Greek tycoon Nikolaos Costas has a debt to collect fro the Stefanopoulos family and he won’t leave until he gets his money. Stefanie Stefanopoulos has been tasked with entertaining—i.e. distracting—him while he’s in town, all in hopes of getting him to forgive the debt. She may not be an ugly duckling, but she’s a far cry from her petite stepsisters and she knows that the gorgeous playboy won’t even notice her. It doesn’t stop her from wanting him to, though.

Four months ago, Nick’s bachelor-style life was turned upside down. Now the sole parent to a seven-year-old daughter he never knew existed, Nick doesn’t have time for pleasure. But he hadn’t factored in Stefanie or the intense attraction he’d feel for her. As her seduction heats up, so do the stakes, both professionally and romantically. Can he let business go long enough to allow Stefanie into his heart?


Cornering Stefanie alone in the kitchen, Nick reached for the platters she’d collected. “Stop,” he said, reaching for them. “It is a holiday, is it not?”

Stefanie hesitated and then surrendered the stack. “It is, but I’m the caterer. And you’re a guest.”

Setting the plates on the counter, he shook his head. “No, today you are a generous friend who has made beautiful food to be enjoyed by, it seems, everyone but herself.” A dark brow lifted. “Have you even tasted this baklava?” He gestured to the tray set out on the counter.

Stefanie hesitated. It wasn’t as though she needed the extra calories, though she could hardly say so to him. “No I haven’t, but I make it all the time.”

“For others, yes. When was the last time you sat down with a sweet and an espresso and savored?”

Stefanie hesitated. She spent so much time tasting dishes in her kitchen as she was preparing them that she was rarely hungry—and just as rarely full. Sitting down to an actual meal, or even a snack, was a rarity. “I don’t know. A while, I guess.”

Nick reached around her to the counter, his pectoral brushing her breast, whether deliberately or accidentally Stefanie couldn’t say for certain. What she could say for certain was that it felt good—really good. Good enough to want more.

I am the seducer, not the seducee, I am the seducer, not the seducee…

No matter how many times she mentally repeated the mantra, she didn’t feel in complete control at the moment. She didn’t feel in control at all.

Eschewing the spatula, Nick stuck his hand in the pan and pulled off a gooey precut wedge.

“You know what you just did is sacrilege,” Stefanie said, fighting a smile.

Smiling back, he brought the dessert to her lips. “I am making the food gods very angry, I am sure, but I will risk it if you will. Open.”

The last time someone had fed her she’d probably been all of five. Stefanie hesitated and then opened. Gooey, honeyed heaven sweetened the inside of her mouth.

“Chew,” he ordered softly, bringing his face down to hers, and to her surprise once more, she obeyed.

A syrupy thumb slid across her bottom lip, raising a bevy of tingles. “It is good, yes?” His eyes locked on hers and suddenly she wasn’t at all sure he referred to the pastry.

Fighting the urge to suck at his digit, Stefanie swallowed—hard. “It’s delicious.”

Nick stepped back, eyes dark and dancing. “Yes, Stefanie, it is. Now come upstairs and join the party. Your friends are missing you. I am missing you.”

“But I—”

“No buts.” He held out his hand, the same hand he’d used to feed her. “There is a time for staying behind-the-scenes, for hiding out in the kitchen, and this is not it.”


Award-winning author, Hope Tarr earned a Master’s Degree in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Education before coming to grips with the tough truth: she wasn’t especially interested in analyzing people or teaching them. What she wanted was to write about them! Today Hope is the author of more than twenty historical and contemporary romance novels for multiple publishers including THE CINDERELLA SEDUCTION, the finale to her Suddenly Cinderella Series for Entangled Publishing. Hope is also a co-founder and current curator of Lady Jane’s Salon®, New York City’s first—and still only—monthly romance reading series now with satellites in eight U.S. states. The Romance Writers of America’s New York City chapter recently honored Hope as their 2013 Author of the Year. She lives in Manhattan with her real life romance hero and their feline family members. When not writing, she enjoys running, hiking, martial arts—and browsing restaurant menus.

You can find Hope here:

Hope’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Suddenly Cinderella Facebook | Goodreads



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Today I am lucky enough to have author Boone Brux on to talk to us about her newest release, CHAIN OF ILLUSIONS, and being real!

Keeping it Real

As a romance writer there are things I try to keep real and things I gloss over with the biggest pencil I can find.

The gut-wrenching emotional reaction when my heroine is reunited with her family after being turned to human again—perfect. My heroine wrenching her gut and thighs into a pair of Spanx—gloss over. The overwhelming sexual attraction my characters have for each other—the more real the better. The after effects said sexual attraction running down my heroine’s legs—I don’t think so. There are situations that make you think, Wow, and there are situations that make you think, Ewww. I try to focus on the wow factor.

As a reader I want descriptions about a hero’s strong thighs and muscular chest. I don’t want to know that he has a hairy butt-crack or that he scratches his goodies when he’s watching television. I want to be enthralled when a hero and heroine are making love and exploring each other. I don’t want to see his ejaculation described in teaspoons, ounces, cups, quarts, and need I venture into the ridiculous? Unless my hero is an Elephantorian, from the really big planet of Elephanta, I will never describe any bodily fluid in gallons.

If my hero peels back the lacy black thong, which in our world would slice any real woman in two, I want to read about glistening curls or his burgeoning erection. I don’t want to read about how your heroine is freaking out inside, cursing herself for not taking the mower to her nether region, or how she should have given that thing a good scrub with the washcloth the last time she was in the bathroom. Real is good as long as it’s not too real.

I like a clear defined reaction to a situation from my characters. If my heroine is attacked I want her to kick the villain in snarklies kill him.” What I don’t want is for my characters to act like I would. It’s not uncommon for me to rehash a situation in my mind for hours, even days. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve wasted constructing I should have scenes I’ll never voice.

As a reader I don’t want to slog through ten pages of inner dialogue my character has about cleaning up her husband’s breakfast dishes. Or even two pages about the cable guy not showing up when they said.

I have a friend; we’ll call her Jan. Every few months we go to breakfast. I look forward to it because I get to eat out (which is a favorite past-time of mine), have a morning to myself, and chat with a friend. The problem is that Jan always slides into a two hours diatribe about her husband’s job. I’m okay at first. I politely nod and grunt. But when my biscuits and gravy are gone, there’s nothing left for me to do but listen. It’s hell. I want to throw myself onto my fork hari-kari style, hoping she’ll notice my boredom and change the subject. But she never does. This is my reality, but it doesn’t have to be my reader’s reality. I do them a favor by not getting too real. I figure if I’m not interested in what I’m writing, why would my readers be?

Life can be boring. Relationships can drone on. Sex can be messy. However, in the fantasy world of romance, we owe it to our readers not to get so real we leave Wowtopia and slide into Ickville.

Happy Reading!

Blurb ~

Rell has lived in the Shadow World for thirteen years as a Demon Bane, the formerly vivacious young woman now the demonic enemy of the immortal Bringers. But when she is given the chance to become human again—and a full-powered Bringer—Rell isn’t sure if it’s better to be a demon in the Shadow World or to risk her life for her humanity.

For two years, Siban had been tortured in the Bane prison, only to fall in love with the beautiful demon who helped him escape. Tormented by the thought of never seeing her again, he maintains a life of solitude. So, when Rell’s human body is rescued from the Shadow World, he will do anything to be with her—even if it means challenging death to become a Bringer, too.

But once their Bringer transformations and training are completed, Siban and Rell must join a mission to go deep in the Shadow World to rescue others trapped by the Demon Bane King. And what they discover destroys everything they knew about the Demon Bane. The lovers must learn to trust themselves, each other, and their new powers if they’re going to make it out alive.

Excerpt ~

Chapter One

Siban lifted his chin toward the gray sky and inhaled. Crisp air filled his lungs, clearing his head. The time had come for him to take his place among his people, the Bringers. Past time, actually. They needed him in the fight against the Demon Bane—a fight the Bringers seemed to be losing.

He exhaled and walked to the closest outbuilding. His hand hovered on the cold metal of the door handle, his determination wavering. Could he go through with the ceremony that would finally bring him to full power as a Bringer? Perhaps if he hadn’t seen Luc’s conversion firsthand, hadn’t watched the blade drive into his friend’s chest, and hadn’t felt the life draining from Luc, he wouldn’t feel so anxious now. But there was no turning back. Hopefully he’d be able to control the power that came with being a Bringer Tell. Endowed with the Knowing, he would sense things more strongly. Would know truth from a lie. Saints willing, the darkness that still tainted his soul from his years of imprisonment in the Demon Bane’s Shadow World wouldn’t grow stronger as well.

Chilly wind whipped his hair, bringing with it the smell of fall and the hint of snow. The sky echoed his mood. For a 4 year he’d been dealing with the dark memories of being held captive the only way he knew how—alone. But now he’d found Rell again and she needed him to be strong. He’d been the one to change her mind about being put to death by one of the immortal daggers of the Bringers. As the only weapons that could vanquish a Demon Bane, it was the only way to kill her, but Siban wouldn’t let that happen. For too long he’d grieved the loss of her. Nothing would stop him from helping her survive the healing that would transform her from a Demon Bane back into her human form—and into a Bringer.

Inside the building waited the other full-blooded Bringer warriors, newly transformed and ancient, planning to face down Vile, the Demon Bane’s King, and his efforts to overrun Inness with his Bane. No longer could Siban avoid his destiny—or his past.

He yanked on the door but the wind beat it closed again, as if sensing his apprehension. He pulled again, this time opening it and slipping inside. A cloud of warmth and the smell of lavender and sage enveloped him. All eyes turned toward Siban, the Bringers’ conversation halting. He closed the door behind him and exhaled softly, stilling his urge to turn around and walk back out. Dozens of candles lined the wall and burned on every available surface, lending a calming, golden glow to the room. But the ambiance did very little to reassure him about the impending pain he was about to experience.

“You came.” Rhys Blackwell, his best friend, approached and held out his hand. “I was afraid you’d change your mind.”

For years Rhys had thought he was the only full-blooded Bringer left after his parent’s had been assassinated by Vile. He’d roamed Inness, protecting humans against the Bane and building a small army of mixed-blooded Bringers, those whose bloodlines had been diluted by humans. Thankfully, Rhys had recognized Siban for what he was and had taken him in, even though he was tainted by the Bane’s evil darkness. Since then Siban’s loyalty had never wavered. He gripped Rhys’s forearm in a show of solidarity. “And miss all the fun?”

“My apologies for doubting you.” Rhys laughed and released Siban’s arm. “Come, Gregory has everything prepared.”

Gregory, the King of the Bringers, met Siban halfway, a smile creasing his face and brightening his eyes to the color of liquid silver. “You look like a man facing his own execution.”

“It feels a bit like that, yeah.” Siban scanned the room. Most of the faces he recognized, but there were a few new Bringers he hadn’t been introduced to yet. That could wait until he was through the transformation. Siban nodded and exhaled. “All right then, let’s get this over with.”

“Of course.” Gregory placed a hand on Siban’s shoulder and guided him toward a long wooden slab in the center of the room.

A smaller table had been erected about four feet from where he was to lay. A white sheet covered it. Siban stopped and stared at the form pressed against the cloth. The outline was of a woman—Rell’s human form lying in perfect repose.

“We thought your transformation would be easier if you remembered what you were fighting for,” Ravyn said from beside him.

“Thank you.” He glanced at her. Ravyn watched him with understanding. She’d already gone through the transformation to become a Bringer and understood the risk. He looked back at the body on the table, refraining from voicing the fact that the person on the table was a stranger to him. His Rell was a Demon Bane with smooth green skin, leathery wings, and small delicate horns. He released a heavy breath, pushing aside the dark thought that he might not be able to accept her as a human. It had been the demon who risked so much to help him escape the Shadow World. Would the human female be 6 Boone Brux different from the demon he’d fallen in love with? “I’m ready.”

“Remove your shirt.” Gregory turned to examine the immortal dagger lying on a small table.

Siban slipped his tunic off and handed it to Ravyn. Shivers from the chilled air ghosted across his skin. When Gregory lifted the dagger, Siban’s heart began to pound. I can do this.

Ravyn spread a linen blanket over the wooden slab and placed a small pillow at the head. “Lie down, please.” She patted the table. “I promise we’ll take good care of you.”

Without replying, he slid onto the table and rested his head against the stiff pillow. The blanket did little to cushion the hard wood pressing against his back, though he doubted he would have been able to relax. Unsure where to place his hands, he interlocked his fingers and rested them against his bare abdomen. He shifted his shoulders, trying to find a more comfortable position and ignoring the awkwardness of being everybody’s focus.

Four Bringers he didn’t know approached, each carrying two small sacks. In evenly spaced positions they emptied the contents of the bags onto the table.

Cloves, lavender, and a piney scent rose up around the edge of the table. Siban swallowed and stared at the ceiling. He mentally counted the dark beams above, forcing himself not to watch the Bringers working around him. Another shudder rippled through his body. Three months ago, allowing somebody to cut or stab him would have been unthinkable. The nightmares from his time among the demons still haunted him. He pushed away the dark thoughts, unwilling to give them power over him. After having been tortured with everything from talons to shards of rusty metal while in Vile’s prison, Siban’s consent to be brought to full power was a testament to his devotion to Rell.

It helped that he’d made the choice and that Gregory’s action would be done with gentleness not malice. Still, when the man turned toward Siban bearing the knife, it took all of his self-discipline not to hurl his body from the table and flee the room.

A low, healing chant kindled to Siban’s left. The song flowing around him was one of the most beautiful Siban had ever heard. Clear and pitched surprisingly low, the notes resonated along his body and sent tingles skittering along his skin. Another voice joined the melody, deeper in tone.

The light in the room shifted, altering Siban’s sight. Ribbons of blue and white drifted from the Bringers, encircling them like lace, binding each together. The lyrical composition surrounded him and burrowed under his skin, winding its way to what felt like his soul.

More soft voices mixed with the song, and the light from the ribbons grew stronger, pulsing inside him and creating a halo of light around the table.

Ravyn and Rell’s sister, Jade, joined the circle and each placed their hands on one of his shoulders. When Rhys and Ravyn had brought their friend Luc Le Daun to full power, Siban had held his legs down in a similar manner. Luc had fought them, almost escaping their hold. Siban wondered how Ravyn and Jade expected to keep him restrained if his control broke.

The two women joined the chant and instantly warmth flowed into his body. Streams of light spiraled from their hands and entered his shoulders at the point where they touched. Tension eased from his muscles, the mantra lulling him into a relaxed state. Even when Gregory approached, fear did not grip Siban.

“In death there is life,” Gregory said, circling the blade in front of him in a looping pattern. “In sacrifice, return.” Heat traveled down Siban’s torso and his eyes remained steady on the king. “All barriers destroyed and evil be spurned.” Gregory lowered the knife and laid the blade against Siban’s chest, directly over his heart. Despite the relaxing chant, he couldn’t help but tense when the cold metal touched his skin. “No hindrance remain, from our blood be renewed.” Gregory dragged the edge downward, lacerating Siban with a shallow slice. In an effort not to cry out, he bit down on his lower lip. The metallic taste of blood coated his tongue. “That which was taken, settle in those who Bring true.”

Fire danced along the cut and Siban braced himself, waiting for Gregory to plunge the dagger in his heart as they had done with Luc. Instead of stabbing him, Gregory set the knife between two piles of herbs on the wooden platform and placed his hands next to Ravyn’s. Again the king spoke, but they were words Siban did not understand.

The heat burning along the slice spread across his chest, eating up every inch of Siban’s body. Searing pain ignited his organs as if incinerating him from the inside out. He gasped for breath, but couldn’t inhale as wave after wave of pain gripped him.

The chant around him grew louder and more hands pressed against his legs and arms. His muscles convulsed. It was as if his very soul was being pulled from his body through his chest. He choked against the tightening at his throat. His mouth opened in an effort to suck in air, but none could pass.

The words grew louder and above the unified chant he heard Ravyn’s voice. Separate from the other Redeemers, she spoke the Bringer’s ancient language. Her words demanded and coaxed the darkness from inside him. His vision blurred and his head pounded as the need for air became desperate.

Ravyn placed her hands on his forehead and raised her voice, shouting, “Avec mea!”

From Siban’s throat rose a white vapor. It hovered a foot above his mouth and then descended to cover his face. The sensation of being branded scorched the skin under his lower lip. After a few seconds, the white vapor evaporated completely. Siban gasped, drinking in the cool, perfumed air, and collapsed against the table. All traces of pain and the ribbons of healing light disappeared. The blood pounded in his ears, and his heart raced. He waited, expecting another wave of agony, but none came.

Gregory stared down at him and then smiled. He touched his index finger against the skin directly below Siban’s lower lip. “A Tell.”

The spot burned and Siban flinched away, pressing the back of his hand to the area and trying to numb the sting, knowing he now bore a the single black line of the Tell. “Are you finished?”

“Did you want something more?” Gregory smirked. “Perhaps you would have preferred I plunge the dagger into your heart?”

Siban’s craned his head to look at Ravyn. “Expected, not preferred.”

Ravyn cleared her throat. “It seems actually stabbing somebody in the heart isn’t required to bring a person to full power.”

“That would have been nice to know.” Luc scowled at her and rubbed his chest.

She shrugged. “Sorry. If it’s any consolation, I did it to myself as well.”

Siban struggled to sit up, spreading the herbs along the edge of the table and knocking some of them to the ground. He looked at his chest. A thin red line stretched from his sternum to his left side, but there was no blood. “What was that white smoke? I felt like I was choking.”

“Think of it as a net that encased your powers. Due to generations of Bringers breeding with humans, the Bringer 10 Boone Brux essence within us becomes bound. The ceremony severs that bond.” He pointed to Siban’s cut. “It will be healed by morning and the only evidence of the ceremony will be your Tell mark.” Gregory placed a hand on Siban’s shoulder. “How do you feel?”

How did he feel? It was difficult to put into words. New vitality hummed through his body, as if a million tiny sparks had snapped against his skin, leaving their tingling reminder. Even his head felt clear, unfettered from the nightmares and dark thoughts that had been his constant companion since his imprisonment in the Shadow World. “Better.”

“You are a master of the understated,” Rhys said, handing Siban his shirt.

“Thank you.” Siban slid the tunic over his head and shook his chin-length curls from his eyes. “When will you heal Rell?”

“Tonight.” Gregory placed the dagger back on the table. “That will give you time to rest. She will need all of our strength.”

“I will be there.” Nothing would keep him from Rell’s side.

“Good.” The king faced him. “I don’t foresee her transformation to be as easy as yours.”

“I’ll give her whatever strength I have.” He scooted from the table. His legs quivered, and he grabbed the edge of the wood in an effort not to stumble. Gregory reached for him, but Siban waved him away and straightened. “I’m all right.”

“Then come to the house and eat.” Willa, Rell’s mother, stepped from the shadows. Her white-blond hair glimmered in the candlelight and her eyes sparkled with determination. “We’re all going to need to fortify ourselves if we plan on saving my daughter.”

Though he wasn’t the least bit hungry, under no circumstance would Siban contradict Willa once she’d made a command. The woman was fire and ice mixed into a tiny, unassuming package. He was fairly certain Willa would have gone into the bowels of the Shadow World herself to bring back her daughter’s body if Luc and Jade hadn’t beaten her to it. Such fierce loyalty was a trait he understood and respected. He nodded.

“I am coming, my lady.”

Bio ~

Boone Brux’s writing drips with experiences from real life. Addicted to anything that might make a good story, she weaves tales ranging from dark fantasy to humorous romance. Settled in the icy regions of Alaska with the love of her life and twin daughters, it’s not uncommon to find her tapping away on her iPad on a windy beach or the barren tundra. Be warned, everyone is fodder for one of Boone’s novels.

You can find Boone at:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

You can find CHAIN OF ILLUSIONS at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books

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Today I'm welcoming back author Amy Lee Burgess and she's sharing a top ten list with us! (I love top ten lists!) Take it away, Amy!

~My Favorite Things About Blood Gift ~

Today I have My Favorite Things from the Sound of Music running through my head. (Thanks, Carrie Underwood!) So I decided to share with you ten of my favorite things about my novel, Blood Gift.

1.) Claire, my heroine. She was so hard to write. Not at first when I let her angst and misery out in the form of a snarky mouth and jaded attitude. But then my beta readers came back to say, Wow, she’s…unlikeable. Which – no! Who wants to read 200 pages of a vampire romance where the lead character grates on your nerves? Not me! So it was back to the drawing board. Gone was most of her snark. And her angst. And her misery. Yet she has this horrific back story and I wanted her past to poison her future so when she overcame it, bells would ring, angels would get their wings and happiness would abound. Or something like that. But I didn’t want her to be too spritely and optimistic or she’d be a different person who didn’t need to overcome her past because she’d already be over it.

So, writing Claire was a journey and sometimes I think I am the one who discovered myself, not her.

2.) The setting. London. In the autumn and winter. Cold rain, Knightsbridge all gray and gloomy. The lights of the city reflected in the inky blackness of the Thames at night. Ever since I started reading British murder mysteries when I was young teen, I’ve been in love with London. I’ve been writing vampire novels since the mid-nineties (Blood Gift is the only one I’ve managed to publish) and they all take place in London. Something about London screams vampire to me. The way Claire sees the city at night matters to her. Beauty anchors her and what she sees is as visually stimulating as the blood she consumes.

3.) Andre, my hero. He has one of those smiles that can turn your knees to rubber and change your whole life. He’s complicated, but he doesn’t seem like it at first. He intrigues Claire from the first night she meets him, but he’s her master’s archrival and she’s been forbidden to get to know him. He’s determined to get beneath her skin though, and his courtship is slow and unrelenting.

4.) Blood sex. Does that sound kinky? Vampires are immortal and strong and they have fangs. So why wouldn’t they use all their assets in the bedroom? As Claire observes, sex without blood is like champagne without the bubbles. Biting can be erotic. Blood can be hot. At least between two consenting vampires. Writing the sex scenes for Blood Gift was – interesting. In addition to all the usual mechanics, I got to play around with where they should bite. How hard. And the act of drinking each other’s blood is a powerful exchange which can be used to show trust. Or lack of it.

5.) Vampires in general. I love them. I loved them before they were as popular and prolific as they are today. My take on the vampire is more on the sexy side than monstrous. Sure, they have their flaws and left unchecked considering their immortality, they can become horrible beings. But the potential for good and beautiful is just as strong – and ultimately harder to achieve. I’m an introspective person by nature and I’ve made my vampires the same way. Most of them anyway. Imagine the depths you could discover about yourself if you never aged and never died? If you had the strength of will to continue on when everything around you changes. One of the reasons I made my vampires live in a Circle is to provide continuity in an otherwise rapidly shifting world. Of course, being trapped with some people for eternity could be more torture than comforting, I suppose.

6.) Mind reading and influencing. Claire has special powers the other vampires in the Circle don’t. She can read minds – both mortal and immortal. She can also influence people to do her will. Since Claire is not very sure of herself and her self-esteem is generally in the toilet, she doesn’t do well with this particular power. Immortals prove too difficult to be reliable and what she does with mortals? Well, she helps the ones that remind her of herself and her past. She was abused by both her mother and her boyfriend, so she spends her nights finding abused women and helping them out of their awful situations. She influences them to get out, to leave, and to never look back. If she can find the abuser, she influences him to change – to become a better person, one who doesn’t use his fists. I like that Claire doesn’t walk around and make people do silly things or bad things. She tries so very hard to find a good use for her power.

7.) The Circle mark, Gebo. Gebo is a Nordic rune which means “the gift”. It’s a powerful rune working with the concept of exchange. Every gift is, in essence, an exchange. More than just a present wrapped in pretty paper, it can be an ideal. An emotion. Trust. Giving in. Letting go. Accepting what is offered. Every vampire in the London Circle bears a small black X on their backs which tie them together. Four times a year they must meet with their Circle Master, Oliver, and exchange blood. Some of them hate each other, but they still must exchange or they will lose their grip upon the world and themselves. How they deal with the concept of the gift and the exchange is an integral theme in this novel. (And you thought it was a romance! Okay, it is but there’s more!)

8.) Parker. He’s Claire’s sexy as hell master. In vampire Circles, there are masters and apprentices. This does not equal slavery. Again, working with the concept of Gebo and exchange, masters guide apprentices through the first thirty or so years after Turning. Sometimes they fall in love, sometimes they despise each other. Parker and Claire have an interesting relationship. Parker doesn’t believe in fairy tales. No such thing as true love. It’s all manipulation. Or is it? Parker gets all the best lines in Blood Gift. He’s that sexy guy you love to hate and secretly root for. (And I have a feeling he’ll show up in the next book in the series.)

9.) Andre’s flat in Knightsbridge. I based the home he and Claire share on an actual flat I found online. All the rooms – especially the bathrooms – are described exactly as I saw them. I’m a sucker for spa tubs and rain showers. Vampires don’t age, so Oliver, the Circle Master, has become a pro at real estate. Buying, selling, and flipping. So his vampires aren’t really allowed to feel any sort of permanence in their homes. Yet some of them grow very attached to their flats and their houses. The concept of finding Home is key in the novel and the scene where Claire and Andre decorate a bedroom for her has special fondness for me. He’s trying to give her a home. Will she make one with him?

10.) Music. Although music doesn’t play a huge role in the novel itself, it was instrumental (heh) in actually writing the book. My Pandora stations played Deadmau5, ATB, Kasakde, Armin van Buuren, Massive Attack, Cocteau Twins, Depeche Mode, Recoil and others. Over and over again. When I hear certain songs like Kaskade’s Angel on my Shoulder, I am instantly propelled back into certain scenes.

So these are a few of my favorite things about Blood Gift. I’d love to hear your favorite things. You can email me at amyleeburgess99@gmail.com anytime!

Or catch Amy here:

Blurb ~

When Claire became a vampire, she hoped she could forget her abusive past. But her mentor, the sexy, perfect Parker destroys her dreams of a new start. Soon, Claire devotes her new found psychic powers to helping abused women.

Drawn to the mysterious and handsome Andre, another master in the London Circle and Parker’s archrival, Claire enters into a passionate clandestine affair which causes her powers to ramp out of control. Wild, sensual sex morphs into something deeper and, for Claire, terrifying. Andre soon discovers her abilities and realizes he is her trigger–the one vampire in the world who can help her control her spiraling powers.

Bonding with him requires Claire to trust and accept his love, two things she cannot bring herself to do. The gift of love is something her past won’t allow her to accept. Even so, Andre will have to reach her in time to save her life or stake her when her powers drive her insane.

Excerpt ~

“Claire.” Andre’s voice was heavy with desire. The way he said my name with his slight Irish accent was different from the way everyone else said it. I felt special. Different. As if I mattered.

I turned my head to look at him. He had me pinned to the grass, one hand on either side of my shoulders. I’d locked my ankles so my heels pressed into the small of his back. His eyes were smoldering dark, and my lips parted.

That was all the invitation he needed. The burning shock of his mouth against mine was electric, and I brought my hands up so I could bury my fingers in his soft hair. I had just enough presence of mind to weave a shield of privacy so that mortals didn’t register we were there and avoided walking near.

Andre and I connected like interlocking pieces of a vast puzzle. Our kiss went supernova hot in an instant. I curled my tongue around his, and the whole world froze. Mortals were nearby, but their thoughts abruptly cut out of my head. For all I was aware, Andre and I were the only two beings on earth .

The explosive taste of his blood made me moan. He’d deliberately nicked his tongue on his fang. My own fangs burst from my gums, and I scraped my tongue against one of them. Blood spurted, and it was Andre’s turn to groan. The cold grass beneath my body seemed to disappear as if I floated weightless with only Andre’s kiss to anchor me. Time sputtered and died, and nothing mattered but his hot mouth moving against mine.

“Claire,” Andre said again through the blood in his mouth.

Four golden weeks I’d waited for him to kiss me, and now he was, and it was glorious.

“I’m going to make love to you in the grass if we don’t stop.” He increased the pressure of his lips against the hollow of my throat. “Come home with me, angel.”

“Dre,” I whispered, shaking with fear and desire—I wasn’t sure which was stronger. On fire for him, I didn’t want him to stop touching me. While his body was pressed to mine, we had all the time in the world, but when he moved away, would everything crash? “I’m scared.”

“Of me?” He lifted his head so he could look into my eyes. The night around us was alive with the sound of crickets. Stars wheeled in the sky, and the earth pressed against my back. I was suspended in the universe. Nothing mattered but him.


I touched his cheek with the tip of my finger, traced a line to his sensual mouth. I wanted to kiss him and taste my blood mingled with his. “Of everything. Of this not being real. That this is all a lie like Parker says. That I don’t matter. That nothing matters. That this is a race to see who can hurt the other first.”

He winced as if in pain, and I buried my face in his shoulder. He pulled me tightly into his embrace and rested his forehead against my head. “I won’t hurt you. I swear I won’t.”

Bio ~

Amy Lee Burgess lives and writes in Houston, Texas but her heart belongs to New England – especially in the autumn.

Ruled by two dachshunds and addicted to Irish breakfast tea and the Walking Dead, she loves to write about vampires, wolf shifters, gargoyles and other assorted paranormal creatures. Amy loves to travel to places like London England, Edinburgh, Scotland, Paris France and Providence, Rhode Island where she stalks the coziest Irish pubs she can find.

She writes to trance and house music by candlelight and welcomes email from her readers – especially if they want to talk about the supernatural.

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A moment in time, and a mistake that caused two people irretrievable damage.

Eva McDonald comes home from London to visit her dying father. Knowing that she will see her nemesis she tries to prepare for the inevitable meeting. However the sizzling attraction that ignites with Gabe Fitzgerald has her trying to flee once again.

He knows he made a mistake but will she allow him to rectify it?

Circumstances trap her in Gabe’s house and she will do anything to hide her long held secret from him…the real reason she left him eight years ago.


He stood and walked round the table between them and pulled her into his arms, careful of her ankle he breathed in the warmth of her, his nose buried in the soft skin of her neck and he knew he had done the right thing by telling her. It felt so good to finally relinquish some of the weight from his shoulders the tension inside him ceased. He felt at peace for the first time in years without the burden so heavily etched onto his shoulders.

“You have to tell your brothers,” she whispered against his ear.

His head shot up. “No never, I promised Mom.”

“So you are just gonna continue to take the blame for something you didn’t do?” She gripped his arms tightly and he could see the disbelief on her face.

“I thought you would understand.” His eyes narrowed. “It has nothing to do with blame; it was Mom’s dying wish. I could never and won’t ever tell the others…ever.” His voice was emphatic; he wanted Eva to understand this was between the two of them and no one else.

“I told you because I don’t want there to be any more secrets between us.” He lifted her chin with his fingers sighing. The confusion in those beautiful green eyes broke his heart. Her lips quivered and he sucked in a breath.

“I will not say a word…you can trust me; however, I think you’re wrong. I think you should tell the others, but it’s you’re decision and I will respect it.”

He nodded stroking the corner of her mouth with his thumb. His eyes tried to search for her innermost secrets. “Now I have divulged my innermost secret how about you do the same?”

She pushed him and the sudden pallor of her face shocked him. He pulled her back holding her tightly. She whispered against his chest, “I have no secrets.”

He dropped his hands to her waist lifting her so she was forced to make eye contact with him.

“Look at me, Eva, look at me and tell me that.”

“Gabe, for goodness sake put me down.” She gripped his shoulders and her fingernails dug into his skin through the thin fabric of his shirt.

“I know you’re hiding something, in time I hope you will trust me enough to tell me, as I have trusted you.”

“Honestly, there is nothing.”

Her eyes were level with his and he knew, behind that blank expression, she was hiding something. He knew her too well.

He pulled her closer to him, brushing his lips softly across her closed eyelids. If she couldn’t tell him, he didn’t want to see the sadness in her eyes. His own feelings were tumbling around inside him like an emotional roller coaster. He had revealed a secret he had held close to his heart since that horrendous day not telling a living soul. She had him with the soft scented warmth of her body; every time he got close to her his emotions went haywire. It only happened when he was with her.

Suddenly, he was overwhelmed by her closeness the softness of her body pressed against his. He drew in a harsh breath when her lips parted and the tip of her pink tongue moistened her lips, he lost control. His body was wracked by a shudder as he bent down and her mouth opened under his he groaned when she pushed her tongue into his mouth. Her arms slid around his neck clinging to him as he deepened the kiss.

“Gabe, oh, Gabe.” She moaned as his mouth teased hers.

“God almighty.” He pulled away staring down at her. “I want you so bad; I can’t take it anymore.” With his lips against hers once more he murmured, “Feel me.” She pressed into his hard arousal and his world rocked around him.

He heard a voice near them, it penetrated his brain and he froze.

“I’m all for free love but some of us are too old to think about that now, and you would surely be more comfortable if you weren’t on public display.”

Gabe froze, he lifted his head a centimeter away from her soft trembling lips and mirrored her panting breaths and for the second time that day he’d lost control. Eva’s skin took on a glow of a burning furnace, and he could feel her chest heave against his. Turning his head he focused on an elderly woman with a blaze of white hair who sat at the nearby picnic table with an amused expression on her face.

“Put me down.” Her voice wavered in his ear. For a split second he focused on her glazed eyes as if mesmerised and he shook himself as he gently lowered her. Holding her until her feet touched the ground. Hobbling away from him, she picked up her crutches and returned to the truck.

“You know it would pay you to get a room, not as exciting but much more comfortable.” A titter came from the elderly woman who had interrupted them.

“Yes, ma’am,” he answered. He chuckled following Eva back to the truck.

* * * *

Eva struggled to get back into the truck and was breathing heavily by the time she set her foot on the stool. She was totally embarrassed at once again having lost control, in full view of everyone. She brought her hands up covering her burning face. Mortified at the way she had let him do as he wanted; she hadn’t even tried to stop him.

The man totally confused her, not just with his touch, the way his lips felt on hers. Every time he touched her, her stomach contracted, thighs clenched and the moist pressure throbbed between her legs.

Now he had revealed a secret her heart filled with sadness for him. He had carried it with him for so long and his brothers had no idea—no one did.

When Gabe got in, she turned toward him. He leaned his arms on the steering wheel and laughed.

“I’m glad you find it all so funny,” she chided. “I don’t enjoy being a tourist attraction.” Her face heated up even more and she turned her head to stare out of the window before turning back to him, the intensity of her embarrassment subsided a little when she caught the look on his face.

He turned to her with raised eyebrows, his smile somewhat mischievous.

“You just didn’t get a sex lesson from an old lady with white hair.”

“What do you mean?” She had no idea what he was getting at.

“Well she suggested sex was exciting outside but more comfortable inside,” he said with a chuckle.

“Oh my God, that’s it. Don’t ever bring me back here again.” They looked at each other and burst out laughing.

He reached over touching her lips, parting them with his thumb and she held her breath for a second. “You know it totally scrambles my mind when you kiss me,” he whispered softly.

BIO ~ 

As a young child I loved to write. I always carried a notebook and pen around with me and wrote about everything. It was a dream to become a published author. However sometimes in life our dreams get pushed to one side as mine did. So, dare I say at the young age of fifty I think it is time for me to see if those dreams are everything I hoped they would be…and hey it’s never too late to go and grab that dream!

I have been through many major changes in my working life ranging from a Diana nurse, running my own skin care business, helping with the family run bus company and even hairdressing but my heart as always belonged to putting words on paper and making them come to life.

Recently I managed to get in contact with my best friend from Scotland who I hadn’t seen for over forty years. She lives in America and every year without fail I make the trip over to North Carolina and visit with her and her gorgeous family. This is where I have gained a lot of inspiration for many of my stories. I am lucky that my mum and two sisters live close by and I can say that we are all best friends. I lost my dad four years ago and if it wasn’t for the story I wrote after his death where I came second in a competition I probably wouldn’t have started writing with a view to publication.

I am living my lifelong dream of becoming an author something which I never imagined happening. If I had to give any advice to an un-published author it would be ‘Never give up the dream’ because I never did…

You can find Dilys at: 

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

You can find ONE NIGHT, ONE MISTAKE at:


To get the word out about the newest release in my ROCKING ROMANCE COLLECTION, BETWEEN ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, I've again taken to cyberspace! So come touring with me. I've saved you the best seat in the house. ;) And be sure to enter my Rafflecopter giveaway!

Sunday, December 8th - Cherie Marks' blog

Monday, December 9th - Galen Rose's blog

Tuesday, December 10th - Lilian Roberts' blog

Wednesday, December 11th - Petit Fours and Hot Tamales

Friday, December 13th - Man Writing a Romance http://manwritingaromance.blogspot.com/

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Happy to have author Natalie DamSchroder with us today sharing her...

10 Do’s and Don’ts When on a Not-Entirely-Legal Quest for Revenge

1. Don’t say yes when the chief of police asks you to a movie.

2. Do use your ability to control electricity to short out alarm systems when you’re breaking into houses looking for information that might lead you to the guy who tried to kill you.

3. Don’t get overexcited and follow a lead into a situation with dire consequences.

4. Do take control of the situation when avoiding those dire consequences could mean even more dire consequences.

5. Don’t forget to turn your cell phone off when you’re hiding from the bad guys.

6. Do listen to your smart, experienced, well-paid PI, especially when he’s also a friend and even if his default setting is to protect you from yourself.

7. Don’t fry that PI/friend/protector when he dares to kiss you, and if you have no control and it happens anyway, make sure the chief of police isn’t outside your room in the ER, overhearing proof that you lied to him.

8. Do find motivation to overcome your greatest fear and embark on the endgame, because it’s totally lame to fizzle out (pun intended) that close to the finish line.

9. Don’t lose faith in yourself.

10. Do take satisfaction in your success.

Blurb ~

Marriage is completely over-rated, especially after Reese Templeton’s quadratic failure. She’d rather settle down to a solitary life of owning a bakery—after she tracks down the man responsible for her husband’s death and making her a human Taser full of enough electricity to short out a city block or send a man into cardiac arrest with just one kiss.

But alluring P.I. Griffin Chase is stirring up those feelings of need again. Only this time, her desire to be in his arms has nothing to do with her fear of loneliness and everything to do with the current charging through her body every time he looks at her…touches her.

Griffin hasn’t remained at Reese’s side just because of the spark that has nothing to do with her super-human talents. He’s willing to compromise his rock-solid principles so she can find closure. But before they can move on, he must help her catch her late husband’s killer, staying on track before she has a chance to exact her revenge. Because leading Reese to jail in handcuffs may just break his heart for the final time.

Excerpt ~

Griff smiled, and Reese’s stomach did a whole flippin’ somersault.

“I had meetings at the office in Boston and was headed back to DC. I thought I’d stop in and see how you’re doing.”

She grabbed a towel to wipe off her ice-cream-sticky hands. “Crestview is not on the way to DC from Boston.”

He shrugged and pointed at the butter croissants in the bakery display case. “Close enough.”

With a pair of tongs, she selected the biggest croissant and put it on a plate. “Coffee?”

“Of course.” He leaned against the counter and folded his arms. “You have anything for me to check out?”

She shook her head. “Not at the moment.”

“What about him?” He jerked his head toward the sidewalk outside, where Andrew Laine stood talking to the couple who owned the hardware store. “He giving you any trouble?”

“Not anymore. I told him I was married.”

She cursed herself as soon as the words were out of her mouth. Griff’s gray-blue eyes darkened, his rock-solid chin tightening. He’d obviously meant “trouble” because of Reese breaking the law, not because the chief of police had asked her out.

“You’re not thinking—”

“No!” She grabbed the towel again and swept it over the few crumbs and coffee drips on the counter, scrubbing vigorously at one dried spot. “I didn’t want to shove him too far away, that’s all. As long as he had an interest, I could keep track of what he knew.” Even if it kept her on edge and fried her equipment. “Anyway, he knows now. It’s fine. You don’t have to worry.”

“You pay me to worry.”

That wasn’t strictly true. Griff was co-owner of a multi-city private detective firm. He ran Chase Investigations in Washington, DC, where Reese had lived before the plane crash. Reese had hired him to help her track down clues about whoever had tried to kill her. But they’d become friends. He’d helped her through physical therapy, been a sounding board while she dealt with her new reality, and was the only person on earth who knew what that lightning strike had done to her body.

“I’m paying you to do research,” she reminded him. “You choose to worry.”

He grinned and shook back his shaggy dark-blond hair. “You make it hard not to.”

Another group came in, and he retreated to a table with his breakfast. Reese saw Kimmie eyeing him, and the young woman flushed at his greeting. Reese couldn’t blame her. He had the classic “hunk” build, with a broad chest, narrow waist, and shoulders shown off by a tight gray T-shirt. His gray-blue eyes were nothing special at first glance, but they sparkled at everyone and made his charming smile even brighter. No doubt that smile was what pinned Kimmie in place now, wearing a slightly stunned expression.

Reese wasn’t immune, but her friendship with Griff had become one of the most important things in her life. It was something she’d never had before, and she was going to treasure it as long as it lasted.

Bio ~

Natalie J. Damschroder is an award-winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance—Love with a Shot of Adrenaline. She sold her first book in 1999, and 2014 will see the publication of her 15th novel. She grew up in Massachusetts and loves the New England Patriots more than anything. (Except her family. And writing and reading. And popcorn.) When she’s not writing, revising, proofreading, or promoting her work, she does freelance editing and works part time as a chiropractic assistant. She and her husband have two daughters she’s dubbed “the anti-teenagers,” one of whom is also a novelist. (The other one prefers math. Smart kid. Practical.) You can learn more about her and her books at www.nataliedamschroder.com.

You can find Natalie at:

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You can find A KISS OF REVENGE at:


Reese Templeton can draw power wherever she is…and now you can, too! Win this portable battery and charge any USB mobile device on the go.

iFrogz GoLite – 2600 mAh Battery and Flashlight

Winner may choose the color. Subject to availability; comparable substitution to be made if necessary. Shipping in U.S. only. International entries acceptable; non-U.S. winner will receive alternate prize, to be discussed).

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Today I am featuring a three book boxed set ~ THE BILLIONAIRE BUNDLE!

BlurbS ~

The Boss and her Billionaire – Michele De Winton

Investment billionaire Dylan Johns always gets what he wants. He is used to giving orders—not taking them—until he’s forced to go on hiatus from his investment company. To bide his time and carry out an old dream, he takes a job on a cruise ship—and ends up taking orders from his gorgeous, but frigid, new boss. He is determined to loosen her up with a fun onboard romance, but their no-strings fling turns serious and Dylan is forced to confess his lies. When the affair threatens to shatter Michaela’s own career dreams, she finds herself caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire – Nina Croft

Olivia Brent is happy with her quiet life in the country, until the loss of her home forces her to search for her estranged father. When she meets the stunningly gorgeous and enigmatic billionaire Luc Severino, her world is turned upside down. Jimmy Brent’s daughter was the last person Luc ever wanted to be with, but she’s the key to finding her father, the man Luc has wanted revenge on for over ten years. He’s willing to use any methods available, including blackmail, to persuade Olivia to help him find Jimmy and put the past behind him. And if blackmail doesn’t gain her total cooperation, then perhaps a little seduction will…

The Spanish Billionaire’s Hired Bride – Rachel Lyndhurst

Blackmailed to marry against his will, Ricardo Almanza needs a wife before he’s thirty, and time is running out. Helen Marshall can’t believe she’s considering Almanza’s outrageous proposal, but she must help clear her parents’ debts or they face financial ruin. The small print on the marriage contract changes to read three months as his wife in every way—including in the bedroom. Has she gotten in too deep, or will she need a new contract addendum, extending their marriage forever?

Excerpts ~


“Like I said, I don’t do holidays. If I’d had to sit around and read a book for this long, I already would have gone crazy.”

Dylan smiled at her, a coronary-inducing, thigh-quivering smile. She wanted to throw herself at him, but he stood up. “So, ready for some fun?”

He’d said it again. Fun. Of course. For a moment, she thought he was going to say something different. That there might be something more between them than a bit of fun. But no, fun was just what she needed. At least for now.

“Can we start again?” she asked.

Dylan’s smile was delicious—the green of both ocean and forest in his eyes, and the heat in their depths sparkled. “To fun?” he asked and held out his hand.

“Fun,” she said, taking it, her heart racing.

“Now, about that snorkeling,” he said. “Race you to change?”

Michaela wondered at what his definition of fun might be. As she changed into her pale blue bikini in the luxurious bathroom, her skin tingled, and when she emerged she felt Dylan’s gaze as if his eyes had physically stroked her.

Dylan swam over beside her and lay floating on his back. She couldn’t help herself—she ran a hand down his smooth chest. The warm ocean water made his skin silky. She glanced at his face and caught him looking at her, a hot smile on his lips. His hand reached for hers as his feet found the ocean floor, and he pulled her fingers to his mouth.

“Sorry,” she said.

He frowned. “Sorry for the debacle on the ship, or sorry that you’re going to deny me again?”

“No. Yes. Sorry for before, but—” She lowered her eyes. “—could we pretend we really are starting again? And, you know, take everything a little slow?” At least that way she might be able to retain a modicum of control.

“I don’t recall taking anything slowly to start with,” he teased. “But I can try and be slower this time. Although don’t blame me if you’re the one begging me to up the tempo.” Slowly, very slowly, he stroked her chin, turning her face up toward his. The kiss was gentle, a mere breath, and she raised her arms to wrap around his shoulders as he pulled his lips away. Dylan’s arms encircled her waist in return, and they stood, gently buffeted by the movement of the water for just a moment.

Oh, man, having fun tasted really good. As one, their heads moved together again. This kiss was luxurious, a deep, easy hello with a hint of the spice that was to follow. When she surfaced, Michaela looked into Dylan’s eyes and smiled. Hello, indeed. As she unwrapped herself from him and went to dive back under the water, he stopped her, his hands firm on her bare stomach. Kiss me, kiss me again.


She was getting fanciful. Luc hadn’t brought her here to pounce; he’d brought her here to discuss a job…she hoped.

“Drink?” he asked.

It probably wasn’t a good idea. In fact, it was probably a terrible one, but then what was one more bad idea? She nodded.

“What would you like?”

“Anything. Whatever you’re having.”

He poured two glasses of golden liquid and handed her one. Taking it, she brought it up to her nose, and sniffed.

“What is it?”

“Scotch,” he said. “Quite safe.” He watched, amused, as she swallowed the contents of the glass in one go. “Well, in small quantities.” He took her glass and poured her another. Instead of handing it to her, he placed it on the coffee table in front of the sofa, then sank onto the black leather and patted the seat next to him.

Lia hesitated for a moment; she was starting to feel quite warm, and decided it was probably safe to remove her jacket. She took it off and placed it carefully on top of Luc’s then came around and sat down next to him. He studied her for a few minutes, then he smiled, and suddenly she didn’t feel quite so safe anymore.

“Why do you think I brought you here tonight, Lia?” His voice was dark and smoky, full of sensual promise, and Lia quivered under the onslaught of it against her battered senses. She felt totally off-balance—safe one minute, hovering on the edge of something terrifying the next. The truth was, she didn’t know why he’d brought her here. Or why he’d helped her out at the club. So she clung to what she did know.

“To talk about my job?” she suggested hopefully.

“There’s a job for you here, whatever else happens, though I can’t promise you glamour and excitement.” He slanted her a heavy-lidded look from those stunning eyes. “Well, not in the job anyway.”

She licked dry lips, and knew his eyes followed the movement. “Whatever else happens?”

“I want you to know that the job is separate and not dependent on you sleeping with me.”

Lia had been in the process of taking a restorative sip of her Scotch, and she almost choked. “Sleeping?”

“Well, probably not sleeping.” He gave her a long considering look. “You know I find you very attractive?”

Lia shook her head. No, to be perfectly honest, it hadn’t even occurred to her. Things like this didn’t happen to her. Kelly told her it was because she positively exuded keep-off vibes in the presence of men. She risked another quick glance and found him still watching her, his eyes deceptively sleepy.

“And I think the feeling is mutual. You want me, don’t you, Lia?” His voice was all dark seduction, oozing softly against her ears, sending quivers down her rigid spine.

Her mind went blank, and then started working double speed. Yes, of course, she had wondered about this man—what woman wouldn’t? He was the most gorgeous male specimen she’d ever encountered. He was probably going to feature in every single one of her sexual fantasies from this day forward, but all the same, she hadn’t considered anything happening between the two of them.

But why not?

While she’d never had a one-night anything before, she’d had boyfriends. Well, boyfriend, singular. They’d split up after Joe had complained that she spent more time with the horses than she did with him. He’d given her an ultimatum, and told her it was him or the horses. There’d been no competition. The sex had been okay, but not enough to change her priorities. That was two years ago, and she hadn’t been tempted since.

Until now.


“So you’ve come to your senses.” Ricardo lounged in an armchair on his stepmother’s terrace, his long legs stretched out in the sun. “I thought you’d put up some resistance for a day or two, but I’m pleasantly surprised that you’ve come round to my idea so quickly.”

Helen calmly picked up the glassware on the table and loaded it onto a tray. She was grateful there was no way he could hear how hard her heart was beating. “You’re assuming I came out here specifically to see you and not just to clear away the remains of last night’s cocktail party. Some might call that arrogance.”

He looked up from his newspaper and smiled coldly. “Do I assume correctly? Or is it time to start turning the screw a little? If I was sensible I’d start reducing the fee by a hundred thousand for each day you make me wait.”

She put the tray down on the table. “I wouldn’t risk it, Ricardo. You might end up looking a bit silly.”

“Might I? How so?”

“Because the fee has gone up. I want two million, and I’d like half of it paid up front within five days.”

He was silent, and his stern tiger-eye gaze flashed dangerously until she was forced to turn away. Clasping her hands tightly under her armpits, she stared out over the balcony at the panoramic view of Ibiza town below. A blistering heat haze shimmered over the rooftops and the piercing blue sea made her squint. “Cat got your tongue?” She felt like sandpaper was lining her mouth.

“Not only has she got my tongue, she seems to be after all the cream as well. What a greedy girl you’re turning out to be.”

“Well, I figure that if I have to marry you, I might as well make it worth my while. I doubt if it will be an experience I’ll want to repeat. In that way I’m a lot Llike you, a loveless marriage isn’t something that’s ever interested me.” Helen could hardly believe what she was saying. “So we can be quite business-like about the whole thing. I will marry you, in three months it will be annulled, and I will disappear from your life forever.”

“Not quite.” His chair scraped back and within seconds she felt his presence close behind her. “You doubled the price. So the small print changes.”

She suppressed a shiver. “Meaning?”

“For two million, I want more. A lot more. There will be no annulment. The only way our marriage will end is in divorce.” She felt his large palms close around her shoulders, and a finger began to stroke the soft flesh on the side of her neck. “My inflated ego could never stand the public humiliation of an annulment. Our union will be consummated.”


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Bios ~

Michele De Winton

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Michele was born in the mid 1970’s amid a burgeoning sprawl of vineyards and new retirement homes. With two teachers as parents, her love of reading and books was cemented at an early age. Being a writer however, was not was she was supposed to do when she ‘grew up’. Despite training in law (or perhaps because of it) she has been a dancer, producer, writer, and all round arty type in various countries for most of her life.

Moving into writing full time in 2010 was like being a part of a contemporary romance – perfect! Creating new worlds for her characters, or rather letting those same characters show her their worlds is now a highlight of Michele’s daily life. And falling in love over and over as each hero and heroine allow their true feelings to surface is something very special. What a treat to do it every day! Now back home in New Zealand after travelling extensively, Michele writes from an office where the sound of the tapping keyboard is only rivalled by the whisper of wind in the trees.

Nina Croft

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I grew up in the north of England, and after training as an accountant, I spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left me with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. I then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but have now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds.

I share the farm with my husband, four dogs, three cats, a horse, two goats, a three-legged Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, and a handful of chickens. It’s a perfect place to indulge my two great passions, reading and writing.

I write lots of different things, but mainly paranormal and science-fiction, usually with a strong element of romance.

Rachel Lyndhurst

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Rachel now writes full-time when her children are at school, but is still proud of her law degree and accountancy qualifications. She has worked in the space industry, pharmaceuticals, insurance, a supermarket, a bus station, a railway depot, and a lingerie department.

She lives with her daughter, son and The Exec in Fareham, Hampshire, on the south coast of England and can sometimes smell the sea from her back garden. When not working, her hobbies include rummaging through antique shops and she also has a fondness for wine and expensive lipstick.

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