Featured author: Donina Lynn

I’m pleased to welcome fellow Evernight author Donina Lynn to present her book “Arms of Serenity” (Rock Services, Book One)!

Donina Lynn: Thank you so much for having me on your blog today! I’m very excited to be here and to be sharing my debut novel Arms of Serenity.

When I first sat down to think about what I wanted to write, the one thing I knew I wanted to incorporate was a message. That being that the events of the past shouldn’t dictate how we live our lives in the future.  We should learn from our experiences and look to the future as an opportunity for a new beginning. Simple, right? But when we are unable to move beyond those events and they threaten to determine who we are today, is it ever that easy to forget and find the peace within ourselves to allow happiness into our lives? Life and especially love are never that simple.

In Arms of Serenity, you meet Nick and Becca. Both are emotionally damaged and in desperate need of someone to show them how to let go of their pasts and that love is possible as long as they are willing to let it in. Their story is full of inner struggles, laughs, romance and even a smidgen of danger. Doesn’t every good love story need at least one or two bad guys? 🙂

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Blurb:

Plagued by guilt, Nicholas Hollsten ended his military career in the Special Forces and returned home only to be forced into a life he never wanted. Nick found himself running his father’s company and making good on a promise to his team. Angry and frustrated with the direction his life was taking, he calms his thoughts by filling his evenings and bed with soft distractions. Until one woman captures his interest.

Rebecca Klayton thought she was happy in her small town, running her bakery and avoiding love. That emotion only meant heartache and being left exactly where you started—alone. Lesson learned. But, when the sexy stranger from their hot New Year’s Eve party shows up at her counter, will she be able to ignore the temptation or will she find what she’s been missing in the Arms of Serenity?

 

Excerpt:

Becca got as far as the curve outside before she heard Nick’s voice calling her name. She closed her eyes and groaned.

Almost made it.

Why was he following her? Couldn’t he just leave her alone? She held up her hand to signal a taxi and hoped ignoring him would work until one stopped.

Becca heard him say her name again. Only this time he was too close to pretend that she didn’t hear him. She turned to find him holding the picture frame.

“You forgot this.”

He just wanted to give her the frame. She sighed in relief and reached to take it from him.

“Thank you.”

He looked at her and put a smug smile on before saying, “You forgot these also.” He reached into his pant pocket and pulled out a glimpse of white lace material.

Becca gasped when she realized it was her forgotten panties. She got closer to put her hand out.

“Thank you for finding them.”

Nick pushed them back in his pocket. “How about that coffee?”

Becca took a step back and crossed her arms. “Are you seriously holding my underwear hostage until I go out on a date with you? Doesn’t that border on blackmail?”

Nick laughed. “Just using whatever means I have at my disposal to get you to say yes.”

Becca would laugh too if she wasn’t so angry. He was being an arrogant pushy ass. She glared at him. From his polished shoes, tailored pants, and what looked like a cashmere sweater, he was head to toe everything that Becca wasn’t. Why was he doing this? Damn him for coming after her. Damn him for wanting more when he could go back into the ballroom and have anyone of those models sitting at the table.

“You’re not my type.” She turned away from him and once again put her hand up in the air.

She stood there not wanting to look back. He hadn’t answered her, and Becca silently hoped that he had walked away. She was a mess. Her insides trembled at the conflicting emotions of anger and longing coursing through her. It would be so easy to give in and go with him.

Becca felt a hand brush against her neck and his voice against her ear.

“I’m going to have to argue that statement. I seem to remember being exactly your type last night as you shook and screamed in pleasure when I was buried deep inside of you.” He kissed the spot behind her ear, and she gasped in response. Shivers cascaded through her, and she leaned back melting into his body.

Becca cursed herself.

Dammit, Becca get some control! He’s just a rich guy who thinks he can get anything he wants.

Becca pulled away and turned around to face him as a taxi finally came to her rescue. Opening the door, she stood behind it to use as a barrier between them and took a breath to steady her trembling legs and gain some courage.

“Nick, last night was great, and thank you for not saying anything back in there.” She nodded her head in the direction of the hotel and continued. “But I’m just not interested.” She got in the cab, closed the door, and stared ahead as she gave the driver her destination. As the taxi pulled away, she could see him in the rearview mirror. For the second time in less than twenty-four hours, she left him just standing and staring after her.

Available at:

Evernight Publishing | Amazon

Author Bio:

Hi! I live in a small rural Pennsylvania town on the outskirts of the Poconos. As in small, I mean we don’t even have a traffic light. We do, however, have a DG, a pizzeria and a Chinese restaurant. Thank goodness! Because, I would probably starve without takeout and a microwave. Cooking is something I enjoy during the holidays and for special occasions. But on a normal day, I take full advantage of a supermarket’s frozen section.

Even though I was born and raised a country girl, my idea of communing with nature is gazing out my window while guzzling mass quantities of coffee. Next to the microwave, my Keurig is my prized possession. Seriously, the inventors of that gadget deserve an award and are personal heroes of mine.

When I’m not at my day job, hanging with my family or friends, curled up with my Kindle, or typing away at the computer, you can find me in front of the TV watching anything paranormal, sci-fi or a good action flick. Kudos go to any movie or show that incorporates explosions, big guns, and gratuitous butt shots.

My addiction to romance novels started as soon as I could turn a page and has stayed with me until much later in life when I decided to sit down and give writing one a whirl. Who knew that decision would have brought me here? I am extremely grateful it has and hope you enjoy reading about the characters that have taken up residence in my head. There is a bit of a warning, however. I have a fondness – bordering on obsession – with the military, public service, bad boys, and men with bald heads, goatees or tattoos.  Heroes with one or many of these traits might be a reoccurring theme until I can work through these issues. 🙂

You can find me at:

http://www.doninalynn.com

http://www.evernightpublishing.com/donina-lynn/

https://www.facebook.com/donina.lynn

https://twitter.com/DoninaLynn

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7277385.Donina_Lynn

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00FE8T3HY

Thanks for dropping by, Donina 🙂

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Amazing four-star review for “Wild Hearted”!

“Wild Hearted” is a short, intense train ride of a novel that takes you effortlessly into its story of a seemingly unredeemable inner-city crime lord and the woman he falls in love with. The pace is fast, and the characters colorful. More so than other romance fiction, “Wild Hearted” has a very dark, noir quality — of gritty crime, tough inner-city neighborhoods, hurt people and broken dreams…..it does not soft-pedal this atmosphere to let the protagonists (Tomor and Luz) fall in love. In fact, the ending is not the usual “and then everything was all flowers and roses”, but leaves the reader in a dark place, without diminishing the character’s complexity or challenges.

The ending is open and ambiguous enough that it is not hard to imagine a sequel or two, continuing the twists and turns of this story.

It is easy to imagine “Wild Hearted” filmed in black and white, with long deep shadows and darkened streets….it’s a very bracing change from the typical character romance. Author Lea Bronsen is very talented, and has a keen eye for detail. I look forward to reading more of her fiction.

Check out the other reviews and ratings for Wild Hearted on Amazon and Goodreads.

Meet author Nicola Cameron

I’m pleased to welcome fellow Evernight author Nicola Cameron to present her new release, “Grading the Curve”.

BLURB:

Ellen Ragsdale is a scholarship student who just wants to get her college degree and start her life. Alexander Cord is a widowed English professor who hides his loneliness behind a sardonic facade. School rules have kept them at arm’s length all year long. But on the last night of Ellen’s college career, the two of them risk everything to find out if their mutual attraction is more than a classroom crush.

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BUY LINKS:

 Evernight Publishing | Amazon | All Romance E-books | Bookstrand

BOOK TRAILER: http://youtu.be/C10kXkffe6w

EXCERPT:

“Did you know that you always blush when you talk to me?” he said quietly. “It’s charming. You look like a medieval maiden receiving her first suitor.”

It felt like someone had painted fire across her skin. She ducked her head, staring dumbly at the hallway’s scarred paint. He couldn’t know. Nobody knew that about her. It wasn’t that obvious.

Was it?

“Interesting.” She could hear the smile in his voice. “I meant it as a compliment, but perhaps I struck closer to the truth than I’d intended.” He moved closer, and she could feel the heat from his whole body now, warming her like an invisible caress. “Are you?”

She swallowed hard. He couldn’t be asking what she thought he was asking. “A-am I—”

“A maiden. A virgin. I believe a popular term is ‘unicorn bait.’” His voice dropped, turning into a soft rumble. “I have to admit, I’m puzzled as to how someone as lovely and intelligent as you could still be virginal.”

Her entire face now felt like it was on fire. She’d gone on the occasional date, usually doubling with Keisha or Dianne, but once the guys found out what her schedule was like they didn’t bother calling again. “Too busy, I guess. Working, studying.”

To her surprise, cool fingers slid under her chin, gently turning her face up. “What a shame,” Cord said, his voice low and soft. “But if it’s of any consolation, men your age do tend to be rather slapdash and impatient when it comes to women. I assure you, you haven’t missed out on much by skipping the undergraduate sexual circus.” The façade of the academic disappeared. Underneath was a man she didn’t know, warm and standing so close to her. “That being said, I wonder … would you be willing to consider me?”

“What—” Her throat clicked, it was so dry. She swallowed and tried again. “What are you saying?”

He tilted his head to the side. “I want to take you to bed, Miss Ragsdale. I want to kiss that pink mouth of yours, undress you ever so slowly, play with those gorgeous breasts and suck your nipples before I caress every inch of your body. I want to bury my tongue between your legs and lap at your clit, and when you’re dripping wet I want to bury my cock in you. I want to see that sweet mouth of yours open and scream my name as I make you come over and over again.” Now she could smell his cologne, something masculine, woody, and underneath that, the musk of clean male. “Come home with me tonight, Miss Ragsdale. Let me make love to you. I promise you, you won’t regret it.”

BIO

Nicola Cameron is an expatriate Chicagoan who has lived in England, Canada, Holland, and Sweden, and keeps a confusing amalgamation of languages in her head as a result. Currently located in the clavicle of Texas, she has finally mastered the proper use of “y’all,” much to her Chicago family’s dismay.

Despite a healthy interest in sex since puberty, it wasn’t until 2012 that Nicola decided to try writing about it. As it turned out, the skills she picked up during her SF writing career transferred rather nicely to erotic romance. When not writing, she wrangles cats, smooches her husband, makes dolls of dubious and questionable identity, and thanks almighty Cthulhu that she doesn’t have to work for a major telecommunications company any more (because there’s BDSM, and then there’s just plain torture…).

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Featured author: Sandra Bunino

Tie Me Free (The Satin Rose Experience) by Sandra Bunino

Thank you for having me on to share Tie Me Free with your readers! Tie Me Free is the fourth book of my Satin Rose Experience series. However, no worries if readers haven’t read the other three books, because as with the other books in the series, it can be enjoyed as a stand alone story. That said, readers of the series will be reunited with old friends! Of course Asher and Mia make an appearance as the heads of SRE, New York’s exclusive BDSM club. Jackson Reid is also back as he demonstrates his knowledge of sensual rope tying.

Tie Me Free was an absolute joy to write because it touches on so many aspects of art. You see, I’m a modern art buff and like my heroine, Kate Angel, I love to get lost in a museum for an afternoon. In Tie Me Free, Kate is introduced to another type of art called Shibari, an ancient Japanese form of rope art. Instead of paint on canvas, beauty is created with rope on skin. Kate harbors body issues. Her insecurities multiply because the person dying to tie her up is a much younger Dom with an oh-so-sexy Irish accent!

Anyway, I better stop here so I don’t give too much away. If you like hot Irish Doms, a little bit o’ kink and a whole lotta sexy, please consider downloading Tie Me Free.

Happy red-hot reading! xoxo

BLURB:

She’s forty and vanilla…he’s twenty-eight and…not.

Score one for Kate Angel. She’s just signed the hottest erotica author to her start up publishing house, Angel Books, but she needs a crash course in kink to appease her demanding client. Creating a Domsublife.com profile seems like an innocent way to do her homework and satisfy her curiosity.

Mason Myers has lived a lifetime in his twenty-eight years. The product of an Irish orphanage, he grew up fast to overcome his lonely, humble beginnings to become the successful businessman he is today. He’s also an experienced Dom at the Satin Rose Experience, an elite BDSM club in New York City.

A mutual appreciation for modern art establishes their online connection. Mason convinces Kate to meet him at the Guggenheim museum’s erotica exhibit where she reveals her fascination in the art of rope bondage, known as Shibari. Introducing her to the ancient art within the safety of the club, Mason helps Kate surrender her deep-seated hang-ups about her age and body image.

As the physical and emotional ties that bind her into the submissive of his fantasies tighten, can Kate learn to break the emotional tethers ruling her life and embrace the freedoms they bestow?

Tiemefree

BUY LINKS: 

Amazon US / Amazon UK / AllRomance eBooks / BookStrand / Evernight Publishing

AUTHOR BIO:

Sandra Bunino is a numbers crunching business professional by day who stays up past her bedtime thanks to her oh-so-sexy imagination. Who needs sleep, anyway? Sandra is constantly searching for different ways to achieve a heart-pumping, stomach-flipping, breath-catching reaction from her readers.

These days, Sandra lives on a wooded mountaintop not far from New York City with her family. She always looks forward to hearing from her readers and she may be contacted at sbunino@gmail.com. As a social media junkie in need of a ten-step program, you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@sandrabunino).

Remember, following is sexy!

Contact Sandra:

Website / Email / Facebook / Goodreads / Amazon Author Page / Twitter @sandrabunino

TEASER FROM “TIE ME FREE”:

Kate stared at the platform as the click of the door sounded over the mesmerizing music. Looking over her shoulder, she found Mason watching her from his spot next to the door. She turned to the only other piece of furniture, a large armoire with a double door. “May I?” She glanced back to Mason.

He extended his hand toward the cabinet. “Of course. Please.”

Kate’s heels clicked on the wood floor as she approached the cabinet and swung open the door. Assorted colors of rope lengths lined the shelves. Kate fingered the cords and pulled out a loop of red silk rope. “I didn’t realize the ropes were so soft.”

Mason pushed off from the wall and walked to her. “The ropes are an extension of the person performing the tying. An extension of their arms and fingers. They’re meant to caress and comfort. The ropes are symbolic of the connection between the individuals involved in the scene as you saw outside.” Mason stood just a whisper from her face. His thumb brushed her fingers holding the silk cord as their gazes locked. “How about a little roleplay, Kate?”

She cocked her head. “Roleplay?”

“Do you want to know how it feels to be dominated? To be tied?”

Kate held her breath and her heartbeat hammered in her chest.

“Kneel on the platform and put your hands behind your back.”

“What?”

“Your safe word is moon. Use it now or anytime during the session.”

“Session? We never talked about a session tonight.” Kate pulled her hand away but Mason held it firm in his grasp. “I’m not playing games with you, Mason.” She wriggled her wrist free and walked toward the painting.

Soft footfalls approached and his breath tickled at the back of her head. “You’re looking for something more in your life, Kate. It’s why you took on Blaze as a client, it’s why you joined Domsublife, it’s why you met me at the Guggenheim and it’s why you’re here in this suite. I’d kept tabs on your reaction and body cues as you watched the demonstration. You’re craving to be bound, I can taste it. And I assure you, this is no game. If you don’t like it or it makes you feel uncomfortable to the point you want to stop, say the safe word and I’ll stop and untie you. No questions asked.”

He was right. Somehow he’d always been right on the mark when it came to her and what she was feeling. The music ceased for a moment between songs. Kate spun around to meet his stare, heartbeat pounding in her chest as her breathing became shallow but she refused to break their stare.

Kate considered his words and studied his face. “Are the cameras on? Are they watching?”

Mason nodded. “Yes. Surveillance is on. I gave Mia and Asher the heads up that you might want to experiment. They have your safe word.”

Kate turned back to face the painting and leaned into his chest. “You scare me,” she whispered.

His fingertips trailed a path up and down her arms. “Why?”

“Because you seem to know what I’m thinking before I do.” Because you’re so right for me but so wrong. Because you’re like a gooey, delicious ice cream sundae I’ll never allow myself to taste.

Mason chuckled. “Is that a bad thing?” His voice poured through her body. Closing her eyes, she pulled away from him. Her glance moved from the door to the platform. She’d never have another chance like this to experience it. Kate squared her shoulders. “Okay. But I’m not getting naked,” she said, holding an index finger up. She moved to the platform and kneeled. Even though the surface was hard, a calmness came over her as she moved to the middle of the table and gazed over the painting in front of her.

“I’m fine with that limit, for now, except for your feet.” Mason slipped off her shoes and rubbed tight circles his thumbs into the arch of her foot.

Kate let out a throaty moan. “How do you know how to do that?”

“Reflexology. It’s part of the study of shibari. I also learned where the body’s pressure points are.” His thumbs traveled to the balls of her feet and let up on the pressure. “How’s that feel?”

Kate groaned. “Heavenly.” Her muscles loosened instantly.

“Good. Now just relax, spread your knees apart and sit on your heels. This will be the most comfortable position for you as we do this.”

Kate complied as his fingers traveled up her back to her shoulders. “You have knots in your shoulders. Under stress?”

“That’s an understatement,” she snorted.

“Close your eyes and get lost in the music. Don’t think of anything outside of this room. It’s just you and me.”

Kate smiled. “There is no you and me, Mason.”

Mason shushed her and applied pressure to the knot in her shoulder, making her wince. “That hurt like a bitch and felt amazing at the same time. How the hell do you do that?”

“Shh. Don’t make me gag you, Angel.”

The words rolled off his tongue as Kate’s mind flashed to the model in the first picture they’d seen at the bondage exhibit. Warmth spread through her body at the thought. Her breath hitched as she imagined the assortment of gags and blindfolds in the drawers of the cabinet. The warmth of Mason’s body radiated through her shirt, his face against the back of her head. “The thought of being gagged turns you on, doesn’t it?”

“Shit,” she whispered. Did it turn her on? What. The. Hell?

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HOT release: Armed and Desired by D.C. Stone!!

I am soooo pleased to invite my bestie and co-author the lovely D.C. Stone to discuss her latest release. I had the privilege of reviewing the steamy novellette Armed and Desired before it was published and gotta say – what a HOTTT read that was!

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Hey D.C. 🙂 I’m really happy for you as I know this is only one in a long list of published and to-be-published books. So, what genre is this new one?

Contemporary Romance (although I’ve seen it listed as romantic suspense, too.) Grrr

What led you to the story idea?

I came up with the idea because in my field (which is law enforcement), strong women exist and yes, they crave certain things, too. I wanted to show that struggle that a woman in law enforcement can face when dealing with the fact that hey, yes, I am a woman, I’m also a cop, but I also have needs, and cravings just like everyone else.

That’s so true. What makes this story special compared to the others you’ve written?

LOL, I think I just gave that theme. Mostly in my books I want to pass on that women can be strong and desirable, loving and successful, and to encourage everyone, both male and female alike, to never give up on what they truly want.

Definitely, that’s very important in all fields. What was your biggest challenge on writing this book?

My biggest challenge on writing this was the length. This series called for a specific word count, and anyone who knows me understands I am a novel writer, so whereas many would probably cringe at the idea of pushing out 80-90 thousand words, that is what it takes for me to get the story out properly. Most of that has to deal with my genre, yes, as romantic suspense does take some patience. But with a novelette, it is particularly challenging to get everything you want out, make the characters realistic, and show it all.

I encountered the same problem with my short story… So which part was your favorite to write?

My favorite part to write was the first scene where Alyssa finally goes upstairs and doesn’t *yet* realize Nate’s the man in the room. That was fun.

Oh, yeah *laughs* I kept wondering when she’d understand! If a movie were made, which actors would you choose for your characters?

Oh good question. I would have to say the models on the cover of the book would be perfect. Mina Carter did a phenomenal job at capturing exactly who I envisioned for these two. I’ve never been so in love with a cover.

I’m in love with it, too! It’s absolutely gorgeous.

So, I guess we all want to know the answer to the last question: Can we expect to read more about Alyssa and Nate in the future (please, pretty please)?

*winks* Maybe ….

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AUTHOR BIO:

D.C. Stone is an e-book author and full-time fraud investigator when she isn’t diving into the world of Fiction.

She lives in the north-east with her incredibly supporting husband, two kids, and the all American black Labrador puppy. She’ll deny any association with the grumpy cat that also resides in the house, but he is there, never-the-less.

After serving eight years of service with the United States Air Force, she went on to transition into the world of Financial Crimes and became a lead investigator for many years.

Reading has always been a passion of hers, getting lost in a good, steamy romance one of her favorite past times. That passion took a back seat as soon as she discovered her own love for writing and recreating her own stories and characters.  Her writing concentrates on Romance with specifics in Paranormal, Suspense, and Erotica.

Now, when she isn’t trying to solve a new puzzle in the world of fraud, she is engulfed with coffee, her laptop, and all those crazy characters in her head. Trying to keep up with that crazy bunch is a skill many would yearn to have.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, New Jersey Romance Writers, Kiss of Death, and the Liberty State Fiction Writers. Come stop by on Facebook, Twitter or her website and say hello!

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Website: http://www.authordcstone.com

BLURB:

Being a cop can be a dirty job … but somebody’s got to do it.

Sergeant Alyssa Bloom, assigned as Patrolman Nate Wilshire’s trainer, knows what it means to stay in control, be alert to her surroundings, and keep a level head. Not so easy to do around the hot, young rookie.

Nate has the best job in the world—police officer with the sexiest partner a guy could ask for. Alyssa might be training him, but he has a few things he’d like to teach her. Unwilling to act on his desires and risk unprofessional conduct, he asks Madame Eve to find him someone to scratch the itch Alyssa can’t.

With the need to let loose hitting the red zone, Alyssa agrees to contact 1Night Stand. When her date is none other than her sexy partner, she has a decision to make—maintain professionalism and leave…or let her heart finally take control.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon | All Romance E-Books | Smashwords

Barnes and Noble | Decadent Publishing

EXCERPT:

Nate waited at the floor-to-ceiling window of the hotel room and stared out across downtown San Diego. Tall skyscrapers soared around the city, their tops dusted with popping colors of green, blue, and red. Cars passed by in a blur, and with dusk only minutes past and the weekend kicking off, nightlife began to bloom along with his own anticipation.

He tucked his hands inside the charcoal dress pants and rocked back and forth in the uncomfortable black dress shoes. After spending days in his boots and uniform, the toes of the shoes pinched at his toes, and the soles unforgiving. He did not miss them. At all.

The door behind him clicked and a brush of air alerted him someone entered the room. He stilled, his heartbeat kicking out an erratic tempo in his throat, but he didn’t turn, instead watching a woman cross the threshold in the window’s reflection. She assessed the larger-than-normal hotel suite before her gaze settled on his back.

Perplexed, he tipped his head, recognizing her familiar features. She progressed with a lethal grace only a trained law enforcement officer would know, her steps purposeful, but silent, even in heels higher than he’d ever seen her in.

Standing to the side, she set her purse and a small black bag on a table, giving him her profile. A flash of deep red hair grabbed his attention. He sucked in a breath and pivoted in slow motion, refusing to allow hope to grow any more than it had, yet at the same time, fear sliced through. The one person he needed to get out of his system stood in the same room as he.

The night was about to go to hell.

Facing away from him, she took in the overwhelming luxury of the room. Desire slammed into him, he came to life with a kick against his fly.

Alyssa.

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Featured author: S.J. Maylee

Welcome to fellow Evernight Author S.J. Maylee, here to talk about her new book “Taking Chances” (The Love Projects #1). 

BLURB:

Lydia’s father walked away from her when she was eight. She’s struggled to not let him affect her, but fears she wasn’t loveable enough to make him stay. Jake wants to love one woman, but after scaring the last woman he met outside of the club, he doubts he has the right. She protects her heart by sticking with her fantasies, and he lives by a set of rules that excludes women who choose a vanilla lifestyle.

The two will be kept in a conference room working together until their special project is complete. If Lydia and Jake hold tight to their bland lives, they’ll always yearn for love that is out of reach. But together they can find common ground, passion, and a reason to take chances. Once they discover the grand possibilities of the love they desire, they find themselves in the very place they tried never to be again, facing unguaranteed love.

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18337826-taking-chances

 Taking Chances

EXCERPT:

Lydia’s boss stared the team down. She squirmed in her seat and worked to contain her fidget. The glower she recognized. Mr. Keller’s fiery gaze swept over every person in the conference room. Praying he would skim right past her, she shrank a smidge in her seat. The transition to their new product management database had bombed. He wanted someone to blame.

The team worked hard, and yet dozens of things had gone wrong, but no one deserved to get chucked under the bus. Politics was never a strong suit for Lydia, and neither was talking in front of a group. Who would enjoy sweating profusely and forgetting all words except ah and um?

The threat of humiliation fired through her, making her eager for a solution. If she could figure out a way to shift the meeting away from the possibility of someone getting fired, she’d relax. An idea rolled about in her head, but not even a drop of courage lingered within her reach.

“Keller, the policies and procedures need strength and substance if we’re going to move forward as a team with our new system.” Jake pushed back from the table.

She needed to add mind-reading to the list of Jake’s gifts. She’d had the exact idea. It wasn’t the first time he offered a solution she’d been contemplating. It often left her with the idea they’d get along well, which was ludicrous. Men like Jake didn’t pay attention to a woman like Lydia. Hesitation was more her style, and it certainly wasn’t Jake’s. As a department director, he made things happen, and along the way he intimidated the heck out of her.

Of course she’d never been alone in a room with Jake, never even had a casual conversation. Fortunately, he never sought her out. Whenever Jake neared, her pulse raced, and naughty ideas filled her mind. Her fascination with him had started on her first day with the company over a year ago.

The sidewalks had been a mess of snow and ice in front of their building that morning. She’d picked style over practicality in shoes and was rewarded with a slip and fall, flat on her butt. Jake had helped her up. He’d placed her purse strap in one hand and held the other while he asked if she was okay. Embarrassment might have flared through her, but his gaze had melted her, and she hadn’t been able to think straight in his presence since.

He made her aware of her body, the way it heated and awakened. It wasn’t the chiseled cheek bones, or his tall lean body that had to be fit as a Navy Seal. Okay, maybe in her fantasies it was heaven to grab onto his thick neck and shoulders. When Jake was around, she either got lost in a fantasy or felt like a teenager worrying about her hair being flat, smudged mascara, or worse things. What if he saw her nipples hardening? Luckily for her they worked in two different departments and didn’t find themselves with the need to talk to each other.

If she could get to know him she wouldn’t suffer so much. Most people had issues, and if she could find his she wouldn’t be so intimidated. She had a long history of finding flaws in people. First with her dad, she had been eight when he left. She led a lonely existence and wore it like an armor, and it stopped her from being let down.

“I think you’re onto something.” Boss man Keller usually agreed with Jake.

Disappointment ticked at her ragged nerves. Once again someone else was getting credit for an idea she couldn’t voice.

For Keller to ever agree with her, she’d have to have the audacity to speak about her own ideas. Until she had the guts to offer her own opinion there would be no recognition, no advancement. Soon it would be time to go back to her familiar little box, a place she usually thought of as comfortable, a place made easy to hold onto her armor.

“I’d like you to head the team on this.” Keller inclined his head toward Jake. “Pick one of the technical writers from this table, lock yourselves in a room, and get it done. I want a report tomorrow, my office, ten o’clock.” He stomped from the room and took another opportunity to sneer at each of them.

The room, without Keller’s presence, grew eerily quiet.

All attention turned to Jake. He towered over them as they waited for the chosen partner to be selected. Whispers bubbled up around her.

A door slammed down the hall, probably Keller letting off some steam. She didn’t want to think about Keller. She desperately wanted to fill her mind with one idea, that she could be the technical writer Jake chose. He could choose her.

She blocked out her surroundings, peeled back her protective layer and allowed herself to feel. She bit her lower lip and sucked it into her mouth. She could be locked in a room with Jake. Her mouth dried, and her heart pounded. She took another look at Jake and drank in his dark features and the muscles she imagined hidden under his blue collared shirt. A fantasy, starring the infamous Jake, filled her imagination.

He sauntered around the table and stopped at her chair. His hand took hold of hers, and he pulled her into his strong arms. Once he settled her bottom on the table, he stepped in between her thighs. As he devoured her mouth in eager kisses, he popped the buttons on her blouse, unclasped her bra, and exposed her. Powerful hands molded her breasts. She let her needy body fall to the table to give him access to every inch of her.

“Lydia.”

The fantasy was in full swing now. Jake shouted her name. Oh, her name sounded sinful on his lips.

“Lydia!” someone shouted.

Something pushed her elbow, and it fell awkwardly from the table, releasing her from her inner thoughts. Everyone at the table stared her way.

“Thanks for rejoining us. Clear your calendar, and meet me back here in a half hour.” Jake locked his gaze with hers.

“Yes, Sir … I mean, okay, I’ll be here.”

She couldn’t handle his powerful expression and dropped her stare to the table. It was too intense, him standing there like an unyielding statue. Had she said something wrong? Before an idea could enter her mind, he stormed from the room. The rest of her department followed him like nothing tremendous happened. Just like that, they went on with their day, talking about lunch plans and other mundane things. Lydia, on the other hand, couldn’t move.

It had been a split second, but his eyes had narrowed in on her and dimmed to a shade darker than black. It was intimidating, but she desperately wanted to see it again. She should slap herself or pinch her arm. She was at work. This wasn’t a time for fantasies.

 BUY LINKS:

Evernight Publishing | Amazon | All Romance eBooks

GIVEAWAY: To celebrate her debut, SJ is hosting a giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

S.J. MAYLEE BIO:

S. J. Maylee fell in love with storytelling at a young age and with it came a deep-seated desire for everyone to find their happily ever after. She’s finding the happy endings for her characters one steamy story at a time.

When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her caring for her garden, laughing with her two young sons, or dancing to her husband’s music. She’s a PMP (Project Management Professional), Nia instructor, and coffee addict.

As a writer she has a tendency to break hearts, but she always glues them back together.

MEET S.J. MAYLEE ON: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Who is Lydia Taylor? 

I adore the development of a story. Following people while they fall in love is a fascinating experience. Seeing a character change over time is one of my absolute favorites. Lydia may look to be simply a shy character that just needs to come out of her shell, but there’s so much more.

Once I put Jake in her path, a man that’s her match in every way, you’ll find the cracks in her veneer. She’s not just shy. She’s made herself this way purely out of protection. Jake offers her glimpses into the life and a love she desperately craves and it’s that chance she can’t deny.

I adore Lydia and I hope you will too.

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In the author spotlight: Jenny Lyn

I’m pleased to welcome fellow Evernight author Jenny Lyn who has just released her new book “Burn”.

BLURB:

Eight years ago, life was good for Tate Reilly. Living in Atlanta and attending college, her dream of becoming a doctor was within reach, and she was in love with Ryan Hart. Then one night while Tate slept, Ryan disappeared. No note, no phone call, nothing left of a love she thought would last forever. Confused and heartbroken, she doesn’t let it hold her back in her quest to become a physician. If anything, the hurt and disappointment only serve to fuel her drive to succeed.

Ryan never wanted to leave Tate behind the way he did, but sometimes life takes away the choice. The best way to spare Tate the disruption of her bright future with his problems is to make a clean break. So he does the hardest thing he’s ever done—he walks away from her.

Now Ryan is back in Atlanta, working as a sous chef in the most popular restaurant in the city, and he has every intention of winning Tate back, no matter what it takes. It’s not easy because Tate wants answers that Ryan’s not ready to give just yet. First, he needs to remind her of what they once had together. The heat between them is undeniable, and it’s not long before it melts her resistance and she starts to lose the grip on her heart again.

But until Ryan can come clean with Tate about why he left, she can’t fully forgive him and move on. Time doesn’t always heal all wounds. Sometimes you have to shed more blood to become whole again.

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EXCERPT:

A small part of Tate wanted to kill Ryan for tricking her, just reach out and wrap her hands around his throat and squeeze the life right out of him.

But the larger part of her, which unfortunately included the lady parts, wanted to touch him for other reasons, reasons that she suspected dictated her actions when she’d asked for his address rather than telling him to go back to the ER to be checked out. Besides, if he had truly been concerned about his arm possibly being infected, he wouldn’t have asked if she was working, he would’ve just gone to the hospital. Ryan valued his limbs too much to risk losing them to something like cellulitis or sepsis.

So that made her almost as culpable as he was.

She couldn’t concentrate while staring at him without a shirt on. His chest was too appealing and distracting. All bulgy solid muscle over thick bone, smooth tan skin, his areolas small and dark in … Holy crap, one of his nipples is pierced!

Before Tate could stop herself, she’d reached for it as if it was some sort of intriguing abnormality. She had seen piercings on patients naturally, but never one she wanted to touch as badly as she did his.

She didn’t even look up at his face for permission. When her fingers made contact with the small silver hoop, he flinched but didn’t move to stop her. She shifted closer then, running the tip of her finger around his nipple to watch it tighten, before she gave the ring a little indulgent tug.

Ryan hissed through his teeth, and his hands shot out to capture her hips, pulling her flush to his body. The more she toyed with the jewelry, the stiffer his cock grew against her stomach and the harder his fingertips dug into her jean-covered skin. And she had to admit, she liked that she could cause that reaction in him with such a simple touch. Feeling it made her wonder about something else, though.

“You didn’t pierce your…” Tate licked her lips, inexplicably shy with her words all of a sudden. Her eyes jumped up to his.

“My cock?” He grinned. “No. I’m not that brave.”

“Or crazy. I’ve seen horror stories, trust me on that.”

“I can imagine. This was a drunken impulse four years ago.”

She continued to finger the jewelry. “If you take it out, the hole will grow up.”

“I started to, but then … I kind of got used to it.”

Tate gave it another tug, causing him to make a soft grunting noise in his throat. “And there’s a direct correlation between the nerves in the nipple and the nerves in the genitals.”

Ryan laughed, pressing his erection against her stomach. “No kidding, Doc. I’m rock hard. ‘Course a lot of that has to do with the company.”

Tate had opened this door by touching him so intimately, and she was about to step through it. There was no denying she wanted him. Giving in to that desire might not be the smartest thing she’d ever done, but this was Ryan. They had a history, even though the last chapter was depressing. There was no question sex with him would be amazing. She’d worry about the ramifications later. For once, she wanted to act rash and bold and selfish.

BUY LINKS:

Evernight | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance Ebooks

AUTHOR BIO:

I started reading when I was four, thanks to a babysitter who found out the only way to get me to sit still was to put a book in my hand. By the time I entered kindergarten, I’d blown through just about every Little Golden Book ever printed. Ten years later, much to my mother’s dismay, I found her stash of paperback romance novels. She tried to divert me back to something more chaste by buying me Harlequins, but I still snuck copies of her Kathleen Woodiwiss’s and Johanna Lindsey’s when she wasn’t looking. Shanna, The Flame and the Flower, and Fires of Winter will always hold special places in my heart because they introduced me to roguish heroes, headstrong heroines, and the trouble they could get into together.

I live in a swampy little corner of north-central Florida with my family, both the two-legged and four-legged variety. I love to read, run hot and cold in regards to cooking, and I never miss an episode of Justified, Longmire, or Dexter. I guess I like justice in all its various forms.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

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Keeping it tight – Romance on the Go

I’m discussing Evernight Publishing’s RotG concept and presenting my latest release My Biggest Fan on http://www.evernightonthego.blogspot.no/

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Romance on the Go is a new concept for me. Having previously worked with the novel format, the task of putting a complete story into about a 10th of the usual length was one tough challenge. How would I, with just a few words, introduce each of the characters, give them enough backstory, allow them the time to develop along with the plot arc, and still be able to wrap it all up with a satisfying end? And how would I manage to give enough descriptions, atmosphere, and movement, not to mention weave in a few sub-plots to keep the read interesting?

There was no magic tool except the delete button, and boy did I scratch my head, closely monitoring the word count. Thankfully, the first person present tense allowed me to use short, concise sentences instantly relaying the main character’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. And having chosen a young male rebel’s point of view, I could skip the lengthy poetic imagery *smiles*

Critical voices complain about the shortness of the Romance on the Go titles. I agree, they are short—but that is the point. In less than a half hour, you can have your fix of romance, bedroom steam, poignant drama, happy endings, AND have the time to hate and love their sexy characters. The trick is just for us authors to compress our complete, well-developed stories without having them sound too rushed, and to balance all the usual ingredients well with a few unexpected goodies.

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