I love a sexy man in uniform as much as the next girl, so when this week’s theme showed up for Snippet Saturday, I didn’t hesitate to sign up. And then I started looking through my books, and realized that although I’m crazy about a man in uniform, I haven’t actually written one. *gulp*
I was just about to bow out of participating this week when I realized I’d written a sexy knight in a story for Amber Quill Press. Surely, a knight’s suit of armor counts as a uniform… of sorts?
England, 1202 A.D.
“Take me back, you coward. If you do not, I cannot promise my betrothed will be merciful when he hunts you down. He will not rest until you have been brought to justice before the King himself.”
Justice. Now there was a useless concept, Simon Whittington thought as he tightened his hold on the squirming woman riding astride in front of him. Thick rope bound her wrists in front of her, yet she still managed to wriggle and flounder as though she would prefer to toss herself from the moving horse and take her chances with the ground rushing up to meet her than to be saddled with him for a moment longer.
Simon couldn’t blame her, he supposed, but he wished she’d stop writhing. Her lithe body and smooth limbs pressed against his chest and stomach with each motion, making his rod stiffen in his breeches.
As though the situation wasn’t difficult enough without his body betraying him.
“I appreciate your candor, M’Lady,” Simon said between gritted teeth. “And I’ve no doubt you speak the truth.”
He bent his head a moment too late as the horse galloped beneath low-hanging branches. He felt a pull of pain as a sharp stick dug into his cheek. Before him, Christabel Foxe seemed oblivious to the sprigs clawing at her face.
A hint of admiration swept through Simon’s body, but he squelched it before it could become something more, something that would interfere with his plan. Granted, it had not been an exceptionally well thought out plan, but at the time it had seemed like the only option.
Now, though, after having been awake for the better part of two days, the brash decision that had led to having this woman in his arms no longer seemed like such a good idea when viewed through bleary, aching eyes.
“Why then have you taken me? And on the day I’m to be wed! Is it money you want? If so, His Royal Highness Duke Foxe, my esteemed father, will pay generously for the safe return of his only daughter.”
Simon’s harsh laugh held no humor. He thought of his sister, Brownyn, of the last time he’d bent to kiss her forehead before riding off to do his sworn duty as one of King John’s personal guards. A fortnight later, Bronwyn was dead. His little sister, as full of life as any maiden, had been brutally violated and left for dead.
Someone would pay for her murder. He knew the culprit, but the King wouldn’t hear of accusing one of his own of such a heinous act. Well, Simon had had enough of the King’s brand of justice. The time had come to take matters into his own hands. Having never been a man to hesitate, Simon had recognized his opportunity when the criminal’s lovely bride-to-be had left her home unescorted. Not hesitating for a moment longer than necessary to ensure she was alone, he’d grabbed with both hands the gift fate had offered him.
Henry Caxton, Earl of Stowbridge, thought life was expendable, did he? He believed he could get away with using young women as his personal pleasure puppets before discarding them like bathwater by the side of the road. Fine, then. If human life meant so little to him, he wouldn’t miss his blushing bride.
“Do not mock me. I asked you a question and I expect an answer.” Christabel turned to peer at him over her shoulder. Wind whipped her loose, dark tresses back to brush his cheek. She smelled of honey blossoms and dried roses, the scent sending another unwelcome jolt of heat into Simon’s groin, reminding him it had been much too long since he’d lain with a woman.
Yes, that’s all it was, he told himself. The urge to nuzzle Christabel’s neck and inhale deeply was due to his long bout of abstinence, and nothing else. If he wanted to wrap his arms around her middle and feel her soft body pressed tightly against his, it was only so she’d stop squirming, and not so he could delight in her unmistakable curves, the long, smooth limbs hidden beneath her long skirts.
“Take a good look at me,” Simon said, fighting to keep his voice calm even as his hands tensed on the reins. “Do I look as though I need your father’s charity?”
She did as he commanded, her earth-brown eyes brazenly sweeping over as much of him as she could easily make out from her position. Recognition flickered in her gaze as she took in his armor, his heraldic signet, the symbol of his role at court. She swallowed hard, and for the first time since he’d taken her almost a half day earlier, fear swept over her silken features.
“If not for coin, why then?”
ONCE UPON A CONQUEST is available at Amber Heat, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and All Romance Ebooks.
Be sure to check out what these other talented authors are offering this week:
Quote of the Day:
A failing we writers have is that we confuse the voices in our head with writing; we tend to do exercises in our head because thinking and writing feel so closely related. Visual artists never have this problem. Their sketchbooks are filled with sketches; when they do an exercise, they can’t just do it in their minds.
– Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication and Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams
I was just talking to my bestie, Fiona Jayde, about this very thing a couple of days ago. We were both lamenting the fact that we collect books on the craft of writing like they’re going out of print, yet it feels as though we absorb very little of the information within. I think it’s exactly because of what the above quote states. We tend to read books on writing, thinking we’ll absorb the lessons imparted by osmosis. We rarely do the exercises within, even though we know they’ll probably help us.
So from now on, I’m going to be an active participant in the books on craft I read. I’m going to do the exercises, try out new techniques, and hopefully absorb what works for me by folding those new techniques into my day-to-day writing process. That has to be better than having shelves upon shelves of writing books that just ‘sit’ there, right? I can’t expect the books themselves to do the work. That’s my job!
Fiona and I started a blog a few months ago, Tips & WIPs, for this very thing. We intended to share bits of interesting information gleaned from craft books. The benefit would be two-fold: we’d be helping other writers, and it would force us to sit down and really think about what we’d learned. Unfortunately, we both got busy and the blog fell by the wayside, but we intend to resurrect it. If you’re an author, aspiring or published, please think about adding Tips & WIPs to your RSS feed. We’ll do our best to make it worth your while.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a hard time with this week’s theme. In my day-to-day life, I pay homage to lots of things: a favorite piece of music, an episode from an old TV show, a movie I’ve watched close to a hundred times. But in my fiction? Not so much.
And then I remembered a short, intense, emotional (and super sexy) story I wrote for Changeling under my Hunter Raines pen name. I’m a big fan of the Blade movie trilogy. Something about a hot vampire hunter along with nasty (and some surprisingly redeemable) vampires really does it for me. I wrote SANCTUARY BY FIRE with the Blade movies in mind, though I chose to focus on what happens to a vampire and his human thrall after the hunters have left him for dead.
“Ah, Master. I wish I could say I told you so.”
Pain flared along Theo’s right arm. It traveled into his chest, where it pounded against his ribcage in an attempt to reach his non-beating heart. He ignored it, just like he’d ignored the first ravages of sunlight when the vampire hunters had bound him and left him in the church’s graveyard for dawn to find. And that had been after they’d sliced into him with silver knives, scoring hundreds of notches in his flesh.
“Don’t say anything.”
A protest echoed through Theo’s mind, but he was in no mood to heed it. He wanted only what he’d wanted all along. His cock, buried deep in Reed’s ass while his fangs found the man’s throat.
Theo rose to his knees. Reed’s chest heaved with the force of his breathing. His cock pressed against Theo’s inner thigh. They lay on nothing but shadows and darkness. The light flaring around them seemed to spill from a dozen candles, yet none could be seen.
Theo shrugged. His near-death hallucination. His rules.
He splayed his fingertips across Reed’s ribs, following the planes and valleys of the man’s muscular physique until he reached his lover’s groin. He watched Reed’s face as he cupped the other man’s cock, trailing his thumb and middle finger down the shaft to squeeze a drop of clear liquid from the tip.
The heady scent of pre-cum bloomed everywhere, enveloping him in a perfume of male musk and raw need. He had to taste it, to know its flavor before experiencing true death.
Reed reached up and touched Theo for the first time since this impossible dream began. His fingers left tendrils of cool ice in their wake, banishing the fiery agony inch by inch.
Reed’s voice echoed through the cavern of Theo’s mind. He imagined the word held more than reverence and respect. The lilting cadence in the way Reed had spoken imbued a relatively simple title with lust and fidelity… and maybe, if he was very lucky, even with love.
Theo slid down Reed’s belly until his mouth was even with his thrall’s dark patch of rough curls. The man’s thick cock pulsed slightly under scrutiny. The drop of pre-cum Theo had coaxed from the tiny slit slipped down the coppery skin, highlighting a blue vein in glossy liquid.
When his mouth made contact with Reed’s cock, the man’s body tensed. His muscled thighs flexed, soft hairs brushing against Theo’s cheek as his palms cupped Reed’s ass. Reed’s balls brushed his chin. Theo’s tongue followed the slippery trail left by the bead of moisture.
In an instant, flavor assaulted him from all sides, filling his mouth with salty musk. The taste was a thousand times stronger than it should have been. It ripped through his veins with more potency than any sunlight and burrowed deep into his own sac, tightening his scrotum, making his cock twitch and hover on the edge of bursting.
He wouldn’t let it, though. He wasn’t ready yet. The moment he gave in, the fantasy would end. The death he’d been trying so valiantly to keep at bay would claim him. He couldn’t let that happen. Not until he’d devoured every last inch of his thrall’s beautiful body.
SANCTUARY BY FIRE is available at Changeling Press.
As always, don’t forget to check out the other snippets generously offered by these fabulous authors:
Quote of the Day
He tucked the gun under the top edge of my towel, wedging it between my breasts, his knuckles brushing against me.
- High Five (A Stephanie Plum Novel)
I don’t read the Stephanie Plum series for the romance (though I admit to being a huge Ranger fan), but sometimes, the sexiness of something Stephanie does with one of her men steals my breath. Like the quote above… There’s so much heat in that simple act. You can imagine the way the heavy gun feels nestled against her breasts as it’s wedged beneath the towel. She’s probably still a little wet, and when Ranger’s knuckles graze her skin, some of those beads of moisture get smeared. Yum! Lovely writing, and so simple. Those are the sexiest moments, I think.
Other than that quote, I don’t have sexiness on the brain this morning. I’ve got pain on the brain, though. Lots of it.
I’m not sure what possessed me to sign up for group sessions with a personal trainer, but I did it. (Oh yeah, I know exactly what possessed me – vanity, and turning 31 next week.) My first session was yesterday. I can barely walk today. It’s not enough that I’m in a class filled with people who have been training for years, or that some of my fellow students are personal trainers themselves. What happened to “all fitness levels welcome!”? I know we’re all supposed to go at our own pace, and it’s not a competition… but being the only one who walks laps instead of running them basically sucks.
I’m back at it tomorrow. Wish me luck. At this rate, I may not live to see my 31st birthday.
I’m really glad to be getting back into the swing of things, especially since it means once again getting to participate in Snippet Saturday. It’s such a great way to discover new books and authors, and I always end up adding to my giant TBR pile when I follow the links to read everyone’s snippets.
This week’s theme is unusual settings. I’ve written a few of those, but for this post, I thought I’d focus on a scene from a hot little story I wrote for Amber Heat years ago. WILD, WILD, MOTHER OF THE BRIDE is set at Cowboy’s Hideaway, an Old West tourist attraction complete with a saloon, a brothel, and to the heroine’s delight, an authentic jailhouse. Here’s what happens when the hero decides to have a little fun with her in that jailhouse…
After what seemed to him like an eternity, he managed to get the door unlocked. Toeing it open, he carried Eliza over the threshold, bride-style. The irony wasn’t lost on him. Judging by the way the generous smile vanished as she clung to his shoulders, Eliza didn’t miss the symbolism either.
Shadows draped every corner of the one-room jail. Jacob considered turning on the overhead lights, but he didn’t want the harsh neon glare drawing unwanted attention to their late-night adventure. He’d enjoyed the thrill of showing off his prize to anyone who cared to watch, but right now, he wanted Eliza all to himself.
He’d helped build the place, and knew every hidden nook and cranny. Still, he moved slowly, avoiding the desk in the middle of the room and circling past the gun cabinet before coming to a stop in front of the lone ten-by-ten cell.
Eliza gave a low whistle. She reached out and ran her fingertips along the iron bars. “This is where you intend to keep me, huh?”
He carried her inside the cell. Once in captivity, she lowered herself to the cement floor and walked to the far end of the small space, where she continued to marvel at the solid construct of the iron bars.
“This is not what I imagined at all.”
“What did you imagine?” Jacob asked, walking to the gun cabinet. He didn’t need to watch her to ensure she wouldn’t leave. He trusted her to stay, just as much as she trusted him not to hurt her.
The thought excited him on an elemental level. The primal desires he’d so often hidden from his lovers stirred low in his belly. Eliza had walked into the lion’s den, and she didn’t show the slightest bit of apprehension at being caged.
But she would. Just as soon as he tied her to those bars and locked the door.
“Something…bigger, I think. With more cells. More wanted posters. Maybe a little dirtier, too.” She laughed, and the sound practically lit up the inside of the room with its silvery twinkle.
Jacob opened the cabinet, shoved a fake Winchester rifle out of the way, and pulled out a thick coil of rope, his favorite soft leather flogger, a tapered candle, and a book of matches. He carried everything back to the cell.
“The jailhouse is the most recent addition to the village. It hasn’t gotten much use.”
She turned around as he approached, her eyes widening as she took in the items he carried. “You seem so…prepared. You want me to believe I’m the inaugural guest?”
The door squeaked on its hinges as he slammed it closed. A matching iron key locked them both inside.
“Believe what you will. Though ‘guest’ might not be the word I’d use.”
Eliza licked her lips and her nipples puckered to stiff little nubs. “Prisoner, then?”
Jacob kneeled, placed the candle on the floor and lit a match. After setting the wick aflame, he blew out the match, dropped it to the ground and rose, still holding the rope.
As he neared Eliza, he tugged the length of it between his hands. It stretched taut with a snap that echoed through the room. “Slave.”
This time, she gasped. Her gaze darted to the front door and her eyes widened, as though seeing the unforgiving bars as proof of her captivity for the first time since being carried in here.
Firelight danced in her dark eyes. It caressed the delectable curve of her shoulders, nuzzled her breasts and danced in the flickering shadows between her legs. Shadows he ached to stroke and worship.
She dropped her dark lashes a fraction and drew her lower lip between her teeth. “We’re not playing anymore, are we, Jacob?”
WILD, WILD, MOTHER OF THE BRIDE is available at Amber Heat.
Be sure to check out the excerpts being offered by these fabulous participating authors:
Quote of the Day
So, what is submission to me? To me, submission is a desire to be special or significant. My earliest fantasies, and they were when I was very young, always involved being somehow chosen and desired.
- The Loving Dominant
I’ve always been fascinated by the rich fantasy lives we all live. In fact, I draw a lot of my story ideas from fantasies – whether nocturnal or while I’m daydreaming and avoiding work. Those are always the strongest stories, too, perhaps because they’re born of such intense experiences, even if they’re all in my mind.
The above quote really resonated with me, because like the author, I also had fantasies of being ‘chosen’ and ‘desired’ even while I was very young. Long before my fantasies turned sexual, I used to imagine that a prince would come for me in the middle of the night and snatch me away to an enchanted kingdom. I always made sure my nightgown was clean, wrinkle-free, and that the hem lay just right across my legs. Can you tell I grew up on fairy tales? There’s something so appealing about being ‘the chosen one’. It’s a universal fantasy, I think. It might explain a thing or two about why the Twilight books are so popular, no?
I have a good friend who insists she’s not creative in the least, but I’m betting that her fantasies are filled with some very creative experiences. I think she’d probably give me a run for my money, and I make a living writing about fantasies. Then again, I’ve never had the courage to ask. I can get away with a lot because I write erotic romance, but even so, I don’t like prying into my friends’ personal lives. Not unless they’re willing to share on their own, that is.
So, what about you? Do you remember some of your earliest fantasies?
Quote of the Day
You have everything you need to write this book: you know what you need to know. You know how to find out things you do not know. You have enough time (same as everybody else), enough life experience, enough smarts. You are ready to write this book.
- Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication and Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams
For as long as I’ve been reading, I’ve kept a book journal. I write down my impressions about a book while I’m going through it, and then I journal my overall thoughts at the very end. It serves to jog my memory about the things I liked or didn’t like years down the road, and it’s been a magnificent learning tool. I’ve learned more about how to write by reading and dissecting the books I love than I have from all the workshops I’ve ever taken.
I’m also a sucker for a good quote. I highlight the ones I love, and then transcribe them into my journal. After decades of reading, I have hundreds – perhaps thousands – of quotes in my collection, and I add more to the list every day.
So I had this thought… Why keep them to myself? Why not share some of these beauties with you? Expect to find quotes from writing books, romance novels, space operas, fantasy epics, memoirs, and non-fiction reference books. My reading tastes are varied and eclectic, so I’m hoping to surprise you with the selection of quotes I’ll be highlighting.
I plan on using a daily quote to start my posts, and while I can’t promise to post every day, I’ll do my best to contribute something most weekdays. I hope you’ll click on the links to check out the books themselves if a quote catches your eye or piques your interest.
Surely, I can’t be the only one who loves a good quote, right? What about you? Do you enjoy a pithy, creative quote, or do you tend to skim past it when you come across something like this?
Coincidentally, Goodreads has just started its Quote of the Day feature as well, and I encourage you to sign up for it if you’re as much of a quote fan as I am.
To say I’m thrilled with the work Frauke from Croco Designs did on this redesign would be a severe understatement. She came up with a gorgeous design that works beautifully for both my pen names, and then wrapped it all around WordPress inner workings that make the site extremely simple to update and straight forward to navigate.
Oh, and she gave me my blog back! See that last post from September 2010? Yeah, I’m pretty embarrassed about that. As it happens, my web host had a glitch that deleted the database for my blog, and the whole thing went up in smoke, rendering me completely unable to post. And then, magically, Frauke managed to pull out all those old posts I thought were lost forever and repopulate this new version. She’s a genius, I tell ya!
Now that I have access to post again, you can expect updates a few times a week from me. I plan on keeping you in the loop about what I’m working on, new contracts, and general fun stuff: books I’ve read and enjoyed, movies I’ve seen, and even new recipes I’ve tried. Since I celebrate all my writing milestones with baked goods, you can expect recipes for yummy treats pretty frequently around here.
If there are other things you’d like to see from me on a regular basis (excerpts? contests? photos?), let me know! I’ll do my best to incorporate those into the blog as well.
I’m thrilled to be hosting one of my favorite authors (and one of my favorite people, truth be told), the lovely and fabulously talented Fiona Jayde. Fiona’s new book, Night Haven, releases this Tuesday, September 21 at Samhain Publishing.
Here’s a quick blurb for your reading pleasure, and then I’m going to let Fiona take over. Share your thoughts on paranormal romance for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate!
Desire cuts both ways…
Nothing gives Dina more pleasure than leaving the vampires she hunts to the mercy of the dawn. And yet most humans she is sworn to protect seem all too happy to offer up their necks. She has vowed never to be like those needy creatures yet, three months ago, she allowed a vampire to kiss her. The memory still makes her body burn—and her skin heat with humiliation.
For over twenty empty years, Luke has lived in a world of dead pleasure and burning sunrise, feeding off those who long for immortality and taboo thrills. Only his art makes him feel half-alive. Until one night in a dark, moody nightclub, where a reckless, amber-eyed bloodwolf left behind her clean, sharp scent—and an ache in his blood nothing but another taste can ease.
Finally, with the chance to purge Luke out of her system, Dina moves in for the kill. But she comes to a horrifying realization. She can no longer shift, and the desire to taste him—body, soul and blood—is making her crazy. As an enraged bloodwolf threatens to rip them both apart, she may just be crazy enough to trust Luke with her life.
Warning: Contains interspecies lust between a bloodwolf and a vampire, and desire thick enough to cut with a blade.
I have a confession to make: I don’t read a ton of paranormal romance. I have a few favorites that I simply can’t resist, but for the most part, the reason I don’t read paranormal romances – especially when writing one- is a simple case of terror. Somebody, somewhere, who is much more smarter and cleverer and brillianter (is that even a word?) then me probably already explored the same idea I’m just discovering and implemented it ten times better than I ever could.
Fear. Not very glamorous, but true.
And yet the best part of writing- and reading – paranormal romances (or paranormal novels in general – I’m simply a romance junkie) is that exact concept: authors taking similar concepts and spinning them into something unique and fresh and brilliant. (Or in my case – kickass and aggressive.)
I had a terrible fear when building the world in which my bloodwolves, or Lycks as they call themselves, live. Do humans know about vampires? Do humans know about bloodwolves? Hasn’t the whole idea of wolves and vampires warring with each other been done, and redone, and done again? What the hell is a bloodwolf anyway? (I love that world and I’m afraid to look it up for fear that my version of it is completely off base… In my word, bloodwolves are wolf shifters who crave the taste of their mates’ blood. Unlike vampires – who will feed off anyone – bloodwolves will only feed off their mates during intimate moments.)
Then there’s questions like – why would the bloodwolves and vampires be at war? (Age old question, right?) What do the bloodwolves wear – and does their clothing tear off when they shift or does it meld to their bodies? (Logistics are important!)
If a bloodwolf finds its mate – and that mate happens to be a vampire, how can that happen since they are usually different species? I actually love the idea of a “wrong kind of mate” – and I’m not the only one, there’s been a lot of books and movies with that same theme!
So yes, fear. Paralyzing fear of too many answers, too many brilliant answers from terrific authors and movie makers who had the same questions. But then again, while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, creative license allows us to twist things into new directions. So in my world, the bloodwolves were actually created to protect humans against vampire hunger – and bloodwolves share vampire DNA. So it’s feasible that one would recognize the other as mate – HA!
In my world, bloodwolves’ clothing tears off their bodies when they shift. In my world, humans know about vampires – and willingly offer up their necks for taboo thrills and a chance for immortality, while the bloodwolves question how they can protect those who willingly put themselves in danger. In my world, vampires can be both good and evil – depending on their disposition. And their blood sugar – if you’ll excuse the pun.
And the winner is…
Patsy Hagen (comment #11)
Congratulations, Patsy, and thanks everyone for playing!