Tag Archives: romance

Thursday Threads: Riding for Love


Riding for Love by Tina SusedikRomantic Mystery

Sensuous
Blurb:  

Eve Dayton, owner of a riding ranch, rose above her childhood past and overcame the emotional damage her boyfriend caused when he married another woman. When someone starts sabotaging her ranch, Eve is desperate to find the culprit before she loses everything. Is it a coincidence or is the return of Denton Johanson tied to the mystery?

Divorced Denton Johanson returns to his hometown to help convict the embezzling controller of the family business. When he runs into Eve, he realizes his feelings for her are still strong enough to try and win her back. His fear of horses won’t get in the way of his goal and decides the only way to be near her is to take riding lessons from her. Can he convince her that his love is real and he is not behind the mystery surrounding the ranch?

Excerpt

Eve leaned against the door frame of the woman’s bathroom. Grasping her purse against her stomach with both hands, she tried calming the herd of horses charging through her system. Taking a deep breath, she stepped forward and peered through the leaves of a tall potted plant placed to obscure the view of the restrooms. Her pulse picked up speed. Rose and Denton approached Max.

“Smart move,” she muttered. “Chicken. You should be raising chickens instead of horses, moron!”

She slapped her hand over her mouth when an elderly woman walked out of the bathroom and gave Eve a small smile and a wide berth. The woman went to her table and whispered something to her companion, probably about a crazy lady talking to a tree. Eve suppressed a laugh. Crazy, that was her all right. Crazy to be afraid of Denton and the rush of adrenaline snapping her nerve endings at the sight of him.

“C’mon, girl, he can’t eat you.” Visions of Denton nibbling on her neck sent shivers up her spine and down her legs. “Well, not literally, anyway.” Over the years, though, memories of his desertion had eaten away at her, turning her into an emotional cripple, afraid of becoming close to anyone except Tom. “Damn! Why did he have to show up tonight and ruin the evening?”

She peered through the branches of the plant. Max kissed Rose on the cheek. Rose’s introduced Max and Denton.

Eve couldn’t help comparing the two while they shook hands. Both men were good-looking, tall, about 6’2. Max’s hair was blond, straight and short, while Denton’s was dark, wavy and worn nearly to the collar of his pale blue dress shirt. Max’s slim, wiry physique hid a strength making him capable of handling even the largest animals. Denton’s broad shoulders and hips accentuated his slim waist making him seem taller than Max. Women’s eyes followed Max when he came into a room, but he seemed to pale in comparison with Denton.

The men shook hands, but didn’t immediately let go. Max frowned. Did Denton grimace? Were Max’s fingers turning white? Were they going to start arm wrestling in the middle of the restaurant? Not that it mattered, but did Denton think she and Max were lovers? Max said something and the three of them turned in her direction. Eve quickly stepped back, hoping the rustling branches weren’t obvious. She peeked through the leaves again. They were still looking her way.

“Oh, hell!” she muttered. “I can’t hide out here forever.” Wiping her hands down the sides of her dress and taking a deep breath, she stepped into the hallway, head high, shoulders back, knees trembling. “I’m not chicken,” she said surprising a couple sitting nearest the restrooms.

“Eve, what a nice surprise,” Rose said, giving Eve a gentle hug when she reached the table. “You remember my son, Denton, don’t you?”

Eve couldn’t believe Rose’s question. What was she trying to pull? Even though her relationship with Denton had ended years ago, her friendship with his mother had grown and blossomed. Before she answered, Denton leaned over and placed a quick kiss on her cheek.

A lighted blow torch placed directly against her skin wouldn’t have burned anymore than his simple peck. Memories flashed back at her. Denton chasing her around the trees in his parents’ yard. Denton’s first tentative kiss on their fifth date. His last soul-searching one the evening before he left for college. The one from a lover during his Thanksgiving break.

“Hello again, Eve.” His soft words snapped her out of her memories.

“Hello, Denton,” she managed to utter, avoiding his eyes and glancing at Max.
Max observed the interaction. The urge to mark his territory overpowered him. He took Eve’s hand in his. “You two know each other?”

Max expected Eve to answer since Rose was only a passing acquaintance. When she didn’t say anything, he glanced at Eve. Her face had gone from pale back to rosy again and kept her eyes on their clasped hands. With a subtle motion, she turned the pearl side of her ring to the inside of her hand, leaving only the thin, gold band showing. What the hell?

It was obvious he was not going to get an answer from neither Eve nor Denton. He raised an eyebrow at Rose.

“Max, Eve and Denton went to high school together. They haven’t seen each other in a long time,” Rose answered Max’s silent inquiry. “Denton, Max is a veterinarian and takes care of Eve’s animals.”

“We’re out enjoying one last quiet evening before the seasonal rush starts,” Max said trying to cover the awkward situation while still trying to figure out all the currents flowing around them. It was more than the way Denton looked at Eve like a lost puppy having found his way home, or the way Rose watched Denton looking at Eve. There was so much voltage zapping between Eve and Denton, Max thought the restaurant lights should be popping and snapping. Was this Denton an adversary? A future friend? He sure as hell wished he knew because the situation was getting more strained by the second.

An awkward silence landed on the foursome once more. Eve didn’t understand Rose’s smug smile. Max squeezed Eve’s fingers tighter and glared at Denton as the silence stretched. Denton looked alternately between Max and Eve’s joined hands and their faces, seeming to come to some decision. He stepped forward and took Eve’s other hand in his.

“Eve, I need to talk to you,” he said, pressing her fingers in his.

Max’s hold on her hand increased as he gently pulled her away from Denton. Denton grasped her hand tighter.

“Please, Eve. I need to explain.”

Eve tried to turn and face Denton. Max’s grip pulled her back toward him. She was beginning to feel like a piece of taffy, being stretched and tugged to the maker’s satisfaction. A glance at Rose’s smiling face and Eve realized she wasn’t going to get any help from her. Max and Denton acted like gladiators in a coliseum ready to fight for their lives. Eve only wanted to leave. People were starting to stare at the foursome still standing beside the table. Eve tried to remove her hands from both men. Their grips became equally stronger. Her fingers began to tingle from lack of circulation. She tugged again and finally faced Denton.

“Please let go of my hand. I have nothing to say to you,” she said quietly.

Buy Links:

Soul Mate Publishing: http://www.soulmatepublishing.com/riding-for-love/

http://www.amazon.com/Riding-for-Love-ebook/dp/B00CLJD31Q

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/riding-for-love-tina-susedik/1119333999?ean=9781619354289
Contact links: 

Website: TinaSusedik.com

http://tinasusedik.wordpress.com./

Twitter: @tinasusedik

Facebook: Tina Susedik, Author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17908316-riding-for-love

  

Thursday Threads Welcomes CD Hersh!


20140918 Thursday Threads C.D. Hersh The Turning Stone Chronicles

TITLE: The Turning Stone Chronicles
GENRE: Paranormal Romance
HEAT LEVEL: Sensual

BLURB:
Three ancient Celtic families. A magical Bloodstone that enables the wearers to shape shift. A charge to use the stone’s power to benefit mankind, and a battle, that is going on even today, to control the world. Can the Secret Society of shape shifters called the Turning Stone Society heal itself and bring peace to our world?

Find out in The Series The Turning Stone Chronicles

EXCERPTS:
Excerpt from book one of the chronicles titled “The Promised One” currently available in eBook and paperback on Amazon at: http://t.co/yW59QqvkLh

Eli,
I know it’s been years since you’ve heard from me, not since my brother’s murder, but Alexi’s time has come. I tried to shield her from the destiny, teaching her only the basics of the ring and waiting until she was an adult to start any training. I didn’t want to push her, but now she is developing skills I’ve not taught her. I need someone from the Council to come and assess her, and I can’t think of anyone I trust more than the man I fought beside in so many battles. After making such a mess of Sylvia, I don’t trust my judgment. I need an advocate on the Council and your advice. If you agree with my assessment, I want to present Alexi to the Council this coming Samhain. Please come as soon as possible…

The letter’s date and postmark indicated Baron had written the letter about two weeks prior to his death. Prickles crept over her arms. My time? Present me to the Council? Sylvia’s comment about the Promised One came back to her. Had Baron sent for Eli because of the great destiny he always insisted she had? Alexi closed the door and rested her forehead against the solid surface. Life was already too complicated. She didn’t need this.

Excerpt from book two of The Turning Stone Chronicles titled “Blood Brothers” coming this fall from Soul Mate Publishing.

The telephone jangling pulled Delaney Ramsey out of a deep sleep. Moving the digital clock on the nightstand closer to her, she squinted at the bright green numbers. Three a.m. She fumbled for the receiver.

“If you’re calling at this ungodly hour, someone better be dead,” she mumbled into the phone.

“Delaney, ’tis Eli McCraigen.”

Sitting up, she pulled the duvet cover with her. Why was the Keeper of the Stone calling her? “What’s wrong, Eli?”

“Dinna worry yerself. ’Tis good news.”

Slumping against the headboard, she yawned, the adrenalin draining away with his words. “If it’s such good news, why couldn’t you wait until tomorrow?”

“I need ye tae call a special meeting o’ the council before they get away from the city.”

“All fifteen?”

“Nay, only the senior council. I’ve a new Promised One tae present.”

“Why wasn’t he presented last night at Samhain?”

“He hadnae committed tae the cause, and he dinna have a ring until minutes before midnight.”

“This is highly irregular, Eli. I don’t know if I can get the council to agree.”

“Ye have tae. He’s a verra special man.”

“A Promised One who hasn’t even had his ring more than a few hours. That’s unheard of. How can you expect someone like that to pass even one proof test?”

“He’s already shown me two–and they’re not the paltry tests most Promised Ones have failed. He has the elusive, legendary powers, and he did them using the power of other shifters’ rings.”

She snapped awake. “Other shifters’ rings? Whose?”

“Mine, Alexi Jordan’s and Sylvia Jordan’s.”

Delaney switched the light on, knocking her reading glasses to the floor with the motion. Great. She’d just bought them. Leaning over the edge of the bed, she retrieved the glasses and put them on. “Sylvia Jordan Riley?”

“’Tis that what the she-witch is calling herself now?”

“Seems so. Her name has come across my desk in her official capacity with Homeland Security.”

“That’s the other thing I need from ye. Sylvia’s butting intae Rhys’ and Alexi’s jobs and personal lives. I’m pretty certain she knows what he is, too. I need reinforcements.”

In all the years she’d known Eli, he’d never asked for assistance. And he comes to me now. At the worst possible time. “I’m honored you’d think of me, but I can’t do more than call the council for you. Ask one of them to get your reinforcements.”

“Fine, the council can arrange that, but I need ye on a more personal mission.”

“I’m in the middle of something very important and time consuming. I can’t help.”

“Dinna ye know who’s asking ye, lassie?”

She knew all right. The most powerful man in the entire Turning Stone Society. She was crazy to even consider refusing him. Her position on the council rested on his say so. However, finding her daughter meant more to her than anything else. “Normally I’d be willing to die for you, Eli, but–”

“Let’s pray dying won’t be what we’ll be needing. But I could be putting ye in a verra dangerous position.”

That did it. No way could she help if it might cost her life. Not now. Not until she found Lila. “I’m sorry. I can’t.”

“I need ye, Delaney. Come tae University Hospital and see me. I’m in ER.”

“ER? Are you all right?”

“We had a little run-in with a panther.”

LINKS for C.D. Hersh
Amazon buy link for The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles): http://t.co/yW59QqvkLh

Social Media Info:
Website: http://cdhersh.wordpress.com/
Soul Mate Publishing: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cdhershauthor
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/C.-D.-Hersh/e/B00DV5L7ZI
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCDHersh
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/CDHersh

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Romance Weekly: Why Romance?


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Welcome back to Romance Weekly. I accidentally took the week off last week–time sort of got away from me. It does that. If you’re here, hopefully you came from Kim Handysides.

Let’s get started!

  1. Have you always written Romance?

Yup. I’m dabbling outside my comfort zone of romance, but romance is what I love to write, and I don’t see myself writing anything else for long. And, even if it’s not strictly romance, everything I write has strong romantic elements.

2. How do you deal with critiques about the romance genre?

I’ll admit, it used to bother me. It used to sting when my family–not  the hub, who has always been outrageously supportive–would ask, “When are you going to write something good?” Or, the other question, “When will you write something people will actually read?” Or, even better, “I will never read anything you write. Romance is trash.”

Of all the published books in the whole entire world, the romance genre holds the largest market share. More romance books are read than any other genre. Romance readers can be voracious, reading hundreds of books per year. Any author thanks their lucky stars for readers like that.

But, I don’t say any of that. I merely smile and nod. That’s all you can do with the people who don’t like romance. Just as no one is going to make me want to read a cozy mystery, I’m not going to change anyone’s mind. The people who want to denigrate romance as a genre, who think it’s unimportant, who don’t think it’s any good, well… they’re not reading it.

I have read romance novels that have made me laugh out loud, and I’ve read others that have made me cry. And just because it’s not packaged as literary fiction doesn’t mean it’s not well-written or that it’s not important. Genres are merely a device created by people who needed to know how to shelve books. In reality, there is only nonfiction and fiction–genres exist to make a book seller’s life easier. Marketers and publicists and publishers have made literary fiction somehow more important than other genres, as if the only beauty in the whole world is encapsulated within the pages of either the classics or literary fiction (and, truth be told, some of it is beautiful and thought-provoking).

But, just as some of the romance books I’ve read are drivel, I’ve read some pretty crummy literary fiction, too. And just as some literary fiction is beautiful, there is lyricism in romance, too, and beauty in the prose.

Not only that, but there is something inexplicably compelling about a romance, about the love two people have for one another. When I need to escape from my real life, I open a romance novel. In the world of romance, I get the happy ending so many people never get. I’ll get insurmountable odds that somehow, miraculously, a couple can overcome. And maybe it gives me hope that tomorrow can be better, and the mountain I have to climb seems just a little bit smaller.

Romance novels are about hope.

So, when I hear about someone criticizing someone else for reading romance  novels, I think about how small, how sad they must be. We hear so much about how everything moves so fast, how everyone stares at their smart phones and doesn’t connect. But romance is all about finding that human connection.  It seems, on it’s most basic level, that anyone who would criticize someone else for wanting to read about hope, about romantic love, is disconnected. And that’s just sad to me.

I get not everyone wants to read a romance novel. I’m cool with that. A lot of my friends read only nonfiction, and I’m cool with that, too. But just because I like romance novels doesn’t mean I’m not intelligent enough to enjoy other genres, too. I do. I just prefer the hope I get from a romance novel, I prefer to think about the connections we make to one another.

I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t care what other people read. And, in a kinder, gentler world, no one would care what I read, either. In that world, all fiction is equally important.

3. What’s the one thing about our genre you’d like people to know?

As I said above, I think romance is important. I don’t think reading a romance novel gives women unrealistic expectations for our own lives. I don’t expect my husband to constantly declare his undying love for me–I suspect that would get old after awhile, and I’m just enough of a cynic to think he was lying to me if he did it too often. Or, really, ever.

That conversation would go something like this:

Him: “You are my sun and my moon. I love everything about you. I think you are perfect. We are one, you and I.”

Me: “You’ve said something like that three times today. Are you having a stroke?”

Him: “No. You move me. Without you, I am a mere shell of a man, incomplete and desolate.”

Me: “Did you just find out you’re dying?”

Him: “Of course not. The very thought of shaking off this mortal coil without you by my side makes me want to weep with despair. Our love is strong enough that we can transcend anything.”

Me: “OH MY GOD WHO DID YOU SLEEP WITH?”

So, it’s probably a good thing that he doesn’t do that.

In any case, however, reading romance isn’t about reading about sex (though I will admit that I enjoy that, too), it’s about that connection between two people. Because even though my husband doesn’t tell me that I am his sun and his moon, I suspect, somewhere in his  heart, I probably am.

Every time I read a romance novel, I feel that little spark of hope, and I remember that connection I have with him. It’s not about bodice rippers or naked men (again, I like those, too); it’s about that connection that, as humans, most of us are hardwired to seek out. We crave it. We want it. And, in the end, that need for a connection with other human beings is so strong, so ingrained in our DNA, that we are broken without it.

And if that’s not important, then I don’t know what is.

I’ve talked your ear off enough for one day. Why not check out Katherine Givens? See what she has to say…

THURSDAY THREADS WELCOMES LAUREN FORD


Title: In My Wildest Dreams

Genre: Light Paranormal

Heat Level: Sensual

Blurb:

When she becomes the victim of several life-threatening incidents all in one week, it seems fate is out to put an end to Lynzi Lancaster. Her close calls with death trigger a series of dreams about a magical place and a certain man who broke her heart twenty years ago, Layne Brady. Could her life get any stranger?

When the star of her dreams announces in person that he had faked his death for twenty years in order to protect her, oh, and that he’s not actually human, the fireworks begin. Does she believe his extraordinary story of another world, the magical world of the Fae? Do fairies really exist? Should she trust her heart? Could her dreams come true?

Excerpt:

The feeling of being watched washed over me. I checked over my shoulder to make sure of the gate’s location in case I needed to make a quick getaway. I ran my gaze over the house and froze when I made eye contact with the person standing on the deck . . . Layne.

I didn’t move. He didn’t move. What do I do now? What if he tells me to get lost? Well, then at least I will have heard it straight from the horses’ mouth, so to speak. I took a deep breath, put one foot in front of the other and headed toward the house.
Layne had made his way across the deck and down the steps. Our gazes still locked on each other, we stopped about three feet apart.

I had no idea what to say. My bottom lip quivered and it was difficult to breathe.

Slowly, Layne opened his arms and I knew of no other place in existence for me to be at the moment. We stepped together. His arms wrapped around my shoulders, his right hand cupped my head, and pressed my face into his chest like he always had, before.

“Layne . . .” I exhaled into his chest.

“I’m here. I just knew you’d find me, my brave girl.” He gently stroked my hair as he rocked us in a comforting rhythm.

“I thought you were gone forever.” Trembling, I leaned into his embrace.

“No, I’m here. Just let me hold you. I need to hold you,” he said. “It’s been so long . . . so long. Lynzi, I have missed you so much.”

I wrapped my arms around his waist and clinched both hands into fists full of his shirt, intent to hold on for dear life. Determined I would not let him slip away again. I had to hold on. Hold on tight, even if only in a dream.

We stood clinging to each other as the sun faded behind the horizon and dusk settled around us.

My eyes blinked open. I was alone in my bed, my mind filled memories from my dream. A hint of rose fragrance hung around me. Was I losing my mind?

Visit Larynn at these links:
http://www.larynnford.com/
https://www.facebook.com/larynnfordauthor
https://twitter.com/LarynnFord
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7059178.Larynn_Ford

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ROMANCE WEEKLY BLOG HOP’S DEBUT!


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Welcome!

Today is the inaugural post for Romance Weekly. A bunch of us romance writers have gotten together, where we link to one another’s posts. In each post, the authors will answer three questions, which are different every week. So here are my questions/answers!

1. What made you start writing romance as opposed to any other genre of literature?

Honestly, it’s because every story that I ever loved had at least some element of romance to it. Part of writing romance is about the HEA. We don’t always get those in real life–sometimes, the best friend dies. Sometimes, the hero stays dead. Sometimes, you won’t get your happy ending, no matter how hard you try or how much you beg your higher power for it. There will be times when the answer you get from heaven is no.

But in romance, that answer is always yes! No matter what obstacles stand in their way, the hero and the heroine will live out their happy ending. Every. Single. Time. There is something comforting about that. These are books that you will read over and over again, books that are an escape from the tragedy we are so often dealt. I write romance because I want that escape–my life is complicated enough. When I read for pleasure, I want to know that things are going to work out. I don’t pick up a romance because I want an ugly cry–I pick up a romance because, when I turn the final page, I want to think to myself, “Darn right. As it should be.”

2. Why do you think romance continues to be a market leading genre?

Well, first, I think it’s that people want a happy ending. In this age of high speed communication, we are inundated with bad news: kids shooting each other at school, people killing doctors in hospitals, flu outbreaks across the nation, starvation in Africa and the Middle East, war, famine, poverty. Bad things. I think, after awhile, people just get tired of it, drained of compassion and hollow inside.

I think romance balances that out. When someone picks up a romance novel, they know they’re getting a happy ending. That love will conquer all, despite all the bad stuff that happens to them. What romance novels offer, and what so many major critics of the genre fail to understand, is that romance is the one genre that consistently offers hope. It’s not all pain and blackness. In the end, the characters find real joy. There is beauty in that message, and in it, an implicit promise that, no matter how bad things get, everything will turn out as it should. I love the optimism in that. It’s why I started reading romances in the first place.

3. In what way do you see romance today reflecting the way women’s role in society has changed?

Well. That’s a good question. I suppose it could be summed up this way: in the past, women had to wait for the men to rescue them. Now, the women can rescue the men. We expect our men to be strong and brave, but we expect the same thing from our heroines. We don’t expect our heroines to be able to punch out a bear (all the time), but we do expect that they will behave in a manner that will allow her to solve her problem for herself. When I think of the older romances, the women were relatively helpless. Certainly this was part of the zeitgeist–women were supposed to be domestic, young, virginal, subservient, and generally well-behaved. Romances today allow for poorly behaved heroines, older heroines, and working women and single mothers. Instead of having only those two infamous depictions of femininity–the Madonna and the Whore–most heroines today are painted with shades of gray, with flaws and strengths. Not every heroine is a virgin, but neither is she a fallen woman. Not every heroine is young, nubile, and sublimely beautiful, either. I think this reflects society’s changing values, where we are honoring people who are like ourselves rather than some idealized, false notion of perfection.

I really hope that answers that question. Shucks, that was hard!

Want to know what other people think on these topics? Follow the link to read more! I can’t wait to read what she has to say!

Thursday Threads Welcomes Cathy MacRae, author of The Highlander’s Accidental Bride


The Highlander’s Accidental Bride (Book 1 in the Highlander’s Bride series)

by Cathy MacRae

Historical Romance set in the Highlands of Scotland, 1375

Heat Scale: Sensual

Wed at the king’s command, they entered a marriage neither wanted. Realizing he married the wrong woman, can Laird Scott forge a lasting bond with his new bride and put a long-standing feud to rest?

Excerpt:

“Ah, Eaden.” Ranald’s raised voice brought the earl to a halt.

He turned. “What?”

“There may be a problem with your, er, wife.”

“I saw her with the servants.” Eaden scowled at the memory. “I’ll speak to her about her duties.”

“Och, ‘tis no’ the problem.”

“Then what is?”

“She’s no’ yer wife.”

“What do ye mean?” Eaden bit out the words. Damn the Barde wench! What kind of trouble had she stirred up in the two weeks he’d been gone?

Ranald squared his shoulders. “I mean, ye married her, but she isnae the woman we thought she was.”

“What!”

“The day after ye left for Troon, yer bride came running from yer bedroom all in a panic.” He tossed Eaden a wry look. “I wasnae too surprised about that. She kept telling me she wasnae Miriam.”

“What are ye talking about?” Eaden ground out in a voice growing thin with impatience.

“She swears she isnae Miriam Barde, but Mary Marsh, Lady Miriam’s companion.”

Eaden’s face flushed hot with anger as he digested the news and considered the ramifications. “The woman is lying. She has fought me tooth and nail from the beginning. The treacherous wench is trying one last time to put an end to this marriage.” He glared at Ranald, daring him to disagree.

“Nay,” Ranald replied evenly. “You dinnae see or hear her that day. She was pale and trembling. I dinnae think she was lying.”

Eaden didn’t bother to answer. He spun on his heel and strode down the stairs and into the castle, looking for the woman who was turning his life upside down.

LINKS

Soul Mate Publishing
http://www.soulmatepublishing.com

Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/The-Highlanders-Accidental-Bride-ebook/dp/B00BMFPT12

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cathy-MacRae-Author/349522085132210?fref=ts

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Thursday Threads: The King’s Vampire by Brenda Stinnett


The King’s Vampire, first in an Abyss series
Written by Brenda Stinnett
Historical Paranormal set in London, England, after the Restoration of Charles II.
Heat Scale : Sizzling

Darius Einhard, demon slayer, will stop at nothing to help Elizabeth Curran, immortal vampire, break the bonds of vampirism, even while helping her protect Charles Stuart II, who’s in danger of being entrapped into becoming an immortal vampire and leading his people into the abyss of hell by the psychic vampire demons.

Excerpt:
The ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England, November, 1675

First to reach the top of the ladder, Elizabeth said, “I see a dim light outside the archways of the church. Follow me.”

They’d almost reached the entrance when a hooded figure came rapidly gliding toward them. In silence, the shadowy figure stepped in front of them, blocking the exit while tossing back its hood. Elizabeth recognized Julian, his horrible eyes blazing blood-red, and his mummified face transformed into a skull whose hinged jaws tantalizingly opened and closed, while his wings beat back and forth.

Fear-frozen, Elizabeth watched the skull increase in size, the jaws continuing to rise and fall. The creature grew until it filled the archway.

With a shout, Darius shoved his three companions away from him and toward the archway. “Run! John, take the women to safety.”

John grabbed both women by the arm and started running with them, dodging the skull and slipping beneath Julian’s enormous wings. Elizabeth pulled back and turned around in time to see the huge jaws closing over Darius. She screamed, but John yanked her back and dragged her and Amelia out of the church forcibly, before she could protest further. He gave a shrill whistle. Darius’s coach appeared in front of the ruins. John shoved the women into the coach, and shouted to the driver, “To the Boar’s Head Inn. Hurry up, my good man.”

In the coach, Elizabeth glared at him with such ferocity that he drew away from her in surprise. “How dare you, John!”

His eyes widened. “What’s wrong? Darius told me to get you and Amelia to safety, and that’s what I’ve done.”

His wife touched his shoulder and gave a shake of her head.

Elizabeth sat up on her knees, pressing her face to the back window of the carriage. Even with her superior vision, she saw neither Darius, nor the huge skull from her vantage point.

“We’ve abandoned him to those horrible demons. We should have stayed and fought.”

When she let out an enormous sob, Amelia gently pulled her back onto the seat. “John was doing what Darius asked him to do. Darius is a great warrior and he can take care of himself.”

Elizabeth hardly noticed Amelia stroking her arm in a comforting manner. She felt a pain in the pit of her stomach grow until it reached up and clutched her heart. How could she live with herself if anything happened to him?

Buy links
Amazon: http://amzn.to/12HHQ7e
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBrendaStinnett
Web Page: http://brendastinnett.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brendastinnett

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The Release of Jessie’s War!


Today is April 1! And, I’m not joking when I say that Jessie’s War is out on Amazon. I’m starting a blog tour, and holding a contest–one lucky winner will get a cameo choker! Here’s a picture.Image

In any case, here are my tour stops. Please come join me. I’m actually off for two weeks, so you can count on me to be hanging around the various blogs–just to see what’s happening! (Because I’m nosy like that)

Blurb Blitz:
April 1:  Love Triumphs Past and Present<http://annmontclair.wordpress.com/>
April 2:  Fantasy Powered by Love <http://fantasypoweredbylove.com/>
April 3:  Straight from the
Library<http://straightfromlibrary.blogspot.com/2013/04/straight-reading-from-library-jessies.html>
April 4:  The Muse <http://claireashgrove.blogspot.com/>
April 5:  Racing To Read <http://racingtoread.blogspot.com/>

Virtual Book Tour:
April 8:  Bookgirl Knitting <http://bookgirlknitting.blogspot.com/>
April 9:  Review Must Read Faster <http://mustreadfaster.blogspot.com/>
April 10:  Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and
Interviews<http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/>
April 10:  STOP 2 Review  My Devotional
Thoughts<http://mydevotionalthoughts.com/>
April 11:  Words of Wisdom from The Scarf
Princess<http://wowfromthescarfprincess.blogspot.com/>
April 12:  Simply Ali <http://www.simplyali.com/>

Blurb Blitz:
April 15:  Welcome to My World of Dreams <http://www.jhthomas.blogspot.com/>
April 16:  Krystal Shannan – Where Love and Destiny
Collide<http://www.krystalshannan.com/blog.html>
April 17:  Andi’s Book Reviews <http://andisbookreviews.blogspot.com/>
April 18:  Books and Other Spells <http://nightskydarkstar.blogspot.com/>
April 19:  Wicked Readings by
Tawania<http://www.wickedreadingsbytawania.blogspot.com/>

Virtual Book Tour:
April 22:  Long and Short Reviews <http://www.longandshortreviews.com/>
April 22:  STOP 2 review Journey of a Bookseller
<http://bkfaerie.blogspot.com/>
April 23:  It’s Raining Books <http://www.its-raining-books.blogspot.com/>
April 24:  Janna Shay’s Fair Play <http://jannashay.wordpress.com/>
April 25:  Rachel Brimble Romance <http://rachelbrimble.blogspot.co.uk/>
April 26:  You Gotta Read Reviews <http://wp.me/p2oqHj-6hd>

The Hopeful Romantic


I’m what you could call a “hopeful” romantic.

I adore a good love story, and, as I’ve mentioned before, I love romance novels, mostly because I know I’ll get a happy end. I’ve written tortured fantasy before, where everyone dies at the end. I got over that after four or five German literature courses. I can’t even tell you the number of stories I read where everyone dies of starvation even though there’s a loaf of bread left uneaten on the counter of the flat next door. Certainly, that’s an exaggeration, but it’s close enough to the truth that when my husband took me to see some German movie and the camera panned in on a loaf of bread, M leaned over and asked loudly, “Oh, there’s the loaf of bread you’re always talking about. Is everyone going to die now?” And the answer to his question was, yes.

I think he was actually pretty relieved when they did. I know I was.

So I don’t write the tortured stuff too often anymore. Oh, I torture my characters, but I’m going to give them a happy ending. And I’m going to do it for one simple reason: Hope.

As a romance writer, that’s what I’m peddling. We all want to believe that these characters are going to have their happily ever after. We want to believe the bad guy will get caught and get his just desserts. We want to believe in love.

Because if we do, we can hold out hope it will happen for us.

I was a romantic long before I ever met my husband, and I’ll be a romantic until the day I die. I got married because I had hope. Hope that we could defy the odds. After all, we married young and against our parents’ wishes (more his than mine). Half of all marriages end in divorce, but I believed in the happily ever after. I believed in love. I believed that we would count ourselves among the lucky few and defy the odds. That we would be the ones who would grow old together. I believed it with the strength of conviction only the young and the insane possess.

I still believe it fourteen years later.

Oh, it’s not all sunshine and roses, because I live a real life with a real man. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have faith that we’ll somehow make it through whatever life throws at us. It won’t be perfect because life isn’t perfect. I’m okay with that because I have hope.

At twenty-two, I found “the one,” and for all of life’s ups and downs, I wouldn’t trade a single minute, because everything we’ve gone through, every fight or rough patch, has led us here. And what got us through those tough times was the hope and the unwavering faith that we still loved one another and things would get better, because they always do.

So when I write a romance novel, it’s not because I’m too weak minded to do anything else. I’m not. It’s because there’s a certain beauty in writing something as hopeful as a romance novel. When we start on our journey, we ask the reader to have faith in us. We ask for them to hold onto the hope that everything will be okay, no matter what we throw at our characters.

So yeah, I’m a hopeful romantic. And proud to be one.