Blog Hopping

WIP it. WIP it Good. #MFRWHooks #MFRWauthor #MFRWorg

A Book Hooks Blog Hop Post

I loved my ride on the Book Hooks train (hosted by the wonderful MFRW blog) so much that I’m doing it again. This time I’m sharing a completely unedited section of an untitled WIP, and I’m still linking you up with some posts written by some other awesome romance authors.

So, the below excerpt is taken from a short steamy contemporary romance piece I’ve been working on.

To set the scene: MFC (Frankie) was locked out of her apartment and the neighbour’s kid, Zephyr, produced a lock-pick set and let her in… then stuck around and had dinner while his Dad was at work. That’s where this next bit picks up.

Excerpt:

“Dad!” The kid pushed his chair back and raced through the living room and down the short hallway. Frankie followed him, wanting to make sure he wasn’t going to get into trouble. Zephyr swung her front door open at the same time as a man exited the apartment next door.

“Zephyr Martin Hollows!” The man -tall, dark haired and dark eyed, with a matching dark beard- reprimanded, his concern and fear palpable. He stormed towards them, and Frankie swallowed convulsively. 

Zephyr’s dad was hot

As he neared, she could see streaks of silver around his temples and in his beard, and laugh lines creased the skin beside his dark brown eyes. He wore fitted jeans and a red plaid shirt across broad shoulders, fulfilling any number of lumberjack fantasies she might secretly harbour. 

“Dad!” Zephyr shot forward, throwing his arms around the man’s waist. 

“What the hell, Zee?” 

Oh, God, he’s got an accent, too. Frankie felt her knees go weak. American? It explained referring to Zephyr as ‘Zee’ instead of ‘Zed’, really. 

“Sorry, Dad, I-“

“I was so worried.”

Canadian, Frankie decided, with the way the man drew out his ‘o’s giving him away. 

Zephyr nodded and squeezed his dad tighter, before he gestured back in Frankie’s direction. “I know. I’m sorry, but Frankie was locked out and then she made me dinner to thank me for letting her in.”

Her mouth went dry as Zephyr’s father finally noticed her. He narrowed his gaze and looked her up and down, and she felt as though she was coming up lacking in his estimation. Her face was free of makeup, she was wearing her casual Friday getup of faded jeans and a polo shirt, and her red hair was currently untamed around her face.

Still, she cleared her throat and stuck out her hand. “Frankie Jessop,” she introduced herself, exhaling in relief as he took her hand and gave it a shake. She was most certainly not focusing on how warm his palm felt against hers, or wondering about the calluses on his skin. “And I’d still be sitting on the floor outside my door if Zephyr hadn’t found me. You should be proud. He’s a good kid…and somehow insanely skilled with a lockpick.”

The hard expression on the guy’s face smoothed out a little, only to be replaced by exasperation. He shifted to look at his son. “You know you’re not allowed to use my kits, Zee.” Turning back to Frankie, he ran a hand through his hair, his fingers catching in the tight curls. “Brett Hollows,” he introduced himself, sounding chagrined, “and I’m not a criminal, if you’re wondering why I’ve got those tools just lying around. I’m a locksmith.”

She couldn’t help the burst of near hysterical laughter that escaped her. “Sorry,” she brushed away a couple of tears of laughter. “Earlier tonight I wasn’t sure I’d find one locksmith. Fate’s just given me two.”

READ MORE OF MY WRITING

While the above is still a Work In Progress, you can read my latest novel You Can’t Hurry Love for FREE on Kindle Unlimited or, for a limited time, buy the ebook for $0.99 USD/CAD/AUD from Amazon. The paperback is available in a few more places, too.

https://books2read.com/YouCantHurryLove will take you to all of them.

Also, the ebook for my FIRST novel, Handle With Care, is on sale at the moment at Amazon for $0.99, too, or you can pick it up for FREE by signing up to my newsletter:

And if you’re looking to discover some new authors, click the link below and hop to the next blog post!

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Contemporary Romance · Dark Romance · Sharing The Love

Sharing The Love

with Melverna McFarlane

Featuring her novel Inevitable 

Welcome to Sharing The Love, Melverna McFarlane!

If you were a potato, what way would you like to be cooked?

I would be twice cooked. First, mashed with garlic, cream, and butter. Second, deep fried in duck fat. This way represents my complicated nature, crispy on the outside while soft and melt on your tongue on the inside.

What animal would you chose to be?

My favorite animal has always been the tiger, fierce and independent, but with a playful streak when you get me in the right mood.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up along the East Coast of America: New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Delaware. When people hear that, their first question was if my family was in the military, but that wasn’t the case. We emigrated to America and my parents went where the opportunities were. I spent the majority of my life in Philadelphia and it still holds a warm place in my heart.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I am a pantser, meaning I don’t know what I am writing until I begin to write. The most preparation I do is to figure out an outline of my main characters’ back stories, then I’ll research as I go. The main exception to this is when I have to write about cultures that aren’t my own. I take my time to understand what may be considered negative and positive stereotypes so I don’t include them in my work, while still being respectful to the culture that inspired my story.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have three unpublished books that will be published by next year, and I am about to start on a Christmas novella for this October. I am pushing myself to see how much I can write within a year because the story ideas never stop.

About The Book

They ended on the floor, Nico’s body suspended above hers. His caresses branded her with an invisible “Mine” everywhere he touched, and she reveled in his claiming.

Nico

Four years ago, I made one mistake, and she left. I couldn’t convince her to stay no matter how much I loved her. Still love her. But one day she turns up at my door asking for my protection. A rival family is threatening her life and the business she busted her ass for. No matter what unresolved issues lie between us, the heartache I’ve carried, or the dreams I wish were reality, I won’t let anyone threaten her or the family I had always wanted to be mine. I will always protect her. But I am more than just a temporary bodyguard. I have a second chance to show her my love is worth fighting for, and I will claim her completely. With this new chance, she can’t escape the inevitable.

René

Asking Nico for help is the last thing I want to do. After breaking up with him four years ago, I am not ready to be reminded of all the reasons I fell in love with him, to begin with. Avoiding him becomes impossible when he is still the only man I trust to protect me and my family from a rival mafia boss intent on ruining our lives. His every touch reignites my passions. Though I fight it, and will never admit it, my feelings for my ex had never died. As the heat between us flames to new heights, he tempts me with the possibility of a second chance at love.

Please Note: Both Inescapable and Inevitable can be read as standalone novels in the expanding Oliveri Mafia series

Genre: Contemporary romance

Tropes: Alpha Hero, Diverse, Plus-Size Main Character, Forced Proximity, Bodyguard, Interracial, Second Chance, Mafia

Length: Novel

Excerpt:

“You’ve got this,” René told herself. She straightened her posture, and faced the door she had walked out of three years ago with no intention of ever returning. “It’s not like I am crawling back. If it weren’t for Onika I wouldn’t even be here right now.”

Although René was a first-generation American and had lived in the states her entire life, her family was big, loud, close, and international. With her childhood summer vacations spent in Jamaica, she and Onika, who had only moved to Felicidad two years ago, might as well have been twins. They spend almost every day of their breaks together.

Two years ago, René had offered to help Onika get settled, but her stubborn-ass cousin rejected her offer. Now René was a target with few options.

It was too late to lament her current circumstances, her business was at stake.

Okay, her life and Onikas were also at stake which technically was more important.

But damn, René had worked her ass off to become a hairstylist whose growing popularity resulted in two successful salons. She’d spent years renting chairs in other people’s salons while doing hair in her parents’ extension. Nights, weekends, and friendships were sacrificed on the altar of her dream. Finally, success had started trickling into her life. And now there was a threat to everything she had poured her soul into building, not to mention her life.

She wanted to curse Onika’s name, but Onika was only part of the equation. Who knew her friendship with Jessie would one day up the stakes to her dilemma?

There she went, hyping herself up when she needed a calm head to deal with that man behind the door. If anyone had gotten her wrapped up in drama she would have bet the bank on him—Nico Donini.

All this time she had avoided his name. In her mind, he was an abstract idea. Because thinking his name brought inevitable memories. Not the rip your heart out memories but the warm, cuddle sessions that plagued her after she’d ended things. They whispered to her of the what-ifs she could never voice.

Desperation had driven her here but it didn’t cancel out Nico as her wisest choice. Who was she fooling? She was not ready to face Nico. She spun to her car once again.

Before her first full step, the voice still haunting her dreams said, “Running again? You haven’t changed, have you?”

Buy It Now:

Amazon (US)

Amazon (AU)

About The Author

Melverna McFarlane loves stories with Happily Ever Afters. After years of characters taunting her imagination with their potential, she decided it was time to write her own scorching hot romances. She moved to America from Jamaica at a young age, and has lived up and down the east coast most of her life. The bitterly cold winter of 2013 was the last straw, driving her back to island life—this time to Hawaii. When not writing, she is reading romance, YA, and Fantasy, country hopping, or vicariously obsessing over other people’s cats (she awaits the day her landlords succumb to the truth: feline domination should be everyone’s goal in life).

Websites/Social Media:

Website: https://www.melvernamcfarlane.com

Amazon Author Profile: https://www.amazon.com/Melverna-McFarlane/e/B098KP2DXN

FB reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/353173499490610

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelvernaM

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melverna_mcfarlane/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21632673.Melverna_McFarlane

BookBub Author Profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/melverna-mcfarlane

Newsletter sign up (receive a FREE ebook of Nobody’s Wingman) https://tinyurl.com/2p9bvazp

Blog Hopping

She likes to Moo-ve it Moo-ve it #MFRWHooks

A Book Hooks Blog Hop Post

I’m jumping on board the Book Hooks train (hosted by the wonderful MFRW blog) to share an excerpt from my new release, You Can’t Hurry Love, and to link you up with some excerpts to some other awesome romance authors.

The below excerpt is taken from Chapter Three. At this point, Charlie’s just had to suffer through an attempt at a deep & meaningful conversation about his (admittedly repressed) feelings and then Sara enters.

I just loved having this pair quietly -and sometimes not so quietly- get under each other’s skin. They were so much fun to play with!

Excerpt:

“Just know that you can change your mind about it at any time, yeah?” Everett nudged his shoulder. “It won’t make you any less of a man, you stubborn git.”

Before Charlie could respond, a familiar, obnoxious voice cut in with a laugh. “That’s assuming he’s man enough to begin with.” Sara sauntered into the room, dropping a handful of shopping bags onto the floor beside the kitchen bench. She hopped up to sit on the granite surface, crossing her long legs at the ankle and chirping, “What are we talking about, anyway?”

From between gritted teeth, Charlie responded, “Nothing that concerns you, princess.” His spirits rose at the expression of distaste which flitted across her face. For some reason she despised the moniker, and so he used it frequently.

“Alright children,” Everett interrupted, narrowing his gaze at Charlie, “behave.” He stood up and crossed the room to greet Gemma with a kiss. “Did you lovely ladies enjoy your day?”

It was Jeff who answered, striding in arm-in-arm with their mother. “We did, thanks. It was just what the doctor ordered.”

“That massage was heavenly,” Beatrice agreed. “Worked out all the kinks from that Godawful flight.”

Charlie stretched his neck from side to side at the reminder. “I shoulda’ gone with you, then.”

Sara muttered something that was likely uncomplimentary under her breath, but, at Everett’s disapproving glower, Charlie bit his tongue. He was unused to this dynamic: previously, he’d been the one delivering looks like that in response to Rhett’s antics. He didn’t particularly appreciate being on the receiving end.

“How’d Zoe go?” Gemma asked. Charlie could tell she was attempting to change the topic, too, if the glare she’d sent Sara was anything to go by.

It was still strange to watch his brother switch completely into daddy mode. Everett grinned at his girlfriend. “We went to the park, came home and she tried some pureed sweet potato – she’s a fan, by the way.” At six months old, they were starting to introduce solids. How did Charlie know this? They’d regaled him and his mother with the information over dinner the previous night. His mum had lapped it up. Charlie had been bored as fuck. “And then she had a bottle and went down for her nap without any issues.”

With his mother cooing at his brother, Charlie did his best not to roll his eyes, but let his mind drift. He loved his niece, but he wasn’t all that concerned by the minutiae of dealing with an infant. Glancing around the room, his gaze landed on Sara. Still perched on the kitchen bench, she was examining her fingernails, clearly just as interested in the conversation taking place as he was. 

Look at that, he thought to himself with droll amusement, we’ve got something in common after all.

The moment was broken as she sensed his stare and looked up to catch him observing her. Her eyes rolled and she made a shooing motion with her perfectly manicured talons, which, he noted, were painted a vivid, cherry red. He flipped her off and looked away, wishing he could point out what a cliché she was.

Vapid cow.

READ THE BOOK

You can read You Can’t Hurry Love for FREE on Kindle Unlimited, or buy the ebook for $2.99 USD (or $3.99 AUD) from Amazon. The paperback is available in a few more places, too.

https://books2read.com/YouCantHurryLove will take you to all of them.

And if you’re looking to discover some new authors, click the link below and hop to the next blog post!

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Click here to Hop to the other Book Hook posts!

Erotic Suspense · Sharing The Love

Sharing More Love

with Lisabet Sarai

Featuring her novel Exposure 

Welcome back to Sharing The Love, Lisabet Sarai!

Stretching Myself

My latest release, Exposure, started out as a writing exercise in the Erotica Readers & Writers Association Storytime critique group. I’ve been a member of Storytime, on and off, for more than twenty years. It’s a wonderful community that offers both warm support and practical advice.

Back in 2009, the Storytime moderators used to pose regular theme challenges – invitations to try writing a new topic or in a new genre. It was always fascinating to see how different authors interpreted those invitations. Exposure began as a response to an erotic noir theme.

I’d never produced anything “noir” before, but I had some idea what the sub-genre entailed: urban grittiness, disreputable and world-weary characters, tension, darkness and an oppressive air of suspicion, in which nobody was who they seemed. I decided to stretch myself and give it a try. The result was “Private Dance”, a short story featuring a self-confident stripper, a dubious commission, and a bloody double murder.

The story was really different from anything I’d previously written. I originally thought it was a one-off, but for some reason my main character Stella Xanathakeos wouldn’t let me go. I decided to see if I could turn the story into a novel. The result was Exposure.

It was a rough slog. Writing a mystery was a completely new experience for me. I found the genre to be far more demanding than the BDSM erotic romance that was my stock in trade. In a mystery, every plot detail is critically important. At the same time you need to include a few red herrings to keep things from being too predictable.

Another tricky aspect was that, following the original story, I decided to use first person present tense. That fits well with suspense; your characters don’t know any more than your readers, so both are repeatedly surprised and shocked. However, managing time in a present tense novel takes a lot of care.

If you’re familiar with my other work, you’ll find Exposure something of a departure. It’s steamy but decidedly dark, with an ambiguous ending where Stella really hasn’t made up her mind what she’ll do, or who she wants. Nevertheless, I’m very fond of the book, at least partly because writing it pushed me outside my comfort zone and helped me broaden and deepen my craft.

About The Book

Sex, blood and betrayal: it’s all in a day’s work.

I strip for the fun of it. Don’t let anyone tell you different. It’s not the money. I could make nearly as much working at the mill and keep my clothes on, but then I’d have to suck up to the bosses. Up on stage, I’m the one in charge, and I like it that way.

Tony Pinelli hired me for a private dance. I was determined to give him his money’s worth. I didn’t expect to be caught in the cross-fire of a double murder. When his widow shows up at my door, I know I’m in way over my head. Now I’m everyone’s target. I can’t trust anyone – not even the police detective who was sweet on me in high school. My only chance at survival is to shift through the lies and expose the truth.

Genre: Dark erotic suspense – ambiguous ending

Length: 65,000 words, 218 pages

Rating/Heat Level: Explicit. Mature Audiences Only. 5 Flames.

Excerpt:

The next night I show up at the designated room number, at eight on the dot. I like to be professional. I’ve tried to dress as elegant as I can, in a nice peach linen suit that hugs my curves and makes me look dark and exotic. I’m nervous, though, as nervous as I was that first night I stepped onto the Peacock stage. Taking a deep breath, I rap three times on the door like Mr. Clean told me to do.

I recognize the man at the door immediately. I may be a stripper, but I read the papers. It’s Anthony Pinelli, leading businessman, local power-broker, candidate for mayor. Hey, I was planning on voting for him, in spite of the stories about his mob connections. Nobody’s lily-white these days. From what I’ve read, he seems to have the kind of strength that you need to run this tough town.

I’ve seen his picture lots of times, but in person he’s even more impressive. Big but not fat, with a shock of shiny black hair and bushy eyebrows to match. He has a nice straight nose, lips that look decisive, and dark eyes that seem to go right through me.

But more than his good looks, I’m impressed by the sense of power that he projects. Charisma, I think the word is. He looks me over, those firm lips curve into a warm smile, and I suddenly feel like I’d do anything he asks.

“Please come in, Ms. Xanathakeos,” he says, standing aside so that I can enter the suite. His voice has a round, mellow sound to it. It slides over me.

“Call me, Stella, please.” I look around the fancy suite curiously, noting the modern paintings on the walls, the horseshoe-shaped sofa, the bar set up in the corner. The closed door next to the desk must lead to the bedroom. My heels sink into the thick, plum-colored carpet. I’m afraid that I’ll damage it. Maybe I’ll have to dance barefoot.

“Well, then, Stella, you must call me Tony.” He takes my hand in a kind of old-fashioned way. His touch sends shivers through my body. My nervousness is gone, replaced by a feeling of breathlessness. I won’t have any trouble at all getting turned on enough to dance, that’s for sure.

“Can I offer you some refreshment?” Tony asks, gesturing toward the bar.

“Just water, please.”

He hands me a long-stemmed glass full of carbonated water. I watch the bubbles dancing. It feels as if there are bubbles inside my chest, too.

He pours himself a tall scotch. We sit together for a few minutes on the sofa, not talking, sipping our drinks. I feel flushed and sweaty, as if I’ve already danced for him. His body gives off waves of heat. It’s like I’m lying under a sun lamp. I don’t know what to do next.

Finally, he puts down his drink. “Shall we get started? Let me get a bit more comfortable.” He shrugs off his suit jacket and places it over the desk chair. I gasp as I see that he is wearing a revolver in a shoulder holster. He smiles, just a little, as he removes this and hangs it over the chair on top of the jacket. “I’m a dangerous man, Stella, and I have many enemies. I have to take care of myself.” I nod vaguely. I’m not exactly reassured.

He seats himself back on the sofa. “The stereo is over there,” he says, pointing to a complicated pile of audio equipment next to the bar. Somehow, I figure out how where insert my thumb drive and how to start it playing. I turn to face my audience.

The first bars of the music free me from any anxiety. I fix my eyes on him and begin to move. Graceful. Sensual. I’m extremely turned on, but I want this performance to be classy, not raunchy the way I sometimes am.

The shoes go first. Now I unfasten my jacket, lingering over each button. Building the suspense. I’m wearing regular lingerie, flimsy and feminine, instead of one of my costumes. My breasts are like melons, encased in black lace. No padding or wires on this bra; my nipples are clearly visible, pushing the fabric into sweet little peaks.

Buy It Now:

Ebook

Kinky Literature

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Kobo

Goodreads

Audio

Amazon

Audible

About The Author

Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – more than one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (https://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (https://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads, Bookbub and Twitter. Join her VIP email list and get a free ebook, plus exclusive contents and other benefits: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh

Websites

Lisabet’s Fantasy Factory (website): http://www.lisabetsarai.com

Beyond Romance (blog): http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/83387.Lisabet_Sarai

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lisabet-sarai?list=author_books

Contemporary Romance · Sharing The Love

Sharing The Love

with Robecca Austin

Featuring her novel Wedded by the Billionaire 

Welcome to Sharing The Love, Robecca Austin!

You’re on a first date. What’s a deal-breaker that would see you walk away?

Ooh! This is such a good question. I’m a bit spoiled and out of the game not having a first date in over sixteen years.

A deal breaker would be food. More specifically, being made to feel like I have to watch what I order. I’m 5’2 and 115lbs, and man do I love my food.

It is one of the reasons I would never go to a restaurant I couldn’t afford on the first few dates, and I’m always prepared to go Dutch or pay for my food.

If you were a potato, what way would you like to be cooked?

Roasted on a charcoal grill, then stuffed with all my favorite things: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, topped with chives, and green onions.

Would you go to space if you knew that you could never come back to earth?

Nope. No thank you. I would run out of food, then clutch my stomach in regret. Or hunger.

Of all the characters you’ve created, who is your favourite and why?

The characters I am currently writing are my favorites. I become so invested in each new story that I can’t help but fall in love with the characters. It is always bitter-sweet when I have to write “the end.”

About The Book

He spent the hottest night…with the wrong woman.

One night with the wrong woman…

Tet controlled his universe, including the women he slept with, and a night of steamy fun was the perfect antidote for the new stress in his life.

But her passionate kisses and gentle caresses unraveled everything he thought he craved.

Now he would stop at nothing to make her his, even using their unbridled passion.


Tangela

They say you should never meet your hero…

The open gate onto his property was an invitation she couldn’t resist. She soon discovered it wasn’t meant for her, but with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, she played out a fantasy she’d never thought would come true.

But fantasies have consequences. And hers had steely gray eyes that demanded more than one passionate night.

Genre: Contemporary romance

Length: Novel

Excerpt:

Tangela Morrison sat behind the wheel of her 2006 gray Honda Civic in front of the estate she intended to visit. Not any estate. This one belonged to Tetsuo McCreath. Major league baseball superstar: Rookie of the Year—if she were in charge, she would change the requirements so he could win this medal every year—award winner, and recipient of the Roberto Clemente award for his sportsmanship, community involvement, and his contribution to his team.

Yes, she was a low-key groupie. But who could blame her? The man was one of Wheelcaster’s star athletes. And the city was proud to claim him. Everything he did was perfect.

Then, he’d disappeared from TV and newspapers for two years because of a badly torn rotator cuff. The withdrawal she experienced from those years was the worst of her life. As a result, she’d fallen into work and spent her spare time assisting her uncle at Wheelcaster Fireflies. Fireflies was her uncle’s poorly performing minor league baseball team. Some days, she wondered about her uncle’s mismanagement and what she’d been thinking when she proposed the little league community program for differently abled children. To her uncle the program meant being in the spotlight or perceived spotlight as a philanthropist, except the community program hadn’t gained the attention he’d hoped for. To her, a little league team presented an opportunity to help those children longing to play but couldn’t afford to, and offering the program under the guidance of an established team should have cut costs. The trick to working with Uncle Simon was using Tetsuo’s experience since he once played on that patch of grass.

Tangela glanced at the steel fence. Then peered through the darkness. A long drive, shielded by tall, aged trees separated her from the home of the man she had lusted after for years.

Now he’d returned to Wheelcaster, intent on buying the Fireflies. And she was about to meet him. The thought of seeing him in person, hearing the sultry molasses in his voice made her hot and wet in places that hadn’t had male attention in forever.

Her body’s inadvertent reaction to him was why she’d pulled over to the side of the road before driving up to the gate.

For as long as she recalled, what she knew of Tetsuo had set the standards for her dating life. She wanted a man with the courage to go after his dreams. And because they were both adopted into their families, she felt a kinship of sorts to him—although his first seven years before becoming a  McCreath didn’t sound very loving. Maybe that was why every eligible man she’d met, especially those born with a silver spoon had fallen short—they lacked the heat in Tet’s eyes; a drive to be part of something bigger than himself. Or perhaps it was that his gaze was all consuming, as if he could devour her with his eyes alone.

Despite her body’s arousal, she wasn’t at his estate to sample the smooth ridges of his biceps under her tongue. Or to ogle his masculine form—as if one night could make up for two years of not seeing him on TV. Those delights would be a bonus.

She flushed.

Tangela was here to make sure that when Tetsuo bought the Wheelcaster Fireflies, he wouldn’t ditch the community program she’d started. If her father ran the team, he would have negotiated to keep the program. But her uncle Simon cared more for money and had not lobbied for her program.

Every child deserved a shot at playing the sport they love. It didn’t matter that they weren’t going to play beyond the team’s special Saturday events. Kids like Gabriel, a ten-year-old boy who showed up every Saturday and didn’t let his wheelchair stop him from playing his favorite position. She couldn’t imagine how disappointed he’d be if the program closed. Tangela gave herself a mental shake. She needed a level head. Nothing would be accomplished if she got worked up two-ways-to-Sunday.

Buy It Now:

Read Free in Kindle Unlimited

Or

Wedded by the Billionaire: https://books2read.com/wedded-by-the-billionaire

About The Author

Robecca Austin is the author of happy ever after romance stories. She enjoys crafting tales of sassy heroines and alpha heroes that have a soft center.

She writes historical romance and billionaire romance stories.

You can find her outside enjoying nature and lots of sunshine when there are no bugs. When she’s not writing her next novel, she’s busy battling Cystic Fibrosis and hugging family. She lives and works in Canada.

Websites

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/authorrobeccaaustin

Historical Newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/ezc8nm9z

Contemporary Newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/yd4mbvcr

Author Website: https://www.robeccaaustin.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robeccaaustin_author

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/robeccaaustin

Wedded by the Billionaire can also be found on the Loved-up Library HERE

Thoughts About Writing

Hashtag Triggered

My last musings were on spoilers, and whether or not it was worth leaning into them. In the end I chose not to – my own personal dislike winning out over the evidence that suggested it wouldn’t hurt.

But then my brain moved further along down the track, loosely connecting the concept of ‘spoilers’ to ‘triggers’. (Yeah, I know. My brain, she’s special.)

In Handle With Care I attempted to keep my hero somewhat believable. To me, he was swoonworthy, but still human. So, some of the choices he (read: I) made were substantially less than heroic. And, I won’t lie: that might have been a mistake for the romance genre.

He (oh, here we go, breaking my own rules with a SPOILER ALERT!) slept with someone else during an almost year-long stint during which he and the heroine were apart. They were not at all in a relationship at the time. In fact, he didn’t think he would see her again. (And it happened ‘off screen’ as it were.) I kind of put myself in his shoes and went with it.

But for a romance novel, I’m aware that this might have made him just a little too flawed. Moreover, I’ve received feedback that suggests that his lack of celibacy requires a trigger warning.

I’m taking the feedback on board. (And I’m learning a lot about which rules of the genre I can bend and which ones I really should stick to!)

But, as usual, now I’m overthinking the whole concept of trigger warnings. If something like that requires a trigger warning, what else should I be warning readers about? How far down the rabbit hole do authors need to go? Do they really need to do it at all?

Obviously, there are traumatic situations where I understand it might be worth issuing a warning. Deaths, rapes, graphic violence etc…you know the drill. Darker stuff. But I don’t usually read dark romances, and I never write them, so I’ve never taken notice as to whether specific warnings have been issued. So then I wondered, as a reader, would I like to be given advance warning of these things? Would it change the way I approach reading the book?

For me personally, I’ll admit that make assumptions on what to expect from the typical tropes of a genre. And, if I’ve read other books from an author, I also generally know how they might tackle specific issues.

Have I been taken by surprise before? Hell yes. The twist in Frankie Says Relapse by Siobhan Curham got me good. The fact that I read it over 15 years ago and it has still stuck with me -and begs me to re-read it every other year- says something about the reader experience (particularly when ugly crying has been invoked). But would I have liked a warning? I don’t think so. Maybe that’s just me, though.

So, again, this blog post has been more thinking and less decision. Haha. I know that you can’t please everyone (not just as an author, but in any situation) but the last thing I want to do is trigger someone and upset them. I write fluff and happiness, and that’s ultimately what I’d like to impart in the end.

Historical Romance · Sharing The Love

Sharing The Love

with J. Arlene Culiner

Featuring her novel A Room in Blake’s Folly

Welcome back to Sharing The Love, J. Arlene Culiner! I’m excited to have you here again!

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

The first draft is a killer, and I hate it. I have to force myself to sit down and write. Sometimes it takes me years to finish a manuscript. But when I’m on the second, third, fourth of fifth draft, then I’m in ecstasy. I can’t sleep; all my thoughts are with the story, with sentences, with the images I’ve conjured up.

Have you gone on any literary pilgrimages?

Absolutely. For my books that take place in Nevada, books like A Room in Blake’s Folly, I travelled through the state, visiting small communities, hanging around sleepy watering holes, and listening to conversations. For my non-fiction book, A Contrary Journey with Velvel Zbarzher, Bard, I travelled through Ukraine and Romania trying to find a trace of the forgotten 19th-century poet I was writing about; and for my book, Finding Home in the Footsteps of the Jewish Fusgeyers, using the itinerary of the author of a short story, I crossed Romania on foot, then followed his trace through the rest of Europe and on to Canada.

The real question is: were these literary pilgrimages or obsessions?

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

I think I’d like to be in a log cabin somewhere in the far north of Canada, with deep snow all around me. There would be a small community with a few local bars within trudging distance, and I could go there every day to chew the fat with the locals, and to hear some good stories. I’d also have my computer with me, and I’d be free to just write for hours and hours.

Are you a listener or a talker?

I do love listening because I’m nosy. When in the company of others, I’ll tell a tall tale now and again, just so people know I’m still alive and breathing, but the rest of the time I’m all ears, and waiting for secrets.

You have your own late night talk show, who do you invite as your first guest? Why?

Here’s a twist on your question, Anita. Since I don’t own a television, I have no idea how talk shows are these days, but many, many, many years ago, I was a talk show hostess.

It was a dreadful show, and Roger, a rather obnoxious but wealthy presenter, considered himself a major star. My only role was to glimmer at the audience when the show started and say: “Hi, everyone. Welcome to Roger B’s Italian Hour. And here’s Roger.”

After that I just had to sit on the panel and listen. Many of the guests were Italian—people like Gina Lollobrigida—so most of the talk was in that language which I didn’t understand (although I had a great number of fans, mostly Italian grandmothers, who wrote to the station and said I looked like such a lovely Italian girl.)

Whenever it was time for a commercial break, the cameraman would point to me, and I’d glimmer again, then say something like: “And now a word from the California Bank.”

At the end of each show, Roger and I would wave bye-bye, and I’d say: “Thanks for joining us, and see you next week.”

Believe me, that talk show was so boring, even my best friends wouldn’t watch it.

About the Book

A Room in Blake’s Folly, hasn’t been released yet, but I’ve just discovered it’s up for pre-order, so I thought I would tell everyone about it here (like a very proud mother.)

In 2022, Blake’s Folly is a semi-ghost town in Nevada, a backwoods community of abandoned clapboard shacks, endless wind, and scraggly vegetation with strange local names like snatch-it shrub and sticky snakeweed. But back in 1889, when this story starts, the town boasted three mining companies, many saloons, and brothels.

Westley Cranston, an adventurer and journalist, is in love with a former prostitute, Sookie Lacey, and he dreams of taking her away from her life as a dance girl in the Mizpah Saloon. She, however, is hoping to marry the shady, powerful and wealthy Jim Bally.

How their story plays out does affect their descendants one hundred and thirty years later, but Blake’s Folly is home to other love entanglements, too, ones that are just as intriguing.

A Room in Blake’s Folly isn’t only a romance: it is also the story of a town’s early days, its near ruin, and its evolution.

If only the walls could speak…

In one hundred and fifty years, Blake’s Folly, a silver boomtown notorious for its brothels, scarlet ladies, silver barons, speakeasies, and divorce ranches, has become a semi-ghost town. Although the old Mizpah Saloon is still in business, its upper floor is sheathed in dust. But in a room at a long corridor’s end, an adventurer, a beautiful dance girl, and a rejected wife were once caught in a love triangle, and their secret has touched three generations.

Excerpt

            “You trust Big Jim?” Resentment rippled down Westley Cranston’s spine, meshed with scorn. “A lousy cad who jilted you when you were carrying his child? Who knew your bigoted family would kill you?”

       Seemingly unperturbed, Sookie Lacey dipped her forefinger into the oily pot of carmine on her dressing table, spread the rosy salve over her lips. Turned, met Westley’s eyes squarely. “Jim didn’t have a choice. He was on the lam. He had to keep moving.”

       “Because he was wanted for a violent robbery! Why the hell are you making excuses for an unscrupulous criminal who forced himself on an impoverished family?”

       “You weren’t out in this part of the world back then. You can’t even imagine that winter when cattle froze to death on the prairie. How could anyone, good or bad, have survived in the open?”

       “And while hiding out with your family, he seduced you.”

       “Seduced!” Her nostrils flared. “Being with Jim protected me from my vicious brother, my depraved father, I told you that. They both tried to have their way with me.”

       It was an old argument, one they’d had many times. Why couldn’t Sookie see that Big Jim’s perfidy could have ruined her life—would have ruined her life if she’d been a weaker woman? A pregnant fifteen-year-old runaway when she arrived in Blake’s Folly, Sassy Sookie had gone to work as a prostitute in the Red Nag Saloon. It wasn’t the lowest sort of brothel, but it wasn’t a classy parlor house either. Yet, clever, lighthearted, and a favorite with the men, she soon realized her own worth. Never succumbing to the temptations of alcohol or laudanum, she’d left the Red Nag, come to the Mizpah, and as a saloon girl, made such excellent money selling dance tickets, encouraging men to buy alcohol, and to gamble, she no longer needed to sell herself.

       “So, four years after jilting you, Jim walks into the Mizpah, sees you’ve become successful, and decides to stake his claim. That makes him a decent man?”

       “He’s changed. Jim has become a respectable businessman, and he wants to marry me. He’s building us a big fine house where we can live together with our little son.”

       “Where? Where will this wonderful fine house be?”

       “In Virginia City.”

       “Have you ever been there? Seen what he’s building?”

       “You know I haven’t. Jim’s been on the road for the last five months. He sends me letters from Denver, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Phoenix.”

       How can she be so blind? Westley took a deep breath, forced himself to sound steady and reasonable, not like a man hopelessly in love with the woman he would soon lose. “And what about us? What about what we shared? The nights you spent in my arms?” Nights when she had given herself without reticence but with warmth, tenderness.

            Sookie stood, shook out the short, ruffled skirt and colorful petticoats floating just below her shapely calves. Her golden beauty, caught in the lamp’s uneven flicker, made his heart ache. How desirable she was in the low-cut sequined bodice that barely hid the sweetness of her breasts.

       “Westley, what you and I shared is our secret. A delicious secret that no one else can know about or even suspect, particularly since Jim has sent Doug Lazy here to protect me.”

       “To spy on you, you mean.”

       Sookie’s chin tilted defiantly. “Think what you’d like. Just don’t forget I’m marrying Jim in September.”

       Pushing past him, she swept out of her boudoir and into the long dark corridor. The tapping of her tasseled kid boots on the stair held a note of finality.


Genre: Historical Romance, Small Town Romance

Length: Novel

Preorder It Now (To Be Released in May):

https://books2read.com/BlakesFollyRomance

About The Author

Writer, photographer, social critical artist, musician, and occasional actress, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest where, much to local dismay, she protects all creatures, particularly spiders and snakes. She enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with very strange characters.

Websites

Website

Blog

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

Facebook

Storytelling Podcast

Bookbub

Twitter

Pinterest

A Room In Blake’s Folly can also be found on the Loved-up Library HERE

Contemporary Romance · Sharing The Love

Sharing The Love

with Lisabet Sarai

Featuring her novel The Gazillionaire and the Virgin 

Welcome to Sharing The Love, Lisabet Sarai!

Random information about an author you’ve never heard of… #Interview #NewRelease @LisabetSarai

Normally I find author interviews a bit boring (both to do and to read), but Anita’s list of questions was so varied and creative I couldn’t resist. Actually, I had a hard time narrowing them down to a reasonable number! (And these are just the personal, quirky questions. I didn’t even look at her writing-related questions!)

If you could time travel, where would you go and when? Why?

I think I’d have to say late Victorian era England. Sometimes, indeed, I think I had a previous life in that period. Though I don’t consider myself a “historical” author, I’ve written quite a few stories and novels set in that time, including several steam punk titles. Somehow I feel very at home with both the environment (at least as I imagine it… or remember it?) and the style of language.

Who was your childhood actor/actress crush?

Of course I had many (didn’t we all?), but I was particularly enamored of David McCallum, who played Russian secret agent Illya Kuryakin in the TV show “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (That definitely dates me, doesn’t it?!)  I’ve always had a weakness for the mysterious, introverted, brainy types.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_McCallum

What did you name your first car and why?

I didn’t get my first car until I’d finished grad school, when I was 26. It was a light blue Honda Accord hatchback with manual transmission. (I’d learned somewhere that manual transmission cars gave you better control and got better mileage.) I named her Isadora, in honor of the modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan, one of my idols. Isadora Duncan symbolized freedom for me – and so did the automobile.

How many languages can you speak?

That depends on your definition of “speak” LOL. English is my native language and I am fluent in Thai, since I lived in Thailand for a number of years. (My first novel is set there.) I used to speak French well, but I’m very rusty. I’ve recently been studying Mandarin Chinese though I am still a beginner. And I have smatterings of Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Korean.

What was the last song you listened to?

“Come to My Window” by Melissa Etheridge. To me, that song is pure, distilled passion. “You don’t know how far I’ll go, or how much I can take, just to reach you.”

You have to sing karaoke, what song do you pick?

I enjoy singing, and I know the lyrics to quite a few songs, but based on past history, the most likely title would be “Hotel California” by the Eagles. That is, unless there was a guy who wanted to sing a duet. In that case, I’d probably opt for “We’ve Got Tonight”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6IIkpmw8Ow

That’s me. A classic!

About The Book

Trust can’t be bought—it has to be earned.

She’s the billionaire. He’s the virgin. Still, he knows how to make her melt.

When Silicon Valley entrepreneur Rachel Zelinsky meets reclusive genius Theo Moore, she has a single objective —a deal to incorporate his AI software into her company’s popular virtual world. She finds Theo to be arrogant, sensitive and socially awkward, but his aura of power speaks to her carefully-hidden submissive side. Confused and aroused, she falls under his geeky spell.

Theo Moore can’t be bought. His past battles with poverty make him deeply suspicious of the billionaire CEO, though Rachel’s voluptuous curves and brilliant mind embody his ultimate fantasy. Too bad his knowledge about sex derives from extensive research and a stash of kinky porn rather than real-world experience.

Rachel may be Theo’s first lover, but Theo is her first true Master. One word from him, one touch, and she surrenders to bliss. It seems that love and complementary desire may harmonize their differing values, until Rachel’s unwitting violation of Theo’s trust tears them apart.

Newly edited edition! Includes a steamy bonus Valentine’s story featuring Rachel and Theo!

Genre: Contemporary BDSM erotic romance

Length: Second edition, approximately 64,000 words, 240 pages

Rating/Heat Level: Explicit. Mature Audiences Only. 5 Flames.

Excerpt:

She’s not what I expected. She’s soft and full, not lean and angular like most Californians. None of the gym-toned muscles everyone sports here in the land of sunshine. And she’s young, much younger than someone so filthy rich has any right to be. Her designer watch must have cost more than two months of my professor’s salary. On the other hand, I can hardly complain about her wealth, can I, since my pet project is the beneficiary of her largesse?

Hunkering down in the leather-upholstered back seat of her disgustingly opulent vehicle, I try to calm myself. I’m sweating like a pig, and my muscles are in knots. I gulp down orange juice from the bar I’d ridiculed and focus on my breathing the way Dr. Hopkins has taught me. I force myself not to count the telephone poles whizzing by. I know that will only make it worse.

When I pat my pocket, I can’t help grinning a bit. Two hundred fifty thousand! We can equip a new mobile development lab and hire two trainers for a year. Or take our outreach into junior high schools. Or even expand to some of the Rust Belt cities where the recession has hit particularly hard…

No, this wouldn’t be enough for that. But Dr. Zelinsky—Rachel—had indicated there might be more.

Rachel. Bringing up the search engine on my phone, I type in her name. I should have done this before the meeting, of course, but I was much too nervous. Up until the moment her limousine pulled up in front of my building, I still thought I might back out.

The screen fills with images and links. There’s even a Wikipedia article. I flip through the text, digesting the basics. Born in Brooklyn. An MBA from Harvard and a PhD—in physics!—from MIT. Looking Glass is her third company. She sold the first to IBM and the second to Microsoft.

A real high roller. And MirrorWorld is a huge hit—the main article on the virtual environment runs pages and pages. Since the Looking Glass IPO almost two years ago, the company stock has increased in value by an unbelievable 224%.

She can afford a quarter of a million for charity. For her, that’s petty change.

By the time we arrive back at my complex, I’m pretty much back to normal. At least what counts as normal for me. I nod at the uniformed driver who opens the door for me, trying to pretend I do this every day. The Vietnamese gardener is spreading new mulch on the flower beds in front of my building. Averting my eyes and ignoring his greeting—after all, I can barely understand his English— I hustle up the wooden steps to my second floor condo.

It’s quiet and cool inside. The soft hiss of the air conditioning soothes me. I flip on the stereo, something by Brahms, turn the volume down low, then stretch out on my bed, fully clothed.

I made it.

The money is mine, free and clear. I’ll ask my sister to deposit it tomorrow. I don’t need to see Rachel Zelinsky again.

I can’t stop thinking about her, though. I recall one of the pictures from the web article, a black and white photo of a skinny teenager with a mop of curls, standing in front of some science fair project. She didn’t have those curves yet. No, but I recognize the expression, that determined set of her mouth and those laser-sharp eyes under the dark eyebrows. She was going to win—there was no question.

Buy It Now: ebook ON SALE for USD$0.99 for February!

Ebook

Kinky Literature

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Audio (WordWooze)

Amazon

About The Author

LISABET SARAI occasionally tackles other genres, but BDSM will always be her first love. Most of her novels include some element of power exchange, while her D/s short stories range from mildly kinky to intensely perverse. Her personal experience has taught her the joy to be found in a Master’s bonds. She tries to make that joy real for her readers.

Websites

Lisabet’s Fantasy Factory (website): http://www.lisabetsarai.com

Beyond Romance (blog): http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/83387.Lisabet_Sarai

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lisabet-sarai?list=author_books

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/lisabetsarai

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/lisabetsarai

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LSarai

Mailing list signup:  https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh

The Gazillionaire and the Virgin can also be found on the Loved-up Library HERE

Fantasy Romance · Sharing The Love

Sharing The Love

with Viviana MacKade

Featuring her novel Valkyrie Love 

Welcome to Sharing The Love, Viviana MacKade!

You’re on a first date. What’s a dealbreaker that would see you walk away?

Ignorance. And I’m not talking about reciting Shakespeare, PhDs and the likes. I mean disregard of basic knowledge (flat earth, any conspiracy theory, any FB learned opinion and so on). Also, a close mind about how society is evolving in terms of representation and rights. 

If you were a potato, what way would you like to be cooked?

Fried. Like, in oil, not air.

Have you ever been told you look like someone famous and who was it?

A lot of people told me I looked like Nelly Furtado, especially when I had dark hair.

You have your own late night talk show, who do you invite as your first guest? Why?

Jon Stewart. Intelligence, knowledge, and savage humor are a combination I can hardly ignore. I also may have an ongoing crush on the guy.

Of everything you’ve written, do you have a favourite and, if so, why?

Ok, I love them all and blah blah blah. Sure. Now. The character I love the most is Aidan from Midnight Sun. He is the most complex human being I had to work with. And the biggest pain in the ass. Valkyrie Love is the story I loved writing the most because it was an absolute joy. I had so much freedom building worlds, and different beings. I had an absolute blast.

About The Book


Valkyrie love never comes easy.

Brenna left Asgard with a curse on her name and a broken heart.

A Valkyrie now free and independent, for millennia her life had been great. Just great.

Then a bleeding Elf knocks at her door holding a baby.

Alexander Reed left the Marines and lost the wheel of his life.

A soldier without a worthy fight, he became everything he despised.

Until he ends up in the wrong backyard at the wrong time.

Fljóða, Queen of the Light Elves and last of her lineage, is an infant with a death sentence on her head.

Hunted by the Night Elves, her survival brings Brenna and Reed together for the ultimate mission: take the little Queen to safety in the Vanaheim Realm, deep in the Roots of Yggdrasil.

Not simple, but straightforward.

Or so it seemed.

Between flaming giants, demons, and an army of Half Breed determined to kill the Queen and conquer all the Elvin Realms, Brenna and Reed will have to face their inner monsters. Monsters appearing in the form of feelings neither want but cannot control.


Genre: Fantasy Romance

Length: Novel

Excerpt:

When you like or are falling for someone, as Reed recognized was happening, there are always these great romantic lines babbled by the hero. Lines as I’d follow you until the end of the world.

Well, he actually did it.

He hadn’t followed Brenna because of his feelings for her, though. Back then, he had none.

He had eyes and she was beautiful, so there was that. Would he have gone all the way to another dimension for a pretty face? Nope.

 Brenna was different. He’d known it since the first time he’d seen her slaying monsters in her backyard and a person with her kind of courage?

He would go on a mission with, all the way to the end. A mission which, to him, tasted more like redemption, a chance to find the way back to the person he once had been, one with a solid moral compass.

A man he could live with.

She had an agenda, of course she didn’t enlist him out of a good heart. But for as much as it had pained her to admit it, another person, especially one with his background, was handy to have around for her mission. And in doing so, Brenna gave him a chance, a chance to clean his slate.

They both had crappy baggage; both had left those behind.

In here, in these roots, they were only Reed and Brenna.

Hell, he didn’t even know her last name, if she had one. And you know what? It worked. He didn’t care about her history, how she got to be this way. He only cared about the woman she’d come to be today, whatever byway she took to get to the here-and-now they shared.

The woman he was falling hard for. Maybe he had already toppled over.

A woman who currently disappeared into yet another dimension through a transparent rubber wall that sparkled if hit.

Damn, how crazy was it? How absolutely great, and crazy? Being in love, not the wall.

Reed didn’t have it in him to appreciate those portals.

In front of him, Mae’s head had already disappeared as she continued to hold onto his hand. Time to get his head in the game. Literally.

Only the elf’s arm divided him from the other side.

Downright freaky.

Linked to Mae, his hand crossed the invisible wall. He could feel Mae’s fingers in his, so it ought to be good news, right?

His arm went through.

And then he had to step into it.

It was like pushing through a thick wall of humid, hot, dense sponge. It reminded him of a cow’s nose and the image didn’t help any, despite his love for said animals.

As the wall moved to accommodate his shoulder and half of his body, it pressed on him. Mae released him, so now both his hands were free – one in the warm dwarves’ realm, and the other in the hotter, drier air of the Fire Realm.

He hoped, hard, that the protection he’d fashioned around their ammunitions would hold.

Reed turned his face toward the invisible wall and pushed all in.

A gummy wall pressed tight.

Hard to move.

For the longest moment he couldn’t breathe, and panic slithered through him. Until a different hand took his.

Brenna’s.

He didn’t need to see it. He’d fallen asleep holding her hand for long enough to recognize it.

It was all the encouragement he needed. He grasped at her hold, used her as an anchor, and pulled himself toward her.

He slid all the way out, and he nearly fell as pressure suddenly let go.

Lord, but the air felt good.

Oven-hot, dry air.

“Damn,” he murmured as he took in the new realm, still holding on to Brenna.

The sky hung heavy, clothed in the deepest, darkest shade of purple.

In front of him, rivers and rivulets of lava cut through brown land, bare and dry.

They looked like fire-bleeding wounds on dying ground. Sprinkles of glowing debris wheezed out from barren hills and short volcanoes. Sometimes, out of nowhere, the land would crack open enough to spit a mouthful of lava and fiery sparkles of fire in the black-hot air.

“Ugly,” he murmured, fighting and losing against the need to have Brenna closer.

He pulled her in until she was into his arms, found her stiff.

“What are you doing?” she asked, trying to keep her distance by placing her palms onto his chest.

 “This place is miserable. Everywhere else we went, something was nice. Here? It’s simply dead.” He tightened the hold on her, looked at her and smiled. “I needed a shot of good.”

The best feeling in the world? Her response, how she gave into the hug.

Buy It Now:

Amazon  Vella ~ Get 3 episodes FREE

Amazon (US)

Amazon (AU)

About The Author

Beach bum and country music addicted, Viviana lives in a small Floridian town with her die-hard fans and personal cheer squad: her husband, her son, and her daughter. She spends her days between typing on her beloved keyboard, playing in the pool with her babies, and eating whatever her husband puts on her plate (the guy is that good, and she really loves eating). Besides beaching, she enjoys long walks, horse-riding, hiking, and pretty much whatever she can do outside with her family.

Websites

Website

 FB

Twitter

Amazon Author page

Valkyrie Love can also be found in the Loved-up Library HERE

Uncategorized

To Spoil or Not To Spoil

That is actually the question.

I recently read an article about spoilers not being a bad thing. It asserted that, instead, spoilers make you enjoy stories more. Obviously, I won’t repeat the article verbatim* (I’m not into plagiarism), but what I took away from it was the concept that if an audience knows what’s coming, they can focus more on the actual story as it develops, rather than try to guess what’s around the corner.

I found this soothing. You see, I’ve received a few reviews recently which contain spoilers for a twist which -while I thought it was predictable- a few readers have said they didn’t see coming.

Before I continue, I want to be very clear that this blog post is in no way an indictment of the reviews I’ve received, because those people cared enough to take the time and make the effort to leave feedback, and that is awesome. I value every single reviewer, and thank them from the bottom of my heart for leaving their thoughts for me and for other readers. The feedback is deeply, genuinely appreciated. (Yes, even the handful of 3 star reviews. They are fair, and valid, and I appreciate them, too, and I will use them to improve my writing going forward.)

I firmly believe it is a reviewer’s right to put their feelings and opinions of a work out there however they choose to. Spoilers or no spoilers. Even though I’ll admit it – I have never really liked spoilers.

In Handle With Care‘s case, some reviewers have -on Goodreads- ticked the box that declares that they’re doing just that, which then gives the option to hide the review from people who mightn’t like reading spoilers (like me). Amazon doesn’t (as far as I’m aware) offer the option to do that. And that’s okay. It’s an Amazon flaw, not a reviewer’s.

However, I know that as a reader/viewer myself, a courtesy “Spoiler Alert” at the beginning of a review is helpful to me, because I personally detest reading them before I’ve read a book/watched a movie so I will skip that review…but, according to the article I referenced above, there’s a chance that spoilers might actually make me enjoy the story more.

So this all got me thinking… when it comes to Handle With Care, the ‘twist’ that has been “spoiled” in these reviews actually puts my novel into an additional trope category than just the ones I’ve been advertising it under. It’s a trope that I know a lot of readers enjoy. Some even specifically seek it out.

With that in mind, I’m now wondering: should I embrace the spoilers? Lean into them and change my blurb? Market this additional trope as part of the novel’s appeal? It’s very tempting to do it.

If the article I read is right and spoilers don’t actually ruin a reader’s enjoyment, I can’t see why I shouldn’t embrace them. Especially if I’m going to potentially market to a new group of readers who might not have given my novel a chance otherwise, not realising that I tick their trope boxes after all.

But it’s daunting. Just like every other decision in this self-publishing adventure. Every time I start thinking that I’ve started to wrap my head around it, something new pops up to challenge me. (Or maybe I’m overthinking again.)

But, with no magical guide to tell me what to do, I’m off to write a list of pros and cons.

I’ll let you know how I go.

(If you’d like to give the article that inspired this ramble a read, THIS LINK will take you there.)