Monday, 25 August 2014

Exclusive Excerpt: Too Much to Lose

Today I'm sharing a sneaky peek from my upcoming NA romance, Too Much to Lose which will be releasing on the 5th September. Enjoy and don't forget to join my release party where there will be a prize a day! 
Today you can win a copy of my military romance novel, Not Another Soldier by leaving a comment here! Don't forget to leave an email address!


Add to your Goodreads


“Don’t fight this, princess. I’ll make it worth your while. I won’t make life harder for you. Just let me into your life… just a little.”
As she gazes up at me, I see the internal fight. Like a little girl lost, she stares up at me, trying to decide if I’m her salvation or not. I’m so far from it, it’s insane, but I keep my expression sincere and pray she doesn’t see that.
Then in an unexpected move, she leaps forward and her arms tangle around my neck. Before I can utter a sound of surprise, her lips are on mine. I hear the jacket she was holding drop to my feet with a woosh but everything else fades and I wrap my arms about her waist. I pin her to me and, unable to control myself, I rock my hips into her in an attempt to ease the agony.
She moans and opens her mouth to me. I take the opportunity to thrust my tongue in to meet hers. My muscles go taut at the taste of her; a tingle runs down my spine. Every part of me is on fire. Who knew a kiss could have such an effect?
I slide my hands around to cup her ass, notching myself against her. She’s breathless and pliant in my arms. Putty in my hands. I swear I could take her here and now if I just kept up the pace. We stumble as the kiss deepens and I manoeuvre her around so she’s propped up against the bike. I draw away to briefly eye her.
My Harley and a hot woman.
“God, you drive me insane, Jess.”

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Guest Post: Imagery is Everything by Marie Lavender

For most writers, painting a picture is important.  Getting a reader to see something the way you do is paramount to anything else.  This is why I rely heavily on images.  I use new photos, old photos, anything I can find to understand how something works or to try to paint a picture.  Sure, imagination is also important.  What you can’t see in reality you create in your mind.  But, we still have to describe it.
They teach you to use all of your senses to describe a scene.  Not just externally, but internally.  If you look at a tree, how does it make you feel?  Do you think of history, of how old that tree is, how long it has been around?  I do.  Do you want to find out what kind of tree it is?  Ah, but you don’t have to know right away.  You can research it to match the leaf pattern.  Hell, you can substitute for another tree in most cases (I guess it depends what is indigenous to a region).  
Think of an old red tricycle.  Does that make you feel something?  Do you think of your childhood, how you used to peddle fast, your legs spinning until you thought you could fly?  Was your mom or dad watching close by to make sure you didn’t get hurt?  Wow, a photo can bring some memories to mind, can’t it?  It’s the same with research.  When I do research on a time period or a specific location, I try to ruminate on it for awhile.  How does it make me feel?  How would a character feel?  Are the streets paved or are they still dirt-laden?  All of these details might not seem so important for some beginning writers, but I guarantee readers will feel more grounded into a character’s situation if they can “feel” something.
After I write a manuscript, I often go back through to see if I’ve missed any of these sensory details.  For Upon Your Honor, I used old photos, old journals or ethnographies about locations, old newspaper ads, old maps, anything I could find to fill in the gaps.  Sure, I did a lot of research as I went along, but the nice thing about saving it is that you can go back to it when you need to add anything.  For locations, I not only found pictures of a city as it is now, but I tried to find images of how it looked then, in 1891, for authenticity.  With fashion or décor, I researched sites that specialized in the Victorian age or I looked at sources specific to that year.  I will share some of the imagery I used to describe what happened in my book here with you.
How do these images makes you feel?  Are you getting a sense that imagery is everything?
Let me give you another example just for fun.
I recently stumbled across this photo on a blog, and it automatically got my creative wheels turning.  
This is my little five sentence piece of fiction I came up with spur of the moment:
Waiting by the tracks, the rain spattered down on her black umbrella.  The cobblestone pattern beside the metals rails was a fine sheen of water.  In her long, blue casual dress she huddled through the cold, her butt planted on a long trunk.  She alternated gazed down the long track and checked her watch.  It was running late, and she feared her packed clothing would be soaked soon with the delay.
So, you see.  Anything can spur a moment of creativity for a writer.  Even if we’re not looking at photos, life can provide the same things.  Real life is quite inspiring, and I utilized those feelings while writing Upon Your Honor.
I hope you love the book as much as I loved writing it!
In closing, I will leave you with two excerpts from Upon Your Honor, the second book in the Heiresses in Love Series.  These teasers contain quite a bit of detail.
Excerpt
“Do you want a tour of the house before dinner? Maybe the grounds?”
She nodded. “That would be lovely. Thank you.”
Adrienne gave her the tour. The plantation home was in the Greek Revival style with a symmetrical façade and narrow windows near the front door. There was a long central hall running between the front and back exits on the lower floor. Each room was complete with wide oriental rugs and lovely dark cherry furniture with blue velvet padding.
She was shown the dining room. A long dining table, complete with sixteen chairs, lay in the middle of the space. A harp-shaped fan hung from the ceiling, clearly for warmer evenings. The parlor had a fireplace and a pianoforte on either side of the comfortable settee and chairs. While in the kitchen, she and Adrienne were greeted by the cook, Amelie. Gabriel’s sister assured Chloe that they did not always eat at the long dining table for all of their meals, and had breakfast or luncheon in either their rooms or in the parlor. On such an occasion, a buffet table would be set out so they could serve themselves.
The second floor had a long hallway, as well, and many bedrooms. She imagined most of the bedrooms were decorated as elegantly as hers. Each bedroom let out onto the extensive gallery, which overlooked the estate grounds.
The house was so beautiful Chloe could not imagine how it had been growing up.
Excerpt 2
Hours later, Chloe was dressed in the dark blue costume. The velvet was soft like mink against her skin. She looked in the mirror in her bedroom and could not tear her gaze away. The sleeves were narrow and the neckline was cut low to tease onlookers with the tops of her breasts. The only thing that made it acceptable was the extra white lace fabric adorning the neckline. The rest of the gown flowed out beautifully and was adorned with nothing but the rich blue fabric. Gabriel’s mother had also lent her a necklace with a pretty substantial sapphire pendant in the shape of a heart.
The whole costume was perfect, far from what she was accustomed to. Even when she’d lived with her father, she had hardly ever attended balls. There simply wasn’t the occasion for one. Her neighbors were content to go to the theater or to hold simple afternoon teas. Parties were very rare. In truth, she imagined her father had been too busy to take her to any.
With a shrug, Chloe pushed her feet into some matching blue slippers. She checked the mirror again. A maid had drawn her hair up into a bun, then several long curls hung here and there down her neckline as well as around her face. Francoise, who was also Tante Lina’s personal maid, urged her to wear some cosmetics, but Chloe had declined.
The most she had ever done was pinch her cheeks or firm her lips together to create the same affect. Back home, Veronica had started her on a natural cream regimen at night as soon as she had become of age. Perhaps Chloe’s attempts did not last, but given how deadly some of the current trends were, it was preferable. Besides, she had seen some of the stage makeup on the opera singers and it was hideous. Chloe gave a satisfied nod at her reflection, then she grasped her white shawl to guard against the cool of the night, and left the room.
As promised, Adrienne wore a green gown. Gabriel’s mother wore a lavender one. And despite her age, Tante Lina was still resplendent in a silk mauve-colored gown.
Gabriel appeared in a black suit, dressed perfectly for the occasion. When he saw her, his eyes widened. He crossed the room and took her hands. In front of everyone, he leaned forward and kissed both her cheeks. “You are so lovely, ma chére,” he whispered.
She murmured a thank you, but she could not dismiss the fluttering of her heart or the heat in his gaze. Why was she always undone in his presence? Love was making a fool of her, and she was helpless to stop it. If only she had left the ship sooner. If only she had given Gabriel that letter. She would not love him so much, and she would not feel so torn. But, that was a lie, wasn’t it? She had loved him even then. Chloe wasn’t sure when it had begun. Had she loved him from the moment she’d stumbled across him in her attempt to stow away?
“I thought you would wear the other gown,” Gabriel said, drawing her attention to his words.
“So did I.”
“Where did you get this?” he asked pleasantly.
“It’s your grandmother’s, an heirloom really. Your mother insisted I wear it. I could hardly say no.”
He looked surprised for a moment, then smiled. “I’m glad. You look ravishing.”
“Come along, mes poulettes,” Gabriel’s mother announced, and Chloe was saved from making a response. Not that she could have formed one.
It was nine o’clock in the evening, and they left the house as a group. They took two carriages; Fara, Tante Lina, and Adrienne in one while Gabriel and Chloe got in the other.
The ride to the Fournier’s was both silent and agreeable. Nostalgically, she was reminded of the carriage ride they’d taken to get to New Orleans, the nasty spill along the journey and the moments she’d spent with Gabriel at the inn in Claiborne. Did he ever think of it as she did? Did it mean much more to him than a simple night of pleasure? She hoped so, but she couldn’t be sure.
It had been a week since she’d arrived at his parents’ house, and she had not gone to Nana’s. She knew she would have to. It was inevitable. But, perhaps she could delay it for just a bit longer, put off the separation that must occur. For she knew she had to move on. She knew she was not worthy of this lovely family that had accepted her.
Gabriel cleared his throat and she glanced at him as he sat across from her. “About what happened in Claiborne…”
“Yes?”
He frowned. “I feel I must have taken advantage of you.”
It was certainly kind of him to say so, but she could not bear for him to alter what had truly occurred, at least, not in her mind. “No, you did not.”
“You cannot realize—”
“I’m not naïve, Gabriel. I knew exactly what I was doing. You do not have to feel responsible for it.”
“You were a virgin,” he said quietly.
“So I was. Does that matter?”
“It does to me.”
“Why?”
“I took what was meant for your future husband. I had no right.”
She shook her head. “You were the only one I wanted.”
He smiled slowly and looked as if he would reply but they reached their destination. There was no chance to discuss it further. They were quickly swept into the pandemonium that was the ball.
The Fournier house was made of dark red brick with large white columns placed in front. It had galleries sweeping across the front, like the Bellamont Plantation, and the galleries were buffeted by cast-iron railings. Draped around the house was foliage of all kinds and a high brick wall, which she imagined encased a garden.
Once inside, the family was announced, and then they made their way down a wide staircase into a large ballroom. The room was covered in gold damask wallpaper with matching gold curtains. Tables were scattered here and there, but the focus was the dance floor, where couples spun even now. Buffet tables laden with rich reserves of food were laid out towards the sides. The family found a table and sat. Gabriel excused himself and returned with plates laden with delights. There was a wide variety of fish, game, vegetables and rice. Chloe particularly enjoyed the shrimp and oysters. For dessert, there were fresh pineapple, brandied fruits, almonds, raisins and an assortment of cheeses.
Soon everyone was too stuffed to eat any more. A servant cleared the plates away, and Chloe watched as Fara and Tante Lina abandoned the table to join a group of other women, perhaps friends. Gabriel escaped as well. He clearly knew many gentlemen in the room as they stopped to shake hands and speak with him. One man buffeted him on the shoulder, grinning. It was clear they knew one another very well. “Who is that?” she wondered aloud.
Adrienne glanced over, then shrugged. “That is Alexandre. He has been Gabriel’s bon ami since childhood.”
“I see.” Her attention wandered a bit, and she listened to the lively music play in the room. Chloe sat pleasantly beside Gabriel’s sister as the dancers spun around the room. Adrienne tapped a finger on her provided dance card in an agitated manner. Chloe put a hand over her companion’s. “What ails you, dear?”
“Have you seen this card? There are fifteen dances on here, and he has taken all but five,” she replied.
Chloe hid her smile behind her other hand. She had been lucky enough to see Adrienne’s gentleman greet her when they first came into the house, and the girl was not as removed as she pretended to be.

Blurb
Deception is a dangerous path… 
New York City, August, 1891 – Orphaned after the death of her father, Chloe Waverly stows
away on La Voyageur to escape the clutches of her cruel fiancé, Lamonte Beckett. Gabriel Hill, a strange and compelling gentleman, comes upon Chloe and promises to protect her without knowing the true circumstances of why she is running away. During their journey, Gabriel doesn’t bargain on being distracted by her fair beauty or succumbing to her many charms. As their attraction to each other grows, so does the danger and Gabriel suspects things are not as they should be. 
Both are determined to get to New Orleans, where she can start a new life. But, once they reach their destination, events spin out of their control and Chloe is captured by the fiancé she escaped. Gabriel is left wondering if he can overlook her betrayal. Soon he finds himself in a race against time, to reach her before Beckett can exact revenge.
Purchase Links

Author Bio
Bestselling author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 18 other books. 2014 BTS Red Carpet Review Nominee. Finalist and Runner-up in the MARSocial's Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader's Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 50 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.
Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Marie has published nineteen books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. Lavender just released Magick & Moonlight, a paranormal romance, in March. Upon Your Honor, released in late April, is her second historical romance. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.webs.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Join me for my upcoming release!


Join me on September 5th on Facebook to celebrate the release of  Too Much to Lose, a NA contemporary romance. There will be fun games and lots of prizes.

I'm also giving away 5 x $2.99 ebooks of choice from Amazon for those attending! Enter below. 



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 8 August 2014

COVER REVEAL: Too Much to Lose

TMTLCoverRevealFacebook

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Have you ever been so desperate you made a decision that would haunt you forever?

Jess has.

She became a porn star.

Jess is on the run from her past. She has no friends, no life. She tries to forget everything that happened to her all those years ago. After changing her image, leaving her home and getting a new job, she’s determined it won’t happen again. If that means never being close to anyone ever again, then so be it.

If only Hunter O’Reilly didn’t make her wish things could be different.

Hunter needs this job. After being screwed over by his partner—make that ex-partner—his investigation business is on the line. Already in debt, he eagerly takes on the job of finding some stolen money at triple his going rate and all leads point in Jess’s direction. He expects problems at that price. But he doesn’t expect to fall for her.

However, no job is ever that simple. When he’s forced to spend more time with her, the lines between business and pleasure are blurred. And once Jess’s life comes under threat, they have to make a decision, can they both overcome Jess’s past?

 

TBR LINK

GOODREADS

Sexy young couple playing in love games in a bedroom.
   

EXCERPT 

“If you’re in trouble, I know some people who can help.”

“I’m not in trouble. Really, I’m not. I mean who would want to kill me? I know bankers aren’t exactly popular—” she lets loose a shaky laugh “—but I’m harmless.”

Harmless? Not sure about that. Jess sends my heart racing, makes my skin clammy. She’s driving me insane. Harmless? No way.

“What do you want me to do?” I ask.

“Do?”

“Shall I stick around?”

“Oh. No, you don’t need to do that.”

“I don’t mind.”

“I’m fine. Seriously. Thank you for today. You must be tired and I bet your side hurts.”

It does, but I’m not going to admit to that. “It’s fine.”

“Look about that kiss....”

“That was my fault.”

“I kissed you.”

“You did.” I can’t resist letting my mouth curve upwards. She kissed me, but I don’t know if that’s a bad or a good thing. While my pride basks in it, the voice inside that keeps pulling at my gut wants to scream at her to run while she still can. I’m no good for her. “But I kissed you back,” I point out. “And I should not have been... er... touching you out there.”

She draws her bottom lip between her teeth. “It’s okay.”

Hell, how do those two tiny words send an arrow of need straight to my cock? It’s okay that I was kissing her? Or touching her up? It’s okay that I want her so badly I nearly bent her over my bike to fuck her?

Before I can dwell on it anymore and make an even bigger fool of myself, I get to my feet. “Will you let me stay?”

“I don’t think so. It’s too risky.”

A hard knot forms in my throat. I’m more dangerous to her than a crazed gunman it seems. She might be right. If—when—I find that money, her whole life is going to come crashing down.

“Don’t answer the door to anyone. Be careful. Call me if you need me. In fact, call me tomorrow.” She follows me to the door. “Please?” I add as uncertainty dashes across her face.

Jess opens the door and I step out. “I’ll call you,” she says when I turn to face her.

“Promise?”

She rolls her eyes and her mouth curves. “I promise.”

Those lush lips snare my attention and my own smile drops. My skin feels hot and itchy, my pulse urgent. This is insane. I rest an arm against the door frame, my feet still firmly planted on the other side of the threshold and bring my mouth slowly down on hers. She softens but doesn’t touch me. We’re divided by the invisible line between the corridor and her room. I can’t help thinking of it as symbolic. We’re divided by secrets and lies.

Not that any of that matters once our lips connect. I swear I’ve never wanted to kiss a woman somuch. Kisses are about the end game. But not with Jess. I want to drown in her kisses, to kiss her all day and see if I ever tire of them. I suspect it’s unlikely.

Happy young couple in love
 

GIVEAWAY PRIZES

1 x paperback copy of Not Another Soldier 2 x $2.99 ebooks of choice

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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Author Interview and Spotlight: Elodie Parkes

Thank you for inviting me to your blog to talk about my new Evernight Publishing release, ‘The Summer Heat’.

A ménage romance, two guys and a girl, this is erotic, contemporary romance that sizzles.

The Summer Heat

When lifelong friends Nate and Evan watch the arrival of a new neighbor, they never expect to find their friendship rocked by the lovely Annabel who moves into the empty house next door.
Annabel likes both Nate and Evan the moment she meets them. As they all grow close, will she be forced to choose between these gorgeous men?

Inspiration behind the story:

The inspiration came from a tree being cut down in the communal gardens where I currently live. I didn’t even see it felled, but I was immensely saddened as this was a healthy young tree. In my story, the gorgeous guys are cutting down a diseased tree in their garden, and that’s how they see Annabel move in next door.

My characters:

Annabel. She’s ready for love and looking for someone after her last miserable relationship. I imagine her surprise when she meets Nate and Evan, and has strong attraction to both of them.

Nate: He’s gentle, kind, sensually sexy, very good looking. Friends mean a lot to him. You can feel safe and loved with him, but boy do you know when he’s made love to you.

Evan: Strong, alpha, hides his emotions, but sex just drips from his gorgeous body. He calls you babe and takes charge, all the while your soft skin under his fingertips blows his mind.


Excerpt

The Saturday morning sun blazed in the June sky. Heat shimmered off the sidewalk. Nate and Evan were the only people out in their front yards. The noise of their work tools were the only sounds, as not even the seagulls that often wheeled overhead ventured from the cool of the ocean yet.
Nate and Evan’s house was one of the largest in the rows of three story houses built along the river in a modern development unimaginatively called Riverside Mews. Narrow lanes that led to the river path separated the rows. Somehow, patches of white sand always settled on the paths, though the nearest beach was a mile away. Each house had its own river access, through a gate at the end of the back yard to a riverbank public path, but there was no boat access, no jetties. The public path wound along by the river from the seaside town close by and on into the countryside. The house to the right of Nate and Evan’s place was occupied by a small family, but the house to the left had been empty and for sale all year.
The roar of a large van engine broke the hot, morning silence as it turned into the street and thumped over each speed hump in the road, until it drew up in front of the empty house next door.
Nate gave the van a cursory glance, but Evan leaned on his spade and watched as two men leapt out of each side of the van. He read the name of a removal firm and their logo emblazoned across the side of the vehicle and discovered it was from a city in the north of the state. It piqued his interest, so he continued with his unashamed staring.
The men who’d alighted from the cab walked to the back of the van and opened its double doors, just as a pale blue, old model Mustang drove up and parked a short distance away.
A young woman got out of the Mustang.
Copyright Elodie Parkes 2014 Evernight Publishing All Rights Reserved

To find where to buy the book on release, August 5, visit Elodie’s blog

Author interview:
Are you working on another book right now?
I’m working on three books, right now. Two are contemporary erotic romance, and one is romance Sci-Fi.
Naturally, they are all love stories, with HEA. I have to have that in my books.
I’m not writing much though, because of my day job, where I have shifts, and I’m editing for the releases in the latter part of this year.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
My characters and setting becoming so real to me.
What do you like the least?
Marketing. It’s so time consuming and quite soul destroying when you’d rather be writing. (Smiles)
Would you like to see any of your books as movies?
None of them. I’d be there fussing about the script staying true to the book, or the casting. (Laughs).
What things do you like to do to relax?
I find writing relaxing, but I also like to get out into the countryside near where I live. I enjoy visiting the historic places too. I read, watch movies and I love music. I’m often singing along with something as I drive.
Do you have another job as well as writing?
Yes, I have to. I work for an antiques emporium. It’s very tourist driven, so right now I have late night hours and work all weekend and holidays. I do shifts, usually start about midday or two in the afternoon, and work through until ten or eleven. It means I’ve taken a hiatus from writing so my stories mentioned above are waiting for me. I can feel them there wanting to be written.
If you could have one super power in your existence, what would it be?
It would have to be healing.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
I live in the country where I want to, maybe I’d move down the coast to Cornwall or Devon, closer to the ocean, which I love.
What kind of car would you have if money was no object?
I have the car I want. I’m a Jeep person and always drive them.
What’s your favorite color?
I have two I love, oh wait three, blue, purple and green.
Can you think of a song or piece of music that could be your theme tune?
It changes for me every time someone in an interview asks, (laughs) right now it’s The Eagles: Tequila Sunrise. That’s because I usually see the sunrise after arriving home very late at night, editing, networking, or real life stuff, like my laundry, and then I flop to sleep for a few hours. (laughs again) Check out my dark shadows.
Just answer these questions as quickly as possible.
Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate
Dog or cat?
Dog and horse
The film or the book?
Both (sorry)
Jeans or skirt?
Jeans but sometimes little black dress
Beach or Snow resort?
Countryside and beach
Heels or flats?
Boots, depends where I’m going if they are heeled or flat
Stockings or pantyhose?
Stockings, love them
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading my books. I write from the heart so you get a piece of it every time you read one of my stories. (Smiles)

Friday, 18 July 2014

Melissa Schroeder's 10th Anniversary Blog Hop


Welcome to the blog hop! Melissa is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Harmless series and a ton of bloggers have joined together to help her celebrate! We're sharing snippets and all sorts of fun stuff. Be sure to check out the other blogs by clicking the little froggy at the bottom and enter the rafflecopter below. 

Also anyone who leaves a comment with their email will win any of my backlist titles!

So to stick with the theme of  celebrating I thought I'd take a look at some awesome book themed cakes! Tell me which is your fave and if there's one you think someone really has to make.

Alice In Wonderland

You'd be mad not to try it... 

Harry Potter


This cake is sure to cast its spell on you...

Lord of the Rings


One cake to bind them all...?

Pride and Prejudice


Mr Darcy thinks this is a fine cake indeed... but he won't show it.

Fifty Shades of Grey


Mr Grey might let you have a bit if you're a very good girl...

The Hunger Games


You won't be hungry after this...


So which is your fave? Let me know!