Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Prisoners in the castle: dungeons and oubliettes

The oubliette at Warwick CastleMedieval castles and dungeons tend to go together in people's imaginations and I have set important scenes in A Knight's Enchantment in a dungeon, where the heroine Joanna's father is being held. What we imagine as a typical dungeon, however - dark, underground, no windows, lots of chains - was less common in the Middle Ages than is assumed.

Take the word 'dungeon'. Its earliest form, donjon, meant a keep or tower, a strong defensive position. Over time that tower has been taken to mean a prison, often
underground in a castle. This form of prison was in fact an oubliette (meaning 'forgotten place') and was far darker and more grim than a dungeon, as can be seen in the photo of the oubliette in the castle at Warwick.

Famous dungeons include the Tower of London and those at Pontefract Castle and Alnwick Castle, though true dungeons in castles were not usual until later in the Middle Ages.

Often noble prisoners, captured and held for ransom in the dungeon, would be kept in a secure, comfortable place within the host's castle: certainly the room would be well-guarded, but we should not picture a Richard the Lionheart or Charles of Orleans languishing in the rat-infested, damp stone cell of imagination. Life expectancy in an oubliette would be short, and bad for the ransom business. 'Common' prisoners might be kept in gate houses, while those considered undesirable and disposable but not to be actually murdered could end up down with the rats in the oubliette.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Springtime in my Backyard

Springtime is short in Texas bursting forth from the cold, wet winter, and lasting only a few weeks. Then the summer months rule with hot sun and clear skies, perfect for every outdoor activity one can think of that requires a swimsuit, tank top and shorts, flip-flops, and sunglasses.

The native whitetail deer roam over the entire Central Texas area. Our property is home to a small herd. They come and go, mainly to drink from our birdbath, rest, or play in and among our live oak trees. Sometimes a doe gives birth right in front of our porch.

Live oak trees are evergreen, but they do shed their leathery leaves in the spring, when the new growth pushes out the old. We have dozen of trees, and right now, the leaves are raining down, covering the ground. The trees pollinate at the same time, and the pollen is so thick, a layer covers both porches, turning the concrete yellow until we wash it all away. The building is the back-screened-in-porch of my house. This oak tree is huge! Probably over a hundred years old.

 The pastures fill with thick, green grass and wildflowers. I do not own a horse, but people nearby do.

 The bluebonnet is not only the State Flower of Texas, it is the herald of spring, along with its faithful companion, the Indian Paintbrush. They’re growing thick this year because of our very cold, wet winter. Hillsides, roadsides, and pastures are turning blue.

 It wouldn’t be spring without “toobin’” down the river. Underground springs bubbling up forms Spring Lake, creating a river that runs through town. It’s a very popular tubing and kayaking river.

A trail ride announces the Texas Rodeo in Austin. The group winds through several towns, covering about 125 miles. Members buy a badge and follow a strict set of rules. Some ride the entire distance and camp at night. Others join it only as it passes through their town. We live just off Ranch Road 12, and often we’ve had to pull to the side of the road to allow the riders access. It’s exciting to watch the beautiful horses and riders of all ages, led by a mounted color guard, followed by a chuck wagon and supply wagon. The procession parades right through downtown and on to Austin.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a glimpse into my area. The arrival of spring promises excitement, newness, and euphoria. A little like being in love?

Celia Yeary
Romance…and a little bit o' Texas
TEXAS BLUE-eBook and Print

Rejuvination of Our Spirits

Wow, spring is finally upon us. I’m so thrilled. There’s nothing better to get rid of the blues and clean the stale air of house.

I’m looking forward to getting my hands dirty, using muscles that have been dormant through the winter. Amazing how all the inside work uses a different set of muscles than yard work does, isn’t it? I just cut my roses back and saw new life sprouting from the base. My grape hyacinth’s are up. I can’t wait to see their blue flowers.
Spring isn’t just about the rebirth of green grass, trees budding new leaves, or planting seeds. It’s about newness; rejuvenation of our spirits. There’s something clean and fresh about spring. A time to look around us, open the door and let the breeze blow through the house, making you sigh and smile. I feel energized and ready to take on the world.

I love to stand in my front yard and watch the bunnies chase each other around neighboring yards, squirrels racing up and down the trees, jumping from one to another. And having the door and windows open to hear the birds sing, squirrels bark at Buster, or me to get my attention.

To celebrate spring, we clean off the patio, the furniture and light up the grill. This happened last weekend when temperatures entered the 50’s. It was wonderful. There’s nothing like the scent of a charcoal grill, meat sizzling on the grate, sitting around the table with a glass of iced tea in hand. I’m so ready to resume my morning writing stints on the patio, or firing up the fireplace and enjoying my bench area.

Spring cleaning is on my to-do list and I can’t wait. My husband has his which entails remodeling the living room. Of course, I’ll be helping and will do much for the cause doing the day once it’s under way. We’ve done it before, so we know the ins and outs. I’m looking at flooring – it must be durable and safe for the bunnies. I’m excited about it all.

What are you plans for Spring?

Jewel of the Sun’s BLOOD DESTINY coming April 26

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green - Just One Color Of Spring

Top o' the morning to ya on this fabulous St. Patrick's Day.

The sun is shining down on me here in the formerly frozen north, I've got my green on and the thought of beautiful blooms fill my brain. There are so many different varieties of flowers available to fill me with the blissful happiness of natures smiles. Which do I choose?

Tulips - their stately beauty and gentle lines take my breath away and leave me softened and ready to be filled with love.

Guarded within the old red wall's embrace,
Marshalled like soldiers in gay company,
The tulips stand arrayed. Here infantry
Wheels out into the sunlight. What bold grace
Sets off their tunics, white with crimson lace!
A Tulip Garden by Amy Lowell

Crocus - Delicate blooms of the gentlest color carpeting the ground, proceeding the grass to herold the coming of spring at last.

First a howling blizzard woke us,
Then the rain came down to soak us,
And now before the eye can focus -
Crocus. ~Lilja Rogers

Daffodils - The sunny yellows and pure whites beckon us to come enjoy a spot of tea.

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Daffodils by William Wordsworth

Impatiens - The excited overachievers of the flower world, spreading their glorious colors.

Primrose, Lilacs and Peonies - Beauty in shrubbed form to brighten my day, but what to choose to line my way?

Sadly, the shrubbed flowers are not available to me this year, simply no room for them so I will have to enjoy them from a far. Darling Diva and I shall, however, indulge our visual needs with potted plants. Though the fields shall be reduced to bits, we are grateful to have the area to do something rather than nothing. :)

How about you out there, what flowers must you have in your gardens? What flowers make you smile?

Have a wonderful day and remember, anyone not wearing green today gets a pinch. Here's to hoping we all find someone sexy who forgot! hehe

Monday, March 15, 2010

Romancing Spring’s Arrival

Pic from ~ ~

Spring officially arrives on March 20th, and yes, I’m romancing Spring’s arrival... sort of... mostly.

In my neck of the woods, Spring is definitely announcing its glorious self. Yep, my tame prairie is slowly greening, the bright green blades of grass emerging strongly from beneath the huge clumps of brown, winter-dead grass--I’m against mowing, for the most part, although, paths are always nice. Since I live in a no-zone, out-of-the-way-place I’m not ruining anyone else’s property values. And I don’t think the cows next door care.

Most of all, the froggies are singing loudly and blissfully especially when it rains, or just sprinkles. Yes, the daffodils are springing up magnificently from beneath their deep bed of leaves, apparently happy with all the doggie poo fertilizing they’ve received.

The down side of Spring’s arrival, so far. Mud. My long gravel drive is winter-ravaged and now the recent rains have increased the mud factor, big time, making it a challenge to negotiate. This is also true for our gravel roads. You have to be a damn good driver, or drive at a snail’s pace. Actually, a good idea, given the slip-sliding conditions and the miniature ravines that shake, rattle and could ‘roll’ your car or van. A small all-terrain tank would be an excellent choice for travel.

Still, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Spring is springing. Nature is all around me, singing, chirping, flying and growing robustly. At every moment of every new day, all I have to do is look out my favorite window, open the door... and smile at what I see and smell... well, okay, the allergies are no fun, but I have natural remedies for that.

Yes, the bliss of Spring is all mine.

Or ~

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

~Percy Bysshe Shelley, "The Sensitive Plant"

And, here’s my newly penned Spring Flash ~

Khryn’s Golden Unicorn

Khryn watched the golden unicorn appear in Spring’s flowering meadow, arriving from the Mist Realm. Excitement and hope flapped her lacy crystalline wings rapidly, yet with complete silence. She crept around the Walnut tree’s trunk, peering more closely at the glorious beast, who grazed on the violets. If only she could move without detection for long enough, his gleaming golden back would be hers for as long as she wished to ride him. Well aware of how keen the unicorn’s senses were, Khryn dashed for the berry thicket, her speed like a breeze’s song. From bloom to leaf, she fluttered.

Her tiny form hidden by a cluster of daisy leaves, Khryn peeked out. Directly ahead, the unicorn’s beautiful sun-kissed tail swished with contentment. Her heart quickened it’s throb in celebration. She was close enough to wing astride him. Pausing, Khryn spider-webbed her senses seeking out the stallion unicorn’s mood. Uh-oh, he’d felt her mental scan. On impulse, determined, she flapped furiously soaring for his back as he raised his head, preparing to run. Flying with all her might, Khryn focused on fist-seizing his shimmering mane. Her legs settled on his back as he launched into a gallop. She clung, ecstatic.



May the March winds blow for you and not against you...


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Friday, March 12, 2010

Jewel of the Sun's BLOOD DESTINY

A little about the making of Elan and Cassandra's story.

I saw a call for submission for stories centering around gems, and more specificially birthstones. Excited, I jumped on the idea. There was no doubt my story would be about the peridot - the Evening Sun, the Jewel of the Sun, Gem of the Sun and many other mental and physical lores attributed to it. I absolutely love Peridot, it's my birthstone.

I knew others would go for the exotic Egytian route with their versions, but not me. I lived in Arizona for a while, near the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation where peridot is mined here in the United States. I have a special fondness for Native American's as it's part of my heritage, and felt it was the way to go with my story. Yet, I wanted it localized.

Jewel is the first story where I actually chose my hero's name first. I searched many name lists, many Apache name lists. I wanted something easily pronounced. I came across Elan and it meant friend. In any relationship, friendship is every bit as important as love, trust and faith. Takoda also means friend, so there I had the perfect name. Elan Takoda. Cassandra Jones, I simply pulled out of the air as I normally do, but I already knew she was going to need a friend in more ways than she could ever imagine.

I sat and wrote the story, agonized over critiques and finally finished it. I subbed it. Then I prayed for a rejection. I suddenly felt it the characters were short changed and needed more space then the call line allowed. Several months later, when it was on the edge of being accepted or rejected - it teetered in my favor. I breathed a sigh of relief and set to work on it. For over a year, I wrote, rewrote and followed my gut wherever something felt off.

The time came and I signed a contract. A new worry took over then. How will it be accepted? I mean, seriously, it's a paranormal, but not of today's trend. It's not about vampires, werewolves or shapeshifters. Will the critics be hard me for that? Will the readers feel like I regressed thirty years? The worry stayed with me, but this week, it's lessoned a tad.

Jewel of the Sun's BLOOD DESTINY just received it's first review and while it won't be posted on Coffee Time Romance & More's review site until April, I'm sharing it with you today.

Cassandra Jones is having a bad day. First she finds her fiance receiving personal attention from one of the other girls at work and punches him. If that was not bad enough she then finds she is part of a pact made by boyhood friends long before her birth. A pact that includes the sexiest man she has ever seen.

Elan Takoda knew that his grandfather was up to something when he sent the jewels to a pawn shop rather than his home. When he first lays eyes on Cassandra he realizes there is more to the story but knows that he must find a way to end the pain for him and Cassandra.

Elan and Cassandra have been hurt by life and have no desire to trust another with their heart. Together they must figure out how to break the spell that weaves them together but trying only made the spell stronger. When the spell is broken will they still be able to walk away from each other with their heart and souls intact?

If reading were a physical thing then I ran through this book. I was entranced from the very beginning with both of the main characters. Bekki Lynn has an amazing talent for weaving the spell around the reader and preventing them from leaving the story until it was done. It was almost like the spell on the main characters included me the reader. The erotic love in this book is off the charts hot. Bekki Lynn has just joined my list of TBR authors and if you will excuse me I think I need to go find everything she has ever written. Enjoy Jewel of The Sun’s Blood Destiny as it is a book no one should miss.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

Delane gave Jewel of the Sun's BLOOD DESTINY 5 Cups -- Wohoo! Thank you, Delane!

Now, I know the verdict is still out, but I feel so blessed for this whopper of a review.

Adult excerpt:

“Let’s go to the bed,” he managed to say. She started to fall when she forgot to lower her leg before attempting to move forward. “In a hurry?” he asked, catching her. He meant to make light of it, but the huskiness of his voice gave a different meaning. The fire raged in him.

“I guess,” she said, righting herself.

She sounded equally as affected. He grabbed the camera, turned off the lights and left her to follow him. He didn’t dare touch her right now. He’d hurt her with the need threatening to erupt. When he flipped on the lights around the bed, he saw her climb on the bed and sit with her legs under her. She ran her hands over the cool satin, her eyes on them. His chest heaved and he raised the camera to capture the innocence of a seductress. Cassandra raised her head and looked through the viewer at him. “What do you want?” she asked with a sultriness, causing shivers to shoot through him.

The camera slipped, but he caught it. He swallowed. “Give me what you’re comfortable with.” Under normal circumstances, he knew beforehand what the client wanted, but this wasn’t a client. Shudders swept through him when she leaned back on her elbows, bringing her legs forward. The glimpse of the green thong she’d left on had his zipper pressing into hard flesh.

He wanted shots of her with her hand splayed over the scrap of green, the ring, the bracelet, maybe a finger slipped beneath the band as if she was thinking of removing them. Images raced through his mind. Heat broiled in his gut and more sweat beaded on his forehead.

She rubbed the soft sole of her foot against her ankle as she shook her hair back behind her. He reached for a softener lens and snapped it on the camera as she moaned.

“Do you feel it?’ she asked him.

“What do you feel?”

“I’m not sure. It’s like…It’s stronger than before.”

She ran her fingers through her hair as he forced himself to watch via the viewfinder. The air thickened around them, heavy, breathless air filled with monumental tension. He wanted to rip the sheet from her body and give a warrior cry as he joined with her body.

“I’ve awakened from these bizarre dreams…feeling like I’ve had hot…sweaty sex.” Her tongue ran over lips and she blew out while her breasts heaved. “Now, it’s like…intense foreplay.”

“The psyche factor,” he told her as he moved around the bed. She fell back on the pillow and the look on her face combined with her heaving breasts caused him to lower the camera. Color came into her cheeks and spread, her hips rose and her heel dug into the bed. He forced himself to continue taking shots, but the sounds of the camera no longer played a song for him. He’d never seen anyone come alive as she was. She groaned and balled the bedding in her hands. Her eyes closed and he forced down a moan and tried to tune out the raging fire within himself.

“So hot…wonderfully hot,” she whispered as her back arched, tipping her head back.
She reached for the knot lying in her cleavage and undid it, tossing the fabric aside. Perspiration rolled down his chest from the effort of trying to hold himself back. Her beautiful, perfect breasts lay before him, the tips hard and begging to be touched. He backed up and picked up the remote to the hidden cameras he used for couples who wanted full range shots with privacy. What was happening before him needed recorded, even if it was in stills. She was consumed with the same fiery passion he’d been dealing with.

“More, I need more,” she mumbled.


I read somewhere that it's a shame the photographers never get credit for the photos we use on our covers. The photographer whose work is pure inspiration for me knows how much I appreciate his work. He also feels honored for the use of photos on so many books.
Lev Dolgachov is an amazing, hands on photographer from Estonia. He has some work I can literally sit and write an entire story around by just looking at them. The girl protraying Cassandra on the cover of Jewel is the third photo of his that I've used on a book. He's also responsible for the signiture photo on my website for the past few years. My handsome Native American was photographed and offered up by Juan Monino who takes some amazing portraits and stills.


While Jewel of the Sun's BLOOD DESTINY won't be released until April 26, it is available for pre-order at
eXcessica and Amazon.

Chapter One is also available for reading.

Have a fantastic weekend!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Wagering in the World of the Blue Pearl Moon

Wagering is a way of life in Baron Vettura’s aristocratic world, especially on any horse sport. And with the revival of the war horse sport of Braverth, all bets are definitely on, amid the swirling dangers of plots and constant intrigues.
Today, I thought I’d let my hero in All Shades of Blue Paradise, Book I & Pleasures of Blue Lotus Oil, Book II ~ speak for himself on the subject of wagering in the World of the Blue Pearl Moon. Especially, since this is the two year anniversary of his love story with Lady Sheridan.

An interview with Baron Vettura ~ Wagering in the World of the Blue Pearl Moon

Baron Zaggry Dhio Vettura entered the Regent’s extravagantly appointed reception chamber. Immediately he strode toward the woman comfortably seated on an elegant chair designed for her small, curve-flowing body. The Emissary from the green-water world of Vhesphia, the planet residing in the inner orbit next to his world, had arrived requesting to interview him.

Bowing over her slender four-fingered hand, Baron Zaggry briefly pressed his lips upon her dolphin-like skin. Rising, he offered her the warmth of his grin, and the admiring flash of his gaze. “Emissary Gjylish, may I compliment your slim loveliness and the jade-sheen beauty of your complexion?”

“Baron Vettura, you may...of course.” Her natural throat-deep voice held feminine giggles, surfacing like bubbles. “And may I compliment the promptness of your appearance. My request to interview you must have caused your personal schedule some strain. I can only apologize, however, the people of my world have been devouring news of the Braverth, and are particularly fascinated with the idea of wagering on sport events. A cultural way we do not possess. Please...” She floated her delicate arm toward the chair facing her.

Pivoting, Baron Zaggry seated himself. Lounging back like the golden cougar his Sheridan called him, he steepled his fingers and focused his full attention on the bright-eyed Vhesphian. “Your command of our formal language is most superior, Emissary Gjylish. What question would you ask first?”

“In our culture wagering occurs on games of chance and intuitive skill. Certainly not with the level of zeal your culture displays. How did high-coin wagering become such a passionate past time?”

Zag smiled suavely, lacing his fingers. “I believe high-coin wagering was born of idleness in the beginning. Once a generation was born in our history, where diligent work was no longer required, and wealth was available, the fierce boundless energy of youth demanded a past time which would excite them, and consume their passionate restlessness. Wagering, gambling...swiftly became a manner of sport, along with the various sporting games, which also originated as entertainment at that time. This new breed of sporting entertainments alleviated boredom, and brought about pleasure-vigorous ways of socializing with each other, of meeting one’s future husband or wife, especially for the most elite of the aristocracy.”

“Indeed, the ways of your aristocratic society continue to fascinate the people of my world. Yet, why the avid and frenzied level of wagering on a horse sport? Wouldn’t the pleasure and excitement of watching the Braverth be excitement-fulfilling enough?”

“Truth to your ear, Emissary Gjylish,” Baron Zaggry charmed, “the Braverth, indeed, all horse events, fulfill my requirement for excitement and entertainment. Without any need for wagering. However, coin-fortunes or other invaluable favors are to be gained by successful wagering.”

“Yes, one of the differences between us. Our society remains more communal, all to be shared. Our wagering is more for the tiny joys of winning a prized gem or a collection of gems. Whereas, your people thrive on the chaotic rise and fall of winning fortunes or favors by gambling on the swiftness and skill of a rider upon a horse. Is that not so?”

“Yes, many in our world do pursue what we call the ‘bliss-rush’ of the win, similar to the natural high of winning a sporting event. Still, there are many other dynamics at play. Often gains in coin are used in productive ways, to improve one’s land and home, to support an enterprise, which maintains the richness of our overall economy. Although, certainly, there are those who squander their gains in a juvenile and irresponsible manner.”

“Is not wagering also used as a method to possess power or take away an individual’s power?” With eel-like fluidity, the Vhesphian woman leaned forward, slightly adjusting her media recording globe.

Alert to the interview trap she set, Baron Zaggry languidly adjusted his posture, to one where he appeared more relaxed, and more in mastery of the situation. “True, Emissary Gjylish. The ebb and flow of power is, at times, influenced by wagering. A simple example would be, if I win a large purse, and use it to my advantage by growing one of my business enterprises, I gain in power and in notice, therefore my words carry greater weight.”

“Baron Vettura, there is a bold curiosity about how wagering is used in what your society calls ‘intrigues’, or what we would view as hidden deceits practiced to gain an unfair advantage. Could you provide an example for our understanding?”

Lazy as a hunger-satiated cougar, Baron Zaggry allowed his lips to curve in a smile. “Perhaps,” he teased, pausing for a moment. “As you, and the good people of your realm, must realize, our ‘intrigues’ have evolved along with the complexity of our culture, and have become multi-entangled layered webs used for a variety of reasons and purposes. For love, for carnal appetite, for the gain of coin, as a way to broker power and favor. Indeed, for any impassioned motivation. Of course, that would include revenge and spying. And sun-obviously, and too often, greed.”

Baron Zaggry shifted, propping his booted foot on top of the resting stool with a feral elegant ease. “However, I have not provided an example, have I? Perhaps, you will further define what you wish to know, Emissary Gjylish.” Friendly as a cougar expecting dinner, he smiled once again.

“Of course, Baron Vettura, I will define what I and my people wish to know.” Her eyes glowed, tiny bolts of emerald lightning streaking toward the pupils of her eyes. “There are updates several times each day on your media venues about the immense amount of wagering in the gambling entertainment salons. There is also speculation about the intrigues which are playing out. Why do so many gamble on who will triumph in the Braverth. Will it be your slave lover, Lady Sheridan. Or, will Lord Gawaith prevail? And what manner of intrigue do you play out?”

Baron Zaggry allowed his steepled fingers to lace and unlace leisurely before he answered. “My slave lover, Lady Sheridan, rides to victory in the Braverth, to win the security of our horse lands. And to triumph as warrioress. It is that simple, and that complicated in our world. Certainly, various intrigues swirl around us like the lavish gown skirts of our women swirl, as they splendidly and gracefully dance during our evening entertainments.

“Lord Gawaith has been my slave lover’s devoted adversary in the horse sports where they compete, for several riding seasons now. He carries an obsession of spirit, the prideful need to defeat Lady Sheridan by his superior skill and by his personal mastery of the horse war game, Braverth.

“There are many who believe my slave lover suffers a depletion of her physical prowess...given my carnal appetite for her. They would also believe she could not be as warrioress-determined in her ability to triumph, since she has yielded to me as her master.
Baron Zaggry raised one dark auburn brow, then continued, “Your example follows, Emissary Gjylish of the esteemed Vhesphia World. Is my interview with you part of an intrigue I deftly play against my enemies? Are my words, concerning my slave lover, mere deception? Or are they the truth as some would observe and believe?

“What is intrigue?” Baron Zaggry brought the fierce intensity of his gaze to bear on the Emissary, who leaned forward as if she was about to learn the end of a media-novel mystery. “What is not? Shadow or the mirror reflection upon a blue crystalline lake...and would I wager against Lady Sheridan’s victory in the Braverth, simply to gain another high-coin sum?” Baron Zaggry smiled like a hunt-triumphant cougar, who rested after dining on meaty succulent flesh. “There are some who believe my nature to be so ruthless toward collecting a fortune, I would use my slave lover in such a betraying manner.”

Baron Zaggry slowly leaned forward, the lithe power of a cougar. “What do you believe?” He casually un-propped his foot.” What is deception? What is not? What wager would you lay down, Emissary Gjylish?”

Do you have a question for Baron Vettura? Present your query in the comment section, and the Baron will answer as his schedule allows.

Or join Baron Zaggry and Lady Sheridan in the World of the Blue Pearl Moon

All Shades of Blue Paradise [World of the Blue Pearl Moon, Book I] ~ available from Siren-BookStrand Publishing ~

May the March winds blow for you and not against you...


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Guaranteed smiles and giggles... maybe even howling chuckles... yep, rove those baby blues over the excerpt below.
Guess what, werewolf lovers, Pat Cunningham just earned FIVE Delightful Divas and a Recommended Read by Autumn! For her previous release, BEST OF BREED.

by Pat Cunningham

Blurb ~

British werewolf Roderick Chase has been sent to Philadelphia to get married. Instead he finds himself the target of werecoyote assassins. His only hope: Darinda Lowell, a witch with a low tolerance level for arrogant alpha males. She agrees to act as his bodyguard and use her magic to find out who’s trying to kill him.

There’s no way the pushy wolf and the vegetarian witch can get along, or so Darinda tells herself. However, love tends to work a spell even a witch can’t ignore. Can she claim the wolf who’s won her heart, or will she lose him to a murderer?

"I like comedies. I like murder mysteries. I like paranormals. I like an evenly-matched hero and heroine engaged in snappy dialogue. And I just love me an English accent spoken in a deep sexy voice. I had a blast writing this book. Hope you have as much fun reading it." ~Pat

A BookStrand Mainstream Romance


She set her shoulder bag on the dresser and began to pull vials and drawstring packets out of it. The smug seeped out of Alfie’s face. “Hey. That better not be poison. I got rights.”

“Don’t worry. I’m brewing a truth potion. One good sniff and you’ll tell me everything and be happy to do it.” She smiled. “I would have gotten far less with the touch, but you had to insist on the hard way.”

“Hey. Hey, wait a minute—”

“Too late.” Darinda took a small clay bowl from her bag and poured the contents of a vial into it. Green liquid pooled in the bowl. Into this she sprinkled ground herbs from a pouch. A soft, smoky mist arose from the bowl, thick with the smell of mint. “You’d better wait in the hall,” she told Roderick. “This can have a powerful effect on people with sensitive noses.” She beamed evilly at Alfie. “Just imagine what it can do to a were.”

His imagination was working just fine. She could tell from his worried posture and the way he flinched from the bowl. She swirled the liquid in the bowl, and its steamy billow increased. Anyone other than the spell caster who caught a whiff of it would be compelled to speak the truth. She extended the bowl toward Alfie and watched his eyes glaze over.
And only then became aware of Roderick hovering far too closely over her shoulder. “I said wait in the hall. This stuff’s dangerous.”

“And leave you alone in the room with that?” He thrust his chin at Alfie. His voice slurred over the consonants, and his eyes didn’t seem to be focusing. “He’d kill you the second I turned my back. Fine mate I’d be if I allowed that to happen.”

“Whoa. She’s your mate?” Alfie said in the same fuzzy voice. “Dog, your pack’s standards have fallen.”

“Roderick,” Darinda said, “please wait in the hall. I’ll be all right. He can’t—”

Roderick shouldered her aside to confront Alfie. “You will not speak in that tone to my mate.”

“Holy scat, dog. She’s not even shifter. Don’t you teabags have rules against messing with the lower orders or something?”

“Bugger the rules. Bugger the pack. I never even wanted control of the pack to begin with. Bloody treacherous low-rankers fawning all over you, right before they go for your throat. Rip out your guts soon as look at you. Forget the upper ranks.” He snarled. “Lift your leg too high and it’s taken for threat. You can’t relax for a second. And this is your family. Think what outsiders are like.”

“Dog, that’s rough.”

“This trip is the first chance I’ve had to breathe in years. You are so fortunate,” he said to Darinda. “Free to be whatever you want, mate with whomever you please. I love this country.”

“I’m touched.” She tried to steer him toward the door and away from the misty cloud hovering over the bed. “Roderick, please—”

“I always wanted to be a cowboy,” he said dreamily. “Out in the wide open spaces with no damned pack trailing after you. Like that Eastwood fellow. He’s one of us, you know. A wolf. If he isn’t, he bloody well should be.”

“No way,” Alfie said. “He’s a coyote. Gotta be. He’s got a sense of humor. No wolf on the planet has a sense of humor. That’s why you mutts are doomed.”

“This is all fascinating,” Darinda said, tugging at Roderick’s arm. “However—”

“It would never work,” Roderick said. “The cowboy thing. Horses don’t like me. The predator-prey dynamic.” His wistful smile disappeared, and he seized Darinda’s shoulders. “You like me, don’t you?”


“I wouldn’t blame you if you hated me. You’ve put your life on hold and yourself at risk to protect me, and I’ve been such a perfect brute. I’m a—what’s the Yank word?”

“Putz?” Alfie suggested.

“I was going to say ‘ass,’ but I suppose yours works. Darinda, you’re a lovely, brave, patient woman who’s been kinder to me than I deserve. I’ve never met a wolf I wanted to stand at my side more than you.”

“Roderick you don’t know what you’re saying.”

“The hell I don’t. I’m in love with you.”

“Whoa, dog,” Alfie said.

Darinda got as far as “Rod—” before his mouth closed over hers and smothered all objections. She couldn’t stop her own response. She’d been attuned to him from the beginning, and the emotions that flooded her now through the contact washed away any objections. The female in her surrendered to instinct and rose up to match the male. The cards never lied. This arrogant, overbearing, meat-eating wolf was her perfect mate.

But not here, not now, not under these circumstances. Reluctantly she broke the kiss. “We’ll talk about this later,” she promised him.

“I get her when you’re done,” Alfie said. Roderick snarled, and Alfie recoiled. “Hey. Just asking.”

Darinda turned Roderick’s head to face her. “Do you really love me?”

“Of course I love you. You’re the only she I want.”

“Would you do something for me?”

“Anything, darling.”

“Open that window, stick your head out and take deep breaths.”

AVAILABLE: Tuesday, March 2nd ~ ~



Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~