Spotlight & Review: Dark Rooms by @sionnafox

Hello Dear Readers!
I have a spicy treat for you today, compliments of author Sionna Fox. Please enjoy this spotlight and review of her new release, and be sure to enter her book tour giveaway (details and link below). Enjoy! 🙂

Bewitching Book Tour, Dark Rooms by Sionna Fox book cover

Title: Dark Rooms
Author: Sionna Fox
Genre: Erotic Romance
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Date of Publication: 27 July 2017
ISBN: 78-1-944262-82-2
ISBN: 978-1-548299-49-1
Word Count: 40,000 words
Cover Artist: Boroughs Publishing Group

When they met on Friday night, he dominated her. When he walks into her photography classroom on Wednesday morning, the question is, who’s in charge.

NO SAFE WORDS

Women beg Wes Oliver to dominate them in darkness. In the light, he’s finally getting his life back on track. College is priority number one—until he finds his new professor is the delicious Sub who ran out on him last weekend, a brilliant and mature beauty nothing like the girls who usually kneel before him. Suddenly, this is no longer just about pleasure. This is about his heart.

Aimee Eastman has rules. Rules for herself. Rules for her college photography students. Rules for the partners she submits to at private BDSM house parties. Then the hot young Dom who topped her last weekend walks into her classroom and all boundaries fly out the window—or would if she could just give up control. Like she wants. Like she needs. Then she and Wes might share forever.

Boroughs Publishing

Celia’s Review

DARK ROOMS hooked me from the first page, where our hero and heroine, Wes and Aimee, meet at a private, BDSM party. Instant attraction leads to negotiation leads to a sensual first encounter for our budding lovebirds. This opening scene played well and had me eager to turn e-pages.

From there, Fox adds some fun layers of conflict to impact the potential relationship. First, Aimee is older and wants commitment-free hook-ups; Wes is younger and looking for a committed partner. Second roadblock: she’s one of his college teachers. Oops! While our hero doesn’t mind the teacher-student issue, our heroine does. And what’s worse, they both have some past relationship baggage to overcome. Wes is better at this than Aimee and ready to help her stop letting her past define and ruin her future. Yay, Wes!

In addition to a believable and entertaining romance arc, Fox provides interesting settings. Aimee’s two gay BFFs (fun secondary characters), throw the invite-only private parties in their lovely home, chock-full of kink equipment. Nice visuals. The other backdrop, the photography classroom and its dark room, provide Wes and Aimee opportunities to up the sexual tension in their budding relationship. I enjoyed this immensely, along with Aimee cursing like the proverbial “trucker”, and the occasional Princess Bride reference.

To sum up, Dark Rooms is a fun, kinky, sexy fast read, and a “yes” for your TBR list. Enjoy!

Review Excerpts

Here are a few excerpts to whet your reading appetite.

(Aimee, first day of school, showing her love for photography:)

She always struggled with how much information to overload them with on the first day. She could never be sure what piece of the puzzle a student would discover that would make them want to stay, and her impulse was to appeal to as many of those possibilities as possible. Would it be holding a camera, taking it apart and seeing how it worked? Seeing the world through the lens? Or would it be the feels and smells in the darkroom itself, like it had been for her? A place to hide, where time was measured in increments of exposure, development, stop, fix, rinse.

* * *

(Wes, having a laugh with Aimee about the teacher-student situation, and wanting her…)

“God, how am I supposed to give you a grade?” She sighed and met his eyes for the first time since he walked into the lab that morning.

“Factor it into the curve.”

She dropped her scowl and a smile played at her lips as her chest started to shake with suppressed laughter, releasing the tension in the room. It was a chain reaction. He laughed harder, then she did, until they were both snorting and wiping at their eyes. It killed him to see her like this. He wanted more of her.

He folded his legs and slid down the wall until he was sitting on her floor. He looked up at her, her green eyes shining with amusement, cheeks flushed, one hand on her chest. She was so fucking cute it hurt.

* * *

(Aimee, on the student-teacher conundrum: )

She had never looked twice at a student before, not once. […]

Now she had a student who had seen her naked, in every way. He’d seen her other self, knew her in a way most of the world never, ever would. She’d actually entertained the thought of seeing him again, had watched the marks he’d left on her skin fade with a kind of satisfaction, had wanted him to make more. It couldn’t happen. Not now.

It didn’t matter. She hadn’t been counting on seeing him again. Sure, they might have had fun a few times, but he’d move on to someone who would give him more, who wouldn’t run out of the room when he asked for her number. She had seen it in his eyes as he’d watched Hank flog Ed. He wanted what they had.

* * *

(Lastly, some hot phone sex!)

“Are you alone, Aimee?”

“Yes.”

“Take off your clothes.”

If she obeyed that order, everything changed. She meant to say no. To tell him again how it could never happen between them. “Yes, sir,” came out of her mouth instead. A whispered affirmative as she slipped her free hand into the waistband of her pants and slid them over her hips.

“Tell me about it.”

She paused with her leggings halfway off. “I’m on my couch. I’m sliding my pants down my thighs.”

“Tell me how your legs feel under your hands.”

“Warm, soft.” She pulled her feet free and kicked the pants to the side.

He hummed in her ear. “Take off your shirt. Set the phone down if you have to.”

Sionna Fox photo
About the Author

Sionna Fox has been writing stories her whole life. Her first book was about dinosaurs, and according to her mother, it was adorable. Sionna was late to the romance game, but hasn’t looked back since picking up the habit and firmly believes romance novels can save your life. She lives in New England with her very patient husband and a very put-upon dog.

Website | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | GoodReads |

Dark Room’s Bewitching Book Tour Giveaway

Enter Sionna Fox’s Tour Giveaway –> for a chance at $15 worth Boroughs Bucks (2 winners).

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Celia’s New #Romance #Audiobooks & Decadent Divas

Hi Everyone!

Hope you’re having a fabulous summer! I’ve been busy with family road trips up and down the West Coast US (picture: Mt. Shasta, snowed over in summer), finishing up the third novel in my Tranquilli Bloodline Series, editing, and making a dent in my massive To-Be-Read list.

Decadent Divas

As of July, I’ve joined the fabulous authors of the Decadent Divas blog team! Check out my post for this month for some great summer reads in contemporary romance!

Black Hills Wolves in Audio

Like to listen to books? Two of my Black Hills Wolves novels are now available in audio, wahoo!

Human-wolf hybrid Darci Diamond spends every full moon locked in auntie’s basement in Southern Oregon. Her excruciating shifts terrify her, the last one causing her heart to stop beating. Seeking a cure, she journeys to Los Lobos.

Ross Luparell returns to the struggling Tao pack, using his millions made in the tech industry to build homes for pack families in need. He never imagined he would also find his one true mate. But when a hybrid with the biggest green eyes he’s ever seen lands on his doorstep in the middle of a wicked summer storm, there’s no denying it. She’s the one.

She wants a normal human life, free from pain-filled shifts. He won’t give up on her Wolf, and will do whatever it takes to help her accept her true nature. But can he convince her to trust him with her heart?

Listen to an Audio Sample | Available at: AudibleAmazon.com |  iTunes

British Alpha wolf Jake Marsden spends his days among humans, pursuing a lucrative music career and avoiding his pack’s politics. When his DJ tour takes him to the US, he stops in Los Lobos and runs into the one Wolf he never wants to see again—the mate who rejected his claim.

Free-spirited Lexi Luparell is shocked to encounter the Wolf she’d denied when they were teens. Now she must face her guilt for the cruel way she spurned him all those years ago, make amends, and admit the truth. Jake was right all along—they’re meant to mate.

Jake dates only human women now. Lexi had her shot at being his mate and threw it away. But when her life is threatened, he may have to rethink his position and do whatever it takes to claim his one true mate.

Listen to an Audio Sample | Available at: Audible | Amazon.com | iTunes

Spotlight + #Giveaway: Illumination, Penton Legacy 5 by @SusannahSandlin

Hello Dear Readers!
I’m pleased to welcome Susannah Sandlin back to my blog. Please enjoy this spotlight with excerpt for her new release, and be sure to enter her tour giveaway (details and link below). 🙂

Bewitching Book Tour, July 2014, Lovely, Dark and Deep book cover

Title: Illumination
Author: Susannah Sandlin
Series: Penton Legacy, #5
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy
Date of Publication: July 11, 2017
Number of pages: Approx. 330
Cover Artist: Kim Killion

Bewitching Book Tour, July 2014, Lovely, Dark and Deep book coverNik wants to escape his family curse. Shay wants to change the world. Together, they are the only hope to save the vampires of Penton.

He came to Penton seeking peace. Nik Dimitrou joined the Army to escape his family legacy, only to have his psychic abilities exploited as a weapon. Now, as a civilian, he turns to the bottle to veil the images that haunt his mind whenever he touches anyone—except vampires. With them, he has finally found a home. But as Penton, Alabama, moves into open warfare with the Vampire Tribunal, Nik finds himself a linchpin in the deepening conflict, not to mention facing a transformation in his own body more frightening than anything he’s encountered before.

She wanted to change the world. Shay Underwood watched her Peace Corps parents move from one third world country to another—until both died following an outbreak of fever. Driven to her own career in tropical medicine, Shay works in New Orleans to cure the disease that killed her parents—until a careless weekend outing draws her into a world far more dangerous than the diseases she studies: a vampire society engaged in human trafficking and on the verge of all-out war.

Two cities, two strangers, one world. With Penton rebellion leader Aidan Murphy making risky choices and chief vampire lieutenant Mirren Kincaid forced to take a leadership role in Penton, it will fall to two outsiders, Nik and Shay, to find a way for the town—and themselves—to survive in this much-anticipated conclusion to the multiple award-winning Penton Legacy series.

GoodReads

Excerpt

“Right then. We have an obscenely large vehicle on the other side of that brick wall,” Cage said. “Archer or Nik should be able to help you over. Once I’m sure you’re in the car and locked up tight, I’ll collect Robin and Glory from the cemetery entrance and we’ll all be on our way back to Penton.”

Shay bit her lip. She had absolutely no reason to go to Penton, wherever the hell it was. Her home and life and work were here in New Orleans. She knew she’d have to be careful, but now that the breeding house was broken up and Jonathan was dead, the vampires and their minions had no reason to come after her. Whatever feelings Shay had nursed for Nik Dimitrou in high school, they were long dead. Gorgeous only took a person so far. Besides, he was a vampire.

She’d wait until they got her out of this cemetery, though, to decline her visit to Vampire Central. Maybe the handsome cat boy would drop her off somewhere. But where? She had no money or identification with her. She didn’t even have the keys to her own apartment or lab.

Maybe a police station. They could come up with a plausible story for her disappearance. Maybe even name Simon as her kidnapper, and the warehouse location. Let the authorities make of it what they would.

Shay was distracted by the sight of Archer leaping to the top of the brick wall behind the Le Boeuf crypt, followed closely by Nik. Her old classmate might be injured and hungry, but that wall had given him no challenge. Shay wasn’t sure she could climb over it without a sturdy ladder on a good day. Today had not been a good day except that she hadn’t died.

Nik reached down and motioned to Shay. “C’mon, let’s get out of here.”

Shay looked at the wall, at Nik, and back at the wall. “I don’t think you can lift me. You’re hurt.”

“Trust me.” Nik grinned, giving Shay a glimpse of an older, even more handsome version of the boy she’d known so many years ago. She’d thought she loved that boy; this man, though….was a vampire. Don’t forget that, idiot.

She nodded, dried her hands on her jeans as much as she could, and reached up toward Nik. He leaned over, wrapped strong fingers around both of her wrists, and lifted her to the top of the wall with what seemed like little effort, setting her down beside him.

“Swing your legs over, and I’ll lower you down the other side. Or I can leap down with you in my arms.” His grin widened, and her heart beat double-time when their gazes locked. Vampire. He’s a freaking vampire. He’s a freaking vampire involved in a war with other freaking vampires. You cannot trust him. Lust, yes. Trust, no.

“Whatever you do, would you please move your arses?” Cage stood beneath them. “I’m getting soaked and—”

A loud pop sounded from the Washington Avenue end of the cemetery, followed by a splintering noise and another pop pop. Shay had lived in New Orleans long enough to recognize the sound of gunfire.

Susannah Sandlin photo
About the Author

Susannah Sandlin writes award-winning paranormal romance, including the popular Penton Legacy series for Montlake Romance, and romantic suspense and thrillers, including two series, The Collectors and Wilds of the Bayou, also for Montlake. Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she writes the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series for Tor Books. Suzanne grew up in Alabama halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’s birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of college football and fried gator on a stick. She currently lives in Auburn, Alabama, where she is a full-time author who does copy editing on the side through Reedsy.com.

Website | Blog | Twitter – Susannah | Twitter – Suzanne | Facebook

Illumination’s Bewitching Book Tour Giveaway

(2) $25 Amazon Gift Cards | (or equivalent order from Book Depository for entrants outside the U.S.)

Visit the tour’s Rafflecopter Page to enter giveaway.

Spotlight on #Fantasy: Desperate Knight by Keith Willis

Hello Dear Readers,
Fellow Champagne Books author Keith Willis is here today with a new fantasy release for your beach/summer reads TBR. Read on for details and an excerpt!

Book cover, Desperate Knight, by Keith Willis

Title: Desperate Knight (Book 2)
Series: Knights of Kilbourne
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: Summer, 2017
Ebook Price: $3.99
Available for Pre-Order from Champagne Books –>

No time… No plan… No options…
No one said saving the world would be easy.

Morgan McRobbie and Lady Marissa duBerry swing back into swashbuckling action, facing old enemies, new threats, and a diabolical conspiracy. Not to mention a more personal battle, one with hearts and pride at stake.

As the pair escorts Prince Robert to the dwarf king’s court, a fiendish scheme is unfolding, intended to hurl men and dwarves into a devastating war. Morgan ends up sidetracked by a kidnapped dwarf and a centuries-old feud, while a mysterious wizard’s revelations shake Marissa to her core, throwing into question everything she thought she knew about her past and future. And the advent of a rival for Marissa’s affections threatens any hope of a happy ending—if they survive.

Once again the desperate knight and indomitable damsel must hazard everything on a single throw of the dice, gambling on untested allies and unimagined weapons to save their world. And the odds have never been worse.

EXCERPTS

The rapier slid from its sheath with a soft susurration that presaged swift and violent death.

Morgan McRobbie ignored his opponent’s blade. Instead he scanned the man’s eyes for the telltale flicker that signaled an attack. All around them men lunged and dodged and whirled. Cries of anguish and triumph rang out over the clash of steel on steel. But for Morgan no one else existed at this moment.

His attacker approached, his movements tentative. From caution, perhaps, leavened with a bit of trepidation. He was, after all, facing the renowned Knight-Commander of the King’s Legion. The Dark Knight of Kilbourne. Morgan scowled fiercely at this sobriquet and his opponent danced a hasty step back.

Then, gathering himself, the man lunged forward with a wild yell. His sword sliced the air in a hissing arc. Morgan stepped neatly back out its trajectory, and air was all it sliced.

Morgan acknowledged the strike with a brief nod. Maintaining his defensive posture, he watched the other man’s eyes for his next move. He knew the fellow to be a decent swordsman. He was also well aware his opponent didn’t possess Morgan’s level of proficiency. His reaction and recovery times were definitely slower. Offsetting this lack of expertise was an attitude of grim determination.
His opponent launched a furious flurry of thrusts and slashes, but Morgan parried the attack with studied ease. He refrained from going on the offensive himself quite yet. He had plenty of time. If he finished off this fellow too soon, there’d be plenty more ready to take his place.

The attacker lunged again, his blade darting like a swallow in an attempt to find an opening in Morgan’s defenses. The man was breathing a bit harder now, further evidence of his lack of practice. Morgan flashed him an evil grin.

“Not slowing down already, are you?” he taunted. “I would have expected better from you.”

His opponent didn’t answer. He just gasped a little. In all likelihood saving his wind for the fight. He lunged again. This time he was careless, leaving his left side wide open.

It was like being handed a gift. Seizing his opportunity, Morgan went on the offensive at last. His sword sliced the air with an angry hiss as he stalked inexorably towards his foe. The man fell back into a determined defensive posture, managing to parry the first few thrusts. Then Morgan feinted, his blade slashing low. As his opponent reacted, Morgan shifted his stance in the blink of an eye, his rapier darting in high to find its mark.

Gently he touched the point to the spot over his opponent’s heart. “You’re dead, Your Majesty,” Morgan said.

 

About Keith Willis

Keith Willis, author photoKeith W. Willis graduated (long ago) with a degree in English Lit from Berry College, Georgia. He now lives in the scenic Hudson Valley/Adirondack region of NY with his wife Patty. Keith is certain those rumbling noises attributed to Henry Hudson’s crew are really just the dragons grumbling. He began writing seriously in 2008, when the voices in his head got too annoying to ignore. When he’s not making up stories he manages a group of database content editors at a global information technology firm. TRAITOR KNIGHT (Champagne Books) is his first published novel, and has won awards for both fantasy and romance. The second book in the Knights of Kilbourne series, DESPERATE KNIGHT, is slated for a summer 2017 release.

Connect with Keith Willis

Website | Knights Of Kilbourne on Facebook |Twitter |Facebook

Fun In The Sun #Facebook #Book Party, 7/1, 11 AM Pacific

Hello Dear Readers!

Greetings from the writing cave! I hope this blog post finds you having a wonderful and relaxing summer, full of abundant time for beach reading. 🙂 I’ve been hard at work writing ORIGINS, the final installment in the Tranquilli Bloodline Series trilogy. The rough draft is done, hurray! ::happy dance::

As I wander into the editing cave in July, I’ll also be here on the blog with book news, spotlights, parties, and general summer fun. First up, I have a Facebook party for you! And yes, there are prezzies. 🙂

Fun In The Sun, Champagne Books Facebook Party, July 1, 2017

Please join me on Saturday, 7/1 for the Fun In The Sun Book Party sponsored by my publisher, Champagne Books, along with Crimson Frost Books and Literary Wanderlust!

The party lasts all weekend so you can meet and chat with many authors, including me. Enjoy games, trivia, chitchat, and of course, chances to win free reads and more! I’ll be there at 11 AM Pacific (aka 1 PM CT, 2 PM ET) with my Tranquilli Bloodline vampires plus giveaways.

Haven by Celia Breslin book cover Vampire Code by Celia Breslin book cover Destiny by Celia Breslin book cover

Visit the Fun In The Sun Facebook event page and click “going” to join the party!

See you tomorrow!

xo,

Celia

Spotlight on Contemporary Suspense #Romance: Fiery 10-16 by @LeaBronsen

Hello Dear Readers,
Fellow Decadent Pub author Lea Bronsen has a hot, new, dark, romantic suspense novel for you! Read on for details and an excerpt. Take it away, Lea!

Fiery by Lea Bronsen

Hi, and thank you for hosting my new dark romantic suspense!

Fiery 10-16 is a scorching firefighter story of desire, abuse, and bravery.

Title: Fiery 10-16
Genre: Dark Romantic Suspense
Release Date: March 27, 2017
Length: 109 pages

Runo Wiggins is a scarred man, the wounds etched into his psyche deeper than those on his skin. But he loves his job: fighting fires helps reenact his survival of a house fire as a teen, one that killed his mother and brutal stepfather.

Dawn Caravello is married to a psychotic drunk. She can take his beatings as long as he doesn’t touch their children, and she’ll do anything to put food on the table, even if it means stealing from the town hero.

When Runo meets the fiery Dawn, sparks fly. But he suspects she is victim of the same abuse as his mother was. As day turns to night, the past and the present blend in an exhausting, nerve-wrecking chase to prevent another death.

 

Amazon | Amazon UK | Paperback | GoodReads

EXCERPT

Dawn’s eyes shimmered with a mix of stubborn pride and extreme sadness. They seemed to be made of molten brown stone. Runo had never seen eyes like these. So vibrant, saying so many things. They revealed her life, her endurance, her dreams, her combats, her despair. And she was still so young.

While he stared, she leaned forward and kissed him, an act a whole lot more intimate than he was comfortable with. A short, hard peck, a statement. Not the tender gesture a kiss was supposed to be, but one telling him her gratitude as well as her dignity. She thanked him, but was going to go back to her life and continue fighting.

He stood shocked, his entire body rigid, didn’t know what to do. She, such a small woman thing a whole head shorter, shook him, a giant of muscle and stupid testosterones inside a hard shell.

He would definitely take care of Dawn and her kids. Any way possible. Alert the authorities and make sure they got the protection they desperately needed.

She stepped backward, her features softening, and turned on her heel.

Not so fast.

He cleared his throat and called, lifting a weak hand. “Hey, wait!” His heart hammered in his chest, blood pulsed in his ears.

She turned. “What?”

“Promise to be good. Promise it’s the last time you do it.”

“Do what?” Her eyes gleamed with humor. “Kiss you?” In the midst of this emotional turmoil, she found the strength to tease.

“Steal.”

And lie.

She pursed her lips, looking like a disappointed little girl. Maybe she still was a child inside. A child taking care of children. A child beaten savagely.

He swallowed. “Promise.”

After several long seconds, she nodded. But her gaze told a different truth.

Liar.

 

About Lea Bronsen

Lea Bronsen, author photo
I like my reads hot, fast, and edgy, and strive to give my own stories the same intensity. After venturing into dirty inner-city crime drama with my debut novel Wild Hearted, I divide my writing time between psychological thriller, romantic suspense, and erotic dark/contemporary romance.

Connect with Lea Bronsen

Website | Blog |Facebook | Twitter |Amazon | Pinterest
 
 

Spotlight on Contemporary #Romance: To Score Or Not To Score by @AngelaQuarles

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Dear Readers!
Award-winning author Angela Quarles has a new release for you today, her first ever contemporary romance! Read on for details and two excerpts!

Book cover, To Score Or Not to Score by Angela Quarles

Title: To Score Or Not To Score, part of boxed set, Some Like It Geek
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 14, 2017
Length: Novella (40,000 words), Boxed Set 7 Novels/Novellas (300k words)
Ebook Price: $0.99
ISBN: 978-1-944469-02-3
Other Authors: Zoe York, Sidney Bristol, C Jordan, Clara Leigh, Ally Decker, and Olivia Devon
Content advisory: Adult language, explicit sex

About To Score Or Not To Score

One blind date. One case of mistaken identity. One Navy SEAL faced with his high school crush. What could go wrong?

To Score…

Holy cow, my blind date is rawr-hot. Everything in me aches to explore more with this man, but I can’t. I’ve got too much on the line professionally, with me starting at my new medical practice on shaky ground. But I can’t deny that I want the sex. A fling is perfect. Bonus—I will prove my idiot ex-boyfriend wrong. I’m not cold.

Or Not to Score…

Once she mistakes me for her blind date, my plan is clear. Be this Rick the Lawyer she thinks I am. And for the space of this coffee date, talk to the only woman who’s ever made me feel any spark outside of combat. Best case scenario, I get to be outside my skin—free to be whatever the hell I want. Worst case—she recognizes me as we chat. She’ll be pissed, call me an asshole, but it won’t be anything she hasn’t called me in the past, so… Win/Win?

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google | GoodReads

Pullquote, To Score Or Not to Score by Angela Quarles

EXCERPTS

***Excerpt 1, Chapter 1 – Pepper meets the hero

ur 2 cold

I glare at the four-month-old text, barely glancing at the bearded hipster bumping past me on the sidewalk. The sender? That’d be my ex. The hockey goalie who slapped away our year-long relationship with a text. Well, a series of texts over a five-minute span.

I’m killing time, and like someone who keeps picking, picking, picking at a scab, I’d pulled up those texts to stare at that last one. Cold?

Ambitious. Driven. Yes.

But cold?

I shove the phone into its pocket in my purse. I am not my parents. Thinking of those two fills me with a familiar but fuzzy unease.

A searing wave of fuck-that-asshole follows. He’s still infecting my life—what I need is closure. I can’t let that infection spill into my new life here in my old hometown. I yank the phone back out, resigned at this point to looking like an idiot to anyone who might be watching.

An article on Facebook from yesterday waves at me—hello, perfect revenge!

Tap, tap, tap. A quick search, a phone call, and… Yes.

I mash the end call icon on my Samsung and do a tee-hee dance on the sunny sidewalk. I sheepishly glance around to see who witnessed my little bout of enthusiasm on Sarasota’s Main Street, but the locals and the few meandering tourists are preoccupied with their own lives this morning. Why should I care anyway, right?

Because thanks to my vengeance-driven donation, there’s now a Madagascar hissing cockroach at the Bronx Zoo graced with the name Phil Stoddart.

It might be a placebo, but damn, it feels fantastic.

That task hasn’t wasted enough time, so I pop under the barely cooler shade of one of the pin oaks lining the street and enter today’s tasks in my app. It’s my last day for errands before I start work with my new medical practice. Ha—look at me being all casual. My new medical practice.

Try first. Yesterday, seeing the nameplate next to my door—Dr. Rodgers—had brought goose bumps along my arms, making everything terrifyingly and excitingly real. I’m finally starting my career as a sports medicine doc. See, it’s that life I can’t wait to start after twelve grueling years of schooling, but instead, I’m five minutes early for a coffee date I’d rather not go on, much less be early to. So yeah, I’m stalling.

My high school best friend set me up with a colleague at her law firm. A lawyer? No, thanks—got enough of them growing up. (Read: my parents.) But since she’s the only old friend I still want to hang with here, I succumbed. What’s one morning?

All right. That’s as much as I can reasonably stall. Now to face Rick the Lawyer, make small talk, and sip overpriced coffee. Maybe he’ll surprise me. With the fresh reminder of Phil’s opinion of me, maybe it’ll be good to swim in the dating pool again. Live a little.

I dodge the sidewalk amblers and push through the door of the Mocha Cabana exactly one minute early. The rich scent of coffee and sweet pastries envelops me. Customers of all ages are bunched around the café-style tables. The population has definitely skewed younger since childhood. When I moved away, the realization that not everyone was seventy-plus years old was an eye-opener.

I do a quick scan—all I have to go on is that he’s my age, he’s got dark hair, and his name is Rick. And he’s a lawyer.

I paste on a smile.

My gaze latches onto the man by the corner window, whose unnervingly masculine face is bisected by the fluctuating shadow of a nodding palm frond outside. The table in front of him is practically Lilliputian, he’s so huge. He’s the only man in the place matching Rick’s description, though, and my heart does a tee-hee dance of its own. And I can tell, in that odd way that happens sometimes, that he knows I’ve arrived and is aware of me viscerally. That he’s watching without watching, because the air between us has that crackly, weighty anticipation that triggers my sixth sense. This guy will have significance in my life, it says.

Combined with a rush of attraction? Not the reaction I want for a lawyer—or for anyone right now.

Shit.

But Lordy, he must work out in his off hours. He’s fit in a way you rarely see outside of movies and comic books. His hair is midnight black, and if it wasn’t just past his ears, I’d totally peg him for active military—but not in the way you might think. He doesn’t have those all-American good looks honed into sharp cheekbones and jaw like you associate with Marines. No. It’s in the posture, the confidence, the strength. He owns—dominates—the space around him.

He has sharp cheekbones, but they’re not part of an overall shiny, do-gooder package. Instead, they’re combined with an olive skin tone, shadowed eyes, and a commanding nose that all adds up to Devastating.

Yipes, this easily-six-foot-two stack of hunky muscle is a lawyer and—I swallow—my blind date.
Pulse stupidly racing and that weighty awareness tingling up my back, I shuffle into line to order my café mocha. Deep breath. Live a little, I remind myself.

Swim in the dating pool? Now I want to splash in it, and I can’t tell if it’s because I want to cause a distraction or revel in the sheer fun.

One thing I do know—this reaction is so not like me.

# # #

***Excerpt Two – In Honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the hero hurling…***

Everything changes in the third quarter. Normally the game is played in thirty-five minute halves, not quarters, but we made a concession to the Irish players from New York who aren’t used to the heat and humidity down here. New players with fresh legs and lungs replenish their ranks. As the quarter wears on, it’s becoming clear—these aren’t just new players, they’re the first string. We’ve been playing against their second string this whole time.

Mark’s already sporting a broken finger, but he’s still playing. However, Romy got sidelined with a pulled hamstring, so we’re playing one down.

At the end of the third quarter, one of their forwards catches a wicked-fast pass. I could hear the smack from here as it hit his palm. He deftly tosses it to his hurley and starts a solo drive down the center of the field. Paolo shoulder charges him, but the forward recovers and nimbly bats it to another of their men. Mark flies off the ground—arms at full stretch—in a diving block but narrowly misses. He lands with an oof and bounces back to his feet. I’m soaking up all of it—the trajectories, the layout—and assimilating it with how they’ve played off each other in previous drives.

I know my teammates—I trust them. And that might give us an edge too, depending on the cohesiveness of their team. With trust, we can take risks. When you don’t have that? You play it safe, only doing what’s expected.

So I’m ready when their forward tries to get past. I twist and block him, but hear and feel a slight pop in my knee. We’re all shoulders and footwork, the scent of fresh churned grass and dirt filling the air, along with the crack of our hurleys meeting, but I use my height and size and steal the sliotar from him. With a decisive thwack, I send it straight down the field out of our territory. Fuck yeah. Winning means squat if you’re not competing against the best. Plus it feels good to take New York by surprise.

I’m feeling great, my muscles are warm and thrumming, and my cardio is handling the sprints on the field. I flex my knee and feel a twinge of pain, but it’s not bothering me much. Nothing to take me out of the game. The whistle blows for the end of the quarter, and we jog to our side of the pitch. It’s hot as Hades in the Florida sun, and we all beeline for the water jugs lined up on a table.

Our setup feels a little Bad News Bears compared to the kind of field and bleachers New York is used to, but I can’t seem to care. I pull off my helmet, sip my water, and dump another cup over my head.
And because I can’t help it, I make my way over to Pepper, even though I must stink with sweat.

“You guys are looking great out there.” She grins at me from where she’s sprawled back on that blue blanket of hers. Our blue blanket, a little known sappy part of me pipes.

Seeing her deliciously laid out below me has me thinking all kinds of thoughts about what we can get up to after the match. “What do you think of the game?”

“It’s hard sometimes to get the hang of what’s going on. Sometimes I’m expecting a hockey move, and then someone does something only allowed in rugby or volleyball. I have no clue who’s winning. So you can score by putting the ball through the goal posts and also into the net?”

“Yeah. Through the posts is a point, and in the net is a goal, which is worth three points.”

“Conor’s scored three goals, and New York one, but I wasn’t paying attention at first to the ones through the posts. Are you winning?”

“Nope. Tied, Galway 1-8 to us, with 3-2. The first number in those scores are the number of goals, the second are the points. We’re only keeping up because Conor is a machine the few times we can get near the net.”

Bonus: On Youtube – Americans watch hurling for the first time –>

 

Some Like It Geek, box set image

About Angela Quarles

Angela Quarles, author photoAngela Quarles is a RWA RITA® award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of time travel and steampunk romance. Library Journal named her steampunk, Steam Me Up, Rawley, Best Self-Published Romance of 2015 and Must Love Chainmail won the 2016 RITA® Award in the paranormal category, the first indie to win in that category. Angela loves history, folklore, and family history and combined it with her active imagination to write stories of romance and adventure.

Connect with Angela Quarles

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Champagne Books – Romance #Facebook Party, 2/25/17

Champagne Books Facebook Party, Feb 25, 2017

Hi Everyone!

You’re cordially invited to “A Champagne Love Affair” Facebook party tomorrow – Saturday, February 25 – sponsored by Champagne Books! Meet and chat with romance authors, including me. Enjoy games, trivia, chitchat, and of course, chances to win free reads and more! I’ll be there at 3 PM Pacific (aka 5 PM CT, 6 PM ET) with my Tranquilli Bloodline vampires.

Haven by Celia Breslin book cover Vampire Code by Celia Breslin book cover Destiny by Celia Breslin book cover

Visit A Champagne Love Affair’s Facebook event page and click “going” to join the party!

See you tomorrow!

xo,

Celia

Love Matters #Facebook Blog Hop 2/14/17 – 2/18/17

Love Matters blog hop graphic, Feb 14 to Feb 18, 2017

Happy Valentine’s Day, Dear Readers!

I have another fun hop for you to enjoy today. This one is on Facebook. Over 70 authors have banded together to bring you fun giveaways at every FB stop! Plus, visit the main event page on FB for author takeovers and more.

Start here:

Celia’s Rafflecopter Giveaway and the Love Matters Grand Prize Giveaway are open until midnight on February 18, 2017. Facebook is not responsible or liable for any aspect of this hop.

Have a wonderful day and happy hopping!

xo,

Celia

Valentine’s Day Blog Hop & #Giveaway 2/12/17 – 2/18/17

Hello Dear Readers and a Happy Valentine’s Week to you!

Valentine's Day blog hop graphic, Feb 12 to Feb 18, 2017

It’s time for another fun blog hop for Valentine’s Day! Over 15 authors have banded together to bring you fun reads and prezzies at every stop, including mine. Plus, be sure to enter our fabulous grand prize giveaway for an Amazon Echo Dot!

In keeping with the hop’s romantic theme, here are three romantic snippets from DIAMOND MOON, UNDER A MATING MOON, and JASMINE MOON, my paranormal romance trilogy within the Black Hills Wolves universe.

New to the Black Hills? It’s a multi-author, shared world created by Decadent Publishing. All books in the series are stand-alone and can be read in any order. Feel free to start here. 🙂

Diamond Moon Book cover Under A Mating Moon Book cover JASMINE MOON BOOK COVER

DIAMOND MOON

…he peppered her skin with slow, gentle kisses. He needed to take this slow. Mustn’t scare his mate.

When she reached out and stroked his hair, she made him the happiest man in all of Los Lobos.

Her breath left her in a sexy rush. “It’s as silky as it looks.” She bit her lip, her brow furrowing as if she hadn’t meant to say those words out loud.

He smiled. “Play away, Moonbeam.”

A shudder rolled through her. […] His control broke. To hell with this.

He burst to his feet. “Don’t move, Moonbeam.”

He strode around the table. She watched him come, hands clutched against her breasts, eyes wide, cheeks flushed a pretty pink.

He shifted her chair so she faced him then knelt before her. His gaze met hers at this level, an intimacy he fucking loved. He gripped her wrists and moved her unresisting hands to rest on his shoulders.

Her fingers curled, nails scraping his skin through his T-shirt, sending jolts of lust to his groin. “Why do you call me that?”

He gripped her knees and inched them apart, pleased when she didn’t object. She felt it, too, he was sure of it, the need for closeness created by the call of their Wolf-mate bond. “Call you what?”

She slid her hands to his biceps. “Moonbeam.”

He pressed in close, closer. “Your skin. Pale as moonlight.” He glided his hands along her outer thighs, over her hips, to circle her waist.

“Oh.” She let out a delightful shudder and stared at him, her parted lips tempting him closer.

A growl escaped his throat. He closed the distance and kissed her.

 

UNDER A MATING MOON

Wow, oh wow—J-Bird could kiss. Like melt her clothes clean off her body, kiss. Lexi moaned and parted her lips for Jake’s sexy, demanding mouth. He slipped his tongue inside, darting everywhere at once, exploring her so thoroughly her knees shook and she sagged in his iron embrace. God, his body was hard, nothing like the skinny kid from her memory. But his scent, that was the same. Musky man and smoky oak, like the white oak trees in the Hoosier National Forest where they used to hang when they were kids. Plus that sweet touch of maple. Delicious.

She let her tongue tangle with his, tasting the mint of his toothpaste mixed with the beer he’d obviously consumed before entering the house. Sparks of pleasure darted down her body all the way to her toes. Her boring ex, Dean, had never made her feel like this.

In fact, no one had ever kissed her like this, as if the zombie apocalypse had descended upon them and this was their last chance at happiness before doom struck them dead and ate their brains. Desperation, need, hunger, deep longing…it was all there in the way his hands clamped her tight to his torso, there in the way his mouth claimed hers, owning it.

 

JASMINE MOON

The passenger door slammed shut. The driver snarled. “Luparell.” He said Evan’s last name like a curse, or a warning.

Shivers shot down Mina’s spine. Evan tightened his hold on her, his energy intensifying. He growled. The sound vibrated through her body, his energy lighting her up like a sparking fuse, damn near pulling a whimper of submission from her. She melted against him, his arms the only thing keeping her from a seat on the snowy ground.

The pickup truck sped off and disappeared in the worsening storm. Mina closed her eyes and let Evan’s warmth and strength soothe her frayed nerves. Were these truck-driving lowlifes the kind of wolves awaiting them in Los Lobos? If so, how on earth could her take-no-prisoners pal Lexi stand living there?

She cleared her too-dry throat. “Well, that was certainly interesting.” Silence greeted her comment. She wiggled in his grasp. “You can let go now.” A feral sound rumbled from his chest, bathing her body in goose bumps. Needy, lusty goosies. “Evan?”

He spun her around. Wild amber eyes gazed down at her, his hands squeezing the heck out of her upper arms. His chest heaved with his rapid breathing. Whoa, he looked so angry and worried and so crazy cute, her core clenched and spasmed with want. “Easy, Wolf Man. We’re okay.”

“The hell we are.” He kissed her.

Valentine's Day blog hop graphic, Feb 12 to Feb 18, 2017

Celia’s Valentine Hop Giveaway

Enjoy the excerpts? Enter my international rafflecopter giveaway for (1) e-book copy (.epub or .mobi) of Diamond Moon, Under A Mating Moon, -or- Jasmine Moon (winner’s choice).

Celia’s Valentine Hop Giveaway Ends 12:00AM PST, Sunday, February 19, 2017. Celia’s e-book giveaway winner chosen by EOD Monday, February 20 via Rafflecopter/random.org, and announced here on the blog by EOD Tuesday, February 21, 2017.

Valentine Hop Grand Prize Giveaway

An Amazon Echo Dot is up for grabs! Visit our Valentine Hop Rafflecopter giveaway page –> .

Keep Hopping!

More posts and prezzies await you from the participating authors! Visit Now! –>

Celia’s Winner

Rafflecopter/random.org has spoken. The winner of an e-book from my published works is: Brandi Dagwan, congrats!

Happy Valentine’s Week!

xoxo,
Celia