28 December 2018

EDITOR'S PICK....Laura M. Baird's "In His Sights"

Intelligence analyst Charity Masters is raising her niece after the death of her brother. If that isn’t enough to up-end her world, she’s pulled into a government project involving shifters, and a handsome distraction in the form of tempting hawk shifter, Mason. Although her strong personality has kept men at a distance, will she allow Mason close enough to appreciate the woman inside?


As clan leader of his Native American tribe, Mason Wegi wants to ensure their relationship with the government remains beneficial but well-contained. While focusing on a project involving human and shifter DNA experimentation, not only will he have to safeguard his people, but that of the alluring and willful beauty, Charity.


Will two people from different worlds come together for their happily-ever-after?


Excerpt:

“Are you all right?”

Charity gasped as she reacted on instinct, rolling once again and springing up, preparing for…

Always priding herself for being prepared for the unknown, Charity certainly wasn’t prepared to come face to face with a gorgeous man on a trail in Sierra Vista. As she straightened to her full height of five feet ten inches, the man still towered above her by at least half a foot. With her back to the sun, she could see his features clearly, and what she saw nearly stole her breath.

Raven hair framed his lean face, falling well below his shoulders. Topaz eyes shined brightly as his brow knitted with worry, even while his luscious mouth hinted at a smile causing his tanned skin to crinkle at the corners. Muscled arms relaxed at his sides. A rusty orange t-shirt covered his chest, stretched across clearly defined shoulders and pecs. Gray athletic pants encased his legs and he wore running shoes dusty from the dirt, looking like they got good use.

“Miss?”

Charity blinked several times while trying to clear the haze in her head as she met his stare. “I’m fine now, thank you.”

While the man scanned her body, he asked, “Did you take a tumble? Are you sure you’re all right?”

Charity looked down at the dust and debris on her clothing, and tried to swipe herself clean. Her white tank top and red running shorts weren’t any worse for wear, but a few scrapes on her left leg got her attention. She removed the bandana around her head, allowing her long blonde hair to fall free and curtain around her as she bent forward to wipe at the cuts. When she peered up at the man again, she saw his concentrated gaze continuing to scan her.

“Are you sure you don’t need medical attention?” he asked, his voice gruff.

Charity straightened. “No, really, thank you. I nearly had a close encounter with a rattlesnake but was saved by a hawk. It was, uh, well it all happened rather quickly, stunning me. I’m not far from home, so I’ll be fine.”

“If you’re sure.”

The tenor of his voice and the note of care had her warming, and not from the overhead sun. Once again she mentally shook herself as she finger-combed her hair and twisted it back up, securing it with her bandana. When she met the stranger’s gaze, his eyes snapped from her chest to her eyes, and she swore she saw a blush sweep over his cheeks.

When the man cleared his throat, he offered an introduction. “I’m Mason, Mason Wegi.” The sound of his name was like putting a ‘W’ in front of egg and adding ‘ee’. 

“I was just out for a run myself. I certainly didn’t expect to come across a fair maiden in distress. Not that I’m complaining.”



Laura M Baird, Romance Author

23 December 2018

HOLIDAY SPOTLIGHT...Cassie O'Brien's "The Best Gifts Aren't Wrapped"

Who says Santa doesn't bring even the saddest person a beautiful gift?

Lauren hates Christmas. It reminds her of the death of her husband, Brian, and brings back memories too painful to bear. To keep herself busy over the festive season, she decorates a room in her house and shuts the rest of the world out - the door locked as tightly as her heart and emotions.

Until Joe comes along, a neighbor who is divorced, has two sons, and enough compassion to see her through the dark times. Although Lauren's not looking for love, it creeps up on her, stealing her breath and forcing her to see that although she's angry with Brian for putting himself in a fatal situation, she can now remember him with the affection he deserves. Joe has helped her to see life is precious, and when Santa arrives with an extra-special gift, her world is complete, and she can once again go about the business of living - with her heart well and truly taken.


WHERE TO BUY

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…
I love:
Being with family and friends.
Writing and having the freedom to do so now child four of four has passed her driving test and is off to uni later this year.
I Like:
Any excuse to throw a party.
Any excuse to open a bottle of fizz.
Shoes in vast quantities – the higher the heel the better.
Ambitions:
To write many more books'
To own a pair of Louboutin’s.
To never go near an iron or a hoover again.
You can find Cassie on Facebook and follow her on Twitter: @cassieo_author 


22 December 2018

HOLIDAY SPOTLIGHT...CF White's "Won't Feel a Thing"

It takes more than a doctor to mend a broken heart.

Ollie Warne is fresh out of nursing school and working his dream job as a pediatric cardiology nurse at St. Cross Children’s Hospital. Wanting to start the year fresh from personal heartache and his track record of falling for the wrong man, Ollie’s New Year’s resolution is to rid himself of emotional baggage and live a life of carefree liaisons.

But before the resolution can even begin, Ollie is called to care for eight-year-old Daisy Monroe, who’s struggling after heart surgery. Her father, Jacob Monroe, never leaves her side, apart from the times her mother comes to visit.

The tempestuous and somewhat estranged relationship of her parents is cause for concern enough, but the father’s brooding nature has Ollie investing far more time than usual in his Room One patient. Striking up a friendship of sneaking takeaways into the ward, card playing until dawn and the occasional breaking up of domestic fights, Ollie finds himself drawn to Jacob and becomes a friendly ear for the man who’s harboring more guilt and past demons than even Ollie, which is saying something.

The growing attraction makes it hard for Ollie to keep his distance, though he has to—not only do the ethics of his profession demand it, but Ollie is still somewhat involved with another man. One who has a huge stake in Ollie’s life, both personal and professional.

Ollie is risking more than just his job by getting involved with a patient’s father—much more even than the success of his New Year’s resolution, something that was supposed to ensure that, this time, he won’t feel a thing.


EXCERPT

“You want my opinion?”

“Yes.”

“My honest opinion?”

“Yes,” Ollie repeated. “Please.”

“Brutal honest opinion?”

“Yes.”

“Even if you don’t like it?”

“Even if I never want to talk to you again.” Ollie took a sharp slurp through the straw of his smoothie and winced, his glasses tipping to the end of his nose. “Until tonight, anyway.”

“Then leave well alone.”

Ollie sighed. He sucked up another mouthful of his daily fruit and veg intake, flicked back his blond hair that had lost its vigor after a twelve-hour night shift and glanced away from Taya’s wide brown eyes. The eyes that signified she meant every damn word. Bitch.

“Told you.”

Taya freed her dark, waist-length hair from its curled bun and stroked it over one shoulder. She wrapped the band around her slender dark-skinned wrist then sipped her dainty cup of pink hot chocolate. The blue edges of her lips, caused by the freezing weather, were subsiding back to their usual reddish tinge with each guzzle of the pink cream and rainbow of chocolate candies scattered over her ridiculous sickly concoction. She hadn’t even offered a spoonful to him. Twelve hours straight on night shift clearly meant she needed the sugar all to herself.

“He’s not worth your time, your worry or your respect.” She clanged the cup down onto the glass surface of the table, pulled her winter trench coat over the scrubs she hadn’t bothered to change out of and reached for her packet of menthol slims.

“Neither are they.” Ollie pointed to the cigarettes.

Taya glared across the table. She unhooked the top of the packet, took one of the white sticks between her teeth and lit it with her pink lighter. Blowing the smoke into the freezing cold air, she waved her hand.

“We all have our vices, Oliver.”

Ollie stuck his middle finger up. He slapped it back down and shoved it into his jacket pocket. It was freezing, and Taya had to bloody sit outside the corner coffee shop in order to smoke her way out of the trying night shift. She was right. Everyone needed their vices, especially with what he and Taya did for a living. He sighed.

“I think he needs patience.”

“He’s got plenty of those.” Taya pointed her two fingers clutching the death stick at Ollie.

“Har fricking har. Patience with a c.”

“He’s a c all right.” Taya took another drag. At Ollie’s glare, she sighed and rested her elbow on the tabletop. “What? He is.”

“I think you may be the only female in the entire hospital who doesn’t like him.” Ollie slurped the dregs of his raspberry-ripple smoothie and shivered. He should have gone for a hot drink, but it was hard enough to sleep during the day as it was. Caffeine would only make it infinitely more difficult.

“That’s because I know him,” Taya replied.

“Urgh. Not you, too?”

“Ew.” Taya grimaced around her cigarette. “No, thank you.”

Ollie leaned back in the chair. He waved a hand to waft away the smoke drifting into his face. To give her some credit, Taya was trying to blow it out of the side of her mouth to avoid him, but the icy-cold January breeze from the earlier sleet downpour blew it straight back. Ollie zipped up his puffer jacket, folded his arms and jiggled on the cold metal chair.

“You nearly done?” He nodded to the half-full cup of violently pink chocolate.

Taya blew another puff of smoke into the air, stubbed out the remains of her cigarette and downed the rest of her drink, leaving a foam mustache on her top lip. She licked it away. “Yeah. Home to bed, miss the snowfall, back at eight. You?”

They scraped back their chairs and Ollie tucked a five-pound note under the ashtray for the servers. Anyone willing to come outside and serve drinks in this weather should most definitely get tips, even if his wages would no doubt be far less than those of the coffee baristas working this part of London.

“I should go see my dad,” he replied.

Taya linked her arm in with his, curling her slender fingers around his quilted sleeve. Checking both ways along the crossroads lined by independent boutiques, high-class restaurants, unconventional caf├ęs and health-food shops, she steered him across, narrowly missing a black cab speeding over the mini-roundabout. The glass-enclosed bus stop’s bench overflowed with waiting passengers, so he stood, his freezing toes within his inappropriate-for-the-weather slip-on loafers numbing with each passing second, and checked the time on the electric board for when the next bus was due.

“How’s he doing?” Taya asked.

“Good days and bad days.” Ollie sighed. “Keeps calling me Tilly.”

Taya tried to hold in the chuckle but failed miserably. Ollie didn’t mind so much. A good sense of humor was always best in these situations, not to mention their line of work. He pulled Taya in closer. It was fricking freezing and snowflakes fell from the overcast sky. How would he get back to work later that night? London came to a standstill if even one flake hit any mode of public transport. Him living in the other end of the city—the cheap end—would make it all the more difficult to travel across town. On occasions when there wasn’t a downfall, he would have cycled in. But that was out of the question with the ice on the roads. And the fact that he hadn’t woken up in his own bed last night. Ollie shuddered at the memory.

“Right.” Ollie bounced to keep warm while awaiting the number 252. “It’s January. So that means New Year’s resolutions. What’s yours?”

“Quit smoking.”

“Good luck.” Ollie meant it.

Taya stuck out her tongue.

“Well, we both know mine—”

“Which you broke last night.” Taya was a bitch like that.

“I don’t believe New Year’s resolutions should start until the second week of January.” Ollie rubbed his hands together, digging Taya’s arm into his side, and wondered why he hadn’t thought to bring gloves. Ah, yes, he hadn’t had any where he’d been before his shift started. He wasn’t allowed to leave any trace of his existence there.

“Riiight,” Taya said. “So that means from today, you’ll be steering clear of arsehole men?”

“Sadly, no. Unfortunately, I will no doubt encounter many of them in my time without realizing until it’s too late.”

“Amen.” Taya saluted.

Ollie wasn’t sure what the salute was about. But he wasn’t particularly religious, so maybe that was how it was done in church these days? Or temples, considering Taya’s family were Hindu.

“So, what is your resolution, then?”

“No baggage,” Ollie replied.

“Baggage?”

“Yep,” Ollie confirmed.

The gleaming new red Routemaster bus edged along the narrow High Street, bumping over the speed mounds meant to slow the traffic down, which Ollie thought ridiculous as the morning rush-hour pileup tended to last all day in central London. The streets were filled with scuttling people carrying takeout coffee cups, cyclists braving the ice, and the occasional honking of a taxi horn. This time of the morning, most people were trying to get to work and not home from it like Ollie and Taya. He was never quite sure who was keener to reach their destinations.

“I don’t mind a complete arsehole—”

“Obviously.” Taya cut Ollie off with a raise of her smoothed-out eyebrows. That new rainbow hot chocolate had clearly contained one too many e-numbers and sent her loopy. That and the long night shift. Not that she hadn’t been a little bit loopy to begin with.

“Ha ha.” Ollie pushed her forehead. “Like, I can handle a dickhead—”

“We all know.”

“Jesus Christ,” Ollie muttered. “No more white hot chocolate with pink dye for you, okay?”

“Sorry.” Taya pressed her lips together. She rose up on her tiptoes to check on the bus’s progress but needn’t have worried, as it had traveled all of a millimeter since the start of their conversation. At this rate, Ollie might get home in time to have a shower and come straight back.

“What I mean is—”

“You don’t want a man who can’t commit because of circumstance,” Taya finished for him.

Ollie was capable of finishing his own sentences, but Taya was getting warm from flapping her lips, so he allowed it. “Exactly. I’m married to my job. I love my job. Therefore, I should have the occasional fling and become the arsehole myself.” He pointed a finger at Taya. “Don’t fricking say it.”

Taya shrugged and mimed zipping her lips up.

“What do we nurses say daily?”

“‘No, you can’t have McDonald’s’?”

“Not that one.”

“‘You’re going to feel a little prick’?”

Ollie sniggered. “Not that one either.”

“Oh, I know. It’s ‘Of course I’ll change your TV channel for you—it’s not like I have anything better to do with my time.’”

“No! I mean the big one—‘You won’t feel a thing.’”

Taya nodded. “So?”

“So, my resolution is to no longer feel a thing.”

“Good luck.” Taya smiled. Bitch.

The bus pulled up and Ollie jogged on the spot, waiting for the doors to open. They hissed to the side, and even though he and Taya were standing correctly at the hop-on part of the Routemaster with the exit farther along the double decker, a tall man with floppy dark hair jumped straight off and bashed Ollie’s arm as he rushed up the high street, heading toward the gleaming glass frontage of St. Cross Children’s Hospital.

“Ouch.” Ollie pouted and rubbed his arm.

“Ha!” Taya jumped the step onto the bus.

“What?”

Amusement shimmered across Taya’s face as she bleeped her Oyster card onto the yellow reader. “You just felt something.”

“Oh, bog off.”



WHERE TO BUY




ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Brought up in a relatively small town in Hertfordshire, C F White managed to do what most other residents try to do and fail—leave.

Studying at a West London university, she realised there was a whole city out there waiting to be discovered, so, much like Dick Whittington before her, she never made it back home and still endlessly searches for the streets paved with gold, slowly coming to the realisation they’re mostly paved with chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti. And those little circles of yellow spray paint where the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead of staring at them vacantly whilst holding a polystyrene cup of watered-down coffee.

She eventually moved West to East along that vast District Line and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles and a bit of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job and creating a life, a home and a family.

Having worked in Higher Education for most of her career, a life-altering experience brought pen back to paper after she’d written stories as a child but never had the confidence to show them to the world. Having embarked on this writing malarkey, C F White cannot stop. So strap in, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride...

You can follow C F on Facebook and Twitter and check out her Website.

21 December 2018

HOLIDAY SPOTLIGHT...Eleanor Harkstead & Catherine Curzon's "The Captain's Cornish Christmas"

For a lonely Cornish lifeboatman and an author who’s more used to crime scenes than love scenes, this Christmas is going to be very merry indeed!

When Jago Treherne agrees to man the Polneath lifeboats one snowy Christmas, he knows he can forget turkey and all the trimmings.

Yet when he boards a seemingly empty yacht and stumbles upon sexy Sam Coryton enjoying an energetic afternoon below decks, Jago soon realizes that he might be unwrapping a very different sort of Christmas gift this year!

Publisher's Note: This book is related to the Captivating Captains series.


EXCERPT

Jago frowned as he heard the weather warning come in over the radio. It was the last thing he needed on Christmas Eve.
He barely noticed the cold sting of the sea spray striking his face as he powered the rescue boat over the waves. There hadn’t been an SOS, but he had left Polneath harbor anyway. Sam Coryton and his yacht, Morveren, hadn’t returned to the marina, and with bad weather moving in and little daylight left, Jago knew he would have to go out to find him.

No response on the radio. No distress flares sighted.

Jago kept his grip firm on the wheel, his jaw set with determination.
He rounded the rocky headland, so beautiful and yet, he knew only too well, so dangerous—and he saw it. The white hull and sails of the Morveren. And it appeared to be in distress. The yacht rocked from side to side in the water, the depths already boiling in anticipation of the oncoming storm. In the windows of the vessel bright Christmas lights twinkled merrily, but there was no other sign of life, no indication that Polneath’s favorite son was anywhere on board.

A chill ran through Jago’s blood as he steered closer to the yacht, and it wasn’t just at the thought of what this oceangoing Maserati must have cost. No man with an ounce of sense in his head would be so stupid as to still be out here now in the dying hours of the Christmas Eve daylight, with the maelstrom somewhere on the horizon. He remembered from summer Sam’s bad habit of swimming alone from the deck of his yacht, but surely he wouldn’t be so stupid as to do it in the depths of winter?
Even Sam Coryton wouldn’t be so idiotic as that.

Jago pulled up alongside the yacht and let the engine idle. He called over the sound of the waves and the seabirds, “Sam! Sam Coryton—it’s Captain Treherne. Are you there, Sam? Can you hear me?”
He paused, but heard no reply. There was no sign of anyone in the water, and Jago wondered if Sam had been taken ill, alone in a cabin on the yacht. “I’m coming aboard!”

Jago lashed the rescue boat to the Morveren, then heaved himself onto the deck. His boots squeaked as he crept along the deserted craft.

“Where the bloody hell is he?” Jago muttered to himself as he lifted the hatch on the companionway and stared down into the vessel. The Christmas lights were the only illumination in the stairwell, but from beneath he could hear the gentle strains of light classical music and smell fresh coffee, suggesting that someone was or, in the worst-case scenario had been, aboard until recently.
Jago called Sam’s name again, carefully descending the stairs into the yacht’s living quarters. He had seen some impressive vessels in his day and this was certainly high among them, a sleek craft from the outside and a comfortable home within. The hallway that stretched ahead of him was brightly lit, the walls decorated with enormous canvases showing cheery riots of color, but that made the scene feel somehow even more uneasy. There was something in the air, an indefinable tension that fired Jago’s instincts as he looked in on the rooms and found nothing out of the ordinary, but no sign of the man who had sailed this vessel from the safety of the harbor.

Where was Sam Coryton, successful crime author? Surely this wasn’t one of Sam’s thrillers come to life? Would Jago pull open a door and find—no, he couldn’t bear to think of that. Not on his watch, not Polneath’s famous boy.
“Sam? Can you hear me?”

He shouldn’t have thought of Sam’s thrillers. Now Jago was thinking of the bright Cornish villages with their casts of colorful locals and the violence just beneath the surface, of murder and—this was just the sort of plot Sam Coryton would come up with—Christmas lights on a floating yacht with a gory surprise lurking somewhere within.
Only one set of double doors remained in the living quarters now and they stood, as they would in a murder mystery, right at the end of the hallway ahead of Jago. He hadn’t seen a master bedroom so this must be it. Despite himself the lifeboat captain, sturdy, brave, fearless, paused with his hands on the door handles. He drew in a deep breath, told himself he had seen worse than a dead author and pushed the doors open.

Jago had only time to see a brief impression—a figure, sprawled across a bed. A naked body. Was this the work of some depraved psychopath? “Bloody hell, no—Sam!"

WHERE TO BUY…



ABOUT THE AUTHORS…

Eleanor Harkstead

Eleanor Harkstead likes to dash about in nineteenth-century costume, in bonnet or cravat as the mood takes her. She can occasionally be found wandering old graveyards. Eleanor is very fond of chocolate, wine, tweed waistcoats and nice pens. Her large collection of vintage hats would rival Hedda Hopper's.

Originally from the south-east of England, Eleanor now lives somewhere in the Midlands with a large ginger cat who resembles a Viking.
 

Catherine Curzon

Catherine Curzon  is a royal historian who writes on all matters of 18th century. Her work has been featured on many platforms and Catherine has also spoken at various venues including the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, and Dr Johnson’s House.
Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, writes fiction set deep in the underbelly of Georgian London.

She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill.

You can follow Catherine on Facebook and Twitter and take a look at her Website.




20 December 2018

HOLIDAY SPOTLIGHT...Delilah Night's "Coming Together: Under the Mistletoe"

Coming Together: Under the Mistletoe is a collection of erotic fiction & poetry edited by Delilah Night. 



It's a celebration ofDecember first through the thirty-first, from the North Pole to the Antarctic.You'll meet couples changing up the meaning of spin the dreidel, deciding thefate of their marriage on Hogmanay, finding new love in a dystopian future,among many more. The poets will make you laugh, and maybe even cry.



Proceeds benefit Project Linus, which First provides love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.” And Second, provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities, for the benefit of children.


TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Santa, Kinky (Blacksilk)
Kid Comet (Delilah Night)
All I Want for Christmas is Sex (Sheryl Collins)
Carpe Marine Christmas Package (Muffy Wilson)
Silver Bells (M. Marie)
Tugging Reins (Sonni de Soto)
The Twelve Days of Christmas (DJK)
Strip Dreidel (Rob Rosen)
Under the Mistletoe (Ramona Thompson)
Accosting Santa (Sommer Marsden)
A Thaw in Midwinter (Blacksilk)
The Green Lady (James Malin)
A Christmas Eve in Snow (Marcia Conover)
Summer in December (Tamsin Flowers)
Patriarchal Winter Night's Dream (Jaylan Salah)
Hush (Maria Duendi)
Winter's Majesty (Stacy Savage)
Christmas in Minneapolis (CeCe Marsh)
Crossing the Road on a Winter Hike (Jaylan Salah)
Baby, It's Hot Outside (Delilah Night)
Frosty (Corbin A. Grace)
Adrenaline Rush (Robert Buckley)
Goosebumps (Stacy Savage)
Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot? (Ashe Barker)




ABOUT THE EDITOR…
Although I have been a storyteller for as long as I can remember, I didn't discover erotica until college, and was a senior before I wrote my first erotic short story--a piece of Star Trek: The Next Generation fanfic. I wrote on and off over the next decade in between grad school, marriage, two children and an international move before submitting my first story for publication.

I'm a writer who doesn't take myself too seriously--my characters range from parents trying to reconnect post-kids to shape shifting reindeer to photographers to a would-be pirate lass. I want you to enjoy the story as well as the sex, and I hope you'll enjoy the time you spend with me.

Come talk nerdy to me on twitter @Delilah_Night or get to know me better on my blog delilahnight.com