Posts tagged with: paranormal romance

She Said….

“This just doesn’t seem right.”

The three BB’s spared him a glance over their shoulders as they dragged Paolo by the wrist down the fifth hall from the left. Crazy women, Paolo grumbled to himself. Didn’t they know The Lair was like one of those magical mazes? You could be in here for years before you find the right portal. Cassondra had insisted on that layer of protection and it was only by the grace of Suz who liked her margharita’s fresh and frozen that all the cabana boys and gladiators had GPS bands on their wrists.

door  “We have to see what’s going on,” replied the lead BB.

Paolo screwed up his face. They’d managed to keep their faces in shadow or profile, so he    hadn’t been able to decide who they were. One had the tone of a school teacher and a definite Iowa accent. He wanted to test that theory but had refrained from shouting “Butter Sculpture Cow” in case he was wrong.  Another one was without a doubt an Aussie. She kept calling him a little “joey” and the scent of Tim Tam’s and Lindt chocolate candy swirled around her like an exotic perfume. His stomach growled.

The third? Well, he wasn’t certain, but he’d caught a glimpse of her sweater redolent with pretty kitty pictures. He gave her wide berth as she seemed the more determined one.

But, they could all be Avatars. BB’s were sneaky like that.

“Here,” said the Aussie. “I think it’s this one.”

They’d stopped in front of a large oaken door, similar to the one they’d just eavesdropped at. Paolo was shuffled in front of them.

“Touch it,” commanded the teacher in her best ‘you’ll get detention if you don’t’ voice.

“Why me?” he stammered. I mean this might be the correct one. After all, there was Irish music drifting from behind it, but the doors in The Lair were tricky. It could just as well be one rigged by the RS girls, Jeanne or Nancy. He did NOT want to go BOOM.

“Do it” the three said in unison.

Paolo licked his dry lips, closed his eyes and spread his palm on the wood. The shimmer came in brilliant, rainbow colors. Despite himself, he leaned forward to take in the scene.

“Himself will just have to deal with it.” The woman on the stool raised up from adjusting the strings on her hard shoes and pushed her thick fall of hair  out of her face. “Now I’ll start from the third beat.”

“Ye’ll start with taking a longer break,” replied a petite girl with short, spiked hair. She was brushing out Shannon’s dancing dress, a gift from the Leithprachaun High King. He’d tried to say that it was from his brother, Brady but Shannon knew that to be a lie. Brady was determined that she not participate in this competition.dressIrish

She sucked in a shaky breath. But she had no choice, did she? It was dance. Dance and win to gain Brady all he’d ever wanted.

To save his life.

And her own, if truth be told. She’d be a broken soul, more broken than she’d before meeting Brady Sullivan.  Crippled by an auto accident, her dancing career gone, her hopes for happiness shattered into a thousand pieces, the sexy, dark man had pulled her from the abyss. That he ended up being a magical, Irish warrior0 only added to the wonder of it all. And the danger.

“I don’t like it, Shan. Yer not back to 100% ” Siobahan, her assistant and friend shook out the dress. Royal purple shot through with platinum threads,  it would mold to Shannon’s body like a second skin save for the flared skirt. The cape was intricately embroidered with the same adding in peacock blue, forest green and gold. The designs were ancient, Patric had said, and would provide protection. Shannon swallowed. She’d be needing it.

She stood and went through the steps, biting back the grimace the pain from her injured leg caused. Brady’s sister had tried to heal it and it was better but would it be enough?

“Maybe a simpler dance?” suggested Siobahan. “A slip jig or a reel?”

Shannon hopped and skipped, her arms straight as arrows. “The requirement is The Dance of the Faire King. I don’t have a choice.”

Siobahan grumbled. “Only the devil himself would ask for something so advanced, with  ye  in the condition yer in,”

Aye, well. It was the devil who’d put her, put them in this position. “I’ll be fine. I’ll…”

The opposite door flung open, framing Brady like a fierce warrior of old. Siobahan gasped as Patric, Killian and three other of Brady’s Leithprachaun brothers popped in to flank him. Dressed in bracs and tunics they all held weapons. Her gaze flicked to Bridget who’d promised to keep her brother indisposed. She shrugged and gripped her scian tight in her fist.

“Shannon O’Malley,” Brady said in a firm voice. “Ye’ll not be facing this alone.”

 

The door went solid.

“Holy, shite,” the teacher BB said. “What’s going to happen?”

“Who are those other luscious men?” asked the Aussie said, popping a Red Velvet Tim Tam in her mouth.

Paolo, shaken by the intensity of the scene, shook his head. “It must be a new series by Joanie T. I think I saw something on the Lair Bulletin board. Guardian Isle series?

“When?” demanded the cat lady. “When will we find out?”

“Soon enough.”

The voice came from a shrouded figure, cross-legged and floating three feet off the ground. “The clock is ticking and the stories must be told.

Wow, this is a LOT to take in. Have you figured out who the inquisitive BB’s are? What do you look for in a warrior? Can you dance? Irish dance? (Looking at Susan). Tell us what intrigues you about this glimpse into a brand new world.

 

Will it be saved?

Will it be saved?

 

 

He Said….

 

“What the?” Paolo put a hand to his chest.  He breathed out a sigh of relief at the three BB’s who had snuck up on him. “Oh, sorry. Ya’ll startled me. Can I get you a refreshing beverage?” It was after curfew. Nobody was supposed to still be in The Lair. Those gladiators would have some explaining to do. Not that he was brave enough to do it. He focused back on the BB’s ” No? What was I doing listening at the door? What door? There are lots of doors in The Lair.”door

“Shite on a stick!”

Paolo gave a nervous laugh. “You’re right. That was pretty loud considering it was, ah…behind a door. Accent? Oh, there might have been a bit of an accent, I wasn’t really paying any attention.”

The BB’s took a step toward him. Paolo swallowed at their determined expressions. Gladiators v BB’s? Both were forces to be reckoned with.  “Ok, ok. It’s a new door, put in by Joanie T. Saw her directing several construction workers in putting in more than a few. You know those Banditas…they’re pretty secretive when they have new projects. But this one, THIS one is intriguing! Whoever’s in there had been going at before I started eavesdropping…er, I mean it caught my attention.”

“Of all the blithering edjits.”

Paolo raised a brow. sent a sideways look to the ladies.  “Care to join me?”

The BB’s exchanged looks then grinned. Paolo shuffled out of their way then joined them in a gasp. “Wow,” they said in unison. The door had shimmered into a clear window. “Ssshh…” said Paolo. Let’s listen.”

ian

“The blasted, infuriating woman!” Brady Sullivan fumed as he paced before his brother’s huge stone fireplace. “The stubborn, willful…”

“…beautiful, smart…” added another man lounging in an overstuffed chair. The man favored Brady–black hair, blue eyes the pulsating blue of a Star Wars light saber. Neither were built like bouncers but there lay the advantage when an enemy underestimated the strength and power of a Leithprachaun warrior.

“Aye,” replied Brady, throwing his hands up in the air. “and sexy. Don’t be forgetting sexy.”

The other man smiled. “Never, brother.”

Brady pulled up and sent a menacing glare to his brother. He might be High King of their clan, but he was a major pain in the arse. “Patric, ye’ll be watching what ye say about my woman.”

Patric’s lips curved into a knowing smile.

Brady ran his hands through his hair. “Ah, shite.”

“Now don’t be riling up the boyo, Patric. Ye know he’s on the edge.”

Brady opened his mouth to dispute  his other brother, Killian’s observation. But the plain truth of the matter was, he was right. Everything in him was trembling like a bowl of gelatin: his legs, his hands, his thoughts.

His magic.

“Aye, yer right. I concede it. Shannon’s my woman. Mine.” To protect, to cherish, to love. To die for. “That’s why I can’t be letting her do it.”

Patric sipped on a tumbler of Jemeson’s. “Ye’ve no say in the matter.” Patric raised his hand cutting off Brady’s protest. “Tis  the only way. Ye need yer treasure. We need yer treasure…”

“Don’t say it…” warned Brady.

Patric ignored him. “The world needs yer treasure.”

Brady sank into a chair. “And I need her. Ah, shite. Tis a fine mess.”

Patric poured another drink, handed it to Brady. “She’s yer cailin. She chose to do this, to make this sacrifice. Ye can’t deny her that.”

Brady downed the whiskey in one gulp. “Feck if I can’t. I’ll….”

He never finished the sentence but slumped in the chair. Patric waved a hand to keep the glass from shattering on the oak floor. He nodded to the woman standing behind Brady, her hands still glowing from the sedation spell. “Will he be out long, Bridget?”

Bridget nodded grimly. “Long enough…I hope.” She raised crystal blue eyes to her brother. “Will it work out then?”

Patric’s glass filled with amber liquid. “It has to sister. It has to.”

 

Paolo’s heart thumped in his chest as the door went to oak. Leithprachauns? High King? That was the guy who was hanging out in the barroom just last week. What was going on? What does the world have to do with it? Somebody needs to know about this. If danger’s been brought into The Lair, the Bandits need to know.

“Slow down cabana boy,” one of the BB’s said, “You’re not going anywhere.”

Paolo stared at her. Man, these BB’s were perceptive. “But we have protocols.”

“No protocols for this,” said another. “There are two sides to every story. We need to find this Shannon.”

“But…but…”

“But nothing.” The third one grabbed him by the collar. “Show us those other doors.”

 

Wow, some shenanigans going on and poor Paolo’s in the middle. Who are the mysterious BB’s? Is it one of YOU? Tell us how you managed to break in.  What kind of mission is Brady worried about? Give us your best guess.

Tune in tomorrow for She Said… drum

 

Catching Up With Dee Davis

My guest today is multi-award-winning author Dee Davis.  Since her debut in 2000, Dee has won The Booksellers’ Best, Golden Leaf, Texas Gold, and Prism awards and has been nominated for the Holt Medallion, the National Readers Choice Award, and two Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards.  Dee writes contemporary, historical, time travel, paranormal, and romantic suspense romance (I think I got them all), and we’re going to catch up with her today.

Welcome, Dee!  What’s your latest project? 

deeI’m currently working on two projects.  The first, Cottage in the Mist, is a sequel to my very first novel Everything in its Time.  Also a time travel set in fifteenth century Scotland, Cottage is a story about a woman who loses everything and then finds it all again—this time in the long ago past. And of course Iain, Katherine, Jeff and Elaine, the main characters from EIT, will be there to help her on her journey. 

DeeDavis_LineofFire800I’m also working on a new romantic suspense novel, Line of Fire, that will tie into the rerelease of my Liar’s Game books; Chain Reaction, Eye of the Storm and an updated Still of the Night

 

Would you like to share an excerpt? 

From Cottage in the Mist:

 Scotland – 1468

CottageInTheMist_300x475There was danger.  Bram could feel it all around him. Fire raced up the wooden steps that lead up to the door leading into the tower.   And he could see more flames thrusting out of the windows, black smoke spiraling into the night sky.  Throwing his plaid over his face, he ran up the steps, but was stopped by one of the tower’s guards.

The man raised his claymore, his eyes narrowed as the deadly blade began its descent.  Bram pivoted, and then swung his own weapon, confused as to where he was and why he was fighting.  The man fell, only to be replaced by another.  Bram called to him, some part of him recognizing a face that still seemed a stranger, but this man, too, seemed intent only on stopping him.

His mind argued that nothing made sense, even as his heart screamed that he must get inside.  If he did not then that which was most precious to him would be lost.  He knew this as surely as he drew breath.

With a twist and a parry he drew the man off, and then made quick work of him, dashing through the opening of the tower, down the hallway and into the great hall.  A place meant for comfort it offered only danger now.  It too was full of flame, and lined with enemies. 

Again the thought brought him up short.  But there was no time to try and understand.  Fear pushed him forward.  He surged into the fray, moving toward the stairway at the far end of the room.  It gave access to the chambers above and it was there he knew he would find her.

His brain recoiled.  Find who?  But his heart urged him forward, and he fought his way to the bottom of the steps, then ran up them, taking them two at a time, knowing the other swordsmen were fast on his heels. 

At the top he froze for a moment, the thick smoke disorienting him.  The fire was much worse here.  Pushing forward, he breathed through the heavy wool of his plaid, keeping sword at the ready.  The first chamber was empty.  As was the solar and the chamber beyond it.  But then from down the narrow hallway he heard a cry.

Heart thundering in his ears, he ran through the flames and smoke.  A timber fell, glancing off of his shoulder, and he hardly felt it, the need to find her overriding everything else.

He called for her, his voice swallowed by the raging fire.  Another timber fell, and a wall collapsed.  He jumped across a gaping hole in the floor, landing hard, but still moving.   The doorway ahead was edged in flames, the smoke and fire roiling like some kind of evil spirit. 

Ignoring the danger, he sprinted forward, through the opening, again calling her name.

And then, through the shimmering heat, he saw her, tied to the bedframe, her long hair unbound, her green eyes wide with fear. 

“Go back,” she screamed.

But he pushed onward, stumbling as still more of the burning tower fell.  “I’ll no’ leave you.”   His words were whipped away by the inferno surrounding them.  But he knew that she had heard him.

There were only a few feet between them now.  There was bruising on her face, and a trickle of blood at the corner of her beautiful mouth, and he swore there would be hell to pay.

But first, he had to free her.

He reached out a hand, but as he did so, the ceiling above him crashed to the ground.  One moment he was looking into her eyes—and the next, she was gone.

With the release of Dire Distraction, it feels as though the A-Tac series is over.  Have we seen the last of them, or are there further adventures in store? 

I think the team is ready for a well-deserved vacation.  That said, never say never, and I do expect at least one of them to turn up in a new romantic suspense series that will debuting late next year.  It’s hard to keep a good team down!  And they have friends… 

Escape_500x791You’ve also been doing novellas in your Last Chance, Inc. series.  What led you to start those, and will there be more?

 I was asked to participate in Lunch Hour Love Stories.  And couldn’t think of a better character to write about than Tracy from Last Chance.  As to more stories, nothing on the burner at the moment.  But Andrew (Nigel’s brother) seems to find himself in constant trouble, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he needed rescuing and Last Chance would be the first people he’d call.

You started out writing time travel romance, and I see that those are available again.  Could you tell us a bit about them?

Everything in its Time was my first novel, debuting back in 2000.  And it’s been really heart-warming to see how well it (and the other two time travels) have been received upon rerelease.  The three novels are only loosely related (in the dark recesses of my mind) but feature characters from the same families.  Both EIT and Wild Highland Rose take place in medieval Scotland about a year apart. 

promise_reissueAnd The Promise takes place in the 1880’s during the silver rush in Colorado.  Michael, the hero is related to both Iain and Marjory from the other two books.  The Promise is especially dear to my heart because although Silverthread is a fictional town, it’s based on Creede where I spent my summers growing up. 

All three time travels are tales of impossible love reaching beyond the boundaries of time.  And of course, being me, there’s a good dose of suspense as well. 

What’s the next thing we should look for from you, and when?

DeeDavis_HellFire_800Cottage in the Mist will be out this winter.  And just after that, Line of Fire

And in the meantime, I’ve just rereleased two novellas (along with two of Julie Kenner’s) in our Devil May Care Series.  Hell Fire and Hell’s Fury.

 Readers can connect with Dee via social media on these sites:

website:  www.deedavis.com; Twitter @deedavis

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/deedavisbooks

Dire_Distraction_lo_resDee is giving one commenter today a trade paperback of Dire Distraction (US only).  

So tell us what your favorite contemporary or historical setting is and why.

OR

Tell us what you like best about romantic suspense or paranormal romance.

Alexis Morgan’s Immortal Cowboy

My guest today is USA Today Bestselling Author Alexis Morgan, making her Lair debut. Alexis has written cowboys, vampires, mages, immortal and supernatural warriors, and small town romance. She joins us today to chat about her latest release, Immortal Cowboy from Harlequin’s Nocturne line. Welcome Alexis! 

Please tell us a bit about Immortal Cowboy.

jpeg headshotGunslinger Wyatt McCain is a man caught up in his past. Even though he died a century ago, he has been unable to find peace and remains stuck in an endless cycle of repeating the same mistakes over and over. That all changes when Rayanne Allen comes to the mountain to find the truth about what happened a hundred years ago in Blessing, the ghost town that has haunted her since she was a young girl. When Wyatt saves her life, it changes her life forever. The two find a powerful love, one that transcends both life and death. In the end, to give Wyatt the release he needs, Rayanne may need to sacrifice the most powerful love she’s ever known.

What draws you to Westerns?

When I was growing up a favorite uncle used to bring my mom and me a box of westerns every time he came to visit. I fell in love with all those amazing stories about U.S. marshals, cowboys, and gunslingers with a heart of gold. In addition, I love telling stories about alpha males, the kind of hero who will sacrifice everything to protect those under his care. I think that’s one reason Wyatt McCain appealed to me as a hero. Despite his checkered past, he was trying to do the right thing when everything went so horribly wrong.

 We love heroes with checkered pasts in the Lair.  We also love call stories, so would you like to share yours?

 Back in the early 90s, I had sent a full manuscript and a partial to Kate Duffy, who was the editor at Meteor at the time. Kate happened to speak at my local RWA chapter and said that she was working on a something like a four week turnaround on submissions. Since she’d had my full for almost two months at that point, a friend encouraged me to tell Kate about it. Kate immediately told me to call her the next week with the title of the book (this was WAY before e-mail) so she could find it. A week after I gave her the information on both the full and the partial, she called me back and bought both of them on that one phone call! After we hung up, I made all kinds of babbling phone calls to friends and family. I doubt that my feet touched ground for days afterward, and I still smile when I think about that life-altering moment. 

Immortal_Cowboy_1That’s a great story!  Can we see an excerpt from Immortal Cowboy? 

A new energy had arrived on the mountain, altering the patterns and drawing his attention toward the cabin. Ray’s niece was back. He recognized her even though she’d grown into a woman with long legs and ridiculously short hair.

Drifting closer to the porch, he stared up at the open window high up near the peak of the roof. The man’s room had been on the other side. He’d always kept his window closed and the doors locked against the perils of the darkness, real and imagined.

But the girl had her window open to the night. Would she continue to keep it that way if she found out about him and the others? A grim smile crossed his face briefly. Hell, even the others knew to steer clear of him. They certainly recognized bad news when they saw it; maybe the girl would, too.

The light in the window winked out. He lost interest in his vigil and moved away, back toward town. Folks still called it Blessing. What a joke that was, one he doubted the others appreciated. But then he didn’t give a damn what they thought, any more than they cared about him.

He passed through the trees, startling a doe and her fawn. As quietly as he moved, he was surprised they even noticed him. But after one look in his direction, the wary beasts bounded away, covering a lot of distance with each graceful leap. He paused to watch them disappear into the shadows, enjoying the sight. God knows there was little enough that he took pleasure in these days.

His thoughts drifted back toward the cabin and its sole occupant. The redhead had been there before. It had been a long while since she’d last visited the man, although time had become too fluid over the years for him to be sure how long it had been. An uneasy feeling churned in his stomach as vague memories stirred about this girl, now a woman. Used to be, she’d come and run wild through the woods and the town, only to leave right before it all unfolded.

All except that last time.

Damn it to hell and back, how many months had slipped past him unnoticed? If she was on the mountain, it could be almost time. Again. No wonder the deer had fled his presence. He didn’t blame them one bit for running. Canny creatures that they were, they knew when death roamed free on the mountain. He turned his back on the cabin and faded into the shadows, alone and wishing he could stay that way.

Very cool!  You’ve also written other types of paranormal romances. What’s next on that front for you?

The next book along that line is Honor’s Price, the third book in my Warriors of the Mist series. The story focuses on Lord Kane, the darkest of the five warriors (and my favorite, obviously), but it also covers the other four members of the group as they face the final battle with the enemy. It will be out in September from Signet Eclipse. 

You also have another Snowberry Creek book due out in May. Please tell us a little about that series.

reason_to_loveA Reason to Love is the third full-length book in the series. I originally envisioned the series as a trilogy focusing on three soldiers returning to civilian life after their most recent deployment in Afghanistan. In this book, Spencer Lang comes home to find out that his best friend is marrying the woman Spence had hoped to build a life with. As he comes to terms with the changes in his life and the future he’d planned, he reconnects with Melanie Wolfe, an old friend who has returned to Snowberry Creek to try to salvage her family’s company after her father’s death. Both of them had left their hometown behind to find themselves, never really expecting to return. In the end, these two wounded souls find what they’d been looking for their hometown and in each other’s arms.

 What are you working on now?

 I recently got the rights back to some of my westerns, so I’ve been working on getting them ready to self-publish. That inspired me to write another western that we’re marketing right now, as well as some other western proposals. Right now I’m working on a new contemporary story, too, but it’s too early in the process to share much about it.

For more information about Alexis and her books, check out her website (www.alexismorgan.com). You can also connect with her on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AMorganAuthor

Twitter: @Alexis_Morgan

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/162678.Alexis_Morgan

 Alexis is giving away two copies of Immortal Cowboy to commenters today.  So tell us what western or contemporary romance you recently read and enjoyed, and tell us a bit about it.

 

Love Letter to Ireland

I miss my homeland.

What, you might say? You miss Kentucky? The States? Your favorite McDonald’s and Diet Coke?

Nope, I’m talking about the land of 3/4 of my ancestors….Eire. Ireland. The Emerald Isle. My heart.

It’s been six years since my last visit. SIX YEARS! That is way too long, inexcusable considering I spent the first 2/3 of my life not even imagining I would ever visit. The budget is being cruel and alas, it will be a while yet before I return.

But I yearn for my ancestral home.Ireland 08 043

My first visit started out in a stunned state. We de-barked at Shannon Airport to a cold, cloudy, dreary landscape and I could only think “I spent thousands of dollars for THIS?”

Then we left the airport. Dear. God. In. Heaven. It was as if the spirit of the isle reached into my heart and soul and hugged me. As corny as it sounds, I knew I was home. It only got better from there. So here are some of the things I have been missing:

1. The earth. The sky. The rivers. The coast. The rocks. The birds. The flora, the fauna. The sheep. The sun as it breaks out over stone wall lined pastures after a soft rain. There is a richness to sol’s rays there that does NOT exist anywhere else. And the lakes! Blue is to bland a word to describe the beauty of the water. I’m not a hiker by nature but I tell you walking in the woods there? I knew…just KNEW that if I sat on a log I would become one with the earth. Ahem…I also firmly believed that if I looked under the right rhododendron bush, I’d find the King of the Fae :D

Ireland 08 063

2. The Irish spirit. Ya gotta admire a people so resilient. They meet their challenges and either beat the crap out of them or dance around them. The honor those who have gone before them, respect those who suffered and then thumb their noses at the cause. Every meal includes the potato in some form or fashion and one particular eatery in Killarney…seriously…served potaotes FIVE ways! Roasted, mashed, chips, boiled, added to pasta.

3. The history. Yeah, in the States you have to go through park gateways to see a lot of our infant past. In Ireland, you drive down the highway and past castles, cemeteries hundreds of years old, thatched cottages that invaders missed (Ha!). It’s just part of life there. Part of who and what the people, the land are. All of it right next door to a McDonald’s that serves the apple pie crusted in sugar with REAL clotted cream!

4. The people. Especially the musicians who play in the pubs. These people are transformed as they play ballads, jigs reels. They connect with another sphere of life as they play the fiddle, the bodrhan (my fav), pipes even spoons. I was only feet away watching an older guy play spoons with his eyes closed as he felt the life of the song. Oh and of course the black-haired, blue-eyed stone mason I oogled…er, watched at work on the Ring of Kerry. Momentous time that lead to the premise of my upcoming paranormal Guardian Isle series.

I could go on and on. While I can’t quite make it back right now, I always have the promise that, just like it has for an eternity, home will always be there for me.

What about you? Have you experienced anything similar in your travels? Have you been to Ireland and what do you miss?Ireland 08 014

 

JD Tyler talks with Alpha Pack hero, Ryon Hunter

JD1color

As y’all know, JD Tyler is one of my dearest friends and always loves visiting us in the Lair. Today, she’s taking us on a little field trip to watch as she “chats” with the gang of The Alpha Pack in their Lair!! Be careful what you touch and where you sit…

 

When I requested this interview with Ryon and The Alpha Pack, the guys weren’t sure whether they could take the time to sit down and talk. They’re really busy these days fighting all the dangerous things that stalk the night, and there’s a new problem on the horizon for our brave heroes. But they graciously agreed to take a few moments to give us an update on what’s been going on their world and satisfy our curiosity.

We’re sitting in the Pack’s recreation room because it’s more comfortable, and the guys are lounging around, waiting for me to begin. The room quiets, and I have to admit, being the focus of so many scorchingly sexy, strong men has me shaking in my boots. I try not to show my nervousness as I soldier on.

Nick Westfall (Alpha Pack Commander/white wolf/Seer): Can I get you something to drink?

JD: Oh no, I’m fine! Don’t go to any trouble—

Nick: Micah, get JD a soda or something.

Micah Chase (brown wolf/Dreamwalker): Sure thing, boss.

He flashes a smile at me, which pulls some at his scarred face, and rushes off. I turn to Nick.

JD: Thank you. And thanks to all of you for agreeing to take time from your busy schedule to talk with me. (I shuffle my notes) I know you guys have been through some rough situations in the past few months. Why don’t we start with what recently happened to Ryon and his new mate?

Nick (nodding to Ryon Hunter): I think Ryon’s the best source for that story.Hunter's Heart cover

I turn my attention to Ryon, and try not to ogle the man—but it’s not easy. Like all of them he’s stunning, but his looks are totally different from his teammates. His hair is blond and sort of shaggy, his eyes crystal blue. He has an “honest” face, one of those All-American mugs that screams apple pie and pro football. And I soon discover that he’s a sweet man with a ton of integrity—and one who loves his mate very much.

JD: Ryon, it’s great to finally meet you in person.  (His beautiful smile about knocks me off the sofa)

Ryon: Same here. What would you like to know? But keep in mind some of the story is still classified info—sorry about that.

JD: No worries, just tell me what you can. First, how did you meet your mate, Daria Bradford?

Ryon (face softening with obvious love): That’s an easy one. I’d been with the team in New York hunting a group of rogue vampires. We found them and in the fight, I got pinned by one of them.

Aric Savage: Yep. Pretty boy nearly got his throat ripped out. Would have if it hadn’t been for us.

Ryon (shooting the redhead an annoyed look): Anyway, they rushed me home to the compound and I had to spend some time in the infirmary. While I was recovering, this gorgeous spirit with long black hair visited my bedside. She needed help, but I didn’t think I could help her, you know?

JD (nodding): Your gift is a Channeler/Telepath allows you to speak with the dead—but many times you aren’t able to help them because they can’t communicate with you clearly, correct?

Ryon: That’s right. But with Daria’s spirit, it was different. She told me she was alive, and I knew right away that I had to get to her, fast. She wasn’t a ghost at all, but was using a Psy gift called astral projection to reach out to me. I rallied the team and we found her just in time, lying in a ravine. She was near death, and I had to do something extreme to save her life. I thought she’d never forgive me for that one, but she has a huge heart.

JD: Can you talk about what you did?

Ryon: Not yet. Let’s just say she and I worked through it. But that was the least of our problems, considering what came next.

Micah returns with my soda, and I thank him, taking a sip.

JD: You’re referring to the monster in the Shoshone that was killing campers and hikers?

Ryon (expression grim): Yeah.

JD: What can you tell me about that? What—or who—was this creature and how did he come to be in your neck of the woods?

Ryon: I’m not allowed to discuss specifics, but I can tell you that this was one of the most dangerous and heartbreaking cases we’ve ever worked. What happened to this creature wasn’t his fault, believe it or not. We solved that case the only way we knew how, and I think it worked out all right for everyone in the end.

JD: Except you were nearly killed in that battle…

Ryon: That’s the risk that comes with the job.

JD: Unfortunately, yes. And during your mission, you and Daria learned something important about the origins of the Alpha Pack, correct?

Ryon: Yes. But I can’t reveal that information yet, sorry.

JD: No problem. Let’s go back to an issue you already mention—the rogue vampires. I get the impression this is a recent development?

Ryon: That’s right. We’ve been called out in the past to deal with rogue vamps, but it’s always been a light problem, until now. It takes centuries for a vamp to turn rogue, and normally there aren’t many. But for some reason they’re everywhere lately.

Nick: We don’t know where the problem is stemming from, but we’re working on finding out. In the meantime, I’ve put in a call for assistance from the vampire’s leader, Prince Tarron Romanoff.

Jaxon Law (grey wolf/RetroCog/Timebender): The arrogant jackass. (snorting)

Zander Cole (black wolf/Healer), who lost his hearing after an explosion a few months back, has been doing his best to read lips. He agrees with Jax about the vampire prince.

Zander: True that.

Nick: Be that as it may, we need Tarron’s help or we’re soon going to be overrun by rogues. If that happens…

The commander leaves that thought unfinished, but the Pack agrees with mumbled curses. I know there isn’t much more they can tell me on that subject, so I decide to finish the interview on a positive note, addressing Ryon again.

JD: So, tell me about Daria? She seems amazing.

Ryon (beaming): She’s the most wonderful woman in the world, and I’ve been blessed to have her as my mate. She’s not just beautiful, but kind, smart, and funny. Her passion is studying wolves in the wild, real ones, which is sort of ironic.

JD (smiling): So I take it your mating is happy now?

Ryon: We had a lot of stuff to work through, but yes. She’s made me the happiest man on earth.

Aric (wrinkling his nose): Barf, gag.

Ryon: Shut up, asswipe. Like you’re not seriously whipped after mating with Rowan!

Aric: Yeah, well…

JD (laughing at their antics): Nick, thank you for giving up a few minutes to give an update on what’s been going on with the Pack. Ryon, I’m so glad everything worked out for you, and I’m sure our readers will love your story.

Ryon (winking): Thank you, sweetheart. Who doesn’t love a happy ending?

Kalen Black (black panther/Sorcerer/Necromancer): On that note, what do you say we all go get something to eat? I’m starved! JD?

JD: Sounds great, lead the way!

And so, I got to spend the entire afternoon soaking up the welcome attentions of a Pack full of sexy shifters. I guess that makes me, literally, one lucky bitch.

Happy reading!      

And here’s the book trailer for HUNTER’S HEART:

 http://youtu.be/MMn17hEox2U

Wow, JD, thanks for letting us see into the world of The Alpha Pack! 

JD is going to give away a signed copy of HUNTER’S HEART to one of our readers today. So, what questions do you have for JD or the members of The Alpha Pack?

Demon Hunting In The Lair

Dear Diary,

Today I saved a human female from certain death at the hands of a demon.

I am disquieted by my actions. I am Dalvahni, an immortal demon hunter. ’Tis our sole purpose to hunt down and return rogue demons to The Pit, thus saving the universe and those weaker than ourselves from degradation and destruction at the hands of the djegrali.

Saving the human female from the demon was a violation of the Dalvahni Creed. I saved her nonetheless—I could not seem to stop myself…

I first met our guest aLexi smilingt a reader event in St. Augustine, Florida.  I didn’t get to attend her ten-minute reading, but everywhere I went for the whole rest of the conference, all I heard was how absolutely screaming funny she was.  I had to get her first book, then I devoured the others like  a woman starved, and of course I had to bring her to the lair.

Sven is mixing drinks, the Gladiators and Hockey Hunks are passing around glasses and trays, so grab your favorite treat and find a spot where you can see.  Our guest has brought a few of her heroes with her today,  so please give a famous Bandit welcome to Lexi George and her Dalvahni Demon Hunters.

Cassondra: Lexi, I’m so pleased that you could visit today.

Lexi: *lifts her glass of Cabernet* Thrilled to be in the lair, Cassondra!  Thanks for inviting me.

Cassondra:  *swirls the Cabernet in her own glass* Tell us a little about yourself.  When did you first start reading romance? Heyer-TheTalismanRing

Lexi:  I discovered romance in the seventh grade, when I found The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer in my local library, and I was hooked.  Read everything I could find by her, and it grew from there. I love it all, romantic suspense, contemporary, historical, and, of course, paranormal. Funny, sexy, heart pounding, droll: I am a romance junkie. I don’t do sad, though, and  don’t make me suffer through too much angst.  I’m a criminal appellate lawyer, which means I read grim all day long, so when I sit down and open a book I want to escape to a happy place.

Cassondra:  Oh, good grief.  I don’t blame you for not wanting the angst.  But..*glances at he extra big,hunky, badass guys standing  around the edge of the room–NOT the gladiators or hockey hunks we normally have in the lair* …uhm… it looks like the Dalvahni Demon Hunters are ready and willing to deal with any angst on your behalf..ahem….moving on…

First, let me tell you that I love your website because it gives a hint of the personality you put into your writing.  If readers want a taste of the town and its characters, they should check out  Ten Things To Do If You’re In Hannah  But I learned from your bio that the Muse deserted you in law school.  To quote you, “The Muse hated law school.”  You said it took fifteen years to return.  Will you tell us about when you first began to write again—what was that like for you, and how did you decide on romance?

 Lexi:  I fancied myself a poet in high school and college and then law school sucked my creative juices dry.  I wasn’t until my first child was a toddler that the urge to write returned, and I haven’t stopped since. I’m largely self-taught.  Didn’t have a clue about genre or word count or POV; just wrote and wrote for the sheer joy of it.  My first book was a fantasy romance. It never sold (100 rejections; yeow!), so I decided to try my hand at a paranormal romance, and that’s how Demon Hunting in Dixie came to be. 

Cassondra:  You kept going after 100 rejections.  That’s seriously impressive.  Tell us a little about the town you grew up in.  Is your story world of Hannah, Alabama, based on that?

Lexi:   Hannah is actually based on two towns, the small South Alabama town I grew up in and Wetumpka, the place I now call home.  There’s a lot of charm in a small town, a slower pace of life (some would call stagnant), and a sense of ease and comfort that comes with familiarity. I borrowed the river, hills, and crater from Wetumpka and plunked them down in South Alabama: total creative license.  Anyone who’s ever been south of Montgomery can tell you it’s flat as a flitter.  Great farmland, but the closest you’ll get to a hillock is an ant bed.

Cassondra:  The first story, Demon Hunting in Dixie, is Brand and Addy’s story.  Addy is in the park and sees a demon about to attack him, shouts a warning and helps to save his life, but in turn, she is attacked.  She wakes up on her own couch and he is there.

“You should rest. I have repaired the damage to your organs from the djegrali blade. You will live, but I fear some of the poison is still in your system.”

Addy shot off the couch like she’d been bitten. The sword-carrying, creature-of-darkness-fighting dude from the park gazed down at her without expression. In the semidarkness he’d been handsome. In the bright light of her living room he was devastating, a god, a wet dream on steroids. Tall and powerfully built, with wide shoulders and a broad chest that tapered down to a lean waist and hips, he was the most handsome man Addy had ever seen. His long, muscular legs were encased in tight-fitting black breeches, and he carried a sword in a sheath across his back. He was also a stranger, a very big stranger, and he stood in her living room.

“Who the hell are you?”

“I am Brand.” He spoke without inflection. “I am a Dalvahni warrior. I hunt the djegrali.”

George-Demon Huntint In DixieCassondra:  I love the world of the Dalvahni Demon Hunters. Can you tell us where you got this idea, and how you developed it? 

“This I cannot allow. ”  All heads turn to Brand, the tall, dark-haired Dalvahni warrior who has stepped out of the corner by the door.  He glowers at the chairs at the front of the room where Cassondra and Lexi are seated.  Gladiators and Hockey Hunks take a step forward, all focused on Brand.”

Cassondra:   Brand, it’s okay.  We’re not asking Lexi to give away any of the Dalvahni secrets.  I swear.*Brand squints at me, then relaxes and steps back.  Gladiators and hockey hunks breathe a collective sigh of relief.  Ansgar, the Dalvahni warrior who reminds me of Legolas from Lord Of The Rings, raises his eyebrow at Brand.  Ansgar doesn’t even bother to hide his smirk.  Brand catches Ansgar’s eye and his forehead wrinkles into a more intense frown.*  

Cassondra:  Jeez…The testosterone is so thick in here you could cut it with a dull knife. 

Now, Lexi..back to the question about the origins of the Dalvahni…

Lexi:   *takes a sip of her wine as she glances around the room to check on her guys*  When I finally got a clue that my fantasy romance was going nowhere, I was in a real slump.  There was a writing exercise online offering feedback on the first chapter of a paranormal romance, and I decided to try it.  I sat down in my office with a couple of co-workers and knocked around ideas.  I’m a big fan of Janet Evanovich and I decided to write about demon hunters in the Deep South. George--So I married a Demon Slayer (Anthology)

Frankly, when I started the first book, it was as a lark and I didn’t give much thought to world building.  I was simply trying to regain my writing mojo. The first book was total fun and pretty much wrote itself. (Can’t say the same about the others!) The world building came later, after I was published.  I’ve always liked alpha males, superheroes, and Regency bucks, and the Dal are a little of all three.  And I love the juxtaposition of my no-nonsense, humorless warriors with the zaniness that is the Deep South.  Just because you speak the language down here doesn’t mean you always get it, as the Dal soon learn.

Brand and Addy:

 “The demon has marked you. He will return. He will be unable to resist.”

“Oh, great, so now I’m irresistible. Just my luck he’s the wrong kind of guy. Don’t worry, I’ve got a thirty-eight, and like any good Southern girl I know how to use it, so you can leave.” She waved her hand toward the door again. “I’ll be fine. If this demon fellow shows up, I’ll blow his raggedy butt to kingdom come.”

The corner of his lips twitched, and for a moment she thought he might smile.

“You cannot kill a djegrali with a mortal weapon.”

“I’ll rush out first thing tomorrow morning and get me one of those flamey sword things, I promise.”

Again with the lip twitch. “That will not be necessary. I will protect you.”

“Oh, no, you won’t!” Addy straightened with an effort. Her chest still hurt like a son-of-a-bitch. “I’d never be able to explain you to my mama.”

“This mama you speak of, she is the female vessel who bore you?”

“Yeah, but I wouldn’t call her a vessel to her face, if I were you.”

“You fear her?”

Addy rolled her eyes. “Are you kidding? The woman scares the crap out of me. Thirty-two hours of labor, and don’t you ever forget it,” she mimicked. You owe me. Big time.

Cassondra:  The stuff that makes your stories so blessedly funny is the secondary characters –the parents and friends, the iconic figures in the town.  How is the way you paint your town and characters influenced by your own observations growing up?

Lexi:  Gosh, I think writers are influenced by EVERYTHING.  Certainly, growing up in a small town has shaped my writing. I was a shy, gangly teenager with big feet and self esteem issues, and that’s shaped my writing, too.  And I’m the middle child, always striving for attention. We lived way out in the country and I didn’t have friends to play with, so I spent a lot of time alone with only my imagination for company.  It all comes out in my writing, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Being a writer means being naked in public.

Cassondra: Why paranormal?

Lexi:  I love magic!  George-Demon Hunting In The Deep SouthMy other favorite genre is fantasy, and I’m a big LOTR and Harry Potter nerd, so paranormal was a perfect fit for me. With magic, the possibilities are endless.  Take the fairy kitten in book one, for instance.  The kitten appeared just as Brand and Addy were about to go into the Sweet Shop for a bit to eat.  Now, you can’t take a kitten in a restaurant. That would be a health code violation, but Addy wasn’t about to let me leave that poor kitty on the sidewalk.  I mean, what if he got squashed?  So I came up with the idea that the Dalvahni have interdimensional hidey holes, sort of a Rubbermaid vortex where they keep things safe.  As a writer, magic gives me another way to write myself out of a tree. 

 And it also kept Addy happy.  You don’t want to mess with Addy Corwin.

 Cassondra:  Rubbermaid vortex.  I love it!  And WAY cheaper than Tupperware.  Just sayin’.

I love the way you have Hannah set up.  Tell us about the river and the meteor.  That meteor looks like it will be critical to the upcoming stories. 

Lexi:  The Devil River winds around Hannah, full of treacherous currents and quiet backwater pools. To the locals, the river is a source of income stemming from the fishing and white water rapids industries, but the Devil hides secrets from the norms. There are ghosts on the river and a giant catfish named Gilbert big enough to swallow a boat whole, and a dive bar that caters only to shifters and demonoids.  

Cassondra:  *interrupts* The dive bar–and the demonoids–are the focus of book three?

Lexi:  Right.  Anyhow,  the crater was formed a bazillion years ago when a meteor slammed into Behr County, folding the earth into gentle hills.  The meteor thinned the veil between dimensions and is the source of magic in Hannah. The crater attracts supernatural critters of all kinds, including sexy demon hunters and their age-old enemies, the demonic djegrali.  Anyone with the least bit of magical ability finds their powers enhanced by the meteor.  Anything and everything can happen in Hannah thanks to that fallen star.

Cassondra:  Are any of these landmarks taken from places you’ve actually seen or visited?

Lexi:  The Sweet Shop is a real restaurant in my childhood home, and the Greater Fair was the town’s nicest clothing store for women.  The Trammel Bridge and Sardine Creek are also real places, taken from the area where I grew up.  We used to ride out to Sardine Bridge to party when I was a teenager.  There was no ghost, though, just a lot of beer drinking and rednecking around on the sand dunes. I got caught skinny dipping in the creek once, but that’s another story.

I went to the University of Alabama, both undergraduate and law school, so many of the names I use for things are names related to Alabama football; Behr County, Paulsberg, Namath Springs, Newsome Correctionalabama_map_state_magnet__49609.1357936643.900.900al Facility, to name a few. It’s a nod and a wink to my alma mater.

Cassondra:  I’m guessing a lot of Alabama fans will be giving you a high five, right through the computer screen.  

 Have people always told you that you’re funny?  Did you start out to write funny?  Or did it just happen?    

 Lexi:  Middle child, remember?  My older siblings were much more glamorous, so I had to do something to stand out.  My father had a wonderful sense of humor, and I like to think I get mine from him.  Oddly enough, Demon Hunting in Dixie didn’t start out screwball.  I even had a serious name for it: Dark Encounter.  But, it quickly became evident that this book was going to be something else.  Almost from the first page, the funny came out.  It was a big surprise to me. 

Cassondra: Here’s a sample:

From Demon Hunting In Dixie:

Addy has gone to the funeral home to deliver flowers (she’s a florist).  Shep, Addy’s brother, runs the funeral home.  Addy’s mom is there too. Dwight Farris should be dead, in the casket, but his body is missing.  His widow, Shirley, has just figured this out. And Dwight’s mistress, Bessie Mae Brown, has just arrived on scene.

“What have you done with my husband, you Jezebel?”  Shirley’s shrill voice recalled Addy to the nightmare. 

“Me?”  Bessie Mae’s heavily mascaraed eyes widened.  “What are you talking about?”

People in the hall heard the commotion and wandered into the room.  A low, murmuring buzz began and grew as folks noticed the empty satin-lined box.

Shirley pointed a fat finger toward the casket.  “I’m talking about the fact that my husband is missing.  I want to know what you did with him.” 

Bessie Mae teetered across the room on her four-inch heels.  “Sugar Scrotum,” she cried.  She flung herself on top of the metal box.  “What have they done with you?”

Sugar Scrotum.  Eww.

“Please, Ms. Brown.”  Addy hurried over to the wailing woman.  “This is highly inappropriate, not to mention downright tacky.” 

She put her arms around Bessie Mae and tried to peel her off the casket.

“No!” Bessie Mae screeched and hung on tighter, kicking her purple heels.  “I won’t go.”  Not until somebody tells me what happened to my sugar.”

“Oh, Lord have mercy, Jesus,” Shep groaned, relapsing.  “What else?”

“I can’t take any more.” Addy’s mother toddled over to a chair.  “Somebody tell me when it’s over.”

Shirley waved her pocketbook.  “I got your sugar right here, Bessie Mae Brown,”  she quavered in her Aunt Bea voice, “or at least the only part you ever cared about.”

A shiver of dread shot down Addy’s spine.  She let go of Bessie Mae-the damn woman was stuck like a tick to the casket, anyway–and turned to look at Mrs. Farris.

“Uh oh,” she said when she saw the triumphant gleam in the widow’s china-blue eyes.

Bessie Mae must have had a premonition too, because she unsuckered herself from the casket and turned around.  “What have you done, Shirley?” she hiccupped.

Mrs. Farris opened her pocketbook and pulled out a ziplock baggie.  Some kind of watery fluid smeared the inside of the see-through plastic.  Formaldehyde, maybe.  Addy tried not to think about the particulars of her brother’s work.  At rest in the bottom of the bag like an abandoned hotdog was Dwight Farris’s one-eyed monster.  Or, at least Addy hoped it was Old Man Farris’s one-eyed monster.   She’d never met this particular monster…until now, thank goodness.   As Addy stared, she could have sworn the thing winked at her.

“Your sugar’s not here, and even if we find him, he won’t be the same, “Shirley said.  “What’s more, you won’t be diddling my husband in the afterlife.  Nobody will, ’cause I got his winky right here.  This winky is finally all mine, and it’s going to stay that a-way.  I’m going to have it buried with me.  I’m going to hold it in my cold dead hand.  I’m taking this winky with me through the Pearly Gates.  Not even Saint Peter’s prying this cold dead winky out of my hand.  But maybe–if Dwight asks me real nice, mind you–I might let him have his winky back in the hereafter.  But only on special occasions and only if he plays tiddley winks with me, and nobody else.”

Cassondra: We love call stories here in the lair.  Tell us about your path to publication?

Lexi:  You already know part of it.  I was really down because I’d spent three years trying to get someone to look at that first book, without success.  It took me a year to write Demon Hunting in Dixie, and I was pretty optimistic, because it had done well in the contest circuit.  In January of 2010, I started querying agents with high hopes . . . only to have them dashed. The rejections I got back were that light paranormal didn’t sell, that the book wasn’t dark enough.

I was devastated.  I was on the Southern Magic (chapter of RWA) loop whining about the rejections when Carla Swafford, a fellow writer and Southern Magic member, sent me an email suggesting I check an interview with Kensington editor Megan Records.  In her interview, Megan commented that she got lots of dark stuff but not much funny anymore and she’d like to!!! 

I queried Megan, she asked for the full, and a few weeks later I sold!  Wheee!!!!

George-Demon Hutning In A Dive BarCassondra: Woot!  I’m so thrilled that you did, because I laugh out loud at the funny parts of your books, then I sigh and cry as the heroes and heroines lose their hearts to love.  

I’m interested in what made Lexi George a serious attorney who also writes crazy-funny romance…I know you grew up with a judge as a daddy.  But  what got you interested in law?   Did you always plan to follow your dad’s path? 

 Lexi:  I never ever thought about becoming a lawyer until my senior year in college. I was about to graduate with a degree in public relations and no idea what to do with it.  I was petrified and my only thought was how to avoid reality.  Knew I didn’t have the curriculum to go to medical school, but I’m good in English and history.  Went home and asked Daddy what he thought about me going to law school and he was tickled pink.  Law school was a big awakening for me.  It was the first time I ever struggled in school, and I was terrified of failure.  Trial by fire. 

Cassondra:  Even more pertinent, how do you juggle a high-pressure career like law—oh and kids too– and still manage to write books? 

 Lexi:  I have a wonderful job where I can manage my workload, so that helps.  And I write every chance I get.  I’m a glacier slow writer, though, and the stress is a killer!

Cassondra:  In the last book, Demon Hunting In A Dive Bar, we find out that there is a much, MUCH bigger threat in Hannah than just a small outbreak of demons, and I’m honestly a little worried about Brand, Ansgar, Conall and the other Dalvahni.  This also suggests more books coming up.  What’s next on the agenda for the Dalvahni and Hannah?

 Lexi:  I’m working on book 4 right now, Demon Hunting with a Dixie Deb.  It’s a fish out of water tale about a rich debutante who comes to Hannah to unload the family business and ends up staying.  Think Elle Woods from Legally Blonde trying to run a timber mill.  There’s a flesh eating witch and a hulked-out demonoid and a magical car.  And those pesky demons are around, so there’ll be lots of work for the Dalvahni to do.

There are three more books in the works, Demon Hunting with a Dixie Deb, which I’ve already mentioned, Demon Hunting with a Sexy Ex, and Demon Hunting with a Southern Sheriff.  Y’all come to Hannah, and be sure and stop by the Sweet Shop Café and Grill.  Miss Vi makes a chocolate pie that’ll make you want to slap ʾyo mama!

Cassondra:  And just so y’all know, the Dalvahni guys don’t get drunk on alcohol.  They get drunk on chocolate!

Okay Bandits and Buddies,

Do you like romantic comedies in books or movies?

Do you read paranormal romance? 

What’s the furthest south you’ve ever been–in the US or in any other country?

Lexi is giving away THREE copies of Demon Hunting In A Dive Bar.  This is Conall’s story.  He’s the leader of the Dalvahni, and the biggest baddest badass of them all.  And it takes a kick-butt heroine to make him realize that love is a really good thing.

Y’all gather round the bar, order your favorite drink and stuff yourselves with Sven’s goodies, then  leave a comment or ask Lexi a question to be entered for the drawing.

 

The Last Thing I Needed…

…in this past year was to discover more authors whose books I loved.  But of course that’s exactly what I did.  I just can’t resist trying a new-to-me author when I see an intriguing book.  In the hope that my misery might acquire yours for company, let’s talk about our recent discoveries.

201304-love-irresistiblyI dropped by The Romance Dish a few months back when Andrea was reviewing Julie James’ latest book, Love Irresistibly.  It’s about Cade, an assistant U.S. attorney who needs help from a restaurant chain’s lawyer, Brooke.  They’re both career-focused, intent on keeping their personal lives light and easy.  Of course they’re hooked on each other before they know it.

I tried the book because, hey, hadn’t added a new name to my TBR mountain in a while.  I loved it!  James writes about assistant U.S. attorneys and FBI agents, two of my favorite kinds of people to read about, and her characters are wonderful.  So of course I had to read all the other books.  I mean, I had to.  Lucky for me, I’m now current.  There won’t be another for a while.

unstoppable_225In the Serious Boom department, there’s 2013 RITA winner Laura Griffin.  I was browsing short fiction in the iBook store and ran across her Tracers novella, Unstoppable. (The Tracers series centers on forensic investigators.)  The novella had an intriguing cover.  And it was about a forensic archaeologist (Kelsey) and a Navy SEAL (Gage), which won it two more points off the bat.

Kelsey’s on a dig in the desert and unearths a body much more recently deceased than the team expected.  Lucky for her, her Navy SEAL uncle thinks Gage, who’s under his command, needs to take a break and sends him to the desert to guard Kelsey.  They uncover smugglers at the border, and of course they fall in love.  AND Kelsey and Gage have their own full-length book, Scorched.   Unfortunately for my TBR pile but fortunately for me, the book came out about the time I read the novella.

9780451238276_p0_v1_s260x420For a change of pace, I tried Lori Austin’s Beauty and the Bounty Hunter.  Okay, no, she wasn’t totally new to me because I’d read and loved her Lori Handeland paranormals.  But her westerns were new to me.  

This one is set in the post-Civil War American West.  The heroine, Cat, is a bounty hunter determined to find and kill the man who murdered her husband.  The hero, Alexi, is the con man who taught her the art of disguise.

She believes she cares only about revenge.  He values his freedom.  Forced by circumstances to team up, they can no longer avoid confronting their feelings for each other.  This is a dark book, with two deeply wounded characters, but the ending was fabulous.  And it set up the tormented hero of the next book, out now, An Outlaw in Wonderland.  

dragon_bound-186x300I also picked up a book by an author I’d been meaning to try, Thea Harrison.  Seeing her newest release reminded me to check her out.  I prefer to start series from the beginning, so I ordered the first of her Elder Races novels, Dragon Bound.  The Wyr are shapeshifters, and their leader is Dragos Cuelebre, who, as you might guess, shifts into a dragon.  Pia, the heroine is blackmailed into stealing something from him.  

As legend tells us, nobody steals from a dragon.  He tracks her down and claims her, and she soon realizes he’s the best source of protection from those who would exploit her talents.  Desire quickly blooms between them, but his enemies have the pair in their sights.  Juggling Fae and witches and trolls and Wyr, Dragos and Pia have their hands full.

triptych_largeIn the department of other genres, I discovered Karin Slaughter’s Will Trent thrillers.  Will is an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.  He was raised in the Atlanta Children’s Home but is generally tight-lipped about his past.  Afflicted with dyslexia that makes the paperwork involved in his job laborious, Will perseveres through sheer gut-level determination to succeed and dedication to his job.

Will acquires a partner, Faith, in the second book.  A former detective, she’s none too thrilled about working with him on a nasty murder.  As they delve into the case, however, they realize they make a good team.  This is a dark series, but I stick with it because the characters hooked me from the beginning.

In the third book, Will acquires a love interest, Sara, a doctor who appeared in Slaughter’s Grant County series.  The romantic arc progresses slowly and is complicated not only by Will’s unfortunate marriage to a childhood friend but by his reluctance to open up about his feelings and his past.  But the romance does grow and deepen, and the conflicts the characters face are believable. 

So what about you?  What new authors or series have you discovered in the last year or so?  One commenter will win NetGalley access to read Guardian for free.  The winner will need to have a NetGalley account or create one, but there’s no charge for that.

The winner from the July 16 post was Linda, just by the way.  What with getting ready for, then recovering from, RWA, I didn’t get the post up.  But I’ll put one up with Linda’s name and that of today’s winner.

Karen Kelley is SMOKING HOT!

Hi Everyone!

I’m thrilled Donna asked me back again. The Romance Bandits are so much fun!

smoking hot (418x640)And I have a new book out, Smoking Hot. There’s a lot of spice between the covers. It’s more than just a smoking hot read, though. The story line is one close to my heart. It’s about family obligation. I bet each one of you knows about that. Am I right?

So does Raine McCandless, the heroine in Smoking Hot. She loves the excitement of patrolling the streets on Fort Worth’s North side where the landscape is skid-row bars and gang graffiti. Law enforcement runs in her veins. She has a free and easy lifestyle, dating when and who she wants. She’s in charge.

But she gives it all up to return home. Grandpa needs her and he’s the one who raised her. There’s no question what she has to do. He’s family. Still, it’s not easy to tamp down the warring emotions between regret and obligation.

 Have you ever felt resentful or guilty about the choices you made? I’ve definitely felt both! 

Raine moves back to the ranch and gets a job at the sheriff’s office working the night shift. Randolph is a sleepy little town and she has lots of time to fantasize about the kind of man she’d like to take prisoner so when she arrives home to find a sexy intruder waiting for her, she’s pretty sure she must be dreaming.

But Dillon Taylor is 100% real, just not 100% human. Half-man, half-angel, he’d love to answer every naughty prayer Raine has ever had. But Raine is in danger, and Dillon can only fulfill her every fantasy if he can keep her alive.

Yes, this angel has a naughty side. If you’re going to have your prayers answered you might as well have a naughty angel answer them. Especially one as sexy as Dillon. Right???

And the first review is in!

Kelley steams up the pages with this engrossing read. Various twists and turns within the plot will keep readers guessing right until the end. The main characters are fun, complex and unyielding in their attraction to each other, and the secondary players only add to the enjoyment.

SUMMARY: Sheriff’s Deputy Raine McCandless traded her fast-paced city life to return to her hometown to take care of her aging grandfather. One night she returns home after her shift to find a stranger in her house. Nephilim Dillon is half angel, half man, and he’s here to inform Raine that she’ll be killed in a botched robbery attempt—but he intends to save her. As the robbery unfolds, Raine and her grandfather become the prime suspects in the crime. Will Dillon save Raine in time, or will she spend the rest of her life in prison for a crime she didn’t commit? (Sourcebooks, Jun., 320 pp., $14.99) Jennifer Wilson , RT Book Reviews 4 Stars—Scorching

Donna says this is a perfect book to read in during the smoking hot days of summer, so I’m happy to give a copy of Smoking Hot to someone leaving a comment on the blog.  So tell me if you held a naughty angel as a prisoner, what would he have to do to get free?  

 

Best Wishes,

Karen Kelley

www.authorkarenkelley.com

 

 

 

Karilyn Bentley returns with more Dragon Shifters

DSC_4616 copySuz: Grab a chair everyone and gather round. Today I have one of my favorite guests to visit the Lair, Karilyn Bentley. Karilyn is the author of the wonderful dragon-shifter books that I, (and I suspect Ermingarde, since I always find the pages a bit singed when she’s done with them), love to read. Today Karilyn is going to take us into the world of the Watchers, guardian warriors of the Draconi, in her newest book WARRIOR LOVER.

Hey Karilyn! Pull up a barstool and Sven will pour you your favorite drink.

Karilyn: Thank you Suz for inviting me to chat with you today! <Sits, bats eyelashes at Sven as he brings a margarita. Takes a sip.> What a yummy margarita! And I love the way you hand me that drink, Sven. You might have to bring me another one. And please tell Ermingarde hi for me. I do love dragons! Especially when they read my books! <g>

Suz: So we’re revisiting the world of the Draconi, only this time we’re going to learn more about the Watchers, in particular Enar and his woman Lily, whom we met in MAGICAL LOVER. You’ve made WARRIOR LOVER a parallel story timeline-wise to MAGICAL LOVER. Was that hard to do?

Karilyn: No, actually that made it easier to write since parts of the story were already written. I just had to change the viewpoint to either Enar or Lily and add in some extra scenes. The last bit of WL passes the timeline of ML.  

Suz: What made you want to shift from the Draconi to the Watchers?

Karilyn: Enar took over the first draft of Magical Lover and I had to cut him out of several scenes, ML being Thoren’s book, not his. He protested, A LOT, so I wrote his own story to shut him up. <g>

Blurb:

As a Watcher, a guardian warrior of the Draconi, Enar has never fit in with his kind. When he sees Lily–the ideal Watcher’s woman–he instantly claims her, believing she will bring him the acceptance he craves. Falling in love with her was not part of his plan.

As her town’s outcast, Lily wants nothing more than to escape. When Enar locks a necklace around her throat and declares she belongs to him, she jumps at the chance to leave. Her excitement soon becomes trepidation when Enar won’t tell her what to expect in his world. But even her worry can’t overcome her growing attraction to him.

Soon Lily learns what life as a Watcher’s claim entails, and refuses to submit. To keep Lily, Enar must turn his back on everything he thought he wanted. Will he choose his people? Or the other half of his soul?

Suz: Don’t you just hate it when characters do that? Watchers have an unusual way to claim their women. Why did you build this into their world?warriorlover_w6832_300

Karilyn: I needed a way to keep Lily close to Enar and what better way than to have him capture her? And instead of having him tie her up to keep her close,  why not use a magical necklace that in essence does the same thing? It seemed to fit better in the fantasy land of Draconia.

Suz: Both Enar and Lily are outcasts in their societies, how does this affect their relationship?

Karilyn: It’s an unconscious part of their attraction to each other. They understand the motivations of the other, even if they don’t always agree with the outcome.

Suz: You’ve left the readers with some serious questions about the worlds of the Draconi and Watchers, will there be another book in this series?

Karilyn: Yes there will, thank you for asking! I’m currently writing DRAGON LOVER, the next book in the series. I’m a sloooooooowwwww writer, but am on track to finish it soon.

EXCERPT:

You don’t mind leaving?”

All brawn, no brain obviously. Hadn’t she just said that downstairs?

“That’s right. I want to leave. You want to take me. It works out well for both of us. Now, how much can I take?”

“You do not feel a need to take your entire shop, do you?” A small wrinkle appeared between his brows.

“As you noticed earlier, there’s not much to take. I have clothes and personal items. A couple of bags, maybe.”

“One bag. Thoren travels light. Insists we do the same.” He glanced to the bed and back to her, grinning. “Besides, the less time you take packing, the more time we’ll have for pleasure.”

Lily’s whole body stiffened, as blood pounded in her ears. Oh, Goddess, not now. She hadn’t left the town. Now she’d never leave. He’d crush her before she could be free.

He took a swaggering step toward her, cupping her face in his hand. “Don’t be frightened. I won’t hurt you.”

Sure you won’t, look at the size of you.

Bending forward, he placed his lips against hers, pressing gently. And just like that, her nervousness vanished.

Karilyn’s question for readers: Would you rather cuddle up next to a shape-shifting dragon or a sword-carrying warrior? Leave your email address in your comment to be entered into a drawing to win a PDF copy of Warrior Lover.

Find Karilyn at:

Website:  www.karilynbentley.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Karilyn-Bentley/120814741330722?ref=hl

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4051943.Karilyn_Bentley

Blog: http://plottingprincesses.blogspot.com

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