8:28 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest


CONTEST: Eve will give one lucky commenter a copy of Chance’s Game. She's going to make it super simple to enter. Just leave a comment with your email address. No trivia, no hoops to jump through, just a simple hello and a way to contact you if you win. Using a random number generator on the web, she’ll then draw a number to see who wins on February 6th. Thanks in advance for participating. :-)

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

Eve: Thanks for dragging me out of my writing cave to visit lol.

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

Eve: It seems like my life is a never ending hustle and bustle. The kids are definitely keeping me hopping this winter, between school, sports and other activities, it seems like our family is always on the go. And to mix things up, each week they’re bringing home some new illness from school. Thank goodness for my hubby who helps me keep my sanity.

AL: Do you have a current, or upcoming release you’d like to tell us about?

Eve: I’d love to tell you about my fantasy romance, Chance’s Game, scheduled to release with Champagne Books on February 7th. A little different from my more erotic pieces, Chance’s Game is a sensual fairytale type story with lots of magic, some meddlesome gods and tons of adventure. Oh, and sexual tension. The heroine is determined to avoid marriage and men, but she didn’t count on a wizard making her decision hard to uphold. If you enjoy humor and lots of build up to the main event, then this full length piece will be a definite treat for romance lovers.

AL: What other spicy tales are you weaving for us?

Eve: I’m always hard at work on creating entertaining stories that veer off in new and naughty directions. Right now, I’m working on my third installment in my Princess Of Hell books. It’s a hilarious series following the life and adventures of Satan’s daughter. I’m also mentally fleshing out a new werewolf piece featuring a delicious alpha .

AL: How do you decide upon your settings? What about the names of characters? Do you ever change either mid-stream into a story?

Eve: I actually spend little time on settings, concentrating more on character interaction via dialogue and action. I tend to try and keep my settings generic so readers can picture the story happening wherever they happen to live. That is unless I’m somewhere fabulously unique like Hell. When my story demands we leave the mortal plane, I love to let my creative juices flow to create a unique world that has twisted parallels to earth.

AL: What was the defining moment when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

Eve: I always wanted to be a writer from the first time I penned a story in grade school. However, the bills had to be paid and reality pushed that dream aside for a long time. Just under two years ago after almost 20 years of writing nothing, the urge to try my hand at writing hit. Since then, I’ve been typing furiously with great result. In retrospect, I don’t consider those 20 years wasted though as I think life experiences have given me the maturity I needed to create believable characters not to mention the perseverance to write.

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

Eve: Write. And then write some more. I see a lot of newbie authors worrying about who they’ll submit too, should they use an agent, did they use the word was or just or seems too many times. The thing they forget it seems is that the most important thing is to finish that story. Get it down in its entirety, then revise. But don’t overdo it. Send it out once it’s cleaned up so you can start on the next piece. A person could spend months or years editing and agonizing over their work, but they’ll never know if it’s any good until they send it out to some publishers and get some feedback.

AL: It’s time to get personal! When you have time just for you (if only) what do you do?

Eve: I read. LOL. I am a huge book worm and devour paranormal romance when I get the chance. I also enjoy playing video games and watching reality shows like Hoarders, Survivor, Big Brother and Property Virgins.

AL: What decadent delight must you have no matter what?

Eve: Chips, and if I can dip. My husband calls me a chip-aholic. I don’t like to share and I have been known to groan in delight when munching on them.

AL: What annoys you enough to be considered a pet peeve?

Eve: I hate being late. I would rather be stupidly early than even one second late. My husband drives me nuts because he’s the kind of guy who thinks a minute or two late is no big deal.

AL: Can you share some of your plans for 2011 and beyond?

Eve: Lots and lots of writing :-) I’ve got some series begging for sequels, a couple of awesome ideas kicking around in my head, and a hand itching to get it all typed. Writing is like an obsession and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.

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

Eve: OMG, can I be responsible and say pay off the mini van? LOL, I am debt obsessed. If I had to splurge though, I’d have to go with a hot tub. A good long soak that leaves me boneless like jelly and wrinkled like a prune would be heavenly.

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

Eve: Here’s a giggler from Last Minion Standing:

“Cursing technology but wondering who could be calling at this hour, I let go of Bob--it’s not like I was getting anywhere--and grabbed my cell. A glance at the display showed a number I didn’t recognize. Maybe if I was lucky it would be an obscene caller who’d have suggestions on how I could get off.

I answered in my sexy voice. “Hello.”

“Are you touching yourself?”

I almost dropped the phone in shock. I hadn’t actually expected a naughty caller. Things were looking up.”

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with us, Eve.

Eve: My pleasure, Ann. I’d also like to thank anybody who took the time to pop by and read. It’s nice to meet you :-) I do hope you’ll leave a comment and enter for a chance to win an e-copy of Chance’s Game.

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




The God of Chance is bored--mortals beware!

Breanna is a rare sort of shapeshifter, even for a world where magic is rampant. Rare enough that she catches the attention of the God of Chance who sends her on a quest to free magic. Simple you say? Not for this girl who has to keep avoiding the men who would claim her, while getting to know a twin she just discovered. Then to make things even more fun, Chance throws in a super sexy wizard to go on the quest with her. As you can imagine, the outcome ends up magical.

Lots of magic, danger, meddlesome gods and romance await and when the quest is done, the world as we know it, will never be the same again.


“You will be mine,” said a self assured voice from behind her--a hated, nasal voice belonging to one who followed his words with a grab for her ass that she quickly dodged. She’d had enough practice in the last few years. It still pissed her off though. All men are pigs!

Breanna spun around furious. “Get your filthy hands away from me, Cedric. For the hundredth time, I will never be yours. Go bug someone with no taste.”

The young man named Cedric, narrowed his eyes and sneered at her rebuke, making his unattractive, angular face even uglier. Yuck–imagine waking up to that nasty face every morning? Not!

“Who said you had a choice in the matter, Breanna? I’ve already spoken to my father; he’s willing to give your father a sizable dowry. It won’t matter what you want. If your father accepts, you will be my wife.”

Breanna laughed, a throaty sound that sent more than one admiring male look her way. “My father has a lot more sense than you and your father combined. He won’t be bought, so you and your father should shop elsewhere for a bride. Now go away. Can’t you see I’m busy?” She shooed him away with an irritated sweep of her hands. I wonder if you can call browsing odd and ends looking for something interesting, busy? Still better than wasting breath talking to an idiot though.

“When we are married,” Cedric continued obstinately. “I will beat that sharp tongue out of you. Your father obviously did not do his duty by you and teach you the proper manners required of a woman. I’ll teach you how to act respectfully with great pleasure. It’s time you learned your place in the world--on your knees in front of me.” Cedric brayed in laughter at his own poor jest.

Breanna just gaped at him in disbelief. The Higher Powers save her from stupid men, which in the last couple of years seemed to have multiplied, judging by the obscene number of pick-up lines she’d been subjected to. Like “Hey baby, I’ve got a sausage you can chew on.” Or how about, “I'd like to wrap your legs around my head and wear you like a feed bag!” And finally the most common one, “I know you want it, so stop playing hard to get.” Eew! Seriously, do any of those actually work?

And what was with this subservient crap they all seemed to expect from her. If she ever did marry, which at this point seemed less and less likely, she’d want someone who would respect her as an equal. Just because she lacked something between the legs did not make her stupid or weak. Unfortunately, though she kept pointing out this most obvious fact, her would-be suitors seemed deaf and persisted in their belief that she would eventually swoon at their crude attempts to coerce and bully her into marriage and their beds. Not bloody likely.

“Go away, Cedric. You’re boring me. I am not going to marry you. Why don’t you crawl back to the hole you came from?” Breanna knew she shouldn’t have said it. Her father always told her that her smart mouth would get her into trouble one day. But she’d had quite enough of Cedric, actually of all men in general.

Being an idiot though, Cedric couldn’t grasp the idea that she just wasn’t interested and he latched an iron grip, stronger than she would have credited him with, around her wrist and started yanking her towards the alley between the shops.Oh come on, he can’t be that stupid. Breanna opened her mouth to give him a chance to let her go before she hurt him, when a deep voice spoke from behind her. “I believe the lady is unwilling.”

Cedric stopped pulling and sneered at her would be rescuer over her shoulder.

“Mind your business stranger. The lady will be willing enough once I get her skirts high enough. I mean to have her one way or another. Now go about your business before things go badly for you.” A knife appeared out of nowhere in Cedric’s free hand and Breanna gasped.

Now this is going too far and she opened her mouth to say so, but before she could say a word, her unseen saviour chuckled in amusement and the deep throaty sound sent a shiver through her. Mmm, does the rest of him look as hot as he sounds? Breanna almost gasped aloud at the direction of her thoughts. Since when do I care what a man looks like?

"Did your father never teach you to respect women? Or an even better, a lesson about not threatening wizards?” said her would-be hero in a sexy menacing tone and Breanna held back a giggle at the look on Cedric’s face which turned quite green when he heard the word wizard.

Breanna felt a tingle of power from behind her and the blade in Cedric’s hand turned cherry red as it heated up. Cedric dropped it with a yelp and shoved his blistered fingers into his mouth.

Nice trick, Breanna thought, but unfortunate as resorting to magic probably means my rescuer is going to be some pale, gangly youth with knobby knees. A real hero would have known how to disarm a poor excuse for a man like Cedric. Hell, another minute and I’d have had him crying for his mother.

“Bloody wizard,” Cedric said, finally letting go of Breanna and backing away. “This is not over, Breanna,” he threatened, still unbelievably stupid given the situation, then he shape-shifted into the rat that he truly was and scurried away.

She made a mental note of Cedric’s shifting animal for the next time--knowing there would a next time, his brain apparently couldn’t comprehend the word ‘No’. She looked forward to his next attempt for she knew a certain feline that would delight in pulling off his pink rat tail. Meow!

Breanna whirled to thank her hero, even though she hadn’t really needed rescuing, and her eyes went wide when she beheld him.

Wow, he most definitely does not have knobby knees.

Tongue tied, she could only gape at him, for the first time in her life stunned by the looks of a man. And what a man!

Towering over her was the epitome of masculinity. Over six feet with shoulders that must surely brush doorways, he had a lean body that tapered at the hips. Nothing weak looking here. His entire being oozed power from his snug breeches hugging his heavily muscled thighs to his square jawed, rugged face. Thick, wavy blond hair brushed his shoulders, silky looking, enough that Breanna had to fight an urge to run her fingers through to see if it the texture was as soft as it looked. He had perfectly arched brows, and even though he was light haired, he had long dark lashes to frame the most beautiful blue eyes she had ever seen. Wow.

Breanna mentally shook herself. What the hell had come over her? Since when does the sight a man--even one this gorgeous--strike me dumb? And the tingles in my tummy.... Must be hunger, never mind the fact she’d had lunch less than an hour ago. She must be hungry again already, there could be no other explanation for the way she felt.

As those gorgeous eyes crinkled at her perusal, Breanna gathered her wits and said, “Thank you sir wizard for your timely intervention.” Although if he’d given me just another minute I would have handled the situation myself. Just like a man to assume a woman needs saving.

“’Twas my pleasure,” he drawled, the corner of his lips lifting in a half smile. “Perhaps you could thank me by joining me for lunch.”

Men, they’re all the same, thought Breanna huffily. First he saved her, now he wanted lunch. What next, a roll in the hay? Although her tummy still tingled. Maybe a small bite...

REMEMBER: Eve will give one lucky commenter a copy of Chance’s Game. She's going to make it super simple to enter. Just leave a comment with your email address. No trivia, no hoops to jump through, just a simple hello and a way to contact you if you win. Using a random number generator on the web, she’ll then draw a number to see who wins on February 6th.

9:39 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

Laura Navarre

CONTEST: Laura will be giving away a copy of her new e-book release, my Dark Crusader romance, The Devils' Temptress, in the reader's preferred format. Anyone who posts a response to the blog will be entered. The winner will be drawn and notified after the Spotlight week is finished, and the e-book will be sent on Feb. 15 when it's released. 

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

Laura: Thanks for inviting me, Ann! It’s a thrill to share space with so many sexy, exciting reads.

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

Laura: This has actually been a very eventful period in my life! I’ve just moved to Seattle, rented a quirky little 1920s-era house overlooking the water and Mt. Rainier, and graduated with my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine (an awesome low residency program that allows you to write romance or any other genre—horror, urban fantasy, you name it—for your degree). And, most importantly, I’ve recently gotten engaged to the love of my life. :-) Steven is a screenwriter and English professor who was my writing mentor for several years before we realized we’d fallen in love and decided to get married. We first met in 1998, and we were separated for years while I lived abroad, so it’s very much a When Harry Met Sally kind of story.

AL: Please tell us about your Devil series.

Laura: These are three stand-alone historical romances, all very dark and sexy. The Devil’s Temptress is a 2009 Golden Heart finalist about a disgraced Muslim knight and an ardent Christian lady at Eleanor of Aquitaine’s court (Feb. 15 e-book release, August 2011 print). The Devil’s Mistress is a dark Tudor romance about a reluctant lady assassin who’s blackmailed to poison Anne Boleyn (e-book out now, March 1 print release). And The Devil’s Bargain is an unconventional romance, set in late Anglo-Saxon England before the Norman Conquest, that features an exiled princess and two very different heroes. My agent’s talking to editors about that one right now, so please keep your fingers crossed for me!

AL: What are you currently working on?

Laura: I’m just starting a Tudor romance with a paranormal twist—which excites me terribly, because I’ve never written a paranormal before! This one is about 80% historical and 20% fantasy, set during the time when Bloody Mary Tudor was burning heretics and her young Protestant sister Elizabeth Tudor was beginning her rise. All my stories have lots of political intrigue, history, and a twisty plot woven into the romance, and this one is no exception.

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

Laura: I’d love to say I’m a “pantser!” I want to be a pantser. Alas, I fill notebooks with historical research and detailed character sketches before I start drafting, and this time I’ve also got to fit the paranormal world-building into the mix. I like to research until the material is “old hat” for me, and this in-depth knowledge of my world and characters is where the story comes from. I don’t have a clue about plot until I’ve done this work.

AL: How much of your “day job” do you use to write up those deliciously, suspenseful tales?

Laura: It varies! I get up early to write before my other work, and I write on weekends and sometimes in the evenings. Since I just finished my full-time MFA course load after two years of INSANITY (full-time job, plus full-time student, plus author and marketer for the novels!) I’m enjoying the opportunity to spend a little time with my fiancĂ© and, of course, to read other authors’ work.

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?

Laura: When I acquired my agent and sold my first two books within a very short time span in 2009-10, I thought I wanted to make it onto the bestseller lists within five years—and of course that would be nice. :-) But I think my goal is really to tell the unique stories I want to tell—intricate, danger-laced, dark historical romances that also appeal to the historical fiction market, a la Philippa Gregory. If it takes me longer to write and sell the stories, I can live with that.

AL: It’s time to get personal! I have several questions in this one….What made you decide to be a diplomat in Russia and help create weapons of mass destruction, then get the idea to link it to writing romance novels? That’s not something you just roll out of bed one day and say, “Hey, I’m going to be a kick-butt chemist and write sensual romance tales on the side…” What built the bridge between these two careers?

Laura: Well, let me say that I’m not a plotter when it comes to my personal life. :-) If I’d been able to see 20 years ago what I’m doing with my life now, I’m sure I would have been delighted but bemused. I’ve always loved to write, but I chose initially to pursue a career outside the book world because—coming from a family who’s always worked hard to get by—I needed a job that would make some money! So I earned my B.A. in International Relations and Russian language, and my M.A. in National Security, and started doing government work. Since I’m a Russia specialist, many of my assignments have involved the former Soviet Union. And my work has focused on helping the Russians get rid of their excess weapons of mass destruction, not building new ones. :-) The work was uniquely stressful, as you might imagine, so I started writing seriously with an intent to publish as an escape mechanism, as much as to pursue the dream. It took six years, four novels, and 63 rejections before I sold.

AL: You are obviously an animal lover from the two furry kitties on your website. Who are those furry babies? Do you have any other pets?

Laura: Pandora and Delilah are pedigreed Siberian cats I found in Moscow when I was living there. The breed isn’t as well known in the U.S. as some others, but they’re gorgeous long-haired critters with huge plumey tails and tufted ears called “lynx tips.” Lilah is a Siberian sub-breed, very unusual here, called a Neva Masquerade—with long silver fur, big blue eyes, and pewter-colored paws. There are times in my life when those two have felt like my best friends—they’ve flown around the world three times with me. They have little pet passports, and more frequent flyer miles than many people I know!

AL: You’re back in the states and winter is all around us. What is your favorite part of the season? Sweaters? Snow angels? Is there a big difference between a winter in Maine and a winter in Russia?

Laura: Gosh, I think my favorite part of winter is curling up in front of a crackling fire with a glass of red wine, a novel, and a cat in my lap. The winters I’ve spent in Maine have been much colder than the ones I’ve spent in Moscow, lately. Moscow gets a lot of snow, and the days are very short (5-6 hours, and the sun never swings very far above the horizon), but the cold has been far more breathtaking in Maine! Of course, in Russia I’m usually functioning without a car. The traffic is like nothing you’ve ever seen—it can take hours to go six blocks, and it’s very unpredictable, even when people are driving and parking on the sidewalk! So everyone takes the metro, which was built during Soviet times as a bomb shelter/cultural icon and is gorgeous. And all that walking makes it incredibly important to bundle up.

AL: You obviously love to travel -- of the places you visited which was your favorite and why?

Laura: My favorite cities are Istanbul and Venice. In Istanbul, the jumble of mosques and minarets and sprawling outdoor markets steals my heart—not to mention the food (yum!) and all that opulent Islamic art. In Venice, it’s the canals, the haunting knowledge that the water is slowly rising and the city slowly sinking beneath the waves. In front of the houses, you see these stone staircases that plunge down and down and vanish in the canals’ opaque depths; all of that used to be above the surface. And when the city floods, the water rises over the banks and flows right into the houses. It’s crazy, and fascinating, and scary.

AL: Fun question! You’re the actress in a must see blockbuster movie that everyone’s been waiting all summer for. A) What’s the movie about? B) Whose your character? C) And who’s your leading man?

Laura: The movie would be a time travel romance/adventure. I’m a nuclear scientist running an experiment who gets flung back in time to the Crusades. Let’s say I have to find the Ark of the Covenant in order to return to my own time (holy relic as miracle worker) and prevent a looming nuclear war between the Christian west and a Muslim state. But the Ark is being protected by a Muslim knight who has sworn his life to the duty—and taken a vow of chastity to boot. :-) We begin as adversaries, but then fall in love. And I can’t think of a better leading man than my fiancĂ© Steven, who’s an actor-director in addition to his screenwriting identity. Will I choose to remain with him in Crusader-era Jerusalem, or return to my own time without him, but with a relic that can prevent nuclear holocaust…?

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

Laura: “I can resist anything except temptation.” (Oscar Wilde)

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with us, Laura.

Laura: Thanks so much for hosting me, Ann! This has been fabulous fun. :-) 

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





In the glittering, sumptuous court of Eleanor of Aquitaine, betrayal lurks around every corner. The queen is at odds with her king, and to obey one could mean treason against the other. Even Alienore, considered the most virtuous lady at court, holds secrets: whether masquerading as a knight on the tourney field to defend those without a champion or desperately trying to save her lands—and her maidenhead—from the Duke of Ormonde.


He is called the Raven—his face scarred by a Saracen blade, his voice raspy with the effects of Greek fire. His parentage is unknown, his prowess legendary. And he’ll sell his sword to the highest bidder. As his piercing eyes track her every move, Alienore wonders who he’s working for now. Finding a spy for King Henry? Sent by the duke to fetch her home? Or is each heated touch, each whispered promise of pleasure part of a much more personal mission?


The black stallion erupted into view, snow spraying beneath his hooves.

All her senses sharpened as the outcast knight thundered toward Alienore like a nightmare against the gray-white forest. The world paled with dismay at his passage. Even the small woodland sounds—the rustle of branches, the yip of a hunting fox—receded as the stallion halted before her in a scramble of hooves.

Then a raucous scream split the air, as a dark bird raked across the sky. Her heart froze as razor-sharp talons sliced toward the knight’s unprotected face. But he stared straight ahead as the raven arrowed toward him—and landed, delicate as a lady, on his shoulder. Wicked claws flexed gently as the bird settled. Suspended breath escaped her lungs in a rush.

“By my faith, sir, what are you?” she whispered.

In her turmoil, she’d spoken English—a tongue rare in Aquitaine—and he did not reply. Unperturbed by the corvine preening on his shoulder, the knight called the Raven studied her through eyes like flickering flames. Her skin prickled with foreboding, and an ungodly thrill.

So she had not given him the slip after all. Why must the infernal man always find her at a disadvantage?

“Have you not the good grace,” she said in Norman French, “to know when a lady wishes to quit your company?”

His lean face hardened, cruel as any Saracen. Topaz eyes glinted as they raked the forest. “Expecting someone?”

Sweet mercy, does he think I am trysting with rebels? If he’s the King’s man, this will be my undoing.

She swallowed down her fear, defiance sparking. “I expected no more than a private hour. But it appears I am to be denied even that much.”

When he swung a leg forward over the pommel to dismount, the corvine fluttered from his shoulder to perch in a tree. Paying the uncanny creature no heed—as though accustomed to the Devil’s creatures—the knight sprang from the saddle. Light-footed as a cat, he landed in a swirl of stark wool.

Her senses stretched to tingling alert as he stalked toward her. Alone they were in the forest, but never say she feared him. Was she a lion or a mouse?

“Were you thrown?” He looked askance at the wounded Galahad.

“Hardly,” Alienore said proudly. “My destrier picked up a stone.”

He gestured her aside. Sparing with words, but at least he could not be accused of idle chatter! A twinge of curiosity plucked her nerves as she wondered if that shredded voice troubled him when he used it.

Aware of the bird’s beady gaze, she circled away, keeping her distance from the wicked crescent of Damascus steel at the knight’s side. He frowned over the injured hoof, and she suffered a stab of guilt. Aye, she should not have been galloping down this ill-kept trail. She was fortunate to fare no worse, though finding herself marooned with the Devil of Damascus—a known ravisher of women—was bad enough.

The knight slid a curved dagger from his boot. Alarm spurted through her as her hand flew to her long-knife.

But he only swept that banner of sin-black hair behind his shoulder. Then he pried at the embedded stone with the dagger’s notched tip. Embarrassment warmed her cheeks as she dropped her hand, and brushed needlessly at her mantle.

While he worked, she studied him. Even preoccupied with the delicate procedure, bitterness lingered around his eyes and mouth. Perhaps he was merely weary, features lined with years of privation and war. The jagged scar raking from ear to jaw contributed to his disreputable air.

Yet the Raven’s hands were gentle as he handled her injured horse without aggravating the inflamed hoof.

When the stone dropped, she peered at the hoof. “’Tis only bruised, thank Heaven.”

An exotic aroma wafted from his clothing—the spice of incense, heavy with musk and sandalwood. Then he released the hoof and straightened. Like a startled deer, she shied away.

“That sprint was foolish on this terrain, lady. Could have broken his neck—or yours.”

He echoed her own thoughts, yet it vexed her to hear him say it.

“I know what I am about, monsieur. This path is familiar to me.”

“No doubt.” His eyes narrowed. “But reckless all the same, and you know it.”

Did he speak of more than her ill-conceived flight? Had he discerned her identity, that day on the tourney field?

“I am bold, perhaps.” She tucked ribbons of hair beneath her hood. “But rarely reckless. There is a difference.”

His own hair slithered forward, decadent and unconstrained, as he slid a practiced hand along the stallion’s leg. “You’re no empty-headed sparrow, a woman of your station.”

A dangerous thought, if he’s the King’s man.

Briskly, Alienore gathered her reins. “Pray do not concern yourself on my account. You need not forego your hunt. I shall return to the castle on foot, so my horse sustains no greater damage.”

When he did not spring to obey, she added, “I know the way, so you need not linger.”

Abruptly the Raven straightened, shaking back that profligate hair. The bird startled into flight, a flurry of black wings and beak as it raked away. When the knight claimed her reins, apprehension spiked through her. She stared at his hand: sun-bronzed, long-fingered, rough with use—a fighting man’s hand beyond question, deadly yet graceful, like the man himself.

“You bid me come and go like a stripling page,” he said, with dangerous softness. “Best not become accustomed to it.”

REMEMBER: Laura will be giving away a copy of her new e-book release, my Dark Crusader romance, The Devils' Temptress, in the reader's preferred format. Anyone who posts a response to the blog will be entered. The winner will be drawn and notified after the Spotlight week is finished, and the e-book will be sent on Feb. 15 when it's released.

12:49 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

CONTEST: Anyone who comments with a question will be entered to win a $10 gift certificate to Loose Id or Amazon (winner’s choice.) Qwillia will randomly draw a name at the end of the week. (Anonymous responses will not be included in the drawing.)

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

Qwillia: Thank you for inviting me, I’ve very excited to be here.

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

Qwillia: Wow, not a lot really. We’ve had some wacky weather here in North Carolina so I’ve been focusing on staying inside and staying warm. It has allowed me a lot of opportunity to clean up my apartment. It’s been sadly neglected.

AL: Would you like to tell us about the Diablo Blanco Club, or do you have another book you’d like to tell us about?

Qwillia: I love the Diablo Blanco Club. To be honest, I wasn’t even aware of the Club until Dayton mentioned it in Santa’s Elf, but the characters aren’t about to quit teasing me with ideas.

AL: What other sensual stories are you deep into?

Qwillia: I’m in the process of trying to write Vince’s story. He was a secondary character in A Neighbor’s Ultimatum and was semi-instrumental is keeping the threesome together. Then there’s Grimm from An Invitation: Ariel’s Pet. He’s been patiently waiting for his hero to come along and the research into wineries has been interesting.

AL: What is the strangest source of writing inspiration you’ve ever had?

Qwillia: I once had a student ask what titanium dioxide was because he didn’t want to eat the candy it was an ingredient to unless he knew what it was. After I looked up just what titanium dioxide was, I developed this wild idea -- but I haven’t done anything with it. Yet.

AL: Have you ever wanted to write your book in one direction but your characters wanted to go in another direction. What did you do in such a situation?

Qwillia: LOL. Have you been talking to Mike and Lyssa? I have a tendency, when my characters are being stubborn and rather tight-lipped, to try to write what I think is supposed to happen. This just happens to amuse the little brats all the more. And me being stubborn, I just keep writing. This usually results in rewrites. In the case of Mike and Lyssa (Diablo Blanco Club: Rite of First Claim) this meant I was required to rewrite their story four times -- before starting edits.

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

Qwillia: The best thing: Sharing my stories and characters with readers and seeing how they react to them. My least favorite: The emotional and mental deep-freeze I tend to experience once the book has been finished and is released. I’ve discovered I tend not to write or even brainstorm from the moment I begin edits until I receive the first royalties statement. Kinda scary.

AL: It’s time to get personal! Do you have a top five actors list? You know that list of men that make you go yum, yum that would be inevitable, if only....

Qwillia: Oh yeah!! Hugh Jackman, Will Smith, David Boreanz, Daniel Craig… hmmm, the last one is hard to fill … no pun intended, but it would be a toss-up amongst -- Harrison Ford (don’t care how old he is), Tom Selleck, or Lev Schreiber

AL: 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?

Qwillia: Besides clean the toilet and scrub the bathtub? I would have to say emptying the refrigerator and cleaning my fireplace.

AL: What would people be surprised to know about you?

Qwillia: That I blush easily, no matter what the topic of discussion.

AL: Can you share some of your plans for 2011 and beyond?

Qwillia: I have every intention of getting four more books written, at least one of them a Diablo Blanco Club, and I’m going to try to finish the Young Adult novel I promised my students I’d write.

AL: Fun question! 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?

Qwillia: Depends on my mood, but I’d never turn down an opportunity to drive a Shelby Cobra (classic or redesign)!

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

Qwillia: There are so many quotes available for so many different reasons, I don’t think I could just chose a few.

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with us, Qwillia.

Qwillia: Thank you for letting me hang out with you today. I appreciate it.

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




What's a Dom to do when the submissive he wants runs from the feelings between them? From the moment he met Lyssa Lawrence, Mike knew what he felt was love -- not lust. Convincing her has been an uphill battle even after the two steamy hours they'd shared at the Diablo Blanco Club four years earlier.

Lyssa Lawrence wished the man who claimed to love her wasn't so damned appealing. Twelve years of denying the pull of her submissive nature almost went up in smoke four years ago, but she'd gathered the nerve to tell him 'no' when he asked for more. She'd have stayed away for good if her biological clock hadn't hiccupped, threatening her dreams of motherhood.

In the same way she'd strategized her success in fashion design, Lyssa worked out a plan to get the baby she wanted. The Diablo Blanco Club's annual Midnight Masquerade would provide a number of potential donors to choose from. What she hadn't bargained on was Mike's interference through an arcane Club rule.

When Mike invoked Rite of First Claim, Lyssa finally became his. Now, he had one month to prove that the role of his submissive was one she was born to play.

Excerpt: (Rated R)
“You are insane,” Lyssa snapped, tugging at the restraints and twisting against the sheets.
“But,” Mike continued as if she hadn’t even spoken, “I’m willing to let it go because you’ve been a good sub and kept yourself waxed for me.”

At the heat in his fingertips and the rasp of callused pads over her sensitive flesh, Lyssa arched involuntarily into his touch. She couldn’t deny the sensations running through her. She’d be lying if she said her fast, shallow breaths weren’t a result of the slow stroke of his fingers over her nude mound. It was harder still to fight the moan welling in her chest when her reactions brought a wicked smile to his lips.

Wanting to wipe the smug, self-satisfied look from his face, Lyssa snorted. “I did no such thing!” The lie fell smoothly from her lips. It had pleased her to indulge in trips to the spa with Mattie. The fact that the command he’d whispered in her ear that night in the closet prompted the first visit was a moot point.

“We’ll work on your honesty another time, honey.” Two thick fingers spread her nether lips, opening her to his view. “Right now, I’m going to set the ground rules.” Two digits on his other hand slipped into her wet channel, pressing against the taut muscles, searching for the sweet spots he’d instinctively found the last time he’d touched her. “Rule number one: I don’t share. Ever. So no other men.”

The heat in his gaze matched the heat his fingers were building between her thighs. Crying out as he pulled free, then returned, this time using three fingers to stretch her delicate flesh, Lyssa made note of every word he said, locking them away so she could somehow use them as a cudgel to beat away the temptation Mike represented. This couldn’t last. The heat, the passion would burn itself out, and he’d go back to his life, his career. Just like last time. He’d never want what she wanted. A baby. A family.

“Rule number two: I tell you when you’ve had enough. If I think you need to be fucked every hour on the hour for a week, then that’s what you’ll get.”

“What about a safe word?” Her voice was shaky and breathless. Lyssa cringed inside at the hint of excitement in her tone. She should be fighting this, not savoring the sting and heat coiling inside her as his thumb coasted over the tender knot of nerves peeking from beneath its hood.

Lyssa trembled at the sight of his body poised over hers, her paler legs bound open as he knelt between them. His fingers pushed into her body, then pulled out, her cream coating his skin. She jerked her gaze from the erotic reflection in the mirror above the bed.

“Now that we’ve established you understand who’s in charge, yes, I’ll select a safe word.” Mike never lifted his gaze from the movements of his fingers as he caressed her sensitive flesh.

"I choose ass,” Lyssa snapped, unable to keep her gaze from drifting back to the view above her.

Mike shook his head. “Not a democracy, darlin’. I make the rules. You follow them. I’ll choose the safe word. Something you wouldn’t normally blurt out.”

“I know the purpose of a safe word,” Lyssa grumbled, her senses on edge as his fingers teased a particularly sensitive spot deep inside her and his head lowered over her breasts. At the sharp nip of his teeth against a tightly beaded nipple, she arched closer to him, driving his fingers deeper within her. Her head swam with the sensations, her eyes fixed on the mirror overhead, adding visual stimuli to the damp heat of his mouth on her breast, the sting of his fingers stretching muscles that had been empty for too long. Again Lyssa forced her attention from the mirror to Mike. In a ragged voice, she suggested, “How about worm?”

Mike simply looked at her. His gaze drifted from her flushed cheeks to the rapid rise and fall of her breasts and finally to the curve of her belly. “Dragon,” he said. “Our safe word is ‘dragon.’”

Her heart slammed against her ribs as he leaned back on his haunches. He wrapped one hand around his straining penis and lifted his other hand away from her pussy. Her juices glistened on three of his fingers. He opened his mouth and sucked the moisture free. The gleam in his eyes and the way his dark chocolate irises deepened to black sent a shiver skidding along her spine. Involuntarily she tugged at her restraints. The condom packages slid off her stomach onto the bedding next to her. “O-okay,” she stammered.

“Now, there’s one more rule for you to remember,” Mike intoned softly.

Lyssa dipped her head in a small nod and waited. God, she needed to fight this. There was no way she could allow him to know how much she lov—wanted him to take control. She breathed deep and slow, trying to calm the fire in her blood.

Mike grinned down at her and picked up one of the black wrappers. “Appreciate the reminder, love,” he teased, tearing the package open and rolling the latex tube into place. He crouched over her, arms braced on the bed beside her shoulders, and the heated length of his cock slid through the wet lips of her sex before finding her entrance and pressing in. He continued. “Rule number three: this body is mine. Pussy, ass, breasts, lips”—his fingers slipped over each body part as he listed it—“everything belongs to me. To use as I see fit. In any way I want.”

REMEMBER: Anyone who comments with a question will be entered to win a $10 gift certificate to Loose Id or Amazon (winner’s choice.) Qwillia will randomly draw a name at the end of the week. (Anonymous responses will not be included in the drawing.)

9:18 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest


CONTEST: Those who comment will be entered to win:

1) $10 certificate to Ravenous Romance
2) .pdf copy of Sex University: Physical Education

Plus, friend me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/louisabacio and you’ll be entered into a second drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. Already a friend? Just let me know.

AL: Hi Louisa! Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week. Do you have a current, or upcoming release you’d like to tell us about?

Louisa: My current release is Sex University: Physical Education, which is an erotic thriller set at a sex school in San Francisco. For those tired of boring lessons, it promises to heat things up.

AL: What other erotic tales are you whipping up for us?

Louisa: Right now I’m working on an erotic paranormal that’s set in the city of New Orleans. I visited the Big Easy for the first time last October and the city is definitely addicting. There’s also a sequel to Physical Education in the works that’s set at a rival school.

I also edit erotic romance for Keith Publications. We have a new series called “The Tramp Stamp,” which features tales on how the protagonists got their tattoos. The first story “Shooting Stars” is by a new author Shay MacLean, and I’m excited to see it come out. Plus, some new paranormal (vampire) fiction by Ashlynn Monroe.

AL: What is the most difficult part of being a writer and do you write whenever the mood strikes, or do you have a specific routine?

Louisa: Honestly, I tend to write when I have the time. I’m one of those writers who needs to balance family, work and writing time. Usually, I end up writing late at night when the household has gone to sleep and I sneak in some quiet time.

AL: Do you believe a person has to have a special type of personality to write erotic romance?

Louisa: That’s a difficult question. I’d say that a person has to have an open mind and needs to believe in the power of erotic romance. I’ve come across people who link it with pornography and blame both for breaking up marriages – that’s the extreme. But, then there are those that think it can help keep marriages together, and bring some excitement into the bedroom, or can help with a short mental-vacation from reality. As a reader, I love getting lost in the world of a book, and maybe I can’t be the person to jet to Italy and have a romantic rendezvous with a gorgeous hunk or an alluring and mysterious woman but I can certainly read and write about it.

AL: Which of your heroes/heroines is most similar to you?

Louisa: I’m sure that there’s a little piece of me in all the heroines, even if it’s just realizing some of their fears, and that desire to search for love. None of my female protagonists are currently married with kids!

AL: It’s time to get personal! What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

Louisa: Well, right now I can tell you that I have bright blue streaks in my hair. I’ve always been more of a quiet person with this inner wild side, and it looks like some of it’s coming out -- visually.

AL: If you have two hours free time tonight, what would you rather do? Why?

Louisa: Have a few glasses of wine, stay awake and write something amazing.

AL: If I asked your best friend what type of person you are, what would he or she tell me?

Louisa: Mysterious and eclectic (so said one of my friends – my first thought was “dependable,” so that shows how well I think others know me!).

AL: Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings?

Louisa: Definitely Harry Potter. I’m one of those fans who stands in line at midnight the night of the release. For the holidays, I actually bought a few people wands as a gift.

AL: Fun question! If you had to write yourself as a villain, what kind of villain would you be? What would you be named?

Louisa: The best kind: One who delivers punishment with a lot of pleasure. Considering the BDSM that I like to write – it should make sense. Definitely would include a “Mistress” title.

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

Louisa: Have to admit that I don’t own a “famous quotations” book, but I’ve been looking up LOTS of them, and found a few that resonate. In particular:

“I love my man as my fellow; but his scepter, real, or usurped, extends not to me, unless the reason of an individual demands my homage; and even then the submission is to reason, and not to man.” - Mary Wollstonecraft

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with us, Louisa.

Louisa: Very much enjoyed the visit. Look forward to chatting with readers.

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




Tired of boring sex and wanting to expand her pleasure, 24-year-old Amanda "Mandi" Wilkinson enrolls in summer school at San Francisco Sex University, an exclusive sex school located in the heart of San Francisco. What Mandi doesn't realize is that not all of the mysterious dropouts are simply flunking sex-ed.

Reed McAllister came to Sex U. for reasons all his own. Undercover, he's searching for a woman, the right woman, and so far he doesn't have any leads. Reed never saw himself working at a place such as SFSU, let alone instructing, but he had to admit it - the job did come with its perks. When Mandi turns up on the missing list, will Reed be able to save her and give her the lessons she so desires?


A bell disrupted her thoughts. It was time. Amanda opened the door, ready to take on whatever came next, and found herself in a room full of other people.

Correction: other naked people.

Men and women burst out of the rooms like horses at a race, only to find themselves reined in. A petite blonde girl stood next to her, looking even more timid than Amanda felt. A tall, dark-haired man with stark almond-colored skin could be seen towering above the others on the other side of the room. A small Asian woman turned in circles, as if searching for a familiar face. And then the whistle shrilled. The sea of bare butts parted to reveal a mammoth woman with striking red hair; beside her stood another man who looked to be Blaine’s twin.

“All right everybody, that’s enough. You’ll have plenty of time to gawk at each other,” she said. “It’s time to get the first lesson started. I am Lucille, the headmistress of San Francisco Sex University, and what I say, you do.

“Now, everyone get into formation. Ten lines of five. Right now. On the double.” Amanda fell into line. The pale blonde woman stepped in front of her. As easily as elementary school children, they lined up equally spaced apart, shoulders back, chests out and faces forward. Amanda stole a glance to her right, and then to her left. Some men could obviously not hide their excitement, and a particular dark-skinned man to the left of her looked to have something to be excited about. Others were clearly intimidated by the situation and were not rising to the occasion.

The last guy in the line to the right of her seemed to be crowding the guy in front of him. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. There were six in that row. Try as he might, he couldn’t line up.

“You there,” the Lucy Amazon said, getting down off her box. “Can’t you count? Do you plan on flunking out on your first day? In your first hour?”

The woman strutted down the aisle, all the more noticeable in her clothes. It wasn’t merely the fact that she was wearing something alluring; it was the fact that she was wearing something in this room filled with stripped-down bodies. Black four-inch thigh-high boots made her even taller. As she walked purposefully through the ranks, the floor vibrated with the pulse of her every step. Amanda caught a glimmer of musky vanilla perfume as the woman passed her. Everything about Headmistress Lucy commanded attention. Amanda felt drawn to the woman’s obvious strength and power.

Before she saw it, Amanda heard the smack of leather hitting bare flesh. The man yelped in surprise.

CONTEST: Those who comment will be entered to win:

1) $10 certificate to Ravenous Romance
2) .pdf copy of Sex University: Physical Education

Plus, friend me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/louisabacio and you’ll be entered into a second drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. Already a friend? Just let me know.

8:39 AM

In the Author Spotlight


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

Gemini: It’s an honor! Thanks for having me.

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

Gemini: I have several thousand art projects planned for 2011 and I’m already thinking about my garden. Oh, and my daughter and I got a mandolin for Christmas so we are learning some chords and a few songs. (Other than that, I’m not too busy.)

AL: So what do you have for us to read.

Gemini: I have a new release coming out in February from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid called Dragonfly Dance. It’s an erotic little romp on the South Dakota plains.

AL: What are you currently working on?

Gemini: Dragonfly Dance is the first of a collection of novelettes with a similar heat and a music theme. Dragonfly Dance is about a fiddle player. I am working on the next one in that collection -- and the next one and the one after that.

AL: Out of all your stories do you have one that is more near and dear your heart?

Gemini: Ring Around the Sun was so much fun to write and seemed to fly onto the page. The main character, Teal, has had a rough life and is easy to rally behind. This book has been honored as a finalist in the EPIC competition this year in the contemporary erotic romance category.

AL: What is one glaringly/specific personality trait that you’ve put into a hero/heroine that is all Gemini? You know, the one where a family member or friend says, “Hey, this is so you.”

Gemini: Oh, fun question! I don’t think I have ever written me. But all my heroines have pieces of me. They all tend to be a little smart-allecky – that’s me. They all cuss pretty freely – that’s me. And they are softies – OK that’s me too. Maybe they are all me!

AL: Has an editor ever disagreed with something you’ve written and wanted a total re-write?

Gemini: No, luckily they’ve always been wowed by my amazing prose. KIDDING! Yes, I’ve gotten the “this will never fly” edit. One editor told me my character’s actions made her “too stupid to live” Ha! And she was right of course. Something about opening her door to a stranger when she knew a killer was on the loose…

AL: It’s time to get personal! What’s your favorite comfort food?

Gemini: Pizza, pizza and pizza with a frosty glass of beer.

AL: What favorite movie; or T.V. show makes you hunker down on the sofa and settle in for the night?

Gemini: I like comedy. Lately we sit and watch Raising Hope and Modern Family. And of course as a family we are Harry Potter junkies.

AL: Are you a writer only, or do you do other activities outside of writing?

Gemini: Lately I have been doing cover art at Whiskey Creek Press. Dragonfly Dance is my own creation. I have several years of graphic design experience and I can play in Photoshop all day long. Sometimes I do and my writing takes a backseat. It seems to exercise the other side of my brain.

AL: Can you share some of your plans for 2011 and beyond?

Gemini: Learn the mandolin, make friends with my horse, write more books, create more cover art, run a half marathon, do lots of camping with my daughter.

AL: Fun question! If you could go anywhere in the world and in any time…where would you go? What would you do? And why that time-period?

Gemini: Oooo. I’d like to travel the United States when it was pristine and untouched. Maybe be a part of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Can you imagine what they must have scene? I know times were tough, but just to see all that beauty… I’d hang out with Sacagawea.

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

Gemini: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." – Eleanor Roosevelt

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with us, Gemini.

Gemini: What fun! Thanks for the opp.

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



Her fingers play the fiddle like nobody’s business. Her band is Littlehawk Lightening. Her future is Tucker Jennings. They’ll share their dreams, somewhere on the open plains of South Dakota. Just like they’d always planned. When Lori Littlehawk walks in on Tucker in the arms of another woman, her dreams crumble.

The Dragonfly Dance is a South Dakota tradition and Lori realizes she’ll attend this year’s dance single, for the first time. When she learns a talent scout is coming to the dance in search of a fiddle band to feature in a movie, Lori is determined to catch that scout’s attention with new and fabulous music.

On cue, the skies come alive with swarming dragonflies under a perfect prairie sky and music fills the air. Lori meets a dark handsome man and impetuously sets her fiddle aside to explore her new freedom. She has no idea her delicious new playmate is the talent scout and she definitely has his attention.


Lori gathered her hair into a tight bundle behind her head and fastened it with a clip. Long ago she’d decided to wear it up like that on her wedding day, with a sparkly strapless dress. Goodbye wedding day. Her reflection in the mirror looked puffy. “Fuck you,” she hissed at the puffy woman.

She looked forward to the Dragonfly Dance every summer. Not just because it was a chance to party and play her fiddle all day long and into the night. Not because it brought bands from all over the state and friends she only saw once a year. It was the celebration of something deeper. The air smelled sweet and if the timing was right, the sky hummed with newly-emerged dragonflies. Ever since she could remember, she’d put on a twirly skirt, climb into the Littlehawk camper and head to the gigantic open grassland outside Aberdeen. The Dragonfly Dance was a South Dakota gathering with a long celebrated history and this year she was going to go with a puffy face and a broken heart.

Lori was drawn from her brooding by a knock at her bedroom door. The last person she expected to see standing there was her brother Cameron. The young professional and heartthrob of Aberdeen, Cam taught social studies at the high school. He’d taken up kayaking when summer vacation began, and he looked tan and fit. “Hey Cam. Shouldn’t you be out on the river?”

“Too windy. I talked to dad. I’m sorry about your bad day yesterday.”

Bad day? Okay, she’d work with that opener. “Thanks. You wondering about the Dragonfly Dance? We’re going for it, Cam. We’re playing the good stuff and you better warm up your pipes.”

“My pipes are plenty warm. I’m not wondering about that. I need to talk to you about Tuck.”

Her aching heart leapt. “Have you seen him?”

“No, I haven’t seen him. And lucky for him. I’d punch his lights out.”

“No you wouldn’t.” Lori grinned knowingly at herself in the mirror and caught Cam’s grim look behind her. “What’s going on, Cam?”

“Lori, as painful as this is, it’s for the best.”

“Why would you say that?” Tired of the reflected conversation, she spun her vanity chair to look at Cam. In response, he settled on the corner of her bed.

“A friend of mine went to college in Vermillion and he stays in close contact with a lot of people there. Tuck’s been a bad guy, Lori. Ever since he got to law school.”

“A bad guy?” She shook her head and waited for more.

“He’s a cheat. Just like his dad. I’ve watched you over the years, pulling that bastard out of the mud, time and time again. Something about him always rubbed me the wrong way. Why did he stay loyal to old man Jennings when we all knew what he did to Tuck’s mom? Then when I heard what he’s been up to in Vermillion, I knew he was showing his true stripes. Jenning’s stripes.”

Lori winced at the mention of Tuck’s parents. She was angry as hell, but she didn’t feel ready to rake Tuck over the coals and drag all his hardships out into the open. “When did you hear this, Cam?”

“I’m sorry.” He closed his eyes and drew in a big breath. “Josh told me about this a few months ago. I just didn’t know how to tell you.”

“Tuck’s been cheating on me? For months?” She rose from her chair but found little strength in her legs for anything more. Slowly, she sat back down and rested her forehead in her open palm. “And you knew?”

“I’ve been working up to telling you. It seemed you’d cooled on the marriage talk, so I thought I had some time. No way was I gonna let my little sister marry this guy.”

Lori’s thoughts galloped ahead and behind and around her in circles. Had they cooled? Their future had been so certain, perhaps she didn’t even notice.

After a silence of a thousand years, Cam spoke up. “So are you fired up to play your songs at the Dragonfly?”

Lori looked at her brother. His sleek features always made him look like a racehorse, she thought. He wasn’t ruggedly handsome like Henry, but more refined. Her Sioux uncles said Cameron would have been a fierce warrior. Lori wondered how that would be with his gentle nature. He rocked as a high school teacher and she knew full well that every teenage girl with eyes had a crush on Mr. Littlehawk.

“Yeah, I’m fired up. Let’s do this in a big way this year.” She stood again and found new strength. She grabbed Cam’s hands and pulled him to his feet.

“One more thing you ought to know. I heard Casey and Tuck are going to the Dragonfly Dance as part of the Red Hot Riders.”

“The Riders? I thought they went rock. What the heck is Tucker doing in a rock band? He’s about as red hot as a baked potato.”

Cam burst out laughing and squeezed her hands. “This talent search has everybody scrambling to sound like a fiddle band.” He pounded their clasped hands gently on her chest. “Forget the Riders. Forget Tuck. You’re beautiful and vibrant. And I’m excited to see what you do with your freedom. Have fun with this dance. It’s your time.” He softly kissed her cheek and walked out.

This subtle display of affection threw Lori into a tailspin. On the verge of a new waterfall of tears, she turned to the mirror and released her hair from the clip. It fell past her shoulders and she absently finger-combed the ends. “This is my time.”

She was going to the Dragonfly Dance single, for the first time. And she was looking for some fun.

8:29 AM

BOOK 1 in the



Dimitri Alexios lives alone in his San Francisco mansion, if one could call loathing what he is and hating his maker living. Until he beholds the mortal woman who appears on his doorstep. Her gentleness brings light to his darkness, and her innocence calls to him. Yet she knows nothing of his world, or the dangerous predator that constantly rages within him.

Museum curator Cassie Stephens, sent to catalog antiques at the Alexios estate, is surprised to discover Dimitri is anything but the old man she expected. He’s handsome and darkly mysterious, not the sort who’s usually attracted to her girl-next-door looks. Yet she’s ensnared by his irresistible charm.

Cassie’s passion has touched a heart he thought no longer capable of love. Now he must turn his strength to a deadly task: a battle to save the woman he loves from the maker who would love nothing more than to rip her away from him…


The ballroom was crowded with guests dressed in eighteenth-century garb. Women wore lavish jewelry and magnificent gowns, men in long-tailed jackets of various colors paired with matching pants and ruffled white shirts.

Cassie walked through the maze of people who laughed and talked boisterously. As she passed, all turned and bowed. “My lady,” they said.

She nodded, and proceeded.

Coming to a mirror, she paused and studied her reflection. She wore the same dark blue satin dress with black lace over a billowing skirt that she had worn to the party with Kelly—but now there were diamonds around her neck and diamond ear bobs in her earlobes. She looked every bit the high aristocratic lady.

A hand touched her shoulder; she knew it was Dimitri, but his reflection didn’t show in the mirror. She spun to face him, heart pounding.

“Dance, my lady?” he whispered. He cocked his head, his dark gaze traveling over her. “You look beautiful.”

“Thank you,” she replied breathlessly, forcing her fear to recede. He swung her into his arms as the music began and she soon caught up in the swirl of dancers. He waltzed her around the dance floor, his steps quick and sure. She focused on him, only him.

He was the most handsome man there. His black hair hung long and straight to his shoulders, his black coat and pants fit snugly over his sinewy form. His dark gaze sensual as it swept over her face. Was that longing in his eyes?

Surely, there was in hers. I want to share eternity with this man, she thought.

“As you wish,” he said.

His lips parted, and she watched, horrified as fangs descended. She gasped and tried to scramble away, but his arm locked around her waist, imprisoning her against him. She looked around wildly for help, but everyone continued to dance, oblivious to the two of them as the throng of people danced faster and faster, until everything blurred. She attempted to call out, but her voice trapped in her throat.

Her eyes widened as he lower his mouth to her neck, his lips scorching her skin where he placed a light kiss. Then there was a brief moment of pain as his fangs pierced her flesh. Visions of blood, so much blood, filled her as he drank. Distantly she heard pleas for mercy, cries of distress.

Cassie felt herself falling into darkness…and screamed…

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