9:24 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest


CONTEST: Barbara will give away an eBook version of her most recent book with Samhain Publishing, A Forever Kind of Guy. (The second in The Braddock Brotherhood series.)  Winner will be drawn from all readers who post a comment in the following week.

AL: Hi Barbara! Welcome to Blog Bites.

Barbara: Thanks for inviting me, Ann. It’s fun to be here.

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

Barbara: I stay busy working as a shift supervisor at Starbucks and keeping up with family and friends. I have two grown children, a long-time husband and a black lab mix named Pepper. My daughter got married recently which was a wonderful, fun-filled event. I like to bicycle, walk the beach, and read. I’ve also begun a fledgling career as a song lyricist.

AL: Tell us about a current or upcoming release.

Barbara: I independently published a book called Scattered Moments which straddles the line between womens’ fiction and romantic suspense. Didn’t seem to fit any publisher’s guidelines, but readers love it.

AL: What other stories are you deep into?

Barbara: The third in The Braddock Brotherhood series, on which I’m currently doing editor-suggested revisions; The second in the Grinding Reality contemporary fantasy series written under my pen name, AJ Tillock. (The first one is The Forbidden Bean. They’re loosely based on my work experience for a large coffee company.) Another womens’ fiction/romance entitled mis•con•ceive, which I will probably publish independently later this year.

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

Barbara: Many years ago after reading a poorly written romance novel, I threw it across the room when I finished it and declared, “I can write better than that!”

AL: Do you have a mentor or critique partner that you work with consistently?

Barbara: I have a wonderful reader who was a fan of my first Samhain book, A Month From Miami. She won my first “Be A Character In My Next Book Contest” and later we became Facebook friends. I asked her if she’d read an unpublished manuscript for me and tell me what she thought. She’s done that a couple of times. I find that readers look for different things than editors do and Tara reads A LOT and A LOT of romance. She knows what works and what doesn’t and promises if she hates something I’ve written she will tell me. So far, she hasn’t hated anything I’ve given her! My daughter also writes and she is a brutal critiquer which I need. Also, my best friend who reads quite a bit sometimes reads for me and tells me if something works. I have also asked the Novelists, Inc., critique group for a cold read and feedback on occasion. They are all wonderful, multi-published authors and a huge help. I have also benefited greatly from my long-time friendship with author Tina Wainscott who now writes as Jaime Rush.

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?

Barbara: The most difficult part of being a writer is 1) getting published and 2) marketing my work. As for the actual writing, I write when I can. There’s no routine. I always have multiple projects going so I often flit from one to the other when I get stalled. Writing fantasy is a particular challenge for me. I’d never written in that genre and with the second book, I have to think a lot about it before I write. I am definitely flying by the seat of my pants.

AL: It’s time to get personal! You’re snowed in for a week in the Swiss Alps. You’ve enough firewood and food to get you through the blizzard waging outside. What are three things that you would have to have with you?

Barbara: My laptop. My Kindle with several good books on it that I’m dying to read. Two to three bottles of Beringer white zin.

AL: What's your favorite music? Do you listen to that when you write?

Barbara: I don’t listen to music when I write. My favorite is Top 40/pop and classic rock which is what I grew up listening to.

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?

Barbara: Probably taking out the trash at work or digging wet coffee grounds out of a French press.

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

Barbara: When I find that dishes have been put away when they’re still wet I see red. This happens a lot at work and it drives me crazy!!

AL: Can you share some of your plans for 2012 and beyond?

Barbara: Write, write, write! I’d like to continue my relationship with Samhain and certainly hope to with a third and fourth (possibly a fifth) book in The Braddock Brotherhood series. But so much of what I write is non-genre specific, so whatever I can’t place elsewhere, I’ll independently publish and also do print versions of those books. But be patient. I am very slow!

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

Barbara: This is something my Dad always used to say and I’ve found like many of his words of wisdom, it’s true: At any point in your life you’ll be able to count your true friends on the fingers of one hand and you probably won’t need all the fingers.

AL: Thanks so much for sharing, Barbara.

Barbara: Thanks for having me, Ann. I love doing interviews.

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

Readers can also follow me on Twitter @barbmeyers and @AJTillock



First on Hayley Christopher’s list to get her train-wreck life back on track: stay away from men. Especially the ones who cause a ripple effect of bad decisions.

Still reeling from a high-profile divorce, the college dropout and former pro cheerleader is stumbling through yet another challenge—temporary custody of her nephew, Fletcher. No one knows better than Hayley that she’s not mother material. When she opens the door to her new landlord and old flame, she wonders just how many more past mistakes she is destined to pay for.

After the death of his wife, Ray Braddock is still putting the pieces back together. Hayley—and the silent little boy at her side—both bristle with emotional barriers so high, it appears no one but him can see that together, three broken people just might make a whole family.

As she watches Fletcher respond to Ray’s patient care, Hayley’s determination to hold on to her heart begins to soften. But just when she begins to think that Ray is one opportunity she shouldn’t let slip by, Fletcher’s gang-connected father threatens to make her pay for the one good choice she ever made…


Hayley Christopher swiped gloss across her lips and stared at herself in the bathroom mirror.

Why do I bother? she silently asked her reflection.

Her plan for the future dangled just out of reach like a rabbit in front of a greyhound. She wanted to race forward, shake the Florida sand off her feet and arrive in Los Angeles ready to start her life over, but something always held her back. Ten years ago it had been a man. Though she’d vowed never to sacrifice her dreams for a man again, she hadn’t counted on a little boy getting in the way of her second chance.

Just a few short months ago she’d been ready to escape Jacksonville and the life she’d once had with Trey. Her bags were packed. An airline ticket awaited her. She’d planned to step off the plane in L.A. and never look back.

Marriage to Trey derailed her plans the first time. Now she’d allowed her semi-orphaned, stepnephew Fletcher to block her path. But she hadn’t had a choice, had she? With his mother OD’ing on heroin, dying in her arms, begging her to take care of him, to protect him from his violent father, what was she supposed to say? “No, Steffie, sorry, I’ve got a new life in L.A. waiting for me”? Everyone else had turned their backs on Stef and for good reason. Hayley couldn’t. She’d made a promise to watch over Fletcher without realizing what it would mean.

The other options were to leave Fletcher with strangers, or worse, at the mercy of his father Carlos, should he ever get out of jail. She shuddered at the thought that Carlos might make good on his threats against her. That he’d hurt his own son in the process. The poor kid had been traumatized enough in his young life. While she knew she wasn’t the ideal candidate to take custody, at least Fletcher knew who she was, though they’d hardly bonded in the few months she’d had him. They probably never would.

As long as he was with her, Hayley knew Fletcher wouldn’t be mistreated and he’d be kept away from his father. With any luck at all, he’d be adopted by the kind of family Hayley herself had always dreamed of. A mother and father. Siblings. There’d be a big backyard with a swing set. Dinner on the table at six every night. Maybe even a dog.

Sure it was a dream. It hadn’t come true for her, but maybe she could make it come true for her stepsister’s son. If Carlos ever came looking for Fletcher, he’d be long gone, absorbed into the system with a new name, a new family and tightly sealed records. Somehow she’d make that happen. And afterward she’d move forward with her own plans. She and Fletcher would both be free of their pasts.

She stowed the lip gloss and mascara in her makeup case and stared at her reflection once more. What was the point in wearing makeup or making an attempt with her hair? Why did she bother putting cute workout clothes on?

“L.A. Someday. Soon,” she promised herself as she did every morning.

She sat down on the closed toilet lid to wrap the Ace bandage around her swollen ankle. Giving in to a burst of exuberance after teaching one of her aerobics classes yesterday had been a mistake. Her professional cheerleading days were several years behind her, and she was getting too old to do back flips. She should have known better.

Life as she’d known it was over, she reminded herself. Some days there seemed no point to anything.

The doorbell rang. She heard Fletcher move away from where she’d left him on the sofa watching cartoons.

“Don’t open the door, Fletch,” she called. “I’ll be right there.”

Quickly she finished wrapping her ankle, making sure the self-securing bandage would stay in place. Who could be ringing her doorbell? She knew virtually no one in tiny Perrish, Florida. Oh God, she hoped it wasn’t more bad news. Bad news had been following her for too long, showing up when she least expected it. Maybe the ringing of the doorbell heralded a change in that pattern.

She grabbed the despised crutches and maneuvered her way out of the bathroom, wincing when she bumped her injured ankle with the tip of the crutch. She’d needed the crutches for less than a day but it was long enough to know she hated them.

Four-year-old Fletcher stood to the left of the front door, his attention focused on whatever was on the other side of the slender pane of sidelight glass. Hayley moved closer to see a man hunkered on the other side making funny faces at Fletcher. She glanced down to see Fletcher’s reaction. His expression was the one he usually wore of serious concentration, but a ghost of a smile played around his lips. At least Hayley wanted to think he might be close to a smile. It’d been a long time since he had.

There was no chain on the door, so Hayley debated for a moment about whether to open the door to a strange man. It was broad daylight and he looked harmless enough. He straightened when he heard the deadbolt slide back.

They stared at each other for what was probably a split second but felt like a lifetime. Hayley felt the ripple run through her. She’d experienced the ripple effect twice in her life. Once with her ex-husband and the first time with—

“Hi, I’m Ray Braddock,” he began.

—Ray Braddock when she was fourteen. She’d been a brand new student, a freshman at Jannings High School. He and his twin brother Rick had been the hottest boys in the junior class. She’d worshiped Ray from afar, though she’d never actually met him. But every time she saw him, the ripple effect slammed her full force.

Okay, she told herself. You can do this. You are not attracted to him. The last thing you need is a man in your life. Men are bad news. Men cause pain. Men mess up your plans. The ripple effect means nothing. The ripple effect is evil.

“Hayley Christopher.” Good. That’s good. She remembered her manners. She remembered her name. Now if that excitement fluttering in the pit of her stomach would cease and desist, she’d be fine.

“I know.”

Her radar shot out a warning. “You know? What do you mean, you know? How would you know my name?”

“From the property management company. I—”

“Oh? I can’t believe they gave out my name. They have no right. Who I am and where I live is my business and no one else’s. There must be some kind of law—”

“Whoa. Slow down there. I hired the property manager. I’m the owner of the property. I live in the other unit.” He nodded toward the other half of the duplex.

“You—own—wait a minute. What?” The other half of the duplex had been vacant during the short time she’d lived there. Or so she thought.

As if sensing her distress, Fletcher moved closer to her, wedging himself between her leg and her crutch and clutching her thigh. He sent out one of his trademark, almost inaudible whimpers of inquiry. Awkwardly, she patted his shoulder. “It’s okay, sweetie.”

Ray rescued her from her confusion. “I was out of town for a while. So I hired the property manager. But I’m back. Starting next month, you can pay your rent directly to me.”

“Oh. Okay.”

“What happened to you? Do you need to sit down?” Ray gestured at the crutches and Fletcher hanging onto her. “Want me to come in for a minute?”

Hayley couldn’t take her gaze off her landlord. He’d been good looking as a teenager and he still was. But his handsome face had more character now. Tiny lines radiated from the corners of his eyes. As she recalled, he’d been leaner than his brother, and that hadn’t changed. He looked tanned and strong and capable. But he also looked sad. And a bit lost.

Maybe that’s what I look like too. It was certainly how she felt most days. Giving herself a mental shake, she tried to regroup and say something reasonably intelligent.

Inviting him into her personal space was out of the question. “No. That’s okay. I’ll make the rent checks to you from now on. Was there anything else?”

“Is everything all right with the place? Appliances? Plumbing? Air conditioning?”

“Everything works. I’m not crazy about some of the decorating choices, but it’s nothing critical.” Except the bathroom wallpaper, she added silently. It’s hideous. She’d seriously considered doing the next tenant a favor by ripping down the wallpaper in the bathroom. Bare drywall would be an improvement over the garish flowered foil.

“All right, then. Here’s my phone number.” He handed her a plain white business card on which he’d written his name and the number. “Let me know if you have any problems.”

She took the card. Her fingertips touched his. She ignored her reaction.


REMEMBER: Barbara will give away an eBook version of her most recent book with Samhain Publishing, A Forever Kind of Guy. (The second in The Braddock Brotherhood series.) Winner will be drawn from all readers who post a comment in the following week.

11:23 AM

In the Author Spotlight

Mary Eason

Thanks for joining us. Mary is talking to us today about...


Regrets. We all have them. Some are just minor irritations in our day, such as a wrong shoe choice. A bad hairstyle. A decision to eat that extra large slice of chocolate when you (and more importantly your hips) didn't need it. I call them minor irritations because for the most part, they don't alter our life too drastically.

Yet, some regrets can turn into major heartaches. These are the ones that send your life spinning into a different direction. Sometimes for the better. Often for the worse. It could be a decision to change careers. Move to another city. Walk away from someone you love. All have the ability to radically alter your life and you. If they don't work out, either they can leave you broken and full of regret, or they can make you stronger.

I think most of us have experienced both types of regrets. I certainly have.

In my book, KILLER MOVES, that is the premise of the story.

Six years ago, Kara Bryant tapped into the mind of a serial killer—and nearly became his last victim. Her FBI colleague and lover, Davis Martin, put the murderer behind bars, then devastated her with his abrupt rejection. Worse, the vivid nightmares that followed her to her desert retreat have recently taken a fresh, frightening turn.

She should have foreseen that Davis would turn up. She’s just not sure her still-broken heart can take the strain.

Davis thought he’d made the right decision for everyone involved in a case that almost ended in disaster, thanks to his mistakes. But with a new string of killings that one by one is taking out the women of his past, suddenly he wonders if he let the real Death Angel get away. Kara is the only one who can help him nail the bastard for good this time—if she can forgive him.

He wasn’t expecting the woman he never stopped loving to love him back. Nor is he prepared to come face-to-face with Kara’s secret. One that raises the stakes impossibly high.

Sometimes regrets have the ability to knock us off course. And sometimes they send up in just the right direction we need to go.

All the best…
Mary Eason


Available now at Samhain Publishing

Blurb:They’re a match made in the hallowed halls of Quantico. Until Death comes knocking…


Kara's head throbbed with pain. Had since Ryan arrived in her life yesterday bringing unwelcome news that seem to confirm what she already knew in her heart. The Angel had returned.

The voices of the dead called out to her from their resting place in her closet where she’d tossed the photos after Ryan had left the day before. It had taken all her willpower to pick them up and put them away. Although Ryan didn’t initially say as much, Kara knew there were others. Two others to be exact. Rachel would just be his latest. But they all cried out to her, along with Rachel, the ex-wife of the man she both hated and loved. Kara had no idea how long she’d been sitting like that.

She wasn’t sure why she’d kept the folder in the first place. She should burn it before Ava got home from school, be done with it once and for all but she couldn’t bear to touch it. If she touched them, she would feel their pain. And in experiencing their pain, they would become real to her. She’d want to do something to help them. She couldn’t. She’d left that part of her life behind in DC. She was a mother now—a boutique owner. She was no longer a psychic.

As much as Kara tried to block out the voices of the dead, she tried even harder to break the link between her grandmother and herself. She couldn’t talk to Maggie about this and not fall apart. And she couldn’t fall apart for Ava’s sake. When the phone rang once more, Kara didn’t need to look at the caller ID to know it would be her grandmother. She ignored the phone and listened as the answering machine picked up. Maggie never left messages. She detested modern technology.

Silently, Kara promised to call her back later. It felt as if hours had passed, but in fact it was barely noon and she didn’t know what to do with herself. Too much empty time for thinking.

Kara’s thoughts went to Davis. If she picked up the phone, would she be able to reach him? Would he even want to hear from her? Slowly she dialed the familiar number to the VCIRD headquarters and waited. “Good afternoon, VCIRD’s DC Division. How may I direct your call?” the pleasant voice of the receptionist inquired politely.

“Agent Davis Martin, please.” The silence following her request lengthened along with Kara’s fears.

One click, followed by another then another before the receptionist questioned, “May I ask who is calling, please?” It took Kara longer than it should to realize what the clicking noise represented, but when she did, she slammed the receiver down. Idiot! She’d been out of the game far too long. She’d grown rusty. Davis’s ex-wife had just been murdered. Of course they’d monitor his calls for clues.

Kara still stood with the cordless handset in her hand when it rang again, and she feared the worst. Surely not enough time had passed to trace the call. Still, she couldn’t pick up. The answering machine clicked on and her grandmother’s frantic voice came into her living room. “Kara, it’s your grandmother. Kara, if you’re there, pick up. Child, don’t do it. Don’t take the case. Don’t go back to the past with—”

“Gran, I’m here.” Kara answered the call, wanting only to reassure her grandmother. “Don’t take the case. It’s too dangerous for you.” Of course Kara knew what her grandmother meant. After all, they both shared the bond of vision.

“I’m not. I’m not taking the case, Gran.” Kara paused for the moment before asking slowly, “What have you seen?”

“It doesn’t matter.” This meant it had been bad. Whenever her grandmother refused to share something, it was bad.

“Tell me, Gran.” She remained silent. “Is Ava in danger?” Dear God…no.

“I don’t know, but you are.” Kara drew much-needed air into her lungs. She couldn’t go through this again. She’d almost died the last time.

“Not like that, child. It’s far worse than that. Don’t go there, Kara.” She wanted to press for answers but she knew Maggie wouldn’t reveal them to her.

“I’m not taking the case, Gran,” she said instead.

“Thank God.” Maggie paused for a moment before asking, “You’ve seen him again, haven’t you? He isn’t dead.”

“Gran, Frankie Shepard is dead. He died that night. That’s over. Whoever is doing this now is just a copycat. They’ll catch him.”

“You don’t believe that. I can tell it in your voice. You always believed they framed the wrong man.”

“They’ll catch him,” Kara repeated once more, and really tried this time to mean it.

“Without your help?”

“Yes, without my help.”

9:22 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest

AL: Hi N.J.! Welcome to Blog Bites.

N.J.: Thank you so much, Ann. It’s great to be here.

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

N.J.: Right now, I’m trying to get through the rest of winter. lol It’s been extremely cold where I live and I can’t wait for spring. The upside is I’m inside more so I’m getting a lot of writing done.

AL: Tell us about a current or upcoming release.

N.J.: Quinn’s Quest is my latest release from Samhain Publishing. It’s part of my Legacy werewolf series and tells the tale of Quinn Lawton, who is searching for his missing sister. The last thing he expects to find, or wants, is a woman who makes him think about all the things that are missing in his life. He can’t allow any attraction to distract him from his hunt. But fate has other ideas.

AL: What other steamy stories are you whipping up for readers?

N.J.: I’ve got two more Legacy books releasing this year and I just submitted another Awakening Desires book to my editor at Ellora’s Cave. Right now, I’m working on an entirely new paranormal series. It’s very different for me and I’m having a blast working on it.

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

N.J.: That is so tough. I love all my books for different reasons. Annabelle Lee is my first published book so that one is special. Discovering Dani was the first book I ever wrote so that book will always hold a place in my heart. The Seduction of Shamus O’Rourke is also a personal favorite, simply because I love Shamus so much. I could go on and on and on…

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'? :-)

N.J.: The characters are the starting point for me. I have to know them before I can start thinking about the story. Once I know who they are (or at least as much as they’re showing me at the moment) I start thinking about their story. I may jot down a few notes, but I’m not a plotter. Once I have the first scene worked out in my head, I start writing. The rest of the story flows from there.

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

N.J.: I love being able to get inside the heads of my characters and experience something totally different from my own life. The creation aspect is quite addicting. I’m not sure there’s anything to dislike, but I find that I spend more time now promoting and doing writer-related things than writing sometimes. It can get frustrating, but it’s part of the job.

AL: It’s time to get personal! St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner. Do you get rip-roarin’ drunk drinking green beer while dressed head to toe in green, or are you lucky to find green in your closet and leave the drinking to others?

N.J.: LOL Hubby is the one with the Irish heritage. He even played in an band for a few years back in the early ‘90s. We’re pretty low-key around our house. If we’re drinking beer, it’s probably at home.

AL: Best movie you've seen recently? I want to see The Vow and have not had the opportunity yet.

N.J.: The best one I’ve seen recently is This Means War. It’s action-packed and funny. A great date movie.

AL: If you were a Superheroine, would you wear tights and a cape?

N.J.: No cape, but probably tights. Those suckers help keep things in place.

AL: If you could meet someone famous in either history, or present day…who would you like to meet and why?

N.J.: I’d love to meet the Dali Lama. I think it would be amazing to sit and talk with him for an afternoon.

AL: Can you share some of your plans for 2012 and beyond?

N.J.: Hubby and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this year. Not sure what we’ll be doing yet, but something special. I have no idea where the years have gone. Beyond that, I’ll be writing and enjoying myself as much as possible.

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

N.J.: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." (Lao Tzu)

AL: Thanks so much for sharing, N.J.

N.J.: It’s my pleasure, Ann. Thank you so much for having me here.

AL: If you’d like to find out more about N.J. please visit:

Website: http://www.njwalters.com/
Blog: http://www.njwalters.blogspot.com/
Newsletter Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/awakeningdesires/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Nj-Walters/714113604



He can give her anything and everything she needs—except a future.

Legacy, Book 4

Kidnapped and held in a crazy doctor’s underground laboratory, Bethany Morris only manages to escape because Chrissten, one of her fellow abductees, creates an opportunity—by shifting into a werewolf.

Bethany’s desperate for help, but who’ll believe her story? The police? That’ll just buy her a one-way ticket to a padded room—because here’s the kicker: she’s discovered she’s a half-breed werewolf. Her only hope is to find Chrissten’s brother.

Quinn Lawton’s long, grinding search for his missing twin has turned up nothing…until Bethany rekindles his hope. Something else catches flame too—her heat cycle and a searing attraction branded with the word mate. Yet with so much blood on his hands, any future he might offer is already tainted beyond redemption.

Desperate for Quinn’s touch alone, Bethany has no choice but to take Quinn up on his offer to quell her terrifying need, no strings attached. And hope that as the search for Chrissten intensifies, the battle with their personal demons doesn’t destroy their razor-thin chance at forever.

Product Warnings
This book contains heartbreak and love found, a crazy scientist and his werewolf flunky and a tortured werewolf hero. Plus lots and lots of steamy hot sex!


The phone rang twice before it occurred to Bethany that the middle of the night might not be the best time to call anyone asking for help, especially not with the crazy story she had to tell. “Damn.” She thought about hanging up but she was committed now. She tightened her hand around the receiver.

“Yeah.” The voice was male and hoarse with sleep.

She cleared her throat. “Is this Quinn Lawton?” She prayed she’d remembered the number right. She didn’t know what she’d do next if this wasn’t Chrissten’s brother.

There was some rustling in the background and the voice was more alert this time. “No.” Bethany’s heart sunk. Maybe she’d dialed the number wrong. Before she could apologize and hang up, the man was speaking again. “Just give me a second and I’ll get him.”

Hope surged inside her. She hadn’t failed. The phone number was the right one. Her knees threatened to buckle so she sank into the chair that Margaret had vacated. Her stomach felt queasy and she was still very weak. She could still hang up the phone and let the police handle this. All she’d have to do is tell them she was kidnapped. No need to tell them about the rest of it. Quinn Lawton would never be able to find her. There was no way to trace the call back to the shelter.

She clutched the receiver in her hand and took a deep breath, knowing she could never do that. She was committed now. No turning back. Footsteps sounded through the receiver and she knew the man who’d answered was taking the phone to Chrissten’s brother, who was a half-breed werewolf just like Chrissten. Just like she was.

Bethany still couldn’t quite wrap her head around that one, but she was trying to understand it. She hoped Quinn had answers for her.

“Yeah.” The voice was low and gruff and masculine. Every cell in Bethany’s body reacted to the sound. The fine hair on the back of her neck stood on end. Her nipples contracted. Her breath caught in her throat.

“Who is this?” The voice was more demanding now, all trace of sleepiness gone.

Bethany forced herself to speak. “Is this Quinn Lawton?”

“Who wants to know?” She almost hung up on him. His impatience and arrogance bled through the phone line. But she’d promised her friend.

“Do you have a sister named Chrissten?”

“Where is she? Who are you? Where are you?”

Bethany was so startled by the angry outburst she dropped the receiver. She could hear Quinn yelling at her through the line. She grabbed the phone and hung up, panting hard for breath. He was one scary man.

She sat there for about thirty seconds before she grabbed the phone and punched in the number again.

“Hello. Are you there?” he demanded.

“I’m here.” This was for Chrissten, she reminded herself. And for yourself, a little voice in the back of her head said. You want to know more about who you are. What you are.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell at you.” His low tones made her shiver and she wasn’t sure she believed him. Even his apology was short. A voice in the background was urging him to stay calm. She recognized it as the man who’d originally answered the phone. She was beginning to wish she’d talked to him instead.

“Umm, I need to talk to you about your sister.” She had to do this face-to-face. This wasn’t something you talked about over the phone. “Where are you?”

“I’m in Chicago. Where are you?”

Bethany was shocked to find out that help was close at hand. She hadn’t expected that, but would take it as a good sign that maybe her luck was changing. “Where in Chicago? I want to meet you.”

“Tell me about my sister.” His frustration was palpable and she almost blurted out everything she knew. But she had to meet him in person. She’d promised Chrissten she’d get help and that meant more than simply making a phone call. Plus, she was curious about him, about what he was. What she was.

“Where shall I meet you?” Bethany could be just as stubborn as he was.

“There’s a bar in Wicker Park. It’s called Haven. Meet me there.”

“When?” Bethany glanced at the clock over Margaret’s desk. It was half past four in the morning.

“Now. I’ll be waiting for you.”

“I don’t have any money to pay for a cab.” It was demoralizing to admit she needed him to pay for her to get there. She couldn’t walk, as she had no idea where she was going. Even if she wanted to take public transit she still had no idea where to find this particular bar.

“Just get here. I’ll take care of the cab fare.”

She sucked in a breath and said, “Okay,” as she exhaled. The quicker she did this the better for her peace of mind.

“What’s your name?” The urgency in his tone brought home just how desperate he was for news of his sister.

“Bethany. My name is Bethany. As of less than a day ago your sister was alive. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

9:38 AM

In the Author Spotlight

CONTEST: Tina will be offering a contest. She’ll offer one commenter (chosen at random), her (or his) choice of one of my backlist ebooks, including:

1. Adored – RWA award-winning; EPIC 2011 Finalist  4 Stars RT
2. Deep, Dark, Delicious – EPIC 2011 Finalist; Holt Medallion Award of Merit
3. Lush Velvet Nights – EPIC 2011 Finalist; Golden Nib Award
4. In His Arms – SIX 5 Star Reviews; 4 Stars RT
5. Sensual Stranger – 2010 Book of the Year (erotic); 4 Stars RT
6. The Yearning – Top Ten Bestseller
7. Take Me Away - #1 Pick, Miz Love Loves Books


AL: Hi Tina! Welcome to Blog Bites.

Tina: Thanks for having me at Blog Bites – I’m thrilled to be here.

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

Tina: It’s getting really beautiful in Palm Springs where I live. Not that it isn’t always beautiful, but instead of 60 degree days, we’re now having 75 and up. Wow. The mountains are covered with snow and the valley – where I live – has these soft, caressing breezes scented with flowers. Paradise.

AL: Tell us about a current or upcoming release.

Tina: The Yearning, my first paranormal and my first title with Samhain has just come out in print – March 6, to be exact. It’s been a Top Ten Bestseller at Samhain and received so many wonderful reviews, including being nominated for Book of the Week at Whipped Cream Reviews (LASR).

AL: What other works are you deep into?

Tina: I’m about to go into edits for Illicit Desire, Book Two of my Outlawed Realm series (paranormal). Outlawed Realm is my first series, BTW. Illicit Desire is set to be pubbed in September. Unending Desire, Book One, just received the Best Book rating at LASR erotic.

AL: Who is the author(s) that inspired you to write?

Tina: Wow. There were so many. I was reading Dickens in the fourth grade. I love the work of Lawrence Sanders, Dean Koontz, Hilma Wolitzer, Sol Stein, Kathleen Woodiwiss and too many others to mention.

AL: Of your books, whose your favorite hero and heroine?

Tina: Hmmm. I’ve had many erotic contemporary romances pubbed by Ellora’s Cave. Two of my favs are Sensual Stranger, which was named Book of the Year at Blue Moon Reviews. Toni and Zach made me laugh, cry, sigh, you name it. Another of my works for EC, In His Arms, is probably my most dramatic, exploring white slavery. RJ’s love for Summer stole my breath. Even after reading it countless times, I still cry at the end. They moved me that much.

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?

Tina: Actually yes. When I was plotting SiNN, my most recent Ellora’s Cave release, I at first thought it would be a one man-one woman plot between Jake and Lea. But then, Toby, Jake’s partner in the US Marshals Service kept barging into my thoughts. It led to my first ever ménage and lots of new fans.

AL: It’s time to get personal! Do you have a favorite sport, &/or team that you follow?

Tina: I confess, sports aren’t my fav thing. I do like figure skating and watch it during the Olympics.

AL: Can you describe yourself in 3 sentences or less?

Tina: How about three words? Passionate. Persistent. Irreverent.

AL: If you weren't writing, what do you suppose you'd be doing?

Tina: OMG, I can’t imagine myself not writing. Honestly, it’s like oxygen to me. I come alive when I’m with my characters. No matter how cruddy my day has been, they make it all worthwhile.

AL: Where would you like to travel if you had the chance?

Tina: Spain, especially Andalusia. One of my earliest romances was Just One Kiss that took place there in the 1400’s. I had to do a lot of research and I simply fell in love with the country.

AL: Can you share some of your plans for 2012 and beyond?

Tina: I just contracted Sinfully Wicked, my next ménage, with Ellora’s Cave and received the edits the other day. I’m finishing up my next paranormal, which is also the beginning of a new series for me. And, once I’m through with it, I have another idea for an erotic contemporary. In between all of that, you’ll find me at Macy’s shopping their many sales!

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

Tina: Years ago, I read this quote - if I’m remembering correctly, it was by Sidney Sheldon on writing: “You think it, you feel it, you see it, and then you write it.” So true.

AL: Thanks so much for sharing, Tina.

Tina: My pleasure.

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




To break this curse, they’ll have to turn the heat up. Way up.

Jasmine Dante prowls Key West’s nightlife, fighting a losing battle against a jealous rival’s curse that forces her to seek carnal pleasure, no matter the danger. Weakened from lack of sleep, driven by insatiable lust, she spots a man who stirs her desperate craving, and begins yet another dance of seduction.

Except the dark stranger who returns her direct stare is no ordinary lover. Inside his powerful body lies a raw sexuality that just might be enough to break her curse. There’s only one way to find out: imprison him in her bed and feed on his passion.

Former U.S. Marshal Mike Stearn is many things, but he’s no woman’s sex slave. The deadly telekinetic power he ruthlessly suppresses comes alive again at Jasmine’s touch. Beneath her bold, potent sensuality he senses vulnerability and desperation. He may be in handcuffs, but she’s the one who’s enslaved.

As Mike resurrects his power to free himself so he can find the curse’s source and defeat it, Jasmine revels in his masterful rule. Her ravenous yearning evolves into rapture as she surrenders to his hunger, her darkest needs—and the emotional connection that lies beyond. Unless the curse takes her life first…

Warning: Tons of steamy sex, smoldering passion and a to-die-for love story with a hot Alpha hero who finds himself imprisoned by one sultry and desperate babe.


You will want as I want. You will know insatiable lust, but no peace.

—Desiree Zazou

Despite the danger, unending desire drove Jasmine Dante through the Blue Bliss Club, a hangout for locals in Key West. Slow-dancing couples clung to each other in the intimate atmosphere. Turquoise lighting gave the place a dreamy underwater feel, while tiny azure bulbs sparkled like Christmas decorations on the palms flanking the bar.

A man Jasmine had just noticed sat on the last stool. No more than mid-thirties, he wore his long, black hair tied back. Sharp, masculine features, dark eyes and a coppery complexion revealed his Native American heritage. Unlike many of the other men, he didn’t wear the ubiquitous flowered shirt, shorts and flip-flops. Black mocs hugged his large feet. Jeans and a T-shirt the color of midnight clothed his lean, muscular frame. Beneath his right sleeve, she spotted a bold tattoo of what looked to be an eagle.

She pictured her mouth on the strong design, her tongue roaming his slightly salty flesh, her fingers travelling over his hard abdominal muscles and beneath his jeans’ waistband, seeking the thick, fragrant curls below. Unendurable yearning sliced through her, quickening her heart. She moved closer.

His attention didn’t stray from tonight’s band, a new group named Engaged. Their R&B throbbed soulfully, evoking the seductive richness of Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and Toni Braxton. The lead singer, a slight young woman with heartache in her eyes, seemed to perform solely for him.

Were they together? Was he waiting for her set to end? Panic flared, pushing Jasmine to do something. What? her mind cried. Fight another woman over a man she didn’t know? Months ago, she would have found the notion ludicrous and daunting. Since crossing paths with Desiree Zazou, everything paled beneath Jasmine’s consuming lust.

The woman’s mocking voice echoed in her mind: “You will want as I want.”

A bead of sweat slithered from Jasmine’s temple to her cheek, intensifying the fragile, dewy scent she wore. Her steps slowed as she regarded the singer.

The girl dipped her head in a gesture of farewell to the man, then sang with equal passion to another guy who leaned against the satiny blue wall.

She’s playing to her audience, Jasmine thought, it’s a part of her act. She probably doesn’t even know him. Though relieved, she remained shaky inside and stopped at the end of the dance floor.

Someone bumped into her. She stepped aside and froze as a young redhead in a scarlet Band-Aid dress tottered toward the man, her gait unsteady from drugs or too many drinks. He noted her blurry smile and offered a guarded expression in return. Twisting her hair and holding it back with one hand, the redhead pressed close, her ample breasts snuggled into his sculpted biceps, her mouth to his ear. Whatever she said made his dark brows lift.

Heart pounding, Jasmine glanced over and captured the server’s wrist as the twenty-something girl—Sara, by her nametag—tried to move past. Jasmine kept her voice raised just enough so the music and singer wouldn’t drown her out. “See that man at the bar on the last stool?”

Server Sara put her voice at the same pitch. “You kidding? Me and about a dozen other women got him in our sights, including the one who’s with him now. You thinking about sending him a drink?”

“Whatever he’s having.” Afraid to use a credit card the police could trace back to her if anyone reported him missing, she took a twenty out of her evening bag.

The bill went into the front pocket of Sara’s cobalt blue apron. “What’s your name? So I can tell him.”

No. She couldn’t chance the girl putting any name to her face. “Have the bartender point me out. And keep the change. Please.”

“You got it.” With a savvy wink, Server Sara turned and wove through the crowd.

One of the bouncers, an older guy with a shaved head and goatee, watched the redhead as she clung to the man and continued to speak. Jasmine saw the building annoyance in the man’s twilight eyes. Before he had to do anything about it, a trio of giggling young women joined the redhead. All wore skimpy, skin-tight dresses in a rainbow of shades: bright yellow, grass green, purple as deep as a bruise. They tried to coax their friend back to the dance floor.

She flung out her hand to shoo them away. The bouncer stepped forward and said something the young woman didn’t like. Head whipped to the side, she gave him a frown. A tense moment passed during which the other girls convinced her to leave.

Jasmine feared the man would do the same, fed up with aggressive females. What would she do then? Follow him outside and pretend she wanted to know the time? Ask for directions to another bar, maybe one on touristy Duval Street? Invite him to join her? And if he didn’t, would she be able to find someone else to ease her ravenous yearning or would he stay in her blood the entire time, making her lust even worse?

Seconds crept by. The air hissed with uncertainty.

He settled back on his stool, absorbed by the smooth tenor sax and the songstress’s smoky vocals.

Jasmine remembered to breathe. Closing her eyes briefly, she wondered if he was a musician, given his interest in the band. He certainly seemed to be a gentleman, considering his restraint with the redhead. However, this was a public place. What would he do when he thought they were alone? Travis, the last man she chose, would have harmed her, if not for her sisters’ intervention.

Recalling that night, her insides rolled, though it didn’t stop her. She watched the female bartender accept her twenty. To the left, Jasmine’s younger sisters, Violet and Lily, sat at a corner table, their apprehension palpable. When she made eye contact with Lily, her youngest sibling rose to join her. Violet grabbed Lily’s arm, a reminder to sit. Worried they might argue and ruin everything, Jasmine shook her head, warning them not to be obvious. To the casual observer and especially to the man, they shouldn’t appear to know each other. Thankfully, they didn’t look like sisters. Violet, with her light brown hair, hazel eyes and pale complexion, resembled their late mom. So did Lily, even though she’d dyed her brown hair platinum and wore it in a close-cropped boyish style. Jasmine, on the other hand, had her late dad’s olive coloring, dark brown hair and blue-green eyes.

Violet inclined her head toward the man. Jasmine looked. The bartender had already slid a bottle of Dos Equis to him. They exchanged comments, and then the woman lifted a slender forefinger and pointed to Jasmine.

He turned.

Heat surged to Jasmine’s cheeks. Crushing need prevented her from taking a full breath.

In his hooded eyes, she saw fulfillment, no matter how fleeting…his confining weight trapping her, the ends of his untied hair skimming her bare shoulders, his mouth hard and ruthless. A virile male she wouldn’t have dared approach before Desiree changed her destiny, falsely accusing her of taking Connor Rolands, the man Desiree wanted.

Now, the curse drew Jasmine to this man as the road to Hell seduces a born sinner. She walked in time to the music’s sensual beats. Inwardly, a part of her cowered. For him and what would soon come, she offered a welcoming smile.

REMEMBER: Tina will be offering a contest. She’ll offer one commenter (chosen at random), her (or his) choice of one of my backlist ebooks. Pick from one of those listed above. Good luck!