Tag Archives: Guest post

Sexy Sunday Snippet: Found by Annabelle Michaels

25 Feb

This week’s Sexy Snippet is extra awesome. We have a bonus interview Kris Michaels did with Annabella Michaels.

KRIS MICHAELS: Hi, Annabella! I have to gush for just a moment. I LOVE your writing. I’ve read every one of your books–twice, and I’m secretly doing a fan girl dance right now. So, while I settle down, why don’t you tell our audience a little something about yourself?

ANNABELLA MICHAELS: I was born and raised in a small town near Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m 44 years old and I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for 23 years. Together, we’ve raised two amazing kids. My daughter is in her third year of college, studying special education, and my son is a high school senior/sophomore in college, studying software engineering. Our home is a bit like a zoo at the moment because we have 3 cats, 3 dogs and 40 rabbits, which explains why I lock myself in my writing cave all the time. LOL

KRIS MICHAELS: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

ANNABELLA MICHAELS: I’ve always been an avid reader, but I’d never really considered writing. Then one of my best friends started writing and she would often ask me my opinions on things, such as, what things I’d like to see in a story or what song the characters should dance to at their wedding, etc. It got my creative juices flowing and my own storyline started to unfold in my head. My friend encouraged me to give writing a try and to just write for my own enjoyment. So, I did and soon, I had taken off with an entire series.

KRIS MICHAELS: What drew you into writing romance?

ANNABELLA MICHAELS: I’ve always loved romance stories. From the moment the characters feel that first spark, to the second they realize they can’t live without that person; I love it all. When I decided to give writing a try, there was no question in my mind that it would be romance.

KRIS MICHAELS: How long does it take you to write a book?

ANNABELLA MICHAELS: It honestly depends on how much time I have to write and how well the characters are “speaking” to me. Generally, it takes me about a month to write everything and then another month to go through the editing process.

KRIS MICHAELS: Do you write full time? What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

ANNABELLA MICHAELS: I WISH! LOL. Hopefully someday soon, I’ll be able to write full time. I own another business and on the days I work there (usually 2-3 days/week), I’ll write in the evenings after I get home. All other days, including weekends, I write as much as possible. Luckily, I have a very patient and supportive family.

KRIS MICHAELS: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

ANNABELLA MICHAELS: Okay, I’m not really sure if this is a quirk or just my being inept, but my family makes fun of this all the time. I can’t type. Like, AT ALL! I haven’t had to do it since my high school typing class, so I lost that skill over the years. I AM, however, an outstanding hen pecker. I’m really very fast at it and it’s how I’ve written all my books. Sometimes, though, I’ll be in the zone and just furiously pecking away and my kids will shout from the other room, “Can somebody, please open the door and let that chicken outside?” Haha! Did I mention they think they’re comedians?

KRIS MICHAELS: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

ANNABELLA MICHAELS: READ!!! That’s the one thing I’ve missed since I started writing. I don’t have nearly the time to read that I used to have, but I do give myself 20 minutes to read each night before bed. It’s my way of unwinding and getting lost in someone else’s world.

KRIS MICHAELS: How many books have you written?

ANNABELLA MICHAELS: There are 7 books in the Souls of Chicago series and I’m currently working on my eighth book, which is a spinoff from that series.

KRIS MICHAELS: What do you think makes a good story?

ANNABELLA MICHAELS: For me, it would be lots of emotion. I enjoy sex scenes as much as the next person, but I love a story that makes me laugh, cry or get angry, right along with its characters. If a story has a lot of depth, then I care more about what happens to the characters and when those intimate scenes occur, it’s like I’m right there with them.

KRIS MICHAELS: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

ANNABELLA MICHAELS: I wanted to be a child psychologist and actually started out majoring in psychology in college. Then I found something else that was a better fit for me, and that’s what I do when I’m not writing.

KRIS MICHAELS: If I stranded you on a mountain top for a year in a cabin, with everything but internet or entertainment provided, and told you only had access to three author’s books, which authors would you read?

ANNABELLA MICHAELS: Oh, wow! That actually sounds heavenly. Haha! My three choices would be Charlie Cochet, Abigail Roux and T.J. Klune. Hands down, my favorites.

KRIS MICHAELS: Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us today. If you love wonderful character driven romances with deep emotion, check out Annabella’s Soul’s of Chicago Series. I highly recommend it!

~~~~~

Found is part of the Hamilton’s Heroes series.

Copy of found-customdesign-jayaheer2018-eBook-complete (1) (2) copy

Book blurb:

As a former U.S.A.F. Pararescueman, Jeremy O’Brien is used to following orders, no questions asked. So, when Micah, his boss at Hamilton Security, asks him to take on a special case, he readily accepts. Micah’s instructions are simple, find the man in the picture and bring him back to Chicago.

Seven years ago, Zane Wilkinson left the hospital against doctor’s orders, only to suffer a final, devastating blow that left him with no choice but to leave the only place he’d called home. Feeling heartbroken and empty, Zane moved from town to town just trying to survive, while never letting anyone get too close.

In a chance encounter, Jeremy finds himself crossing paths with a man who fits Zane’s description. His instincts tell him that he’s on to something, but Micah warns him that he needs to be absolutely sure. Jeremy sets a plan in motion that will allow him to get closer to the man he believes to be Zane. However, the closer he gets, the more he likes the man and begins to question why he was sent to find him.

Will Jeremy be able to follow through with his orders without becoming too attached? Or will he realize that in his search for Zane, he’s found so much more than he bargained for?

Excerpt:

The ache in my chest was something new. I’d never felt so much pain for someone else, but seeing him hurting actually caused my heart to hurt. Without thinking, I reached over and took his hand. He stiffened at first and I kept my hand loose, giving him the option if he wanted to pull away, but after a few seconds I felt him tighten his grip, just a fraction. We stayed that way, with his hand in mine, the rest of the drive. I stared out my window, trying to figure out what was happening to me.

I was no stranger to developing bonds with other people. After all, I’d been very close with my mom, and I’d even had the occasional boyfriend before. The men I’d served with in the Air Force and the guys I worked with at Hamilton security were like brothers to me. I trusted each of them with my life and they trusted me with theirs. Yet, sitting in that truck, holding his hand was the most connected I’d ever felt to another human being.

What had started out as a simple attraction was quickly becoming more, at least for me. How much more, I couldn’t say. Logically, I knew that getting involved with him was reckless, but I was also helpless to stop it. I still didn’t know why Micah wanted him brought to Chicago, or if he was in fact Zane. For all I knew, he could be wanted by the police, possibly as a hacker or a drug dealer, although my instincts told me that he wasn’t a criminal.

Regardless of all the unknowns, two things were perfectly clear: the man sitting beside me affected me more than anyone I’d ever met in my life and, reckless or not, I wanted to get to know him better.

~~~~~

Get your copy of Found now on Amazon.

Here’s what Annabella has to say about herself:

I am married to my high school sweetheart who let’s face it, is a saint for putting up with me all of these years. Together we have been blessed with the chance to raise two amazing human beings and so far we haven’t screwed it up; I’ll let you know for sure later. I am a business owner and spend more time laughing than actually working most days. I love watching movies, cooking, going to the beach and spending time with my family and best friends. I am an obsessive reader who is a complete sucker for a good love story, but loves to feel a broad range of emotions throughout a book. I think real life is hard enough and so my books offer twists and turns, but always with a happy ending.

Find her on Amazon and Facebook  and join her Facebook group, Annabella’s Sexy Souls.

Sexy Sunday Snippet: A Christmas Dramedy by Carrie Lomax

24 Dec

How perfect is this? Today we have a snippet from Carrie Lomax’s A Christmas Dramedy.

CarrieLomax_HolidayHeatCover

About the book:

One Unforgettable Christmas Week
A broken engagement.
An ill-advised fling.
A reality-TV-inspired dating contest.

A competition between one woman’s heart and her head — with her future on the line.

The Bachelorette
Alyssa Carlisle arrives home for the holidays nursing a fresh Christmas Eve heartbreak. A hookup with her hot neighbor seems like the perfect rebound. He’s never looked her way, but Marc De Luna’s just what she needs: a no-strings attached, super sexy vacation fling.

She never thought he’d want more.

The (Play) Boy Next Door
Marc’s had it bad for his aloof, ambitious neighbor ever since her family moved in. Her engagement to a rich boyfriend was enough to send him packing for an extended trip — anywhere — as long as it’s far away from any reminder of Alyssa. Now that he’s is out of the picture, Marc ‘s not about to pass up his chance to claim her as his own.

When her ex makes an unexpected appearance, Marc’s got a fight on his hands — and he’ll do whatever it takes to win.

Excerpt:

“I ought to let my family know I’m still alive. I disappeared last night.”

“Oh, they know,” Marc replied, kissing her forehead as he pulled her into his arms. “My mom texted me this morning saying she was worried about you. I told her you’re with me. I’m sure they’re planning the wedding already.”

Alyssa buried her face in his shoulder. “Oh, fuck. This is going to be awkward.”

“It doesn’t have to be.” He went quiet. “Listen, you said something yesterday about being here for the week. I’m not looking for a week.”

Alyssa’s heart sank. Great. He might have another girl lined up already.

Marc kissed her temple. “Aly, I don’t want you thinking I do this with just anyone. I’d given that up ages ago.”

She nodded, though didn’t believe him any more than she believed in the Easter Bunny. His own mother had once commented that Marc treated girls like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Alyssa had seen plenty of women lining up to be brunch over the years, and she hadn’t lived here in almost ten years.

“Flattery will get you anywhere with me,” she replied flippantly, grinning. Marc was a genuinely considerate guy, the polar opposite of Zach. She hadn’t gotten to know him because she’d always been so intent on avoiding her hot neighbor.

Alyssa quit resisting her base instincts and kissed him in the sunshine as if they were the only two people in the world, her pale skin contrasting sharply with his dark tan. Probably ought to think about sunscreen, eventually.

His fingers threaded through her hair, setting it free to whip around her face. In response, Alyssa tugged his shirt over his head.

“No fair.” He responded by pulling up the shirt he’d loaned her. Alyssa shrugged it aside. He cupped her breasts with his big hands. Then he took one in his mouth and nibbled gently on the tip. Alyssa sighed and curved against him.

When he thumbed open the button on the shorts he’d loaned her, she slid off his lap and kicked them off. Marc had pulled off his shirt and quickly discarded the rest of his clothes before rolling on a condom.

“I’ll be gentle,” he promised.

She nodded. Naked, Alyssa slid over him, her body extra-sensitive from the night before. Marc was as good as his word, moving slowly and focused on everything except where their bodies were joined. He let her set the pace. She was too sore to take his entire cock at first, but the more he teased and touched everything above her waist, the more her body accepted. They found their pleasure with no audience but the sun, the sea, and the sky.

An hour later, Marc steered the sailboat into its slip at the marina. They held hands as they strolled to his truck. When she asked about it, he told her he’d caught a ride with his brother to his parents’ house the day before.

Alyssa fidgeted with the shirt hem sticking out from the seatbelt. The loaner clothes were as good as a billboard about where she’d gone and what she’d been doing. Yet there was no point in trading them for her wrinkled dress, since last night wasn’t exactly a secret. The knowledge didn’t help her shoulders stay straight or calm her pounding heart as Marc parked on the street between their driveways, as though staking out a space in the middle of their families.

He took her hand. “We’ll go in together. It’s going to be okay.”

“Yeah, I know.” She squeezed his hand back. There was no reason for nerves. Yet she stepped out with an unshakable sense of foreboding.

A breeze coursed through the cab of the truck. Her dress fluttered like a captive butterfly on its hanger behind her. The screen door of her parents’ house opened.

Her eyes narrowed at the man-shape. In a flash her stomach iced over. No, it can’t be.

“What the fuck is this?” Zach, her ex, exploded. The screen door jumped back on its hinges.

Alyssa cringed but stood her ground. “What are you doing here?”

“We were supposed to celebrate our engagement with your family this week, remember? I changed my ticket.”

“I…” Oh holy shit.

*****

Get your Kindle copy now!

*****

Carrie Lomax grew up in the Midwest before moving to New York City for 15 years. She lives in Maryland with two budding readers and her real-life romantic hero. Hit her up to find out what else she has in the works: carrie@carrielomax.com

 

 

Sexy Sunday Snippet: Venomous Craving by Mary Auclair

10 Dec

VenomousCravingCover-low res

Lady Smut welcomes Mary Auclair with a bit about and a sexy excerpt from Venomous Craving, book 1 in the Eok Warriors series.

Blurb:

A desperate woman.

A warrior whose craving knows no bounds.

A passion that will change the fate of humanity.

In a world where humanity has been hunted to near extinction, Rose is captured and on her way to be sold on the lucrative black market. Seizing her only chance, she escapes and finds fate waiting for her in the form of another captive of terrifying strength: a legendary Eok warrior.

Together, Rose and the Eok warrior Karian will fight for their survival – and ultimately for the fate of the entire human race. During that fight, a dangerous attraction is born.

Karian, the unyielding Commander in Chief of the Eok armies, feels his control fading a little more every time he looks at the fragile but headstrong human. Soon, the call to make her his mate torments his body, turning his desires into an imperious craving. She seems to want him, too, but she has no idea of the consequences for her should he claim her.

Will Rose accept him as her bloodmate and seal both their destinies, before everything is lost?

Excerpt:

A few hours later, Rose held her knees up to her chest with her arms to ward off the frigid desert night, but from the sharpness of her breaths, he knew the cold still slithered from the sand and slipped into her body, depleting it of much needed warmth. Her biosynthetic cotton clothes were sorely inadequate and offered no protection. He knew she couldn’t stand much more of this cold, but he didn’t trust himself to touch her.

If he did, there was no telling where he’d stop. And when the Mating was sealed, he wouldn’t be able to think straight. He would be nothing but a lust-crazed fool for a few days, and those were days he couldn’t afford to spend.

Her teeth began to chatter and long, bone-deep shivers ran through her body. Guilt riddled each cell in his own body, and Karian turned to her. By fearing to lose his control, he’d let her get dangerously cold.

What a poor protector I’ve been. Look at her, she’s freezing.

“You’re losing too much heat.” He got up and walked over to Rose, then sat at her side. “Let me warm you.”

“It’s okay.” Her voice shook, and guilt lashed at him in blazing strokes of shame. “I’ll be fine. Keep watch.”

“You’re not fine.” His arm circled a shoulder of ice. “Midnight God, Pretty Thing! Your body is about to shut down.”

Karian grabbed Rose’s shoulder and pulled her into the cradle of his body. She made a face at his possessive gesture, but didn’t protest. She needed the heat too much. She was so small against him, her body made of subtle curves and secret places.

Lust came, unyielding and imperious. He had known it would, and ignored the tingling of the Mating Venom on his tongue. There was no way around it, the venom slipped through, entering his bloodstream.

I would warm her faster if we were both naked.

No. This was the Mating Venom talking again.

His hand reached up a goosebumps-covered arm, kneading the soft flesh, massaging his own heat into it. Rose moaned and hid her head in the crook of his neck, nestling her body closer to him. Heat flared from deep inside his body and he squeezed her closer, breathing in her intoxicating scent. His hands were animated by a will of their own as they explored her small, female body, running across her legs to grasp her firm, shapely thighs.

Rose’s breath on his neck turned raspy as she molded her breasts to his chest, leeching every sparkle of fire from his contact, sending his desire into overdrive. Karian’s blood turned to a flow of lava and he was remotely aware of his fangs, trickling with the Mating Venom, pushing the boundaries of his control just beyond his reach. Each second that passed made him more intoxicated, more lost in the lust for this female.

Her cold, full lips closed on the skin of his neck and a deep shudder traveled through his body, ending at his crotch. His seed stem was so hard it hurt, and when she pressed her firm ass on it, he could barely contain his impulse.

“You’re playing a dangerous game, Pretty Thing.” Karian nipped at the taut skin of her neck, then licked where his fangs had pinched her. His grasp on the Mating Venom was becoming thinner by the moment, and what was worse, he wasn’t sure he cared anymore. “Are you sure of what you’re asking?”

“No,” Rose said truthfully. “But we might die in a few hours. It seems to me like there’s no point in overthinking it. If I’m about to die, then I’d rather die with your taste in my mouth.”

He held her chin between his fingers and turned her head to him. Their gazes met and melded together. They were trapped inside each other’s souls.

Gazing into the gray depth of her eyes, Karian wasn’t sure where the female ended and where he began. His life before her, his impressive rise to the highest rank of Eok military and his years of relentless dedication, seemed empty and void of meaning in the face of what he felt now that he had her in his arms. Maybe she had always been there, somewhere in a corner of his mind, waiting.

“You have no idea what you’re asking of me,” Karian said. “You have no idea—”

He didn’t finish what he wanted to say. Rose closed her now warm mouth on his in a hungry kiss that lay waste to his sanity. Grasping her, he turned her around so she faced him and she wrapped her firm thighs around his waist, pushing her hips against his crotch. Karian tore his lips from hers, then covered the supple, soft flesh of her neck with his mouth, kissing every inch of skin deeply.

He stopped at the curve of her neck, his jaws opening and his tongue flicking over her quivering skin. A trickle of Mating Venom dripped from his fangs, the slick drug covering her tender flesh. Over his ear, Rose moaned and pushed her sex harder against his. The smell of her arousal invaded his nostrils and his burning erection throbbed, imperious with need.

Far in the back of his mind, a small voice suggested: Take her. Take the female. She’s yours.

His hand slid to her breasts, kneading them softly until her nipples perked, hard and needy, through the fabric. His fingers rolled the hard knobs of flesh and she arched her back, whimpering in pleasure, making her breasts protrude even more.

“Pretty Thing, you don’t know how I hurt for you.”

“Then don’t hurt anymore. Take what you want.” She managed to talk through the panting. “I want you, too.”

Karian’s lips landed on her throat with all the hunger of a long-held starvation. The impulse rushed through him and he opened his jaw to enclose the fragile flesh, fangs at the ready. Mating Venom coursed through his veins, veiling his thoughts with the need to make her his, to seal the bond with the bite. His jaw tightened and the fangs pushed against her skin, piercing the membrane slightly. The taste of blood entered his mouth, coppery and salty. It made the rage all the more urgent, the possession all the more pressing. He had to take her. He had to make her his mate.

“Are you going to hurt me?” Rose’s voice came, shaky but still laden with desire.

Her words reached him through the dense fog of lust. She was afraid. She should be. He was seconds away from giving in to his instincts to bind her life to his irremediably. Without her approval, without her knowledge.

He should be ashamed of himself.

With a supreme effort, he opened his jaw, releasing her throbbing throat. His breathing was fast and jagged, and his entire body vibrated with frustrated need.

I resisted this time, but I won’t be able to resist much longer.

*****

Venomous Craving’s is out now, and you can get your copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo.

*****

Mary Auclair grew up in the quiet peace of a small rural village in the heart of Quebec, Canada.

​She now writes as much as her busy schedule allows to bring to life her inner world, filled with exotic planets, mysterious creatures and off course, hot, alpha heroes and the women who melt their hearts.

When she’s not writing, she can be found in the garden, walking her dogs or playing with fire in her kitchen as a part time hit-or-miss chef.

 

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.

All Alphas, All the Time: A Guest Post by Megan Crane

3 Jul

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Happy Independence Day, Lady Smutters! Okay, so I’m one day early, but given the greatness of my usual lateness, I’m gonna go with that. I hope you’re enjoying your long, holiday weekend, celebrating our great country and reading lots of hot romance.

Due to day job crazy and book deadlines, I will be taking the month of July off from blogging here at Lady Smut. But fear not! We have some fab guest posts for you and lots of Lady Smut smexy to keep the heat of summer raging high.

For starters, USA Today bestselling author Megan Crane is back with us today on Lady Smut. Last week, I set aside my regular alpha love to extol the goodness of the beta male hero. Today, Megan Crane reminds us why it’s still good to be all alphas, all the time.

Take it away, Megan!

Author Megan Crane

Some people are sick of alpha males, or so I read on the internet, but here’s a confession for you: I’m not one of them.

I think the classic alpha male—the reason I, personally, fell deeply in love with romance novels when I discovered them at age twelve, which did not exactly help me navigate the rocky and treacherous social life available to me in middle school—is unfairly maligned.

If you don’t like “alphaholes” or smug, dictatorial jerks, well. Who does?  Those aren’t classic alphas, as far as I’m concerned.  Alpha heroes can certainly be awful, because everyone needs a character arc, but the strong alpha heroes I love the most have a soft spot down deep inside all that powerful, compelling masculinity they wear so easily. Some call this their protective side. They’re usually possessive and laser-focused on whatever it is that’s given them their power, because those are the qualities that put them in their exalted positions (whether that position is King of the Universe or a quietly confident farmer) in the first place.

They’re usually unapproachable in one way or another. Sometimes stern and grim, sometimes charming and fun, but always in control. Of themselves. Of their world. Of the people and things around them.

The heroine—and his feelings for her—is the one thing this man can’t control and he’s not going to like it. At all. The heroine is the only person alive to see that soft spot lurking there inside of this man, and she’s going to have to work for it. Especially because the fact the soft spot exists—and that this woman is aware of it—is likely to make this man deeply, deeply unhappy.

Click on image to buy!

Click on image to buy!

But then, you know. He decides that rather than make himself unhappy, he can make her his.

Or try.

And I am always thrilled to be along for this journey as a reader, because nothing makes me happier than that moment of realization on the part of an alpha hero. It’s when he finally understands, with shattering certainty, that he can never be happy without the heroine. He can’t be complete without her, he can’t be himself without her, and he needs her the way he needs nothing else in his life.

Magic.

However hard and ruthless and possibly awful the alpha hero is at the beginning of a book, especially to the heroine, that’s how hard and ruthless and awful the fall for him is going to be. The fall into love and usually, flat on his face besides.

It makes me smile just thinking about it!

In addition to reading as many books featuring tough-as-nails alpha heroes, I write them. This means I get to play with power dynamics and tough guys feelings and all sorts of alpha goodness as my job. Lucky me!

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This summer I have a whole bunch of books out for you to try, should you want to get your alpha on.

If you like your alphas oozing wealth and consequence and all kinds of arrogance, I’d suggest my pair of separated-at-birth princesses who switch places and find love—while pretending to be each other! Shenanigans ensue, as your run of the mill alpha hero generally tends to dislike being lied to. The Prince’s Nine-Month Scandal and The Billionaire’s Secret Princess are Harlequin Presents written by my alter-ego, Caitlin Crews.

A significantly hotter and more dangerous option is Devil’s Own, the third in my biker series featuring outlaw bikers and the women who…well, love them, because taming them isn’t an option! Devil’s Own features a club enforcer who terrifies the most dangerous men, his teenage daughter’s high school teacher who isn’t afraid of him at all, and what happens when the two of them give into a passion neither one of them wants… or can deny.

Or you could try Cody, which is my take on a veteran bull rider, his last year on the circuit, and the woman who should have been nothing more than a buckle-bunny… but isn’t. Skylar Grey is looking to change her life after the tragedy that killed her fiancé two years ago, and she expects absolutely nothing from the too-hot bull rider she decides to get a little crazy with. But Cody Galen is used to winning—and after riding bulls professionally for over ten years, he’s not afraid of a fall or two en route to getting what he wants…

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And coming next month is Edge of Ruin, a boxed set of alpha goodness set in my post-apocalyptic, dystopian world of futuristic Vikings. My raider warriors redefine alpha-ness. Hallelujah!  In this collection of three novellas, we experience my fierce and uncompromising raider warriors in a variety of situations.  There’s the raider who finds himself swept out to sea in winter, surely a death sentence…until he finds himself nursed back to health on the floating city he thought was a myth by a woman who’s all too real. There’s the raider who betrayed his clan and relocated to what’s left of the European Alps, where he lives a quiet life as a farmer—with a new mail order bride every fall to ease him through the long winters.  Imagine this gruff, commanding raider’s surprise to discover that his latest mail order bride has no intention of leaving, no matter how hard he is on her. And then finally, a fan favorite raider who’s appeared in all the previous books finally gets his happy-ever-after… assuming he can finally convince the woman in question to accept what he and everyone else has known from the start: they’re made for each other.

Still not convinced that alphas are for you? Feel free to get in touch with me and I’ll happily draw you up a reading list: All Alphas, All the Time.

Because as far as I’m concerned, alphas really are love.

USA Today bestselling, RITA-nominated, and critically-acclaimed author Megan Crane has written more than fifty books since her debut in 2004. She has been published by a variety of publishers, including each of New York’s Big Five. She’s won fans with her women’s fiction, chick lit, and work-for-hire young adult novels as well as with the Harlequin Presents she writes as Caitlin Crews. These days her focus is on contemporary romance from small town to international glamor, cowboys to bikers, and beyond. She sometimes teaches creative writing classes both online at mediabistro.com and at UCLA Extension’s prestigious Writers’ Program, where she finally utilizes the MA and PhD in English Literature she received from the University of York in York, England. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with a husband who draws comics and animation storyboards and their menagerie of ridiculous animals. Find out more about her and her books at http://www.megancrane.com.

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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 debut romantic suspense novel, WILD ON THE ROCKS, is a finalist for InD’Tale Magazine’s prestigious RONE award! Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.

 

Anything and Everything We Want: Rebecca Brooks Examines Surprising Desires in Make Me Beg

21 Mar

No need to beg for it. Click right here and buy it!

By Rebecca Brooks

When it comes to desire, books and movies can make it look easy. You see the one, and you know.

Unless you have no idea.

Or you know what you want, sometimes, but then other times it’s not so clear. Or part of you wants something and the other part says, “No way.” Who wins the battle of head versus heart? Should you listen to the voice that’s shouting, “You can’t have that!” Or is it better to lock Lady Responsible in the basement for the night? And why do we say no to ourselves so much, anyway?

In Make Me Beg, bartender Mackenzie swears up and down that she’s never going to fall for the ripped and rugged chef she’s worked with for three years. Connor may be gorgeous, funny, and smart as a whip, but he’s the love ‘em and leave ‘em type, and Mack’s got her reasons for staying away. She sticks to her guns—until the two are given the opportunity to design their dream bar/restaurant, and late nights working together make it hard to remember why she’s so determined to say no.

Early on, an explosive argument leads to some of the hottest sex of their lives. In the morning, they both decide their transgression can be chalked up to stress, hormones, and too many hours at work. It’s never going to happen again.

But then Connor proceeds to blindfold Mack, bind her wrists, and feed her a picnic. Yeah, I know, that’s not where you thought that sentence was going. But the scene really does start off—I won’t say innocent, because everything between these two is crackling with sexual tension. But the point is to get Mack to taste his proposed menu for their new bar/restaurant without letting other distractions get in the way.

But it turns out that no matter what they tell themselves, desire doesn’t fit into neat little boxes, easily compartmentalized and pushed to the side. It’s not long before Connor moves from feeding Mack to putting…other things in her mouth. Mack, blindfolded and bound, hears him undo his belt buckle. Then the sound of him unzipping his pants. She licks her lips, and that makes Connor lose it. He commands her to get on her knees. Mack hears the edge in his voice and thinks:

Oh, fuck, that was hot. Was she allowed to find that hot?

Could she be independent, wear shut-the-fuck-up boots behind the bar, and still be slayed by such a command?

It’s a question I’ve asked before, and I can’t imagine I’m the only one. Mack is strong, independent, capable, and not at all passive. She certainly doesn’t hesitate to give Connor a piece of her mind the rest of the time, which is why he has to hogtie her for a picnic in the first place. So is it “okay” for her to be turned on by Connor’s command?

In other words, can she be strong, independent, capable, and sexual? Is she allowed to be excited by something that could be thought of as passive or degrading, i.e. being commanded to get on her knees? Could that be empowering instead? And is it okay if she likes it, no matter what the answer is?

I wish I could say exactly where these questions come from, so I’d have a better idea of how to move past the limitations they stick us with. But it’s hard to discount a lifetime of social pressure women face to be good but not too good (a prude), and to please men but not too much (a slut). We’re supposed to make ourselves sexually available, but we have to be careful not to act like we like it too much. Really, are women allowed to enjoy anything guilt-free? (According to television, the answer is salads, non-fat yogurt, and doing laundry. Thanks, but I’ll pass.)

Mack has to work twice as hard to make it in a male-dominated field like bartending. She practically raises herself after her mother dies, finds her own way in the world, and has now worked her way up to become a co-owner of her own bar/restaurant. Mack survives by being smart and always staying one step ahead. She’s pretty much kicking patriarchy’s ass in her killer black boots.

So no wonder it throws her off to get on her knees for this man. She’s not just worried about the usual BS that she’ll be judged or denigrated by society, her friends, and most importantly, herself, if she winds up another notch on Connor’s belt. She’s wondering whether she’ll still be the same powerful woman she aspires to be if she submits to him and likes it.

Anne Calhoun’s Liberating Lacey is a great book, but Lacey’s genuinely upset after she and Hunter role play a forced-sex scene that she specifically asks for. It’s totally okay to want to try something and then decide it’s not for you! But what would happen if Lacey actually loved living out a taboo fantasy? And why does good girl librarian Sophie in Victoria Dahl’s Taking the Heat feel her naughty side has to be secret? Sure, it’s fun and sexy to have such a prim little lady be full of surprises. But the whole reason that storyline works is because everyone expects her to be proper and prudish in the first place. Can you think of a high-heat romance novel where the fun and surprise is that the strong, sexy hero turns out to also have a naughty side? Of course not, because it’s already assumed!

Mack is ready, though, to take charge of her sexuality and own what she wants. She has a very inspiring man to work with, and she goes on to make it very, very clear how much she wants him. Being bound and told what to do paradoxically winds up unshackling her. It gives her permission to let go and do what she wants—not what she thinks she’s supposed to do or has convinced herself she’s not allowed to have. By pausing and having that gut-check, she allows that sex and sexuality can be complicated and gives herself permission to break a few rules and discover what she enjoys. Especially since those rules aren’t necessarily ones she deep down agrees with in the first place.

And she’s not a different person because of it. What we do in the bedroom (or in this case, by a lake) doesn’t have to translate into the rest of our lives; it doesn’t even have to mean anything outside of the particular pleasures of the moment. Mack can consent to one command, now, but that doesn’t mean Connor gets to tell her what to do the rest of the time. Or even at the picnic—the whole time, he’s still very clearly reading her body language, checking in with her, and making sure that sex is something they’re doing together. Mack may be on her knees, but she’s by no means powerless.

Mack isn’t less of a badass because she’s turned on by Connor’s command. She can absolutely wear her shut-the-fuck-up boots behind the bar—and when she’s kneeling in the grass. She’s not a different person for doing it, and she’s not giving anything up. She’s complex, and multifaceted, and human. And isn’t that a good thing?

I like that Mack asks herself whether she’s allowed to want what she does. I’m also glad she decides the answer is yes. She’s all the better for listening to her desires and allowing herself to go for it, even—or especially—when those desires surprise her. I think it’s a good lesson for the rest of us, too.

More about Make Me Beg:

“Intensely sexy and packs and emotional punch!” – #1 New York Times Bestselling author Lauren Blakely

He’ll bring her to her knees.

Bartender Mackenzie Ellinsworth has always gone it alone. So when she has a chance to open her own bar and restaurant, she’s got a plan for how it should go. Not in that plan: a ripped and rugged playboy stepping in to take over. Mack doesn’t do players, and she doesn’t do one-night stands. If Connor wants to work with Mack, he’s going to have to keep his strong, sexy hands to himself.

Connor Branding is determined to prove he’s not the directionless playboy Mack thinks. But opening a place together causes more problems than it solves. The two of them can’t agree on anything—except how scorching hot their chemistry is. Connor may be ready to indulge every desire Mack’s been denying herself…but turning business into pleasure is likely to get him burned.

 

Rebecca Brooks lives in New York City in an apartment filled with books. She received a PhD in English but decided it was more fun to write books than write about them. She has backpacked alone through India and Brazil, traveled by cargo boat down the Amazon River, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, explored ice caves in Peru, trekked to the source of the Ganges, and sunbathed in Burma, but she always likes coming home to a cold beer and her hot husband in the Bronx. Sign up for Rebecca’s newsletter at www.rebeccabrooksromance.com/newsletter to get a free novelette and a monthly email about Rebecca’s adventures.

 

I Love You, iBooks!

27 Feb

This week’s guest post comes from Lyla Bellatas, author of The Real Fling series, standalone, saucy vacation romances that begin as a fling, but end up as the real thing. Lyla was a hard convert to digital books and is here today to tell us why. Welcome Lyla!

I was born a reader–loved the feel, the smell, the look of books from the beginning. It was always my escape. I could get lost in a bookstore for hours looking for my next adventure. I’d reverently pick up a book, sniff it, let the feel of the pages soak into my skin. They were presents waiting to be opened. I adored looking at the covers and yes, I’ve judged more than one book by its cover.

deeper

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When my brother got sick we took him to many hospitals chasing a miracle. I’d sit at his bedside while he was asleep and read. I read to flee the horror of watching his young life fade away. Reality was too cruel to deal with, so I ran away, mentally. I remember the books I read during his last six months, vividly. I devoured them and they seared into my soul, ever so thankful they kept me company during the most awful time of my life.

When I was on bed rest during my pregnancy I was incredibly anxious. Bed rest is not as easy as it sounds. I’d get daily deliveries from Barnes & Noble and I’d be good for a little while, but it was never enough. More times than not, I’d open a book to find it lackluster, and I’d be crushed for the day.

I remember the joy and relief on my husband’s face when I got Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It was huge at 870 pages. My husband thought it would keep me busy for a week. Yeah, he underestimated me. One of the few and probably the last time he did. By the time he got home that night, I was done and jonesing for my next fix. The look of disappointment and horror on his face was comical, now. Not then.

When Amazon introduced the Kindle, I balked. I kicked and screamed. No! How could I enjoy reading without the accompanying sensual pleasures? Ha! This time I underestimated me.

What I didn’t take into account is my obsession with books. It’s the stories that I couldn’t live without. The escape.

I can’t say I’ve ever been a collector of anything but books. Every trip to a bookstore would have me leaving laden down with a stack of new prizes to explore and a lot less money in my pocket.

hotter

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I’d slip my latest read in my pocketbook to sneak a page or two throughout my day. When I was traveling, books were always the hardest things for me to pack. I’d sit on my bed with them spread out before me trying to choose which ones would make the cut. How many I would be able to read in the week or so I’d be gone? The worst was deciding which would go in my carry on. What if I got on the plane, cracked open the book and decided I hated it? Then what? So, I’d over pack and my back would pay the price.

Today, with more than 4,000 books in my iBooks and a few hundred in my Kindle app, I don’t have to choose anymore. They all come with me wherever I go. It’s amazing! I can read without stuffing books everywhere you could imagine. My back thanks me!

I’m still a collector but now I browse Goodreads, Amazon, and blogger sites looking for new books to add to my collection. And, as such, I’m reading more. I read when I’m waiting online or when I take a break. I can read at night without turning on the light. I LOVE that! I read at red lights or when stuck in traffic (shh, don’t tell anyone). I don’t freak (well, almost) when the doctor’s office keeps me waiting. What a revolution! I love you iBooks.

head-shot

Romance author Lyla Bellatas

Born Armenian American on Long Island’s Gold coast, Lyla has defied convention and morphed too many times to count. Beginning her career as an engineer, she swiftly made the move to marketer then drifted to digital design, printing CEO, and tarot enchantress, collecting stories along the way. As with her career, Lyla’s passions have also led to many outlets. She’s a high performance race car driver and driving instructor, poker player without the face, loves to shoot pool and although she hates being away from home she does enjoy exploring new places.  She was gifted her first tarot deck during a chance encounter in an elevator. Innately empathic and claircognizant, tarot unlocked the natural witch within. Lyla has taught tarot, pessomancy (reading stones) and reading junk oracles. She’s read tarot, stones and junk professionally for decades and still reads with or without a deck when the moon shines just right. Swept off her feet by a handsome Greek she met at the race track Lyla finally found her happily ever after as a wife, mother to a beautiful, spirited daughter, and writer. They live in the NYC suburbs and love the fast-paced brutal honesty, great restaurants, arts, and energy that define New York City. And they never fail to light a new/full moon candle charmed now by three.

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