9:36 AM

In the Author Spotlight
Leah Braemel

CONTEST: I am offering one lucky commenter a copy of my novel Personal Protection (their choice of e-format). Please make sure to leave a comment along with your email addy so I can contact you if you win. :-)

AL: Hi Leah! Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.
So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Leah: Hmm, my life is pretty much wrapped up in writing these days. If I’m not writing, I’m ferrying my two sons around making sure they’re ready to head back to school. My youngest son heads back to school on the 8th. Technically he graduated high school in June (though the grad’s being held in October), but he’s going back for an extra year to do a co-op program. (Since the Ontario government cancelled Grade 13 a few years back, they have the option to taking an extra year to prepare for college.) My eldest who finished his college course in Computer Animation a few years ago but hasn’t found a job in his field, will also be going back to school to become an electrical apprentice.

AL: What’s on the bookshelf for us to read?

Leah: I currently have two stories published through Samhain Publishing – an erotic romance novella called Private Property, and a sequel to that, a full length novel, Personal Protection.

AL: Anything new in the works?

Leah: I’ve got several irons in the fire at the moment. I sold Personal Protection as the start of the Hauberk Protection series (although Private Property is a sort of prequel), so I’ve got the next in the series in the works, and several more outlined. I also have an erotic romance novella that I’m just polishing up to send in to my new editor. *fingers crossed*

AL: What do you like best about writing? What is your least favorite thing?

Leah: Best thing? That I can put to good use the little voices that have been telling me stories in my head for years ;) They like to be listened to. My least favorite thing is getting the little voices to co-operate and talk when I want them to. Some days they are awful quiet and it takes a lot of poking with a sharp stick to get them to co-operate.

AL: Who are some of your favorite authors?

Leah: For worldbuilding, there’s no one like Tolkien. But of contemporary writers? Patricia Briggs is probably highest on my list, followed by Ann Aguirre. Maya Banks and Lorelei James are auto buys. And thanks to Twitter, Victoria Dahl – a new discovery for me – is quickly becoming a favorite.

AL: Okay, now it’s time to get personal. My favorite season is here and I’m excited that my beloved Missouri Tigers will be taking the field in a few weeks. Who’s your favorite football team? (Don’t like football? I forgive you.) Is there any other sport or team you follow?

Leah: Oh oh – I’m not a football fan. I follow the Toronto Blue Jays (on occasion) and keep an eye on the Toronto Maple Leafs, but basically the only sports that gets turned to on a regular basis in this house (and I am NOT in charge of the remote) is golf. (Yes, I can hear the snores now. And yes, they’re often my own.)

AL: What is this romance writer's idea of the "perfect romantic evening"?

Leah: Wow, I think that depends upon the person, or for me, even depends upon my mood. Sometimes just sitting on the couch watching my favorite moving snuggled up to my hubby can be a perfect romantic evening. But for those extra special nights – I’d start with a wonderful meal at a restaurant (so I don’t have to cook or have dishes to worry about afterward), followed by a stay in a resort or B&B where you have the use of a private hot tub. Add a glass of wine (or two), lots of quiet conversation with your significant other, then the ability to retire to a comfortable king sized bed with no kids around – Heaven.

AL: Best movie you've seen recently?

Leah: The Proposal with Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock. Though I was totally bummed out to discover that beautiful mountain vista behind the bay was all CGId 

AL: If you kissed a frog, what would he turn into?

Leah: My husband? Okay, let’s get a bit more imagination (though I really am happily married) If I kissed a frog, he would turn into … probably whatever hero I’m currently working on (I always fall in love with the hero, LOL.) They’re always tall, their hair color varies – though my current hero in my WIP is dark haired; he’d have grey eyes and be prepared to protect me while respecting me. Hmm, yup, I’ve just described my husband again. Well, except for the hair. It used to be dark, now it’s … well, we just say it’s getting lighter-colored highlights all on its own ;)

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Leah: I’ve got one on my webpage that embodies my two worlds: Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination. ~Voltaire I used to do special pulled thread embroidery for an English designer, and since I write romance, it really fits. Stories are very much like the designs I sew – they’re often layered, and have all sorts of threads that have to weave together until finally you can stand back and see the grand design.

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with joining us this week, Leah.

Leah: Thanks for having me, Ann. I’ve had fun answering your questions.

AL: If you’d like to find out more about Leah please visit:




She can cover him with one hand tied behind her back. Maybe two.

Hauberk Protection, Book 2

Sam Watson excels at keeping other people safe. Now a stalker is targeting him, but so what? A few doctored photos and a couple threatening phone calls are no big deal. He can watch his own back. Then again, the view from behind the sexy spitfire assigned to protect him isn’t so bad…

Rosalinda Ramos has managed to keep her attraction to Hauberk Security’s owner tightly under wraps. It’s just as well he doesn’t know. One slip—in the bedroom or on the job—will cost her her heart and her career, so she’s got only one thing on her mind. Protect Sam, whether he wants it or not.

The stakes—and the heat—rise exponentially when she discovers Sam belongs to an exclusive sex club—one she must investigate for potential suspects. Suddenly she finds herself immersed in a world that pushes her boundaries.

Sam delights in leading Rosie deep into his sexual shadows—until they go one game too far. Making him wonder if he can allow the woman he loves to take a bullet for him.


To read an excerpt from Hauberk Protection please visit: http://www.leahbraemel.com/personalprotection.html

Remember to enter the contest for a chance to win.

11:21 AM


Due to the recession in 2009, the government will
start deporting all the mentally ill people to save money.

I started crying when I thought of you.

Run my little crazy friend, run!

Well, what can I say???
Someone sent this to me,
and dammit, I'm NOT
going alone!!?

9:17 AM

Wednesday's Witty Words
from Wise Women

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.

It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions.
It is your business to . . . keep the channel open . . . . Whether you choose to take an art class, keep a journal, record your dreams, dance your story, or live each day from your own creative source, above all else, keep the channel open!

- Martha Graham

8:59 AM

In the Author Spotlight

Melissa Lopez

AL: Hi Melissa! Thanks for being in the "Author Spotlight" this week.
Melissa: Ann thank you so very much for allowing me this opportunity to share some of my work.

AL: So, tell us what's happening with you.

Melissa: Real life? I'm recently divorced. I was married 15 yrs so being single again is quite a change in my life.

AL: Shifters, soul tainting fends, Australian hunks...oh my! What new releases do you have for us to sink our teeth into?

Melissa: My latest release is a print anthology titled Love Down Under. It contains my first two Australian stories Boomerang Love and Riptide Love.

AL: You write different genres, do you favor one genre over another?

Melissa: Not really I love all genres I write. I just write in genre that my characters tell me.

AL: What do you feel is the most important thing that a first-time author should know?

Melissa: Borrowing from the fabulous Jennifer Crusie...first time authors should know who there real friends are before they make it. A good support system in place for a writer's journey is invaluable.

AL: What do you hope for your writing career in the next few years? Any goals that you have yet to obtain that you have set for yourself?

Melissa: I'd like to publish as many stories as life allows. I want to do right by my characters and their worlds. And I eventually want to sale to a New York publisher...

AL: Now for the fun stuff? Sometimes people envision an author's life as being really glamorous. I like to set them straight, so tell us what's the most unglamours thing you've done in the past week?

Melissa: Hmm..I scrubbed my bathrooms today. Cleaned my front windows. Oh, and changed lil' Jax's diaper.

AL: If you had to go live on an island for six months, which three things would you HAVE to take with you?

Melissa: Besides being stranded with someone capable of surviving on a deserted island I'd want my computer. And I'd want the survivalist stuck with me to pick the third item. :-)

AL: If your muse were to talk behind you back, what secrets would he/she tell?

Melissa: Oh, she'd tell that I can be very submissive in my life.

AL: You're the actress in a must see blockbuster movie that everyone's been waiting all summer for. 1) What's the movie aboue? 2) Who's your character? 3) And who's your leading man?

Melissa: The movie would be a action adventure with myself as the female lead. Leading man? Oh, Hugh Jackman. Er...or maybe Daniel Craig...Or Clive Owen...Oh, no, it'd have to be...Viggo Mortensen...They're all just dreamy and excellent actors. It's their accents. I love them.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Melissa: "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." Mae West

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with joining us this week, Melissa.

Melissa: You're welcome. Thanks again for having me.

AL: If you'd like to find out more about Melissa please visit:



Boomerang Love (The Thorns 1)

Take a walkabout on the wild side.

When you toss a bommerang, you know it will come back. But all bets are off when it's a lover you've let go.

Cohen thorn and Hayleigh Davenport shared one night of wild sex neither of them can forget, then went their seperate ways half a world apart. But now Hayleigh's back in Australia for one more weekend of passion. If she can't get this Outback rancher out of her system once and for all, she'll at least have memories to last a lifetime.

They've only got three days to steam up Sydney and the Outback, but in for the place known as Never-Never, anything can happen. Soon they realize there's a powerful force drawing them together.

Is it simple lust, or lasting love?

Riptide Love (The Thorns 2)

Caught in love's undertow...

Rescue swimmer Ethan Thorn is used to pulling people from the swirl of the ocean, but he never expected to pull a woman straight out of his past. Denae Button was the first woman who meant more to him than great sex, until he realized she was his brother's finacee. Now the one woman he hoped never to see again is back - with the three-year-old son he never knew he had.

Denae knows she's made her share of mistakes, especially when it comes to the Thorn brothers. Royally screwed up by her religious-zealot parents, now she just wants to be a good mother. She doesn't want anything to do with Ethan - and she knows the feeling is mutual - but she can't deny him a chance to know his son. Even if facing the Thorn family means confronting a past she'd rather leave behind.

A resurging riptide of love drags Ethan and Danea back into each other's arms. But exposing the secrets that nearly destroyed the Thorn family could tear them apart for good.

8:50 AM

Wednesdays' Witty Words
from Wise Women

In order to have great happiness, you have to
have great pain and unhappiness - otherwise
how would you know when you're happy?

- Leslie Caron

9:17 AM

Words from

As you climb the ladder of success,
don't let the boys look up your dress!

- Jenifer Bunis, Exec. Vice President

9:16 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

Cora Zane

CONTEST: Cora will be giving away a goodie bag with chocolates, tea, and signed author book cards and bookmarks from my Werekind Series to one lucky winner. Please make sure to leave you email addy so Cora can contact you if you win.

AL: Hi Cora! Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

Cora: Thank you for inviting me.

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.
Cora: I’ve been catching up on reading and trying to enjoy what’s left of the summer before school starts. My TBR stack has dwindled some, thankfully, and I’ve finally caught up on the DVDs I’ve bought over the past few months that have been sitting on the shelf with the wrapping still on them.

AL: Vampires and wolves. Yum yum! Care to tell us about your recent releases?

Cora: I’ve had quite a few recent releases. Feral Instinct came out in Ravenous Romance’s Rekindled Fire anthology in April, I believe. That story features Adriana Holt, one of the supporting characters in my free erotic werewolf story Under a Midnight Moon.

In May, Moonlight and Shadows was released at Cobblestone Press. It’s a continuation of the Werekind Series, only I shifted the series to another locale and a rivalry between two new packs in this book. The Istvaan and Dartega packs are based out of the Shreveport-Bossier City area (Louisiana), which is where I spent my summers as a teenager. I thought it would be fun to write about urban werewolves since all of my previous Werekind stories have revolved around rural settings.

I’ve also had two erotica stories come out since June, both with Cobblestone Press. Wicked Desires is a short, vampire erotica, and a loose sequel to Wicked Temptation. It’s a graphic erotica story that delves into the hidden lifestyle of an acolyte as she presents herself as a potential protégé to a vampire. The story is very dark, and I know that it isn’t going to be for everyone, but I’m pleased with the way it turned out, nonetheless. No crying, brooding vampires with this one. Serge Dmitriev is centuries old, wealthy, sophisticated, and he knows exactly what he wants from a woman. Liliana Ashton is a born acolyte into the vampire realm, one looking to secure her bloodline for another generation. They both want something from the other, and plan to use seduction as a means to get it.

The other erotica story I mentioned, Wave Rider, came out in July. It’s a contemporary story about a woman who goes on vacation and meets two sexy surfers who teach her the meaning of “body rides”. This story is my going favorite right now. It gives you the romance of a holiday affair between mature people who know their time together is limited. I truly love this story.

AL: What got you so gung-ho on vamps and shifters?

Cora: I grew up reading comic books and horror novels. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that I realized the stories I liked best had strong romantic elements in them. Once I worked out that you can have vampires and shifters in a romance, my book preference changed and I became a romance reader.

AL: Out of all your stories do you have one that is more near and dear to your heart?
Cora: I’m constantly changing my mind about favorites, but right now, the story dearest to my heart is definitely Wave Rider, which is a romantic, contemporary erotica story rather than a paranormal.

I think I like this one so much because given the situation, the feelings of the characters seem especially genuine. Sunny, Paulo, and Matteo make a strong connection from the start, and yet they know their time together is short. That being the case, they make it a point to spend every moment they can together, focusing on the simple and pleasurable things that, when you think about it, can only serve to deepen their affections for one another.

The setup itself is pure fantasy, but you could still believe this is something that could actually happen to someone. It’s beautiful, and at the same time, a little sad.

AL: What do you hope for your writing career in the next few years? Any goals that you have yet to obtain that you have set for yourself?

Cora: I plan to keep writing, although I’m focusing on longer fiction now. I just finished writing a futuristic romance novel that I’m preparing to shop around. I don’t think I’ll ever give up writing short stories, but I’ve put off writing full length because, until recently, I just didn’t feel ready. I think I’ve finally reached the expansion point. With this next book, I’m hoping to step out and spread my wings a bit, but overall, as long as characters continue to show up to talk to me, I’ll keep writing down what they have to say.

AL: Okay, let’s get to the nitty gritty…If you had to write yourself as a villain, what kind of villain would you be? What would you be named?

Cora: Hm. I’d be something inconspicuous, for sure. Maybe a demon or a shape shifter... Whatever the form, I’d definitely write myself in as a vicious personality hidden in a casual package. I figure if you’re going to be the villain, you better be good at hiding the fact. As for a name…I’m not really sure. I’d likely choose something unusual, maybe Imari or Jessamin.

AL: You have just won five thousand dollars! But...you have to spend it all today. What will you buy?

Cora: At the moment, I’d have to use that 5k to pay bills, haha. But if I were actually in some kind of financial shape to be selfish with money, I’d book a guided hiking tour across Europe. For me, that would be the trip of a lifetime.

AL: You’re the actress in a must see blockbuster movie that everyone’s been waiting all summer for. 1) What’s the movie about? 2) Who’s your character? 3) And who’s your leading man?

Cora: Without a doubt, the movie would be about some kind of zombie apocalypse. I don’t know what it is about those movies, but I can’t get enough! That being the case, I hope I’d be the character who runs fast and carries a very big gun.

As for my leading man, I’d want either Gary Oldman or Callum Keith Rennie in there, keeping watch with me. I can only hope I wouldn’t be terribly distracted in the presence of so much manly hotness. After all, I wouldn’t want to trip over my own feet and end up as zombie kibbles.

AL: The Howling or Lost Boys?

Cora: Oh, now that’s just cruel. I love both movies. But I guess if I have to choose one to watch over and over again for all eternity, I better go with The Howling.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Cora: “I’m not trying to reach everyone, just reach like-minded souls.” ~Stobie Piel (author) I’ve had that quote on my blog for several years now, and it’s just as meaningful to me now as when I first discovered it posted on her website. Whenever I have a moment of doubt about my writing, I recite those words to myself. They lift me up.

AL: Thanks so much for joining us this week, Cora.

Cora: It’s been a pleasure. Thank you for having me. :0)
AL: If you’d like to find out more about Cora please visit:



Two Werekind packs teeter on the edge of war. Someone has killed the Istvaan alpha, and Sylvie won't rest until justice is served. Forced into a meeting with her greatest rival, she’s shocked to discover her mate is none other than the Dartega alpha’s right hand man—his assassin, Erik. Sylvie realizes she’ll never be able to claim her true mate, but there are other, more important things to do than mourn a broken heart.
There's just one problem. Erik has waited a long time to find her, and pack affiliations mean nothing to a man on the hunt.


Under the cover of nightfall, the Dartega estate looked like a stone fortress guarded by iron gates. The manor sat atop a hillock overlooking the eighteenth green of the Stonebridge Terrace golf course, cold and impenetrable, with spotlights beaming up at the lower façade of the house.
Sylvie had been watching the house for half an hour, and although an amber glow burned beyond the gothic-style windows of the main floor, she saw no indication that anyone was actually home. She lifted her nose to the wind, hoping to dispel some of the house’s secrets, but she smelled only the chlorophyll green of the grass and trees, and the dusky odor of rich soil. Underlying that, the common city smells: smog, asphalt, and exhaust fumes―nothing remarkable.

Perhaps that was the reason the Dartega agreed to meet them here, upwind of the house, no access to the private cul-de-sac that lead into and off of their property. Nothing important seemed detectable from this distance, no entrances and no vulnerabilities.

Sylvie had known of the location of the Dartega pack den all her life, but this was the first time she’d ever set eyes on it for herself. Her brother had never seen it, and as far as she knew, neither had their father.

I'm the first, she thought, and her skin prickled at the dubious honor. How odd that she should be the one standing here now, on rival pack territory, sizing up the enemy’s domain.

“I’m telling you, they’re not coming,” Baird complained, and Sylvie glanced over her shoulder to see the young blond werewolf fidgeting, staring off in the direction of the maintenance parking lot where they’d left their cars.

Tynan dusted off his hands as he rose up from where he crouched at the base of a tree.

“They’ll come,” he said with dread in his voice. “They have to. We’re less than a two hundred feet from their den.”

“They’re watching us right now,” Bastien stated in a flat tone, and although Sylvie didn’t say so, she believed he was right.

The five of them waited together in a sheltered spot along the outer fringes of the rough. Here, deliberate rows of towering fir trees grew, an obstacle separating the eighteenth green from the rest of the course. The open yet out-of-the-way area might have been peaceful if not for the obvious dangers, but all things considered, the meeting spot felt like a deathtrap.

She’d vehemently disagreed with Bastien’s plan to meet their enemies here. Too much hinged on the honor of the Dartega alpha to take such risks. The arrangements were too one-sided. The Dartega’s men might very well emerge and kill them all where they stood, and after so many years of conflict between their packs, who would be surprised?

She looked up at the gauzy clouds stretched out across the sky like pulled cotton and found the bright disk of the moon glowing behind the haze. Restless energy buzzed through her. Anxiety. If only she could get through this mess tonight, in three days time the moon would be totally full, and she could insure that nothing like this ever happened again. In as many days she would choose a mate and take her rightful place among the pack, leaving Bastien no longer capable of holding her under his thumb.

Nerves stretched thin from weeks of stressing over the inevitable, she closed her eyes and resisted a primal urge to howl, to strip down to her bare skin and let the transformation take place. Her inner beast longed to emerge and reign free, but Sylvie restrained herself, tamped down the need. Shifting now would put them in even greater danger, especially since Bastien had given his word they would come to the Dartega in human form.

She’d just turned her attention back on the house when Garrett clamped a hard hand on her arm. Looking up at his scarred face, she saw he stared straight ahead, his pale eyes narrowed on something down the fairway. Sylvie followed his line of vision, and shrill unease scraped through her as several large black wolves emerged soundlessly from a stand of boundary trees less than twenty feet away. Bastien had been right all along. The alpha’s men must’ve been there for some time, watching them, lying in wait.

Red eyes flashed in the darkness as the seven lupines loped out of their hiding places. They fanned out in an offensive pattern that blocked off the path to their cars, a formation that made Sylvie’s entire body bristle with alarm.

She’d expected them to arrive in human form, fully clothed for a civilized meeting, but apparently they had other ideas. Forget the pleasantries; it seemed the Dartega pack intended to use their home field advantage in every possible way.

Teeth bared and grumbling lowly, the wolves stopped maybe twelve feet away from them, and a cool sweat popped out across Sylvie’s skin. If anything went wrong, there wouldn’t be time to shift before the males launched at them, brought them down and rent them to shreds in a coordinated effort. At best she might be able to transform partly, use her claws to defend herself for a little while, but that was a long shot, and she was sure they knew that even now.

The muscles in her left thigh twitched, urging her to embrace the change, but she ignored the instinct and waited for a clearer sign from the enemies. Beside her, a low growl rumbled in Garrett’s chest.

“Hold your form unless they attack,” Bastien snapped, and behind them, a man’s brusque laughter rang out.

“You would be dead right now if they planned to attack.”

Sylvie turned to face the source of that curt male voice and saw three dark-haired men dressed entirely in black striding toward them―the alpha flanked by two tall, powerfully built subordinates.

Bastien snarled in displeasure. “We came here in good faith, Niccolo.”

“Then I pray you’ll accept my apologies,” the pack leader, Niccolo Dartega, replied.

“Good faith isn’t exactly a reliable quality these days.”

The trio came to a stop under the tree, and the scent of distrust and hatred clung to them like pungent cologne.

Sylvie’s attention went directly to the alpha, their biggest threat. Black-haired and dusky-skinned, Niccolo stood directly in front of Bastien, his posture imposing, his height matching Bastien’s six foot stature eye-to-eye. “You are―?”

“Bastien Weiss-Istvaan.”

“So you’re Lange’s replacement.”

“I do the best I can.”

“Then I fear for your pack,” he said in return. “Only a novice would call a fool meeting such as this.”

The insult hit its mark. Bastien stiffened visibly, and for a moment his eyes flashed an angry, reflective red. “Someone’s hunting us. Our true alpha is dead―“

“And you would have me do what? Find the killer for you? Open my territory, perhaps, and let anyone come and go as they please so you can investigate, even interrogate members of my pack?” Niccolo scoffed. “To be kind, Lange’s death was untimely, but on the other hand”—he raised his arms out at his sides and shook his head—“it’s not my problem.”

Bastien’s face closed in censure, but those cruel words about Lange stung Sylvie like a slap to the face. It’s too soon. I shouldn’t have come....

She inhaled sharply, stifling a sob. At the same time, she battled an ominous spike of anger. It would be foolish to react, to show her weakness. Instead, she swallowed hard, internalizing the pain of loss until only a dull ache remained.

When she looked up again, she glanced at Bastien, who watched Niccolo with hooded eyes, the taut lines of his mouth drawn into a frown of stark hatred. Heat flared in her face. She couldn’t help but feel embarrassed for him. He looked bullied in the face of the Dartega, threatened, and not at all like the alpha male he pretended to be.

She’d never seen a male look so unmatched, and despite her dislike of him and the way he’d been leading their pack for the past few weeks, she didn’t wish this kind of humiliation on anyone.

“Regardless of what you think of me,” Bastien bit out, “my concern is for our pack’s safety. I can’t ignore what’s been going on.”

“So you came to ask me if I ordered someone to take out your alpha, is that it?” Niccolo raised his brows. When Bastien didn’t answer, Niccolo's mouth quirked into a grim smiled. “I see. Well, as much as I’d love to claim that honor, sadly, I cannot.”

“And you’re sure no one from your pack―“

“Are you questioning my ability as an alpha?” Niccolo snarled, revealing a flash of sharp, white teeth.

“Not at all,” Bastien answered quickly. “My intention is to find a killer―”

“One that you seem to think is residing in my pack.” Niccolo’s eyes sparked with fury.

“I can’t speak for Istvaan loyalty, but I can assure you no one goes against my orders, Bastien Weiss. I am the law here.”

“No one doubts that,” Sylvie interjected loudly before the discussion could sink any further south. The Dartega’s shrewd gaze zeroed in on her, and she lowered her eyes, her voice, in respect. “No one here doubts your authority, Mr. Dartega. Rather, I think what Bastien is trying to say is that these killings seem to have nothing to do with territory or dominance, or even allegiance to an alpha.” She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “The fact is we have no idea who’s killing the males in our pack.”

Tension throbbed on the air and coiled inside her. The Dartega turned toward her.

“And who are you exactly?”

“I’m Sylvie,” she said simply. No way in hell was she about to tell him her last name. “Nobody’s accusing you or your pack of killing Lange; nevertheless, someone did murder him. Someone who studied him, knew his routine, and in the end, tracked him down and killed him.”

He sneered. “And as I have said only moments ago, that’s not my―“

“―problem, yes, I realize you feel this way,” she said and stood rigid when he walked toward her. “And maybe you’re right. Maybe this has nothing to do with you or the Dartegas; maybe these deaths plaguing our pack are nothing more than random acts of violence. Unfortunate coincidences. But even you can’t ignore the fact that it’s not just Lange we’re talking about.
Three of our council members are dead as well. What if this killer―or killers, since there might very well be more than one of them―What if they’re human?”

Niccolo watched her a moment, black eyes blazing. “Well, go on; I’m listening.”

“Human hunters won’t distinguish one pack from another. If they can corner one of us and kill us, they’ll do it. And if they’ve somehow figured out who we are, or who our alphas are, if that’s why they took out Lange―” She swallowed over the sudden lump in her throat. “You and your pack could be in just as much danger as ours.”

A shrewd smile crossed Niccolo’s face. He glanced at the man on his left. “Hear that, Erik? Leave it to the female in a pack to be the negotiator, the strategist.”

He dragged his gaze from her face and walked over to Bastien again. “Be thankful you brought your Dame with you tonight.”

Sylvie looked away from them, lowered her eyes and struggled to control her jerky, uneven breaths. Her nerves were shot for sure now. Her heart thundered so hard, the quick rhythm seemed to vibrate through her entire body.

It was a wonder Bastien didn’t get them all killed!

Flush-faced and shaky all over, she flinched when something stirred in front of her and looked up to find eyes the of color of a starless night watching her. The man Niccolo had called Erik stared straight at her, his gaze locked on her face with an unnerving intensity that sent an electric shiver skittering through her veins.

She locked gazes with him, and to her horror, she recognized him―who and what he was.
Her breath locked in lungs.

It can’t be.

She stared at him, and her lips parted in awe. Her heart knew the truth, that tugging, desperate draw to bridge the gap between them. She didn’t want to believe it and shook her head, a minuscule gesture that made his eyes narrow and a muscle tick in his cheek.

Numb inside, she ran her fingers across her throat as sadness welled inside her. Until now, with her dreams withering before her eyes, she’d never realized what high hopes she’d held in finding her true mate.

How fitting he should be so beautiful, this Erik. Her eyes skimmed the slash of dark brows and the straight, sophisticated nose. His lips were full―it was a kissable mouth. Sick to her soul, she swallowed hard and forced herself to look directly into his eyes again. After all this time….
Fury burned through her. Sorrow and disappointment. She felt cheated, and she hoped every ounce of pain that stabbed through her reflected in her face.

Erik’s nostrils flared, but nothing else about his expression changed. With a slight shake of her head, she tossed back her pale hair in defiance. To her shock, he took a step toward her.


A hand gripped her arm and gave her a yank backward, and a fierce growl rumbled in Erik’s chest. No one missed the stark warning, the dangerous light flickering in his eyes. Everyone grew still, watchful. Tension pulsed in the air.

Bastien withdrew his hand from her slowly and spoke near her ear. “We are leaving.” He annunciated every syllable with crisp diction, annoyance in his tone. With a wary eye on the male across from them, he herded her away, forcing her to move.

Without a word, Sylvie turned on her heel and stormed off toward her car, her head down, watching her steps. She pressed a hand to her forehead, overwhelmed and, for the first time in her life, uncertain about her future.

She’d always planned to take her place beside her true mate, to share the rule over her pack with him, but she knew now that would never happen. What am I going to do?

By the time she reached the maintenance parking lot where they’d left their cars, Bastien had almost caught up with her. He followed, hot on her heels. She heard him dogging her across the gravel, and she practically felt his hot breath on her neck when she reached the classic, T-top Stingray she’d parked near the lot entrance.

“Sylveria, I want a word with you.”

“Why am I not surprised?”

When Bastien grabbed her arm this time, she turned and snarled with venom, snapping her teeth in his face. He didn’t flinch, but he let go of her.

“What the hell just happened with that male back there?” “Nothing,” she lied. “He overstepped his grounds.”

“Overstepped?” Bastien raked his hands through his hair. “Do you have any idea who you were staring down back there?”

My mate....

Misery clouded her heart, but she said nothing, only shrugged because she didn’t know who he was for sure beyond that one painful truth. It hardly mattered now, anyway.

“That was Niccolo Dartega’s brother. His right hand―his assassin. I can’t believe you didn’t know who he was, who you challenged in broad view of his Pack Leader. Probably half the Dartega pack council, too.”

Challenged? She blinked at him. Was that how it had looked to the others?

“We’re trying to prevent bloodshed,” Bastien bit out. “I can’t imagine what you were thinking, especially given the circumstances.”

“I’m sure whatever I did, it won’t be relevant come tomorrow.”

“How naïve can you be? Not relevant? Without my mark on you, one of these days you’ll make just as stupid a mistake, only I won’t be able to bail you out of it.”

“Bail me out?” she asked, her tone incredulous. “You mean, like I just did for you?”

Bastien’s face tightened in anger. He stepped in close, and for a moment Sylvie thought he actually meant to strike her. A growl rumbled inside her, and Bastien froze in mid-step, his eyes glittering. She’d have his throat in an instant if he laid a finger on her.

“You are way out of line,” she snarled.

“Sylveria....” He clenched his fist, and she could tell it took great effort to continue calmly. “Lange was my best friend. I loved him like my own brother. I swore to him only days before he died that I’d watch after you if anything happened to him. But you’re making it exceedingly difficult.”

“I don’t need you to watch over me,” she snapped in his face. “That’s Tynan and Garrett’s job.”

“Tynan and Garrett aren’t babysitters; they have pack business to attend to. And until I know for sure what’s going on with these recent deaths, I will not have you messing up what I’m trying to do.”

“And just what are you trying to do, Bastien? Get us killed by the Dartega?” She turned and walked the rest of the way to her car, jangling the keys as she tugged them from her pocket. ”Do your worst. Your days are numbered, anyway. Don’t think for an instant I plan to allow your position as a retainer to last any longer than necessary.”

He smirked at that. “Your brother made no secret about his wishes for the continuation of this pack.”
“Lange is dead,” she said as she climbed into her Corvette and shut the door. After she strapped on her seatbelt and started the car, she rolled down the window and flicked back her straight blonde hair. “Three days, Bastien, count them.” She flashed three fingers at him and revved the engine. “I will choose.”
REMEMBER: Cora will be giving away a goodie bag with chocolates, tea, and signed author book cards and bookmarks from my Werekind Series to one lucky winner. Please make sure to leave you email addy so Cora can contact you if you win.

9:07 AM



TwoLips Reviews is having a scavanger hunt for their 3rd Birthday Celebration. There are tons of authors and publishers along with me, myself and I giving away great prizes.

For a chance to win you have to play: Please visit the link below to find out more: http://www.twolipsreviews.com/content/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3455&Itemid=63)to

The deadline is August 31st. You'll want to get a jump on the game.
Happy hunting and best wishes to all who play.

8:43 AM

Hi all!

I'm the guest blogger today on Leah Braemel's blog.

I'm doing a blog post I've done in the past. A lot of you seemed to enjoy it.

Also CONTEST: I'll draw a winner from those who stop by and leave a comment.
One winner will get a free download of Bait and Switch.

Please stop by at: http://leahbraemel.blogspot.com/2009/08/ann-lory.html

8:55 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

Lorelei James

CONTEST: I’ll give away a Rough Riders T-shirt and 3 downloads -- Branded As Trouble, Rough, Raw and Ready, and Tied Up, Tied Down, from All Romance Ebooks (ARE). Please leave a comment along with you email address for a chance to win.

AL: Hi Lorelei! Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.
Lorelei: It is good to be here, thanks for asking me

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

Lorelei: Let’s see, it’s finally summer in South Dakota, so we’re doing a little boating, headed to a rodeo here and there, and we always have family in town after the 4th of July – this year we’ll be together celebrating my Grandmother’s 100th birthday!

AL: So what handsome cowboy do you have for us to drool all over and about?

Lorelei: Ironically, my next book entitled…Shoulda Been A Cowboy, features Cam McKay who prides himself…on not being a cowboy. But I’m always on the lookout for cowboys, luckily living out here in the west, there’s plenty around. And I pretty much drool over all of them.

AL: When did you know you had to be a writer?

Lorelei: Since I was a wee lass in love with Laura Ingalls Wilder and Nancy Drew! I’ve always made up stories in my head, I dabbled a little during college, had my creative brain sucked out by three kids and then got back into writing when my youngest was three. So I always *wanted* to be a writer, but it took me a bit to get there.

AL: So tell us about your split personality Lori Armstrong?

Lorelei: I write medium-boiled mysteries with a tough, kick ass female character, under the name Lori Armstrong. I have four mass market paperback original books out in the Julie Collins series (Blood Ties was nominated for a Shamus Award, Hallowed Ground won a WILLA Cather Literary Award and was nominated for a Shamus Award and Shallow Grave was nominated for a WILLA Cather Literary Award as well as the High Plains Book Award). I have a new series coming out in January 2010 in hardcover, from Touchstone Fireside (Simon and Schuster) entitled No Mercy. I think because I write erotic romance some people assume there is lots of sex in the mysteries—not so. They are completely different animals, which is why I have two different names.

AL: When you write do you do a detailed outline before you get started or do you have the idea then just 'fly by the seat of your pants'? :-)

Lorelei: It depends on which genre I’m writing in. I do pretty detailed outlines for the romances, around eight pages or so for a full length novel. For the mysteries I usually know the eight to ten high points, who the murderer is, the reason for the crime. The fact I outline more heavily for romances really shocks some people.

AL: Now let’s get personal! Sometimes people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. I like to set them straight, so tell us what’s the most unglamorous thing you’ve done in the past week?

Lorelei: Most unglamorous thing. Hmm. Besides the mundane laundry, house cleaning, cooking, I’d have to say…picking up the ant-infested and muddy hammock that my youngest daughter rolled into the weeds.

AL: You’re the actress in a must see blockbuster movie that everyone’s been waiting all summer for.

1) What’s the movie about? A romantic comedy where a woman has to choose between two equally great, but totally different men.
2) Who’s your character? A rough and tumble bartender who has turned her life around and is skeptical on why one man would want her, let alone two good ones.
3) And who’s your leading man? My leading men would be…Jack and Sawyer from LOST. I cannot get enough of those two. Sigh. They fulfill my tall, dark and handsome, and blonde, dimpled and bad boy fantasies perfectly.

AL: If you could have any car in the world; would it be a slow rider, or one that the wind has to hurry just to keep up with you?

Lorelei: My dream car is a Dodge Viper. And a 350 diesel Dodge dually pickup.

AL: Young Guns, or 3:10 to Yuma?

Lorelei: 3:10 to Yuma all the way.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

Lorelei: Nora Roberts: I can fix a bad page, but I can’t fix a blank page.

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with joining us this week, Lorelei.

Lorelei: My pleasure, little lady!

AL: If you’d like to find out more about Lorelei and/or her split personality Lori, please visit:



She’s the match, he’s the fuse…an explosive combination

One year ago Willow Gregory entered the Miss Firecracker contest on a dare—and ended up with the crown. As a working carpenter, she’s not exactly the tears-and-tiara type, and after a year of walking the straight and narrow she’s ready to cut loose.

Waking up in a sexy stranger’s bed with no memory of the havoc she wreaked the night before wasn’t quite what she had in mind. Nor was agreeing to his mandate—work for him at the tavern until she repays the damage. Or go to jail.

Blake West thinks he could possibly be the only man alive who could say no to a drunken, horny, naked beauty queen. There’s something about the former Miss Firecracker that makes him want to blow his Mr. Nice Guy persona all to hell.

It helps that Willow is ready to dive headfirst into a no-heartstrings-attached affair. Which fits in perfectly with Blake’s temporary gig managing his friend’s bar.

Every grinding kiss, every stolen touch leads to another…until a harmless little white lie becomes the detonator that could explode their chances at a happily ever after.


Willow Gregory woke up and realized covering her head with a pillow did not muffle the pounding inside her skull.

She shifted slightly on the damp sheets. The pillow tumbled away and a shaft of sunlight nearly fried her retinas. She squeezed her eyelids shut and muttered, “I’m in hell.”

“A hell of your own making,” a masculine voice drawled.

Willow shrieked and jackknifed, twisting her body toward the sexy rumbling sound.

Ooh big mistake. Sharp pulses lanced her brain like pointy metal spikes. “Ow. Ow. Ow.” She peeled her eyes open, one squinty lid at a time and saw a tempting feast of bronzed male flesh less than two feet away from her.

Holy moly. If her head weren’t inside a jackhammer she’d believe she was still in dreamland.

Her gaze moved across the man’s thick wrist and ropy, muscled forearm to his ripped biceps, then over the cup of his shoulder to the middle of his chest. His bare, wide, oh-so-lickable chest. His bare, wide, oh-so-lickable chest with an oh-so-delectable tattoo.

She studied the column of his throat, noting the golden stubble dotting his square jaw. Her eyes passed over the dent in his chin and the deep-set dimples bracketing his smirking mouth. She met his gaze. Amused hazel eyes surrounded by sooty lashes were as unforgettable as the rest of him.

Yeah? If he’s so unforgettable why don’t you know his name?

“Good mornin’ sunshine,” he said, his voice tinged with a husky twang.

Her lips parted but not a single sound came out.
His smirk became a lethal grin. “How’s the head?”

“Like it’s got an ax imbedded in it.” Willow winced. Ow. Even talking hurt.

“That bad, eh?”

You have no idea. I also have no idea who you are.

He shook his head and the ends of his curly blond hair brushed his collarbones. “There’s a reason they call those shots cherry bombs.”

“Cherry bombs?” she repeated, immediately regretting the reverberation inside her brain.

“Cinnamon schnapps layered with blue Curaçao and topped with a maraschino cherry. Very patriotic. But that didn’t mean you had to drink them all, Miss Firecracker.”

She cringed at his use of her former title. “Huh-uh. I handed over my crown, my responsibilities and my title last night.” And good riddance.

“Your successor might’ve gotten the crown but, sunshine, you’re still wearin’ the sash.”

Oh crap.

Please tell me I didn’t…

Willow’s chin fell to her chest. She wore the white satin beauty pageant sash. Nothing else. She yelped, wincing at her own high-pitched squeak as she snatched up the balled sheet in an attempt to cover herself.
“It’s a little late for that, doncha think?”

She snapped, “Who are you?” when she really wanted to demand, “How the hell did I end up naked in your bed with the mother of all hangovers?”

“You really don’t remember?” he said with a silken purr. “All you did? All you said to me?”

“No. But if you were any good I should—”

He briefly placed his finger over her mouth. “Ah. Ah. Ah. Don’t go there. It ain’t gonna end well for you.”

She paused. Did this fall under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” heading? She honestly had no experience with this kind of “morning after” situation.


“Did it end well for you?” she blurted. “Did we have sex last night?”

“No. But it wasn’t for lack of trying on your part.”

My part?”

“Uh-huh. I said no. Several times. I might’ve said yes if I’d seen you strip to nothin’ but that sexy sash.” He rubbed his meaty hand over his mouth and let his gaze drop to the aforementioned swath of fabric.

Her cheeks flamed.

“But I prefer the woman I bed to be coherent, not babbling about spending a year toeing the line and then demanding I ‘man-up’ and do my civic duty to help you make up for lost booty time.”

Aghast, she whispered, “I said that?”

“Yep. After the sheriff left and I got you calmed down.”

“Sheriff Mayhew was here?”

“Not up here, but downstairs.”


“In the bar. LeRoy’s Tavern. And it’s a good thing the sheriff knows your daddy, ’cause otherwise you woulda landed in jail.”

A spear of pain shot from her head to the base of her spine and she lowered to the mattress to quell the dizziness. “What did I do last night?”

“Got cherry bombed.”

“No kidding.”

“What do you remember?” he asked.

“I remember crowning Miranda Sue Maffini the new Miss Firecracker. I remember having a celebratory drink or five with the losing contestants in the back of somebody’s pickup. Then we were supposed to meet up here. So I walked from the town hall…then it’s sort of blurry.” She hesitated. “Was I with anyone else?”

“Not that I recall. You were by yourself the second you strolled in. Didn’t seem happy about it either.”

A glimmer of memory appeared. Sitting alone in a big booth. Mortified she’d eagerly fallen for the “we’ll meet you there” line of crap. Embarrassed and feeling like a loser. Acting like it was no big deal that she’d ordered a round of expensive specialty shots for her new no-show friends.

So she drank them all herself.

The night was a blank after that, which didn’t seem like such a bad thing, given the pathetic, friendless state of her life. “I’m in the apartment upstairs from LeRoy’s Tavern?”

"Yep.” The bed shifted as he scooted up.

Willow lifted her shoulders and studied the guy’s all-too-smug, all-too-handsome, all-too-close mug. “So if I’m at Dave’s place, where’s Dave?”

“On vacation.”

“Who are you?”

Two hundred pounds of warm male was right in her face. “My name’s Blake West. And who am I?” He swept a chunk of hair from her cheek. “Since I’m managing the bar while Dave’s fishing in Jackson Hole, that makes me your new boss.”

“I may be hungover, but I’m not stupid. I don’t work at LeRoy’s Tavern.”

He flashed her a dazzling smile. “You do for the next two nights, according to the sheriff.”

“Might go three nights, depending on how fast you fill up your tip jar.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about you being a very bad girl last night, Miss—”

“—don’t say it: don’t even think it,” she warned.

“I thought you’d be proud of the title, bein’s you’re still wearing the sash.”

Willow ignored his sexy grin. “That part of my life is over and it doesn’t matter. So tell me, Blake West, how bad was I?”

“On a scale of one to ten?” He paused. His golden green eyes twinkled. Twinkled. “Fifty.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“The proof is right downstairs. You smashed a barstool into the wall after Norbert Fossum pissed you off. Broke the table too. You did about six hundred dollars damage.”

“No way.”

Way. And part of the reason the good sheriff didn’t toss your cute butt in jail was on the condition you work off the debt, not pay it off.”


“Said he wants you to learn a lesson about the high price of, as you phrased it, cutting loose.”

Shoot. Willow could imagine herself saying that. In fact, if she thought real hard, she could almost remember shouting it to the rafters after she realized her so-called new friends had stood her up. “And if I refuse?”

“Sheriff Mayhew reinstates the charges of drunk and disorderly, the destruction of private property and you hash out the details in court.”

She’d always admired the sheriff’s unconventional punishments to keep the peace in their town—until now.

Behind bars or tending bar…was there really a choice?

“Why’s he doing this to me?”

“Sunshine, you did this to yourself.”

He had a point. “So what are you getting out of this besides free labor? My humiliation?”

“Your humiliation? What about mine?”


“Yes. You working to pay for damages means I don’t have to tell my buddy that I let some smokin’ hot beauty queen distract me to the point she wreaked havoc in his bar on my second night in charge.”


Smokin’ hot beauty queen? Wow. Did he really mean her?
His eyes narrowed. “I recognize that scheming look from last night.”

“I am not scheming! I don’t have a scheming bone in my body.”


Why wouldn’t he doubt her? If everything he’d claimed she’d done last night was true? “It’s just…I can’t believe I did something so stupid.”

“Everyone makes mistakes.”

“Well, prepare yourself for quite a few more because I’ve never bartended.”

“More used to knockin’ ’em back than making them, are you?” he drawled.

Willow glared at him.
Which caused him to smile and set those damn dimples winking again. “No worries. You won’t be mixing drinks. You’ll be slinging them.”

Blake’s gaze trailed down her body. Not a covert glance from beneath his sinfully long lashes, but blatant masculine appraisal. When he deigned to look at her face, his eyes were heated and dark. “Oh yes, indeedy, you certainly are.” Then he shoved aside the blanket and stood.

Unlike her, he wasn’t naked. However, he looked damn fine clothed. And was there anything sexier than a hunky bare-chested man filling out a pair of hip-hugging jeans to perfection? Her head protested the exertion of imagining Blake West wearing nothing but his dimples.

“…out of hot water.”

Willow looked up. “What did you say?”

He smirked, recognizing she’d been ogling him. “I said I figured you’d prefer to go home and get cleaned up.”

“Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me yet. I expect to see you back in the bar in two hours.”

“What time is it now?”

“Noon. The bar opens at two.”

“How late am I working?”
“Until close.”
She groaned. A twelve-hour shift. Chances were good she’d still feel like dog doo-doo twelve hours from now. Chances were even better her new “boss” knew that.
Holding the sheet close, Willow peeked over the edge of the bed. No sign of her clothes. She scanned the floor. Nothing. Ditto for the dresser next to the window.

“Something you need, sunshine?” Blake asked sweetly.

“Umm. Where exactly did you put my clothes?”

He grinned. “I didn’t put them anywhere. You did.”

“This is not funny. Where are they?”

“Now, that’s the question of the day, ain’t it? Look up and to your left.”

Willow carefully angled her head skyward. Her red bra and lacy thong dangled from one side of the ceiling fan, her denim skirt and red tank top from the other.

Fantastic. She flopped back on the mattress. Must’ve been a heckuva strip tease. How was she supposed to retrieve them without jumping on the bed like a naked, drunken monkey?

Thirty seconds later, a soft thump landed on the mattress. Willow turned her head to see her clothes wadded into a ball. “Thanks.”

“I’ll leave you to get dressed.”

“Will I be wearing a uniform today?”

“No. Just a white shirt and jeans. Or a skirt.”

At least she wasn’t expected to parade around in a Hooters-type get-up.

“Your purse and keys are in the living room. Don’t know what you did with your shoes.” His eyes narrowed again. “Remember. Be back here in two hours. Or I send the sheriff after you.”

REMEMBER: I’ll give away a Rough Riders T-shirt and 3 downloads -- Branded As Trouble, Rough, Raw and Ready, and Tied Up, Tied Down, from All Romance Ebooks (ARE). Please leave a comment along with you email address for a chance to win.