Audio Book Tour ♥ Suspended Game by: Roz Lee!

Suspended Game Audiobook

Suspended Game

    • Written by: Roz Lee
    • Narrated by: Jay Harper
    • Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
    • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Whispersync for Voice-ready

After five years spent proving his innocence in a gambling scheme, Jimmy Doyle Walker is back on the field for the Washington Diplomats. Given one season to demonstrate he can still contribute to the team, he guards his secrets well, knowing exposure of his unorthodox sex life would create a career-ending scandal. When he meets Evelyn Gardner, she tests his resolve, and he risks everything to show her the delights to be found in his arms.

Living day-to-day as a switchboard operator, Evelyn Gardner loathes the sexual cravings that cost her the home and family she’d always dreamed of. When she meets Jimmy Doyle Walker, the sexy first baseman for the Washington Diplomats, at a church revival meeting, he challenges her beliefs and her expectations. Determinedly, he seduces her through erotic letters, sensual gifts, and sexual play, until she dares dream she can have satisfaction and respectability.

Too bad her father, the preacher, seems set on ruining not only their reputations but also their lives.

©2015 Dolores Wall Maroney (P)2017 Dolores Wall Maroney

BUY LINKS

Amazon / Audible

iTunes

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

USA Today Bestselling Author, Roz Lee is a displaced Texan who lives in New Jersey with her husband of almost four decades, and Bud, an overly large rescue dog who demands regular romps in the woods no matter how busy his parents are.

The mom of two daughters and grandma to the cutest baby boy ever, Roz collects Depression glass, and teacups with rose patterns. Her favorite food is Tex-Mex, and she’s never met a piece of chocolate she didn’t like.

When Roz isn’t writing, she’s reading, or traipsing around the country on one adventure or another. Warning—she brakes for antique stores!

Author Web & Social Media links:

Website – http://www.RozLee.net

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/authorrozlee

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/RozLee_Author

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/RozLee

G+ – https://plus.google.com/+RozLeeAuthor

Amazon Author Page – http://amzn.to/2rIFfve

 

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Review ♥ Explicitly Yours

CoverExplicitlyYoursCollection.jpg

Title: The Complete Explicitly Yours Series
Author: Jessica Hawkins
Genre: Erotic Romance / Love Triangle / Revenge
Rating: 3 ‘s

WARNING: This Review is one giant page of Spoilers and 100% Honest. Proceed at your own risk.

I’m a new reader of Jessica Hawkins, and I can’t deny my love for her writing style and the depth of her characters. This review does not reflect my overall opinion of the author, and I will be giving her books another shot, I just have to lick my wounds first. Since this is a collection, I’ve broken my review down for each book and the rating I would give them, individually:

Possession / 5 ‘s:

To begin, this is an ‘Indecent Proposal-esque’ story, but I was immediately enthralled by Possession. I loved not only the instant chemistry between Lola and Beau, but that he didn’t just sweep in, make his offer and leave. Nothing about this book was cliché or predictable. The progression of Lola and Johnny’s contemplation over Beau’s offer was extremely believable and real. I fell in love with Lola, because of her relatability in those matters of the heart, where she begins admitting things to herself about her relationship with Johnny she’d known for quite some time, yet had been ignoring. Her first night with Beau was not only off the charts sweltering, but endearing in those moments where he proved in so many little ways how he already appreciated the ‘real’ Lola far more than Johnny ever had. I was not surprised she wanted to run back to him – I wanted to run back to him! Needless to say, I was completely enraptured with this book and couldn’t wait to read the next.

Domination / 5 ‘s:

I was immediately taken by the way night two with Beau didn’t just happen. That it was a realistic, roller-coaster ride of uncertainty, soul-searching and emotional highs and hard-hit lows between Lola and Johnny, before the decision was actually made. However, it did start to drag a bit, as if the author needed to stall the reader more than she actually needed the time to relay pertinent information. The best part is there’s really no ‘bad guy’ in this love triangle. Both Lola and Johnny have had a hand in the slow destruction of their relationship that has nothing to do with Beau. That was refreshing and very realistic. I know I keep repeating those words, but this exact style of writing by Jessica Hawkins is why I’m not giving up on her as an author, yet it’s also why this review was so troubling to write. At the end of Domination, after softening us up with some suspenseful action, some deeper heartfelt moments between Beau and Lola, our world is shattered and the truth behind Beau’s obsession with Lola is finally revealed. I was striding right out of that hotel room with Lola, 100% on her side the whole time and just as heartbroken, but I loved that she didn’t go back on her plans to end things with Johnny. I applauded that despite what happened between her and Beau, she still recognized that her relationship with Johnny was over and needed to be.

Provocation / 2.5 ‘s:

Provocation is where my love for this series began it’s gradual decline, but I held out hope the author wouldn’t let me reach rock bottom. My first issue was that it began 3 weeks into the future, then kept jumping back to show us how Lola and Beau had gotten to present day. That was pointless, the book could’ve been written chronologically without losing any of the information and would’ve been far less annoying to read. I was on board with Lola’s initial idea to get a little revenge on Beau, because he definitely needed to be taken down a few notches and his character is so pure in itself, only getting a taste of his own medicine would work. But, I’m not a fan of eye-for-an-eye revenge plots, if they don’t eventually evolve into a more meaningful outcome. I felt fairly confident, knowing the characters thus far, that it would turn out to be a good thing. I was wrong. I kept waiting for Lola’s plan to get to the point, but it became painfully obvious the only thing she would be satisfied with, was being the victor. Eh… hypocrite much? It took her 2 nights to fall so deeply in love with Beau that she spends 3 weeks plotting her revenge? Perhaps, if the 3 weeks had continued the same way their 2 nights had gone, I would believe that, but instead she spends 3 weeks playing second fiddle to his work, with all of her days and nights alone in a cold, empty house. That should’ve completely disenchanted her, cooled her lust, love and resentment. Instead she allows his love of money to feed her single-minded obsession with vengeance to the point where I was really beginning to doubt my loyalty to her as a character. She’d quickly become a much bigger lying fraud than I ever saw from Beau. Whatever happened to two wrongs don’t make a right? And why is my heroine turning into the villain?

Obsession / 0 ‘s:

My love and enjoyment of this series went from slow decline to rapid nosedive with its final book. By the time I got half-way through Obsession, I was already done. I was angry that I was being forced to travel around the continental U.S. with the self-righteous coward, Lola, whom I no longer had any feelings for. I had already stopped being on her side, so I started skimming over the details. I just didn’t care enough to read it word-for-word, because NOTHING was going on with Lola. She was traveling and thinking, and none of it meant anything. She never once owned up to her own mistakes out loud, so her ability to think about it was inconsequential. The only reason why I wanted to read the ending was because I’d invested so much time and energy into the story. I think the attempt to sidetrack us with the development between Brigitte and Warner was too much, too late. At this point, they were getting far more screen time than I could stomach. I didn’t care about them and it felt, once again, like a stalling tactic. The best part about his entire book was the reconciliation between Lola and her mother, but even that was tainted by the one plot point I absolutely despised, the very one I feel was worse than anything else – a pregnancy. Are you kidding me? I nearly threw my laptop the moment Lola realized she was pregnant. I actually stopped reading, deciding I was for sure done. Beau was the one who drew me back in. I wanted to see him get his ending, whatever that may be.

It was wrong. All of it was 100% wrong. By the time Beau finally catches up with Lola – at the very end of the very last chapter, which is not nearly enough time to reconcile anything –  I had switched sides and then some. I despised Lola a thousand times more than I’d ever been angry with Beau. I didn’t want her to get a happy ending anymore and the final argument that was supposed to resolve their MASSIVE issues in just a matter of seconds was asinine. It was Lola throwing a temper-tantrum, because it was happening before she was ready and not on HER terms. Girl needs a serious reality check. And if she’s still clinging to all of that resentment, that means this relationship is far from being “fixed” and there should be at least a whole other chapter afterward to convince me (the reader) otherwise. There is absolutely no trust mended between them, because they haven’t spent a single second of the entire book together and very little in the book before it. Lola was no longer in the right by any stretch of the imagination. She had surpassed all of Beau’s wrongs by miles and then to add a baby on top of it! I’m sorry, but these two characters shouldn’t even be together anymore, let alone having a kid together – a baby does not make this a better HEA – it makes it worse!

I’ve never started out loving a series as much as I did this one, only to end up despising it so much. I was the one left feeling betrayed, cheated and heartbroken – and not in empathy of the characters. There were a million other ways to show Beau getting a taste of his own medicine and the time he needed to start becoming a better man while Lola, too, started coming down from her revenge tower and admitting her own mistakes. But, they never spent any time together to make that happen. Lola never returned to being the woman I felt supportive of and wanting to root for in the beginning. To have seen both of them evolving into better people would’ve made this series end on such a high, satisfying note. But it didn’t. This entire book dragged on, using time the characters needed to start healing their relationship TOGETHER, rather than moving at a turtle pace – completely apart – to what felt like a rushed stand-off that only proved why there should be no relationship at all.

“I want to gut you of your dignity” is not a phrase you spew at the person you supposedly love five seconds before forgiving them and walking off into the sunset. If a woman can’t trust a man without ‘gutting him of his dignity’ first, then she has no business being with him – or anyone else for that matter, as she clearly needs time to detox from the power trip she’s gotten addicted to.

I write some pretty messed up characters, but even I felt like Lola and Beau had reached a level where their relationship was purely toxic and unhealthy – as in DO NOT PROCEED – and the author really should have reeled it back – on both sides – because in no known universe, fictional or otherwise, had their dynamic developed into anything remotely heartfelt, let alone deserving of a HEA. Therapy, definitely, and a lot of it.

In the end, I’m left feeling crushed by the weight of disappointment that only hurts more for how much I want to praise the first two books.

This is an HONEST review of a box set that I purchased, I was not given anything by the author in exchange for it.

Promo Tour ♥ Vested In Her by: Brickley Jules!

 

Vested in Her banner

Vested in Her cover

“Vested In Her”

By Brickley Jules

Genre: Erotic MCRomance

Release Date: April 26, 2017

Amazon

Smashwords

Small town biker princess Haven Mercedes Johnson wants to live a normal life, but she’s relentlessly protected by her father and his crazy right-hand man who will do anything to keep her under his thumb. With the help of an ex, Haven escapes the confines of the club, and after one last wild night, she eagerly sets off to start a new life. After being on the run for days, she’s taken under the wing of a kind woman named Ruby, and with her help, Haven disappears.

Riker Davis will do anything to earn a vest and become a member in Chrome Thunder, a prestigious motorcycle club. His chances are bleak until Haven, the club leader’s daughter, runs away. As a prospect, Riker is tasked to finding her, and he agrees, determined to do anything to earn a vest, including finding a woman who doesn’t want to be brought home.

Haven thinks she’s in the clear until Riker walks into the diner where she works, and her old life boomerangs back at her. Now she must choose, go back to her old life and give Riker what he wants, a vest in her father’s club, or give him up and keep the life she’s always dreamed of.

Excerpt

The road soared under the tires of Riker’s bike. Haven hugged into him, wishing she had her thick leather jacket. But that was emblazoned with her dad’s MC’s logo and she had left it behind. So instead she wore her thin, brown bomber jacket that Ruby had picked out for her. It didn’t, in her opinion, fit her new persona, but out of the choices they had seen at all the Givingreat stores, it was her best option.

She squirmed again, trying to move closer to Riker, but he was already wearing her like a coat. I should have put on another layer. I wonder how long it will take to get there. If it’s too long, I might freeze before we arrive.

Riker pulled the bike into a small pull-off on the side of the busy highway. “Cold?”

“Just a little. I’ll put another shirt on. Give me a sec.” Haven dug through her backpack for a heavy knitted sweater.

Dismounting, he stood beside her. “We’re almost at our first stop. Little Rock. I rented us a room there.”

Haven tilted her head. “This is the strangest one-night-stand.”

“Oh. That’s not what we’re doing. This is more of a ‘girl in every port’ thing, except you’re the only girl.” Riker rubbed his chin and stared off into the distance. “I need to work on that, don’t I?”

She hit him across the chest with the back of her hand.

“Ow.” He howled, clutching his chest. “Shit, woman, you’re violent.”

“If you think I’m violent now, wait until you have another girl in a port, and I find out about it.” Woo. What did I say? Cool your jets, Haven. This guy is not for you.

Riker aimed a sexy smile her way while still rubbing his chest where she swatted him. “Noted. Keep other girls on the down low.”

Haven glared at him. “Really? I’m in shock here. You really just didn’t say that.”

“No? Are you saying I can’t pull it off?”

Flipping her hair behind her ear with a swish of her hand, she said, “You’re so open, if you were a book, you would have a broken spine.”

“You’re one of those evil people who crack book spines, aren’t you?” he accused.

She popped her hand on her hip and stood tall. “Guilty as charged.”

About the Author

Brickley Jules

Brickley Jules has been away from reading and writing for many years, but recently a spark by her family has reignited her love for both again.

Brickley started reading R.L. Stine-type books as a child. Followed later by Anne Rice Books in high school. She also fell in love with writing poetry during her high school years.  But Brickley lost time for her beloved reading and writing after she started college.  During a change in majors and schools she met her husband and his family, who are the ones who recently rekindled her love of reading and encouraged her to start writing again.

Brickley and her husband have two beautiful daughters that occupy most of their time. She was a stay at home mom but has recently found herself working a part-time day job. One day she would like to combine her college major, which is Photography, with her love of writing. She can be found on most social media platforms and tries to keep them fresh, when the kids let her. When she can steal a quiet moment, she loves to work on her drafts. If she ever needs a break from writing, she reads any type of romance. Recently, she has fallen in love with audio books; they do a busy mom’s heart good.

She has written several books since her writing journey restarted in 2015. Her first writing project, Out of the Blue,  a paranormal romance, is getting a final read through by her trusted friend. Brickley’s 2015 NANOWRIMO project, Her Unexpected Life, a chick lit romance, is available for purchase at most retailers in both print and ebook formats. Book two of this series of stand-alones is ready for editing along with her 2016 NANOWRIMO project.

Brickley just released book one in another stand-alone series, Chrome Thunder-a biker MC romance called Vested In Her. It’s available in ebook format with print coming soon. Brickley is currently busy typing away on book two in this series.

Stalk the Author

#Giveaway & #Excerpt ♥ Truly Helpless by Joey W. Hill

Being truly helpless is the only thing that can save him. But it’s the one thing he’s not willing to do.

Marius has all the things a Mistress could want in a one-night-sub encounter. Hot body, loads of charm and a willingness to get her off in any way she pleases. That’s his reputation at The Zone. But Marius has a dark side. When a Mistress pushes him for something deeper, he’ll push back, mess with her head. When he takes it too far one night, The Zone management has had enough. He’s kicked out of the club and there’s only one way back in—Lady Regina.

Regina’s been studying Marius for a while. She enjoys her submissives in all flavors, and she likes them challenging, though not usually the “knight-in-distress” type, so screwed up she’d need a backhoe to dig him out of his dysfunctions. But on that pivotal night, she sees something in Marius. He doesn’t know what it means to be truly helpless to a Mistress, but he needs it, more than any sub she’s ever encountered. And that’s a challenge this Mistress can’t resist.

Excerpt

Background: Regina is tending Marius after he competes in an illegal fight…

She stepped back. “You’ll do. I suppose you know a hot shower when you get home is the best remedy, on top of the ibuprofen you just took. Though I’d highly recommend a tetanus update and having your head examined.”

He kept staring at her. He wanted to make her nervous with his silence. Tough luck with that, boy, she thought. You want to self-gag, it doesn’t bother me.

Answering in kind, she tossed one final wipe into the trash and headed for the door. Embracing her Mistress side meant understanding there was an energy flow between Dom and sub once a connection was made, even if the connection was the rope in a tug of war. She rode that energy how it was meant to be ridden, not forcing her own expectations on it. It worked better that way. She’d accomplished what mattered most to her here, which was confirming he’d finally released that surfeit of potent energy from his session at the club earlier in the night. He was leveling out. While he could likely use a lot more aftercare, they were quite a distance from him earning that kind of treatment from her.

“You don’t want to talk about what happened in Tyler’s office?” he said abruptly. “Or why you followed me here?”

“No.” She continued to move toward the opening that would lead back to the ring area and then the parking lot. She didn’t need or want to stay any longer. She didn’t anticipate that he would do or say anything to hold her there longer, so it was a pleasant surprise when he did.

“You didn’t say what you thought of the fight.”

She pivoted and met his gaze. “No, I didn’t. Would you like to know?”

He could look wary, like an animal being baited into a trap. He had thick, dark lashes. His gray eyes were like the mirror surface of a lake. “Yeah,” he said at last.

“Okay.” She returned to him. There was a pen sitting next to the tray of gauze. Picking it up, she extended her hand, looking pointedly at one of his. When he offered it, she clasped his wrist and wrote an address on the inside of his forearm, along with Friday, 6:30pm.

His fingers flexed above her grip and she was aware of his breath stirring tendrils of hair against her cheek. Her hip pressed against his knee. She imagined sliding between his spread thighs, tasting the metallic flavor lingering on his lips, feeling the flex of his shoulder muscles under her splayed fingers and firm palms. His hands would curve over her hips, his own fingers digging in, showing he wanted and needed her.

Careful, girl, she thought. Don’t screw with your own head. He’ll do enough of that without your help.

“Meet me there and I’ll tell you.” Setting the pen aside, she laid a hand on the side of his face. His gaze lifted to her. “Get some rest. Take care of yourself.”

When he started to lift his hand to clasp her arm, she drew back and shook her head, a denial. His lips set in a thin line. “That a command, Mistress?” he asked tonelessly.

“Take it however you want.”

He curled his fingers around the edge of the table, body leaning forward, eyes suddenly cold and hard. “It wouldn’t matter, anyway, since you don’t really like me.”

“No. I don’t,” she responded frankly. “But I care about you. That doesn’t require that I like you.”

Would you like to read Chapter One of Truly Helpless? Find it here – http://storywitch.com/book-nod-th (scroll down below blurb/buy links).

 

Author Bio

Winner of the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement award, Joey W. Hill has published over forty contemporary and paranormal BDSM erotic romances, including six series. Her emotionally-intense love stories offer everything from vampires, mermaids, witches and angels, to boardroom executives, cops and simple housemaids. With her books, she suggests “don’t look past the sex; look in it, and find a wonderful story to touch the heart and soul.”

Author Web & Social Media links:

Website: storywitch.com

Twitter: @JoeyWHill

Facebook: facebook.com/JoeyWHillAuthor

GoodReads: goodreads.com/author/show/103359.Joey_W_Hill

Fan sites/free material: storywitch.com/community

Giveaway

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and two ebooks from author’s existing titles (reader’s choice).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thief of Dragons ♥ Episode 21

Rival

Rival

Roehn wandered downstairs, and what greeted her was the exact opposite of the morning before. The grand dining hall was filled with Dragons, alongside Ilydan, Rynd and Sajyn. All conversation dropped off the moment she entered the room. Trying not to be bothered by it, she made her way over to the serving table, which had the head chef jumping out of his chair.

“Miss Leontle, please, allow me,” he said.

“It’s fine, Sajyn, I can do it,” she waived him off. “Go back to your conversation, I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

The Raccoon looked hesitant, glancing toward the Dragon Lords. “If it’s all the same to you, Miss, I’d rather not get fired,” he pleaded quietly.

Sighing in understanding, Roehn pointed to the heated carafe. “Coffee, too, please,” she instructed, while handing her plate over to him.

Arcylaen entered the room, as she was crossing to the table. “There are far too many Dragons under the same roof for it to be this quiet,” he commented, pulling Roehn’s chair out for her.

“That’s my fault,” she admitted, sitting down so he could scoot her in, before taking his own seat.

“Well, from what I hear, you did bite everyone’s head off the last time you were in here,” Arcylaen agreed.

Roehn’s mouth popped open, as she glared at him in surprise. “Not everyone’s,” she admonished. Looking across the table, she found Brej watching them with amused curiosity. “I am sorry, though, Brejeir. I was completely out of line taking my frustrations out on you, when this situation is far from being any fault of yours. Just like you have no control over the fact that your brother was a complete absentee jerk yesterday.”

Arcylaen’s expression fell. “I said I was sorry.”

“Not to Brejeir,” she pointed out sweetly.

The Dragon in question gave them both a wide, toothy grin, which had Arcylaen rolling his eyes and grumbling out an apology under his breath.

“Thank you, Sajyn,” Roehn smiled, when the Raccoon brought plates and coffee for both her and Arcylaen.

The conversations had just started to pick up again, when Emmon suddenly appeared from a mysterious entrance. “My Lord, Lady Turvo is here and requesting an immediate audience. She claims it’s an emergency.”

Roehn felt her shoulders stiffen, and she wasn’t the only one who seemed to grow a little tense at the announcement. Even Brejeir’s grin completely vanished.

“Of course, show her in,” Arcylaen replied.

Emmon bowed and then disappeared.

“No one will blame you, if you’d rather not be here,” Arcylaen said quietly, reaching out to squeeze Roehn’s forearm reassuringly.

Still not afraid of Dragons,” she stated.

His mouth quirked up in amusement, before he captured her hand and placed a kiss on her knuckles. That’s when Emmon returned with the perfectly polished Eleqwyn Turvo. Her red coils were wrapped up in a stylish do, her white and gold ensemble appeared more expensive than the subdued gems at her neck, wrist and ears. If Roehn didn’t know any better, she’d say the woman was trying to show off her ability to portray the perfect politician’s wife. Of course, she did know better, and didn’t doubt for a single second that was exactly what the woman was attempting to do.

Eleqwyn paused with unbidden displeasure at seeing the room full of people she apparently had no love for. Her gaze fell pointedly on Ilydan, Rynd, Sajyn, and finally on Roehn, where it lingered a bit longer than the others.

“Well, it’s nice to see you’ve opened your table to anyone willing to sit at it, Lords Draea,” she commented coolly.

“I doubt the dining habits of my household was the big emergency that brought you here this morning, Lady Turvo,” Arcylaen countered smoothly, his tone civil, yet devoid of feeling.

“You’re right,” she agreed. “I’m here, because my house was robbed last night.”

That got everyone’s attention, especially Roehn’s.

“What?” Arcylaen rose from his chair. “Was it the same as the others?”

“Yes, all of our Cayen relics and monies were stolen, no evidence was left behind,” the Lady answered, and despite what a haughty bitch she was, Roehn could see that she was genuinely shaken by it. “The alarms were never triggered.”

“Is your father with the authorities now?” Arclyaen asked.

“He is, but as you know, there’s very little that can be done,” she replied. “Which is why my father is calling for a meeting of the Thirteen Dragons. Consider this you summons and warning, my Lords. Things are going to change.”

“Good, they need to change,” Cylaen agreed, dismissing her threat. “Our modern world can no longer be run by archaic Rites. The old-fashioned traditions no longer have a place in today’s society.”

“Those traditions and Rites are sacred,” Eleqwyn gasped, appalled by his words.

“No, they’re narrow-minded and prejudiced,” he countered. “I will state as much at the meeting. For now, we need to focus on the robberies.”

“Why don’t you ask your Ward where she was last night?” Eleqwyn suggested snidely.

“Why would I ask her something I already know?” he returned calmly.

Arcylaen let the intended implication hang in the air long enough to have Roehn and Brej grinning like mischievous children at one another across the table. She didn’t feel a single shred of embarrassment that he’d just announced to the entire household they’d spent the night together, even if it had been mostly innocent. Then Arcylaen had to go and ruin it, by continuing with a more clinical explanation.

“For all your claim on how sacred the ancient Rites are, you apparently know nothing of how they work. I can feel Leandra all of the time and exactly where she is, that is the entire purpose of the Warden bond.”

Ah, yes. How could Roehn have forgotten? She truly had been outside of his study the night before, though he hadn’t been able to see her. She’d overheard the very same confession when he’d made it to Brejeir. The Warden bond was putting a stranglehold on her ability to finish what she’d come to accomplish. Apparently, she was no longer the only thief in town, either, but they hadn’t robbed the Turvo’s. Not really. They’d robbed her, and she would find them.

Sniffing, Eleqwyn lifted her chin, obviously displeased with that insight, because it gave Roehn an air-tight alibi. “Well, don’t blame me, I’m not the only one questioning her motives here in Skaulling, or why she would purchase the House of Cayen. Otherwise, the requests for the Warden Rites never would’ve been submitted to the Council in the first place.”

“Oh, I’m very aware of why the requests were submitted, Eleqwyn,” Arcylaen countered in a tone that clearly indicated it was not for the purpose she was suggesting. “Now, I am very sorry that your house was broken into last night. We have been following all leads that we come across, and I assure you, the investigation has not rested for even a second. We will find those responsible. That should be the main focus of the Thirteen Dragons, not the resurgence of ancient traditions no one has bothered with in over three decades.”

“There was never a need to bother with them before, Arcylaen, but apparently, that need is quite present now,” she returned heatedly.

“And a matter which I will discuss with the Heads of Houses at the meeting,” he stated firmly.

Ouch. Even Roehn felt the sting of that one, but it was obvious the woman would’ve continued her verbal campaign right into the ground, had Arcylaen not nipped it so cleanly in the bud. Lady Turvo stared him down with silent indignation for a moment, then turned on her heel and marched from the room. Emmon gracefully fell into line behind her, to see her out properly–or perhaps, make certain she left.

Cylaen sighed heavily and returned to the table. “And so it begins.”

“The meeting was unavoidable, even without the last two days’ events,” Grevys spoke up. “The fact that we’re no closer to catching the thieves now than we were after House Riescho was originally broken into, has been making the Heads antsy and questioning our ability to protect them.”

“That’s the problem,” Arcylaen fired darkly, rapping his knuckle on the table with an unexpected show of frustration. “It’s not our duty to protect them. It’s the duty of all Thirteen Dragons and their Houses to protect the combined cities of Skaulling! This lack of responsibility and ridiculous notion of entitlement the other Houses have fallen into needs to be put to a stop immediately!”

“Brother, we need to rally our allies before the meeting,” Ryver pointed out. “Find out if the other Heads of Houses are in line with your ideas beforehand, so you’re not blindsided by a twelve-to-one vote.”

“Thank you so much for the confidence, Ryv,” Cylaen remarked dryly, but nodded in agreement and finally sank back down into his chair. “That’s a good plan. Unfortunately, for all of Eleqwyn’s lack of personality, at least she’s always up front. The others may not be as forthcoming about their true thoughts or intentions.”

“Then we can’t afford to waste any time,” Brejeir said. “I’ll send our team to House Turvo to go over the crime scene and talk to the authorities. They might find something that was missed. In the meantime, I suggest you start making personal visits to the other Houses, brother, with your Ward.”

Roehn nearly choked on her eggs. “What?”

“What are you scheming?” Arcylaen asked at the same time, narrowing his eyes at his brother.

“Anyone who actually takes the time to meet and talk with Leandra would never be able to dislike her,” Brejeir stated confidently. “Except Eleqwyn, of course. Let them ask her their questions and hear her answers for themselves, so they no longer see her as an unknown foreigner and possible threat. Everyone knows her Echelonite has chosen you as its mate, so give them the respect and opportunity to put their fears at rest that she isn’t going to distract you from your duties as the Dragon’s Head, that she’s actually already on her way to making you a better leader.”

“He’s right, Cyl. Whether you like it or not, this is now a political campaign. You’re going to have to put yourself and Leandra in the public spotlight, so they can not only get to know her, but you and her as a team,” Daelyn finally spoke up. “The refurbishing projects in the abandoned neighborhoods are a great springboard, and the fact that you two began them prior to the Rites and the meeting being called, adds weight to your position.”

“I hate pageantry,” Arcylaen grumbled.

Roehn completely agreed with him on that, but the more her mind unraveled the pitfalls and outcomes of their situation, the more she realized they had very little choice. Besides, someone else had broken into House Turvo the night before, which meant there was an unknown element at play and until she could discover if they were friend or rival, she had to do everything in her power to ensure House Draea remained at the top of the food chain.

“Arcylaen, I’m not crazy about any of this,” Roehn said sincerely. “But I can’t be the reason why the other Houses turn on you. I’d rather be deported back to Meive, before I let that happen.”

The crimson underlining the gold in his eyes brightened with denial. “You’re not going anywhere,” he said with finality.

“Then, it’s settled,” Brejeir intervened, just as his phone chimed. Picking it up, he read the message and then leveled them both with a serious expression. “And so is the date for the meeting. We have seven days to convince the majority of twelve Houses that you’re still the best candidate for Dragon’s Head.”

©A.C. Melody

Thank you for reading! Please check out The Wicked Web link above for previous episodes, if you’re just tuning in. You can also follow my blog via e-mail to ensure you never miss any free content. Until next time…

Thief of Dragons ♥ Episode 20

Intentions

Warm lips brushed over Roehn’s shoulder, a broad hand smoothing over the silk of her nightgown across her ribs toward her breasts. There was a hard, warm body molded to her backside, too big to fight off, if he was determined enough.

That was the sole thought in Roehn’s panicked mind, when she woke in a startled daze. Her heart was already in her throat, pumping adrenaline through her veins. She reached under her pillow and wrapped her hand around the dagger she always kept there. With a trained move made all the more lethal by her feline attributes, she had the intruder pinned with a merciless blade pressed to his throat in a single, wild heartbeat.

In the colorful sunlight filtering through stained glass, Roehn’s harsh breath disturbed dust motes as sleep cleared from her frightened vision on the Dragon staring up at her in profound shock.

“Arcylaen?” she puzzled, before hazy memories of the night before started seeping through the panic and shame rushed through her. “Oh shit, I’m so sorry!”

She quickly lifted the dagger from his neck, but he was fast. His hand wrapped around her wrist and his reptilian eyes blazed with more crimson than gold.

“Why the hell do you have a knife under your pillow, Leandra?” he demanded.

Go ahead, say it. Tell him you spent years using that very blade to dissuade would-be rapists in slummy space stations, and that you’ve never spent a whole night wrapped in a man’s arms before. What’s a little soul-baring and bloodshed before breakfast?

“Habit,” she stammered out.

Her pulse was racing, which he undoubtedly felt under his grip. His eyes were volatile and damning, rather than skeptical. “Habit? From what exactly?”

“I got scared, okay,” she confessed. It was one small grain of a truth that had nothing to do with the real answer, but she hoped it was convincing enough. “When I first moved here, into the House of Cayen, it wasn’t exactly welcoming. The neighbors glared at me like I was public enemy number one, and I think someone tried to break in my first night there.”

“Did you report it?” he asked heatedly.

“No, because the house is so big and empty, it’s always making weird noises and honestly, I didn’t think anyone would show up,” she replied.

“Why wouldn’t anyone show up?” he scoffed.

Roehn gave him a dubious look. “Arcylaen, the movers wouldn’t even take my things inside, they left it all in the driveway. I know how the citizens of Skaulling feel about my house, I’m not ignorant. I didn’t want to be that outsider stirring up trouble over something as silly as a rodent.”

When his hold on her wrist loosened, Roehn pulled it free the rest of the way, but not before Arcylaen snatched the blade away from her.

“Hey–”

“There’s no need to slice your fingers off in your sleep, Leandra, for the Divine’s sake this thing is sharp enough to shave with!” He cut off her protest.

Reaching under the pillow, Roehn gave him a mild smirk as she held up the scabbard. “Again, I’m not stupid.”

Placing the dagger safely into its sheath, then into the drawer of her nightstand, Arcylaen grabbed her hips and easily slid her halfway into his lap.

“No one would ever accuse you of that, Leandra, but are you still afraid? Is that why you brought it with you?” he asked, all of his previous anger melting into genuine concern. “You don’t have to put on a brave front for me, kitten, but if you don’t feel safe here, I’d damn well like to know.”

“This isn’t a front, Arcylaen, the knife is just habit, and like I told your brother, I’m not afraid of Dragons,” she stated.

That used to be completely true, but the more she got to know them, learn their ways, the less conviction she felt in that statement. She was extremely leery of their tenacity, intelligence, loyalty and most of all, global reach. She could also do without being vulnerable in front of the most powerful Dragon of all. He’d just gotten a glimpse at the real Roehn, the girl she’d spent five years burying under the personae of Leandra Leontle. It felt too raw and exposed having him witness such a brutal honesty.

They were already irrevocably bonded by the Warden Rites, and by Shursja’s choice. Roehn felt like she was losing more of herself than she’d already sacrificed to her borrowed identity. Her very reason for being in Skaulling was no longer a smooth trajectory, but littered with obstacles. She feared it was her own increasing feelings for Arcylaen tripping her up the most.

“What are you afraid of then?” he asked.

Swallowing through the frustration of her own thoughts, she couldn’t escape his close examination. His eyes skimmed over her features, searching for his own answers, but at least they were more gold than crimson now.

“Not making a difference,” she admitted soberly.

Arcylaen stilled, his gaze piercing. “That’s the one thing you never have to worry about, Leandra,” he deadpanned.

Roehn was touched by his sincerity, but doubted he would still be her number one fan if he knew the kind of difference she was planning to make. Without any other option, she let him think what he wanted.

He brushed his lips over her temple and down her cheek in search of her mouth. When he found it, seducing her lips apart for his hot tongue to invade, there was no way to keep her body from reacting. She yielded to her own desires with little resistance. The burning need to have every part of him on that basic, physical level was becoming too insistent to ignore much longer. Arcylaen accepted it, pressing her into him even closer. His hands manipulated the silk over her heated skin, igniting goosebumps and her nipples pebbled against his chest, arousing them both.

“Mmm, kitten,” he groaned against her lips.

She heard the regret in his tone, and clung to him even tighter out of denial. “Don’t tell me you’re still angry, Arcylaen, you’ve already used that excuse once.”

“Angry, no,” he admitted, lifting his hand to brush locks of hair from her face. “But we are pressed for time and the things I want to do to you, Leandra… I will not be rushed.”

Delectable shivers coursed through her from that erotic promise, but she still felt like pouting. Of course he picked up on it and chuckled softly, which had her eyes narrowing. That only made him smile brighter, but there was no amusement in his eyes, only pure hunger.

“I have to return to my rooms to get ready for the day,” he said, after placing a soft kiss to her sulking mouth. “Meet me downstairs for breakfast?”

Roehn groaned, when he climbed out from under her, set her on her feet beside the bed. “Fine,” she huffed.

Rather than laugh at her again, as she’d been expecting, Arcylaen banded his arms around her more tightly and forced her face up to his.

“I want you in my bed, Leandra,” he confessed with quiet hunger. “Tonight, tomorrow, it doesn’t matter, because when you climb into it–willingly–there will be no coming back to this one.”

Heating her mouth with another devouring kiss, he added a final word of caution, before reluctantly pulling away. “That, kitten, is where the sum of my intentions begin and I am a man of my word, so please, consider this carefully.”

Even when he was trying to be nice, it came across as a warning, and neither changed the outcome. His wording was insignificant under the weight of his intentions. Roehn knew she would spend the rest of the day thinking of little else… and preparing for something she feared was already inevitable.

©A.C. Melody

Thank you for reading! The next episode, Rival, is already in the works! If you’re just tuning in, you can find all previous episodes listed under The Wicked Web link on the menu above. Up next, Episode 21.

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#ReadWithMe ♥ Finding My Genre

readwithme3In celebration of National Reading Month, Ms. Felicia is hosting this amazing blog hop for all readers to spread the love and joy of this favorite pastime with the world. If you’d like to join in the fun, please click on the banner above to add your post to the linky list!

The Novel Brick Road

Every reader develops differently, but it seems that we eventually come to a specific genre that calls to us more than any other. Even if we take brief detours, we come back to the one genre that always puts a smile on our face.

My path to Erotic Romance is paved like a game of hopscotch, jumping genres back and forth and crossing wide gaps in random patterns. I’m not counting all the books I read as a kid or had to read for school. I’m talking about when I started taking control of my own reading choices.

It started off innocent enough. The reading bug coming to nestle in my brain, demanding that I find something to entertain it. My mom had a wide variety of books to choose from. She was a fan of Stephen King, Terry Brooks, Ann Rule and V.C. Andrews – I didn’t understand these were all different genres. They were just books! I read Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always and wanted to live in his brain, but it was really V.C. Andrews I became addicted to for quite some time. Luckily, my mom had plenty of her books to feed my obsession.

I went through a phase following this that I call the researching years. I wanted to know things, so my dad and I started going to the library on a regular basis. I love ancient Egypt. I have books and then I have BOOKS, as in large Coffee Table hardcovers spanning every dynasty of Ancient Egypt. I was going to become the next Howard Carter. I was 14. I was also going to be a supermodel, fashion designer and a Marine Biologist. Not necessarily in that order.

Around the same time, I got my first taste of the paranormal from the (now famous) author L.J. Smith and her Night World series, which includes the well known Vampire Diaries and Secret Circle. This was the first author I ever purchased from a book store with my own money. It was a big accomplishment in my life as an avid reader. I had never heard of L.J. Smith before, but I suddenly had options. Lots and lots of options!

It led to more research. With the help of Francis Ford Coppola, I became extremely interested in reading everything I could get my hands on about the truth behind the myth of Dracula and the real life Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia. It eventually led to me learning about the medical condition of Porphyria, which disenchanted my research, so I returned to my fiction. I read Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. My dad never would’ve let me check it out from the library if he’d known what it entailed. A fanfiction sequel of sorts to Bram Stoker’s masterpiece with all of the dirty details a Victorian era Englishman would never dare to write.

On the hunt for new material, I found Anne Rice and never looked back. As much as I loved L.J. Smith, I couldn’t return to what I suddenly realized was very YA in comparison. More than that, Anne opened my mind up to the world at large, sating my inner traveler and historian simultaneously.

I became obsessed again, and only wanted to read Anne Rice… until I couldn’t find anymore of her books and needed another loan – mind you, this was before the wonderful invention of eBook retailers. Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey was placed in my hand with a “You have to read this,” and so I fell headlong into the mind-blowing world of epic fantasy. Now, I remembered, vaguely, The Hobbit from when I was younger and my favorite movie The Last Unicorn. It was a bit nostalgic diving back into this kind of world – only better, because it was at an adult level without losing any of the wonder of magic.

My first book idea was born on the cusp of my 18th birthday, but not yet hatched… more on this later.

Over my young adult years I read a wide variety, even some non-fiction, but mostly it was keeping up with authors I already knew, like Rice and Lackey. Then I ended up with a Nora Roberts book (honestly can’t recall how) and found myself obsessed yet again. I wasn’t alone this time, though. My friends got on the same kick and we had a grand time swapping books, buying new ones to share, putting them on our birthday and Christmas wish lists and discussing them like crazy. I think between just 3 of us we might own almost 75% of the books she’s ever written… okay, maybe 50%. Nora was my first true Romance author and not what I’d been expecting. I had never even glanced at the ‘obvious’ romance books on the shelves with the bare-chested buccaneers and Scarlett O’Hara wannabe’s.

Having children gave me the perfect excuse to return to YA with Harry Potter, Narnia and Eragon… yes, the books, not the movies (though, I love those, too). My oldest also has some of the Immortal Instruments novels, which I’m very tempted to read since watching City of Bones.

Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb unwittingly led me to my first erotica series, though it falls further under the Crime/Detective genre, the sex scenes are explicitly detailed, whereas Nora Roberts’ usually aren’t. I think she sneaks it in every once in awhile.

I went through a stint where I felt left out from a pop-culture standpoint, because I’d never read any of the ‘literary classics’. So, I attempted the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and found it far too dry and boring (don’t hurt me), so I moved onto The Catcher in the Rye, which was entertaining, yet 100% pointless (again no hitting). Of Mice and Men left me emotionally damaged and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a prophetic masterpiece that’s already coming true, therefore should be reclassified as non-fiction horror.

My first BDSM novel was Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. Again, by ignorance. I thought it was just a fantasy. I was deliciously wrong. Later, I found out that Anne Rice also had other pseudonyms… and why. Exit to Eden followed by the Sleeping Beauty Chronicles added to my Erotic-BDSM shelf, Belinda borders on taboo and I haven’t finished reading it, but I think it might be along the lines of Nabokov’s Lolita – don’t quote me on that.

The ability to read an eBook helped open up the Erotic Romance genre for me even further when I became a reviewer for a friend’s reviewing site. It wasn’t long, though, before a new bug burrowed into my brain demanding to be fed – and I started writing…

But, I will save that for the next post. 😉

Are you still reading the same genre you first fell in love with, or perhaps the second? How many genres span your most cherished collection?