Interview w/ Lisa Becker, Author of "Click: An Online Love Story"

Title: Click: An Online Love Story
Author:
Lisa Becker
Published: March 29th 2011
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 284 pages
Available At: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | CreateSpace 
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Fast approaching her 30th birthday and finding herself not married, not dating, and without even a prospect or a house full of cats, Renee Greene, the heroine of Click: An Online Love Story, reluctantly joins her best guy pal on a journey to find love online in Los Angeles. The story unfolds through a series of emails between Renee and her best friends (anal-compulsive Mark, the overly-judgmental Ashley and the over-sexed Shelley) as well as the gentlemen suitors she meets online. From the guy who starts every story with "My buddies and I were out drinking one night," to the egotistical "B" celebrity looking for someone to stroke his ego, Renee endures her share of hilarious and heinous cyber dates. Fraught with BCC’s, FWD’s and inadvertent Reply to All’s, readers will root for Renee to "click" with the right man.

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Review: GOOD BONES by Kim Fielding

Title: Good Bones
Author:
Kim Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date: April 20th 2012
Genre: M/M, Paranormal, Werewolves, Contemporary, Romance
Length: 200 pages
Source: NetGalley
Buy: Dreamspinner | Amazon | ARe | B&N

Skinny, quiet hipster Dylan Warner was the kind of guy other men barely glanced at until an evening’s indiscretion with a handsome stranger turned him into a werewolf. Now, despite a slightly hairy handicap, he just wants to live an ordinary—if lonely—life as an architect. He tries to keep his wild impulses in check, but after one too many close calls, Dylan gives up his urban life and moves to the country, where he will be less likely to harm someone else. His new home is a dilapidated but promising house that comes with a former Christmas tree farm and a solitary neighbor: sexy, rustic Chris Nock.

Dylan hires Chris to help him renovate the farmhouse and quickly discovers his assumptions about his neighbor are inaccurate—and that he’d very much like Chris to become a permanent fixture in his life as well as his home. Between proving himself to his boss, coping with the seductive lure of his dangerous ex-lover, and his limited romantic experience, Dylan finds it hard enough to express himself—how can he bring up his monthly urge to howl at the moon?

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Author Spotlight: Jerome Brooke, Author of "Wise Women" & "The City of the Mirage"

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Jerome Brooke lives in the Kingdom of Siam. He is the consort of Jira, Princess of the lost Kingdom of Nan. He has written The City of the Mirage (Books to Go Now) and many other books.

 

The City of the Mirage (Amazon) is a Dark Fantasy, one of the Divine Astarte Histories. Astarte the Great Queen rules a vast empire of the stars. She calls the Warrior to fight at her side.

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Her Royal Majesty, Jira, Princess of Nan

 

Jira was born in Nan, in the rugged Highlands far to the north of Bangkok.

 

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The Teak House of the King of Nan

 

Nan is an ancient Kingdom, and still has its royal family. Many of its people have a few drops of the old royal blood. The kings and magnates had many wives and concubines – over the centuries.

 

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Even now, Nan is remote and hard to reach. The people until recently took their laundry to the banks of the River Nan.

 

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The fields along the River Nan are rich and bountiful

 

Only recently was it incorporated as a province of Thailand. Jerome and his two ladies were recently on vacation in Nan. The sober Siamese were willing to kindly tolerate the whimsies of a poet and dreamer – one who is clearly a little mad. A dear friend, Kathy, escorted us to the fine museum and art gallery of the town.

 

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Jirachaya, beloved by her future subjects, reigns supreme in the remote region. She has been crowned as Miss Superstar 2011. The beauty of Eurasian girls is much admired in the Kingdom.

 

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October is the time of the Dragon Boat races in Nan. The long boats may be seen on the River Nan. Nan has a dark history of war.

 

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The River Nan flows – the River Gods oblivious to the wars and travails of the Siamese and the men of the West

 

 

The King of Pagan (Burma) carried off the people of Nan into slavery long ago.

 

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Remote – the lost kingdom remains as it ever was lost in the hills and unknown to the world.

 

In the remote regions the Hill Tribes eke out a living. The children have little chance of an education or escape. The Siamese view them with disdain – as they do much of the rest of the  world!

 

http://wisewomenofthecoven.wordpress.com  

 

http://runesofthebard.blogspot.com 

Interview & Giveaway w/ Samantha Holt, Author of "The Angel's Assassin"

Title: The Angel’s Assassin
Author: Samantha Holt
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Erotic, Historical Romance
Heat Level: Steamy
Length: 44k words
Source: CBLS
Available At: Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

A medieval story of love and betrayal.
 

As a rebellion sweeps England, Lady Annabel finds her home overrun by rebels. Much to her relief, a dark knight comes to her rescue, claiming to have been sent to protect her by her uncle.

But Nicholas holds a secret about the job he was sent to do and it is a far cry from what Annabel believes it to be. As the attraction between them grows, Nicholas begins to question the dark life he has lived. But is it enough to change him and will Annabel ever trust again after learning the true nature of his sinful duty?

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PLAY IT AGAIN, CHARLIE by R. Cooper

Title: Play It Again, Charlie
Author:
R. Cooper
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date: April 20th 2012
Genre: M/M, Lite BDSM/Kink Contemporary, Romance
Length: 370 pages
Source: NetGalley
Buy:
Dreamspinner | Amazon | ARe | B&N

After an accident left him broken in body and spirit, Charlie Howard retired from the police force to teach at a community college. Life has taught him that he’s unlikely to get what he wants, so he’s stopped asking. Instead, he hides from the world in the apartment complex he manages. After all, no one can leave him if he doesn’t let anyone in.

Will, a sexy, classic-film-loving twink, moves into the apartment across from him and—to Charlie’s surprise—makes it clear that he’d like nothing more than to hole up with Charlie and get kinky. Will has no problem expressing what he wants in bed or out of it, but he’s never dated anyone long-term, and Charlie isn’t sure Will’s ready for anything serious.

Charlie is a serious kind of guy. He wants Will and everything a relationship could mean, even if he doesn’t have any experience in that scene—even if that makes him vulnerable. As they grow closer, Charlie realizes that it’s time to start asking for what he wants, and if he wants to be happy, he’ll have to risk everything and ask Will to stay.

Play It Again, Charlie is a great story of two men, from different worlds, finding their way together. Charlie is a retired cop with a bad hip, a demanding family, and a fear to speak up about what he wants. Will is a late twenties twink who loves old movies, does hair, and never settles anywhere long.

The relationship starts off all wrong for these two men. Charlie can’t believe that Will could actually want him, so he doesn’t take his advances seriously. Once he finally does . . . his insecurities about holding such a beautiful creature as Will nearly destroy their budding romance.

Play It Again, Charlie is slow in places but you can’t help but love the gruff ex-cop and the flaming twink as they traverse the jungle of romance, kink, and communication.

I love how the power character doesn’t know all. The HEA was well . . . perfect for these two, lol. I loved the story and both men and wholeheartedly recommend it for any that love a good M/M romance – especially with a little control kink Winking smile).

R. Cooper has been making up stories since she was a wee R. Cooper. She has a weakness for strong-minded characters doing unspeakably hot things to each other and thinks dirty martinis are for the weak (or perhaps just thinks olive juice is gross). If she listed all of her turn-ons, it would take up this whole bio, but they include smart people, tailored suits with serious ties, shoulder holsters, funny people, sacrifices made for love, power struggles, the walking wounded, bravery, and good old-fashioned shameless sluts.

She also likes ice cream. Strawberry.

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SEE ME by Natalie-Nicole Bates ♥ Excerpt & Giveaway!

Title: See Me
Author: Natalie-Nicole Bates
Publisher: Leap of Faith Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Romance

Length: 20,000 words (eBook format)
Heat Level: Steamy
Source: CBLS
Available at: Leap of Faith Publishing | Amazon

Carly Anders is hearing voices in her head. Another one of her kind is trying to contact her. She knows of the malevolent freaks—others who are eternal like her and seek out the weak to inflict pain upon. For years, Carly has held up huge protective walls to keep herself and her secrets safe. Now, physically and mentally exhausted, Carly needs protection and rest.

She accepts the invitation to visit an internet friend who needs help appraising a collection of antique photographs. The situation is not ideal, but Carly hopes a male presence in her life will deter the determined suitor who haunts her thoughts and dreams.

Daniel Tremont is not what Carly is expecting. 
 

The former funeral director has a secret of his own. Not only is he eternal like Carly, he is her creation from all those years before—her abomination she thought she killed.

Daniel has been searching for Carly for years. He knows she is the piece of his life that he has been missing for so long. Now that he has found her, he has no intentions of letting her go.

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♥ ✯ Release Day Review ✯ ♥ BURNISHED BY FIRE by Andrew Grey

    Welcome, everyone! Today we have the newest entry in the By Fire series, Burnished by Fire. Help me celebrate the eagerly awaited finally to this series by checking out the review below and leaving Andrew some love (also known as comments, lol) below. Don’t forget to grab yourself a copy!

Title: Burnished by Fire
Author:
Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Series: By Fire, #3
Release Date: October 24th 2012
Genre: M/M, Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Length: 90 pages
Source: Author
Buy: Dreamspinner |

Firefighters Lee Stanton and Dirk Krause need a vacation. Work seems to have other ideas: they spend the day before their holiday begins battling a fire that claims three lives. Thankfully, Lee and Dirk will have a whole week on the high seas to recover.

They’re having a wonderful time—until they spot Dirk’s miserable, closed-minded father on the ship. Between his father’s presence and his guilt over the lives he couldn’t save, Dirk feels sure his romantic cruise is going to tank. But then he saves another passenger’s life—and maybe he can salvage something else too.

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Interview with the Lovely Krystal Shannan, Author of OPEN HOUSE

Title: Open House

Author: Krystal Shannan

Publisher: Indy / Self

Series: Pool of Souls Book 1

Release Date: October 19th 2012

Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary, Romance

Length: Novella – 60pgs

Buy: Amazon | Smashwords | All Romance | Kobo

Long ago the Titans ruled the world. When their children took power, most Titans were killed or banished forever. Aphrodite was the only Titan allowed to coexist on Mt. Olympus with the new Greek gods and goddesses. She was allowed to stay, because like it or not, she could not be banished or killed without destroying the entire human race.

Before Gaia disappeared deep into a secret part of the earth, she brought Aphrodite out of the sea, creating her from a piece of her murdered husband. She connected her daughter to humanity so intrinsically that Aphrodite could never be lost. Her precious daughter would be treasured and revered by humanity for all eternity as the Goddess of Love.

Aphrodite balances human love and passion. Her mother gifted her with the ability to track soul mates through the centuries and guide the immortal souls of humans to their eternal mates. Gaia also gave her a special pool to house and keep the soul mates safe.

Intrinsically woven into the fabric of human existence, Aphrodite, Titan Goddess of Love and Passion, dedicates herself to matching soul mates.

Rebecca Carol and Robert Corvin missed their original chance to bond when Ares, God of War, took control of Robert’s career ten years ago. Their souls have naturally pulled them back together for a second chance at love, but…How far will the gods go to get their own way?

Will divine influence create another perfect match or will it tear them apart forever?

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Arlington Texas and still call it home. I love TX. The bipolar weather changes, the scathing heat in the summer, and the tease of a winter we sometimes get. I could do without the tornadoes, but I guess they are better than hurricanes.

Having come from Florida, I’m with you on the NO huricanes.

What or who inspired you to write?  And how long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing stories since I learned how to read. My mother still has boxes of stuff I wrote as a kid. I’ve been writing romance since late high school, so…. More than a decade. LOL.  

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I think I’ve always considered myself a writer. It’s always been cathartic and a great way for me to relax. Over the last few years I’ve really considered how to make writing more of a career.

I love reading the warnings on the blurbs for many books. If you could write a warning label for yourself as a person or an author, what would it say?

WARNING! The mind of this person resides in the gutter most of the time. Do not be surprised if it turns any normal person’s comment into a sexual innuendo. 

I think I should have that warning label too, LOL.

Do your characters try to make like bunnies and create ever more convoluted plots for you? Or do you have to coax them out of your characters?

Hmmmm. I have had both types. Some of them are very squirrelly and I feel like I’m wrangling cats. Some of my favourite characters are some that totally came out of nowhere and just started talking and telling me how it was gonna be LOL.

Do you have a specific writing style?

This is hard for me. I think you might call it heroine centered with sass and a bit of humour thrown in wherever possible. I want people to not only fall in love with my characters, but really enjoy the ride the story provides along the way. AND… who doesn’t want to have a good laugh now and then?

How did you come up with the title?

I actually had the title before I wrote OPEN HOUSE. It’s kinda a play on words I suppose. OPEN HOUSE has a conflict in an open house that Rebecca is showing and the novella is the opening or introduction to a series of Aphrodite’s stories.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Never give up on looking for that special person to spend your life with.

Do you have plans for a new book?   Is this book part of a series?

OPEN HOUSE is just the beginning for my Pool Of Souls Series. Book Two and Three are already in the works.

How did you come up with the title and cover design?

The title I already touched on, but the cover design was HARD. I needed to portray contemporary and Greek mythic in a heroine centric book. I don’t like covers that are too busy and that’s what mine was going to be. So I took inspiration from one of my favourite author, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s older covers. That’s when the idea for using the ‘Flower of Aphrodite’ symbol was decided.

Who designed the cover of your book?

A friend of mine, Lauren McCauley, designed the cover.

Where do you see yourself in five (5) years?

I see myself with about 30 title to my name and making a good living at being a writer. IF all goes as I want it too. I will be able to quit my teacher job and write full time when my daughter starts Kindergarten in three years.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Greece!

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?

Gena Showalter or Sherrilyn Kenyon. I would love to just listen to them talk about creating the fascinating worlds in their books.

Are you a self published (Indie) Author or big trad published?

I’m Indie and Boutique route…. So far.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?

There’s lots more Aphrodite on the way. I have a shifter series starting soon. A contemporary holiday is with Decadent and a really cool paranormal magical project that will hopefully launch next summer. So….. I’m thinking probably the majority of my work will be somewhat paranormal. Though I do have notes for a D/S club series floating around my desk. I like to keep things interesting.

How do you market/promote your books?

So far… Blogging, FB, Twitter, Blog Book Tours, printed book plates (That I hand out to everyone, including through the Chic-Fi-La drive through window). I’ve been forcing myself out of my comfort zone to really introduce myself and put my name out there for people to discover.

Have you ever suffered from a “writer’s block”? What did you do to get past the “block”?

I go read one of my favourite books and let my brain relax into a different story. Usually I make it about 30 min before something sparks and I go back to my own work.

What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I love the first kitchen love scene. It still gives me goosebumps and makes me laugh. I love laughter personally and I love for my characters to be able to have a good time.

What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author?  What has been the best component?

I’m probably a rare breed, but I really think all opinions are good to hear and I don’t take anything personally. The story I sold to Decadent had huge forensic issues (I’d never written police scenes before) and I had to rewrite the entire last half of the story. I love it so much more now though!!! Some people might have looked at that negatively… but me, I just saw that they must have liked my voice so much that they had to have the story, even though they knew I would have to rewrite a lot. So for me it was huge positive!!!!

 

You never know when a comment will spark a thought and really help you do something different or better with your writing.

 

NOW, I don’t condone people just be mean or ugly. That’s not helpful, but if a person has something intelligent to say… then I’m all ears.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I listen to country music. Chris Young’s velvety bass voice is one of my favourites! I love to read and I love to cook.

Have you ever read a book more than once?

YES!

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/ paperback/ hardcover)?

I’m reading several. Forgotten Visions by Lia Davis, Brianna by Linda Andrews, and Cherise Sinclair’s Hour of the Lion. All Kindle. I’m addicted to my Kindle.

I read Forgotten Visions… You are in for a real treat!

Are there any new Authors that have seized your interest and why?

Carrie Ann Ryan is a new and upcoming paranormal writer. I love her characters and stories. I’m part of her street team actually. I don’t read a lot of Romantic Suspense, but Liliana Hart is another favourite up and coming Indie author. Cherise Sinclair is also one of my all time favs. I would read anything she wrote. I can’t wait to get my hands on her next Shadowland Club book.

Is there anything you would change in your last book and why?

Nothing!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Finish what you are working on! I’ve been dancing around publishing for so many years, but I was eternally starting a project and then letting it fizzle out. Now… it was good practice for my writing skills, but you have to finish projects to publish. And for Indie authors, you have to have a strong voice to capture readers the instant they start reading. By page three, you need to have them hooked. Drama/Conflict is key! Get your readers attached and rooting for your characters.

What is the best advice that you have ever been given when it comes to writing?

Write a lot! Promote a lot! Work hard. I have a full-time 40hr per week job and I work on my writing career at least 20hrs per week sometimes more. Half of those hours are blog, FB, and Twitter promotions for me and for other authors.

Do you write under a pen name?

Yes, for privacy issues.

What are your pet peeves?

Stupid Drivers.

I’m with you on that peeve!

Cats or dogs?

Dogs!

White wine or red?

Anything sweet!

Coffee or tea?

Tea! (Coffee tastes like dirt, LOL.)

Favourite food?

Dark Chocolate (Oh, wait, that’s not really a food.) Bacon (Oh, wait, that’s not really a food either is it?) Can I say banana pudding?

Vanilla or chocolate ice cream?

Vanilla ice cream!

What are 4 things you never leave home without?

Cell phone, purse, journal…….and a snack!

Laptop or desktop for writing?

Laptop!

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

Recliner or bed!

One of your favourite quotes –

(I LOVE QUOTES!)

 

 

“Just give me a second. Attempting to give a fuck… Attempting harder to give a fuck… Sorry, there was an error; fuck not given.” –Suzanne Wright,  Feral Sins

 

“…The devil on my right shoulder must have brutally strangled the angel on my left…” –Gena Showalter, Playing with Fire

 

“Sissy Mae Smith… stumbled into the room loaded down with even more bags. “You pack like a woman,” she snarled when she finally dropped the luggage to the floor. “How can one man have so much conditioner?”

His mouth filled with French toast, Mitch pointed to his hair and snarled, “Tawny mane! Do you think this shit stays this beautiful on its own? It needs care and love! Which is more than I’m getting from you!” –Shelly Laurenston, The Mane Squeeze

An actor you have a crush on –

Ian Somerhalder

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?

LOST GIRL

A deep male voice boomed through her garden, breaking her concentration. “Aphrodite!” The images of Robert and Rebecca swirled and were lost as the pool’s surface went clear. She turned to face the irate male.

.

“Ditee! Why can’t you just leave well enough alone?”

.

Aphrodite leaned against the cool rock and gave him a lazy smile. She’d expected Ares to complain. Robert Corvin played a key role in research and weapon development for the United States. No human got into his position without a little shove from the god of war.

. 

“I will do exactly as I wish, especially when it comes to souls who have searched as long as these two have.”

.

“He’s mine, Ditee. I’ve finally got him where he will be of most use, and now I hear he has moved. Because of a girl! I knew it was your fault. Hands off.” His eyes flashed red, and a deep growl rumbled from his chest.

.

Aphrodite rose to face him. Her power rose and flamed within her, causing her skin to glow white. Ares took a step back. “You will not speak to me so rudely,” she said, her voice taking on its godly attributes, booming across the garden like a sonic wave. Ares stumbled a little from the force. “I am your superior. These souls deserve to be together, and you will not interfere.”

.

“The hell I won’t.”

Krystal is giving away a $25 Amazon card at end of the tour and 5 digital copies of OPEN HOUSE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Krystal Shannan is a born, raised, and current TEXAN. She is married to a wonderful man who supports her dream of writing and allows her to spend many evening and weekend hours glued to her laptop. During the day she moonlights as an elementary music teacher. In addition to a doting husband, a young daughter is also part of the picture and keeps her hopping! An ornery little Welsh Corgi completes the household.

Krystal has been writing stories since she could hold a pencil. She has always dreamed of writing romance and sharing the “movies in her head” with the world. If she’s not writing, she’s reading –historical, paranormal, action, adventure –anything she can get her hands on that ends with a Happily Ever After!

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{Blitz} RESCUING LACEY by Rebecca Heflin

Title: Rescuing Lacey 
Author: Rebecca Heflin 
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing 
Release Date: September 26th 2012
Genre: (Sensual) Contemporary, Romance
Length: 227pgs
Buy: Soul Mate | Amazon | B&N

When tough battle-scarred photojournalist-turned-wildlife-photographer Lacey Sommers travels to Costa Rica in a last-ditch effort to save her job, she meets beach-bum-gorgeous Luke Hancock, an outdoor guide, environmentalist and expert on economics and sustainability, who’s been hired by her magazine to serve as her pilot and wilderness guide for the duration of her stay.

It’s clear from the outset there is a powerful physical attraction between the two, but strong personalities, pre-conceived notions, an unexpected and contentious family connection, and the scars from a tragic death and a terrifying event threaten to keep them apart.

Will Lacey shed the mantle of Kevlar she’s worn for so long and allow Luke inside her heart? Or will her ostensible strength be her downfall?

Fucking frogs, Lacey thought. I can’t believe I’ve been reduced to shooting frogs. “I hate frogs,” she muttered, drawing unwelcome attention from the man seated next to her.

The Cessna Grand Caravan banked, tipping the wings so that the ground looked as if it were rising up to meet it. Lacey gazed out of the window at the lush green landscape of Costa Rica, her home for the next two months, or longer, if she couldn’t get the shots she needed.

The airport resembled something out of a B-movie. As the plane bumped onto the runway she expected to see a couple of aged Hummers emerge from the jungle filled with AK-47-toting drug runners. Meager though the airport was, boasting only a small terminal consisting of a row of benches covered by a tin-roofed overhang, it wasn’t the worst airport she’d seen.

She stepped off the plane and into the heavy, humid air. If it was this hot in November, July must be a killer. Hitching her equipment bag up on her shoulder, she watched as a couple of men unloaded the rest of the luggage, tossing it carelessly onto the pockmarked tarmac, confirming her decision not to check her equipment bag. Spotting her army-green duffle, she walked over to pick it up.

“Lacey Sommers?”

“That’s me.” Lacey didn’t look toward the voice as she bent to pick up the bag and toss the bulk over her other shoulder. A hand slid beneath the strap and she turned to glare with disdain at the offending appendage. The hand was large, square, and calloused. Capable. Powerful.

“I’ll get that.”

She was rarely caught by surprise, but this was one of those times. She gazed directly into a pair of aqua-green eyes as clear and deep as the waters off the Costa Rican coast and suppressed an unexpected frisson of desire.

“Why?” was all she could think to say, her eyes narrowing behind her sunglasses.

“Well, because I have two free hands, and because it’s the polite thing to do.”

A half smile accentuated the dimple in the man’s chin. His windblown, honey-blond locks were highlighted by nature’s hand. Her sister would kill for those highlights.

“I’m Luke Hancock. I’ll be your pilot, your driver, your guide, and—” He took the duffle from her as if it were packed with feathers and tossed it onto his shoulder. “—your bellman during your stay in Costa Rica.”

He stood a good head taller than her five-foot-ten inches and had all the markings of a beach bum: tanned; sun-kissed hair; board shorts; faded Oakley T-shirt; flip-flops; diver’s watch; even the cliché ratty hemp friendship bracelet. Just another overgrown boy, like most of the men she’d encountered in her adult life, the kind of men who made a profession out of avoiding responsibility.    

“I’m quite capable of carrying my own bag.” She planted her feet in a belligerent stance, one hand on the strap of her equipment bag, her other lifted to her forehead blocking the sun.

“I’ve no doubt you are . . . capable, I mean.” Luke didn’t know what he’d been expecting, but this was definitely not it. The name Lacey Sommers, and all it implied, didn’t fit the woman standing in front of him. There was certainly nothing frilly about her. Tall, tanned, and muscular, she couldn’t be accused of being girlie, but neither was she the care-worn, jaded photographer he’d envisioned. A knot of desire formed in his stomach.

Dressed in an army-green camisole, khaki cargo shorts, and a pair of worn hiking sandals, she appeared quite capable . . . of many things. The color of her eyes, hidden behind a pair of dark sunglasses, piqued his curiosity.

Her only adornments were a heart-shaped garnet that hung from an antique-gold chain and an enormous Breitling watch strapped to her left wrist. He recognized the expensive brand as one he often saw on his ex-father-in-law’s wrist. No engagement or wedding ring, but there must be a rich boyfriend in the picture. A girl didn’t buy those things on a staff photographer’s salary.

“Let’s get one thing straight, Mr. Hancock, I’m no helpless female. I don’t need pampering.”

She lifted that Breitling-adorned hand to tuck a golden strand of hair behind her ear. The simple movement caused a firm bicep to ripple beneath the smooth bronze of her skin. That’s when he noticed the vicious white scar that ran across her neck; jagged at the edges, yet straight and about three inches long, very near the carotid artery.

Her short wavy hair curled tantalizingly around her throat as if to caress the scar. He swallowed hard, wondering how such a lovely neck had been so brutally desecrated.

Dragging his gaze from the scar, he said, “That’s good,” before striding off toward his Jeep without waiting for her. “I’m not the pampering type.”

******

After a perilous ride through the jungle in the open-air, doorless Jeep, fording flooded streams, and bouncing over muddy potholes that could have swallowed compact cars, Lacey’s right side was covered in water, mud, and who knows what else. Not to mention, her neck felt like she’d been riding a bucking bronco.

She began to wonder if her editor were secretly trying to get rid of her when they finally arrived at the gates of a resort tucked among strangler figs and Kapok trees, still dripping from a recent rain. The sign, adorned with an enormous Blue Morpho butterfly, read MARIPOSA LODGE. 

Built on a thousand acres of pristine tropical lowland rain forest three hundred fifty feet above the point where the Gulfo Dulce and the Pacific Ocean collided, the eco-resort offered visitors a peaceful retreat; something she hadn’t had in she couldn’t remember when. But she wasn’t there to relax. She was there to save her career. If she screwed this up, she’d be relegated to shooting screaming kids on Santa’s lap.

The last conversation with her editor still rankled. When she’d gone in for her assignment, she’d been hoping for the story on gorilla poaching in the Congo. She should have known better after the previous incident in Africa, but she’d never expected this.

Not one to toot her own horn, she hadn’t hesitated to trumpet away under the circumstances. None of her arguments had worked on him.

“Look, Lacey, you’re the best photographer around, but I can’t have a repeat of Tanzania.” Simon shook his head, his bushy eyebrows drawn together in a unibrow. 

“But frogs! Christ. It’s humiliating.” There was no way she was telling Simon about her fear of frogs, that the slimy little things gave her the willies.

“Damn sight less humiliating than a meltdown.” His voice became placating. “Listen, go down to Costa Rica, get some great shots of the poison dart frogs and any other wildlife you come across and we’ll see. Should be a nice, easy assignment for you. Maybe you can even squeeze in a little R & R while you’re there.”

“Come on, Simon, please—”

“Damn it, Lacey, this is it. You either do this, or . . . you’re out. I’m sorry.” He’d held his palms up in resignation.

Luke’s big hand jostled her shoulder, snapping her back to the present.

“Hey, Sommers, we’re here.”

No sense brooding over her situation anymore. It is what it is. She’d get the best damn pictures of frogs the magazine had ever seen and then she’d go back to the high-risk assignments she preferred.

******

Buenos dias, José. Como estâ usted?” Luke asked one of the resort’s friendly employees as he and Lacey stepped into the lobby’s relatively dim interior. 

Pura vida, Luke.”

Bueno. José, this is Lacey Sommers. She’ll be staying with you for several weeks.” Turning to Lacey, he said, “José will take it from here. We have an early start tomorrow so get some sleep. I’ll meet you here at five-thirty a.m. And don’t worry, you’ll be awake.” The corners of his mouth lifted in a slight smile.

She’d taken off her sunglasses, and he saw for the first time her eyes were an indigo blue of infinite depth, rimmed by lashes so thick they looked like they belonged in one of those cosmetic ads. He stared into her eyes longer than he’d intended. Christ, he thought as he dragged a hand through his hair, like the Bahamas’ great blue holes, a man could get lost in those depths.

Lacey shifted from one foot to the other. Luke’s intense stare made her uneasy. She returned his gaze with a bravado she didn’t actually feel. He stood within inches of her and although he was
n’t touching her, the sensation was just as disconcerting as if he had been. The heat rolled off him in waves, carrying the clean, salty scent of the beach.

“Right.” She narrowed her eyes, something she did whenever it seemed like someone was trying to pull something over on her. How did he know she would be awake at that hour?

“See you.” Without a backward glance, Luke strode out to his Jeep with the easy gait of an athlete.

She had to admit, he had a nice ass, even in those baggy board shorts. “Uh, José, can I have coffee in the morning?”

Claro, of course,” José said with a bright smile, watching her watch Luke.

Busted. Damn. “Uh, thanks. At that hour it will be the only thing standing between me and unconsciousness.”

******

Lacey surveyed her new living quarters. Her thatched-roof bungalow could only be described as rustically opulent. Built of bamboo and mangrove, both sustainable hardwoods, the interior gleamed as if it were polished copper. The floor-to-ceiling screened walls offered a hundred-and-eighty-degree view of the turquoise water below.

Mosquito netting draped two queen beds, while ceiling fans whirred in the heavy air. Despite its openness, once occupants crossed over the threshold of their bungalow, they had total privacy. That same privacy extended to the wraparound deck.

Nestled in the middle of a private nature reserve, the resort could boast one of the top spots among the world’s eco-resorts, but it wasn’t for the faint of heart. There was no TV, telephone, radio, Internet, air conditioning, or blow dryer. Electricity could be hit or miss, with the lodge depending on solar panels and a biodiesel-powered generator.

Hence, the box containing her laptop computer, a satellite phone for Internet access, and a solar-charged power station, had already been delivered to her room. All the necessary accoutrements to upload her photos and send them to her editor in New York.

She unpacked the box and set up her work station on a modest-sized bamboo desk that faced the expansive deck, which boasted a private outdoor shower, hammock, and lounge chairs. She stepped outside, the cooling breeze a respite from the heat. The spectacular view of the ocean could prove a little distracting if she weren’t careful.

“Speaking of distractions,” she mused aloud. Luke Hancock could prove more than a little distracting. He could prove to be downright dangerous, especially for her. Why did she seem to be always drawn to the sexy heartbreakers, the ones who were all form and no substance? Despite her feigned disinterest, being near him set her heart racing and scattered coherent thought.

“Keep your mind on your work, Sommers,” she chided. “Get it done and get out of here.”     

A cool shower and dinner in her bungalow sounded like the perfect way to wind down. Unless you liked to party with iguanas, the nightlife around here looked to be nonexistent, which was probably a good thing since she had to be up at the butt-crack of dawn.  

The shower, like the ocean side of the bungalow, was screened, giving the occupant a view of the rain forest. 

“Jesus!” As she reached for her towel she nearly lost her footing on the slick stone floor. A squirrel monkey watched her with grave curiosity.

“What the hell?”

The tiny monkey, whose head markings resembled Eddie Munster, continued to stare at her with no sense of shame. “Pervert.” Wrapping the thick towel around her, she stepped out of the shower and sighed. “This is going to be a long assignment.”

******

On time as usual, Tony pulled into the narrow dirt driveway adjacent to the beachfront house, right behind the Jeep.

Luke smiled. He could always count on Tony.

Best friends since Luke’s family started spending their winters in the cozy house at the tip of the Osa Peninsula, he and Tony were thick as thieves.

For years, he and Tony had spent their days swimming the uninhabited beaches of the Peninsula and running the palm swamps and virgin forests with Luke’s twin sister, Lisa, tagging along.

A deep welcoming bark from Luke’s new resident greeted the men as they strode toward the house. 

“Hey, amigo.” Tony wore his perpetual grin. Dark skinned, not only from his Hispanic and Boruca heritage but also from his time spent in the tropical sun, Tony’s toothy grin sparkled stark white in contrast. Hair, black as pitch with eyes to match and a stocky muscular body, Tony was a hit with the women. Not that Tony noticed. He only had eyes for his wife of five years, Alejandra, or Allie, as she liked to be called.

Hola.” Luke clapped Tony on the back.

The two ambled toward the kitchen door, the dog’s barks becoming more insistent.

“Stand back. She explodes with the power of Walter Payton off the line.” Luke opened the door and eighty pounds of squirming, barking, whining, yellow fur bolted a good fifty yards, then circled back to the men.

Luke knelt down and gave the lab an affectionate tussle, allowing her time to calm down before she greeted Tony. By the time it was Tony’s turn, her pent-up energy had been reduced to mere shivers of delight as her whole body wagged in opposition to her tail.

Hola, señorita Sandy.”

Sandy’s tongue lolled as her face split into a big doggie grin. Tony bent over to grab her silky ears and give her rump a warm pat.

Luke was already in the kitchen at the fridge. “Want a beer?”

“Sure.”

After taking the first satisfyingly frosty swig, the men stepped out onto the deck to relax in the lounge chairs, Sandy by their side. At a signal from Luke, Sandy laid down, her head on her paws.

“How’s our new client?” Tony asked.

Luke hesitated, then at Tony’s questioning glance, he felt a sly grin spread across his face.

“That good, huh?” Tony shot him a questioning look. “Are you going to bang every female client who hires us?”

“No, not every female client, just the sexy single ones,” he said between pulls on his beer.

“With your track record, some could accuse us of running an escort service instead of a guiding service.”

Luke shrugged. “One of the perks of the job.”

“You ever going to settle down?”

“Been there, done that. Don’t see any reason to do it again.” His chest tightened as he thought about her, his rash mistake, never to be repeated. Caroline Clarkson. They’d married shortly after being college sweethearts at the University of California Santa Barbara. A cool, tall blonde who’d secretly harbored materialistic tendencies. Just one of the many reasons why Caroline was his ex-wife.

“So, she’s sexy and single?” Tony asked, bringing him back to the present.

“Oh, she’s sexy. And she appears to be single. No ring of any kind.” Luke frowned, remembering the necklace and watch. He took another pull on his beer before continuing. “She’s what I imagine Lisa would be like if she were still here. Tall, athletic, fresh. Nothing artificial about her.”

“Yeah, I miss Lisa.”

A masculine silence descended, the kind of silence that acknowledged shared emotions without the need to speak of them.

A day didn’t go by that Luke didn’t think about Lisa, miss her. Like with a phantom limb, he often had the sensation that she was still there, still a part of him, her body moving through the forests in tandem with his.

“But our client’s got a chip on her shoulder.” Luke broke the silence. “You know the type: stubborn, independent, doesn’t want or need any help.”

A beat passed in silence.

“Just like Lisa.” The men spoke in unison and, grinning, tapped their beer bottles together in a toast.

 

From Chapter 2

 

Lacey knelt down, adjusting her telephoto lens to achieve the sharpest image. They’d finally stumbled across a red-eyed tree frog, one of the must-haves on her list of shots. Satisfied with the composition, she pressed the shutter.

Before she could snap another photo, she shot to her feet, like toast from a toaster, camera dangling from the strap around her neck, hands fisted at her sides.

“What?” Luke asked.

“Get him off me,” she ground out, her teeth gritted in revulsion. She pointed toward her leg and watched as Luke glanced down in time to see the frog climb up her inner thigh and duck beneath her shorts.

Lacey sucked in a breath. The cold, wet suction-cup feet clung to her. Sh
e couldn’t even breathe, afraid any movement would prompt the slimy thing to crawl further up under her shorts. If it got to her crotch, she would die on the spot.

Luke didn’t think it was possible, but Lacey’s eyes grew wider as the frog apparently made his way farther north. Enjoying her dilemma, he explained, “You know, because water and air flows so easily in to and out of amphibian skin, amphibians are much more vulnerable to possible pollutants on our hands—”

“Just. Get. Him. Off. Me. I didn’t invite his invasion of my person. He should have thought about that before he assaulted me,” she hissed through gritted teeth.

Luke couldn’t hold back the chuckle that escaped, or suppress his wicked thoughts as he knelt down and peered up her shorts to see where the frog was hiding. The sight of her muscular thigh and pink panties nearly made him forget his mission. He slowly slid his hand beneath her shorts and up her inner thigh.

“How do you know it’s a he?” he asked, taking pity on her and hoping to distract her from her obviously uncomfortable predicament.

“Like that even deserves a response,” came her sarcastic reply. His soft laugh only inflamed her ire.

“Don’t you think it’s rather ironic that you’re afraid of the very thing you’ve been sent here to photograph?”

“I’m not—” Her angry denial was cut off when his warm, rough-hewn hand closed over the sensitive skin of her inner thigh, cupping over the frog and making her flinch at the heat rocketing up her spine.

“Hold still,” he instructed, “otherwise I can’t promise he won’t head for . . . warmer regions.”

She shivered in response to his touch. She had a frog on her thigh, and astonishingly she now had sex on the brain. Luke’s hand rested on her thigh longer than she thought necessary. “You’re enjoying this way too much,” she said through tight lips.

Damn right I am, Luke admitted to himself. Her thigh was as hot and smooth as sun-warmed silk. His fingers itched to glide further up her leg, to hear her gasp in pleasure, rather than in disgust. Between the monkey and the frog, Costa Rica’s fauna was making better time with her than he was. “No, I’m simply trying not to startle him.”

“Then lose the shit-eating grin.”

He struggled to assume a disinterested face, while she eyed him furiously.

His hand gently closed over the offending amphibian, grazing the apex of her thighs with his fingertips, triggering yet another wave of heat up her spine. He slowly inched his hand out from under her shorts, extending the exquisite torture. She didn’t know which caused the stronger adrenalin rush: her revulsion of the wet frog, or her arousal from Luke’s warm hand.

As soon as his hand cleared her shorts, she began pacing and cursing.

Good thing the forest was devoid of tourists, Luke thought, otherwise their ears would have been scorched. Her vocabulary could make a hardened criminal blush. Luke released the frog, watching it hop away without a backward glance.

“Good riddance,” Lacey muttered.

“Hey, frog’s no fool. Saw a warm, inviting spot and went for it.”

“Spoken just like a man.”

Ignoring that comment, he asked, “Want any more photos?”

“No, I don’t. I’m done with that”—she shivered—“frog.” Picking up her pack and turning away, she continued to walk in the direction they were previously headed.

He hefted up his bag and followed after her, wiping his hands on his shorts. “Let me get this straight, you’ve covered two wars, but you’re scared of a little frog?” He shook his head at the vagaries of women.

“I wasn’t scared. It just—it startled me.” She refused to admit to him she was ranidaphobic. “How would you like it if something wet unexpectedly landed on your thigh? Wait! Don’t answer that!”

His only response was a low rumbling laugh that carried deep into the rain forest.

I’ve dreamed of writing romantic fiction since I was fifteen and my older sister snuck a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss’ Shanna to me and told me to read it. Now I write women’s fiction and contemporary romance under the name Rebecca Heflin.

In case you’re wondering, Rebecca Heflin is an abbreviated version of my great-great grandmother’s name: Sarah Anne Rebecca Heflin Apple Smith. Whew! And you wondered why I shortened it.

When not p
assionately pursuing my dream, I am busy with my day-job as a practicing attorney. My mountain-climbing husband and I live at sea level in sunny Florida.

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{eBook Tour} Interview w/ Lizzie T. Leaf ~ Author of DEAD MEMORY

Today I’m pleased to also share a great little interview with none other than the author of DEAD Memory, Lizzie T. Leaf!
Make sure you enter to win her wonderful prize pack below 🙂

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Title: DEAD Memory
Author: Lizzie T. Leaf
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Release Date:
August 2012
Genre: Erotic, Paranormal, Romance
Length: 40k words
Source: I.O. Book Tours
Buy: Musa Publishing | Amazon

Frustrated with her father’s demand she find a mate, Tawny does, but it’s not one that will receive her family’s blessing. Plus, her new love has no memory of his past…even his name.

Discovering an unconscious man who may be vampire, in the neighbor’s yard leads werewolf Tawny Howls down a love path that’s not going to make her father happy. She senses this man is different, but that doesn’t stop her attraction. Werewolves and vampires are traditional enemies, and it doesn’t help when he remembers nothing about his prior life.

Awakening to find a beautiful woman hovering over him, he remembers nothing of his past life. When Tawny decides to call him David, he’s fine with the name and the attention he receives from his nurse. But why does the scent of the prey she hunts excite him more than the food she cooks?

Can the strong attraction between a shifter and a vampire overcome years of distrust for each other’s species? Will the discovery of his true identity ensnare them in a battle that endangers their lives, in an effort to save mankind from Demon rule?

Continue reading “{eBook Tour} Interview w/ Lizzie T. Leaf ~ Author of DEAD MEMORY”