Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Blues Promotion: June 4

Welcome back to Monday, and wow, it's June!   Sorry that there was no Monday Blues Promotion last week. But there is this week! All is good, right?

It's almost summer.  If one goes by kids being out of school, and the pass of Memorial Day, then it's summer already. Regardless, the summer is upon us.

Summertime means vacations, sometimes taking a trip.

Today's theme? Taking a trip. It could be a journey to self discovery, it could be finding out the truth to an unsolved mystery. It could be taking a trip back or forward in get the idea. Be creative, show us what you've got!

Please include Title of book, author name, and a buy link, or link to your website.

Excerpts should be no more than 750 words long.

I await your reply!

Thanks for playing.

Readers, I hope you'll stop by and read a few excerpts. Y'know you want to :)

Until next time,

Storm Goddess


  1. Here is a short excerpt from One Knight in Brooklyn.

    She tentatively walked along the forest’s edge down into the rolling hills of the meadow. The high grass tickled her calves, and the smell of clover scented the air. A rustling in the undergrowth of the forest followed by a melodic whistle startled her. She froze.
    A man stepped out of the forest clad in tight brown leggings and a blousy ecru tunic. Though the shirt laced in a V-neck, he wore it loose, revealing a patch of hair against tanned skin that stretched over his chest and broad shoulders. She indulged in the masculine treat.
    Catching her gaze, he strode toward her with the confidence of a master champion. She quietly gasped, pinned by sapphire eyes sparkling with a sensual promise he could surely make good on. He'd tied a light wool cape at his neck and it casually fell over his shoulder. Short hair framed his head in brown waves, and his freshly-shaven face relaxed in composure.
    He smiled, revealing a deep dimple and straight white teeth. Her breath quickened, and her mouth went dry. She wanted him right then. And somehow it didn’t matter where she was as long as he accompanied her.
    Perfectly proportioned, he fit her precise specifications. Her gaze flitted to his crotch. Though covered by the tunic, enough of a bulge pressed against the gauzy fabric to assure her of the fulfillment of even that desire. This man wasn’t a knight; he was a god. Strong. Magnificent….
    And then her paradigm shifted as something unfortunate happened—he spoke.

  2. Fall In Love by Melissa Kendall

    As I drove out the main gates of Dunbar Station and headed for Kununurra, I hoped that my journey wouldn’t be in vain. I wasn’t happy about leaving the farm; but it was necessary. Even though it was the middle of summer, there was still a lot to do. I took over the farm five years ago after my dad, Russell, had a heart attack. His doctors told him he needed to slow down; to his annoyance that meant he could no longer manage the farm. Though he didn’t run the farm anymore, he still kept abreast of everything that happened. He promised me that if I left for a while, the farm would not go to wrack and ruin while I was away.
    I’d spent my entire life on the farm with only the station hands and my family. My interaction with outsiders had been limited to the odd trips into town for supplies. My lack of contact with the outside world was the reason behind my trip. I loved station life; but at thirty years of age, I longed for someone to share it with. After a discussion with mum and dad, I decided to spend January and most of February in Broome. Dad was all for the trip and thought it would great for me to get away for a while. Mum on the other hand, thought I wasn’t giving myself enough credit and settling at a far too young an age.
    I knew it wasn’t a big city location but, it was a popular tourist destination, and it was close enough to home that if needed in an emergency I could get back fast. I hoped that I would meet a nice girl who wouldn’t mind coming to live with me in the back of WoopWoop.
    I knew it wasn’t really the most romantic idea in the world, but I just did not want to be alone any more. I no longer held any hope to find the love of my life. I was at a place in my life that I would’ve been happy just to find someone agreeable to go the friends with benefits route.
    After I checked in for my Air North flight, I made a quick call home and left a message on the machine. I let the folks know I’d made it to Kununurra okay and would soon board my flight to Broome.
    A little over two hours later, I made it to the Cable Beach Resort. My room had a spectacular view that looked out over the beach. I looked forward to watching out my window as the sun set over the water. I placed another call home to let mum know that I had made it to Broome okay, and then I decided to take a walk on the beach. After I exchanged my blundstones, jeans, and flanny for a singlet, shorts, and thongs I grabbed my Akubra and headed out into the late afternoon sun.
    The white sands and the deep-blue sea of Cable Beach never ceased to amaze me. As a child we’d visited Broome a couple of times for family holidays, though we had a pond at home, it was nothing compared to the ocean.
    As I admired the scenery around me, I saw a camel train headed my way. Of all the things I’d experienced on previous visits to Broome, a camel ride wasn’t one of them. I decided that I would correct that on my trip.
    Just as the camels passed by, the wind whipped something at my face; it scared the crap out of me. At once I grabbed the item and held it out in front of me—a straw hat. I searched around for an owner.
    When I glanced up, I saw a stunning, petite brunette looking down at me from her seat on one of the camels. She appeared very apologetic as the camel train continued to move forward. I ran to catch up with the sluggish animals, and I handed the hat back to the beautiful woman; I felt lucky that I was tall enough to reach.
    “Thank you,” she said as she tried to shake my hand.
    It worried me that she might fall off the camel as she reached for my hand, so, I just waved her away and said, “You’re welcome.”
    I watched the camels continue up the beach for a little ways before I resumed my walk.

  3. Guy's Angel, a 1920's historical romance by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy.

    Angel's first flying trip....

    He fastened the leather strap serving as a seat belt around her and she liked the feel of his hands, steady and sure as he completed the simple task. She settled into the front cockpit with Guy behind her, the top wing above her.
    The Jenny roared to life, louder than she expected, and as he taxied down the long runway, exhilaration rushed through her and she almost shouted aloud with the sheer joy of it. They lifted up, rough, and flew straight east at the high bluffs above the Missouri River, pulling higher just before it seemed like their course might hit the cliffs. She thought about the many times she watched planes make this same maneuver with a thrill of delight because now she flew like a bird while others remained earthbound.
    Angel had no fear as the plane rose into the sky, higher and higher above the broad brown waters of the Missouri river and the city below, scattered out looking like a kid’s play set. From above, the houses looked like nothing more than the dollhouses some of her friends played with when they were all children.
    Around her, the blue yonder stretched into infinity and they flew past wisps of clouds, cotton like fluff reminding her of old fashioned haints rising from the grave to soar toward heaven. Winds buffeted the Jenny but Guy maintained control and Angel gloried in the wild rush of air into her face. She pulled the jacket closer around her because the air felt much colder than she expected but she liked it even more than she expected.
    “Whaddya think, Angel?” He shouted so she could hear him above the wind.
    “I love it! Everything is Jake!” So he could hear her, she screamed out the words.
    His laugher echoed through the skies, over the roar of the Jenny’s engine, and she laughed too, young and filled with the power of flying through the sky like a bird on the wing.
    Guy flew down over the river and swooped low over the Lake Contrary Amusement Park. She could see the open mouths, the surprised faces, and the pointing fingers of the crowds there and giggled. Angel lifted one hand to wave and when a woman waved back, she grinned. Life would never be the same after this. Without warning her first, he did a loop and although for a few seconds, she gripped the edge of the seat with taut fingers, when she relaxed, she realized this was fun too.

    Buy Link:

  4. Great excerpts! Enjoyed them! Here's mine from Hard Core, due for release in October!

    Slade belly-crawled across the jungle floor. Patience and stealth: both were essential if he wanted to survive. He checked the Gerber knife strapped to his thigh, felt the weight of the rifle slung across his back. His gaze locked on the man casually smoking a cigar in the distance. Cuban, by the scent of it.

    Perspiration trickled between his shoulder blades. God, he hated the dark, dank jungle. His lungs ached when he breathed in the thick, wet air. He preferred his beach house on the west coast or penthouse in Chicago. At this point he’d be grateful for the rustic cabin he kept in the Rockies.

    He continued to drag his body through the dense underbrush. The sting of an insect bit into the exposed area of skin on his neck. His shoulders tensed with effort to resist slapping it. An insect bit into the exposed area of skin on his neck. To slap at it and take his focus off the objective could be fatal. He let the insect take its fill and move on.
    Fifteen feet now. Close enough to see the color of the mark’s eyes. Slade settled into a prone position, body slack. He positioned the FRF-2 on solid ground and sighted down the scope, his finger wrapped feather-light around the trigger.

    The cacophony of monkeys screeching in the trees faded to the slow, steady rise and fall of his own chest. The soft thrum of his heartbeat. A bead of sweat trickled down his cheek. Bugs swarmed his head. Some went in for a bite or sting, but he didn’t waver from the target.
    The man in his sights crossed one leg over the other, inhaled deeply on his cigar, and blew out a lazy stream of smoke, unaware having no idea he was in the enemy’s crosshairs. Slade’s finger tightened on the trigger.

    A noise which didn’t belong registered before he could pull the trigger. Cold steel of a gun barrel pressed against his temple.

    “Let go of the weapon.” A hard, accented voice gave the order.

    Slade let his hands slide off his rifle and drop to the ground.

    “On your back. Slowly.”

    Slade rolled and drove a booted foot it into the guy’s knee, bringing him to the ground with a grunt of pain. Within seconds Slade pinned the guy beneath him, a knife to his throat and an arm locked behind his back, dangerously close to breaking.

    “You’re making a big mistake,” the guy choked out. Little drops of blood pebbled where the razor sharp edge of Slade’s knife pressed against his flesh.

    The distinct click of numerous guns cocking, one after the other, echoed through the jungle. Slade mentally counted ten of them, locked and loaded, and aimed at him. He dropped the knife, let go of the man’s arm and raised his hands in surrender.

    “You should not have done that.” Pain exploded in the back of his head. The ground slammed into him before everything went black.
    * * * *
    A punch to the ribs knocked Slade and the chair to the floor. He landed hard on his shoulder with a grunt, kicking up a cloud of dust.

    Recon when he’d come to revealed cement walls without windows and a steel door with a heavy lock. Not a room a prisoner escaped. Built for interrogation--not the first he’d been in--definitely soundproofed.

    He breathed shallowly through aching ribs and braced for the next round of interrogation. One man demanded answers as to why he’d had the jefe in his sights and two others did his dirty work. None of which he would answer. He would die before he betrayed the group he worked for.

    A pair of hands dragged him off the floor and forced him back in the chair. The scent of Cuban cigars penetrated his nose. El jefe.


    Thanks, Nikkie! That was fun!

  5. Clear As Day by Babette James

    Blue sky, bright water, the perfect wind, the perfect boat. What more could a sailor want?

    Nate nudged the tiller and sighed. The Whisper was loving the wind today. She eagerly slipped along the water as if she were a racing sloop rather than her steady, sturdy little self.

    However, the farther the brisk breeze carried Nate away from the shore, the more his sense of dread grew. Focusing on immediate plans was no help. Trying to make himself believe cutting loose from a hopeless situation was the correct decision was proving even more useless. Giving up the staying drunk for forty-eight hours plan now looked like a really bad decision.

    Her sails full and strained, his Whisper was running at the top end of her modest knots. He looked away from the ragged range of the Black Mountains shimmering under the afternoon sunlight to the empty bench seat across from him.

    This was not the time to be thinking of Kay sitting there or how she’d smiled before she’d knelt down the other night…her soft lips, skin pale in the moonlight, her slim talented fingers and his ring on her hand, her eyes deep with the look he’d believed with all his heart was love.

    And looking away, down the companionway into the cabin and his view of the still rumpled v-berth bedding, wasn’t helping one damned bit. His hand tightened on the tiller, a shudder ran through him and the Whisper, and he gave serious consideration to the bottle of Black Label in the cabin.

    He had made the wrong damn decision. Again.

    No, not his impulsive leaving the ring behind—that was completely right, likely the only thing he’d done right for her today—but the leaving Kay behind. Again.

    Leaving her standing there alone on the shore once more. Like he did every year. No wonder she didn’t trust him.

    Hell, yeah, he loved Kay, but what had he ever done to give her any confidence in him? How often did he stick around for her? Never. How often did he prove to her she was more than a convenient vacation romp? Never.

    He’d never earned that trust he’d so cockily demanded.

    Everyone left Kay. Even JoAnn, her closest friend, left her behind. They all went home to their daily lives, leaving Kay behind. And what he’d learned about her family, well, hell…she was better off with them staying far away from her—

    As soon as he got to the marina, he was going to call his mom and dad and give them a fervent thank you for their generous love and stability.

    Everything that had been so clear in Auckland and Oahu and Oregon: what to do, how he felt, what he believed she felt—hell, he’d screwed it all up.

    His vision might be clear and sharp through a camera lens, but he’d never bothered to see Kay clearly. He’d seen what he wanted to see and ignored the warning signs.

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to share our excerpts!

  6. Here's an excerpt from my newly released ebook, THE ANGEL TASTED TEMPTATION, about a good girl from Indiana who wants to walk on the wild side with a bad boy in Boston:

    One of the first things to greet Meredith Shordon to Boston was a man in a pair of Fruit of the Looms, playing a set of bongos.
    She'd come here looking for a man—but not one like that.
    Meredith stood in the middle of the bustling air¬port subway stop and stared. Exactly like every other tourist beside her. If there was one thing she hadn't wanted to do, it was look like a gaping Midwesterner who'd never seen a big city in her life.
    Well, there went that plan.
    Heck, she'd been gaping since she left Indiana. First, there'd been the quartet of Patriots fans who'd been on the second leg of her flight, returning from an out-of-town game. They'd brought the ongoing celebration with them, from the red and blue stripes painted on their faces to the way they yelled "Go Pats!" at odd times, like they had a rare, two-word form of Tourette's syndrome.
    Then, the clouds had parted and revealed the massive skyline through the oval window of the jet.
    She'd forgotten the NFL fools behind her and stared at the massive stone behemoths of Boston's skyline. It looked more like Neptune than Heavendale, Indiana, where she'd been a few short hours ago. There were none of the wide expanses of green land and patchwork quilts of farms she was used to.
    She'd stopped staring long enough to get off the plane and through the overwhelming crush of peo¬ple to meet her cousin's friend, Maria Pagliano, and to claim her baggage without looking too much like a bewildered farm girl.
    Until now.
    The man tum-tummed on the two drums hanging from a leather strap around his neck, his long, dark, curly hair swinging in concert. He danced to the rhythm, a contented smile on his face, as if bongoing hit a high sex never could.
    He caught Meredith's stare, hit his bongos harder and thrust his slim hips to the left, toward a big white bucket with a handwritten sign that read TIPS FOR THE HIPS.
    Meredith drew her caramel leather trench coat closer around her, resisting the urge to button up. She hadn't seen a man this naked since she'd walked in on Bobby Reynolds getting his football physical at the end of senior year.

    Available on Amazon:

    and on Nook:

    Thanks! Great idea!


  7. Thanks for the shout out for excerpts! I guess moving and starting over counts as taking a trip. :)

    Romance with a tissue warning! Come and Talk to Me~ June Kramin
    buy link/cover :
    Avail in print & all e-formats - also at Amazon & B&N

    Excerpt: Van and Reggie were in Fargo at the hospital. He was about to be taken
    into surgery.
    "Some man of your dreams I turned out to be, huh."
    "Don't be silly. Of course you're the man of my dreams." She lay next to him in
    the hospital bed and ran her fingers through his hair. "Of course, in my dreams
    you speak with a Croatian accent and your name is Luca."
    He laughed. "You're such a bitch."
    "That's why you love me." She leaned in and gently kissed his cheek.
    "You sure you'll be here when I wake up?"
    "Of course. Why wouldn't I be?"
    "Maybe because you said three strikes and I'm out."
    "No. I said you didn't get a third one; I was gonna shoot you instead." She
    stroked his cheek then kissed it again. They had fought so well and so often,
    their love talk would have sounded like a fight to someone who didn't know them.
    Usually in the morning when he picked up his coffee, she'd throw the beer
    bottles he left by the sink into the recycle bin two feet away so he'd know he
    was in trouble for leaving them on the counter again. Undaunted, he'd smile and
    kiss her on the cheek and sang, "I love the way you poison my coffee just a
    little each day." It worked every time. She'd give him a smack on the butt then
    a kiss. If he was really lucky, they went back to bed for `second breakfast'.
    "Close enough." He let out a heavy sigh. "I'm so sick of this bullshit."
    "You'll feel better when it's done."
    "That's what they said last time. I don't know, Babe." He started to choke up.
    "I can't do wheelchair."
    "You're not going to end up in a wheelchair. They never said wheelchair to
    you…did they? Is there something you're not telling me?"
    "It's never going to end. I'll be there eventually."
    "Stop it. You'll come through with flying colors."
    "I've let you down."
    "Quit it, Van. No, you haven't. What did I say to you when you asked me to marry
    "Refresh my memory. I'm still in shock you said yes."
    "You were worried I wouldn't like military life. What did I say?"
    "That you'd live in an outhouse with me."
    "An outhouse in Timbuktu to be more specific." She leaned in close. "I don't
    care if that
    outhouse has a wheelchair ramp. I love you."
    "I want to be all the man you deserve."
    "You are that and more, Luca… I mean, Van."
    He laughed. "Bitch."
    "Jackass." She kissed his nose. "I'll see you in three and a half to four
    "Not if I see you first." He gave her a forced smile then winked.


  8. Author: Brenda dyer
    Book: Love's Prophecy
    Buy link:

    Mel nuzzled her neck. “Having trouble?”

    Ignoring him, Breeana read the next line out loud. “From light and dark, look for the mark. Okay, this I understand. Look for the ones who possess the mark, but—” Something tickled the back of her mind, trying to swim to the surface. She closed her eyes and tried to concentrate.

    “From light and dark,” she whispered to herself. And then suddenly, it came to her in a blinding flash. Earlier this evening when she said to Mel that humans had gotten ripped off in the gift department, he had said something about humans having the luxury to move in the light and the dark.

    But what would humans have to do with a prophecy about vampires? Unless…

    “Mel, listen to this. Maybe the light is a reference to humans and the dark is a reference to vampires?”

    He went utterly still, and a deep frown furrowed his brow. She could almost see the wheels turning in his mind. After a lengthy pause, he set her on her feet and proceeded to pace back and forth between the computer and the big-screen television, rubbing his forehead as if it throbbed.

    He came to a fast stop behind her, reading the prophecy from over her shoulder. “Jesus, I think you might be on to something. Shit, I don't know why I didn't put two and two together, especially after I saw your birthmark.”

  9. Melissa Jarvis
    Past Her Time
    Buy Link:

    “Look, I know Lord Huntington was just doing his duty. But I didn’t need his help.” Alex said.

    “You never do.” Banderan’s voice was so soft, she almost didn’t hear it.

    “Do you know anything about him? Anything in the briefing report on Auguste?” Let him be married. Let him have a dozen ex-wives locked in the basement.

    “No, but if Lord Huntington is, as you say, a possible acquaintance of Auguste, then he does bear watching. Anything or anyone that could affect Fontaine can also affect our mission. I will ask Derek if he knows anything.”

    “Good luck getting an answer,” Alex muttered.

    As the head of the Lineage, Derek Massey was her boss, mentor and general know-it-all.
    He’d been more enigmatic than usual regarding this assignment, except to say that she was to prevent one Auguste Fontaine’s capture and death. Apparently, this guy was a big deal, since this particular anomaly seemed to be affecting just about everything in this time period. So far, she had dealt with everything from a minor Level One to a more severe Level Three, which had nearly resulted in one of the president’s ancestors being accidentally beheaded. And she’d only been here a little over a month.

    “In the meantime, Derek said to give you this.” Banderan pulled a bundle of papers out of a leather pouch at his side.

    Alex scanned the coded information. Timelines, dates and names stared back at her, all pertaining to the French Revolution and relevant to her mission. She made a mental note to check the daily lists posted outside the prisons, containing the names of those condemned by the Tribunals.

    “He also wants you to watch your back.”

    “Meaning he wants you to watch my back. Does he think someone’s going to stick a knife in it?”

    Banderan was silent.

    “This is serious, isn’t it?” Alex felt a slight chill shift up her spine, slow, almost caressing. “What does he think is going to happen? I’m watching Auguste closely, and when the time comes, we’ll make our move.”

    “I do not know, but I have never seen him this worried.” Banderan’s voice was low, almost a whisper.

    “Considering Derek doesn’t show emotion, that’s pretty bad.”

    “I know you’ve been busy—”

    “Given the chaos that exists in Paris between the mobs and the numbers of executions the Committee for Public Safety insists on, I can barely keep up. Auguste Fontaine has way too much energy for someone his age, and a very strong sense of duty.” Alex shifted, a small ache running from her calves to her hip. No matter what the movies showed, no one ever escaped a fight unscathed. She knew tomorrow that small ache would turn treacherous along with bruises that she hoped wouldn’t show.

    She frowned. What she didn’t mention aloud to Banderan, though, was why wasn’t an agent already permanently stationed here? It was standard Lineage policy for major historical events.

    She believed in the work of the Lineage, in making a difference even if no one ever knew it. Sort of the agency’s unofficial motto. Making the world, if not a better place, at least a familiar one. What was Derek so concerned about? She rarely questioned his orders, but something seemed off.

    Or maybe it was just the fact that Lord Huntington had caught her unawares.“Do not worry, we will sort this out. But that’s not what’s troubling you, is it?”

    “I suppose I’m just getting restless.” Once, she had relished the thought of moving from place to place, time to time. The excitement. The adventure. The disguise. Now, everything was starting to look the same.

    “This is the longest you’ve stayed in one place. You might almost be able to make friends.”

    “Cut the sarcasm. We’re not here to make friends. It’s against the rules. No involvement with the locals unless it’s for information or to keep up appearances. As it is, I have to deal with Lord Gabriel Huntington again tomorrow.”

  10. Love these excerpts! Here's mine, from my debut, What a Texas Girl Wants, which releases today! It's available at Amazon (, B&N (, iTunes and several other outlets. More details here:

    The earth was moving. And not in a good way.
    Kathleen Witte reached out, trying to grab on to something. Anything. But her hands met only with air.
    She shifted, and her shoulder dug into damp sand. Where was she? Her eyes flew open, and she winced at the bright sunlight.
    The beach? What happened to the villa? And her. . .Sweet Mary, Mother of God, what happened to her clothes? Quickly, Kathleen flipped over so she was laying stomach-down on the sand. She shivered as a splash of water reached her feet. Looking left and then right, Kathleen scanned the area. No white dress. No strappy sandals. Had they been washed out with the tide? Had she come to the beach naked? No. She wouldn't have.
    She took a deep breath. Her clothes had to be here somewhere. Maybe she had decided to go skinny-dipping. She was in Mexico, after all. What better way to blow off a little steam than with some late night skinny-dipping? The villa included a private beach, it wasn't as if she'd run into anyone. The old Kathleen would have balked. Said no with a quiet smile and watched as her sisters had all the fun. The new and improved Kathleen wasn't leaving life to her sisters, and God knew she had plenty of steam to blow off. So maybe that was all this was. Blowing off a little steam with a naked swim in the warm Pacific. Colorful lights and a heavy bass rhythm filled her heard before everything went dark. The feel of a man's hands are her waist, leading her around the dance floor echoed in her memory.
    With sudden certainty she knew she hadn't spent the night alone and that she'd not been innocently skinny dipping last night. Oh, God.

  11. Wonderful excerpts, everyone! My excerpt is about a trip back home, sometimes the most revealing trip of all.

    Author: Rosanna Leo
    Title : Up In Flames

    They all watched as an old pick-up truck pulled into the gas station lot. As she pulled out the nozzle, Jules checked out the driver. And then she did a double take.

    Driving the pick-up was the most scrumptious specimen of manhood she’d ever seen. He was tall and buff and had windblown blond hair. And, she noticed as her tongue dried out, he wasn’t wearing a shirt. As the truck approached, she could make out the clear definition of his pecs, the muscular shoulders and arms. And as he parked his truck next to her Jeep, she took note of a strong jaw, full lips and hair that kept falling into his eyes. Tom Brady at his finest could not have looked so fine.

    Jules tried very hard to pick up her jaw and not drip gas on her shoes.

    Somehow, she managed to insert the nozzle into her tank and watched as Mr. Mitchell headed over to speak to the man. She’d never seen him before. There was no way he was from Riverbend. She knew everyone in town and would never have forgotten someone so … edible.

    Not that she cared. She was through with men. They no longer had anything to do with her master plan. If she wanted her B&B to be a success, she couldn’t spend her time drooling.

    The stranger jumped out of his truck and his eyes landed on Jules. He grinned at her and nodded, but his brown eyes narrowed, as if her appearance annoyed him in some way. Feeling flushed, and a little annoyed herself, she gave him a curt, little nod and tried to concentrate on pumping gas.

    The half-naked muscle man laughed at something Mr. Mitchell said, then spoke. “I don’t suppose you sell drinks in your store. I could murder a root beer right now.”

    His voice was soft and deep. Upon hearing him, Jules felt a low throbbing in her belly, a clenching of her womb.

    Oh my God. What is going on here?

    Mr. Mitchell motioned to his grandson. “Gary, fetch the man a root beer.” And then he said something else, but she didn’t hear it.

    She was too busy watching a lone bead of sweat as it trickled slowly between the stranger’s pecs. She dragged her eyes back up to his handsome face, only to find him staring at her. Grinning. His eyes knowing and seductive.

    She felt her face combust, a veritable explosion of scarlet.

    Mr. Mitchell’s lips were moving again, even though she barely registered his words at first. “Where are my manners? I should introduce you two young people.”

    Feeling a sudden, overwhelming need to escape, Jules laughed nervously and got back into her Jeep. “Sorry, Mr. Mitchell. I’m late. Gotta run! Bye!”

    And then, not knowing why and feeling the eyes of the blond man on her back, she fled the gas station. It was rude, she knew, but she didn’t want to know the gorgeous man’s name. Didn’t want Mr. Mitchell introducing her to the county’s next young stud. She had just made up her mind men were not going to be a part of her life. Certainly not such a hot commodity.

    The stranger with the sinful bod was a prescription for heartache. Just as Kevin had been. It was best to give men like him a very wide berth.

    So he might think she was a little flighty, possibly abrupt. If it helped her keep her sanity, it was worth it. What did she care what Thor thought of her anyway?

    Her mind made up, and her behavior rationalized, she headed for home.

  12. Revealing Hamilton by Sarah J Carr

    Buy links: Print version is available through and e-book is available through

    The following excerpt is what sets Amelia's journey to self-discovery into motion:

    Something felt wrong.

    In the living room, an ottoman rested on its side and a magazine lay open on the floor. A colorful article advertising Las Vegas blared from the pages. From the corner of my eye, the screen of Connor’s cell phone caught my attention. I watched it periodically blink, communicating new messages awaited.

    I went to the kitchen next and found the latest stack of mail on the island. The top envelope made me cringe when I saw the return address. It was another letter from the State of Washington. This one was addressed to Amelia Brooks.

    My identity had been an issue for years. Since age 18, I submitted multiple requests to change my last name from my grandfather’s back to my parents. With each attempt, the paperwork came back denied, stating my name was Amelia Benedict or another obscure surname starting with the letter “B”. Double-checking each field, I clearly filled out the forms to read Amelia Hamilton, but was contradicted every time. I determined it a sick way for my grandfather to haunt me from the grave. The latest correspondence would have to wait.

    A broken wine bottle and bandage wrappers were on the counter next to the refrigerator. Droplets of dark fluid created a path from the bottle to the sink, making me shudder. The room began to feel too warm and nausea flooded my stomach. I grabbed a rolling pin from the island, gripping it so tightly my knuckles hurt.

    “Calm down, Amelia,” I said. “There’s a logical explanation and no one is going to hurt you.” I forced my mind away from childhood memories of a basement.

    Swallowing hard, I tiptoed across the living room to the bedroom. As usual, the door was cracked open. I held the pin over my head, ready to attack in an instant. From where I stood, I couldn’t see more than the corner of the dresser and a beam of soft light. I took a deep breath and pushed the door open. A flashlight rested on the nightstand, pointed toward the ceiling. As I scanned the room, my jaw dropped and my heart paused.

    “Connor?” I dropped the makeshift weapon at my feet.

    Thanks, Nikki! This was fun! :)

  13. Here's something from my EPPIE nominated romantic suspense, "Murder, Mi Amore," set almost entirely in Rome, Italy. Murder, jewel thieves and a sexy, mysterious Italian man turn a young American woman's Roman holiday upside down.

    Author: Cara Marsi
    Amazon buy link:


    Lexie had started to run to him when someone grabbed her arm, pulling her around. A man, his face hidden by a ski mask, held tightly to her. Her shock ratcheted to fear. “Let go,” she yelled, trying to jerk her arm away from him, but his grip tightened. The dim light from the balcony above illuminated his flat black eyes. She had seen those eyes before. Holy shit. She was in trouble. The masked man grabbed for her purse. She screamed, and with strength she didn’t know she possessed, whammed him on the head with her purse. He staggered back, swearing, and slipped and fell. Lights and freedom beckoned from the nearby Via Corsi, but all Lexie could think about was Dominic. Turning on her heels, she ran to him, slipping on the ancient stones herself as Dominic struggled to stand. But before she could reach him, the mugger caught up with her and grabbed her shoulder, twisting her around. Dominic sprang up and flew at the mugger, knocking him to the ground. The two men grappled, rolling together on the cobbled street. Lexie, her heart thumping wildly, looked for an opening to bean the mugger again, to give Dominic a better chance at overcoming him.

    “Stop it! Stop it! Leave him alone!” The mugger ended up on top, and she whaled away with her bag, getting in any shot she could.

    Shouts and the slap of running feet vibrated through the alley. The mugger swore, jumped up, and raced away, a few men giving chase. Several others helped Dominic to stand, yelling in excited voices, and gesturing toward where their attacker had disappeared.

    Dominic winced in pain. Lexie looked down at his ripped, blood-soaked pant leg. “Dominic, you’ve got to get to the hospital. You’re bleeding.”

    “I’m okay,” he said. “It is nothing.” Brushing dirt off his jacket, he turned to the men and said something in rapid Italian. With nods, they strode away.

    Breathing heavily, Lexie disagreed. “You’re not okay. We’ll get a cab and take you to the hospital.”

    He cupped her shoulders. “I’ve been through worse. I’m fine. Are you okay? Did he hurt you?”

    “No. I’m…” The full impact of what had happened hit her. The adrenaline that had given her strength suddenly dissipated and she began to tremble. “I’m not okay.”

    “Lexie.” Dominic moved forward to take her into his arms. She held on for dear life, needing his strength. He rubbed his hand along her back. “It’s okay, Lexie. We’re both okay. You’re safe with me.”

    She clung to him. It wasn’t her imagination. Strange things were happening. She had nothing anyone could want. She didn’t know who to trust. Dominic said she was safe with him. But was she really?

  14. This is a hunting trip that brings my hero and heroine closer. Thanks for letting me share my excerpt. Kelley
    Historical fantasy romance

    Cat's Curse, Book 1: Dark Goddess Trilogy, Celtic historical romance/fantasy
    Enter Dark Age Scotland—a mysterious, dangerous & exciting place…

    They moved on silent feet by the light of the moon, crossing carpets of fern. Cardea's body thrummed with the magic of the moonlit night, aware of everything around her from night birds watching them with piercing eyes from treetop perches to Aedan’s even breathing, and the sound of his warm blood pulsing through his veins. She always hunted alone, but Aedan felt like a part of her, matching his movements to hers, their even breathing matching the same steady rhythm.

    The forest vibrated with life all around her, each tree and plant emanating its own gentle heartbeat and scent. A shift in the wind brought a new scent--the scent of blood assailed her senses. A warm-blooded creature stood just ahead of them. Turning to Aedan, she pointed to where the creature waited to forfeit its life. She notched her arrow and moved forward. Nodding, he moved to the right to close the animal in, his spear balanced confidently in his steady hand.

    A small meadow came into view. Like a scene from the faery realm, the meadow, bathed in moonlight, radiated a silvery blue glow. Flowers twinkled in the bluish glow, meadow grasses rippled like gentle waves on a loch, and the full Hunter’s Moon filled the skyline, cold and mysterious. A majestic stag stood in the meadow, still as a statue. Nine tines glowed in the eerie light.

    Cardea raised her bow, pulling back the bowstring, her hand steady, aware of Aedan waiting for her to take the first shot. Something did not feel true to her. The air seemed to be polluted by a malicious, musky scent. Danger. It seeped into the meadow, curling in invisible smoke-like tendrils around the thick tree trunks.

    Out of the corner of her eye, something moved above Aedan, drawing her attention away from the stag. A large wildcat perched on an outstretched oak branch, its body coiled and ready to pounce on Aedan’s unprotected head. Sharp teeth and claws flashed in the darkness of the thick-leaved tree. She pivoted toward Aedan, pointing the arrow in his direction. A look of surprise filled his eyes and his spear arm raised, aiming the spear at her. Cardea let the arrow fly. It roared past Aedan’s head, hitting the wildcat in the heart. The beast slumped over, falling with a loud thud to the ground. The stag bounded out of the meadow and into the dense forest, leaving swaying ferns in its wake.

    Aedan looked at her and she could tell by his unquestioning expression that she had earned some of his trust. “That, lass, is why I hunt with my hounds.” Aedan prodded the dead cat with his foot. “This is the largest wildcat I have seen.”

    “It would have torn your skull open.” Cardea stood next to Aedan, staring down at the dead beast, surprised that she trembled at the dreadful thought.

    “Ye saved my life, lass.”

    His tender voice filled her with joy.

    “It will make a fine warm pelt for winter,” he remarked. Unsheathing his sword, he handed it to her. He knelt, laying the huge cat on its side. “Ye made the kill. Ye should make the first cut.”

    Aedan handed his sword to her, unsheathing a long knife from his belt. A warrior never relinquished his sword to anyone unless he trusted that person.

    He trusted her now.

    The possibility of finding love after centuries of loneliness seemed more likely now, but why does my heart sing of happiness and then die off with a dour note of sadness? She wanted desperately to tell him her secret, but fear paralyzed her so that she could not get the words out.