Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Close Quarters - Blog Announcement!!!

Lucy is very excited to announce that her 50th book and latest release, Close Quarters, is out now! To commemorate this release Lucy is going to have a Gold rush celebration on her website & blog as well as offering goodies on her Facebook group page!

You can buy Close Quarters from one of these retailers - Borders ~ B&N ~ Chapters ~ Books-a-Million ~ Amazon or in a bookstore near you.

"To some, he is an assassin. To others, he's merely the man who gets the job done when no one else can. Now politico-military black-ops leader Roman Chernichenko has to take out the leak in an espionage plot that could destabilize all of Africa. Nothing will distract him from his mission. Not even the deliciously appealing blonde who's awoken his deepest desires - and just happens to be his target...Tanya Ruston is a beautiful and brainy do-gooder - and now Roman is supposed to dispose of her when all he really wants to do is seduce her. Soon it's clear Tanya's no information agent - and now that his conscience has gotten the better of him, he and Tanya are on the run from the good guys and bad. If they're going to make it out alive, Roman will have to act fast - and stop thinking about how he's going to get his feisty new charge down the aisle..."




Read an excerpt from Lucy's Website!

(Excerpt)

Tanya concentrated very hard on not hyperventilating as Roman gave instructions to their security driver. Her over the top stress levels were the only excuse she could give herself for not realizing what those instructions were until the Rover was facing the other direction.

“What are we doing? The village is that way.” She pointed out the back window, the exact opposite way from the one the Rover was now headed.

Roman gave her a look that doubted her intelligence. “And that road block may not be the only one between here and there. We’re not risking getting pulled over again.”

It was the same look her parents gave her when she told them she was joining the Peace Corps and then again later when she told them she was returning to Africa.

“This is the first time this has ever happened to me.” Though not the first time she’d ever heard of such a thing, or worse, happening to others. “I’m sure it’s an isolated incident. Besides, you did your super soldier mojo with that phone call and got them to back down. You could do it again. We can’t miss our trip to the village.”

“You can and you will.” His expression was so intense, it was almost scary. "We can't rely on my super soldier mojo to work a second time."

"But--"

“Look, Tanya, you might be willing to risk another brush with power hungry soldiers, but I’m not,” the intern said, interrupting her.

She glared at him, but her lower lip trembled infinitesimally. “Risk is part and parcel of what we do.”

She was hiding her fear behind bravado. In her mind, they had to continue on to keep things sane, to keep them the same. He'd seen it before with soldiers facing combat.

He wasn't going to give in, but he understood why she was being so unreasonable.

“But we don’t have to be stupid about it,” the other medical worker said impatiently.

“I’m not stupid.”

“No, you are not,” Roman said firmly, giving the intern a look that had the younger man facing front in a hurry. Roman laid his hand over one of Tanya's clenched fists. “Which is why you are going to stop arguing about this. Those soldiers had a hard-on for you, and I don’t mean the ones in their jockey shorts.”

“That’s ridiculous. I was just part of the car.”

“Well, they didn’t start demanding searches, strip or otherwise until they saw your paperwork,” he pointed out, watching her closely as if expecting something.

She felt the blood drain from her face as her throat constricted, making it hard to breathe. “I...”

“What?” he demanded with an air of expectation she did not understand.

“I...they...wouldn’t...”

“Wouldn’t what, Tanya?”

“Rape me,” she whispered, sick to her stomach. But the possibility was all too real. How many horror stories had she heard, and not old ones?

Some soldiers believed their uniforms gave them power over life, death and any woman’s body they wanted to use.

Roman’s expression turned deadly. “No one is going to rape you while I’m here.”

“There were four of them and only one of you.”

He gave her a look that said, “So?” and she almost smiled, but she couldn’t quite make her facial muscles work that direction. And it wasn't as if his attitude was unjustified. He'd gotten the drop on the soldiers and incapacitated them so quickly she hadn't even realized what was happening until three of the men were on the ground and their security driver was praising Roman's machismo in Shona.

“Sometimes, your arrogance is borderline comforting.” She bit her lip, not really regretting admitting that but feeling even more vulnerable with the knowledge.

“It’s only arrogance when the confidence isn’t justified. Mine is.”

“Who are you that your boss has influence over the Zimbabwean army?”

A strange expression flitted over his features before he shrugged. “Believe it, or not, Uncle Sam has influence in a lot of places you wouldn’t expect.”

And then she remembered his assertion that the roadblock had not been sanctioned by the military powers that be. “I still don’t—“

“Don’t overanalyze it. You’re specialty is saving people, mine is protecting our country’s interests. Let’s leave it at that.”

“Does protecting U.S. interests include protecting its citizens?” She couldn't believe that was the case, but she certainly wouldn't mind if he'd taken a personal interest in her safety.

“In your case it does.”

Warmth suffused her as the implications of his statement sank in. He wanted to protect her. Coupled with his behavior in the car before they came on the roadblock, indications were good that her aching attraction wasn't in fact one sided. She almost smiled. “That’s good to know.”

“I’m glad you think so.”

She took a deep breath and let it out, trying again for a smile and almost making it. She should not be so freaked. After all, nothing had actually happened to her, but that didn't seem to count for much with her emotional equilibrium. She forced the fear aside and said, “I think you’re flirting again.”

“Maybe I am.”

"Good, because I'm definitely flirting."

"I noticed."

She felt her face twist in a grimace as a thought occurred to her. “Fleur is going to be angry.”

“That we ran into a roadblock?”

“That I insisted on going to Kimambizi when Sympa-Med wanted me to go to Tikikima.”

“And the trip ended up wasted.”

“Exactly.”

“Is she really that unreasonable?”

“She’s pragmatic. Fleur thinks I’m an idealist, and a somewhat naïve one at that. She doesn’t like it when I buck the system.”

“She doesn’t strike me as a traditionalist.”

“It’s that pragmatism. Sympa-Med makes it possible for us to do what we do. She doesn’t want to alienate them.”

“Sounds reasonable.”

“It is, just sometimes, they’re wrong.”

He laughed and Tanya felt the sound all the way through her. “You have a wonderful laugh.”

“And you are an idealist.”

“That’s not a bad thing.”

“No, but I think you and Dr. Andikan are probably a good balance for each other.”

Tanya felt a real smile curve her lips. “We are. She’s a good friend.”

“I’m sure she feels the same.”

“More than I realized, considering what Ben said she writes about me on her blog.”

Roman frowned at the mention of the other man.

She found that curious. “Don’t you like Ben?”

“He’s an unknown quantity.”

“I thought he was just a government bureaucrat?” she mocked.

“I’m not saying he’s anything else. I’m simply saying he seems to have hidden depths.” And Roman really did not sound happy about that fact, or maybe it was the fact he’d admitted it to her that bugged him so much. He looked a little surprised by his own words.

Friday, July 30, 2010

New Release - The Greek's Pregnant Lover!!!

Hey Everyone,

Lucy has a huge announcement - Her 25th Harlequin release of The Greek's Pregnant Lover is OUT NOW. If you hadn't heard, Lucy's prequel to the Greek's Pregnant Lover and previous release, The Shy Bride, made # 95 on the USA Today Bestsellers list! Lucy is hoping to do even better for this release and could really use your help.

Be sure to pick up a copy of The Greek's Pregnant Lover from one of these retailers; Borders ~ B&N ~ Chapters ~ Books-a-Million ~ Amazon


Enjoy an excerpt from The Greek's Pregnant Lover...

{Excerpt}

“When are we going to drop the bombs?”

Piper Madison’s head snapped up at the question asked in a small boy’s high-pitched tone. The dark haired moppet, who could not be more than five, looked at the male flight attendant with earnest interest.

Glowing with embarrassed humor, his mother laughed softly. “He hasn’t quite got the hang of not all planes being geared to war. His grandfather took him to an aeronautical museum and he fell in love with the B-52 Bomber.”

She turned to her son and explained for what was clearly not the first time that they were on a passenger plane going to visit Grandma and Grandpa. The little boy looked unconvinced until the First Class cabin flight attendant added his agreement to the mother’s. Small shoulders drooped in disappointment and Piper had to stifle her own chuckle.

There had been a time not so many years ago that her fondest hopes included being in that exasperated mother’s place. Those dreams had died along with her marriage and she had accepted that. She had. Yet as much as she wished they didn’t, those old hopes still caused a small pang in the region of her heart in moments like this.

But dreams of children definitely had no chance of resurrection in her current situation.

Trying to let the low level background hum created by the plane’s engines soothe nerves already stretched taut, Piper leaned back in her seat and looked away from the domestic tableau.

It didn’t work. Despite her best efforts, her heart rate increased as anticipation of her arrival in Athens thrummed through her. She couldn’t stop herself looking out the window, her eyes eagerly seeking evidence of the airport.

For hours it had been nothing but blue-gray water with squiggly lines of white indicating capping waves. Then they’d flown over the southern tip of Italy’s “boot heel” and she knew they were almost to their Athens destination. And she was less than an hour from seeing him. Zephyr Nikos. Her current boss and part-time bed partner.

She was more than a little keen to see the man and the place of his birth. Besides, who didn’t want to visit paradise?

For that’s where they were ultimately headed, a small Greek island that at one time had been the vacation home of a fabulously wealthy Greek family. Not so flush now, the patriarch had sold the island to Stamos & Nikos Enterprises. Zephyr and his partner, Neo Stamos, planned to develop it as an all inclusive resort-slash-spa and retreat. And she’d been given the interior design contract for the entire facility, with a budget large enough to bring in whatever kind of help she needed to see it to completion.

She was beyond excited about being brought in at the ground level on such an expansive project. It would be an amazing coup for her business, but satisfying personally on a creative level as well. Even so, her current sense of keenness was predominantly for the man who waited for her there.

She had spent the last six weeks missing Zephyr with an ache that scared her when she let herself think about it. She should not be so emotionally dependent on a man who was only sort of her lover.

She bit her lip on a sigh.

They were involved sexually, but not romantically. They weren’t anything as simple as casual sex partners. That would be too easy. She’d know exactly how to handle her one-sided emotional entanglement then. But they were friends too. Good friends. The kind of friends that hung out at least once a week before the sex benefits started and that increased to multiple times a week when they were in the same city.

To complicate things even more, he was also her boss.

Again...sort of. His company had hired her personal design firm for several projects over the past two-plus years, though this new development was by far the biggest and most far reaching for her. He would be her boss in actual fact if she’d let him too.

He’d offered her a staff job with salary and benefits she’d had a hard time turning down, but Piper had no desire to work for someone else. Not again. Not after losing both her husband and her job in one fell swoop barely only six months before she took on her first project with Zephyr’s company.

She’d vowed then that she would not allow herself to ever be that vulnerable to upheaval again.

She’d thought marrying Arthur Bellingham would give her the stability she craved, among other things-like that family she’d dreamed about. It had turned out just the opposite though. Art had shredded her emotions before tearing her life apart piece by piece until all she had left was her talent and her determination. She would never be in that place again.

Not even for Zephyr. Not that the sexy Greek real estate tycoon was offering her marriage, or even commitment. He’d offered her a salaried job. That was all.

If she wanted more, she certainly wasn’t saying so. Up until the past weeks long separation, she hadn’t even admitted it to herself. Telling him wasn’t in the cards she planned to play. Not when doing so would spell the immediate end to this whole friends-who-are-sexually-intimate situation.

And maybe their friendship as well.

#

Zephyr waited for Piper near the luggage carousel. He hadn’t seen her in six weeks. She had been on a job in the Midwest and he’d known if he didn’t offer her the Greek job, he probably wouldn’t see her again for another two months, or more.

Not that she wasn’t the best interior designer for the job, but this project was bigger than anything she’d taken on before. He knew she could do it though. And it wasn’t as if he needed to explain his choice to anyone. That was one of the benefits to being the boss. The only person who might have something to say about it, and only because they were both working on this development for the first time in years, was his best friend and business partner, Neo Stamos.

However, the man was knee deep in wedding preparations right now. Cass might not want a big production, but Neo wanted their small wedding to be perfect in every way. Hell, Zephyr was surprised his friend hadn’t insisted on designing and building a venue just for the event.

A group of new travelers surged toward the luggage carousel, bringing Zephyr’s thoughts firmly to the present. He scanned the crowd for Piper’s beautiful blond head. There she was, her attention caught by a small boy talking animatedly to his mother. The skirt-suit in Piper’s signature blue she wore highlighted her curves deliciously, while managing a claim to elegance. Yet, he doubted it was a designer label.

Piper’s business was still operating on too fine a line for her to splurge on clothes, or even an apartment much bigger than a closet. He’d offered her a job that would have made it possible for her to live at a higher standard, but she’d turned him down. Twice. Damn, the woman was stubborn. And independent.

He wondered if she would turn down a shopping spree in Athens’ fashion district?

She looked up and their gazes met. Eyes the color of a robin’s egg filled with warmth and pleasure as they landed on him, her bow-shaped lips curved in a gorgeous smile. That look struck him like a blow to the chest.

He felt a grin take over his mouth without his permission, a more honest smile than anything that usually masked his features. Not that he had to hide that he was pleased to see her. They’d hit it off when he hired her to update the main offices for Stamos & Nikos Enterprises a little over two years ago. Their friendship had only grown since. The addition of phenomenal sex to their relationship had only improved the situation as far as he was concerned.

In fact, Piper had been the reason Zephyr had encouraged Neo so strongly to develop interests outside their company, and to pursue his friendship with Cassandra Baker, the famous recluse master pianist. That had worked out better for Neo than Zephyr could have imagined. And Zephyr was happy for him. He really was.

However, it boggled his mind, to tell the truth. Neo in love. Zephyr shook his head. Sex and friendship were one thing, love something else all together.

Piper’s delicate brows drew together in a frown and she gave him a questioning look.

“It’s nothing,” he mouthed.

When she reached him, he pulled her into a tight hug. Her soft curves felt so good against him, the low level arousal he’d experienced since waking that morning and realizing he would be seeing Piper today went critical. Just that fast.

Damn.

“I guess you really missed me.” She leaned back, a sensual chuckle purring from her throat, her eyes glinting with teasing humor.

Chagrin washed over him. He wasn’t some untried adolescent. Nevertheless, he laughed and admitted, “Yes.”

“When is our first meeting with the architect?”

“The day after tomorrow.”

“But you told me I needed to be here today.”

“You needed a break.”

“Building a new business is always consuming.”

He shrugged because he couldn’t disagree. For the first ten years he and Neo had built their fortune, they had worked weekends and long hours during the week and hadn’t taken so much as an afternoon off. Things had gotten a little better after that, though they were both too much of overachievers to develop much life outside their company.

After meeting Piper, Zephyr had started leaving the office around six instead of eight, but he still wasn’t great about taking time off. However, Piper had sounded exhausted the last time they’d spoken on the phone, and he’d determined she would take a break, one way or another.

“Agreed, but I did not think you would begrudge an extra couple of days in Athens.”

Her eyes lit up. “You mean I actually get to do some sightseeing before submersing myself in the job?”

“Exactly. I’d hoped you consider the next couple of days an information gathering time as well as our time on the island. We want the resort to fit into the island’s ambiance, but also reflect Greek culture.”

“Ambiance? I thought it was a private island. Empty.”

“The family leased out land for a small fishing village and a few farms for local produce as well as having their own fruit orchards and olive groves.”

“Oh, that’s perfect for what you are wanting to do.”

“I thought so.” But he enjoyed how in-tune with his vision she was.

“I’m glad I’ll have time to really get to know the area then. I like to try and make my designs reflect the local setting’s positive attributes.”

“I know and I’m sure you’ve done a lot of research on Greek culture already.” Heck, she’d researched it when they’d first met, telling him she wanted to understand him and Neo better as clients. He didn’t know how much it had helped her, considering he and Neo had left Greece behind so many years ago. But there was no denying Piper got him in a way no one else did. And her design updates in their offices had been perfect. “Nothing can replace experiencing an environment in person though.”

Unconsciously nestling her body into his, she smiled, clearly pleased. “True, but I didn’t know I’d have the luxury to do so with this job.”

He just grinned and shrugged.

She laughed. “Don’t fool yourself into believing I’m not aware you have your own agenda here. One that includes judicious amounts of time between the sheets. You’re a manipulator, you know that?”

She knew him well. “Is this a bad thing?”

“In this case?” She shook her head, her bright blue eyes going heavy-lidded. “No. Definitely no.”

That’s what he appreciated so much about her. Piper Madison was a gem among women, his very own polished diamond that did not require the setting of a relationship to shine. Unlike Neo’s less worldly Cass, Piper had no illusions of love and romance. She enjoyed his body as he found pleasure in hers. No morass of untidy emotions to navigate, which was a very good thing.

Because unlike Neo, Zephyr had no love to give. “Let’s get your case and we’ll head to the hotel. It is a spa-resort.”

Scoping out the competition, are we?”

“Naturally.” He gave in to the desire that had been riding him since her arrival and kissed her. And then he kissed her again for good measure. She tasted as sweet and arousing as always.

Eyes glowing with pleasure, she said, “Only, situated in the city, it can’t hope to offer what we, I mean Stamos & Nikos Enterprises, will.”

“There would be no point in developing a new property if we couldn’t bring something to the table no one else has already offered.”

Her azure gaze slid to his lips and stayed there for several seconds, and then she blinked at him with unfocused eyes for before seeming to remember what he’d said and smiling wryly. “Always the overachiever.”

“And you are not?”

“Hey, there’s more than one reason you and I are such good friends.”

“More than this, you mean.” He rubbed himself against her subtly.

She gasped and stepped back. “You are dangerous.” Letting her gaze drop to what he hoped his suit jacket hid from other’s gazes, she winked. “I think getting to the hotel is a definite necessity.”

“Are you tired?” He asked, tongue in cheek. “Need a lie down?”

“Get my case, Zephyr.” She gave him a look that said she knew exactly what kind of lie down he had in mind and she wasn’t necessarily averse.

“Gladly, agapimenos.”

“Don’t start in the Greek endearments unless you want spontaneous combustion right here,” she warned.

“But I like living on the edge.”

She gave a significant look to the baggage rolling by on the carousel.

He turned smartly and started looking for the zebra print luggage he had bought her after she complained about how her black suitcase looked like everyone else’s in the airport. She’d laughed at the loud black and white print on the cases, but she used it.

She’d only brought one midsize case and her carryon, so they were out of the airport and in the car he’d rented for the week a few minutes later.

“Mmm...nice. Definitely a step up from the Mercedes,” she said, rubbing the leather upholstery in the fire engine red Ferrari convertible.

“Don’t knock my car, it has heated seats and those come in handy in Seattle’s colder winters. And an open-option top would hardly be practical in such a wet city.” But he was glad she liked the Ferrari. He’d wanted to spoil her a little, since she was always so determined not to spoil herself.

“There is that.” She brushed her hand along the ceiling. “Are you going to lower the soft-top?”

“Of course.” He pressed a button and roof slowly disappeared.

Once the process had completed, he put the powerful car into gear and backed out of his VIP parking spot. With well-practiced movements in cut-throat driving, he maneuvered them through Athens toward their hotel. He swerved around a taxi that had stopped in a no-parking zone and then accelerated through a light turning red.

She put her head back and laughed out loud. “Oh, I like this. We really have two days for you and me to play, and nothing else?”

“We do.”

“Thank you, Zephyr.” She brushed a hand down his thigh.

Pleasure at both the touch and the gratitude he heard in her voice filled him. With an independent woman like Piper, it had been a risk to schedule vacation time for her without her knowledge. Even if he called it locale research. He was glad the risk had paid off. “What are friends for?”

“Is that all we are? Just friends?” she asked, not sounding particularly concerned.

So, he didn’t go into masculine panic mode. “In my world there isn’t anything just about being a true friend.”

“I understand that. All of my so called friends dumped me when I walked out on Art. I didn’t realize they were only interested in spending time with me if I came as part of a power couple.”

“Even though he cheated on you?” Zephyr asked in disgust.

“Art wasn’t the only one who believed that hoary old refrain he was so good at spouting.”

“Which one is that?”

“All men cheat.”

“We don’t.”

“The jury is still out on that one, but I was not about to stay married to a man who believed infidelity was as inevitable as the tide.”

“You know I think you made the right choice divorcing that louse.” At least her family had finally come around to that conclusion as well, even if her former friends had not.

“Me too. But unfortunately, that louse runs one of the most successful design houses in New York.”

“Hence your move to Seattle.”

“Exactly. There just wasn’t room enough in The Big Apple for both his ego and my career.”

The bastard she’d been married to had done his best to blackball her in the design community. Zephyr had returned the favor over the past two years and Tres Bon no longer held its prestigious top position status. Arthur Bellingham’s word might send ripples out in the city, but Zephyr Nikos sent out waves big enough to drown in the international community.

The bastard who had done his best to ruin Piper’s life was on the slippery slope of business decline already. Art would only find himself in deep, murky waters when he got to the bottom too.

Zephyr had never told Piper of course. She hadn’t been exposed to his ruthless streak and he saw no reason to change that.

“Well, I am glad you came to Seattle,” he said.

“Again, me too.” She tugged off her jacket, revealing the silky singlet she wore beneath it, and the fact she wasn’t wearing a bra. “I certainly made a better circle of friends.”

“Oh, I am round now?” he asked practically choking on his lust as her hardened nipples created shoals in the slinky fabric of her top.

He forcibly snapped his attention back to Athens’ typically snarled traffic, lest he cause an accident or do a poor job avoiding one. He could hardly do what he was fantasizing to her body from a hospital bed.

Having her in peril of the same didn’t even bear thinking of.

“Don’t be smart.” She tapped his leg, having the opposite effect to the one he was sure she meant to. “I have other friends.”

“Name one.”

“Brandi.”

“She is your assistant.”

“I have friends,” Piper insisted stubbornly. “There’s a reason I’m not available every night to keep you entertained.”

Which wasn’t something he actually liked, so he let the subject drop.

#

Usually, Piper noticed every tiny detail of her surroundings, always looking for ways to improve her own sense of design and aesthetics. However, she barely noticed the earth tones and ultra-modern, simplistic design features of the luxury spa Zephyr had chosen for their stay as he led her through the oversized lobby to the bank of elevators on the far side.

She was too busy soaking in his every feature, her senses starved for the sight, taste and feel of him.

The past month-and-a-half had been harder than any separation they’d had to date. For her anyway. Maybe for Zephyr too, if the number of calls and texts she’d gotten from him was anything to go on. They’d had prolonged times apart before, but not since they started having sex regularly six months ago. Still, it wasn’t as if they were a couple. They were friends, who were also casual sex partners. At least that’s what she’d been telling herself since the first time they’d passed that intimate boundary nine months ago.

That first time, she’d thought it would be a one-off, something to get the sexual tension that had been growing between them out of the way of their friendship. She’d been wrong.

They hadn’t gotten physical again until three months later, but connected sexually several times a week since then. When he made it clear, again, that he did not see the sex as anything more than physical compatibility for stress release, she’d told herself she wasn’t ready for a committed relationship either, so that was just fine with her. Art had done a real number on her ability to trust and she had a business to build. She didn’t have a place in her life for a full-time relationship.

The only problem was: she wasn’t sure she believed her own rhetoric any longer. Her natural optimism was doing its best to overcome her painfully learnt lesson on the ways of men. The fact she was having such a complicated internal monologue on the matter was telling in itself, she thought with an internal sigh.

She’d been careful not to ask for promises Zephyr might break, or make commitments she wasn’t ready for.

But she’d come to realize over the past six weeks where she had subsisted on phone calls, texting, IM-ing and email that emotions didn’t abide by agreements, verbal or otherwise. That refusing to make a vow didn’t stop her heart from craving the security that promise implied. Nor did it stop her from living like she’d made her own promises.

She’d missed Zephyr more than she’d thought possible and wanted nothing more right now than to wrap herself up in him and soak in his essence.

He seemed to want the same thing. He hadn’t stopped touching her since they left the airport. He’d laid his hand over hers between shifts in the car and he’d kept his arm around her waist all the way to the room.

He opened the door with a flourish. “Here we are.”

The suite reflected the minimalistic décor from downstairs, but its spaciousness spoke of the ultimate in luxury. “This place is bigger than my apartment.”

“My closet is bigger than your flat,” he said, sounding unimpressed.

She grimaced at the truth of his words, but the curve of her lips morphed into a smile from the heat burning in his brown eyes.

From the feel of his arousal when he’d first hugged and kissed her hello, and the sexual need intensifying his features then and now, she expected to be taken against the door with a minimum of foreplay.

But that didn’t happen. He set her cases aside and then lifted her right into his arms, high against his chest, in a move that made her feel cherished rather than just wanted.

She quickly banished that thought even as her gasp of surprise escaped her. “Going he-man on me?”

“Spoiling you more like.”

“Oh, really? I could get used to this,” she teased.

He didn’t bother with a reply, but didn’t look too fashed at the prospect. So not good for the odd blips of emotion that had been pestering her lately. But that was one thing she could say about Zephyr Nikos, whether it be in his role as friend, boss or bed partner, the man did not stint on his generosity.

Despite his obvious desire, rather than showing mass amounts of impatience, he laid her gently on the big bed and seemed determined to reacquaint himself with every facet of her body. He drove her crazy with reticence while pumping her for information on her time away from him.

After he asked yet another question about her experience in the Midwest decorating the interior for a new office building, she laughed. “We spoke every day, Zephyr. I can’t think of anything I didn’t already tell you.”

The gorgeous tycoon actually looked like he might be blushing, his dark eyes reflecting chagrin. “I was just curious.”

“You know what I do on a job. I’ve done it for Stamos & Nikos Enterprises often enough.”

“Did you like the Midwest, better than Seattle?” he asked with what she thought was entirely mistimed curiosity.

“Are you kidding?”

His expression said clearly he wasn’t.

“I love Seattle. The energy in the city is amazing.” And he was there.

“That’s good to know.”

Suddenly, all his questions started to make sense. “You heard.”

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Book by Mary Wine

Debut Mass Market

To Conquer a Highlander
by Mary Wine
Sourcebooks
ISBN-13: 9781402237379

Buy the Book

In this first in a trilogy of sexy Scottish Highland romance, Laird Torin McLeren kidnaps his neighbor’s daughter attempting to quell a treacherous plot sure to bring English retribution, only to find the lass he’s captured would serve him much better as an ally than as an enemy…

Excerpt from To Conquer a Highlander
(c) Mary Wine

He blew out a breath that she heard because the hall was so quiet. No one was near and that heightened her awareness of him. Her heart beat faster because she knew they were alone. Every sense became sharper making her keenly aware of details that she normally didn’t notice. The way his lips curved or the manner in which his eyes darkened when he looked into her eyes.
And she could not deny that she was enjoying having his attention upon her.
“Maybe I need to show ye that my touch does nae have to be that of a barbarian. You were correct when ye told me to seek out yer father. My quarrel is not with ye Shannon.”
His voice deepened and the grip on her arm loosened becoming almost as gentle as the touch he’d laid against her cheek. She was keenly aware of it. The skin on her face still warm where he’d touched her. But on her arm, the layers of her robes did little to protect her from noticing how warm he was.
“Does that mean I am free to leave?”
“No, it means that I am left wondering what exactly is between us, since it is no a quarrel.”
Excitement leap up inside her, shaming her with how quickly it heated her belly.
“I prefer the quarrel, for you are not to my liking. I have never fancied a Highlander.”
He grunted softly, her barbed words finding their mark. Fury danced across his eyes and a moment later he tugged her forward. She stumbled past him and ended up in the corner with the stone wall at her back. Her captor took one long step and caged her there with his huge body, both of his hands flattening on the wall behind her.
“Be careful what ye demand of me lass, I am a Highlander and part of me will be happy to prove ye truthful in what ye say I am.”
Her heart froze and then jerked hard beneath her breast. Her lungs began working faster to keep pace and that drew his scent into her once more. This time her body responded with another twist of excitement running through her belly. The heat stained her cheeks, flowing lower and lower until it encased the tender globes of her breasts. The delicate skin tingled with a longing that shocked her but also added to the growing excitement pooling in her belly.
“But that is no the way I’d like things to be between us.” His gaze touched on the mark her father had left on her face. “What is it you long to return to lass?” The emotion that crossed his eyes was one of distaste and that was something that no amount of talking might have convinced her of. There was sincerity in his eyes that she witnessed only because she was so close.
His hand lifted and gently touched the healing bruise. She shivered, jerking her head away from his fingers only to feel them sliding along her cheek once more. Slowly, gently, but there was nothing soft about the man. His hands were covered in smooth skin but other than that he was as hard as she had witnessed last night.
Which made his tender touch more sweet than she might ignore.
“I want to return to what I know, my kin. It is where I belong.” There was firm determination in her tone.
“What ye have known appears to be a hard life best left behind.”
Shannon discovered that she liked his words far too much. She reached up and pushed his hand away from her cheek.
“No one chooses who their parents are. It’s my duty to return to my father.”
His gaze settled on her bruised face again.
“As it is mine to keep you from doing that.”
She gasped but saw his determination to do exactly as he said burning in his midnight eyes.
“You are being unreasonable, acting like a barbarian in keeping me here against my will.” She had to force each word out, past protesting lips that did not want him to give her leave to depart. It was insanity but she craved more of his touch, which was why she had to escape before she lost the will to resist.
“Yer father should have found you a man worthy of yer spirit. The right sort of man would give you a place to utilize all of the passion brewing inside ye, and it would not be by insulting him with that sharp tongue of yers.”
“I’ve no ever met the man he sent me towards. It’s unchristian to think ill of a stranger.”
Torin chuckled, the sound deep and very male. “As ye noticed lass, I’m nay feeling very Christian at the moment. But more of the barbarian ye accused me of being.”
“Bringing me here as your captive was barbaric.”
“Humm…but as ye noticed, I am a Highlander and we steal women from time to time.” His eyes darkened dangerously. “Especially when their kin is not worthy of them.”
His fingers slid down until they touched her lips, one single finger tip teasing her lower lip. Insanity shot through her. It stole her breath and every logical thought from her mind. There was suddenly nothing save the twisting of excitement in her belly and the way her lips enjoyed being touched. Never once had she noticed how sensitive they were. She was suddenly frightened of how much sensation roared through her, uncertain if she might recover from it.
“I’d prefer a strike when ye are displeased with my words.”
His lips parted to show her his teeth while a large, wolfish smile beamed at her. “But ye’ve no yet had a sample of the alternative.” His voice deepened, dropping low and turning husky. “Ye can nae make a good choice unless ye have experienced both, sweet Shannon.”
“I’ll take yer word on the matter—”
His mouth sealed whatever else she might have said inside her own. She turned her head away but he followed her, the contact become a firm kiss that refused to allow her to escape. But it wasn’t hard. His hand cupped the back of her head to hold her captive and still the hold wasn’t brutal.
No, what was brutal was the assault on her senses.
His lips were hot against her own, slipping along the sensitive surfaces while his tongue boldly licked along her lower lip. That unexpected action sent a shaft of hot delight through her. He enticed her to move in unison with him and she discovered a need to do exactly that. She angled her face so that their lips met more completely and the reward was sweet pleasure. It flooded her senses, intoxicating her. Her boldness drew him forward, almost in the moment that she moved to bring their lips closer together. His large body pressed against hers so that her softer curves yielded to his harder form. A gasp rose up and opened her mouth in spite of her initial thought to resist his kiss. He took instant advantage of her parted lips, pressing her mouth to open wider with his own. The hand cradling the back of her head tilted her face upwards towards his while his tongue invaded her mouth.
She shivered but not in revulsion. Sweet sensation surged through her as powerful and uncontrollable as a spring river. She felt as helpless as a tree branch being tumbled in the turbulent current. The only solid thing in reach was Torin. Her hands sought out his strength and she quivered once again when her fingertips landed on the hard ridges of muscles that were solid and unyielding just as she’d imagined him to be.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Difficult Decision - Please Read

First, I want to apologize for simply disappearing...I've had another "retreat from the world" episode and had to dig deeply for cause and effect as well as solutions. I love this blog and chatting with readers on it, but maintaining it as well as my Facebook, MySpace, etc. takes a lot of time I could and *should* be writing. I want and frankly *need* to interact with my readers, but have realized that in the interest of achieving some level of balance something has to change. I am currenlty spending 12 hrs a day at the computer in order to get maybe 3 hours of actual writing in. It is imperitive for my family and my own mental health that I somehow cull my hours back to a normal 40 hour work week.

Finally accepting this is not going to happen without some serious behavior changes on my part, I've reallized I need to pick one social interactive medium, rather than trying to keep several different social pages up to date and answered.

My Facebook group/fan page is the one I've chosen as it combines the best of all worlds, an opportunity for longer blog type posts (when I have both the time and inclination for them) on my "Notes" tab and daily short updates on the mainpage. (It also updates Twitter & MySpace automatically, so requires no further effort on my part to maintain those social mediums.)

This blog will remain an active page on the Internet, but it will be reserved for announcements, excerpts and the yearly Lucy Monroe Reader Online Conference (ROC). Other than ROC, comments will be disabled. I'm sorry to need to do this, but life is about change. We can't just keep adding on and on and on. I learned that about buying new dishes and the kitchen cupboards, but it's taken longer when it comes to interacting with others online.

If you want to "chat" with me, please visit my Facebook page at:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lucy-Monroe-Fans/338069119152

Thank you all for sharing time with me here. I hope to see you there as well, and if not - at the very least during ROC when we'll have lots of guest authors, prizes, hotties and fun come next February!

Much love and blessings,
Lucy

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Speaking of Trees

People who have read my Call Story, often ask how I kept writing year after year, rejection after rejection, set-back after set-back.
I tell them that Hubcap believed in me when I did not believe in myself. I tell them my mantra, "You can't guarantee success, but you can guarantee failure...by giving up. So don't give up." I tell them I was lucky and my mom supported me, always cheering me one, that I knew I was doing what God wanted me to do. I tell them, truthfully, that an author cannot give up writing. S/he may stop submitting (though I never did), but not actually writing. It's in your blood; it's in your DNA. You simply *can't* give it up.
But only if they're really close to me, do I tell them about Hubcap's vision tree. It's so personal, it's so intimate...it's so overwhelming. But it's also key.
I was reminded of it when I was searching for pictures to include in Monday's blog post about trees. I saw this one and a host of feelings and memories flooded me and I knew, the time had come to share. I'll be celebrating my 50th book release in September - I think that's significant and I think that makes this moment the right one. :) This picture was just the catalyst I needed.

Some of you know that I began writing the stories I'd been telling myself in my head since my earliest memory after a conversation I had with God in the bathtub. Yep, it's a great place to talk to God and Hubcap without outside interruption. ;-)

What many of you don't know is that after I began writing, Hubcap had a vision...a dream, whatever you want to call it - we considered it a vision. He saw a really tall tree with lots of branches. Going up the trunk of the tree and out each branch was a light (that light was me) and on the end of each branch was a manuscript. The tree went higher than he could see and he couldn't count the number of manuscripts, there were so many. He absolutley believed that vision was an insight into the future and that I needed to keep writing, no matter what.

I clung to his belief I would one day publish when my own waned. He never, ever gave up or re-interpreted the image. Though I myself often wondered if the manuscripts were destined to remain just that - unpublished works I had written. He didn't ever doubt they would find a home in readers' hearts.

He drew the image for me to keep on my wall in my office. He reminded me that my gift was just that. I might be a tree in his vision, but he was my rock.

Eventually, my stories did publish and now I can share his vision with not only hope, but with knowledge. Here is a picture of that drawing that gave me so much hope.
It's your turn: has there been a time in your life that you let someone else believe in the future for you? Or when you trusted someone else's view over your own emotions?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Humpday Hottie

One of JudyF's sexy cowboy hotties. :)
We've said it before, but JudyF knows her cowboys! LOL
This week's mid-week pick-you-up hunk for your enjoyment!

Blog Winner for Last Week

Congratulations to last week's blog winner!

Judy

Email your details to Andre, along with which book from my backlist you would like - so he can get your prize sent out to you. (If the link does not work, use the contact form on this page - http://www.lucymonroe.com/contactadmin.htm - messages go directly to Andre.)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Trees in Books

Okay...so loving trees as I do, I really enjoy when they play some kind of pivotal (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn), or even minor role in a book. :) You know how some readers just love pets in a book? Well, I'm actually one of those too. But today we're talking about trees. ;-)

I just realized that the cover for Close Quarters is probably one of my favorites, not only because it has a hot rendition of my hero, but a tree. LOL Hmm...what other delish romance covers have trees on them?

Have you read a book where a tree-house brought back special memories and/or sparked some action on the part of the main characters? Or what about where trees created a setting that you could picture so easily in your mind's eye? In Close Quarters, there is a love scene set amidst a group of trees. In Moon Burning, the trees in the forest are my heroine's allies...twice...in saving her life.
Wow...I wonder if I'm obssessed and just don't realize it? :) I think we get so caught up in urban life, we forget how important our connection to nature is. Hubcap, being Mr. Green himself, keeps me reminded. And I think that comes out in my books sometimes, after all - we write what moves our hearts. Or at least, I do. :)
So, here's my other question for you: have you read a book lately (or even years ago) where a tree or really nature of any kind was a key element?
In Clear Cut by Alexa Smith, one hero is a logger and the other - you guessed it - an environmental conservationist. Trees were only part of their conflict. :)

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Tree Outside My Window

I have a deciduous tree outside my office window. It's some kind of Maple, but don't ask me which one. That's Hubcap's department and he's not here to reference. :) Right now, the leaves and little reddish-pink flowers block my view of anything but the sky and the tree itself.

While I may not be a dab hand at identifying the subspecies (is that even the right word?) of a tree, I love them. Always have. Our last house backed up to a greenbelt (area that could not be developed) filled with towering Douglas Firs that danced in the wind like tall-skinny hula masters. I loved that view and will never forget the morning mists that made the small forest magical. I still miss it. Sigh...

So, if you think I'm saddened all I can see is a tree out my window, you'd be wrong. Its gorgeous and inspiring and does a lovely job of blocking off the rest of the world. Which sometimes I need. Want. Enjoy. Not absolutely sure which is the exact feeling, but think need may be the closest. :)

When I was a little girl (maybe 8), I used to sit under the big willow tree in our front yard and draw. I loved that tree and when it had to be cut down because the roots were growing into the plumbing and basement foundation, I cried. I still love willow trees more than any others, though when we went to Hawaii this past spring, I fell deeply in love with the Banyon trees. They're so old and majestic and intricate - just like a great book!
I loved trees so much, I counted the number in our yard back then and proudly proclaimed it to all who would listen. (There were 13.) We have trees now, but they're young...the house isn't old and it was built on a cleared lot. One of the trees in our back yard died this year. We don't know why, but we're looking at it as an opportunity to plant a fruit tree. Both Hubcap and I like them. :)

We had a play area between two trees that I spent a lot of time playing make believe in too, when I was young. Before my parents divorce, before we moved to a mobile home park space with no trees. The play "house" was between two huge Evergreens. One of them had something like a cave on the opposite side to where the branches had been trimmed to make the "house". It was another spot where the lower branches did not all grow together, but the ones above draped down, protecting it from sight. I hid there once in a while, from the world.

Hubcap plays tree for me somtimes. Like the other night when we went to visit my mom and she was so confused she tried to answer the phone with the remote. Her amonia levels were too high and it was scary, but nothing we haven't faced before. She's doing better now, but for a while there, I needed Hubcap to just block out the rest of the world. And like the true hero he is, he did it.

Sometimes books are my trees...when I'm so stressed by deadlines, I *can't* think of my own stories, I hide in someone else's. It works. For me. Reading is a place to go when where I am is tough, or scary, or simply boring. :)

Sometimes the hot-tub is my tree. With all the bubbles going, I can't hear anything else and I can just float and think about stuff that isn't going to make my heart bleed. It's okay, we've all got stuff like that in our lives and sometimes its more prevalent than others, but joy is so much sweeter because it rarely comes without cost.

Maybe that's why I write romance, I want to be a beautiful, blocking tree for someone else - I want to give books that will make hearts glad and remind us that no matter how harsh the pain, there is the hope of redemption. Does that sound too grandiose?

I'm not sure, but one thing I do know...I love trees.

It's your turn: what do you turn to to soften the rough edges of the world, or simply block it out entirely?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This week's blog post winner will receive a signed copy of a book of choice from my back-list. :)

Friday, June 04, 2010

For Writers

Week 3 of my class on the “11 Senses, Who Knew?” based on Marilyn Kelly’s book by the same name in my free online Yahoo class group.

To make it fun, I’m giving away weekly “mentoring” prizes including two copies of Marilyn’s book over the 11 week course. It’s a very light course – no huge time commitment. If you aren’t a member, but would like to join, it's not to late. :)
This week we're discussing the Sense of Touch. :) New "lessons" posted every Friday.
NB: While I'm not giving Marilyn's workshop per se (though I *highly* recommend anyone attending RWA Nationals to take it), I am doing an 11 week not-so-intensive course on the use of the 11 senses.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

More on Epilogues

Have you ever re-written the ending of a movie or a book in your head? You know, when they original writer just got it *wrong*? LOL Okay, so that sounds bad, but we all know that there are times that the ending of books or movies just infuriate us, or depress us, or just plain annoy us.

For some of us, that calls for rewriting. It's something I taught my kids to do when they were young. I had a few of my nieces and nephews staying for Spring Break. We'd watched Jack Frost and everyone was saddened by the ending, so I gathered them around and invited them to rewrite it. Their imagination and vision was the cause of much giggling and outright laughter, but in the end - they learned a valuable skill. The writing of your own epilogue. :)

I'm inviting you to do that now. You have the power to rewrite history if you want to. You have the ability to change dissatisfaction to joy. Do it now. :) Write a different ending, or an epilogue that makes the ending work *for you* for a book or a movie that ended in a way that left you feeling cheated or let down, or simply sad.

You don't need to write the dialogue, or setting, or anything complicated...just tell us how you would have ended the movie instead.

For me, it would be "Gone With the Wind." Scarlett would have let her love overcome her pride and chased after Rhett, she would have apologized for once and told him she loved him and no other, instead of scheming. And he would have forgiven her as only an alpha hero can.

See, short, simple...but a total rewrite. :)

It's your turn: post your Epilogues to your most discombobulating books or movies here. :)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Humpday Hottie


Judy kindly shared this hero inspiration with me - he so looks like a Brava hero to me...or maybe a raven shifter from Children of the Moon, what do you think?

Blog Winners for Last Week

Monica Burns generously offered a signed copy of Assassin's Honor to a poster off her guest blog! The winner is:
Please email Monica off her website (http://monicaburns.com/contact.php?firstname=Monica&lastname=Burns) with your full name and address so she can ship the book to you.
Congratulations to last week's Lucy Monroe blog posst winners!

Each name listed below has won a copy of a "My Romance Story" - a romance graphic novel containing two illustrated romance stories produced by Arrow Publications.


Email your details to Andre, so he can get your prize sent out to you. (If the link does not work, use the contact form on this page - http://www.lucymonroe.com/contactadmin.htm - messages go directly to Andre.)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Speaking of Epilogues

Once in a while, readers will ask what is going on in the lives of my characters and while I wish I had time to write ongoing epilogues for all my stories, I don't. But I might find the time to write at least one...if you could choose one set of characters for me to revisit in an epilogue or bring back in an upcoming book, which would they be?

And for those of you who weren't around to read it the first time, here is a slice of life for some of your faves from Ready and Silver Bella:


Cowboys & Mercenaries
(c) 2008 Lucy Monroe

Jake swore six ways from Sunday as he pedalled the spindly ten-speed bike. He damn well was not going to accept a challenge bet from his sneaky bastard brother-in-law again.

When he got back to the ranch, he was going to make any kind of betting impossible because he was going to drown Wolf in the creek. Even if it was summer and there was only about six inches of water in it. Of course that might upset Bella some. She was fond of her ex-mercenary half-brother. Heaven alone knew why.

Well, okay, when he wasn't luring Jake into bets that left him riding a bike he'd paid a couple hundred dollars for that was worth maybe thirty on the long road that led from town to his ranch, Wolf wasn't such a bad guy. Lise certainly seemed to think he was something special. As did his baby son, little Joshua Jr. JJ was sure a doll. Hard to believe he was the offspring of such a devious SOB.

Jake smiled to himself. No one was here to see it, so he could admit he more than appreciated his brother-in-law's intelligence and cunning.

Jake was a cowboy from the top of his black Steston to the bottom of his handmade boots. He rode horses. He drove a dually truck that scared the hell out of smaller cars. He did not ride bikes. Not even Harleys, but for sure not dilapidated ten speeds with balding tires and questionable brakes.

However, the bike was a better option that walking the whole way back to the ranch. His backside was gonna be sore though. A bike sit hit a man in places a well-worn saddle didn't.

****

Lise laughed outloud when she saw her brother riding up to the ranch on the bike. Oh man, her husband was in so much trouble. It was a good thing to two men were so well matched, but Lise thought she might want to warn Bella to get the breakables out of the way.

Lise and Joshua's baby boy toddled out onto the porch. "Mama."

Just one word, but she had no problem knowing what it meant. JJ had started walking at seven months, but speaking was coming more slowly. With Joshua for a father, that wasn't a surprise.

The man gave definition to the word monosyllabic most days. It didn't matter, she loved him more than her own life and he'd proven he loved her more than his.

Life was good.

She picked her son up, but his attention was firmly on his uncle, who had dropped the bike and was standing there looking like a man ready to commit murder.

"Daddy!" Genevieve went hurtling down the stairs and landed against her daddy's legs with all the enthusiasm of a rambunctious toddler.

All of Jake's ill humor melted away like ice in the summer heat of Texas. He swung his daughter into his arms and kissed her cheeks, blowing raspberries in her neck and making her screech.

Bella came out onto the porch.

Lise grinned at her. "Good tactics. I think he just might refrain from killing my husband."

"Those two are more like brothers than in-laws."

"You think?"

"I think if we don't stop these betting challenges between them, they aren't going to have to pound each other into the dirt. The stupid bets are going to do it for them. I doubt Jake has ridden a bike since he was a kid."

"I'm sure you're right."

"His thighs are going to be so sore."

"An excuse for a lower body massage?"

Bella hummed with thought. "Now, that has potential."

Lise agreed, wondering how soon her own little darling would sleep tonight.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Epilogue is the Thing

Who doesn't love a good epilogue?

Well, honestly, there are a few readers who have told me they hate epilogues on principle, but most (including me) love an epilogue that gives a glimpse of the HEA lived out.

That's the reason I wrote the free online Epilogue for "The Italian's Suitable Wife" & its companion book, "The Playboy's Seduction". I felt like readers deserved a glimpse of the characters I had in my head as their lives played out on my internal movie screen. :)

Wikipedia defines the Epilogue as this:
An epilogue, or epilog, is a piece of writing at the end of a work of literature or drama, usually used to bring closure to the work. The writer or the person may deliver a speech, speaking directly to the reader, when bringing the piece to a close, or the narration may continue normally to a closing scene.

And Merriam-Webster's has this entry for the Epilogue:
Etymology: Middle English epiloge, from Middle French epilogue, from Latin epilogus, from Greek epilogos, from epilegein to say in addition, from epi- + legein to say — more at legend
Date: 15th century
1 : a concluding section that rounds out the design of a literary work
2 a : a speech often in verse addressed to the audience by an actor at the end of a play; also : the actor speaking such an epilogue b : the final scene of a play that comments on or summarizes the main action
3 : the concluding section of a musical composition : coda


Epilogues aren't always about the character's lives months, or even years later. Sometimes, they're merely days or even immediately following the close of the literary work. Epilogues can wrap up story questions that remain unanswered once the main story arc is finished. I've done this satisfactorily a couple of times and a bit abruptly once. It's a dicey proposition and as I learn and grow as a writer, I realize what makes the best kind of epilogue and it's not always what I want it to be.

I don't mind growing in this way. If I stop learning and improving, I'm not giving the best I can to my readers and I know that. But I also think that just as with the Prologue, the Epilogue can be a tacked on tid-bit that wouldn't really be necessary if the author (me included) took their time improving the bits that came before (rather than after - as with the unecessary prologue).

Epilogues can also ruin a book. I've read more than one that I wanted to just bean the author for writing. Some have frustrated me so much, the author got put on my "be wary of" list immediately. I found that extremely disappointing - to have a book so engaging be absolutely ruined by a lousy epilogue.

My least favorite of these horrific episodes is George Bernard Shaw's Epilogue written for Pygmalion, so that no romantic should be in any way deceived into the thinking the end of the play led to any sort of happy ending. Oh, if he were still alive and near to hand, he'd get such an earful and probably a right boot to his backside. (Can you tell I've been re-reading Pygmalion? LOL)

But he wasn't the first and certainly not the last author to flip the hope of a happy ending, or make the one written seem trivial and wholly unbelievable. I remember reading an epilogue for a romance that left me wanting to rewrite the whole book, which right up to that point I had thoroughly enjoyed. Aargh...the pain of it!

I'm much more enamored of the author who writes an epilogue tying up loose ends and showing the HEA lived out in such a way that leaves me sighing happily and with a smile on my face.

It's your turn: do you have a favorite epilogue? An author who writes them consistently and you just love him/her for it? What about an epilogue that actually went as far as to save a book - or absolutely ruin it...?

I can't post my epilogues this week as that might be too much "Ending Spoilers" for any one blog to perpetrate, but if you'd like to read the special Epilogue I wrote for "The Italian's Suitable Wife" & "The Playboy's Seduction", you can find it here.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Book by Denyse Bridger

Shades of Death (Print Edition)
by Denyse Bridger
ISBN-10: 1452850135
ISBN-13: 978-1452850139
Genre: Dark Fantasy

Buy the Book

This book is non-erotic, is a full-length novel, and is now in Trade Paperback. Paranormal (vampires) mainstream, with a touch of romance and mystery....

Death has many shades and shapes... Deep within the ageless Carpathian Mountains, an ancient evil wakes. Imprisoned many centuries ago, the creature has waited, patiently, for the one destined to grant her freedom. Arienne Lereaux has studied the preternatural menace called "vampyre" for most of her life. She is an expert in the field. Loosely affiliated with a secretive organization called The Institute of Paranormal Research and Investigation, she turns to them when she unearths what may be the first representation of the vampyre ever to exist.

The enigmatic and attractive Head of the Institute, Adam Raven, has spent a lifetime tracking the clues left by his mother's disappearance in the mountains of Romania nearly twenty years past. When Arienne arrives at the secluded island headquarters of the Institute, he wonders if she holds the key to finding his lost mother. But before too many days pass, the city of Vancouver is rocked by a series of grisly murders. As it races to find the culprit, the Institute faces an evil unlike any it has encountered before...

In the middle of their hunt, another branch of their network is making a scientific breakthrough in genetically heightened telepathy. The team responsible may soon hold a weapon that will have world powers at their door—until their lead scientist vanishes after leaving Toronto to consult Raven and his people. Ancient myth is suddenly not myth, and evil may take many guises before the Institute can restore the delicate balance that was destroyed the night Arienne stumbled into a remote castle in the mountains half a world away…

Read an Excerpt

Saturday, May 29, 2010

New Book by Margaret Mallory

KNIGHT OF PASSION
3rd Book in All the King’s Men Series
by Margaret Mallory

ISBN-10: 0446559865
ISBN-13: 978-0446559867
Publisher: Grand Central
Release date: May 25, 2010

Buy the Book or Read an Excerpt


HOW CAN THIS PASSIONATE KNIGHT…

Renowned beauty Lady Linnet is torn between two desires: revenge on those who destroyed her family or marriage to her childhood sweetheart Sir James Rayburn. One fateful night, she makes a misguided choice: she sacrifices Jamie’s love for a chance at vengeance.

TRUST A BEAUTY WITH A PAST?

Jamie Rayburn returns to England in search of a virtuous wife—only to find the lovely Linnet as bewitching as ever. Their reckless affair ignites anew, even hotter than before, although Jamie vows to never again trust her with his heart. Then just as Linnet begins to make amends, she’s tempted by one last opportunity to settle old scores. But a final retribution could cost her Jamie’s love – this time forever.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Prologue for Annabelle's Courtship

Annabelle's Courtship

Samhain 2008 ~ (c) Lucy Monroe



This is the first historical I ever wrote and I had more fun with the prologue than I probably have had with any other. :) What do you think? A good addition to the book? Or unnecessary?


Prologue


Graenfrae, Scotland 1816


Laird Ian MacKay, Earl of Graenfrae, wanted to slam his fist into the gray stone wall of his study. “Ye’re telling me that my stepfather left me a fortune, but I canna get it unless I marry?”
Ian impatiently watched the elderly solicitor, Eggleton, as he removed his spectacles and carefully cleaned them with a cloth. Replacing the eyeglasses on his face, the solicitor shuffled the papers before him. He cleared his throat. “Precisely speaking, milord, if you marry within the year.”
A year. Ian clenched his hands and pivoted away from the other man. Bloody hell.
The tenants on Graenfrae’s farms needed seed and farming implements. Many of their homes would not last another winter without new thatch on their roofs. Ian needed blunt. Money that was only available if he wed within a year.
The urge to slam his fist into something grew stronger. Ian’s chest constricted with anger and another emotion. Betrothal and marriage would make him vulnerable to betrayal.
Again.
He had a difficult time believing that the late Earl of Lansing would take such drastic measures to see his wishes fulfilled. “Did my stepfather tell you why he placed this restriction in his will?”
Again the white head bent as the solicitor went through the ritual of cleaning his spectacles. Ian wanted to tear the wire frames from Eggleton’s hands. Were na the man’s eyeglasses clean enough?
“Lord Lansing believed that after the unfortunate incident with your broken betrothal you might hesitate to marry. He wanted you to secure your line, so to speak.”
“Then why did he no just add another rider requiring I set up my nursery?” Ian asked with disgust, ignoring the issue of his ended engagement.
Eggleton appeared to take his sarcastic question seriously. “He did in fact wish to do so. I convinced the earl that these matters are uncertain. It would be difficult to predict, ah hem…” Eggleton coughed delicately. “When your wife might begin increasing.”
Things were not as bleak as they could be. Without the requirement for an heir, nothing would stop him from finding an obliging woman and entering a paper marriage. An annulment could be secured in due time. Feeling better than he had since the solicitor had begun reading the will, Ian sat down.
A look of relief passed across the Eggleton’s face. “There is one final matter regarding the inheritance.”
What could be worse than marriage? Ian raised his brow in question and Eggleton continued. “Your wife must be English.”
“Bloody hell.” Ian shot from his chair. “You canna be serious.”
Eggleton looked offended. “I assure you, I would never make light of the last wishes of one of my clients.”
An English wife.
“How am I supposed to find an English wife and marry her in the next year?”
Were he looking for a proper wife, he knew it would be easy. He could think of several ladies who would be thrilled at the opportunity to be Lady MacKay. He could not envision any of them going without new dresses and fripperies while he made necessary improvements on his tenants’ properties, however. Finding a wife would not be hard. Finding a woman who would sacrifice for the good of Graenfrae might be impossible. Far better to plan a paper marriage.
“The London season opens in less than a month, milord.”
Of course his English stepfather’s lawyer would think in terms of London. It was a fair distance away, but the season attracted many ladies. One of them would surely be practical enough to fit his purpose. He needed a plan of action.
Ian moved toward the desk, amused when the lawyer hastily retreated toward the window. Grabbing paper and a quill pen, Ian dipped it in the ink well. He started writing. Several minutes later he blotted the paper. Blowing on it, Ian read again the words he had written.

Requirements for a wife:
Plain.
Modestly dowered.
Older.

Eggleton cleared his throat once again. Ian looked up from his paper. The solicitor said, “The late earl instructed me to give you a message when I told you the details of the will.”
Ian felt a premonition of disaster on the horizon. “Aye?”
The solicitor shifted from one foot to the other and repeated the process of cleaning his glasses, this time taking an inordinate amount of time to wipe the lenses. “He wanted me to remind you…” The man let his words trail off.
Ian prompted him, “Aye?”
Eggleton coughed. “He said to tell you that when a man takes the holy vows of matrimony, he is giving his word to the woman he takes to wife. The earl wanted you to remember that honor demands the gentleman in question keep that word for a lifetime.”
Ian could no more deny the honor demanded by his stepfather than he could deny the responsibility to his tenants he had learned at his da’s knee. Feeling like a man facing the gaol, Ian accepted that there would be no paper marriage.
After the solicitor had left, Ian settled against the dark leather of his favorite chair and studied his surroundings with a critical eye. A man’s room, his study fit his need for stark simplicity. Bookcases on either side of the massive fireplace relieved the unending gray of the circular stone walls.
Multiple windows high in the walls of the turret’s chamber bathed the room in the fading light of evening. A scarred oak table served as his desk. Only two other items of furniture had made it into his sanctuary, another chair and small round table.
Soon a woman, an English woman, would be living in his home. A wife. He did not have time to cater to the needs of a woman, especially the romantic ideals so many ladies seemed plagued with. Taking a sip from his brandy, he thought of another requirement to add to his list for a wife.
Practicality.
The list would do him well in selecting a woman to wed for a lifetime. He would not make the same mistake he had with Jenna. He would find a woman as unlike her as possible, a woman who would be faithful.

For Writers

Week 2 of my class on the “11 Senses, Who Knew?” based on Marilyn Kelly’s book by the same name in my free online Yahoo class group.

To make it fun, I’m giving away weekly “mentoring” prizes including two copies of Marilyn’s book over the 11 week course. It’s a very light course – no huge time commitment. If you aren’t a member, but would like to join, it's not to late. :)
This week we're discussing the Sense of Hearing. :) New "lessons" posted every Friday.
NB: While I'm not giving Marilyn's workshop per se (though I *highly* recommend anyone attending RWA Nationals to take it), I am doing an 11 week not-so-intensive course on the use of the 11 senses.