AuThursday – Seelie Kay

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Seeliekay author photo (1)Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am a former attorney and journalist who turned to writing after I found myself a single mom with a toddler. Opening my own marketing/pr consultancy turned out to be the perfect choice. After I was diagnosed with MS, I cut back to freelance writing. I began writing romance about two years ago literally on a whim. My son had graduated from high school and was learning how to fly from the nest, so it was time to do something I had longed to do, write books.

How do you make time to write?

I balance my time between making money and writing books! Seriously, I need to eat and I barely make enough money as an author to keep me in Cheetos!  So much of what I do earn goes into promotion because I am so new to the book world. When I am not writing romance, I ghostwrite and edit books for others, mostly other lawyers. As for making time, writing is just something I do. I don’t really think about it, it has always been part of me,

What genre are your books?

I write a broad range of romance, from the erotic to the sweet. However, Snatching Dianna is my first foray into romantic suspense. And yes, it does have just a touch of erotic romance, primarily because the main characters are ones I had written about in my series, Kinky Briefs.

What draws you to this genre?

I am drawn to romance because I believe love is there for anyone who wants, even someone like me. Everyone in search of love has bought into the fantasy and that is not always a bad thing. I am drawn to romantic suspense simply because I am fascinated by mysteries and puzzles. I like to take complicated situations and discover the way out. I have identified with Emma Peel (The Avengers) since I was a kid and you will find part of her in each of my female leads.

What are your current projects?

The second book in the Feisty Lawyers series, Infamy, is due out on my birthday, January 4. I also have a stocking stuffer set for release in December called The President’s Daughter. In addition, I am working on the third book in the Feist Lawyers series called, Cult.

Here’s the blurb for Infamy:

Infamy. An evil or wicked act. Terrorists bent on revenge have found a way to make planes disappear from the sky, without a trace. And when one winds up buried in a Wisconsin cornfield, it’s a race against time to rescue the passengers from certain death.

International law attorneys Sheikh Harun Ali and Marianne Benson Ali are united not only in their love for each other but also by their commitment to fight for the victims of terrorism. Together, they sue terrorist groups to compensate the victims of their violence, raiding terrorists’ coffers and destroying their ability to fund evil acts. Now, the terrorists are targeting them. A mysterious missive draws Harun to the Amazon, where a man claiming to be his brother warns him of a plot against the United States. The Alis enlist the assistance of their neighbors, agent Cade Matthews, who works in black ops, and his wife, former agent and Constitutional Law Professor Janet MacLaughlin, as well as two recent law school graduates, to discover the truth. After two planes disappear and an attempted school shooting is aborted, these feisty lawyers are pushed to the wall, desperate to find a plane that has been buried in an unknown corn field, the passengers still on board. The terrorists’ hatred for the Alis is absolute—they are the people who once left their organization bankrupt and broken—but they hate America more.  However, their fiendish games are only a beginning. They are seeking a much bigger prize. One that could destroy a nation, and possibly, the world. An act that will live in infamy.

Here’s the blurb for The President’s Daughter:

Be careful what you wish for because it just might send your life into a tailspin from which you may not recover.

When presidential candidate Jamisen Powell meets volunteer Sarah Lee Pearson, he is shocked to discover her eyes mirror his own. But Sarah was raised by two loving parents and has no questions about her heritage. Instead, after their death, she merely longs to find an extended family. She becomes convinced that Powell could be a distant relative. Powell, on the other hand, has spent twenty-five long years haunted by the memory of a daughter kidnapped from her bed. He suspects Sarah could be his long-lost daughter. As both launch separate covert searches for the truth, Sarah is found by the estranged parents of the man who raised her. Suddenly, the truth will no longer set her free. It could destroy the happy memories of her childhood. Hang on to your seat, and more importantly, hang on to your heart, as one woman discovers the true meaning of family.

Are you an Introvert or Extravert? How does this affect your work?

I am naturally shy, but once I start talking, I do not shut up! I literally shut off my phone when I write, because I could talk on the phone all day.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

When I am in the zone, nothing else exists for me. I write until I get everything out of my head. Sometimes I write for 10 hours without eating, drinking, speaking, or moving from the computer.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

If you believe you can write and you have a story to tell, just do it. It’s doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. All that matters is what you believe.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Author links:

www.seeliekay.com

www.seeliekay.blogspot.com

Twitter: @SeelieKay https://twitter.com/SeelieKay

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/seelie.kay.77

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Seelie-Kay/e/B074RDRWNZ/

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

download (2)From Snatching Dianna:

“After what seemed like hours in the sweltering van, it lurched to a stop.

Dianna heard a man bark orders. A door to the van opened and someone pulled the rope from her feet, then removed her hood. She took a deep breath.  A man grabbed her by the arm, forced to her feet, and pulled her from the van. Dianna stumbled when she hit the ground. The stones were hot and her feet were covered by athletic socks, no shoes. Show no weakness.

Dianna immediately surveyed her surroundings. It was still night, but she was in a well-lit courtyard. A large stone mansion stood in front of her. She looked to her right, then her left. The courtyard was enclosed by a large stone fence, at least eight feet high. A fortress. Fortunately, Dianna was a rock-climber. She could rappel over the fence with the right equipment. All she would need was something to serve as a pick, maybe a rope. A knife, a screwdriver, even a fork. Keep your eyes and ears open. Be ready.

A large black man, dressed in a white suit and a maroon turban, walked out of the front door and down the stairs. He stopped and flashed a malevolent smile. He flung his arms wide and in a cultured baritone boomed, “Welcome to paradise, ladies. I hope you enjoy your stay.”

Some of the guards laughed.

“Crikey,” Tillie muttered. “Sounds like a blasted genie.”

Dianna glanced sideways and for the first time, got a look at her new friend. She was tall and thin, her body well defined. She looked strong and aware, almost fierce. Her eyes seemed to be studying the place, taking everything in. She showed no fear. Instead, she seemed interested. Something was off. Tillie did not act like a victim as the others did. She was not cowed. Was she a cop? Or like Dianna, someone who would not permit themselves to be broken?

There was only one thing of which Dianna was certain. She had found a friend. A useful one.”

 

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AuThursday – Saloni Quinby

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KateHillSaloniQuinby2017author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a vegetarian New Englander and I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My first story, a short erotic vampire romance, was accepted for publication back in the late 1990s. I love working out and watching horror movies.

How do you make time to write?

When there’s something I want to write, I usually set a daily word count goal and stick to it, even if it’s as little as 500 or 1000 words a day.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I think it’s different for everyone. Regarding myself, I don’t really believe in it. If I get stuck while writing a story, I write something else for fun until the ideas start flowing again. If I don’t feel like writing, then I don’t and it’s a conscious choice to stop. It’s not that I can’t, but that I won’t.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

Weapons of Redemption is an erotic paranormal romance collection. I’ve always been a fan of vampires and romance because those genres make me happy to read.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

Weapons of Redemption is published by Changeling Press. I’ve been lucky enough to write for them for many years.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?

I don’t think I’m either. Sometimes I’m an introvert and sometimes I’m an extrovert. I don’t think it has affected my work, but maybe it has!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

To be honest, motivational phrases are a pet peeve of mine. I think it’s great if they work for you, but most of the time I find that they annoy rather than motivate me.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write what you love.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

http://www.kate-hill.com

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Yes. Thank you.

weaponsofredemptionsqGuy released a breath as he let his whip fly. It struck his old friend, Ruliff, or Rule, as he preferred to be called. Rule stood, his hands suspended from manacles dangling from chains overhead.

Even if Rule screamed, no one would hear him, deep in the cellar of this mansion owned by their vampiric kin, Ansley and Brayden. Rule wouldn’t scream, though. It wasn’t in his nature to show what he believed to be weakness. To drag more than a groan from Rule, Guy would be forced to practically kill him and his sessions weren’t meant to cause permanent damage. They had already been at it for longer than usual, even for someone with a supernatural constitution.

Five more times Guy struck him with strategically placed blows before he paused and approached Rule. Using the handle of his whip, he traced an especially fierce-looking welt on Rule’s sweat-slicked back. Rule had a tremendous capacity for pain. Always had.

Guy recalled the days when they, along with Brayden, Ansley and the fifth member of their “family,” Bryce, had sailed with Tarun, a genuine monster. The five men had shared a strange and violent past, one that could have destroyed them, but together they had overcome it. Still their days at sea with the vampire pirate — the master who had tried to mold them in his image — had left scars on their souls as well as their bodies. These sessions with Rule reminded Guy of how strong yet vulnerable they all were, even if they refused to admit it.

Rule could be stubborn to the point of stupid.

Guy tightened his hand around the whip and struck Rule again with a blow that would have had most men screaming. A strangled groan escaped the tall, dark-haired man and Guy curled his lip in disgust.

He loved the whip and was an expert with it. Like his vampire kin, he had taken what he’d learned about pain and battle from their hated master and made it a form of expression. They had ultimately used their

skills to fight back, not only for themselves but for victims who crossed their path. Each of the five men had mastered certain weapons. Guy’s obsession was the lash. From bullwhips to floggers, all were slaves to him, bringing pleasure or pain as he saw fit. His love of leather had melded into every part of his life, including sex. He used his floggers to pleasure and punish, sometimes separately, sometimes both at once.

Long ago, Guy had honed his skills on his willing brothers, except for Bryce, who refused to submit to anyone, even for fun. Only Rule to this day came to Guy for regular sessions. Guy decided this one had gone on long enough. He knew Rule would push himself past his limits. He needed a strong but sensitive Dominant who knew when to stop.

Glancing at Rule, Guy noted that he seemed to be in a trance. His blue eyes were narrowed to slits, his lips parted and his breathing shallow. Wet black curls clung to his perspiring forehead and neck. Blood trickled from his lower lip where he’d pierced it with his fangs.

“Our session is over for today,” Guy said without room for argument.

Rule ignored his authoritative tone and said in a deep, hoarse voice, “More.”

“Your name might be Rule, but you don’t rule here,” Guy said.

“Fine. Release me then.”

“Not until you calm down.”

“I am calm.”

“You forget how well I know you.”

Rule’s cool facade snapped. Bellowing, he yanked at his bonds.

Now he screams, Guy thought, but he knew it was probably a good thing. Rule wouldn’t allow Guy to comfort him like some clients enjoyed after a session. Guy worked mainly with supernatural beings — vampires, wizards, and even an occasional werewolf paid well for him to tease and torment them with his leather and chains. But even those creatures had a tender side. Rule’s was buried deep and Guy hoped that eventually someone would reach it.

Despite Rule’s impressive strength, he couldn’t break the chains. Guy’s survival often depended on knowing how to properly bind supernatural beings.

Guy placed his whip next to a heavy purple flogger on a table covered in red plastic. He’d clean his tools later. He was about to clean Rule’s back when his cell phone rang.

He knew who it was by the ringtone.

He picked up the phone and said, “What’s up?”

“It’s Bryce. I need your help. It’s business.”

Although the five men had different careers in the human world, their true purpose was to protect those in need. The weapons they had once used as criminals were now their means of redemption.

Bryce worked as a police officer in the city. Sometimes he called upon his brothers to help him resolve crimes in which the human world could offer no justice.

“What does he want?” Rule asked, having ceased his rampage when the phone rang. “Is there a case for us? Let me go!”

“Do you have Rule strung up in the dungeon again?” Bryce asked.

“Yes. I’m putting you on speakerphone.”

“You don’t have to. I can hear him quite well,” Rule said, straining to look at Guy over his shoulder.

Though keen senses were an advantage of vampirism, the speakerphone would make a three-way conversation easier.

“I’ve been working on what we believe are serial killings,” Bryce said. “You’ve probably heard about them. The media calls them the Bodybuilder Murders. We’ve found a common denominator and, Guy, I believe you can get the evidence I need. Will you help?”

“You have to ask?” Guy said.

“Can you use me?” Rule asked.

“Right now this is a one-man job,” Bryce said. “But thanks.”

Rule looked a bit disappointed, but with all the trouble in the world, he was sure to have another case to work on soon.

“Guy, can you meet me in an hour?” Bryce asked.

“Absolutely. Where?”

“Stay put. I’ll come to you.”

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AuThursday – Cheryl Dragon

Please join me today  welcoming fellow RP writer Cheryl Dragon.  Welcome Cheryl.  So Cheryl, how long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing in various genres since after college. I dabbled to find my voice and strengths. Finally I found erotic romance and sold my first book in 2006.

 Q:  Do you have a specific writing style?

I tend to write tight and fast paced. Lots of hot stuff…

Q: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Not usually. If I hit a wall, I’ll change books and usually that works.

Q:  How much of your books are realistic?

Lol…well, I write a lot of ménage stories but I think that people could do that if they wanted toJ With the exception of my paranormals…I think my books/characters are fairly realistic. A lot of people experiment with sex, be it BDSM play or other ways. It’s just not something people talk about openly.

Q:  Would you tell us your story of getting “the call?”

 I never got a call, but I got an email from my first EC editor. I’d had a request for a full before a big conference. I had a pitch appointment with EC at the conference. Talk about crossed wires! After the conference, a day or two, I got the email that EC wanted the book! That was the summer of 2006 so there were fewer epubs back then.

 Q:  What do you think is the biggest misconception in erotic romance fiction?

The biggest misconception is that it’s all sex and basically porn for women. There is a lot of sex but also a lot of emotion as well. The romance is a big part of it. Readers want an emotionally satisfying ending! They want the fantasy of the perfect partner who understands AND sexually thrills the heroine.

 Q: Have you ever been asked to “sex-up or sex-down your books”?

No, I’ve never been asked. Normally I have a lot of sex in my books but no complaints.

 Q:  What is on tap for 2013?

 Tons! The first book in my new Masters Wanted series—Love & History — released January 9th! It’s M/F Light BDSM contemporary erotic romance. I don’t write hardcore BDSM and I wanted a series that reflected the BDSM stuff that I enjoy/write. So the series is centered on heroines who aren’t necessarily new to being submissive. They knew how they want to play and are looking for Masters…specifically Bedroom Doms who don’t need to frequent clubs, groups, or show off in front of others to enjoy satisfy their subs.

 Love & History is the first book in Masters Wanted and available at Resplendence Publishing and All Romance eBooks

 Also at the end of January, I have my first Siren release with two things I love! Ménage + erotic romance and wine… Make sure to check out Pinot Noir Nights!

 2013 is already pretty busy!

 Don’t miss my All Male Nudes! Series. Book one is out, Hot Rivals, and more are coming. MM yummy stripper fun.

 Plus I’m up for a CAPA award over at TRS. Keep your fingers crossed that 4 Bikers & A Witch wins for Best Paranormal Romance!

 Q:  Where can readers find you on the world wide web?

 www.cheryldragon.com

http://www.facebook.com/cheryldragon

http://cheryldragon.blogspot.com/

https://twitter.com/cheryldragon

Join me Saturday for Sexcerpt from Love & History by Cheryl Dragon.

Until then be Naughty,

Tina

AuThursday – JL Wilson

JL Wilson also writes for Resplendence Publishing.  Let’s get down to it shall we:

Q: How long have you been writing?

I’m a professional technical writer and I’ve been doing that for almost 30 years. As to fiction, I started to seriously write in 2004 and I sold my first book in 2006.

Q:  What books have most influenced your life most?

Different books influenced me at different times. My mother served on the Library Board in my town, so she was a buyer and she let me help select books (what a fun time that was!) She encouraged me to read outside my age group, and I did so, reading a lot of mysteries and science fiction when I was young.

In high school I read a lot of classics. Then I went to college and majored in English and I fell in love with William Dean Howells, William and Henry James, and Scott Fitzgerald. Along the way, I read a lot of mysteries and science fiction: John Creasy, Anne Perry, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert.

I think three books that influenced me most are Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I had never read a romance novel before reading that, and it opened up realms of reading to me. I read that book in 2003 and I realized, as I read it, that she wrote exactly the book she wanted and she got published. Maybe there was hope for me.

Another book was …And Ladies of the Club. This was written by an elderly lady and is a charming novel about life at the turn of the last century. Again: she wrote exactly what she wanted, persevered, and got published.

And lastly is Frank Herbert’s Dune. It was such a richly developed world with such strong characters.

All three of those books taught me to follow my heart in my writing and to write the story that I want to read. If I do that, the book will appeal to others.

Q:  What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both? Do you use mood music, candles, no noise, when you write?

I fly by the seat of my pants, mostly. I usually start with the germ of an idea. Here’s what I’m working on now: a woman’s late husband, a firefighter, was killed in a fire. His ghost comes back to haunt her when the investigation into his death is reopened. She feels guilty because the last words she spoke to him were to tell him she wanted a divorce.

Now: where will the book go from there? Who will the hero be: the late husband? Or the ex-cop whose wife was also killed in the fire and the man who requested that the investigation be re-opened. Where will it take place? When (spring? Summer? Fall?) Who’s the bad guy? Why was he killed?

What is her motivation for finding his killer? How will she manage her guilt? What kind of person is she? What are her habits, her loves, her dislikes?

Somehow, by the time I’m done, I’ve created the people, answered the questions, and had a lot of fun writing the book.

Q:  Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I tend to get sloppy when I have an idea I want to get on the page. I repeat words, phrases, or my characters will often sound alike. I have to go back through and tweak it, looking for my ‘bads’ – I keep a list of words handy and I search for those to change them. And I make sure to read each character’s dialog separately from other dialog, so I can be sure it sounds true to the character.

Q:  Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I don’t travel to do research, but a lot of what I see on my travels ends up in my books. I do travel, though, on book-related business because I attend several writing conferences a year, and frequently speak on panels and give talks.

Q:  How much research do you do for a book?

For my historical books (the History Patrol series) I do extensive research. Those books involve time travel so I have to make sure my details are correct.

For my contemporary mysteries, I have to do a moderate amount of research. I usually end up talking to someone in ‘the business’ – a firefighter, a cop, etc. And of course I love to search the Web and find details, etc. I keep all of that sort of information in a spiral notebook, one for each book and it goes with me wherever I go.

Q:  Do you have any advice for other writers?

I teach a writing class, and I try to stress that your writing should be enjoyable for you. It should never become a chore, because if it does, that will come out in your words. Enjoy what you do, make time for your writing every day (even if it’s just carving out a few minutes), and keep learning. You can always take online classes, talk with other writers, join a writing group – think of yourself as a Writer and act accordingly.

Q:  What are your current projects?

I had 11 books release in 2011 (see my web site, jayellwilson.com, for the complete list). Some were new releases, some were re-releases, and some were print versions of previously released digital books. So in 2012 I’ll be promoting those books.

I’m planning on a mid-year release in 2012 for Twistered, my Oz-as-mystery story.  I’m now working on using Winnie the Pooh as the basis for a murder mystery (yes, my mind works in odd ways). I’m also working on a new History Patrol novel, this one set in 1897 and it involves the assassin of John Wilkes’ Booth (the man who killed Booth—true story).

Q:  How did you come up with the idea for your “New Human” series?

The series began as a conclusion to a 6-book series I’ve been writing, off and on, for a year or more. That series is set in an alternate America, and when I mapped out the final book in the series, I thought, “What am I going to do with my villains?” There is a rival group vying for power on Earth and I couldn’t just kill them all off. So I sent them to a new planet—Delmorna.

Once I got them on the planet, so to speak, I had to decide what to do with them. That gave me an opportunity to address what I perceive as many social problems: racial inequality, law enforcement issues, and poverty. This was a whole new world I could design myself. And I had a lot of fun doing it!

I think that’s why it appeals to people—they see a lot of our current problems ‘solved’ but other problems crop up along the way. I think it gives people hope that by working together, the big problems can be resolved.

Q:  Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My web site is a good place to start since it has pointed to other spots: http://www.jayellwilson.com.

Or readers can find me at Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/jayellwilson ) or Twitter (@JLwriter).

Double Trouble Tuesday!

Welcome to the first Double Trouble Tuesday!  This is where I compare two items that are similar in this case it’s book trailers with something in common.

Alien Sex 101 by Allie Ritch

Over My Undead Body by Debbie Cairo

Join me for more Double Trouble next Tuesday!

Love,

Tina

AuThursday – Mia Watts

Q:  Where are you from?

I guess that depends on where you qualify “from”. I’m “from” Minneapolis, Minnesota. I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The abundance of snow wasn’t enough. I needed to go with a wet-cold and lots of gloomy skies to be truly at home.

Q: How long have you been writing?

Ever since middle school. I kept a journal, but decided that every day events were either far too embarrassing, or far too boring. I don’t think it was a conscious decision. My personal journal became a series of badly written short stories where I was the avenging heroine that every man fell in love with. Ahhh. Those were the days.

Q:  Tell us your latest news?

There’s so much to tell! I have a ton of irons in the fire. I just signed Faking Perfection (and a series of Men of the Cloth) to DreamSpinner Press, and Wrong Number, Right Guy (and a series about Celebrities finding love) to Amber Quill Press. I’m still actively writing for my current houses, and I’m taking on a new identity.

You can find my other work under the name Katie Blu. Katie will write strictly male/female and ménage books and Mia Watts will stick to male/male and male ménage works in the future. No more confusion! I’m excited about the update. Expect to see work out of Katie this year, too.

Q:  Do you have a specific writing style?

Nope. I’m all over the place. That’s either considered diverse or majorly schizophrenic. Half full, half empty, your call.

 Q:  What advice do you have for other writers?

It’s lame but true: never give up. Never let someone’s “no” be your “no”.

 Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception in erotic romance fiction?

That it’s porn. Porn is sex for the sake of sex and getting off. Erotic romance is ROMANCE with a plot, happy ending, and if you get a little hot reading it, go with it.

Q:  Which one of your covers is your favorite and why?

It’s not out yet, but Unchaste. It releases from Resplendence on March 1st and that cover…well, it makes a girl drool. Dark covers, a hint of lightening, male on male on male torsos. It’s just eye candy at its best. Les Byerley did a fantastic job!

Q: I see you write for multiple publishing houses.  How do you juggle that?

 Well, I absolutely favor one, Resplendence. There isn’t a publishing house out there like RP. I love them with every loyal fiber in my being. When I first started, I pitched stand alones. Some of those became series after the fact and those release dates pretty much dictate which book I write next.

 For example, my most recent Boys in Blue book (Knight’s Fall) came out in December, so I won’t rush to write the last book in that series.

Faerily Imperfect, however, has stretched wide over a year’s time and I’ve pushed the release dates on those books for personal reasons.  I’m urgently writing those now (Boiling Point comes out January 26th). The last book in that series is scheduled for June. 

I have time, so I’m working on some Katie material once I finish Unchaste.

Juggling is absolutely the right word for it. It gets chaotic and I find that my participation on group lists takes a nose dive as a result. I’m always here, occasionally checking the loops, but always online writing.

Q:  What books can we expect to see in the near future?

Boiling Point, January 26th at RP.  Unchaste, March 1 at RP.

Faking Perfection, unknown but soon at DSP.

Wrong Number, Right Guy, unknown but soon at AQP.

Horny, Hard, and Hare-y, May 3rd at RP.   Hitched, June at RP.

 Those are absolute. There are another ten books I’m working on which aren’t yet spoken for, or titled.

 This is an awesome interview. Thank you, Tina!

Thanks, just one last Question:  Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Just about anywhere. LOL! www.MiaWatts.com, www.MiaWatts.blogspot.com, Tuesdays at www.WritersEvolution.blogspot.com, Twitter (MiaWatts), Facebook (Mia Watts).

Join me on Saturday when Mia shares and excerpt from her upcoming story, Faking Perfection coming out at DreamSpinner Press.

Tina

Saturday Sexcerpt – Her Pirate Lover by Temple Hogan

 

The door opened and a familiar figure stepped into the cabin. Rising from her bath, Abella turned and caught her breath as her gaze collided with Hawke’s. Marie stood nearby with a towel, but upon seeing the pirate captain, she clamped the cloth to her chest and cowered, whimpering. Water sluiced off Abella’s body as she placed one arm over her breasts and cupped her mound with the other.

Hawke’s gaze raked across her figure from head to toe, and something flared behind his eyes, something dark and compelling. She felt it like a physical thing within her own body. Her nipples tingled behind their modest barrier and a hot, slippery hunger awakened low in her belly and spread to her crotch. No man had ever looked at her as this pirate did now. She wanted to rail at him for his boldness and scream at Marie who stood, locked in her own fears and forgetting everything she’d been trained to do for her mistress. Most of all, she wanted to deny the feelings that swirled around her, but like Marie, she was caught in her own emotional miasma and could say or do nothing to end it.

Hawke’s gaze caught and held hers as he placed a bottle of wine on the table. Slowly, oh, so slowly, that she wanted to call to him to hurry, he crossed the room to her. When he was so close he could go no further, he stopped. His chest rose and fell as if he’d run from some great distance. Deliberately, his gaze dropped, and as if in a trance, she dropped her arms until they hung straight at her sides. Shamelessly, she watched the emotions flitting across his face and reveled in what she saw there. Where was her modesty? Where were her maiden blushes? He was using her to wreck vengeance on her betrothed. Where was her pride and her loyalty?

She had only to look into his face. This was the lonely man who’d stood at the rail last night, the man who’d endured pain like a personal benediction. She wasn’t sure how she knew this about him, but he touched her soul as nothing else had.

“Tell your maid to leave,” he said huskily. Somehow, he’d managed to move closer, so their breaths mingled. His gaze moved over her, scalding hot, so now her own chest rose and fell with the need to breathe deeply.

“Marie, go!” she said. They held each other’s gazes while Marie scurried from the room. When she was gone, he gently cupped a breast, sliding his fingers over Abella’s dampened skin as if in awe of the smooth sleekness of her. Her eyelashes dipped, and she suppressed a shiver of excitement. Every velvety brush of his hand on her skin was like a fiery brand. His rough thumb slid across her nipple, and she jerked, a small whimper escaping her throat, still it was not a sound of fear but rather of an intense desire that threatened to overcome her.

Hawke’s features tightened as he gazed into her eyes. His hands settled on her waist then lifted her from the tub until she stood before him. She made no protest. She knew what she was to him, but she was unable to deny him or herself. When he swept her into his arms, she went willingly, her arms going up to encircle his shoulders. His hands smoothed over her bare back and down to her soft buttocks. His mouth claimed hers, coaxing, wooing, touching, invading. He moaned, his hot breath urgent on her cheek, and she thrilled to think he was as moved as she was.

His large hands kneaded her buttocks, pressing her body against his arousal. She felt his hard cock rub against her mound and felt the walls of her pussy grow slick with an answering need. She’d been raised to be a proper lady in the drawing room, and before she’d left on her voyage to her husband-to-be, her mother had hinted at a lady’s behavior in the boudoir, but nothing had prepared her for these feelings, this fever of emotion, this wild passionate river of desire.

She stood on tiptoes so she might place her hands on his nape and feel the wild tangle of hair. She was startled to find his mane was soft and silky, and although every inch of his body was hard muscles, the skin itself was satiny. She wondered if his cock would be as smooth. Visions of him pressing that hard rod into her soft, yielding flesh caused her to moan.

Hawke tore his lips from hers and trailed kisses down her throat to one rosy nipple. Grasping her breast in his big, warm hand, he teased her nipple, nibbling and laving it thoroughly until she was too weak to stand and sagged in his hold. He picked her up and carried her to the bed, where he placed her. His dark eyes looked at her with wonder as if he found her more beautiful and desirable than any woman he’d ever known.

She lay there, gazing up at him, letting her eyes tell him what she felt.

Blood suffused his cheeks; passion softened his hawk-like features. Quickly, he ripped away the light shirt covering his torso, and she glimpsed the taut muscles on his shoulders and belly. Without hesitation, he shed his breeches, and his penis leaped up, unfettered, huge and darkly rose with a bulb at the end. She’d never seen a man’s rod before. Now, she stared, thinking it the most magnificent thing she’d ever seen. He hesitated, as if giving her time to get used to him. Tentatively, she reached out to touch his tip. It was hot and smooth, like marble heated by the sun. She explored, her fingertips brushing over the tiny bumps at the base of the bulb, and heard him draw in his breath sharply.

“Have a care, Mademoiselle. I have no wish to rush this moment, but you tax me greatly.”

Pardonnez moi!” she said and quickly withdrew her hand. Red stained her cheeks, and she couldn’t meet his gaze, until he chuckled softly, took her hand and placed it back on his cock.

“I but tease you, Abella,” he said, and she liked that he had said her name. It rolled off his tongue with a strange brogue foreign to her ear.

Her hand closed around his cock once again and skimmed over the foreskin down to the sacs at the base. These were hairy and tickled her palm. She liked the feel against her skin and caressed them lightly. Once again, he groaned and clamped her hand in his.

“Tonight is about you,” he said huskily. “I wanted to teach the ways of a man and woman without terrorizing you, but I see you already have a good idea of what to do.”

The full import of what he said reached through her lust-filled haze, but it was a moment before she opened her eyes and looked at him reproachfully.

Monsieur! I am a virgin.”

She stared at him with wide, accusing eyes so he was forced to reconsider his stand. Though it was the hardest thing he’d ever done in his life, other than losing his family home, he stepped back and picked up his trousers.

Mademoiselle,” he said softly. “I beg your pardon. You are a virgin, and I cannot dishonor you, although my plan was to do so as vengeance on your betrothed, Lord Lindleigh.”

Abella sat up and studied him. “But Monsieur. I do not want you to stop. I want you to bed me.”