Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Writing Paranormal by Amber Kell


Did you ever wonder about what it would be like to be a vampire, hungry for blood or a werewolf and yearn for the moon? That’s the beauty of writing paranormal you get to wonder about things like that. It’s one of the few genres where people can’t ding you for lack of realism in your writing because the world is what you make it. If you decide the sky is purple with polka dotted clouds no one can tell you otherwise, unlike real life when they can boringly point overhead and tell you its blue. I’ve always been the kind of girl who enjoyed fairy tales, science fiction and fantasy because there are no limitations. When I was little I asked my father if magic was real what color would it be. His response was that it would be whatever color you wanted because it would be your magic. That is how I think of paranormal writing. It can be whatever color you want. Each author gets to decide the rules of their world and there are only a few things that are sacred truths. Vampires are always hot and werewolves are always sexy when they growl (okay maybe that’s just in my world).


For me the best thing about writing a paranormal romance is how the Average Joe reacts. Sometimes there is shock and awe like Randall, in my story Blood Signs, or they can be like Nick, in my story Vampire Wanted, and be more concerned about his commitment issues than the fact his new boyfriend drinks blood. Play around with reactions. Is your character well versed with the creepy crawlies of the night or is this entirely new for them? Have fun with it and remember it’s your world so there is no wrong answer.

If you are interested in my writing and my free Wednesday stories you can find most of my information at my blog: http://amberkell.wordpress.com/ or purchase them at allromanceebooks.com and amazon.com


Monday, August 30, 2010

Out ot the Left Feild

Every writer has written a story they weren't too sure of. I'm not immune to this. Most of my reading life, I've spent my time reading sci-fi books from such greats as Larry Niven, Arthur C. Clark, and CJ Cherryh yet I write mostly paranormal romance.

Last year, I took a chance and poured all creativity in a short novella called Red Dawn, my first sci-fi romance. It was difficult because I wanted to make so much more of my story but feared exposing that part of my soul to world. Even to this day I love those characters but I never promoted the novella like my other books, afraid to hear anything bad about this one.

I got a wonderful surprise this morning and am feeling more emotional about this review than any other I've recieved. Red Dawn got Joyfully Recommended. Someone loved my sci-fi baby.



"This author combines all the early insight and innovation of the genre in her work, makes it shine with clear, crisp writing and freshness. I hope she will continue this series because Ms. Nicholas revives sci-fi fiction with narrative vigor, while staying true to herself. She grasps the concepts and foundation set long before by authors such as Arthur C. Clark, Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison, Poul Anderson and others. What sets her work apart is she does it with emotion and technical finesse, which is why I have the pleasure of recommending this story."  Patrice F.


This came just in time, like someone threw me a life saver. I'd spent three weeks this summer working on a sci-fi novel series and shelved it two weeks ago. I think I'm ready to pull it down and take a look at it again.

Do you have a genre you love but find difficult to write or relate too as a reader?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Will it be a five star???

Happy Sunday!! I’m so glad to share with you all that I’ve decided to start doing reviews here at Paranormal Romantics on my blog day.

What does this mean?

It means you’ll get to hear about books before you buy them, which is always a good thing. And don’t worry if yours is one I’m going to review. I love reading―love all types of stories―so my reviews probably won’t be too harsh :)

But that’s not saying I won’t be truthful. I’d feel bad if it wasn’t. Misleading readers is something I will not do.

As authors, we all cringed when reading a review of our books. Truthfully, for me anyways, I always expect the worse. Whenever it’s a good review, I’m beaming and a little bit shocked. When there’s a negative, which there ALWAYS is, I’m not blind to the problem. I think as an author it would be silly to get angry―curse the reviewer―because in the end it’s their opinion. Personally, I see the review as a way to grow and strengthen up my writing. Learn from it and move on.

My point here―don‘t throw stones at the reviewer :) (meaning me)

That all being said, I’m really excited about this and can’t wait to share new stories with you all!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

When Souls Collide, chapter 10, part 1

Yup, that time of the week again.

All rights are the intellectual property of the author. No part may be copied or reproduced without the permission of the author.



***Warning. The following story contains erotic elements, explicit language and violence. Read at your own risk.***


Ursus ran the boat onto the beach. He glanced at the darkening sky and pushed it farther in. Scanning the beach, he searched for a sign of her passing. Footprints across the sand moved inland, into thick vegetation. What was she doing? Was this where she lived?


He checked his weapon. Fully charged. The star would fall soon and the island would be wrapped in darkness. Ursus had lived on the world long enough to know that was when the predators came out. He’d need to get to high ground, shelter and be behind the protection of a fire.

The cliffs looked promising. Caves could provide cover, but what about Tesza? The urge to protect her was too strong. He needed to set up camp then find her. She wasn’t safe alone.

Ursus shoved vegetation out of his face. The cliffs stood in front of him. Climbing hand over hand up their surface was Tesza. He squinted and eyed her as she stopped and plucked a fruit from a vine growing on the rocky surface. She tucked it in the fold of her shirt she’d created by clamping the bottom of the garment in her teeth. She scooted sideways along the rocks and grabbed another.

Perhaps this was the cure? She’d gone to a lot of trouble for the fruit.

She reached a ledge pulled herself up and walked into the mouth of a cave. He dropped back into the foliage when she peeked out, looking down. She scanned back and forth for a couple of seconds then ducked back in.

Ursus approached the cliffs and began to climb. When he reached the ledge he spotted her with her back to him, cracking the fruit against a rock. He crept up behind her.

Tesza froze, dropping the rock in her hand. She jumped to her feet and spun around. First fear, then her face relaxed.

“Ursus.”

He didn’t say anything. He took two steps, grabbed her by the shoulders and pressed his forehead against hers.

“You shouldn’t have followed me. The rains are coming. If they get heavy, you won’t make it back to the city.”

He lifted his head and slid his hand up to her cheek. He had no intention of going back without her. “Wherever you go, I will follow. You’re my soul.”

“Why? You can’t have me.”

“I can’t live without you.” Even now an ached built in his chest, threatening to burst open and bleed out.

Tesza shrugged his hands off and stepped back. “You can’t leave in the dark, but come daylight, perhaps the rains will hold off.”

“I’m not leaving you,” he said.

“You can’t come with me.”

“Then neither of us will go anywhere.”

Tesza began to gather brush, putting it into a pile. She glanced over her shoulder. “Do you have a lazr’?”

Ursus pulled his weapon and fired at the pile, engulfing it in flames. He holstered it and reached up, slipping his thumbs under the straps of his pack, dropping it to the floor.

Tesza whipped around, firelight danced across the surface of her skin. She stepped back. “What are you doing?”

“We’re camping for the night? Yes?”

Her gaze rested on the pack. She swallowed. “Yes.”

He stooped down and dug a couple of blankets from the pack and spread one out. “Come here.”

Tesza shook her head and backed deeper into the cave.

“Don’t make me come after you.”

“This is a bad idea.”

“The storms will chill the air. If you want to stay warm, we need to sleep together near the fire.”

Tesza slid down the wall and sat on her heels, staring at him like a wary animal. “Give me a blanket. I’ll be fine.”

Ursus growled and strode forward. He snatched her wrist and tossed her over his shoulder, carting her over to the cave opening. “Stop delaying the inevitable.”

“No. Put me down.”

He carried her outside where the rain had already started. “It’s too late. The rain’s here.”

Ursus could feel Tesza lift her head from his back as she studied the sky.

“Put me down, now.”

He complied, taking his time, letting her slide down his chest, keeping as much body to body contact as he could. Her shirt caught on his equipment harness and rolled up as her feet made the trip to the ledge.

Ursus explored the skin left exposed, sliding his hand along it, leaving his fingers splayed on her lower back. She tilted her head up. Little drops of rain raced down her forehead and cheeks, continuing lower, forming a trail that soaked her shirt, ran between her breasts and disappeared beneath the drenched fabric.

He followed their path, lowering his head and kissing the raindrops from her breasts.

Tesza clutched him tight and gasped.

“There’s nowhere to go now,” Ursus whispered against her bare skin. “The monsoons have come.”

“They’ll be light at first. We can make it to mainland if we leave in the morning. We can’t be together. It’s over.” Tesza broke free and tipped her head up, letting the rain pelt her face, trying to hide tears Ursus had already seen. “I don’t want you.”

“Liar,” Ursus whispered. He held his hand up and let the torrent fill his palm. “It falls like ice, but I can taste the heated rain on your skin.” His fingers stroked her cheek, brushing down her shoulder. “And you tremble under my touch.”

“You’re mistaken.”

His nostrils flared. “Am I?” He grabbed her hand and put it over his heart. “Do you believe in destiny?”

“The only destiny is the one we make.” Her eyes widened and drifted up until she gazed into his.

“No. I never planned to love my enemy.” He held her gaze, letting her feel the beat of his heart. “For you. It beats for you. It always has. I can’t deny my destiny, nor can you.” He lowered his mouth and nibbled her bottom lip. “You were made for me. Your body melds to mine. We fit. We belong. Our energies reach for each other.” The steam from his breath floated between them. He pressed his forehead to hers and energy radiated from every place of contact, proving his point.

“You’d die to love me,” she whispered.

“I’ll die if I don’t.” Ursus captured her lips, drawing the air from her lungs and the spirit from her fight. He wouldn’t give her another chance to resist. He could no longer hold back.

How could she deny she hungered for him, starved for him? Ached? It had been all he’d felt since he’d first seen her in the sector of the old city. Her hands slid up his chest and she let him take possession her. Was there life without her?

No.

He scooped her into his arms and took her back to the cave, where he intended to strip her bare and prove to her that he couldn’t live without her.

Ursus lifted his head and stared into her eyes. “What haunts you?”

Tesza shivered. “You.”

Friday, August 27, 2010

It's Furday...

Err...Friday, and it arrived too soon! It was so cold last night, I grabbed a blanket and snuggled deep under it. All warm and toasty--I overslept. So, what to talk about today, how can I get you all excited about the weekend before the last weekend of Summer. (YUK! I don't even want to think about Fall and the coming winter. I dug my woolies out last weekend when the nip of Fall took a bite out of my...well, you know what!!)

Guess I got my subject: FUR--and sometimes I wish I had my own layer to hide under. Or a lair to hide in. If I was a bear, I'd enjoy hibernating because weather determines how I feel a lot of the time. When it's cold, I'm grumpy; warm weather melts me, makes me all gooey and nice. Wonder what the handsome three to the right think?

Did the normal surf for furry things and today I've got some goodies from a few spots, and cool pics from Totallylookslike.com.

Enjoy!

Can't imagine this Afghan ever having a bad hair day...it just wouldn't do!
No bad hair here!
Eat, Love, Pray--the hair stays in place
I melt when this man talks...
You gotta love this cat's moxie, but he does resemble the guy. Right?
Remember: Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hey! It's You, Too!

So, last week I told you guys about being blindsided the first time I watched True Blood, how I was reminded of one of my characters. That it's only happened twice to me so far in my writing life. And I promised I'd tell you about the other one this week. So...

Shortly after I wrote Flash of Dark, I was struck with the idea for a science fiction story. Not unusual, I love science fiction. So the idea for a science fiction romance coming from me isn't so far-fetched. It was a shorter story than what I usually put out, but I was struck with the idea of a three book arc about a female pilot and the man she loved. Only, he wasn't the greatest of role models. In fact, he was an anti-hero (um...I have a thing for those if you don't know that by now). So I worked out this story idea, worked out the kinks (sometimes literally *cough*) and finished it up before returning to my vampires.

Then, in June of 2009, my husband and I went to the movies to see Terminator: Salvation. Why hello, Wallace (Wallace is the hero (of sorts) in my first science fiction romance, Midnight's Ghost).

Yup, Sam Worthington (as Marcus Wright here) slapped me upside the head. Not that I'm complaining in the least!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sweet Freedom...

...not exactly.

My cellphone is dead. Stone cold dead because I forgot to plug it in. It's pretty much a reflection of how I was feeling yesterday regarding my future in publishing. There's only so much news I can take in before the realization that those dreams will never come true for me sinks in.

Only, I woke up this morning with the lyrics from "A Spoonful of Sugar" dancing through my head. Damn Mary Poppins. Damn Walt Disney who has always been my role model (since I was 10) because he never gave up, never threw in the towel when the circumstances looked their darkest.

But it's true. There's a fire deep inside my soul and it burns all the time, pushing me to do my best everyday, pushing to make my writing the best it can be, always better, always deeper. It's true. Read something recent of mine and you'll be surprised. I'm not the girl I was a year ago.

I'm incapable of giving up.

Monday, I finished the hot historical project I'd been working on for awhile. I'm totally in love with the story. Now, I hope I can find a publisher for it that will do it justice.

I have enough dreams and goals to fill a few Hefty bags but none of them will be accomplished without continued hard work. Anyone who knows me, knows that's exactly what I'm good at.

So, what's next? I need to knock out a couple of short stories I've promised people then it's back to full length pieces. Will I write the same thing everyone else is writing? Absolutely not. That's not who I am, but I can tell you this--watch out. I'm about to break the next barrier.

And the possibilities are endless. :-)

Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Writing Without The Love Scenes

There's one thing all of us who write Paranormal Romance know and it is that a good love scene can move our characters exactly where we want them to go, especially emotionally. Can't tell each other how they feel? Well, they can show each other in other, more steamy ways.

So what happened to me when I went to write my first YA book?

I discovered that my characters had to talk. A lot.

But, having said that, there is something to be said about a great kiss.

And I'm finding that the longer I do this book, the more I am reconnecting with my sixteen year old self. The more I am remembering what it felt like to long to be loved while at the same time understanding that I was nowhere near ready for it.

I don't plan to stay in YA forever. By contrast, my muse is already thinking about the next Westervelt book. But I have to say, for now, I love it.

And I highly recommend everyone try to leave their comfort zone for something else...every once in a while.

Hope you are all well out there!

RR

Monday, August 23, 2010

GOAL!

End of August is here folks. School is about to start and for me it's time to re-evalutate my goals. For most people this occurs Jan.1, I've been conditioned to feel like this time of the year is the beginning and  for fresh starts. And for some odd reason, I never seem to be writing in August. LOL

This marks my second writing anniversary. I love looking back and assessing how things have progressed and I'm pleased with my year. I attended my first conference at RT, released four books, and added solid members to this blog.

Last year I wanted to write one novel and two novellas. I accomplished this. The Alpha was written last fall and was just released this summer, I finished Catch and am in edits with this second novel of The Angler series, and I'm placing the finishing touches on a paranormal romance novella today.

As to the coming year, *big sigh* I have soooo many stories and characters clammering in my head for attention, I'd love to write them all in one year but let's get serious, I'd never be allowed to sleep if I did.  I've started the 3rd book to The Vanguards series and I've written the first five chapters of an erotic sci-fi so I'll finish these then I have a secret book, I've nicknamed Bad For You,  I'm dying to sink my teeth in. I guess if I get all these done and submitted by next August I'll be very happy.  Though my list is longer, I have Release the third book of Angler, Signs a paranormal murder mystery, and a very dark sci-fi all outlined and ready to be worked on. So techinically, I'm booked for the next two years, bar the plot bunnies don't invade my head again. LOL

*rubs hands together* It's going to be a very exciting year. I love what I have plotted out and can't wait to share them with you.

Where are you in your goals? Doesn't have to be writing. Any kinds of plans you've made.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Wicked - The Magical Sword Book Two!!

HAPPY SUNDAY!!! Tomorrow is a special day, it’s release day!!! WOOT WOOT!!!
The Wicked, the second novel in The Magical Sword Series, will be released from Liquid Silver Books August 23rd at 8 p.m. EST.

Here’s a little peak...



Thirsty vampires are only the beginning of trouble―magic, love and danger at every turn.

Nexi Jones knows two things—being half Guardian is tough—being half Witch is simply problematic. With her Guardian duties put on hold, she begins the gruelling task of discovering her magical abilities, which tend to be unpredictable, at the best of times.

At least, she has her luscious Guardian, Kyden to keep her grounded. That is, until the military-built, Ryker returns with a keen interest in being a constant thorn in her backside. With enough trouble controlling her powers—the added rivalry between the two tough Guardians leaves Nexi in urgent demand of a fire extinguisher.

But when tragedy strikes the very core of the Otherworld, Nexi needs to shape up as she lands herself knee deep into vampire society—a world run by vampire Mistresses who offer their assistance in unearthing a deadly plot of revenge. But as the truth begins to unravel, Nexi begins to discover that the Otherworld isn’t the only place where Supernaturals exist—and there is something far darker than thirsty vampires lurking within the shadows…

Want to read more...check out to the excerpt http://www.staceykennedy.com/the-wicked-excerpt/

Saturday, August 21, 2010

When Souls Collide Chapter 9

The, Out of This World blog tour is wrapping up today at my sci fi rom blog, Backward Momentum.
http://backwardmomentum.blogspot.com/

If you have a moment, hop on over and check out what words of wisdom Marva Dasef has to share.





There's a lot that's happened already this month. Slipping the Past was also reviewed by Got Erotic Romance! Reviews, and I just had to share a snippet and link.




"What a wonderful, inventive, and suspenseful read. From the prologue you know you are reading a book quite different from most anything else out there."






For the full review, go here: http://goteroticromance.blogspot.com/2010/08/blog-post.html?zx=2b00d7cec28c76d


And my inspiration for Blown Away, my novel that's being released in November with Passion in Print http://passioninprint.com/future.php, is home from the Marines this week. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have my son here. Looks like a weekend full of barbequing and catching up.
Could it get any better?

Okay, time to stop rambling and post a little story. Ah, what the heck, I'll give you the whole chapter. Enjoy.

All rights are the intellectual property of the author. No part may be copied or reproduced without the permission of the author.



***Warning. The following story contains erotic elements, explicit language and violence. Read at your own risk.***

Tesza awoke with a gasp. Realizing Ursus held her, his arm wrapped over her waist, her body cupped to his. The palm of his hand was splayed over her belly. The heat it projected sent jolts of lust bolting through her pelvis.


“You fell asleep.” He nuzzled the back on her neck, inhaling the scent of her hair. “You smell like wild flowers.”

Tesza smiled at his enjoyment of the scent. She made her own oils and lotions. Among her people she was one of the best. She knew every plant in the jungle, every healing property and even those that catered to vanity.

He nipped the back of her neck. “Do you taste as sweet as you smell?”

Tesza stiffened in his arms. She knew the wonders of that mouth, the pain and pleasure it brought. Her thighs tightened and a shiver slid up her spine. Ursus used his leg to hook hers and roll her onto her back. He lifted his body until he pressed her to the mattress. His knee slid between her thighs forcing them open and onto either side of his hips. He rested on his elbows, touching his forehead against hers in a very intimate sign of Kori affection.

She couldn’t say anything, only stare into his face and feel his erection pressed against her, hot even between the layers of clothes. Tesza licked her lips and watched his eyes track downward. They drifted back up and locked onto her. Darker, hotter.

“You are my mate. I should take you; show you that you belong to me. There’s too much between us.”

“You’d die.” He wasn’t infected. His eyes remained clear. She could prevent it.

The corner of his mouth twitched. “I’m beginning not to care.”

“I care.”

He lifted his head and pulled away. “Are you hungry?”

Tesza nodded, still unable to speak. The scant distance he’d put between them made her want to weep. What was happening to her? Why did she care for him?

His gaze swept over her face, stopping on the wound. “I’ll make breakfast, and then I’m treating that injury before infection gets worse.”

Tesza nodded. For now, she’d let him tend to it. She could end this. She could save her people and give him what he craved. Her body. But inside her soul screamed at the thought of hurting him.

“Good. Go back to sleep. Rest and I’ll be back when it’s ready. He grabbed the cover and pulled it over her shoulder.

It only seemed like it had been minutes. A hand dropped to her shoulder. Tesza didn’t open her eyes immediately, but savored the energy that shot between her and the man whose touch sent her heart racing.

“Tesza.”

She rolled over and opened her eyes. Ursus sat on the bed next to her. He held a tube of ointment and some bandages.

“Let me dress that first.”

Tesza bit her lip. Why did he care? He hated her kind. Did he only treat her this way to get her secret? “What’s in it?”

“Oils, carsi flower.” He held the tube up. “It’s from my world, but it has strong anti-bacterial properties. Smells like shit, but it will keep you from scarring.”

She wrinkled her nose and yanked the blanket over her head. She could think of ten other plants on this world that would do the same thing and they didn’t smell like shit.

“Come on, let me see that wound.” The cover was pulled back and Ursus had a bead of the goop on the end of his finger.

Tesza sniffed and threw the cover over her head again. She’d thought he meant it smelled bad, not that it really smelled like shit. “No. That’s awful.”

“It works. I put it on all my wounds. You won’t smell it after awhile. Come on, let me see that cut.” He began to pull on the blanket again and Tesza tightened her grip.

“I know of something else that doesn’t smell as bad.”

“I have this for now. Quit being such a baby.” He pried the blanket off her and stared down, moving in with the gob. Tesza made a snapping motion with her teeth, threatening to bite him.

Ursus yanked his hand back. “Are you going to bite me?”

“If you touch me with that.”

“Is that a challenge?” His eyes sparked.

“No. A promise.” She growled at him and did her best to show her teeth.

He plopped his finger down on her nose, leaving the glob sticking to the end. Tesza eyes watered and she pulled the blanket up. In the attempt to wipe it off, she worked it in deeper. “Ursus. It stinks.” She scrubbed harder, only managing to release more of the oils, making it even more pungent. She spluttered and scrambled out of the bed, glancing around the room for water. Spotting a glass next to the bed, she grabbed it and dumped it over her head, rubbing her face vigorously. The water ran down, pouring over the front of shirt she’d slept in, soaking it over her breasts. She spluttered and stared at him through wet tendrils.

His eyes darkened and shifted to the wet shirt. For a second, he ceased to breathe.

Tesza froze. “Ursus?”

He growled and grabbed her wrist, yanking her onto the bed and throwing his body over hers, covering her. A hand slid under the shirt, pushing it up. His hard erection strained against the front of his pants, grinding into her. Both hands grabbed her wrists and yanked them over her head and pressed his forehead to hers, staring her in her eyes.

“Are you trying to kill me, woman?”

“You’re the one that put that nasty stuff on me.”

“That’s not what I’m talking about.” He pushed his hard cock against her again.

Tesza swallowed. “Don’t do it.”

“I believe I’d die a very happy man.” His lips brushed hers. “Say no.”

Tesza opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out. She wanted him as bad as he wanted her. She knew she should be screaming it out, stopping him. “I…”

“You feel it. Need it. It doesn’t have to be this way, Tesza. You could give me the cure; we could have all we desire. Touch each other deeper than we ever thought possible. I could give you pleasure.”

“No,” she whispered. He heart slammed in pain at the simple word. The fire began to die in his eyes. He lifted his forehead, nodded and moved away. He grabbed the tube and smeared a glob on the wound before she could react, pressing a bandage over it and taping it in place.

“Your breakfast is getting cold.” He got up and walked to the door, glancing over his shoulder and stopping in the threshold. “I have to meet my commander, I’ll be back. Don’t go anywhere.” He disappeared through the door. It slammed shut with a loud bang.

Tesza bit her lip and jumped off the bed. She had to leave. She had to put as much distance between them as she could before she made the mistake and killed him. The virus mutated too fast. If the rains came before she got to the antidote, he’d be lost. Only the viral parasite could stop it.

She opened a trunk by the bed and searched through the garments. She glanced out the window. Daylight was only now starting to filter down on the planet. If she moved, she could be out of the city before most of it was awake. Hopefully safe and unnoticed.

She grabbed a pair of his pants, a little big but a torn strip of fabric would work fine for a belt. She jumped into them, rolling them up to her ankles and yanked the shirt over her head. She grabbed another of his and dropped it over her head. She twisted her hair into a knot at the back of her neck and dug to the bottom of the chest for a pair of shoes and spotted the boots she’d worn when she first met Ursus. The garments were gone, but he’d kept the boots. Had he anticipated her staying?

She shoved her feet into the boots, grabbed a piece of flatbread and stepped through the door as it opened. He shouldn’t have trusted her to stay. She couldn’t. She was sorry if she got him in trouble, but anything would be better than killing him.

The air outside felt cold and the scent of approaching showers permeated the streets. The rainy season was here. She needed to leave, get out before she couldn’t. Carefully she slid into the shadows of an alley and headed for the jungle.

She’d miss him. Gods, she’d miss him.

#####

Ursus watched her go and followed from a safe distance. He knew the minute he’d stepped out the door, she’d leave. He’d follow to keep her safe. He adjusted his pack, sliding his weapon into his holster. If she got into trouble, he’d be there.

She kept to the back streets, climbing in and out of the ruins. At one point she slipped down into a hidden cistern, and waded through underground canals, an area he hadn’t realized existed.

The massive subterranean structure paid tribute to the ingenuity of the people who built the city. Once the tunnels opened up, Ursus found himself facing the jungle and a part of the city partially submerged underwater. The tips of buildings, stone domes and debris islands stood before him.

She slipped onto a roof line, running along its edge until she reached a large dome. Looking both ways, she slipped through an opening in a stained glass pattern, and re-emerged moments later in a small boat with a pole, pushing her way along through the sunken city. Ursus peeked into the structure to see several similar boats tethered inside. Obviously a hidden port for those who used the canals and travelled the city underground.

Like mud gats.

He stepped into a boat, slipped the knot free and pushed off, following Tesza as she slid into a mangroves. Birds and reptiles sat in the trees, mosses and vegetation hung everywhere. Riots of blooms in pinks, blues, and whites floated on the waters or wrapped around the trees, stretching for the canopy. Every breeze brought petals raining down. Showers of deceptive beauty.

Occasionally there would be a splash and wakes through the water as larger beasts moved under the surface. Flesh-eaters. Ursus slipped the guard off his holster so he could slide his weapon free on a seconds notice.

Gods, he hated the water, avoided it if he could. The mangrove was a dangerous place to be in a boat, let alone attempting to travel through on foot. It appeared the clans had been using this area to get in and out of the High city, slipping under Kori noses.

It was assumed no one in their right minds would try to navigate these swamps. Tesza did it like it was second nature. As other members of the Kalos must do. A situation that would need to be remedied if the city was to be rebuilt and settled as planned.

#####

Several times Tesza felt eyes on her, and glanced over her shoulder. Nobody followed. Her imaginations seemed to be weaving tales in her head. She was alone. Ursus would be safe.

Shelter needed to be found before star fall. The next outpost stretched at least two days ahead of her. The mangroves were too hostile to navigate at night and the outpost would be unreachable even with mechanical transportation.

Creatures hunted the swamps in the dark hours, creatures that could easily make a light snack of her. She knew the swamp forked ahead, taking her to an island, where some of the clan stayed during hunting and salvaging trips. With the rainy season approaching, the island would be unoccupied. The clans would be well on their way south by now, avoiding the floods.

She’d be cutting it close, staying on the island for the night. The monsoons could start at any time and she’d be trapped in a place with hungry beasts and savage waters.

Tesza decided to harvest the viral parasite. If ever the plague broke out, she wouldn’t want the innocents to suffer. She’d move it, plant it and hide it from the clans. Nobody deserved the hemorrhaging fever. Hallow-fever as it was called. Its victims liquefied on the inside within days of contracting the illness. Ursus had protected her, loved her. He above all didn’t deserve it.

She navigated the boat to the left channel, heading for the island where the remedy grew on the cliffs. She’d stay the night, take some of the fruit and be off before star rise. Hopefully, the rains didn’t start first.

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's Friday...

And I've got news! I signed with Silver Publishing for a short story in their 25 Days of Christmas celebration. Woo Hoo! The Gift will be released 12/10/2010 and here's an unofficial blurb:

FIRE... ICE...
Celebrate this Holiday with both...

Rad and Crayton - the same yet different. They meet as often as possible throughout the year to be together. Christmastime is particularly special, it's when they celebrate their bonding. Mermen, one born in the south Caribbean sea, the other from the frozen waters surrounding Iceland--neither can exist for long in the other's climate.

Rad returns to his summer home in Pennsylvania determined it will be the last time. The cold has taken a deadly toll on him. Cray can go no farther south, so they will have to give up their bonding celebration, and the Christmas holiday together.

Cray discovers a way to defeat Mother Nature, but it may already be too late.

I enjoyed writing this story so much...I'm glad there are many fish in the sea!

And for your pleasure, here is how I envision my heroes! Compliments of Bentboy's Place.
Enjoy your Friday and remember: Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hey! It's You!


Like most people right now, that are fans of things vampire related, I am a fan of True Blood. However, I don't have HBO, so I'm behind as I have to buy seasons as they come out on DVD. While everyone else is watching season 3, I'm still trying to catch up on season 2 - which I haven't finished yet. It's not exactly a show that I can watch while my 13 year old is around. LOL

I bring this up now because I know sometimes, authors create characters based on someone they know or an actor/actress in a movie or television show. I'm sort of on the opposite side of the spectrum in that I'll create a character, develop their looks and see a movie or show sometimes later and it hits me over the head - "Hey! That's [insert appropriate character's name
here]."

I've had it happen twice so far. One of those instances is Alexander SkarsgÄrd, the actor who plays Eric Northman on True Blood. Now see, I never watched True Blood until last summer when I picked up Season 1 because a friend of mine said it was something right up my alley. But when I did...why hello there Stark. For those that may not know, Stark is the hero in my first book, Flash of Dark.


So, I said twice, right? Who's the other? You'll have to wait until next week. ;^)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Don't get your panties in a bunch!

I'm pleased to announce my comedic, contemporary book WEDGIE TALES AND PANTY LINES is now released in both digital and print versions.

Blurb: When unassuming mail room worker Kate Little agrees to become an underwear tester for a marketing company, things get uncomfortable fast. Not only has she never worn “fancy” underpants before, she has to work closely with handsome marketing manager Bryan Eddleman and that’s enough to keep her in a constant state of confusion.

Trouble is Bryan’s competing with another manager for a promotion that hinges on the results of the test group. Kate can’t determine if his sudden interest is really in her or her surprisingly insightful weekly reports on foundation garments.

Add a jealous co-worker out to sabotage Kate’s budding love life, an overly helpful gay friend with nothing better to do than shove her into Bryan’s arms, and a rambunctious teacup dog to the chaos and you’ll have a typical day in Kate’s less than ordinary life.

The last thing she needs is panty lines.

Excerpt: “I’m sorry, but I can’t test your underwear.”

“That’s exactly why we need you for this project. You’re the everyday woman, Miss—I’m sorry. I didn’t quite catch your name.” A vivid green gaze held mine. “In fact, I don’t think we’ve ever been introduced. You don’t mind that we pulled you into this brainstorming session, do you? It’s just that I heard your comment about whose job it was to test the product and thought you’d be interested.” Full lips parted with his easy grin and revealed perfect teeth that practically screamed they’d seen years of braces.

“My name’s Kate. Kate Little.”

He nodded, and my stomach lurched. I mentally berated myself for the pleasure that gripped me because he approved of my name.

A snort from Pamela. “That’s funny. You’re hardly a little anything.”

My cheeks heated—this time from anger. “That’s it. I’m not going to hang around and take abuse from you underfed, over-tanned, rude people.” I shot out of the cushy leather chair and angled my way around the conference table, aware that everyone watched my departure.

Yeah, so I’m a thirty-year-old, plus-sized woman. I wear a size 16. It’s not a crime, and it’s not fat. It’s average. And, by the way, I’m just Kate. Not Katherine with a “K” or even with a “C,” and if you attempt to call me Katie, I’ll ignore you. If the nickname persists and I become annoyed, I’ll throw a pencil at you.

I paused at the head of the table to glare at the guy in charge. What’s-his-name in the tailored suit.

“Get someone else to be your guinea pig.”

Book video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bJyAd-Id9M
Publisher’s website: http://www.thewildrosepress.com
Author website: http://www.sandrasookoo.com
There is a longer excerpt available on my website and you can also order an autographed copy there as well.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Paranormal YA lovers who want a quick "bite" will love my new series from Wild Horse Press

Hi Cyberspace Travelers:

I am so excited for my new paranormal romance YA series Mirage High! This will be offered from Wild Horse Press for their YA Nibbles line. This is a line of all-paranormal YA stories in the 2-5K range. My first story in the series, Mirage is now available. Images, book two will be available soon.

As the only humans in an all-supernatural high school, Samantha and Tabitha have a hard time fitting in. Being in a military family, the girls are used to changing schools and usually make friends easily. However, the students of Mirage High aren't exactly welcoming. Yet, that doesn't stop Sam from falling for Shane, the alpha werewolf.
This series is going to be dealing with some big issues for teens, but in a creative way. The human girls deal with a lot of bigotry because they are human, not unlike many teens today deal with racism or religious ostracism. They also have a single father, who isn’t doing the greatest job. They have to make the same choices as other teens make, just surrounded by werewolves, vampires, mermaids, and fairies. I hope this series is both fun and touching for the teens (and adults) who read it.

My main character is Samantha (Sam) who tries to make the best of things. Her little sister Tabby has a harder time dealing with the transition, and the abandonment of their mother. Both girls have to deal with their changing lives while looking into an uncertain future. Mirage is essentially an internment camp for paranormal creatures. The knowledge that their classmates don’t have the opportunity and freedom of choice that they have effect the girls in different ways as they slowly begin to realize that they have to try and help to stop the injustice. I think this story is one that many teens today will identify with and I have written Sam as very hip and very sassy. The sisters deal with friendship and first love and of course have a few sisterly spats along the way.

Sam is falling in love with Shane, the alpha werewolf of the teenage pack. He is everything she wants, except different. Sam deals with her choice to embrace his difference or let what’s between them go. In Images, the second book, this burgeoning relationship will be the main focus of the story while the first book is more about Sam adjusting to life on Mirage.

I’ve really enjoyed writing these stories and as I am published in the erotic genre for most of my work, it’s nice to have something of my work that my daughter can read in a few years. These stories will be available from Wild Horse press and Amazon.com for 99 cents a download. I hope that if you have a young woman in your life you will present them to her. If you do I’d love to hear what she thinks (or you think) at http://ashlynnmonroe.webs.com/

I also have an adult vampire series coming out with Keith Publications this fall. It’s about cursed Templar Knights who wake up dead, as vampires. These stories are hot and fun. I’ve given each of my tormented hotties a good woman to save him. I hope you’ll be on the lookout for these this fall.

Currently I have two very erotic science fiction eBooks, Passion’s Escape (also print) and Lost Hearts with Silver Publications and August 14th Wish, my erotic urban fantasy will be available from them as well.

My short urban fantasy Hidden Magic, about a very sexy fae male and the woman bound to him is published with Wild Horse Press, and October 5th they will be offering my werewolf romance, Wild Hearts. I have taken some great French history and myth and given it my own special twist. Silver Publishing will also have my Halloween offering about a man cursed by his scorned witch wife to be a cat until he finds true love, which will be out October 30, just the right time for you to download and spend your Halloween night reading.

I’m a newbie this is my first year as a published author but I’ve been writing since I was thirteen so I’ve got a ton of stuff that’s been scribbled in notebooks waiting patiently for what was forever ago…ok now I feel old! I’m a working mom with two kids, two cats, and a hubby so my plate is full. I’ve been writing like crazy lately and the family has been annoyed but supportive. You can follow me on twitter at ashlynn_monroe or friend me on facebook. Please check out my website and also my website that a few of my fellow Wild Horse Press pals and I share http://wickedmuses.webs.com/ October is our Parascary Octoberfest and we have a bunch of guest bloggers and book giveaways so please check it out and have some fun with it. I hope you win a book or a gift card, or better yet both!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and to find out a little bit about me Ashlynn Monroe…new girl on the block! I’ve been feeling a little bit like Sam these days; it’s always hard to be new. I’ve been blessed the readers and authors in the wonderful world of electronic books have welcomed me warmly and I’ve made some of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life in the last few months. I hope you will soon be one of my new friends and escape with me into my imagination. I’ve always written for my own pleasure, but it’s so wonderful to have the opportunity to share my wacky creative side with others. I’d love to hear what you think good or bad and I’d like to meet you too. I love comments on my website so please feel welcome to drop by anytime. If one person can get as much joy from reading my stories as I have had writing them then I am a success. Thanks for making my dreams come true!

***HUGS***

Ashlynn

Monday, August 16, 2010

Moon Day

Happy manic Moon Day. The origins of the Monday came from the Anglo-Saxon monandaeg, "the moon's day". This day was sacred to the goddess of the moon. I've always had an affinity with the great ball of cheese in the sky.

They say there are more hospital visits and babies born on full moons and I believe it. In high school I noticed my energy levels grew higher as we approached a full moon. Being born in July also makes me a Cancer, the crab, who is influenced by its planet the moon.

I love watching for it. In my living room window it rises so I don't need to leave the comfort of my home. But I don't howl at it and I don't get furry. I just think it's beautiful.

Odd how something that doesn't even know I exist can affect me so profoundly. We attach ourselves to objects and allow them to influence us like lucky objects, favorite cars, or cute shoes. What's got a hold on you?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ratings and Reviews...



HAPPY SUNDAY!! With my two releases, The Willow and A Deadly Whisper, out for nearly a month now, ratings have been coming in. Every time I open and read a review, I’m looking with only one eye open. I’ve been waiting for that dreaded one or two star from the readers....

Luckily, it hasn’t come! PHEW!!!

Truthfully, I expect my books to fall into the three star rating. I’m a new author, with lots to learn and wouldn’t dare put my work in the same rating as some of my favourites, MacAlister, Frost or Arthur. Surprisingly, I’ve been shocked to see that the readers feel different than I do and have rated my stories with a four or even a five star. I’m left looking at it in shock and completely thrilled. Especially, when I see the authors they’ve also given that rating too.

So, today, I just wanted to send a big thank you out to everyone who has supported me thus far. I appreciate that you can get past maybe little flaws here and there, and just love the story. Big hugs and warm wishes to you all!!!

Now...it's waiting to hear from the review sites *bites nails*

Saturday, August 14, 2010

When Souls Collide, Chapter 8, Part 2

Good morning all. Back to our scheduled posts. It's been a crazy week, full of ups and downs. Life truly is a roller coaster and I don't think I would have it any other way. I think sometimes it's the downs that help us to truly appreciate the good things that come our way.

Here's to the ride up. Hang on and enjoy it.

All rights are the intellectual property of the author. No part may be copied or reproduced without the permission of the author.


***Warning. The following story contains erotic elements, explicit language and violence. Read at your own risk.***

Tesza sucked in a deep breath and stared at the closed door. The longer she stayed here the bigger the chance she’d betray the others. Sooner or later she’d slip up and give him information. Her control was weak. It took all the energy she had to give him that cold, hard look that sent him from the room in a rage. Even now her body craved his arms wrapped around her. She could still taste him on her lips and feel the fire in her veins his touch ignited.


She had to escape. Coming here had been wrong. She endangered her people. They should have killed her instead of driving her out. She couldn’t do what they asked. Being held captive was torture. He was right about one thing. It was painful. She couldn’t touch him. She needed to keep her distance.

Tesza pushed to her feet, continuing to stare at the door. It slid open and Ursus stood in the doorway. His eyes pinned her in place. Her heart jumped and she cried out, sliding her hand over her breast. Inside she quaked like a land-shake.

“Gods, I can’t take it.” He strode forward and yanked her into his arms. His mouth possessed hers, taking her breath and soul. Nobody devoured her the way Ursus did. When he kissed her, he owned her, consumed her. Flames licked through her blood and her body buzzed with the energy from his touch.

He scooped her into his arms and carried her to the bed. Tesza only realized then that she was on her back as he pressed against her body. His knee slid between her thighs, prying her legs apart. Tesza tore her mouth away. “No. You don’t know what you’re doing.”

“I’m doing what I was born to do. Loving you.”

“We can’t. You don’t understand.” Tesza pushed on his shoulders.

“Fate keeps bringing us together. Give in to it and see where it takes us.” His breath washed over her ear. Chills erupted across her skin. “All I know is that I need you. Please, say yes.”

“You’ll die if you do this.”

“I’ll die if I don’t.” Ursus hand slid under her blouse and stroked her breast.

Tesza didn’t know how to tell him. She had a virus. It was harmless to her people, but to the Kori, deadly. Transmitted by sexual contact, he’d be immediately infected if this went any further. She was a virgin, sex with her would make her bleed; infect him as it had been planned from the time she was a child. He was lucky the contact with her blood before hadn’t infected him. It would never happen twice. The next time, he’d die. Thousands would die.

It had been her people’s last defense. When they were invaded, women were raped. The plague was released into the Kori military populations, annihilating them. When the next wave of ships arrived a month later, they found every Kori troop on the planet dead. The reason unknown.

Nature had gifted her people with a weapon and they had embraced it, cultivated and used their own people to carry it.

With the source of the disease unknown to the Kori, the Kalos became poison to touch. Tainted, evil souls. The Kori always used weapons at a distance that turned the Kalos to dust. They never made skin to skin contact or engaged in conversation. They exterminated the Kalos like rodents, not thinking twice about snuffing out their lives. Acceptable genocide. Sanctioned by their leaders and priests.

Cities established. Populations moved in. The mystery grew into a religious belief. Soon the Kalos became enemies of the Kori gods. Their extinction the only suitable answer. The lack of contact had made the plague null. Null until now. Now it was a breath away from reemerging and striking down Kalos’s enemies.

Not by any means divine. The virus had been created in a lab, before all technology became lost and the Kalos de-evolved to the primitives they’d become. A simple enough cure, but unknown to the Kori. A parasite that feasted on the virus lived in a fruit nut deep in the jungle.

He’d die. Every Kori man, woman and child on the planet would die. Once inside the host, transmission quickly mutated to an airborne illness. Her people would be free at the cost of another people’s lives.

It was why they cast her out. No Kori had dared to touch a Kalos. Until Ursus. And she’d walked away.

“Ursus.” She placed both hands on either side of his face and lifted, until he looked her in the eyes. “Touching me is dangerous. I could infect you.”

“Those are stories they tell to keep us from forming relationships with the enemy.”

“No.” She touched his shoulder. She could give him the fruit nut, save him. Prevent the disease from ever infecting his people, and hers would continue to die, every day the Kori occupied her world.

When they’d determined the virus was in her blood, that she was a carrier, they’d marked her. The tattoo she’d on her face was to signify she could give her people the gift of life. He’d assumed she’d meant to bear children.

Tesza wasn’t a bearer of children, but a bringer of death. Only the prettiest among them, only the strongest were marked in this manner, vessels of the virus, and her people honored them. If one of them should be raped, the Kori would bring the death to their people. Millions would perish for one man’s mistake.

Ursus could be the trigger. Tesza didn’t want him to be that. Inside, she’d perish with him. But more than his life weighed on her. Who was she to be an executioner?

Though the soldiers murdered her people, could she kill the innocents who didn’t? She wasn’t sure she wanted to deliver the curse to his people. She would be a slayer of millions and savior of a dying race. Trading one life for another didn’t make it right.

“Stop.”

“Relax. They’re superstitions, stories.”

“It’s a virus. You’ll die. Your people will be infected. The cure lies too deep into Kalos territory, guarded by my people. They’ll burn the orchards if they think the plague has started.”

She stroked her hand on his cheek. “You have to let me go. You can’t have me. Ever.”

Ursus tipped his head. “You’re serious.”

“Yes. They carved my honor mark from my face because I refused. I was captured when I came to see you to say goodbye. I was going to take my life.”

Ursus sucked in a breath. “You say there’s a cure?”

“Yes. But if they know the infection has spread among your people, they’ll destroy it. My people have a natural immunity from feasting on it for years. Your people don’t eat Kalos food or anything grown on the planet. They don’t have the benefit of its protection.”

“Take me to it.”

“No. I can’t do that. I’ve sworn to protect the secret with my life.”

Ursus lowered his mouth and nipped Tesza’s lip. “Then I will seduce it from you.”

“Please Ursus; I don’t want you to die, or your people to die.” Tesza pushed on his shoulders.

“I don’t believe you’re a murderer. I think you’ll take me to it to save my life and the lives of the innocents that will die.”

“Don’t ask that of me. I’ve sworn before my gods to take my life before giving up the secret. My soul will be damned.”

Ursus pulled back to his elbows and studied her. “I can’t let you go now that I know you hold this information.”

“Are you going to tell your commander?”

“Not at the moment. But I can’t free you. You hold the key to a plague that could wipe my people from existence. You’re not only a weapon; you have knowledge of a cure. For my people, I can’t let you go.”

“Let me go Ursus. Let me die with honor.”

“I can’t let you leave with that secret. If another of my people gets infected, you hold the information we need to stop it. Though I need you, my people need you more and I can’t risk what you told me happening.”

“Get off me.” Tesza shoved with all her strength.

Ursus’s eyes glowed. “Could you let me die?”

Tesza glared.

He stroked her cheek, gazing into her soul. “Could you stand back and watch this plague consume me?”

She swallowed and turned her head away, looking at the wall.

He tipped her head back. “I don’t think you can. How long before I’d die? How long before the plague spreads among the Kori?”

“Please, don’t do it,” Tesza whispered. “Don’t. You’ll die.”

Ursus lowered his mouth and kissed her, demanding everything. Her heart, her soul...her gift. He kissed along her jaw, and then whispered in her ear. “It’s too late for that. I touched your blood when you soaked my shirt.”

Tesza shook her head. The copper spots in the victim’s eyes were the first symptom that appeared in under an hour. The rest of the disease wouldn’t manifest for at least three days. The spots appeared at the time of infection. His eyes appeared normal. Clear.

“No. You haven’t been infected.”


Friday, August 13, 2010

It's Friday...

Thank goodness! This late in the week, no one expects anything too deep and thoughtful. Sooo...there are some good things happening around my web neighborhood that I thought I'd share.

LASR is having their 3rd anniversary celebration. They are giving away three, that's right-THREE, Nooks! And they're chocked full of good reading. Don't miss out on the fun. It's a scavenger hunt and it couldn't be easier! Go ahead, hunt until your hearts content--and grab some good reading along the way. You can find out who's participating and read all the information here: http://www.longandshortreviews.com/promo.htm

Ellora's Cave continues with its 10th anniversary contest  where readers answered the question: "How Has Ellora's Cave Improved Your Sex Life?" They received so many responses, they've broken it down into groups and each Monday over the next several weeks they will post the winning entries. The second round is up on their Sex Talk for Wicked Women blog and will remain there for one week. Head over, read the entries, and vote for your favorite. (Tell your friends!) http://sextalkforwickedwomen.blogspot.com/

Changeling Press is celebrating Friday the 13th with a sale! Stop by the Bar and Grill, join in the fun--you might find something you like! Of course, it's an adult group and you must join to play: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ChangelingPress/

You can visit D. Renee Bagby Presents First Chapters. There's lots of good reading and you get to vote for your choice of Best Cover (it's gorgeous, it caught your eye, you just can't look away), Best First Line (you were hooked from word one and had to keep reading), Best Last Line (this is the line that left you wanting to read more), Best Overall First Chapter (from the first word to the last was the best and you just had to get the book). This month there are 4 prizes and that means FOUR winners! So visit now: http://dreneebagbypresentsfirstchapters.blogspot.com/?zx=1722100243ad6f30 (If you don't find a fav cover-vote for Ramiel's butt on Hope in Love!!)

What's happening where you are? Do you have anything you want to share? It's Friday--
HAVE FUN!!
Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Lift Hill

I'm a roller coaster rider. A huge one. The higher and faster - the better. I'm right there in the front seat. I luckily live only about a 1/2 hour away from one theme park and another hour away is yet another amusement park. Needless to say, we hold passes to both parks. We even made our family vacation last year to somewhere we've always wanted to go - Cedar Point. We even got down to Kings Island and fell in love with one particular coaster. We'd never ridden anything like it and since it was during the week, we were able to ride several times in a row.


So why am I talking about roller coasters? Well...because writing is like a roller coaster. Some days are better than others. You make your word count goals, or your don't. You get a really great review for a book you loved, or someone gives it 1 star. Like the lift hill on a coaster, as y
ou wait anxiously for the crest of the hill you can see ahead, waiting to hear on a submission is hard. You want to hear sooo badly, but yet, you also don't because it could be bad news. I just subbed a story on Sunday, so I'm at the very bottom of that hill at the moment, I know the crest of that hill is there, it's in sight, but I can't get to it yet.

So then, you get that wonderful news - they want it. That's like an exhilarating plunge that never ends. Until you're at another lift hill and you're waiting for edits to begin, to get that first glimpse of cover art. Then that chain starts clacking loudly again as you wait. Then, one day during that long climb, an email appears in your inbox (edits!) and the coaster drops down the hill again.

I think in this business, there's a hell of a lot more lift hills than anything else. That clacking chain is annoying but so worth the plunge(s)!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vegetarian at Midnight has released!

I'm pleased to announce that my paranormal romance Vegetarian at Midnight has released with Eirelander Publishing. This is the sequel to The Art of Fang Shui.

Blurb: Sometimes the love of meat is only the beginning of the problem.

Sophia has issues beyond being near-sighted. Bound to work for a power-hungry Portal Master for the next 90 years, her crown-shaped birthmark might set her apart, but her vegetarian lifestyle make her unforgettable. She can’t afford to be distracted by Xavier’s Adonis-like features because she knows she’ll betray him eventually.

Golden-curled, fedora-wearing Xavier’s a man with issues. Under a gypsy curse that compels him to morph into a werewolf, he wants nothing more than to convince the Portal Master to lift the blight. The only way to that exulted individual is through Sophia, but her stubbornness and fearful disposition heat his blood and annoy him at the same time.

Passions and problems collide while both Sophia and Xavier rise up to meet their destiny. Fighting a fallen angel and the Immortal Court, only the strong will come out alive.

Book video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0b_GNk1AjxA
Author’s Website: http://www.sandrasookoo.com


Excerpt from Chapter One.

“Sophia.”

The whispered name went into the night air unheard while his nose continued to twitch from the sharp scent of wood burning stoves. He ignored it and pushed further into the shadows of a doorway as she passed. No sense letting her see him until it was absolutely necessary. He considered slipping into his wolf form in order to follow her, but just as quickly banished the thought. Better to maintain full control of his human side for this part of the reconnaissance.

Xavier Leighton pulled the brim of his fedora lower then slunk out of his hiding place. He frowned. This woman held his fate in her hands? This woman had the power to save him? After watching her for weeks to learn her routine, she didn’t appear capable of handling her own life, let alone anyone else’s. He wanted to scoff, rage at fate for the cruel trick, but he did none of those things. Instead, he studied the woman.

Dull, brown hair hung limply to her shoulders. She tucked a lock of it behind her ear with a pale hand, the nails clipped short. His gaze focused on the slight sway of her hips as she walked. Xavier scowled. He wondered what her body looked like beneath the blazer that obscured her figure. Her height was several inches shorter than his six feet, the perfect size to tuck into his arms. His mouth watered—not from lust but from hunger. He hadn’t eaten since the day before, and the meal of venison did not satisfy him—would never satisfy him again. Perhaps if the woman did not answer to the title of Gatekeeper, he would devour her. The soft parts he could see would keep him busy for a while. He could almost feel the bones snap in his jaws, taste the sweetness of her flesh…

All the old admonitions from Hannah warning him not to eat humans came rushing back. He thrust them away yet, the primal urges would not be ignored so easily—neither could his curse.

The shrill ring of her cell phone yanked him out of his culinary reflections. Her attention seemed to be occupied with her enormous bag yet she continued to rush over the darkened sidewalk. Xavier stifled an impatient growl. Women these days had no sense of personal safety. If she had been just an ordinary human citizen, he would have pounced on her right then. He needed proof of her identity before he either disposed of her or saved her.

“Mona? What happened? You didn’t burn the apartment down, did you?” Her voice was low, melodious, but tinged with fear. “What happened?” The woman paused under a street light. Xavier saw a flash as she turned her head. She wore glasses. An intellectual female. His interest in her rose. However, her next comment chilled his blood. “Mona, tell me again what it means when my birthmark glows.”

A birthmark? Xavier narrowed his eyes. Would she actually give him confirmation without him needing to reveal his presence? His pulse thundered in his ears as she drew her left sleeve up to reveal her wrist. A crown-shaped birthmark glowed eerie red in the darkness. He licked his lips, tasting success.

A Gatekeeper!

Cold dread mingled with hot excitement at the prospect of his quest being over for The One—his mate and his salvation. He breathed a soft sigh and skulked out of the shadows when she hurried down the deserted street once more. The woman threw her phone into her bag and held the oversized monstrosity close to her side. Xavier wanted to laugh at her poor security clutch.

Fate had chosen, and it was his responsibility to carry the plan through. Finally, freedom was within his reach.

A crackle of dried autumn leaves nearly gave him away. The woman glanced over her shoulder, but Xavier quickly ducked behind a large oak tree, his chest tight. Should he reveal his presence now? She was almost at her apartment building. Once she gained the safety of her home and her protection wards, he could not approach her. A chilly October wind ruffled his hair. Xavier buttoned his trench coat against the onslaught. He had a matter of days to lift the curse. His lifetime of struggle had come down to this one moment. If he didn’t accomplish this goal, he’d be doomed to spend the rest of his life as a werewolf—and that was definitely not on his agenda.

It was time.

Using his limited magic, he coaxed the bulb in the next streetlight to shatter. After a loud pop, murky darkness claimed the street, and the air stilled. Her face showed in profile now, clearly reflecting sudden fear. Xavier smiled. His stomach clenched with anticipation as he circled around her with the silent movements of a consummate predator. She started off once more, seeming to search the shadows moments before she smacked into his chest. He grunted.

“Pardon me.” She looked up into his face. Her blue eyes were round and reflected a mixture of fear and resignation.

He felt her energy and knew she would run, so he wrapped his arms around her, preventing her flight. “The darkness is full of unexpected obstacles, Miss Raines, and we must try to ascertain which of them should be avoided at any cost.” Xavier couldn’t resist tucking her against himself. Her head fit neatly under his chin. For one brief moment, a wave of calm engulfed him, but then she struggled, and the peace succumbed to the thrill of the chase.

“Who are you, and how do you know my name?” She attempted to jerk out of his grasp but he merely tightened his hold.

As if I will tell her. Xavier smiled. “It is of no consequence at the moment.”

“If you don’t let me go, I will call nine-one-one.” She fumbled in her bag.

“That would be unwise.” He easily ignored her protest and let his fingers explore her curves. Too bad her heavy blazer prevented him from knowing what her body felt like.

“And that’s supposed to make me not do it?”

A soft chuckle escaped him. “No. Besides, you are in no danger from me.” Much, he silently amended. Her scent teased his nostrils, and because he was part wolf, he could discern every subtly of her; vanilla, honeysuckle, and the sweet womanly smell that was hers alone.

Enchanting? He’d been alone for too long. She wasn’t his usual style at all, but destiny apparently didn’t operate on the physical alone.

“Then I’ll scream until someone comes.”

“That would also be an unfortunate decision.” No matter that she had the power to destroy him, the sound of her voice wrapped around him like a fleece blanket to mute his senses. “You should practice a bit more caution.”

Her eyes narrowed in the darkness. “Who are you?”

“That information is not important at the moment.” His gaze dropped to her lips. The bottom was slightly fuller than the top. Xavier’s groin tightened with desire. His mission would be over before it started if he continued down this path.

“What do you mean it’s not important? Of course it is. I demand to know your name!” Her voice raised an octave, tinged with hysteria now. “I’m calling the police. A pretty boy like you will keep the hardened criminals busy in jail.”

Her single-minded determination made him smile and teased his sense of adventure. “I did advise you not to do that. Perhaps this will make you change your mind.”

Xavier settled her more comfortably in his arms and pressed his lips to hers. For whatever reason, the woman released rivers of need into his blood, and the only thing he could do was answer Nature’s call. He nibbled at her lips, savoring their velvety softness. Wanting to taste more, he ran his tongue along their crease, willing her to invite him inside. When she didn’t, Xavier grasped her hips and pulled her flush against the hard wall of his body with a low growl. In response, the minx sucked his bottom lip into her mouth, turning his blood to liquid fire and leaving behind rampant arousal.

He wanted her in a primal, earthy way, but a warning crept into his lust-shrouded brain to urge caution. Xavier needed her connection to Sterling, the Portal Master, more than he needed her warm in his bed—and she would, eventually. He just needed to convince her they were life mates. Those thoughts fled in the face of sharp pain when she bit down hard on his bottom lip.

“What did you do that for?” It was no love bite. She did it on purpose, with malicious intent. He set her away at arm’s length putting a hand to his mouth. “Enough. You need to come with me.”

“What the hell is wrong with you?” She grasped the lapels of his trench coat until she could stand upright then shoved her wire-framed glasses up the bridge of her nose as a satisfied smile played about her lips. “What was the point? You kiss me then just when it starts to get interesting you stop?” Her eyes spat blue fire as she planted her fists on her hips. “You can think again, buddy. I’m not going anywhere with you.”

His soft laughter rang through the quiet streets. She would be a challenge, and one he looked forward to meeting. “If you would like to see how interesting we can make it, I’m willing to continue.” When she blew out a breath, he grinned, feeling very much like the wolf he was. “Hurry home, Sophia. The things that walk the darkness are oftentimes not benevolent creatures. You have my word on that.”

Xavier gazed after her as she ran down the sidewalk. Regardless of how the woman made him react, he had the proof he needed. The birthmark confirmed her as a Gatekeeper and her reaction to his kiss cemented the fact she was his mate. Now, how to convince her to bring him to Elias Realm?

Publisher’s website: http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/vegetarianatmidnight.htm

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Vegetarian-at-Midnight-ebook/dp/B003YCPM0Y/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1281102413&sr=8-13

All Romance E-books: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-vegetarianatmidnight-446652-139.html

I hope you'll pick up a copy!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wolf's Magic--RELEASED

Hey everyone!! I am so pleased to report that Wolf's Magic has released with Liquid Silver Books!

This is Az's story and the 4th in the series about the magical royal Kane brothers--the wolf shifters of Westervelt island.

Here is a blurb:

Wolf’s Magic is the story of Azriel Kane, fifth brother in the royal Westervelt wolf pack. Always different from his siblings, Azriel prefers to spend his time underground in a lab than out fighting battles to save the pack from destruction. In his own way, he feels he is contributing to the pack’s success. However, when fate plants his destined mate in a cage where he can’t ignore her, Az will be forced to face up the demons that have plagued him since childhood and be the shifter she needs him to be.

Leah St. James has no idea who she is or how she came to be trapped in a cage in Azriel’s lab. The only thing she is certain about is that she is not a wolf and that she wants out of her false wolf body as soon as possible. Counting on Az to save her from the same doomed fate as the other wolves Az is given to study, from the distance of her cage she can see Az for who he really is and not the false front he presents to the world.

But Kendrick Kane is not done with Westervelt and when he steps up his game to eliminate the Kanes from Westervelt, Az and Leah will need each other to discover the truth behind his evil plans, that is if Azriel can finally reveal the secret he has been keeping since he was a child.

With Leah’s help, can Azriel finally take his place in the pack hierarchy or will they fail and lose Westervelt forever?


I loved writing Az's book and I LOVE writing the Westervelt series. In honor of the newest Westervelt release, one lucky commentator will win a copy of Wolf's Magic today. So please comment and let me know why you'd like to win a copy. I will let my husband decide who wins tonight (and that might just be him picking a number between 1 and...)

Best to all of you
Rebecca Royce

Monday, August 9, 2010

How Do You Untie Knots?

Happy Manic Monday! The scent of Fall is in the air in Vermont today. After the weeks of blazing heat, the cool air is welcomed. Even my boys slept in to 9 AM, which is an unusual event and celebrated with a large cup of tea and a few chapters of my latest read.




Why didn’t I jump onto my laptop and start writing instead of reading? My brain is tied up in knots. When I write I need a clear path, a road map, and a compass. At the moment, I’m confused, disoriented, and the road have detours signs. I blame this on the four weeks of no-writing my doctor prescribed and enforced with a cast after some minor surgery on my writing hand. My stories had no outlet. They got jumbled in my head and instead of coming out in a steady stream like before they are all trying to get out at the same time.

In the span of two weeks, I’ve started three books and I NEVER, EVER do that. Not to mention the three other plot demons hanging out to torment me at night. Motivations, characters, and goals are all jumbled together now. I’ve managed to pull myself away this morning and wonder, “What the hell am I doing?”

It’s almost like a writer’s block but instead of a lack of ideas, I’m being bombarded and torn in umpteen directions. I can’t write different books at the same time. I’ve tried and my writing sucks when I’ve tried. So I plan to pull a title out of a hat today and stick with it until it’s done, done, DONE.

What do you do when your thoughts get stuck?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Broken Bond

Happy Sunday!!! While my DD spent a week at camp in July, I broke away from my little vacation of no writing to dabble into a short story that had been swirling in my mind. It's also my very first single title. As you've probably noticed, I love series!!! But this was SO fun!! Recently I submitted it to... Nope, can't say, don't want to jinx myself. LOL!! Anyways, if it is rejected, I'll probably sit down and lengthen it to a full length. There is lots of story there to play with, but this certain (wink) company asks that you stay under 16K, so that's what I did.

Here's the first chapter of A Broken Bond.
*Warning - whoever wrote this needs their mouth washed out with soap :) *

White noise ran across the radio waves. Cash swore, wiped the rain from his hands onto his worn dark jeans then turned the knob on the radio. Free Bird blared through the speakers of his ’69 jet black Camaro. He settled back into his leather seat, ran his hand through his dirty blond textured hair and wiped away the moisture dripping onto his predominant nose and trickling down his sculpted cheek.
The visit with his sister, Taya went better than expected. It’d been two years since he’d last seen her or the cubs. At twenty-eight, his twin was still a better human than he would ever be―too much wolf lived in his blood.
Taya was a perfect mother to her twin babes, Malik and Marlee, mate to Royce―all of whom belonged to the Montana pack. Cooke City was their birthplace and where his family had been born and died. He was the only one of his blood relatives who had left the packs protection.
Shame settled in that he had left his sister, with his parents long deceased, he was the last of his family ties. But rouge was more Cash’s taste. He hadn’t belonged to a pack for two years and that suited him just fine. Once a Montana pack member, he had been loyal and faithful to his Alpha, Blaine.
With a groan, he shook away the guilt of abandoning those who needed him and wiped the remaining droplets of rain off his face. He wouldn’t burden himself by guilt. There was enough weight on his heart as it was.
The death of his mate, Jaylyn, had been the reason he left the pack―killed by a rare disease that took his soul-mates life within days of the first sign of illness. When her heart had stopped beating, so did his. Nothing lived in him anymore.
The scent of wolf reached Cash before the door to his car opened. Royce sank into the seat, drenched by the falling rain and shut the door behind him.
“We have to talk,” Royce said, gruffly. .
Cash respected Royce as much as he would a brother. More than once they’d fought side by side and rejoiced in victory together. Now, as he met Royce’s firm hazel gaze he was aware he was not his equal. “Say what you have to then,” Cash responded, curtly.
Royce’s eyes sank to slits as pure contempt washed across his naturally soft features. “You’re a real selfish bloke, you know that.”
“Yes,” Cash replied with a snort. “I’ve heard.”
“Do you know the pain you have caused your sister?”
Cash shut his eyes. He didn’t want to be reminded. “What do you want, Royce? I’ve not come here to be made to feel guilty.”
“It’s time to come home,” Royce nearly spat. “Enough of this rouge shit. You have a family here―responsibilities, obligations to your pack. You cannot continue to run away from your problems.”
Cash snapped his eyes open and glared at Royce. “There is nothing here for me anymore. No reason to stay.”
Royce nearly shot out of his seat, full of anger. “I’ve got three reasons.” He pointed back to the simple red brick home. “Right fucking in there.”
Cash gulped. His heart wrenched at thought of either his sister or the cubs missing him. Wolves are bound deeper than humans. He’d felt his twins loss deeply, but compared to his own despair it never compared. “I’m no good to them now.”
Royce’s gaze turned challenging. “Says fucking who?”
“I say.”
“Bullshit,” Royce spat, adamantly. “You’ve had a rough go of things since the death of Jaylan. We all understand this, Cash. It’s why we’ve stayed away for so long and haven’t come searching for you. Taya thought your return tonight meant you had reconciled whatever you needed to and that you were coming back.” His expression darkened, his voice a near snarl. “But no, you came to only show that you were alive. Which by the way, you left us all to wonder if you were.”
“I...” Cash hesitated, searching for words. After a long pause, he said, “I needed to see them.”
“Good for fucking you.” Royce bashed his fist against the dash. “Now, you’ve re-opened a wound. Taya considers you dead, do you know that?”
Cash closed his eyes, gulped deeply. It pained him to hear his twin had to resort to such thoughts. “No, I didn’t know that.”
“She had to or she can’t get through her days. When you left after the funeral, it took Taya a month to recover.” Royce bashed his hands against the dash again, harder this time, and his fist left a small ding in the plastic. “A fucking month!” He pointed a finger in Cash’s face, his gaze firm and livid. “You may have felt that the world fell apart, but you were not the only one―Taya’s world crumbled too.”
Cash tore his gaze from Royce’s, he couldn’t even look at the man. “Things have changed.”
“You have changed, that is undeniable. This coward I see before me resembles nothing of the Cash I once knew.” Royce's voice shook with rage. His body trembled in his seat. “What is it you are looking for? Why do you run from your pain? When it is the ones here who could help you―your sister, your pack.”
"I have no pack,” Cash growled.
Royce’s breath hitched, the anger evaporated and his tone came soft in a whisper. “If that was heard by others, hearts would break.”
Cash glanced up and stared at the man who he once considered a friend. “I live only for Jaylyn, because she would ask this much of me. The only reason my heart still beats is I fear I will disappoint her if I join her. There is nothing left in me to give. My presence would only create despair and hardship. I say again, I am no good.” Royce’s gaze swept with emotions he’d never seen before. He had to wonder what showed in his eyes in that moment. He suspected they showed as dead as he felt inside. “Tonight, I came here hoping I’d feel something being around Taya and the cubs.” He let the coldness, the emptiness in his heart, rise to his face. “I felt nothing. No warmth. No yearning to be back here.”
Royce frowned. “So you care nothing for them?”
“I am unable of caring for anything.”
Royce sighed deeply and the tension surrounding him softened. “If this is all true, which I have no doubt it is, you are right―you must go.” He reached up and put his hand on Cash’s shoulder. “Don’t come back. Never step foot in this territory again unless you come home restored. I will not let you continue to ruin Taya. As her mate, I must protect her from that.”
Cash nodded as words escaped him.
Royce opened his door and began to climb out, but stopped to glance back. “Find whatever it is you are looking for, find a reason to live again, and then Cash, come home.”
When the door slammed shut, Cash’s breath wheezed out as if he hadn’t breathed in a lifetime. He glanced out to the rain pouring down his side window and saw Taya standing at the door just under the sconce. Head full of curls, round rosy cheeks, and the kindest brown eyes he’d ever seen. Yes, this was home―but he didn’t belong here anymore, and he never would.

***

Rylie shifted in her seat of the lime green Volkswagen Beetle as Wyoming mountain passed by in all its beauty. It was the hundredth time she fidgeted on the drive down Beartooth Highway. The night was dark as thick rain clouds covered the sky while rain beat against the windshield and the wipers worked madly to keep up.
She took a quick glance toward Chloe and noticed the firmness in her best friend’s posture hadn’t changed. Her hands where stuck at ten and two, her knuckles white from the death grip on the steering wheel. Rylie sighed, then glanced back out to the wilderness.
A short time later, they crossed over state-line into Montana. Chloe let out a loud breath and sank back in her seat in relief. “Guess Layne was none the wiser.” Her tone relieved.
Rylie nodded as she let out a deep breath of her own. “Apparently not.” If Layne had known what she was attempting she wouldn’t have made it out of Wyoming. Her death would have come first. Harsh, but that was a pack rule. She was bound to him, his mate for all of eternity, and since she was immortal that meant forever.
Layne would have killed her for her betrayal―no one would have stopped it. Her father, Edwin, once Alpha to the Wyoming pack, had been succeeded by Layne only days before. Layne had unofficial business that brought him into Cody, and even Rylie couldn’t deny they were destined to be bound.
The problem? Layne was scum-bag central. Greedy and cold-hearted was only the tip of the iceberg, he also lacked character. Sexy, of course, as were all werewolves, but his strong, sculpted body and tall, dark and handsome features were of no interest to Rylie. She may only be twenty-four but she had enough sense to not fall for a man on looks alone.
In a matter of twenty four hours, Layne had issued a challenge to claim the status of Alpha in the Wyoming pack, claimed Rylie as his mate, and killed her entire family. Her father fought with vigilance, but in the end it hadn’t been enough. Her mother, loyal to her mate right to the very end, refused to submit to the new Alpha. The end result, she died right along with him. In thirty minutes, her entire family had dwindled down to nothing.
Now, Rylie focused on her survival. Besides, she wasn’t entirely alone. Chloe, her best friend was her anchor. Born a day apart, destined sisters born from different mothers, they always joked. Friendships like the one with Chloe aren’t formed through time, it’s a bond that lays soul deep and one that Rylie was going to miss tremendously.
Chloe may only be five’five, with auburn hair that coiled between her shoulder blades and a pretty face with sandy colored eyes, but she was as tough as any man. Chloe’s courage, in-your-face attitude was something she envied. She had yet to find the balls that Chloe seemed to be naturally born with.
“We’re only ten minutes from Cooke City,” Chloe said, drawing Rylie away from her thoughts. “Are you really sure you want to do this? You’ll be on the run forever.”
“What other choice to do I have?” Rylie sighed. “I can’t stay with Layne―he’s horrible.”
“That fucker,” Chloe growled. “Treating you like he has. You’d think when he found his mate he would treat her like a queen. Not like a door mat.”
Rynn wasn’t going to argue that point. Layne had been nothing but retched to her. He’d barely spoken a word to her since their bonding ceremony and even that Rylie wished she could erase from her mind.
Virgins should be handled with care―with consideration. Something Layne had obviously never been taught. Her first sexual experience held no touching except when he put lubrication on her opening and then shoved his dick in. If she never had sex again, she’d be perfectly fine with that.
“All right,” Rylie finally said, willing herself to leave the past behind her. “Go through it again with me?”
“Again?” Chloe groaned.
“Yes, again. I want to make sure you have your story straight. I don’t want this coming back on you.”
“Fine―once more than that is it.” Chloe said with a firm look. “You called me up and told me you wanted to go for a drive into Cooke City.”
“Yes...and?”
“We went into a little store, I was looking at a book then I turned around and you were gone.”
“Right! And what are you going to do when you drop me off?”
Chloe rolled her eyes, exasperated. “Call Layne and report you missing.”
“Exactly,” Rylie responded, ignoring the look. “Just stick to that story and you’ll be fine.”
“I have no idea why you are worrying about me―you’re the one who could end up six feet under.”
Wasn’t that the truth! “He won’t find me.” Rylie hoped, begged, prayed. “I’ll just keep running until he gets tired.”
Chloe’s expression shifted to knowing. “Let’s just hope he gets tired of hunting you.”
A wave of fear mingled with annoyance as it washed through her. All of this was true, what if he never grew tired? Layne seemed the type of man that would chase her till the end of the earth. Not for romantic reasons, only because she belonged to him. He owned her and what he owned, he kept.
Cooke City’s downtown lit the sky minutes before they entered the town. Wild-Wild West still played a serious role here. If a cowboy came out with the whole chaps and spurs get-up, Rylie wouldn’t have been surprised. Cody, her home town, wasn’t a busy city compared to some, but it was definitely bigger than this hick town. A couple of gas stations sat on either side of the road, small stores―hardware, local store, used book store, couple knickknack junky places and a few clothing shops―that was about it.
Chloe pulled the car off the road, put the car in the park then met Rylie’s gaze. “This is it then I guess.”
“Yup, guess so,” Rylie replied, a lump forming in her throat. As much as leaving Chloe behind was gut wrenching, she was happy within the pack. Her mate, Devan, was a man to drool over and who loved her silly. Her place was with him.
Chloe breathed in a deep breath then blew it out as she hugged Rylie tightly. “Be safe okay.”
“I’ll sure try.” Rylie laughed, a nervous sound that spoke of the just how she felt.
Chloe backed away, her eyes filled with tears. “If you get in any trouble, call me. Devan said he’ll come and help you if you need it.”
Rylie kissed Chloe’s cheek. “Tell Devan, I said thank you, but I’m just going to get as far away as I can. Layne will get bored, he will move on. I am sure of it.”
“Of course he will,” Chloe responded. “Give it a week and he’ll forget all about you.”
If Rylie hadn’t known her so well, she would have believed her. But as it was, she knew Chloe had just lied. “I’ll miss you,” she managed, her throat tight.
“Me too,” Chloe choked.
Rylie grabbed the door handle, opened it, then gave a push against the door with her arm. “So, I’m going.”
Chloe’s tears spilled over. “Yes, you’re going.”
“Right now,” Rylie said, her own tears formed.
Chloe gave a firm nod. “Go.”
Rylie willed herself out of the car, forced her body to move, and soon, she was standing outside of the Bug with her hand on the door. With a firm shove, she slammed it closed. Tears overtook her vision―the world went blurry. Chloe’s cries echoed through the dark sky.
A cold rain came around Rylie, she raised her head to the sky and let the sensation ease her. She was free from Layne, from a lifetime of mistreatment, from years of unhappiness.
The sound of a phone beeping snapped Rylie back to focus. It was time. She needed to run. With a deep sniff, the scent of wolf surrounded her. Her heels dug into the ground then she pushed off and ran as fast as she could.
A muscle car rested outside the local store, the headlights on and a figure sat in the front seat. Whoever sat in that car was a male and he was rouge. A life line had just been thrown her way at the opportune moment. A rouge wolf wouldn’t be opposed to helping her. He wouldn’t know who she was or care what she was doing―he wasn’t bound by loyalty.
The rain splashed up as her feet banged against the ground. Never did she stop running. This was a good way out. She continued to run toward the car, urgent to get out of the line of sight. The moment she met the passenger door, she slammed into the side, grabbed the handle and flew in, shutting the door behind her. She met the driver’s bewildered gaze. “Go―please just drive.”

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