Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Belated Happy Valentine's Day from ShapeShifter Seductions

Here's a flash scene I wrote for Valentine's Day at the Midnight Stardust Supperclub.

The Lonely Hearts Club and the She-Wolf

"Lonely Hearts Club," Sarielle whispered once she mentally translated the words from her language to the planet's American English language. "That's me."

Ever since leaving on this intergalactic tour of other wolfen shapeshifter worlds, Sarielle had practiced speaking the various languages while studiously learning about the many different cultures. Now she glided along the fringes of the supperclub's dance floor.

Whirling embraced couples, all of them in what she identified as a deep romantic trance, danced to a type of music she found heart-stirring and pleasurable. The playful but elegant notes made her feel deliciously supple.

Sarielle also listened to the lovely silken swish of her long gown as she approached the special area where men, all in full humanoid form, and clothed in what were called tuxedos, took turns partnering the women who, like her, obviously had no man or mate in their life.

What she thought was called a midnight buffet had been placed in this Lonely Hearts Club area. As well, sparkling beverages of all kinds spilled into stemmed glassware. Her nose inhaled a feast of fragrances, especially the quite virile man who began striding toward her as if he'd caught her scent and now hunted her.

Maybe he did. He certainly had the handsome build and the powerful loins of a hunter. Although, Sarielle couldn't distinguish his wolf kind by his smell or his, to her eye, spectacular humanoid appearance.

Further, she wasn't entirely certain of all the dating and mating customs in this geological region on Earth. It had been a constant confusion she'd been unable to sort out during her culture-learning sessions.


Dante had carefully explained about the three extraterrestrial she-wolfs that would be joining the Valentine's Day extravaganza at the Midnight Stardust Supperclub. At first, Dh'liam had believed his cubhood pal was pulling his hind leg. It wouldn't be the first time. They'd pulled about every prank imaginable on each other, almost to the day Dante had roared out of Talbot's Peak on his Harley.

Several weeks later, Dh'liam had taken to the back roads on his Harley, determined to explore the vast areas of America that remained mostly uninhabited. What he'd discovered and experienced could easily fill a set of old-fashioned encyclopedias. Now for the sake of his pack, and for those who lived in Talbot's Peak, he'd returned to make certain they remained protected from the monstrous evil he'd encountered -- far beyond the tiger shapeshifter, Shere Khan, and his Yakuza ninjas.

However, at this moment in time, all he wanted to do was protect, and dance with the magnificent she-wolf beauty of extraterrestrial origin. The instant, he glimpsed her heart-shaped face he'd loosed an inner howl, while his cock straightened like it was cupid's drawn arrow.

The otherworldly woman-wolf possessed a petite and svelte figure beneath her fluid, backless peacock-blue gown. Yet more impressive to him, her lithe muscles were power-packed strength, and he knew she could run like the wind.

What captured his notice first was her tumbled wealth of hair, most of it piled artfully on top of her head. At the time, she'd had her back to him, and he'd stared at the cascading curls of rich dark russet, unable to move.

When she'd finally turned around, and lissomely moved in his direction, Dh'liam had forced himself to halt in his tracks. He'd had to fight the urge to stalk her, nip-kiss her neck, then sink his fingers into her tresses.

Determined she would not be leaving his hunter's sight this night, he'd strode toward her. Eyes that were a gorgeous burnished gold followed his progress, and they both halted within a few feet of each other, their gazes fastening on each other.

Without hesitation, he offered her a slight bow. Not one that would take his gaze off her, however. "I am Dh'liam. Welcome to Earth. Welcome to Talbot's Peak. Welcome to my arms. Or, perhaps, you would prefer something to drink and a bite to nibble on before we dance."

A smile teased the corner of her bow-shaped mouth, and he couldn't help but ravish her lips with his gaze. At the same time, she offered her hand to his, the one he'd extended without thinking about it. With a grace he'd rarely known, her hand alighted on his, and Dh'liam held on as if she were his next breath.

"Dancing in your arms is quite delightfully acceptable, Mr. Dh'liam. My feet are anxious to enjoy the dance floor. I am called Sarielle for short." She paused, her eyes pure sparkle. "Is that how you say it?"

"Sarielle," he savored like a meaty bone. "Would that be considered your first or familiar name, my beautiful she-wolf?"

Her puzzled frown halted every cell in his body. "I can't sniff you. You are a wolfen shapeshifter?"

"I am. But I have learned how to hide my scent. A long story," he added. Howls! the love trap had sprung, and he'd been caught. And Dh'liam wasn't about to chew a hunk out of his heart to escape. No way on the Mother's green earth.

"Ah, you hide your scent from enemies. I understand. Sarielle is my chosen name, a first name as you would call it in your culture, Mr. Dh'liam."

He drew her closer. He couldn't resist. "It's just Dh'liam, or Liam, as my friends often call me." When she cocked her head in apparent confusion, he continued. "It's a family name. No Sam, Dave or Harry in our pack."

"Your touch is pleasing, Dh'liam." Her tone was a soft sultry growl, and she moved closer so they were mere inches apart.

With her enchantingly exotic face nearly beneath his, Dh'liam realized she now stood on tiptoe. He felt the heat of her loins against his. Her mating fragrance seared his nostrils. And, as he swept his arm around her slender waist, he became aware the big band era music was transitioning into the romantic strains of a waltz.

"Do you waltz, Sarielle?" he thought to inquire like a gentleman.

"You lead, and I'll follow. We often dance on the galactic cruise ship."

With a low raw growl only for her ears, Dh'liam swung his she-wolf among the other dancers. True to her words, Sarielle matched him effortlessly, and he whirled them around the dance floor in time to the moonspun music.

Her strength flowed against him, a grace he'd hungered for, and never known it until now. Now, this very fierce moment of knowing what he'd needed, what he wanted.

So, Dante had been right in insisting he refresh his ballroom dancing skills. Dh'liam even mentally thanked his sire and dam for all the lessons they'd made him endure over the years, given his family believed in a formal presentation of themselves at times.

As the tempo of the music slowed, she allowed the tightening of his arm. And, when he wrapped both arms around her, she draped herself against him. Her small, long-fingered hands stroked the back of his neck before she laced her fingers, and held onto him tightly.

The thought of her pressed against some other man, regardless of species, boiled Dh'liam's blood. He leashed his stud-possessiveness, willing his focus on Sarielle instead.

He listened to the quickening of her breaths that were almost wolfen pants. He listened to the rapid passionate beat of her heart. He felt the way her loins cradled the large bone his cock had become, and wished it would last forever.

"I crave fresh air," she murmured toward his ear, once the music faded.

Immediately, Dh'liam eased her against his side, escorting her to one of the tunnel exits that led to a small clearing, one surrounded by a stand of majestic fir trees.

"Will the cold temperature bother you, my beautiful she-wolf?"

"I am from a colder region. It will feel refreshing, Dh'liam. Besides, I will depend upon your arms around me."

Once they stood outside in the crisp winter air, she snuggled against him, her cheek pressed against his love-struck, fast-pounding heart.

"Lonely Hearts Club?" he asked, hoping against hope.

Sarielle had been headed toward the area that Dante set up for the women who arrived alone and wanted dance partners. Even though, Dante had explained about their extraterrestrial visitors, he hadn't said if they were unattached, un-mated.

Now Dh'liam had to know.

"Yes, I am a lonely heart." She hesitated, and he felt her quiver in his embrace. "I had a husband..."

"Had a husband?" he roughly barked out as he instinctively clutched her closer against him.

"We were matched. We were to be mates." She shook now, and Dh'liam knew it wasn't because of the cold.

"What happened, Sarielle?" His hands roamed her back, reflecting the urgency he felt like sparks of fire throughout his entire body.

"I was not a good mate to him... I tried. But it was so... ho-hum, I believe you would say."

Dh'liam wanted to laugh, to bust a gut with his howls of laughter. Instead, he buried his nose, his lips in her hair, and wrapped himself around his she-wolf. Somehow, some way, he could convince her to stay with him on Earth. He would convince her to be his mate -- he would convince her that he would never be a ho-hum husband.

~ Have a Magickal Valentine's Day ~


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cupid's Choice Bog Hop at ShapeShifter Seductions

Here's the first few paragraphs of my post for the Cupid's Choice Blog Hop.

The Were-Huntress, Cupid's Victim

Like background music, Selakiah smelled the woman's werewolf lover. The smiling blue-haired barista placed a second cup of Cappuccino, sprinkled with cinnamon, before her.

Without taking her gaze off Zuquotti, the mercenary-for-hire werebeast striding toward the coffee shop from across the street -- not for a fraction of a second, Selakiah thanked the young woman, then lifted the cup and took a small sip.

"Delicious," she praised.

"You're new in town. Planning on staying in our fair Talbot's Peak for awhile?" the barista chattily asked.

There weren't that many customers. Selakiah assumed it was because the lunch crowd had departed. Even though, shapeshifters and supernaturals were the main population of this off-the-beaten-track town in Montana, many of them appeared to have regular jobs and careers. So she'd observed the past three days.

"Depends," she answered. "I'm a working in private investigator," Selakiah added because of her snow bunny outfit, her generously displayed cleavage.

More at ~ ~

~ Have a Magickal Valentine's Day ~


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Fall of American Soap Operas

Thoughts and Laments from a former soap watcher
by: Stephanie Burkhart

In the early 1980's as a young teenager, I discovered soap operas. The first story I remembered watching was Luke and Laura's quest for the Ice Princess. That was it. I was a General Hospital fan. My favorite storyline was the slow-burning character driven romance of Robert and Holly. Then my friend, Alyssa, turned me onto As The World Turns.

I loved to hate Craig from ATWT. Meg Ryan played "Betsy." Julianne Moore was "Frannie." I loved All My Children in the early 1990's with Dimitri and Erica and the Young and Restless' Victor and Hope's story. Then I found Todd Manning and was devoted to One Life to Live.

I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you simply because I miss them. As an aspiring writer, I wrote the "One Life to Live Satire" from 1998-2002. With over 100 episodes, this fan fiction was well received and I even met with Jonathan Reiner from TV Guide who covered the soaps at that time.

What did the soap opera format give me as a writer? The most important thing I received was the ability to picture my stories in my head with a compelling respect for setting. Soaps taught me the importance of a good character driven romance as opposed to a plot driven one. Soaps also taught me the difference between love, passion, lust, and pure, honest romance. I learned the rewards for honesty, loyalty, and integrity, and that crime doesn't pay.

Let's face it, all I needed to know I learned from watching soap operas.

I am heartbroken to see there are only four soap operas on Daytime TV now. In 1990, there were 12.

Who can remember watching with their mom, grandma, or favorite aunt? Heck, my Aunt Mary would drop everything she was doing to watch Guiding Light. Aunt Mary was hooked on Reva. Anything my Aunt Mary did was cool so I joined her.

Why did soaps fail after seventy years after it's inception? Ultimately, I think it was the culmination of a perfect storm of events, but in my observations and research, I've developed 4 points.

1. Working Women
In the 1970's women worked in the house, but through the decade, into the 80's and 90's and beyond, women went to work outside the home. That generational bond between mother and daughter which was previously nurtured, wasn't. Young girls went looking for other shows.

2. AC Nielsen did not keep track of places with common settings such as restaurants, work breakrooms, and health clubs. What else doesn't count? DVR and the Internet. So viewers may actually consist of a higher number, they aren't counted.

3. Cable and Internet provide alternatives to traditional daytime programming.

4. Viewers prefers reality shows to TV melodrama which goes back to point one and passing the legacy of watching a show onto your "loyal" daughter.

What was your favorite show? Your favorite storyline? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the decline of soaps and what impact it might have. What impact did watching soap have on you personally?

A member of Generation X, Stephanie Burkhart was born and raised in New Hampshire. She spent 11 years in the military, serving 7 of them overseas in Germany. Now a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD, Stephanie enjoys reading a good book, Dancing with the Stars, and volunteering in her sons' classrooms. Her December 2011 release is "The Faberge Secret," a Christmas contemporary romance.

5 STARS, Celia Yeary, Author
You will thoroughly enjoy this fast-paced tale of danger, a mystery, and a satisfying conclusion. Elise and Dimitri make sparks fly!

5 Stars, Reader's Favorites
Fabulously written, the story combines elements of mystery, action, love, and tender family moments all at the right places, making a perfect fit. If you want a good story combining history, crime, and passion, "The Faberge Secret" is the book for you.

Sue Perkins, Author
The Faberge Secret exceeded my expectations. Definitely worth reading more than once. What more can I say? It is such a good book.

5 Hearts, Sizzling Hot Book Reviews
As the love story thicken, the suspense heightens and it won't let your eyes leave the page. I recommend The Faberge Secret to all of the romance readers. Even if you have never read romance, The Faberge Secret would be a great place to start.


Elise Goodwin finds herself faced with danger when she learns the Faberge egg she's bought belongs to a Russian mogul, Dimitri Romanov, but is Dimitri playing a game with Elise's heart to get his heirloom back?

Elise Goodwin runs a heritage museum in Brattleboro, Vermont. She travels to Boston to buy some items for her museum at Sotheby's auction. What she acquires is a delicious surprise that would excite any curator – a Faberge egg.

Enter Russian businessman Dimitri Romanov. He goes to the auction with the intent of buying the egg only to discover that Elise is in possession of it. His dilemma? He's attracted to the petite brunette with doe-like eyes and a trusting disposition.

Complicating matters is Dimitri's rival, Gustav Kelch, who wants the precious jeweled object for his own collection. Can Dimitri protect Elise from Kelch?


Fascinated by Dimitri's story, Elise sipped her warm milk. "Boris' van was in front of the auction house. He told me the auction didn't want his items. They didn't think they were valuable enough."

Dimitri snapped his fingers. "Ah, all right. That makes sense, but how could they miss the egg? They had to know it was valuable."

"Perhaps they didn't want it. Perhaps they suspected it was stolen and didn't want anything to do with it."

"So why did you buy it?"

"How could I pass up something so precious? I love the beauty of it."

"I'm glad you appreciate the craftsmanship and beauty of the egg."

"Of course I do. I'm an art history major."

Dimitri continued to look at her thoughtfully. He rubbed his chin. "Alexi didn't tell me, but I wonder... could Boris have been his contact?"

"Boris?" Elise sipped her milk. "I doubt it. If you want my opinion, he didn't strike me as the informer type."

"No... Boris mentioned a name. Anatoly, I believe, when I talked to him. I wonder if he was Alexi's informant."

Elise shrugged. The name wasn't familiar to her.

"Perhaps... yes. Perhaps Anatoly was Alexi's informant, and he stole the goods to give to Boris. Boris was supposed to use the auction house to sell them, but they didn't anticipate the auction house not wanting the items, so Boris sold them on the street," Dimitri mused.

"It's plausible, but how did Kelch's men know to track us down?" Elise asked.

Dimitri scrubbed his eyes with the palm of his hands. "No... no... but..."

Elise put down the mug and placed her hand on his waist. The contact sparked a fire in her limbs. "What's wrong?"

"Your receipt--" He lowered his hands. Guilt splayed across his face. "I saw it, and that's how I knew Boris had sold you my egg. I... I crumpled it up and threw it on the floor of the van. Kelch must have broken Anatoly, and then sent his men to find Boris. And if they found him--"

"Oh." Elise swallowed at the fear glittering in his eyes -- fear for her. "They found the receipt with my name."

"Yes. Damn it! I should have pocketed the receipt, but I was furious. All I wanted was my egg."

Apprehension coursed through her. That's why Lucy had been attacked. Kelch and his men hoped to find the egg because they knew Elise had bought it. Lucy had just happened to be in the hotel room because Elise was on a date -- with Dimitri.

He pushed her hand off his waist, clenched his fists, and marched into the living room, halting close to the window. Was he angry at her, or at himself? Well, a part of her was angry at him, too. She and Lucy were in danger -- real danger -- because of that egg, but a part of her just wanted to reach out to him, to comfort him, to tell him everything would be all right.

Elise shifted from foot to foot. Dimitri truly had protected her and Lucy tonight, but how much could she trust him? Was it all about his egg? That's all he'd thought about when he'd thrown the receipt on the floor. No. This man respected his family. He honored Christmas. He was spiritual. She couldn't let him beat himself up for a mistake.

She left the kitchen and walked up behind him.

He stiffened. "Elise, now is not the time. I want to be alone."

She ignored him and placed her hand on his back just under his shoulders. "I know you didn't intend to put Lucy and me in harm's way."

"But I did."

"No, I've got to fix this. I've got to make this right."

"Dimitri, stop--"

He spun around and pressed the hard length of his body against hers, curving his hand around the nape of her neck. His kiss was hard and demanding. Her core heated. Her bones melted. A man's kiss had never rocked her senses quite like this.





Wednesday, February 1, 2012


My latest Regency comedy novella, An Inheritance for the Birds, the next entry in The Wild Rose Press's Love Letters series, is now available. All the stories start with a letter that changes the hero's and heroine's lives. Mine is a letter about an inheritance, but there's a catch...

Available at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.


Make the ducks happy and win an estate!

Mr. Christopher "Kit" Winnington can't believe the letter from his late great-aunt's solicitor. In order to inherit her estate, he must win a contest against her companion, Miss Angela Stratton. Whoever makes his great-aunt's pet ducks happy wins.

A contest: What a cork-brained idea. This Miss Stratton is probably a sly spinster who camouflaged her grasping nature from his good-natured relative. There is no way he will let the estate go to a usurper.

Angela never expected her former employer to name her in her will. Most likely, this Mr. Winnington is a trumped-up jackanapes who expects her to give up without a fight. Well, she is made of sterner stuff.

The ducks quack in avian bliss while Kit and Angela dance a duet of desire as they do their utmost to make the ducks--and themselves--happy.

Yawning, he shut the door behind him. Enough ducks and prickly ladies for one day. After dropping his satchel by the bed, he dragged off his clothes and draped them over the chair back. He dug a nightshirt from the valise and donned the garment before he blew out both candles.

Bates had already drawn back the bedclothes. The counterpane was soft under Kit's palm, and covered a featherbed. He grinned. By any chance, had they used the down from the pet ducks to stuff the mattress and pillows?

After tying the bed curtains back, he settled into the soft cocoon and laced his fingers behind his head. Tomorrow, he would have it out with Miss Stratton about the steward's residence, but that was tomorrow. He fluffed up his pillow and turned onto his side…


A bundle of flapping, squawking feathers exploded from the depths of the covers and attacked him. Throwing his arms over his head for protection, Kit fell out of bed. He scrambled to his feet and bolted for the door, the thrashing, quacking explosion battering him. A serrated knife edge scraped over his upper arm. "Ow!" Batting at the avian attacker with one hand, he groped for the latch with the other.

The door swung open. Miss Stratton, her candle flame flickering, dashed into the chamber. "Esmeralda, you stop that right now!"

The feathered windstorm quacked once more and, in a graceful arc, fluttered to the floor.

Kit lowered his arms and gave a mental groan. A duck. He should have known.

Thank you all,
Linda Banche
Welcome to My World of Historical Hilarity!