Excerpt: Haunted by the Past by Pelaam

HauntedbythePast_200x300Blurb: Jared didn’t believe in ghosts or love, until he moved into his new house and found both.

Finding a house that suits him, Jared makes the move to reclaim his independence. However, he doesn’t expect to find himself both attracted to and concerned for the almost-reclusive gardener, Evander.

Jared believes Evander is hiding an eating disorder. But the appearance of old photographs and love letters in the house cause him to wonder about the stoic man. As their friendship becomes more, he wants to help and uncover the secrets he knows Evander is hiding. Each of them are haunted by something, and it’s not the house.

When a ghost from Jared’s past appears, they must fight for their own happiness, even if it means exposing themselves and the truth.

Buy: Haunted by the Past

Excerpt:

A couple of hours later, Jared returned. Hands on his hips, he glared at the thick, muddy mess on his boots. No matter, the hose is right there. I’ll switch on the tap, rinse the worst of the mess off, and carry them into the house to clean properly. Blindly, Jared reached around the corner with one hand as he crouched down to snag a hold of the hose with the other.

With a surprised grunt, he fell back onto his butt. His hand hadn’t come into contact with cold metal but cool flesh. He stared up at the man who stepped into view. His dark hair was pulled back into a pony tail, and from this angle the man looked like he towered over six feet.

For someone who worked outdoors, his skin was remarkably fair, and the expanse of pale, smooth skin temporarily robbed Jared of his wits. His eyes seemed determined to focus on either caramel colored nipples or the ‘v’ lines disappearing into well-worn denim. The man stared down at him, and Jared wondered what kind of impression he was making sitting open-mouthed in a mud puddle.

“I…you startled me.” Great opening line. Real smooth, Jared.

“I was about to clean the equipment. You were out.”

The stranger’s voice was soft, his expression morose, and he tilted his head as if Jared’s appearance was a shock to him too. His eyes were a shade of gray Jared had never seen before, and they reflected concern and intelligence.

“Ah, yes, I did go out, but I wandered off the track, got stuck in mud, and since my boots were covered in the stuff, I decided to come back. When I saw the hose, I thought I’d rinse them off before going back into the house.”

“Oh. Well. I can wait if you want.”

Jared blinked. That’s it? He isn’t even going to help me?  “Um, could you help me up?” Considering he’d spent the best part of the last six months not wanting anyone to look twice at him, he couldn’t understand why it was suddenly so important that this man did.

“I guess so.” The man held out his hand and pulled Jared upright with an ease his slender frame belied.

Now standing up, the difference in their height diminished rapidly. In fact, they stood almost shoulder to shoulder, the stranger was maybe an inch or so taller than Jared’s modest five foot ten inches. “I’m Jared, the new tenant here. Obviously, you’re the gardener, but I wasn’t told your name.”

“Evander. My name’s Evander.”

Neither man released the hand of the other. Jared wasn’t sure he wanted to be the first to let go, but Evander seemed to realize he still held Jared’s hand and released him. He took a couple of steps back.

“I have other things to do. You can use the hose.”

Buy: Haunted by the Past

Pelaam lives in clean, green New Zealand. She is a multi-published author of gay male romance and erotica across time and space. When not writing, she indulges in her other passions of cookery and wine appreciation. She can be found on Facebook, and a full list of her published works are on Lazy Beagle Entertainment.

Get into Bed with Molly Harper (Author Interview)

Molly WhiteLynn Reynolds: Was it hard to make the switch from werewolf to haunted house in Better Homes and Hauntings?

Molly Harper: Not really.  I have always been fascinated by hauntings.  I was that weird little kid who checked out the non-fiction paranormal books out of the elementary school library so many times that my mom got a concerned note from the librarian. And I watched an inordinate amount of Scooby-Doo as a child. I remember being disappointed that the Velma couldn’t just once say, “Jenkies, Fred, I’m pretty sure this creepy abandoned candy fact really is haunted by a gumdrop ghost.”  But, then again, I was often disappointed by the “true” ghost stories I read or watched, because the ghost’s backstory wasn’t scary enough for me. I’d been tinkering with the idea of “the biggest and best” haunted house story I could tell for a while now.  I hope that the readers enjoy it.

Lynn: Which do you like writing better the paranormal or the contemporary?

Molly: I have a bit more fun with the paranormal, because giving these big bad supernatural creatures very human foibles is hilarious. But every once in a while, I really like working with characters who can go out during the day and eat normally. (With all due respect to my werewolf characters.)

Lynn: Has your husband ever played a part in more than one of your books?

Molly: My husband, David, is a six-foot-four, manly-man police captain and he takes a lot of teasing over what his wife does for a living. He hears, “Oooh, does your wife base all of her heroes on you? Hahaha!”  And he will be the first one to tell you, “Yep, it’s all right here.”

And to be honest, yeah, it is. We’ve been together since my freshman year of high school, so naturally, he has a lot of influence of how I think about men and how they should interact with women. His ability to tease me back into a good mood and his tendency to be a wee bit overprotective is in Gabriel Nightengale.  His occasional wildly inappropriate humor is in Dick Cheney. His gruff, morning person persona is the basis for Cooper Graham’s surliness.  And his weird on-the-job stories made their way into And One Last Thing …… for Monroe, who is a retired police officer. (David usually asks me to tell people that unlike Monroe, he has never been shot in the butt.)

Lynn: Is there an author that you love to follow?  What draws your attention to a book?

Molly: I fangirl all over people at conferences.  It’s embarrassing, but I’m a reader, just like everybody else. I met Teresa Medeiros at SOKY Book Fest a few years ago and I thought I was going to faint, because her books were the first romances I was “allowed” to read.  (I’d been sneaking paperbacks out of my mom’s romance hoard for a while.) But I also love Nora Roberts, Alice Clayton, Nicole Peeler, Christina Lauren, Rachel Caine, and a bunch of others.

Lynn: Why did you choose the New England coast for your latest book?

Molly: I usually stick with a Southern setting for my books, but I started reading about Newport and the Gilded Era mansions – the Vanderbilts, the Astors, etc. And I knew it was a perfect setting for a ghost story.  Everything was so beautiful and glamorous but with an ugly underbelly. People had secrets upon secrets, and unresolved business leads to ghosts aplenty.

Lynn: Have you ever stayed in a haunted house?

Molly: Not on purpose!  But while I was attending Western Kentucky University, I did live in a dorm that was supposed to be haunted by the spirit of the woman it was named for – Mattie McLean. The rumor was that she was very protective of “her girls.” If we were being mistreated by a man, Ms. McLean was supposed to find a way to make the man leave, by making him ill or just too uncomfortable to stay. She also supposedly wandered the halls at night, locking our bedroom doors if we forgot to do it before going to bed. I never saw anything, beyond the typical creeped out feelings in the basement laundry room, but it was a basement laundry room, so that was pretty natural.  And one morning, I woke up to find the blankets I KNEW I’d kicked off during the night tucked around and under my body, but I still think my roommate did it… even though she was similarly tucked in and under her blankets and would have had a really hard time doing that by herself…. Nevermind.

Lynn: Have you ever listened to one of your own audible books?

Molly: I always listen to the audio books!  Amanda Ronconi does such an amazing job.  Her voice makes the story new for me all over again.

Lynn: Can you give the readers a hint as to what you have in store for them next?

Molly: If you enjoy audiobooks, Better Homes and Hauntings will be released by Audible on the same day that it is released in print and ebook.

Also, my Half-Moon Hollow Christmas short story, I’m Dreaming of an Undead Christmas, will be available in ebook on November 3, 2014.

And third book in the Bluegrass contemporary series, Snow Falling on Bluegrass, will be released on September 22.

I will be writing several new Half-Moon Hollow spin-offs and hope to have some other announcements soon!

better homes and hauntingsBook Blurb:

When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance

Buy: Better Homes and Hauntings

Review: Great Escapes: Valentine’s Day by Linda Wisdom and Lynda K. Scott

Great Escapes Valentines DayReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Personalized Erotica Series

This is a new type of download that will have you going back for more. It’s a story that you can personalize and there are so many choices on how to change the characters or how explicit you want the text to be. You want to make sure that you pay attention to their directions. And once you get comfortable, start playing around with your preferences.

Great Escapes: Valentine’s Day is a story that you can go back and change how the male character looks, his age, what actor/actress you want him/her to be like, and how kinky you want the story to be. I have never read an interactive story before and I am very thankful to Coliloquy for giving me the chance. The first time I read this, I did it with “no customization” just so I could get a feel for how the story reads.

Rose Chambers is in a suite at a Bed and Breakfast. Her fiancé broke off their engagement just before Christmas. It’s the same old story – what meant more to Rose, her job or their relationship. As she’s getting things put away, she sees a man in the mirror – or does she? As you change the male character some of the interactions between Rose and the male character will also change.

Clay Walker is going to the same Bed and Breakfast with his girlfriend. Just like Rose, he ends up going there alone. Clay has a similar interaction that Rose does. But some things change as you change the female character.

If you like short romances, you will want to add this to your collection. But what makes Great Escapes so much different from other books that you have purchased is the fact that depending on your mood, you have control over how the book can change – I love the concept. At the end, the publisher wants your feedback. Make sure to stop over and be honest. I have to tell you that this is my first review where I gave the book a 5 star rating – it’s that good.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Great Escapes: Valentine’s Day

Review: A Demon Does it Better by Linda Wisdom

Reviewed by Sharon S.

This is the second book in Wisdom’s Demon series and the first of hers I have read. The author has set up an open world for her story. The magical community isn’t hidden from the “mundanes” but they don’t really mix. There is an alternate dimension called Inlander’s Magical Plane where magical folk can live and shop.

Lili is a healing witch (doctor) that is searching for her best friend who has mysteriously disappeared while working at Crying Souls, a hospital for magical folk in San Francisco. She gets herself a job there to secretly investigate Sera’s and many others disappearance. What she finds is the disturbing treatment secretly taking place in the basement on the insane. One such patient is Jared, a smoke demon who is thought to be beyond help. Lili and Jared team up to uncover what is really going on down there.

I had a hard time finishing this book. It just didn’t hold my attention. The main and secondary characters didn’t have a lot of depth so I never felt invested in them. The author also wasn’t able to make me believe in the world she created. I didn’t feel the chemistry between the Lili and Jared. The deep connection between them seemed to come out of nowhere.

Lili has a talking cat, the reincarnation of Cleopatra who is supposed to be a source of humor, but the snarky cat’s comments seemed forced. The plot was straight forward and predictable. No surprises or twists. There were some secondary characters whose appearances didn’t do anything to move the story forward, just show what a nice people Lili and Jared are. They felt like story filler to me.

Based on other reviews of this book, I am pretty much alone in my opinion about this story <G>. Sometimes an author’s voice just calls to you and sometimes they don’t. This seems to be the case with me. I won’t stay away from this author’s other series, just this one.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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Review: A Taste of Temptation by Amelia Grey

bookreview

Amelia Grey spins a sweet love story of ghosts, trapped marriages, thievery, and near misses. A Taste of Temptation is a pretty quick read. The book is wonderful to sit down with and read on a rainy afternoon, which is exactly how I read it.

Andrew Terwillger, Lord Dugdale, is the last of the Terrible Threesome. A confirmed bachelor, he doesn’t understand how his friends can be happy with their wives and marriages. All he sees is that they’re different. They no longer like to drink, gamble, and enjoy women like they used to and he vows no female will leg shackle him.

Olivia Banning is a kind girl who wants the best for her Aunt Agatha. Which is why she’s most concerned when Agatha tells her that Lord Pinkwater’s ghost is calling to her from the grave. Drawn to London on a ghost hunt, Olivia is worried her Aunt is out of her mind and that the ton will find out.

An urn falls at the Dugdale Ball, nearly missing Lord Dugdale. Agatha, convinced that this is the sign of Lord Pinkwater’s ghost presence is determined to set off and search the house. Olivia quickly nixes the idea and offers to go instead as she is not concerned at all with her reputation amongst the ton. Olivia is certain after the season she will be back in the country and marrying a nice non-aristocrat male, Mr. Yost.

However, in her search of the house she is caught by Lord Dugdale, no less. Worse, he’s caught her in his room sniffing his soap. He thinks she’s a thief and when she tells him of Lord Pinkwater’s ghost, he thinks she is crazy. But heaven help him if he wasn’t attracted to her and steals a kiss. Only to find four society women entering the room moments later and catching them!

Andrew is appalled, and forced to marry Olivia, but he will never love the conniving, title seeking, marriage trapping chit he now calls his wife. He’s determined to keep his life like it was in his bachelor days. Can Olivia melt his hostile exterior? Will Andrew let himself be swayed and give up the ghost?

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Buy: A Taste of Temptation

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Review: Too Hot to Handle by Robin Kaye

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Robin Kaye’s second book, Too Hot to Handle is witty and enchanting. Too Hot to Handle is the sequel to Romeo, Romeo. It follows Rosalie Ronaldi’s sister, Annabelle, on her tumultuous journey into love. Luckily for her, she has a sturdy cast of lively friends and a dog there to help her figure it all out. Her journey starts with this humorous first line: Ghosts don’t have sex, do they?

Of course the answer is no, but the distressingly dashing Doctor Mike Flynn looks almost exactly like her late boyfriend Chip Larsen. They could have been twins. Sure, his mouth is a little different, his nose broken and healed could have once been Chip’s nose, his eyes the same shape if different colors and his package is certainly better equipped… but other than that the similarities are shocking.

Annabelle’s past with Chip was rocky at best. Chip was not a very good boyfriend, even his sister thought so, but Annabelle never got the chance to really figure that out on her own. When the cancer came back, Chip refused to go through chemo again despite Annabelle’s and his family’s begging. Despite the heaviness of the emotional issues, this is still a romantic comedy.

Mike Flynn is working at a dead-end practice. His research though thorough wasn’t enough to prepare him for the realities. He’s going to be blackballed for bringing notice to a sloppy ill-informed partner. His only shot is to get out before it becomes common knowledge about his disagreements. Meanwhile his love life is pitiful, he’s tired of seeing the girls that Nick has let go, he wants a girl of his own and believes he struck gold with Annabelle who he met at her sister’s/his best friend’s wedding.

Mike’s background and Annabelle’s history will do their best to keep them apart. Life is messy, but with the help of a domestic god and busybody friends, family, and neighbors can it be cleaned up?

Rating: 3.5 – 4 Stars

Buy: Too Hot to Handle

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Review: The Demon Hunters (Book #2 Whisperings series) by Linda Welch

by Sharon S., guest reviewer

I love Linda Welch’s voice. I enjoy seeing through Tiff Banks eyes (especially when she is looking at Royal <G>). Yeah, I have a thing for this demon (he is actually Gelpha) Tiff and Royal start their own detective agency and their relationship is moving along nicely in spite of Tiff’s trust issues. We meet a new race of beings called “Dark Cousins”. They have a lot in common with Royal’s people, but the Gelpha are terrified of them. We learn a little about them in this book, but I think we will be seeing them again in future books.

Royal and Tiff have to help them find who is killing Gelpha and Dark Cousins. The investigation takes many dark turns Tiff begins to wonder if she can trust Royal.

There was a secondary story going on that I found just as interesting as the murder mystery. Someone secretly sent Tiff the diary of Elizabeth Hulme. A 15 year old on an expedition of Burma in 1887. I was just as riveted by the diary as Tiff was. Tiff has to figure out how the diary relates to their current investigation and the origins of the Dark Cousins.

Great writing, interesting mystery, romance and quirky ghosts. Can’t wait to read the third book in the series Dead Demon Walking.

Why I love Tiff so much:

I felt like making a childish face, along with childish remarks about snooty stuck-up bitches, but I didn’t. I’m all grown up and I don’t do things like that anymore. Wished I could, though.

Whisperings Series:

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Demon Hunters

Review: Along Came a Demon by Linda Welch

by Sharon S., guest reviewer

Along Came a Demon is book one of the Whisperings Paranormal Mystery Series.

Need I mention he’s handsome? He’s one of those men to whom every woman’s eyes are drawn when he walks into the room, and they see him as a human male. I see him as he is.  His copper and gold streaked hair reaches his shoulder blades when unbound, and when he’s excited it swirls and emits sparks, as if full of electricity. His eyes are deep copper-brown, like new pennies, and glint when he moves. He has a demon’s angular face and high cheekbones, his skin the palest copper, like a nice tan.

(I actually lifted this quote from The Demon Hunters (Whisperings Paranormal Mystery 2, but it describes Royal so well)

As if this isn’t enough to make you salivate, he *cooks! Royal, you take my breath away <G>. If you need more convincing then read on….

Along Came a Demon was initially released as a novella last year for $.99 cents. It knocked my socks off. Why? I love the voice of Tiff Banks (our heroine). The story is told in first person POV, for those of you that care. Tiff thinks like I do. I love her no nonsense approach and dry humor. Linda Welch’s descriptive writing makes me feel like I am in the story, and makes me hungry. She tends to describe food, a lot <G>.

Recently Welch reworked this story into a full novel (still $.99 by the way). The first edition moved quickly and was action packed, since it was so short. The novel adds more character development and world building elements. It does slow down the action, but for those who enjoy a well told story it is a nice addition.

There are snarky ghosts, a surprising twist, a kick-ass mystery, smexiness, an evil Scottish terrier and sword fights!

I am going to reread the second in the series, The Demon Hunters and then read the latest in the Whispering series Dead Demon Walking. Stay tuned for those reviews…

I love the opening for this book:

“There’s a naked woman in the garden,” Jack said.

“Ung” I mumbled, which was about as coherent as I got at seven in the morning. I glanced out the diamond-paned kitchen window. Yep. Naked woman standing on the grass. I didn’t recognize her.

Rating: ★★★★☆ smexy demon stars! (he can cook people!)

Buy: Along Came a Demon