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Sizzling Heat Wave: Fav Summer Reads

27 May

Hello Lady Smut readers — where are we going? Where have we been?

We’ve been busy publishing! Here are some new reads by our crew past and present that you want to check out for your summer reading:

FEARLESS

fearless cover

Sarah’s life of discipline and rigid control is nearly shattered by two men—one who wishes to submit to her, the other who might break her.

Sarah Marillioux fled back to Washington, DC after a weekend of reckless, delicious, impetuous passion in London with another Dominant, Steffan Vidar. Two years later, Sarah has re-established her life of unerring discipline and control until Steffan reappears to threaten her status quo of relegating all romantic encounters to a dungeon. He’s moved to DC and, with him, is Laurent Chacon, Steffan’s angelic submissive—a mixture of masculine strength and aching vulnerability. Together they will bring her carefully constructed world crashing down around her. It would almost be worth it to have Laurent. The problem is, she’d have to take Steffan, too.  AMAZON, APPLE, BARNES & NOBLE, KOBO

BEST WOMEN’S EROTICA

best women's erotica

In Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 4, award-winning editor Rachel Kramer Bussel has gathered the hottest sexy stories starring outspoken women who daringly pursue love and lust.

You’ll read about a single mom who goes back to college and gets some very hands-on education from her hot professor, an Amish woman tenderly revealing her most intimate desires, and a woman who crafts the man of her dreams. From outsiders who passionately claim their place without apology to women taking the boldest of risks with their hearts and their bodies, these sizzling stories are sure to make your heart pound.

Featuring stories by popular authors including Alyssa Cole, Megan Hart, Tamsen Parker, Sofia Quintero, Suleikha Snyder, and Alessandra Torre, along with a variety newcomers to the genre, these tales will turn you on and stay with you long after you’ve finished.

 

 

 

Everything Old Is New Again

3 Sep

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

It’s here again. The official end of summer and the start of the marathon run to the end of the year. Pools are closing. Barbeques are having they’re last hurrah. Commutes are once again clogged with cars. Kids are back in school. My Facebook feed is full of my friend’s frustrations and exasperation with their kids school lists and classroom requirements, followed soon by proud first-day-of-school pictures.

But while Labor Day is one last rest before that metaphorical rush to the finish, this time of year also offers a chance at new beginnings. New seasons of fall sports. New teachers and potential classmates. New work challenges in our day jobs. We may be leading the same lives, but every new season is alive with possibilities. Full with the chance for everything old to be new again.

Power up, ladies!

Anyone who has been in publishing for five minutes knows the constant change that happens in this industry. Flexibility is key and reinvention, common. What remains are good writing and great stories, whether under a different publisher or even, sometimes, a new name.

Last week, Lady Smut author Isabelle Drake shared the exciting news of how her previous released cowboy romantic comedy, Cowboy for Hire, once published by the now defunct Ellora’s Cave, is available again through her new publisher, Riverdale Ave Books.

T0day, it’s my distinct pleasure to share with you the news that my novels, the award-winning Wild on the Rocks and its follow up, SEALed With a Twist, will be republished this Septemer.

Earlier this summer, the powers that be at Amazon decided to close the successful Kindle Worlds program under which my novels were published. As it turns out, this was the best thing that could happen. Both novels will now be available on *all* digital platforms. But wait, there’s more! They will also, for the first time, be available to international readers. But wait, THERE’S MORE. They will also, for the first time, be available in print!

I KNOW!

 

I am super thrilled to be able to share these wonderful stories with so many new readers! These stories have traveled far and wide with me, through some significant life deviations and personal heartache. They have taken me on an adventure I never expected and its on-going. Come celebrate with me at the New Jersey Romance Writers Put Your Heart in a Book annual conference, October 19-20th. I love to meet readers in person and especially those who meet and laugh with us here at Lady Smut.

The only thing constant is change, they say. And the only thing to do with change is to make it work for you. With the change of the seasons comes the opportunity to reexamine and reinvent. To make something old, new again. I hope you’ll celebrate this change with me this fall and share with me some of what may be changing with you, dear readers, as well. Come take another wild ride with me–perhaps, for the first time.

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her award-winning debut romantic suspense novel, Wild on the Rockswill be available this September. Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.

 

Sexy Sunday Snippet: Shakedown

12 Aug

by Elizabeth SaFleur

For three years Trick Masters was consumed with revenge. Then she walks back into the door demanding an apology, money and restitution for what she suffered? How rich. She’ll have to earn her way back into his good graces starting with spilling the truth—which turns out neither of them has or ever did.

Read chapter one of the latest novella, Shakedown, which will debut the Shakedown series (debut 2019).

~~~~~

CHAPTER ONE

“Blend in more? Just how does a cocktail waitress do that?” For ten minutes Rachel had stood in her manager’s office, feet aching and her tables unmanned, listening to this crap. She crossed her arms, an unwise, defiant move, but really, this “chat” was ridiculous. “Are you accusing me of something specific, Mr. Jones?”

“The other waitresses have implied you banter with the customers a little too vehemently. There’s flirting, and then there’s . . . well, they’ve complained that you lure—”

“Lure?” She choked back a laugh. She made better tips than the other girls because she was personable. A little harmless flirting never killed anyone, and she was well aware of the game she played. “People like my service. I thought you’d be pleased. In fact, I’d like more shifts. As you said, I’m popular. You’d make more money with me.”

“And, lose my other help.” He stood signaling the meeting was over. “Thanks, Rachel. I know this is uncomfortable. The men at Talman’s are used to getting what they want, but let’s make sure they know you’re not on the menu, too.” He winked.

Un-fricking-believable.

As she fought her way through business suits and raucous laughter to the waitress station at the bar, she attempted to shake off the insinuations her manager had lobbed at her. She needed this job, and she would not succumb to the suggestion she practically prostituted herself for tips. She wasn’t on anyone’s “menu.” So what if a few patrons had asked her out? Big effing deal. She’d turned them all down.

As she waited for Gabe to finish her cocktail order, she glanced down at her phone to see if Jay had returned her call. He hadn’t. Shocker. She wanted to float an idea by her stepbrother, launching a for-hire bartending business they could work together to get them both out of their rut. Jay would never get very far ahead by working on an oil rig, and she’d never finish her bachelor’s degree by waitressing. They both needed something new.

“Order up, Rachel,” Gabe said with a smile and nodded at the drinks he’d prepared. “You outdid yourself with this suggestion.”

“Thanks. They look great.” She adjusted a sprig of lavender on one of the martinis du jour she’d “invented” with Gabe’s help. The same four women, members of the Red Hat Club, came in every Friday with the same request: “Surprise us with the cocktail of the day.” So she did, and her imagination earned her a guaranteed thirty percent tip.

“Interesting, indeed.” A male voice sounded behind her.

Her heart rocketed up her throat, and her knees buckled. She set the tray down to the bar just in time. She knew that voice. It was rougher, deeper than she recalled, but there was no mistaking who that rumble belonged to. She slowly turned and couldn’t believe her eyes. Trick Masters. Jesus, he looked good, but then Trick always had.

“Rachel Grant. As I live and breathe.”

The heartless, deceitful thief peered down at her with those same blue-gray eyes she’d thought so kind—but weren’t. He leered at her with that same charming smile—but which hid a thousand lies.

The floor underneath her threatened to give way, and she stepped backward. He reached around and grasped the side of her tray to prevent the three lavender martinis from crashing to the floor. His suit coat brushed her arm, and just as if a lit match touched a puddle of gasoline, a ball of fire ignited in her belly and all the anger she thought she’d released years ago consumed her. Her therapist’s words flooded her brain. Visualize a stop sign whenever your mind starts to race. Stop the negative feelings, thoughts, and pictures.

“Rachel, you alright?” Gabe asked.

No, she wasn’t alright. At the sound of her name said with kindness, her anger backslid to grief. It started with a tickle inside her nose, then her breath burning hot in her throat, then the prick in her eyes, a cascade of emotion threatening to let loose.

Do not cry. Stop sign. Do not cry. Stop sign.

“Can I get you something else, sir?”

Gabe’s voice likely saved her from doing the unthinkable: shedding another useless, wasted tear over Trick Masters. She lifted her tray. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing her come undone.

“Another club soda.” Trick leaned his elbow on the bar and stared at her. “Gabe, no offense to you, but Rachel’s got some interesting mixology ideas. You should put her behind the bar. She’s good at dishing out fantasies.”

His words snapped a lid on her simmering emotion and her anger returned.

“Rachel, I need to talk to you,” Trick said. A fire brewed behind those blue-gray eyes.

“No.”

The haughty bastard’s mouth twitched up at her tone. She’d meant the simple word to land hard—like the punch she never got to deliver on his smug, model-perfect face.

She balanced the tray on her palm and turned away. Her feet finally escaped the invisible concrete that had kept her in place for far too long. Two men parted for her to scoot by, one of them skimming her with his gaze. She hoped Trick saw the man’s admiration.

Shit. Claire, another waitress, stood in front of her table of The Three Suits who had “big tippers” written all over them from their cufflinks to their Berluti handmade shoes.

Rachel quickly hustled over. “Gentleman, I’m so sorry I’ve neglected you. Let me deliver these and I’ll pop back over.”

“No need. I’ve got it, Rachel,” Claire said.

The three men were oblivious, of course, and had returned to their talks of mergers and return on investment.

“What are you doing?” she whispered to Claire.

“Nothing more than you do every night.”

“I told you, those guys last night asked for me, so they got seated in my section. Get over it.” Fury had returned in full force, which was precisely the emotion she should be feeling right now given she’d just encountered Trick Masters. Her therapist would disagree, but whatever.

After delivering her martinis and ensuring her tip from The Three Suits wasn’t in jeopardy, she hustled back to the bar praying Trick’s presence was an illusion or a mental delusion. He couldn’t have been here. The betrayer couldn’t be here in Baltimore.

Stop sign. Stop sign. Stop sign.

Gabe leaned toward her so she could hear him over the symphony of happy hour chatter and laughter. “You know that guy?” He cocked his head toward the exit. She caught Trick’s broad back as he slipped through the revolving doors. “He told Mr. Jones you should join me behind the bar,” Gabe said and then straightened.

“Rachel.” Mr. Jones’s voice behind her made her jump.

“I’d be no good behind the bar,” she said quickly, turning to face her manager. Bartending tips sucked.

“I have a better idea,” Mr. Jones said. “See those two guys over there? They asked for you. I’m putting you on hostess duties. As you said, you’re popular.”

“But—”

“See me when your shift ends. We’ll talk details.”

She dropped her empty tray on the bar. Tears? No way. The wrath she’d suppressed for three years? Bring it on.

“I’m taking a break, Gabe,” she said. Breaks weren’t allowed during peak hours, yet fate presented a gift. She could finally confront the man who had derailed her life. From college student to waitress. What a cliché. She’d spent the last three years scraping dollars and change off dirty tablecloths because of that two-faced bastard.

She pushed her way through a gaggle of women holding martinis and then the revolving door. With any luck he’d still be in the parking lot. She found him leaning against a black sedan parked across the street, casually scrolling through the latest iPhone like he hadn’t care in the world. A hot ball of anger rolled over her so hard, her mental stop sign melted into a puddle. She jogged across the road to him, and immediately a woody scent of cologne wafted between them. The effing nerve of the man, the unbelievable gall to smell good, to look good, to . . .

“Rachel.” He straightened with that same smirk he’d delivered fifteen minutes ago.

He grasped her wrist in mid-air before she could land a satisfying crack on his cheek.

“What the hell?” he barked.

“How dare you be here!” she screamed. So much for her two years and eight months of therapy. Stop sign, meet Trick Masters, the man who ruined my life.

 

Join Elizabeth’s Sexy, Saucy, Sometimes Naughty list to get a notice when this novella releases. (Psst. It’s September 4!) JOIN HERE.

~~~~~

Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary romance that dares to “go there.” Expect alpha males (and females), seductive encounters, and love. Learn more about her steamy and sexy stories by following her on Amazon and Bookbub.

 

 

An Excerpt for MC, Gangster and Burlesque Book Lovers

26 Jul

by Elizabeth SaFleur

Hey, lady Smutters. Who’s in the mood for Friday fun? How about an excerpt from my next novella, Shakedown, which will launch the brand, spanking new series, The Shakedown Series. Like motorcycle club reads? Gangsters? Cons? Burlesque? This series will have All Of That and more. Read on for an excerpt of Shakedown.

Releases on September 4! To get a notice of its official release, follow me on Amazon, Bookbub or join my email newsletter.

~~Sexy Excerpt~~

Rachel’s Uber driver had looked at her like she was crazy when she gave him the address to Shakedown. He asked her twice if he should wait for her when she stepped out of his minivan onto the crumbling pavement of the club’s parking lot. Over an old warehouse, an obnoxiously large sign lit up by Broadway lights read Shakedown.

Against her better judgment, she was here—at the club Trick insisted was not a strip joint. She didn’t know how long this confrontation would take so she sent the driver on his way. She charged up to the door powered by the tornado that had been whirling inside her over the last few days. In fact, her anger had grown into an F5. She’d emptied her mental warehouse of stop signs. Every time she’d raised one up, she punched it back down. It was time for Trick to make restitution and return the trust fund that she and Jay were to use for school.

Old movie poster shadow boxes were tacked to the brick walls by the entrance. She took a moment to look at the depictions of dancing girls and Vaudeville acts behind the scratched glass. Not a strip club, huh?

Rachel slung open the door and stepped into the blackness. The large, glass front door hadn’t been easy to yank open, but that was the thing about rage—it gave you strength. She paused just inside the empty club to let her eyes adjust. As the interior’s details crystallized, her first thought was that she’d stepped onto a movie set.

“Well, this is way nicer than I imagined,” she muttered. White tablecloths draped dozens of small tables crammed into the center of the room. Half moon–shaped booths in dark green, tufted velvet lined the far left wall. A long, polished oak bar with a brass rail ran the length of the club to her right.

“Applications are at the end of the bar. Auditions start tomorrow.”

She turned. A man with a goatee, a scar riding high on his right cheek, and poured into a gray Henley leaned on the bar over a newspaper spread across the surface. The paper crackled as he turned a page.

“Audition? No, I’m looking for Trick Masters.”

He eyed her suspiciously. “Who’s asking?”

She crossed her arms. “The woman he stole three million dollars from.”

The man straightened and laughed. “I’ll get him for you, Rachel.”

“How did you know my name?”

“He said if the most beautiful woman in the world walks in and demands money her name is Rachel.”

Great. So Trick believed she was a foregone conclusion? Think again, buddy.

While the guy ducked behind a curtain near the bar, ostensibly to find Trick, she pulled out her cell phone to see if Jay had returned any of the dozen messages she’d left in the last two days. He hadn’t.

She hit his number again and again went straight to voice mail. “Jay, are you ever going to call me back? The Betrayer is in Baltimore. Don’t they ever let you make calls? A text at least?”

Jay’s oil rig tour had to be up soon. Nothing like having your trust fund-slash-tuition money disappear to make you take any job that pays well. Too bad waitressing at the fanciest restaurant in Baltimore didn’t turn out as well for her.

She looked around the room. “And, you will not believe where I am,” she said into the silence on the other end of the phone. Jay needed to come back and see where Trick—once the darling of the Washington, D.C. investment scene—had landed—for shits, grins, and giggles if nothing else. She shook her head as she took in the stage framed in heavy, red velvet drapes, empty except for a tall microphone stand in the center. Lights aimed at the stage hung from girders in the ceiling. At least no dance cages or stripper poles were in view, and the scent of orange blossoms and cedar wafted in the air rather than the usual stale beer and sweat smell of most “gentleman’s clubs”—or what she’d imagined they’d smelled like. A rustling behind her caused her to kill the one-sided call.

“Rachel.”

Stupid shivers ran up her spine from hearing Trick’s baritone. She swiveled to come face to face with the man, the Betrayer, ready to do battle, something she should have done long ago. Hell, she should have started the day he left the courtroom in handcuffs. Instead, she’d hidden in the back, watching and crying like a baby. No more tears now, she told herself. She put as much steel into her backbone as possible. “How dare you offer me a job.”

He had the nerve to raise an eyebrow. “Pretty generous on my part, I’d say.”

“Generous?” She chuffed. “You stole my money and then want me to work for it? You humiliated me once. You won’t do it again.” She strode forward until there were just six inches between them and jabbed her finger on his hard pec. “How did you find me anyway?”

No way was Trick’s presence at Talman’s a coincidence. Trick did nothing accidentally.

She didn’t know how he found her as she and Jay had changed their mobile phone numbers and left no forwarding address when they fled Washington and their creditors. Then, when she thought she couldn’t be shamed anymore, Trick Masters shows up at Talman’s, gets her demoted to hostess and has the unbelievable nerve to offer her a job. Did he expect her to work to get back the money he stole? He accused her of being afraid.  Afraid my ass. She jabbed him with her finger again for good measure.

He grabbed her wrist. “Since you can’t stop touching me,” he said, cocking his head, “let’s make this private. Office.”

“Office?” she sputtered as he pulled her into a long hallway, plush carpeting muffling their footfalls.

“Desk and everything.” He opened a door and gestured her inside.

“Nice digs.” She surveyed the large mahogany desk and oil paintings on the wall. “This Oriental carpet real? Probably. You can obviously afford to pay restitution.”

He closed the door behind them, strode to his desk and perched on the edge. “I was wrongly convicted. I don’t have your money. I never did.” He scratched his chin, the sound of fingers on stubble sounding masculine, if such a thing were possible.

“Bullshit.” She stepped closer and slapped him on the pec. He still wore that woodsy aftershave. Damn, he smelled good, which she should not be noticing.

He gave a snort of cynical amusement. “Stop poking me. Try being a grownup.” He grasped her wrist—hard.

“You find this funny? Screw you.”

“If you are offering, I might consider it. You always did excel in that area.”

She did a double take. “Forget about it.”

“Gladly. I make a habit of avoiding women who set me up and then abandon me, sweetheart.” He stood, and his grip turned vicious, backing her up a step.

“Abandon you? You were convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to jail, and don’t call me sweetheart.”

“I told you I didn’t take your money.” He backed her up until her shoulder blades pressed the door.

“A judge felt otherwise.”

“I was set up, but you already know all that.”

“Ha! And you say I’m good at fantasy. Who took it then? The fairies?” She jabbed him with her other hand. He grasped that wrist, and lifted both her arms above her head, not gently, but not enough to leave bruises.

“Stop jabbing me. Or perhaps you’re doing it on purpose simply to make me mad. You always did like make-up sex.” He leaned toward her so close she could feel his warm breath on her face, smell his woodsy cologne.

“Coming on to me?” She tried to yank her wrists free but he held them fast.

“I’m impervious to your come-ons, Rachel.”

“You couldn’t handle me anyway.” When she tried to push forward, her crotch met a semi-hard cock trapped behind those pants.

“Keep pushing, Rachel . . . you already left me once—”

“You left me.”

“I wouldn’t call incarceration voluntary ‘leaving’.”

“You almost put me out on the street. Proud of that?” she spat. Memories flooded her brain and swamped her with a cocktail of emotions she’d been working for years to neutralize. Weeks after Trick’s incarceration for embezzlement, the fancy apartment she and Trick shared overlooking the Potomac was the first to go. The same week, with no tuition money, she’d had to leave school—in her freakin’ fourth year! The Audi he’d given her? Ha! Not paid off. If she thought getting a bikini wax humiliating, the degradation bar undoubtedly had been raised the day her car was lifted up onto a flatbed tow truck, a man with a substantial pot belly leering at her and mumbling tough break, lady.

“I’m sorry your life went to hell, Princess,” he said. “But prison isn’t exactly the Four Seasons.”

“Did you think about me in jail?” she taunted. She lifted one leg and wrapped it around his calf. She rubbed it up and down. “Or did you get a new boyfriend there?”

He’d once called her legs God’s gift to mankind. She’d get the truth out of him one way or the other, even if she had to use herself as bait. She wasn’t leaving until he confessed he’d taken the $3 million.

“I hocked your ring, by the way,” she said.

“Get a good price?”

“The diamond was real. Paid rent for a bit.”

“Everything I ever gave you was real, Rachel.” He ground his pelvis into hers, his cock growing harder and thicker.

“Real trouble.”

He stared at her mouth as if he were mesmerized, like he couldn’t decide what to do next. He used to do that when he was about to kiss her.

“See something you like?” she breathed with a sneer. He scowled when she pulled him closer to her with her leg. One thing about waitressing, it built strong leg muscles.

“You wish,” he circled his pelvis to match her moving hips.

Jesus, she was getting wet, and her hips would not stay still. Well, she started this, and she wasn’t a quitter. She glided her leg higher on his hip. The perfect fit of their bodies felt good—too damned good. Man, it’d been a long time since she’d had sex.

He pulled his head back and stared down at her. Suspicion flashed across his eyes.

“Now who’s afraid?” she asked.

His lips came down on hers—hard and possessive. His tongue mapped her mouth with the ease of an explorer upon familiar territory. Oh, God, she’d forgotten how good he was at this, but she had to remember. She was kissing a con man.

~~~~~

Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary romance that dares to “go there.” Expect alpha males (and females), seductive encounters, and love. Learn more about her steamy and sexy stories by following her on Amazon and Bookbub.

Sexy Sunday Snippet: Blind Magic by Natalina Reis

3 Dec

12.3.Blind Magic for jpegs_frontcover

This week we have some witchy magic from  Natalina Reis’ single title romance, Blind Magic.

Book blurb:

Marcy has never been in love. But when Oliver Dawson walks into her store, she falls head over heels. Unable to shake the feeling that she and Oliver were made for each other, for the first time in her life, the quirky witch considers casting a love spell for herself.

Oliver’s life is turned upside down when he’s shot and almost killed. Even though events haven’t been kind to the sexy police detective, he’s determined to make the best of his situation. But still, nothing could have prepared him for feisty Marcy breaking down his defenses, nor the healing tea that leaves him gagging.

Unconventional and hell-bent on getting her man, the little witch soon weaves her magic and captures his heart. He’s more than willing to give it to her, but when faced with his painful and turbulent past, neither are sure they’ll get their happily ever after.

Book excerpt:

“Nice bunnies, it’s time to go.” I often muttered to myself or things around my shop. It made for a less lonely day to hear my own voice. The dust bunnies seemed to be imitating their live namesakes and were reproducing at an alarming pace. I wiped under the shelf with an enthusiasm rivaled only by my eagerness to finish the task and have a good cup of Oolong tea. The Polka Dots and Eye of Newt witchcraft shop was not exactly busy these days. I had my loyal customers who always came back for more, but getting new ones seemed to be an issue. So when I heard the telling sound of my door chimes echoing through the shop, my heart almost skipped a beat with surprise.

A man and a woman waited by the register. I didn’t recognize them.

New customers!

They hadn’t seen me yet so I had the chance to study them while I approached from the back of the store. The woman was tall and gorgeous with beautiful long, dark hair that fell in cascades of silkiness down her shoulders and back. She held herself slightly apart from the man, looking around her with a tightness around her mouth that could only mean she didn’t like what she saw. The man looked familiar but I couldn’t place him. Handsome and standing at least one foot taller than me, hair just as dark as the woman’s but cropped very short in an almost military cut. Both were dressed elegantly in conservative suits, as if they had arrived from a business meeting somewhere. The man didn’t move much, staring ahead, apparently interested in whatever was displayed on the shelf behind the counter. Weird. There was nothing but an empty shelf there.

As if suddenly aware I was watching, the man glanced over at me. I stumbled backward, teetering on my high heels and overcome with an emotion I couldn’t explain. My heart raced at the speed of light, assailed by images of me and the stranger. Heat ran through me, frizzing my hair and curling my toes as vivid memories of his lips moving over mine took over all my senses.

I don’t even know the guy. How can I remember his taste?

But I could. I could taste coffee and dark chocolate, life and happiness, heaven. My body tingled in anticipation and pleasure as I recalled how his hands had cupped my breasts, enticingly warm and eager—

What the hell?

I could almost hear the crackling of fire, the eruption of feelings long forgotten, and the overwhelming yearning for a man who felt so familiar and yet, was but a stranger. Something’s coming this way— I forced myself to snap out of whatever this was and stepped forward.

“Welcome to the Polka Dots and Eye of Newt!”

My greeting startled the woman enough that she swiveled to look at me, but the man barely moved, acknowledging my arrival only with a slight nod. For a moment—a tiny fraction of a moment—I worried I would scare them away with my eccentric ways. Throughout the years I had found that people were a bit put off by my loud sense of style and odd choice of accessories. The moment past, I focused on making the newcomers feel at home.

“What can I do to help you? There is a potion and a spell for every ailment.” I giggled at my own statement. “I just can’t bring back the dead.”

The stunning woman wrinkled her nose as if she had smelled something bad, and licked her red, generous lips. Her gray aura was covered in an overlay of bubbly yellow—joy, slightly marred by guilt maybe. “Are you Marcy, the witch?”

“My reputation precedes me, I see.” I laughed again as I came around to the back of the counter. “So what can I do for you today?”

“I feel a little weird asking this, but….” The woman looked around as if afraid she would be overheard. I stole a glance at the man, still standing and staring stoically at the very empty and totally uninteresting shelf behind me. “Do you have something to help Oliver?” She looked at the man next to her. He twitched a little, the corners of his mesmerizing blue eyes crinkling.

“I’m assuming you’re Oliver.” I pointed at the man, but he didn’t move. A wave of electricity coursed through my body, and I shivered. “Help you with what exactly?”

“Is there a more private place to talk?” Lord, really? The shop was empty. It didn’t get much more private than this. The customer is always right. I pointed toward my small lounging area where a couple of overstuffed armchairs and a sofa surrounded a bright, tile-top coffee table.

The woman looped her arm through Oliver’s and they both followed me into the seating area. “Would you like some tea?” God, I hoped they did. My stomach was begging me for the comfort of its heat and tangy flavor.

“No, thanks.” Why wasn’t Oliver saying anything? And why did she help him to the chair? He was fully grown—and beautifully so, if I was honest with myself—and seemed to be totally capable of sitting himself down without any help. I sat next to the woman. “My name is Eva Dawson. This is my brother, Oliver.” She licked her lips again and placed her hands on her lap, her legs crossed at the ankles. She was the living picture of decorum and elegance. “Oliver is a policeman. You may remember him from about a year ago when he was shot while protecting two witnesses.”

“Of course!” I remembered now. No wonder he looked familiar. He was one of the cops who had been shot while on protection detail for my friends, Em and Jem. Not that it explained the connection I felt with him. “How are you doing, Oliver? You look like you’ve recovered well.” Oliver’s eyes twitched again but didn’t quite turn to me, choosing instead to stare at the wall.

Look at me, fool.

The yearning for his attention overshadowed everything else.

Look at me, please.

*****

Blind Magic is out now! Get your copy in your favorite format here.

*****

Natalina wrote her first romance at the age of 13 in collaboration with her best friend. Since then she has published five romance novels. She doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she’s not writing, she shares her life with her husband and two sons.

The Night Author Laurie Olerich Got Felt Up By A Ghost. True Story.

27 Oct

by Elizabeth SaFleur

Halloween is almost upon us, and what better way to celebrate than to read some ghoulish fantasy or paranormal books? Laurie Olerich is a best-selling author of paranormal romance and erotic romance. Her latest series, Demons After Dark, is hot as Hades, appropos since Hell’s name is evoked many times. Before diving into a writing career, Laurie dedicated 20 years to her country by serving in the United States Air Force. Much of her time was spent around men with guns and cool toys which she says explains her obsession with both.

Laurie stopped by to tell us exactly how she got introduced to the world of angels and demons, including how one very randy ghost attempted to have his way with her.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Welcome Laurie! I’ve been meaning to introduce you to the LadySmut crowd ever since I found out you were a Supernatural fan and wrote super-hot angel and demon stories. In fact, I hear you have a line into the “other world.” Is it true you were once sexually harassed by a ghost at the historic Menger Hotel in San Antonio?

LAURIE OLERICH: Oh, yeah, true story! There’s nothing more annoying than having a randy ghost bouncing on your bed at 3 a.m.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: He got “handsy?”

LAURIE OLERICH: Someone was pushing the edge of the mattress like a little kid trying to wake up their mom. I sat straight up and stared angry daggers into the dark, cursing and threatening Casper. Yeah, I know. I probably should’ve been afraid… but, hey, it was the middle of the night and I love my sleep! When it happened a third time, I threw the covers off and yelled, “Either get your ass in bed with me or get the fuck out of my room!”

It left and never came back. In hindsight, it was probably one of the poor little dead kids…

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Well, that’s macabre! Is that what gave you the idea for your Demons After Dark series? Not that you have any dead kids in there…more like hot as Hades Demons…

LAURIE OLERICH:  The series is a crossover from my urban fantasy series, the Primani Series—“

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Which, by the way, is filled with compelling characters and tons of action, humor, and heart.

LAURIE OLERICH: Yessss! That! Seriously though, I love each of the couples and their stories. But the more I wrote about the demons (the bad guys!), the more I wondered about their motivations, their histories, and what kind of lovers they’d be (that’s where my mind went!).

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Perv. You’re our kind of author.

LAURIE OLERICH:  Oh, you have no idea! I’m showing restraint in these books! Anyhow, in the Primani stories, the demons became seducers and were sensual and irresistible. Even though they were the villains, they kinda made my nipples wave hello.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Hi! Oh, sorry…

LAURIE OLERICH: Don’t be! So this new series flips the demons around. Now, they’re the good guys, the irresistibly sexy, crazy, and bold bad boys that are stuck saving Lucifer’s archangel ass.

And, look! A coupon code to get the first Demons After Dark for free.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: What is it about those demons?

LAURIE OLERICH: The answer to that isn’t simple. In my world, the demons radiate a dark energy that draws people to them. It’s seductive. It’s lingering. It’s filled with the temptation to taste …

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: To touch …

LAURIE OLERICH: Uh, huh. And, my heroines aren’t shy. They are curious and open so they dive right in.  An element of mystery and subtle inhuman current surrounds the demons. They’re not evil. They’re not righteous. They don’t bother to lie and tell it like it is. They know what they want and they go for it.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Like, they come at life with both barrels.

LAURIE OLERICH: And, they’re extremely sexual—anything goes. The crazier, the darker, the better. They’re unapologetic about what they want and that’s sexy to me. Think of them as the ultimate alpha male with an insatiable appetite for pleasure and you’ll be drawn to them too!

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Did they surprise you with anything?

LAURIE OLERICH: Ha! Of course, they did! Vanek (Ed note: the demon anti-hero in the first Demons After Dark book) turned out to be a lot smarter than I thought—and he showed up with a penchant for bondage. That must’ve come from his work as a Painkiller in Hell where he tied up and tortured dirty souls for a few thousand years.

Another surprise was how multifaceted each of the demons in the series have become. As you read their stories, you really understand how their childhood in Hell shaped them into the demons—now men—they’ve become and the conflict they feel. On one hand they want to clear their names and go home to their families. But on the other hand, they begin to feel human emotions for the women they meet. They discover that the human plane is filled with adventure and fun. They struggle to balance their anger with humor. At the end of the day, they surprised me with their capacity for gentleness.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Your Primani series is quite the saga – anything you can share with us about how that got started?

LAURIE OLERICH: Primani started as a desperate attempt to escape from my boring life. One day I realized I’d hit 40 and still hadn’t found myself! Years earlier, I’d started several writing projects but always got sidetracked. This time, I dove in head first. Where to set it? New York, of course! One of my absolutely favorite places, upstate New York became the setting.  Male characters?  Well, they had to be hot, badass fighters. Oh, and have supernatural powers to keep things interesting. Bingo! Primani! Not quite angels but created by archangels to keep demons under control. I put my military experience to use and decided on an immortal special ops team.

And there had to be at least one woman, so I could live out my own daydreams!

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: With a guaranteed happy ending…

LAURIE OLERICH: Yes, but because real life is about more than finding true love and having great sex, my characters face devastating losses, painful truths, and choices that tear them apart. Exploring what makes us human is what I enjoy about writing. I love to put my favorite characters into painful situations and then watch how they handle it. Sure, I’m mean to them, but they like it!

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Do you think writing about supernatural characters “calls” them to you in real life?

LAURIE OLERICH: I don’t think simply writing about them calls them. However, I don’t mess around with demons. I’ve done a ton of research into demonology and have a very healthy respect for them. I absolutely do not name my fictional demons after “real” or mythological demons. I make up my own names. I’m superstitious about that. I believe you can call dark forces by speaking their names often enough. I don’t even want to write those names! I’ve had a few experiences with angry spirits and I don’t want to leave myself vulnerable to any new visitors.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Ooo, you mean the dark side came calling?

LAURIE OLERICH: In the worst kind of way. I moved into an apartment that came with its own malignant entity. It got into my dreams and terrorized me. One night I dreamed I was being dragged into the closet and woke up on the floor—clinging to my sheets with my legs in the closet! I managed to run to my neighbor’s door and demanded he let me in. I never went back to that apartment.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: I’d have moved states. But, back to writing for a sec, who are some of your writing influences?

LAURIE OLERICH: I have so many faves! If you’re going to force me to narrow it down, I’d have to say J.R. Ward, Janet Evanovich, and Eve Langlais. By creating their unique worlds, they’ve inspired me to go all out with my Primani and Demons After Dark world-building. They opened the door for me to let my imagination run wild without worrying that I might go too far. My readers seem to like my crazy imagination so I’m going to keep right on going!

Janet Evanovich gave me (not literally) permission to be true to my natural voice when I wrote my first books. Mica (the heroine) has a dry sense of humor and the ability to get into trouble that balances the darker drama in her books.  How does that relate to Janet? Have you ever read any of her Stefanie Plum books? I’ve read all of them and I can completely see myself as Stefanie Plum! Ha! Mica, from the first Primani book, is kind of a mess like that too!

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Rumor also says you’re a gourmet cook. How did that happen, and how are you still single?

LAURIE OLERICH: I love to eat and I love all kinds of food! In 1989, I started getting Bon Appetit magazine. That’s where my kitchen education began, and I actually went to culinary school but dropped out to finish my bachelor’s degree. You might find this surprising, but I get bored easily!

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Uh, no…your imagination seems to know no bounds!

LAURIE OLERICH: I hate eating the same things all the time and sadly, there isn’t a wide variety of restaurants within a quick drive. I love being able to whip up chicken tikka or Vietnamese Pho when I have a craving. My son swears I never cook the same thing twice! I think I’d love being a personal chef for someone with refined tastes and a thick wallet.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: And write on your non-kitchen hours?

LAURIE OLERICH: Well, I certainly have a full plate for the rest of 2017. I’m working on book four in the Demons After Dark series. I’m also putting together a cute novella featuring one of the Primani kids. Both of these books will be released between Dec and Jan 2018. After that? In 2018, I’m planning four more books. A couple more in DaD. A couple more in the Primani Series.

Check out Laurie Olerich’s supernatural world here and here! Just in time for Halloween and All Soul’s Night.

The LadySmut Fast Lane

Beach or Mountains? Mountains!
Ride on the back or drive the motorcycle? Ride on the back and hang on tight.
High heels or cowboy boots? Heels!
Night Owl or Early bird? Early bird gets the worm–and I like morning sex!
Cocktail or Wine? Wine, unless there’s bourbon. Bourbon’s not a cocktail.
Vampire, Shifter, Demon, Ghost or other supernatural creature? Demon… but my Primani are wicked hot and not filled with hellfire… so them!
Sam or Dean? (Supernatural TV stars and LadySmutters, if you don’t know who I’m talking about you have been missing out on life.) DEAN. All day. All night.
And finally, the top thing on your bucket list? Watching a NY Rangers NHL game in Madison Square Garden.

Love Links

Connect with Laurie here:

FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE    WEBSITE    PINTEREST    TWITTER    AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE 

SIGN UP FOR HER NEWSLETTER

~~~~~

Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary romance that dares to “go there.” Expect alpha males (and females), seductive encounters, and love. Learn more about her steamy and sexy stories by following her on Amazon and Bookbub.

Winner RONE Award for Best Suspense/Thriller: Short

23 Oct

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Remember, lovely Lady Smutters, when I shared the news that my debut romantic suspense novel, Wild on the Rocks, was a finalist for the prestigious RONE Award from InD’Tale Magazine for best Thriller/Suspense: Short of 2017? Weeeeeelllllll…

Last weekend, I spent five wonderful days in Southern California at the InD’Scribe Con and Book Festival put on by InD’Tale Magazine, the magazine or self-published authors and independent publishers. I met tons of new-to-me independent authors while attending several excellent workshops. But this wasn’t just about the meet and greet or writer self-improvement. We sure got our party on! The conference kicked off with a Medieval costume party followed by a “Knight’s vs Highlanders” themed, author-sponsored costume party the second night.

…flapping my way through the other one.

Wenching it up at one costume party…

 

Yes, that’s a *T-Rex* at the kick-off costume party! It was an “anything goes” kind of soiree!

I’ll admit, southern California in October? Ah, yeah, I hit the pool and got in some sun. But I also enjoyed a splendid, Reader’s Day that included the conference’s first Reader Rave Luncheon where readers were able to sit and have lunch with their favorite authors, including conference headliners Marie Force, Brenda Novak, and Catharine Bybee–and moi–along with a busy afternoon book fair!

Signing books at the book fair!

Of course, no California trip, however short, is complete without some delicious Mexican food, plenty of margaritas, and a glimpse of the Hollywood sign.

The weekend was topped off by the presentation of the magazine’s RONE Awards (Reward of Novel Excellence) at which I received the award for Best Suspense/Thriller: Short of 2017 for my romantic suspense novel, Wild on the Rocks!

No, that’s not Jon Snow. With cover model and gentleman, Brandon Katz.

A beautiful, engraved, crystal book for the award!

I was honored to dedicate this award to my mother, who I lost suddenly earlier this year. I know she would have been over the moon. She loved Wild on the Rocks, and I’m a fortunate woman to know how proud she was and how much she loved me because she told me, frequently.

I am fortunate, too, for all you lovely Lady Smutters who read and supported Wild on the Rocks. In thanks for that support and in celebration of my win, I’m going to give away two limited print copies of Wild on the Rocks. Just leave a comment and tell me what costume you would most want to dress up in for Halloween or a costume party.

The award-winning Wild on the Rocks and its follow-up, SEALed With a Twist, which has been named one of the Top 5 Romantic Suspense Picks for Fall by Heroes and Heartbreakers, are both available now exclusively from Kindle Worlds.

Follow Lady Smut. Costumes optional.

Kiersten Hallie Krum writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. She is the author of the prestigious RONE award winner, Wild on the Rocks, and its follow-up, SEALed With a Twist. She is also a past winner of the Emily Award for unpublished novels. 

A member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Long Island Romance Writers, Kiersten has been working in book publishing for more than twenty years in marketing and promotion. At other times in her career, she’s worked back stage for a regional theater, managed advertorials for a commerce newspaper in the World Trade Center, and served as senior editor for a pharmaceutical advertising agency.

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. Born and bred in New Jersey (and accent free), Kiersten sings as easily, and as frequently, as she breathes, drives fast with the windows down and the music up, likes to randomly switch accents for kicks and giggles, and would be happy to spend all her money traveling for the rest of her life.

Surviving the Sadness

24 Sep

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Welcome to Theme Week here at Lady Smut. This week we’re celebrating the release of my new book, SEALed With a Twist.

Look! A blurb!

In the follow-up to the wildly popular, Library Journal starred review, RONE award finalist, Wild on the Rocks, a fan favorite returns to Barefoot Bay…

Debutante. Heiress. Lady. 
Skylar Thornquist has been called them all. But when her family insisted she stand as bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding to Skye’s ex-fiancé, she rebelled, drowning her public humiliation in tequila and a one-night stand of carnal debauchery with Grant Sisti. To escape her family’s iron grip, Skye now hides out cleaning toilets at the Casa Blanca Resort & Spa, masking her breeding and identity under a dye job, heavy makeup, and a smattering of fake tattoos while she tries to discover which label sticks to her best.

Doctor. Joker. Warrior.
Navy SEAL Grant “Twisted” Sisti has been them all. But since he failed to prevent the violent death of his teammate six months ago, Grant isn’t sure he can be any of those men anymore. He’s back at the Casa Blanca Resort & Spa for his best friend’s wedding, but Grant knows he’s reaching the end of his rope. A state that isn’t improved by finding the help swimming naked in his private villa’s pool.

Skye never thought she’d get caught skinny dipping by the man who got her through her worst night. But this Grant is a different man than the one who lit up her world back then. And though it takes him too long to remember her, Skye is drawn even more to the wounded warrior than she was to the charming lover.

Grant is fascinated by the puzzle Skye presents, the debutante who cleans toilets and speaks like a queen. She’s the first thing he’s had any interest in since his friend’s death, the first woman in a long time to see the man before the SEAL.

They never expected to find each other again on Barefoot Bay, both hiding from who there were, both wondering who they should be. Until Skye’s identity is compromised and the Thornquist iron grip gets a stranglehold on her new life…only this time there’s a Navy SEAL by her side.

There’s a lot about SEALed With a TWIST that is sexy and fun and it’s full of flirtatious banter. Grant and Skye are on similar journeys, but they’re at different locations on the path. They’ve both lost someone and that loss has rocked their foundations and made them question and reevaluate key components of their makeup. They’re both reconciling pieces of their past and learning to make peace with themselves about it.

This book was very difficult for me to write. In the beginning of the SWAT, Skye learns about the death of her grandmother who raised her and that, because of the choices she made, Skye wasn’t with her at the end. My mother died rather suddenly in the beginning of this year. She had lived with me since 2003 and I had been her 24/7 primary caregiver since 2008, so her loss has had an enormous impact on every aspect of my life.

While I had already written the death of Skye’s grandmother before that happened, fleshing out those scenes in the months afterward became very personal for me, much more than I’d anticipated.

Anyone who deals with grief walks the five stages, but the way in which we take those steps is always unique. No one can tell another how to do it or when to stop or how long it will take or what it will entail. Every grief journey is different. One day, you’ll realize that last breath you took wasn’t quite as hard as the one before it. A few months or years later, you’ll realize that breath wasn’t as difficult as the other one. The only thing you have to do is keep breathing.

Skye’s grief journey is just beginning in SEALed With a Twist. She’s in the very early stages, before the full impact has had time to take root, but even now, she wonders how she’ll survive the sadness. Into these early moments. the man who was once the only good thing in a horrendous, publicly humiliating situation has suddenly show up in her life again. Not only that, but Grant is on his own grief journey and has been since just before he met Skye for the first time six months ago–and he isn’t handling it well at all.

I hope you’ll walk along with these strong and flawed and hurting people as they walk this journey together and discover any journey, however difficult and rocky, is easier to endure when the right person is by your side.

 

 

Kiersten Hallie Krum writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. She is the author of the prestigious RONE award finalist, Wild on the Rocks, and its follow-up, SEALed With a Twist. She is also a past winner of the Emily Award for unpublished novelists. 

A member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Long Island Romance Writers, Kiersten has been working in book publishing for more than twenty years in marketing and promotion. At other times in her career, she’s worked back stage for a regional theater, managed advertorials for a commerce newspaper in the World Trade Center, and served as senior editor for a pharmaceutical advertising agency.

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. Born and bred in New Jersey (and accent free), Kiersten sings as easily, and as frequently, as she breathes, drives fast with the windows down and the music up, likes to randomly switch accents for kicks and giggles, and would be happy to spend all her money traveling for the rest of her life.

SEALed WITH A TWIST

18 Sep

It’s a new week here at Lady Smut and we are still agog about our smokin’ new look–and thrilled to feature the emotional and sexy new book from Lady Smut blogger Kiersten Hallie Krum–SEALed With A Twist.

In this follow up to Kiersten’s wildly popular, RONE award finalist novel, Wild on the Rocks, fan-favorite, Navy SEAL Grant “Twisted” Sisti, returns to Barefoot Bay for the second wedding of his friends, Quinn and Jasper (from Wild on the Rocks)…and runs straight into the arms of a mysterious woman from his rocky past.

 

EXCERPT

~~~~~

“I remember you.”

The words were so soft, it took several seconds for them to resonate in Skye, a slow earthquake that rippled out with increasing impact as their meaning and consequence took root.

“But you changed your look,” Grant continued. “Dyed your hair. Added some new tattoos I should’ve figured were temps. Slathered on enough makeup to make me wonder who you’re trying to hide from. Even with all that, there was something was so familiar about you. Couldn’t figure out how or why.

“Now I know.” His head slid to the side and Skye trembled for a different reason when he nipped at the jittery pulse in her neck. Her neck stretched back with an invitation he was eager to take. His hand slipped to pull one strand of her top out of his way before she felt his tongue on her throat as his mouth followed the line of it up to her ear. “I remember how you taste. How you feel when I’m inside you. How you sound when I make you come.”

That was an uncomfortably thorough and arousing account. Her legs shifted on the sand and restless with the need to relax beneath him and take all that was promised by his hard body and hot words.

“And sweetheart,” he continued, head lifting out of her neck so he could stare into her face. “When a girl runs out on you after a night of spectacular sex, it’s the definition of unfinished business.”

“You left first,” she accused, a child’s defense, but all she could manage against a tsunami of arousal. Dammit.

He released her wrists and brushed her hair back from her forehead before spearing his fingers through the bunched strands to cradle her head in his wide palm. “My friend needed me,” he explained, no less terse for the gentle way he touched her. “The same friend, funny enough, who got remarried last night, no small part because six months ago, I left a sexy debutante passed out in my bed to help him get his head outta his ass and make up with his then ex-wife. I didn’t think you’d bail the second I was gone!”

Remembering how hurt she’d been when she realized he’d run out on her re-ignited Skye’s ire. “Then you should’ve left a note!” She shoved at his shoulders, not that she could move him, but so frustrated, she couldn’t hold back. “Let me up!”

He cursed under his breath, but set her free, sliding off to her right so he shielded her while she set her suit to rights.

“I figured,” he growled, over his shoulder, “that after a night that good, you’d want more. I damn well did.” Checking she was decent, he flipped back around to face her. “Because, you’re right. What happened between us was a goddamn sexual unicorn. I wanted more. I wanted you. All the while, you were using the security guard to work out your rich-girl issues. Daddy cut off your trust fund again?”

She sucked a breath in through her teeth and lurched upright. “You have no idea what I was dealing with that night.”

“Ditto, princess,” he shot back.

“I’m not a princess.” She’d been cleaning toilets for long enough to bring that fact home.

Grant cocked an elbow on his bent knee and sneered, “You are. An American princess. Privileged and entitled. I grew up with your kind, sweetheart. I know your kind.”

“You do not know me.” Skye swept sand off her arms with a regal sniff, unconsciously giving weight to his label. “Amazing that you suddenly recall such salient details of our…dalliance when last night it escaped your memory entirely despite the fact that I stood naked before you. How convenient for you to stumble upon the details now. When, exactly, did you deign to remember you had…Biblical knowledge of me six months ago?”

The corner of his mouth twitched. “Biblical?”

“So help me, if you laugh…”

“This morning.” He cut her off before she could finish what they both knew would’ve been an empty threat. “I remembered this morning when Jasper and Quinn surprised me with morning-after breakfast. He brought up when I pulled you from the pool back then and—” He snapped his fingers so close to her face, she started in place. “Your puzzle pieces clicked together.”

“I am not a puzzle!”

“Baby, you are a Rubik’s Cube of contradictions. Fortunately, I’ve been well-trained in decoding all possible combinations.”

That was be disastrous.

God, he remembered. And in detail. Skye floundered for a retort, floored by too many quick changes to find stable footing.

As if sensing his advantage, Grant tugged her back in his arms. One calloused thumb rubbed her button lip; it caught on wind-chapped flesh, so that her tongue shot out to moisten his digit. She watched his pupil flare into a sharp green as desire drew skin taut across the craggy planes of his face.

A low keen hit her ear and Skye was too turned on to be mortified when she realized it came from her.

“Oh yeah,” Grant said, his words a sibilant sound against her cheek. His hand cupped her jaw, thumb sweeping back over her parted mouth. “I remember that too.”

This was bad. This was very, very bad. She was getting sucked back under when he’d already turned her down once. Truth was, she didn’t want to find someone else to be with for however long she had left here on Mimosa Key. Not when she was drawn to him like an opposing polarity, constantly failing to break the laws of magnetism and getting stuck on him over and over again.

And when he touched her…

Lord, was she in trouble.

It’d been that way since the night she’d slept with him. A night when she’d been given a glimpse of something she knew she’d never have again, not from any other man. And it wasn’t the orgasms or Grant’s physical prowess in her bed. It was how he’d lifted her up and carried her away from her deepest humiliation, from a lifetime of being less than, and made her feel like the most important woman in the world.

Treasured even.

Precious.

“It might’ve been a one-night stand for you, but waking up to find you gone killed me.”

Grant’s shock at her words was no less that hers for having said them. He reared back liked she’d slapped him. “The hell you say.”

But the gate had been breached and half a year of emotional trauma ripped out of her, raw and unrestrained. “That night—that was the worst night of my life. I was a joke, a punchline, and everyone at that bloody wedding knew it. So, yeah, tequila and the pool. Since if I was already publicly humiliated, best to make it really memorable.”

“But then you were there, laughing like I was the best time you’d ever seen. You jumped in the pool and…plucked me up like I weighed nothing.” She latched onto his shoulders, nails digging into his skin. “Cripes, I’ve never known anyone as strong as you,” she mused, fingers tracing the lateral muscles that bunched under her touch. “You took me out of that…horror show and made it…” she sighed heavily, “so much better. And god, the sex was amazing. Don’t look so smug. I may not have a lot of experience, but even I know three orgasms in one night isn’t customary. And then you were gone.”

She’d felt so ashamed and at the same time, so devastated by his absence. “After all that, you made me feel like some filthy cliché,” she said in a small voice. “I was fighting the first hangover of my life. Sick and…so very ashamed for…so many reasons. I had to get out of there before anyone saw me.” She bristled now, embarrassed at how naïve she’d been. “I get it now. I understand how such things work. But Grant, whether you meant to or not, you broke my heart.”

The hand cradling her head slid around to cup her chin. “Skye,” he murmured. “I didn’t know.”

Drained from her emotional purge, Skye merely nodded. “I know.”

He struggled with something for a moment before exhaling hard. Releasing her, he scrubbed both hands over the scruff on his face and considered her over the tips of his fingers.

“That night,” he began. He hesitated. “I—fuck—I was dealing with some shit too. Still am, for fuck’s sweet sake. You were blitzed. Totally shitfaced.” His face softened as if seeing her again. “And so beautiful. Stunning and tragic.”

She winced at the description. “I sound irresistible.”

“Utterly,” he said with simple sincerity. “And I—” His eyes clouded and he ducked his chin to gaze out toward the water. “I needed to forget for a while. I took advantage of that. I took advantage of you.”

The admission cost him. More, she saw the memory of what had driven him then continued to claw at him. ““What happened to you?” she asked softly. When he didn’t answer, she risked pushing a bit more. “You’re different. You’ve changed.” Now he looked at her.

“You come with me right now, back to the villa, and I’ll show you how much I haven’t.”

She’d be lying if she said the idea didn’t tempt her. “Don’t do that,” she gently admonished. “Tell me what you wanted to forget that night. Tell me what haunts you.”

“Tell me why you were drunk in that pool,” he countered. “Tell me what you’re hiding from now.”

“Grant,” she said. Only his name, but it hung there between them, weighted with meaning that didn’t require articulation.

“Let it go, Skye,” he demanded, brusque in a way that was meant to be obeyed.

Unfazed, she tilted her head to catalog his nuances. To anyone looking, he probably came off cool and aloof. A seasoned warrior at rest, perusing the beach with watchful eyes, never fully off-duty, but enjoying the bright side of life.

But all of it was a skillful mirage. The leveled lines of his shoulders remained locked tight, braced against whatever turmoil broiled right beneath his surface. His jaw was set, an acute angle that restrained some unholy impulse.

Beneath all that was…pain. His beautiful irises were dull and flat, deadened by the damage he kept locked away. A knot twisted in her plexus, making her chest feel concave with empathy. She wanted to hold him close, overwhelmed by an instinctive urge to protect this man no one else seemed to notice was quietly falling apart.

So Skye, with the lack of self-preservation no Thornquist breeding could fully wash out, led with her heart.

“Something’s changed in you.” She tried for a smile but knew it was weak. “I can see it there, behind your eyes. You’re not hiding it from me; I think, for some reason, you’re not trying that hard to.”

He started to reply, no doubt more assertions of how wrong she had him, but the alarm on her phone interrupted them. “Time to go,” she announced softly. “Mandy is treating me to a spa appointment.”

She rolled onto her side and pushed against the yielding sand, feeling ungainly and awkward through the modified yoga pose that got her to her feet. Once steady, she gazed down at him, strong and imposing even posed at her feet, self-assured if strangely aloof.

He stood in a rush with far more grace than she’d managed, as though the shifting sand was as solid beneath him as concrete.

Annoying.

Skye bent to gather her shorts and tee, pulling both on mechanically. Casting him a look from under her lashes, Skye searched her feelings, but they were too conflicted for her to settle on one. This was when being bold became uncomfortable risky. By the pool, in the dark of night, she could blame emotional trauma and the mistakes only the night would forgive. In bright sunshiny day, it was much harder to come up with excuses she could live with.

“Stay safe, Grant,” she said, feeling lame but somehow as if it was the right thing to say.

“If you can’t be safe, be fucking deadly,” he returned, then explained, “Something we say on the Teams.”

“Well.” That was certainly…definitive. “Try to be both. Not that I want you to be deadly per se,” she floundered as what she’d said registered. “I mean, I do, if that’s what it takes to make you and your friends safe, but it’s not like I want other people dead.” She winced when humor flashed through his eyes. “Just—keep breathing. For my sake, if not your own.” She studied his stalwart face for a moment. “Because I have a feeling you really don’t care whether you do or not.”

“But you do.”

“Yes,” she confirmed without hesitation. “I do.”

Those arms rippled as he again crossed them over his chest, a move she recognized as defensive but felt more aggressive coming from him. “Not sure what you want me to do with that, Skye.” And, by that flat, unyielding tone, he wasn’t too keen to find out.

Her smile turned wane. “Me neither.” She laid a hand on one bulging forearm. “But I care whether you live or die, Grant Sisti. What puzzles me is why you don’t.”

She gave him a squeeze, and left it at that, stepping back while swinging her bag up and over her shoulder before starting the short walk back to her putt putt.

Before she was three steps in, Grant snagged her hand and pulled her up short. “Skye,” he said in a sibilant tone, too masculine to be a whisper but pitched for her ears only. She shot an inquisitive glance over her shoulder.

Grant closed the distance between them in one stride. His hand skirted up her spine to squeeze the back of her neck. “Don’t try to get into my head,” he warned. “You won’t like what you find.”

“Maybe not,” she allowed. Going with her gut, she twisted at the waist and leaned into his touch, stretching her neck up to briefly press her lips against his. “But I bet I’ll still like you.”

~~~~~

SEALed With a Twist is now available exclusively from Amazon Kindle

Blurb:

Debutante. Heiress. Lady.

Skylar Thornquist has been called them all. But when her family insisted she stand as bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding to Skye’s ex-fiancé, she rebelled, drowning her public humiliation in tequila and a one-night stand of carnal debauchery with Grant Sisti. To escape her family’s iron grip, Skye now hides out cleaning toilets at the Casa Blanca Resort & Spa, masking her breeding and identity under a dye job, heavy makeup, and a smattering of fake tattoos while she tries to discover which label sticks to her best.

Doctor. Joker. Warrior.

Navy SEAL Grant “Twisted” Sisti has been them all. But since he failed to prevent the violent death of his teammate six months ago, Grant isn’t sure he can be any of those men anymore. He’s back at the Casa Blanca Resort & Spa for his best friend’s wedding, but Grant knows he’s reaching the end of his rope. A state that isn’t improved by finding the help swimming naked in his private villa’s pool.

They never expected to find each other again on Barefoot Bay, both hiding from who there were, both wondering who they should be. Until Skye’s identity is compromised and the Thornquist iron grip gets a stranglehold on her new life…only this time there’s a Navy SEAL by her side.

 

 

Kiersten Hallie Krum writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. She is the author of the prestigious RONE award finalist, Wild on the Rocks, and its follow-up, SEALed With a Twist. She is also a past winner of the Emily Award for unpublished novelists. 

A member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Long Island Romance Writers, Kiersten has been working in book publishing for more than twenty years in marketing and promotion. At other times in her career, she’s worked back stage for a regional theater, managed advertorials for a commerce newspaper in the World Trade Center, and served as senior editor for a pharmaceutical advertising agency.

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. Born and bred in New Jersey (and accent free), Kiersten sings as easily, and as frequently, as she breathes, drives fast with the windows down and the music up, likes to randomly switch accents for kicks and giggles, and would be happy to spend all her money traveling for the rest of her life.

A Dirty Job Calls For Dirty Sex…Heroes Who Drive a Tractor

6 Jul

Click to buy.

by Madeline Iva

Men who drive tractors kinda get me hot.  I like their competence combined with patience and persistence.  I’ve worked on a farm. I’ve shoveled shit, stacked hay bales, emptied ice out of water buckets with a hammer.  Hard muscles come from daily physical labor, and a soul-aching beauty from the quiet surroundings. Yet ripping treasure from the soil is never easy. There’s a psychological hardiness men on tractors require. A serious weather event at the wrong time can ruin an entire crop in a matter of hours.  The farmer must resign himself to fate, bow his shoulders before mother nature, and plow on.

There’s a whole new generation of men and women in their twenties and thirties who are junking the city life and headed for the fields.  Will they stick with it? What happens to us all if they don’t? In the real world only 1% of the U.S. population farms now.  I think I read somewhere the average age of farmers in America is, like 67, or something. We need a new generation of young farmer heroes more than ever.

Sarina Bowen’s book BITTERSWEET and Adriana Anders book IN HIS HANDS both contain hot men who drive tractors. Here’s more about them–plus some extra goodies.

I found out about Sarina Bowen’s book after Adriana Anders wrote this HEA blog on BEGINNER’S GUIDE  TO DARK GRITTY SEXY READS. “…if you like rugged, hard-bodied farmers (and Lord knows I do), then Bittersweet will be your poison.”

Okay then!  Ya hooked me, Adriana.  I just started the book myself–here’s a blurb:

BITTERSWEET

Farmers make the earth move.

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous cider-making lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

Oh, hey: Read the first chapter!

I also found this on Sarina Bowen’s website — a breakdown of all her books by their tropes.  Hilarious–but useful too, if you’re looking for a certain kind of read. (Ooooh look: virgin heroes!)

Click to buy.

Adriana, meanwhile, has quite the farmer-boy hero: he’s burly, beardy, and brooding.  I love a romance that starts off with that kind of desperate feel, and a hero guy who’s doing his own thing and just wants to be left alone. Luc is also French and grows grapes.  So, you know, sexy and sophisticated.  And dirty.  Yum!

I buzzed straight to the part of her website that said:  Need some sexy winemaker hero inspiration to tide you over? Check out Luc’s Pinterest Board here!

So, um, that’s where I’ll be for the next hour. ; >  IN HIS HANDS has gotten a **lot** of good reviews.  You can’t go wrong with the other books in Adriana Anders’ series either — a fav of mine is BY HER TOUCH.  Another super-broody hero–this time, he’s got tattoos, a motorcycle,  a secret, and bad men out to find him.

[BTW, even though it’s a series–cause it’s all taking place in the same area with a few cross-over characters–the books really stand alone,  I swear. So feel free to start with book three or book two if you want.]

IN HIS HANDS

Blank Canvas #3
He is Her Salvation…
Abby Merkley has been a member of the Church of the Apocalyptic Faith since she was a child, and there’s no way out–except death. She will fight the odds to survive, but there’s no one in the world she can trust, nowhere she can run that the cult can’t find her…until her handsome, brooding neighbor takes her into the safety of his arms.

Luc Stanek craves a quiet life. But he doesn’t hesitate when a desperate woman lands, bloodied and branded on his doorstep. Soon he finds himself drawn into her chaotic world, caught in the center of an apocalyptic war…and determined to save the fierce beauty no matter the cost.

Oh. My. God.

Hot beardy goodness and lots o Gerard Butler on Adriana’s Pinterest page. Click to go there.

Out August 1, 2017 

Follow us, dear readers, and we’ll pour the luscious fruits of our blogging labors in your lap every day.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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