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Jae's Blog

Jan. 20th, 2008 11:07 pm

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Jan. 5th, 2008 10:42 pm Double Your Pleasure

Today's blog includes two reviews for books by two amazing writers. If it seems that I'm mentioning these two a lot, it's because they are writing the books that I am excited about reading.



Maid for Death
Amarinda Jones
Ellora’s Cave
Buy it
here

Maid for Death opens incredibly hot and maintains its burn all the way to the last. This book is one of Ellora’s Cave’s Quickies. And, yep, that’s just what it sounds like, a short story of intense, scorching erotica. Cassandra Kent is a young Aussie who is working her way through the UK. Her latest job is as a chambermaid at the Philbeach Manor Hotel. On Halloween night she gets more than just a dirty room to clean, she gets a ghost and a ghost hunter, both interested in having carnal knowledge of her body.

Jones leaves the reader panting as she moves from one sizzling scene to the next with more than enough plot to keep you intrigued as well as hot under the collar, or wherever it is you get warm.








Cherished Destinies
Anny Cook
Ellora’s Cave
Buy it here

Anny Cook delivers the next installment in the Mystic Valley series with all the style and humor we are used to from her. Though this story deals with much more serious situations, domestic violence, sexual assault and rape, she still manages to deliver a warm and sometimes funny dual love story to readers featuring the characters we’ve come to love. (You’d think by now Dancer would understand about getting caught with his sharda down.) Cherished Destinies tells the story of two very damaged people. Both were brutalized and violated, one through a particularly violent rape and one through systematic beatings, emotional abuse and sexual assaults.

Arano is the son of Jade and Merlin, brother of Eppie and Wrenna who we met in earlier stories. Arano has long been in love with Silence who is many years his senior. But Silence is bonded to Homer, a man who treats her cruelly. When Homer dies during Eppie and Dancer’s bonding storm, he leaves a terrified and confused Silence who does not know the first thing about taking care of herself. Arano slowly and carefully begins to take care of Silence teaching her to take care of herself and teaching her to find her place in their community. The couple defy the conventions and rules of Mystic Valley to have their relationship and are rewarded when the Valley itself sanctions their bonding.

But Arano is torn in his loyalties. His twin brother Arturo has recently been the victim of a brutal and vicious rape. His violators have been found and judgment delivered to them. But healing for the young warrior and judge is slow as he must also face his twin’s finding of a mate and what that means for the two of them. But Arturo’s family and the valley take steps to make sure the wounded young man finds his destiny and his own bond-mate.

The story is wonderfully told and engaging. The characters we’ve come to know and love add such rich life to the borders of these painfully touching stories. Cherished Destinies is a welcome addition to the series.

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Jan. 4th, 2008 09:36 pm The Loneliest Job

A few months ago I heard Holly Black, author of Tithe and the Spiderwick Chronicles say that being a writer was the loneliest of jobs. She pointed out that even in the most regimented of cubical infested offices you at least have the knowledge that on the other side of that cloth and Styrofoam wall is another living breathing human being.

As writers, often times we do work in a situation of isolation second to almost no other profession. Unless you are part of a team, you write alone, edit alone, revise alone and in many cases suffer the pain of rejections alone. It can sometimes be hard for a non-writing significant other or family member to get it. They pat you on the back and say, "It's okay. Just write something else," or some other inane but well meaning thing.

This makes the contacts we form with other writers and with our readers vitally important. Finding a first or beta reader is a difficult job for a writer. You can't simply ask a friend. What if your friend isn't into paranormal romance and you've just whipped out the worlds best were-opossum story ever to be seen? Your friend isn't into fantasy, and you've just finished world building the most amazing place filled with dragons and fairy-folk? You've written the best CSI type murder mystery and your friend can't even spell forensics, let alone understand the science.

I have to admit I’m lucky. I belong to an online workshop that lets me put my work up for critique. The workshop is fairly diverse and we have writers, poets and artists. Some write for fun and some are more serious. But having that support is important. My first novel, Access Denied, would never have been finished if not for the support of some members of that group who kept prodding me to keep going. Don’t tell their husbands, but they all admitted that they had fallen in love with my hero, James, and were going to make sure I finished it.

My current work in progress is about two chapters and an epilogue away from being finished. What is done is in the hands of two very special betas, my SO and a friend of mine named Steve. Steve is the king of grammar and punctuation. He's also the one who tells me when my male character is acting very male. My SO is the one who reads it and tells me where it doesn’t make sense. “But why would he use magic? Wouldn't it just be easier to walk over and set the table?”

*Sigh*

Current Mood: okayokay
Current Music: Panic at the Disco

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Dec. 31st, 2007 06:03 pm Aging Well

Every year at New Years, and admittedly on my birthday, there is a particular piece of wisdom I seek out to remind myself of the message it holds. It's not a quote from some philosopher or a poem by a poet with insight into the human soul. It is a song. Aging Well by Dar Williams. There is a message in this song that I truly believe speaks to every human, especially to women. I know that pieces of it, or the whole, have spoken to me at various times.


Why is it that as we grow older and stronger
The road signs point us adrift and make us afraid
Saying 'You never can win,' 'Watch your back,' 'Where's yourhusband?'
Oh I don't like the signs that the signmakers made.

So I'm going to steal out with my paint and brushes
I'll change the directions, I'll hit every street
It's the Tinseltown scandal, the Robin Hood vandal
She goes out and steals the King's English

And in the morning you wake up and the signs point to you
They say 'I'm so glad that you finally made it here,
''You thought nobody cared, but I did, I could tell,'
And 'This is your year,' and 'It always starts here,

'And oh, 'You're aging well.

Our society seems to take pleasure in making us feel as if we are insignificant, as if we don't measure up. Imagine the power you could have in your life if you made the roadsigns. If you made the map that said where you were supposed to go. If someone stood at the end of each step of our journey and said, "I so glad you finally made it here.

'Well I know a woman with a collection of sticks
She could fight back the hundreds of voices she heard
And she could poke at the greed, she could fend off her need
And with anger she found she could pound every word.

But one voice got through, caught her up by surprise
It said, 'Don't hold us back we're the story you’ll tell,'
And no sooner than spoken, a spell had been broken
And the voices before her were trumpets and tympani

Violins, basses and woodwinds and cellos, singing'
We're so glad that you finally made it here
You thought nobody cared, but we did, we could tell
And now you'll dance through the days while the orchestra plays

And oh, you're aging well.'

For me this has been the verse that has sung loudest the past two years. Wrapped up in fear, anger and resentment I could force life to my tune, but the pushing and forcing drown out the real me. It drown out the voice I was supposed to be listening to. It was robbing me of the stories I was meant to tell.

Now when I was fifteen, oh I knew it was over
The road to enchantment was not mine to take
Cause lower calf, upper arm should be half what they are
I was breaking the laws that the signmakers made.

And all I could eat was the poisonous apple
And that's not a story I was meant to survive
I was all out of choices, but the woman of voices
She turned round the corner with music around her,

She gave me the language that keeps me alive, she said:
'I'm so glad that you finally made it here
With the things you know now, that only time could tell
Looking back, seeing far, landing right where we are

And oh, you're aging, oh and I am aging, oh , aren't we aging well?'

No one needs to explain this part. I'd given up on the "road to enchantment" long before I was fifteen. When you break the rules the signmakers make, the punishment is very high. Odd though how it is often we who end up punishing ourselves.

Today, on New Years Eve and the days after we will hear so much about resolutions. "I'm going to find love." "I'm going to lose weight." "I'm going to accomplish my goals no matter what."

But perhaps the real resolution should be to become our own signmakers. To look at the woman in the mirror with a proud smile and say, "I'm so glad you finally made it here. With the things you know now that only time could tell. Looking back, seeing far, landing right where we are. We're aging well." 

Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: Dar Williams

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Dec. 31st, 2007 05:57 pm Aging Well

Every year at New Years, and admittedly on my birthday, there is a particular piece of wisdom I seek out to remind myself of the message it holds. It's not a quote from some philosopher or a poem by a poet with insight into the human soul. It is a song. Aging Well by Dar Williams. There is a message in this song that I truly believe speaks to every human, especially to women. I know that pieces of it, or the whole, have spoken to me at various times.


Why is it that as we grow older and stronger
The road signs point us adrift and make us afraid
Saying 'You never can win,' 'Watch your back,' 'Where's yourhusband?'
Oh I don't like the signs that the signmakers made.

So I'm going to steal out with my paint and brushes
I'll change the directions, I'll hit every street
It's the Tinseltown scandal, the Robin Hood vandal
She goes out and steals the King's English

And in the morning you wake up and the signs point to you
They say 'I'm so glad that you finally made it here,
''You thought nobody cared, but I did, I could tell,'
And 'This is your year,' and 'It always starts here,

'And oh, 'You're aging well.'

Our society seems to take pleasure in making us feel as if we are insignificant, as if we don't measure up. Imagine the power you could have in your life if you made the roadsigns. If you made the map that said where you were supposed to go. If someone stood at the end of each step of our journey and said, "I so glad you finally made it here.

'Well I know a woman with a collection of sticks
She could fight back the hundreds of voices she heard
And she could poke at the greed, she could fend off her need
And with anger she found she could pound every word.

But one voice got through, caught her up by surprise
It said, 'Don't hold us back we're the story you’ll tell,'
And no sooner than spoken, a spell had been broken
And the voices before her were trumpets and tympani

Violins, basses and woodwinds and cellos, singing'
We're so glad that you finally made it here
You thought nobody cared, but we did, we could tell
And now you'll dance through the days while the orchestra plays

And oh, you're aging well.'

For me this has been the verse that has sung loudest the past two years. Wrapped up in fear, anger and resentment I could force life to my tune, but the pushing and forcing drown out the real me. It drown out the voice I was supposed to be listening to. It was robbing me of the stories I was meant to tell.

Now when I was fifteen, oh I knew it was over
The road to enchantment was not mine to take
Cause lower calf, upper arm should be half what they are
I was breaking the laws that the signmakers made.

And all I could eat was the poisonous apple
And that's not a story I was meant to survive
I was all out of choices, but the woman of voices
She turned round the corner with music around her,

She gave me the language that keeps me alive, she said:
'I'm so glad that you finally made it here
With the things you know now, that only time could tell
Looking back, seeing far, landing right where we are

And oh, you're aging, oh and I am aging, oh , aren't we aging well?'

No one needs to explain this part. I'd given up on the "road to enchantment" long before I was fifteen. When you break the rules the signmakers make, the punishment is very high. Odd though how it is often we who end up punishing ourselves.

Today, on New Years Eve and the days after we will hear so much about resolutions. "I'm going to find love." "I'm going to lose weight." "I'm going to accomplish my goals no matter what."

But perhaps the real resolution should be to become our own signmakers. To look at the woman in the mirror with a proud smile and say, "I'm so glad you finally made it here. With the things you know now that only time could tell. Looking back, seeing far, landing right where we are. We're aging well."

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Dec. 30th, 2007 07:15 pm Welcoming the Rain

It's raining today. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but here where I live it is very important. We've been living in a rather intense drought the last few years. Watering one's lawn has been so long forbidden I'm not sure anyone actually remembers how it is done any more. We had gotten down to the point where people were catching water from their air conditioners to water their plants and even putting buckets in bathtubs to catch the water run while the temperature adjusted. This was also hauled outside and used for watering.

Our governor has been in battles with neighboring states and the US Army Corps of Engineers for the last half of the year to slow the release of water from our reservoirs and keep some for ourselves. Our major water source, we have been told, could well be below the safe consumption level in less than two months.

But today it's raining. It rained yesterday as well. God willing, it will rain tomorrow and the day after that, and the day after that.

The only ones who seem unhappy about this fact are my dogs. My cocker spaniel, King Charles and miniature dachshund are standing on the steps refusing to go out in the rain to do their business. My brittany could care less and is dancing about in the rain pointing things. Good old George. Maybe I'll give another turn at the blog for good behavior.

On another note:

My new book, Measure of Healing, will be released in just a couple of weeks by Cerridwen Press. It is a bit different than my last which was science fiction. Measure of Healing is a paranormal. In fact most of what I write are paranormals. I've been working all day on the follow up to Measure that I hope my editor will decide is worthy.

So I thought I'd offer up another excerpt from the upcoming release. This is a short bit and comes from the prologue.

Excerpt:

Excerpt of a speech given before the Atlantean Council, Year of Our Diaspora 3,097, by Damian Santiago on behalf of the Floridian Cougars.


For millennia this august body has sat by on its haunches and done nothing to address the plight of those of our people who live their lives in fear of annihilation. Instead it has mouthed useless platitudes about cooperation and negotiation with the humans for that which by right of superiority, by right of first conquest, by the right of a people to survive, should be ours. As the centuries have passed this council has sat here ineffective and neutered by its fear of the gifted humans, by its fear of their magic. But I am here to serve notice to this council that the Florida Cougar will not sit quietly while you allow the greedy, grabbing humans to force us into extinction.

When we were forced to leave our first home in this world our ancestors sought out the Western hemisphere and the powerful cougar that ruled it. To that mighty beast we have joined our lives. We claimed the Western continents and we flourished and thrived despite your contempt for us, your silent punishments for our refusal to pacify the humans by relinquishing our birthright, our magic.

Along with our animal counterpart our numbers grew and our territory spread to cover almost all that is now North America. We lived at peace with the humans who followed us to this rich and bountiful land. The Iroquois, the Seminole, the Apache, the Sioux, all of their human tribes lived at peace with us. Some saw us as spirits, some saw us as gods but all dwelt in cooperation with us sharing the gifts of the Earth. Even the gifted among these humans respected our right to live. Then came the European humans. Those who had behind them a long history of persecuting the Were, of forcing us into hiding. Their superstitions, their quest for power had already brought to heel and hiding even those whose Domini, whose leaders sat at the head of this council.

They came and they claimed the land we lived in. As they drove the Cougars from their homes along with our animal friends, we appealed to this council. Your assurances proved meaningless as you turned a blind eye to what happened to us. Instead of banding together as brothers facing a common enemy you turned against your Cougar brothers. You demanded that like you, we relinquish the only protection we had from the humans, our magic. We refused, as we have always refused and all of you, all of our brothers turned from us in our need. You stood by silent while they hunted us and took our land, forbidding us to fight back.

Now I stand before you as evidence of what your cooperation, your subservience to the humans has cost us. The Cougars are now small in numbers and decreasing every day and don’t think I mean only our animal brothers. The entire Eastern portion of North America has been cleared of our kind. In the West, we exist in hiding, every day watching as the humans encroach further upon our land.

But the real horror, the real slap in the face that must awaken this council is what is happening in Florida. The animal known as the Florida panther, an entire sub-species of our cougar brothers has been reduced to less than thirty individuals as even their last bastion of retreat, the Everglades, is whittled down to almost nothing.

Does the council forget that we are tied irrevocably to our animal cousins? Among my people, the Cougars of Florida, there are less than thirty families left. We have no more room to hide, we have no more measure to give. Make no mistake, when the gifted humans have used the unknowing normals among them to drive us from our last Eastern stronghold, they will move West. If this council does not act today to check the spreading menace of humanity it will be responsible for the extinction not only of a species of large cat but of an entire branch of Weres. The Cougar seat on this council will be empty, my people—our people, extinct and the fault will lie squarely in your hands.
 As I look at the faces of this council I wonder to  what degree I am wasting my time and my breath. I come with no expectation that you will be eager or even willing to hear what I have to say but with the determination and resolve that you will hear and that this time the council will have no choice but to act. We are brothers all, all thirteen races who fill these seats.

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Dec. 27th, 2007 10:41 pm Bad Blogging and Book Review

Sometimes the holidays can suck the best laid plans right out of you. With traveling and all the other fuss and ruckus, it's hard to keep even the best of intentions from paving that proverbial road to Hell. This includes regular blogging.

There is something about driving 10 hours with one SO and two dogs and being surrounded by the warm, loving embrace of family and friends that can leave you...

Totally exhausted.

What better way to get back in the swing of things than a book review.

The Warrior
Kinley MacGregor
Avon Fiction

Buy it here

Kinley MacGregor fans have been waiting a long time for The Warrior. This book does double duty as it marks the end of the MacAllister brother’s quartet whose last book appeared in 2003 and is the latest installment in the Brotherhood of the Sword series which saw its last book in 2005. A long wait for fans of the prolific MacGregor, who between her own titles and those of her alter ego Sherrilyn Kenyon usually treat fans to a tidbit or four each year. Why the wait? MacGregor told fans at 2006’s Dragon*Con that she was waiting on Lochlan MacAllister, the final brother and clan laird, to cooperate.

It seems he finally did. The Warrior tells the story of the leader of the MacAllisters. Bearing the knowledge that his brother Kieran, long thought to have killed himself over the betrayal of a woman, may not in fact be dead; Lochlan travels to find the man who may know what happened to his brother. On the way he encounters a familiar face in need of help. The gypsy Catarina, friend of his sister-in-law, has been kidnapped and though she drives him mad with her waspishness, Lochlan cannot leave the woman in peril. But rescuing her causes him more trouble than he imagined. Not only must he battle two common kidnappers, but the man who hired them. Catarina’s father. Philip Capet, King of France.

MacGregor delivers the adventure, romance and passion her readers expect. She also delivers the answers to questions her readers have been desperate to have. Did Kieran die that day at the loch? If not what happened to him? Who is The Scot, the mysterious and reclusive member of the Brotherhood of the Sword? Could he be Kieran? The answers may not be what her readers expected or hoped for, but they will get them. And the final revelation of Kieran MacAllister’s fate will have many a jaw on the floor.

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Dec. 20th, 2007 07:00 pm Brain Dead Blog

Okay, this is a brain dead blog today. I'm so tired that all I can manage today is an excerpt and the last of my promised seven Santas.

Excerpt for Access Denied, now available at
http://www.cerridwenpress.com/productpage.asp?ISBN=9781419911330


He stood there, looking into her eyes, searching for something. She didn’t know if he found it, but in the next moment his head lowered and his lips touched hers. The soft feel of them brushing over her mouth made her head spin. She felt his beard scrape against her skin and the flesh seemed to come alive. His arm slipped around her waist and he pulled her close as he continued to press his kiss deeper. As she let her arms wrap around his chest and gave in to the need to kiss him back, she heard a piece of her soul cry out in joy and another more somber piece painfully whisper,

You had to let yourself love him. You are well and truly damned, and this time there will be no escape.

She couldn’t remember a kiss ever feeling or tasting so good. Not that there had been a lot of them in her life, but not even… well, no one had made her feel the way James was making her feel as he used his tongue to urge her lips apart. Stop this, her mind warned, stop this before you can’t stop it. But she wasn’t listening. She opened her mouth to him and felt the rough velvet slip past her lips and explore her with increasing insistence.

James’ arm tightened and his free hand rested on the slope of her hip. Slowly he brushed it up her side, over the fullness of her curves. She expected him to stop, to pull away at the reality of touching her, but he didn’t. His hand skimmed the outer curve of her breast and moved up to cradle her face. He responded to the shudder that moved through her by sighing against her lips.

He coaxed her tongue to follow his as it retreated and she eagerly complied. Brushing over the full lips, she felt the hairs of his beard scratch at her face as she tilted her head to claim the inside of his mouth. James’ body reacted with a jerk and suddenly both arms now pulled her tight to him. One hand slipped up her spine and crushed her against his chest. The other curved over her hips and pressed them against him.

James broke the kiss to draw in a ragged breath. He was looking down at her and she could see the unspoken question in his eyes. One she had never believed she would ever see again in any man’s eyes, least of all these golden spheres. He lifted his hand from her back and ran his fingers down her cheek, moving softly across her jaw and then trailing along the skin of her neck. He pushed back the collar on the flannel nightshirt and bent his head low to follow the path of his fingers with his lips. He paused, hovering next to her ear.

“Leah” he whispered her name softly and she felt the jolt of the touch of his tongue as it brushed the curve of her ear. Her body responded with a deepening of the need she was feeling for him.

But her mind reacted with fear.

Never Leah, do you understand. Never. It was her father’s voice, the only time he had ever been harsh or firm with her. A few days after she had reached menarche and her mother had explained the physical side of love to her, her father had taken her for a long walk in the woods. It is not for those like us, Leah. We do not play at love. Your sister, your brothers, your friends, they may experiment, they may play with the carnality between men and women, but not you. We are different, Leah. His fingers had gripped her arm painfully, forcing her to take her passive, easy-going father deadly serious.
Head my warning, Leah. Make no mistake. Play that game and you will never know happiness.

Her father’s voice in her head broke the last of her resistance. She put her hands against James’ chest and pushed him away. He did not release her, but eased his hold to let her put some space between their bodies. She drew a deep breath and looked up into the eyes still darkened by his want. No words would come and all she could do was shake her head. James’ hands fell to his sides and he stepped away, turning from her. Standing there staring at his back, the only thing she could think to say was, “I’m sorry,” before she, herself, turned and left the room.

Standing with her back to the coolness of her closed bedroom door, she let the tears begin to fall. This was something new, something she didn’t understand. This had never happened to her before. Never had the voice in her head failed her as it did now. All her life she had spent reaching people with affection and compassion; friends, family, everyone. Each of the men who had drifted into her life these past couple of years she had handled the same. Each time she had tapped into their friendship, their warmth. She had never believed she could excite passion in a man and had never attempted to do so, instead she tried to reach his heart.

But with James her world was tumbled over. She couldn’t understand the want, the desire she had felt in him just now. Suddenly she found she could reach his body, but knew she’d never be able to reach his heart. She was the love of my life, Leah. There’s never been anyone in my life like her, before or since. You didn’t get much clearer or final than that.



And Now:

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Seven Seductive Santas


Champaigne Santa is still my favorite, but our final Santa is rather a fine bit of eye candy. Still, I can't help but think how itchy that shoot must have been.

Have a happy holiday everyone. May your own Santas be as sweet, generous and sexy as you wish.

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Dec. 18th, 2007 06:51 pm Other Future Releases

I shared a bit of my next release with you yesterday. Today I wanted to share a bit from an Ellora's Cave release coming in February. This novella is part of the Jewels of the Nile series based on birthstones. Written by Elyssa Edwards, this story (which does have a sequel planned for July) is called Mating Stone.


Mating Stone
Elyssa Edwards

Sarah has found the perfect man and best of all, he loves her deeply. Before introducing her to his family he proposes and presents her with an amethyst pendant, a stone she doesn’t realize is more than symbolic. When his brother reveals Mark’s secret, Sarah must decide if she loves him enough to accept him even if he’s not exactly human. And Mark must decide how far he’ll go, how much he’ll give up to claim Sarah as his mate. Is he willing to abandon his birthright? Is he willing to kill his own brother to keep it and Sarah?



Excerpt:
The night they met had been her birthday. She’d let her sister and some friends talk her into going to a club to celebrate. “Come on Sarah, it’s February 2. It’s your twenty-eighth birthday, so do what all good little groundhogs do and get out. Even if you see your shadow, at least you had fun before you run back and hibernate some more,” her sister had teased until she’d agreed.

She’d not met Mark at the club but afterwards on her way home. Hitting a pothole had blown her tire and while she could change a tire herself—hell, like any good ol’ Minnesota girl she could change a tire, put on her own snow chains and knew how to use the jumper cables in her trunk—she just didn’t relish doing it in the short skirt her sister had talked her into wearing.

Resigning herself to ruining her stockings and probably the new skirt, she’d been hauling the jack and donut from the trunk when a motorcycle had roared up behind her. The headlight had almost blinded her but not as much as what stepped out into the light. Pulling a black helmet from his head the man had been devastating. His black jeans and leather jacket completed a monochromatic feast for the eyes.

Flashing her a smile almost as bright as his headlight he’d insisted he couldn’t let a lady like her change the tire. He’d made short work of the flat even if she did stand there like an idiot and chatter way. By the time he was done he knew it was her birthday and where she’d been. If it had taken any longer she’d hated to think what else would have come bubbling out of her mouth.

He packed her jack back into her trunk and asked her allow him to follow her home since he didn’t have much confidence in the small rubber tire. When she’d hesitated he’d pulled out his driver’s license and a credit card. He put them in her hands. “Hold on to these. If you get spooked at all you know who I am, where I live and can either call the police or charge a fortune for yourself in compensation.”

When they’d arrived at her place she handed them over and smiled nervously. “Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough,” she nodded down to the damp patches on his knees where he’d knelt in the wet snow alongside the road.

“Then have dinner with me tomorrow,” he’d flashed an encouraging smile and she felt as if her bones melted. “That’s all the thanks I need.”

She agreed and had started to walk away when he called out to her. He was pulling something from the storage compartment under the seat and walked quickly up to her. His long legged strides held her so transfixed she didn’t see what he had in his hands. He stopped in front of her and hesitated. She looked up at him. He suddenly seemed shy and uncertain, grinning up at her through the hair that had fallen over his forehead.

“Happy Birthday, Sarah.” He placed a single red rose in her hand. His quick kiss to her cheek was so soft and so fast that she almost missed it. By the time her fingers rose up to touch where he had pressed his lips to her skin, he was back on his bike, turning it and roaring away. Odd but only now did it occur to her to question where on earth he’d gotten the rose.


And now a very naughty Santa:


On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Seven Seductive Santas.
Okay, I'm not exactly sure what it is down there that surprises him so. But this is definitely a naughty Santa. Tune in to morrow for Seductive Santa #6

Do you want to win some fantastic holiday reading? If so come celebrate the Twelve days of Romance with 12 authors from Ellora's Cave, Wild Rose Press, Total-E-Bound and Cerridwen Press. Each day beginning December 8th and running through December 19th one of the twelve authors will tell what their "True love gave to them" on either their blog or website.

Collect all twelve answers and e-mail them to
anny@annycook.com with 12 days of Romance in the subject line to win some great books. There will be three lucky winners. The prizes –

1st prize--6 books

2nd prize--4 books

3rd prize--2 books

All books and prize winners will be drawn randomly.
Anny Cook Winter Hearts
Sandra Cox Boji Stones
Bronwyn Green Ronan’s Grail
Heather Hiestand Cards Never Lie
Barbara Huffert Deal of a Lifetime
Amarinda Jones Mad About Mirabelle
Kelly Kirch Time for Love
Cindy Spencer Pape Cowboy’s Christmas Bride
Brynn Paulin Fallen
Jacquéline Roth Access Denied
KZ Snow Mrs. Claws
Lacey Thorn Earth Moves

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Dec. 17th, 2007 06:08 pm Measure of Healing

My second release from Cerridwen Press, Measure of Healing, comes out one month from today. So instead of a rant I thought I'd share the blurb and an excerpt.

Blurb:
Alejandro Ramirez’s Were-Cougar mother drove him out after his first transformation at the age of fifteen leaving him to seek out his human father and find the family his human side craved but that his animal side can never embrace. Now a man, he finds himself responsible for a traumatized Were-Cougar child. When he turns to the Weres for help, they send him to a human. Dr. Gabriela St. Jerome knows of the Cougars and hates them with every fiber of her being. But now she must swallow that hatred to work with Alejandro to help a Were child who has been thrown into transformation far too early by the horrific death of his mother. As they are forced together in the remote woods of the North Georgia Mountains, both find their mutual attraction overwhelming. But if Brie gives into this man and her own passions, it will cost her dearly. It will cost her her life.


Excerpt:
Brie rang the bell a second time. She could hear the sound of movement from within, still no one answered the door. There had been no visible number on the house and she had had to guess at its location by counting down from the nearest house that did have its address painted over the door. It was a law that all houses be marked but she somehow doubted that the local city hall sent many inspectors out to monitor compliance.

She was about to pull out her cell phone and try the phone number when the door finally opened and an older woman in her sixties answered. Her dark brown eyes were large and held a wary smile. The black hair was more grey than ebony and her face was tanned and wrinkled from the Florida sun. “Can I help you?” the voice carried a soft Latin inflection.
Brie removed her glasses and the woman’s eyes widened. Cursing she slipped them back on. She knew better. “I’m Gabriela St. Jerome, I’m supposed to meet Alejandro Ramirez. Is this the correct address?” She showed the woman the address written on a small slip of paper.


“You have found the right house.” The woman’s gaze was guarded. “You must be the doctor Alej said would come.”

“Yes,” Brie breathed a sigh of relief. At least she was in the right place. “I’m Dr. St. Jerome. Is he here?”

“I’m here,” the low voice rumbled from the darkened interior of the house. A man stepped up beside the woman and Brie felt her breath catch. He was impressive, the kind of man her research assistant Caroline would call yummy. But his look was wrong, good but wrong.
She frowned at him and Alejandro suppressed the urge to smile nastily. “We better let her in Mama, before she falls down from shock and we have to explain it to the neighbors.”


The older woman gave the young man a patient look and opened the screen door. “Come in Doctor, I’ll fetch you something cool to drink. Alej see that she is comfortable.” As she passed him she gave a mock scowl, “And behave yourself.”

The tall man stepped back and motioned for her to select a seat in the room. The house was comfortably furnished with well worn and used furniture. Choosing a spot on the end of the sofa, Brie perched stiffly. Alejandro was watching her unabashedly, staring almost rudely at her. Lifting her head, she stared back. He wasn’t what she expected. Most Were-Cougars did not look like this. They were tall but not abnormally so. Their hair was generally somewhere between a silvery ash blonde and a dark golden blonde depending on where they called home. And their eyes were blue.

She’d never known of a Were-Cougar whose eyes were not blue. In the wild the actual cougar kittens, Were and animal, were born with blue eyes. Were-Cougar kittens’ eyes remained blue while the animals’ eyes changed to a golden yellow-green. It was one of the identifying marks of their kind. Yet the man who stood there silently taking her measure broke most of the rules. He was tall. Six five at a minimum. His hair was dark and the eyes that seemed to be trying to see inside her were brown. Had Sister Margarite not told her he was Cougar, she would never have known. He looked human.

His eyes held hers then looked away. He was amused. And he was aroused. Good thing you’re not a Were, Princess, cause I’d certainly be getting my face slapped or clawed about now. His thoughts and the accompanying images were broadcast so that any Were could have heard him and they flitted through to her as the woman re-entered the room.

“No, I’m not like you but I am empathic and telepathic. Don’t worry, though, I’m actually more offended at being called Princess. I’d suggest you don’t do that again.” She straightened her skirt and accepted the iced glass from the chuckling woman. The man had a vivid imagination, she’d give him that.

Alejandro stiffened and frowned. Damn that Wolf! The least she could have done was warn him. He’d not run across a gifted human in a long time, then again he’d not been around any humans but his family for the past couple of months.

When she spoke again, it was with deep amusement. “And while we’re getting the surprises out of the way, let’s just deal with this, shall we?” Her voice was filled with impatience but he could hear the anticipatory chuckle it hid.

She pulled off her glasses and revealed a set of deep electric blue eyes. His breath left his chest in a rush. She had the eyes of a Cougar. He’d never seen a human with eyes that color and found he could only stare at her. She was laughing at him but he was too stunned to be angry, yet. Something in him was reacting to her, or to what she seemed to be, in a dangerous way.

“You should learn to trust your nose. For I, Mr. Ramirez, am no more what I look like than are you,” she sat the glass down on a coaster.

So it was an illusion. Determined to wipe the superior smile off her face he shrugged. “You may wish to rephrase that statement, Dr. St. Jerome. I am at least half of what I seem to be.” He walked over to the couch and dropped down next to her, leaning back insolently and stretching his arms out across the back. “I’m half human on my father’s side.”

Her eyes widened and it was her turn to be shocked. A Were-Cougaress mating with a human? It was unheard of. Males had been known to toy with humans and even leave behind mixed blood children but no female would ever…

“My mother was young, on her first estrus actually, when she came across my father one evening. He was a bit younger and a bit more reckless back then and had fallen asleep in his truck alongside the road.” Alejandro leaned forward and looked at her with a wicked light in his eyes. “I’m afraid he was a bit wasted. Three days later she was gone. Seven months later I arrived. And fifteen years after that, when she figured I could fend for myself, I was turned out with nothing but a few dollars in my pocket and my father’s driver’s license. She’d stolen it from him as a souvenir.”

Leaning back he spread his hands wide, “So I sit before you in the bosom of the only real family I’ve ever known. A half Were with dark hair and eyes and a traumatized kitten in his bed. Now that we’ve had our little ice breaker can we get down to business.”

And now:

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Seven Seductive Santas.
For reasons I can't quite articulate, Santa #4 here is my favorite. He's not a ripped as some of the others, but there is something extremely sexy about this Santa and this pose. Come back tomorrow for Santa #5. He's a particularly naughty little Santa.

Do you want to win some fantastic holiday reading? If so come celebrate the Twelve days of Romance with 12 authors from Ellora's Cave, Wild Rose Press, Total-E-Bound and Cerridwen Press. Each day beginning December 8th and running through December 19th one of the twelve authors will tell what their "True love gave to them" on either their blog or website.

Collect all twelve answers and e-mail them to
anny@annycook.com with 12 days of Romance in the subject line to win some great books. There will be three lucky winners. The prizes –
1st prize--6 books
2nd prize--4 books
3rd prize--2 books
All books and prize winners will be drawn randomly.
Participating authors/books:
Anny Cook Winter Hearts
Sandra Cox Boji Stones
Bronwyn Green Ronan’s Grail
Heather Hiestand Cards Never Lie
Barbara Huffert Deal of a Lifetime
Amarinda Jones Mad About Mirabelle
Kelly Kirch Time for Love
Cindy Spencer Pape Cowboy’s Christmas Bride
Brynn Paulin Fallen
Jacquéline Roth Access Denied
KZ Snow Mrs. Claws
Lacey Thorn Earth Moves

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