Heart is a sublime ending to Daemon and Jaenelle’s romance story. I can only hope that I get a glimpse of them in future novels still waiting to be read in this world setting.

~

Dreams Made Flesh gave me the opportunity to explore the depths of various storylines and ties up loose ends regarding the trilogy. Though I am not a fan of anthologies this one definitely gave me a well rounded and well versed read. The stories are 9 – 211– 42 and a 160 pages long but they build onto something that is already intrinsically worked out. Namely, the realms and characters of the Black Jewel world, and each tale contains something priceless to lend to their individual storylines, especially the last three! I am aware that this collection of stories will not hold as much significance to a first time reader as to the Black Jewel lover so I can only recommend Dreams Made Flesh when you have read the original trilogy.

From the heart I can say that Dreams Made Flesh is a smorgasbord of romance and fantasy set in the Black Jewel world. With each entry in this series I treasure it more and more, the original trilogy will be the epicenter but so far every linked novel emanates the sheer beauty of Anne Bishop’s writing and imagination.

Quote describing Daemon:

He had the light brown skin, black hair, and golden eyes that were common to the long-lived races. But his face was beautiful rather than handsome and left women breathless; his deep, cultured voice with its sexual edge could cause a pulse to race; and his body trim, toned and full of feline grace, made women, and more than one man, crave him. He was seduction in motion, a promise of pleasure to the woman who held his affection and loyalty – and a promise of pain to everyone else who thought to use him in bed.

Quote Jaenelle to Daemon:

“What does this ring mean Daemon?”

“My promise to honor, cherish, and protect.”


Quote Saetan about Jaenelle:

It was as if she were dancing on webs of power, and the threads she plucked shone the brightest.



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