On life, the universe, and coffee.
Oh yeah, and books...
**this is an 18+ blog!**
On life, the universe, and coffee.
Oh yeah, and books...
It's that time again, lol! This week's feature is a hot (wink wink) one by Lea Bronsen. If you like dark romances, check this one out.
Runo Wiggins is a scarred man, the wounds etched into his psyche deeper than those on his skin. But he loves his job: fighting fires helps reenact his survival of a house fire as a teen, one that killed his mother and brutal stepfather.
Dawn Caravello is married to a psychotic drunk. She can take his beatings as long as he doesn't touch their children, and she'll do anything to put food on the table, even if it means stealing from the town hero.
When Runo meets the fiery Dawn, sparks fly. But he suspects she is victim of the same abuse as his mother was. As day turns to night, the past and the present blend in an exhausting, nerve-wrecking chase to prevent another death.
Dawn's eyes shimmered with a mix of stubborn pride and extreme sadness. They seemed to be made of molten brown stone. Runo had never seen eyes like these. So vibrant, saying so many things. They revealed her life, her endurance, her dreams, her combats, her despair. And she was still so young.
While he stared, she leaned forward and kissed him, an act a whole lot more intimate than he was comfortable with. A short, hard peck, a statement. Not the tender gesture a kiss was supposed to be, but one telling him her gratitude as well as her dignity. She thanked him, but was going to go back to her life and continue fighting.
He stood shocked, his entire body rigid, didn’t know what to do. She, such a small woman thing a whole head shorter, shook him, a giant of muscle and stupid testosterones inside a hard shell.
He would definitely take care of Dawn and her kids. Any way possible. Alert the authorities and make sure they got the protection they desperately needed.
She stepped backward, her features softening, and turned on her heel.
Not so fast.
He cleared his throat and called, lifting a weak hand. “Hey, wait!” His heart hammered in his chest, blood pulsed in his ears.
She turned. “What?”
“Promise to be good. Promise it’s the last time you do it.”
“Do what?” Her eyes gleamed with humor. “Kiss you?” In the midst of this emotional turmoil, she found the strength to tease.
She pursed her lips, looking like a disappointed little girl. Maybe she still was a child inside. A child taking care of children. A child beaten savagely.
He swallowed. “Promise.”
After several long seconds, she nodded. But her gaze told a different truth.
Amazon.com / Amazon.uk / paperback
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About Lea Bronsen:
I like my reads hot, fast, and edgy, and strive to give my own stories the same intensity. After venturing into dirty inner-city crime drama with my debut novel Wild Hearted, I divide my writing time between psychological thriller, romantic suspense, and erotic dark/contemporary romance.
I love to hear from my readers! Write to email@example.com or meet me on:
Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon / Pinterest
Happy Sunday! This week's spotlight is Degree of Resistance by Nicola Cameron, the first book in her Pacifica Rising series. Enjoy!
A perfect society hiding a terrible secret. An innocent man condemned to cyborg slavery. A brilliant woman determined to set him free.
Freelance tech Evie Contreras belongs to the Employee class of the Pacifica Protectorate, the “perfect society” that rose from the ruins of the West Coast. But Evie knows about Pacifica’s festering core and the secrets that keep it in power. And when she discovers that Pacifica has turned her fiancé Ben into a cyborg soldier/slave, she will risk everything to rescue him.
Saving Ben is the first step in a deadly game between Pacifica and a shadowy resistance group known as Rubicon. In return for Rubicon’s help, Evie must retrieve a hidden artificial intelligence that may hold the key to protecting Earth from a deadly new disaster.
Assuming the protectorate doesn’t find Evie first…
Evie opened the control box wired to the pressure tank that took water from the Burgess well. A set of dusty but functional solar cells sat on a pole fastened to the tank, and insulated wiring led from the cells to the control box. “Okay, the well is definitely not dry and the battery is pulling juice from the cells, so it’s got to be a failure in the pump,” she said, rooting around in the bag of borrowed tools next to her.
Ben crouched down next to her, making sure he was in between her and any potential restart of the McBride/Burgess water war. “Think you can fix it?”
She gave him an “are you kidding” glance, then returned her attention to the dusty innards of the control box. She leaned closer, nose wrinkling. “Ew.”
Grimacing, she reached into the box and pulled out a small, stiff body. “I think it’s a deep-fried lizard. Can they chew on wires?”
He gingerly accepted the small corpse. The arid air had done a fine job of natural mummification on it. “Not as much. It might’ve peed on something, though.”
“Yay.” She peered deeper into the box. “Yeah, I think you’re right—looks like a contact got corroded. I can fix that.”
As she got to work, Ben kept an ear cocked to the radio clipped to his jacket pocket. After giving them a royal chewing out for taking an unauthorized beer break, J.C. was overseeing the repair of the War Wagon while a chastised Vince and company drove the bartered food and the wounded security officer back to the base in the Bandit. Rob had volunteered to stay behind as backup, and Evie’s presence had been requested at J.C.’s side once she was finished with the well pump.
He watched her frown in concentration at the control box. “There, that should work. I already primed the pump so—” She flipped a switch and the pressure tank rumbled before settling down to a satisfied gurgling. “Damn, I’m good.”
“Yes, you are.”
She squinted at him, patches of color blooming in her cheeks. He didn’t think it was because of the blustery wind. “Thanks. We better get back to the War Wagon.”
He got up and gave her a hand, hanging onto it once she was on her feet. She didn’t try to pull away, which was reassuring. “I’m sorry about punching the wall in your office,” he said. “I shouldn’t have done that.”
The corner of her mouth quirked. “I think you were justified.”
“I don’t, but thanks for that.” He stared at the hollows between the hills of her knuckles, the elegant strength of the hand. He never wanted to let it go. “I just hate the thought of you going back to Pacifica without me.”
The wind drove strands of dark hair across her face, curtaining it. “I know, but I don’t have a choice. Ballardie and I are the only ones who know how to shut down Lilith’s server. He can’t go so it has to be me. But I’m going to have Mark, Rob, and Lisa backing me up, and they’re all armed and extremely psycho. I’ll be fine.”
Ben wanted to smile at her description of the security officers. “Baby, you could head in there with a cyborg army at your back and I’d still worry."
She snorted. “Is there anything I could say that would make you feel better?”
“Not really.” He brushed the hair away from her face. “I guess … I’m feeling useless right now because I can’t protect you, and I’m scared I’m going to lose you again, and if that happens…” He didn’t want to think about the yawning abyss that would become the brief remainder of his life in that case.
Those lovely russet eyes softened. “I understand about being scared,” she said, cupping his cheek. “That’s how I felt every time you went on deployment. I never knew if you were going to be in danger or not. All I could do was wait and pray that you came home.”
“Shit.” He pressed into the warmth of her hand, memorizing how she felt against his skin. “If this is how you felt, I’m sorry.”
“There’s nothing to be sorry about. It’s part of loving a soldier. I knew that going in.” Her thumb stroked his cheekbone. “But I also knew if there was any way for you to come back, you’d take it. And you proved me right. You survived twelve years under Camden, and you came back to me. So I’m telling you right now that I’m coming back to you, and I’m bringing Ally with me.”
He leaned down, pressing his forehead against hers. “You better. I don’t think I can live without you.”
“Same here. Twelve years was long enough.” Her lips quirked. “And as for you being useless, may I remind you that you just walked into a strange town alone, convinced an armed man to let you into his bar, singlehandedly negotiated a ceasefire between two crazy people, rescued a bunch of our guys in the process, and you didn’t fire a single shot or spill a drop of blood doing it. You’re about as far from useless as it’s physically possible to be.”
He considered what she’d said. Viewed in that light, it was kind of impressive. “I was just doing my job,” he said, self-conscious.
“That’s what heroes always say.”
“You think I’m a hero?”
Her smile was blinding. “Well, you’ve always been my hero.”
Christ, he loved her. He pulled her into his arms, resting his cheek on top of her head. “I don’t know what I did to deserve you,” he murmured, “but damn, I’m glad I did it.”
“So am I.” She leaned back and kissed him, her lips cool and soft. “And I know this is kind of pointless to say to a hero, but try not to worry about me. The thing is—”
She shifted, her hands moving. He suddenly found himself on the cold ground, right arm straight up behind him with his hand flexed in a wrist lock and her foot braced under his shoulder blade. “—I’m not exactly what you’d call helpless.”
He huffed out a rueful laugh. He could break the lock with his augmented strength, but not without hurting her. And if he was honest with himself he was damned impressed that she’d put him on the ground so neatly. “Someone’s been practicing.”
“Yup. Rob’s pretty damn good at hand-to-hand, and I still remember everything you and Tio Christo taught me.” Her voice dropped. “I’m coming back, Ben. And I’m bringing our daughter with me. You’re not going to lose either of us ever again.”
The grip around his wrist disappeared. He rolled onto his back, staring up at the most beautiful mouth in the world. Upside down, he wasn’t sure if she was smiling or frowning.
She planted her hands on her hips. “You believe me, right?”
He grinned. “My momma didn’t raise stupid children, ma’am. I believe you.”
“Good.” She toed at the dust. “Now get up. I’m freezing my ass off out here and I want to go home.”
Nicola Cameron is a married woman of a certain age who really likes writing about science fiction, fantasy, and sex. When not writing about those things, she likes to make Stuff™. And she may be rather fond of absinthe.
While possessing a healthy interest in sex since puberty, it wasn’t until 2012 that she decided to write about it. The skills picked up during her SF writing career transferred quite nicely to speculative romance. Her To Be Written work queue currently stands at around nineteen books, and her mojito-sodden Muse swans in from Bali every so often to add to the list, cackling to herself all the while.
Nicola plans to continue writing until she drops dead over her keyboard or makes enough money to buy a private island and hire Rory McCann as her personal trainer/masseur, whichever comes first.
Happy Sunday all!
Today, I'm happy to bring you a spotlight for a book I had the chance to beta read, Seamus's Mate by Elyzabeth VaLey. There's lots of hot sex, and a perilous trip through hell (literally) as these two fight their pull for each other during their attempt to save Kaila's sister. This is the second book in Elyzabeth's Alpha Protectors series.
Kaila is His. His Mate. Forever.
When Seamus discovers Kaila is in danger he sets out to save her. He couldn’t care less that she doesn’t want him there. His objective in life is to love and protect her. Besides, she might refuse to be with him, but her body knows better. With both their lives on the line, she can’t say no to his aid, can she?
For years, she has ignored her feelings. Kaila’s mission was supposed to be easy: enter the demon’s lair and save her sister. Then, he came along. For close to twenty years she has been fighting against the mating pull. She has avoided Seamus at all costs, but now they’re both trapped in hell and she has nowhere to run, except, maybe, into his arms.
“Wait up, Kaila.”
She didn’t acknowledge him, and he rushed to catch up with her. He grasped her wrist, spinning her around with force.
“Didn’t you hear me?” he asked.
Kaila’s gaze narrowed. Her lips pursed into an ugly grimace.
“Let go of me, Seamus. Why don’t you let this weak human die already?” She poked him in the chest with her index finger. “I didn’t ask for your help.”
Seamus scrubbed a hand over his face. “What is wrong with you? You’re not making any sense. I know you didn’t ask for my help. I gave it freely, but you aren’t going to deny that we are different, are you?”
Blinding rage took over him. Seamus dug his fingers into her arm. He was tired of all this nonsense. He pulled her closer. Her arm shot out to keep him away, but not fast enough. He swooped down and claimed her lips. She gasped, and he seized the chance to push his tongue into her warm recess. He groaned. She tasted better than he remembered. For a brief moment, she grappled with him, attempting to break lose, but he grabbed her arms with ease and held them behind her back.
He twisted his tongue around hers, drawing it out from its reluctance and forcing it to battle with his. Something in his chest tightened as she responded. Yes. He sucked and tugged and demanded more. She gave it to him. Her body arched against his, her mouth seeking his with almost as much desperation as he possessed. His hold on her slackened. He wanted to touch her everywhere. To press his lips to her body and taste every inch of her. His hand trailed to the curve of her ass, then to her waist. Then, bang! Her knee slammed against his leg. He released her, cursing. He’d probably be incapacitated for life if she’d hit her mark.
“Fuck you, Seamus.”
“Whenever you want, babe. I know you’ve got the hots for me, even if you just tried to castrate me and failed miserably.” He laughed.
Kaila spun and walked away from him again. She was probably not trying to be sultry, but her hips swayed in that way that drove a man to stare. She lifted her arm and gave him the finger. He grinned. She was pissed and sexy. He loved it.
Seamus took in a shaky breath. Watching her back on her feet, her spirit alive and surging, was soothing. He rubbed at the spot where she’d kneed him. It hurt, but it was proof that she was herself again, not lying in a puddle of blood, shredded to pieces by a monster. He glanced at the Dream Catcher’s skeleton out of the corner of his eye. He hadn’t told Kaila the details of what he’d suffered inside the beast. The images of her dead body, broken, destroyed. He didn’t wish his worst enemy a fate like that.
He stretched his wings and snapped them back into place. Even they ached. He adjusted his now-flaccid cock and shuddered. He hurried after Kaila. The place appeared deserted. There were no scones in the wall giving off light. Instead, the walls themselves seemed to pulse with energy. They glowed from the inside as if behind them a relentless flame burned. He frowned. He extended his arm and placed his pinkie on the rock. It burned.
“Damn it.” He put the digit in his mouth, hoping to sooth the sting. “Don’t touch the walls, babe. They’re hot.”
Kaila didn’t reply, but she moved a little closer to the center of the path.
About Elyzabeth M. VaLey
Elyzabeth M. VaLey is a writer of sizzling, sexy romance who firmly believes in happy ever after. From paranormal to contemporary, fantasy, or historical, she enjoys exploring her characters' darker side and writing stories about tortured heroes, strong heroines, and all that comes between them and their love.
When she's not writing, she can be found walking in the Spanish countryside with her black Lab, exploring castles, or enjoying some tapas with her friends.
Follow her at:
Pinterest (Seamus’s Mate has its own inspiration board)
Does anyone else get a "book hangover" when they finish writing a book?
I know that it's a common enough thing when reading a book. I get it when I've read something that is so engrossing that you lose yourself completely - take, for instance, Heather Long's Fevered Hearts series (especially the last one...damn...) - but sometimes when I finish writing a book, before I can even go into serious editing mode, I have to take a few days to almost reset my brain. I see other authors that will finish a book in the morning, and then start right in on the next one later that day. How do they flip that switch in their brains like that?! I have multiple works in progress, and can work on one book one day and another the next, but there's something about saying a book is "done" that's like setting off the 5pm whistle in a factory and screaming "all stop!"
What I'm getting at here is that I've finished writing Alpha's Beta (North Woods Wolves #2). And even though I know there's editing to be done, and I might have to add in another little bit at the end for a more satisfying closure (according to one beta reader so far, whose opinion I trust), and I've already started book #3 a couple months ago, I just open the file and stare. I wouldn't call it writer's block, because I don't feel stuck. I feel like I'm waiting for the characters to tell me the rest of their story, as if I've hit pause on a movie to run to the bathroom. Part of me wonders if this is where being a plotter vs pantser comes into play. I've never really been able to plan out a story, and am in awe of those who know what's going to happen before they ever write the first word. My writing has always been more organic, and often it's through the process of writing the story that I figure out what's going on. So I guess I'll just be over here, binge watching netflix and cleaning my house, while I wait for the movie in my head to start again.
In the meantime, here is an accurate portrayal of my writing process:
Hello and happy new year all! I took a bit of a break from blogging over the holidays, things got a bit hectic around here, and I barely got any writing done, let alone anything else, lol! But we're going to jump back into the regular posting routine this week with a steamy M/M from ED Parr, The Night Gardener.
From the author
Inspired by some wild countryside, and a rushing river that stormed under a bridge so loudly I couldn’t hear what a friend said to me, for me this story is as much about nature as love. I’ve always believed there are more things in the elegant stream of life than we know about, and this story is about a young man who loves life so much he finds a way to live it. There are some heartstring tugs in this story, and some hot love scenes, because this is a love story. It’s a journey for both characters, Dane and Zachary to deep, lasting love.
Architect Dane Lovell takes an off-season vacation in an old New England mansion, hoping to ease his broken heart, and spark his imagination. Impressed by the pretty gardens, he’s surprised by the sinister atmosphere of the river that winds through the estate. Dane settles down to his vacation and tries to immerse himself in his drawings. One night, the sound of the back door smashing open in the wind and rain shocks Dane from his work.
Spooky, gorgeous, and enigmatic Zachary Yarrow has brought logs for the fire.
He’s the estate gardener and brings with him not just passion and a love affair for Dane, but a strange, spine-tingling mystery.
Who is Zachary, and what will happen when Dane finds out?
The gardener slotted his logs into the spaces between other logs already in the nook bricked into the side of the fireplace. “Zachary Yarrow.”
Dane folded his arms over his body, wishing he’d thought to close the door as chilling air swept along the hall and into the room. “Dane Lovell.”
Zachary stood, having completed his task. “You’re here off season. I guess you know. I always do the gardens off-season—have done for the last—well, for years. When I’m here, I usually stay in this cottage. I guess I need to find somewhere else this time.”
Cold, Dane accepted the information with a nod. “I need to close the door, Mr. Yarrow.” He returned to the back door and closed it up.
Zachary Yarrow had followed. “You can call me Zachary.”
Dane hung around near the back door. The gardener showed no signs of leaving and Dane didn’t know how to be rude enough just to ask him to go.
“It’s way too dark to garden. You’re wet through.” Dane’s gaze ranged over the sodden sweater Zachary wore, and along the rain-darkened jeans covering Zachary’s muscled thighs.
The guy has to be cold. “Can I offer you a cup of coffee?”
Zachary grinned happily. “A cup of coffee, yeah, that will be great, thanks.”
Dane led the way back into the kitchen. “Sit by one of the radiators and try to dry out a little.” He put water to boil and heaped instant into mugs. “I can lend you a dry sweater…”
Zachary leaned close to the radiator. “It’s okay. I’ll drape my sweater on here. It’ll be dry in no time.” He pulled the soggy item over his head and arranged it on the hot metal flutes.
Dane experienced a shock of attraction as he took in the smooth, muscled chest on display when Zachary turned to him.
“Look, it’s already steaming.”
Dane tore his gaze from Zachary’s body and glanced at the sweater. The kettle boiled and he whipped around to make the coffee, thankful for the diversion.
“Do you take sugar or cream?”
Zachary’s voice came from immediately behind him. “Black, thank you, no sugar.”
Dane closed his eyes to dissipate the surprise Zachary’s silent approach gave him. He edged around to face Zachary, who stood so close Dane’s composure flew clean away as his whole body reacted to the proximity of this complete hunk.
Holy hell, he is completely gorgeous. Dane stepped sideways and picked up a mug. He handed it to Zachary. “Coffee, er, sorry, its instant. I’ve given myself a vacation from grounds and filters.” He smiled apologetically.
Zachary studied him for a few seconds.
Dane had the distinct feeling Zachary knew exactly what he was thinking.
Amazon global link http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B06XH4TFSS
Amazon page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MUNJ3I8
Manic readers https://manicreaders.com/EDParr/