paranormal romance

Werewolf Legends and Lore with Dani Harper + Giveaway!

I’m excited to have my Kensington sister Dani Harper here today!! She just released the third book in her Changling trilogy, Changeling Dawn, and she’s here to talk about some pretty fun stuff!
Plus, there’s a GIVEAWAY!!

Dani’s shapeshifter series about the Macleod family and their friends! Long-lived and able to become wolves at will, they call themselves Changelings. Almost two centuries ago, they were forced to flee the wolf exterminations in Scotland and start a new life in the wilderness of northern Canada.

Today, that wilderness has been largely settled, and an entire community has sprung up around the Changelings. The Macleods and their pack live as humans most of the time, hiding in plain sight. But there’s just enough unspoiled forest left for them to joyfully run as wolves whenever they please. They seem to have the best of both worlds – but there are still dangers lurking for their kind. And love, when it arrives, brings dangers and complications of its own.

The two highest laws in the Changeling world are never harm a human and never turn a human against their will. The wolf within, however, has its own primal rules. If a Changeling’s life is in danger, the wolf will emerge to defend it. It will also rise, unbidden, to defend a mate at all costs. And Changelings mate for life.

Each book in the series can stand alone, because each focuses on one member of the Macleod family. The first novel is Changeling Moon, the second is Changeling Dream. The third novel was just released, Changeling Dawn.  For info and excerpts, check out Dani’s website at http://www.daniharper.com.

Hi, I’m Dani and one of my hobbies is collecting wolf and werewolf myths and legends, and I’ve brought seven of my favorites to share with you.

  1. In some European legends, particularly in Scandinavian countries, some rivers and streams are said to be “lycanthropic”. This means that you can become a werewolf just by drinking the water! Lycanthropic water is said to possess a “lurid sparkle” and a faint smell that is like nothing else. As it flows, the water makes sounds that resemble human voices, and dogs and horses are afraid of it.
  2. Reports of an enormous wolf-like animal in North Wales date back to 1790, when a stagecoach travelling between Denbigh and Wrexham was attacked and overturned by an enormous black beast almost as long as the coach horses. Known as the Welsh Werewolf, its attacks continued for a few years then mysteriously died out. Two centuries later, beginning in 1992, over 70 sightings of a large wolf-like animal have been reported!
  3. In Mexico, the werewolf is called the “nahual”. A nahual is a witch who can shapeshift into a black wolf or coyote. According to the legend, not every witch can achieve this transformation — only a few have a natural gift. In addition to having the inborn talent, the witch must also jump over a wooden cross, or go into deep trance-like sleep, or put on an animal skin, or cover his or her body with an ointment made of herbs.
  4. Werewolves in Sweden and Norway are called the ‘Varulv’. According to the legends, these people become werewolves by choice by putting on an enchanted article of clothing such as a belt. They are not necessarily evil, and in fact, in some stories only the most faithful could achieve the transformation!
  5. In Latvia, ancient texts show that the wolf was honored as a deity or as a servant of God. In old Latvian folk songs the wolf is called God’s dog. When wolves howled, they were once said to be praying to God and should not be ridiculed or hunted. The Greeks of Athens also had great respect for the wolf and decreed that any man who killed one had to pay for the funeral for the animal.
  6. The 11th Century Russian Prince Vseslav was considered to have been a werewolf and capable of superhuman speeds. One account says: “Vseslav the prince judged men; as prince, he ruled towns; but at night he prowled in the guise of a wolf.” A commemorative coin, showing Vseslav and a wolf, was released in 2005.
  7. Legend says that the town of Gubbio, Italy, was being terrorized by a large wolf that preyed on both livestock and humans. Saint Francis was said to have the power to talk to animals, and he went alone to speak to the wolf about its habits. He was successful in negotiating peace between the villagers and the wolf, and the creature lived among them like a dog for the rest of its li

If you enjoyed the above, consider pressing the LIKE button on my Facebook Fan Page. I post wolf and werewolf trivia there every day!

GIVEAWAY!
One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Changeling Dawn. This is an International giveaway and a name will be drawn at random on Tuesday, Feb. 10.   There are several ways to earn points to better your chances of winning — the first step is to leave a comment or ask Dani a question!


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Joyce Lamb Talks About TRUE SHOT on Release Day!! Whoo-hoo!!

>First off — SPANKALICIOUS release day Joyce!! True Shot releases today from Berkeley Sensation! Head out and get your copy today!! (Buy links below book description.)

Joyce and I met through common author friends and I’ve always enjoyed Joyce’s bubbling spirit, positive personality and amazing drive! She’s the Energizer Bunny on steroids!

(Yes, that is green you see glowing in my eyes. What? Didn’t I mention I demon-shift when I’m jealous? That is Elisabeth’s fault…but we’re not going there. This is JOYCE’s day!)

Joyce is giving away a copy of TRUE SHOT, TRUE COLORS, TRUE VISION
 and five custom handmade bookmarks
today, so comment to win!
TRUE SHOT

Special FBI operative Samantha Trudeau’s unique psychic abilities help her catch the most elusive criminals. They also put her in the path of a sadistic adversary when she discovers she’s actually working for a rogue cell-and into the confidence of a handsome journalist with his own potentially dangerous secrets.

Buy this at:
Barnes & Noble || Amazon

Joyce, how do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

Hi, Joan! Thanks a bunch for having me today!

As for how I develop my plots and characters: I pretty much start with a “what if?” question (every writer’s favorite question!). What if a female government spy and a sweet but hunky civilian ended up on the run together? What if the spy somehow lost her memory and it was up to the untrained civilian to get her to safety while holding off some unrelenting bad guys? Then I build from there.

The characters most often come from the plot — how would a certain kind of character respond in my “what if?” scenario. Of course, once I start writing, the characters become fully formed and start messing with all my plans. Grrr. While that can be frustrating, it’s mostly just really cool, because that means the characters are three-dimensional enough to exert their influence on the story. And, oh my, does that sound completely crazy?

How would you best describe your books?

My books would make really fun action adventure movies. I love action adventure movies, but most of the time I end up disappointed in the lack of character development and relationship-building. That’s what’s awesome about writing novels — the medium gives a writer the time and space to fully develop a meaningful relationship between the characters — and with the reader. True Shot in particular could become the coolest television show, because there’s a ton of potential for episodic stories, sort of like Alias (secret government spies) crossed with The Dead Zone (psychic who experiences other people’s memories).

What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?

I would write exactly what I’m writing. I love romantic suspense, and adding the paranormal psychic angle opened up a new world where I make the rules — or subvert them if I want to. Though I will admit that it’s crossed my mind that I would love to write for television. In fact, if I got to choose, I’d love to write for The Good Wife. Such a great show!

What do you most like about writing? Least like?

What I most like is the therapy. Go ahead and laugh. But, seriously, if I didn’t write stories where the bad guy gets what’s coming to him and the good guys win and the important people live happily ever after, I’d be spending a boatload of cash on therapy. I worked out some major frustration with my “day job” as a journalist through the first True, True Vision. In that, Charlie (the heroine) fights her newspaper’s tendency to look past the misdeeds of a big advertiser in order to protect revenue. Her actions aren’t without consequences, but the therapeutic part for me is that I got to spout my opinion about the role of newspapers in keeping the Powers That Be honest. Media in general doesn’t do that all that well anymore, and as someone who’s dedicated her life to seeking out the truth … well, it’s frustrating. So that side of Charlie most definitely represents a part of me that has needed to work out some issues.

What I least like about writing: The time I spend holed up by myself, falling behind on what’s going on with my family and friends. Writing is rewarding, but it’s a solitary activity, and since I have a day job, I have to use much of the time I’d have for a social life glued to my laptop.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

Just this past weekend, I did a booksigning with Nora Roberts. It was awesome! Not just because I was sitting a few feet away from Nora Roberts, though that was pretty cool, but because I also was in the midst of a couple of hundred devoted romance novel fans. It was truly inspiring seeing their enthusiasm for Nora and her books. And, heck, when it turned out a couple of them were there to see me, well, that was amazing.

Which is your favorite of the books you have written?

Most definitely True Shot. It’s fast-paced, has lots of action and the hero, Mac, is to die for. I flipped the hero and heroine in this one, so the hero (Mac) is the somewhat naïve civilian and the heroine (Sam) is the kick-butt government spy. But even though she’s endlessly competent and can handle a gun, she still ends up needing him to help her. I love it when super-strong characters have to admit they need assistance — and I love it in True Shot when mostly passive Mac gets majorly alpha when Sam is threatened.

What would you say is your biggest writing quirk?

My biggest quirk is probably … in order to write the super hot love scenes that I write, I sometimes need a glass of wine first. I definitely need to get loosened up before I can get down and … dirty.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Sleep. : ) I’m also hopelessly devoted to my TV. I’m constantly on the lookout for a show that surprises me, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer did back when it was on. Right now, I think that show is Revenge. The multilayered characters and twisty-turny plot keep me guessing — which is tough to do to a writer. I’m the one who leans over in the movie theater and tells the friend next to me what’s going to happen next. That usually earns me a punch in the arm, but I just can’t help myself. I see stuff coming! But TV shows that keep me guessing rock my world: Right now, those would be The Good Wife, Justified, Haven and The Closer. I haven’t checked out Once Upon a Time yet, but I’ve heard good things about it.

What are your current projects?

One of my current projects is True Shot, which comes out today. It’s the third in my True trilogy (True-logy!) about three sisters with unique psychic abilities. True Shot is Sam’s story, who ran away from home at 18 and got into some La Femme Nikita-like trouble that landed her in a secret government agency as a psychic spy. She’s always wanted to go home, to go back to her family, but she can’t without endangering the people she loves. When she learns the government agency she works for has gone rogue, she flees. Enter Mac, a journalist on vacation trying to get his head together after some bad stuff happened to him. He runs into Sam when she’s at her most vulnerable and in desperate need of help. Being the good guy he is, he goes above and beyond to help her out, which just leads to more trouble for them both.

I love these two together — Mac is funny and sarcastic, while Sam is deadly serious. Even when the stakes are at their highest, Mac is dealing with the situation with humor — because that’s the only weapon he knows how to use. Mac and Sam are the perfect foils for each other.

My other current baby isn’t actually a book. It’s my romance novels blog at USA Today, Happy Ever After. HEA launched in October and has been a total blast. HEA is all about celebrating romance novels, the readers who read them and the writers who write them. I’m lucky enough to be in the unique position of working for a major media outlet and also being a romance novelist. I wanted to somehow blend my two professions, so when I got the idea for a blog about romance novels, I took it to the Powers That Be, and HEA was born (thank you, PTBs!). I love, love, LOVE being able to give positive, smart attention to romance novels, readers and writers. Few media types really understand what we do and why we love reading/writing romance. I get it because I’m a part of it — which means the major media coverage that the romance industry gets through HEA is from an insider point of view, someone who gets it and who doesn’t look down on it as hokum (love that word!). I hope you’ll get a chance to stop by HEA and check it out! We’re at happyeverafter.usatoday.com. And, hey, maybe you’ll want to follow HEA on Twitter: @HEAusatoday.

Where can we find you online?

You can find info about my books and me at JoyceWrites.com. I certainly wouldn’t be offended if you wanted to “like” me on Facebook, at facebook.com/authorjoycelamb. And you can follow me on Twitter: @JoyceLamb.

Thanks so much for having me, Joan! And I can’t WAIT for Fever to come out!


Joyce is giving away a copy of TRUE SHOT, TRUE COLORS, TRUE VISION
and five custom handmade bookmarks
today!

 

Tell us, is there a TV show that constantly surprises you?
Give your opinion to enter the giveaway + lots of other options below!

The day Joyce sold her first novel, Relative Strangers (now available as a 99-cent e-book), she almost hung up on her agent’s assistant, thinking she was a telemarketer. See, she’d given up on getting published and had decided to learn how to play the piano. Apparently, the universe was not impressed by her (in)ability to tickle the ivories.

Her second novel, Caught in the Act (now available as a 99-cent e-book), was a 2004 RITA finalist in the romantic suspense category. Nora Roberts won that year. It was truly an honor just to be nominated!

True Vision, the first in her True trilogy, won a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in single title romantic suspense from the Kiss of Death chapter of RWA. True Vision was also awarded the HOLT Medallion for Best Book by a Virginia Author from the Virginia Romance Writers.

Besides writing, she loves to play tennis and board games and hang out with friends. Her guilty pleasures include The Real Housewives of New York, Project Runway and So You Think You Can Dance. She doesn’t have time to be ashamed.



>Joyce Lamb Talks About TRUE SHOT on Release Day!! Whoo-hoo!!

>First off — SPANKALICIOUS release day Joyce!! True Shot releases today from Berkeley Sensation! Head out and get your copy today!! (Buy links below book description.)

Joyce and I met through common author friends and I’ve always enjoyed Joyce’s bubbling spirit, positive personality and amazing drive! She’s the Energizer Bunny on steroids!

(Yes, that is green you see glowing in my eyes. What? Didn’t I mention I demon-shift when I’m jealous? That is Elisabeth’s fault…but we’re not going there. This is JOYCE’s day!)

Joyce is giving away a copy of TRUE SHOT, TRUE COLORS, TRUE VISION
 and five custom handmade bookmarks
today, so comment to win!
TRUE SHOT

Special FBI operative Samantha Trudeau’s unique psychic abilities help her catch the most elusive criminals. They also put her in the path of a sadistic adversary when she discovers she’s actually working for a rogue cell-and into the confidence of a handsome journalist with his own potentially dangerous secrets.

Buy this at:
Barnes & Noble || Amazon

Joyce, how do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

Hi, Joan! Thanks a bunch for having me today!

As for how I develop my plots and characters: I pretty much start with a “what if?” question (every writer’s favorite question!). What if a female government spy and a sweet but hunky civilian ended up on the run together? What if the spy somehow lost her memory and it was up to the untrained civilian to get her to safety while holding off some unrelenting bad guys? Then I build from there.

The characters most often come from the plot — how would a certain kind of character respond in my “what if?” scenario. Of course, once I start writing, the characters become fully formed and start messing with all my plans. Grrr. While that can be frustrating, it’s mostly just really cool, because that means the characters are three-dimensional enough to exert their influence on the story. And, oh my, does that sound completely crazy?

How would you best describe your books?

My books would make really fun action adventure movies. I love action adventure movies, but most of the time I end up disappointed in the lack of character development and relationship-building. That’s what’s awesome about writing novels — the medium gives a writer the time and space to fully develop a meaningful relationship between the characters — and with the reader. True Shot in particular could become the coolest television show, because there’s a ton of potential for episodic stories, sort of like Alias (secret government spies) crossed with The Dead Zone (psychic who experiences other people’s memories).

What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?

I would write exactly what I’m writing. I love romantic suspense, and adding the paranormal psychic angle opened up a new world where I make the rules — or subvert them if I want to. Though I will admit that it’s crossed my mind that I would love to write for television. In fact, if I got to choose, I’d love to write for The Good Wife. Such a great show!

What do you most like about writing? Least like?

What I most like is the therapy. Go ahead and laugh. But, seriously, if I didn’t write stories where the bad guy gets what’s coming to him and the good guys win and the important people live happily ever after, I’d be spending a boatload of cash on therapy. I worked out some major frustration with my “day job” as a journalist through the first True, True Vision. In that, Charlie (the heroine) fights her newspaper’s tendency to look past the misdeeds of a big advertiser in order to protect revenue. Her actions aren’t without consequences, but the therapeutic part for me is that I got to spout my opinion about the role of newspapers in keeping the Powers That Be honest. Media in general doesn’t do that all that well anymore, and as someone who’s dedicated her life to seeking out the truth … well, it’s frustrating. So that side of Charlie most definitely represents a part of me that has needed to work out some issues.

What I least like about writing: The time I spend holed up by myself, falling behind on what’s going on with my family and friends. Writing is rewarding, but it’s a solitary activity, and since I have a day job, I have to use much of the time I’d have for a social life glued to my laptop.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

Just this past weekend, I did a booksigning with Nora Roberts. It was awesome! Not just because I was sitting a few feet away from Nora Roberts, though that was pretty cool, but because I also was in the midst of a couple of hundred devoted romance novel fans. It was truly inspiring seeing their enthusiasm for Nora and her books. And, heck, when it turned out a couple of them were there to see me, well, that was amazing.

Which is your favorite of the books you have written?

Most definitely True Shot. It’s fast-paced, has lots of action and the hero, Mac, is to die for. I flipped the hero and heroine in this one, so the hero (Mac) is the somewhat naïve civilian and the heroine (Sam) is the kick-butt government spy. But even though she’s endlessly competent and can handle a gun, she still ends up needing him to help her. I love it when super-strong characters have to admit they need assistance — and I love it in True Shot when mostly passive Mac gets majorly alpha when Sam is threatened.

What would you say is your biggest writing quirk?

My biggest quirk is probably … in order to write the super hot love scenes that I write, I sometimes need a glass of wine first. I definitely need to get loosened up before I can get down and … dirty.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Sleep. : ) I’m also hopelessly devoted to my TV. I’m constantly on the lookout for a show that surprises me, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer did back when it was on. Right now, I think that show is Revenge. The multilayered characters and twisty-turny plot keep me guessing — which is tough to do to a writer. I’m the one who leans over in the movie theater and tells the friend next to me what’s going to happen next. That usually earns me a punch in the arm, but I just can’t help myself. I see stuff coming! But TV shows that keep me guessing rock my world: Right now, those would be The Good Wife, Justified, Haven and The Closer. I haven’t checked out Once Upon a Time yet, but I’ve heard good things about it.

What are your current projects?

One of my current projects is True Shot, which comes out today. It’s the third in my True trilogy (True-logy!) about three sisters with unique psychic abilities. True Shot is Sam’s story, who ran away from home at 18 and got into some La Femme Nikita-like trouble that landed her in a secret government agency as a psychic spy. She’s always wanted to go home, to go back to her family, but she can’t without endangering the people she loves. When she learns the government agency she works for has gone rogue, she flees. Enter Mac, a journalist on vacation trying to get his head together after some bad stuff happened to him. He runs into Sam when she’s at her most vulnerable and in desperate need of help. Being the good guy he is, he goes above and beyond to help her out, which just leads to more trouble for them both.

I love these two together — Mac is funny and sarcastic, while Sam is deadly serious. Even when the stakes are at their highest, Mac is dealing with the situation with humor — because that’s the only weapon he knows how to use. Mac and Sam are the perfect foils for each other.

My other current baby isn’t actually a book. It’s my romance novels blog at USA Today, Happy Ever After. HEA launched in October and has been a total blast. HEA is all about celebrating romance novels, the readers who read them and the writers who write them. I’m lucky enough to be in the unique position of working for a major media outlet and also being a romance novelist. I wanted to somehow blend my two professions, so when I got the idea for a blog about romance novels, I took it to the Powers That Be, and HEA was born (thank you, PTBs!). I love, love, LOVE being able to give positive, smart attention to romance novels, readers and writers. Few media types really understand what we do and why we love reading/writing romance. I get it because I’m a part of it — which means the major media coverage that the romance industry gets through HEA is from an insider point of view, someone who gets it and who doesn’t look down on it as hokum (love that word!). I hope you’ll get a chance to stop by HEA and check it out! We’re at happyeverafter.usatoday.com. And, hey, maybe you’ll want to follow HEA on Twitter: @HEAusatoday.

Where can we find you online?

You can find info about my books and me at JoyceWrites.com. I certainly wouldn’t be offended if you wanted to “like” me on Facebook, at facebook.com/authorjoycelamb. And you can follow me on Twitter: @JoyceLamb.

Thanks so much for having me, Joan! And I can’t WAIT for Fever to come out!


Joyce is giving away a copy of TRUE SHOT, TRUE COLORS, TRUE VISION
and five custom handmade bookmarks
today!

 

Tell us, is there a TV show that constantly surprises you?
Give your opinion to enter the giveaway + lots of other options below!

The day Joyce sold her first novel, Relative Strangers (now available as a 99-cent e-book), she almost hung up on her agent’s assistant, thinking she was a telemarketer. See, she’d given up on getting published and had decided to learn how to play the piano. Apparently, the universe was not impressed by her (in)ability to tickle the ivories.

Her second novel, Caught in the Act (now available as a 99-cent e-book), was a 2004 RITA finalist in the romantic suspense category. Nora Roberts won that year. It was truly an honor just to be nominated!

True Vision, the first in her True trilogy, won a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in single title romantic suspense from the Kiss of Death chapter of RWA. True Vision was also awarded the HOLT Medallion for Best Book by a Virginia Author from the Virginia Romance Writers.

Besides writing, she loves to play tennis and board games and hang out with friends. Her guilty pleasures include The Real Housewives of New York, Project Runway and So You Think You Can Dance. She doesn’t have time to be ashamed.



For the love of Xanax…FEVER excerpt

>In discussing stress yesterday on Twitter, I promised a friend this fun passage from FEVER…for Xanax lovers everywhere…

Setting: An all-hell-breaks-loose kinda thing; gunfight in house that catches fire… (I mean, why just send in a man with a gun when you can set the house on fire too?)

Alyssa: heroine, Teague: hero, Mitch: Alyssa’s brother, Luke: Teague’s former best friend/antagonist-turned-ally, Vasser and Burton: Villains.

       Luke grabbed her arms and pushed her back. “I said get out of here.”

         Then he turned and disappeared into the smoke and flames.

         The first hint of sirens perked Alyssa’s ears. She turned toward the sound with a new fear filling her heart. Firefighters were coming. Cops wouldn’t be far behind.

         “Teague!” she called into the house. “Mitch! Luke!”

         Grunts sounded in the murky din, amongst the angry roar of fire and pop and crack of old wood. Something flew past the door where Alyssa stood, and she jumped. It hit a wall, bounced off, darted across the floor and stopped at her feet. A gun.

         She reached for it. Teague appeared, skidding across the floor. He grabbed the weapon and looked up at her. “Get out of here, goddammit! Don’t you ever listen?”

         Vasser walked out of the mist, gun pointed down at Teague’s chest, blood dripping from his forehead. “Didn’t I ask you that once, you stupid sonofabitch?”

         Teague tilted his chin to his chest, lifted his foot and kicked at Vasser. The other man dodged, but not completely and went down with a scream.

         Teague disappeared once again into the swampy darkness.

         “No, Teague! Cops are coming.” Alyssa peered through the smoke and stepped further into the house with the tail of her shirt pulled up over her mouth. “Luke!” Smoke invaded her eyes like thousands of tiny needles. Tears poured down her cheeks as she pushed further into the gloom. “Mitch!”

         Scuffling sounds came from somewhere to her left. She started that direction, but Teague caught her arm from behind. “You’re not going in there.”

         She yanked her arm from his grip and turned on him. “Stop pulling at me and help me get them out.”

         Someone rammed into her and she pitched sideways, her breath locked in her chest. Teague caught her as the other person hit the floor. Mitch. Alyssa registered the blood covering his face in the second before Burton pointed a gun at Mitch’s chest.

         “No!” Alyssa heard her voice, but didn’t register the sensations of speaking.

         Everything beyond that whirled into a successive blur of motion. Teague struck out. The gun flew from Burton’s hand. A scavenge then a struggle for the weapon. A shot.

         Alyssa screamed—a rip in her throat and a stab in her heart.

         Burton collapsed on top of Mitch.

         “Mitch!” She kept screaming his name, coughing, wheezing, screaming. She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. Couldn’t live without him. “Mitch!”

         “Goddamned fucking fat bastard.” Mitch pushed Burton off him and hefted him to the side using his whole body.

         A shaking whoosh of air left Alyssa’s chest. She swallowed back the urge to throw up in relief. “Oh, my God.”

         Mitch slowly got to his feet, rested his elbows on his knees and met Alyssa’s eyes. “I’m fine, Lys.”

         “Fine?” she wheezed. If this was an anxiety attack felt like, she was going to be far more liberal handing out Xanax prescriptions in the future. “I almost watch you get killed and that’s all you have to say to me? I’m fine?”

>For the love of Xanax…FEVER excerpt

>In discussing stress yesterday on Twitter, I promised a friend this fun passage from FEVER…for Xanax lovers everywhere…

Setting: An all-hell-breaks-loose kinda thing; gunfight in house that catches fire… (I mean, why just send in a man with a gun when you can set the house on fire too?)

Alyssa: heroine, Teague: hero, Mitch: Alyssa’s brother, Luke: Teague’s former best friend/antagonist-turned-ally, Vasser and Burton: Villains.

       Luke grabbed her arms and pushed her back. “I said get out of here.”

         Then he turned and disappeared into the smoke and flames.

         The first hint of sirens perked Alyssa’s ears. She turned toward the sound with a new fear filling her heart. Firefighters were coming. Cops wouldn’t be far behind.

         “Teague!” she called into the house. “Mitch! Luke!”

         Grunts sounded in the murky din, amongst the angry roar of fire and pop and crack of old wood. Something flew past the door where Alyssa stood, and she jumped. It hit a wall, bounced off, darted across the floor and stopped at her feet. A gun.

         She reached for it. Teague appeared, skidding across the floor. He grabbed the weapon and looked up at her. “Get out of here, goddammit! Don’t you ever listen?”

         Vasser walked out of the mist, gun pointed down at Teague’s chest, blood dripping from his forehead. “Didn’t I ask you that once, you stupid sonofabitch?”

         Teague tilted his chin to his chest, lifted his foot and kicked at Vasser. The other man dodged, but not completely and went down with a scream.

         Teague disappeared once again into the swampy darkness.

         “No, Teague! Cops are coming.” Alyssa peered through the smoke and stepped further into the house with the tail of her shirt pulled up over her mouth. “Luke!” Smoke invaded her eyes like thousands of tiny needles. Tears poured down her cheeks as she pushed further into the gloom. “Mitch!”

         Scuffling sounds came from somewhere to her left. She started that direction, but Teague caught her arm from behind. “You’re not going in there.”

         She yanked her arm from his grip and turned on him. “Stop pulling at me and help me get them out.”

         Someone rammed into her and she pitched sideways, her breath locked in her chest. Teague caught her as the other person hit the floor. Mitch. Alyssa registered the blood covering his face in the second before Burton pointed a gun at Mitch’s chest.

         “No!” Alyssa heard her voice, but didn’t register the sensations of speaking.

         Everything beyond that whirled into a successive blur of motion. Teague struck out. The gun flew from Burton’s hand. A scavenge then a struggle for the weapon. A shot.

         Alyssa screamed—a rip in her throat and a stab in her heart.

         Burton collapsed on top of Mitch.

         “Mitch!” She kept screaming his name, coughing, wheezing, screaming. She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. Couldn’t live without him. “Mitch!”

         “Goddamned fucking fat bastard.” Mitch pushed Burton off him and hefted him to the side using his whole body.

         A shaking whoosh of air left Alyssa’s chest. She swallowed back the urge to throw up in relief. “Oh, my God.”

         Mitch slowly got to his feet, rested his elbows on his knees and met Alyssa’s eyes. “I’m fine, Lys.”

         “Fine?” she wheezed. If this was an anxiety attack felt like, she was going to be far more liberal handing out Xanax prescriptions in the future. “I almost watch you get killed and that’s all you have to say to me? I’m fine?”

Cynthia Eden and ANGEL OF DARKNESS Interview & Giveaway

>Super special guest today **VBG** Cynthia Eden, my fellow Kensington Brava author with her uber-sexy upcoming release, ANGEL OF DARKNESS!

And Cynthia is also giving away a copy of the book! Whoo-hoo! Open Internationally!
ANGEL OF DARKNESS

As an angel of death, Keenan’s job is to collect the souls on his list. He’s carried out his duty for two thousand years and never faltered once. Until he meets Nicole St. James. When the moment of death comes, Keenan hesitates, and instead of taking Nicole, Keenan touches the vampire who’s attacking her.


Cast out of heaven for disobedience, Keenan plummets to earth. Six months later, he finally manages to track Nicole to a bar in Mexico. He’s stunned to discover that the woman he remembers has undergone a dramatic change—she’s become a vampire. And when he realizes that she’s the target of all manner of enemies—other vampires, demons, even shifters—he’ll do whatever it takes to protect her, even if all hell breaks loose…

Cynthia, tell us about your upcoming release.
ANGEL OF DARKNESS tells the story of an angel who falls for a vampire. Literally. Poor guy—he doesn’t know what’s happened until it’s too late…angels don’t handle lust—or love—very well.
What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?

My hero is a virgin. Yes, that’s my favorite thing. I’d been wanting to write a virgin hero for a long time now—and here he is! In my “world” angels don’t feel emotions or human needs until they fall, so my angel knows nothing about lust. Lucky for him, my heroine is happy to teach him a few things.
What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?

Ah…well, my hero, Keenan, is an Angel of Death, so that means his job is to take souls from this realm to the next. At the beginning of my book, Keenan is supposed to take my heroine’ soul (i.e., kill her), but he doesn’t. He can’t. So he falls because he was tempted, and he didn’t carry out his duty. If Keenan wants to get his wings back—and earn his way back to heaven—he has to complete his original mission. He has to kill my heroine. That’s their big conflict.

Why did you put these two together?
I like to work with opposites when I write. My hero (an angel) and my heroine ( a vampire)—they’re definitely opposites. On all kinds of levels.

What is your strategy in creating villains?
I like to create a villain who is…good. Wait, let me clarify. He’s bad, of course, he is, but can’t bad people also have good parts? No one is 100% evil, just as no one is 100% good. So when I crafted my villain, I wanted to show that there could be some redeeming qualities in him. Those qualities just might be buried very, very deep. And who knows? Sometimes, villains can later turn into great heroes.

What do you love most about this book/series?
These books are set in New Orleans, and I was able to incorporate a lot of real locations in my story. I’m a frequent visitor to New Orleans (maybe too frequent?), and it was so much fun to put some of my favorite spots in the stories. I actually went back to New Orleans recently, and I filmed from those locations. I’m making videos so readers will be able to “see” those spots, too.

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, redemption can be possible, for anyone. No matter what we do or what happens to us, hope will always exist.

Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me!! It’s been a pleasure!

Order Cynthia’s new release here:  Amazon

Cynthia is also giving away a copy of ANGEL OF DARKNESS to one lucky winner!!
Enter below — Open Internationally!

Cynthia Eden is a national best-selling author of paranormal romance and romantic suspense novels. Her books have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and her novel, DEADLY FEAR, was named a RITA® finalist for best romantic suspense.



>Cynthia Eden and ANGEL OF DARKNESS Interview & Giveaway

>Super special guest today **VBG** Cynthia Eden, my fellow Kensington Brava author with her uber-sexy upcoming release, ANGEL OF DARKNESS!

And Cynthia is also giving away a copy of the book! Whoo-hoo! Open Internationally!
ANGEL OF DARKNESS

As an angel of death, Keenan’s job is to collect the souls on his list. He’s carried out his duty for two thousand years and never faltered once. Until he meets Nicole St. James. When the moment of death comes, Keenan hesitates, and instead of taking Nicole, Keenan touches the vampire who’s attacking her.


Cast out of heaven for disobedience, Keenan plummets to earth. Six months later, he finally manages to track Nicole to a bar in Mexico. He’s stunned to discover that the woman he remembers has undergone a dramatic change—she’s become a vampire. And when he realizes that she’s the target of all manner of enemies—other vampires, demons, even shifters—he’ll do whatever it takes to protect her, even if all hell breaks loose…

Cynthia, tell us about your upcoming release.
ANGEL OF DARKNESS tells the story of an angel who falls for a vampire. Literally. Poor guy—he doesn’t know what’s happened until it’s too late…angels don’t handle lust—or love—very well.
What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today?

My hero is a virgin. Yes, that’s my favorite thing. I’d been wanting to write a virgin hero for a long time now—and here he is! In my “world” angels don’t feel emotions or human needs until they fall, so my angel knows nothing about lust. Lucky for him, my heroine is happy to teach him a few things.
What creates the biggest conflict between your hero and heroine?

Ah…well, my hero, Keenan, is an Angel of Death, so that means his job is to take souls from this realm to the next. At the beginning of my book, Keenan is supposed to take my heroine’ soul (i.e., kill her), but he doesn’t. He can’t. So he falls because he was tempted, and he didn’t carry out his duty. If Keenan wants to get his wings back—and earn his way back to heaven—he has to complete his original mission. He has to kill my heroine. That’s their big conflict.

Why did you put these two together?
I like to work with opposites when I write. My hero (an angel) and my heroine ( a vampire)—they’re definitely opposites. On all kinds of levels.

What is your strategy in creating villains?
I like to create a villain who is…good. Wait, let me clarify. He’s bad, of course, he is, but can’t bad people also have good parts? No one is 100% evil, just as no one is 100% good. So when I crafted my villain, I wanted to show that there could be some redeeming qualities in him. Those qualities just might be buried very, very deep. And who knows? Sometimes, villains can later turn into great heroes.

What do you love most about this book/series?
These books are set in New Orleans, and I was able to incorporate a lot of real locations in my story. I’m a frequent visitor to New Orleans (maybe too frequent?), and it was so much fun to put some of my favorite spots in the stories. I actually went back to New Orleans recently, and I filmed from those locations. I’m making videos so readers will be able to “see” those spots, too.

Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, redemption can be possible, for anyone. No matter what we do or what happens to us, hope will always exist.

Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me!! It’s been a pleasure!

Order Cynthia’s new release here:  Amazon

Cynthia is also giving away a copy of ANGEL OF DARKNESS to one lucky winner!!
Enter below — Open Internationally!

Cynthia Eden is a national best-selling author of paranormal romance and romantic suspense novels. Her books have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and her novel, DEADLY FEAR, was named a RITA® finalist for best romantic suspense.



>New FEVER Excerpt

>

When Dr. Alyssa Foster is taken hostage by a prison inmate, she knows she’s in deep trouble. Not just because Teague Creek is desperate for freedom, but because the moment his fingers brush against her skin, Alyssa feels a razor-sharp pang of need…

A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose. At least Teague doesn’t, until his escape plan developes a fatal flaw: alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives, he can only give her lies, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever…

A fun little excerpt from FEVER.

Setup: My hero, Teague Creek, has escaped prison with accomplice, Taz, a white supremacist, and taken my heroine, Alyssa Foster, hostage.  Alyssa has been terrorized by the ordeal and recently smacked across the face by Taz.  They are now driving along their escape route after narrowly missing being captured at a roadblock.  Alyssa has seen hints of Teague’s abnormal body heat, benefited from but disbelieves his healing abilities and senses a strange attraction to him.

Excerpt:  Alyssa rested her head against the car window, questions swirling in her brain like a dirt devil. Was she having some kind of chemical reaction to the metal? An allergy she hadn’t known of before? Sensitivity to a new cosmetic or medical supply?

Even with the cool glass pressed against her cheek, her face still felt like it was going to split. Although, she had to admit, the pain had ratcheted down after Creek had touched her, which was another oddity logic couldn’t explain. Along with the way her libido skyrocketed in reverse proportion to her pain.

This whole situation was beyond bizarre. She was caught somewhere between scared-out-of-her-mind and freaking-ready-to-jump-him every time he touched her.

Snapped. She’d finally snapped. Just like her mother and brothers said she would if she didn’t slow down. Didn’t ease up. Didn’t stop working and start living. What they’d never understood was that her work was her life. Only, maybe that’s where she’d gone wrong, because look where that had gotten her.

By the dashboard clock, they’d been driving an hour and a half. With every minute closer to nightfall, Alyssa’s anxiety amped. Her fatigue also dragged at her, not to mention the grind of her stomach reminding her she hadn’t eaten in nearly twenty hours. And the way her mind pinged around beneath her skull didn’t help with the developing stress headache.

Where were they going? Why did they keep her? What were they going to do to her? She found herself wondering about death, what it would be like to get to that final moment. Those lead to thoughts of her patients, ones she’d lost, ones she’d saved, which then lead back to her work and her future. And the circle started all over again.

Taz had mellowed with time and blaring classic rock. He sang along with an endless lung capacity, his chorus almost more painful than her throbbing face, aching wrists or morbid thoughts.

“Take me down to the Paradise City where the grass is green and the girls are pretty,” Taz belted, completely off key. “Oh, won’t you please take me hooowooome…”

Creek hadn’t looked at her for over an hour. At least not directly at her. He sat as far on the other side of the bench seat as he could get without climbing out of the car. Every time she moved so much as her little finger, he cast a surreptitious side-glance at her. Since the incident with the roadblock, he’d dropped the whole idea of her changing clothes, which was good. She was not getting naked, or even close to it, in this car with these guys. For any reason. Ever. Period.

Despite the sheer noise level and her mounting anxiety, Alyssa had to force her eyes to stay open, her mind to catalogue landmarks. She needed a plan. Several plans. One for every situation that held the possibility of escape. But right now her brain felt as numb as her butt and if she didn’t get blood flowing, she’d definitely pass out—Guns and Roses at a hundred and thirty decibels, or not.

Alyssa straightened away from the window. That one movement gave her Creek’s complete attention. He stiffened and twisted toward her, fingers curled into his hands, resting on his thighs. And she had to admit, he looked more human in street clothes. A lot more like one of those intriguing bad-boys. But she’d already seen the tattoos. She knew where he’d come from. He was not the typical good-looking, rough-around-the-edges man she liked. He had hurt her. Would hurt her again if he deemed necessary. Had told her so himself. Yet…something about him suggested that wasn’t entirely true. Maybe his attempts to ease her pain. Maybe his efforts to shield her from Taz. Of course, maybe it was just her own warped psyche bending reality.

She lifted her cuffed hands and gingerly peeled the tape off her lips, grimacing as it pulled at the tender skin. Creek made no move to stop her, only watched with a guarded expression.

She looked directly at him, meeting those very light, intense blue eyes. “I’m car sick, I’m hungry and I have to pee.”

One brow lifted. His mouth quirked. “You’re sick and hungry?”

With that one look, Creek turned into a regular guy off the street. Only he was a guy who would stop traffic. A guy who would warrant double-takes. A guy she would have tripped over herself to meet under normal circumstances. She had to glance down at her cuffed hands to get her head on straight. In less than a second the anger and fear swung back around full force.

“I always get sick in the back seat of a car,” she lied, “and I haven’t eaten since midnight. But more important, my bladder is going to burst if we don’t stop for a bathroom.”

Creek heaved a sigh and rubbed his eyes. “Stop somewhere, Taz. A quiet gas station with a bathroom in the back would be good.”

“Screw that,” Taz said. “Why should we give a shit about what she needs?”

“Because it was your decision to kidnap me, and it was your decision to keep me.” She’d had enough. The tension, the bizarre emotions, the uncertainty had turned her into someone who said and did irrational, extreme, uncontrollable things. Someone she didn’t care to recognize. “Now you have to deal with the consequences. As opposed to you, I’m human. I have human bodily needs. If you don’t address them, we’ll all be very uncomfortable, very soon.”

“Put the tape back on that big mouth of hers, Creek, or I’ll stuff it with something that’s sure to shut her up.”

Alyssa’s back went up. Her mouth opened to spew something fierce and foolish, she was sure. But someone touched her first. She jumped and turned toward Creek. His big, warm hand closed over her forearm with just enough force to send a message. The same message he delivered with that potent stare: don’t antagonize him.

He didn’t look away from Alyssa as he talked to Taz. “You find me a private bathroom, and I’ll make sure I tire her out good.”

Alyssa jerked her arm back. Why she’d thought for a flicker of an instant they were on the same side she didn’t know, but his nasty retort put everything in perspective. When would she learn men were all the same? Crude. Selfish. Controlling. Competitive. Self-serving.

And these men were the worst of the worst.

“What’s wrong with what you got, Creek? If I’d known you were gonna waste all this time, I’d have made you drive. I know just how to fill a couple hours with a dink like that.”

Alyssa’s throat convulsed. The thought of rape pushed at the edges of her mind, but she shoved it right back out. Someone would die first. And it wouldn’t be her. She’d already catalogued every possible way she could use her own body to end another’s life, because her body was her only weapon.

“Just take the first exit with a gas station once you hit highway five,” Creek said. “Pick the lousiest dive you can find.”

“This is a shit hole, man, everything is a dive. Nothing but niggers and spics live here.”

“Just find something and stop.”

They slowed and traveled down the ramp. Taz hummed with anticipated trouble. “I don’t like it.”

Alyssa shifted in her seat. She did have to pee—bad—but, more, she needed to develop a plan for when they stopped. “How long?”

“Couple minutes.” Creek surveyed her, mouth turned down in disapproval. “Take off your shirt.”

She scrunched one side of her face in contempt. “No.”

“The blue thing has the hospital logo on it.” He gestured at her with one careless hand. “Everyone’s going to be looking for you in those…”

“Scrubs,” she finished for him. “And, let me rephrase so you understand—hell no.”

He met her eyes with determination and a set jaw. “Take it off, or I’ll take it off for you.”

“Aw, yeah,” Taz piped up. “Now we’re gettin’ some action.”

Alyssa had to press her mouth tight to keep from telling the idiot to shut up. When she made no move toward taking her shirt off, Creek slid over the vinyl bench and snagged the hem that had come untucked hours ago.

Alyssa leaned away, her cuffed hands pushing at his. A sweep of panic heated her chest. “No. Don’t. Leave me alone.”

Taz laughed and chanted “go-go-go”.

Creek grabbed the back of her shirt and pulled it up and over her head. Then yanked the fabric down her forearms to rest in a bundle where her hands came together in the cuffs. The cool air prickled her skin beneath the white tank top remaining. She curled in on herself to keep the exposure to a minimum. That’s when she noticed the hole in her scrubs, irregular brown marks along the edge. She wasn’t imagining things. He had burned her.

Taz kept glancing in the rear view mirror, and hit a curb as he pulled alongside a closed gas station-slash-mini mart, where painted blue circles delineated men’s and women’s restrooms. He shoved the car into park, twisted and laid one arm over the seat.

“Look what the skinny bitch was hiding under those baggy clothes.” Taz’s excited, bright eyes raked over Alyssa and fastened on her breasts as if he could see through her clothes. “Thought I felt a melon in there. Keep going, Creek. I wanna see that rack.”

Stomach in her throat, Alyssa scanned the area, searching for an escape route. For someone who could help her. But the gas station wasn’t closed as she’d first thought. It was abandoned. Tendrils of panic coiled around her lungs.

Creek put one big fist over the cloth around the chain between her hands, shoved the door open and dragged her across the seat. Would he beat her? Burn her? Kill her? She forced her mind back to the vulnerable areas of the body she would target: a fist to the temple, flat of the hand to the nose, knuckles to the philtrum, side chop to the adam’s apple—

“Keep watch,” Creek said to Taz as he pulled Alyssa to her feet and grabbed the smaller bag of clothes from the floorboard. “Don’t do anything. No stroll, no smoke. Nothing, got it?”

Taz jerked his chin. “Am I gonna get a piece of her when you’re through?”

“We’ll see.” Creek slammed the door and towed Alyssa toward the bathrooms.

No. She couldn’t go in there with him. She’d be trapped. But running wasn’t much of an option either. The landscape around the deserted gas station was a barren sea of flat dirt and scraggly shrubs. Nobody within screaming distance. No haven within running distance. But the approaching darkness might actually be her friend.

Without any solid plan, Alyssa gathered all her strength, drove down with both hands then jerked upward. To her utter shock, her hands wrenched free of his grip. A second seemed to float, suspended in time, before she could make her feet move.

As the surprise cleared from Creek’s face, he swiped a grab for her hands. Alyssa spun and pushed into a kick start. Gravel slipped beneath her feet. Creek grabbed the back of her tank. Fabric ripped. Bra snapped.  He whipped an arm around her waist. Twisted her body. Slung her over his shoulder. Just that quick, as if he’d done it countless times before.

“Fucking A,” he growled. “You are the biggest pain in the ass.”

“Let me go.” Alyssa beat on his back with the cuff edge, kicked her feet, twisted. Nothing loosened his grip. Nothing broke his stride. And his body heat had ramped up again.

Creek was still muttering as he kicked in the bathroom door. The bang made Alyssa flinch. Taz’s full-bellied laugh followed them until Creek slammed the door shut.

You can preorder your copy of FEVER at the following locations:
Amazon (print & Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (print & Nook)
Booksamillion



New FEVER Excerpt

>

When Dr. Alyssa Foster is taken hostage by a prison inmate, she knows she’s in deep trouble. Not just because Teague Creek is desperate for freedom, but because the moment his fingers brush against her skin, Alyssa feels a razor-sharp pang of need…

A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose. At least Teague doesn’t, until his escape plan developes a fatal flaw: alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives, he can only give her lies, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever…

A fun little excerpt from FEVER.

Setup: My hero, Teague Creek, has escaped prison with accomplice, Taz, a white supremacist, and taken my heroine, Alyssa Foster, hostage.  Alyssa has been terrorized by the ordeal and recently smacked across the face by Taz.  They are now driving along their escape route after narrowly missing being captured at a roadblock.  Alyssa has seen hints of Teague’s abnormal body heat, benefited from but disbelieves his healing abilities and senses a strange attraction to him.

Excerpt:  Alyssa rested her head against the car window, questions swirling in her brain like a dirt devil. Was she having some kind of chemical reaction to the metal? An allergy she hadn’t known of before? Sensitivity to a new cosmetic or medical supply?

Even with the cool glass pressed against her cheek, her face still felt like it was going to split. Although, she had to admit, the pain had ratcheted down after Creek had touched her, which was another oddity logic couldn’t explain. Along with the way her libido skyrocketed in reverse proportion to her pain.

This whole situation was beyond bizarre. She was caught somewhere between scared-out-of-her-mind and freaking-ready-to-jump-him every time he touched her.

Snapped. She’d finally snapped. Just like her mother and brothers said she would if she didn’t slow down. Didn’t ease up. Didn’t stop working and start living. What they’d never understood was that her work was her life. Only, maybe that’s where she’d gone wrong, because look where that had gotten her.

By the dashboard clock, they’d been driving an hour and a half. With every minute closer to nightfall, Alyssa’s anxiety amped. Her fatigue also dragged at her, not to mention the grind of her stomach reminding her she hadn’t eaten in nearly twenty hours. And the way her mind pinged around beneath her skull didn’t help with the developing stress headache.

Where were they going? Why did they keep her? What were they going to do to her? She found herself wondering about death, what it would be like to get to that final moment. Those lead to thoughts of her patients, ones she’d lost, ones she’d saved, which then lead back to her work and her future. And the circle started all over again.

Taz had mellowed with time and blaring classic rock. He sang along with an endless lung capacity, his chorus almost more painful than her throbbing face, aching wrists or morbid thoughts.

“Take me down to the Paradise City where the grass is green and the girls are pretty,” Taz belted, completely off key. “Oh, won’t you please take me hooowooome…”

Creek hadn’t looked at her for over an hour. At least not directly at her. He sat as far on the other side of the bench seat as he could get without climbing out of the car. Every time she moved so much as her little finger, he cast a surreptitious side-glance at her. Since the incident with the roadblock, he’d dropped the whole idea of her changing clothes, which was good. She was not getting naked, or even close to it, in this car with these guys. For any reason. Ever. Period.

Despite the sheer noise level and her mounting anxiety, Alyssa had to force her eyes to stay open, her mind to catalogue landmarks. She needed a plan. Several plans. One for every situation that held the possibility of escape. But right now her brain felt as numb as her butt and if she didn’t get blood flowing, she’d definitely pass out—Guns and Roses at a hundred and thirty decibels, or not.

Alyssa straightened away from the window. That one movement gave her Creek’s complete attention. He stiffened and twisted toward her, fingers curled into his hands, resting on his thighs. And she had to admit, he looked more human in street clothes. A lot more like one of those intriguing bad-boys. But she’d already seen the tattoos. She knew where he’d come from. He was not the typical good-looking, rough-around-the-edges man she liked. He had hurt her. Would hurt her again if he deemed necessary. Had told her so himself. Yet…something about him suggested that wasn’t entirely true. Maybe his attempts to ease her pain. Maybe his efforts to shield her from Taz. Of course, maybe it was just her own warped psyche bending reality.

She lifted her cuffed hands and gingerly peeled the tape off her lips, grimacing as it pulled at the tender skin. Creek made no move to stop her, only watched with a guarded expression.

She looked directly at him, meeting those very light, intense blue eyes. “I’m car sick, I’m hungry and I have to pee.”

One brow lifted. His mouth quirked. “You’re sick and hungry?”

With that one look, Creek turned into a regular guy off the street. Only he was a guy who would stop traffic. A guy who would warrant double-takes. A guy she would have tripped over herself to meet under normal circumstances. She had to glance down at her cuffed hands to get her head on straight. In less than a second the anger and fear swung back around full force.

“I always get sick in the back seat of a car,” she lied, “and I haven’t eaten since midnight. But more important, my bladder is going to burst if we don’t stop for a bathroom.”

Creek heaved a sigh and rubbed his eyes. “Stop somewhere, Taz. A quiet gas station with a bathroom in the back would be good.”

“Screw that,” Taz said. “Why should we give a shit about what she needs?”

“Because it was your decision to kidnap me, and it was your decision to keep me.” She’d had enough. The tension, the bizarre emotions, the uncertainty had turned her into someone who said and did irrational, extreme, uncontrollable things. Someone she didn’t care to recognize. “Now you have to deal with the consequences. As opposed to you, I’m human. I have human bodily needs. If you don’t address them, we’ll all be very uncomfortable, very soon.”

“Put the tape back on that big mouth of hers, Creek, or I’ll stuff it with something that’s sure to shut her up.”

Alyssa’s back went up. Her mouth opened to spew something fierce and foolish, she was sure. But someone touched her first. She jumped and turned toward Creek. His big, warm hand closed over her forearm with just enough force to send a message. The same message he delivered with that potent stare: don’t antagonize him.

He didn’t look away from Alyssa as he talked to Taz. “You find me a private bathroom, and I’ll make sure I tire her out good.”

Alyssa jerked her arm back. Why she’d thought for a flicker of an instant they were on the same side she didn’t know, but his nasty retort put everything in perspective. When would she learn men were all the same? Crude. Selfish. Controlling. Competitive. Self-serving.

And these men were the worst of the worst.

“What’s wrong with what you got, Creek? If I’d known you were gonna waste all this time, I’d have made you drive. I know just how to fill a couple hours with a dink like that.”

Alyssa’s throat convulsed. The thought of rape pushed at the edges of her mind, but she shoved it right back out. Someone would die first. And it wouldn’t be her. She’d already catalogued every possible way she could use her own body to end another’s life, because her body was her only weapon.

“Just take the first exit with a gas station once you hit highway five,” Creek said. “Pick the lousiest dive you can find.”

“This is a shit hole, man, everything is a dive. Nothing but niggers and spics live here.”

“Just find something and stop.”

They slowed and traveled down the ramp. Taz hummed with anticipated trouble. “I don’t like it.”

Alyssa shifted in her seat. She did have to pee—bad—but, more, she needed to develop a plan for when they stopped. “How long?”

“Couple minutes.” Creek surveyed her, mouth turned down in disapproval. “Take off your shirt.”

She scrunched one side of her face in contempt. “No.”

“The blue thing has the hospital logo on it.” He gestured at her with one careless hand. “Everyone’s going to be looking for you in those…”

“Scrubs,” she finished for him. “And, let me rephrase so you understand—hell no.”

He met her eyes with determination and a set jaw. “Take it off, or I’ll take it off for you.”

“Aw, yeah,” Taz piped up. “Now we’re gettin’ some action.”

Alyssa had to press her mouth tight to keep from telling the idiot to shut up. When she made no move toward taking her shirt off, Creek slid over the vinyl bench and snagged the hem that had come untucked hours ago.

Alyssa leaned away, her cuffed hands pushing at his. A sweep of panic heated her chest. “No. Don’t. Leave me alone.”

Taz laughed and chanted “go-go-go”.

Creek grabbed the back of her shirt and pulled it up and over her head. Then yanked the fabric down her forearms to rest in a bundle where her hands came together in the cuffs. The cool air prickled her skin beneath the white tank top remaining. She curled in on herself to keep the exposure to a minimum. That’s when she noticed the hole in her scrubs, irregular brown marks along the edge. She wasn’t imagining things. He had burned her.

Taz kept glancing in the rear view mirror, and hit a curb as he pulled alongside a closed gas station-slash-mini mart, where painted blue circles delineated men’s and women’s restrooms. He shoved the car into park, twisted and laid one arm over the seat.

“Look what the skinny bitch was hiding under those baggy clothes.” Taz’s excited, bright eyes raked over Alyssa and fastened on her breasts as if he could see through her clothes. “Thought I felt a melon in there. Keep going, Creek. I wanna see that rack.”

Stomach in her throat, Alyssa scanned the area, searching for an escape route. For someone who could help her. But the gas station wasn’t closed as she’d first thought. It was abandoned. Tendrils of panic coiled around her lungs.

Creek put one big fist over the cloth around the chain between her hands, shoved the door open and dragged her across the seat. Would he beat her? Burn her? Kill her? She forced her mind back to the vulnerable areas of the body she would target: a fist to the temple, flat of the hand to the nose, knuckles to the philtrum, side chop to the adam’s apple—

“Keep watch,” Creek said to Taz as he pulled Alyssa to her feet and grabbed the smaller bag of clothes from the floorboard. “Don’t do anything. No stroll, no smoke. Nothing, got it?”

Taz jerked his chin. “Am I gonna get a piece of her when you’re through?”

“We’ll see.” Creek slammed the door and towed Alyssa toward the bathrooms.

No. She couldn’t go in there with him. She’d be trapped. But running wasn’t much of an option either. The landscape around the deserted gas station was a barren sea of flat dirt and scraggly shrubs. Nobody within screaming distance. No haven within running distance. But the approaching darkness might actually be her friend.

Without any solid plan, Alyssa gathered all her strength, drove down with both hands then jerked upward. To her utter shock, her hands wrenched free of his grip. A second seemed to float, suspended in time, before she could make her feet move.

As the surprise cleared from Creek’s face, he swiped a grab for her hands. Alyssa spun and pushed into a kick start. Gravel slipped beneath her feet. Creek grabbed the back of her tank. Fabric ripped. Bra snapped.  He whipped an arm around her waist. Twisted her body. Slung her over his shoulder. Just that quick, as if he’d done it countless times before.

“Fucking A,” he growled. “You are the biggest pain in the ass.”

“Let me go.” Alyssa beat on his back with the cuff edge, kicked her feet, twisted. Nothing loosened his grip. Nothing broke his stride. And his body heat had ramped up again.

Creek was still muttering as he kicked in the bathroom door. The bang made Alyssa flinch. Taz’s full-bellied laugh followed them until Creek slammed the door shut.

You can preorder your copy of FEVER at the following locations:
Amazon (print & Kindle)
Barnes & Noble (print & Nook)
Booksamillion



>Review of A TOUCH OF CRIMSON, Sylvia Day Interview + Giveaway!!

>I’m excited to have Sylvia Day here today! The first book I ever read of Sylvia’s was Pride and Pleasure, her February historical romance release. I was beyond entertained; I was impressed. So much so that I wrote a detailed review of Pride and Pleasure on Savvy Authors. As many of you know, I’m a lover of craft, and was thrilled to find not only how much stellar craft Sylvia utilizes in her writing, but how she manipulates those elements to take her storytelling to the highest level.

I was excited (though not surprised) to find that same level of mastery in A TOUCH OF CRIMSON. Really fabulous books are always more difficult to review, not unlike they are to write. All the elements intertwine and play off each other to weave an intricate tapestry of plot and subplot, emotion and intellect, character and setting. I toyed with the idea of making this a two-part review, but decided to spare you my blathering and hit the high points of what I loved most about A TOUCH OF CRIMSON.

Comment or ask Sylvia a question to enter to win:
1) A copy of A TOUCH OF CRIMSON
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks

A TOUCH OF CRIMSONAn angel with immense power and insatiable desire, Adrian Mitchell leads an elite Special Ops unit of the seraphim. His task is to punish the Fallen–angels who have become vampires–and command a restless pack of indentured lycans.

But Adrian has suffered his own punishment for becoming involved with mortals–losing the woman he loves again and again. Now, after nearly two hundred years, he has found her: Shadoe, her soul once more inhabiting a new body that doesn’t remember him. This time he won’t let her go.

With no memory of her past as Shadoe, Lindsay Gibson knows only that she can’t help being fiercely attracted to the smoldering, seductive male who crosses her path. Swept into a dangerous world of tumultuous passion and preternatural conflict, Lindsay is soon caught between her angel lover, her vampire father, and a full-blown lycan revolt. There’s more at stake than her love and her life–she could lose her very soul…

My Review:
A TOUCH OF CRIMSON begins with action and intensity–my favorite way to get things going. Immediately, I recognized the depth and number of characters. As this is the first book in a paranormal series, the ground work must be laid. This is often a difficult task, and in the hands of a lesser writer, would surely confuse, if not lose, readers. But Sylvia creates a world filled with various species, the Sentinels, the Lycan and the Fallen, and rules governing those species’, yet never makes the complex complicated.

This also shows how Sylvia trusts her readers, how she respects their ability to follow her threads, pick up her clues, utilize their intelligence to soak up all the information she’s offering. I respect an author who believes her readers are sophisticated and intelligent and writes to that audience.

With her lyrical prose and fresh description, Sylvia guides the reader expertly through each group’s description, culture, powers and conflicts. She deftly illustrates how each species is both at odds with and in need of the others, outlining a tight web of conflict, all while moving the story forward with action and spicy dialogue.

When you look below at Sylvia’s answer to the question on creating villains, you may understand why I found the villains in A TOUCH OF CRIMSON so gripping. They felt more developed to me than most villains. A familial-type group much like the Sentinals or the Lycans, the Fallen have suffered immensely – the head of the family, a fallen angel, has lost his wings at the hands of Adrian, who himself says it was wrong to take them. And Syre’s son, Torque, who losses his wife at the beginning of the story, again at Adrian’s hands. Their loss and suffering make them sympathetic villains – my favorite kind.

The heroine in A TOUCH OF CRIMSON, Lindsey, is as wounded as the rest of the crew, though you’d never know it with her kick ass attitude. She never backs down, but is driven to hunt by memories of her beloved mother slain by vamps when she was a child. There is something deep inside that tells her she has an obligation to utilize her given abilities to right this tragic wrong, all of which made her very empathetic.

Adrian, the hero, is suffering penance for his history of wrong-doings by losing the love of his life–Shadoe in Lindsey’s body with no memory of Adrian–over and over again. He is fighting her father, the villain, for her love, an age-old conflict that tugs at heartstrings. Each man believes he’s doing the right thing for her, each says he is doing it out of supreme love for her, yet each hold their own private agenda – it’s like a train wreck from which you can’t look away, hoping to see survivors emerge from the wreckage.

The complexity of species and cultures crossing in this novel makes for many unexpected twists and turns during the course of the story. And while the questions for A TOUCH OF CRIMSON are answered within this book, many others remain, dragging the reader’s interest to future books. Numerous well defined secondary characters and intriguing story lines make this first of the series rich in its own right, while priming the reader for the series as a whole, because after reading A TOUCH OF CRIMSON, you won’t be able to stay away from the remainder of the trilogy.

Sylvia’s Interview:
What sparked the idea for this book/series?
Really, the idea was sparked by a combination of an editor and my existing Marked series. The editor sent a note to my agent saying that if I wrote a paranormal romance series with alpha heroes, she wanted to see it. My Marked series is where I’d introduced my Dominion world, which encompasses the entire hierarchy of angels. The Marked series focused on the lowest sphere and I always knew I was going to explore the other spheres and ranks at some point. The editor’s prodding had me thinking along paranormal romance lines and the story of the Watcher angels struck me. Angels who fell from the heavens for lust and love. How could I not write about that? It’s just too awesome. In the end, the editor who prodded me forward with the idea isn’t the editor who won the auction for the series, but I’m grateful to her all the same and always will be. The idea was there in my mind, but she gave me the impetus to get it down on paper now rather than later.

What is your strategy in creating villains?
I’m not sure I have a strategy, but I try to see my villains as complete characters, like my H/h. Unless they’re mental defectives, they’ll have facets of their character that aren’t horrible. They’ll have things they care about, things they’ll fight for. They can cry and feel pain, they have dreams and disappointments. Ideally, I like to understand their motivation—maybe even relate to it—even if their means doesn’t at all justify the end they’re going for.

Tell us something unusual about the creation/execution of this book:
The Renegade Angels series is a trilogy. Now, a trilogy can either be a set of three individual works that are connected by characters and/or theme, or it can be a single work divided into three parts. The latter is what the Renegade Angels series is–one story, divided over three books. That’s been a rocky road to travel, because I have to answer some questions in each book, but not all. Each book features a different couple and their romance, with each couple picking up the baton from the couple before as they all race to the finish. I have to set up each book so that a reader could pick up #2 or #3 and get the gist, but since it took an entire book to tell Act #1 and Act #2, I don’t have the room to rehash what’s already happened in detail. And all three heroes are also antagonists, which means there are shades of heroism and villainy in each one.

What do you love most about this book/series?
The characters are so many shades of gray. They surprise me all the time. And it’s a challenge to write. I’ve never tackled anything with this type of construction before.

Are You A Window Person Or An Aisle Person?
Aisle. I don’t like having to ask someone to get out of my way, because then I’m dependent upon them to be polite and do so. Plus I don’t care what’s out the window; my nose is in a book and I’m not looking anyway.

Are You Afraid Of Heights?
Yes, I am. *shudder*

Comment or ask Sylvia a question to enter to win:
1) A copy of A TOUCH OF CRIMSON
2) 1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
International
**MUST** leave a contact email to WIN

Author Bio:
Sylvia Day is the national bestselling, award-winning author of over a dozen novels written across multiple sub-genres — contemporary, fantasy, historical, futuristic, science fiction, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy — under multiple pen names: three! A wife and mother of two, she is a former Russian linguist for the U.S. Army Military Intelligence.

Sylvia is a lifelong California resident who loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her to Japan, Holland, Germany, France, Mexico, Jamaica, and all over the United States. Born in Los Angeles, she grew up in Orange County (the O.C.), and later lived in Monterey, Oceanside, and the Temecula Valley.

She is a Japanese-American who enjoys the many Japanese cultural events in Southern California as well as frequent family jaunts to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Sea World. Her childhood career aspirations were few — become a dolphin trainer at Sea World or a bestselling novelist. Obviously, the dolphin trainer career took a back seat.