Guest Blog: Ashlyn Chase



Do you believe in Magick?


Witch meant “wise woman” to our Pagan ancestors, as it does to me. I cannot think of any more appropriate term. Laurie Cabot (the official witch of Salem, MA) warned, “Do not teach this craft to fools.” I don’t think I hear that quite enough. There is great power, thus great responsibility, at our wand-tips. Those who are governed by knee-jerk reactions or vindictiveness have no business wielding magic as a weapon. For those who fear modern day Wicca, know that the number one fundamental lesson we are taught is “Harm none.”

A craft is something creative. It’s also something we practice. Authors create and practice their craft each time they write a story—Wiccans may draw a magic circle and put an intention out to the universe as part of practicing their craft. Because I wish to be a wise-woman, I never told a certain ex-friend that I was involved with the craft. She had a hair trigger temper and revenge was something she thought was good to get. Right after Hollywood released, “The Craft” she asked me if I knew where she could learn witchcraft. I told her she should probably realize that Hollywood wasn’t real. I went on to mention that Witches today were more like a bunch of earthy, peace-loving hippies. She quickly lost interest.

In my recent release Strange Neighbors, not only do I have a ghost haunting the apartment building, but an array of paranormal characters who live there. Among them are shapeshifters of various types, a vampire, and two witches who are roommates. The elder is teaching her sometimes foolish younger cousin the craft with an emphasis on responsibility. I had great fun with these characters. So much fun in fact that although they show up in each book, the third and final book in the series features the witches prominently.

Having just finished writing that manuscript, I had to say a bittersweet goodbye to these characters. Meanwhile, I’m delighted to share the fruits of my labors with the world. Book 1 Strange Neighbors is available now; Book 2 The Werewolf Upstairs is coming Feb 2011. And I hope to be talking up book 3 The Vampire Next Door at about this time next year. I’m delighted with my adorable book covers, and hope you like them too.

I’ll be signing Strange Neighbors at the New Jersey Romance Writers conference 10/23—just in time for Halloween. If you can’t make it to that but would like a signed bookplate (or 3) just let me know. I’ll be happy to mail them to you, your book club or bookstore customers. You can contact me via my website.

http://www.ashlynchase.com TITLE: Strange Neighbors
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks
RELEASE DATE: 6/1/10
URL: http://www.sourcebooks.com/products/romance/9781402236617-strange-neighbors.html
ISBN# 9781402236617
GENRE: Light Paranormal Romance
LENGTH: Novel
When all-star pitcher and shapeshifter Jason Falco buys a small apartment building, he sees it not only as an investment but as a place to escape the demands of Major league baseball.
That is, until he meets his tenants—a sarcastic unemployed vigilante vampire; a wereraven with a morbid sense of humor; a super friendly salesman werewolf; and two witches with an owl familiar who work as phone sex actresses. Not to mention a ghost haunting the place and an all too human nurse he’d like to get to know better. But with all the hooting, howling and hollering going on, how’s an all American shapeshifter supposed to sweep a girl off her feet?


Ashlyn Chase describes herself as an Almond Joy bar. A little nutty, a little flaky, but basically sweet, wanting only to give her readers a scrumptious, satisfying, reading experience.

She holds a degree in behavioral sciences, worked as a psychiatric RN for several years and spent a few more years working for the American Red Cross where she still volunteers as an instructor. She credits her sense of humor to her former careers since comedy helped preserve whatever was left of her sanity. She is a multi-published, award-winning author of humorous erotic romances.

Represented by the Nancy Yost agency in New York, NY, she lives in beautiful New Hampshire with her true-life hero husband and a spoiled brat cat.

Where there’s fire, there’s Ash
www.ashlynchase.com
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A Halloween Treat
In keeping with the spirit of Halloween, no pun intended, I thought I'd offer a small treat...the lost chapter of Seducing Gracie, my latest novella from Changeling Press. I guess that isn't exactly the best way to describe it--more like "cut during the revision process"--but "lost" sounds so much more mysterious and alluring than "cut." lol

The lost (lol) portion was originally Chapter 1; however, it reads more like erotic horror than pure erotica, so after much deliberation, the publisher and I decided to cut it. What follows is a tidbit and a link to my blog to finish it if you like. I'd post more of it here, but it gets a bit sexy in the middle and a little gory--perfect for the upcoming holiday.

Also, on October 31st, I'll be posting a free short story on my blog for erotic horror buffs to enjoy. Until then, here's a bit of Seducing Gracie to satisfy your not-so-sweet tooth. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

He watched her breasts rise and fall, pressing against the clingy peach cloth of her filthy tank top, their motion smooth even though her breathing increased to steady, shallow gasps as he approached. She pressed her face between her white-knuckled grip on the iron bars and peered into the hallway, squinting. The woman sensed him, felt his presence. Too bad for her.

His imagination revved up when he caught her scent. Fresh and human, laced with a hint of fear or excitement. Maybe a blend of both. Her kind thrived on either. He pictured torturing her nipples with his sharp teeth until she moaned, and nipping his way up the tan skin of her calves to her soft thighs and further on.

Read more at Cameo Brown's Erotica.
Halloween Free Read
In honor of Halloween, I'm offering a free read. I hope you enjoy it!

Demon and the Angel

The demon stepped into the dimly lit neonatal intensive care unit. “Good evening, Angel,” he said softly.

The angel looked up from where she was bent over a stainless steel barred crib. “What brings you here, Demon? This is no place for one of your kind.”

“I saw you fly in, Angel. My…appetite was whetted.”

“Take yourself and your appetites elsewhere. I’m busy.”

“The place is deserted.” He glanced around. Emptiness pooled in the corners of the room, reaching its sly fingers towards the one occupied crib. Soft lights haloed the angel and a very still, tightly swaddled baby. The blue and white cap on the baby’s head advertised his sex. The snaking tubes and softly beeping machines signaled his trouble.

“The obstetrical unit of this hospital is closing due to high malpractice rates.” The angel turned back to her task, leaning over the crib again. “This is the last baby born here.”

Demon almost missed her words, focused as he was on her shapely ass outlined by the pale gray uniform that blended so well with the gray hospital walls. Real nurses never wore dresses any more, but her glamour provided both an effective disguise, and an irresistible lure. This angel knew exactly what she was doing.

“That nurse glamour is oddly sexy, dear Angel.”

“Yes,” she snapped, turning back to glare at him. “We angels know how you demons like to get your purity fix every so often.”

He laughed. “Too true, sweetheart. It does cleanse the palate, so to speak.” He let his gaze wander over her, knowing his bold perusal would start a fire simmering within her. “And we demons,” he drawled, “know you angels need some lovin’ from a bad guy every so often to light you up.”

He checked out her shiny brown hair, her wide-spaced gray eyes, her smallish, but determined nose, and her generous mouth. Cute. Adorably cute. He had to have her.

“Hush, Demon.” She turned away from him. “Your voice is too deep. It disturbs the baby.”

He moved to the other side of the crib so he could face her. Now he could savor the sight of her pert breasts, her narrow waist and gently flaring hips. Utterly delectable. His cock ached.

He nodded at the crib. “How much longer ‘til you’re done with the baby?”

“Must you sound so uncaring?”

“I’m a demon, darling. It’s not my job to care.” He grinned at her anger. It would only stoke her appetite.

“I’m not interested in whatever you might be offering tonight.” Her gray eyes snapped at him, told him to go, but her pointy nipples signaled him as effectively as the beeping machines.

“I think you lie, Angel.” Finish the story here.
A Ghost and a Haunted House
This is Halloween Week. A spooky week of ghosts and witches and goblins. Costumes and trick or treating and haunted houses. I thought I'd take a peek at my backlist and feature a couple stories that fit right in with this week's theme.

Ghosts - Quinn's Curse from eRed Sage:



Cursed to wander Logan Point, lusty pirate Nathaniel Quinn must resist the call of the sea. But nobody said anything about resisting a beautiful woman like Miranda Kent, the newest owner of the lighthouse. So what if their love is doomed? Doom is familiar territory for a ghost like Nathaniel....
Where do bad boys go when they die? If the bad boy is a pirate captain, he goes to shore.
Cursed to haunt dry land for three hundred years, forbidden to touch the ocean he loves, Nathaniel Quinn’s spirit lingers near the Logan Point Lighthouse until his sentence is served. All he wants is an end to the three hundred year curse so he can haunt the seas instead of the shores.
That’s all he wants, that is, until the day Miranda Kent buys the lighthouse with the intent to turn it into a bed and breakfast. She hopes the presence of a ghost will bring in the tourists, but Quinn has finally found a benefit to his time on land.
She can hear him. See him. Touch him. He may only have a short time remaining at the lighthouse, but at least now he can enjoy it like a sailor on shore leave.
But pleasure turns to impending pain as these doomed lovers discover they’re touching more than each other’s bodies. They’re touching each other’s hearts. The long-awaited end of Quinn’s shore curse might just mean a different kind of curse…
Because an eternity sailing the seas might also be an eternity separated from the woman he loves.

Haunted House - Nothing to Fear from Ellora's Cave



Mason's dark good looks and domineering personality give Kelly all sorts of forbidden fantasies that frighten her. When she agrees to help out at the community Halloween haunted house, she never expects to be tied to a bed, playing damsel in distress to Mason's masked, whip-wielding villain.

Kelly can't run away from Mason this time. He knows she's fighting her sexual needs and he hopes that a few hours of playing out her fantasies with him will prove to her that bondage — and Mason — are nothing to fear.

If you're in the mood for a little Halloween romance, both Quinn's Curse and Nothing to Fear are still available for download.

So do you have any other recommendations for Halloween related romance?

Natasha
www.natashamoore.com
Sold Another Story to Carina Press
So I’m really excited to announce that I’ve sold my first full length novel to Carina Press. It will come out sometime in the summer of 2011. With this story, I will have a new pen name of Abby Niles. I love having a new pen name to attach to a new genre that I will be published in.

Defying Convention is a contemporary romance full of humor. I loved writing this story, because of the setting.

Why you ask?

Because it is held at a Sci-fi/Fantasty convention.

You just can’t beat being able to play around with a setting like that.

Here is the UNOFFICIAL blurb to Defying Convention:

With a livid boss determined to humiliate her before firing her, reporter Emma Portland goes undercover at the 31st Annual GalaxyCon determined to unearth a news-worthy story and save her career. But what kind of scoop can she possibly find among geeks and freaks? Then she meets Luke Blaster, author of the bestselling Sci-fi series “Farmen” who is besieged by an angry mob of revenge-seeking fans. With each wacky LARP (Live Action Role Playing) she’s forced to participate in, she becomes certain that Luke’s easy smile and twinkling eyes hide a secret that could win back her job. But Luke’s unwillingness to talk about his past isn’t Emma’s only obstacle. The more time she spends with him, the more her feelings for him grow, and she becomes torn between falling in love and saving her career.

Luke Evens, a.k.a Luke Blaster, has more problems than unruly fans attacking him with foam swords and locking him in supply closets—even if he does get locked in with the delectable Emma. If anyone ever his discovered his secret, his life would be ruined. But meeting Emma brings hope for a future he didn’t believe possible. To make her his, Luke must relive a past so horrible even he doesn’t want to face it. Will telling her the truth finally set him free or will his heartfelt revelation pave the way to a betrayal he never saw coming?
Travel to Austria
Today we are traveling to Austria, a country of great charm and beauty. These are typical houses, especially when you go into the mountains or countryside.
This is a street in the old part of the city of Salzburg. The entire area is a pedestrian zone. The inhabitants of the city walk and ride bicycles a lot. Mozart lived in the yellow house on the left.

In the next picture, you can see the river that runs through Salzburg, and the bridge is only for pedestrians. The hotel on the riverbank is the Sacher Hotel, where we stayed. It's a wonderful hotel and I recommend it if you find yourself in Salzburg.
Here's the Palace of the Habsburg dynasty, which comes complete with a sad romantic tale. Franz Joseph was the last significant monarch (after the family ruled for hundreds of years). His only son committed suicide in 1898 in a suicide pact with his 17 year old lover. How's that for drama?

Finally, I have to show a picture of my favorite spot. The National Library in Vienna. And one of the Austrian Alps.

Guest: Leigh Court - Conqueror Vanquished

Call me a romantic, but I’ve always been drawn to history, when men were men and women swooned. Okay, it wasn’t really like that. Throughout history, women had to be strong in order to survive, but there definitely were times when men were stronger. Ancient Rome, for instance. The days of muscled gladiators and fierce Roman centurions. I’m fascinated with ancient Rome, and so it was only natural that I set my latest historical novella in 52 B.C., just as the Roman Empire conquers Gaul (ancient France). And because CONQUEROR VANQUISHED is a romance, of course my hero had to be a powerful, Alpha-male commander of a Roman legion, who meets his match in the newly conquered French healer, Solange!

Here’s the setup:

>>Leonidas Danae Vorenus, commander of Rome’s prestigious Sixth legion, is ordered to establish a strategic outpost in Gaul after its surrender to Julius Caesar. But on the way to his new post, Leonidas is seriously wounded in an ambush. Only one person can save his life, and she’s his sworn enemy.

Solange is a healer. She values every life, even if it belongs to one of the hated Romans who’ve just conquered her land. Bound by her duty and now by her new position as a subject of Rome, she is obliged to tend Leonidas.

But the relationship between conqueror and conquered soon evolves into much more. Their forced intimacy ignites an unexpected attraction, and prompts the two enemies to look beyond the reason for their hatred to explore the powerful emotions simmering just underneath.<<


Oooh, don’t you just love those powerful Alpha males who are brought to their knees, er, I mean, brought to their senses, by love? I know I do!


Since any good historical story needs to be grounded in reality, I did a lot of research for this one. Most of the information I found on ancient Rome is common knowledge, but I did uncover some fascinating, little-known facts:


- Roman soldiers baked their own bread to eat while on campaign. Every group of eight soldiers had an iron skillet that folded away in their pack just for that purpose. A soldier's daily grain ration was about 3 ½ pounds, and the army docked their pay for the grain they were given. Imagine if our army leaders charged soldiers for their meals today!


- Roman soldiers were forbidden to marry, but if they were already married when they enlisted, that was okay. You might think this rule would be a problem for a romance between my unmarried Roman commander, Leonidas, and the woman he loves, but you’ll just have to read CONQUEROR VANQUISHED to see how Leo skirts that particular issue!


- Most of our system of measurements came from ancient Rome. A Roman foot was 11.65 modern inches, a Roman mile was 5000 Roman feet (compared to our modern 5280 feet), and a Roman hand (4 inches) is still used today to measure the height of a horse at the shoulders. Fascinating stuff!


- A typical Roman fort was basically a small, self-sustaining, walled city, with a network of roads that connected several buildings including a house for the Commander, several barracks for the soldiers, stables for horses, a granary, kitchens, a smithy, even a hospital (if needed). With its high rampart walls and wide dirt moats, it was an almost-perfect, defensible stronghold.


- Since my story is a romance, I also had to research ancient Roman weddings. I was amazed at how many traditions of our modern weddings can be traced back to Roman times! Take the wedding cake, for example. After an ancient Roman ceremony, an offering was made to their main god, Jupiter, which usually consisted of cake. Once the priest had made the offering, this cake was eaten by the bride and groom, and then shared with wedding guests. Many more of our modern wedding traditions come from ancient Roman times, including carrying a bride over the threshold!


I enjoyed researching the ancient Roman empire almost as much as I enjoyed writing CONQUEROR VANQUISHED, and I’d love to know what you think of it! You can take a peek here: EXCERPT or here: http://www.leighcourt.com/ . This Roman setting is a departure from my previous two Victorian romances, but I’m obviously drawn to the past, when men were noble, and lived for honor.

What about you? Do you prefer modern men or historical men?

Dunvegan Castle

One of my favorite days on my recent trip to Scotland was exploring Isle of Skye. It was a bright, sunny day and warm by Scottish standards.
We passed the Sligachan Bridge and drove to Dunvegan Castle on the northwest side of the isle. The MacLeod chiefs have lived at Dunvegan for over 700 years, longer than any other line of clan chiefs have possessed their lands and castle. Leod was the youngest son of the last Viking king of the Isle of Man and the Hebrides. In the 1200s he possessed a large portion of the Hebrides. In 1340 the third clan chieftain, Malcolm, built the large square tower at Dunvegan. The tall Fairy Tower was added in 1500 by Alasdair, the 8th clan chieftain. The current look and design of the castle dates from 1840-50.

Upon arriving we found the landscape and gardens beautiful, lush and colorful. Thanks to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream, less hardy plants can grow here. Below is a photo of heather.

The castle was being repaired which didn’t bother me. I’m glad to see important historic buildings being taken care of. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside but I enjoyed the many paintings, old weapons, furniture and the historical atmosphere of the rooms. I was glad to see the Fairy Flag on display.

The Fairy Flag (below) is a tattered and worn banner of silk from the Middle East or Far East. It is said to have mysterious, magical powers to protect the clan during times of war or danger. Legend says the flag was presented to one of the MacLeods by a fairy. One source says it dates from the 4th – 7th centuries. Another says it is at least a thousand years old. (The photo below was taken in the 1920s.)
Another important relic at the castle is Sir Rory Mor’s horn, a drinking horn (above). Legend says before a chieftain can be instated and to prove his manhood, he must drink a horn full of wine without stopping and without falling down. .
Outside in the back were beautiful views over Loch Dunvegan and steps that led down to the sea gate (above). We also observed MacLeod’s Tables, beautiful flat topped mountains, (below) along the way.
Green is for Turf Gazing
One of my favorite pastimes is watching Major League baseball games, especially those played by my favorite team--The Baltimore Orioles. Recently my boyfriend and I attended their last game of the regular season. In addition to meeting and shaking hands with Boog Powell, watching Luke Scott in batting action, and being photographed with a celebrity, the day was filled with many inspirational and happy moments.

One of those blissful moments occurred as I filled my mind's eye with the glorious green of the turf and almost performed a dance of delight right there in the Club Section. Whether or not those avid fans enjoying beverages and ballpark treats would have enjoyed such an impromptu outburst will forever remain a mystery LOL

Usually I carry a steno pad to jot story ideas or character sketches during my travels. That day I used the backs of two promotional pages to record the ideas racing through my head. Baseball figures prominently in this romantic tale which may take more of a women's fiction or literary turn before the first-draft process is complete. This said since a week later we attended a fabulous World War II historical event. After hours of snapping photos and taking notes, I believe I've begun a special writing journey--a journey that may possibly encompass the brainstorming of two companion novels to make a trilogy.

Here's to those magical times when fun and creativity blend in the best way possible and give us authors and readers an ultimate gift.


Blessings and all the season's best,

Shawna Moore
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN -- Ellora's Cave
TORMENTED (Recommended Read) -- Ellora's Cave
ROUGHRIDER -- Ellora's Cave
HELLE IN HEELS -- Ellora's Cave

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Helle's Myspace
RomantiCon 2010 -- What a wonderful event!
I attended the second annual RomantiCon convention hosted by Ellora's Cave Publishing last weekend. The first one, held last October, was just an amazingly fun time. But this one... This one simply rocked the house. There's really no other way to describe it. Words won't do justice, but pictures might just show you all how much fun this convention is.


What everyone waits for -- the first glimpse of Ellora's Cavemen! This was Thursday night at the meet and greet. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'...


Having a wonderful time with author and friend, Samantha Kane.


Cover model Brooks. He made a nice chair... :-)


Friday night -- The Roaring 20's Party! The guys got all decked out, and so did most of the attendees. Nothing wrong with playing a little dress up!


Samantha Kane and that adorable pink fedora!


Me with author and friend, fiery red-head Mari Freeman before the 20's party.


Hugging on my shoe buddy (and friend!), author MA Ellis.


Let's get the party started!


Hands down, one of the best pics! There's just something about a man's back...


Brooks. 'Nuff said.

Here's me after I won and award for Getting Naughty!


I'm trying to slip off my shoe to show how tall Brooks is. Of course, the 4 inch boots he has on helped with that.

There's so many more pictures, I could go on and on. If you'd like to see them, check out my Facebook page ( www.facebook.com/authorkristindaniels ), there's a bunch up there, too.

Oh, and the videos! You can see the guys in action!






And we're going to do it all again next year! I'm already planning my trip, and I can't hardly wait to see all the wonderful readers, fellow authors, and EC staff!

Kristin
www.kristindaniels.com
www.facebook.com/authorkristindaniels
http://twitter.com/kristin_daniels

Hot Green
I love this week's topic because the very first erotic novella I wrote, Second Nature, is nothing but "green,"meaning pro-environment. It's about an activist, Claret McDaniel, trying to resist her attraction to the developer who plans to ruin the land that she loves. After a particularly close encounter with the enigmatic Graham, Claret decides to stage a protest to distance herself from him but lands right in his very capable and sexy hands.

This story had been fermenting in my head since a trip through the mountains of Virginia, and when it finally found its way out through the keyboard, I got to enjoy integrating my love of all things geologic and natural with one of the most base desires to ever drive man--passion. In this case, green passion.

Here's a sample...


"Claret, wait," Graham commanded.

She turned to face him, terrified now that they were alone in the parking lot of the restaurant. He must have seen the fear in her eyes, because his face softened and he stepped protectively toward her.

"I won’t hurt you…," he began.

"You’re damn right there, buddy," she spat and stomped on his foot.

A howl of pain and surprise burst out as Graham dropped deftly to his knee and grabbed his foot. Claret knew she should move, but she didn’t. Any other man would have doubled over or hopped around or something—maybe even hit her—but Graham looked like a knight kneeling before a queen, except he was furiously rubbing his foot and breathing profanity.

That howl had sounded as if it came straight from the wild. An odd feeling overtook her. She felt a sudden urge to reach down and take Graham’s head in her arms, to hold him to her breasts, to apologize.

To give in to his desire.

Graham looked up as the last thought passed through her mind, and Claret gulped. Not a very feminine thing to do, but Graham didn’t seem to mind. In one smooth move, he stood and pinned her to her Chevy POS with his hard, muscular body.

He was of a commanding height, and held her gaze as his left hand pressed the small of her back toward him, inching her hips next to his.

Graham’s right hand slid down her leg in a light caress, finding the hem of her simple A-line skirt and then lifting it with ease. His hand explored her thigh, his fingers gently massaging their way toward the heated curls between them.

"We’re… in… the parking lot," Claret managed to rasp as Graham’s fingers slipped into her panties and found her soft curls.

She moaned and tried to think of how to resist him. But her body betrayed her as Graham’s finger slid easily between her swollen lips, his gaze still steady and now heated. His heady scent filled her nostrils, a mix of fresh pine and pure, clean spring water.

"The world is ours, dearest," he whispered.


This is also one of the first books I ever made a trailer for, and although it might be a bit amateurish, it was a great learning experience. If anything, there are some cool nature pics included. :)

Enjoy!
The Green of Scotland




One of the greenest and most beautiful sights I’ve seen is the Scottish hills and mountains in summer when the sun breaks through the thick cloud cover. This green was so bright, rich and velvety it hurt my eyes to look at it. I haven’t seen any place in the US with green vegetation of this intensity and shade.



I’m still in Scotland today, but likely the hills and mountains of the Highlands are not quite as green in the fall. I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures so I can show you when I return. This time we are driving ourselves, so if I see breathtaking scenery or landscape, I can slam on the brakes, get out and take pictures. :)
Where are your favorite green spots in nature?
Finally the Fantasy Becomes Reality
Every woman has an ultimate fantasy. Maybe that fantasy involves role- playing or a steamy getaway? Perhaps she's always dreamed of meeting a guy who's willing to do everything possible to make her fondest dreams and wishes become reality? Or maybe she's hoping to be swept away in mind-blowing moments of passion with a man she's secretly loved for many years--a passion that's grown stronger with each day that's passed since Dana last saw Jack.

Dana Taylor's a serious-minded businesswoman who's always put most of her energy into the Western-wear boutique she owns and operates. Free-wheeling Jack Dodson is a former rodeo champ who's tired of his glory days on the circuit and is bent on settling down and co-managing a ranch in Mesa Junction, Texas.

An excerpt from my erotica romantic suspense, ROUGHRIDER, occurs when Dana's fantasy never had a better chance at becoming reality.

“Jack’s sittin’ over there now.” He hitched a thumb toward the most delicious thing in this busy eatery. “Probably figuring how to deal with the woman you’ve become. As kids you two were tight as Harriet Lloyd’s pants.”

No sense telling Clyde that Jack was the main reason I’d come back. Clyde’s order could have been shipped but this visit-cum-vacation gave me an excuse to check out the guy of my dirtiest fantasies.

“Couldn’t stay away from Gloria’s fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits.” Wasn’t any of his business a far different appetite brought me back to Mesa Junction.

Placing his hands on his lower back, Clyde stretched. “Jack’s single. Wild as ever. Can’t say he hasn’t likely had his share of… Dated lots of women. But I’m betting you could set him straight.”

As long as I could set my childhood friend’s cock straight, that was first priority.
“You have my cell phone number. And the Mariana store’s number. Let Linc or me know if something doesn’t suit you all with the order.” And please let me get back to the late supper containing more calories than I’ve consumed in almost two days.

His arm came around my shoulders and the silver arrowhead on his bolo flashed. “Get on over there and kick some sense into Jack’s stubborn ass.” The palm slapped gently between my shoulder blades. “If he’ll listen to anyone, he’ll listen to you.”

A pivot of my feet put my both shoes in a semi-straight path with my lunch counter stool. “Nice talking with you today. Give my best to Trudy.” I peeked over my shoulder.

He walked away, stopped near the booth where Danny Noonan sat, and waved. “Sure will. Stop by if you get a chance. Ron Crawford still lives beside us. He never got over you.”

Never got over me? My feet paused over a crackling floor tile. I never even dated that nuisance who stuck cotton candy in my hair one summer at the county fair.

Suffering him for several weeks each summer was more than enough torture.

Jack disliked that mama’s boy as much as I. Sexy Jack gulped some of his soda and glanced in my direction. I swallowed a laugh. At my request, he would have helped me hogtie that little snitch years ago, then toss Danny into one of his daddy’s rusted-out fishing boats and shove him out of sight.

Footsteps came from behind. “Don’t ever let those stars in your eyes fade.” Clyde’s whisper hit my left ear.

A shake of my head sent the childhood memory back where it belonged. “Perhaps blood vessels from lack of sleep but hardly stars.” And it was time to end those sleepless nights and satisfy the hunger that consumed me.

The hunger for Jack Dodson.

While my recent dreams had him served up hot, naked and covered in blond hair on those cool white cotton sheets back in my king-sized bed in Mariana, I could accomplish the same on his bed here in Mesa Junction.

The place didn’t matter. The sexy man did.


Wishing you all many happy reading moments,

Shawna Moore
TO HELLE AND BACK AGAIN -- Ellora's Cave
TORMENTED (Recommended Read) -- Ellora's Cave
ROUGHRIDER -- Ellora's Cave
HELLE IN HEELS -- Ellora's Cave

Shawna's Myspace
Helle's Myspace
Fantasy Romance
I love to read and write fantasy stories, so it’s no surprise that I have one published. For me, the best fantasy comes from playing the “What if?” game. As a true romantic, I always want a happy ending, so when I heard about a horrible practice in ancient times, I had to write the tale where this terrible event would take place and then end happily.


The custom I read about was this: On the eve of her wedding, every woman had to sit by the side of the road and offer herself to the first man who came along. This took place, I think, in the area of Greece. I can’t remember if the “victorious” man had to make an offering to the local temple, but I do know that many such customs sacrifice women to the benefit of someone else. So I put that financial spin in my story.

I couldn’t get the image of these unfortunate women out of my head. Imagine – whoever comes along gets to deflower you. Hmmm, not pleasant. Of course, we all know a similar custom that took place in Europe in medieval times called the droit du seigneur wherein the local Lord also had rights to a bride on the eve of her wedding.
So this tidbit stuck in my head and I had to do something with it. I could hardly make it a contemporary story. I don’t write historical. So, that’s the beauty of fantasy. You make up your own world with its own rules and then you spin the tale within them. It’s fun for a writer, and hopefully for the reader as well.

This fantasy takes place in the future, on a far distant planet. Galatea wears the Star Necklace for one year, the sign of her countrywomen’s faith in her ability to improve their lives. But tonight her virginity is being auctioned in an important religious ceremony. She must do her duty – but Ronan, an off-planet warrior appears, determined to save her though his own life may be forfeit in the attempt.

Here’s an excerpt from The Star Necklace:

Galatea’s heart leapt in her breast—with fear, with incredulity, with an emotion she couldn’t name. Standing on the dais in the midst of pandemonium, she fought to remain calm and to silence this unknown emotion quivering deep within her. She’d tried to accept the idea of Sheckel winning, of feeling his thin, seeking body assaulting her tonight.

But this fortune offered by Ronan, the Otherlander, simply defied comprehension. What game did he play, one man alone in a hostile land? She’d seen the intelligence in his eyes and the wariness in his every move. But apparently he didn’t know the fate most Otherlanders suffered on this planet.

Certainly, the Temple priests would never let him have her. As much as his bid represented a fortune they wouldn’t let slip away, his life would be forfeit.

As if he’d heard her thoughts, Sheckel leapt to his feet.

“Seize the Otherlander! He doesn’t have ten thousand marks. He mocks our sacred rite!”

Galatea’s heart froze with the certainty that Sheckel was right. No one had that much money.

She braved a glance at her bidder. He looked calm but tense, his mouth an unyielding slash in his granite jaw. He’d shaved his beard and the strong lines of his face showed a stark beauty like that of a nighttime thunderstorm. Unknowable, uncontrollable, but electrifying in a heart-stopping way. His gray eyes watched coldly as half a dozen armed men approached him.

The guards hesitated, none wanting to be first to lay a hand on him.

The Otherlander’s lips curved up toward his hard eyes, carving his face in a mockery of a smile. Slowly, he withdrew his hand from his pocket and opened it.

Ten round coins gleamed blackly in his palm, their smoothly shiny surfaces giving no hint of the power they represented. The number one thousand winked in silver splendor on the face of each coin. He flexed his hand and a rainbow hologram danced across each number, decorating his palm with color.

A long sigh swept through the audience. Virtually none of them had ever seen a one thousand mark coin, and the fortune represented by ten of them seemed incalculable.

“Is Galatea mine for the night?” Ronan’s strong voice rolled through the hall like a thunderbolt from the heavens.

“Seize him!” Sheckel called out again, a thin note of desperation snaking through his voice. He raised his arm in command. “Seize the Otherlander!”
Fantasy Romance - Lia's Warrior

I love that there are so many sub-genres within romance. Contemporary. Historical. Inspirational. Paranormal. Erotic. Futuristic. Fantasy.

I've written in several of these, but most of my romances are contemporary. And most are erotic. Only one (so far) has been a fantasy.

As part of the monthly Jewels series Ellora's Cave had a couple years ago, I wrote a story for September, where a major element in the story had to be a sapphire. I came up with the idea of of the sacred Sapphire Moon and the Guardian who watches over it. It's a story of forbidden romance, one of my favorites.

Here's the blurb:

As Guardian of the Sapphire Moon, a crystal globe with a sacred sapphire embedded in the center, Lia must witness couples mating after they receive the Moon’s blessing. But she can never enjoy the pleasures of the flesh herself.

Weary warrior Roark has come back home to try to forget the horrors he’s lived through. He always believed Lia was his true mate and his body heats with desire for her. Then he’s told it’s forbidden to mate with the Guardian. How can he ignore the lust rising between them?

But a warrior doesn’t take no for an answer.


Writing a fantasy romance is a lot of fun. You get to create your own world, make up your own rules, and come up with as fantastic a situation as your imagination can create. But no matter how unreal your world may be, the characters in that world must be believable, and their emotions every bit as strong as yours or mine.

And a short excerpt:

Lia turned then and feasted her eyes on the returning warrior. He’d grown taller, broader, harder since she’d seen him last. His skin was tanned dark. She’d heard that two suns heated the desert world where the war had been waged.

As he stood there staring at her, he appeared to be carved from stone and polished smooth. She almost reached out to brush her fingertips along his high cheekbones, but she couldn’t indulge in such weakness. She straightened her shoulders and braced herself against the foolish attraction she felt for him. “You have to go, Roark.”

He nodded, but he didn’t move. “I didn’t know it was you. When I heard the shouting and came in. I didn’t know.”

She swallowed hard. Her throat still hurt, but not as badly as her heart. “I thought you were dead. The reports said you died in battle.”

The lazy shrug couldn’t hide the pain she saw in his eyes. “Not quite.”

Oh that he could touch her. If only she could touch him as well. Feel those hard muscles beneath her fingers. Feel his mouth on her skin. A shiver ran through her, sending tingles along her skin and concentrating between her legs.

If the news of his death hadn’t arrived just before the Council came to her with their offer, would she have agreed to become the Guardian? She and Roark had grown up together, become closer as the years went by. She’d dreamed that he would be turn out to be her true mate. When her parents broke the news of his death, grief had paralyzed her. She couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t imagine her life without him in it. She’d grasped the chance to be Guardian as a way to live out the rest of her life without her mate.

Now he was back. But it was too late.

Tears pricked her eyes. “You must go. Before someone from the Council comes.”

Roark looked as if he was about to say something, but stopped, tightening his jaw. He bowed stiffly. “It was good to see you again.”

“Thank you for your help.” She almost reached out to him, but grasped the folds of her robe to stop herself. “I’m…I’m glad you survived the war.”

She felt her tears slide down her cheeks as she watched him walk away without a backward glance. His stride was sensual, his movement lithe and graceful, like a wild feline. Her body shook with longing and regret. He was a healthy male in his prime. How soon before he came back with a pretty young girl to seek the Moon’s blessing?


Lia's Warrior is still available as a download. And if you prefer print, it is part of the print anthology, Sappire Sizzle.



Do you enjoy fantasy romance? If so, please share your favorites. I'm always looking for a good fantasy.

Natasha
www.natashamoore.com
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