Massive Giveaway-Small Town Romances

October 10, 2016

Hi Musetrackers!

I am participating in a fantastic giveaway timed just right for fall weather! I know you love to read and here’s your chance to win over 60 books and a Kindle Fire. My Book, Echoes of the Heart, will be there as will novels by authors such as Jean Brashear, Ciara Knight, and Cait London!

What could be better? This will only be open for a few days and then it will go “poof” into the night.

http://bit.ly/small-town-rom

Echoes of the Heart

 

 


Link of the Weekend – Goodreads Giveaway

January 9, 2016

Here’s a bit of shameless promo for your weekend. I’m giving away a paperback of DEAD MAN’S KISS. Enter for your chance to win. It’s easy!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dead Man's Kiss by Jennifer Bray-Weber

Dead Man's Kiss

by Jennifer Bray-Weber

Giveaway ends January 21, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/widget/168447


Saturday Jan. 18th is pitch day!

January 17, 2014

Hope everyone is ready!

I’ll post the word GO around 10:00 A.M. EST. Make sure you wait until you see the word go. Anything before that gets deleted.

Alycia Tornetta with Entangled Publishing is our guest editor, and she was awesome enough to send over a list of what she’s looking for!

Here’s what she had to say:

I acquire for a variety of lines at Entangled, but here’s what I’m specifically looking for:
-Bliss: Small town category romance featuring every-day heroes. These are fun, flirty romances (think Hart of Dixie/Gilmore Girls/Sweet Home Alabama). Would love more cowboys, multicultural characters, and men in uniform.
-Strong contemporary single-title romance (80k+). Like Cindi Madsen’s Cinderella Screwed Me Over or Jennifer Crusie’s Bet Me.
-YA:-Contemporary (like Stephanie Perkins, Jennifer Echols, or Rainbow Rowell) and thriller/mystery–could be heists, film noir-like mystery, psychological suspense, etc. Must have a strong romantic element.
-Anything that combines genres in a unique and clever way. Think Holly Black’s Curse Worker series, Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, or Renee Collins’ Relic.
-Angsty, sexy, addictive NA or adult romance. Give me anti-heroes, bad boys, MMA fighters, etc. Bonus points for revenge or blackmail plots.
-Male/Male. For adult romance, YA, NA, or novellas. Any heat level. I’m a big fan of Josh Lanyon, K.A. Mitchell, Kelley York, David Levithan.

Good luck to everyone!

On another note, I just found out that RT Book Reviews is giving away FIVE digital copies of my novel, PRIMITIVE NIGHTS!

Here’s the link to enter: http://www.rtbookreviews.com/rt-daily-blog/friday-free-all-candi-walls-primitive-nights

It recieved a 41/2 Star review and a Top Pick at RT Book Reviews.

~Candi


Pitch Day at Musetracks is Sept 21st and we welcome Jill Marsal!

September 20, 2013

STOP!

As much as I hate to stop before I have 30 viable pitches (27 viable pitches so far)… I needs sleep.

I’ll post the pitches that made it through in the morning! Good luck!

Welcome to another pitch session at Musetracks.

We have the awesome Jill Marsal with Marsal Lyon Literary Agency as our guest agent. You can find out more about her HERE.

Remember to wait for the word GO to be updated in big green letters (at 10:00 AM EST) at the top of this post BEFORE you send your pitch in to me @ candi_agent_shop (at) yahoo (dot) com. I’m posting this tonight, because I have to work tomorrow, and will have little time to update the blog in the morning.

For now, please welcome two of Jill’s authors with their new or soon-to-be released novels…

AUTUMN IN THE VINEYARD by Marina Adair

adair- Autumn at the Vineyard

Blurb:
Frankie Baudouin has a hundred reasons not to trust Nate DeLuca. First, he’s a DeLuca. Second, he kissed her—in front of the entire town—and then never called. Oh, and he’s after her land. Sorrento Ranch is Frankie’s last chance to prove to her family—and to herself—that she has what it takes to be an award-winning winemaker. And she will stop at nothing to ensure her success—even if it means playing nice with the starched, sophisticated, and oh-so-sexy Italian.

For Nate, Sorrento Ranch is more than just soil and grape vines; it was his father’s dream—a dream Nate is determined to make a reality. So when he finds himself forced to cohabitate with a hot-headed, irrational, and incredibly gorgeous Baudouin, Nate is surprised to discover that chaos could be so much fun—especially when she sleeps in nothing but lace.

Excerpt

It had taken three years, some tricky negotiating, her entire life savings, and a lot of ball busting—but Francesca Baudouin was finally a vineyard owner. Well, she was the owner of ten acres of prime St. Helena appellation soil, which would take another five years of sweat and, quite possibly, selling off a few of her vital organs before it fully became a quality producing vineyard.

But Sorrento Ranch, the most sought after property in the valley, and all of its belongings, was hers. She bought it right out from under the DeLucas’ noses. In part because the owner, Mrs. Sorrento, had played darts with Frankie and Frankie’s great aunt every Friday night for the past fifteen years, so her loyalties were clear, but mostly because Mrs. Sorrento knew that selling the land to either family involved in the great DeLuca-Baudouin feud would piss off her ex-husband.

“One more inch and I’ll shoot,” Frankie said to the alpaca in front of her, a four-legged garbage disposal whose mouth was currently wrapped around the plastic casing of the water tank. She stomped her ball-busting, steeled-toed combat boot in his direction for added emphasis.

The alpaca’s beady eyes narrowed and dropped to her feet. Extending its lips in her direction, he made a loud raspberry sound, stomped an aggressive hoof and then went back to nibbling. Yeah, ball-buster or not, hooves beat boots.

But Frankie wasn’t about to let some hardheaded alpaca with shaggy hair and buck teeth stick it to her on her first week in business. Being the youngest of four, and the only girl, Frankie was a pro at dealing with stubborn males who excelled at ignoring her completely, while messing with her life wholeheartedly.

She cocked her rifle.

“The only thing separating you from becoming a pair of next season’s mittens is my trigger finger, Camel Boy.” Because the only thing separating them from ten-thousand gallons of well water was the thin plastic seam-binding on the water tank, which “Mittens” had managed to chew loose. She didn’t want to deal with the cleanup and couldn’t afford a new irrigation tank. “I mean it, one more bite and the only identifying male trait you’ll have left is stupidity.”

That got his attention. In fact, the animal straightened and fluffed out the fur around his face, making him look like a cross between a camel, a koala, and Clifford the Big Red Dog. When he wasn’t destroying her property, he was kind of cute. In a big, dumb, oafy kind of way.

Mittens was the sole remaining alpaca from Mrs. Sorrento’s farm. The rest of his hooved brethren were living it up at Alberta’s Paradise Alpaca Farm and Pet Sanctuary. Mittens hadn’t even set one hoof in the back of the moving truck when the rest of the heard gathered their spit and took aim. Poor Mittens had been kicked out of his own family and before Frankie or Alberta had been able to catch him, his fluffy-butt disappeared, and Alberta had left instructions to call when Frankie secured the runaway. That had been four days, two patio chairs, and a motorcycle tire ago.

“See.” Frankie lowered her rifle to the ground, picking up the cushion from Mr. Sorrento’s old recliner in one hand and a rope in the other. “That wasn’t so bad. Now just come over here and I’ll give you a treat.”

Eyes glued to the nubby avocado-green cushion, the alpaca took a tentative step forward.

“Then you can go to your new house.” Another step. “Where they feed you gourmet hay and mud tires, and there are kids around all the time to play with you.” Step. “And you’ll get to see your family.”

The alpaca stopped, squared its body, and let out an ear-piercing bleat, which sounded like a cross between “wark” and Chewbacca screaming, right before he sank his teeth in the plastic casing and pulled. Hard.

“Mittens!”

“Wark!”

“No—”

The tank split at the seam and before either could move, a wall of water came crashing out with enough force to topple Mittens into Frankie and send the two of them skidding back several feet.

When Frankie stopped moving and the water had receded into a pool of mud, she shoved the hair out of her eyes and took stock. She was flat on her back, with a stick poking into her right butt cheek and a drenched Mittens sprawled out over the top of her.

“Move.” She shoved at the animal.

“Wark-wark!”

“I warned you! But did you listen?”

Mittens let out an apologetic nicker and dropped his head to Frankie’s chest, his big brown eyes looking up at her through long lashes.

“You could be half way to Paradise right now,” she said, giving him a little rub behind the ears. “Just think, in a few months it will be grooming season and all the ladies will be prancing around in nothing but sheered skin. Plus, you’ll have your family.”

This time the nicker was almost sad so Frankie, ignoring that he smelled like wet dog, called a temporary truce and dug both hands in his thick fur to scratch his cheeks. “Yeah, I get it. Family sucks, but I can’t let you stay here. Come spring, I’ll start planting my vines and you’d eat them.”

Mittens huffed, a burst of hot air hitting Frankie in the face.

“Liar.” She worked her fingers around his temples and behind his ears. The animal’s eyes slid closed in ecstasy. “You already cost me a water tank, which I can’t afford to replace by the way.”

His only response was to nuzzle Frankie’s chest and hum loudly.

“So, there is no way I have the budget to keep replacing everything you decide to sink your teeth into.”

Hum. Hum. Hum.

“I hope he bought you dinner first,” a voice said.

With a groan, Frankie turned her head and, wishing she were standing so she could glare at him without having to shield her eyes, swore. Upside down or not, there was no mistaking the man who was currently towering over her—or the way her stomach gave a lame little flutter when he lifted his mirrored glasses and delivered a heart-stopping wink.

“Afternoon, Francesca,” he said with enough practiced swagger that it made not rolling her eyes impossible.

Nathaniel DeLuca was six-plus feet of solid muscle, smug-male yumminess and he smelled like sex. He was also extremely Italian, annoying as hell and, for whatever reason, every time he entered Frankie’s space she felt all dainty and feminine. Which pissed her off even more because at one time she’d trusted Nate with her heart and a promise of keeping her deepest secret.

And he’d broken them both.

Thank God she had on her ball-buster boots today. Too bad they were currently covered in mud, alpaca fur, and pointing at the sky.

“Go away, Nathaniel,” she said by way of greeting.

Mittens hummed louder, arching into her hand as Frankie scratched down his spine.

“And leave a lady in need?” Nate asked, coming forward and squatting down to pluck a maple leaf off of Frankie’s forehead. “Nonna ChiChi would have my ass.”

“I know you’re used to your women poised and proper. But I’ve got this handled.”

“I didn’t know you paid that much attention to my women, but now that you mentioned the difference…” He plucked a branch from her hair and flashed his perfectly straight teeth in her face. His smile, like his personality, was lethal and his entitled attitude was one-hundred percent DeLuca. “That’s great,” he continued, “because I won’t have to worry that you’ll cry when I tell you to stop exciting my alpaca and get the hell off my property.”

You can find Autumn in the Vineyard here:

AMAZON
B&N

*** The author will give away a signed paperback to a US or Canada resident when they come in!***

AND!

TARGETED by Katie Reus

reus- targeted (1)

Blurb

Hidden in plain sight…

Former Marine sniper and current NSA agent Jack Stone has a new face to go with his new identity. But he still has the same tortured memories—which include the woman he let get away years ago, when they were teenagers. Now his new assignment in Miami will put him so close to the woman he’s never been able to forget, he could reach out and touch her—if only she weren’t under suspicion.

When Sophie Moreno uncovers evidence linking the medical supply company she works for with arms smuggling—and worse—she doesn’t know who to turn to. After a shocking betrayal, she realizes the only person she can trust is a mysterious new person in the company—a man with hauntingly familiar eyes.

As Sophie questions her intense attraction to this man and Jack struggles not to blow his cover, the two of them must race against the clock to stop terrorists from killing scores of people—starting with them.

Excerpt

“Good morning, Sophie.” Ronald gave her a tired smile as he looked up from his desk. Deep lines etched the grooves around his mouth.
There was no one in his office, so whoever they were meeting with must have stepped out. Which gave her the perfect opportunity to talk to her boss in private. “Ronald, we need to talk. Didn’t you get my calls last night?”

He shook his head, but the guilty flush spreading up his cheeks gave him away. Sophie reeled back as if slapped. He had been ignoring her. What the hell? She gritted her teeth, quickly moving past the hurt. “I discovered something . . . important.” She nearly snorted at that understatement.

His face paled. “Can it wait?”

“No, it can’t.” As she stared at the man in front of her, she tried to find the right words to just come out and say what she’d found. Something about his expression was just off. He looked almost haggard, so unlike the man she’d come to love and trust. She’d been twenty-two and right out of college when he’d given her a job. Not to mention that the company had paid for her master’s degree. She didn’t have any family and he’d always been like a father figure to her. Anyone would have been better than the asshole foster fathers she’d endured over the years, but Ronald was truly kind. Even with the panic humming through her, seeing him this way pulled at her heartstrings.

Ronald sighed and his eyes flashed with something she couldn’t define. Pain? “We’ll talk, but not here. Just wait—”

He abruptly stopped talking and his gaze trailed over her shoulder at the sound of the door opening. Sophie shifted in her seat and glanced behind her.

She blinked once as she made eye contact with the stranger entering the room. Staring into those eyes made her feel as if she’d been punched in the stomach. A raw sort of awareness stirred inside her, making her throat tighten and somewhere a lot lower heat up completely against her will. Mandy’s description of “yummy” was so very incorrect. A cupcake was yummy. This man was like a decadent triple-chocolate truffle cake with chocolate shavings sprinkled on top. Considering the crap she needed to deal with, noticing someone in such a sexual way—someone she clearly couldn’t trust—was beyond stupid. And definitely not like her. Only one man had ever had this raw effect on her. Though he hadn’t been quite a man. He’d been growing into a very handsome one and—damn it. She shook herself, trying to squash this strange sexual awareness that had erupted inside her.

Here are some review links & quotes:

“Nonstop action, a solid plot, good pacing and riveting suspense…” —RT Book Reviews (4.5 Stars)

“Fast paced romantic suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat!” —New York Times bestselling author, Cynthia Eden

“Sexy suspense at its finest!” —New York Times bestselling author, Laura Wright

“Fast paced romantic suspense, action packed, brimming with sexual tension.” —Lea, HEA USA Today blog

“…this is what romantic suspense is all about.” —Amy, So Many Reads Book Blog

Publisher’s Weekly Review- http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-451-41921-7

Here’s where you can find Targeted:
Amazon

BN

Kobo

iTunes

Book Depository

Find Katie here!
http://www.katiereus.com
http://www.facebook.com/katiereusauthor
https://twitter.com/katiereus

And here’s some great giveaway info!

* I’m giving away two signed copies at Goodreads, ends 10/1: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17707657-targeted

*I’m also doing a 2 week blog tour and NAL is giving away books at each stop. Virtual tour info here: http://events.litconnect.com/romantic-suspense-virtual-tour-targeted-by-katie-reus/

*Twitter party on release day: http://events.litconnect.com/twitter-party-targeted-by-katiereus-romantic-suspense/

*FB Party event all day 10/3 with book giveaways: https://www.facebook.com/events/219549264870772/

Okay, so now I have two more awesome sounding reads to add to my TBR pile!

For fun, let’s do a competition for the top pitch slot, the signed copy of Autumn, and I’ll giveaway a copy of my new release What She was Missing as well.

All you have to do is leave a comment using the words Autumn AND Targeted.

Good luck to everyone pitching!

Candi


Kitty Kitty, Bang Bang – Release Celebration

September 19, 2013

I’m so terribly excited. My alter ego, Harlowe Wilde is releasing a book this week. Kitty Kitty, Bang Bang, an erotic novella debuts this Friday. Commence with the fanfare and confetti.

To celebrate, I will  give one lucky reader, randomly  chosen, a free copy of the eBook. All you need to do is leave a comment. That’s it!

HarloweWilde_KittyKittyBangBang800

Blurb: 

Reilly Shay has built a reputation as a highly successful cat burglar. Her current contract—to steal a one-of-a-kind diamond bracelet—puts her one step closer to freedom from her employer. But she suspects her days are numbered. She’s a target for cops and crooks, and no one has her back since her ex-partner, and ex-lover, Grant Aubrey turned on her.

Grant gladly takes the job to capture Reilly at her latest heist. He loved her and she betrayed him. Case closed. But as he waits in the shadows of a Greek villa and watches her crack the safe, old desires emerge. And, suddenly, taking her in isn’t nearly as enticing as just taking her.

Will one night of dangerous passion be the death of them both.

Excerpt:

Damn. Reilly never got tired of the rush of cracking a safe. She swallowed her excitement as the safe’s lock whirred open. Slowly, savoring the moment, she opened the metal door. The diamond and pink-orange sapphire encrusted bracelet shined brilliantly under the tiny display light inside. Even as she removed it from its perch in the safe, the gemstones captured the moonlight filtering in from the balcony windows. Gorgeous.

Reilly couldn’t help the triumphant smile. The piece would look lovely with the matching necklace and earrings she’d already secured.

She wrapped the bracelet in a black felt cloth and tucked it into her utility belt. She closed the safe door and returned the exquisite oil painting of an Italian garden back on the hook, hiding the wall vault. Now all Reilly needed was the ring and the Lotus Collection would be complete. And then she could finally take that vacation to Belize. She closed her eyes imagining the warm tropical breeze tickling her skin and the fruity savor of a mango daiquiri.

“What took you so long?”

Reilly’s heart lodged into her throat. She whirled around, her Glock drawn, aiming into the darkness. Even if he hadn’t spoken, she’d recognize Grant’s wide build lounging in the shift of shadows. His back to the bay of windows and the shimmering Mediterranean Sea behind him created an aura around his form. Though she couldn’t see his face, she heard the smile in his voice. God, she missed that smile.

“Traffic was bad.”

Grant chuckled. “Same ole Reilly Shay.”

She inched forward, keeping her gun trained on him. She was no fool. Reilly couldn’t see it, but she knew damn good and well he had a gun on his lap pointed at her.

“How’d you know I’d be here?”

“It was only a matter of time,” he said. “Word has it someone’s hacking and disarming sophisticated security systems and disappearing without a trace with the Lotus pieces. Only you have that type of skill. Only you would leave more valuable and easily accessible treasures behind.”

“Flattery will get you nowhere.” She tasted the bitterness in her tone.

“There was a time it got me everywhere,” he said.

And anywhere. But that was before Paris. Before he ruined it all. Grant Aubrey had shattered her trust in him when he gave her up to Interpol to save his own ass. She’d barely escaped the authorities when they moved in on the flat she shared with him. The ugly scar from the bullet she took in the shoulder offered her a daily reminder to trust no one—even the man she once so desperately loved. Wearing a bikini had never been the same since.

And, if you are so inclined, show some love by ‘liking’ Harlowe’s Facebook page.

Don’t forget! Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy. 


Kitty Kitty, Bang Bang – Celebration

September 19, 2013

I’m so terribly excited. My alter ego, Harlowe Wilde is releasing a book this week. Kitty Kitty, Bang Bang, an erotic novella debuts this Friday. Commence with the fanfare and confetti.

To celebrate, I will be give one lucky reader will randomly be chosen for a free copy of the eBook. All you need to do is leave a comment. That’s it!

HarloweWilde_KittyKittyBangBang800

Blurb: 

Reilly Shay has built a reputation as a highly successful cat burglar. Her current contract—to steal a one-of-a-kind diamond bracelet—puts her one step closer to freedom from her employer. But she suspects her days are numbered. She’s a target for cops and crooks, and no one has her back since her ex-partner, and ex-lover, Grant Aubrey turned on her.

Grant gladly takes the job to capture Reilly at her latest heist. He loved her and she betrayed him. Case closed. But as he waits in the shadows of a Greek villa and watches her crack the safe, old desires emerge. And, suddenly, taking her in isn’t nearly as enticing as just taking her.

Will one night of dangerous passion be the death of them both.

Excerpt:

Damn. Reilly never got tired of the rush of cracking a safe. She swallowed her excitement as the safe’s lock whirred open. Slowly, savoring the moment, she opened the metal door. The diamond and pink-orange sapphire encrusted bracelet shined brilliantly under the tiny display light inside. Even as she removed it from its perch in the safe, the gemstones captured the moonlight filtering in from the balcony windows. Gorgeous.

Reilly couldn’t help the triumphant smile. The piece would look lovely with the matching necklace and earrings she’d already secured.

She wrapped the bracelet in a black felt cloth and tucked it into her utility belt. She closed the safe door and returned the exquisite oil painting of an Italian garden back on the hook, hiding the wall vault. Now all Reilly needed was the ring and the Lotus Collection would be complete. And then she could finally take that vacation to Belize. She closed her eyes imagining the warm tropical breeze tickling her skin and the fruity savor of a mango daiquiri.

“What took you so long?”

Reilly’s heart lodged into her throat. She whirled around, her Glock drawn, aiming into the darkness. Even if he hadn’t spoken, she’d recognize Grant’s wide build lounging in the shift of shadows. His back to the bay of windows and the shimmering Mediterranean Sea behind him created an aura around his form. Though she couldn’t see his face, she heard the smile in his voice. God, she missed that smile.

“Traffic was bad.”

Grant chuckled. “Same ole Reilly Shay.”

She inched forward, keeping her gun trained on him. She was no fool. Reilly couldn’t see it, but she knew damn good and well he had a gun on his lap pointed at her.

“How’d you know I’d be here?”

“It was only a matter of time,” he said. “Word has it someone’s hacking and disarming sophisticated security systems and disappearing without a trace with the Lotus pieces. Only you have that type of skill. Only you would leave more valuable and easily accessible treasures behind.”

“Flattery will get you nowhere.” She tasted the bitterness in her tone.

“There was a time it got me everywhere,” he said.

And anywhere. But that was before Paris. Before he ruined it all. Grant Aubrey had shattered her trust in him when he gave her up to Interpol to save his own ass. She’d barely escaped the authorities when they moved in on the flat she shared with him. The ugly scar from the bullet she took in the shoulder offered her a daily reminder to trust no one—even the man she once so desperately loved. Wearing a bikini had never been the same since.

And, if you are so inclined, show some love by ‘liking’ Harlowe’s Facebook page.

Don’t forget! Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy. 


MuseTracks Guest – Vivi Dumas – Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

August 17, 2013

It is always so exciting to be a part of a cover reveal. And today, MuseTracks is honored to host Vivi Dumas and the next book, Stolen Innocence, in her Dueling with the Devil series. To celebrate, Vivi has brought us an excerpt, plus a chance to win a copy of the book. (The ARC of Stolen Innocence will not be available until September. But it will be worth the wait!)

StolenInnocence_CoverStolen Innocence: Dueling with the Devil Book 3

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: VPG Publishing and Promotions, LLC

Publication Date: 10/4/13

Website: http://vividumas.com/stolen-innocence/

GoodReads: http://goo.gl/xMNuDN

Blurb:

They say ignorance is bliss, but when it comes to love and mating, Charity Lovell wished someone had schooled her on the ins and outs. She fell hard when she saw the beautiful face of the fair-haired demon as he lay broken in Lucifer’s dungeon. Her body ached for him. Her heart cried for him. This had to be her mate, right? Who else could make her trade her soul to the Devil to save someone she didn’t know? Someone should’ve told her love wasn’t quite as straight forward as that.

Damon lived an uncomplicated life, even as the alpha of the Lake Charles pack and the son of Lucifer. He should’ve taken a mate years ago, but held on to the hope of love. Only one female came close to making him believe he still had a chance for happiness. Yet, her heart belonged to someone else. Once again, the feeling is back, stronger than ever. And again, his female has pledged herself to another. Damn demons were ruining his love life. This time Damon plans to fight for what was his and win his rightful mate.

Excerpt:

Damballa eyed Lucifer suspiciously as the angel dusted off a boulder and gracefully lowered himself on the hard, burnt-orange surface. “What bring you to the slums of Purgatory?”

“Not many people still think of me as an angel. You’re showing your age, Damballa.” Lucifer’s smile gleamed in bright contrast to his ebony skin.

“You shouldn’t pry in other’s minds without their permission. Does age matter when you’re no longer amongst the living?”

“Valid point.”

“Again, why are you here?” Damballa demanded.

Lucifer inhaled a deep breath and sighed as he released it. His face displayed an Oscar winning expression of disappointment. “Everyone’s so impatient these days. All that television and those video games. Do you get those down here?”

Crossing his arms across his chest, Damballa stared at Lucifer without a response.

“I guess you want to know why I’m here.” Lucifer laughed at Damballa’s grunt of frustration. “I need your help.”

Damballa narrowed his eyes, tightening his arms in their locked position, closing himself off even more. “How can a lowly human priest banished to Purgatory help the Prince of Hell?”

“When you put it like that, it make me second guess my visit. But then again we both know the greatest Vodou priest who’s ever walked the Earth isn’t exactly a lowly human. Didn’t your followers even deem you a god?”

“You know I was stripped of my title and those followers turned on me with vengeance.”

“Some don’t appreciate those who think outside of the box. I, on the other hand, appreciate innovation, especially when it goes as far to the dark side as you delved.”

Damballa strolled over to the hollowed out cavern wall filled with books, pretending to study its contents. His hand trembled as he removed a book of spells from a shelf. Sorrow lingered in his heart when he thought of his demise. The darkness took everything he loved away from him and landed him in this fiery stone prison. Love was an unstable drug. No one could predict its side effects. For him, they were lethal.

“Regret and self-pity only lead one down the road to condemnation. They’re useless in seeking redemption. I know what you want. And I can get it for you.” Temptation slithered amongst Lucifer’s words.

A chuckle tickled Damballa’s throat. “There is nothing on Earth for me. I’ve glanced at the world a few times and they’ve turned it into a shithole. I’m not looking to go back to a place I no longer recognize.”

Pushing himself off his seat, Lucifer appeared beside Damballa. “You underestimate me. I mean I know what you really long for.”

Damballa faced the Prince. He raised a brow in question. “What is it you think that I want?”

“I can give her back to you. And I’ll throw in a bonus.”

“No. She has ascended,” Damballa spat.

Lucifer barked a laugh. “There’s no ascension for those who trade their soul to the Devil.”

“What do you mean? She made a deal with you?”

“Yep. I helped her people. She was really pissed at what you did. In exchange, I have her soul until I decide what I want to do with it.”

Grabbing Lucifer by the shoulders, Damballa shook the Devil. “You’re lying. She would never…she wouldn’t give herself to you.”

Lucifer shoved Damballa’s hands off his shoulders. “Your little lady was willing to offer herself to the highest bidder. Isn’t that why you killed her in the first place?”

Damballa struggled to keep from striking Lucifer.

“You’re not crazy. You know I could incinerate you right here. She wanted a life for her family. One not involving running around as wolves for the rest of their lives. A little blood signature on some parchment and we had a deal. I must admit the new E-sign makes brokering deals much easier.” Lucifer cracked a slow grin and chuckled to himself. “Anyway, I have her soul and the world got werewolves. Maybe not a full recovery, but a good compromise. Seemed like a fair trade at the time. Now, I’m offering to return her back to you. Slightly used needless to say, but who cares when it’s the love of your life.” The jagged edges of Lucifer’s teeth showed when he smiled fully.

Damballa’s heart and head raced with anticipation. “And what do I have to do to get her back?”

“Just a little magic.”

“What kind?”

“I need to manifest on Earth,” Lucifer answered casually as he picked imaginary dirt from under his finger nails.

Damballa choked at Lucifer’s words. “Do you know how much dark magic that requires? I don’t even know if I can harness enough energy to jump start the process. That requires a blood sacrifice.”

“Okay. Let me know what you need and I’ll order it.” With those last words, Lucifer disappeared.

A shiver whispered down Damballa’s spine. No matter what dark magic he practiced in the past or how badly he wanted Ariella back, unleashing Lucifer on Earth was a terrifying thought.

* * *

The female crouched in a ball in the corner of the cell, hugging her long legs tight to her chest. Her ankle-length, brown skirt billowed around her on the twin-sized bed. Her honey-colored hair hung in a thick braid, dangling over her shoulder, glistening like spun gold in the dim light. Every now and again, Charity found the woman staring at her with haunting green eyes threaded with ribbons of amber, giving them an iridescent quality. For three days they had sat in this godforsaken hole without a word. Charity debated on speaking to her. Usually talking was a no brainer, a natural affliction she wielded like a weapon. But the odd symbols and murmured chants freaked her out. She was in enough trouble without pissing off some crazy witch. Especially one trapped in Lucifer’s dungeon.

The clamor of keys caught Charity’s attention. A burly demon balanced two trays in one hand as he unlocked the cell door. He pushed the heavy titanium bars open, clipping the edge of the top tray against the doorframe. In slow motion, the plate toppled to the floor. Charity watched the slop they considered food splash in a multicolored mess on the ground and sighed in both frustration and relief.

“Looks like one of you will not be dining tonight,” The guard laughed.

The girl in the corner stayed silent, glancing longingly at the destroyed food. The demon haphazardly dropped the other tray on the edge of Charity’s bed. She flashed him her famous f-you smile before he slammed the cell door shut. Charity remained in her spot and listened to the click-clack of his boots echo down the hall. When the sound disappeared, she stood and picked up the gruel left on her bed. As fowl as the food looked and smelled, it was the first nourishment they had brought in three days.

Charity walked cautiously over to the stranger in the corner. “Hi. You look like you need this more than I do.” Piercing emerald eyes met Charity’s gaze. A familiar sadness glowed behind the brilliance of the girl’s stare. “Can I sit?”

The female unwound her long body and dangled her legs over the side of the tiny bed. As she sat up and light shone upon her face, Charity gasped at the female’s overwhelming beauty. Handing the girl the tray, Charity lowered to the edge of the mattress, close to the foot of the bed. Her cellmate shoveled the food into her mouth with her hands, filling her cheeks like a chipmunk. How long had it been since she ate?

“Wow. You were hungry. How long had it been since they fed you?” Charity had been here three days and this was the first sign of food she had witnessed.

The girl choked down the stuff in her mouth with a look of embarrassment. “Seven days,” she announced through the food left in her mouth.

“Seriously?”

The girl nodded affirmation.

Charity pressed her lips in a thin line. Heat rose from her stomach, spreading throughout her body and flushing her face. “They’re not going to fucking starve me to death. Lucifer said nothing about starving to death.” I really got to think through shit before I act on it. That boy better be worth it. He was fine as hell.

The girl stopped eating, tilted her head to the side and studied Charity. Swallowing the mystery meat she was chewing, the female asked, “You look familiar. Who’s your people?”

“I’m with the New Orleans pack. My name is Charity Lovell. What’s yours?” The girl choked on something. Charity thumped her back as she coughed up a piece of bread. “You okay?”

The female nodded in affirmation even though her face remained red. “Yes. It’s been a long time since I met someone from the New Orleans pack.”

“Oh. You know someone from the pack? Who?”

“I doubt anyone I know would still be earthbound.”

Charity raised a brow. “And what did you say your name was?”

“I didn’t, but it’s Ariella Lovell.”

It was Charity’s turn to freak out. Her throat tightened and her head swam. How did she end up in a cell with her great-great-great-grandmother who died in the seventeen hundreds? “You can’t be. She died a long time ago.”

“Darling, you’re in Hell. Why are you shocked to run into someone who no longer walks among the living?”

Sweat moistened the palms of Charity’s hands. She fought the urge to touch her to see if she was real. She had heard of Ariella’s beauty. Listened to the stories about how the pack came to be, but she assumed most of it to be folklore, stories the elders told to keep them in check. But they hadn’t exaggerated about her allure.

“How did you end up here?” Charity asked.

Ariella laughed harshly, without humor. “Bad choices. I guess I can ask you the same.”

“A guy.” Charity folded her legs under her and shrugged.

Amusement lit Ariella’s face as she smiled. “That’s the same as bad choices. I’m glad Lucifer held his end of my deal. Tell me about my pack. I’ve worried so much through the years that the Devil would renege on his promise. Does the curse still run through the females in the family?”

* * *

“I didn’t fucking ask her to serve herself up for me,” Laurent barked at the massive wolf sitting across from him. “I was passed the fuck out. Haven’t even spoken two words to her.”

Damon jumped out of his seat, catching the lunging wolf midair. “I think we all need to calm down.”

A feral growl escaped Ty, the Alpha of the New Orleans pack. He shoved Damon away from him. “This is your fault Boudreaux. You came to us for help. We trusted you. And you vouched for them.” The wolf jerked his thumb towards Laurent and his friends.

Laurent’s sister, Bell, stood with her hand on her hip, blue eyes ablaze. “That chick was off. She went all Twilight-Wolf on us. Like she imprinted on Laurent. I told everyone something was wrong with her.”

“We don’t imprint!” a pretty she-wolf growled from the back of the room.

Bell inhaled to begin another rant, but her brother cut her off.

“Bell, sit down and be quiet,” Laurent grumbled. Bell muttered something under her breath. “You’re not helping. Sit!” Laurent snapped.

Stepping in the middle of the eclectic crowd of supernaturals, Damon ran a hand through his hair and cleared his throat. “This is no one’s fault. Charity is an adult. She made a choice, albeit stupid, but one she made on her own. She believes Laurent is her mate. When we rescued him from Lucifer’s dungeon, she definitely had some kind of attraction to him. Wouldn’t leave his side. We can’t change any of that now. We have to work together to figure out how to get her back.”

“Why the hell would Lucifer trade Laurent’s life for hers?” Tact wasn’t Bell’s strong suit. This time her fiancé, Xavier, nudged her lightly, swinging the ice-blue glare in his direction. “What? It’s a valid question.”

The five members of the New Orleans pack looked at Ty, waiting for his response. Them and their damn secrets. Damon shook his head.

“She’s one of the few members left of our original lineage. Charity’s family is the reason there are werewolves. The females of her line are cursed with the inability to shift until they find their mates. It keeps their other powers dormant until they find the one they love.” Ty spoke in hushed tones as if Lucifer himself eavesdropped on their conversation.

The whole room remained silent, allowing the gravity of the revelation to settle. Damon paced the length of the purple flowered sofa. The small living room became more constricting. Jacque, a shifter demon and Xavier’s brother, rose from his chair. He strolled over to Damon and Ty.

“How did her family start a species?” Jacque questioned.

Ty rubbed the back of his neck. “Her great-great-great-grandmother was promised to Damballa, but she gave herself to another. As punishment, Damballa cursed us to turn to wolves. He was so enraged he killed Ariella and then offed himself. It’s told Ariella brokered a deal with Lucifer before she ascended to allow us to maintain our human form except on the full moon. Later we learned to adapt and shift when we needed. Afraid that one of the Lovell females would eventually be able to reverse the curse or become too powerful, Lucifer bound their powers until the found a mate, which only a few did. It’s like one of those fucked up Lifetime movies.”

“What kind of powers do Charity’s people have?” Laurent asked.

Ty shrugged. “We don’t really know. None of them has ever used them to my knowledge. That’s why it’s dormant until they mate. If or when they find the one they belong with, they focus on their partners and not their powers. Only one has left the Ward and might have accessed her powers. We’ve asked Red to come here today.”

“Who names their child Red? Is that like Apple or North?” Bell stopped laughing when Laurent shot her a menacing glare.

“It’s a nickname cause she loves the color red. Her real name’s Simone,” one of the females of the New Orleans pack corrected, rolling her eyes at Bell.

“Someone talking bout me?” A fine, leggy female in a painted-on red dress walked into the small room followed by two equally hot females. Red’s thick mahogany tresses fell around her face in long spirals. She crossed the room to Ty and kissed both his cheeks. The other two women repeated the gesture. “Look like y’all started the party without us. What’s all the commanding my presence about?”

Ty hesitated before answering. “It’s about Charity.”

The short honey-toned female crossed her arms. “What the fuck she do now?”

“Jade, don’t start,” Red chastised before turning back to the Alpha. “What she do, Ty?”

Ty laughed nervously. “It’s bad this time. She done turned herself over to Lucifer.”

“What the fuck, Ty? You’re supposed to keep an eye on her and call us when she gets out of hand,” The female in the wife-beater and ball cap fussed. Even with the boyish clothes, she couldn’t hide her pretty features.

“Look, that girl’s a handful. Dani, you know for yourself. How many times you had to go find her outside of our territory?” Ty aged as the conversation continued. Lines cut deeper in his face from worry and stress.

Damon interrupted to get the conversation back on tract. “Hi, ladies. We were trying to figure out why Charity would be important to Lucifer. Ty seem to think the females in your family has some powers that might attract Luc’s attention, but not sure what kind. Do you have any idea?”

Red scanned the faces in the room with a deliberative expression. She met the gaze of the two females who arrived with her. The one they called Dani nodded in encouragement. “We’ve not spoken of our powers to anyone outside our family. It has brought nothing but unhappiness to the women who have used it.”

Jade spoke up. “But you know that’s why he wants Charity.”  Red released a breath she was holding and plopped into an armchair, covering her face with her hands.

“How bad can it be? It’s a freaking power. We all have them,” Bell interjected.

Red lifted her head, her pretty face lined with worry. “We’re necromancers.”

The room went dead silent.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway. Follow the link below! And please leave a comment. Vivi would love to hear from you! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want more? Visit Vivi’s website for more from the Dueling the Devil series, including information on how to get your own copies!

Author Bio:

ViviDumasPicAlthough Vivi Dumas grew up an Army brat, she calls Louisiana home, but have endured the hot summers and cold winters of Maryland for the last 16 years. She is a graduate of Mount St. Mary’s University with an MBA in Finance and Marketing. Her analytical side has honed a career in the financial industry for almost twenty years. To balance her logical, numerical day job, she unleashes her creativity in her writing.

Vivi pens multicultural paranormal romance, mixing the two genres she loves. Her steamy paranormal romances indulge in worlds inhabited by demons, werewolves, vampires, and other supernatural beings. She has published works with Decadent Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and Breathless Press.

Website: www.vividumas.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/vivi_dumas

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/vividumasfanhub

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/vividumas/

Amazon: http://amzn.com/e/B0047LXKHI


It’s Pitch time! Welcome Debby Gilbert with Soul Mate Publishing.

April 19, 2013

GO!

All pitches need to be sent to Candi_agent_shop (at) yahoo . com

Welcome to another round of Editor Shop!

I’m super excited to be hosting the awesome Debby Gilbert. Best of luck to everyone pitching.

And welcome to our spotlight author – one of Soul Mate Publishing’s lucky authors – Rebecca Heflin with her novel Rescuing Lacey.

rebecca
Blurb: A tough battle-scarred photojournalist must confront the after-effects of a traumatic event and acknowledge her hidden vulnerable side if she is to rediscover her soul and accept the love that will rescue her.
~
Author website: http://www.rebeccaheflin.com/wordpress
~
You can find Rescuing Lacey here: Amazon
~
Reviews:
Rebecca Heflin not only writes wonderful characters, her descriptions of Costa Rica are rich and vibrant, making one feel as they were there too.  Not only that, the sexual tension between Luke and Lacey is exquisite.  It grabs one by the throat and keeps the reader turning those pages! The story is a bit predictable, losing it half a star, but don’t let that be a deterrent. This story is sweet at times, romantic and sexy at others and assuredly, well worth the read!!!
~Tonya Smalley, InD’tale Magazine
~
Awards
Finalist, 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence            
Finalist, 2013 Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence

BONUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Come one, come all. Even if you’re not pitching, feel free to come join in the conversation. I’ll be giving away THREE prizes again this round. All you have to do is join in the fun! Every comment will be entered for a chance to win one of these prizes!

1 – An ARC of STAY – My new release coming in August 6th!

2 – 3 $10.00 Gift certificates from Soul Mate Publishing

3 – The Top Pitch Slot!

Easy breezy…

Here’s what we’ll start with as our topic this time…

Who would you cast as your hero if your novel hit the big screen? 🙂

~Candi


A KISS IN THE WIND – One Year Celebration and Giveaway!

March 27, 2013

Song of the day: What Have You Done by Within Temptation (theme song to A KISS IN THE WIND)

This week marks the one year anniversary of the release of A KISS IN THE WIND, the second in the Romancing the Pirate series. I’ve enjoyed success over the year and excited by the continuing sales.

ChampagneAnd so to celebrate, I am giving away an e-copy of the book.

There are two chances to win.

1. Comment on this blog post.

2. Join my mailing list here at my website.

Easy peasy!

So let’s get this party started.

For those of you who have read the book, you have my gratitude. And I offer you a little known fact. A KISS IN THE WIND was written with an epilogue. My publisher had decided not to add it. But I couldn’t just let it go. Ooooh no! Sure, there was a happily ever after. But I had more to tell. More important nuggets for the reader. And so, if you have read the book, click this link to read the rest of the story. *SPOILER* If you haven’t read the book, I’d advise skipping the epilogue. Just sayin’.

For kicks and grins, I thought I’d give a taste of the book. You know, to entice you.

The Blurb:

Marisol Castellan is in trouble–again. Against her pirate father’s orders, she snuck off their ship to intercept a message meant for a rival captain, one that offers a clue to the whereabouts of her estranged brother Monte.

Pirate captain Blade Tyburn is not pleased to find the letter he’s been waiting for is missing. He’s even less pleased when he discovers the thief is a raven-haired beauty who bewitches his senses and muddles his thinking. The note gives the location of a silver-laden ship that’ll make his fortune; Blade must find it, and if that means bringing Marisol along on the voyage, so be it.

Marisol believes Monte sails on the very ship Blade is to meet and strikes a deal with the handsome rogue. If he will give her passage to her brother, she will give him the exact location he needs. And both will get more than they expected…

One of my favorite steamy exchanges:

“We need to talk.”

“Talk?” Her brow lifted in what he decided was ridicule. “ Shouldn’t you be topside looking for the enemy ship you let slip away?”

The time long since passed for her to end her biting words. “I understand your thirst for revenge, but you will hold sway your spiteful tongue. I will have no more of it.”

“Then I suggest you take your leave for I have nothing else to offer.”

Her words brought him close, irresistible like honey to a bee. “Oh?”

She stiffened, realizing too late the delicious challenge she presented him. “That’s right,” she said.

“This I know to be a lie.” He put his hand on the door and she pressed her back against the wall. “I can think of many things you can offer me.”

An excerpt:

Kiss largePuerto Plata, Hispaniola, 1726

“Crazy wench. Let go!”

Marisol tightened her grip on the coarse barrel of the pistol poised a mere inch from her face. Death’s diseased aroma wafted over her with the depraved wretch’s breath. A frenzy of alarm pumped through her veins, fueling new untapped strength. “Bloody hell, I will!”

She struggled with him, unwilling to release his gun and reach for her own weapon. She pushed and pulled with the ruffian in a gruesome dance of sorts, a ballet amid the squalid dregs and wet filth of the dark alley. Their curses and grunts chased the shrouded silence back up the stone walls. No passerby would take notice, no more than they would a cheap strumpet and her jack.

Marisol slipped on the slick cobblestones and, losing her balance, brought the vile man down with her.

The pistol went off. An unforgiving percussion echoed down the alley.

He landed on top of her, knocking the wind from her lungs. Sharp pain sliced through her back with the force of the fall. A moment passed, then another.

The man’s weight crushed against her. She gulped shallow, tainted breaths in the pocket of air between his shirt collar and sweaty neck. I must get free. Marisol thrashed beneath the cur. Fear urging her on, she pressed against his chest and shoved him off, rolling him to his back. She scuttled to her knees. But he didn’t move, didn’t get up to finish her off.

What have I done?

Marisol dropped the gun. Blood on her hands trickled down between shaky fingers. She stared at them, turning her hands over to see the crooked red pathways on her skin. Even in the shadows, the deep color glistened. Slowly, she curled her fingers into fists, resting them on her knees, and looked down at the dead man before her. The blood from his chest wound filtered through his tunic, spreading down his side. Spent gunpowder still singed her nose.

Numb emotions lingered beneath her breastbone. She willed herself not to think of him as a man who might be mourned by someone who loved him, a mother, or a wife with children. Would they be waiting for him? Wondering when he would return home?

No. No pity would be spared for the likes of him, a paltry criminal. Had Alain taught her nothing about survival? Warm your rum with the blood of another, for if the bastard gets the chance, your course will be run and the devil will have you.

She would not let the compassion seize her heart. Leave that for the weak-minded.

Marisol took one quick glance around the darkened back street. She wiped the blood against her lap then reached into the dead man’s coat, searching his pockets. She pulled out a pouch containing silver coins, three of them. Marisol forced a smile. How fortunate. Something for her troubles. She stuffed the pouch into the folds of her dress.

Continuing her search, her hand grazed across paper in another pocket. She smiled again as she picked up and read the letter for which she’d been searching. The missive was cryptic but given more time she would be able to decipher it. With any luck, it would reveal the information she so desperately sought, information that could lead her to her missing brother. She would do anything to find Monte. Marisol glanced down at the corpse. Perhaps she had become too desperate. Foolish man. You really should’ve been more careful.

The book trailer:

Fun Fact:

The pirate ship Rissa featured in most of the books in the Romancing the Pirate series is modeled after the notorious Black Beard’s ship Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Buy links:

Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Audible

Thanks for being a special part of my world!

Don’t forget to either leave a comment or join my mailing list for your chance to win an eBook of A KISS IN THE WIND.

*Congratulations to winner Kimberly Rocha!*


MuseTracks Guest – Blythe Gifford – On the naming of characters – GIVEAWAY!

January 4, 2013

MuseTracks is delighted to welcome back our special guest Blythe Gifford! And she’s brought along a gift! Take it away, Blythe.

Happy New Year!

Mine kicks off with the release of CAPTIVE OF THE BORDER LORD, second book of The Brunson Clan trilogy.  I call this one the Cinderella story, in which Bessie Brunson, youngest sibling and only sister, goes to court.  She is at the mercy of a man who is definitely NOT Prince Charming.  In fact, Thomas Carwell may have betrayed her family, something Bessie is determined to prove along the journey.

We writers are often asked about how we select character names and nowhere was a name more important than on the Scottish Borders during the early Tudor era.  Family was more important than king or country.  As Alistair Moffat wrote in THE REIVERS, “Names were what made the Border Reivers who they were – in all important senses.”

Many of those Border names are still with us:  Armstrong, as in Neil, first man to walk on the moon.  Nixon and Johns(t)on, as in United States Presidents.  Maxwells, Scotts, Kerrs, Elliots…these families and others rode the Borders and we have historical accounts of each.

That meant I did not want to use one of the real Border Clan names for my family.  I was inspired by them, but my tale is not historical truth.  A real name would confuse the reader.  But how to choose a name that would sound authentic without being so?

For my Brunson clan, I went back even farther in Borders history.  Centuries before my story, Vikings invaded the land.  One of them, a brown-eyed man, was the founder of the clan.  “Brun” is Old English for “brown,” so the name carries the memory of that ancestor down through the years.

First names presented a different challenge.  To be historically accurate, you only have twenty or so given names to choose from.  Take out the ones you need for the real historical personages (King James) and the ones that are not heroic (Archibald), the ones so similar as to be confusing (Janet/Jean) and those I’ve used in other stories (Duncan, Gavan) and the list shrinks considerably.

Border folk used to differentiate with nicknames.  Sim the Laid vs. Sim of the Mains or Nebless Clem vs. Clem the Clash helped sort out which individual you meant, much more than adding a surname.  At that point, there were no doubt a dozen men named Robert Armstrong.  I was sparing with nicknames, except with secondary characters.  However, Bessie’s brother, clan leader, earned the moniker “Black Rob.”

Here’s an excerpt from CAPTIVE OF THE BORDER LORD.  The heroine’s brother is celebrating his wedding and the hero has followed her into the kitchen, where she needs to replenish food and drink.  Suspicious of his reason for coming to the celebration uninvited, she has just asked him bluntly why he is there.

***

Captive of the Border LordCarwell kept a smile clamped on his lips.  He was learning not to underestimate Bessie Brunson, but it was hard to keep that in mind when he looked at the woman.  Red hair tumbled over her shoulders, her brown eyes sparked with suspicion, and her lips were full and soft and ready…

He stopped his thoughts.  “Leave this night for celebration.  I’ll speak to your brothers tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?  When Rob’s head is double its size because of the wine he’s drunk this night and Johnnie is comfortably abed enjoying his new bride?”

He swallowed a sour retort.  “They’ll be ready to listen when they hear why I’ve come.  It’s a matter for men’s ears.”

She looked to Heaven before she met his eyes again.  “You’ve no women in your household.”

He blinked.  He hadn’t.  Not for years.  “No.  Not…now.”

The memory cramped his heart.  He would never take a woman for granted again.  A twinge, a weary sigh, these could signal the threat of something worse.

He set the thought aside.  That was not to be shared with anyone, least of all with this stranger.  Yet for a moment, he had imagined she would understand.

“If you had,” she said, “you would know that we do not need to be protected from the truth.”

Looking at this woman, he doubted that her family had protected from anything at all.  “Then you’ll know it when they do.  And it will be tomorrow.”  The king had no more patience than that.

Despite his offer of help, she asked for nothing as she moved around the room, effortlessly scooping up oat cakes and putting another batch near the hearth.  When she finished her sweep through the kitchen, she shook the girl awake and told her to watch that the fire did not burn the kitchen down.

Finally, she joined him at the door.

“You wanted to help.”  She set down her cakes, filled two flagons with ale from the barrel, and shoved them at him, her eyes flashing with anger.  “Carry these.”

Silent, he followed her into the cold, proud that he had refrained from pouring her precious ale into the dirt.  The woman was stubborn as the rest of her kin.  Maybe more so.

But as he watched the sway of her walk, he remembered the way she had leaned toward him in the dance, following his lead through the unfamiliar steps.  For those few moments, there had been nothing but music and movement and the two of them.

Well, her hatred would be back in force tomorrow.

Just as soon as she discovered he was here to take her brother hostage.

***Blythe Gifford Photo

So, do any of the Border family names sound familiar to you?  How about your own family’s name?  Is there a story there?  Or maybe you had a nickname you can share.  A lucky reader who comments on today’s blog will be randomly selected to win a signed copy of (your choice) RETURN OF THE BORDER WARRIOR, Book 1, or CAPTIVE OF THE BORDER LORD, Book 2, of The Brunson Clan trilogy.  Book 2.  And look for TAKEN BY THE BORDER REBEL, in March.

Winner! Mary Anne Landers. Congrats!

Blythe Gifford has been known for medieval romances featuring characters born on the wrong side of the royal blanket. Now, she’s set a trilogy on the turbulent Scottish Borders of the early Tudor era:  RETURN OF THE BORDER WARRIOR, November 2012, CAPTIVE OF THE BORDER LORD, January 2013, and TAKEN BY THE BORDER REBEL, March 2013.  The Chicago Tribune has called her work “the perfect balance between history and romance.”  Visit her at www.blythegifford.com, www.facebook.com/BlytheGifford, or http://www.twitter.com/BlytheGifford.

Author photo by Jennifer Girard.  Excerpt Copyright © 2013 by Blythe Gifford, Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.

Cover Copyright © 2013 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited

Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited

® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.