Saturday Spotlight -Forsaking Hope by Beverley Oakley

FH Banner Forsaking Hope

Fair Cyprians of London

By Beverley Oakley

 Beverley is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the rafflecopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

About the Book:

Two years ago, she missed their secret assignation and disappeared without a trace. Now the divine “Miss Hope” is in Felix Durham’s bed – a ‘surprise cheering-up gift’ sourced by his friends from London’s most exclusive brothel. Felix is in heaven – and he wants to stay there.

So does Hope, but she can’t.

Hope Merriweather lives by a code of honour – even if she’s a prostitute.

Having sold her soul, she’s prepared to sacrifice everything else to protect what she believes in.

Even if honour – in her eyes – comes at the cost of thieving and breaking hearts. Including her own.

Available for preorder here:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

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Forsaking-Hope-Generic

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Wilfred Hunt.

If there was a name to tip Hope into the abyss of despair she was hearing it spill from Madame Chambon’s lips now as the older woman directed Hope to take a seat in the reception room, presumably so Madame could loom oppressively over her.

With her hands on her ample, expensively padded hips, Hope’s benefactress—procuress, employer, and gaoler were other monikers—sent Hope a beetling look that needed no interpreting: Regardless of Hope’s true feelings, Hope must project the required show of warmth and delight at being the chosen one.

Madame patted the side of her faux curls. Years of hot irons had reduced her hair to the texture of wool but her crowning glory these days was supplemented by the lustrous locks of those girls who dared cross her – before they were thrown back into the street from where most had come.

Nevertheless, Hope had to make her resistance clear. Surely Madame who knew her history would understand her loathing for this man, above all others. “I shan’t do it,” she whispered. There was little evidence of the willful child and wild adolescent who’d been the despair of her family. “I won’t—”

Outside, the noise of the traffic rumbling over the cobbles and the shrill calls of competing vendors settled upon the tense silence. Madame Chambon’s other girls ranged around the sumptuously appointed room on red velvet upholstered banquettes, watched the exchange with prurient fascination. Hope knew it had been a calculated ploy of Madame’s to conduct her interview in public so that Hope would serve as an example to them.

No one crossed Madame Chambon.

The shrill cry of a fishmonger caused Madame to look pointedly out of the window. With something between a smile and a sneer, she smoothed a Marcel wave. “Is that where you plan to return, Hope? The gutter?” Her nose twitched and in the sunlight that filtered into the room, the grooves chiseled between mouth and chin were thrown into harsh relief, highlighted rather than hidden by the thick powder she used to conceal her age.

Madame Chambon’s comfort, now and into retirement, depended on obedient girls. Hope knew that as well as anyone. She’d had to bury her rebellious streak just to ensure food in her belly.

The Frenchwoman raised a chiseled brow and began to pace slowly in front of her girls. A painter with an eye for beauty would have been ecstatic at capturing such a spectacle on canvas. The discerning young man about town who visited 56 Albemarle Street was frequently rendered ecstatic by the range of delights Madame Chambon’s girls offered in addition to the visual.

“You forget yourself, Hope. I put a roof over your head and deck you out as handsomely as Mr. Charles Worth ever did for his most discerning customer.” There was acid in Madame Chambon’s tone. “But for me, you’d be starving and glad of the pennies you could trade for a grubby stand-up encounter in a dark alley.” Madame Chambon thrust out her bosom and breathed through her nose, her response a calculated warning to the other girls arranged in various languid poses about the ornately decorated reception room that intransigence would not be tolerated.

“Mr. Hunt has requested you.” She paused and when Hope remained silent, though her stance and expression left no one in any doubt as to her horror regarding this enforced assignation, went on. “Remember what I told you—what I tell all my girls when they first come here? The past must be forgotten the moment you step over my threshold. You are reborn, remodeled, refashioned into the most exquisite delectation of womanhood. A marquess, a prince, is well recompensed for the tidy sum he hands over in order to enjoy your sparkling wit, to converse with you in French, or if he chooses, on philosophy…to enjoy your charms…and,” she added significantly, “your gracious hospitality and tender ministrations to his needs. That is our agreement and you are no different. If Mr. Hunt wishes you, Hope, to attend him at his residence then you will go.”

Faith, one of the kinder girls, patted Hope’s arm in silent solidarity. Hope didn’t expect any of them to speak up in her defense. Not when they all relied on Madame Chambon as much as she did to provide them with the necessities of life. Anything more than that was part of a strict contract that indentured a girl for life unless she was able to secure a generous benefactor to settle Madame’s severance bill. The fine clothes were part of the charade, necessary to entice a more elite clientele. Hope’s exquisite wardrobe did not belong to her though she’d have forsaken all the dupion silk and Spitalfields lace for the freedom of the gutter and to be mistress of her own destiny – and her body – if she could only be sure of a plate of gravy and potatoes every second day.

Closing her eyes, she hung her head, the carefully coiffed curls that fell forwards brushing against her tear-streaked cheeks. It was as well that they not be in evidence. Tears, weakness, vulnerability were like a red rag to a bull where Madame Chambon was concerned.

“How long…do I have to prepare myself?” She was not so stupid she couldn’t admit defeat when there was no alternative. Obduracy was beaten out of one, but tears ensured a girl got the very worst next assignment. Their clients weren’t all marquesses and princes, though they did require a very fat pocket book.

“Tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow.” Hope repeated it in a leaden tone, and stared at her hands, clasped in her lap; white-knuckled. As white as the rabbit-fur that edged her fashionable black-and-white striped satin cuirass. Hope had the tall, slim figure suited to the scandalously tight tie-back skirts that were all the rage, the back flowing into a train adorned with elaborate swags and trimmed with bows. She’d turned heads the length of Oxford Street as she’d promenaded along the pavement following a walk through Hyde Park earlier that afternoon. In fact, for the first time in two years, she’d almost felt happy as she’d pretended a sense of freedom in the afternoon sun, blocking her mind to the prison to which she was returning.

She drew in her breath and forced herself to be brave, knowing the punishment she’d invite for daring to speak her mind. “Please tell Mr. Hunt I will see him again under sufferance.”

Madame Chambon’s voice was surprisingly caramel. “Well then, now that you have made your objection clear, Hope, you will be pleased to hear that Mr. Hunt’s desires are not only motivated by fond memories of your no-doubt mutually satisfying congress. I believe he wishes to acquaint you with news of your family.”

Hope hid her shock. “I have no family.” With care, she modified her tone so it was as leaden as before though emotion roiled close to the surface.

“Not even a sister?”

Hope raised her chin. Here was the chink and Madame knew it. The woman did her research.

Aware that the other girls who surrounded her were tense with anticipation, Hope struggled not to respond. Camaraderie existed at surface level but one never knew when it might profit one to have the dirt on a fellow prostitute. It was, clearly, another reason Madame Chambon had chosen to make this conversation public.

“Mr. Hunt will see you at nine tomorrow evening,” said the so-called Frenchwoman who, it was whispered, was from the gutters of Lambeth, not Paris. “At his apartments in Duke Street. Now go and prepare yourself for Lord Farrow. Married to a monolith like the venerable Lady Farrow, he likes his girls vivacious and free-spirited. There’ll be less coin in your pocket if you sully the transaction with that long face, Hope.”

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beverley-eikli-author-pic-copyAuthor Info:

 Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.

Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from Robert Hale (UK) for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.

Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances, mostly set in England during the early nineteenth century. Mystery, intrigue and adventure spill from their pages and if she can pull off a thrilling race to save someone’s honour – or a worthy damsel from the noose – it’s time to celebrate with a good single malt Scotch.

Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth-century lunatic asylum. She also writes Africa-set adventure-filled romances tarring handsome bush pilot heroes, and historical romances with less steam and more sexual tension, as Beverley Eikli.

You can get in contact with Beverley at:

 Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

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Veteran’s Day!

80128_IMG_0685Happy Veteran’s day to all the Veterans and their families that have served our country.

I’ve spent my life surrounded by Vets – Both grandfathers served in WWII, my father in Vietnam and my husband in Iraq.      It is with great pride I salute those who serve.

My day will be spent with my husband.   I’m taking him around for free food and discount beer.   🙂     Here’s some places you can take your Vet.

http://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/2017/11/10/50-veterans-day-dining-deals-for-military-personnel.html

Thanks again,

Tina

 

AuThursday – R. Marlaan Rush

21951433_1789429087738161_1218458456_oTell us a little about yourself and your background?

My real name is Ayneka Scott and my Erotica pen name (R. Marlaan Rush) was going to be for a 2nd daughter. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. It started off as rewriting my favorite books and movies and then grew into creating my own worlds. I’m a proud mother of a beautiful 8-year-old daughter. My full-time gig is production at a nuclear facility where I also volunteer as a firefighter and medical first responder. I have lived in South Carolina all of my life and with the exception of the seemingly perpetual summers, I love it here.

How do you make time to write?

I schedule a mandatory 1-hour writing block every day. Outside of that, I write and outline on my phone whenever I have free time. I have a writer’s app and MS Word downloaded to my phone.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes, very much so. But, I look at it as a challenge and motivation.

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

Erotica is my chosen genre for my Rush persona because I enjoy sex in all its forms-romantic, smut, some of the taboo things, etc. I’m also intrigued by the power it holds over people. It can make the sanest person a stalker and can even heal a broken person when emotions are involved. It can be a beautifully dangerous thing.

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

I’m publishing as an Indie author because I like the hard work and dedication that goes into making yourself a success. I want to learn the ins and outs firsthand.

Are you an Introvert or Extravert?

I feel like I’m a combination of both because even though I’m a social butterfly and love the hustle and bustle of people, I crave alone time. I don’t want to bothered; I just want the peace of my own company.

How does this affect your work?

The extrovert is the one that researches and interacts with others to get the materials to create a good read. The introvert, in her quiet downtime, puts the materials together to give the reader the best reading experience possible.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Make the impossible possible!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If you want to be successful, come into the industry hungry and stay hungry. Help others if you can. And, when your plate becomes full and is overflowing, grab another plate and share with someone else.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?21931193_1789429084404828_1764812756_o

I’m on FB at www.facebook.com/rmarlaan

Twitter as @MzHoneypotC

Instagram as MzHoneypotC

On Amazon, I’m R.Marlaan Rush.

 

 

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us? Yes, see below.

A Dinner of Sighs
Her nipples ached maddeningly, but thankfully the water she was partially submerged in was warm.

Her lover wasn’t completely cruel. But he was cruel enough to make her his dinner’s centerpiece; here she was, blindfolded so she couldn’t see the people circling her making comments about how lucky he was to have such a beautiful and willing companion, naked as the day she was born on a table so it would look like she was floating in the water.

Her hair, done in tiny braids shocked with white ribbon, exploded around her face. Every time she licked her lips, she tasted the hooker-red lipstick he had insisted she wear because it looked naughty to him, and it was arousing…. As if a naked woman with beads of water dotting her skin wasn’t erotic enough. The only restraint present was at her ankles; girly bands of 24kt gold swirled with rose gold and decorated with hundreds of tiny but sparkling diamonds kept her legs in a slightly painful V.

He had had these cuffs specially made for her, and the matching necklace fit her neck like a thick choker, a perfect complement to her chocolate-milk complexion.

Her crotch being so exposed to strangers she couldn’t see made her want to put her hands between her legs. Even though she was groomed to the gods down there, lotioned and perfumed to the high heavens, the bit of peach fuzz he let her have laid like no one’s business; she didn’t feel pretty down there. Her lips felt too small while her clitoris felt too big, and without the normal bush she sported, her vagina was lighter than the rest of her. She wasn’t pink enough for her liking, either.

“Oh Kallen, your songbird is too perfect,” a woman exclaimed beside her in awe and then nails traced the inside of her arm down to the palm. Too long to be his, and pointy—had to be the woman. The urge to shrink away from her touch was powerful, but she denied it. She must be still.

“What is this beautiful creature’s name?”

“I call her August.”

“August,” the woman repeated, tasting the name. “Scrumptious name for your bird of paradise. I knew she had to be something when you played her songs for us the other day. They were so haunting and sensual—so damned sexy.”

Kallen laughed. “Yes, I remember. You started fingering yourself before us, and then Rachel and her girlfriend started kissing. That’s when the party really began.” “Mmmm… the way you bent me over the table…. How can I forget that?” The woman purred.

Jealousy flashed, hot and burning, in August’s soul at this confession, but she couldn’t break her character on the table. Sharing Kallen was a common occurrence, but still…. “May I?” The woman asked.

“You may. Any spot you desire.” Something firm and damn near hot was placed on her left hip near her thigh, then on the top of her crotch.

August felt warm wetness drip between her pussy lips and pool in the crease of her thigh and crotch… what the hell was that? Lips first pressed into the crease with the tiniest scratch of teeth, then something flat and warm lapped at the sensitive skin, making August jump with each stroke. She drew her hands into claws, twitching, wanting to pull her left leg up to end the torture.

It stopped briefly, and now the lips and tongue were just below her waistline, where the other piece of food was, kissing and sucking on her flesh. The pleasure was terrible because she couldn’t see who the woman with the expert tongue was!

“That’s far enough, my dear. You can look, but you can’t touch because that part of her is all mine.”

“I’m not sure which was more tender, your little songbird or the roast beef,” the woman mused.

August heard the longing in her voice and smiled to herself…. Kallen may share himself freely, but he drew the line at her and that was fine with August.

“I just wanted to enjoy all of my gravy.”

“Matilda! Kallen! My favorite people in the room!” a masculine voice boomed and grew in volume…. Someone else was approaching to admire her with their hands, but this was at least a man.“Damn, who is this sexy little buffet? I’m starving all over again.”

Kallen put his arm around the brown-eyed blonde’s wide shoulders and swept his other arm over August’s prone body. “Marcus, this is August. You don’t recognize her?”

“Not with her clothes off, that’s for damn sure,” Marcus answered, his eyes roaming the table. He spotted what he wanted and grabbed a small, silver cube. He filled it with warm, oozing chocolate. “My sweet tooth is suddenly screaming.”

“Indulge yourself,” Kallen encouraged, stepping to the side. “As a matter of fact, get another cube. There are two for your tasting pleasure. And, it is shell chocolate.”

Marcus smiled mischievously and placed the cubes upside down on each of August’s erect nipples, grinning at the moan that escaped her pretty red lips. While he waited for the chocolate to harden, he slowly walked around the table, devouring August’s nakedness, turned on by the fact she couldn’t see anything. He stopped at the foot of the table and stared at the top of the V, eyeing her cinnamon-colored pussy lips, her fat, undoubtedly juicy clit (he fancied it was plump and swollen for him), and the white honey pooling at the mouth of her vagina, waiting for a reason to drop into the water below.

So vulnerable…. Marcus touched her ankle and skimmed his fingers along the instep to her pretty red toes, watching her shiver. Kallen watched him intently…. Was he mad at him for making his woman react by touch alone? Marcus hoped so… he really did. “Matilda, dear, would you bring me some of that caramel?”

Matilda snatched up the caramel and handed it to Marcus, winking. “Save a little of her for me,” she whispered just loud enough for him to hear and then turned to Kallen.

“Marcus wasn’t with us when you debuted your songbird, Kallen. How about seducing him with her expressions of lust?” She snaked her arm around his waist and led him to the entertainment center that took up a little over half the wall on the other side of the room, her head against his arm.

His hand dropped to her ass. “We’re somewhat alone now, August,” Marcus murmured, walking back around the table to stare at the shape of her mouth, the sparkles in the red lacquer on her lips catching the light like the diamonds in her cuffs and necklace, her skin flawless in the bright-white light pouring across her body. He grasped the chocolate cube and pulled it gently, watching the nipple and breast stretch like taffy.

Saturday Sexcerpt – Bella and the Beast by Izzy Szyn

BATB Cover (002)

She’d just stopped at a door when something wrapped itself around her ankle. Looking down, she saw a vine with thorns winding its way up her leg. Holy shit, Bella tried pulling at the vine, but it tightened around her leg even more.

Pressing herself against a wall, another vine wrapped itself around her stomach. Holding her in place.  She tried to scream, but the vine was so tight she couldn’t get anything out.

“Bella, what are you doing here?” Ms. Anna came upon her.

“I was looking for you.”

“Do you remember what I said about this part of the house?” Ms. Anna asked.

“Yes,” Bella answered, “not to enter it. But I wanted…”

“Silence,” Ms. Anna ordered. “There isn’t an excuse for disobeying my orders. Now, what should your punishment be? Vines, release her.”

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About the Author:

 New York Times Bestselling Author Izzy Szyn was born in May of 2014 when a friend dared her to write. Born and raised in Detroit, Mi. Izzy now lives in Oklahoma City with her furchild Misty, the friendliest Chihuahua/Terrier you will ever meet. Currently works in a call center, where she writes in between phone calls.

Izzy loves to keep in touch with her readers. Email her at izzyszyn@gmail.com.

Find her on Facebook 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/Izzy-Szyn-379714942215154/timeline/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/izzySzyn

Blog: https://izzyszyn.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13836241.Izzy_Szyn

Google Plus link: https://plus.google.com/100905614042668276073

Author Spotlight-Caris Roane

The September $.99 Flame Series TourCaris Roane’s September $.99 Flame Series

BLOOD FLAME and AMETHYST FLAME

The Flame Series, Books #1 and #2

Caris is giving away A Red Wire-Wrapped PNR Bracelet (International Winner Receives Gift Card) and A $25 Amazon Gift Card to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

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The “Wow” Prize:Wow giveaway image

Just leave a comment for a chance to win!

 Caris Roane here and I’m so glad you’re touring with me. As a bonus, I’m giving away a Reader Care Package to one lucky winner just for leaving a comment on any or all of the blogs on my tour. What’s in the Reader Care Package: Truffles, Ghiradelli Chocolate, print copy of GATES OF RAPTURE, scented lotion and soap, a journal and other goodies! Be sure to visit as many blogs on my tour as you can. The more blogs you comment on, the greater your chances of winning. The Reader Care Package is US only, but an international winner will receive a gift card. How I choose the winner: I will choose the winning blog then choose the winning comment sometime after midnight, October 5th, Arizona time. I will use Random dot org to make the selection. Good luck!

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About the Books:

Bella Media Management

BLOOD FLAME, Book #1 of the Flame Series:

 Vampire Officer Connor of the Crescent Border Patrol tries to suppress his desire for the powerful witch, Iris Meldeere. Because the woman possesses the ability to kill him with the tips of her fingers, how can he possibly fall in love with her? When a double homicide throws them together, he soon finds his deepest fantasies fulfilled as Iris succumbs to his seductions. But as they battle together to stay alive, and love begins to consume them both, will the witch be able to forgive the dark secrets of his past …

Amazon US / iBooks //B&N / Kobo/ Google Play / Amazon CA / Amazon UK / Amazon AU

http://www.amazon.com.au/Blood-Flame-Book-ebook/dp/B0147RGTJW/

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AMETHYST FLAME, Book #2 of the Flame SeriesBella Media Management

Hunky Nathan Vaughn, six-six, and one muscled vampire warrior, has had a lot of trouble in his life and needs a good woman to help even things out. Vaughn and Emma met once in the past, the night they rescued three teenage girls from a kidnapping ring. But a vampire and a witch can’t have a relationship in Five Bridges. So, they parted, determined never to see each other again. Emma was desolate, then the phone rang. Vaughn called and kept calling and she kept answering. But the rescue they shared turned out to piss off one very bad wizard who decided they both needed to die. Now they’re in it, fighting to stay alive and working oh-so-hard NOT to fall in love. Will they survive when so much is against them?

Amazon US / iBooks / B&N / Google Play / Kobo / Amazon CA / Amazon UK / Amazon AU

http://www.amazon.com.au/Amethyst-Flame-Book-2-ebook/dp/B014X7RNBY/

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Books in the Flame Series:

 Book 1: Blood Flame

Book 2: Amethyst Flame

Book 3: Dark Flame

Book 4: Amber Flame

Book 5: A Touch of Flame

Holiday Novella: Christmas Flame

http://www.carisroane.com/christmas-flame/

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Excerpt from BLOOD FLAME:

From Chapter One: While spying obsessively on a witch named Iris, Border Patrol Officer Connor gets a call to track a drug runner…

An owl swooped down on Iris suddenly, then took up his usual perch in the huge tree at the back of her yard.

Her melodious voice hit the air once more. “Hello, Sebastien.” He could hear Iris laughing and talking with the owl, her pet, or muse or whatever it was witches used to conjure shit.

When his com buzzed for the second time, he swiftly rose another thirty feet in the air then pressed the button. “Connor.”

“Talking pretty quiet. You on a stake-out?”

He recognized Lily’s voice and some of the tension eased out of him. Lily worked dispatch, manning the phones and passing out assignments. “Trying not to attract notice.”

“So, who is she?”

The question startled him. He didn’t think anybody knew what he did between calls. Shit.

Then he realized Lily was fishing. “A beautiful Honda Scrambler, 1973.” Half true. He’d started to collect Café Racers, the older, the better.

He heard Lily snort. “You men and your machines. Okay, listen up. This comes from the chief. We’ve got a runner out at Amado Bridge and he wants you on it.”

Connor frowned. He didn’t usually work the dead-talker end of vampire territory. “Isn’t that Jason’s section?”

“Jason’s MIA, has been for two nights now, and the chief is about ready to explode.”

Unusual for Jason to be missing, but he was a Border Patrol officer and sometimes the men needed to go on a bender just to survive. “He’ll turn up, but his head won’t feel too good.”

Lily laughed. “I totally agree and to answer your next question, yes, Easton was adamant you take this call.”

No point arguing about any decision the chief made. “I’m on it.”

He took off, heading north in the direction of Crescent Territory, wondering what the hell he would find this time. He touched the hilt of his half-sword and thumbed the holster of his Glock. He wore black leather wrist guards lined with steel, a black tank, leathers, and heavy boots. He was ready.

Amado Bridge. He scowled. One of the worst terrains for a runner to attempt to take drugs into the human world.

His instincts lit up. Jason was missing, a runner was out at Amado and Easton wanted him on the assignment.

A sick feeling started crawling around his gut. This call already stunk and it was only midnight. Great…

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from BLOOD FLAME. Let the Flame Series become a new journey for you!

To Read More and for Buy Links…

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Caris-Roane-AuthorAbout Caris:

 Caris Roane is the NY Times Bestselling author of Paranormal Romance. She began her career with Kensington Publishing and for eighteen years wrote Regency Romance as Valerie King. In 2005, Romantic Times Magazine honored her with a career achievement award for her Regency Romance work. To-date, she has published eighty-nine books. Thirty-nine of those are paranormal romances. Most of her paranormal stories are self-published while several in the early days were penned for St. Martin’s Press.

Though her stories conjure up hunky PNR warriors, like vampires and wolf-shifters, the romance is everything, including a satisfying Happily Ever After. Her hope is that the reader will come away engrossed in the lives of her tortured heroes and her worthy women as they wage war, as they make love, and as they face the tough issues of life and relationships!

Caris lives in the Phoenix area, in a growing town called Buckeye. When not writing, she’s a real homebody. She loves gardening, sewing, and cooking. She also enjoys creating jewelry and offers her handcrafted, PNR bracelet giveaways to her newsletter and blog subscribers. Her motto? Live the fang!

If you want to know more about Caris, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:

WEBSITE | BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST

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Saturday Excerpt – A Lancaster Love by Mary Lingerfelt

A Lancaster Love cover compressed“This is an excerpt from A Lancaster Love, my Amish romance novel. This scene is between Flynn Munro, the heroine’s love interest, and his little daughter, Molly.” ~Mary Lingerfelt

“Now, Miss Molly, would you like to watch your Da make dinner?”

Molly dimpled and nodded, and stuck a finger into her mouth.

“This is a dish your mother used to make,” he told her gravely. “It was a favorite of hers, though not so much of mine. She used to make it when she was too tired to cook fancy, because it’s easy. It’s called Bubble and Squeak.”

Molly giggled, and Flynn tapped her nose. “Now―we go to the fridge, and see what we have on hand. There’s some corned beef hiding in the back of the milk. So we just chop that up with the potatoes and carrots and toss it in.

“And then we fry them up, like so.” He reached down to turn up the heat, and the pan soon began to make small bubbling sounds.

“Hear it?” Flynn smiled, and Molly nodded vigorously.

He took a wooden spoon, and rubbed it against the greased pan. Squeak, went the spoon, and Molly squealed with laughter.

“Now, Miss Molly―you sit on this stool, right here, and hold the spoon. I’ll let you stir, this time.”

He lifted Molly from the counter and set her on a stool, and she sat beside him and stirred the meat and potatoes, and made the spoon go squeak, squeak, squeak.

 “That’s right, my girl,” he told her softly. “Just like your mother used to do.”

Molly looked down into the pan, and her eyes went somber. She stood there in silence for a moment, and then blurted, out of nowhere:

“Da―why did Mommy die?”

Flynn sucked in air, as if he’d been punched. He stood in stunned silence, and cast about for an answer.

“Why―Molly―your mother was―”

He pulled a hand over his mouth and hesitated. Something inside told him that now was not the time for a merciful lie―that the truth was important, if he wanted to keep his daughter’s trust.

He lifted her up in his arms, and sat down in a chair. He looked down into her face soberly, tried to read her eyes, wondered if she was old enough for the truth.

“Molly, you remember what I told you about the fighting back home, don’t you?” he asked gently.

Molly nodded solemnly.

“It’s been going on for a long, long time, and it―it never really goes away. You understand that―that the fighting was why we left our home, and came to live here.”

Her big eyes held his.

He swallowed, and went on: “Chickadee, sometimes―sometimes when there’s fighting, innocent people get hurt.”

He closed his eyes, trying to hold it back, but the memory roared over him. Instantly, he was back there again, kneeling on the corner in front of the Whistle. He was holding Maggie in his arms as her blue eyes fixed themselves on a point just past his shoulder. The panic swept him again.

Maggie?―somebody call an ambulance!” he’d screamed. But the rugby players who’d come running out of the Whistle had only crouched down beside him in silence, and glanced at the broken glass and groceries scattered over the sidewalk.

One of them put a hand on his shoulder.

He’d launched himself out into the street, swinging for the nearest chin he could find and screaming at the top of his lungs.

Flynn closed his eyes and willed that day to fade back into the past. He slowly came to himself, looked down at their little daughter, and thanked God; because it was only the mercy of God that Molly hadn’t lost both her parents that day.

“Daddy?”

“Chickadee,” he whispered, “your mother died by accident. The police are our friends, they’re there to protect us, but sometimes…accidents happen. There were police standing on the sidewalk across from our house that day, and some bad men drove by in a car, and fired their guns at the police. The police fired their guns back. Your mother was hit…by accident, as she was walking home from the market.”

Molly looked up at him, with her round blue eyes, and to his helpless regret, his own sadness slowly spread across their innocent depths.

Then she lifted her arms, closed them around his neck, and buried her face in his shirt.

Saturday Excerpt – Directions of the Heart by Marie Lavender

Directions of the Heart - eBook coverHe pushed past her, casting pleasantries aside. “How is she?” he demanded as he turned to face her.

Mrs. Johnson wrung her hands. “I don’t know. I’m not sure what’s wrong. She…” She shook her head.

“Where’s Caitlyn?”

The woman pointed the way.

Jack followed a corridor to a small bedroom. Pink walls, pink spread. Caitlyn had thrown a red blanket over the window to block out the light. He saw a huddled form beneath the bedspread, reached out and threw back the fabric.

He sat down to get a look at her. Caitlyn rocked, wet tracks down her face. She must’ve been crying. Her eyes were shut tight and her hair was wild. She wore a pair of lavender sweats, and was pretty much unresponsive to his touch. He checked for marks on her arms and wrists, but found nothing. So she hadn’t tried to hurt herself.

He suspected what was happening, but could only try to pull her from the nightmare. It was too easy for someone who had been traumatized like she had to revert to a catatonic state and he wished that hell on no one.

“Caitlyn? Caitlyn, it’s Jack. Jack Thomas, remember?”

No response.

A small sound came behind him, and he glanced back to see her mother cover her mouth. It didn’t matter right now. It couldn’t.

“Come on. Come back to me. Caitlyn, can you hear me? It’s going to be okay. I’ll help you get through this,” he vowed, and almost choked on the words. He pushed through the panicked flutter in his chest, gathering her into his arms.

“Caitlyn, I won’t let them hurt you anymore, okay? No one will. It’s just you and me. You. And me. I’m going to take care of you, I swear,” he said with his lips pressed to her temple. “Come back to me, sweetheart. Come on.”

He tried once more, unaware what words spilled out of him. Desperation alone drove his actions. As he cradled her to his chest, a fruity scent drifted into his nostrils. Strawberries, he thought. He felt the strangest combination of rightness and deep concern. “The world needs you, darling. Don’t hide away. Come back to us. Please.”

After a few moments, a shudder went through her and a small voice whispered, “Jack?”

“That’s right. I’m here, honey.”

Tears filmed her eyes. “I, I was back there again. In the cellar.”

“Shh…I know. I’m so sorry. But you’re here now. You’re safe in this house, and with me. You just go ahead and cry it out, hmm? Then you can sleep.”

She sobbed hard as he held her tight. Soon, she quieted to the occasional sigh and he pulled back to look at her. Her face was flushed and wet from her tears. He caressed her cheek. “How ya doing?”

She shook her head.

“All right. That’s fine. It’s a hard road, but I know you can do it. I’ll help you.”

“You really mean it,” she whispered, her tone incredulous.

He nodded. “Yeah, I do.”

“Okay.”

Her skin was so soft beneath his hand and he had to stop himself from stroking further. “How are you sleeping?”

She didn’t answer.

“That’s what I thought.” He looked at her mother. “Mrs. Johnson? Could you get her sleeping pills?”

The woman slipped out of the room.

“What about your antibiotic? The pain medicine? Have you been taking those?”

“Yes. They make me a little nauseous.”

“Sorry to hear that, sweetie, but they are necessary. And if you do use the sleeping pills, don’t try to drive, okay?” She murmured an agreement.

When her mother returned with the pill bottle and some water, Jack measured out a tablet, then watched as Caitlyn took it, eyeing her throat. “Good, that’s good. I’ll stay till you get to sleep, but we need to talk this out soon. All right?”

She nodded.

Satisfied, he held her against his shoulder, the minutes passing, until she went limp and her breaths evened out. It shook him that he could’ve held her forever, and he wouldn’t have had a problem with it. He checked her eyelids to be sure she slept before he covered her up with the bed’s blanket and spread, and cleared out of the room.

Mrs. Johnson followed him. “What was that? What’s going on?”

“Your daughter almost went into a catatonic state. What happened was too traumatic for her.”

She sat down on the sofa abruptly as if she’d lost the strength to stand. “But…I assumed I could handle her. I thought she would be okay.”

“This is more than anyone can handle alone. And she won’t be all right for some time.”

 

Blurb for Directions of the Heart:

Embark on a remarkable journey of drama, romance, and passion…

​In all of these amazing stories, there’s one burning question…is love worth the risk?

Without You

Reece and Jenna are two childhood friends separated by time and distance. Can they find a way to heal their bond, or perhaps forge a new one?

Strange Heat

Spurred by her friend’s close call, Victoria decides to take a risk and prove the lifestyle she led was her downfall. But as Tory sinks deeper into the tumultuous abyss of desire with the mysterious Rick, can she climb back out before it’s too late? Or does she even want to?

Memories

Struggling to run her family’s farm on her own, Sadie takes on a hired hand, Matt. As they grow closer, so does the danger. Someone wants her legacy. Can they combat this new threat, as well as the demons of the past, before Sadie loses everything, including her life?

A Touch of Dawn

Caitlyn thought she’d be in the dark forever. But with the light came Jack, the police consultant who found her. Can they take a journey of healing together, or will Caitlyn retreat into the darkness of her mind, where she lived for so long?

(CONTENT WARNING: With an abuse awareness theme in this collection, there may be triggers here for past trauma sufferers. However, HEAs are guaranteed.)

Tags: Contemporary Romance, Dramatic Fiction, PTSD Awareness, Anthologies and Collections

Goodreads link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31351684-directions-of-the-heart

Purchase links:

Amazon Universal link:  https://bookgoodies.com/a/B071WVZZPV

myBook.to/DoH

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/729271

Barnes & Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/directions-of-the-heart-marie-lavender/1126548251

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/directions-of-the-heart-a-romantic-drama-collection

Create Space link:  https://www.createspace.com/7239124