In the Spotlight: Sacred by Max Ellendale

Sacred_200x300Some decisions are easy to make, especially when it comes to the well-being of your mate. Even if the decision means ending the life of another…

Just when Shawnee thought her life would finally settle down, an unexpected visit from Vanessa’s family sparks an unraveling of a different sort. The visitors bring news that the Pride is in trouble. Dugan, a weretiger who relentlessly bullies the most vulnerable members, threatens to take over. Shawnee returns with Vanessa to her homeland and, with the help of Xany and an unsuspecting submissive, works to bring down Dugan before he dismembers the Pride. Can Vanessa stand up to her nemesis and restore the Pride to safety? Will she break under the pressure, or can Shawnee protect her mate from the torment? Shawnee quickly learns to draw on the strength of her pack family and with a keen bit of luck, may very well be the key to saving the Pride and her mate.

***

Max grew up just outside of New York City, spending most of her formative years outdoors creating wild ghost hunts with neighborhood kids, setting booby-traps to capture unwitting family members, and building clubhouses on top of ten-foot walls. Max wrote her first story at the age of twelve and titled it Circles of Friendship. Through the years, Max has written several short-stories and poems, all of which met the wrath of the “Not Good Enough” monster and ended in fiery demise.

Max regained her confidence when she began writing scholarly articles and research theses on her first trip through graduate school. It took several years for her to break the habit of the formal writing that marred her creativity. An additional Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing was Max’s biggest support in this. Max writes primarily sci-fi/fantasy, paranormal romance, and Young Adult stories.

Find Max Ellendale on Amazon

For more information visit: www.maxellendale.com

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Excerpt

Chapter One

“Doctor Twofeathers?” The charge nurse called my name as I stood on the desk, reaching for a book on the highest shelf of the medical library.

“Yes?”

“There’s someone here to see you,” she said, her lips pursed in a way that tried to stifle a small smile.

“Is it a walk-in?” I hopped down from the desk and straightened my lab coat. It wasn’t everyday that I got caught climbing for answers. The look on the nurse’s face told me I hadn’t played it off as coolly as I’d hoped.

“You…could say that.” A wry grin lifted the corners of her mouth. “A very handsome walk-in.”

Could it be Mal? A rush of excitement shot through me as the nurse nodded toward the door. I followed her to the nurses’ station by the entrance of Stormhill Hospital Center’s emergency room. I’d worked here for a few weeks, part-time at the request of my pack. Despite the hospital administrator urging me to work full-time, it just wasn’t in my best interest. Ultimately, it was my decision. I knew that spending too much time away wouldn’t be the best approach to strengthening our new bonds. Even though I only spent less than twenty-four hours a week out of the house, it seemed like a lot more. The part-time position afforded me the opportunity to work on building up a private practice at the cabin. This made Vanessa happy and soothed by the fact that my work outside the house was temporary.

Waiting for me by the front desk was my mate, Mal. I tried my best to keep the surprise from my doctorly poker face, but I couldn’t help it, really. He greeted me with a casual hug, then held up the brown paper bag he carried.

“I thought we’d have dinner together tonight. I bribed Beth into telling me when you were taking your break,” he said, shooting a glance at the young brunette receptionist.

“Bribed her with what?” I laughed.

Beth turned in her chair, a cheeky smile plastered across her face. She held out her hands and Mal tossed her a giant wrapped sandwich.

“With food.” A grin spread across his lips, lending light to the stark curve of his jaw. The overwhelming desire to kiss him was hard to suppress.

“Thanks, handsome boyfriend of Doctor T,” Beth’s voice carried on a light chuckle as she set her dinner on the desk.

“She’s the best.” I smiled at Beth before waving at Mal to follow me. “We can eat in my office.”

My office at the hospital was a cozy space tucked into the corner of the first floor. The windows looked out into the parking lot and the trees beyond it. It was the first time that Mal had visited me, and I wanted to show him everything. He looked around at the charts and graphs on the walls, then lifted an eyebrow at the chalkboard someone had used for a game of hangman.

“The residents sometimes share the office,” I explained through a laugh. His expression lightened as I nudged the door closed behind me.

“Is it usually this quiet here?”

“Only after midnight,” I said as he set the bag of food down on the desk. Mal turned around to lean against it and smiled at me. His eyes wandered over me from head to toe.

“What?” I asked and followed his gaze, wondering if some sort of ER goo or hospital stench covered me.

“You really do look like a doctor,” he said, voice laced with surprise as his eyebrows flicked upward.

“I am a doctor.” I laughed and made my way over to wrap my arms around his neck. He gave a light tug to the stethoscope that dangled along my chest then used it to pull me closer.

“You sure are,” he said, and in an instant, his lips pressed to mine.

Relief flooded me as the soothing mate bond thrummed happily between us like an invisible strand connecting our souls. The heat between our bodies was wonderfully unbearable. He let go of the stethoscope, then slipped his hands under my lab coat to rest on my waist.

“How are things at home?” My voice seemed to sigh.

“Vanessa is driving Xany crazy.” He laughed as his fingers stroked along the waistband of my scrubs, igniting the familiar ache of desire in my belly. “When she tries to start a conversation or ask her a question, Vanessa’s responses are just totally weird.”

“Poor Xany.” I couldn’t help grinning at the notion. Vanessa’s responses were peculiar on a regular basis, and during heat time, they were practically unfathomable.

“I think Xany and Ana went to Imogene’s this afternoon to escape for a while. It’s been strange for everyone hanging around a feral weretiger that’s in heat.” His hands came to rest on the small of my back. The heat of him swallowed me whole.

“I don’t usually notice until she completely stops speaking in full sentences.” I shook my head. “Is Mom okay?” I asked, and toyed with the collar of his shirt. I couldn’t bring myself to query any further. My mother had been back in my life for barely a month before I started working again and, I had to admit, I wasn’t putting in my best effort to reconnect with her. What would she think when she discovered all of my secrets?

“She’s the most patient wolf I’ve ever seen.” He smiled.

“I know.” I closed my eyes. His chin pressed against my forehead. “Thank you for coming to see me tonight.”

“My pleasure.” With a grin that seemed malevolent at best, his hands dipped into my pants and cupped my rear. I gave his ponytail a firm tug when his hardness pressed against me.

“Is it?” I smiled. If my werewolf had taught me anything, he’d taught me how to play. And to take the bait.

Casting the Spotlight on Liana Brooks

Liana Brooks  Liana Brooks would like to SCUBA dive Europa (that moon around Jupiter), but with the NASA shuttle program shut down she’s resorted to writing science fiction instead. She likes southern beaches, warm weather, sharks, and striped socks. Her superhero romance series started with Evan Villains Fall in Love and continues with Even Villains Go to the Movies. For those who prefer their romance without a side order of spandex she’s written Prime Sensations (part of the Tales From the SFR Brigades anthology) and Fey Lights.

You can find Liana on the web at www.lianabrooks.com, on Twitter as @LianaBrooks, or on Facebook under the same name.

***

EvenVillansMoviesPRfront_200x300When your mother is America’s Superhero Sweetheart and your daddy’s the Number One Super Villain, you grow up feeling a little conflicted.

Angela Smith has superpowers—nothing that will ever make her comic-book famous—but her ability to psychically sense and manipulate the emotions of people around her has drawn unwanted government attention. Forced to choose between her quiet life as a teacher under constant surveillance or the life of a rogue, she chooses the latter. She plans to hide out in sunny Los Angeles where being a blue-eyed blonde won’t make anyone bat a false eyelash.

Silver screen star by day, superhero by night, Arktos is a triple-threat. He can fly, freeze anything, and see glimpses of the future, all of which he needs to keep the city of Los Angeles safe, but which does nothing for his social life. When a frightening vision of an explosion leads him to rescue a damsel in distress, he finds himself trading Shakespearean insults with a rogue.

Angela knows just how dangerous well-intentioned superheroes can be: one tried to kill her family when she was young. Arktos knows he should hand the rogue over to Company justice; it’s not safe for someone like her to be in the middle of a fight.

But they can’t seem to stay apart. And together, they just might be able to melt all the obstacles standing between true love for a hero and a villain.

Buy: Even Villains Go To The Movies (Heroes and Villains Book 2)

***

Angela tossed the red curls of her wig and parked Luiz’s bike in the alley behind the conference center. She hadn’t put on her Rage getup since arriving in L.A., but tonight the mental screams of terror echoing from the center warranted the kind of investigation that would attract questionable attention.

Tight black jeans, a bright red tank top that matched her hair, and a leather duster that was too heavy for the L.A. heat were a start. She’d added a black domino mask that obscured the shape of her nose and cheekbones when she’d moved to New York, because no one needed to see their favorite school teacher beating down the local thugs. The heart and star pendant around her neck— a little invention of her Daddy’s that would shield her from most things—completed the outfit.

The “most” still worried her some days.

Terror radiated from the building, escalating until the headache tearing into her brain was a living fire. Whatever was happening, she would hit back. Hard.

Checking to make sure the alley was empty, Angela sauntered toward the back door and hoped someone inside had been kind enough to leave it open. More often than not the people hired to cater at these places would stick a rock in the door to keep it from locking every time they slipped out for fresh air.

If not she could always pick the lock. Angela sighed. The whole point of moving away from her sisters was to avoid a life filled with crime and superheroes.

Angela reached for the door and someone hit her. A breeze ruffled her wig and she found herself on her back in the alleyway, staring up at a masked man. No hate tainted the aura around him, nothing that suggested that he was dangerous except that he was bigger than her.

She raised an eyebrow. “Hello?”

The man took a deep breath. “Hi.” He smelled like mint.

“I’m new to the area, so I’m not familiar with the protocol when you’re jumped by a masked man in an alleyway. Is there a secret handshake or something?” she asked, sarcastically.

“I’m here to save your life.”

Angela looked around for signs of danger. The man was the only thing in the alley, and he was cradling her, hand cushioning her head, muscular arms suspending him in a pushup so his body weight wasn’t resting on her.

“Right. What danger am I in, exactly?”

“The door is going to explode and kill you,” he said in a very serious tone.

She lifted her head to peer over his shoulder at the door. It was a mistake. The movement meant gyrating under him in his spandex suit, and she caught a whiff of cologne, soap, and clean sweat. His emotions shifted, becoming tinged with desire and arousal.

Angela cleared her throat and lay back down, trying to put space between herself and her captor. “Mm hmm. Tell you what, let me up and I’ll help you find your doctor. I bet someone is very worried about you missing your medicine.”

Buy: Even Villains Go To The Movies (Heroes and Villains Book 2)

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.

Heroes Who Think They’re Villains

fangsandfloggersmedGuest blog by Saloni Quinby, author of Fangs and Floggers (Weapons of Redemption)

Although I love many different types of characters, my favorites are the redeemed villain and the antihero. There’s nothing more intriguing than a man or woman with a murky past who at some point in their story, manages to do the right thing.

I like characters who do what they must to achieve their objectives, who make tough decisions, not concerned about approval from others. Depending on your point of view, that can make the character a hero or a villain.

The best villains are the ones who, in some twisted way, believe they’re doing the right thing. Deep inside, they recognize that their decisions hurt others and they regret it, but in their mind, they’re sacrificing for the greater good. These characters have the potential to cross over to hero or antihero status.

Even if a villain redeems himself, his past is not erased. He can’t undo the damage he’s done, but he can change his future. He might reconcile with some of his old adversaries, but he’ll always have enemies. His inner struggle is part of what makes him endearing. Without it, he’d be one dimensional and like a hero who’s completely golden, he would be hard to connect with.

Most people have both a good and an evil side. The appeal of villains and antiheroes is their imperfect nature. It makes them easier to relate to, since everyone has made mistakes and there are times when we all have to choose between being an angel or a monster.

In my Weapons of Redemption series, I enjoyed developing the villain, Tarun, and finally giving him the chance to tell his story in the last book in the series. Fangs and Floggers delves into the vampire pirate’s past, showing why he chose his wicked path.

I hope you enjoy the following excerpt from Weapons of Fangs and Floggers (Weapons of Redemption).

How do you feel about villains and antiheroes? Like them or hate them?

Weapons of Redemption 5: Fangs and Floggers by Saloni Quinby

(M/M Erotic Vampire)

It is said that every villain thinks he’s a hero, but what about the hero who thinks he’s a villain? Eventually he becomes what he believes himself to be. Still, he has the soul of a hero and only if he lets it guide him again will he find redemption.

Adrian had written those words in his journal just hours ago, when his lover had been at the threshold of salvation or destruction. Tarun had been whole in body then, but shattered in mind for more centuries than Adrian could fathom. Now his body was in the same state as his mind — seriously damaged but possible to restore.

Adrian had tried to warn him that his blood sons would attempt to destroy him tonight, but Tarun had been determined to welcome them home. It had nearly cost his life.

The van carrying Adrian, Tarun and two of his lover’s minions who were necessary for this escape, sped down the dark country road.

“I don’t know why I’m trusting you,” Dirk, the burly redheaded vampire driving the van called into the back section where Tarun lay on the verge of death, Adrian beside him. Cara, a rare medical doctor who specialized in vampires, worked at saving Tarun’s life.

“Because you know you can,” Adrian replied. “Now shut up and focus on driving.”

“And slow down!” Cara snapped. “Hit another bump like the last one and we’ll probably lose him.”

“Well it won’t take Bryce and the others long to figure out what happened to us. Then we’ll all die. Except Adrian. His damn vampire-killer brother will probably make sure he stays alive.”

“Don’t be so sure,” Adrian said softly. One thing about Shane, he lived by his own code and no one changed his mind once it was set.

Or at least that’s what Adrian had thought. He’d been shocked to learn that Shane had taken a vampire lover — unfortunately Bryce was Tarun’s archenemy. He had been the first to rebel against Tarun. The first to bide his time and turn more of Tarun’s blood children against him.

The problem was, like most vampires as well as most humans, they were completely ignorant of the truth — the hidden truth. Both Shane and Adrian had been born with certain gifts that had enabled them to become great vampire hunters. Both were immune to vampiric mind control, but Adrian had an additional gift — he could read vampires.

Everyone had secrets, some so deep that they even disguised them from themselves. After nearly three thousand years, Tarun had many secrets.

“You need to pull over,” Cara said. “The bullet is very close to his heart. I need everything to be still for me to help him. Adrian, you’ll have to assist me.”

“Where should I pull over?” Dirk demanded.

“Anywhere!” Cara shouted.

The brakes screeched as he pulled off the side of the road, behind a clump of bushes.

Cara released a pent-up breath. Glancing at Adrian, she said, “Ready?”

“I’d better be,” he replied.

As a vampire hunter, Adrian was no stranger to blood and injury. He and Shane had patched each other up countless times over the years. This was different. It was the first time Adrian had ever wanted to save a dying vampire.

Glancing at Tarun’s pale, angular face, he thought about how tumultuous their relationship had been. Tarun had started out as his enemy. The vampire had wanted to slay him, but something drew them together. It wasn’t just sex — although that was amazing. Despite how they appeared to be total opposites, their lives were similar in many ways. They understood each other. Adrian had never felt this way about anyone. Now that he’d found his soul mate, he didn’t want to lose him.

Buy: Fangs and Floggers (Weapons of Redemption)

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Contest

To enter the following contest, you must be 18 or over.

To enter for the chance to win a pdf download of Weapons of Redemption 5: Fangs and Floggers, please leave a comment. A winner will be drawn three days from the day of this original post. Thank you!

About Saloni Quinby

The child of a painter and a psychic dreamer, Saloni Quinby feels spirituality and storytelling go hand-in-hand. She loves the scent of gardenia, the sound of wind chimes and the taste of honey. By listening to what isn’t said, she creates works based on unspoken desires. Saloni prefers blurred gender lines and many varieties of romance. In a world where passion must at times be restrained, she believes erotica is a pleasure to be shared. With her stories she would like to make her fantasies yours and hopes you enjoy the ride. She also writes under the name Kate Hill. Please visit her online at http://www.kate-hill.com, http://www.twitter.com/katehillromance and https://www.facebook.com/kate.hill.92505.

Buy: Fangs and Floggers (Weapons of Redemption)

Review: Romancing the Dead by Tate Halloway

romancing the deadReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Garnet is planning a wedding with a vampire, but when he goes missing, she is left with Sebastian’s half-vampire / all attitude son, Matyas giving her grief and having to explain what happened.

Review: Garnet can’t believe she was going to marry Sebastian Von Traum – yet she’s going to have all she desires even if she has her reservations as she suspects he has a roving eye for other ghouls, I mean girls, and his apparent attraction to Blythe causes her to think that he might not be taking their marriage seriously enough. It’s not easy running her own shop, Mercury Crossing, and covers where Sebastian helps her out – even though none of them gel with him being an undead blood-sucker.

Good bits:

  • Her friend, William’s reference to the 80’s movie Highlander, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore – ’nuff said.
  • Marge lying to Garnet about the Anubis pendant around her neck – bad idea.

Bad bits:

  • None

Summary: I would say this one would be on my keeper shelf as it’s got several good characters in it, it’s funny and I do like reading comedy vampire novels, stories etc. What gripped me about this one was the other characters reaction to Sebastian’s being a vampire, the one-liners and jokes that came out of the dialogue kept me in hysterics. I would like to read a lot more from this writer as I enjoyed this one.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Romancing the Dead (Garnet Lacey)

Review: Warlock Masters by Domingo Rhodes

Warlock Masters by Domingo RhodesReviewed by Sandra Scholes

For a short story collection, this has to be one of the shortest I’ve read in the past few months, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that these are very well-written and extremely erotic. There are four in this anthology:

  • Alias Love
  • Big Puerto Rican Brazillian German Cock Summer
  • Beautiful Sadist
  • I’d like Me Some-a That

As you can see, the titles aren’t that imaginative apart from Alias Love and Beautiful Sadist, I suppose. And if you had randomly picked this book off a shelf, with the title of Warlock Masters staring you in the face, you would think of some fantasy stories – oh, wait a second – it is fantasy.

Good points:

  • There is a honesty to Domingo Rhodes’s work, and it’s in his characters and the feel of the stories.
  • They are well written and not just erotica; they are erotica with real stories attached to them.
  • The writing is fresh and comes with some excellent dialect!

Bad points:

  • The story titles aren’t that imaginative.

Alias Love: The hero of this story is in love with a girl called Valerie and a guy called Valmon at college, and confessing his love didn’t go down too well with Valerie, as she didn’t talk to him again, but Valmon did later, even though he wasn’t comfortable with his confession. He is an incubite-succubite warlock of the left hand path (try saying that after a few daiquiris) and this particular story is about his life and how unhappy he is with it. He tells the tale of how he got to become the way he is now, and it’s an explosive world of drugs, sex and death – enjoy!

Big Puerto Rican Brazilian German Cock Summer: Two guys are enjoying their own company in this one, a Brazilian and a German. He keeps referring to him as “bottom boy,” but likes the heat of this fun union. Both men sound sexy and hot.

Beautiful Sadist: Ciro doesn’t know the truth of who his lover is, only that he is a ravening male always after his body daily. He wonders what he would do if he found out he was a goat-man, a satyr from a whole tribe of them – well readers get to find out if they read it. This, like the second one gets straight to the sex, but it’s a good thing as this is one of the hotter stories in the book.

I’d like Me Some-a That: Tatum and Caine get up to no good at Chuck’s apartment, but that’s half the fun of this story where Caine learns what discipline is in the realm of BDSM. There is some fun character interaction in here, and it’s just as good as the rest.

Review: These stories are all about dominance and submission in all kinds of different ways, and every one of the stories is very readable, and intoxicating, which is just what you want when you curl up in bed with a book like this. It is recommended for all fans of gay male erotica and one that can be read again and again, at least in my humble opinion.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Warlock Masters

Fire and Romance

ShadowFlesh 453x680Guest Blog by Shawn Martin, author of Shadowflesh

Nearly eighteen years ago, I faced a crossroads in my life: March my way into law school and settle for a relatively peaceful and prosperous life. Or slap on a helmet and suspenders to become a firefighter and live life literally by the seat of my pants. Having not yet built up the confidence to become a serious writer, but having all the impulses of someone who finds fiction more appealing than reality, I opted to become one of those smoke-eating dudes who rides around on a big red truck.

As the years went by and my confidence as a writer grew, I discovered that I was a hopeless romantic. Well in all honesty, my beloved wife brought this to my attention during an amorous wrestling match when she had me pinned. “Admit it,” she said. “You love Audrey Hepburn movies, sad endings make you mist up, and you’re always reading my romance novels.”

All true. And yes, I tried on her romance novels and found they fit. Thank God I wasn’t the type of guy who tried on her clothes, too. This coed Greco-Roman style epiphany sparked my passion to write stories where love – whether won, lost, forgotten, or betrayed – became the focal point. And I’ve been hooked ever since.

So, writing romance and fighting fire, two totally unrelated occupations, became my life. The two seemed to have nothing in common, except me. But as time went by, I realized how wrong I truly was. Writing romance and fighting fire have a lot in common, and it isn’t just the heat.

When I respond to an emergency, I am invited into what may often be one of the most memorable days of someone’s life. A person’s world has come falling down around them. Fate has wrecked their car, destroyed their home, or dared to take a loved one from their arms. The end seems near for the helpless and hopeless, and they look in desperation to me to set things right. All I can do is my best, which sadly is often not enough.

Those heart-wrenching experiences come back to me as a writer. Not just the memory of sadness and pain, but the feeling that a group of characters who have found themselves in despair have looked to me for guidance, for a way out of their nightmares. As a firefighter, I employ every ounce of energy and imagination to bring peace to the tormented. As a writer, I do the same exact thing. I pour myself into my stories, holding my character by her hand and taking her through the adventure. That’s how Aileen makes it through Shadowflesh.

At this point in my life, I have found that writing and fighting fire create a synergy for me. Each endeavor makes me better at the other, which I hope is a good thing. I have several years ahead of me with a pen in one hand and an ax in the other.

Buy: Shadowflesh

The Werecougar: A Complex Hero

BrokenPromiseFINAL2Guest Blog by Tara Fox Hall, author of Broken Promise.

A huge thank you to Love Romance Passion Bloggers for having me here today!

I’m here today to promote Broken Promise, the second book in the paranormal romance Promise Me series. First, let me give a little background on the complex hero of the second book, the werecougar Theo O’Connor.

Theo is a thirty something bodyguard who had already known loss in his early twenties, when the attack that turned him also killed his parents (“Heart’s Belles,” from the Bedtime Shadows Anthology). In the ten years since then, Theo has become best friend and partner of the vampire Danial Racklan, owner of the corporate detective business Solutions, Inc. (“Partners,” from the Midnight Thirsts 2 Anthology). Theo is secure from those that would hunt him, changing to animal form only on the grounds of Danial’s sprawling estate. While he enjoys regular trysts with a fellow werelion Tawny on his business trips to Europe guarding Danial, Theo has not had a real relationship since his art college days, and is isolated from all others of his kind (he killed the man that turned him, and caused the death of his family). He is afraid to; afraid of the animal inside, which he has never really made peace with. In fact, Theo has taken drugs regularly to subdue his werecougar urges, and keep the animal inside him leashed. Everything is going completely under his control until a stormy fall night, when Danial is attacked while out alone on a job.

When Danial falls in love with the Sarelle in Promise Me, Theo is positive it will end badly for the vampire and human couple. In fact, he goes so far as to tell Danial that verbatim in Sarelle’s presence, then further warns Sar several times out of Danial’s hearing. But when Danial and Sar become Oathed at the end of Promise Me—a sort of marriage for vampires and their lovers—Theo reluctantly gives his blessing, hoping for the best. Secretly he has come to love Sar himself in the months he has known her, but knows that she doesn’t love him in return.

I looked down at Jake’s corpse, remembering how quick he’d been. What might have happened to me if Theo hadn’t shown up when he had?

“You’re trembling,” he said. He put his arm around me, patting me awkwardly. “Don’t be afraid; they’re dead.”

I hadn’t had a gun. If Jake had finished Theo, I’d have been helpless. My shaking intensified. I hugged Theo hard with both arms, trying not to cry.

His arms tightened around me. “Hey, I’m sorry for saying what I did—”

“I’m okay,” I said shakily into his throat. “It’s just adrenaline.”

“Shh,” he said gently. “I’m right here. No one’s going to hurt you. Just breathe.”

I held him until my breathing went back to normal. The solidness of him was comforting. Safe. I felt safe.

“We should go back,” he whispered. “You must be cold.”

I smiled, ready to say that he was holding me way too close for me to be cold. But when I looked up and met his concerned storm-cloud blue eyes, my throat was so dry I couldn’t talk. I moved back, feeling awkward. “Yes, we should get back. Danial will be home soon.”

He nodded. “Please don’t mention this to him.”

I gave him an incredulous look. “You want me to lie?”

He cleared his throat, embarrassed. “I meant don’t say anything tonight. I’ll tell him later. But I don’t want to ruin the first night of your honeymoon. He’s waited a long time to love someone.”

“He told you.”

“Of course, he told me. He’s my friend and he’s ecstatic.”

“Won’t Ivan say something?”

“And risk being fired for watching porn when he was supposed to be standing guard? Not likely.” He reholstered his gun. “And as fights go, this was just a scuffle.”

I looked at him, then away. “Okay.”

“If you’d have stayed indoors, I’d have taken care of them with no problem.”

“Sure you would have.”

In the opening chapter of Broken Promise, a dark design of Danial’s comes to light, causing Sar to leave him for a separation. After his attempts to get her back in the next week fail, an angry Danial dissolves their relationship. Resolute in her choice but still hopeful for an eventual reconciliation, Sar takes the next few months to decide what she wants. When a shared dream in Broken Promise reveals that Theo’s concern for Sar was rooted in his own love for her and that he has fought his feelings for her all along, Sar contacts Theo and they begin a love affair. But the worst difficulty before the couple is not facing the wrath of Danial or the other obstacles facing them…it is Theo facing up to what he is.

A terrible thought suddenly struck me. “Theo, when Cia was here and she changed for me, she knew who I was and understood my words. Will you know me, understand me?”

“Probably not, Sar. I don’t want you near me when I change. I could hurt you, even think you were prey.” Theo looked away, unwilling to meet my eyes.

“Why is it that she has control and you don’t?” I asked bluntly

“Because she changes every week at least once, sometimes every night,” he said in exasperation. “She doesn’t take the drug, never has. None of the foxes do. The drug separates the human and animal, putting a wall between them, so it’s harder for the animal and human to communicate.”

The drug made it harder for the animal to get through to influence the human. The flip side was it also made it harder for the human to control the animal and its urges, when the animal finally assumed control.

“Why would you do that to yourself, Theo?” I asked. “Why cut yourself off—”

“Because I hate it, Sar! I hate it! I never asked to be this way!” he shouted. “Do you know how it feels, waking up with blood on you, naked in the forest? How it feels knowing that you have to do it again and again for the rest of your life?” His eyes flickered from blue to yellow, and then changed back to blue.

Happily, Sar is a woman more than up for the challenge when it involves a man she is also falling for.

Theo lay down next to me, and began to speak.

“Sar, I apologize again for attacking you. I shouldn’t have to change for a few more months. By then, Danial will have worked this out in his mind, and—”

I spoke quickly, before I could change my mind. This was going to be our first fight and maybe our last. “Theo, you are going to change tonight, too.”

“Sar, I don’t have to—” he began.

“You need to, and you do have to, Theo,” I said firmly. “We need to do it every night until you have the control you need, until you can recognize me when you’re a cougar. I can’t live with you here without you being in control of your animal side. You might hurt me, or my pets. I can’t risk either one.”

“I won’t, Sar, I promise. The drugs give me control over my animal side—”

“No, they don’t. They never did, Theo. They’re keeping you from having control, real control.”

“Sar, please, don’t ask me to—”

“Stop taking the drugs, Theo. You tell the truth to everyone but yourself. This is who you are, what you are.”

“It’s not who I want to be,” he whispered.

“It is that sentimentality that almost killed me last night, Theo,” I said gently, if those words could be gentle. “You need to stop hiding and be who you are.”

“You saw last night what I was capable of. What kind of man does that?” he said bitterly.

“The kind of man I’m falling in love with,” I said to him, a faint smile on my lips. “The kind of man who doesn’t lie to himself or anyone else.”

The look in his eyes when he understood my words suffused me with feeling for him. Seeing him look at me like that, I wondered how it could’ve taken me so long to say them to him.

He pulled me into his arms and kissed me, tears again on his face. “I’ll do it, Sar. I’ll do it. For you, for us, I’ll do it.”

Blurb from Broken Promise:

Shocked at Danial’s betrayal, Sarelle returns to her old home to consider her options. Yet even as Sar plans a reconciliation with Danial, Terian arrives, confessing his desire. When Theo witnesses Terian and Sar kiss, he angrily confronts Sar, leading to startling consequences. Will Sar’s heart choose Danial, Terian,…or Theo?

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For info on my recently published books Lash and Promise Me, click here: http://www.amazon.com/Lash-ebook/dp/B007UJ6KGC and here http://www.amazon.com/Promise-Me-ebook/dp/B0086G4GDC