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Friday, December 14, 2012

Romances for Christmas - Lindsay Townsend

Quite a few of my romances take place at Christmas-time, or over the Yule-time period. Why is that? Because Christmas is a time for families, for gifts, for beginnings, for magic. Here are my Romances at Christmas. All are for sale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble apart from 'Twelve Kisses,' and that will be appearing there soon.


'Twelve Kisses' is my latest story set at Christmas-time itself. I wanted it to be a story of love and hope, of a young couple finding each other again and reuniting in love. It's set a little later than my other medieval romances, just at the start of the Tudor period. Due out from Muse it Up Publishing and All Romance Ebooks today.






'A Knight's Captive,' my 1066 historical romance, has its climax and ending at Christmas. We go with Sunniva and Marc to witness the crowning of William of Normandy and we see what happens later, when Sunniva returns with Marc, her new Norman lord, to her old Saxon homelands.






My modern romantic suspense, 'Voices in the Dark,' has many Christmas scenes and settings, including Venice in winter.










'The Snow Bride' is another historical romance. Christmas is fast approaching in this medieval tale of stolen brides and romance. Magnus and Elfrida must find them before the winter Solstice, the darkest time of the year.











If you fancy an 'older' kind of Christmas and Christmas celebrations, have a look at my 'Flavia's Secret'. This historical romance and mystery also has a climax during the ancient Roman Saturnalia - their pagan version of our Christmas.







I wrote my 'A Christmas Sleeping Beauty,' as a fairy tale at Christmas. What will Prince Orlando have to do and learn to wake and win his sleeping princess?









You can learn more and read first chapters and reviews by going to my blog and clicking on the covers on the sidebar of the blog.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jean Gill: 'Song at Dawn'

‘Song at Dawn’
Winner of the Global Ebooks Award 2012 for Best Historical Fiction (Medieval)

'Believable, page-turning and memorable' - S.P.Review 

On the run from abuse, Estela wakes in a ditch with only her lute, her amazing voice, and a dagger hidden in her petticoats. Her talent finds a patron in Aliénor of Aquitaine and more than a music tutor in the Queen's finest troubadour and Commander of the Guard, Dragonetz los Pros. Weary of war, Dragonetz uses Jewish money and Moorish expertise to build that most modern of inventions, a papermill, arousing the wrath of the Church. Their enemies gather, ready to light the political and religious powder-keg of medieval Narbonne. 

FREE FOR CHRISTMAS until 24th December  -   spread the word!
Use coupon FF49C when you checkout

If you can find the time to post a review, it would be much appreciated. Jean likes to hear from readers, so contact her with questions or comments, at jean.gill@wanadoo.fr

‘Song at Dawn’
Extract from Chapter 7

1150
Dragonetz is Commander of the Guard and Troubadour to Aliénor (Eleanor) of Aquitaine, Queen of France, and Estela is the mystery girl Aliénor has required him to tutor. 
In this part of the story he is showing her his secret building project, a paper mill. At this time in Europe, only the Moors had the skills to make paper. 

 ‘That, my sweet Estela, is the beauty of it! I shall sell paper to the Church for enormous profit and I shall be fantastically rich! As shall my workers.’
Estela chewed the side of a finger, a bad habit she had kept from childhood. ‘The Church won’t like it,’ she stated.
‘No, they won’t.’
‘That makes a dangerous enemy.’ Estela stated the fact.
‘We’ve told him,’ Raoulf was gloomy. ‘But you can see what he’s like. The future pff!’ and he spat, coarsely. ‘The future will be my Lord’s body with a bolt through it!’
‘Ever the optimist!’ Dragonetz clapped Raoulf on the back. ‘That’s what you’re here for, you and your men, to watch my mill and watch my back. Speaking of which, this should make things even.’ With which enigmatic statement, he tore off his doublet and underthings so that he too was bare to the waist, then he grabbed Arnaut’s hand and dragged his unwilling man into a run. Shouting, ‘I said I owed him a ducking,’ Dragonetz ran the two of them straight off the edge of the bank into the river.
‘You mad whore-son,’ burst from Raoulf as he rushed after them to the bank, anxiously scanning the murky water for signs of life. Estela counted to thirty before two heads burst up above the surface, gasping, spouting and followed by thrashing arms. Arnaut twisted underwater, avoiding Dragonetz’ attempt to duck him again and came up at a safe distance, both men treading water and spluttering. ‘Come and join us, Estela,’  Dragonetz called to her.
‘Can’t swim,’ she yelled back.
‘What are you thinking of, bringing a Lady here!’ Raoulf shouted, purple with annoyance.
‘A Lady! I’d forgotten!’
‘Oh my God, no,’ groaned Raoulf.
‘Estela, my sweet, Arnaut wants to do combat and regain his pride – throw us a token.’
Without thinking, Estela pulled the bangle off her arm and threw it in a high arc to land equidistant from the two men. Neither wasted words but dived underneath, rippling the surface as they carved the water underneath. Another count, thirty, forty, Estela thought that Raoulf would explode, holding his own breath to see how long it was possible, then Arnaut broke surface, gasping, followed quickly by a triumphant Dragonetz whooping and waving the bangle in the air.
‘She’s not an ordinary Lady,’ he yelled, ‘she’s a Troubairitz! Ask her!’ And then he struck out for the bank, Arnaut following at a safe distance and after some horseplay with Dragonetz trying to prevent Arnaut getting out the water, both men stood dripping and laughing, pushing each other. Dragonetz waved the bangle, taunting, and Arnaut stood, bent double, getting the words out with difficulty. ‘You always have to win, don’t you, even when you don’t want the prize!’
Dragonetz’ eyes glittered. ‘Always, Arnaut, always,’ and then he knelt in front of Estela, offering her the bangle back. She looked down on the black curly hair, bent in mock homage, the broad, wet shoulders, the long tapered fingers reaching out to her, returning her token. She felt Arnaut’s stillness, the sunshine, the moment to which this day had been leading all along. She thought of Peire, his disappointment over something so small, so easily given, so wrongly with-held. It was her moment and she could do anything she liked with it. She shut her eyes and felt for the lyric. If this were a song, how would it go? And then she knew what to do.

Want to read more ?

FREE FOR CHRISTMAS until 24th December
Use coupon FF49C when you checkout

If you can find the time to post a review, it would be much appreciated. Jean likes to hear from readers, so contact her with questions or comments, at jean.gill@wanadoo.fr

ENTER THE DRAW FOR A SIGNED PRINT BOOK VERSION
Visit http://sooozsaysstuff.blogspot.co.uk/ and get the details




About the author:

Jean Gill is a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with a big white dog, a Nikon D700 and a man. For many years, she taught English in Wales and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Carmarthenshire. She is mother or stepmother to five children.

Publications are varied, including prize-winning poetry and novels, military history, translated books on dog training, and a cookery book on goat cheese. With Scottish parents, an English birthplace and French residence, she can usually support the winning team on most sporting occasions.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

My First Self-Published Book: A SIMILAR TASTE IN BOOKS

Well, I've done it. Just like everyone else, I've self-published a book.

A Similar Taste in Books is a sweet regency romance novelette.

BLURB:
Pride and Prejudice has always brought lovers together, even in the Regency.

Justin has a deep, dark secret—he likes that most despised form of literature, the novel. His favorite novel is Pride and Prejudice, and, especially, Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Intelligent, lively, fiercely loyal Miss Elizabeth. How he would love to meet a lady like her.

Clara’s favorite novel is Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Intelligent, steadfast and willing to admit when he is wrong. Can such a splendid man exist? And can she find him?

One day in the library, they both check out copies of their favorite book. When Justin bumps into Clara, the magic of their similar taste in books just might make their wishes come true.

A sweet, traditional Regency romance. 

EXCERPT:

With a curt nod to the officious clerk, Justin gathered up his package and stepped back. He collided with the person next in the queue. “I beg your par—” 

Before him stood the loveliest lady he had ever seen. She was short and willowy, her dark pink muslin walking dress emphasizing every slender curve. Deep brown curls peeped from the sides of a gauzy matching pink bonnet to frame an oval face. Her skin was creamy, her nose straight and proud.

Miss Elizabeth Bennet! The lady of his dreams! His jaw sagged.

“No harm done, sir.” The vision lifted a shapely dark eyebrow. “If I may reach the clerk?” Merry chocolate-colored eyes twinkled up at him and sweet rosy lips dimpled in an amused arch of a grin. A whiff of lilac perfume, delicate as the lady, wafted toward him.

He snapped his mouth shut with an audible click. “Oh, sorry.” Damn him for gaping like the veriest fool. Hugging his package to his chest, he stumbled away from the young lady and the plainly dressed woman, most likely her maid, who stood beside her. The maid flashed a grin as if she knew every one of his admiring thoughts.

He bumped into the table by the counter, and pain lanced through his elbow. Cradling his bundle with one arm while rubbing his throbbing forearm, he pretended to study the list of new books on the table, but kept his gaze fixed on the young lady. She was exactly as he had imagined Miss Elizabeth Bennet.

Who was she? And how could he make her acquaintance?
   
Available at Amazon here.

Available at Barnes and Noble here.

Available at Smashwords here.

Thank you all,
Linda
Welcome to My World of Historical Hilarity!
http://www.lindabanche.com

Sunday, October 28, 2012

ShapeShifter Seductions ~ Halloween Wars in Talbot's Peak

 Originally posted at SHAPESHIFTER SEDUCTIONS


Halloween Wars

“Reinforced steel pipes, heavy duty rubber tubing, a gross of nuts, bolts, S-hooks and a short Red Riding Hood costume with crotchless panties.”  Glenn set down the scanner and looked up at an impatient Nick and his blushing brother Mooney.  “Ah Nick, does Ziva know about all of this stuff?”
 

“Oh Lupa no!  And she better not hear anything either…”  Nick raised an eyebr don’t pout.”  

Nick threw money on the counter to pay for his treasures and looked towards his brother.  “Now grab some stuff and let’s get it over to the grill.”
 

“How do we know they’ll even be there?”
 

“Moon, its Halloween and they just harvested all that unsatisfying and repulsive roughage.  They’ll be serving it to the Herbies…and so will we!”   
 

###
 

“It’s bad enough Mom felt she had to take off with that meat-eating lupine, but did she have to do it around the harvest?”
 

“Stop bitching, Bo and start making the pumpkin flapjacks.”Hannibal shoved him; hand over face, back into the kitchen.  “The crowds are getting restless.”
 

“Suck it, Peewee Hornman.”  Bo knew insulting his brother’s smaller horns was a bad idea, but he didn’t care.  This whole hitching and bolting action of his mother’s really put a crimp in their lives.  Now they were all doing double duty at their jobs and the restaurant.  He was cooking, which he hated.  Mary served, which really didn’t work well and Hannibal was the general ‘pain-in-the-ass’ manager.  Odds were damn good the Bighorn Diner would be run into the ground before she got back.
 

“Gah!”
 

Bo ran from the fuming Bighorn sheep now occupying his brother’s space next to the griddle.  Hannibal never could maintain his composure or shape when challenged.  Ten minutes later, the kitchen was wrecked, batter flung everywhere and Bo still couldn’t feel his hands or arms after using the cast iron frying pan on Hannibal’s head.
 

“Like I was trying to tell you, lug nut, we’re out of pumpkins.”
 

“Not possible, Bo,” Hannibal grumbled, holding his head with both hands. “We harvested over an acre of those damn things and they were pretty tightly packed.”
 

“Well they’ve sprouted legs and run away, because they are not here…”
 

THUNK, THUNK
 

General chaos erupted in the seating area out front.  Women screamed, children cried and the men swore. 
 

“Roasted buck nuts, what was that!”
 

Bo didn’t have time to answer his brother as he was already trying to decipher Mary’s frantic signing.  “Slow down, sis,” he both spoke and signed.  “Lick moon pump across…honestly, Mar, slow…”
 

“Fricken sex-fiend and his idiot monkey lovin’ brother are chuckin’ pumpkins at us from across the street!”  Hannibal bleated, his control appearing to be at an all time low.
 

“Ah, Nick and Mooney are tossing pump…wait, pumpkins?”  Bo ran to the window just in time to see another orange projectile hit the sidewalk in front of the flapjackery.  “Hell, those are our pumpkins!  How’d they get our stash?”
 

“Don’t know, don’t care.”  Hannibal blew through the dining room, tossing tables and chairs out of his way.  

“Get your ass over here and help us.”
 

Mary was on her knees pulling blood red hunks of flesh from the bottom of the cooler and putting them in a massive mixing bowl while Hannibal pulled funny looking weapons from the closet.  “Okay, now.  Yuk.”  He pointed at Mary’s heart attack in a bowl.  “And, what the blazes are you doing your ranger guns in the closet?  Those kill, man.”
 

“When’d you turn into such a little girl, Bo?”  Hannibal pushed past him and headed back to the window and door with Mary following close behind, dripping blood across the floor.  “This here is a bleacher reacher and the beaut currently being loaded by our tough as nails sister is the T-shirt Gatling gun.  These babies will beat that stupid looking slingshot the desk humper has.”
 

“Whoya…eat it, Herbies!”  Taunts and chuckles came at them from across the street as did more fruit.
 

“What the hell is wrong with those two?”  Not like he needed to ask.  After all, this was the McMahon brothers, a prankster pair at home with gross destruction of property.
 

Another pumpkin found its way to the sidewalk, splattering in front of the open door and flying in all directions.  Some landed on Bo’s shoes; a glop ended up in Mary’s hair and a large section veered off and flew through Java Joe’s plate glass next door.
 

“Damn it, Nick, not there.  Marissa’s gonna kill me or worse douse me with mange again…gah!”
 

“Man up, Moon.”
 

Bo swallowed back a yelp of hysterical laughter and put his hand out.  “Someone give me a gun.”
 

“’Bout time, brother.”  Hannibal jumped up and slapped him on the back.  “Here, you take the cannon while I get me a little Gat action.”
 

Gourds of all sizes pummeled their side of the street even as raw meat flew back.  The mess was atrocious, but the combatants were beyond caring.  There could be only one winner in this family war and Bo would be damned if it was those stinky wolves.
 

##
 

“Fire in the hole!”
 

“That’s it, Moonster, let it fly…wooo!”
 

Mooney had to admit, manning up or regressing down, sure felt good.  Marissa was going to have his balls for defacing Java Joe’s, but who knew, maybe he could sweet talk his way out of the mange.  Right now though he was going to enjoy chuckin’ pumpkins.
 

“Told ya you’d love this.”  Nick was grinning ear to ear, but why not.  This was burned into his alpha nature.  Besides, he had the money and pull to get him out of anything.
 

“Yep, you did.  Load me up.”
 

“What in the name of the great Lupa is going on here!”  “My restaurant!”
 

“Scat…oh scat,” Mooney whined, letting go of the rubber tubing.  He watched the last pumpkin hurl its way into the street only to explode all over his new stepmother.  “Pops is gonna rip our guts out with his teeth.”    
 

“Nope, only yours.”
 

Mooney heard the feminine scream, then panic set in as he watched his dad shift to wolf.  “Why only mine, wood whisperer?”
 

“’Cause I run faster!”
 

Nick changed and bolted before he even had a chance to think of becoming wolf.  The last thing he saw with his human eyes was a Bighorn sheep mama chasing three hard-headed kids into the destroyed eatery behind them and a pissed off dad snapping big assed teeth towards his tail.  Time to tuck and run.
 

“Eeeee…” 

Have a Pumpkin Chuckin' Happy Halloween!


Serena

Friday, October 12, 2012

Inspiration -

Music is my biggest inspiration. It's not often the lyrics, but the over all tone of the song or the artist's voice. I tend to lean toward a raspy sound. However, way back when it wasn't the case. Barry Manilow was my biggest inspiration. I'd put a cassette in my tape player, earphones in my ears and sit for hours writing as fast as the words came to me. In later years, I'd switch to Michael Bolton to refine scenes that required a depth into a scene where I not only reached into the character and pulled them into reality, but let Michael's music pull what was needed from myself - if that makes sense.

Inspiration, I think, can change gradually, but stay the same or become something completely different. It all depends what we're open to and if we recognize it. A few years ago, Bonnie Tyler struck a chord and I found her sensuality changing my writing. While I was writing primarily women's lit with the bedroom door open, I suddenly found myself going further into the erotic genre. Funny how it took a woman to bring it out.

Another thing that inspires me are facial expressions, especially the eyes and mouths. Lively eyes and smiles say so much about a person that when I get past the knee buckling sight I store it. The person who I think is the most expressive person around is Melissa Etheridge. I've watched videos of her from 1988 to the present.

This video of Melissa is from her 2001 Alive & Alone show, but it covers the gammit of what I love. The song is one I've always loved.



Inspiration comes from every part of our lives, but for me, music feeds the need to write.

Bekki
http://bekkilynn.net


Friday, September 28, 2012

Inspiration ~ Virginia's Not For Lovers by Pat Cunningham

On the theme of inspiration, I am often inspired by other writers. This is particularly true about all of us authors who contribute to SHAPESHIFTER SEDUCTIONS. Every week is a haven of writerly inspiration for me. The following flash scene was Monday's offering by Pat Cunningham. 



Virginia's Not For Lovers
 The whitetail deer plunged frantically through the forest, with the huge gray wolf in pursuit.
With no breath to spare for anything but running, Dora Lee could only curse her own carelessness mentally. This was Montana. These woods were wild, extensive, and new to her. Of course there would be wolves. How could she be so stupid?
She poured on the speed but couldn’t shake him. She had no idea where he was herding her. Toward his pack, no doubt. Any second now another wolf would burst out of the brush for his part in the relay. They would drive her to exhaustion and when she finally stumbled they would bring her down.
The seconds stretched into minutes. No other wolves appeared. Where was the rest of the pack?
Unless he had no pack?
The son of a mutt! He was a loner, chasing her for the hell of it.
Fury replaced panic. Dora Lee stopped and whirled to confront her pursuer.
The wolf skidded to a halt so fast he almost slid muzzle-first into the pine needles and leaf litter. Dora Lee pawed the ground. Her hooves were sharp and she knew where to aim to do the most serious damage. She shook her antlerless head. Her skull was hard enough to make any predator think twice about trying to put her on his menu.
The wolf stared at her. He whined uneasily.
Dora Lee charged.
The wolf spun about to flee precisely one second too late. Dora Lee hit him broadside. He rolled several feet before coming to a halt on the mossy loam, all the wind as well as any remaining desire to chase knocked out of him. Dora Lee straddled him, glaring. She lowered her muzzle to sniff.
Abruptly she shifted. She grabbed the wolf’s ruff and shook him. “You hound! You stinking hound! You’re a shifter!”
The wolf changed form. Dora Lee gripped shoulder-length ebony hair that framed a grinning, unapologetic face. A very handsome face, if maybe sharper in the nose than what she usually went for. The body was all sharp angles and wiry muscle, not like the rounded mass of a stag. He showed off a set of teeth far too pointy for her liking. “Yeah, I’m a shifter. So?”
“Y’all aren’t supposed to hunt us. That’s what they told me in town. You got a nose on that face of yours. Didn’t you know I’m a shifter?”
He leered at her body, now human and slender and dangling a pair of naked breasts right over his hairy chest. “I know it now.”
Dora Lee spat a word her mama’d never taught her. She let go of the wolfman’s hair and sat back. Something pricked her bottom. Cud! She was sitting on top of his pronger. She bolted to her feet. “Well, now that you know, you don’t have to go chasing me around any more. So quit it.”
The wolfman set himself up on his elbows. “You’re on Hancock territory. It’s my duty to check out any invaders.” He treated himself to a thorough stare. Rude and annoying as hell. “Any more of you around? Say yes.”
She hauled in a breath, then spat it out fast when she saw the effect it had on the wolf. “These woods are for everybody. The forest ranger said so. He’s a bighorn. One of us.” A tenuous connection, but she’d use any weapon at hand. “He assured me the wolves around here—the shifter ones—don’t go after other sentients.”
“We do when we’ve got questions.” He leaped to his feet in one smooth bound, faster than Dora Lee’d expected. She made herself hold her ground. If she ran he’d just chase her again. “You’re no muley, not with that hair.” He nodded at the tawny brown wavelets spilling over her shoulders. “You’re not from around here, either, not with that accent.”
“That’s because I’m a Virginia whitetail, thank you very much. Who I am and why I’m here isn’t your outlook. You tend to your business and I’ll tend to mine and we ought to get along fine.”
“You are my business when you’re on Hancock turf. When you get back to town, you have Ranger Ewing show you the boundaries of our pack. And now, miss, I’d be happy to escort you to the border of our territory. You’ll still find plenty of woods to run in.” He held out his hand to her.
Well now. Even a carnie could act the gentleman. She’d heard the males still subscribed to a code of chivalry here in the West. Dora Lee nodded agreement and took the hand he offered.
Quick as a wink he yanked her forward. His arm locked around her waist tight as a bear trap. His golden eyes bored into her brown, dancing with wicked humor. “This is for knocking me down,” he told her. “And by the way, I’m Brett.”
The wolfman kissed her, hard and rough. Pinned against that lean but hard-as-steel body of his, she had no choice but to put up with it.
Hairy dang mutt could kiss like a son of a gun, she had to give him that.
“Oh, man,” the wolf sighed when he lifted his lips at last. “I do love the taste of venison.”
She head-butted him.
Predators have teeth. Prey have speed, hooves, and heads harder than concrete. The wolfman dropped like a rock.
By the time Brett recovered enough to lever himself off the ground, she’d shifted form again. His bleary eyes focused through the sparkle of stars on the deer bounding into the distance, her white tail flashing like a flag.
Brett wiped his mouth and grinned hugely. Would you look at those legs. He’d always been a leg man, regardless of species. And white meant surrender, didn’t it?
“I’ve got your scent now, Virginia,” he murmured. “And two can play the game.” Considerate of her of mention she’d talked to the forest rangers. He climbed to his feet, wincing over the pain that stabbed through his head, and made his way back to his Jeep to give Ranger Ewing a call. 
~~~~~~ 
Turning Into Your Wildest Desire at SHAPESHIFTER SEDUCTIONS

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What inspires you?

If you create things - painting, cooking, writing - what inspires you? How do you keep the creative engine running? Here are some of the things that inspire me.

Music. (Big classical numbers. I find I listen and pictures just rise up in my head)

Films. (I love The Illusionist - wonderful film, super plot, glorious costumes)

A walk out in sunshine.

Telling myself I'm having a break and a writing holiday. (I find that giving myself permission to have a holiday often tempts my muse out to play.)

Reading. Another person's magic world can sometimes excite me into thinking of my own.

Thinking of a reward. (That bar of chocolate)

Hugging hubby.

Taking my 89 year old mom for a drive and we admire nature and laugh at something.

Listening to the rain at night when I'm snug in bed.

How about you?

Lindsay



Monday, July 30, 2012

Dragon Dating...Step One by Serena Shay ~ Shapeshifter Flash Fiction

This blog was originally posted at SHAPESHIFTER SEDUCTIONS.



“I will not do this!” Erol had reached his absolute limit with the pesky camel’s insistence that he follow her directions to the letter. Tuxedo’s and dance lessons were bad, but this he just would not do.

“You have to.” Her patience wore thin, he could tell, but he would stand firm on this. He would not go up there and do as she asked.

“Why does her father not bring her to my castle as is the way it should be?”

Her eyes rolled again and she counted to three through deep breaths. “And do you have a castle?”

Hmm, yes that might be a problem. He’d been scouting out area in this Talbot’s Peak to build a new castle, but had yet to find the perfect place. The mountains were good, what with their caves and all, but he much preferred the submerged privacy found beneath the underground ocean.

“Erol?”

“No, not a castle as of yet, but I have the perfect grotto picked out. The jewel bespeckled walls will be a fine background for her beauty. Yes, her father shall bring her there and leave her for me.”

A choking sound beside him stole his attention away from the plans he was making for his future bride.

“Oh Erol…”

The crazy camel in the car seat next to him was laughing – at him? How dare she! “I do not see anything funny about what I said.”

“Of course you don’t, and let me assure you what you said, while romantic in part, is in no way funny…”

“Then why do you laugh and mop away your tears?”

“Because it’s laugh or cry, Erol.”

Well that made no sense to him. Were all females so confusing? Would his mate be reduced to tears at the slightest of things—gah, he truly hoped not. In fact, the first order of business would be instructing her to not produce those cumbersome bits of emotion. Yes, that would do the trick.

“We may leave now…move this conveyance of yours back to my forge. You will need directions to the grotto in order to give to her father. I’ll assume he knows how to get underground…once there go to the rightist-most point on the beach and wade out until he hits the drop off…”

“Whoa, stop right there, Erol. I’ll not be instructing Greely’s father to chain her up inside your Grotto. That is not how things are done…remember 21st century. You will get your ass out of my car and go up to her door and respectfully, ask her to dinner or coffee or bloody high tea if that’s what you like. Now get!”

Erol protected his bits and pieces from the suddenly kicking camel pushing him from the ridiculously sized transport she drove. “That was a bit rude, don’t you think.”

“Go up to her door and ask her out…do it right or you’ll feel my hooves alongside your head!”

***

Greely wiped her eyes for like the thousandth time over the last few days. She still couldn’t believe she’d been marked as unacceptable at the pond. She would never live down that humiliation. Her mother had, of course, been the first to call with disappointment in her voice and a suggestion that she move to a different town.

Damn that blacksmith. She’d never done anything to him but admire him from afar.

The knock at the front door was an unwelcome surprise, but even more so was who she found on the stoop. “You’ve got a lot of darn nerve showing up here!”

“Go get me your father, fair one. I would speak to him.”

“Are you kidding me?” Greely pushed at the barbarian’s chest in hopes of moving him away from her door, but he was built like a granite sculpture. It would take more than thirty of her to move him in anyway significant. “I’m an adult. I don’t live with my mommy and daddy.”

“Who then protects you from the unscrupulous defilers out there?”

“You mean men like you…” Greely stopped, mid-sentence, arrested by the look in the blacksmiths eyes. Fear lived there, not annoyance or disgust as she thought she would see.

“I will never harm you, only cherish you.”

Right. Did he really think she could believe him? “Is that why you had me banned from pebble pond? Made me unacceptable by my own kind?”

“No, I merely staked my claim. Like the gifts on your doorstep.”

“Those were from you?” Greely didn’t know what to say. The gifts were both sweet and confusing…much like the man it would seem, but she didn’t know if she could trust him or even if she wanted to. Scratch that…she wanted to, with every stupid part of her libido.

“Yes, did you like them?”

“They were…interesting.”

“Excellent. Now go wash the mess from your face and bring along your coat. I will take you to your father’s side for protection and I will talk to him about your future.”

Greely was stunned by the sheer audacity of this man. “I protect myself, Mr. Blacksmith.” Greely slammed the door in his face, happy that she’d had the strength to shut him out, but depressed that she was still a major player in the Doomed Love Club.
~~~

May you each find a jewel bespeckled Grotto of your own this weekend, filled with a sexy dragon who knows how to ask for a date, of course!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Lindsay Townsend: The Romance of the Everyday

When it comes to writing romance, I am in love with the everyday. Again and again, I actively seek out fiction and romance that deals with so-called ‘ordinary’ people.

Why?

Because to me a hero or heroine is more striving and heroic if they win through after many trials and adventures with their own skills, wit and effort, not because they happen to be born into a class or position.

Because a hero is more beautiful to me if he is not massively handsome but that feeling, true emotion for the heroine, makes him ‘pretty’. (I also like this theme the other way round – I love the part in Jane Eyre where the heroine goes down to breakfast after accepting Mr Rochester’s proposal and she looks, even to herself, glowing and pretty, ‘truly pretty’ as Mr R tells her.)

Because if the hero or heroine has tons of money or special powers that they can use at the snap of their languid fingers, where is the tension?

Skill impresses me and has a poetry of its own. Watch anyone who is really good at something – a potter with a wheel, a farrier, a shepherd, a dustman dealing with wheelie bins – and there is an elegance, a romance. I love to celebrate skill in the romances I write and I always have my warrior have a gentler skill as well as their fighting. (I don’t admire a fighter who can do nothing but battle, because how can such a person create a life and a relationship if they only destroy?) A warrior as strong protector, yes, a warrior fighting for kudos, OK, but a warrior who is a glory-junkie and no more? No thanks.

We live in a complex world and I like to write romances that reflect this and celebrate whose who heal, who create, who build, who make.

So I write about knights but mainly younger sons, who have to make their own way and who don’t have everything handed to them – I do this in A Knight's Enchantment and A Knight's Captive - and knights who are scarred or grieving and must find another path to live their lives  - I do this in  To Touch the Knight, A Knight's Vow and The Snow Bride.




I write about foresters and dairy maids (Midsummer Maid), slave girls and scribes (Flavia's Secret), serfs and peasants (To Touch the Knight, The Lord and Eleanor) bull-leapers and kings of small, rural kingdoms where the king helps with the harvest and is also a healer (Bronze Lightning).

In all these, I try to weave the everyday into the stories, those special everyday moments – the first kiss, the ‘I love you’ time, the recognition that this person is ‘the one’, the moment when my hero and heroine meet again, feeling a happy glow, even if they’ve only been apart for a moment. 

We all have times when the world shimmers about us and we feel apart from the hurly-burly, when we step into our own magic world with those we care about.

Everyday but special. That’s what I love to write about and read about.

Writers, do you have stories that show and feature ‘everyday’ heroes and heroines? If so, please mention them with details  in the comments section of this blog. 


Lindsay
http://www.lindsaytownsend.net
http://www.twitter.com/lindsayromantic



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wedding of Death

Wedding of Death came about in a strange way for me. Originally, I wrote an ending scene for a writing contest. I loved it despite it's lack of a happy ending so I hung onto it, figuring I'd make something of it one day. The opportunity came when I offered to write a story for an anthology without happy endings. I never imagined it'd go the route of a historical paranormal, much less a vampire story. It's truly an experience I enjoyed.

As a single short story, it's been revised to have a happy ending. I hope you'll enjoy it.


Excerpt:

Stunned, her eyes rose. She attempted to pull her hand back, but he held on. It was difficult to comprehend all put upon her: kidnapped, her mother leaving without a search for her, and now this man thinks she is going to marry him.

"Come, let's toast to our official engagement."
He led her to the other side of the room where he poured champagne while her mind whirled. She hadn't noticed the bar where other liquor bottles set. Handing her a glass, she took it with shaky fingers all the while worrying if it might be drugged.

"To our time, our love, and our health."

Love? His glass clinked when he touched it against hers. It was barbaric. He couldn’t possibly expect me to marry him when I’m engaged to another man.

The meager distance between them disappeared and his lips brushed her brow. She shivered and tried to fight the urge to lose herself in him.

"Look at me," he whispered.

Serenity raised her eyes to his. "This is a mistake. I already have a fiancé," she pleaded.

He grabbed her arms. "I'm your only betrothed."

"No you're not," she said, keeping her voice even and gentle. The strength he gripped her with set her nerves on alert. It didn’t frighten her, but further aroused her need to kiss him again.

He took her hand and laid it against his heart. "You will accustom yourself."

She pulled her hand from him and set the glass down. Sitting down on the sofa, she squeezed her eyes shut, took a long, deep breath, and then opened them. No, it wasn't a dream. Tears welled up in her eyes. "This is all a horrible
nightmare," she said more to herself.

When she looked around for the man, he had gone to stand near the fire. She went to him. "Please. I don't know your brother. I don't know anything about what you brought me here for. I implore you to see reason and let me go."

He faced her. "The man who put this ring on your finger," he said, lifting her hand to finger the antique ring of sterling silver and diamonds, "is my brother. This ring has been in our family for generations. As the eldest, it's my betrothed who shall wear it. He was to present it to the woman who meets my specifications. He chose you, then neither told me, nor brought you here to me."

Serenity couldn't believe her ears. This couldn't be right. Ramon couldn't be this man's brother, much less have forged his relationship with her with under false pretenses. He was generous, caring, considerate, and…honest. Trembling started deep within her, but she refused to let it surface. She needed to be strong if she was going to save herself. Reginald obviously believed in what he says, and that could make him dangerous if she wasn't careful.

"Come, let's walk."

With a hand on her lower back, he led her through the door behind the drapes similar to the ones in the bedroom. Glancing around, she attempted to take in her surroundings in the darkness. There was no moon, no stars, not even garden lights one would expect to light paths.

As if her mind had been read, lights came on lighting three areas. They weren't enough to see everything, but enough to see where you were going which was their purpose.

"I know the garden so well I often forget there are lights," he said. "You can relax now. These gardens are centuries old, full of colors and plants I'm sure you'll find peaceful in the daylight."

They walked along in silence until he stopped. The shadow of something large loomed before them. She looked up. Her breath hitched. She jumped back.



Available at: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, Sony, Kobo, and Amazon


Take Care!
Bekki
http://www.bekkilynn.net

Friday, June 1, 2012

Shapeshifter Flash Fiction ~ Back to School by Pat Cunningham

Originally posted at SHAPESHIFTER SEDUCTIONS. This is erotic in content.



“All right, class.” Mrs. Murphy clapped her hands smartly. The dozen dog owners brought their pets to heel and formed a line in front of the instructor. The dogs, far more informal, sat, scratched, tugged on leashes, lolled tongues, tried to sniff each other, and, in one unfortunate case—

“Miss,” the instructor said icily. “Please control your—” She hesitated to call that giant, wolfish thing a dog. “Animal,” she finished.

“Yes, ma’am.” Ziva tugged sharply on the leash. Nick, the bastard, went right on enthusiastically licking his balls. Ziva nudged him with her foot. “Quit it,” she muttered, “or we’re out of here.”

Nick left off his last-minute wash and got up. He shook himself and peered up at her with bright yellow eyes and a hanging tongue. Ziva studiously focused on the instructor.

Of all the stupid kinks to indulge her twisted mate in. As if the desks and the rulers and the schoolteacher outfits weren’t bad enough. Watching a dog obedience trial on TV had sparked this latest fetish. For an alpha, Nick seemed hell-bent on submission, but only on certain terms.

As long as he submitted only to her, maybe she shouldn’t complain.

She spared a quick glance at her fellow students. There seemed to be an even mix of young and adult dog owners looking for help in training their pets. All were human. She and Nick were the only shifters in the class, and probably the only ones here for the discipline aspect. Nick had picked out the choke-chain collar himself.

Lessons began with “sit.” “Keep the dog’s head raised and press down firmly on the hindquarters,” Mrs. Murphy ordered. The class followed instructions with varying degrees of success. Most of the dogs caught on after a couple of tries, and eventually the line achieved uniformity.

Except, of course, for Nick. He locked his hips and wouldn’t budge no matter how hard Ziva yanked on his leash and shoved at his butt. The son of a hound. She knew what he wanted. Ziva drew her hidden ruler out of her blouse and whacked him smartly on the butt. Nick promptly sat. He just as promptly bounced back up again. “You want it, don’t you, you dirty dog?” Ziva murmured, and paddled him again. This time Nick stayed sitting. His tongue hung out of the side of his muzzle.

“A-hem.” Ziva looked up into Mrs. Murphy’s frigid glare. “We do not strike our pets,” the woman said. “Gentle, firm and loving. These are the keys to obedience.”

“He’s fine with it. He likes it rough.”

“I do not tolerate abuse in my class,” Mrs. Murphy said. She snatched the ruler from Ziva.

Instantly Nick lunged for the ruler. His jaws yanked the ruler from the instructor’s hands. Mrs. Murphy sprang back with a shriek. Nick growled with the ruler clamped between his wicked teeth.

“Better let him keep it,” Ziva advised. “He likes his wood.”

The teenager with the pit bull two students down snickered. “Wood.”

The instructor composed herself with an effort. “You will control your animal, or leave.”

Ziva smiled sweetly. “That’s what we’re here for.” She tugged the ruler out of Nick’s mouth. He gave it up reluctantly. It was drenched in slobber. Ziva made a face at it. Nick flashed a wolfish grin.

Next up, heeling. Mrs. Murphy had her students parade their pets around the high school gym. Ziva held the leash like a show-dog lead, keeping the leash and the collar as tight as Nick could stand. With her other hand she tapped the ruler against her thigh. Nick kept an eagle eye on both the thigh and the ruler.

This wasn’t half bad, Ziva decided. She held the business end of the leash. She held the ruler. She was in charge. The thought sent a tingle through her alpha nethers. When Nick veered off course she jerked him back viciously and growled at him. Several owners and all the dogs looked around.

The teenager with the pit bull snickered loudly. “Your dog’s got a red rocket.”

Ziva glanced down. Scat on a cracker. Nick’s Big Bad Wolf had thrust itself out of its furry den. His eyes had that glint in them that said attack was imminent.

“Miss,” the instructor shrilled, “you’re going to have to remove your animal until he’s calmed down. Dogs cannot learn in a state of excitement.”

I don’t know about that, Ziva thought, Nick and I learn quite a bit when we’re excited. But she trotted the obedient Nick out of the gym.

Under the fluorescents in the hallway Nick’s arousal glistened with scarlet vengeance. Ziva stared at it and licked her lips. He was so huge. A hoarse growl built in her throat, and she tightened her grip on the ruler.

Nick waved his bushy tail. Was I a good boy or wasn’t I?

“Yes,” Ziva panted, “You’re a very good boy. Good boys get rewarded.” She tore at her skirt.

# # #

When the noises in the corridor couldn’t be ignored any longer, Mrs. Murphy marched out to give that irresponsible little snip a piece of her mind. Yanking the poor thing’s neck like that! Hitting him with a ruler! That kind of abusive behavior turned dogs vicious. She probably shouldn’t own a pet at all.

She couldn’t find the bad owner. Instead she found the big wolfish beast humping madly away at a smaller but equally feral-looking bitch, both of them loud and uncaring. The female had the ruler in her mouth.

Mrs. Murphy was an old hand at misbehaving dogs. She grabbed the nearest fire extinguisher. It took three extended, well-aimed shots to separate the beasts from their carnal activity. Covered in foam, they pelted for the exit, woofing all the way. She would have sworn they were laughing.

The rest of the class crowded in the doorway. They’d witnessed most if not all of the ghastly spectacle. The teenager knelt beside his pit bull. Both sets of eyes were huge.

“When do we get to teach our dogs that?” the kid asked hopefully.

# # #

“Look at me!” Ziva complained, shaking foam off her arms. “Not only is my hair a mess, now I’ve lost all my clothes. And I’ll bet my deposit, too. That old biddy will never let me near her or a dog again.”

Nick wiped at the foam on his chest. He was grinning like a psycho. He still wore the collar, and nothing else. “That was so hot. We should have ducked into one of the classrooms. Or found the principal’s office. I’ll bet he’s got one of those big oak desks.”

“No. We’re done. No more collars or leashes or hitting or heeling or all this other crap. Why can’t you just hump my leg like a normal canine?”

“Because you love it, you kinky bitch.” He lunged at her.

Ziva brandished the ruler. “Sit!” Nick skidded to a stop and dropped onto his rump. “Good boy. Now fetch.” Ziva shifted to wolf form and dove for the nearby woods, with Nick in close pursuit.
~~~~~~

Author, Pat Cunningham, can also be found at TITLE MAGIC.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Shapeshifter Flash Fiction ~ Sparks Fly by Serena Shay

Originally posted at SHAPESHIFTER SEDUCTIONS.

“Come on.” Big Bart, the stinky human, tugged once again at Arianna’s leash. “One foot in front of the other, freak.”

Easier said than done with appendages she was beyond rusty at using. Gah, how long had it been since she’d left her watery home and ventured on to firm land? Twenty, forty, sixty years maybe? Not nearly enough time to erase the painful memories burned into her psyche.

The film makers had gotten her story wrong in every way possible. There were not witches or sea hags granting the gift of legs to unsuspecting, idiot mermaids. The man had not been a prince, but a pirate and love didn’t rule the world—greed did. When the buccaneer she thought she loved got a glimpse of her tail, she’d become treasure to him. Booty he attempted to sell to the highest bidder.

Her only saving grace at the time was the shadowed deck hand who’d opened door of the pen where she’d been kept. She was doubly thankful her (un)princely pirate hadn’t known the secret stinky Bart had somehow unearthed about the pearls.

Arianna teetered to the left, falling into the giant sea lion at her side. His whiskers brushed over her bare abdomen producing an arousing tingle in her system as he nudged her back into an upright position.

“Omygosh, did you just shock me?” She gazed into the warm brown eyes of the male mammal staring up at her. Intelligence simmered in his stare and humanness filtered through his aura. She’d peg him as shapeshifter, but with tail loss, she’d also lost her ability to identify extraordinary creatures.

“Shudup back there and walk. You’re barefoot for cripes sakes so how come you keep falling.”

“You need to remove the pearls, stinky.” Though pretty, the jewel was a hindrance to her kind. They weakened and lost control of their tail when the natural stone touched their skin.

“Like hell I will. No way are you returning to the ocean on me this close to my prize.”

“And where, exactly, would I find said water in this landlocked settlement?”

“Don’t know, but nothing surprises me in this freaky town so shudup and lets go.”

Arianna hobbled a few steps further, eyes drawn to the oddest shaped fountain she’d ever seen, before again tipping into her fellow ocean-loving prisoner. This time instead of shocking her uncovered tummy, his electrified whiskers ended up in a more southerly location. The jolt was far from unpleasant. As a being from the watery depths, she and electricity were not close friends, but considering how the tingles of lightening goodness crept into her bobbily-bits and brought them fully to life in less than ten seconds, perhaps it’s time she dive into some on land research.

“Flying flounder, Sparky, is that an eel on your face or are you happy to see me?”

The lions bark rang with laughter even as he pushed her up a little too hard. Instead of standing straight up she found herself leaning against the brick ledge and facing a family of seahorses in, oh happy halibut, seawater. The light, salty, and comforting liquid filled this town’s fountain and somewhere close was a route home.

“Damn blastit, girly freak. Stand up and walk!”

“I can’t, I’m exhausted.” Arianna slid down the side of the bubbler. She hoped Bart bought her story long enough for her to facilitate a removal of the pearls and get both herself and Sparky into that water.

“Fine.” Stinky pulled a muzzle and heavy iron chains from his bag, storming at them with an evil glint in his eye. He placed the mother of pearl over Sparky’s snout and tightened the thing until it bit into his hide.
“Now change.”

From eight feet of animal emerged the sexiest six and a half foot man she’d ever seen—wide in the shoulders, thick in the thighs and as dark as the oceans at sunset. He was also naked in a way that made her heart flutter and her skin prickle. He had true beauty and inner strength even with the pearls covering his nose, mouth, and chin leaving him weak.

Stinky slapped the heavy irons on both wrists and ankles only giving Sparky enough play to lift his arms chest high. He looked tired, uncomfortable and guilt swamped her at Big Bart’s next words.

“Pick her up, seal boy and let’s go.”

“He’s the mighty sea lion, you stupid stinky.” Arianna wrapped her arms around Sparky’s neck as he bent to lift her. “He deserves respect!”

“He’s a freak. You’re a freak. This whole town’s filled with freaks…I just want my money for you two, and then I’m gone. Don’t mess with his gag unless you’d like to watch his face blow off. I’ll be supremely pissed if you cost me the prize on that one.”

Arianna stopped herself from searching for the muzzles tie behind Sparky’s head afraid of doing anything that would remove this beauty from the world and rubbed a soothing hand down the firm muscles of his chest.

“You’re an awful man, Stinky Bart.”

“Yeah, freak. Ain’t it grand!”
~~~~~~

As a kidlet, our local zoo had a sea lion show my folks would take my brother and I too. I was totally enamored by the sweet creature and all of the tricks he could do...I wanted my own to live in our bathtub. I never won that battle...gee I wonder why? ;)
Have a sparky day!

Serena

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Hoppy Easter from ShapeShifter Seductions


Greetings, everyone. Here for your reading entertainment is a flash scene from the Talbot's Peak vault at SHAPESHIFTER SEDUCTIONS.

Bunnies are not always what they seem. Keep that in mind when reading this *r-rated* piece of flash fiction.

Magickal, Fantastical Bunny

By Savanna Kougar

Once upon a time on Earth, we Shapeshifters ruled. That thousand year reign has been nearly lost to history, and now belongs to the timeless mists surrounding this third planet from the sun.

The only remnants are myths and legends, and a few ancient ruins. Yes, there are written documents. However, they are hidden away, and mostly used for sinister and despicable purposes.

During my epoch, Earth, or Galaxias, as we knew her, orbited the Grand Light as the fourth planet, and later as the fifth. At that time, Venus was not with us. Mercury and his two sisters were. A colossal comet streaked into the solar system, and instead of allowing the destructive force to claim Galaxias, we hired a space-faring, super race to capture the barren comet.

In retrospect, adding the comet to the gravitational dynamics of the solar system backfired on us, because it allowed for a climate change conducive to the rise of the dinosaurs. Even though, these massive creatures were no danger to us, those who had brought their genetics to Earth proved to be the Betrayers.

And, they still are.

The Betrayers, as a race, have remained on Earth. Many wars and battles have been fought at their instigation, and some in an effort to rid the world of their presence.

As of this time, April 2011, the Betrayers, these Grays are on the rise. They threaten all Life on my beloved Galaxias.

I am a Slayer.

I am invisible to them because of their arrogance. They have no natural love of animals. They sense only fur and meat. My blood is meant only for their constant genetic experiments.

Yes, I will own the advantage, despite their advanced mind capabilities, and their manipulative technologies. The real challenge will be the primitive rigors of life in what is called the early 21st century.

My real test is mental survival. Will I successfully negotiate the labyrinth of the human mind, as well as the fractionalized minds of surviving shapeshifters? For, by creating endless mayhem and agony, the Grays have split their psyches against their divine natures.

Raising my arms in reverence, I part the etheric curtain, and gaze at the moon on the eighteenth day of April. For long moments, her celestial breath becomes my breath. Once she invites me into her embrace, I merge and she becomes my through-the-mists barge.

On the white-jewel beams of the Great Feminine, I arrive in Talbot’s Peak, the new haven for shapeshifters.

Or, for those of you with a bent toward science, I utilize the moon’s 2012-activated frequencies. In instants, I exchange my particles from my where I was in time, to where I land now, the midnight forest close to what is called the Interspecies Pleasure Club.

Land. On my four paws. I’m in trouble. Somehow, I have been morphed against my will into my animal form. With my instincts kicking in, I sniff the breezes while peering through the deep darkness for the nearest safe thicket.

The odor of hunting werewolves shivers through me. Paralyzed for an instant, I then leap in the direction of a small bush still shrouded by autumn leaves. Too late!

Four sets of paws race toward me, vibrationally thundering the ground. I hear their quickening pants in anticipation of the chase, then the kill. The rending of me from limb to blood-spurting limb.

Launching forward, I sprint, my hindquarters driving me ever faster over the moist fecund ground. With the hungry werewolves hot on my trail, and way too close to my tail, I zigzag between the large tree trunks. The vegetation is all too sparse here.

Still, I am a survivor. I have been prey many times. With fear coursing my blood, I sense for any means of escape. Seeing chrome riding machines, and the light from the above-ground bar, I ran flat out until I am weaving madly between the wheels.

Crashing thuds follow me like dominos. The motorcycles, as they are called, must be flying in all directions. I race for the bar’s entrance, and as the door opens, spilling a pathway of light, I charge between one of the patron’s legs. He shouts a string of curses, then I hear, “What the fuck! Is that a goddamn rabbit?”

Inside, I dash wherever there is open space. Roaring growls split the air. Some of the women shriek. Drinks splash and spill. Glass shatters on impact. Chairs scrape the floor, one right after another. The jagged sound hurts my ears.

“It is a fucking rabbit.”

“Someone grab dinner.”

With bedlam following in my wake, I avoid the surprised stomp of boots, the tipping tables and the falling chairs. I hear the door being bolted, then the slam of werewolves against the heavy, obviously steel-reinforced wood planks.

As the saying goes here, I’ve jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. And, everyone wants me for dinner.

With a giant hop, I dart behind the bar, and run the length. Just as I dive between several liquor bottles, giant hairy morphing hands come real close to grabbing my ears and tail.

With my heart beating fast and hard against my ribs, and the blood pounding in my flattened ears, I scrunch backward, behind the tall bottles. Making myself as small as possible, I press against the walls of the storage compartment beneath the bar.

“If anyone shifts you’re banned for a week.” The dominant voice reigns over the mad-hatter frenzy. “Barry, you and your crew, throw out whoever needs to be tossed on their furry asses.”

“Sure thing. Need to tell ya, Dante, that critter don’t look like no ordinary rabbit.”

“It’s red.” A female voice barks squeakily. “And tall. Extra long legs.”

“Anyone here stop to think it might be a shifter, and a customer?”

It’s this Dante’s commanding voice. I stop my frantic quivering long enough to train one ear forward.

“Couldn’t be a customer, Dante. It busted in here, running pell mell like it was rabid or something. You shoulda seen the leap it made when it dashed behind the bar. Want me to show you where it’s hiding?”

“Yeah, Kelly. Get your shift under control first.”

“Well, you’d be running scared too, if a pack of werewolves were snapping at your tail...and you were a rabbit.”

The woman’s spirited voice sends a jolt of much-needed warmth through me. But, what now? I’m unable to shift yet. Fear has me in its icy-taloned grip. I can't even move.

There’s a pause, and I feel everyone’s attention focused on this Dante. He must be the alpha in charge. Although, that is not my intel.

“Listen up,” he growls authoritatively. “Is there anyone here who has a fondness for rabbits? And, I don’t mean for good eating. Got it?”

In the heavy silence, I tremble, but avoid rattling the bottles.

“Yeah, Dante. I had a rabbit girlfriend. Once.” I feel the man’s glare before he speaks again. “No,” he growls sharply, “I didn’t eat her at the first full moon.”

“Ridge Runner, over here. Bend my ear privately. Kelly, get drinks for everyone on the house. Back off,” Dante orders, “give us some breathin’ room.”

An eery quiet takes over the place, and I listen to Dante’s and this Ridge Runner’s footsteps come closer. They sit at the bar, and fast enough, their noses sniff me out. The frequency of it travels through my bones.

Even though, I manage to angle my ears toward them, I hear only the low sound of their voices, but no words. If I could only shift...

“Problem here?” the young woman’s voice floats on the airwaves beautifully. “Oh, oh, there is a bunny here.” Her true joy stuns me at the same time it fills me with some relief. “Where are you bunny? Here, bunny? All I want to do is hold you, and pet you...I promise.”

“Damara, you’re underage. What are you doing here?” Dante’s voice is stern, yet also kind.

“I told you. I want to dance. Like Gypsy does. I’m learning. Besides, you need me right now.”

“I better not find out who let you in here,” Dante growls like a protective father.

“No one,” Damara proudly lilts, as she continues in my direction, moving behind the bar. “Bunny...beautiful rabbit...I’ll carry you out of here.”

I know suddenly why Damara is drawn so strongly to rabbits. The scent of her blood hums through me. She is a witch keeper of hares, and draws strength from their companionship. Although, I am uncertain if she is aware of her heritage.

As her light footsteps approach, I stretch just enough to view her face. She bends over to look for me, and our gazes meet. When she smiles, her surreal radiance is like the moon.

“Oh, magical, fantastical,” she murmurs. With a slow hand, she sets the bottles to the side, then reaches forward, her palms open, her hands soft. “My magical, fantastical bunny,” she croons. “Come here, please. Please...”

My muscles cooperate, and I gradually lengthen myself. With a sniff of her fingertips, I give a hop right into her arms. She rises hugging me to her bosom, and I feel her smile of sheer delight. “Oh, you are a big bundle of bunny goodness. And, what a lovely red chestnut color you are. Just like my pony.”

“Stay away,” she warns, once she’s carried me a distance. “Except for Ridge Runner. He can come with us.”

“He better,” Dante rasps with quiet alpha power. “He’s your guardian from now on. For both you, and the rabbit shifter. Damara, do you hear me?”

“I hear you,” Damara trills over her shoulder. “I wonder what you look like? I bet you’re as beautiful human as you are a rabbit.”

“Yeah, I bet she is too.” Ridge Runner strides beside us.

Is that carnal hunger I hear in his voice? It’s been so long since -- ignoring my sudden yearning, I cuddle into Damara’s hold, and thank the Most Sacred for my rescue.
~~~~~~

HAPPY EASTER!

Savanna

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance

Saturday, March 31, 2012

War Comes to Gaia in 1 day - A Green Rose Preview


War comes to Gaia in 1 more day. Dare to join the battle?

The Green Rose is a fantasy romance set in the mythical land of Gaia. There are 4 allied nations: N'Gasse, Daháka, Tapin, and Ravenrock. Past Ravenrock, to the east, in a tundra-like land, the savage wyldebeasts are kept at bay a 50,000 myle granite wall that runs the length of Ravenrock.

The evil mage, Balthyser, has betrayed Tapin. Seeking power, he uses the wyldebeasts to attack the allied nations, kidnapping the kings of Tapin and Daháka.

The rulers of the allied nations must seek the Green Rose and harness it's magic in order to defeat Balthyser.

Ravenrock is the land of ravens. It also contains a 50,000 myle wall that separates it from the tundra-like land where the wyldebeasts live. Previous to the wall, the wyldebeasts were kept at bay by the ravens. The beasts feared the black bird. King Talas rules the land, but he's grown lazy and complacent in his duties. Balthyser has found a new home in Ravenrock – Vesper's Keep, near a weak point in the wall. This allows the evil mage access to the wyldebeasts. Talas has been a poor warden of the east, but can he overcome his sloth and greed and be the king Ravenrock needs?

Colin Firth inspiration for "King Talas"


ENJOY THIS EXCERPT:

"The keep is in ruins." Talas' voice was firm.

"When was the last time you inspected the Eastern Wall?" asked Queen Rowan.

Talas frowned. "Upon my ascension."

"Twenty-five years ago?" Disgust was evident in Queen Rowan's voice. "You have been a careless warden of the East, Talas. That wall is to be inspected every five years. I suspect if I went to Vesper Keep right now, we would find it reconstructed and heavily fortified."

"And the breach to the wall itself would be nearby," finished Ivanstan.
Sonia glared at Ravenrock's fat lord who stood before them with a look of disappointment on his face. His laziness in guarding the Eastern Wall threatened to plunge Gaia into war.

"King Erik the Great of Ravenrock would turn over in his grave knowing his descendant had turned to sloth and greed," said Queen Rowan. "Now you must act, Talas, and I expect you to do so with the nobility your position requires."

Talas scrubbed a hand across his mouth and sat in his seat. "Damn." His eyes grew vacant.

Did the fool finally realize his folly? By Nyla, what was worse? A knowing betrayal purported by Balthyser and Gabriel or an ignorant one as committed by Talas?

Finally, Talas looked up. "We are doomed to war. The green rose does not exist."

"I have never heard of the green rose," said Sonia.

"Nor I." Ivanstan placed his hand on top of his chair's headrest. Sonia shared his intense expression.

"True knowledge of the rose is passed down from the monarch to their heir upon death's door." Queen Rowan furrowed her brow. "Talas, it was Ravenrock's turn to send men into the Tagrasse forest to find the witches who guard it. Did you?"

"Aye, but they came back empty handed."

"Empty? That can't be."

"They did not find the witches?" asked Sonia.

"Nay."
"Who did you send? One of your banner houses?"

"Nay -- men from my guard."

Queen Rowan clasped her hands together, fury gathering in her eyes. "Oh, you stupid fool! The witches need to mate! Damn. I pray they are not barren, or the guardians of the rose will die."


BOOK TRAILER:


PREVIOUS: Visit The Writer Limits to learn about Prince Ivanstan at: http://thewriterlimits.blogspot.com

Visit Romance Under the Moonlight to learn about Princess Sonia at:
http://sgcardin.blogspot.com

Visit Lindsay's Romantics to learn about Queen Rowan at:
http://lindsaysromantics.blogspot.com

The Green Rose releases tomorrow, 1 APR and will be available at:
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
All Romance ebooks
Sony ebook store
Kobo ebook store
Apple ebook store
And from the publisher's website

Join Sonia, Ivanstan, Rowan, and Talas at Romance Under the Moonlight for a launch party tomorrow 1 APR 2012: http://sgcardin.blogspot.com


PUBLISHER'S BUY LINK:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-280/The-Green-Rose-Stephanie/Detail.bok

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment about the fantasy genre along with your email and I'll pick a winner to receive an ARC of The Green Rose tomorrow.