Saturday, April 30, 2016

SCI/FI FANTASY SATURDAY: The night elves on the hill aren't happy without their magic. They concoct a plan to punish those who were involved in the act that rendered them almost human. Defying the Odds by C. L. Kraemer

Author: C. L. Kraemer

Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Paranormal
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2


The night elves on the hill aren't happy without their magic. They concoct a plan to punish those who were involved in the act that rendered them almost human. Meanwhile, Uther, the rogue night elf, has returned to woo the Librarian to be his eternal mate.


In a meadow east of Eugene, Oregon

Bram ambled up the roughly hewn stairs to the willow lounge chair located at the front of his home. He pulled the scrimshawed pipe from his pocket and filled the bowl with his favorite blend of black cherry tobacco. The paced routine of loading the ivory bowl with fragrant leaves and tamping them firmly into place was one of his favorite after dinner rituals. Withdrawing a matchstick from the inner pocket of his vest, he struck the sulfured end against a river rock he'd placed on the root of the towering oak that served as his home.
The fading evening sky showered the mountains in hues of gold and red. Pushing away the light, a blanket of dark blue velvet sprinkled with luminous star points soon prevailed. Bram puffed smoke rings at the darkening heavens.
"Evenin'." A scruffy black and tan terrier mix meandered up and, after circling three times, lay next to the chubby gnome.
"Evening, Silas. How's the family?"
"Well, thank you. Daisy announced we're expecting--again."
Bram chuckled into his beard. "Congratulations."
"Humph. I'll be glad when we're both too old to care. I came over to ask if there are any jobs in sight. I'll need to be working as much as I can now."
It seemed he got one batch of kids out of the house and another was on the way.
Silence stretched between the business partners. Bram pulled deep draughts on his pipe, blowing the smoke away from his friend. His eyes were drawn to the large block of light spilling from the picture window of the behemoth on the hill. The Saun clan, night elves whose callous actions nearly destroyed the fae population of the meadow and surrounding forests, owned the out of place monstrosity.
Bram squinted his eyes to focus his vision on the methodical movement that broke the beam of light. He could just make out a figure pacing rhythmically in front of the casement. Unable to ascertain which of the night elves was engaged in the determined striding, Bram was sure of only one thing…if the night elves were restless and unhappy, the rest of the valley was in trouble.

~ * ~

Gitty paced in front of the picture window, ignoring the expansive view of the green valley below. The thick carpet covering the hand selected hardwood floors muffled the angry stompings of her boots. At the end of each turn, she jabbed the air with her finger.
"Think you can take away my magic, do you?" She spun on the ball of her foot and stamped to the other side of the room. "We'll see about that!" Jab, jab.
Morgan, the younger of the two siblings, stretched his limbs languidly across the fine leather couch, watching the angry display being played out in the living room, a smirk residing on his lips.
"What has your knickers in a twist?" His leg, hanging over the arm of the couch, swung slowly back and forth.
Gitty broke her tirade for a moment. "I'm surprised yours aren't. How can you tolerate not having magic to use?"
"Because, dear sister, I don't need magic to get my way. I have my," he waved a hand up and down his body, "obvious attributes."
Gitty grimaced. "Please. Don't make me sick."
Pulling to an upright position, Morgan stretched his long legs in front of him, tucking his hands behind his head.
"You're just jealous."
"Then what's your problem?"
"I don't fancy living my life in pubs among the scum of the valley sponging off the pity of strangers. My plans include owning all I see."
Morgan rose from the couch and faced his sister.
"Good luck with that. Even the Others are wise to your quest for power. I'm going out. See you later." He moseyed out of the living room and down the hall.
Gitty gritted her teeth. Morgan might be her brother, but he was useless when it came to thinking beyond his next good time.
She glared at the source of the fingers of light stretching over the meadow. The owner of the Lending Library was an Other the local fae had embraced with open arms. Even Uther, the one-time leader of the night elves and her uncle, had taken a personal interest in the older female.
"Must be losing his sanity."
She spotted a pinpoint of red light glowing in the far distance. As hard as she tried, she couldn't sense the origin of the light.
"I hate not having my magic!" She smacked the wall with her hand, immediately regretting the action. Bolts of pain shot up her arm.
"Damn it!"
Turning on her heel, she tramped out of the room.

Friday, April 29, 2016

FRIDAY'S FEATURED TITLE: A tomboy captain must guard a roguish prince during wartime. Can they save their country from invasion while learning to lead--and falling in love? Her Heart's Liege by Olivia Fields

Author: Olivia Fields
ISBN: 978-1-62420-119-6

Genre: Historical Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4


A tomboy captain must guard a roguish prince during wartime. Can they save their country from invasion while learning to lead--and falling in love?


Tomboy Alex Bonham has fought her male peers tooth and nail to prove herself worthy to become captain of the king’s guard. When her country is invaded by Danes, she is ordered to take the king’s younger son, a charming but irresponsible rake, away from the front lines for safekeeping.

Alex walks a difficult line, trying to balance her growing attraction to Prince Holden with her dedication to duty and her responsibility to keep him safe from robbers, Danes...and even himself. But when they are drawn into the struggle to defend East Anglia from occupation, both the prince and his captain must grow. Can spoiled Prince Holden evolve into a good man who could lead the kingdom--one Alex can trust with her heart?


She and the prince were easier with one another after their day in town. They continued their sparring matches at regular intervals, varying tandem sword training with hand to hand. The craft of unarmed combat continued to prove frustrating for the prince, especially when defending against her attacks.
“Impossible,” Holden lamented one afternoon as she put him on his face in the dirt for the umpteenth time, effortlessly seating herself atop his back. “You can’t have done that. Again.”
“I’m not using strength.” She wound up his arm a bit more to demonstrate. “This is leverage.”
“I concede.” He went limp, and she sat on him for a moment longer, liking their position rather more than she strictly should. She made herself move before the moment stretched too long, heaving off him, and offered him a hand up.
He reached for her, and gave her no warning whatsoever before yanking hard. Off-balance, she toppled helplessly onto him. He rolled her under his body, pinning her arms with his hands, his waist sinking between her thighs.
“There,” he said with satisfaction. “Escape this.”
She clenched her fists in exasperation, trying breathlessly to ignore the sensation of his body weighing down on her, pushing her thighs apart and pressing against the center of her. “I haven’t showed you everything I know. Not yet.”
She bucked her hips up sharply and kicked her heels against the ground, unseating him. They rolled, trading advantage back and forth. He couldn’t pin her, but neither could she escape without hurting him. They thrashed about wildly, kicking up dust, dirt, and bracken as they struggled. He clutched her tightly against his chest. He was laughing, and she realized she was too. They abruptly fetched up against one of the log segments surrounding the fire ring, and she found herself lying on top of him, her face a few inches from his.
They froze there, and their laughter faded. He did not try to dislodge her again. His eyes grew warm and deep. He was still smiling, his lips parted slightly. She lost herself in his gaze, wavering on the verge of sinking down to taste his mouth.
She felt his hands settling slowly on her waist, anticipating her kiss. He was smeared with dirt. Bits of dried fern stuck to the sweat on his face and body, tangled in his untidy hair. He looked so good he almost seemed edible. Hypnotized, she was tempted to bend her head and lick a droplet of perspiration right off his cheek.
Carl was watching them, she knew.
“You’re a mess,” she observed, hearing the breathlessness in her voice. “Get up and wash that dirt off. Carl almost has the supper ready.”
The spell was broken.
She climbed off him, briskly dusting all the twigs and bracken off her clothes, using her fingers to pluck what she could out of her hair. It was so bad she’d have to get out her comb and re-weave her braid.
The prince went to splash in the pond, and she disciplined herself not to watch. Carl looked up as she went to the wagon for her comb and returned to the fire.
“One of these days he’ll weary of you rubbing his nose in the dirt and give you a right good thrashing,” he said amiably.
“On the day he can, I’ll be proud of him.” She slouched by the fire and began to unravel her braid, all but exhausted. She rubbed her neck, which was covered with grit and dust. That was too damned close for comfort. She’d have to see to it there was no more light horseplay of that sort.
“Ohhh, will you look at him,” Carl muttered, gazing past her toward the pond, and Alex barely managed to stop herself before she obeyed.
“Look at what?”
“The results of your handiwork.”
She snorted. The prince’s idea of modesty still left much to be desired. “Flaunting himself again, is he?” She began combing at the bottom of her hair, slowly working her way up as the tangles came out.
“You might say that.” Carl turned the spit where a pheasant the prince had managed to shoot was roasting, dripping juices on the fire and producing a mouthwatering smell. “He would be if anyone were looking, at any rate.”
“Well, I’m not.” She didn’t bother to keep the tartness from her voice. “I wonder why you are.”
“Purely to keep you informed, of course.” Carl chuckled. “It’s the least I can do.”
“Let me guess. He has two arms, two legs, and a cock he’s rather more than reasonably proud of. Just like any man.” She re-wove the braid briskly and tied it with a bit of leather.
“He’s sprouted a good bit more muscle than he had in Norwich. I’d have thought you’d appreciate a chance to enjoy examining your handiwork.” Carl wasn’t at all perturbed by her frank speech. “I believe he’s grown a bit more courtesy, as well.”
“If he had an ounce of politeness, he wouldn’t strip naked and wash in the presence of a lady.” She thought of making a mint infusion, then reached for their jug of ale instead and poured herself a mug.
“Well, mayhap if you want to be treated more like a lady, you could act more like one.” Carl glanced at her out of the corner of his eye, calculating how angry he was making her. “Instead of like a sergeant at the drill.”

“I act like what I am,” she muttered.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

HURTLED THROUGH TIME, Sean Michael Sterling, landed in the midst of a May Day celebration he didn’t understand, assuming the role of Laird Sterling. Highland Miracle by Christine Young

Author: Christine Young

Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Paranormal
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2

HURTLED THROUGH TIME, Sean Michael Sterling, landed in the midst of a May Day celebration he didn’t understand, assuming the role of Laird Sterling.
ILLIGITAMATE CHILD OF NOBILITY, Reagan Douglas searches for a way out of her half brother’s house.


New York City 1895

"I dinnae ken what this contraption could be. I must be aff my heid," he said reverting back to the old language his great grandfather had spoken from time to time.  Sean Michael Sterling walked around the tall red object he'd just come across in Central Park. His heart thundered with the realization this was an anomaly and for some reason...
"Is this a fire hydrant?" he murmured totally intrigued. Cautiously stepping closer, he rested a hand on the object of his fascination. The hackles on the back of his neck stood on end. The thing was smooth and touching it sent shivers up his spine. If this was a hydrant, it sure could hold a ton of water.
For some reason... his mind shifted and he thought time machine—Jules Verne—his favorite book.
He leaned in and smelled, nothing, just the scent of metal. He didn't recognize the odor. When he stepped back, he caught a hint of Daphne floating on the air. A slight breeze sifted through the meadow, filling his senses with new cut grass, wet dog, and something he couldn't quite identify.
Thoughts of pixie dust came to mind.
I am off my head.
A small dog ran around his heels, yipping and barking. "Crazy dog." Sean leaned down and rubbed the dog's ears. “You look like a bandit. Wonder where you came from? Go on, now. Where's your owner?"
The dog sat down, wagging his tale and stared at him. It seemed the animal was telling him he wasn't going anywhere.  "Now, Bandit, you need to go find your owner. I'm not one to be taking you home with me. Don't think my landlord would appreciate a dog in the building."
Strangely he was the only one in the park, or at least this corner of it. The sound of carriages could be heard in the distance. He suddenly felt isolated and completely alone. The damn thing compelled him to know more, seeming to reach out to him and beckon. An eerie keening started in the back of his mind and grew. The impulse to explore overwhelmed him. Even as he looked at the machine, his mind cautioned him to stay away, but his curiosity sprouted to an uncanny level.
A little voice in the back of his head urged him forward. Damn, but he needed to go home. His stomach growled complaining of hours without food. His eyes burned from the fire he'd just been on and his body cried out for sleep. Rubbing his sooty hair, he muttered to himself.
But thoughts of what was inside this monster contraption intrigued him more than the demands of his body.
Walking around the monstrosity, he kept his hand on the metal all the while looking for an opening.  What shocked him and what was more surprising was the fact that little Bandit found the opening for him.
Bandit sat down in front of what appeared to be a door and stared at him again. It seemed to Sean that Bandit dared him to see what was inside. Well, he'd never been a man who could resist a straight on challenge.
He inhaled a long and very deep breath. Closing his eyes he counted to ten. Even though the day was cool, sweat beaded on his forehead. He walked into fires, lifted burning timber, and he'd never really been afraid a day in his life.
This contrivance terrified him.
Nerves snapping, Sean pushed on the door. It slid sideways, revealing a dark abyss. He stepped back. Fear raced through him, caution cried out to him but he ignored all warnings.
Curiosity propelled him forward.
Bandit ran inside. "No," Sean cried out. "Dinnae....
Silence chilled him to the bone and a cold sweat broke out on his body. Birds chirped in nearby trees.
All seemed right with the world—except for this machine.
"Come here." He crouched down and called to Bandit. Bandit didn't budge. Instead the dog cocked his head to one side and seemed to be saying. You come here.
Sean wavered then stood his ground. Bandit seemed to like it in the machine.
And yet...
An extraordinary golden dust swirled around him, warming him like a golden rain.