Monday, July 18, 2016

Except From "Siren of the Sea" by Tamora Rose

Scheduled to be released on August 1st, 2016, Siren of the Sea is the second historical romance written by emerging author Tamora Rose. Currently available for preorder, this novel is set in England during the reign of King John. Nimue, only legitimate child of the powerful Earl of Richford, is forced into a marriage not of her choosing. When her brutal husband is accidentally killed, she flees her childhood home to search for a new life. It will be available in most ebook formats, including Nook, Kobo, and Kindle.

Read on for an excerpt from the book:

Nimue took five steps inside the massive chamber, stopping once Asher’s hand no longer rode the small of her back. While he closed the door with a quiet click, she took the opportunity to look around the chamber they would share this night.

Despite the luxury of Cliffside, this room was unassuming. Comfortable, but unassuming. There were plush carpets in muted colors, comfortable chairs that managed to be both handsome and practical, and silk bedding in deep blues and greens. There were three great windows, each with glass to protect from the elements, and two of the windows had cushioned benches built into the castle itself. Two great wardrobes lined one wall and a small door led to some inner chamber. Her curiosity was instantly aroused.

“Where does that door go?” she asked as Asher came up behind her.

He chuckled and led her to it. Thrusting it open, he let her precede him. When she stopped, he gave her a little push until she was out of the doorway.

Nimue barely noticed. Instead it was this room that had captured her attention. It was tiled from floor to ceiling with tall candles burning to illuminate the space. One horizontal row of tiles had tiny pictures painted on them. There were benches along the wall, also tiled, and a sunken bathing tub built into the floor. It was large enough to swim across in several strokes, which was exciting for someone who loved the water as much as she did. Steam rose from the water, but there wasn’t another door to indicate servants had recently escaped. All Nimue could do was blink at the unexpected sight.

“It’s a bathing chamber,” Asher explained as he pulled her back against him. “Modeled after the old Roman baths. The water is kept warm by a series of pipes beneath the tub. We’ll bathe here, together, every morning.”

She wasn’t sure she wanted to do that, but the chance to slip into the expansive tub might prove too much to resist. So it was with some reluctance that she followed Asher back into the bedchamber when he took her arm.

The first thing she saw was the bed. That was where they would soon be. Together. Her breath came in short gasps as memories flooded her. The last time she’d been abed with a man—

Strong arms spun her around until her back was to the bed. “Don’t think about him,” Asher demanded, green eyes flashing.

“It’s…hard.” Impossible, really. “Please, my lord…if we could wait…I would like to wait. Please?”

Her pleas touched him, but still he shook his head and pulled her closer. This wouldn’t be any easier on her if they put it off until tomorrow, or next week, or even next month. She was his wife and he would not let her fears keep him from her bed. But, in deference to her past experiences with men, he resolved to go slow, to be gentle with her. He’d had virgins before, and experienced women, but he’d never tried to seduce a woman who had had rather violent sexual experiences. It was uncharted territory for him, so slow was just as much for his benefit as hers. He’d have to find his footing with her.

Talking seemed the place to start. “I won’t hurt you,” he promised as he moved his hands up and down her arms. “Just trust me. And relax. You’re tense as a bowstring.”

Nimue let out a harsh laugh. He was right, she was tense. And trembling. And not ready for what he would do to her. But since he wouldn’t wait…

Asher saw her mind churning and sought to distract her before memories of her first husband could truly overwhelm her. His lips found her forehead, then kissed down along her temple until he tasted her jaw. She hadn’t moved, hadn’t relaxed, but at least she wasn’t fighting him. And when his lips met hers, she didn’t whimper or pull away. He did have to coax her lips apart, but that was far easier than he’d expected it to be. She even sighed as he explored the depths of her mouth. A promising start.

Nimue leaned into him, trying to banish her fears. She did like being kissed. If he would only kiss her, and not do those other things, she would be more than happy to be his wife. His mouth moving over hers was…nice. Nice enough that she raised herself up on her toes to get closer…

Only to have his break their kiss and look into her eyes. “I’m going to pick you up,” he warned. Then he reached down and lifted her gently into his arms.

Grateful for the warning, she wrapped her arms around his neck and glanced over her shoulder at the expansive bed. She didn’t want to go, but she knew that was where they were heading. So it came as some surprise when he took her to the blazing fire instead.

Asher grinned at the shock on her face. “I thought perhaps you were not ready for the bed.” He sat in the largest of the chairs and placed her on his lap.

“Thank you,” she said with all earnestness. She wasn’t sure she could bear to be in bed with a man. In a chair…maybe that wasn’t so bad. Especially if he would kiss her again.

But instead he reached for her gown. “You have far too many clothes on.”

Nimue went still as his fingers found the laces of her gown. He moved slowly, deliberately, trying not to frighten her, but Nimue still gave a little sob.

“Easy,” he whispered against her ear, nibbling just a little as he revealed the soft shift beneath her silken gown.

Afraid, Nimue tried to cover herself, but Asher was insistent. He peeled the gown down her arms and over her hips until he could toss the silk confection to the ground.

“I should hang it up,” Nimue protested, and not just to avoid his touch. It was such a lovely gown and deserved better treatment.

“Later,” Asher murmured as he went after her slippers. When they had dropped to the floor, he slid his hand up her leg, intent on snagging her stockings.

But Nimue was having none of it. As soon as his hand passed her knee, she kicked her legs and whimpered. Asher immediately removed his hand.

“Hush,” he urged, cupping her face. “Nothing I do will hurt.”

Every inch of her tiny body shook as she gasped, “Promise?”

He chuckled as his lips brushed hers. “If anything hurts, I’ll stop. I swear it.”

Hope blossomed. “You will?”

“It will probably kill me,” he grinned, already in dire straits, “but I promise. I will stop. But you have to relax and trust me. Now, I’m going to take off those stockings. Hold still.”

His voice was gentle, but it held a note of command she was afraid to disobey. When his hand returned to her thigh, she barely moved, but she did clamp her thighs firmly together. Which effectively trapped the stockings he was trying to remove.

“Open up, sweetheart.” When she didn’t, he traced a finger over her joined thighs. And when that didn’t work, his finger found its way to the curly strands protecting her most secret place.

She whimpered under his ministrations, but he didn’t stop. He felt a little guilty, taking advantage of her fear, but she had to learn to relax and obey. That would only happen if he persisted.

“Open,” he repeated with a little more force.

Another whimper, but she did as she was told. With a final tug on her maiden’s hair he moved his hand, removing first one stocking, then the other. Once she was clad in just her shift, he smiled down at her, taking note of her fiery face.

“Now we can get started.” He let a little satisfaction creep into his tone as he ran a hand over her dark hair.

Nimue regarded him with suspicious confusion. “We’ve already started,” she protested. He’d had his hand between her thighs! Her blush deepened as she thought about it.

Her husband chuckled. “All I’ve done is undress you, and I haven’t even finished that small task. Lean back, sweetheart, and trust me.”

Trust him? How could she? But she did lean back as he had instructed. A little uncomfortable, she shifted about on his lap until she was on her back and nestled in his arms. Her position displayed her barely-clad breasts and made it difficult to keep her thighs together, but he seemed satisfied.

When he leaned over her and brought his lips to hers, she tensed and whimpered.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Excerpt from "The Night's Caress" by Tamora Rose

Released in late 2015, The Night's Caress is the first book in the Fallen Romance series. It is a contemporary fantastical romance starring a college student intent on proving vampires are as real as they are mysterious. She's so determined to reveal their presence to the world that she soon finds herself in well over her head even as she falls for the ancient creature who saved her life. The Night's Caress is available in most ebook formats (including Nook, Kobo, and Kindle) as well as in paperback.

Read on for an excerpt from the book:

The cool green on the walls and the bright blue on the bed were both immediately more welcoming than the stark white of the kitchen. Mallory felt herself relaxing as Victor closed the door behind them. Of course, that might have been the wine. She took another sip, pleased with the way it warmed her belly.

“Make yourself comfortable,” Victor whispered in her ear. “I have to wash off the sunblock. It won’t take more than a few minutes.”

He put his wine and the bottle on the bedside table and disappeared into the bathroom, leaving Mallory to her own devices. The sound of running water came through the door, distant and indistinct. Mallory, for lack of anything better to do, wandered over to the window.

This was all new to her. Should she undress? They were going to have sex and they couldn’t do that with clothes on. There were just two problems. The first was hers. She just wasn’t comfortable naked. Even in her own apartment she always had clothes on. Always. She usually changed in the bathroom because she was so uncomfortable without clothes. Undressing and slipping beneath the covers…she didn’t think she could do it.

The second problem was related to the man she was about to sleep with. He was old. Two thousand years old. A little more than that, actually. He’d lived through many eras, most of which had the woman as submissive to the man. Perhaps he wouldn’t appreciate a woman who was too forward. Maybe he wouldn’t appreciate finding a naked woman in his bed.

That was stupid. What kind of man—human or vampire—wouldn’t want a naked woman in his bed? Unless he was gay. But Victor was surely not gay or she wouldn’t be here.

Maybe she was overthinking this. Making a decision, she kicked off her saddles, put her glass on the table near the windows, and sat on the bench at the foot of the bed. A compromise. Near the bed but not on it. Shoes off but not naked. Best of all worlds.

She was just getting comfortable when the bathroom door opened. Victor strolled back into the bedroom, naked from the waist up. He was still wearing the black jeans, but he’d removed his shoes and socks. On bare feet he came towards her, not making a sound on the silver carpet. He was beautiful and sexy and…hot, she realized. If she was going to lose her virginity, a totally hot vampire was not a bad choice for her first lover.

Her face flushed as he sat beside her and ran a knuckle across her cheek. When his lips touched hers, a bolt of electricity ran from her lips to her groin. Arousal was instant, so she raised her arms to pull him closer. Just when she felt his fangs press against her lips, he pulled back. Mallory groaned in frustration.

“Your eyes are truly green when you wear that shirt,” he whispered, lips brushing over her eyelids.

Mallory could barely get the breath to speak. “I know. Otherwise they’re a boring hazel.”

“Hazel, maybe.” His lips moved to her ear. “But never boring.”

Fangs trailed down her neck, arousing and frightening her all at the same time. She trembled but didn’t stop him. She’d already decided to let him do this. She would let him do this.

When he drew back to look at her, she nearly sagged in relief even as she trembled with desire.

“Hush,” he murmured against her lips. “I won’t bite. Not yet, anyway.”

That made her laugh, which only heightened her arousal.

“Now,” he continued, “the ground rules.”

“What rules?” She didn’t want to hear his rules. Not when her body was singing with need.

“Mallory, listen to me.” He stopped kissing her, waiting until those vibrant eyes were focused on him before he said what needed to be said. “I am a predator.”

“I know.”

But he shook his head. “You don’t understand. A predator searches for prey and kills it. I need you not to behave as if you are prey.”

There was a note if warning in his voice that made her take note of his words. “What do you mean?”

“If you become frightened, do not act it.” Catching her eyes with his, he tried to make her understand. “If you push against me, or scream, or do anything prey might do, my baser nature may take over. If you want me to stop, say the word and I will. But do not whimper or flee.”

Mallory didn’t believe he’d hurt her, but she nodded anyway. “Don’t push you away. But what about pulling you closer?”

Surprise registered in his eyes before she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled his head down to hers. Wanting to be closer still, she squirmed toward him until he lifted her onto his lap as his lips ravaged hers. Mallory felt a prick of pain as one of his fangs scratched her.

“Sorry,” he breathed against her cheek.

Mallory gifted him with a faltering smile. “I expected to shed a little blood if we were going to…you know.”

His hand moved to work at the buttons of her blouse. “If you can do it, you should be able to say it.”

He was right, she realized. She was nearly twenty-two, hardly a child anymore. If she could sit in a vampire’s lap, fully prepared to have sex with him, she should at least be able to utter the word.

“Say it,” he demanded as he tugged the blouse out of her skirt.

The green satin was sliding off her shoulders before she whispered, “Have sex.”

Now all that stood between his hands and her bare flesh was her embroidered green bra. She expected him to remove it, but instead he brought his lips back to her ear.

“I want to know if the panties match.”

Before she could answer him, she found herself standing in front of him. His expert fingers unzipped her skirt and it promptly fell to the floor. Standing before him in nothing but her underwear, Mallory couldn’t help but blush. She was just glad everything matched.

“Very pretty,” he murmured, leaning in to kiss her navel.

Pleasure shot through her body as his tongue explored her belly. She wrapped her arms around his head, pulling him closer as she moaned from pure sexual excitement. So caught up in desire was she that she barely noticed when his fangs nicked her skin. Barely.

Glancing down, she saw two scratches on her stomach, one on either side of her bellybutton.
“That one wasn’t an accident,” she stated.

“No.” Victor drew his tongue around her navel, catching the droplets of blood that had appeared on her skin. “This one was very deliberate.”

His tongue played about the wound, drawing little gasps of pleasure from Mallory’s throat. She held on to his head, praying he’d never stop.

But eventually he did pull away, gazing up at her with just a hint of blood on his lips. He stood so quickly she barely saw him move, but she certainly felt it when he pulled her against his chest.

“Last chance to walk away,” he growled. “This is the point of no return.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” she promised as she snuggled into the warmth of his chest.

Letting out a satisfied chuckle, Victor swept her into his arms and headed for the bed.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Excerpt From "Child of the Wind" by Tamora Rose

Just released in September of 2015, Child of the Wind the first historical romance by new author Tamora Rose. Follow the adventures of Canace, a young Scottish lass, as she learns about her parentage, falls in love with an arrogant aristocrat, and faces the demons of her past. Child of the Wind is currently available in most ebook formats (including Nook, Kobo, and Kindle) and will soon be available in paperback.

Read on for an excerpt from the book:

Canace carried on an animated conversation with Edward, laughing gently at something he’d just said. Truthfully, she wasn’t really listening. Instead her focus was on Jett, though no one in the room, not even Duncan, would be able to tell. She was aware of Jett’s eyes on her, following her every movement. He frowned when she touched the back of his brother’s hand and tried to catch her attention, but she tactfully ignored him.

This was going better than expected. Canace had decided that if she had to marry the man, she would do so on her terms, not his. He didn’t deserve her, he didn’t deserve her money, and he didn’t deserve the title she would bring him. If he wanted her or anything that came with her, she was going to make him work for it. Make him earn it. The only real question she faced was how to accomplish this.

Make him come to her, of course. And to do so, she’d treat him the way she sometimes treated Bentley. When Bentley was truly irritating, she ignored him. After a while, he always came around, submitting to her because it was better than being ignored indefinitely. Jett might be a man, but no one liked being ignored. So far, it seemed to be working to her advantage.

Jett cleared his throat. Canace ignored him, turning instead to answer a question the duke had just directed at her.

“I was feeling unwell,” she explained. “Something didn’t quite agree with me, I’m afraid.”

Edward practically choked on his wine at her words. Glancing at him askance, she wondered again what he knew. Throughout the meal he’d said or done things to indicate he might know something about the spat between her and his brother. It was possible Jett had told Edward something of their disagreement, but if that was the case, Edward hadn’t told his parents. For that, at least, she was grateful.

“But you’re better now, are you not?” the duchess asked.

Canace nodded. “Of course, Your Grace. I feel much improved.”

“Enough of that, my dear.” Rosemary almost shook her finger at the girl. “It’s ‘Rosemary’ to you.”

“I apologize. I’d forgotten.” And she had. A flush warmed her cheeks.

Across the table Nora claimed her attention. “If you’re feeling up to it, would you ride with us tomorrow, Canace? Edward and I usually ride in the early afternoon, if you’re amenable.”

A genuine smile lit her face as Canace nodded eagerly. Not only did she love riding, but she quite liked Edward’s wife. She had yet to meet their son and daughter, but the mother was sweet enough.

That gave her an idea. “Perhaps your children should join us,” she suggested.

Nora’s eyes sparkled. “I’d like that. If Edward doesn’t mind, of course.” Her gaze moved to his.

“Of course I don’t mind.” He raised his wife’s hand to his mouth and dropped a quick kiss on her knuckles. “They would love to meet their new aunt.”

Canace almost snapped at him, almost insisted she wasn’t their aunt, but she stopped herself in time. This was not the time to be shrewish, not with the duke and his entire family before her. She caught Duncan’s eye and saw the amusement reflected there. He had been sure she’d react, but she deliberately nodded and turned back to Nora.

“And I’d love to meet them.”

“Then it’s settled.” Nora smiled at her brother-in-law. “And you, Jett, must join us, of course.”

Still smiling, Canace grit her teeth. Jett was supposed to ask if he could tag along, not be invited by the all-too-sweet Nora. It was too late to do anything about it, but she’d have to look for another opportunity to force Jett to chase her. She was already starting to tire of this little game.

Jett smiled and agreed. She resisted the urge to throw something at him. Duncan frowned at her, reminding her that she had indeed promised to give Jett a chance. A chance to what? Prove that he didn’t like her? Prove that he wanted to control her? He’d already proven all that. But she was supposed to give him another chance, to act like a lady even when she wanted to hit him. With a sigh, she continued to play her part, but she quickly came to despise it.

It was almost a relief when Jett asked if she’d play chess with him. He even went so far as to claim he needed to salvage his pride by either winning or discovering she was indeed the better player. She agreed to play, but only because she wanted to leave the duke’s table.

Jett led her to the nearby parlor where they’d played on her first night here. She remembered that game, remembered Duncan’s advice, and decided she just couldn’t do it. She couldn’t let him win. It wasn’t in her nature. Biting her lip, she hesitated before moving her first piece.

“Can I ask you a question, my lord?” she asked, hand hesitating over her pawn.

“Of course.” He settled back in his chair to watch her.

Canace dropped her hand. “The other night…Duncan says I should have let you win, but I don’t want to do that. Can I truly play, or should I just let you win?”

His eyes flashed, but he managed to keep his voice low and measured. “I’d be offended if you did. I don’t want you to let me win, Canace. If I lose, it means I have to play with greater skill next time. It means that my opponent has some talent, or that I was too distracted to watch my king. It doesn’t mean that I want you to let me win. That would be an affront to my pride.”

“Duncan said—”

“Maybe we can agree that Duncan doesn’t know everything.” His gaze moved over the exposed tops of her breasts. “Though if he had a hand in your appearance tonight, I might rethink that assessment.”

Her brow furrowed in annoyance. “I had a hand in my appearance tonight, thank you.”

A quiet chuckle rumbled forth. “Then I heartily approve. You’re lovely tonight, Canace.” Her name rolled off his tongue and tasted sweet in his mouth.

The compliment seemed genuine, so Canace rewarded him with a radiant smile. Her hand moved from her pawn to her knight and the game was begun.

They played in silence for a time, speaking only when one of them placed the other in check. Canace won the first two games, but Jett took the third when she foolishly placed her queen in danger too early. She laughed at herself as his bishop swept in, endangering just about every piece she had left.

“Well, that didn’t work. I was trying to draw out your rook.”

He nodded. “I saw that. You play exceedingly well, but you sometimes forget that your opponent has plans of his own.”

“I hate it when my opponent has plans of his own.” Seeing his queen about to harass her king, she forfeited. “Your game, my lord.”

“Can’t you call me by name?” His voice was smooth and low, his eyes smoldering as he gazed at her.

Canace felt a shiver sneak down her spine. “Jett,” she whispered, lowering her eyes.

Jett’s throat went dry as his name floated on the air. He watched her hands, her breasts, and her face as she set the board for another game, but he’d lost all interest in chess. He had eyes for her and her alone. The candlelight reflected in her golden eyes, making them shine in the dimness of the parlor. Those eyes were stunning, but they weren’t looking at him. In that moment, he wanted them to.

“Canace,” he breathed. She looked up, their eyes locked, and Jett was filled with the sudden need to be near her. Since she wouldn’t come to him, he’d have to go to her.

Jett rose, licked his lips, and moved swiftly to the arm of her chair. She jumped and pulled away, but she didn’t actually run from him. That was a start.

“The game—”

“I don’t want to play.” Well, he did, but not in the way she meant. He reached out and took her hand in a firm grip.

She instantly tensed. “No!”

“Hush,” he whispered. “I won’t hurt you. I just want to touch you, perhaps even kiss you.”

“Isn’t that what caused all the trouble before?” Her words objected to his touch, but she didn’t take her hand back, not even when he raised it to his lips.

He ignored her as he dropped kisses on her fingers. “If we’re to be married, we need to know each other. Intimately.” Smiling at her, he turned her hand over and kissed her palm, letting his tongue dart out to taste her soft flesh.

A gasp was torn from her throat as a hot wave of…something…washed over her. A moment passed before she was able to identify the sensation. Desire, raw and pure and like nothing she’d ever felt before. Her lips tingled, her breasts ached, and something uncurled deep in her belly.

Jett nibbled gently on her fingers, almost chuckling as she shifted in her seat. The urge to toss her on her back was strong, but she wasn’t ready for that. He needed to start slowly. He needed to seduce her.

“Just let me kiss you,” he begged. Her eyes flew to his, letting him see the desire there. “You enjoyed it last time.”

He was right about that, and her lips did ache for his. As his lips moved to her wrist, Canace nodded slightly, giving him tactic permission to kiss her in truth.

Tactic permission was all he needed. Before she could object, he swept her into his arms, took her seat, and deposited her on his lap. A sharp squeal almost escaped her, but he merged his lips with hers to cut it off. With one hand at the small of her back and the other holding her head in place, he allowed himself to explore her mouth. She tasted of sweet apricots and smelled of something earthy. On the bluff he’d assumed the scent and been the greenery surrounding them, but now he realized it was her. She smelled of the earth, and it was a heady scent indeed.

She squirmed on his lap before raising her arms and placing them around his neck. When she did so, he moved his hand downward, from her back to the delicious curve of her hip. No objection was apparent, so he moved his hand again, cupping her bottom with one large hand. Her flesh was soft and yielding beneath his touch. There was also a decided lack of padding. He’d be surprised if she wore more than her shift under the thin silk of her gown. For a moment he almost chastised her, but eventually decided against it. He didn’t want to shatter her desire for him, and he also rather appreciated being able to fondle her without having too much fabric in the way.

Canace was awash in sensation. His lips and tongue were divine, and she was vaguely aware of his hand where it shouldn’t be, but she wanted more. That more was a mystery to her, but she wanted it anyway. His hand kneaded her bottom, sending shivers up her spine. She knew she should stop him, but it felt good, his touch. She wasn’t about to stop something so pleasurable. It wasn’t until his hand moved from her bottom to the curve of her inner thigh that she finally pulled away, breaking their kiss.

“No,” she gasped. “Not there.”

Knowing that he’d gone too far, and not wanting to frighten her as he had at the bluff, Jett immediately removed his hand, placing it at the small of her back once more. His lips captured her again; she yielded willingly. It was only a moment before she was making little mewling sounds deep in her throat. Those sounds encouraged him to continue. He deepened the kiss, inviting her tongue to play with his, trying to put aside his own mounting desire before he truly ravaged her.

Canace kissed him right back, her tongue meeting his thrust for thrust. She loved the feel of his lips on hers. This she would allow without hesitation. Wanting more of him, she wrapped her hands in his hair and pulled him ever closer until her breasts were pressed against his chest. The sensation was so incredible she pulled her lips from his, crying out as she flung her head back.

The moment her neck was exposed, Jett buried his face in the hollow of her throat. Her neck tasted of lavender. No, not lavender. Something else, something he couldn’t quite identify. It didn’t matter. He liked the taste. He liked her scent. He could lose himself in both.

His hand inched upward almost of its own volition, caressing the taut silk covering her breasts. When she didn’t object, he cupped one rounded globe, squeezing ever so gently. Instead of pulling away as he’d fully expected, Canace arched her back, pushing her breast into his palm. He almost came out of his skin at her response. If this went on too much longer, he’d be past the point of no return.

Only barely able to hold himself in check, he let his lips drift lower as he plucked at her nipple through the fabric of her gown. Since she wasn’t wearing a corset, and he was starting to doubt she even wore a shift, it was almost like caressing her bare breast. Almost, but not quite. Her nipple tightened, proving her desire, so he reached up and started tugging at the silk.

Canace immediately pushed him away. “No.” Her voice was barely above a whisper, but was firm nonetheless.

With a groan Jett moved his hand back down to cup her breasts. “We both know you enjoy it.” He squeezed, causing her to sigh with pleasure.

Denying his statement would have been futile so she didn’t try. “We’re not married yet.”

She had a point, but he didn’t like acknowledging it. To avoid having to talk about it, he took her nipple between his thumb and forefinger and rolled. Canace squealed in surprise, then gasped in pleasure. As she squirmed in his lap, Jett put his lips to her ear.

“Imagine how it would feel if I took that plump nipple into my mouth,” he whispered. “Imagine how good it would feel if I licked it, nipped at it, suckled it. Imagine the pleasure.” One more quick tug and he was removing his hand. He could still see the nipple puckered through the silk, once again reminding him that she must be wearing nothing under her lovely gown.

“Why did you stop?” Canace asked, breathing hard.

He raised an eyebrow at her. “You’re the one who wanted me to stop. I’ll happily continue if you wish.”

As tempting as he was, she shook her head and struggled to sit up. With gentle hands he kept her where she was. It was only then that she realized she was spread across his lap, legs slightly sprawled. A flush covered her face at her awkward position.

“Don’t sit up.” His mind cast about for a reason to keep her there, but all he could think of was to cup her breast again. He felt the hardened nipple through the fabric once more and finally asked, “What are you wearing under that gown?”

She blinked at him in surprise. “What do you mean? I’m wearing my…undergarments,” she finished lamely.

His chuckle was low and deep. “I doubt it. You’re clearly not wearing a corset.”

“No,” she admitted. “I don’t need one.”

“That’s obvious. Your waist is too trim and your breasts are too pert to worry about it.” A gentle tug on her nipple brought another gasp to her lips, making Jett chuckle and kiss her for what seemed like the millionth time tonight.

Finally his lips lifted long enough to whisper, “I think you’re naked under that gown.”

“I am not!” The urge to unfasten her gown to show him she was indeed properly attired—or almost so—was strong, but she restrained herself. “I’m wearing my shift and a petticoat.”

A dark eyebrow crept upward at her rather short list. “I don’t believe you. You can’t possibly have a petticoat under that clinging skirt of yours.”

“I do so!”

There was a challenge in her voice, even if she didn’t realize it, and he was most willing to take her up on it. Moving slowly so she’d know what he was about, Jett reached for her delicate skirts. Her eyes widened, but she didn’t object, not even when he tossed up the blue silk to reveal the golden petticoat. Jett took the flimsy fabric in one hand.

“This little thing can hardly be called a petticoat.” A warm hand stroked its way up her calf. “And you’re not wearing any stockings.”

“Are you scandalized?” she asked, watching his eyes for the truth.

They smoldered with desire. “Intrigued, I think.” His fingers feathered up her legs, passing her knees without meeting any resistance. “Now where is that shift you spoke of?”

It was only an excuse to keep exploring her thighs and she knew it. Sensing that he wouldn’t be satisfied until he found her elusive shift, Canace sat up, pressed her legs together to stop his questing hand, and plucked at the laces of her gown. His eyes fastened on her breasts as she did so, but she had no intention of letting him see too much. Instead of baring a breast as he clearly hoped she would, she only loosened the laces enough to tug the gown off her shoulders, revealing the transparent material of her shift.

Ignoring the shift, Jett let his eyes play across her exposed flesh. He doubted she realized it, but when she’d tugged at the gown, she’d pulled it down just far enough to allow a sliver of pink nipple to peek above the blue silk. If he pointed it out, she’d cover it up, so instead he leaned down to rain down a few kisses on the exposed flesh. When his mouth reached her nipple, he gave a quick lick, letting his tongue move under the gown and shift to brush roughly against the puckered bud. She pushed him away, but not before she moaned at the new sensation.

“Tell me you didn’t like that,” Jett challenged as he watched her pull her gown back into place.

She couldn’t tell him that unless she lied, and she didn’t feel like lying right now. “I should probably return to my bedchamber.”

He wanted to object, to tell her to stay right where she was, but he was nearly mad with desire. His body was so taut with need he wasn’t sure he could go any further without claiming her virginity. At this point, it was either bed her or let her go. As much as he wanted to bed her, this wasn’t the time.

With a reluctant nod he set her on her feet. Her leg immediately collapsed, forcing her to sag against him.

“Shall I carry you up?” he whispered in her ear, one hand caressing her rounded bottom.

Canace didn’t say anything for a moment, giving him—and herself—a chance to enjoy the intimacy of their embrace. But when his hand strayed downward she knew it was time to take herself to bed. Alone.

“I have to go,” she breathed, pushing away from him. Her legs were shaky, but they would hold. Picking up her skirts, she rushed from the room as quickly as her tense body would allow.

It was a long time before Jett was able to rise and do the same.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Starting Anew: Finding the Idea

Well, the editing for my previous project is done, at least from my end. The editor still has to make small changes, bit as far as I'm concerned, it's over and done with. And when that happens, it's time to start a new project.

For me, as a writer, this is probably the most grueling part of the entire process. If I'm at the beginning, the very beginning, it means I don't have any idea what I'm writing about. Where do I start? What is my story? Who are the characters? Why am I doing this? It's very frustrating. Having to start all over again.

But this is part of being a writer, the finishing and moving on. I get that. But the moving on bit...having to get my head out of the previous novel and in to the next one, usually overnight, isn't easy.

Especially when I'm switching genres, as I frequently do. I have several pseudonyms, and I have to publish at least one book a year under each pseudonym. That's a lot of switching. It's exhausting and more than a little confusing. Sometimes I can't even remember what genre I'm supposed to be in.

It would be great if I could take a few days to find my bearings, but I don't have that luxury. I make a living writing books, but that means I actually have to write. I can't take a week off between projects. I simply can't. I have to move from one project to another as seamlessly as possible.

Which means getting an idea sooner rather than later. I sometimes feel a little desperate, and that leads to some rather ridiculous ideas. Like the cat and the monkey...never mind. That one is not only silly, but it's not even in a genre I write in. How about the young girl who is betrothed...nope. That's a book I read last weekend. Mustn't plagiarize.

I go through dozens of ideas, most of them not at all useful. Then I get a hold of myself. I remember that I'm a writer, and I've done this before, and I'm only allowed to freak out for an hour. Once I lose my mind for a little while, I'm miraculously able to find it again.

And when I do, the ideas falls from the sky, land in my brain, and make their way out my fingers.

What a relief.

Monday, August 10, 2015

From Here to There: My Own Editing Nightmare

I'm in the middle of the editing process. Or really, at the beginning. Or maybe just past the beginning. Whatever. I'm editing, with the help of an experienced editor. It's not my favorite part of my job, but it is a necessity.

Every time I write a book, I think that this will be the one. I'll finally take a look at the finished manuscript and declare that this book needs no editing. The editor will fix a few typos and declare the book perfect. That's what will happen.

That never happens. There's always something that needs fixing. And it's usually one of two things. Either I've written too much or I've written too little.

The first problem isn't really a problem. My editor typically removes the offending chapters and we move on. The second...well it's connected to how quickly I write and how much I hate going backwards.

I can finish a decent first draft in just 2 or 3 weeks. That's pretty quick for a book that's over 100,000 words. But sometimes, in my haste to get the first draft finished, I...jump around a little. Sometimes, just sometimes, I'll forget to stop and impart little bits of necessary information to the reader. I might skip entire scenes, scenes that really need to be included. I don't even notice, probably because I'm the writer. I already know those things. I sometimes forget that the reader doesn't.

So my editor will sometimes have to remind me that I jumped from here to there without warning. And then I have to do my least favorite thing. I have to go back and fill in the blanks. I hate that. When I'm done with a book, I like to be actually done. I like to move on. I like to start a new book.

But it doesn't always work that way. I'm a professional, and that sometimes means making sure the previous book is actually up to snuff before I can really move on. And though I might find it tedious, I do it. I do it because I have to, because the book deserves it, and because I like seeing my books on the bookshelves.

But I don't have to like it.

Monday, August 3, 2015

When Editors and Writers Clash

As a professional writer I find myself having to deal with editors for every book I write. Sometimes it's an editor I've worked with before, but every once in a while it's an editor I've had no experience with. Such is the case with my current novel. The editor assigned to handle my book right now is a lovely enough lady, and older one, who has been editing historical romance for 25 years. She's very good at her job, or so I've been assured. I've also never worked with her before.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not great with people. That's why I'm a writer. It allows me to spend my days all by my lonesome and not have to talk to anyone. Except when it comes to getting the book ready to publish. Then there are editors to deal with.

Let me stop for a moment to point out this little fact: I love editors. They have never failed to improve my books, and I'm not just talking about fixing typos and adding in missed words (though I greatly appreciate this, too). I have certain weaknesses as a writer, weaknesses editors are VERY good at hiding for me. For example, I over write. I'll keep going and going and going like an Energizer Bunny with a pen. I've written right past the end of my novels most of the time, and every time my editor will let me know exactly where the story ended. It can't go on forever, after all.

This is just one of the many things editors have done for me, so I love editors. Love, love, love. But I'm not great with people, so actually having to talk to someone about much of anything is a bit irritating. I suck it up because it's part of writing professionally. But I don't love the editing process.

Editors can probably sense this about me, and they're generally very polite and patient as I creep through the process. I've done it a dozen times, but I'm still leery of it. Not because my words will be changed (this is inevitable) but because I'm talking to PEOPLE. Dreaded PEOPLE. Still, I've always worked well enough with the editors in the past. We've meshed and sometimes even bonded over our love of the written word.

And yet this time...I don't know. We're certainly not meshing. She's not unreasonable and I'm not rude or anything, but we don't really get along. Like the coworker down the hall that is a perfectly nice woman and is good at her job but you can't stand her. To be clear: It's not that I can't stand this woman. We just don't exactly get along; there is little rapport between us. If we were working in an office, we'd tolerate each other but our bosses would probably make sure we didn't work together.

But my editor and I have to work together. So what are the options? Well, I guess we could not work together. She could not do her job, and I could not do my job, and absolutely nothing could get accomplished. It's an option. Not the best option, but it is an option.

I suppose she could appeal to her boss, tell him she doesn't want to work with me, and have another editor assigned. I've heard of that happening a time or two (not with me), but that seems extreme. We don't hate each other. She even thinks I'm funny in a strange sort of way. And I think she's a lovely lady (I use that word because she truly strikes me as a lady). Besides, as she's already told me, never in her career has she refused to work with an author, and she doesn't want to start with me.

So where does that leave us? I asked this question of my writer's group the other day (mostly because this is the kind of stuff we talk about) and I was surprised by their responses. Most of them advised me to refuse to work with the editor and demand someone I could develop a rapport with. I had to admit, I was surprised. Where did this attitude of entitlement come from? And I'm not just talking about writers. Why do we feel if something is too hard, or if someone isn't exactly easy to work with, that we should just abandon it all together?

Not meshing with someone isn't a good enough reason to freak out and get all demanding, especially for a writer. Life's not always easy. Things aren't always ideal. In fact, things are rarely ideal. In this particular case, the editor and I don't love each other, but we're both professionals. If she does her job, and I do my job, and we use a lot of email instead of phone calls (because emails can be less grating), then this editing process will eventually go away.

So what am I saying? Mostly that when a writer and an editor have a personality clash, it's time to put on your big girl panties and just deal with it. The editor can't rewrite your entire book, and he or she isn't out to make your life miserable. They're doing their jobs. Writers, myself included, owe them the same courtesy.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have phone calls to not make. Mustn't talk to people, after all. It would spoil my hermit-like image.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Poems: Before You Fall

Another poem I wrote when I was a teenager, this one after a friend of mine attempted suicide twice. Luckily, she made it through and today we're the best of friends.

I know you've thought of it before,
But always you've found a thing to live for.
I know your pain right now seems endless,
But you are loved and surely not friendless.
Come back from the edge, please do not stay,
I promise you now it will all be okay.
But this thing you're doing, it cannot be fixed.
Just give it a chance, don't stand there transfixed.
Before you fall, let me share one thing,
And perhaps my words can still give you wings.
I tell you right now, we all still do care.
If we didn't, why would we despair?
You must come away, for you are our friend,
And how will we feel if our hope should end?
Your life can be anything, it's just what you make it,
So listen to me, and please do not take it.