Ready for another fabulous giveaway? Enter now for your chance to win and choose your own prizes!


Which paranormal romance or urban fantasy authors are your favorites? Which new books have you been waiting to buy? Enter our giveaway from November 1-18 and could be one of 7 lucking winners to choose the book prizes you want! 

Plus two winners will also take home a Kindle! (Sponsored by the 40 authors listed below)

Aldrea Alien • Amanda Uhl • Ari Thatcher • B. Brumley • Bec McMaster • Beth Caudill •

Calinda B • Carrie Pulkinen • Casi McLean • Crystal Dawn • D.N. Erikson • Dani
Haviland • Jennifer Hilt • Jina Bacarr • Jo-Ann Carson • Joynell Schultz • Karen
Michelle Nutt • Kel Carpenter • Kim Petersen • L.D. Rose • Leigh Anderson • Linda
Nightingale • Lisa Blackwood • LJ Swallow (Anna Hub) • Marilyn Peake • Marsha A.
Moore • Mary Abshire • Mary E. Twomey • Pauline Creeden • PG Forte • Rachel
Medhurst • Sedona Venez • Shereen Vedam • Sherrie Lea Morgan • Stella Marie Alden •
Tena Stetler • Tmonique Stephens • Traci Douglass • Aileen Harkwood 

Shop Our Book Fair

And while you’re at it, shop our awesome book fair with 38 fantastic PNR/UF titles, many FREE, but none priced above $2.99.



It's a Halloween Hop!

How would you like one of 70+ gift cards to dropped in your Halloween pumpkin? Join me for the Halloween Mega Gift Card Facebook from October 28-31. You can enter to win a gift card from every author on the hop! With gift cards ranging in value from $5 to $100 up for grabs, that’s over $800 in prizes!

Mark your calendar and make my FB page your first stop on the hop:

Or go to http://bit.ly/2xgQPAL for the complete list of authors and their Facebook links, plus info on a bonus giveaway. We’re awarding an Amazon Echo Dot of Kindle Fire to one lucky winner who enters every author’s giveaway on the hop.

Have you entered our two grand prize giveaways? That’s right, we’re running two big giveaways at the same time. Enter for your chance to win! We’re giving away multiple Kindles and ebook packages.

Giveaway #1 – PNR/UF Halloween Giveaway  http://bit.ly/2yRyN8A

Giveaway #2 – Falling in Love Romance Giveaway  http://bit.ly/2yShQLb


Blame It On The Voodoo ~ Excerpt and Giveaway

My short story, Blame It On The Voodoo, is today's free ebook at the Halloween Month of Treats Giveaway. This is a fun story inspired by a trip to New Orleans with the Nine Naughty Novelists. I still harbor dreams of turning Zee and Rene's story into a series of supernatural mysteries. They were such fun characters to write. You can get it free today at: https://halloweenmonthtreats.blogspot.com/

Meanwhile, here's an excerpt...

“It’s getting to where you can’t swing a dead chicken around here anymore without it
smacking into one damn psychic or another.”

Zirondelle Doucette couldn’t help the grin that spread across her face as she listened to
her Aunt Serafina’s complaints. Her aunt stood at the window of their family’s shop, staring out
at the street, and Zee didn’t have to guess too hard to figure out the cause for her discontent.
Another “damn” psychic had recently put out her shingle in the previously vacant storefront
directly across from their own.

“And if it’s not a psychic it’s a card reader,” the other woman continued, grumbling
crossly. “Or a palm reader. Or tea-leaf reader—”

“Or a purveyor of Voodoo essentials?” Zee suggested, holding up the little gris-gris bag
she’d just finished assembling.

Serafina turned her head to glare at her niece. “Don’t sass me, Zee. You know exactly
what I’m talking about.”

“Yes, Ma’am, I do.” Ducking her head, Zee started in on the next charm. She knew it
wasn’t psychics per se with whom her aunt had a problem. Serafina was a tolerant soul, not the
kind who’d ever take a stand against anyone else’s religion or spellcraft or spiritual beliefs. It
was the idea of all those make-believe mystics making a mockery of their family’s calling that
was trying the older woman’s temper, and not without cause. The Doucette family had owned
and operated their establishment in the self-same Royal Street location for several generations,
dealing in authentic rituals, in candles and jujus, talismans and spells. It was hard not to take it
personally when your way of life was turned into a kind of circus act by greedy imposters. But as
Zee and her aunt both knew, the charlatans did in fact have a place and a purpose in the grand
scheme of things.

Oh, how the tourists loved them. They ate up their acts and purchased their trinkets as
eagerly as they did the beignets at the Café du Monde. Or jazz on Frenchmen Street. Or
hurricanes in Pat O’s Courtyard. It was all part of the Crescent City mystique, like Po’ Boys and
crawfish, pralines and beads. In an odd way, they kept things safe. They kept the merely curious
from straying into dangerous territory.

“Oh, Lawd.” Aunt Serafina’s sudden gasp caught Zee’s attention. She glanced up in

“Auntie, what’s wrong?”

“It’s him.” Serafina scurried back behind the counter where her niece was working,
babbling nonsensically. “He’s back. He’s coming this way. What should we do? What does he
want this time?”

“Do about what?” Zee asked, feeling mystified and mildly exasperated. “Who’s back?”
She loved Serafina; truly she did. Her aunt had taken Zee in after her parents passed, without
question or hesitation—the only member of their somewhat eccentric family who seemed to have
any idea about what to do with a bewildered little girl who’d suddenly been orphaned. Zee would
never forget the older woman’s kindness but, all the same, there were times, like now, when
dealing with her aunt seriously tried Zee’s patience.

The Doucette family had a certain reputation; they were known for being fierce and
fearless. They prided themselves on it, in fact. But Serafina had always been unusually timid for
a Doucette. Right now, her pale eyes, also unusual in a Doucette, were wide with fear, the pupils
dilated; her voice was but a whisper. “Monsieur Boudreaux.”

Boudreaux. The name itself meant very little. It was as common as dishwater around
those parts. But between the look on her aunt’s face and the singing certainty in her own heart,
Zee knew exactly which Monsieur Boudreaux Serafina meant. She meant Rene Alcide
Boudreaux. Zirondelle’s Monsieur Boudreaux. Dominant. Vampire. Master.

But not her master. No, not yet.

As the door to the shop swung open, Zee trembled inside. She couldn’t even raise her
eyes to gaze upon the shadow that she knew must be filling the entryway. Odd, considering that
shadow contained the very thing for which she’d been longing.

“Good evening, Madame Doucette, Mademoiselle.” Rene glided into the shop with his
usual preternatural grace. He had a way of moving that Zee found mesmerizing. And his voice!
That subtle growl, as dark and seductive as midnight, left Zee wanting to fall to her knees at his
feet and declare her submission right then and there. She dared not, however. Not with her aunt
looking on. Not when she hadn’t yet been granted the right.

“Monsieur Boudreaux.” Serafina’s voice shook a little as she returned his greeting.
“What a surprise. We weren’t expecting you.”

“Weren’t you?”

“Well, yes. I mean…no! It—it’s so soon after Monsieur’s last visit.”

That was sadly true, Zee reflected. Although he’d once been a regular customer, stopping
by every few weeks, things had changed in the last decade. Nowadays it was not unusual for a
year or more to pass between encounters. Rene’s last visit to the shop had been three months
ago. The occasion was burned into Zee’s memory because it was then she decided that enough
was enough. It was time to take matters into her own hands, to go after what she wanted, to stop
waiting, hoping or dreaming that Rene might someday recall her existence. She could be dead by
the time that happened!

“Indeed,” Rene agreed. “However, I’m sure you’ll appreciate that circumstances have
made it necessary that I return sooner rather than later. I’m here because of the spell that’s been
placed upon me—the curse, if you will.”

 “A curse!” Serafina gasped in alarm. “Oh, surely Monsieur is mistaken.”

“I assure you, Madame, the mistake is not mine. It would, in fact, be rather impossible for
me to be mistaken about such a thing. You see, if there’s one thing we vampires are very familiar
with, it’s curses. Centuries of people wishing one dead or ill tends to naturally have that effect.”

“But…who would dare do such a thing?”

Zee glanced at her aunt in surprise. Any number of people, she was tempted to reply. Was
that not the very reason Rene had been coming to them all these years? He’d been their most
loyal customer since practically the first day they’d opened for business. The Doucettes had
grown rich selling charms and protection spells to people like Rene Boudreaux. Even if she
privately shared her aunt’s skepticism, surely it was bad business to mention the fact!
Rene’s brow furrowed. He stared searchingly at Serafina for several seconds, then
inclined his head. “I apologize. I’m sorry to have alarmed you, Madame. I can see now that you
had nothing to do with the difficulties I’ve been experiencing. Might I have a word with your
niece? In private?”

“Wi-with Zee?” Serafina stammered. “In p-private?”

Zee could tell her aunt was gathering her courage to refuse. She was touched by
Serafina’s protective instincts, but right now those instincts were as unnecessary as they were

“Why, Monsieur, I…I hardly th-think that’s necessary.”

“It’s all right, Auntie,” Zee said quickly. “Why don’t you go into the backroom and brew
up one of your tisanes. I’m sure it will help calm your nerves.”

Serafina gazed piteously at her. “Zee…”

“It’s all right,” she repeated, a little more firmly. “Really.” She patted her aunt’s arm and
smiled reassuringly. It was more than all right, actually. A chance to be alone with her beloved
Rene? That was cause for celebration! But even so, as her aunt, with a sad little nod and a
reluctant backward glance, retreated from the room, Zee found a little of her confidence
deserting her. Her gaze dropped once more. The rush of blood was so loud in her ears she could
not even hear Rene’s footsteps on the floorboards. Oh, but she felt his approach just the same.
His powerful presence pervaded the atmosphere. She was paralyzed by it, enraptured, entranced.

“Zirondelle. Look at me.”

Her name on his lips was the sweetest caress. His words were a command she could not
disobey. She glanced up immediately, gaze locking with his piercing blue eyes. “Yes?”

“I know it’s you.”

“Wh-what? Me?” She drew in a shaky breath. “You do?” Well. It was only about time,
wasn’t it? After all, she’d known it was him for most of her life. He was her destiny, her fate, the
other half of her soul.

“Yes. I know it’s you who’s cast this spell upon me.”

Zee’s heart sank. Was that all he was talking about? Disappointment fueled her defiance.
She tossed her head and demanded, “And? What if it was?”

“Then you will remove it. At once.”

“What if I won’t?”

His eyes widened. “You would dare defy me?”

Would she? The thought shook her and, for just a moment, she considered backing down.
She didn’t want him angry with her, after all. Even if she weren’t madly in love with the man,
she still would never want to make an enemy of him—no one with any sense at all would want
that! On the other hand, desperation was a powerful goad. At this point, she was willing to go
pretty far to attract his attention. And if this was what it took, so be it.

Besides, foolish or not, she just could not bring herself to fear him all that much. She’d
known him all her life. This was the same Rene Boudreaux who was so kind to her as a child,
who’d comforted her as no one else could have following her parents’ tragic and untimely

It was he who’d found her, hiding beneath a table in the funeral home, paging feverishly
through a book of spells she’d taken from her grandmother’s house, looking for something—
anything—that might bring them back. Curses were not the only things with which vampires
were familiar. They knew death and loss better than anyone else. When Rene had promised her
she would not die from a broken heart, when he insisted no spell was necessary, that her parents
had not really gone anywhere, that those we truly love will continue to live on eternally,
enshrined in our hearts forever, Zee believed him.

Now, remembering that day, remembering all his kindness—both then and after—a smile
curved her lips. “Why not? I think I would. After all, I know you’d never hurt me.” Not unless
she wanted him to.



Over 70 Authors ~ 2 Awesome Giveaways

Who says Halloween is just for kids? Paranormal romance and fantasy lovers, here’s your chance to grab some sweet, sweet loot! Enter the Halloween giveaway October 10–31 and you could take home one of four prize packages, including the top prize, a Kindle Fire HD 8 and winner’s choice of $35 in ebooks from Amazon. Second through fourth prizes offer more kindle/ebook prizes.

Enter the Giveaway Here

Then, be sure to join us for our Facebook Hop October 28–31, when we will have 70+ gift cards available for over 70 lucky winners. That’s a gift card at every stop on the hop!

Facebook Hop Starts Here on October 28

(Sponsored by the 34 authors listed below)

Alicia Montgomery • Alyssa Drake • Amanda Uhl  • Anna Durand • Bianca D’Arc • Carrie Whitethorne • Crystal Dawn • Helen Scott • Ivy Quinn • J. Rose Allister • Jody A. Kessler • Karen Michelle Nutt • L.D. Rose • Laura Greenwood • Leigh Anderson • Lianne Cotton • Linda Nightingale • Lisa Chalmers • LJ Swallow • Lynda Haviland • Marsha A. Moore • Mary Abshire • Maureen L. Bonatch  • Mia McKimmy • ND Jones • PG Forte • S.A. Larsen • Shelique Lize • Sherrie Lea Morgan • Tena Stetler • Tmonique Stephens • Traci Douglass • Vella Day • Aileen Harkwood  


Halloween Month of Treats ~ Day 2!

The month of treats continues! And one of today's instant giveaways is my book, Old Sins, Long Shadows, which is book two in the Children of Night series.

This is one of my favorites of my books, and the reason is the chemistry between my heroes, Conrad and Damian. Their reconciliation should probably have happened later in the series, but I couldn't make them wait any longer. Here's an excerpt I very rarely share, it's part of one of my all-time favorite scenes. Enjoy!

“Stop dropping your guard!” Damian scolded with uncharacteristic harshness. He’d coaxed Julie into
fencing with him, in hopes a little swordplay would help him expend some of the pent-up frustration he’d
been left with following his interview with Conrad. It wasn’t working, however. The girl was proving to be
far too timid an opponent for his needs. “Focus, chica. You’re too distracted tonight.”

Julie huffed out an angry breath. “Pot, meet kettle,” she snapped and Damian knew he couldn’t refute
the charge.

“Again,” he sighed, annoyed with them both. He was distracted, damn it, but how could he not be?
Ever since the morning after the party he’d been waiting for the other shoe to drop. He knew he’d pushed
Conrad too hard. It had been madness to taunt him. It was foolish and dangerous…and yet, Conrad had not
reacted in any of the ways Damian had come to expect. Quiet, subdued, forgiving, restrained; this was not
the vampire Damian knew and loved. Fool that he was, he suspected he might actually prefer a Conrad who
shouted and growled and made his feelings plain. At least then you knew where he stood with him.

You mean at least you thought you might tempt him to lay his hands on you in anger, an evil voice
inside his head insisted. Since you can’t get him to do so in any other way.

That was probably true as well, but if so it was of an order of idiocy beyond anything Damian had
sunk to in a very long time. And that was definitely not something he wanted to dwell on.

He froze for an instant when the door to the gym opened and the object of his obsession appeared.
Fabulous. Just what I need. He and Julie both stared at Conrad in surprise. As far as Damian knew, this
was the first time he’d been to the gym since his abduction—a good sign, surely. It was just Damian’s bad
luck he’d chosen to show up now.

“Have you come to work out?” he asked, trying hard not to stare. After all, it was hardly the first time
he’d seen Conrad dressed so casually. Even though his current outfit—yoga pants and fitted T—left little to
the imagination, he’d also seen him in far, far less. He should be inured to the sight. Still, it had been a
Conrad shrugged. “It’s a possibility. I haven’t decided yet.” He glanced around vaguely, then took a
seat on one of the weight benches. “Go on with what you were doing,” he urged, as he picked up a small
barbell. “Don’t let me disturb you.”

Dios mio. Damian sighed. As if it had ever been possible for him not to be disturbed when Conrad
was anywhere in the vicinity. Still, the attempt needed to be made. For the sake of his pride, if nothing else.
He nodded to Julie and they began again—only to be interrupted almost immediately.

“Julie, you’re holding back,” Conrad observed, after Damian had scored another easy point off the
girl. “Push him a little. C’mon, you can do better than that.”

Damian bit back a growl. The one area where Conrad had mostly treated him as an equal was in the
care and training of the twins. It didn’t matter that they were in agreement, in this case, Damian still did not
need—or appreciate—Conrad’s sideline coaching.

“Again,” he growled, noting with sympathy how Julie’s jaw had clenched, the flush that colored her
cheeks. Of course she would be flustered and embarrassed with both of them harping on her like this. How
could she not? He could barely bring himself to offer any additional instruction himself, at this point, lest
she feel herself completely browbeaten.

They sparred for several minutes more and all the while Conrad, his own workout forgotten,
continued to volunteer advice. It was obvious he had misconstrued Damian’s silence as an invitation to take
over the lesson. Finally, Damian could take no more.

“Stop!” he ordered.

Julie’s eyes flashed. She glared at him, clearly exasperated. “What now?”
Damian ignored her and turned instead toward Conrad. “Do you really think you’re that much better
at this?”

Conrad appeared momentarily startled. “At what?” he asked cautiously.

“All of it! The fencing, the coaching, the sword fighting.”

“Sword fighting? Is that what you call what you’re doing?” Conrad’s eyes glimmered with
amusement. “Well, as to that, I should hope so, my dear. After all, I do have quite a few years on you. I
daresay I could still teach you a few things.”

“Do you? Bueno.” Damian motioned to Julie. “Hand me your foil.”

“What?” Julie’s eyes widened.

“Your foil, chica. Now.”

She handed it over reluctantly. Damian took it and executed a courtly bow. “And now, if il Maestro,
would be so kind. Perhaps you’d favor us with a small lesson?”

A disbelieving smile curved Conrad’s lips. “Are you saying you wish to fight me?”

“Unless, perhaps, you fear it would be too strenuous for someone of your advanced age?”
Conrad frowned. “No, I believe I can still manage it.” He rose to his feet. “Although it might prove
embarrassing for you.”

“I’ll risk it,” Damian replied, promptly hurling the foil at Conrad’s head—tip first—not overly
concerned with whether Conrad would catch it, or it would catch him. A moot point anyway, since Conrad
easily dodged and spun and caught hold of the hilt as it flew past.

Julie scurried away to sit on one of the benches. Conrad approached, idly swishing his blade through
the air. A fell smile curved his lips. “Very well. Now, what am I wagered?”


“It is customary, is it not? Or am I mistaken? Did you not just issue me a challenge?”

“I did. But why waste time now on details? Let us just say that the winner may demand from the loser
whatever boon he wishes.”

“Rather a useless victory,” Conrad observed coolly. “Is it not? As your sire, I’m already entitled to
ask for whatever I want from you.”

“Ah. You’re assuming you’ll win, then?”

Conrad’s answering smile was so engaging Damian might have had serious trouble resisting its
attraction if he weren’t so angry. And if Conrad didn’t compound his anger by replying with insufferable
confidence, “But, of course.”

“Don’t,” Damian advised, getting quickly into position. “En garde!”

 Living forever is hard. Loving forever? Impossible.

Of all the mistakes Conrad Quintano has made, driving Damian away is the one that haunts him the most. He hates the fact that he's hurt the man he loves more than anything. For the sake of the twins, though, Conrad and Damian parent as a united front, a challenge that grows more and more difficult with each passing year. And with Conrad in his weakened state after his kidnapping, it grows more difficult than ever to be around the one man he can't have.
But an old enemy's mission to create a dangerous new breed of vampire threatens the twins' lives, and it's now more important than ever that the estranged lovers put the past behind them, or everything they hold dear might be ripped apart.


Halloween Month of Treats Giveaway ~ Day One

Who doesn’t love to curl up with a page-turning book on a chilly October day? And what would make escaping into an awesome story even more indulgent? Chocolate, that’s what! 

Enter for your chance to win both in the Halloween Month of Treats Giveaway. Every day in October, we’ll be posting two new giveaways, or sometimes a giveaway and FREE book for you to download immediately and enjoy. 

A paranormal romance and gift set of Godiva chocolate cookies. A romantic comedy and a box 60 of Lindor truffles. Steamy romance, romantic suspense, urban fantasy, mysteries…We’ve got the goodies to hand out. It’s trick or treat time! Enter to Win at: 

No purchase necessary.

This Giveaway is Sponsored by

Alex Gordon • Amanda Uhl • Angelica Kate • Astrid Arditi • Bethany Strobel • Bianca D'Arc • Cailin Briste • Cherie Claire • Christa Paige • Constance Phillips • Crystal Dawn • Emme Rollins
Greta Boris • Holly Cortelyou • Hope Worthington • Jacqueline Diamond • Joanne Dannon • Jody A. Kessler • Julie Mulhern • Karen Michelle Nutt • Lia Davis • Lila Dubois • Lisanne Harrington • Louisa Clarkson • Mia Woods • N.D. Jones • Nancy Segovia • Naomi Bellina • Patricia Burroughs • PG Forte • Rachel Shane • Rose Chapman • Sandra Marton • Scarlett Dawn • Selena Kitt • Shaniel Watson • Sorchia DuBois • Stella Marie Alden • Stephanie Julian • T.F. Walsh • Traci Highland • Vella Day • Veronica Blake • Viola Estrella 


Another New Giveaway!

Welcome to the Steamy Book Bargains August Series Highlight and Giveaway!

Are you one of those readers who holds out on a book until there are multiple follow ups! Are you afraid to commit until you can have more than just the first story in your hands!

This is for you! All the best steamy romance series in one place! Buy one book, buy the whole series, it’s up to you. But after you check out some great reads scroll to the bottom and enter to win one of two $25 Amazon GCs!


Here’s the link to the giveaway page: http://steamybookbargains.com/index.php/august-series-highlight-and-giveaway/


Excerpt from In the Dark

The Children of Night series returns today! Needless to say, I'm very excited about that. The first six books (there are two more in the works) are currently on sale for only .99 each as part of Entangled's Paranormal Sales Event. 

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Looking back, I'm not sure if I ever actually shared an excerpt from the first book, In the Dark, here on my blog. Well, there's no time like the present! So here's the new blurb, and an excerpt. Enjoy! 


Vampire Conrad Quintano has been around for centuries—long enough to know falling for a human is a terrible idea. Much less falling for adventure-seeking hippie Desert Rose and agreeing to raise her babies.

Raised in virtual isolation, Marc and Julie Fischer have never known their unique status in the world. But once they’re in San Francisco, the family reunion is nothing like they anticipated and they’re thrust into a world they’re completely unprepared for.


“Sounds like someone’s throwing a party,” Marc observed as they stepped inside the dark, paneled entrance.

“You think maybe it’s for us?” Julie suggested hopefully. “You know, like a surprise homecoming party or something? I mean, we still don’t know why we’re here so…it could be anything, right?” 

It had been a shock to be so suddenly summoned here, with no explanation offered, after years of
being told that either the time or the circumstances weren’t right.

Marc shook his head. “Little noisy for a surprise, don’t you think?” He put their bags on the floor next to the ornate brass coat tree and glanced distractedly around the empty foyer. “I dunno. Something doesn’t feel right.”

They hesitated for a moment longer but no one appeared 
to greet them. Curious, they followed the sounds—the laughter, the music, the chatter of voices—toward the rear of the house.

The closer they drew to the noise, the stronger the smells became. Wine and incense, arousal and sweat and most potent of all, layered beneath the rest, the sweet, rich, coppery scent of fresh blood. Julie’s mouth was watering by the time they reached their destination.

“Holy shit,” her brother muttered, stopping dead in his tracks. Julie found herself nodding in agreement. The center of the large, dimly lit room had been cleared of furniture to serve as a dance floor. Most of those dancing were barely clothed and phenomenally well-toned and all of them, male
and female, vampire and human alike, wore expressions of almost orgasmic bliss.

“And then some.” Julie’s gaze traversed the room’s perimeter, which seemed to have been lined with a succession of chaises and sofas and piles of pillows, all occupied by small groups feeding from one another. “Wow.”

Suddenly, a loud commotion arose from the low dais at the far end of the room. “Ay, ay, ay,” a familiar voice called out in greeting. “Mis queridos— you’re here!” Make that almost familiar. Julie stared in consternation as a tall, sculpted fiure rose from the chaise upon which he’d been reclining and hurried forward to greet them. The voice was Damian’s, all right, but the tone—high-pitched and
excited—was entirely more Chihuahua-like than she’d been expecting.

Marc gave a strangled gasp as their uncle strode toward them, his arms held wide, his long black hair streaming out behind him. He was wearing an open, floor-length, red- and black-patterned kimono over gauzy black pants—and a sly smile that suggested he knew exactly the kind of impression he was creating and was loving every scandalous second. Gold rings glittered on his fingers, his ears and both nipples. The crowd parted deferentially to let him pass.

“Stop staring,” Julie whispered urgently to her brother. “It’s not like we didn’t know.” Damian had never kept his sexual orientation a secret, but even so, they’d never seen him quite like this before. Tonight, he wasn’t just out of the closet, he’d brought the whole closet out with him.

Before Marc had a chance to resist, Damian swept him up in a big hug and kissed him loudly on both cheeks. “Ah, mi amor,” he crooned, pinching his cheek as he let him go. “It’s been too long.”

Next, Damian turned his attentions on Julie. As his arms closed tightly around her she found herself transported back to her childhood. This was the Damian she remembered. Big, warm, comforting. The uncle who’d read her bedtime stories and tucked her in at night. Who’d wiped away her tears when she fell and skinned her knees—never once pointing out that the scrapes had sometimes healed before the tears even started.

Julie returned his embrace. She went up on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek. “Nice threads, Uncle Damian,” she whispered in his ear. “I like this whole ‘Queen of the Damned’ look you’ve got going on.”

Damian threw back his head and roared with laughter.“That’s my baby girl.” Pressing an enthusiastic kiss on Julie’s forehead, he smiled at her approvingly. “I knew I could count on you, chica.” Then he drew back and looked at them both. “Now, mis niños, let me look at you. How was the train? Did
you have a good trip? You must be famished.” He waved a hand at the surrounding crowd and suggested. “Why don’t you go find yourselves something to eat?”

“Where’s Conrad?” Marc asked, ignoring the pleasantries, startling Julie with his abruptness. His gaze scanned the room. “He’s not here. Where is he?”

“Oh, who knows where he’s gone!” Damian heaved a long-suffering sigh. “That man. Always running here, flitting there—who can keep track? Entre nous? Given all the places he tries to be in at one time, I’m almost afraid the big silly has begun to believe he can turn into a bat.”

“Has Conrad left town?” a male voice inquired. Julie stared at the new vampire with interest. He was slim with auburn hair; not quite as tall as Damian. He had a delicious cleft chin and an unsettling inquisitive gleam in his hazel eyes. “I hadn’t heard.”

A shadow passed through Damian’s eyes, something dark and dangerous, and then it was gone. He smiled at the newcomer. “My dear, dear Armand, I’m sure your guess is…oh, well, let’s see…probably almost as good as my own, n’est pas? But, wherever he’s gone, I’m sure he’ll be back to
delight us all again very soon.”

“What do you mean you don’t know?” Marc demanded, the tone of his voice practically turning the words into an accusation. “I thought you said Grandfather wanted to see us? Isn’t that why we’re here? Why would he leave town if he knew we were coming? And…what on earth are you wearing, anyway?”

Julie stared at her brother, perplexed. What was wrong with him? It wasn’t like Marc to be so confrontational. It wasn’t like either of them, come to think of it. At almost forty years old, they both still found it nearly impossible to act counter to the expressed wishes of the two men who’d raised
them. Especially Conrad. Her pondering was cut short when her attention was snared by a soft, amused chuckle.

“Grandfather?” A disbelieving smile had curled Armand’s lips. His gaze flicked curiously over them all. “Are you referring to Conrad? I’m sure he must love being called that! But, come, Damian, you must introduce me. Are these yours?”

Once again, Julie caught sight of that dark gleam in Damian’s eyes. He flashed a look at both twins, warning them to silence, before turning back to Armand with another saccharine smile. “Why, yes, Armand, indeed they are. And now you know all my little secrets. But, aren’t they just too precious? This is Julie and her brother, Marc. Marc’s a little cranky at the moment. He gets that way when he isn’t fed.”

“Who doesn’t?” Armand sent a cursory, disinterested nod in Marc’s direction before bowing low over Julie’s hand. “Mademoiselle. Enchanté.”

Julie shivered in delight as he pressed his lips to her hand and the warmth of his kiss traveled all the way up her arm. “Likewise.”

Armand’s eyes met hers and he smiled in gentle amusement. Then he turned his quizzical gaze on Damian.

“I must admit, mon ami, you’ve caught me off guard. I didn’t think your tastes ran in quite this…direction?”

“Oh, Armand.” Damian raised his eyes to the ceiling and sighed theatrically. “You disappoint me. Can you not see that they’re twins? How could I break up such a pretty set? It would have been…gauche.”

Relieved laughter burst from Armand’s lips. “Of course. My apologies. I should have guessed it was something like that.” He eyed Julie one more time, a little more intensely than before, then he gave her hand a final squeeze and let go.

Tres bon. I’ll leave you three to your reunion,” he said as he bowed once again. “Au revoir.”

Damian watched as Armand disappeared back into the dancing crowd, then he turned his attention back to the twins.“Watch yourself around that one,” he advised Julie sternly. “Don’t get too close.” He regarded them thoughtfully for a moment, then suggested, “In fact, I think it might be best if
you two were to wait for me in the kitchen until I’m done here. It’s down at the end of the hallway, toward the back of the house. Go eat. We’ll talk later.”

Disappointed, Julie was turning to leave when Marc shook his head. “No. We’ll talk now. I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what’s going on. Where’s Conrad?”

“Marcus,” Damian’s voice, though pitched low, held a note of warning. “You will do as I tell you. Conrad always said you two couldn’t handle this environment yet. This is no time for you to be proving him right.”

Julie held her breath as the two men stared at each other, each refusing to back down. Finally, Damian sighed. “I have no time for this,” he grumbled as he shook his head. He looked to be about equal parts aggravated, worried and quietly proud. He turned away abruptly, so suddenly that his robe flared out around him. Clapping his hands to be heard above the music he called, “Out! Out! Vayamos! Party’s
over! Everyone go home!”

A chorus of disappointed groans and half-hearted protests rose from the crowd but Damian stood fim. Smiling serenely, he repeated the order. “Out! Everybody. Now.” The authority in his voice was such that even Julie found herself once again turning to leave. She saw Marc begin to do the same until Damian reached back and grabbed hold of their wrists. “
Not you two.”

The disgruntled guests filed slowly out through the doorways. Armand was among the last to leave. The parting glance he shot in Damian’s direction was filed with seething animosity. Julie stiffened in alarm, but Damian appeared not to notice.

Finally they were alone. Damian sighed as he let go of their wrists. Reaching for the tiny strings that fastened his kimono he drew the garment around himself and secured it in place. “Now, then,” he said as he threw an arm around each of their shoulders and propelled them from the room. “Let’s go down to the kitchen and have something to eat while we talk, shall we?” Drawing them both even closer,
he pressed a kiss against the side of each of their heads. “I baked cookies. Who wants chocolate chip?”


Going To The Chapel: Excerpt

In Waiting for the Big One, Gabby and Derek went from being friends to lovers; now they're waiting for their big day. But will it be the wedding of their dreams? Or a bride's worst nightmare? 

A quick trip to Gabby's hometown of Sapphire Falls turns into a wedding nightmare when Gabby and Derek are plagued by hailstorms, fires, voracious goats, angry bees, allergies, cancellations and enough family drama to fill a barn. 

Can they hold it all together, or will their Big Day turn into a Big Mess?

Buy:  Going To The Chapel:  HERE

Read more about the LA Love Lessons series: HERE

And a sneak peek at the sequel, Going Up The Country can be found: HERE


We arrived at Gabby's family's farm at about four in the afternoon.  A large metal sign hanging from the front gate proclaimed it to be the Quick Browne Goat Farm. "So who's Quick?" I asked.
Gabby shot me a puzzled look. "What are you talking about?"
"On the sign." I pointed behind us. Browne was the family name, and the goat part was also obvious, but Quick?
Gabby smiled. "Oh, I don't know. The goats, I guess. You know that sentence they make you memorize when you learn touch typing: 'the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog'?"
"I've heard of it, sure."
"It's like that. "
Puzzled, I turned in my seat to stare at her. "It's 'like that' how?"
"Well, I mean, we've always had some of the laziest sheepdogs you've ever seen. I'm sure they've been jumped over a time or two."
"By foxes?"
"No." Gabby eyed me strangely. "By goats. It's a goat farm, remember?"
I probably should have given up at that point. I've gotten into these kinds of conversations with her before. They never end well. "Okay, but then where do the foxes come in?"
"They don't."
"Look, the whole point of that sentence is that it uses all the letters of the alphabet, right? They had to use fox. Goat wouldn't have worked at all in that context."
"Okay, and so what should also be obvious is that it wouldn't make any sense to call this the Quick Browne Fox Farm. Right?"
None of it made sense; that was the problem. And I was just about to say so when she hit me with that smile.
Now, here's something you might not know about my Gabe. She has one of the greatest smiles in the whole damn world. It's fucking radiant. It's the kind of smile that makes men stupid. If you haven't seen it, you'll just have to take my word on that. I knew I was in trouble the very first time she flashed it my way. I'd never before been covetous of a facial expression, but in that moment I desperately wanted to keep her smiling at me—and only at me—just like that, forever. 
I know it's only a matter of time before her career takes off, because I can't be the only one who feels that way.
"Well?" Gabby prompted. "Would it?"
But her smile had done its usual good work. My train of thought had so thoroughly jumped its tracks that my brain was the mental equivalent of a heap of twisted steel. "Uh...what were we talking about again?"
Gabby shot me a mock glare. "The Quick Browne Fox Farm. Remember?"
"Oh, right." Now, I'm all for sticking to my guns, but I also know when I'm beat. "Yeah, you're right. That's crazy. That wouldn't work at all."
"Exactly," Gabby purred as she pulled the truck to a stop. She glanced at me again, and her smile went from bright to brilliant; I felt a thrill of delight, until I realized the reason for it wasn't my easy capitulation, it was the fact that she was home.
I turned to look around me. We were parked in front of yet another picturesque farmhouse; this one was white, with blue trim and shutters, a wraparound porch, and a white picket fence. Blue hydrangeas clustered around the foundation. Blue morning glories  twined along the fence.  Baskets overflowing with light and dark lobelia hung from the eaves of the porch. "I see someone likes blue."
Gabby nodded. "My mom. It's a Sapphire Falls thing."
"Makes sense."
The theme, unfortunately, was not confined to the house. Now that I knew what I was looking for, I saw hints everywhere. In the English Sheepdog dozing on the porch swing; mostly white  with bluish-gray patches. In the flock of mop-headed chickens pecking at the lawn—oddly reminiscent of the dog, with similar plumage in matching shades. Even the drive where we were parked, with its blue-gray gravel, and its border of whitewashed rocks fit the picture.  It was impressive, in a slightly over-the-top, borderline obsessive kind of way. Not that I'd ever say so.
Just 'cause my family's dysfunctional, doesn't mean I don't know better than to criticize someone else's.
I’d have had to be an idiot not to notice the eager expression Gabby’d been wearing ever since we'd left Omaha. While, intellectually, I knew she loved acting, that she loved the life she'd built for herself out on the coast, that she loved me, I still found myself starting to worry. How much work was it going to take to drag her away from here next week?
"Let's go see where everyone is," Gabby said as she jumped from the truck.  I started to follow, but just then a man came striding around the corner of the house to greet her.  He was tall and lean, with the kind of weathered skin and corded muscles that you only get from spending most of your life working out-of-doors.  I'd pegged him as Gabby's father even before she turned and waved impatiently for me to join them.
Gabby's dad, Mick, looked every inch the aging hippy farmer Gabby had described him as being. His hair was long, just starting to go gray, and the bandana on his head was clearly there for functionality, not as a fashion statement—despite it being blue and white, like everything else around here.
He had a firm handshake, a steely gaze, and a smile that would probably have been a whole lot warmer if I were someone else. But I was the stranger who would shortly be marrying his daughter, the bastard who'd gotten her pregnant. I suspected it would be a long time before he forgave me for either of those offenses.  And, until he did, I figured my chances of getting a genuine smile out of the man were slim to no-fucking-way.
"Did I tell you that Derek teaches yoga?" Gabby asked, threading her fingers with mine and leaning against my shoulder. I was intensely aware of her tit pressed tight against my bicep, and not in a good way, given that her father was looking on. I felt like she was claiming me for her own, marking me as hers, all of which I'd normally be in favor of. But, right now, with the hostile vibe already rolling in waves off her old man? Not so much.  "That's how we met."
"So you've said," Mick replied dryly. I didn't miss the way his face hardened as his gaze latched onto all the places where Gabby's body and mine connected. It was all I could do not to push her away. Something told me that would be worse.
"My dad's been practicing yoga for years," Gabby informed me, seemingly oblivious to the tension.
"Very cool." I smiled at Mick. "What style do you prefer? Sivananda?  Kripalu?" I was expecting him to be into something like that, something old skool and classic. Maybe a little Bikram in the winter.
What I wasn't expecting was, "Goat."
"Daddy!" Gabby scowled at him.
"What? You've never heard of goat yoga? Look it up, if you don't believe me." Mick gazed at me challengingly, and added. "Sometimes the chickens join in too."
"I think I saw something about that online." Of course, I'd assumed it was a joke, but maybe I was wrong? "I'd be interested in seeing that in action while I'm here. We don't get much of a call for it in Los Angeles."
"Their loss."

"I guess so." 

* * * * *

When I finished writing Waiting for the Big One, I thought I'd said everything I needed to say about Gabby and Derek. Then they surprised me by showing up in Love, From A to Z, and in Let Me Count the Ways. And I began to wonder if I hadn't closed the door on them a little too quickly.
Fast forward a few years, and I found myself playing with the idea of writing a wedding story set in Sapphire Falls. I couldn't resist the chance to finally give Derek a voice, and the opportunity to tell his side of things. And now that Gabby an families have introduced themselves, I suspect that at least some of them will be getting their own stories soon too.
And please check out these other new additions to the Sapphire Falls Kindle World:  

Going From Zero to Sixty by Lizbeth Selvig. Elle Mitchell has a talent for anything mechanical and all things cars. When she applies for a low-level mechanics job in Sapphire Falls, it’s mostly to get away from her big brother’s watchful eye and prove she can handle life on her own. What she can’t handle is the hot new boss, Harley Holt, or his penchant for speed!

Going Gets Hot by Rachelle Ayala. Two geeky scientists, Amber and Chad, arrive in Sapphire Falls in time for the Summer Festival. Hot with new clothes and makeovers, they get more attention than they bargained for.

Going Even Wilder by Trish Edmisten. Jillian Somers and Jackson Wilder are back! It’s been eight months since they admitted their feelings for another, and Jillian’s happier than she ever thought she could be. There’s just one problem. Jackson still hasn’t proposed. When it doesn’t look like he’s going to, Jillian’s sister convinces her to take matters into her own hands and ask him to marry her. Too bad Jackson has other plans....

Going to Pieces by EmKay Connor. A disastrous reunion sends Brooke Jones Roseman running from the only home she’s ever known and into the arms of a stranger who teaches her the real meaning of family.

Thanks to Rachelle Ayala for spearheading this group release; to Meg Benjamin for the use of her Texas Barbecue truck which appears in Going up in Flames and in Hungry Heart (Konigsburg, TX series #8); to Kate Davies for lending me her characters, Mia and Chase, who first appeared in Going for Broke; and to Kinsey Holley for her character, Brook, who first appeared in Going for Brook; and most of all, of course, to Erin Nicholas for opening her world to us and giving us all such a fun playground in which to write.