Lisa Renee Jones has a giveaway!

It is a great pleasure to welcome New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones to the crushed velvet couch! I know we’re all big fans and I’m so pleased to help her share some great news about her book If I Were You today.

To celebrate being with us today, Lisa has graciously offered to give away a Kindle copy of If I Were You!  Simply leave a comment here today with your email address and let us know who you think would be perfect to star in the adaptation of Lisa’s book!

Please help us welcome Lisa!

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IF I WERE YOU

Now optioned to STARZ for cable TV — read about it HERE

The steamy first installment in the Inside Out erotic romance trilogy by Lisa Renee Jones, in the bestselling tradition of Fifty Shades of Grey.

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When Sara McMillan finds a stack of journals in a storage unit, she’s shocked and enthralled by the erotic life the writer led. Unable to stop reading, she vicariously lives out dark fantasies through Rebecca, the writer—until the terrifying final entry.

Certain something sinister has happened, Sara sets out to discover the facts, immersing herself in Rebecca’s life. Soon she’s working at the art gallery Rebecca worked at and meeting Rebecca’s friends. Finding herself drawn to two dangerously sexy men, the manager of the gallery and a famed artist, Sara realizes she’s going down the same path Rebecca took. But with the promise of her dark needs being met by a man with confident good looks and a desire for control, she’s not sure anything else matters. Just the burn for more.

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/If-Were-You-Inside-Out-ebook/dp/B0095VKZUK

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/if-i-were-you-lisa-renee-jones/1112622048

GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15717721-if-i-were-you

ABOUT LISA RENEE JONES

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT TRILOGY which has sold to more than ten countries for translation with negotiations in process for more, and has now been optioned by STARZ Network for a cable television show, to be produced by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland).

Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 30 books with publishers such as Simon and Schuster, Avon, Kensington, Harlequin, NAL, Berkley and Elloras Cave, as well as crafting a successful indie career. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.

Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her through her website and she is active on twitter and facebook daily.

Here are her links:

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Robin’s Top 3 “Working Gals”

Happy Friday, guys and gals! Let me ask you the question that’s been plaguing me at the day job for days now…Is it cold enough for you? Record-breaking low temps in Alabama this year have left this gal shaking in her flip-flops.

But on to the reason for today’s post. I’m currently self-editing a recently completed historical. The heroine is a madam of a brothel, which got me to reminiscing, so today I’m sharing my top 3 madams/prostitutes in entertainment.

3. Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman – Come on! Like I’m going to overlook a movie containing Richard Gere? Although Julia probably tops most people’s list, I’m placing her at #3. She makes working gals look good, strolling the streets in her heels and mini-skirt, but my favorite scene is when she sings Prince’s Kiss.

2. Richard Gere in American Gigolo – Umm…guilty. I’m a Richard Gere fan-girl, in case you didn’t already know. My ultimate favorite actor of all-time won me over when he did those upside-down crunches while hanging in the doorway. Whoa, baby!

1. Dolly Parton in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas – Nothing beats Dolly and Burt’s on-screen relationship in Whorehouse. As a child, I remember watching this movie and falling in love with the songs and the buxom blonde’s quick wit. (Burt isn’t that bad to look at either.)

So that’s it, folks. My top 3, although I’m got a few honorable mentions tucked away in the recesses of my memories. I’m always looking for a good, heartwarming, working gal (or guy) movie so share your favorites with me!

And so it begins… First post of 2014

I’ve been seeing a lot of “did you know?” posts on Facebook recently, so as my first post of the year, I thought I’d join the game by listing five things most people don’t know about me. Ready? Here we go:

5. I had a severe lisp as a child. I spent much of my grade school days in speech therapy.

4. I am a licensed massage therapist and have had my own pain management clinic for the last ten years (although I’m writing more than massaging these days!).

3. When I was a child, I’d write skits and plays, and then make my siblings to act them out for our parents. (Which is probably what led to the next item)

2. Both of my siblings have shot me. Yes, you read that correctly. SHOT. ME. My older brother with a BB gun when I was about seven, and my older sister with a high-powered, semi-automatic paintball gun (at close range on bare skin, I’ll spare you the gory details) when I was nineteen. Interestingly enough, they both hit me in the hamstrings. (And yes, I still love them dearly)

1. I’m a ridiculously slow writer. Oh wait, that’s not really a secret, is it? *wink* I’ve got BIG things in store for you all this year…with a few little surprises along the way.

As we approach the close of the first full week of 2014, I’ll leave you with this little piece of my favorite Irish blessing:

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

And may all your Leprechauns be built like Devlin (gratuitous plug for Lucky’s Charms free Anthology). 🙂

Until next time…

~Parker

New year ramblings…

Ahh, it’s a new year! The holiday was fast. I spent two weeks nine hours away from home with my extended family. It was fun and loud and crazy and exhausting. And I didn’t get much work done! I squeezed in a few hours of writing here and there, but not much. Now, it’s back to the real world where deadlines loom and people are waiting on me to stop lying around watching TV and eating junk food.

And wouldn’t you know it? School was cancelled both today and tomorrow. It seems here in the “South” they just aren’t equipped for these sort of temperatures. It would make any northerner laugh to see what has caused a “snow” day in Atlanta! There were some flurries earlier. You could almost see them if you squinted just right!

Okay, but seriously, it’s too cold for kids to stand at the bus stops. I get that. It’s going to be 8 degrees in the morning with a windchill of negative something. I’m not going out there! Well…until I want something… Then I will make my way to the car.

So here I am with all my good intentions on working hard and these darn kids are home! 🙂 And they want to have friends over. It’s like vacation never ends. Loud and crazy.

Wednesday… Ah, there is always Wednesday. I feel confident that by hump day I will be able to work free of noise and commotion and get my creative juices back on track!

Hope everyone had a great new year. Welcome to 2014!

Becca

Happy 2014!

IMG_1550My apologies for the lateness of this post- I have been severely under the weather for  some time now.  I know everyone’s been talking about resolutions and goals – right now I have one – to be healthy. So here’s wishing you health, happiness, and wealth in 2014!

I’ll end with my late dad’s favorite toast for the breaking of a new year:
May the best of 2013 be the worst of 2014 for Everyone!

Cheers,

Jianne

Guest Blogger: Ann Gimpel Brings Her Dragons!

It’s my pleasure to welcome my good pal, Ann Gimpel, to our blog again today. If you haven’t read any of Ann’s works, you are really missing out! I hesitate to call her a romance author because her books far surpass one mere genre. Today she’s here to talk about her recent release, Dragon Maid, a book I’m eagerly anticipating myself.

Ann kindly dropped by to talk about dragons and what is so appealing about them. Take it away, Ann!

My Five Favorite Things About Dragons

  1. They epitomize the idea that everyone has an ideal environment where they truly shine. Rather large and clumsy on earth, dragons become a thing of beauty in the air. This is an inspirational metaphor because it suggests we each need to find the perfect medium where we can flourish. It makes up for those other places we feel awkward and less-than.
  2. Dragons know what they want and go after it with gusto. Once they have what they want, they hang onto it. Look at dragon hoards. They tend to reflect how old the dragon is, with the older dragons having amassed more in the way of gold, gems, and jewels. There’s a point in Dragon Maid where a dragon shifter suggests, ahem, borrowing, a gold coin or two from another dragon’s hoard and is met with a resounding no, followed by the stink eye that they’d even have the temerity to ask.
  3. Dragons are wise and loyal. They have high standards and expect a lot from humans who interact with them. That being said, they can be self-serving too, but for the best of reasons. They’re notoriously long-lived and can take a longer-range view of things than humans.
  4. They control fire, one of the four primal elements, and they’re impervious to flame. In my mythology, dragons were forged in flame, which gives them enormous power.
  5. Nearly every culture has dragons. There are Chinese dragons, Norse dragons, Celtic dragons, etc. This makes dragons very user-friendly from an author’s perspective in that I can slip them into a lot of different worlds and not have the world become incongruent.

Thanks so much for hosting me. I’d like to turn the question around and ask you and your readers what their favorite things are about dragons!

And now for an exciting sneak peek at Ann’s second Dragon Lore book, Dragon Maid!

Dragons have always fascinated me. Creatures fresh out of legend, they tempt the soul to stretch its wings. This book is dedicated to Kheladin and Tarika, two wonderful dragons who live in my imagination and who were generous enough to grace the pages of my books.

Blurb:

Jonathan Shea is a software engineer. When pressed, he admits to being a closet witch, but he’s always been a shade ambivalent about his magic—until a dragon shows up in Inverness, and then all bets are off. Along with others in his coven, Jonathan is both charmed and captivated by the legendary creature.

Britta is a dragon shifter. Dragged from the Middle Ages by the Celtic gods, she and her dragon prepare for a battle to save Earth. The first human she lays eyes on in modern times is Jonathan. There’s something about him. She can’t quite pinpoint it, but he has way more magic than any witch she’s ever come across before. Aside from magic, Jonathan is drop dead gorgeous. For the first time ever, Britta questions the wisdom of remaining a maid.

Surrounded by dragon shifters, Celtic gods, Selkies, and a heaping portion of magic, Jonathan comes into his own fast. Good thing, too, because fell creatures have targeted him, Britta, and the dragons. In the midst of chaos, he finds passion so poignant and love so heartbreakingly tender, it will change his life forever.

 

Excerpt:

 

…Jonathan tried not to stare, but it was a losing battle. The woman—no, the dragon shifter—was the most perfect, the most alluring, creature he’d ever laid eyes on. Tall, with high, rounded breasts, a slender waist, and curvy hips, she looked like a goddess. Who knew? Maybe she was. The Celts had had many deities. He fumbled with his rucksack, pulled out a turkey sandwich on rye bread, and handed it to her.

She yanked the wrappings aside, dropped them onto the floor, and stuffed food into her mouth, chewing quickly. “Ye said there were two of these meat and bread things.” Britta surveyed him, golden eyes alight with interest.

“Yes, I did. If I give you both, I’ll be hungry.”

She shrugged. “Not my problem. Also, I requested mead.”

Jonathan’s lips twitched. He corralled the smile that wanted out. Britta was an imperious bitch, yet there was something so undeniably appealing about her straightforward nature, it was impossible to feel offended. “No mead. At least I don’t have any. We could ask the other witches, or if we found you some clothes, we could go into the city and buy a proper meal, and as much to drink as you wanted.”

She cocked her head to one side and popped the last bite of sandwich into her mouth. “I can go as I am. Shall we walk or use magic, witch?”

“Um, no, you can’t. You’d be arrested.”

She tilted her chin up. “Why? I can see where I might freeze to death, but who would give a jolly fuck whether I’m dressed or not?”

Before he could craft an explanation, Kheladin stalked over, trailed by three female witches stroking the scales on his lower body. “Lachlan kept a clothes chest against the far wall.” He pointed with a talon. “I am certain some of his shirts and tights would work, though there’s little to be done by way of shoes.”

Her gaze landed on a particularly large heap of gold jewelry and coins. “I could borrow a bit of money from your hoard, just a coin or two, and—”

Kheladin’s eyes whirled faster, glittering dangerously. “I doona think so.”

“Well then,” Britta turned a brilliant smile on Jonathan and tapped his chest with her index finger, “he can buy me what I need.” Magic shimmered around her. “Come close, witch. We are leaving.”

Kheladin stumped to Britta’s side. The counter spell he summoned to dampen her power sparkled; strands wrapped around her. Her lips curled in fury, and she raised her hands to call magic of her own. “Not so fast,” Kheladin snapped. “First, ye’ve forgotten ye need clothes. Second, Tarika was in an all-fired hurry to find me. Such a big hurry, ye went without food or rest. Why?”

Britta shook her head so hard her hair danced about her body. She swept the heels of her hands down her cheeks, distorting her perfect features. “Och aye, whatever is wrong with me? Nay, I know the answer. The Morrigan is furious because Lachlan triumphed over the black and red wyverns, and their dragon shifter mages.”

“Good the old battle crow even noticed,” Kheladin growled and breathed a fiery gout of flames.

“She did more than notice. She cast a spell to disrupt our memories. If ye wouldna have reminded me… Hell, ’tis surprised I am we got here at all. The Celtic gods, Gwydion and Arawn, sent us to warn you and Lachlan. They told us their magic would trump hers, but not forever.” One corner of her mouth turned down. “’Twould appear I just ran up against forever. Or mayhap their magic got subverted by your wards.”

“What impact has the Morrigan’s mischief had on the rest of our kind?”

“Those in Fire Mountain are safe so long as they remain there. The casting only traps them when they set foot on Earth.”

“Did the Celts try to neutralize it?”

She cast a look Kheladin’s way that said he should ask something worth her time answering. Johnathan watched the exchange, chest tight with excitement, feeling he’d fallen into one of the old tales where heroes and heroines walked amongst humans.

“All right. Let me try again.” Kheladin sounded exasperated. “Did the Morrigan wake the black wyvern’s mage, Rhukon?”

“’Twas the first thing she did.”

“So all our effort was for naught.” The dragon clanked his jaws together. “I must alert Lachlan. Where did the Celts find you?”

Britta rolled her eyes. “Not in Fire Mountain, though I admit Tarika and I retreated there after Rhukon, Connor, and their dragons teamed with the Morrigan, and things werena looking good. Nay, the Celts plucked us out of the sixteen hundreds, told us enough about what the future held to alarm us, and sent us on our way. I am far from certain, but it seems they might be gathering reinforcements beyond Tarika and me, so ye and Lachlan willna have to fight alone.”

Kheladin inclined his head. “Thank you for coming.”

A warm smile lit her face. It softened her features and made her look barely more than a girl. Jonathan’s cock stiffened where it pressed against his jeans. Breath caught in his throat, and he fought against touching her, running his hands down her golden skin. He drew magic around himself to mask his lust, make it unobtrusive, but she noticed anyway.

Britta turned an appraising glance his way. “Aye, ye’d do well to hide your rut from me.”

Embarrassed at being caught out but curious, too, he asked, “Why?”

She tossed her head at Kheladin. “Tell him, dragon. Mayhap he’ll believe it if he hears it from another, ahem, male.” Her last word dripped sarcasm.

Kheladin blew so much steam he looked like an old-fashioned train. Jonathan bristled. Worse, his cock didn’t seem to be in the mood for retreat. He tried for dignity. “Look. If it’s all the same to you, I’d just as soon move on. I withdraw my question.”

“Nay.” Kheladin got his mirth under control. “Many have tried to mate with Tarika—and Britta too. I believe they fancy themselves reincarnations of Artemis. ’Tis why they bonded one to the other.”

Jonathan’s brows crawled up his forehead. “The virgin huntress?”

“Good ye know your mythology.” Kheladin clanged his jaws shut for the second time.

“I thought you were Celtic,” Jonathan sputtered. “Artemis was Greek.”

Kheladin bathed him in smoke until he bent over coughing. “I picked a deity ye might recognize, witch. Most of our goddesses have fallen out of human memory. How Britta is isna entirely her fault, though.”

She put her hands on her hips and glared. Breasts peeked through a curtain of hair. “I’m not sure whether to thank you or let Tarika out to throttle you. How would I have had the time to either find a mate or attend to him once found?”

“Lachlan dinna have a wife, either.” Kheladin’s tone was mild.

“Aye, but he fucked enough women to make up for it.” Britta narrowed her eyes. “As I recall, there was a string of housekeepers in addition to a bevy of local maids.”

“He was laird of Clan Moncrieffe. ’Twas natural enough maids would wish to be his lady.” Kheladin defended his shifter bond mate.

Jonathan felt as if he’d wandered in at the midpoint of a very old argument. He cleared his throat. “Was there a specific reason neither dragon shifter wed?”

Britta snorted. “Ye know nothing of what it takes to become a dragon shifter. I studied long—as did Lachlan—and forsook much. A man would have just gotten in my way, as would bairns. I could have made certain I dinna conceive, but what man doesna wish heirs?”

Kheladin leaned closer to Jonathan. “Her da was a powerful mage and laird of Cumbria. Many a swain wished to share her bed—and her dowry.”

“Men! Cretins, the lot of them!” Britta threw a hand in the air, spun, and strode toward where Kheladin had indicated Lachlan’s clothing chest was.

Jonathan cleared his throat and sent a thought to Kheladin since he didn’t want to be the butt of Britta’s scorn. “Temperamental, isn’t she?”

“Ye doona know the half of it, laddie. Yet she is courageous—and compassionate. ’Twasn’t accidental the gods picked her to locate us.”

“Guess I’ll wait until she’s dressed and then take her into Inverness. We can find more clothes, some shoes, and a meal.”

“Aye, and then ye must return here. While ye’re gone, I’ll raise Lachlan.”

“Whatever are the two of you whispering about in mind speech? Sounds like a buzzing beehive over here.” Britta sashayed to them wrapped in a cream-colored linen shirt that fell just south of her groin. A pair of black tights was draped over her arm.

Jonathan eyed her. “Are you going to put those on?”

She focused her golden eyes on him and slowly, deliberately, shook out the tights and rolled one leg. Still watching him intently, she raised her leg, giving him a clear view of tight red-gold curls before she shoved it into the woolen pants. Heat raced through him; it was so intense he could barely breathe. His cock strained against his pants. For one long, awkward moment, he was afraid he’d come in his shorts.

For Christ’s sake. I haven’t had this much trouble controlling myself since I was a teenager twenty years ago. Because he couldn’t force himself to look away, he squeezed his eyes shut and thought about breathing. Just breathing. Not about burying himself to the hilt inside her gorgeous pussy. His cock jerked. It didn’t want breathing. It wanted fucking and reminded him it had been months since he’d paid any attention to his sexual needs.

Time passed. Kheladin’s energy pulsed to one side. Jonathan could pick out witches he knew from how their psychic emanations felt. Maybe I should get one of the women to feed her and get her some shoes…

“Och aye, and that wouldna be nearly this much fun,” she purred.

He pinched the bridge of his nose between two fingers. “Stay out of my head. A man’s thoughts need to be, well, private.”

She ignored his plea. “Do ye think I’m dressed enough to be decent?” Her scent eddied closer, lavender, musk, and something he couldn’t identify. Maybe amber. “Ye’ll need to open those lovely eyes to answer me.”

He felt her magic zing into him; his eyes snapped open, and he took a couple of steps back. “The only way this is going to work,” he gritted out, “is if you stop teasing me with your body. It really is incredible, but I’m sure you already know that.”

“Is it now? I have lived amongst dragons and our mages for so long, I’d nearly forgotten. But now ye are near and fawning, I find I’ve missed human attention.”

“We all have,” Kheladin cut in. “Yon lad has a point. His cock is ready to burst from his pants. If ye expect him to sit with you, share a meal and mayhap information about this era—about which ye know nothing, I might add—ye will need to behave better.”

“I doona understand.” Britta drew her perfect brows together. “He can simply tap a serving wench, satisfy his lust, and return to my side.”

Jonathan chuckled. “Ha! I always wondered what it was truly like a few hundred years back. There aren’t too many handy serving wenches willing to lift their skirts—or drop their pants, more likely—these days. I’d have to wine them, dine them, at least pretend to care—”

She waved him to silence. “I am starting to understand. I willna flaunt myself, though ’tis great fun to know I can still heat a man’s blood.”

Heat a man’s blood, is it? He bit back a laugh at the idea and the Gaelic inflection in his thoughts. For a moment, he’d sounded just like his da. “You do way more than that.” He let himself look at her. The tights were in place, waist string tied, but she had yet to button the shirt. Apparently sensing his thoughts, she hastily looped square, wooden buttons into their holes.

She held her arms to the side and twirled in place. “There. Will I do?”

He found he could breathe again. Although still aroused, the desperate edge had receded. Jonathan nodded. “Yes. Your magic or mine?”

“Yours. I am still depleted from my travels.”

He glanced at Kheladin, now surrounded by ten witches, all patting and fussing over him. The dragon almost glowed beneath their attention. “How soon do you need us back?”

Kheladin bathed him in steam. “I would verra much like to tell you to take your time, but I fear ’tis something we may well be running short of. Enjoy a meal. Find the lass some footwear and a warm jacket. Mayhap other clothes that fit her better. Then return.”

“Ye can link to me if something happens,” Britta said.

Kheladin included her in the steam bath. “Aye, ’tis been long since I’ve had another dragon shifter—at least one on our side—near to hand. Thanks to you again for coming.”

“My pleasure. Once we return, Tarika and I want to know about the magic that allows ye and Lachlan the freedom of your bodies yet maintains the bond.” She turned to Jonathan. “I stand ready, witch.”

“Wait.” Kheladin held up a foreleg and chanted a few notes mingled with fire. “There, my wards are open.”

Jonathan threw his rucksack over a shoulder. He summoned magic, wrapped them in it, and aimed for a thick grove in one of Inverness’ many parks. If they got very lucky, they wouldn’t disturb a couple in the midst of enjoying one another. The cave’s walls glimmered, thinned, and turned to black as he ferried them away from Kheladin and the phalanx of adoring witches.

Providence was on his side. It was dim where he brought them out in a thick hawthorn grove. And cold. He slid his iPhone from a pocket and glanced at the time. Just closing on seven. Not so bad, except it meant they’d need to shop first, else the stores would shut for the night.

Britta inhaled noisily. “It smells odd.” She drew closer to him. “Is the air poisoned?”

“It’s just car exhaust. The air’s better here than in a truly big city.”

Car exhaust? Neither word means aught.”

Where to begin? “Let’s get you some clothes. I’ll explain what I can over dinner. In the meantime, it might be best if you didn’t ask too many questions.”

She drew herself up and squared her shoulders. “And why not?”

“You don’t want people to think you’re odd. Or that you don’t belong here.”

A shiver ran through her body. He glanced down and saw her shift from one bare foot to the next on chill, damp ground. “Come on.” He hooked a hand beneath her arm and tugged. “Shoes first. Then clothes.”

She fell into step beside him. “They will have to measure me. It takes several days to craft a pair of boots.”

“Not anymore. We’ll find what you need readymade.”

“Really? Will the quality be acceptable?”

Spoken like a true countess. “Probably not, but you’ll make do. It’s better than being cold and barefoot.” He tightened his hold on her arm, wanting to protect her, care for her. It would take her time to get used to the modern world—if she stayed here long enough to learn about it. Jonathan examined the feelings coursing through him. Was it possible she’d snared him in some sort of spell?

“I did no such thing.” Enough outrage ran beneath her words, he believed her.

“Look here.” He kept his voice low. “You have to stay out of my thoughts.”

“But how else will I know about them?”

He chuckled. “How about if you ask me questions and satisfy yourself with what I’m willing to share. Turn this way.” He pushed open a swinging door and followed her into a brightly lit shoe store. He blinked a few times to ease the transition from daylight to neon.

She shielded her eyes with a hand. “What manner of magic creates light this strong?”

“Hush. We call it electricity. Come on.” He guided her to a display rack and selected a serviceable pair of lace up boots. “What do you think of these?”

She wrinkled her nose. “They’re ugly and shoddily made.” She flicked a loose thread with a fingertip.

“Then you pick something.”

She glanced about and trailed her hands over tennis shoes and sandals as she walked through the store. After oohing and aahing over several pairs of high heels, she let him guide her back to the place they’d begun. “Britta. It’s summer, but the nights are always on the chilly side. Your feet will get cold unless you get sturdy boots and socks. How about if we try these.” He pointed. “And those.” He pointed again.

“I suppose ye’re right. Do ye think either could be dyed black?”

A clerk had been hovering. “We have that style in black, ma’am. What size should I get for you?” He glanced down and inhaled audibly. “B-but you’re barefoot. Your feet must be freezing.”

Color stained Britta’s cheeks. “’Tisn’t so bad as all that, laddie.”

Jonathan thought quickly. He closed his hand around Britta’s arm and gave it a warning squeeze, hoping she’d understand not to contradict him. “My sister just gave birth. Err, twins. Her feet got bigger. Much bigger. Nothing fits but her house slippers, and she was too embarrassed to wear them. How about if you measure her?”

“Certainly. If you’d just sit over there?” The clerk gestured to a bank of chairs.

After shooting Jonathan an annoyed look, Britta followed the clerk.

An hour later, they had two pairs of shoes, one black, one brown, socks, underwear, three pairs of warm corduroy pants, sweaters, T-shirts, and two jackets. Jonathan was a thousand pounds poorer but considered the funds well spent. She’d stopped trying to seduce him from the moment they’d left Kheladin’s cave, which meant he’d simply enjoyed her company.

She led the way out of the clothing store he’d selected after they finished with the shoe store and turned to him. “Can we get something to eat now?” Both of them were laden with bags.

“Sure. What do you feel like?”

She leaned close. “I doona know. Everything here is so strange, I feel I am playacting, yet without knowing my lines. Pick something. Simple food and stiff spirits.”

“Have you heard anything from Kheladin?”

She shook her head. “Nay, but Tarika isna pleased. She believes we waste valuable time. ’Tis possible she will settle once we find food. She is hungry.”

Jonathan considered their options. He didn’t want to bring her to a noisy pub where they’d have to strain to hear one another. Nor did he want a nightclub. He looked up and down one of Inverness’ main streets. His gaze settled on a smallish place where a sign promised EXCELLENT FOOD IN AN INTIMATE ATMOSPHERE. Sounded perfect.

“Let’s try over there. Maybe we’ll have enough privacy to answer some of those questions I’ve seen dancing behind your eyes.”

She smiled at him. Really smiled without coquettish edges. “Ye’ve been truly kind to me. I apologize for…well, for how I was earlier. I shouldna have been such a tease.”

“Apology accepted. I do understand, though.”

She cocked her head to one side. “Do ye?”

He grinned. “Sure. Sex is power. Or it can be. But being friends is better.”

She grinned back. “To friendship, then. Find us a bottle, and we can drink to it.” 

About the Author

Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent.  Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing.  A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. She’s published 19 books to date, with several more contracted for 2014.

A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.

www.anngimpel.com

http://anngimpel.blogspot.com

http://www.amazon.com/author/anngimpel

http://www.facebook.com/anngimpel.author

@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)

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2014 and Tarot Cards

Yay, it’s 2014! And I am starting the New Year out right. Tomorrow I am taking a car full of my closest friends and we are driving into the city for a girls’ dinner to laugh and gossip. And then we are going straight to see…psychics? Yes! We are getting our tarot cards read to tell us how fantastic 2014 is going to be (at least that’s what they’ll say if they want paid, damn it! LOL).

Here is what I am anticipating hearing: I will be incredibly successful, money will roll in like a tide, and things will finally settle down.

What I’ll probably hear: Expect things to improve. You’re on the right path. Someone somewhere loves you (because they always throw that in there).

Okay, so having the cards read isn’t the most logical way to bring in hope for the New Year because the readers are always pretty vague, so why do I do this?

Well, let me tell you, I love all the mystic stuff even if I don’t put a lot of stock into it. It’s so fun to have someone tell you something that hits the nail right on the head (even though it is fairly vague) and make you think, What if they can read the future by looking at cards? And if they can read the future, then what if someone out there that you kinda like really does love you? And then you obsess about who it is forever. And they said I’d come into money, so any day now, I’m gonna break into the big time… Which gives you the motivation to keep going.

Yup, that’s the fun in having your cards read. It may not be the best way to see the future, but it is a great way to get hope for the future.

About three years ago me and my girls had our stars read. I was told the huge success I’ve been waiting for would come in about five years…just two years now and Imma gonna be a star! Unless the big success she was talking about was finally convincing Mr. Mancini (after 13 years) that not only do the kitchen cabinets open, but they close as well. Of course, that would be more like a miracle than a great success. 😉

Whatever it takes to bring hope and motivation into your 2014, I hope you find it and I hope your friends are there to enjoy it with you as mine will be with me tomorrow.

 

Looking Forward in 2014 — Monette Michaels

Happy_New_Year_2014Happy New Year!

Yes, it is now 2014. I don’t know about you, but it will take me about two weeks to remember that when dating things and writing checks.  🙂  Happens every year.

When thinking about what to write for my first LL&L blog for the new year, I, of course, thought about what I wanted to accomplish in the coming year.  Like Lynn and Cherie, I don’t call them resolutions, but goals.  Goals can be tweaked; resolutions are trickier since you “resolve” to do something.  Goals you “aim” to do something.

Of course when making goals a person needs to see what of their last year’s goals they haven’t yet “finished” and re-evaluate long-term goals that may still be in mid-completion.  The short, mid and long term goals Lynn addressed on Monday.  We LL&L ladies are nothing if not organized.  I luuurve my girls.

Here are some of my goals for 2014:

1.  Finish the Prime Chronicles trilogy.  Prime Imperative will be the third and last book in this trilogy. Will there be other books in this scifi romance world?  I never say “never,” but I will say “not in the foreseeable future.”

2.  Start and finish Book 4 in the SSI series.  This will be Tweeter’s book and is called Storm Warning.

3.  Start Book 5 in the SSI series. This will be Trey and Fee’s story continued from Stormy Weather Baby (Book 1.5).  Called An Ill Wind.

4.  Write short story(ies) for the LL&L free shorts.  The number is yet to be determined. But I love how well these stories are being received.  If the topic allows it, I might try to make the short fit into one of my series (Rae or Monette).

5.  Get my office de-cluttered.  As a “retired” attorney, I have lots of paper in files, folders, and notebooks. I really can get rid of what I call vertical files  (research files) consisting of lots of paper to free up some file drawer space for new vertical files on research for my books.  🙂  I’m all about the research and all about the writing.

6.  Self-publish Green Fire, my last out of print book  from the old LTDBooks. It is a paranormal romantic suspense and was a Dream Realm Finalist.  It needs to find a new audience, especially since it has a paranormal twist I haven’t seen many other places.  The heroine uses stone energy.

6.  Get rid of books in my personal library I am NOT going to read again.  Sigh.  I am buried in books.  Anything I have to have (and it’s not a first edition, signed) I can always get on Kindle sooner or later.  So, I need to free up shelves for “new” must have books that I WILL re-read.

7.  De-clutter my life in general.  I have “stuff,” and I am at the age now where stuff doesn’t make me happy.

Long term?  Keep writing SSI books and maybe start a new more edgy romance series of connected books under my Rae Morgan name.  Rae has been neglected for a while, but her Coven series is doing well with their new covers.

So, there are my goals.  They can and probably will be tweaked because as I know well, life happens and you have to go with the flow.  But I am fairly sure most of the above goals are reachable.

Happy New Year and wishing you a healthy and prosperous new year in which you meet your personal goals.

New Year Image: Author: BSGStudio . Licence: Personal and Non commercial use only, redistribute is forbidden.

Here’s to a 2014 full of love and lust!

Happy new year, everyone!

On behalf of all the ladies at Love, Lust and Laptops, I’d like to wish all our readers a wonderful start to the new year, and much health and happiness!

I hope, no matter how you spent New Year’s Eve, you did it in a way that makes you happy. I’ve never really been a big new year’s girl. It’s never been my favorite holiday. Too much time spent in dark clubs in my youth with drunk dudes pawing my ass, I suppose. Now, my favorite way to spend it is to stay in, cuddle with hubby, and see if my kids can stay awake long enough to watch the ball drop. Heck, to see if I stay awake to watch the ball drop!

However, like so many others, the new year fills me with optimism and the desire to start fresh. I try to exit each old year, knowing I learned something new, or at least learned from my mistakes. And my hope for each new year is that I won’t repeat them. May we all take that first step into 2014 as smarter, more compassionate and more loving beings. As the famous Irish actor Cyril Cusack once said, “If you asked me for my New Year Resolution, it would be to find out who I am.” (http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_newyears.html)

An admirable resolution, indeed.

I would like to take a moment to thank all those who’ve helped and inspired me over the past year: my readers, my publishing family, the wonderful romance community, and of course, my own family and network of friends. I am so grateful for all of you.

May 2014 bring us the following: sexy stories and perilous plots that whisk us away to marvelous new worlds. May our heroines remind us of ourselves and echo our more interesting qualities. May our heroes, those wonderful book boyfriends, have piercing eyes, massive biceps and hearts as big as their libidos. And may our ereaders never lose their charge. 😉

Happy new year. God bless.

Rosanna