Naughty New Year's Blog Hop

Link: http://justromance.me/
 It's the Naughty New Year's blog hop!! And I couldn't think of anything naughtier to post than an excerpt from my latest book, Finders Keepers, which is set partially at New Year's. That fits, right?

Here's the blurb: Sometimes finding what you want is the easy part.

Caleb is a bionic soldier with little-to-no memory of his past. He's seeking the truth about himself and those missing memories.

Aldo's an undercover cop who just might have the answers to Caleb's questions. But if Caleb's the man Aldo thinks he is, how can he let him get away a second time?

Then there's Sally; she's an ER physician who used to be married to Aldo's late partner, Davis. Sally's not dealing with widowhood very well. In fact, it's getting harder, every day, just to find a reason to keep getting out of bed. If the truth about the men's shared past comes to light, she could lose them both. Along with her last, best reason to go on living.

This holiday season, chance will bring them together and give them an opportunity to help one another find what they each want most. But every gift comes with a price. And keeping what they've found once they've found it? Yeah, that's gonna be the hard part. 

Here's a naughty teaser for you. My trio heating up the sheets on their first New Year's together:

He lifted his head and smiled at Sally. “I think maybe it’s time we showed him how we feel, don’t you?”
She looked puzzled for a moment, but then her face cleared. The smile that curled her lips was so wickedly carnal he felt it in his balls. That surprised him almost more than anything else that had occurred in the last, crazy twenty-four hours. He thought he at least knew his own heart, but maybe love was even more blind than he’d realized.

He didn’t have time right now to figure out what it meant. This moment wasn’t about him. This was about Caleb, making him feel loved, giving him what he needed. It was about proving to him—to them all—that Aldo could handle this. Fuck, he hoped he could handle this.

Sally scooted closer to Caleb, who was still lying sprawled across Aldo’s legs. Caleb’s arms closed around her. He held her close, but when she brushed her lips across his, his gaze flew to Aldo’s face. Their gazes locked. In that moment Aldo knew he could stop this with a word, or hell, even without words. He could stop it with a frown. He could put an end to this whole twisted game before it even got started.

But then again, wasn’t it already too late for that?

“So kiss her already,” Aldo said with a shrug, trying to sound disinterested. Caleb’s arms tightened on Sally. One hand slid up to grip the back of her neck and draw her close. She melted against him, whimpering deep in her throat as he kissed her, as he took her mouth in a way that was far too familiar. Aldo shifted uncomfortably. He was half aroused, half annoyed, and the confusion of emotions only grew stronger the longer the kiss continued. He watched as Caleb’s hands traveled down Sally’s back. Fingers splayed on her ass, he pulled her even more snugly against him. Sally’s hands tangled in Caleb’s hair. Just when Aldo thought he couldn’t take any more, Sally broke away.

Breathing hard, she pressed soft, openmouthed kisses along Caleb’s jaw and neck. Caleb’s eyes fluttered open. His gaze met Aldo’s once more. Maybe there was an invitation in that heavy-lidded gaze, or maybe Aldo was just reading lust and confusion there. He couldn’t be sure.

Slipping free of Caleb’s embrace, Sally blazed a long, slow trail down the length of Caleb’s body. Her destination was clear, and rather than think too much about that, Aldo took over where she’d left off. He shifted Caleb off his legs and leaned over the man. Caleb hooked a strong arm around Aldo’s neck and pulled him down. Their mouths met in a harsh kiss that pulled a helpless groan from Caleb’s throat…or maybe that wasn’t what was doing it either?

Aldo lifted his head and glanced down to where Sally’s head bobbed up and down, down to where Caleb’s thick cock disappeared into Sally’s mouth.

 “Holy shit, Aldo, look how deep he’s taking you. I think he’s gonna swallow every inch.”

Sally’s voice replayed in his head. Holy shit was right. He’d thought she’d been talking like that just to get him hot, or maybe to turn Caleb on as well. It hadn’t really occurred to him that maybe she’d been enjoying it too.


Holidays! with Special Guest Author Jenny Schwartz!

Please join me in welcoming my wonderful antho-sister, Jenny Schwartz here to my blog today to talk about her fabulous new release, Drawing Closer, and the fun of Christmas in Australia.  

Take it away, Jenny!

When PG invited me to post at her blog, I wickedly agreed on the proviso I could make everyone jealous. Being a fab friend, PG said “Go for it!”. So I am.

Welcome to the holidays—Aussie style.

From Christmas to New Year, a lot of people take holidays, or else go to work but really think about the parties or their plans to get away. The lovely thing about these holidays in Australia is that they happen in summer.

Yes, you poor souls shivering through winter streets, I’m writing this on a day of glorious sunshine. The sky is blue. The birds are singing. Life is good.

With Christmas coming up, we’re planning seafood, bubbly, ice cream, all the summer delights (ahem, yes I have noticed the food theme – blame the pre-Christmas diet!), and then, there’s New Year’s Eve.

Think hot nights, fireworks, beach parties and … oh yeah, New Year’s Resolutions.

Hmm. There’s not much holiday fun in New Year Resolutions.

To restore the joyful vibe, I’m giving away a copy of my Aussie contemporary romance, Drawing Closer. Just leave a comment on this blog, either sharing a favourite holiday destination/activity or telling us one of your New Year Resolutions.

Drawing Closer is available from Harlequin’s new Australian digital imprint, Escape Publishing. It’s a short story (10,000 words), which is an interesting new development. I hope to see lots more short stories with the growth of digital publishing.

Zoe Loyola has a secret. Just between her and her sketchbook, she loves sculptor Nick Gordon. Her drawings of him are hot and naked.
Nick has a secret, too. He’s being blackmailed. Protecting his family means ignoring his desire for Zoe.

But in the world of art, passion breaks every rule and secrets are made for sharing.

Jenny Schwartz is a West Australian author. Her high school yearbook predicted she’d be a writer – something about always having her nose in a book. When not living up to others’ expectations, she enjoys lazy days in the suburbs and is working on a collection of life-saving recipes, “Simple Meals for Forgetful Cooks”. 

You can catch up with Jenny at her website, on Twitter and Facebook .


Special Guest Kay Berrisford

I'm very pleased to welcome author Kay Berrisford here today. Kay is the author of several exciting paranormal/fantasy m/m novels--possibly my very favorite genre to read! 

Welcome, Kay. Please tell us a little about your new release.

Simon, Sex, and the Solstice Stone, is about a lonely, geeky history student who meets the man of his dreams in the middle of a stone circle that he’s studying.  One problem. The amazing guy, Aubrey, claims to be a time traveler from 1647. Despite their mutual attraction, Aubrey’s desperate to get home before Christmas.  What’s more, Aubrey’s method of shifting through time involves outdoor sexual rituals at the stone circle, and shy Simon’s not entirely sure he’s up for it—particularly as he’s trying to resist falling in love with this man who seems desperate just to shag and leave him. So there’s all sorts of trouble ahead for my guys, particularly when Simon realizes Aubrey’s getting home is a matter of life and death.

Sounds intriguing. What inspired you to write this book?

Loose Id put out submissions call for a romance encompassing two key dates in the holiday season.  E.g. your lovers meet at Thanksgiving, fight through to Christmas, and then realize they’re soul mates on New Year. Loving this idea, I decided to focus my seasonal novella between the winter solstice (21st December) and Christmas, and devised a plot that encompassed magic, demonic possession, stone circles, and of course, time travel. As a Brit, I originally decided to steer away from Thanksgiving.  After all, I’ve never yet set foot on US soil, so who am I to write about one of the most important dates in the US calendar? 

Yet back in the 1600s—as in most periods since—British and American history were intimately intertwined. I decided that Aubrey had been born about 1621, and busily looking up that year, I discovered it had been cast in history as when the Pilgrim Fathers’ celebrated their first Thanksgiving, in Plymouth, New England. Although this particular harvest ceremony in 1621 was arguably not Thanksgiving in the modern sense, the earliest Thanksgiving-style ceremonies certainly originated in this period—as a form of religious ceremony devised by the Puritans in the English Civil War period, to differentiate their practices from Catholic and Anglican tradition. And there I was, busy reading about the English Civil War, in which Aubrey had served in Cromwell’s army.

Thoughts about Thanksgiving kept lurking, whether I wanted them or not, and American history kept distracting me too.  Aubrey’s modern day lover, Simon, lives in the medieval part of the city of Southampton, and I wandered down there one day to do some plotting and to seek out a romantic place for Aubrey and Simon to kiss.  And where did I find myself?  Under the Mayflower memorial, from where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail in August 1620 (The Mayflower subsequently set sail from Plymouth after its sister ship, Speedwell, sprung leaks, and they had to turn back. Otherwise that ‘first’ Thanksgiving might have been in a place called Southampton, New England!)

In the end, I decided to be brave. There was clearly a place for Thanksgiving in my book, not least to give Aubrey and Simon longer than the four days between the solstice and Christmas to fall in love! I got busy mainlining Thanksgiving stories, researched Thanksgivings old and new—and nagged a few American friends to make sure I wasn’t making any major errors.  So I’ve written a Thanksgiving to Christmas book without having been to America after all. Then again, I’ve written a time travel novel without ever having travelled through time. It will be easier to rectify my lack of US experience than fulfil that dream, even if I could understand the maths behind quantum theory!  So I hope my American readers will forgive me.

I'm sure we will. ;) So tell me, what character do you like best? What is it you like about him/her? Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

I’m definitely most like Simon. In fact, experience and lifestyle-wise, he’s the most like me of any character I’ve ever written.   He’s a history student, and I studied history. He ever lives in the same town as me—although I don’t live in the old part of the city. I’d like to, though!  Personality-wise, we’re not quite the same, though we’re both guilty of snappiness sometimes and can be over keen to please!  I like Aubrey too, though. What’s not to love about a gorgeous, brooding, Civil War soldier, who’d fight to the death for those he loves?

Do you have a dream cast for your book?

Benedict Cumberbatch as Aubrey! Yummy!

Please tell us in one sentence why we should read your book.

It’s got time travel, magic, hot guys, danger, and al fresco sex—all wrapped up with a Christmas bow! 

Well, you've certainly sold me on it! Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 

I’m working on the third novel in my Greenwood series, which are a series of standalone m/m romances set in the Greenwood—a magic realm of sex, magic, bondage, and blood, inspired by the myths and legends of the New Forest, a historical royal hunting ground about ten minutes drive from where I live.

The books can also be read in any order, though certain themes unite them. Now I think of it, one of those themes is passionate al fresco lovemaking. Maybe that is a common theme of all of my books, as there’s a fair bit in Simon, Sex, and the Solstice Stone!  While Bound to the Beast, my previous Greenwood novel, was the tale of Herne the Hunter, my WIP, Lord of the Forest, features the most famous Greenwood legend of all—Robin Hood. I’ve stripped his story right back to the most ancient legends and mingled them with the real history of the early thirteenth century. As with Herne, uniting Robin with the love of his life is proving quite an adventure.

My other WIPs include my first shifter novel and a medieval fairytale.

Wow. I know we'll all be anxious to read those! How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

When Bound for the Forest came out, I was at my parents, and my dad had just built a new garden shed.  So we had a ‘shed party’ complete with champagne! We said we’d repeat the event with consequent releases, but we haven’t.  When Simon, Sex, and the Solstice Stone, was released, I was visiting my parents again. But it was November and far too cold for hanging out at the bottom of the garden. We celebrated with just the wine!

What was your most rewarding experience since being published?

Every time somebody tells me they enjoyed one of my books J  Just those few words can mean so much and make all the time and effort worthwhile.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? 

When I was about seven or eight, my favorite books were The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and a rather more obscure tome called Beaver Towers, by an author called Nigel Hinton.  It was about a boy who was swept away by a magic cloud that took him to a remote island.  Once there, he became embroiled in a war between the animals of the island and a witch called Oyin. I kid you not, Oyin is about the most scary character EVER. She’d turned some of the animals to stone and the rest were waiting in the dungeon of Beaver Towers, the castle which she had captured, waiting to be burned alive!  When reading it as an adult, my husband told me he found it rather stressful. I think that’s why I loved it.  Unlike a lot of children’s book back then, Beaver Towers conjured a genuine sense of danger and threat.

What's your favorite season?

This year, I’ve really loved autumn. We spent the end of October in Berlin, and the colors in the garden of Schloss Charlotenburg, near where we stayed, were just stunning.  The New Forest back home in England looked amazing too.

Favorite places to travel?

I’m lucky in that my husband’s job has us jetting all over the world. In the last year we’ve been to Montreal, Florence, Milan, Dubrovnik, and Berlin, and next year we’re off to Washington DC among other places (my first trip to the USA!)  My favorite cities are probably Berlin, Budapest, Venice, and Melbourne.  The first three were stuffed with amazing history and sights. Melbourne I love because after a grueling 24 hour flight, I felt instantly at home there.  Everyone was just so friendly!

Favorite color?

Green.  Unwaveringly, always, without a doubt, green. The color of nature and life J

Can't argue with that. If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future and why?

I’d definitely want to go backwards, as long as I could have a return ticket!  I’m a history buff—as must be obvious by now—and I’d love to travel about Europe in the early 1900s and see all the color and life in the beautiful medieval cities, before so much was destroyed in the two world wars.  I also love the Tudors, but I’m not sure I’d want to go back to visit the court of Henry or Elizabeth or anything.  I don’t want to get my head chopped off!

I think my main reservations about traveling back in time would be similar to Simon’s in Simon, Sex, and the Solstice Stone.  I want to have a look around, but I don’t want to catch the Black Death, be accused of being a witch—or exist too long without access to tooth paste!

On a side-note, when near our local university yesterday, I saw a girl wearing a sweatshirt with the slogan: “Historians.  Better than Time Travel than Scientists.” How cool is that?

That's great! Now let's take a closer look at Simon, Sex, and the Solstice Stone:

Blurb: Simon’s holiday season is looking grim. His boyfriend’s dumped him, and his self-esteem is rock bottom. Stuck in the UK where nobody celebrates Thanksgiving, the shy, geeky student drowns his sorrows at an ancient stone circle. When a gorgeous stranger, Aubrey, shows up and attempts to seduce him, Simon is flattered but also freaked—especially when Aubrey claims to be from an historic sex cult who’d uncovered the true powers of the circle. It’s a time machine. Aubrey intended to travel back three hundred and sixty-five days, but an error propelled him forward three hundred and sixty-five years into a world alien to him.

Simon reluctantly takes the lost time traveler under his wing, and Aubrey teaches Simon the ways of sex, love, and magic. Simon’s never felt so alive, but as their bond grows, Aubrey remains determined to perform a dangerous ritual and return home at the winter solstice. Fearing he’s no more to Aubrey than a sexual sacrifice, Simon must discover the dark secrets of Aubrey’s pagan past. Only then can Simon choose between risking all for the man he loves or a lonely Christmas without him.


“Wh-why have you brought me here?” stuttered Simon. “You should have called an ambulance.”

Confusion clouded Aubrey’s sharp eyes, but he seemed to dismiss Simon’s words. “Here, drink.”
Aubrey picked up a plastic bottle of mineral water that had been in Simon’s bag, unscrewing the top with his teeth. Simon took it, and Aubrey cupped a hand about the back of his neck, lifting him so he could take a swig.

The cool liquid refreshed and wet Simon’s dry lips, but his head hurt as much as ever. As for Aubrey? The man seemed frantic to keep Simon with him.

After screwing the lid back on, Simon threw the bottle down and slumped back into the man’s lap. “Look, you can take the phone. I’ve got nothing else of value.” Well, there were the car keys in his pocket, but he was not going to draw attention to those. Strange the man hadn’t already taken them. “Just…please let me go.”

“I am not robbing you.” Aubrey stroked Simon as he might a feral cat ready to sink fangs into him any minute. “Neither would I keep you here against your will.”

“Then what the fuck are you doing?” Simon rolled off the man’s lap, catching himself on his hands, and then collapsed face-first into the carpet of leafy mulch. Feeling Aubrey’s touch on his shoulder, he turned over and glared.

Aubrey reached toward him, then snatched his hand back. “Wounds like this can be dangerous. You must—”

“What the hell do you expect me to do?” Simon moaned, pressing his hand to his head. “We’ve known each other for five minutes, and you stuck your tongue down my throat.” He’d not complained about that bit at the time, but it seemed a moot point now. “And why are you carrying a knife? It’s against the law. Don’t you know?”

Aubrey slid his hand to the hilt. Simon’s blood congealed to ice, but the man drew the dagger only to place it on the ground between them. “If it ails you so much,” he said, “I throw it down.”

Simon grabbed the weapon and examined it. Though the cutting edge had been sharpened, stained with something dark red that looked disturbingly like blood, the flat was dull and mottled through heavy use. As for the handle, with its spiral motif and slender hand guard that curved up around the hilt like a bow, Simon could jump to only one conclusion.

This weapon had been meticulously crafted and dated from the English Civil War. It looked like the kind pikemen and musketeers carried as a backup. Simon regarded Aubrey’s dress anew. The man’s short trousers had buttons at the knees, much like seventeenth-century-style breeches. The white shirt, which the rain had set clinging to Aubrey’s shoulders, could have dated from any time in the past six centuries but didn’t appear of modern cut.

“Are you with the Sealed Knot or something?” Simon placed the dagger down on his side farthest from Aubrey. “Is that why you’re camping here? You’re in one of those history reenactment groups?”
Aubrey sucked in a shaky breath and drew his fingers across his lips. “You speak of many strange things. Pray tell me. What year is this?”

“Eh?” Simon wrinkled his nose. “It’s 2012.”

“Oh ye gods.” Aubrey’s weather-bronzed face whitened.

Suspicion stole through Simon’s veins. “What’d you think it was?”

Aubrey looked so helpless. He inched his shoulders up in a shrug, and his voice cracked. “Yesterday it was 1647.”

The man’s meaning impacted Simon like a second blow to the head. “Say what?”

“I…don’t know.” Aubrey scanned the ground as if seeking answers amid the leaves and fungi. “I was supposed to go back. To undo…” He trailed off and was quiet for a long moment, squeezing his lower lip between his teeth. “Something went horribly wrong.”

“You bet it did.” Simon performed the mental mathematics. “Just assuming I believe you, and I’m not saying I do, you’ve been sent forward three hundred and sixty-five years.”

“I was supposed to go back three hundred and sixty-five days! I have to get home.” Aubrey covered his face with his hands, and Simon resisted an impulse to reach out, to comfort him. This didn’t strike him as a man easily reduced to despair.

But that was not the issue. Simon was still a captive, kind of. And Aubrey tore time? He’d actually completed that andaga ritual?

Well, the Stones were powerful—Simon harbored no doubts about it—and Aubrey did remind him of Doctor Who, but… No, the Stones were not a time machine. That was just insane.

He made a renewed attempt to raise himself. “I’m the one who needs to get home.”

“No!” Aubrey grabbed him, gouging into his waterproof jacket. “Since I got here, you’re the only person who’s understood anything of what I speak. I need you.”

Aubrey pleaded with his eyes and his lips, his anguish as tangible as a punch to Simon’s solar plexus. Coupled with his ravishing looks, it was all too much to bear. No way could this guy need him. At best Aubrey had to be a rival student taking the piss. Shit, maybe Pete put him up to it. At worst he was a psycho toying with his prey.

Simon twisted from Aubrey’s grasp, forcing words from a fear-tight throat. “Get away from me.”

My website: http://kayberrisford.com/

Buy it now links for Simon, Sex, and the Solstice Stone and all Kay's other titles:
 Loose Id
 All Romance
 Barnes and Noble

Thanks so much for dropping by Kay and for sharing such a great excerpt. Good luck with your new release and your WIPs. I'm looking forward to reading them! 


Mulled Wine

I'm considered a wine snob in certain circles--and all because I prefer my wine in bottles rather than boxes! Well, that and the fact that I care far too much about where my wine comes from, but that's another story! Wine snob or not, however, I can admit to a secret fondness for mulled wine. Nothing puts me in a holiday mood faster. Here's a very simple recipe...

Mulled wine


One bottle (750 mL) of red wine (suggestions: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot)
One peeled and sliced orange (keep peel to add zest to taste into cooking pot)
1/4 cup of brandy
8-10 cloves
1/3 cup honey or sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
1 small piece of fresh ginger
Serves 4-6

Combine ingredients in a large pot.
Gently warm the ingredients--do not boil!--over low heat for 20-25 minutes (stirring occasionally) until wine is steaming.
Ladle the mulled wine into mugs (leave seasonings behind) and enjoy!

Please check out these other Tasty Tuesday offerings...

And let me leave you with an excerpt from The Spirit of the Place, my Oberon Christmas story...

Christmas Eve dawned foggy and cool. The heavy air seemed to muffle sound.   Long before the silent night could fall, the day had a hushed and breathless feel to it.  As if the whole world was holding its breath....
Last minute shoppers thronged The Crone’s Nest all day long, keeping Marsha too busy to ponder the irony.  It flew in the face of logic, but every year she sold more of everything on the day before Christmas than she did on the day before Yule.
Business was brisk at Cavanaugh’s nursery, as well.  Shortly before noon, Dan packed up most of the unsold trees from the lot and delivered them to a local food bank.  There, they would be handed out to the families who came in to pick up boxes of groceries and canned goods that kids in the local elementary schools had spent weeks collecting.
At Lupa e Cervo, goodwill of a slightly different kind was being dispensed.  Sinead had set up a table of appetizers in the winery’s tasting room, turning the daily free wine sampling into an impromptu party.
Out of deference to Adam’s feelings on the subject, she’d had a separate table set up on the terrace outside the tasting room—and out of his direct line of sight—where she offered prospective customers a holiday twist on the winery’s usual offerings.
Mulled wine?” Adam stared at her, appalled when she explained what she was doing.  “Hot mulled wine?”
She nodded, lips trembling as she tried not to smile too broadly.  In truth, it was all she could do to keep from laughing out loud at his outrage.
“You’re taking my wine and...heating it?  In a...in a crock pot?  With—?”
“With spices, yes.”  She smiled at him, and added, gently, “That’s how it’s done, I’m afraid.  It’s what we did last night, too, you know.  Out on the back terrace?”
Adam shuddered, his revulsion obvious.  “No.  I didn’t know.  Thank the gods for that.”  He eyed her suspiciously, and then asked in a voice filled with dread.  “Which vintages?”
But Sinead knew better than to answer a loaded question like that.  She was just damn glad Nick could have no idea about Adam’s feelings on the subject.  There was no telling how much mileage he’d try to get from it, if he did.
As it was, she was more than a little worried about what kind of surprises the two men might have in store for each other…
It was a subject that was causing Scout some concern, as well.  “I can’t believe you won’t tell me what you got Adam for Christmas,” she complained.  Perched on the kitchen counter, she watched as Nick pressed fresh dough into the pasta maker, turning it into noodles for tonight’s lasagna.  They were celebrating this evening with his daughter Kate, who would be spending the next couple of days with her mother.  Tomorrow, they would be going to Lucy’s.
If she were honest, Scout would have to admit that she wasn’t all that disappointed that Adam and Sinead would not be at Lucy’s as well.  She’d already spent two days this week playing referee.  She deserved a day off.
But, she would have found it a whole lot easier to relax if she hadn’t learned—only last night—that both Nick and Adam had purchased presents for each other.  And, how weird was that, anyway?
Nick glanced up from his pasta and smiled.  “Tell you now?  And spoil the surprise?  No way.”
She watched him for a moment longer, but he was focused on his work, and his expression gave away nothing. “It’s not something that’s gonna...oh, I don’t know…blow up in his face, or something.  Is it?”
“No, of course not,” Nick said, feeding another sheet of pasta into the machine.  “I mean, not unless he’s really careless.  If he got distracted, or something, then I guess, theoretically, it might be possible.”
“Oh.  Right.”  Scout rolled her eyes.  “So, I guess, in that case, your plan is to be around when he uses whatever it is.  So you can make sure he’s distracted?”
Nick grinned at her, eyes twinkling.  “You know, you used to be a lot more trusting of me.”
“You used to be a lot more predictable,” Scout snapped.  She thought about that for a moment. 
Maybe predictable wasn’t quite the right word.  He’d just been…defensive.  Like a fighter who had gone too many rounds but was still too stubborn to stay down.  Sheer determination might keep bringing him to his feet, but he had nothing left for anything more.  He was too beaten up by life to do anything other than put one foot in front of the other and, over and over again, walk right into the next punch it threw him.
Scout thought back over the last year.  He was so much more relaxed now.  So much more lighthearted and carefree than he’d been, even last Christmas.  She’d like to think she could take some of the credit for that.  Maybe, after a year and a half, he’d finally begun to trust that, this time around, the happiness that had eluded them for so long would not be snatched away again.
She slid from the counter.  Nick turned his head to smile at her as she came up behind him and put her arms around his waist.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” she asked.
Nick nodded.  “There sure is.  Just stay right where you are.  That’s all I need, you know.”
“Good,” Scout murmured happily, resting her head against his back.  “Me, too.”
She’d been running for such a long, long time.  Right now, staying put was all she ever wanted to do.

To learn more about this series, click HERE

To buy this book on Amazon, click HERE


The Next Big Thing

I was tagged by JK Coi -- who posted her Next Big Thing here.  

The book I’m discussing today is my new release, Finders Keepers.

Where did you get the idea for the book? 

I dreamed it. Literally. I woke up with the first three chapters in my head and thought, “Yeah. That’ll work.”

What genre does your book fall under?

Well, my publisher has it listed as:  Mystery &  Suspense, Science Fiction & Space Opera, Menage &  Polyamory. Honestly, I think of it as a bio-punk holiday story.

What actors would you want to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

Oh, that’s always hard.  And I know there are readers who are going to read this and think, “that’s not how I’d pictured them at all!” I think the artist captured Sally perfectly on my cover, but I suppose Renee Felice Smith would be good in the role. And I’d pick Eric Christian Olsen for Caleb (he might have to get a little ripped for the part. Just sayin. Caleb is bionic, after all!) Then for Aldo, someone like Shemar Moore from Criminal Minds.

Give a one-sentence synopsis of your book. 

I think the title pretty much says it all, actually. It’s about three people (who have each lost someone dear) finding what’s important to them and working like hell to keep it.

Will your book be self-published?

No.  It’s available through Loose Id

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I think it was two months. Fastest I’ve ever written a book. The deadline was killer though.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

See above.  I guess I might have eaten something spicy the night before I dreamed it up, but I really don’t remember what it was.  I guess in part you could say I was inspired by my experience being part of last year’s “A Clockwork Christmas” antho (from Carina Press). I had so much fun with that, and this story seemed perfect for this year’s sci-fi Christmas anthology. Unfortunately, it grew too long for that.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

You mean aside from the sexy ménage part and the gorgeous cover? *grin* I do think the characters are one of the most compelling parts of the book. They need each other. They balance each other out. And they’re snarky and sarcastic and were so fun to write.

Sometimes finding what you want is the easy part.

Caleb is a bionic soldier with little-to-no memory of his past. He's seeking the truth about himself and those missing memories.

Aldo's an undercover cop who just might have the answers to Caleb's questions. But if Caleb's the man Aldo thinks he is, how can he let him get away a second time?

Then there's Sally; she's an ER physician who used to be married to Aldo's late partner, Davis. Sally's not dealing with widowhood very well. In fact, it's getting harder, every day, just to find a reason to keep getting out of bed. If the truth about the men's shared past comes to light, she could lose them both. Along with her last, best reason to go on living.

This holiday season, chance will bring them together and give them an opportunity to help one another find what they each want most. But every gift comes with a price. And keeping what they've found once they've found it? Yeah, that's gonna be the hard part. 

My five (5) writers for next Wednesday are:


 I was mega-excited but not really surprised to learn that STACY GAIL had scored a slot in not one but two Carina Press holiday anthologies--last year's A CLOCKWORK CHRISTMAS (which is how I get to claim her as an antho-sister-for-life) and this year's A GALACTIC HOLIDAY. Whoo-hoo! Go Stacy! 

I'm a big fan of Stacy's work and I'm thrilled to be able to welcome her here today along with Anna Hackett and Sasha Summers to chat about their sizzling sci-fi stories. Talk about the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns! These ladies have it all going on...

Do androids dream of electric sugar plums?

A detective who refuses to modify her body teams up with her cyborg rival to track down a burglar who is putting toys into homes. A solitary ice miner finds love and friendship while stranded on the surface of Galileo. And two hardheaded negotiators put their differences aside to evade an assassin and save their planets. Enjoy these visions of Christmases yet to come with three science-fiction novellas from Carina Press.

Edited by Angela James, this anthology includes:

How the Glitch Saved Christmas, by Stacy Gail
Galileo's Holiday, by Sasha Summers
Winter Fusion, by Anna Hackett

Many thanks to our wonderful hostess with the mostest, PG FORTE, whose name rhymes with foreplay!  And with a catchphrase like that, you know this is going to be one hot little convo…

Without a doubt, the novellas found in Carina Press’s sci-fi holiday anthology, A GALACTIC HOLIDAY, have a multitude of out-of-this-world concepts sure to please even the pickiest sci-fi fan.  But in between space raiders, androids and interplanetary assassins, there is one thing these stories have in common—love.  And while the hearts and flowers are definitely there, we’re talking about the kind of love hot enough to melt the ice on Pluto!

To give us a glimpse of what smexiness is going on in the future (and proving this blog should probably be subtitled “Lust in Space”) take a look at an intimate teaser from each novella found in A GALACTIC HOLIDAY!

Anna: It doesn’t matter if a romance is contemporary or futuristic, set on Earth or on some distant ice planet, it needs some smexiness! In WINTER FUSION, my rival trade negotiators, Brinn and Savan start off disliking each other…intensely…but beneath the fiery arguments something else is simmering. It takes a string of accidents, where they only have each other to depend on, to bring that desire to the surface.

Snippet from WINTER FUSION:
Her hand opened, her palm pressing over his heart. Then her fingers traced a lazy circle over his skin.
Did she know what her innocent touch was doing to him? This was Brinn Fjord. She hated him. Maybe they’d taken the steps to understand their past animosity, but he couldn’t read anything into this. No matter how much he wanted to.
He felt the brush of her lips on his skin. Her breasts were flush against him, her nipples hard. His body ignited, his cock so hard he was in pain. He swallowed a groan.
Then she sat up and straddled his lap.
Her slim legs slid along his hips. The warm, private part of her brushed over his engorged erection.
He sucked in a breath, his gaze searching her face. Molten desire burned in her ice eyes. Her lips parted and her cheeks flushed with color.
Savan surged up and cupped her face. He tangled his hands in her hair, tilting her head back. “You’re teasing me.”
A brief smile, all too feminine. “I wanted to see just how noble you’d be.”
He was known for giving no quarter at the trade tables. “I’m not noble.”
The smile widened, flashing straight white teeth. “You are. More than you realize.”
When she lifted her hips up, then sank back against him, the mind-blowing sensations scattered his thoughts.
“I want you.” She leaned forward and nipped the point of his ear. “We could have died in the explosion, the crash, in the snow. I want to know I’m alive.”
Desire warred with his brain. “We’ve been through a lot. I don’t want to take advantage of you.”
“See, noble.” Her hands slid over his shoulders, tracing the lines of muscle. “I want to explore this warrior’s body, find what touches make you groan. And then I want you inside me.”
Her words fanned the flames. He struggled for control. “We shouldn’t do this. There are reasons.” He was sure there were reasons. They just escaped him right now.

Sasha: I had a great time with Leo and Riley. They were such strong, vivid characters and their chemistry was hot and fast. While she was grappling with a whole world of weirdness, her attraction to Leo was something Riley could cling to – and she does. Leo, on the other hand, is completely thrown-and completely overwhelmed-by Riley. The results are pretty awesome. J

Cold air greeted her.
He was staring at her chest. “You need to put on more clothes.”
She stared down at her chest, the taut tips of her nipples clearly visible. She wrapped her arms around herself. “It’s cold, Leo.”
He pulled her against him, rubbing his hands up and down her arms. “I can fix that.”
She tilted her head back, way back, and sighed against the weight of his mouth. It shouldn’t feel like this. She knew it. But it did.
And it felt right.
She wrapped her arms about his neck, murmuring. “I’m going to get grease in your hair.”
“Uh-huh.” His words were a whisper on her neck.
“Oh, for crying out loud.” Rex was laughing. “Give it a rest. Food’s waiting.”
She felt Leo laugh, his arms heavy about her waist.   Looking at him, seeing his smile—she didn’t want to give it a rest. She didn’t even want food, not right now, anyway.
“We’ll be along in a bit, Rex.” She didn’t look at Rex.
Rex chuckled. “Alrighty.”            
Leo watched her closely, but didn’t say anything.
Once Rex’s footfalls were only a faint echo on the metal stairs, she spoke. “Leo. I need you to know that I don’t like this.” Her hands tightened on the back of his neck, savoring the warmth and feel of him. “You make me feel things I don’t want to feel.”
“Oh?” His brown eyes flashed.
“No.” She shook her head. “But I know things will get back to normal when the storms move on. You’ll go back to running meds, or whatever it is you do, and I’ll figure something out. You’ll go one way, and I’ll go the other.” She stood on tiptoe, her heart in her throat at the hard line of his jaw. “And then I won’t have to worry about feeling anything anymore. Until then…”
He picked her up, gripping her hips as he set her on the edge of a worktable. His hand cupped her cheek, and his lips brushed hers. “We’d better make the best of it, for now.”

Stacy:  Writing about Reina and Edison having the hots for each other was SO easy.  Right off the bat these two obviously had a combustible chemistry, though Reina was a bit pig-headed about the whole deal.  Thankfully Edison, that futuristic knight in heavier-than-human cyborg armor, understands that a woman who’s difficult to kiss, is DEFINITELY a woman worth kissing. ;)

“Um. Detective.” She heard his muffled snort, which confirmed her suspicion that standing on formality at this exact moment in time was, in fact, hilarious. “Remember when I told you this was strictly medicinal?”
“Uh-huh.” Edison leaned into her with a heady threat so blatantly masculine it made her heart trip over itself. Then he rubbed against her in an all-over body caress that made it scorching hot within her frictionsuit, and as giddy excitement surged through her like a drug she had to reconsider the whole swooning business as a viable option. “Praise me. I’m taking my medicine like a big boy.”
Big boy. Reina’s mouth went desert-dry as she tried not to notice a bulge starting to swell against her abdomen. But facts were facts. As his body warmed, there was no doubt that Edison Wick was indeed a big boy. “Here’s the thing. I also said not to get excited.”
“Yeah…about that. I’m going to have to disappoint you on that score. And in my defense, you have to take some of the blame for being so damn sexy you should be declared illegal.”
“I’m just trying to warm you up.”
“Congratulations, you’re doing a bang-up job of it.” His head lowered, and his eyes drifted shut as he brushed his face over her hair. “God, Reina. I didn’t know you smelled like heaven and sin all rolled into one. If I had, I would have done this a lot sooner.”
She pulled in a breath to ask him what he was doing when his mouth slid down her cheek to unerringly capture her lips.

If you enjoyed these luscious little snippets, just imagine what reading the whole anthology is like. *smirk*  Happy Holidays!

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A GALACTIC HOLIDAYCarina Press | Amazon | B&N | All Romance
Anna HackettWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Stacy GailWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Sasha SummersWebsite | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads