PLEASE WELCOME LYNDI’S ADVENTUROUS FRIEND JANINA GREY!
Writing is an adventure, as I never know where my characters are going to take me while we search for their happily ever after.
I often start my journey feeling like The Fool, in a Tarot reading. I’ve got my story idea tied up in a little knapsack hanging from a stick. I’ve got the concept of the path this story will be taking laid out neatly before me, the distant horizon my main goal.
But what happens from that first step of writing Chapter One, to completing the journey at The End is where the adventure unfolds, weaves, and winds itself into a book.
I am both a plotter and a pantser. All my good intentions are neatly outlined and ready to be followed. I color coordinate each scene by the character’s POV, I have notes at the beginning of each chapter reminding myself what is going to happen.
And then the characters take over. They usually tap on the inside of my skull in the middle of the night asking if I’ve got a minute to discuss something. I often tell them no, turn over, and attempt sleep. But the tapping gets louder (somewhat like a raven perched upon a bust rapping at someone’s chamber door) until I cannot ignore them any longer. They pick out character flaws that aren’t in keeping with how they envision themselves. They voice discontent with the way a scene turned out. They give me ideas on what personality quirks they’d like to embrace.
Usually they are polite and respectful. But sometimes they can get ornery.
In my recent WIP, BOOK 3 of the Earth and Sky Series, LOST IN YOUR RHYTHM, Liza felt she was too shy and intimidated. She wanted to know karate, and be uninhibited when it came to verbalizing her needs in bed.
She also was very upset that her mother was drinking too much merlot and said it made her mom look like she had a dependency and that wasn’t who her mother was. Yes, this was a real conversation at about 3 a.m. one morning.
So I gave Liza an education in the martial arts, had her take a drunken man who was hitting on her down in a bar on her first date with Jack (her love interest), and changed the magnum of merlot her mother drank at dinner to two glasses.
She let me sleep after that.
While these sort of experiences make writing exciting and new to me. My husband is the one who truly lives a life of adventure. He’s gotten used to the idea of me blurting out (mid-dinner, shopping, sitting on our front porch) tidbits of information about my characters, what recently may have happened with them, or a trauma they are facing. One time I woke up in the middle of the night and yelled out, “Brooke’s dead! I have to bring her back to life! I can’t let her die!”
So when it comes to adventure, all I have to do is plot out a book, pack my knapsack, and resign myself to being a Fool who loves to travel down paths unknown in search of that perfect happily ever after.
LIFE IS FOR LIVING excerpt
Dan couldn’t get to Jayde fast enough. After reading Jayde’s home address in the group text, Dan knew what he had to do. And it couldn’t wait another moment. Gotta love Brooke, for all her meddling. Tricky Brooke, Jayde had said. She was right. Thank you, tricky Brooke.
His bike rumbled down the dark country roads as he stayed alert looking for deer and other critters that might be out strolling the highway. He replayed the night, the awkward looks, his connection to Daphne, how much she reminded him . . . of him.
As he rolled into town, the streets empty and most of the houses darkened, he listened to the GPS directions piped into his helmet until finally he slowed to a stop in front of Jayde’s house. No lights shone in any of the windows, yet he held onto the hope that maybe she was still awake. At this point, he didn’t care. He needed to hear her voice tell him what it took him this long to figure out. What Brooke had been hinting at all along.
He killed the motor, threw his leg over the bike, and as he strode up the walkway he slipped his helmet off, cradling it under his arm. Climbing the porch steps, he called out her name, his balled fist rapping quickly on the door. Finally, through small rectangular panes lining either side of the front entrance, he saw a light come on as Jayde appeared. After peeking out at him through the curtained narrow side window, the door creaked open enough for Jayde’s face to peer out.
“Dan?” she asked, her sleepy voice echoing confusion and alarm. “What are you doing here?”
“Are you alone?” He peeked past her shoulder.
“It’s pretty late. What are you doing here?” She put an arm out against the door jam, and her attempt to look tough was lost as she stood before him in a pale gray and teal night shirt, her hair damp and loose from a recent shower. She was freaking beautiful.
“I . . . I . . .” he stammered, hardly able to form the thought, let alone speak it. What am I doing here? He dropped his helmet to the porch and grabbed her by her shoulders, kissing her hard and deep, needing to taste her one last time in case this all exploded in his face. She jerked away and as she went to slam the door, his boot stopped her. “Don’t. Please. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have. Jayde?”
“You have to leave,” she whispered.
His voice cracked. “Why? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Tell you what?” Her chest rose and fell, and her voice trembled as she spoke.
“That I’m their father,” he said, his voice cracking under the weight of his conclusion that Daphne and Dylan were his children.
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PLEASE WELCOME LYNDI’S ADVENTUROUS FRIEND GAYLE IRWIN!
I grew up with adventures. As a child in rural Iowa, I ventured into the woods and fields of our small farm, and often sat for hours studying the plants and animals (and their droppings!) to discover the species residing on our property. I also traveled with my family to national parks and Canadian lakes. Camping, fishing, hiking, and exploring incorporated into our family travels.
As I approach age 62, I still enjoy traveling. Adventures to national parks remain a delight and spending time in the woods of the mountain property that my husband and I own brings me joy and peace. Nature speaks to me, centers me, and inspires me.
In my Pet Rescue Romance series, my characters enjoy adventures in their middle years as well. Finding Love at Compassion Ranch is a correlation between experiences I’ve had at two similar animal rescue sanctuaries: Kindness Ranch in eastern Wyoming and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in southeastern Utah. Both facilities provide care, socialization, adoption, and sometimes a place for the animals to live forever at the respective facilities. I’ve visited both sanctuaries and volunteered at both, including a recent summer trip to Best Friends (my third visit there in eight years!). I support these organizations with a portion of book sales as well.
In Finding Love at Compassion Ranch, my primary female character volunteers at an animal rescue sanctuary, adopts two cats, bonds with a broken-spirited horse, and falls in love with the ranch foreman. Talk about adventure!
During these ‘dog days of summer,’ all of my Pet Rescue Romance e-books, including Finding Love at Compassion Ranch, are on sale. Find them at Amazon through my Author Central Page here:
Finding Love at Compassion Ranch and my other books are available on other platforms, like Kobo and Barnes & Noble:
New Book Coming in November!
The newest installment of my series, In the Shadow of Mount Moran, takes place in the Grand Teton National Park area of western Wyoming; the book is scheduled for release in November 2022. The story highlights the adventures of another woman who helps animal rescue groups, including a cross-country ski trip in which she finds a dog that’s been lost for several months. Think A Dog’s Way Home meets Who Rescued Whom? Stay turned to my website for more information on this upcoming release!
Bio for Gayle M. Irwin:
Gayle M. Irwin is an award-winning author and freelance writer, being recognized by Wyoming Writers, Inc., and the Wyoming Press Association for several of her works. She’s contributed short stories to seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books as well. Gayle is the author of many inspirational pet books for children and adults. Her works include clean, contemporary western romance books in a series called Pet Rescue Romance. She’s also authored several pet books for children. Gayle subtly weaves life lessons within the pages of her stories, including courage, perseverance, and the importance of pet rescue and adoption. An animal advocate, she volunteers for various rescue and humane society organizations and donates a percentage of all book sales to such groups. Learn more about Gayle on her website: https://gaylemirwin.com
Blurb for “Finding Love at Compassion Ranch:”
A ranch like no other …
Erin Christiansen is still adjusting to life as a widow. She seeks additional healing by volunteering at Compassion Ranch, a sanctuary for former research animals. Upon arrival at the majestic and unique northwestern Wyoming ranch, she meets Mike, a man she knew in high school, whose compassion for animals and people might be the balm Erin needs.
Retired veterinarian Mike Jacobs is no stranger to loss. Five years after the accidental death of his wife, he now serves as ranch manager of Compassion Ranch. He not only fixes fence and provides tours, but he applies his veterinary skills and his heart for animals to his work. Upon recognizing Erin from high school, he can barely believe his first love will spend a few weeks at the sanctuary.
Can Erin and Mike span the years since they have seen each other or do they, like many of the rescued animals, have wounds that run too deep to trust and love again?
Author website for book information:
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When my husband and I went to Oahu for our honeymoon in the early 1990s, we loved the paradise atmosphere, but I longed for more tranquility, away from the touristy sections of Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, and the Polynesian Cultural Center. And we spent a chaotic afternoon ending in Hilo Hattie. I jokingly told my husband, I longed to stay in a hut on the beach for a week—just the two of us. Now to me, that was the definition of romance. A secluded beach with no one around. We aimed to return at our twenty-fifth anniversary to a less populated island. With kids still too young when we celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary, we waited a few more years and finally returned, this time to Kauai.
On Kauai, we found the peacefulness and beauty I had longed for. We dipped our feet into the Pacific once again. We went on an archeological excursion. We travelled to a cave and witnessed the beautiful land that opened up beyond the cave, once keeping villagers safe from outsiders. Wherever we walked, roosters roamed the land. (Their presence is another story!) We toured around the island, driving up the plush emerald tree-filled mountains and we fell in love with the majestic valleys and ridges. We learned where the movie Jurassic Park was filmed. One day, we took a helicopter tour and marvelled at the island paradise from above. So many long waterfalls cascading down the ridges. We even saw where Puff the Magic Dragon stayed in the land of Hanalei. The old sugar plantations and animal habitats housing tortoises were awesome experiences.
I guess it’s not any wonder why I wrote Kauai into one of my novels. Saving Euphoria, which was released May 9, mentions Kauai as the place the protagonist’s arch nemesis plans to move when she’s finished serving her prison term. The protagonist assumes her husband has planned a Kauai trip for an anniversary and doesn’t realize the nemesis hopes to move to the tropical island, hiding away from her ex-lover, a drug dealer from Colombia. I truly believe someone could live out their life in any of these Hawaiian island paradises and never be found. If you ever get the opportunity to visit the Hawaiian Islands, you won’t be disappointed.
Hailey Langley and her children struggle to cope with the shocking and mysterious death of her husband Mark. Her teenaged son is rebelling, and Hailey is dealing with physical and mental challenges as well.
Tom Parker, Hailey’s former partner from the Special Crimes Agency, comes back into her life. He warns her to trust no one even as he tries to rekindle the flame that connects them.
Everyone has secrets, even Parker, and some of those from the past threaten to destroy the present. Hailey fights to move forward after losing Mark, but she needs to figure out if she can trust Parker and risk taking another chance on love.
C. Becker is the author of Finding Euphoria and Saving Euphoria. She is currently working on the third book to the Euphoria trilogy. As a medical technologist in a former career, Becker has never outgrown the attraction of using science in everyday life.
When she’ s not writing, Becker enjoys hanging out with her family and Jack Russell, playing the piano, reading, and gardening.
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/C.-Becker/e/B07NRWPWX3
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The Wild Rose Press: https://www.thewildrosepress.com/bookauthor/c-becker
He moved closer, his breath warming her face. “I don’t want to be a friend. I want more.”
Her eyes blurred. “It’s only been six months since Mark died.”
“Life goes on, Hailey. Mark’s gone.”
“Six months, Parker.” Tears burnt like acid splashing in her eyes. Six months was not nearly enough time to let go.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say it that way.” Parker reached over and held her hand.
The tenderness in his touch made an instant connection to her heart. Ashamed at her heart’s betrayal, she yanked her hand away and wiped a tear off her cheek.
He held her hand again and whispered. “I love you, Hailey. I always have. Somehow, life or fate, or whatever it is you want to call it, got in our way. I kept my distance when you married Mark, but I never stopped loving you.” He tightened his grasp on her hand. “Now I feel like an idiot because I waited too long.”
“Parker, please. I’m not sure I even want to get involved with someone again.”
“You’ve become so miserable. You’re a strong woman.” His face hardened. “Mark wouldn’t want you to waste your life grieving. He’d want you to go on—and at least try to be happy.” He caressed her cheek with his thumb. “I think deep down, you know it.”
Few people had her pegged so well. She bit her lip, “I do.”
PLEASE WELCOME LYNDI’S ADVENTUROUS FRIEND ARLENE CULINER!!!!!
Thanks, Lyndi! I love writing about people who are different. Some are forced to adapt to new circumstances in order to survive, others are originals, folks who have never really fit into mainstream society. But no one is humdrum, and all have dreams.
So what do an embittered mail-order bride, an adventurer, a brothel madam, a silver baron/artist, a war refugee, a pacifist, a playboy veterinarian, and a woman who protects spiders all have in common? They get another chance to find love. And what better setting for romance than a semi-ghost town in Nevada?
A Room in Blake’s Folly begins in 1889 with the romance between Sookie Lacey, former prostitute now saloon dance girl, and Westley Cranston, adventurer. But love rarely follows a straight path. Times change, life goes on, new relationships form. By 2022, Blake’s Folly, once notorious for its saloons, brothels, speakeasies, and divorce ranches, has become a semi-ghost town of abandoned shacks and weedy dirt roads. But the old stories are still very present, and they have the power to influence the 53 remaining inhabitants.
A Room in Blake’s Folly
If only the walls could speak…
In one hundred and fifty years, Blake’s Folly, a silver boomtown notorious for its brothels, scarlet ladies, silver barons, speakeasies, and divorce ranches, has become a semi-ghost town. Although the old Mizpah Saloon is still in business, its upper floor is sheathed in dust. But in a room at a long corridor’s end, an adventurer, a beautiful dance girl, and a rejected wife were once caught in a love triangle, and their secret has touched three generations.
Writer, storyteller, photographer, and social critical artist, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to local dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She particularly enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with strange characters.
“You a widow?”
“No.” She could hear the tightness in her voice and feel the tension in her shoulders.
His eyes glinted. “A runaway wife.”
“Not that either.” Did she have to say more? She didn’t. But since people were bound to be asking that same question over and over, she might as well get used to it, even though the answer was only partially true. Even though it could never express what her life had been like up until now. “I left of my own accord, but with my husband’s full agreement. He’ll be looking into getting a divorce.”
“And your children?”
Ah, there it was. The big question, the one thing everyone would be curious about. “No children. I’ve never had any.”
He said nothing. Had he heard the note of anger in her voice? She’d done her best to sound neutral, but neutrality wasn’t an easy note to hit. How vividly she remembered the first time she’d caught sight of her future husband, Sam Graham, waiting with a little knot of men by a shanty train station in the middle of nowhere. He and the others had been eager to grab a sight of their brides-to-be, women lured west by the promise of marriage, land, and a home. How had the other women fared? Had they been as discouraged as she at the sight of the vast lonely wasteland, the emptiness, the bleached-out colors, and the coarse men who would be their lifetime partners? Men honed by the elements, a hard life. And rough alcohol.
Westley Cranston stood, walked in her direction—no, walk wasn’t the word she could use. He sauntered, a slow, elegant saunter. A man sure of himself, of his power to seduce. Yes, that was why she’d felt so wary yesterday. He stopped when he was standing beside her. Smiled. No, there was nothing seductive in his smile. She’d been wrong. What had she been imagining? That she was still the young attractive woman she’d been years ago? What a fool she was.
He touched the top of the piano with a gesture that was almost a caress. “Don’t worry. You’ll do well. The boys you’ll be playing with are good musicians, nice guys, too. They play at all the dances in town, and they’ll teach you the sort of pieces folks out here are used to hearing.”
His eyebrows rose. “For what?”
“For being so kind.”
“Kind?” He guffawed. “It’s not kindness. I’m fighting for survival. High time we got a good piano player in this place. Bob, before he let that stray bullet hit him, knew how to slap at the keys, all right, but he didn’t know the first thing about keeping time. I’ll bet pretty well all the customers were happy to see him taken out of the running.” Grinning, he moved away in that casual easy way of his, headed toward the front door. Then stopped, looked back, his eyes twinkling. “But they couldn’t do that, not legally, anyway. One of the rules here in town forbids shooting pistols in a barroom.”
She grinned back at him. “Sounds like a pretty good rule to me. And what are the other rules, if you don’t mind me asking. If there are any others, that is…”
“Sure there are. Need plenty of rules in boomtowns, especially after payday. The other ones are, you can’t insult a woman, you can’t ride a pony or horse on the wooden sidewalks, and you can’t ride them inside this establishment or any other business in town.” He was chuckling again when he turned the lock, stepped out into the street, and disappeared.
Hattie remained seated at the piano. Her anguish had totally vanished. Amazing, how he had put her at ease. He hadn’t judged her, hadn’t looked at her with disgust when she’d told him some of her story, hadn’t condemned her for feeling unsure about her piano playing. She wondered why she’d felt so mistrustful. He had behaved like a perfect gentleman—and a friend.
Then another thought struck her. What had he been doing here in the Mizpah so early in the morning? Had he slept here? Obviously he had. Hadn’t he just let himself out? And that meant he had probably spent the night with one of the ladies upstairs. That he was a client.
Disappointment washed over her. She couldn’t condemn him—men had needs, desires. Why was she so saddened by the thought?
Review of A Room in Blake’s Folly
Rich detail and scintillating dialogue transport the reader through the decades between 1889 and 2022 of this surprising saga. With flowing descriptive phrases (“… the walls had a yellowish hue that only time could bring,”) Culiner effectively intertwines the characters and descendants of Blake’s Folly. And although overhunting and pollution mean environmental change, the charm of this old world community remains intact. Cheers for this book!
Lisa McCombs for Readers’ Favorite
Author Website: http://www.j-arleneculiner.com
Storytelling Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/j-arlene-culiner
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jarleneculiner Amazon Author Page : https://www.amazon.com/author/jarleneculiner-quirky-romances
PLEASE WELCOME LYNDI’S ADVENTUROUS FRIEND AMBER CROSS!!
Nothing is as magical or transformative as love, especially when you’re not looking for it!
Like Roger and Lisa, I wasn’t expecting this romance. Roger was a minor character in Precedent for Passion-Glen’s older brother who ran the family’s dairy farm, and Lisa was a minor character in Tender Possession-the human resources director at the hospital where Emmeline worked. Then something happened while I was writing Open Door to Love. When Jonnie moved to Somerset, it was only natural that one of the first people she met was Lisa, who fills in for the town clerk when she needs a Saturday off. Lisa is friendly, and quirky, so the two of them hit it off and soon become best friends. Yet as I wrote that book, their friendship became more and more important and Lisa’s character took on greater depth until she was practically screaming, “Write my story!” So I did.
The next hurdle was, who is good enough for her?
Lisa is a happy, generous person who pretty much lights up the world around her. Yet she is physically limited due to spina bifida and almost forty years old, so she has resigned herself to being single.
She needed someone to appreciate her zest for life, someone who would look at her and see a woman, not a pair of crutches or a wheelchair.
Roger is a widower with two grown sons who enjoys sitting down at the end of the day with a good book and a glass of red wine. He enjoys weekly card parties and hockey games, and he isn’t looking for anything more.
Sometimes when you’re not looking, you find exactly what you need.
Here’s an excerpt from their first meeting:
Roger Plankey was man enough to admit he looked over his shoulder before ducking inside the Somerset town offices on Saturday morning. He wasn’t normally paranoid but after three weeks of being pursued by a reality show contestant bent on claiming him for herself, he wasn’t taking any chances.
“If you’re running from the law, you’ve come to the wrong place.”
Turning, he saw a woman leaning out of the town clerk’s service window, pointing to the police department across the hall. She wore a black felt witch’s hat and orange pumpkins dangled from her ears, as brilliant as the smile on her face.
Well, well, well.
“It’s not the cops I need,” he admitted, approaching the window and thrusting his hand out in greeting. “I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure. Roger Plankey.”
Her skin was soft against his work-roughened palm, her beautifully manicured nails a sharp contrast to his blunt-tipped square fingers. Halloween decorations sparkled on the black painted ovals, but nothing shone from her left ring finger. He checked.
“Are you new here, Lisa?”
“I’m the deputy clerk. I work when Maisie needs a day off.”
“Ahh, that would explain why we haven’t met before.” Reluctantly taking his hand back, he retrieved paperwork from the inside pocket of his canvas barn jacket. “I’ve got a bunch of vehicles to register.” He passed the documents through the window, letting his gaze wander over her pretty face while she scanned them. Brown hair curled against the brim of her witch’s hat and caressed the nape of her neck. Thick eyelashes feathered high apple cheeks and when they lifted, her hazel eyes reminded him of spring rain on the meadow.
When the reality show contestant finds him and he avoids her interest by saying he has a date with Lisa, she is surprised but plays along. Not for a minute does she expect him to be serious. But Roger appreciates a woman with character, and he’s intrigued by more than just a pretty face.
Ardell whistled. “Close call.”
“You’re telling me.” He shuddered dramatically and she laughed. “I think you were trying to ask me something before we got interrupted?”
“Oh, yeah.” A phone rang inside the selectmen’s office and she started down the hall to answer it, saying over her shoulder, “Card party starts tonight. You in?”
“Well, that depends on my date. Whadya say, Lisa?”
“You don’t have to pretend now.” She slid a pen and forms from the printer across the shelf for him to sign. “I’m pretty sure she left the parking lot.”
“Who’s pretending?” After adding his John Hancock in all the right places, he pulled his wallet from his back pocket and extracted a number of bills to cover the cost. “I’m asking you out on a date. Dinner and some kitty whist. Can I pick you up at six o’clock?”
She didn’t answer him. Instead, she handed over his change and renewal paperwork before pushing away from the ledge on her side of the window. Holding her hands out at her sides as if she was a game show hostess displaying a prize. Only she was showing him the wheelchair she sat in, hidden from his view until now. He could tell this wasn’t the first time she introduced herself this way, and he wondered just how many douchebags had turned her down because of it.
He wasn’t a douchebag and she wasn’t getting out of a date that easily. “Don’t think I’m taking my invitation back just because you’re a little heavier to pick up than the average gal.”
These two are a fun couple. Their challenges are very real, their interactions honest, their love exceptional. I hope you’ll join them on their journey and read A Full-Bodied Love.
STORY: Lisa Kirkpatrick is stubborn, but she’s not stupid. If this guy needs a date to evade an unwanted admirer, who is she to object? It’s not as if handsome men are lining up to ask her out. Sure, they know there’s a woman in the wheelchair, but it would never occur to them that there’s a WOMAN in the wheelchair. He notices. This solid, fun, straight-shooting guy ticks off every box on her ideal man list. But why do they call him Slick?
Roger Plankey thought his life was full until he walked into the town clerk’s office and laid eyes on the woman behind the counter. A spunky, independent woman with a dash of humor and just enough sass to keep him on his toes. She fills that unknown void in his life like she was made for him. But is there such a thing as too perfect?
Amber Cross was raised on a family farm in New England, one of a dozen siblings, each one inspiring her writing in some way. She still lives in that same small town with her husband and the youngest of their five children. She loves spending time in the woods, in the water, and watching people because every one of them has a unique and fascinating story to tell.
Please welcome Lyndi’s Adventurous Friend Daryl Devore!
The Last Dragon is my first medieval fantasy romance and my favourite book. I had such fun writing this story. I had no idea how to world-build, or what was expected to be in a medieval story. Romance I understood. I’d written and published several, but this was a new adventure.
I love research. I was that annoying kid in school who got excited when the teacher assigned an essay. I think I get my love of research from my mother who is a retired librarian.
I had to research the era, how they would speak, dress and so on. The language I did not want to be “ye olde English” as that would be too hard to understand. Instead, I adjusted the language so that the feel of olden times was there. Ye for you. Yer for your. Aye for yes. Nay for no.
I tried to watch what each character was saying – couldn’t have one meet another saying – whass up, bro?
Researching how they cursed was one of my favourite days. It quite often is based on body parts and potty habits.
Currently I am writing the sequel to The Last Dragon. I didn’t know there was going to be a sequel until it announced one day it was time to be written. I am nearing the end of that story. I can’t tell you the title yet as it hasn’t got one. And to my surprise, the third book has announced itself. Plus there have been hints of a fourth one – a short story.
So I guess I am writing a series. Stay tuned.
Scene Set – Fearing dragons and an evil sorcerer, Prince Hawkyns is inside a Keep (manor house) checking to see if it is safe to enter. Derry is hiding in the forest waiting for his signal. A young lad they have befriended, Pariset, arrives. Gladur is the prince’s horse.
Pariset tilted his head towards the Keep. “What is this place?”
“Drakkar Keep. The home of Malum. A sorcerer. And Ayrradex.”
His face paled. “The dragon?”
“There be three dragons on the far side. None are Ayrradex. I came from that direction and moved into these woods to circle around and miss them. They are large and hideous.” He slapped the ground. “If I had a sword, I’d kill them all.”
Derry raised a hand to silence Pariset. Frowning, she strained to hear the sound she had just caught the edge of. The rain was falling harder now, but she was sure she heard something. A deep snort. A dragon’s snort?
Gladur tensed. His nostrils flared. The other horses stepped near him.
“I think yer dragons are afoot.” Derry stood. “Calm the other horses.” She grasped Gladur’s bridle and stroked his neck. “Ssh. Hawkyns will not let ye be harmed.”
The ground trembled as if warning them of the approaching beast.
“Come. We must go deeper into the woods.” Derry led the way away from the edge near the open field, squeezing between tall oaks and leafy bushes. Another border abruptly appeared. It was not a deep forest, but a strip of trees. Not a good place for protection.
A brown dragon paced back and forth, stopping to sniff the air. It snorted and bellowed. Had he caught their scent? Was he telling the others? Derry pushed Gladur away from the tree edge.
They were trapped. They could not hide in the depth of the trees. They could not run to safety. Between the edge of the forest and the Keep was open land and what lay in the opposite direction was unknown and led away from Hawkyns.
A shadow passed overhead. The third dragon? Were they searching for them or guarding the Keep?
Blocked on both sides and another flying above, Derry knew there was fear in her eyes when she looked at Pariset.
He leaned close and kept his voice low. “I fear they hunt us. I may have been too brazen, and they caught my scent.”
Derry stilled the trembles threatening to weaken her knees. She needed to be strong.
Pariset tied the reins of the two horses to Gladur’s saddle. “I will distract them. Ye run into the Keep. If Hawkyns is there, he will protect ye. Take the horses with ye.”
“No!” Fear squeezed her chest, making it hard to breathe. “Ye cannot.”
With all the bravado of youth, he grinned. “I am young and fast.” He sprinted to the edge of the forest. “Oy! Dragon. Oy!” He jumped up and flapped his arms.
The dragon on the ground ambled around.
“Derry. Go now!” He bolted out of her sight.
She tightened her grip on the lead and raced through the trees towards the Keep’s entrance.
To her right, she could hear Pariset’s taunts. “Oy! Dragon. Oy!”
The fool could get himself killed. She prayed for his safety as she ran.
Before she stepped out of the protection of the trees, she checked to her right and left. No dragon. The Keep’s entrance was directly before her. She steeled herself to charge but paused. Pariset’s taunt of Oy changed to a howl of fear.
She glanced heavenward. Rain splashed onto her face. She wiped her face with her sleeve then peered up. Pariset was being tossed from one dragons’ wing to another. If he fell, he would be killed. His injuries would be too numerous for her to heal.
Her heart pounded in her chest. Did she stay to help him? How could she help him? She had no weapon. Hawkyns. Hawkyns had a sword. She had to get to him.
Her breath came in pants as she raced across the open space. Pariset’s cries spurned her to move faster. Gladur charged behind her. She had to get to Hawkyns. Save Pariset. He was just a lad. A brave and foolish lad. But he was nobly trying to protect her.
She stumbled. Dragon.
About the story:
What do dragons, knights and romance have in common? Grab a copy of multi-published author Daryl Devore’s medieval fantasy romance – The Last Dragon and discover the answer.
A sorcerer craving dominance merged with a dragon, the power overwhelmed him causing him to split into three dragons. Demora ruled thought but was lost in time. Yidithe offered protection, shining like the light of the sun. Ayrradex craved chaos, revelling in destroying souls.
Many knights died, attempting to slay the devil beast. One knight, Prince Hawkyns, did not fear death. He’d lost everything. Away on a mission when Ayrradex attacked his father’s kingdom, Penrythe, Hawkyns returned to find his noble father – feeble and defeated. His wise mother – crazed. His beautiful wife and unborn child – dead. Only a pile of ashes remained for him to bury. He knelt before his King and vowed to slay the devil-beast or be slain.
Derry was born with powers that terrified her parents. They delivered her to a nunnery to be raised in secret. Jathe, a wise sorceress, discovered the young girl and trained her to one day use the secret hidden in her soul.
Legends spoken around campfires hinted the sole way to destroy Ayrradex was when the hearts of a knight and a golden dragon became one. But after a vicious battle with Ayrradex, the golden dragon was thought to be dead.
Can Prince Hawkyns’s bravery and Derry’s powers end the reign of the devil-beast’s terror?
Bio and Links
Daryl Devoré is an author who spans heat levels from soft and sweet to spicy hot. Each of her characters is so captivating they leave her readers spellbound as they rush to reach the end of her stories.
Daryl lives and works from her home in the gorgeous wilds of Canada. When she’s not writing she spends her spare time gardening, enjoying the tasty homemade bread her hubby bakes, and attending yoga classes where she sometimes hangs from the rafters like a bat.
Every Other Month Newsletter (always looking for subscribers)
PLEASE WELCOME LYNDI’S ADVENTUROUS FRIEND TENA SHETLER–And Dog! 🙂
Hey Lyndi! So glad to be here! Thought we’d chat about the canine companion in An Angel’s Wylder Assignment her name is Adventure. Writing this book was a bit out of my wheelhouse. It’s a paranormal romance/mystery/historical/time travel/western adventure. Challenged me at every turn, but in the end I believe it’s one of my best.
Meet Adventure, canine companion, from An Angel’s Wylder Assignment by Tena Stetler
Full name: Adventure
Physical description: very furry buff colored, curly tail, with blue tongue about 65 lbs, friendly but protective.
Relationship to main character: She kinda belongs to the Blacksmith shop. Killian and Chinoah took over the blacksmith shop when they arrived from the future. Chinoah and the dog bonded immediately. She promised to never leave the dog on its own again. She named it Adventure because of events in the dog’s life .
Relationship to the villain/antagonist: None
Where this furbaby came from: The dog was a stray. The old owner took her in during frigid weather and left her at the blacksmith shop when he moved due to health issues.
Do you have any working or service animals in your stories? Tell us about them.
I have several working or service animals in most of my stories. A Witch’s Journey Series is all about animal rescue. Several animals in these stories have duties. The animals in my other stories are companions, mostly.
What inspired you to create this character?
Well, I try to have companion animals in most of my stories. They add so much to our daily lives and do the same to the characters in my books. Adventure seemed to just come as part of the story when I started writing it. I’m what is known as a panster (write by the seat of my pants) so my stories are character driven. Adventure stole the story in many ways and even saved a life.
What does the main character think about this furbaby? There is a deep bond there because Chinoah is a wolf shifter. Once Adventured learned to trust Chinoah in both forms they were inseparable. Killian enjoys a good bond with Adventure but not like Chinoah. He was a bit worried she Chinoah announced that the pup would be returning to present day with them when the assignment was over.
What does this furbaby add to the story? Humorous events, Heroic event, and heartwarming details.
What about this furbaby will readers like, and why? Adventure is loyal, protective and adds another layer of feel good to the book.
Please share an interesting fact or tidbit about this furbaby.
She knows the town inside and out. Time travel or porting by magic from place to place doesn’t phase her at all.
Describe a humorous incident involving the animal character.
When Chinoah shifts into a wolf, Adventure is a bit taken back. Not quite sure what to do with this wolf in her domain. The dog gets over it rapidly.
Killian indicates Adventure must stay at the blacksmith shop while he and Chinoah port to another place in Wyoming. Chinoah disagrees and the dog jumps into her arms just as they ported. No way Adventure was going to be left behind.
Another reoccurring one is that the pup always pushes her way into the buildings first then runs straight to her rug by the wood burning stoves.
Tell us a little about the story:
Warrior Angel Killian Dugan’s annual trip to the family castle in Scotland is shattered by the arrival of Legion Commander North. Killian’s skills are needed for an urgent time travel assignment. A rogue demon has escaped back in time. He must discover the why and where and stop the demon before it can damage the past and change the future.
Killian’s girlfriend Chinoah Grace, a Native American shapeshifter is included in the mission which takes them to the wild west town of Wylder, Wyoming in the year 1878. She will have her hands full fitting in and making friends.
Nothing is as it seems. They encounter visions, spirit quests, and a mysterious shaman. On top of it all, blending in as a blacksmith is more physically difficult than he imagined. But not as challenging as keeping his hands off his undercover wife. Will they complete their assignment or run out of time?
A Peek Between the Pages of An Angel’s Wylder Assignment:
Clambering out of the wagon, the knot in Chinoah’s belly tightened. She followed Ray and Lily up the narrow footpath. Killian brought up the rear. The rock walls were multi-colored layers of red, orange, and yellow rock in a deeply eroded river canyon. A filmy form of a Native American dressed in what she considered chieftain ceremonial clothes wavered over the water then at the canyon’s edge against the rock walls. She waved her hand toward the form. “You seeing this?”
“What?” Ray looked in her direction. “Not seeing anything.” He paused at a stone section where bird images and bird/human hybrids were carved into the rock. He nodded to her. She reached out hesitantly and held her hand a few inches off the face of the rock. Nothing. She blew out a breath and relaxed a little. Ray moved on.
It wasn’t until the path ended and they had to pick their way down a steep slope that the Native American spirit made another appearance. Halfway down the path, her feet slipping and sliding over loose rocks and gravel, the toe of her boot caught on an arched root sticking out of the ground. She pitched forward. Her hands came up in front of her in an attempt to avoid face-planting on the rock’s surface. Something cool grabbed her arms and set her on her feet. Looking into the misty, high cheek-boned face of the chieftain, she gawked. When she peered into his eyes, she felt sorrow, disillusion, and pain. She gulped in air.
They must be stopped. You’re destined to make it happen. A male voice echoed through her mind. A picture of a log room formed in her mind then was gone. Before she could respond, the apparition disappeared, and so did the cold that had engulfed her.
Ok, how about a little about the Author?
Tena Stetler is a best-selling author of award winning paranormal tales. Some call her crazy others creative. She deals with the voices in her head by writing them down and creating a fantasy world and characters you won’t soon forget. Her books tell tales of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. Travel, adventure, magic, and a bit of mystery flourish in her books along with a few companion animals to round out the tales.
Colorado is home; shared with her husband of many moons, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a fifty-year-old box turtle. When she’s not writing, her time is spent kayaking, camping, hiking, biking or just relaxing in the great Colorado outdoors. During the winter you can find her curled up in front of the fireplace with a good book, bowl of popcorn and mug of hot chocolate.
Authors’ Secret’s Blog – https://www.tenastetler.com/category/authors-secrets-blog/
My Say What Blog – http://www.tenastetler.com/category/my-say-what-blog/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/tenastetler.author
Twitter Page: https://www.twitter.com/TenaStetler
Tribber – http://triberr.com/TenaStetler
Tags: adventure, author, book, fantasy, furbaby, Lyndi Alexander, magic, paranormal, rescue animal, shapeshifter, strong women, supernatural, Tena Stetler, warrior angel, Witch's Journey, wolf, writer, writing
Welcome, Viviana MacKade! Take it away!
I have a review page on my blog. I’m afraid it hasn’t been updated in quite some time, but I’ll go back to it as soon as I have a little more time. Which can be some time, admittedly.
Despite my reviewing activity status is stuck in a rut, here’s the fantasy books I loved the most in the past year or so.
Georgia Lynn Hunter’s Series Fallen Guardian, and the spin-off Warlords of Empyrea.
Everything you love about fantasy romance is there. Tortured (literally) heroes who come from different dimensions and carry a heavy load on their shoulders. They are all very hot, very pissed, and very much unhappy about falling in love.
The heroines come armed by their own difficult stories, are fighters in their own right. They might be confused and scared but are never too stupid to live, and teach the mighty guardians a thing or two. Although Aethan’s story (Guardians book 1) is my all-time favorite, there is not one book in both series I didn’t thoroughly enjoy.
Longing of the Lone Wolves by Lana Pecherczyk
A surprise. A book that explains shape shifting in a way that I’d never heard. I loved it. Everything just made so much sense, which is a testament to the Author’s hard work in building the backstory. Refreshing and just cool.
Gaslamp Gothic Series by Kat Ross
Ah, another delight. A Bad Breed is my favorite, but all books in the series are great. So much so that I started form A Bad Breed, which is book 3, read The Necromancer’s Wife (book 4) and then I went back to Demoniac. It’s a fantastic journey.
Spells, Salt, & Steel (Season One) by Gail Z. Martin & Larry N. Martin
It tastes like a TV show, as it’s made of short stories. It’s fun, it’s full of action, and the hero’s attitude is so bad that’s endearing.
Special mention: The End Of The Road by Karen Michelle Nutt
Special mention because it’s not really a fantasy. There’s a ghost, though, so I felt it could be sneaked in.
A sweet story, a mystery, a cast that you must love. It was fun, dear, touching.
I hope you’ll give these stories a moment of your time, and maybe, if you want, take a look at Valkyrie Love, too. Thank you!
Valkyrie love never comes easy.
Brenna left Asgard with a curse on her name and a broken heart.
A Valkyrie now free and independent, for millennia her life had been great. Just great.
Then a bleeding Elf knocks at her door holding a baby.
Alexander Reed left the Marines and lost the wheel of his life.
A soldier without a worthy fight, he became everything he despised.
Until he ends up in the wrong backyard at the wrong time.
Fljóða, Queen of the Light Elves and last of her lineage, is an infant with a death sentence on her head.
Hunted by the Night Elves, her survival brings Brenna and Reed together for the ultimate mission: take the little Queen to safety in the Vanaheim Realm, deep in the Roots of Yggdrasil.
Not simple, but straightforward.
Or so it seemed.
Between flaming giants, demons, and an army of Half Breed determined to kill the Queen and conquer all the Elvin Realms, Brenna and Reed will have to face their inner monsters.
Monsters appearing in the form of feelings neither want but cannot control.
Amazon Kindle ~ only 99 cents while in preorder
Amazon Vella ~ Get 3 episodes FREE
Follow Valkyrie Love on tour!
Find the dates at www.viviana-mackade.blog
Author bio and links:
Beach bum and country music addicted, Viviana lives in a small Floridian town with her die-hard fans and personal cheer squad: her husband, her son, and her daughter. She spends her days between typing on her beloved keyboard, playing in the pool with her babies, and eating whatever her husband puts on her plate (the guy is that good, and she really loves eating). Besides beaching, she enjoys long walks, horse-riding, hiking, and pretty much whatever she can do outside with her family.
The best way to know me is through my website (and the books I host): http://www.viviana-mackade.blog/
From chapter 17
When you like or are falling for someone, as Reed recognized was happening, there are always these great romantic lines babbled by the hero. Lines as I’d follow you until the end of the world.
Well, he actually did it.
He hadn’t followed Brenna because of his feelings for her, though. Back then, he had none.
He had eyes and she was beautiful, so there was that. Would he have gone all the way to another dimension for a pretty face? Nope.
Brenna was different. He’d known it since the first time he’d seen her slaying monsters in her backyard and a person with her kind of courage?
He would go on a mission with, all the way to the end. A mission which, to him, tasted more like redemption, a chance to find the way back to the person he once had been, one with a solid moral compass.
A man he could live with.
She had an agenda, of course she didn’t enlist him out of a good heart. But for as much as it had pained her to admit it, another person, especially one with his background, was handy to have around for her mission. And in doing so, Brenna gave him a chance, a chance to clean his slate.
They both had crappy baggage; both had left those behind.
In here, in these roots, they were only Reed and Brenna.
Hell, he didn’t even know her last name, if she had one. And you know what? It worked. He didn’t care about her history, how she got to be this way. He only cared about the woman she’d come to be today, whatever byway she took to get to the here-and-now they shared.
The woman he was falling hard for. Maybe he had already toppled over.
A woman who currently disappeared into yet another dimension through a transparent rubber wall that sparkled if hit.
Damn, how crazy was it? How absolutely great, and crazy? Being in love, not the wall.
Reed didn’t have it in him to appreciate those portals.
In front of him, Mae’s head had already disappeared as she continued to hold onto his hand. Time to get his head in the game. Literally.
Only the elf’s arm divided him from the other side.
Linked to Mae, his hand crossed the invisible wall. He could feel Mae’s fingers in his, so it ought to be good news, right?
His arm went through.
And then he had to step into it.
It was like pushing through a thick wall of humid, hot, dense sponge. It reminded him of a cow’s nose and the image didn’t help any, despite his love for said animals.
As the wall moved to accommodate his shoulder and half of his body, it pressed on him. Mae released him, so now both his hands were free – one in the warm dwarves’ realm, and the other in the hotter, drier air of the Fire Realm.
He hoped, hard, that the protection he’d fashioned around their ammunitions would hold.
Reed turned his face toward the invisible wall and pushed all in.
A gummy wall pressed tight.
Hard to move.
For the longest moment he couldn’t breathe, and panic slithered through him. Until a different hand took his.
He didn’t need to see it. He’d fallen asleep holding her hand for long enough to recognize it.
It was all the encouragement he needed. He grasped at her hold, used her as an anchor, and pulled himself toward her.
He slid all the way out, and he nearly fell as pressure suddenly let go.
Lord, but the air felt good.
Oven-hot, dry air.
“Damn,” he murmured as he took in the new realm, still holding on to Brenna.
The sky hung heavy, clothed in the deepest, darkest shade of purple.
In front of him, rivers and rivulets of lava cut through brown land, bare and dry.
They looked like fire-bleeding wounds on dying ground. Sprinkles of glowing debris wheezed out from barren hills and short volcanoes. Sometimes, out of nowhere, the land would crack open enough to spit a mouthful of lava and fiery sparkles of fire in the black-hot air.
“Ugly,” he murmured, fighting and losing against the need to have Brenna closer.
He pulled her in until she was into his arms, found her stiff.
“What are you doing?” she asked, trying to keep her distance by placing her palms onto his chest.
“This place is miserable. Everywhere else we went, something was nice. Here? It’s simply dead.” He tightened the hold on her, looked at her and smiled. “I needed a shot of good.”
The best feeling in the world? Her response, how she gave into the hug.
Thanks for being with us today. First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc.
– My name is Jennifer Anderson. I grew up in Southern Illinois in the little town of Eldorado. I currently live in the much bigger small town of Gallatin, TN, just north of Nashville, with my husband of 27 years and an ornery cat. We have two sons, their delightful wives, and three grandchildren.
Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times?
– I drink way too much coffee. I used a Keurig for a while, but I really like to have a pot of coffee going so I can warm up my ever-present cup.
Is your education relevant to your writing, or have you branched off in something entirely different to create? How would you best describe your books?
– My degree is in advertising, and my jobs were always about writing. I worked as a copywriter, eventually landing at Nashville’s famed WSM Radio, where I transitioned into writing and producing a nationally syndicated radio show for a decade and a half. But I always dreamed of writing books. I was finally able to do that with my first novel – BUKU – which is a post-apocalyptic, dystopian thriller.
Tell us about your most recent publication/whichever book you’d like to talk about today?
– I am in the middle of writing my first series. BUKU is the first book, and I released the second book in the trilogy this fall. Both books are set in a world overrun by massive beasts which were developed in a lab so that their blubber could be used as clean-burning fuel. However, as often happens when man starts tinkering with nature, things go horribly wrong. A world devastated by these creatures is really just the setting of the stories though. Both BUKU and the sequel BUKU: Sun and Shadows follow a medic named Iris who is trying to save the people she loves while fighting not only buku, but the people who take advantage of the weak for their own purposes.
What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?
– I had a dream – just a short, vague dream – that launched me into thinking about my main character Iris and her love interest Oso. I’ve always loved action-adventure movies and grew up reading Stephen King, so my story naturally developed into a fast-paced thriller with lots of suspense. I think what surprised me was, despite the fact that my books are about a world overrun by monsters, many readers comment that it’s realistic. It feels like it could happen. That was a big lesson. As long as you keep the characters and their reactions and relationships and motivations real, readers will follow you practically anywhere.
What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?
– Perhaps because it’s the newest, I really love BUKU: Sun and Shadows, the second in the trilogy. My favorite thing about is that my protagonist Iris is brought to her breaking point. The fear she experiences is all-consuming, and she has to push past it by relying on the people she feels she should be protecting, including children. It’s one thing to be strong. It’s another to be weakened, and to do what needs to be done anyway.
What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
– I love writing a scene that works so well it has me grinning or crying or pumping my fist. Everything is worth those moments. Unfortunately, it takes me a long time to figure out exactly where a story is going. So I procrastinate a lot. I mean, a lot! I am amazed by, and jealous of, writers who can write fast. However, I remember being in junior high, maybe even grade school, dreaming of writing a novel. This is a lifelong dream, so I am keeping at it!
Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?
– Several years ago, my pastor started a group for creative people – artists and writers and musicians. We met over lunch once a week. Sometimes we read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Sometimes we shared what we were working on. Mostly we just talked, and it was wonderful therapy for me. A lot of creative people can become blocked – scared of truly exploring what they can do – and that was definitely the case with me. I began writing my first book because of that group and will always be grateful for it. Most of the groups, FB pages, websites I use now are more about marketing and self-publishing.
Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?
– Lately, I’ve been going on youtube and playing movie scores while I’m writing. It’s hard not to write dramatic scenes with the music from Game of Thrones swirling around you!
Do you belong to a critique group? What do you find most valuable about the experience?
– I give my book to a few friends I trust to act as beta readers before my final edit, but otherwise, I rely on myself for critique. For years I wrote a radio script that was read by a broadcast duo with big personalities. I think hearing my words read by someone else taught me how to step back and truly examine what I’ve written. The flipside of that is that I am now at a point where I want to write what I want to write, how I want to write it! So no, I haven’t tried a critique group, perhaps to my detriment.
To encourage those still on the path, tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one? What do you think was the key to selling that first book?
– The most encouraging thing about the world of writing these days is that you can self-publish. You can go directly to the readers through digital platforms and never have to convince agents or publishers to take a risk on you. Of course, that also means that you are wholly responsible for all aspects of your book, including getting people to buy it. I self-publish through Amazon. So far, that’s two books and a novella. To make sure those books sell, I invested in a course on self-publishing, bought a few tools of the trade, and I spent quite a bit of money on my covers. So far, it has worked pretty well for me, though those who self-publish will tell you that the way to make money is to write a lot of books. One of these days, hopefully I’ll accomplish that.
What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?
– I am currently working on the final book of the BUKU trilogy. I don’t have a name for it yet! After that, I am looking forward to trying my hand at a different genre, probably fantasy romance. I don’t really have any personal appearances scheduled, but you can always hit me up on Facebook or Instagram @jenniferandersonwriter.
Anything else you would like to add?
— Just that I appreciate the time and the discussion! Oh, and if you’re interested in free stories, including the prequel novella, subscribe to my newsletter at jenniferandersonwriter.com. BUKU: Micah’s Story sets the stage for the trilogy, and I’d love to send it to you. You’ll also get my four best personal stories, including getting married at the Grand Ole Opry and giving a ride to William Shatner, which is a really funny story! Include social media links, bio, etc. J
Jennifer Anderson hails from Illinois — the opposite end of the state from Chicago. There, among the corn fields and coal mines, she grew up exploring new worlds through books, while dreaming of creating her own worlds. With a degree in advertising from the University of Illinois, Jennifer became a copywriter, working mostly in broadcasting. She eventually landed at famed WSM Radio in Nashville, Tennessee. From there, she moved on to write and produce the syndicated radio program “The Crook and Chase Countdown” before deciding to pursue her childhood dream of writing fiction. Jennifer lives in the Nashville area with her husband Mike, where she snuggles cats, neglects housework, and tries to find space for her vintage finds.
A taste of Nadja Petrov’s adventures @AdrianaKraft #NewRelease #Steamy #RomanticSuspense #MFRWAuthor
A desperate espresso café owner, a determined coffee franchise rep, a quiet Midwestern town, anonymous threats out of the blue—where does the true danger lie?
What would it be like to live in Nadja Petrov’s shoes, for even a little while?
Picture Kiev (Kyiv), Ukraine, suffering under the thumb of Communist rule in the 1970s. Find a neighborhood of unremarkable but tidy apartments, where the birth of a long awaited only child, a daughter, takes place sometime in 1976. The girl’s father works for the communist government, and they have adequate resources but are by no means wealthy.
Tall, blonde, and blue-eyed, the child Nadja is selected early for ballet lessons. The goal? The famed Russian Ballet company. She studies hard and attends ballet classes daily, where she is a star pupil.
What the free world celebrates as a victory – the 1991 end of Russian rule in Ukraine – is for the fifteen year old Nadja a personal disaster. The state-sponsored ballet lessons come to an abrupt halt. Her father loses his job, and finances become strained. For a while the family manages to continue Nadja’s ballet lessons privately, but in the hands of unscrupulous coaches, that process becomes a disaster and she quits.
Fast forward to 2001. Nadja’s father has died, and when her mother becomes ill, they decide to join her mother’s younger sister in the USA, where they can get better treatment. In spite of the best America has to offer, her mother dies two years later.
Would this scenario set the stage for an adventurous heroine? Now twenty nine, Nadja has learned a few things: Nothing is guaranteed. No one is promised. Men are either uninteresting or not safe. Self-reliance is primary.
Is she up for the challenge?
“If I don’t sell, how long do you suppose it will take before Java Beans has a franchise here?” Nadja asked.
“Depends.” Kevin shrugged. “I’ll have to spend much more time scoping out possibilities. I have a meeting with a realtor tomorrow morning. And I’ll meet with a member of the chamber of commerce for lunch. If we fast track it, maybe nine months. More likely twelve to eighteen months.”
Kevin watched Nadja’s nose twitch and her chin jut out.
“And if I have sex with you, will you go away and tell your superiors that setting up a franchise here would be a very bad idea?”
Kevin couldn’t close his mouth. Had he heard her correctly? Of course he had. His fingers curled into fists. He reached deeply for breath. “Whatever gave you such an idea? Do you really think I can be bought with sex?”
He winced. Her stare was fixed, not giving away at all whether she was bluffing. What would she do if he said yes? “Would you really do such a thing?”
“I’d do anything to protect what’s mine.”
It’s nothing personal…
It all seems simple enough—Ukrainian immigrant Nadja Petrov is determined to hold on to her thriving new coffee shop, Nadja’s Literary Cappuccino, and Java Beans District Rep Kevin Langley is equally determined to move into her North Iowa town with a franchise and run her out of business.
He scopes her out, she keeps a watchful eye on him, and the sparring begins. But there are other players involved, and the web of intrigue soon threatens Nadja, her shop, and her aunt as well as Kevin, his potential franchise, and his son. Within this cauldron simmers a sexual attraction between Nadja and Kevin that catapults them to overcome their fears of intimacy and commitment. Their lovemaking is tender and raw. Their love is nearly lost in tragedy—can it survive doubts, fire, and even a death?
Five Stars – Highly recommend! One hot romantic suspense I couldn’t stop reading… the perfect blend of blistering hot romance and suspense… it’s the character development throughout I am Not for Sale which makes this such an incredible story. NN Light’s Book Heaven
About the Authors
When it’s Time to Heat Things Up
Award winning author Adriana Kraft is a married couple writing Sizzling Romantic Suspense and Erotic Romance for Two, Three, or More. Whether readers open our romantic suspense or our erotic romance, they can expect characters they care about, hot sex scenes, and a compelling story. Our suspense stories deliver one man, one woman, danger and intrigue. Our erotic romance is edgier and nearly always includes ménage or polyamory, sometimes with two women and a man, sometimes with two (or more) couples. We write our Erotic Romance stories to entertain, of course, but most of all we write them because we believe in happy endings for all who fall in love, whatever their gender, sexual orientation or numerical combination.
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