Archive for the ‘Latest News’

Against the Tide by Kat Martin

May 22, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News No Comments →


By Kat Martin

Release date: 5/26/15


Read An Excerpt:

Valdez, Alaska

The piercing ring of the cell phone lying on his nightstand didn’t bode well. There was no such thing as good news at three o’clock in the morning.

With a sigh, Rafe rolled over and grabbed the phone, scrubbed a hand over his face as he pressed it against his ear. “Brodie.”

“Police Chief Rosen here. We’ve got a problem, Rafe, and it’s not a good one. I need you to meet me down at the harbor. How soon can you get here?”

Rafe swung his long legs to the side of the bed and sat up. “Ten minutes. What’s this about, Chief?”

“It’s Scotty Ferris, Rafe. I’m afraid he’s dead. I’ll fill you in when you get here. I’ll be waiting on the dock next to the Scorpion.” The police chief hung up the phone.

For several long moments, Rafe just sat there. His chest felt tight. Scotty Ferris was twenty-four years old, a handsome, hard-working kid who was engaged to be married. His June wedding to Cassie Webster, one of the local girls, was only three weeks away. Cassie was going to be crushed.

Rafe swore softly. What the hell could have happened?

But in this rugged country where the climate, wild animals, or just bad judgment could get you killed, accidents happened all the time.

Shoving himself up from the bed, Rafe grabbed a pair of worn jeans off the chair and jerked them on, pulled a sweatshirt over his head, pulled on his heavy sox, and shoved his size-thirteen feet into a pair of high-topped, rubber-soled boots. Since the temperature at night even in late May was still in the thirties and it had rained during the night, he grabbed his jacket as he headed for the steps down to the garage.

The boat harbor wasn’t far from his house. Sea Scorpion was his flagship charter fishing boat, a thirty-eight-foot Mac, his pride and joy. It was the boat he usually captained himself, one of three that made up his fleet. Scotty Ferris was part of Scorpion’s crew.

Rafe thought of the young man as he parked his dark green Ford Expedition in a spot in front of the harbor, climbed out, and closed the door. Puddles from last night’s rain sloshed against his boots as he made his way toward the dock. The occasional street light burned into the darkness but quiet surrounded him, along with the familiar salty tang of the sea.

Rafe couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

Which brought his thoughts full-circle to Scotty. With year-round residents numbering less that forty-five hundred, everyone knew everyone who lived there. And everyone knew and liked Scotty. The kid had been born in Valdez. He thrived on the rugged lifestyle, planned to marry and raise kids here, probably never would have left.

What the hell had happened? Rafe thought again as he walked toward his boat.

And why did Chief Rosen want to meet him at the Scorpion?

A few spaces down from where’d he parked, Rafe spotted a black-and-silver Ford police SUV. In the distance, the familiar antenna above the wheelhouse of the Scorpion marked where the boat bobbed near the middle of the dock.

Rafe started down the long wooden walkway, his gaze on the group of people gathered next to where the Scorpion was moored. The area was cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape, the boat clearly off limits until the police were finished collecting evidence.

Police Chief Clifford Rosen, a stout man in his fifties, bald head ringed by thinning gray hair, stood next to a figure lying on the dock, covered by a long white cloth. Knowing Scotty Ferris lay under the cloth made Rafe’s stomach burn.

“What happened?” he asked the chief.

“Looks like he was robbed,” Rosen answered. “Wallet’s missing, jewelry’s gone. Car keys. Cell phone’s missing. Single blow to the back of the head. Blunt instrument. Baseball bat seems the most likely, something that size that was easy to handle.”


“I asked you to come down because I need someone to identify the body. With his parents both dead, I figured better you than his fiancée. Soon as you do that, I’ll break the news to the Webster girl.”

Rafe just nodded. Cassie was going to be devastated. She and Scotty were crazy in love, the kind Rafe figured had a good chance of lasting. Sometimes fate could be a real bastard.

One of the officers, a red-haired young cop Rafe recognized as Rusty Donovan, leaned down and lifted the edge of the sheet. As the cover rolled back, Rafe’s gaze fixed on Scotty. The boy’s brown eyes were open, staring sightlessly into the black night sky. His handsome face was frozen in a look of surprise.

He was wearing a jacket but it was unzipped, revealing a long-sleeved blue T-shirt that read FISHERMEN DO IT DEEPER. Rafe could almost see the grin on the kid’s face when he’d put it on.

“It’s him,” he said darkly. “Scott Ferris.”

“You know what he was doing down here?”


But once he got his head wrapped around Scotty’s death, he intended to find out.


The breakfast crowd at the Pelican Café had begun to arrive, as people did every morning when it opened at six A.M. The café had been started in the fifties and been going strong every since. Of course it had passed through a dozen different owners, had its ups and downs, and been near financial ruin more than once.

Having purchased the restaurant six months ago, Olivia Chandler was the most recent person to step into the driver’s seat. Unlike the previous owner, who had let the place sink into disrepair, Olivia had been making changes, most of which had been heralded with great enthusiasm by the local customers.

“Well, look who’s coming,” Nell said. The buxom woman with salt-and-pepper hair helped her run the café. “If it isn’t Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome.”

Liv followed her gaze out the window to the man in jeans and a sweatshirt crossing the outside patio. The brick patio was empty now while it was still cold, but with summer approaching, soon would be noisy with people.

Katie walked past just then, heading for a table with a platter of bacon and eggs on the flat of her hand. “I just call him Mr. Freakin’ Hot.”

“Shame on you,” Liv teased. “You just turned twenty one. Rafe Brodie’s got to be at least a dozen years older.”

“Just means he’s a man not a boy. And I like a guy with a little experience.”

“From what I hear, he has plenty of that,” Liv said dryly as Katie sailed off to deliver the food.

Nell chuckled. “I’m fifty years old and that man can still make me swoon.”

Olivia busied herself wiping off the long Formica-topped counter as Rafe shoved through the door, ringing the bell above. Seating himself in his usual booth, he stretched his long legs out in front of him. Rafe was a regular in the café, which sat on North Harbor Road right across from the boat dock.

“Katie’s busy,” Nell said with a match-making glint in her eyes. “Why don’t you wait on him?”

Olivia shook her head. “I’m busy, too. You go ahead.”

Knowing there was no persuading her, Nell sighed. “Probably better you don’t. Everyone in town knows Rafe’s a dedicated bachelor.”

Dedicated bachelor or not, Nell and Katie were right. With the thick dark brown hair curling just over his collar, the faint shadow of beard that usually lined his hard jaw, and those hot, whiskey-brown eyes, he was one of the best-looking men Olivia had ever seen.

Which was exactly the reason she had avoided him since the day she had met him.

No use putting temptation in her path. It was simply too dangerous.

She watched as Nell chatted with him a moment, then the easy smile Nell usually gave him slipped from her face. The coffee pot wavered. Rafe grabbed the glass pot to keep her from dropping it and spilled hot coffee over his hand.

Olivia didn’t hesitate, just grabbed a towel, wet it with cold water, and hurried in Rafe’s direction. He was sitting down again, Nell fussing over him, relieved to see Olivia approaching.

“Here–wrap this around your fingers.” Liv handed him the wet towel. “It’s cold enough to ease the pain and keep the burn from getting worse.”

“I’m all right,” Rafe said. “It’s no big deal.” But he accepted the wet cloth and looped it over the back of a big suntanned hand.

The man was all of six-four, two-hundred-plus pounds, with a solid, athletic build and very wide shoulders. Liv was five-nine, but Rafe was more than half a head taller. She tried not to stare at his mouth, which seemed harder this morning, without the smile he always had for Nell.

She glanced in her friend’s direction, sucked in a breath as Nell’s pale blue eyes filled with tears.

“Oh, God, what is it?”

Nell blinked and the tears rolled down her cheeks. She wiped at the wetness with a trembling hand. “I could tell something was wrong. It was stamped all over Rafe’s face.”

Liv glanced from one of them to the other, saw the same grim expression on both of their faces. “Tell me what’s happened.”

Nell swallowed. “It’s…it’s Scotty. He was murdered last night.”

Liv glanced across the table at Rafe. His jaw looked iron-hard, his eyes so dark she could barely see a hint of gold. For the first time it occurred to her that Rafe was hurting, too. Scotty was his first mate and they were friends. Cassie had said Scott idolized Rafe, had thought of him as an older brother.

His dark eyes to her face. “Scott was a good man. One of the best. Whoever killed him is going to pay.”

A little shiver ran through her. It wasn’t a statement. It was a vow.

And Liv completely believed it.


 Secrets—and safety—melt under a midnight sun… Liv Chandler is running for her life, and the cops haven’t been able to do a thing to help. But there’s one man who makes her feel safe, no matter what…rugged charter boat captain Rafe Brodie. To Rafe, Liv is a beautiful mystery, one he can’t ignore. He means to unearth her secrets, and in the process, if luck is on his side, maybe the spark between them will ignite. But Liv’s past is more dangerous than Rafe could guess, and when his first mate turns up dead, she fears that she’s next. That there’s something else coming she can’t see. That even Rafe and the remote village of Valdez, Alaska can’t protect her forever…


Secrets and Danger Threaten in the Land of the Midnight Sun…

Liv Chandler is running for her life. She can’t trust anyone, not even the one man who makes her feel safe—rugged charter boat captain, Rafe Brodie.

Rafe is determined to uncover Liv’s secrets, but the beautiful café owner has a past more dangerous than Rafe can guess. Something terrible is coming…and even in remote Valdez, Alaska, Rafe can’t protect her forever.


“Martin’s latest novel leaves readers breathless with the absorbing combination of mystery and romance.” —RTBookReviews

“This book is action packed. It has plenty of suspense and I love that the story wasn’t just given away. It all evolved into something fabulous. It will have you looking for the other Brodie books.” —Crystal’s Reviews

What are readers saying about AGAINST THE TIDE?

“A sexy romantic thriller I didn’t want to stop reading.” —Paige, Mertztown, PA

“Thrilling, suspenseful and keeps you hanging on till the very end! And…delicious romance!” — Misty, Galt, CA

“This book was a great read! Characters were intriguing. Story was easy to get swept away with.” —Elissa, Collegeville, PA

“Awesome book from start to finish. I was hooked right away & couldn’t put it down!” —Amy, Las Cruces, NM

“Sexy and Intriguing read. A must read if you love to get caught up in love and romance and danger.” —Kristen, Oklahoma City, OK

“I loved it! Kat martin describes the scenes with such detail it feels as if you’re right there in the story. Loved the characters and the whole plot.” —Lisa, Slippery Rock, PA





Netgalley Link:







 Goodreads link:

 Twitter: @katbooks



Amazon Author Page:




ISBN: 9781420133868

ISBN-10: 1420133861

ISBN-13: 978-1420133868

Kat - Ventura Star (500x350 (150dpi)

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels.

Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.

Born in Bakersfield, California, Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains.

Her last eleven books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. Both AGAINST THE WILD and AGAINST THE SKY, her latest release, took top ten spots. AGAINST THE TIDE the 3rd book in the Brodies of Alaska series will hit shelves in a couple weeks!

Visit Kat’s website at

Or look for her on Facebook at Katmartin/author.

BACK TO MAGIC by Sue Randolph

May 22, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News No Comments →



Set in 1880’s and the present in Southwestern Colorado, Back to Magic is a paranormal romance mystery with an underlying theme of past lives. The first of a trilogy, it relates the life of Ian McCullough, Anna Barrister and her present life persona, Leela Sheridan.

Buy Link:


 Author Interview:

When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer? 

Believe it or not, I was (and am) a Trekkie. Love the Star Trek series and that is when I started writing. My friends and I would write, putting our fictional characters in short stories with the characters of the original series and read them to each other over the phone.

I loved being in that fictional world and that’s when I knew I wanted to write.

Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?

It wasn’t specific advice but more like encouragement from beyond. My best friend, also a Sue, told me 5 years ago that

my mother told her she thought I had talent to write a book. My mom never told me that directly but when I learned of it, I used it as a motivator to complete Back to Magic.

Mom loved to read and passed that on to me. I would like to think she was, and is, looking over my shoulder as I write.

Describe the “perfect” hero. What about the “perfect” hero for you?

A large part of me wants the hero who rides up on the white charger to rescue me. But I think I would get bored with him real soon.

The perfect hero to me is, of course, sexy as hell inside and out. Love the rugged looking man with a sculpted bod and all that goes with it. However, I also like a hero who has some faults and is vulnerable. He works with his partner and stands by her, even when the odds of them being together are stacked against them.

In Back to Magic, Ian’s love for Leela (his Annie from a previous life) is so strong, he will do whatever it takes to stay by her side – even across many years.

That makes him the perfect hero to me.

What are some of your favorite pastimes? Do you have any hobbies or collections?

I am a horsey person and have had them for many years. Currently I have 2 Arabians that I raised from babies.  They are now 24 and 18.

What has been your biggest adventure to date?

Without a doubt, writing Back to Magic and continuing on with the next 2  books in the trilogy.

My second greatest adventure is about to take place when I move back West to Colorado in 2 months. It has been a dream since I had to leave and now it is coming true!

 If your fairy godmother waved her wand and whisked you away to the location of your choice, which place would you choose, and why?

I would love to live up  at a place called “Hanging Lake” in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado. Located at the end of a rather rugged trail, this lake is perched on the edge of a high basin and is fed by a beautiful waterfall that you can also go behind. Somehow, someway, I would love to live there. It is my spiritual place.

 When it comes to food, are you the adventurous type who will try anything once, or do you prefer to stick to tried and true foods and recipes?

I will try anything once – within reason. Couldn’t eat insects, though.

I have favorite foods like pizza and salads. Love avocados, Mexican food.

Chocolate and Cheese are true blessings.

 What is the one modern convenience that you cannot do without?

Indoor plumbing.

What is this romance writer’s idea of the “ideal romantic evening”?

Not just a walk, but a hike over a favorite mountain trail a couple of hours before sunset.

Or maybe riding horses on that trail.

Then a picnic by  a mountain  stream that includes a  good wine, cheese and a decadent desert.

After that, we would make love as the stars came out. (Nothing like the stars in Colorado)

How do you describe yourself? How would your family and friends describe you? 

My description -Mostly outgoing. I do like my private time too. A good friend and driven to succeed in whatever I  want to take on.

My friends and family describe me as  motivated and caring about others. A great friend.

What is your favorite season? What do you love about it?

I love the fall.  Love to vacation in the mountains when the colors are changing, the air is becoming cooler and the crowds are not so large.

What project are you working on next? 

The next book in the Magic Chronicles is “Visions of Magic.” It is completed and I am now doing a final personal

edit before it goes to an editor. I hope to publish it by fall of this year to celebrate returning to Colorado.

 Any place we can find you in person or on the net this month or next? 

I have a website Love to hear from people who are interested in reading or have read Back to Magic.

Also have a Facebook page for “Back to Magic” and a personal page on FB.

Sue Randolph (Feeling the Magic!)   Author of the first 2 books in the Magic Chronicles (Back to Magic and Visions of Magic) for more information, please check out my website at

Once Upon A Seal by Suzan Butler

May 21, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News No Comments →

Meet the Military Men of the Lucky Thirteen Series in Once Upon a Seal by Suzan Butler!

Coming May 19th is the fifth novel in the Lucky Thirteen series, ONCE UPON A SEAL from New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Suzan Butler! Read how a small town girl starts to change her perceptions after conversations with a reclusive former Navy SEAL.

Check out Suzan’s recent post about summer reads on Fresh Fiction!

Follow the tour and you could win some awesome prizes!


Grand Prize: $25 Amazon or B&N gift card

Runner-up Prizes: Digital copies of any one (1) book by Suzan Butler in the Lucky Thirteen series (except Once Upon A Seal)

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Maddie Benson has spent her entire life in Sugar Falls and has never ventured—nor wanted to venture—beyond her small town’s safe borders. But when her delivery job takes her to the doorstep of one very reclusive, former Navy SEAL, Sebastian McIntyre, her small town perceptions are challenged with every conversation they have. It’s not long before she’s losing herself—and her heart—to the mysterious man behind the door.

Bastian’s scars are deeper than the surface. They’re embedded into his soul, and he’s content to keep them buried. But the second Maddie ends up on his doorstep with her sparkling smile and her sunshine hair, his quiet new life shatters and she just might be able to excise the demons he’s tried hard to keep tucked away—if he lets her in.

When Bastian’s old life comes haunting them, he knows he should let her go. But the light she shines on his soul keeps the darkness within him at bay. Letting her go may take more strength than he has, and keeping her close could get her killed.

On Sale in Print and Digital: May 19, 2015

Amazon | Barnes and Noble


Add ONCE UPON A SEAL to your TBR pile on Goodreads!

Suzan Butler Author Photo

Author Bio: Suzan Butler writes adult contemporary romance and has a penchant for Dr. Pepper, ice hockey, and world domination. She lives in Texas under a not-so-secret identity with two monsters, writing naughty books and planning the next step in her evil plans into the twilight hours of the night because that’s when it’s quiet in the house. She loves to hear from readers.

Suzan also has a monthly newsletter she shares with her alter ego, New York Times and USA Today bestseller, S.M. Butler, who writes new adult romantic suspense and military romance. In the newsletter, you’ll find information about new releases, updates on future books, contests, giveaways, get first peek at new covers, and find out where she’ll be visiting through books signings and conventions throughout the year.

Website | Newsletter | Facebook  | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

Keeping Dancing by Leslie Wells

May 21, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News No Comments →

02_Keep Dancing Cover
Publication Date: February 5, 2015
Percambio Press
Formats: Print & ebook
256 pages

Series: Come Dancing, Book Two
Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult/Chick Lit

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Julia is a young book editor on the rise. Jack is a British rock star at the pinnacle of his fame.

Can they both get what they want—if what they need threatens to tear them apart?

It’s January, 1982. Twenty-four-year-old Julia Nash has just moved in with her boyfriend, rock and roll guitarist extraordinaire Jack Kipling. Their connection sizzles as Jack takes her to England to meet his mother, and then to a private Caribbean island for a sensual post-holiday retreat.

But back in New York, they hit a turbulent patch. Career-focused Julia is in the running for a new job, while Jack’s life becomes even more chaotic with an upcoming thirty-city tour. Although free-spirited Jack enjoys his partying lifestyle, he craves more support on the home front. But Julia doesn’t know if she can ever be a domestic goddess—or if her wild boyfriend can ever be domesticated.

On tour, Julia experiences private jets, mind-blowing concerts, shocking hotel room antics, and screaming headlines. Back home, she has to decide if their relationship can withstand the ravages of fame and conflicting interests—not to mention a suave bestselling author who seems to like more than her grammar sense.

Emotionally poignant, hilarious and steamy, Keep Dancing will delight brand-new readers as a stand-alone novel, and also serves as the perfect follow-up to Come Dancing.

Praise for Keep Dancing

“Set in the 80s and dripping with the excesses this time period excelled at, Julia and Jack have reached a point in their relationship where the hard work begins. Julia is working towards her own stardom, while Jack continues to play in the world that made him. As external forces do their best to force this unusual couple apart, Jack and Julia will need to decide if they should keep dancing or find new partners. Emotionally plump with laughter, love, and heartbreak…” —Smexy Book Reviews

“HOT”—“In book two of the Jack and Julia series, Wells once again titles chapters after hit songs, and finds even more ways to describe the excitement surrounding New York City as she did in the debut…” —Romance Times

“This is a 5 star series, and I recommend this as a wonderfully fun yet angsty read. I loved the chemistry between Jack and Julia and their crazy bad communication skills (they didn’t have cell phones, after all). The breakups were worth it, if only just so they could make up!” -Cindy Becker, The Book Enthusiast

Praise for the first novel about Jack and Julia: Come Dancing, an Amazon Bestseller and Apple iBooks Breakout Book

“Wells builds an emotionally poignant love story, abounding with romance and humor.” —Smexy Book Reviews

“Sometimes a book like this comes along and takes me out of the niche reading that I tend to find myself in…. I am in love… So very sex + the city.” —Must Read Books or Die

“It reads like a very, very good romantic comedy movie.” —Michelle & Leslie’s Book Picks

“Once you start, you are completely unable to put it down.” —Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews

“Like a well-oiled machine or a well-tuned guitar, Julia and friends work their way into your heart.” —Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

“Hot, sexy, and combustible.” —Blushing Divas Book Reviews

“Come Dancing is brimming with both humor and heart.” —Flashlight Commentary

“It’s a fun romp, and the sparkling characters definitely made it worth the read.” —A Bookish Affair

“I enjoyed reading Come Dancing! It had a good story, fascinating characters, and a charming vibe.” —Julie Anne, Teacups & Book Love

Keep Dancing Available at


About the Author

03_Leslie Wells Credit © Leslie WellsLeslie Wells left her small Southern town in 1979 for graduate school in Manhattan, after which she got her first job in book publishing. She has edited forty-eight New York Times bestsellers in her over thirty-year career, including thirteen number one New York Times bestsellers. Leslie has worked with numerous internationally known authors, musicians, actors, actresses, television and radio personalities, athletes, and coaches. She lives on Long Island, New York.

Author Links

Website | Blog | Facebook | Google+ | Goodreads

Sign Up for Leslie Wells’s Newsletter.

Keep Dancing Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, May 1
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Saturday, May 2
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Monday, May 4
Review at Red Hot Books

Thursday, May 7
Guest Post at I Heart Reading

Friday, May 8
Spotlight at Rainy Day Reviews

Monday, May 11
Review at Tea Cups and Book Love

Tuesday, May 12
Review at Room With Books

Wednesday, May 13
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing

Friday, May 15
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, May 20
Review & Guest Post at Must Read Books or Die

Thursday, May 21
Spotlight at Romance Junkies Blog

Monday, June 1
Review at The Life & Times of a Book Addict
Spotlight at Genre Queen

Tuesday, June 2
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, June 3
Review at Shelly’s Book Shelves

Thursday, June 4
Review at SOS Aloha

Friday, June 5
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Monday, June 8
Review at The Danish Bookaholic

Tuesday, June 9
Review & Excerpt at Reading in Pajamas

Wednesday, June 10
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, June 18
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Monday, June 22
Review at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Wednesday, June 24
Guest Post at Brooke Blogs

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Exciting Giveaway!

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Familiar Feeling (Coven of Four #1) by Daniel A. Kaine

May 20, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News No Comments →

Title ~ Familiar Feeling (Coven of Four #1)

Author ~ Daniel A Kaine

Publisher ~ Wilde City Press

Published ~ 6th May 2015

Genre ~ Paranormal M/M Romance


Drew never believed in magic. Then three years after his wife’s unexplained death he unearths a book of spells in his attic. Reading the first ‘stupid poem’ seems harmless, until he acquires his very own familiar, Felix. Drew and Felix soon realise an attraction that goes beyond their magical bond. However, there’s a coven of demon-worshipping witches out to steal Drew’s newfound power. If they want to survive long enough to see where their mutual desires take them, Felix must teach Drew the art of witchcraft. But will he be ready in time?

Buy the book

Meet Daniel Kaine

Daniel was born and raised in the Land of Rain, aka England, where he now lives with his four lovable furballs; Mik, Ash, Spidey and Flash. Originally trained as a Biology teacher, Daniel was unsure what to do with his life until he came across fanfiction for his favourite anime and decided to have a go at writing his own. To this day, he still cringes at the memory of the cheesy terminology he used. When not writing, Daniel enjoys a variety of activities, including running, going to the gym, bondage, watching anime, and the mass-slaying of virtual monsters in the hopes of receiving epic loot. One day, he hopes to become a werepanther and invent chocolate that can be eaten all day without making you fat.


For the first time in three years, Drew stood at the top of the stairs leading to his attic. His fingers curled around the brass doorknob. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, the palm of his hand slick with sweat against the cold metal. Steeling himself, Drew turned the knob and pushed. The rusty hinges groaned and the door swung inward, revealing a dust-covered mess of boxes and furniture.

Drew stepped over the threshold, and an icy chill ran through his entire body as though the ghost of his wife had run through him in a bid to escape the dark attic. He shivered. The light hairs on his arms stood almost painfully rigid, raising goosebumps on his skin.

He took a step forward, stirring up a layer of dirt and dust as his black boots came down against the floorboards. The stale air lingered at the top of his nostrils, and he scrunched up his nose. A white figure at the corner of Drew’s right eye caught his attention, and, for a second, he was sure he’d seen long blonde hair blowing gently.

“Linda?” But it was only his wife’s wedding dress hanging from the end of a rail of clothes, the veil swaying in the cold draught that swept through the room.

Drew let out a long sigh and dropped his chin to his chest. A dull ache emanated from deep in his chest. For three years, he had kept his wife’s belongings locked up in the attic in order to avoid the constant reminders of his loss. Time had done little to heal the hole left behind.

Two minutes passed before Drew returned to the present, shaking off the memories of a time when life had seemed almost perfect. A time that was lost in the blink of an eye, turning his world upside down and inside out. He walked toward the dress and touched the soft fabric, stroking the veil as though he could feel Linda’s cheek against the back of his hand. How he longed to caress her soft, ivory skin again. Skin, that in its last moments had been spattered with splashes of crimson, as her last breath faded.

Drew jerked his hand away, the final moments of his wife’s life and death flickering in the back of his mind before fading away and leaving him cold and alone once more in the middle of the attic. His chest rose as he breathed in deep and held it for a few seconds, clenching his fists. Then he exhaled slowly through his mouth.

“I can do this,” he muttered, lifting the dress from the rail and draping it over his left arm. He picked some more of the clothes from the rail and carried them downstairs to lay across the bed.

TRIPLE TIME by Regina Kyle

May 19, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News No Comments →


I’m so excited to be back at Romance Junkies! I was here in October talking about my debut novel, Triple Threat, and it’s hard to believe I’m already back talking about the second book in the Art of Seduction series, Triple Time.

Last time around, I talked about my love for theater and how it led to writing Triple Threat. While theater is a huge part of my life, I couldn’t use it as a backdrop for every book (no matter how much I might want to). But I like to draw on my everyday experiences in my books. I think it gives them a sense of authenticity (and cuts down on the research, that’s for sure). So when it came time to write Triple Time, I looked to another facet of my busy life: law.

Although my nights are spent writing romance, my days are spent drafting legal briefs as a senior assistant state’s attorney (what most states call a district attorney). I specialize in appeals, which means that I don’t do trial work, like on Law and Order. Instead, it’s mostly writing, with the occasional court appearance where I argue not in front of a jury but in front of a panel of judges. Like my nights, most of my days are spent behind a computer, clacking away.

I really do enjoy being an appellate lawyer (most days LOL). It’s a different kind of writing than romance, that’s for sure. But it’s still about using words wisely, to maximum effect, like I learned to do as a journalism major in college.

In Triple Time, hero Gabe Nelson gets all my lawyerly qualities. Like me, he’s a prosecutor, although he does high-level, high-pressure trial work. And he has high aspirations; he wants to run for the top spot in the district attorney’s office (I’m perfectly content toiling away in anonymity, thank you).

I’ve always seen Gabe as a combination of my favorite fictional lawyer of all time, Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, and Alex P. Keaton, Michael J. Fox’s character in the old TV show Family Ties. Sure, he’s a little bit on the stuffy side, like Alex. But he’s also a passionate defender of justice, one of the true good guys who believes in the system and is as concerned about freeing the innocent as he is about convicting the guilty. A lot like Atticus, even though he sits on the other side of the courtroom. I really enjoyed creating Gabe as a character, putting him through hell, and watching him grow.

It was fun and challenging for me to develop the legal subplot for Triple Time, too. Sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and that was a problem for me in working through the legal issues. I needed the subplot to be believable and correct in law (I’m one of those annoying people who yells at the television when I’m watching police procedurals and something’s not realistic). But at the same time, I couldn’t make it so complicated or contrived that a non-lawyer wouldn’t be able to follow it. And I didn’t want it to over whelm the love story, either. I think I managed to get the balance right. I hope you think so, too!

US Cover

Book Blurb:

How to unravel your straight-laced lover . . .

Gabe Nelson would be a great district attorney, but his public image is too boring to get voters’ attention. Tattoo artist Devin Padilla can help him show off his fun, sexy side, but she needs something in return—Gabe’s legal expertise to track down her missing brother. She’s not his type, but they can’t keep their hands off each other, whether it’s good for his image or not.

At first, Devin thinks she got the easy end of the bargain. Gabe’s the sexiest stuffed shirt in Manhattan, and his kisses practically set her on fire. But every deal has its fine print. As their relationship goes from business to pleasure, Devin realizes this one won’t cost her soul…it’ll just steal her heart.

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Regina Kyle2

Author Bio:

Regina Kyle knew she was destined to be an author when she won a writing contest at age ten with a touching tale about a squirrel and a nut pie. By day, she writes dry legal briefs, representing the state in criminal appeals. At night, she writes steamy romance with heart and humor.

A lover of all things theatrical, Regina lives on the Connecticut coast with her husband, teenaged daughter and two melodramatic cats. When she’s not writing, she’s most likely singing, reading, cooking or watching bad reality television. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and her local RWA chapter. Triple Tine is her second novel. She is also the author of Triple Threat, the first book in her Art of Seduction series for Harlequin Blaze.

My Links:



Of all the white knights in New York City, why did Gabe Nelson have to be the one to ride to her rescue?

Devin Padilla stared at her best friend’s brother and swore again.

“It’s nice to see you, too.”

She crossed her arms. “What are you doing here?” “Heading home. Same as you should be.” Disapproval dripped from his voice as he eyeballed her, frowning no doubt at her outfit of choice. Sure, the lacy camisole clung a little too tightly to her 36Ds and her short skirt showed off her J. Lo booty. But she was a bartender, for Christ’s sake, not an astrophysicist. How was she supposed to earn enough tips to support herself and set something aside for Victor if—no, when—she found him, if she didn’t give her customers something to look at on top of her witty repartee.

“Isn’t that dive you work at downtown?”

“It’s not a dive. And yes, it is. Sometimes I pull extra shifts for a friend at The Mark.” She never said no to extra cash, and she always raked it in at the Upper East Side hotel bar.

“Hello?” a voice interrupted from the pavement. “Injured man down here.”

“Get up, Freddie. You’re not hurt. I barely touched you.”

“You know this guy?” Gabe asked.

“He’s one of my regulars. Said he’d take me to the subway.” She glared down at him, hands on her hips. Just another one in a long line of losers that had hit on her in the past six months. It was like she was wearing a sign that said Attention all guys. Are you mentally stable? Gainfully employed? Reasonably attractive? Then keep away. “The subway, Freddie. Not to heaven against a slimy park viaduct.”

Freddie struggled to his knees. “It’s not my fault. You’ve been giving me mixed signals for months.”

“Mixed signals?” She raised one Doc Marten and aimed it at him, making him flinch before she broke off and scuffed the ground in front of him. He scuttled back like a frightened crab and she couldn’t help but scoff. “How’s that for a mixed signal, dirtbag?”

Gabe put a hand on her shoulder. “You’re relieved from duty, Freddie. I’ll see the lady home.”

“Like hell you will.” Devin shook off his hand. No way she was spending one minute more than necessary with Dudley Do‑Right. No matter how dead sexy he was. “The subway’s two blocks from here. I can make it just fine on my own.”

“I’m sure you can. But a gentleman always makes sure his date arrives home safely.” Gabe tugged off his suit jacket and wrapped it around Devin’s shoulders, shielding them—and the breasts barely concealed by her skimpy top—from Freddie’s prying eyes. “Isn’t that right, Freddie?”

“I’m not your date.” Devin’s gaze ping‑ponged from one man to the other. “Either of you.”

“Humor me.” Gabe’s hand held steady against the small of her back. The shivers she hadn’t noticed subsided, tempting her to succumb to the warm, reassuring feeling of a good man’s touch.

His touch.

“Have it your way.” Freddie stood and backed away slowly. “But I’m telling you, man, the chick is trouble.”

Devin started for him but Gabe held her back, and damn if his touch didn’t make her quiver all over again. What was it about Holly’s stuffed‑shirt brother that got her engine revving faster than a dirt bike at the X Games?

It couldn’t be the banging body she was pretty sure he hid under all those designer suits—broad shoulders that led to an equally broad chest, narrow waist, lean hips and long, strong legs. Or his stormy, gray eyes, intense and mysterious, never revealing what was going on behind them. And it sure as hell wasn’t his lips, full, firm and just right for hours of sensuous kissing.

“That’s a chance I’ll have to take.” Gabe slid his hand to her elbow, leaving a trail of goose bumps in its wake.

“It’s your funeral,” Freddie tossed over his shoulder as he fled into the darkness.


In My Bookcase:

The Night Belongs to Fireman, by Jennifer Bernard

Goal, Motivation and Conflict, by Debra Dixon

Making it on Broadway, by David Wienir and Jodie Langel



Norwalk library event

With authors Jamie Schmidt, Erika Kelly and Sugar Jamison and Harlequin editor Patience Bloom at a library book talk/signing


Fangirling over Susan Elizabeth Phillips


My writing mascot, Romanatee


With Jennifer Bernard at RWA14

Author Insight:

People ask me all the time how to become a romance writer. And I tell them the three things:

  1. Read, read, read. You can’t write in a genre if you don’t know the rules. And the first way to learn the rules is to read what’s out there.
  2. Join your local chapter of RWA. Go to meetings. Listen. Take advantage of the courses offered by RWA national, your chapter (if they offer them) and the many other chapters out there that have on-line offerings.
  3. Write, write, write. Some of it will be bad. That’s okay. Like Nora Roberts says, you can’t fix a blank page.

Day in the Week:

7:00 a.m.: Wake up after daughter and husband (teacher) are off to school

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Work my day job as an assistant state’s attorney

6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.: Dinner and family time (usually watching something on TV)

9:00 p.m. – the wee hours: write, write, write, mixed with promotional stuff like updating social media, doing blog posts, sending business emails, etc.


Behind The Mask by Carolyn Crane

May 18, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News 5 Comments →

Giveaway Information

(1) $75.00 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice & open internationally)

(32) Digital Copies of either Against the Dark, Off the Edge or Into the Shadows (winner’s choice & open internationally)

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About the Book

 Title: Behind The Mask (Associates, #4)

Author: Carolyn Crane

Release Date: May 19, 2015

Category: Romantic Suspense


Buy Links:

Amazon: Coming Soon!

Barnes & Noble: Coming Soon!

Kobo: Coming Soon!



Book Summary:



When her estranged sister is won in a card game by a brutal drug cartel, Zelda knows what she has to do: take her place. Save her. Focus on infiltrating the shadowy group–and try not to think about why she left the spying game years ago. She’s slept with dangerous criminals before; she can do it again.

Hugo Martinez is one of South America’s most lethal and wanted men, a legendary mercenary living on a windswept mountain. Even at the height of the war he wasn’t in the habit of taking women captive, but the American whore has seen his face. And he and the orphan boy need a cook. He shouldn’t want this woman, but there’s something so unusual about her…

Meanwhile, Zelda finds herself falling for her captor…but is he the killer she’s been hunting all these years?


Crane Author Photo

About the Author

 I am a RITA-winning author of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and other tales of love and adventure (and erotic & dark romance as NYT bestselling author Annika Martin). My books have been published by Random House and Samhain, and I also go the indie route. I work a straight job as a marketing writer, I love to read in bed and run, I’m passionate about helping animals, and I make my home in Minnesota with my husband and two cats.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter


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Monday, May 18, 2015


Straight Shooting Book Reviews (Excerpt):

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Ramblings From This Chick (Guest Post):

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Happiness is a book (Review):

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That’s What I’m Talking About (Review):

Cricket’s Chirps (Review):

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Em & M Books (Excerpt):

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Herding Cats & Burning Soup (Interview):

The Book Nympho (Review):

Long and Short Reviews (Excerpt):

Love Affair with an E-Reader (Review):


Thursday, May 21, 2015


Paranormal Haven (Interview):

Becky on Books (Review):

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So Many Reads (Excerpt):

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Goldilox and the Three Weres (Review):


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Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell (Review):

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May 18, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News No Comments →


Falling for His Best Friend

by Katee Robert

 When Avery Yeung decides to stop waiting around for life to align to get pregnant, her best friend Drew convinces her that he’s the only man for the job. Fans of Nicolette Day’s No Strings Attached or Maisey Yates’s Unexpected, will devour the sexy addition to the Out of Uniform series by NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author Katee Robert.


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Title: Falling for His Best Friend

Author: Katee Robert

Series: Out of Uniform #2

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: May 19, 2015

Publisher: Entangled Brazen


Avery Yeung’s biological clock just went off early. Thanks to her family’s medical history, she’s running out of time to get knocked up. And the only guy within donating distance? Her overprotective—and irritatingly hot—best friend. So clearly she needs an anonymous donor…

Anonymous donor? Over Sheriff Drew Flannery’s dead body. While daddyhood will never be in the cards for a man with his past, Drew won’t let Avery shop for a “popsicle pop.” He’ll do what’s right for his best friend by doing his best friend. But only if they do it properly.

But there’s nothing “proper” about it. Between the bed, the kitchen counter, and against his squad car, Avery and Drew are having the hottest sex ever. They can’t get enough of it—or each other. And without knowing it, they’ve crossed the one line that could ruin their friendship forever…


See where it all began with book 1 of the Out of Uniform series, In Bed with Mr. Wrong.

Get More information at: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Katee Robert.04.205px.png

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. She found romance novels at age twelve and it changed her life. When not writing sexy contemporary and speculative fiction romance novels, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her wee ones, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. Connect with Katee at: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google + | GoodReads | Instagram | Tumblr | Youtube


 Monday 5/18

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As the Pages Turn

Vampire Legacy by Ella J Phoenix

May 17, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News No Comments →


Vampire Legacy (Book 4 of the Dragon Heat series)

Publication Details

Title – Vampire Legacy (Book 4 of the Dragon Heat series) Author – Ella J Phoenix

Publication date – May 1, 2015 Publisher – Self Publishing

Word count – 115,000

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Sales Promotion for Sexy Book Blogs Tour

Vampire Legacy (Book 4 of the Dragon Heat series) and Dragon Heat (Book 1) will be FREE to download from AllRomanceEbooks &


Backcover blurb

When Tardieh discovers a letter from his late father, he opens a door to old memories. The letter from Petran is a tale of intrigue, attempted murder, and betrayal, but leaves more questions than answers in its wake.

Petran, the King of Vampires, an ancient monarch known for his cunning ploys and many lovers, knows the animosity between draconians and vampires is brewing in Romania. Upon discovering his draconian neighbor has fallen ill with a strange Curse, Petran is determined to discover the cause, and a cure. In doing so, he finds an unexpected ally in his neighbor’s daughter, a striking Draconian Duchess.

All Lady Natalia, the Duchess of Moldavia, wants is to save her people from a Dragon Lord’s tyranny but she’s only a woman, who has no place meddling in politics. With his health failing, her father has big plans for her, so when the King of Vampires agrees to help her find a cure for the Curse plaguing her people and her father, Talia begins to see him as more than an old family friend. He awakens desires in her she knows she should not have but cannot resist, or deny him.

***Warning: this novel contains hot, steamy, descriptive sexual scenes. Enjoy.***


Vampire Legacy

Book Four of The Dragon Heat Series

By Ella J Phoenix

Copyright © 2015 by Ella J Phoenix Edition

All rights reserved


Apa Dobrý – group of five gods, creators of life on Earth and the Universe

Apa Sâmbetei – the Land of the Souls, the afterlife

Calathor – someone who can cross to the Land of the Souls and return unharmed

Draco or Draconian – a dragon in human form

Hiad – the Underworld

Inmã – the soul

Konec – God of Death, Keeper of the gates of Hiad

Razbians – lizard people known for their lack of intelligence

Soartas – the three witches of Destiny

Sujha – a non-pure being, offspring of the union between two different races

Terhem Viahta – the Land of the Living, the Earth

Ucidhere – God of Death, lord of the Land of the Souls

Zmyzel – Goddess of Life
Chapter Two

Wallachia, Romania, 1799

The Border between Vampire and Draconian territories


“Halt,” the driver shouted as the carriage jolted in place.

“For Hiad’s sake, what is it now?” Petran heard Arthur, his chamberlain, yell from a few feet ahead. He’d been riding at the front of the line with the other guards.

“The wheel got stuck again,” the driver answered.

Petran let out a long sigh and rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands. This trip was getting on his nerves. He loathed travelling by…well, he loathed travelling. Vampires didn’t have to depend on slow horses or carriages for transport, they teleported. Petran was a wizard at that skill, having mastered it far better than his counterparts. Diplomatic visits like this one, however, called for a more substantial method of arrival, as protocol dictated. He hated diplomacy but knew the world would be an intolerable chaos if its leaders didn’t follow minimum decorum. And so here he was crossing the Carpathian Mountains by carriage in a never-ending spring drizzle, going at an agonizing four miles per hour and getting stuck in every shallow hole on the road. It was pure torture.

“We must move before any outlaw dracos sniff us out here,” Arthur added from outside the coach. “These roads are full of them.”

“Nah, dracos ain’t allowed to shift no more in these parts, only with the permission of their lord,” one of his personal guards replied in a nonchalant manner.

“The very definition of outlaw, you door-knob, is one who doesn’t follow the law,” Arthur grunted in reply.

Great, now they were discussing grammar. “I do not care what it means or what is stalling us,” Petran growled from his cabin, not even bothering to open his coach’s window. “Just get on with it before we all turn into ashes with the coming sun.” His men were all vampires and could hear a pin dropping, so there was no need for wasting his energy with an elevated voice.

It worked. Arthur and his guards stopped the blabbering at once and got on with getting the task done.

When the carriage finally resumed the drive, Petran shifted uncomfortably on the hard leather seat. Next time he would teleport to the nearest spot then make the final distance by foot. It was better than enduring an overnight trip at turtle-speed surrounded by incompetent morons. He had to admit, however, he too had had his share of utter uselessness when it came to operating human inventions.

After a couple of excruciatingly painful hours of uncomfortable jostling, they crossed a draconian village, and then started their way up the hill toward the Dragon Lord’s castle. At last. Three quarters of an hour later, the carriage came to a halt—a planned one this time around.

Petran didn’t wait for the formal protocols but instead, he promptly stepped out of his cubicle and stretched his legs. The end of their journey was in the middle of a wide stone bridge, which connected two sides of a gorge. Its end landed on an elevated platform that hosted a colossal door, carved into sheer rock.

“We have arrived, your majesty.”

“I can see that, Arthur,” Petran replied trying to remind himself that butchering his own servant would be unwise. He took a deep, calming breath and admired the majestic wall before him.

The Dragon’s castle had been literally carved into the mountain. The only entrance was through the impossibly long stone bridge, which was adorned by intricate carvings. The symbols depicted an ancient story of war and victory, of the Golden Age of the Dragons. A colossal door greeted visitors at the other end and a few feet above it two towers stood as if poking out of the mountain itself.

“Who comes there?” the tower guard above them yelled down.

“It is I, Petran, King of Vampires, from the House of Basarab. I come to pay my respects to your lord Somenski the Truthful, Draconian Lord of Moldavia.”

“I was not informed my lord expected visitors,” the impertinent sod replied. “I must consult first with—”

Suddenly, the stone door creaked alive and an entourage of dracos emerged.

“Let him through,” a feminine voice uttered. It was soft yet full of confidence.

Petran narrowed his eyes trying to see who had voiced the command, but only managed to distinguish a lithe shadow among the many male bodyguards.

He waited in the drizzle as the tower guard nodded once and disappeared into his cubicle. After a short moment, the heavy door creaked alive again and slowly opened up to its full range to welcome the visitors. The female stepped forward and stopped at the mouth of the grand entrance. A couple of servants rushed after her, holding up some sort of tent in an attempt to protect their lady from the rain. She gently lifted her hand, indicating that there was no need for it. As the servants stepped back, she lifted her chin high and looked straight at Petran.

And his gut clenched.

He had no idea who she was, but this lady was by far the most striking woman he had ever laid his eyes upon. She wore a simple yet elegant dress made of dark blue velvet, which hugged her slender waist and molded her breasts in shape. Dark grey eyes were framed by thick lashes, and fiery red hair was plaited onto a high bun carrying no adornments or precious stones. She didn’t need any, her beauty was arresting enough without any subterfuges.

“Welcome to the house of Somenski the Truthful, Draconian Lord of Moldavia, your majesty,” she stated, going down on a perfect bow.

Petran nodded in acknowledgment, as decorum dictated. “I come to pay my visit to your lord. I trust you received my missive.”

“Yes, your majesty, we did,” she replied. “Unfortunately, we misread your message for it predicted your arrival after the rainy season.”

No, she hadn’t misread his missive for that was exactly what he had sent. He knew it, she knew it. But she had clearly decided to avoid embarrassing a royal visitor by pointing it out. Wise decision. He was too good a poker player, however, to think of explaining why he had unexpectedly pushed his visit forward. There was no need to ruin a good neighborly relationship with the truth.

“Please, let me provide you shelter from this drizzle,” she said flicking her hand in the air. At once, her entourage rushed to Petran’s side and lifted the small tent up, successfully shielding them both from the rain.

“Please follow me,” she requested with a short bow, then without waiting for any response, turned around, and started making her way into the mountain.

Petran narrowed his eyes at the slight sway of her hips. Who was she? In a formal encounter, one would introduce oneself declaring his name and rank in the household. Despite her obviously well trained manners, she hadn’t properly informed him of her lineage and position. It probably had not been on purpose but nonetheless it made him weary, maybe even irritable. He detested not knowing all the players on the table, or not having all the facts at his disposal at all times.

Petran shook his head and chided himself. He was overthinking things again, a habit which Arthur, his trusted Chamberlain, had subtly highlighted more than once. It was best not to assume the worst. This was a simple visit, official but of a kinder nature, from one neighbor to another. There was no point of seeing mischief in the shadows. It was best to simply ask for clarification. One always receives what one commands.

With that in mind, Petran accelerated his pace until he was side by side with the young woman. They had now entered a tall chamber which seemed to have been carved straight into the mountain. “Please accept my apologies for not having sent an emissary with the adjusted date of my arrival, Lady…”

“Oh, please your majesty, there’s no need for apologies. We are your servants,” she replied politely, without looking at him, and without stating her name. Again. She had simply ignored decorum all together.

Damn her. Was she Somenski’s new wife? No, occurrence of such magnitude would have quickly made its way to his ears. He hadn’t been advised of any matrimonies of late, either. Unless the old sod had decided to take on a mistress—a much younger one from the looks of it.

Petran ran his eyes over the lady by his side. She was worth taking, for sure. With marble skin, flaming red hair, and delicate features, her beauty was a marvel. Their society widely accepted royal mistresses—some of them were even better treated then the official wives, living a life of glamour and luxury, not having to carry the burden of the continuation of their house name or of having to protect their reputations.

A small smile lifted the corner of his lips as a tinge of jealousy enveloped his groin. If only he had found this red-haired gem before his draconian neighbor, he would have shown her what it was like to bed a true king—over, and over again.

The object of his lustful thoughts paused, then turned to face him, meeting him eye-to-eye. An obvious question was stamped on her face, as if asking for justification for such inappropriate staring.

Well, he too could ignore decorum. “My mind must be playing tricks on me for I could swear I have seen you before, milady. Did Somenski officially introduce you as his royal mistress in the last Open Games?”

Her eyes widened in shock and her jaw dropped. “Your majesty!”

At once, Petran realized that maybe he’d been too blunt, but tiredness from the long trip prevented him from finding apologetic words, only ones of perplexity reached his tongue. “Well, don’t look at me so bewildered, milady. I too find myself confused.”

She opened her mouth again, then turned on her heels, took a couple of steps and stopped facing the other way. Petran watched in amusement as she obviously fought to gain her composure. It was quite entertaining actually.

After a few heartbeats, she turned around again. “Apologies, your majesty, for my lack of manners,” she said in controlled somber tones. “I should have introduced myself.”

“Yes, you should have,” Petran replied curtly, not giving her space to evade him any longer.

A hot blush colored her cheeks but she took his reprimand in silence. Bowing low, she said, “I am Lady Natalia Somenski, Duchess of Moldavia.”

Now it was Petran’s turn to look astounded. Lady Natalia? As in Little Natalia, Somenski’s daughter who had been sent away to boarding school just a few years ago?

“It’s been three decades, your majesty,” she replied politely, and Petran realized he had spoken aloud.

Bloody Hiad.

“I hadn’t been informed of your return, milady, nor had I realized time had elapsed so fast,” he muttered gravely, trying hard to make it sound like an apology. He wasn’t one to make amends or justify his actions, but apologies were definitely in order. One thing was to ogle over Somenski’s mistress, but another one entirely was doing it so to his daughter, even if she was a delight to the eyes.

“Yes, time does tend to creep up on all sons of Apa Sâmbetei, no matter who you are—a mere vassal, a king, or even a royal mistress,” she replied softly, but her subtle derision was not missed in his ears.

Was she jesting with him? Petran stared at those grey eyes, his tired mind taking longer to find the right come back.

Before he managed to find his voice again, Lady Natalia resumed their walk. “Please, let me take you to your chambers. You must be in need of a rest after your long journey.”

He was indeed but—“I’d rather see your father first, if possible.”

She nodded once, acknowledging his request and carried on.

Petran followed the lovely Natalia along the endless corridors taking everything in. Somenski’s castle was a medieval fortress carved within the mountain. Impossibly tall chambers led to other even taller hallways. Maybe it was how enormous everything was, or maybe it was the earliness of the morn, but the castle looked rather empty. After a few minutes, they reached an alcove, which looked like the entrance to the kitchens.

“Your entourage may follow my servants to the stables, where they may take care of your horses.”

Petran nodded to his men, a silent order for them to comply with the lady’s suggestion. Arthur stared back at him for a flicker of time, as if undecided whether to comply or to rebel against his orders. That bloody chamberlain! Petran would have to teach him some manners. He lifted an eyebrow at Arthur, leaving no doubts as to which the right decision was. After a heartbeat, his servant got the gist of the message and moved along with the others toward the stables. Wise decision.

Petran had known Natalia’s father for centuries and trusted the old sod, even if he were a dragon. But the main reason he denied the safety of his guard’s company was to ensure privacy. There were disturbing rumors travelling around, too disturbing to ignore. That was why Petran had decided to pay his neighbor a visit, with the excuse of collecting the rent the draco owed him.

Now, accompanied by just one servant who lit the way with a single candle torch, his lovely hostess guided Petran along more corridors and chambers. This was no castle, but a maze of towering proportions. Finally, they reached a hollow alcove, which held a colossal waterfall without an end. Crystal chandeliers filled the steep walls surrounding the waterfall, which radiated rays of light in several directions, creating an eerie yet awe-inspiring effect. Several doors filled the ledge along the empty space, framed by verandas, which emerged out of nowhere, as if glued to the stone wall. Petran looked down, and saw only an endless pit into which the waterfall disappeared.

“This is our water view façade,” Lady Natalia said, probably sensing his curiosity.

“Do you mean that these balconies are the entrance to the royal chambers?”

“The back entrance,” she explained then turned to the opposite direction. “The front is through the heart of the mountain.”

After a few more minutes tailing Natalia along the labyrinth of soaring chambers, they reached a tall wooden door.

A faint come in reached Petran’s ears after Lady Natalia knocked. She opened the door and stepped aside to let him in.

A sudden putrid smell reached his nostrils.

The room was dimly lit by a single candle, but it was enough for him to distinguish his frail neighbor lying under heavy covers on the four post bed. The draco was the source of the foul smell. The smell of death.

Damn the Soartas, Petran cursed silently. The rumors were true. Somenski was dying.

“Petran,” his neighbor murmured with a straining voice. “How glad am I to see you.”

“Hello, old chap,” Petran replied lightly, stepping inside the room.

Natalia pulled a chair close and motioned for him to take a seat by her father’s bedside. Petran obliged, even though he desired nothing but to lift the covers and investigate what in Hiad had taken down a millennia-old dragon.

“Apologies for not having met you at the gates,” the draco said. “But as you see, the Soartas decided to teach me a lesson.”

“If I didn’t know better,” Petran replied. “I would think you sent your daughter to greet me on purpose, so I would be too smitten to demand the rent you owe me.”

Somenski’s wrinkled face lifted as he cackled without reservation, but the laughter soon turned into an ugly cough. At once, Natalia jumped to his aid, bringing him a glass of something, which smelled like rotting seaweed. As they both struggled to control the attack, Petran noticed in horror that the draco’s skin suddenly shifted from smooth beige to green scales, his eyes turned yellow, his irises thinned into slits, just to pop out again after a moment. It seemed as if Somenski had lost control over his mutation, as if his dragon was trapped inside and was struggling to come out. Merciful Soartas, it was painful even to watch.

Petran had never liked dracos, never trusted them—who could blame him after so much animosity over the centuries? His great-great-grandfather Vlad Dracul, had tried to make amends and even went as far as enduring the trials and became the first vampire member of the Order of the Dragon, but to no avail. He was soon betrayed and assassinated, giving Petran’s great grandfather, Vlad Tepes the perfect excuse to lead one of the bloodiest campaigns in their history. After all that, there was no trust, no peace between Vampires and Dragons. Just between neighbors.

Somenski was different though. His ill-timed sense of humor and love for self-scorn had managed to break through Petran’s prejudices. And when the old lizard had come to Petran asking permission to harvest a section of his territory in exchange for a small fee, he’d had no reason to refuse the request. Over the years, that simple exchange had turned into an unexpected friendship.

After a few moments of struggle, the coughing resided and Somenski managed to take a deep breath.

Still troubled by the disturbing sight, Petran leaned forward and rested his elbows on his thighs. “So the rumors are true. You have been afflicted by the strange Curse that is wiping out your serfs.”

Somenski didn’t reply straight away. He took a few more sips of the strange water Natalia offered then sunk back on the pillows. “I would entertain you with some fairytale as an explanation, but I’m afraid you’d want too many details and I’m not in an inventive mood tonight.”

“Good, because I, on the other hand, am in the investigative mood this eve,” Petran replied trying hard to keep his tone jovial.

His neighbor didn’t find it funny. A heavy aura had descended in the dark chamber.

“Somenski,” Petran said, breaking the silence, “I don’t believe in divine curses. I believe in facts, and the fact is that your country has been stricken by a disease that can bind a millennia-old dragon to a bed.”

The draco opened his mouth to answer but another coughing fit made him change course. Once again, his skin changed into thick scales and his eyes turned yellow, like a wave, which came and went. And just like before, Natalia was right there to help her father, promptly supporting him up as he contorted in agony.

“We don’t know what’s causing this ailment,” she replied cleaning her father’s chin then helping him drink the strange, smelly tea. “Some country folks believe we’re being punished by Apa Dobrý but these are just superstitions driven by ignorance. The only thing we do know is that the illness blocks dracos from shifting, therefore, locking them in human form.”

“How can that be?” Petran had never heard of such thing, and had he not seen it with his own eyes, he wouldn’t have believed it.

She exhaled and shrugged weakly. “We need to shift to gain our strength, since he cannot…”

“He cannot gain enough strength to fight the disease,” Petran added, finishing the sentence for her.

She nodded affirmatively.

“What happens if you don’t shift for a length of time?” Petran asked, but the answer didn’t come from Natalia.

“Then our bodies deteriorate in a matter of months,” a male voice replied from the back of the room. “Like many have in the last year.”

Petran jumped to his feet at the sound of the new comer.

Kalaur, the Dragon Lord of the Eastern Mountains was standing by the balcony door. His imposing figure blocked the entire breadth of the frame.

Just like Somenski, the dragon lord owned a good chunk of East Europe, but unlike his old chap, Kalaur had never managed to gain Petran’s trust. He was cold-blooded and ambitious—never a good combination to have for a neighbor.

“Oh, my lord,” Natalia exclaimed holding her chest in her hands. “You startled us. I thought you had left when we came in and didn’t find you by my father’s side.”

Apparently Kalaur decided her remark was not worthy of his attention because he continued his statement as if he had never been interrupted. “Yes, it is a terrible Curse indeed but not to fear, I have my best physician developing an antidote as we speak.”

“Developing an antidote with what?” Petran asked. “I have never heard of anything like this disease before?”

“No disrespect, your majesty,” Kalaur replied clearly not meaning his words. “But this is a draconian matter.”

“The House of Basarab has been my neighbor for longer than you have, Kalaur,” Somenski uttered gravely. “Remember your place.”

“It’s alright, old friend,” Petran intervened quickly. He wanted to pin Kalaur’s tongue to the wall for his insolence, but held himself in check. Petran needed answers and apparently, the bastard had some. “I understand that in times like these, one’s patience is tested. Would it be too upsetting if you told me when this antidote will be available?”

“Soon,” Kalaur replied. “My physician is conducting the final tests.”

“On whom?” Somenski asked. A deep crease wrinkled his brow. “By Apa Dobrý, Kalaur, don’t tell me you are testing this drug on our own people!”

“How else would you like us to find a cure for your disease? Besides, they are just peasants,” the bloody lizard retorted with a short shrug. “There are plenty left still to work the lands.”

Petran never took kindly to blunt cruelty, but knew well that some lords in these parts of the world still saw their land as their kingdom and the peasants as mere serfs who should be grateful for a roof over their heads. Petran would never rule this way but unfortunately, as Kalaur had put it, it was truly none of his business.

“They are still our people, my lord, our flesh and blood,” Natalia commented. Apparently, she didn’t share Kalaur’s detachment. Despite her soft voice, her spine was as rigid as a rod, her jaw locked, and her pink lips pursed into a thin line. “I have been watching over the villages affected, and I believe there’s a pattern. After the first wave—”

“Nonsense,” the dragon lord barked interrupting her. “You are inexperienced and know nothing of the ways of this land, milady. Leave the serious affairs to those who know what’s best.”

Petran narrowed his eyes and fantasized about his fists connecting with Kalaur’s long nose. However, he came here to find out what was happening to his neighbor, not to start a fight with a powerful dragon lord, even if he were a deserving prick. So, he sat back down again and dared not intervene. He was also secretly hoping Somenski would come to Lady Natalia’s rescue, but the opposite occurred.

“He is right, my dear,” Somenski said, agreeing with his despot visitor. “You have been gone for a number of years.”

“And in London, the feeblest places of all! Once you are mine,” Kalaur added, “I will teach you how to be a true draconian duchess.”

Petran froze. Once she was his? What in Hiad? His eyes darted to Natalia, expecting surprise or revulsion but he found only stillness.

“And do not you worry, my friend,” Kalaur turned his focus to Somenski. “I will ensure your girl is provided for once you’re gone.”

“I’m not dead yet,” his neighbor replied without a hint of his usual lightness.

“So, are congratulations in order then?” Petran asked, testing the waters.

“We haven’t announced it yet, but—”

“Yes, Natalia will soon become the Duchess of Cossack, and my wife,” Kalaur said, confirming the horrible news.

Damn the Soartas. “And when is the happy date?”

“Soon,” Kalaur replied taking a seat at the feet of the bed. “And Natalia should start preparing for it. Running my castle will be a strenuous task and I accept nothing but perfection and precision. You shouldn’t have allowed her to live in London for so long, Somenski. She probably led a life of idleness and superfluity.”

“She was studying at the best boarding school for girls in our world, Kalaur,” Somenski replied. “The Mother Superior ensured me she spent her days either studying or working as a volunteer.”

As the two dragons discussed Natalia’s life as if she wasn’t there, Petran couldn’t stop his mind from wandering. Even though the times were changing and the word of revolution and female emancipation was spreading like fire, Romania was still virtually ruled under the feudal system, where one’s life decisions were not one’s own. Women were betrothed as soon as possible, sometimes even before they could walk, guaranteeing the continuation of wealth within noble families. Of course, Somenski would be thinking of ensuring his only daughter’s future with a good marriage, especially now that a strange disease had afflicted him. But Kalaur was far from being his best option, of that, Petran was certain. The bastard had never taken a wife before, nor had he ever showed any interest in doing so. Why was he so open to the idea of marriage now? The answer was obvious. Natalia was the catch of the century—wealthy, beautiful, young and his neighbor. Joining their wealth and lands would be no trouble. The problem was that Somenski’s lands were the only thing between Petran’s and Kalaur’s—a perfect barrier, which Petran was not ready to lose.

From the corner of his eye, he saw a slight change in Natalia’s posture. While the two dracos discussed what she should or should not do in preparation for her new life, Natalia kept quiet as tradition dictated, but Petran could sense her turmoil inside. Her eyes searched, her fingers twitched. It was clear that she was enjoying the conversation as much as he was.

Slowly, a plan formed in his head.

He had to protect his territory at all costs. If the marriage between the two draconian families brought them as one, Kalaur would have free passage to Petran’s lands, and that was too dangerous even to contemplate. No, he needed to stop the marriage, and there were only two means of doing so—finding another, equally profitable prospect for Kalaur, or making the lovely Natalia unfit for matrimony of high class. The latter seemed a much more attractive option. And why not? Deflowering such a beautiful rose was hardly a sacrifice in Petran’s mind. If any rumors of promiscuity would reach the ton, her future as Duchess of Cossack would be dismissed like a serf begging for money. Kalaur valued his reputation too much to jeopardize it with a disgraced bride. Poor Somenski would suffer the blow, of course, but there was little Petran could do to prevent that misfortune. He was fond of the old dragon, but not enough to risk his country for him. After all, losing a good neighbor was nothing compared to losing a crown.

“So, I’ll see you at the Open Games, Petran.”

Kalaur’s words brought him back from his machinations. “Yes, you certainly will,” he replied promptly. “Your opening ceremony has cost me a small fortune already.”

“How so?”

“My wife, Hillia, believes it is a fair reason to buy the entire dress collection from every single couture master in Paris,” Petran replied not bothering to feign his disgust. Then he turned his attention to his new target. “Are you planning on attending the games, milady?”

“I’d love to but I’m afraid my father won’t be fit enough to travel by then,” she replied softly.

“Nonsense,” her father grunted in disapproval. “I want you to go and enjoy your time there. This may be your last Open Games as a Somenski.”

“So may the Gods in Apa Sâmbetei allow you to be fit enough to go as well, old friend,” Petran added. “If Kalaur’s magician is as good as he claims, the cure is within reach.”

“Of course, he is as good as I claim him to be,” Kalaur barked, but didn’t explore Petran’s bait any further. “And I plan to officially announce the engagement at the closing ball, so you better be there Somenski.”

“I haven’t made up my mind yet,” Somenski replied. “I’m still considering your proposal, Kalaur. Don’t push me.”

“Fine but for once, my neighbor, time is not our friend.” Kalaur stood up and started making his way back to the balcony. “I must go now. Those godforsaken outlaws are driving my militia mad.”

“Are you still having trouble with the rebels?” Petran asked in a nonchalant manner, but he knew very well, Kalaur and his so-called invincible dragons were taking a beating.

“Not for long,” the draco grunted in reply. “They’ll soon feel what it really means to oppose their Lord.”

Petran nodded in acknowledgement and watched Kalaur step out of the balcony and jump. After a heartbeat, a large black dragon emerged from the shadows and disappeared into the waterfall.

“I thought dragons weren’t allowed to shift at whim anymore,” Petran stated with a blank face. “Shouldn’t he have asked your permission first, Somenski, since he’s in your lands?”

Somenski threw his head back and let out a loud laugh. Yes, of course it had been a joke, just like Kalaur’s reign.

“Kalaur’s laws apply to anyone but him,” Natalia muttered quietly.

So she does have a mind of her own. Interesting.

“Oh, my Talia, you won’t be doing me any favors by antagonizing Kalaur,” Somenski warned softly. “He may be my only chance for a cure.”

“I pray for Apa Dobrý every night, father,” Natalia replied. “They wouldn’t be so cruel to strand you this way.”

For a moment, Petran let himself admire the good daughter Natalia had become, and a hint of envy unsettled his heart. If only his own son was as compliant as she was. Tardieh refused to learn, to abide by Petran’s instructions. He was as indifferent to the rules as the rebels who ransacked the draconian states.

“Well, old sod, I too must be on my way,” Petran said standing up. “I don’t have rebels to deal with but I must find shelter for myself and my kind before sunrise.”

“Nonsense,” Somenski bellowed, then coughed furiously. When it subsided, he carried on. “You will spend the day here. I have enough dark rooms in this castle and Talia has already arranged proper accommodations for you and your entourage. I will not take no for an answer.”

Petran was counting on that. “If that is your will, your lordship,” he replied bowing low in friendly mockery. “I will not refuse.”

Somenski let out another loud laugh, and this time he managed to hold off the coughing fit. “You dare mock me in my own house, you blood sucking fool!”

“Of course, where else would I do it?” he replied with an impish shrug.

More laughter reverberated in the room and Petran’s was in the mix. His gaze met Lady Natalia’s for a fleeting moment. A shy smile lifted the corner of her cheeks. By Apa Dobrý, she was truly beautiful. He definitely understood why Kalaur was rushing to take her as his wife. But now Petran was in the race, and judging by the way her grey eyes gazed at him, Kalaur had a serious contender against him.

Here’s a little bit about me.

I was just nine years old when I discovered my passion for the paranormal world. That passion led me to a number of amateur theatre productions in my home town, and ultimately to a bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts.

It wasn’t very cool to have spent five years working my ass off for no money. But, I have to say, it was then that I made my first attempts into the literary world. The first ones were writing children’s plays for my family’s language school. After a couple of blunders, I decided to translate Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream into a dancing and kicking play. It was so much fun that after that, let’s just say that I caught the bug.

But it was really my mother who brought me into writing. I call her “my catalyst” – she’s always been the one who I went to for advice on my acting career, my travel adventures, my love life… And she was always the one to say, “Go for it!”

So, I did. I travelled around the world, lived in several different continents, met several great people and had not-so-great lovers. In one of my “go for it” adventures, I met my husband. And then my life really changed.

I’m not saying that my marriage is perfect, or that he is perfect. No, I wouldn’t lie to you like that, now, would I?

In the beginning it was fantastic. We were in love and living together after two weeks into our relationship. But as all of us – married girls – know, passion has a very bright but short blaze. After a few years, I found myself still loving him, but not wanting him as much as I used to. Around that time I started devouring at least two erotica romances per mouth. And, what do you know – my marriage went back in full swing again. I was in love, full of passion and energy! Of course that I was fantasizing about the vampires and werewolf heroes I read in the books, but did it really matter? What’s the difference between doing that and buying naughty-nun-and-priest outfits? It’s all about using your imagination to bring the spark back to your love life, isn’t it?

Well, actually it wasn’t that simple. Now, I have a clear conscience about it all –better erotica books than cheating, right? But in the beginning I tried to hide my “hobby” from my husband. Can you believe it? Yes, I did. And I think there are a lot of us who do it too.

One day I decided to try children’s psychology to solve my conundrum– if you don’t make a big deal out of it, the brat won’t realize you’ve just said the c-word out loud.

The strategy worked. I realized that my husband didn’t really care what I read – what he wanted was his passionate wife back. So, yeah, win-win.

A few months later, I started a project with my mom– did I mention she’s a fantastic writer? Yep, she is, but life wasn’t very kind to her, and after a handful of really nice books, she quit. So I made a commitment to myself to get her to start writing again. I promised that if she helped me out, I would find her a new literary agent and launch her favorite novel in Europe. While putting together the list of literary agents to be targeted (I even had them broken up into categories!), I discovered that a number of them were actively looking for new paranormal romances. But when I suggested it to my mother, she came back with – “Why don’t you write it?”

That made me stop and I asked myself, “Yeah, why don’t I write it?”

It wasn’t easy but after years travelling around the world, translating other people’s work and devouring paranormal romances, I finally took the courage to put my passion into words and start my first novel, Dragon Heat – Book One.

In less than two days I finished the full synopsis of Book One and the first thoughts for two and three.

Now, I am developing a new series, dedicated to one of my favorite characters I created in Dragon Heat but unfortunately could not give him the attention he deserved.

My mom is now back writing and working on her new novel. And my marriage is still going very very well.

I hope you enjoy your read and that my book inspires you to get out there and dare, the same way the novels I read inspired me.


By Apa Dobrý, go for it!




May 17, 2015 By: Romance Junkies Category: Latest News No Comments →


MINDING HER BOSS’S BUSINESS: USA Today bestselling author Janice Maynard asks the question – Can a boss on a royal mission mix business with pleasure? In Minding Her Boss’s Business, diplomat Alex Ramon’s Miami mission is on the rocks. Convincing the exiled Montoros to give up their American life and return to Alma’s throne has become personal. Not only is his trusted aide Maria Ferro flirting with a potential prince, but Alex is actually jealous! So jealous, he might sabotage his goals so he can take Maria to his bed a prize more tempting than any commission from the crown. But Alex doesn’t know that Maria has a longtime crush of her own—and it isn’t on the playboy prince.…

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