Monday, January 31, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Take a peek and tell me where in the freak you think we were, and I'll select one random person to win a $10 gift certificate from Samhain!
(You could use it to buy LB Gregg's Trust Me If You Dare--or Catch Me If You Can in print. Just sayin'.)
Thursday, January 27, 2011
THE NOT SO SEXY SIDE OF HISTORY....by Delilah Marvelle
Venereal Disease is not really a subject that's usually touched upon in historical romance novels. In ONCE UPON A SCANDAL, my current release, the heroine’s father is dying from syphilis. It’s not pretty and it’s utterly heartbreaking. Because we’re dealing with romance novels, many people don’t want to see the ugly side of the reality most of these women (and men) faced. Which is why I wrote the story. My own editor squirmed and asked me to tone down all the descriptions. Needless to say, I had to do a balancing act.
Except for AIDS, every sexual disease imaginable was passed around in history. And because there was no understanding that REUSING condoms could in fact transfer disease to both sides…there was a false sense of security for men back in the day. An example of what a rake’s life was REALLY like was Casanova himself. The man bed hundreds of women, dined with the finest and the lowest, fought several duels (and lived to tell about it) and suffered from 11 venereal diseases (including gonorrhea, soft chancre, herpes, and syphilis...sexy, eh?). In the beginning, he was getting it from the women (because obviously he wasn’t born with it). Toward the end, he was giving it to the women. Despite the long list of diseases he had…believe it or not, he lived well into old age. What killed him was his inability to piss when his urethra finally closed up on him. Eck. I know. Hey, these were the REAL rakes of the day.
When it came to trying to cure these diseases, these people tried everything. Some claimed eating peacock would cure it, (I joke about this in ONCE UPON A SCANDAL) while some claimed sleeping with virgins would cure it (don’t you just want to KILL these people?). Believe it or not, the whole sleeping with virgins superstition lasted well into the 1900’s. There were actually brothels who specialized in ‘curing’. (Shaking head here…)
Though drinking mercury was the most popular form of cure, although applying mercury in a form of a salve onto the lesions was also done. Most often it was the mercury itself that ended up killing them. For chaffing and lesions linen bandages soaked in narcissus water was used. There were also people who created their own versions of ‘the cure’ (quacks) and tried to sell it and make a profit (of course it never worked).
Syphilis, depending on which region of Europe you were from went by many names. The British Called it ‘French Disease’, The French called it ‘Italian Disease’, The Russians called it ‘Polish disease’ (see a pattern here?). Everyone was freakin calling it according to their ‘enemy’ The reality was, they all had it, British, French, Italian, Russian, Polish, you name it. Because everyone was having sex.
Once a prostitute (or courtesan) contracted any detectable disease, her career was over. For who would pay any good price for tainted goods? Although sadly, that did not stop many of these women from spreading it around (or being in denial). It simply meant they would no longer be in ‘demand’ for they were ‘poxed.’
In respectable society, gentlemen gave it to their wives all the time because of their dalliances. It was a dirty, horrible secret. And once it was diagnosed, respectable society had a tendency to ‘disappear’ as quietly as they could. They ‘took in waters’, they ‘toured Europe’ and called it hundreds of other things it really wasn’t. Which is why when looking over documentation, it’s hard to dig up a lot of facts. People just didn’t want to talk about it. Think of how everyone in the 1980’s reacted to AIDS. It was amazing to see the reaction, the freaking out, the misunderstandings, and the whispers…can you imagine THEN? And yes, if you haven't already figured it out, I like to write about the not so sexy side of history...
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Anyhoodles, I thought I would post today about books. Shocker, right? But when you're moving, it's amazing what books you're willing to get rid of and which ones you want to keep. :)
I gave away ALL of my Nora & JD Robb books. I still have a bazillion books, but those ones took up quite a bit of space. I've gotten rid of books I knew I didn't want to keep and wasn't sure why I still had them. lol. I still need to go through all of the ones I still have and decide which ones I can't live without.
What makes something a keeper? For me it's a book that I know I'll read over and over and over again. Years by LaVyrle Spencer is a perfect example. I've read that book at least twenty times (might even be more) and I know I'll read it again.
Nalini Singh, Meljean Brook, Ilona Andrews, Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas? All keepers.
My ultimate goal with this move is to take no more than ten boxes with me. I know, TEN!!!! But when you consider that I have well over 1000 books, that kind of makes sense...in my head anyway. :)
Once I get back there and settled in my own place, I want to turn one of the rooms into a dedicated office/library. Books EVERYWHERE! *sigh* My bibliophile heart just skipped a beat.
What is your all-time favorite keeper? What could you not give up if you had to get rid of all of your books except one? Curious minds would like to know. :)
PS. Delilah will be giving away a copy of Once Upon a Scandal. It was a great book!!!!
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I'm a native Northwesterner, so moving across the country to a completely different area is kind of scary. It's also very exciting. :) It's the opportunity for me to be 100% independent, which is almost impossible here in Portland. The cost of living in Livonia is about half of what it is here, so I might actually be able to buy my own place back there. Wow, what a concept!
In the meantime, while I'm waiting for all of this to transpire, I've been reading and writing a lot. Mostly rereads because they're comforting to me. I've also been able to read some great new books too (Shadowfever comes to mind. What was up with that book?!?).
I've had so many things happen to me that I can't seem to get my mind wrapped around it all. People who move on a regular basis? I salute you. :)
My friend Delilah will be on here tomorrow (she should be anyway). Her books are great! Funny and dark at the same time. I hope you'll enjoy her blog entry. She's always got something great to say.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Amy Lane wins a copy of Counterpoint: Book 1 of Song of the Fallen
Lea wins a swagbag from the author
You both should be hearing from Rachel very soon - congratulations!
HOWEVER, there is still a chance to win as Rachel is offering further prizes on her blog HERE in the finale of the blog tour. Pop over there and see if you can answer her questions about the blog tour to win some great prize packages.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Rachel is an M/M erotic romance author and a freelance writer and editor. She originally dipped her toes into cable news and book publishing, decided the water was cold and smelled kinda funny, and moved on to help would-be authors polish and publish, write for websites and magazines, and ghostwrite nonfiction. Her first novel, Counterpoint: Book One of Song of the Fallen, released in August of 2010 with Guiltless Pleasure Publishing. Her second novel, Anchored: Belonging Book One, is out now with Noble Romance. Her third, the Counterpoint sequel, will release in the Fall of 2011. Visit RachelHaimowitz.com for more info.
During the last few days on the tour there have been character interviews, author interviews, question and answer sessions and lots of reviews. The last two days have been particularly busy with character interviews with the secondary characters at Amara's Place; reader questions and answers at Rick R Reed's blog; a review and author interview at Aleksandr Voinov's blog and book related questions and answers, plus a whole deleted scene from Anchored at Brita Addams' blog.
I have to say that I loved the book myself and thought it "Fantastic, gripping and emotionally compelling". You can read the rest of my review at Good Reads here and here's the blurb for those who are interested:
Network news anchor Daniel Halstrom is at the top of his field, but being at the bottom of the social ladder—being a slave—makes that hard to enjoy. Especially when NewWorld Media, the company who's owned him since childhood, decides to lease him on evenings and weekends to boost their flagging profits.
Daniel's not stupid; he knows there's only one reason a man would pay so much for what little free time he has, and it's got nothing to do with his knowledge of current events. But he's never been made to serve like that before, and he fears he won't survive the experience with his sanity intact.
He finds himself in the home of Carl Whitman, a talk show host whose words fail him time and again when it comes to ordering Daniel to bed. Daniel knows what Carl wants, but it seems as if Carl isn't willing to take it, and Daniel's not willing to give it freely. His recalcitrance costs him dearly, but with patience and some hard-won understanding, love just might flourish where once there'd been only fear and pain. Can Carl become the anchor in Daniel's turbulent life, or will he end up the weight that sinks his slave for good?
(WARNING: This book contains potentially triggering subject matter, including a violent on-screen rape. Please take heed.)
What I particularly liked about the book was the 1st person narrator, Daniel Halstrom. He makes a number of ill advised mistakes in the story and suffers so much as a result, and yet remains a sympathetic character. I wanted to know more about what makes him tick, so I asked Rachel if she would don the mantle of Daniel and answer some of my nosy questions from his point of view:
Tell us how you were born into slavery and how you are different from the so called freemen.
It’s interesting—and I mean no disrespect, ma’am—that you asked how I was born into slavery. Most people assume I must have done something, that I was a criminal, or maybe a debtor, or at least that my mother was. That’s easier for them, I guess. But no. I mean, I’m sure there was a criminal or debtor in my ancestry somewhere, but I can’t trace it back that far. I only know my mother. Don’t know who my father was, but my mother was a real beauty in her day, I’m told, so they bred her. Could’ve been—Are you sure you’re not taping this? You’re not?—could’ve even been her master. But in the end, it didn’t work out too well; she only ever had two children. Good thing she could sew, I guess.
What were your early years as a slave like?
I, uh . . . It was okay, I guess? I was about the same age as my mistress’s son, so when I was very little, my only job was to play with him, keep him happy. Mostly I just watched a lot; he had no reason to share his toys with me, after all. I was working the shop by the time I was four or five, I think, though it’s hard to remember that far back. Simple stuff, you know? Sorting buttons, fetching pins and thread, sweeping up, that kind of thing. I learned how to sew a couple years later, the math I needed for the work, how to wait on clients. Mistress always used to say I was a difficult child, that my head was always in the clouds; I went hungry a lot, had a lot of bruises. But she wasn’t— I mean, surely it was my fault, you know?
How did that change when you were bought by New World Media.
It was all really kind of scary at first, I must admit. They were so big, and it seemed like everyone knew what they were supposed to do but me. There was this dorm full of slaves and Supervisors—more people than I think I’d probably ever seen in one place before. Rooms full of bunk beds, and rooms full of books, and TVs tuned to news we were actually supposed to watch. I wasn’t used to having no one person to please, and I didn’t know how to please all these new people, all the teachers and supervisors. I also couldn’t read, which put me years behind the other kids at NewWorld, but this one boy . . . he was in Companion training, a couple years older than me. He sort of mentored me, helped me learn, made it a lot less scary.
And really, I had nothing to be scared of. I just didn’t realize it at the time. But all my difficult behaviour, all that curiosity, all the questions I wanted to ask . . . they liked that at NewWorld. Encouraged me. Gave me textbooks to study and newspapers to read. We even had a couple hours of free time every day, could go play in the park behind the dorm—“Fit bodies make fit minds,” they’d always say. I hardly ever went hungry anymore. Didn’t get so many bruises. They even bought my mother, put her to work in Wardrobe, and I could spend four hours with her every Saturday if I’d been good. I studied very hard; I was as good as I knew how to be. I wanted to show them how much I appreciated everything they’d given me.
Do you like your life with New World Media?
Oh yes, very much. They gave me the whole world, you know? They’re very fair, and they’ve treated me very well, and my handler is probably the nicest freeman in the world. All they ask in return is that I work hard for them, and since I’m doing work that I love—freemen’s work, by the way, and how amazing is that, that they promoted me despite the bracelets on my wrists?—it’s no hardship at all to give it everything I can.
Rumour has it that you are being loaned out as a companion to the very successful Carl Whitman for a large fee for New World Media. How do you feel about that?
Well, to be honest, I— Wait, are you sure you’re not taping this? Because I mean, surely you know we’re not supposed to talk about our masters, and I shouldn’t be breaking the rules. I feel bad enough as it is answering your other questions, but if they find out . . . What’s that? Yeah, I’m okay, just . . . *laughs nervously* Yeah, you’re right, Tim said I should tell the truth. So, here goes.
I was angry. I mean really, really angry. It was terrible and spoiled of me, I know that now, but when I first found out? Every morning I spend a couple hours catching up on the overnight news, and then another hour in the gym, and then I put in twelve, fourteen hours a day on the newsfloor. By the time I get back to my dorm, all I want to do is sleep, you know? I couldn’t imagine where I’d fit my new master into that life, and I foolishly neglected to trust NewWorld to fit it in for me. Plus, I’m not a Companion, never was. I didn’t know how . . . how to do that, you know? And yes, it terrified me. I’d heard . . . stories. So, yeah, not happy.
But I was wrong about all that, Mr. Foster helped me to see that. And the master helped me to see that too. I should have known better than to second-guess my owners. Things are fine now. Good, even. I like Master Whitman. He’s very kind to me. Too kind sometimes, I think. I don’t deserve that.
Thank you Daniel for that honest interview.
If this interview has caught your interest and you want to know more about how Daniel copes with being leased to Carl, then you can buy Anchored from Noble Publishing here.
You can also continue the blog tour today at Kari Greg's blog where you can watch a trailer for the book and for the next two days at Rachel's blog where she's running a big prize give-away of Anchored, Counterpoint: Book 1 of Song of the Fallen and her book of short stories Sublime.
And as a further incentive, Rachel has kindly offered to give a way a copy of her first book Counterpoint: Book 1 of Song of the Fallen to one lucky person who leaves a comment in this post. The book is also available at Guiltless Pleasure Publishing here. Good Luck!
Friday, January 21, 2011
I got to thinking while lounging on the DIK jet about what it’s been like to live with 3 men over the years. I mean, my one son is only home on holidays but over the three week Christmas break I discovered living with 3 big guys, 3 dogs and 1 geriatric cat does present it’s challenges.
- No matter how well you have trained your men there will be occasions when you get up at 2 or 3 am to use the facility and fall in to the toilet bowl because the seat has been left up.
- After you drag your wet posterior out of said toilet bowl, which hopefully contains water, you will reach for the toilet paper and only the cardboard roll will be left.
- Or, (ewwww) "someone" has left the seat down while doing their thing and aimed poorly. The wet stuff you are sitting in is NOT water ladies!!
- As with the toilet paper roll, the paper towel roll in the the kitchen and laundry room will always be empty.
- You will, without question, go to the refrigerator to pour yourself a glass of milk and the plastic milk sleeve will be empty. Which is equally true of the fresh fruit and vegetable keeper.
- The interesting thing is that no one is EVER responsible for the above noted annoyances.
- Restocking of the refrigerator will be required every second day because 3 big men Hoover food just like the vacuum cleaner of the same name. Further, they are all on different diets!
- You will NEVER see the bottom of the laundry basket.
- No matter how well your sons get along after they are together for any length of time they will start to argue like cats, usually over something trivial.
- Folks will be coming and going at all hours and the dogs will be barking at all hours because they like to keep track of everyone.
- It is INEVITABLE that as soon as you sit down to read a good book someone will have a question or want something. OR they decide that precise moment is the time for a serious discussion.
- There will be so many shoes and boots at the front door you will be navigating an obstacle course when you come in the house.
- The cat will sneak out in the cold when someone is coming in during the wee hours and then immediately start squealing to come back in and no one else hears him!
I’m back to living with only 2 of my men now and the house is a little quieter. Before leaving for the Island, I replaced all the empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls. The milk sleeve was 1/2 full. ;) Tori & I are now kicking back on a comfortable lounge chair, checking out all the new heroes playing on the Island. Big welcome to all the new DIK ladies and their menz!
Any little tidbits you’d like to share with respect to living with men, ladies, or family of the four legged variety for that matter? I would love to trade stories. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my fancy drink with the little umbrella poking out of the top and read my latest book in peace! *sigh* It’s always good to be here on the island. ;) Cheers!!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
As far as book series are concerned... *cue the music*
Let's start at the very beginning, its a very good place to start...*I'll give you super bonus points if you tell me what movie that song is from.*
I like to start at the beginning and work my way through.
I'm not a big fan of cliffhangers either. *coughfeverseriescough*
But just recently my panties got all in a twist when I realized I had started at the END of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
That's right, kiddies and folks!
I, the lover of all things organized,
the seductress of straight and tidy,
have been thrown into book series chaos... and I kinda like it!
My convoluted trip started with book number 7, Lover Avenged. Rehvenge's story plunged me into the murky depths of deception within the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
And totally fed my hunger for this super DARK urban fantasy. I had to know what happened next in Book 8, Lover Mine. John Matthew's story was more twisted tales and eerie recollections.
Pretty much hooked, I bought a beautiful box set of Books 1 through 6 and proceeded to travel backwards in time. Starting with Dark Lover, I learned all about the unspoken traditions that were left out of the end books.
Moving through the series on the proper course, I cried for Rhage, was tickled black to see John Matthew as a pretrans, and terrified as I felt akin to V with my visions of the future.
Now I'm on to the Fallen Angel Novels. The Brothers pass in and out of Ms. Ward's new series like a haunting reminder of that parallel world, adding another layer on the evil Caldwell cake.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11.
Pisces: March 11-April 18.
Aries: April 18-May 13.
Taurus: May 13-June 21.
Gemini: June 21-July 20.
Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10.
Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16.
Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30.
Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23.
Scorpio: Nov. 23-29.
Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17.
Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Marc “Hunt” Hunter from Unlawful Contact- Pamela Clare
Hardy Cates from Blue-Eyed Devil- Lisa Kleypas
Kev Merripen from Seduce Me at Sunrise- Lisa Kleypas
David Masters from Wed Him Before You Bed Him- Sabrina Jeffries
Spike from A Man in a Million- Jessica Bird
Nick Romeo from Romeo Romeo- Robin Kaye
Julian Sinclair from The Duke of Shadows- Meredith Duran
Devin Freedman from What the Librarian Did- Karina Bliss
Let me say this was not an easy task. Take all of the heroes of all the books you’ve ever read and narrow your favorites down to eight? Is that even possible?! Apparently it is because all of us managed to do it.
(Sorry LesleyW if I’m putting you on the spot since he is in your hut!)
I don’t mean my in a possessive way, but I can be a little… er… obsessive, and now that I’ve started the story I might as well come out with it.
I am so in love with John Matthew that I took an ASL course last spring. (Phew! That’s a load off my chest).
Of course, when people asked me why I was taking the course I always said it was because I couldn’t stand to take one more year of Spanish, but really that’s just because “I’m in this course because I’m in love with a mute ass-kicking fictional vampire from a romance novel” was an awkward conversation starter.
But besides finding out I’m actually pretty decent at ASL, some pretty good stuff came out of that class. Like I met a guy… a really great guy… let’s just call him John ;)
Somehow early on John and I had managed to get stuck in the friend zone. We were in what seemed like an endless cycle of fruitless flirting, tutoring sessions where no studying got done, a dinner that couldn’t be called a date and still neither of us could seem to work up the courage to make a move. I was starting to go a little crazy.
After our final exam he invites me over to his apartment. Finally, I think, one of us is making a move. Yes!
What do we do? We watch TV. Well, he watches TV, and I get bored and play with his cat. Two hours later, frustrated beyond belief, he drops me off at my house.
I may not have made a move before then, but I am not one to take things lying down! I marched over to his side of the car and stood there until he opened the window.
“John, this is finals week and this could be the last time I ever see you, so are you ever going to kiss me or not?”
A bit dramatic maybe. I was probably a sight, all 5’4” standing on a street corner, hands on my hips demanding to be kissed.
Pause. I’m sure my face is red now. Maybe I should have done this where there was an escape route?
Finally he gives me a sheepish look. “I didn’t want to take things too fast.”
Heart melting… though at that pace we probably would have gotten together in 2012 just in time for the world to end.
And then we kissed.
It was one of those kisses that throws you for a loop. The kind that reminds you of when you were sixteen and every first kiss was new and amazing. It sinks to your toes and you float home on cloud nine. The kind of kiss that reminds you of how amazing just kissing and being around someone can be.
In the end I was right- that was the last time I ever saw him. But that was a great note for us to end on.
Now, if it hadn’t been for John Matthew, I wouldn’t have taken that class. And if I hadn’t taken that class I wouldn’t have meet John. And if I hadn’t meet John, I wouldn’t have had that kiss.
Thank you, John Matthew. You are my hero.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
For a while I had no idea what to post about. But then something happened to me recently that got me thinking. A friend of mine who didn’t know I read romance discovered I have a blog. The whole encounter went a little something like this:
Me: Um, yea, so I have a blog.
Friend: Cool! So what do you blog about?
Me: Mostly romance novels. I write reviews, talk about the genre, that sort of thing.
Friend: *skeptical look* You read romance novels?
Me: *getting ready to defend the genre* Yea I do. Have a problem with that?
Friend: No, but it’s… you.
Me: *confused, and slightly indignant* What’s that supposed to mean?
Friend: Nothing… except you’re like the least romantic person I know.
Me: *getting grumpy* Am not.
Friend: You hate romantic gestures.
Me: They’re overrated.
Friend: You hate being tied down.
Me: I’m not at a good point in my life for a relationship. (It’s true!)
Friend: You think men are interchangeable.
Well, at least I have some street cred as a player, I guess.
The point of the anecdote is that for some reason being a romance reader comes with a lot of assumptions. Apparently my friend thought that since I read romance I should like flowers and candlelit dinners and would be looking for “the One”, when really I’d probably be annoyed by those things.
I’ve gotten a lot of interesting reactions when people find out I read romance, so I’ve started sorting them into categories. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
1. The new prude. Oh, you read those kinds of books? I’m sure you can all imagine the person I am describing. They wrinkle their nose slightly in disgust. I think this can mostly be attributed to the “bodice ripper” covers of the eighties: Fabio’s hair streaming in the wind, shirts unbuttoned, and a dress mysteriously falling off. They would never be caught dead reading “porn for women”. Yes, I read those kinds of books. Books with sex in them. Shocking! Have a problem with it?
2. The literary snob. I always find these the most annoying. They’re the most easy to spot. Their bookshelves are lined with Shakespeare, Homer, Tolstoy, and Nietzsche. If it doesn’t have a Cliff Notes written for it, they won’t read it. I usually find that the literary snob is the quickest to make assumptions and judgments about romance readers as a whole. We’re less educated. We’re bored housewives. We live alone with our twelve cats. Clearly if only I had read Kafka instead of Kleypas I would have been saved!
3. The closet reader. You read romance too! Every now and again you meet someone who reads romance, but hasn’t quite “come out of the closet” about it (usually because of the new prudes or literary snobs). They’re happy to finally meet someone else who reads romance too.
4. The avid reader. They probably were never in the closet, and are happy to meet another reader. They hound you about your favorite authors, ask you if you have a blog, and are already arranging a book swap.
5. The shocked friend. This one is a bit of a wild card. It’s usually a friend or family member who has known you for a while, but just didn’t know you read romance. Their reaction could be anything really. Like my interaction above.
What was the most WTF reaction you’ve ever gotten? Prude, snob, shocked friend? Something I couldn’t even imagine? Love to know!
When I’m not fretting about what to post on DIK, I’m occasionally posting on my blog, The Romance Girl’s Guide to Fiction.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
I have your email addresses so expect to hear from me (Tracy) very soon!
I'd like to, once again, thank all of the authors, and the publisher, that participated in the giveaway and made it so wonderful!
Blind Eye Books
Tara Taylor Quinn
You guys are the best! Thank you!
We had 24 people sign up for the challenge and 6 that were regular participants. However when all was said and done only 4 finished the challenge.
Now there was a prize attached to this challenge - a $50.00 gc to any online bookseller of the winners choice - and since we had 4 finishers I put them into random.org and the winner ended up being:
Thank you to all of the participants. I hope you all had a great time and found some new favorite books as well.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Then all at once, Selena realized the significance of what she’d somehow ignored, and her brain refocused. “You really know how to work these?” She waved her hand to encompass the old machines called computers.
“Yes.” Theo looked sidewise at her.
“How?” she asked, mystified.
“I’ve been working on them for longer than you can imagine. I’m kind of a genius with computers and electronics.” The flicker of a smile returned to his lips and eyes. “My twin brother and I both are.”
“There are two of you?” The horrified words slipped out before she realized it. Then she laughed a little at the delighted expression on his face. “You must have turned your mother’s hair white by the time you were ten.”
“Somehow Lou doesn’t come across as reckless as people seem to think I am.”
“You don’t think you’re reckless?” she asked incredulously.
“I’m still alive aren’t I?” he replied. Then he raised his gaze and their eyes locked. “Thanks to you,” he added, his voice pitching lower.
Her throat dried and all she could remember was being pulled up against his solid, body last night. She was suddenly very aware of the fact that they were alone. Again. And he was looking at her in a certain way.
No more pity-kisses.
“Last night was definitely not a pity-kiss,” he said. “Selena.”
“Did I say that out loud?” she said, then clamped her mouth closed.
“Yes,” Theo replied, that smile playing about his lips. He stood now, shoving the wheeled chair away behind him. He seemed taller than she remembered. And broader. And whatever annoyance he might have had about her disappearing last night seemed also to have evaporated. “I can’t stop thinking about you.”
He shook his head, folding his arms over his torso, continuing conversationally—as if they were talking about the weather and he didn’t quite understand why it was raining when the sun had been shining all day. “I find I’m fascinated by you, about what you’re sneaking out for at night, what you’re wearing around your neck that you don’t want anyone to see...what it’s like being the Death Lady and holding the hands of people dying, and how you do it every day without fail.” He nodded, his eyes holding hers. “How you got to be so strong, and why you do what you do. And other things, like the fact that you don’t eat very much and that you like to run in the morning. And where in the hell you got red toenail polish.”
“Um,” Selena said, trying to tamp down the warmth that was flushing through her. She was trembly all of a sudden and her stomach was all aflutter. Good grief.
And then...He’s fricking serious. He really wants to know about me. Both delight and terror rushed through her.
“And,” he stepped closer to her, “how I’m going to make it clear to you that I don’t give pity kisses. Not even for women who bring me back to life.” His hands landed gently on her shoulders and she felt his shoe bump against her bare toes.
“How many of them do you have?” she managed to say, realizing belatedly that her hands had risen and settled flat onto his broad, warm chest. Wow. Solid as a brick wall.
“How many of what?”
“Women who bring you back to life.”
“Only one.” He started to lean in, then stopped and pulled back. Selena released the breath she’d been holding, startled out of the warmth he’d lulled her into. “Make that two.”
“What?” she asked, her voice rising—partly in surprise and partly to hide her disappointment. “You’ve been brought back to life before?”
His lips curved and one of his hands shifted to flick a heavy lock of hair off her shoulder, then slide along its length. “Well, technically, yes. When I was a baby, the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck and I came out blue everywhere, limp as a wet noodle. Heart stopped and everything. There was a nurse who did CPR—she breathed inside my mouth—and brought me back to life.”
“But don’t worry,” he added quickly. “I don’t remember the incident at all...so for all intents and purposes,” he said, slipping his hand around the back of her neck, lifting her hair, cupping her skull, “you’re the only woman who brought me back to life. And this is most definitely not a pity kiss.”
She met him halfway as his lips moved to add, “...at least on my end.”
Selena’s laugh was smothered by his mouth. She closed her eyes as their lips met, softly at first and then hungrily. He held her head with strong fingers as the kiss turned deep and sleek. Beneath her own palms, the planes of his chest shifted and his heart bumped fiercely.
He didn’t feel too young to her, not now, not with this demand and confidence, not with the solid muscle and strength against her. Her body had turned warm and liquid, awakening from a dormancy due to neglect. Selena stopped questioning, stopped resisting, and when his hands moved down along her back, following the line of her torso, she eased into him, molding her body into his.
Theo gave a soft little groan and shifted, pushing her back against something solid, holding her there so their bodies lined up, imprinting every curve and every rise into the other. If she had any lingering doubt about pity kisses, it was effectively erased at that point. His desire was blatant, and the gentle, insistent pressure as their hips ground together had her pressing just as hard back into him.
“Jeeezz...uzz,” he muttered, disentangling their mouths and burying his face into the hair by her ear. “Selena....” He breathed roughly, nipping and sucking along the line of her neck so that she twitched and shuddered against him.
She murmured her pleasure, sliding her hands under his shirt, feeling the flat slabs of his pecs and skimming over the tight nipples, aware of the faint trembling beneath her fingers, deep in his muscles. He was warm and sleek and her world had turned hot and bold...so much that she hardly realized it when he pulled back, tugging her with him.
The next thing she knew, he pulled her onto his lap, her toes bumping the base of the chair as she straddled him. Theo grinned briefly up at her, but his mouth was tight and his eyes hot as he slipped his hands beneath her loose shirt. She resisted instinctively when he tried to lift it—no, no, not in the light!—and he seemed to get the message, instead moving to her spine.
As her bra loosened and sagged, Selena arched toward him, half aware of the hot sun streaming through the window on behind her and the way his hands moved around to cover her breasts. Ahhh. His thumbs were firm and his palms warm as he lifted, pressed, stroked.
Now she had her hands on his shoulders for stability, her eyes closed, allowing the pleasure to grow and roll, unfurling from belly to chest to between her legs, where she pressed against him. His hair was warm and soft, thick beneath her fingers...his shoulders wide and square.
Theo moved beneath her as he bent and pulled the vee of her tunic to the side, finding one of her nipples and covering it with his warm, sleek mouth.
Selena jolted at the spike of sensation, then gasped as it didn’t stop, didn’t relent...but became a long, slick tug, a sensual dance of tongue and lips sucking, swirling, stroking. The hot shaft of pleasure arced through her, from her belly down south. She shifted on his lap, her fingers digging into his shoulders, heat and pressure building and throbbing between them.
Suddenly, he released her with a soft groan, leaving her nipple wet and throbbing, chafing back beneath her tunic. Pulling her up against him, his arms bundling her close, he slammed his mouth over hers once more. The kiss burned, deep and fierce, as his hands shifted down to her hips and jerked her close, into him, settling her legs wide against him. She felt the throbbing settle between them, his erection hard and waiting, she herself full and wet, the seams of their jeans meeting and intensifying the sensation.
And then, once again, he was shifting her, and once again, she moved at his direction—hazy, full, aroused—her legs coming together, sliding to one side of him. Before she knew it, he’d jammed his fingers down beneath the loosened fly of her jeans, down beneath the hot cotton of her panties, and into the sleek warmth that pulsed there.
They both groaned and sighed at the same time, and Selena’s eyes flew open when he first touched her. She nearly jolted off his lap, but he held her steady, safely, his fingers so long and easy, sliding and stroking where she was full and ready.
Oh God... She held on to him, lifted her hips as her jeans opened wider, feeling the stream of hot sun blasting through the window over her head and shoulders. His fingers...a wide, determined plane, curling and and slipping, coaxing smoothly and evenly, as his own breath hitched and roughened against her ear.
“Yes,” he whispered into her skin. “That’s...it.”
As she released herself, sliding wholly, into the pleasure, it took a moment before the sound registered in the depths of her lust-fogged mind. But then, all of a sudden, she heard it.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
So, I know you ladies here are big-time romance novel experts, and maybe you might be wondering how anyone could think that a post-apocalyptic romance is a good idea. I mean…people dying, buildings collapsing, earthquakes, tsunamis—The Day After Tomorrow meets I Am Legend—where’s the Happy Ever After in that?
Even His Hotness Will Smith didn’t get it on during his zombie movie. And if he couldn’t find a happy ending, looking like he does…. (Can we just pause for a moment to recall That Scene where he does pull-ups in the doorway?)
(Okay. I’m back. You? All right…I’ll give you a bit longer. Ready?)
That sort of skepticism was my first reaction when someone suggested that I think about writing a post-apocalyptic romance. And that’s why when I decided to actually write one (which turned out to be the Envy Chronicles, also known as the Awakening Heroes series), I decided that my guys and gals were going to have to exist far after the catastrophic events that decimated the earth on June 10, 2010 so I didn’t have to deal with messy stuff like that—at least in real time.
In my world, the world of Envy, it’s fifty years after the catastrophe. Five men wake up in a cave in Sedona, Arizona, to find out that somehow they were either transported to the future or suspended in time, or something. And that the world has horrifically changed.
The series is about how each man adapts to this new environment, how he finds the woman who can help him feel as if he’s come “home”…and how he deals with the paranormal ability that he has (or hasn’t) acquired during the fifty-year sleep.
The fourth book in the series, Night Betrayed, is Theo’s book, and it will be released on January 25 (so you have time to catch up!). Theo actually wasn’t one of the five men trapped in the cave in Sedona—his story is different because he actually lived through the catastrophic events. Yes, he’s eighty years old…but he hasn’t aged past thirty and he is hawt: a dragon-tattooed, totally ripped, computer geek.
But if you don’t particularly care for muscular, inked nerds (why wouldn’t you?), there are three other heroes to choose from in previous books:
Elliott, the hero of Beyond the Night, is a sensitive, charming Emergency Room surgeon who has to deal with the fact that he no longer has the ability to treat injury and illness in this stark, new world. He meets up with a lounge singer from Envy who goes on secret missions from settlement to settlement.
Simon, from Embrace the Night Eternal, is the strong, silent, brooding type who leaves behind a bloody, dangerous past in East LA when he wakes up to find himself in this post-apocalyptic world. One thing he brings with him is his honor…but when he falls for another man’s woman, and then has to go on a mission with her under pretense of being her husband, that honor is stretched to the limits.
And in Abandon the Night, Quent is a rich playboy who had everything he ever wanted—but not everything he needed—in our world, and who now has to accept the fact that he doesn’t have any skills or worth in this much simpler one. Money and power are worth nothing anymore. When he falls for a sharp-tongued zombie hunter named Zoë, things really heat up.
And the zombies? Well, yes, there are zombies in the books, but they’re more like the Orcs in Lord of the Rings or the Stormtroopers in Star Wars than the Walking Dead creatures…so, Kati, they aren’t too scary. ;-) [KATI: *shudder* Zombies skeer me!]
I’d love to answer any questions about the World of Envy or the heroes…so ask away!
And thanks to the DIK Ladies for having me back here!