Tuesday, September 16, 2014
*** Ten Thrilling Tales of Sexy Alpha Bad Boys – from some of the hottest names in paranormal romance, this $.99 limited-time boxed set has something for everyone, from werewolves to vampires, ghosts to demons, and witches to wizards. With over 825,000 words in these ten full-length novels, you’ll spend hours falling in love with each of these wickedly hot heroes. ***
CRESCENT MOON by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Lori Handeland…
A cryptozoologist travels to New Orleans to investigate whispers of a wolf in the Honey Island Swamp.
FOREVER FREED by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Laura Kaye…
A reclusive, empathic vampire falls in love with a woman he planned to kill, and must fight his ancient guilt, bloodlust, and an old vampire rival who threatens everything he holds dear.
SINS OF THE FLESH by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Caridad Pineiro…
Mick Carrera is a mercenary hired to eliminate problems, but the genetically engineered woman with the superhuman powers is nothing like what he expected.
SPELLBOUND by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Opal Carew…
What is Lucinda, a tenth level wizard, to do when Destiny pairs her with a man who is utterly domineering, overwhelmingly masculine, incredibly irresistible and, according to her most trusted friend, extremely dangerous?
SPELL BOUND by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Julian…
A warrior born to defend. A young witch in need of protection. A dangerous desire neither of them expected.
HAUNTING A COWBOY - Brand New from USA Today Bestselling Author Randi Alexander…
When a ranch foreman hires a ghost whisperer to handle the spirit that’s haunting him, the attraction between them is…supernatural
HUNTRESS FOR HIRE by USA Today Bestselling Author Terry Spear…
He's bound to get her killed, so why does the huntress desire the vampire-turned hunter more than life itself?
DEAD SEXY by USA Today Bestselling Author Paige Tyler…
Can her love save him from a curse worse than death?
ASMODEUS: DEMON OF LUST by Bestselling Author Sara Humphreys…
When Kai Kelly discovers an unusual ring in the attic it leads to much more than she bargained for. She may not realize what she has in her possession, but the boys in Hell sure got the message.
BEAUTY AND THE BEST by Bestselling Author Judi Fennell…
Reclusive artist Todd Best hasn't produced anything since the death of his wife…until aspiring romance novelist Jolie Gardener enters his life and turns it upside down.
Lori Handeland is a two time RITA Award winner and the New York Times bestselling author of the paranormal romance series, The Nightcreature Novels, as well as the urban fantasy series, The Phoenix Chronicles and the historical fantasy series, Shakespeare Undead. She also writes western historical romance under the name Lori Austin.
Laura Kaye is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nearly twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink, Heroes, and Hearts of the Anemoi series.
New York Times and USA Today bestseller Caridad Pineiro is a Jersey Girl who just wants to write, travel, and spend more time with family and friends. Caridad is the author of over 40 novels/novellas and loves romance novels, super heroes, TV and cooking.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Opal Carew is the author of erotic romance stories in which she makes offerings of hope, success, and love to her readers. As Amber Carew, she writes futuristic, urban fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, and contemporary romance.
New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Julian writes sophisticated, sultry romance for adventurous readers. She is happily married to a Springsteen fanatic and the mother of two sons who introduced her to the joys of Slipknot, Warped Tour and never-ending headaches.
USA Today bestselling author Randi Alexander writes smokin' hot romance with heroes who'll have you begging to ride off into the sunset with them. Her emotional love stories sweep you off your feet, so prepare yourself to be rode hard and put up satisfied on the sexier side of happily ever-after!
USA Today bestselling Terry Spear has written over fifty paranormal romance novels and a medieval Highland romances series. Heart of the Wolf was named a 2008 Publishers Weekly's Best Book of the Year.
Paige Tyler is a USA Today Bestselling Author of more than fifty books, including the new action-packed paranormal/romantic-suspense X-OPS and SWAT (Special Wolf Alpha Team) Series, both from Sourcebooks.
Sara Humphreys is an award-winning bestselling novelist of paranormal and contemporary romance. The mother of four teenage boys, Sara has been married to her college sweetie for twenty years. She believes in true love, great sex, and happily ever afters.
Award-winning, best-selling author Judi Fennell loves to laugh and loves love, so it's no surprise there's a little bit of each in every book she writes. Check out her fairy tales with a twist.
HAUNTING A COWBOY - A Brand New Story from USA Today Bestselling Author Randi Alexander When ranch foreman Thad McCade’s life is disrupted by something supernatural, he hires a ghost whisperer to clear his home. But Madam Ruby is not at all what he expected. She’s Cheyenne Redford, she wears a business suit, drives an expensive SUV, and Thad would rather have her whisper in his ear than whisper away his ghost.
Excerpt from Haunting a Cowboy: When Cheyenne finished her beer, she stood. “Well, since there’s no one but you and me here tonight, I’d better get going.” She looked out the window. Pitch black. “Could I borrow a flashlight? I didn’t think of grabbing one before I walked down here.
Thad got to his feet. “You walked?” Leaning over, he picked up his keys out of the bowl by the door. “Let me drive you back.”
“No, please.” She stepped to the screen door. “I don’t mind the walk. It’s so beautiful here, with the stars and…” She rolled one hand around, trying to come up with something else to add.
Thad grabbed a rifle from behind the door. “And night critters that are prowling, looking for their next meal.” He checked to see that it was loaded.
“Oh, I didn’t think of that. In the city, night critters walk on two legs, and carry knives.”
“I’ll walk you.” He leaned close to her.
His scent filled her mind with warm, naughty ideas as she blinked up at him, parting her lips. Would he kiss her now?
He frowned and flipped on the porch light. “After you, ma’am.”
Turning her face away, she hid the warmth that flooded her cheeks. Crap, what an imagination she had. Stepping outside, the cool night chilled her romantic notions down to manageable proportions.
They walked along the gravel drive in silence.
A howl came from a distance. In the nearby woods, scurrying sounds startled her, making her lurch a bit, and stumble into him.
Taking her elbow in his hand, he got her straightened out, but kept his hold on her arm.
The heat racing through her, starting at her arm and running all the way up and into her bloodstream, gave her chills.
“Cold?” His voice came close to her ear.
Was he making his move now? She could see the lights of Sayde’s house ahead. Would he kiss her now, or wait until he dropped her off at the door? Oh lord, those two beers had really hit her hard. She was wanting things she probably shouldn’t even be thinking about.
But if she was reading him right, and for some reason she was able to read him a little too well, he was wanting her just as much.
They stepped from the gravel road onto the concrete driveway at Sayde’s house.
He released her. “Cheyenne.” In the low illumination from a faraway yard light, his eyes glimmered.
Her intuition told her he wanted her, but was too reserved to take what he desired.
“Thad.” She stepped close to him, ran her hands from his chest up to his neck and went up on tiptoes, pressing her lips to his.
For a second, he stiffened, then he opened his mouth, the hand not holding the rifle wrapped around her waist and pulled her tight against him.
Amazing, his lips felt so firm and hot, his breath laced with beer and sexy, pure man, mingled with his woodsy scent and forced a shiver through her.
Where their hips pressed together, she could feel a bulge. She touched her tongue to his lips.
“Goddamnit.” Thad released her, stepped back, and breathed hard.
The loss of his heat against her cooled her as much as the look in his eyes. Pure terror.
“Get inside, Cheyenne. It’s not safe out here.” He growled the words and turned, walking away.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Hello to all who visit Bitten By Love! I’m Rosanne Bittner and I have been writing American historical romance for over 30 years, with 59 titles published and #60 coming next July! My favorite genre is America’s Old West, Native American romance, cowboy romance, and anything to do with settling this great country – pioneers, the railroad, the Oregon Trail, the gold discoveries, the Mexican War, the stagecoach trails, the farmers, ranchers, lawmen and outlaws. Food for stories is endless in this genre, let alone America’s magnificent western landscape. I think my love for the genre and for the American West shows through vividly in my stories, as I get endless comments about how real my characters are to my readers, and how the Old West comes alive in my stories. I love the western hero, who can be tough on the outside but soft on the inside, especially toward his woman.
My newest book is out this month – DESPERATE HEARTS – about a Montana Vigilante who falls in love with a mysterious young woman who is obviously a “city girl” come to the little gold town of Alder, Montana with no good explanation as to why she is there all alone. Little does our hero know that this woman is wanted back in New York City and is fleeing a man who wants to get her jailed or hanged. It’s a “wild west” love story you will really enjoy!
INTERVIEW WITH ROSANNE BITTNER
1. What is one of your favorite Myths/legends to write about?
Well, I’m not good at myths and legends. I love reality – real history – hot love stories about two people whose love holds them together through the dangers and challenges of settling America. I’ve written about the French and Indian wars, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and numerous American historical adventures. But if I were to write about a myth/legend, it would probably be futuristic – as - what if this country were destroyed by nuclear weapons but someone survived? What would life be like for them, and what secrets would the elders of his or her world hold? I don’t want to say who; because this is an idea I’ve had for a long time and I don’t want to give it away!
2. If you could live back in time, what time period would you choose and why?
Well, that’s pretty obvious from what I already do write – America’s Old West.
3. Have you ever come across a song that might fit the theme of one of your books?
I’ve had a song for just about every book I’ve written. One overall song that fits most of my stories is the soundtrack from the movie THE BIG COUNTRY. It’s fantastic music that carries you right out onto the wide open plains and prairies and the magnificent Rockies. The American West truly is “big country.” My husband and I have traveled all over the West and I have visited just about every place I’ve written about in my books.
4. Do you remember what you felt when you had your first kiss?
Oh, my gosh, you asked about my first kiss! It was over 51 years ago!!! It wasn’t my “first” kiss, but it was the first time I kissed the boy who would become my husband. I was dating someone else and prom night we went to the beach. When we got down there, I kissed a “friend” with whom I’d joked earlier that he owed me a kiss that night. Well, that friend was Larry Bittner, and boy, he’s a great kisser! I never forgot that kiss. A year later I broke up with the long-time boyfriend and I literally hunted down Larry and arranged it so I needed a ride home. Ten months later we were married!! That kiss got him in a lot of trouble!
5. What was the most creative pick up line you've ever used on someone or someone used on you?
I don’t use “pick up” lines and never dated around enough to have them used on me. I guess the closest I came was when I arranged that ride home with the man who would become my husband. That was quite a “pick up!”
6. When writing do you have a playlist of music you like to listen to? What are a couple songs on it?
My playlist of songs is on my blog at www.rosannebittner.blogspot.com. Mostly I listen to a two-cd set called “Way Out West,” which is a collection of soundtracks from famous western movies. I also love Celine Dion love songs and I listen to Bon Jovi a LOT.
7. What do you do when you think nobody is watching?
8. What was your favorite childhood book?
My favorite childhood book was THE LITTLE RED HEN. But when I was in my teens, the book that I absolutely loved and made me want to write about pioneer women was A LANTERN IN HER HAND by Bess Streeter Aldrich. To this day I cry when I talk about that book, and that was 55 years ago! It’s a wonderful story about a woman who gives up her dreams to go west to settle in Nebraska with her new husband, and her loneliness is just heartbreaking. It’s such a “real” story – a beautiful story.
9. What is your favorite addition to chocolate?
10. What does your husband/significant other say about your writing erotic stories? What about your family and/or do they read your books?
Well, I don’t write true erotica, but I do have some very hot and heavy love scenes – 99% of them between two people very much in love, which for me makes them even more erotic. There is no more satisfying lovemaking than that between two people crazy about each other and completely devoted to each other. It’s almost worshipful. And it can still be very “hot!” My husband doesn’t mind. After all, I have to “practice” with someone, right? And yes, we still “do it.” We’re still in love. The rest of the family doesn’t mind. My grandsons probably think I just think about love scenes but don’t do that anymore. Hahahaha! Little do they know!
11. Besides your own, what is one of your favorite series to keep up with?
My favorite series to keep up with is not in books. I’m crazy about HELL ON WHEELS, the fabulous western on AMC about the building of the Union Pacific. I am totally in love with the hero, Cullen Bohannon.
12. What do you think you would be doing if you weren't writing?
I can’t even go there.
13. Do you have any hobbies or activities you enjoy doing?
I do love gardening. Recently I turned my back yard into a rose garden. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also my little retreat where I can sit and just look at flowers and watch the birds and think about my next book.
14. What is something you do to de-stress?
I listen to my favorite music, take walks, and sit in my garden.
15. We all know about muses...what do you think inspires you to allow your creative juices flowing?
It doesn’t take much because I absolutely love my genre. Reading for research helps because for everything I read for the book I am working on, the research opens up more ideas for other books. Again, my music helps – and I keep pictures plastered all over my office of hunky men who inspire me for heroes, especial Native American men and pictures of Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) from HELL ON WHEELS.
10 Fun Facts:
Oh, gosh – at my age I’m not sure how many I can come up with. I’m not some young chick dating around, but I do “feel” about 40 and I do love abs and muscles on men. One would be I have always loved my husband’s arms. He always had great, muscly arms (hate skinny arms on a guy). My husband never lost at arm wrestling and was known for it when we were younger.
Another fun fact might be that I am a “bling” girl – Love it. I wear bling all the time, including bling on my Rock Revival jeans and glittery western belts.
I love doing things with my grandsons – now 11, 12 and almost 14 – a really fun age. I’m not a grandma who sits home knitting or who goes to the senior center every day. No way!!! I love life and only sleep about 6 hours a night if I’m lucky.
Another fun fact might be that I love Las Vegas. My husband and I have a condo there and we spend time there in the winter, getting away from the snow and cold of Michigan, where we live.
Thanks so much for inviting me to visit your blog! Be sure to look me up on my web site at www.rosannebittner.com and my blog at www.rosannebittner.blogspot.com. I am also on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest, and I have author sites on Google and Amazon. Happy reading!
She’s a woman with a secret
Elizabeth Wainwright is on the run. Accused of a murder she didn’t commit, she has no choice but to cut ties with her old life and flee West. The last thing she wants is attention, but when her stagecoach is attacked, she suddenly finds herself under the fierce protection of one of Montana’s famed vigilantes…whether she likes it or not.
He’s a man with a code
Lawman Mitch Brady is sworn to uphold justice. He’s never met a man he’s feared, and he’s never met a woman more desperately in need of his help. Something’s shaken the secretive Elizabeth, but as he gets to know the beautiful city belle, he finds the only thing he wants more than her safety…is her trust. Elizabeth longs to give herself to Mitch, but when her past finally catches up with her, can she truly trust her life to the vigilante who’s stolen her heart?
Rosanne Bittner is an award-winning novelist who is highly acclaimed for her thrilling love stories and historical authenticity. Her epic romances span the West—from Canada to Mexico, Missouri to California—and are often based on personal visits to each setting. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two sons. You can find her at www.rosannebittner.com.
Friday, September 12, 2014
This adventurous duke...
The Duke of Marchford requires a suitable bride, but catching spies for the Foreign Office takes up most of his time. Not wanting to face another London season hounded by matchmaking mamas, he employs his grandmother’s companion, known to the ton as the notorious Madame X, to find him a match.
Has met his match
Miss Penelope Rose knows the rules of marriage among members of the ton better than most. Her own unsuccessful attempts at matrimony did not stop her from becoming London’s most exclusive matchmaker. Marchford proves to be a difficult client, but as he draws on her social expertise to help him flush out a dangerous traitor, they find that falling in love may be the riskiest adventure of all.
“Pure ambrosia... Readers will delight in one of Forester’s happiest offerings to date.”
– Publishers Weekly STARRED Review
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Amanda Forester holds a PhD in psychology and worked in academia before discovering that writing historical romance novels was decidedly more fun. Whether in the Highlands or a Regency ballroom, Forester’s novels are fast-paced adventures filled with wit, intrigue, and romance. She lives with her husband and children in University Place, Washington.
BBL: If you could live back in time, what time period would you choose and why?
AF; Though I have written historical novels set in both medieval
and Regency England, if I had a time machine, I would definitely choose to live
in Regency England. First of all, it was
a lot cleaner! Second, I would LOVE to swoop around my estate (if I'm going
back in time it's not as a peasant!) wearing one of those gorgeous Regency
gowns. I'd have to hire a dance instructor, but then I'm off to the ball to
dance the night away! Scotland
BBL: Do you remember what you felt when you had your first kiss?
AF: Confused. Yeah, probably not the best first kiss experience. But the person I was with (great guy and all) was not the one for me. I do remember the first time I kissed the man I would later marry. I wasn't sure about this guy, but then we kissed. And I knew. I just knew. This was the man for me!
BBL: What do you do when you think nobody is watching?
AF: Dance. But I lock the door to make sure no one is looking. Eat chocolate from my secret stash... until my kids find it and I have to move it once again. Sing. Trust me there's a reason I'm an author, not a performer!
BBL: What was your favorite childhood book?
AF: Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne is absolutely my favorite childhood book. I wanted to be Christopher Robin and play with my friends in the hundred acre wood. Though my childhood yard wasn't even a hundred feet, let alone acres, I still would take out my dolls and stuffed animals to play. My second favorite book was Mud Pies and Other Recipes by Marjorie Winslow - a recipe book for dolls. It featured such tasty treats as Mud Puddle Soup and Pine Needle Upside-down Cake - yum!
BBL: What is your favorite addition to chocolate?
AF: Chocolate can make pretty much anything better. I enjoy chocolate and mint, chocolate and strawberries, chocolate and marshmallow, and of course everyone's favorite, chocolate and peanut butter. As we head into fall, though, I start thinking of one of my absolute favorites, the chocolate orange. I love the dark chocolate orange you smack on the table and then eat the slices. I'm not sure if it's the smacking or the eating, but it works for me!
BBL: What does your husband/significant other say about your writing romance stories? What about your family and/or do they read your books?
AF: My husband has been a huge supporter of my writing and reads everything before it heads out the door. My parents were a little surprised at first that I chose to write romance, but they have come around. Even my dad, who had never in his life read a romance novel and confessed that he thought he was going to hate it, surprised himself by really enjoying the stories. Now he has become one of my biggest supporters!
BBL: What do you think you would be doing if you weren't writing?
AF: I enjoy teaching and have taught psychology classes at my local university. Someday maybe I could teach writing, but I'm still learning a lot myself! Of course I have my kidlets keeping me busy, so I have a lot of running around to do.
BBL: Do you have any hobbies or activities you enjoy doing?
AF: I enjoy scrapbooking. My goal is to finish my kid's baby books before they go to college. It's looking a little touch and go right now. Yesterday, I tried something new that I think is my new favorite hobby - zip-lines! I had a blast flying through the trees attached to a cable. And I didn't die, which was awesome!
BBL: What is something you do to de-stress?
AF: I really want to say yoga. Everyone I know who does it loves it. I really need to start. Maybe then I'd be less stressed. Usually, I work until my head crashes into the keyboard and I wake up with a start after typing the letter "y" continuously for seven pages. Does that count as a stress break? No? Well, there's always chocolate...
BBL: We all know about muses...what do you think inspires you to allow your creative juices flowing?
AF: Often I just need to start writing something and not worry about whether it is good or bad. I find the internal editor, which is essential for editing, is fatal for creative writing. I need to give myself the freedom to make the big mistakes and go for it! If I get stuck, I will take a break, take a walk, sleep on it, or just think of something else. If I really need to figure something out, I will take a shower, because invariably I get my best ideas when it is physically impossible to write them down!
10 Fun Facts about A Winter Wedding
- · Marchford hires Penelope to find him a wife
- · Marchford hides in Penelope's room
- · Marchford and Penelope hide in a wardrobe
- · The Dowager Duchess of Marchford hides under a tarp
- · Penelope adopts a dog that turns out to be a Peruvian Jungle cat
- · Marchford puts six geese in the drawing room
- · Urchin turned upstairs maid, Jemima, uses her lock-picking skills to advantage
- · Marchford mistletoes the house
- · Penelope learns what to do with a feather and a riding crop
- · To appease my husband who complained my stories did not have enough (or any) explosions, in A Winter Wedding something blows up!
I hope you will enjoy reading more about Penelope and Marchford, in A Winter Wedding now available. To get you started in the series, the first book in the trilogy, Wedding in Springtime is being offered FREE for a limited time, and Midsummer Bride is currently only $1.99. I love to hear from readers so come visit me at my website, facebook, or twitter.
Friday, September 5, 2014
Sometimes it feels good to be bad . . .
Dave Sanders is making up for a lifetime of sin. After leaving his reckless past behind, he now runs a respectable bar and grill. But keeping his wild side in check becomes nearly impossible when Kathy Mae Smith starts working for him. She's shy, modest, and sexy as hell. Slow, sweet seduction has never been his style, but then Dave has never wanted a woman like this before . . . Thanks to her ex-husband, Kathy doesn't know if she can ever trust another man. And she certainly isn't about to jeopardize her job by jumping into bed with her hot new boss. Yet Dave is kind, caring, and his sizzling persistence is about to burn through the last of her defenses-until her past catches up with her. If she surrenders the truth to Mr. Perfect, will she lose him . . . or get a second shot at love?
Excerpt:Slow, he reminded himself. Take your time. When he slid his tongue into her mouth Kathy’s body tightened under the arm he had wrapped around her. She fisted her fingers in his hair and tried to take them both deeper, wilder, but he wouldn’t allow it. Keeping the kiss gentle he took his time tasting, all the while memorizing the smooth texture of her lips. “You’re so beautiful, Kathy,” he said, against her mouth.
He sat back to look at the woman he hoped would someday be his. He’d known from the instant they met in the Lion’s manager’s office when Sophie had worked there. Kathy was the kind of woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. But he couldn’t tell her, not yet. Not when there were still things she needed to know about him and him about her.
He pulled into her apartment building parking lot then turned to her. “You and I…the first time we make love, it’s going to be special. Not just a grope fest.”
“There’s nothing wrong with those.” Kathy teased with a hand caressing up his thigh.
“Nope, there isn’t as long as you’re both getting something great out of it.” He took her hand in his and started to gently rub his thumb over the back of it. “I want to make you squirm and hear you scream out my name. I don’t want the chance to catch our breath—no downtime, only passion.” He began to put more pressure on the friction of her thumb pad. “When you come that first time, I want it in my mouth. My God, Kathy, I can’t even get close to telling you how much I need you because I’m so overwhelmed by you.”
“Oh, Jesus,” she whispered. “Tell me more. Tell me how.”
“I want to take you in every position possible with long slow strokes.” His eyes burned into hers, and when he moved his hand under her skirt he found her moist. Gently he glided his middle finger in small circles over the dampness when he heard her breath shutter then gasp as he applied pressure. “I’d love to taste you now.” He brought his hand to his mouth and sucked on the finger that he just teased her with.
“Dave?” Her body slithered lower in her seat, her eyes wide and filled with passion.
“I feel like I’m going to explode. Pleasssse,” she pleaded.
About the author:
Once Rebecca Rose picked up her first romance novel she knew her destiny was typed on those pages. She lives to find romance in ordinary life doing everyday things, by believing you just need to be conscious enough to look for it. While being slightly dyslexic has created some challenges for her, she feels compelled to write about the characters living in her head.
With multiple books out, she is a full-time writer with a nagging muse who even talks obsessively in the car. That is of course, when the voice can get a word in edgewise with her three children and husband of 17 years.
With multiple books out, she is a full-time writer with a nagging muse who even talks obsessively in the car. That is of course, when the voice can get a word in edgewise with her three children and husband of 17 years.
Social Media Links:
You are invited to the Dining Club. If you pass the challenges we set, a world of pleasure awaits you.
He is everything she never wanted: brooding, secretive, rich - and far-removed from her care-free artistic lifestyle. Yet David has a power over Grace that she cannot resist, a power that comes from his darker, passionate side. And now he is ready to truly reveal himself. Inviting Grace to a weekend at the Dining Club, David offers her the opportunity to discover his deepest desires and to find pleasures far beyond her wildest imagination - but only if she is willing to play a series of sensual games. Grace faces a choice: give in to her doubts and retreat to her quiet life, or truly embrace happiness with David and win over her mesmerizing lover forever.
Excerpt:The subdued lighting and quiet murmur of intensely private conversations in the dining room were an arousing background to these small acts of sensuality, and Grace was thoroughly relaxed and enjoying herself when Laura, Amy’s twin, arrived at the table with some cards in her hands. “The dessert choice,” she explained, handing them to David.
Amy sat up very straight, her eyes on Grace. David glanced briefly at the cards, put three down on the table and passed the rest back to Laura, who then stood waiting for their order.
“Grace, these dessert choices are coded,” he said quietly.
“Each of them hints at the type of trial you want this evening. Here, look at them and you’ll see what I mean.”
Grace’s stomach tightened with fear. For a short time she’d forgotten what lay ahead, but now there was no way out. If she wanted to keep David, and after their conversation earlier she knew without a doubt that she did, then she had to go through with this. All around her other women were also looking at cards and making choices. One looked excited, but the others looked as nervous as Grace was feeling.
“Tantalizing Tiramisu, Obedient Orange Sorbet or Controlled Chocolate Delight,” she read aloud.
“I think you should leave the Controlled Chocolate Delight for another month,” said David quietly. “Choose from the first two.”
Grace began to tremble. “I don’t want either,” she whispered. “I don’t know what they mean. I don’t think I can do this.”
“Then you simply refuse the dessert, my darling, but of course you know what that will mean for us.”
“I’m scared; doesn’t that matter to you?”
“Don’t be scared. You don’t have to choose anything, you know that. If none of them appeal to you, then all you have to do is tell Laura. There’s no pressure on you, Gracie, it’s only that . . .”
Trembling, Grace looked at him, and saw the regret in his eyes. She wanted to go on, to take the final step into the unknown, but the descriptions on the cards didn’t give her enough of a clue for her to dare to choose anything with any confidence.
“The tiramisu should be nice,” murmured Amy, leaning close to Grace so that no one near could hear. “Choose that. You’ll be fine.”
As Grace hesitated, Amber came to their table. “Is there a problem?” she asked.
Looking up, Grace saw that Amber had guessed what was happening and was enjoying it. She also noticed that Amber had rested one hand possessively on David’s left shoulder. “No, I’m spoilt for choice, that’s all,” she said brightly. “I think I’ll go for the Tantalizing Tiramisu. It sounds fascinating.”
Laura wrote it down and went away and Amy smiled and touched Grace’s arm encouragingly while Amber merely nodded before walking off. All around them groups of three were getting up from their tables and making their way out of the dining room.
“Well done,” said David. With a sigh of relief he pushed back his chair. “We’re in the study for dessert tonight aren’t we, Amy?”
“Aren’t you coming too?” asked Grace.
“No, I’m hardly ever involved at a guest’s first trial. My skills are for the higher tables. Good luck though,” she added more quietly, “and try to enjoy it. It’s one of the best
choices you can get.” With that, Amy hurried off to join another group.
Grace felt bereft as she watched her go. Now she knew that whatever lay ahead she had to cope with it on her own, because she was certain that no one else was going to help her in any way at all.
Silently David guided Grace out of the dining room, down the hallway and along a short corridor. He then opened a concealed door and she stepped inside.
“Hello,” said Amber, getting up from a chair to greet her. “Do come in. Andrew and I are both so pleased you chose the tiramisu.”
Grace took a step backwards, feeling her heart racing and aware that the palms of her hands were damp with fear, but David was standing behind her, and before she could say anything he’d locked the study door and dropped the key into a jar on a high shelf.
“Welcome to your first trial, my darling,” he murmured. “I’m sure we’re all going to have a wonderful time.”
About the author:
Marina Anderson is the pseudonym of a British author. Her novels have sold over half a million copies worldwide and she is a Times bestseller.
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A Sultry Summer Nights Novel
The last thing ex-SEAL Sergei Gun needs is a complication. As part of a powerful black-ops company, he's led an extraction team into the Mexican jungle to rescue two men who have been kidnapped. Everything has gone according to plan until Serge discovers a third hostage-an exquisitely beautiful woman with a secret haunting her stormy gray eyes. With no choice but to bring her back to the compound deep in the sultry, steamy Louisiana bayou, Serge vows to protect her, body and soul . . .Kara Nichols never imagined that she'd capture the interest of a powerful man like Serge. What began as a simple rescue mission ignites into a passionate affair. As Serge teaches her the tantalizing art of surrender, Kara finds herself more than willing to shed every last one of her inhibitions and submit to him fully. But the dark, dangerous forces that captured Kara aren't ready to let her go so easily . . .
Excerpt:She glanced down at her bikini, and then upward again, scanning his bare chest and hoping she wasn’t drooling, because she was so over wanting him. She took the glass and sipped from the straw. Orange and pineapple and a touch of vodka exploded on her tongue. “Thanks,” she said, unsure what more she could say without blurting out her anger over his abandonment.
So, maybe she wasn’t over him. The thought deflated her. Her gaze dropped to her drink.
Sergei lowered to sit in the sand beside her chaise. “You’re rested?”
“I am. The bed is very comfortable.” She couldn’t pull her gaze from him. His was directed at the sea, his strong profile achingly dear.
The moment stretched, and she grew restless. After she’d missed her chance back at the mansion to lay it all out there, to bare her soul, she’d lost her courage. But anger rose again, giving starch to her backbone. “Do you feel anything for me?” God, had she really asked that out loud? How pathetic must she sound?
Sergei’s face swung toward her.
Reading what was going on behind his brown eyes was impossible. But his mouth, dear Lord, his mouth—the firm line was softening, curving into his familiar crooked smile.
“Are you angry with me?”
She was glaring. So maybe that question was looking for the secrets locked deep inside her. “I am. After everything we shared, you put me in a guest room.”
“You needed rest.” His eyebrows rose. “You were swaying on your feet when we arrived.”
“I needed comfort. I was scared.” Her fingers tightened on the wooden arm of the chaise.
“But you were safe. You had nothing to fear.”
“I wasn’t afraid of being attacked again, you moron. I was afraid you didn’t love me.” She clamped her jaws closed and stared at him wide-eyed. Nothing like blurting out my feelings.
His mouth stretched and he began to laugh. Loudly. Holding his belly and bending.
Infuriating. With a determined move, she reached out and tipped her glass over his head.
Then he laughed harder. “Better run, sweetheart. You’ve earned a spanking.”
Her heart thrilled, and she pushed off the chaise, squealing as she ran for the water. She was thigh deep when a strong arm looped around her waist and pulled her hard against a solid wall of muscle.
“So I’m a moron?” he growled in her ear.
“I don’t know where that came from,” she gasped. But she was lying. She’d wanted to call him a bastard, a motherfucker, every foul name she could think of, she was so frustrated by the distance he’d placed between them.
In the next instant, she went still, remembering what he’d just said. “You’re going to spank me?”
“Later. Promise,” he whispered.
About the author:
Until just a few years ago, award-winning erotica and romance author Delilah Devlin lived in South Texas at the intersection of two dry creeks, surrounded by sexy cowboys in Wranglers. These days, she's missing the wide-open skies and starry nights but loving her dark forest in Central Arkansas, with its eccentric characters and isolation-the better to feed her hungry muse! For Delilah, the greatest sin is driving between the lines, because it's comfortable and safe. Her personal journey has taken her through one war and many countries, cultures, jobs, and relationships to bring her to the place where she is now-writing sexy adventures that hold more than a kernel of autobiography and often share a common thread of self-discovery and transformation. To learn more about Delilah and her stories, visit www.DelilahDevlin.com.
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