Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday Book News

Protective Custody

Gotta love a guy who comes with his own handcuffs!

Paisley McCoy is a sexy reporter who writes about the San Francisco club scene for a local magazine. Having a dad on the force has led to one hard and fast rule – she doesn’t date cops. She likes her men sensitive and intellectual, two qualities in short supply in any cop she’s ever met. But now she’s stuck with this standard-issue cop – aggressive, opinionated, and sure he’s always right. In short, the complete opposite of the kind of man she usually goes for.
Gray Beckham is a no-nonsense cop who's peeved about being taken off a major burglary investigation to babysit the captain’s bratty daughter, even if she is gorgeous. To make it even more annoying, she acts like the whole thing is a joke and insists she doesn’t need his protection. And while she might be sexy as hell, there’s no way he’s going anywhere near the captain’s daughter.
Despite their differences, though, Paisley and Gray can’t deny the chemistry between them. But as that connection turns into romance, they find out that the stalker is a far greater threat than they had originally thought. And that if he can’t have her, no one will.

They spoke little on the ride to her apartment. Once they got there, Gray told her to wait in the entryway while he took a look around. It seemed like overkill to her, but she didn’t argue. However, she didn’t stay where he’d told her to, either. Instead, she went into the kitchen to open her mail. That earned her a dark scowl from Gray when he came out of the bedroom several minutes later. Paisley pretended not to notice.
“I’ve been on a stakeout for a couple of days,” he said after declaring the apartment clear. “Do you mind if I use your shower?”
She glanced up from the Victoria's Secret catalog she had been flipping through. “No, go ahead.”
“Thanks.” He picked up his overnight bag from the floor where he’d left it. “I won’t be long. Keep the door locked and don’t open it to anyone.”
Yeah, yeah. She went back to flipping through the catalog, only to pause when she heard the shower turn on a few minutes later. She had looked for a way to give Gray the slip ever since they’d walked out of the police station, and she decided she wasn’t going to get a better opportunity than right then. While she had to admit she really didn’t mind having the hunky inspector around, she hated being told what to do, especially by her father. Time to exercise her independence.
Tossing the catalog on the counter, Paisley hurried out of the kitchen and into her bedroom. Knowing she wouldn’t have enough time to do more than pack a few things before Gray came out, she decided to forget about the basics and instead, just grab a dress and a pair of high heels to wear that night. Everything else she could borrow from whichever friend she stayed with. At least until it was safe to come back to her place. By safe, she meant when there wasn’t some cop hanging around it.
Shoving the dress into an evening purse, Paisley picked up her shoes in her free hand and darted from the room. She had barely made it past the bathroom when the door opened.
“Where the hell do you think you’re going?” Gray demanded from behind her.
Paisley stopped in her tracks at the commanding tone in his voice. Crap! She had hoped to slip out before Gray finished taking his shower. It just wasn’t fair that guys could clean up so fast.
Squaring her shoulders, she whirled around to face him. And blinked. Though he had put on jeans, he hadn’t bothered with a shirt, and all she could do was stare at him in feminine appreciation. She had known he was built, but she hadn’t realized just how well. Broad shoulders, a chiseled chest, and rock-hard abs. Daaaaammmm! He had a body that just wouldn’t quit.
Gray crossed his arms over his chest. “Well?” he prompted when she said nothing.
Paisley tore her gaze from his perfectly sculpted arms to look up at him. She hadn’t realized he was so tall. Even in heels, she was still almost a head shorter than he was. She lifted her chin. “Out.”
His golden brown eyes narrowed. “Not without me, you’re not.”
She let out a sigh. “Look. Like I told you before, this isn’t going to work. I’m going to stay with some friends until this whole thing blows over. You can just tell my dad that I gave you the slip. He won’t hold it against you.”
“I don’t think so.”
She clenched her jaw. “I wasn’t asking for your permission, Inspector. I’m leaving and you can’t stop me.”
With that, Paisley whirled around and started for the door. She didn’t even make it halfway before Gray caught her arm and turned her back around.
“You’re not going anywhere.”
She glared up at him. “Oh, really?” she countered. “And just how are you going to stop me? Handcuff me to the bed?”
Her words hung in the air between them for a long moment before his mouth finally quirked.
“Though I’ll admit that’s tempting,” he said, “I have something more effective in mind.”
Before she could ask what he meant by that, Gray led her over to the couch. What was he going to do, sit her down and lecture her?
To her surprise, Gray didn’t sit her down at all, but instead took a seat himself. Totally perplexed, she was just about to ask what he was doing when a tug on her arm sent her sprawling over his knee. She had no choice but to drop the purse and shoes so she could put her hands on the floor to keep herself balanced.
For a moment, Paisley was so stunned she just lay there. She recovered quickly enough though, and when she did, she immediately tried to push herself upright. But a strong hand on her back held her firmly in place. Furious at being manhandled, she glared at him over her shoulder.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.
He returned her glower with one of his own. “Teaching you a lesson.”
Paisley opened her mouth to retort, only to let out a startled little gasp when she felt him smack her upturned bottom. He did not just spank her!

What Reviewers Are Saying About Protective Custody!

4.5 Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies!

"PROTECTIVE CUSTODY is an exciting read and comes highly recommended!"

Read Chapter One!

Buy it at Liquid Silver Books!

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday Book Review


Joley Drake has an enormous career, the most famous of all the Drake sisters, her voice loved by millions. On her world tour, she finds both adoration and danger. Somewhere there is someone who loves her. There is someone who hates her. And there is someone who is working behind the scenes to destroy everything she is, everything she loves and believes in.

Ilya Prakenskii has the reputation of a Russian hit man. He works for a notorious mobster and yet, he has ties to the Drake family and in particular Joley Drake. When things begin to go terribly wrong on Joley's tour, Ilya steps in to protect her, much to her dismay. Two strong personalities, powerful magic and danger at every turn keep Joley and Ilya in the midst of turbulent seas.


Joley has a problem. a big one. Ilya is a man she's drawn to, craves, the bad boy type that she literally can't resist, and despises herself for that weakness. Why? Because she knows he's a killer. The worst kind of bad boy she's ever felt inclined to even think about liking. But there's more to the bad boy than the image he gives everyone. A lot more. And part of that secret must stay hidden, even from Joley when fate throws them into tighter quarters to protect her-and him.

The Drake's rocky history with the Russion mob isn't a secret, and Ilya knows all about it. In fact, he's the mob king's main bodyguard. So when he's "loaned" to Joley as protection because of a rise of threats, the mob follows along. Threats and danger follow too.

The danger element of this book is a high rollercoaster rocket ride. Explosions, rekindled love and a passion between Joley and Ilya that make you want them to find that common ground. What surprised me the most was the almost-almost-soft side of Ilya, especially as Joley warmed up to him. God he was sexy. There was life all through this story between the various characters of her band and the traitor was a total surprise.


You knew there had to be one. But I'm not telling .

Just go read it. :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday Book News


The Catalyst

Released October 1, 2008

From Forbidden Publications

Cover Art by

Dawne Dominique

Be sure to check out my website for more releases


Dark revelations and secret love lead to personal resurrection.

Carolyn Madison didn’t kill her husband but didn’t mourn him either. The rapist deserved to die, or at least she thought so. Beneath a myriad of family secrets, Carolyn drags the skeletons out of the closet and in the arms of her true, learns to love again.

Walt Tollhouse has pined for Carolyn since she was a shy seventeen-year-old. Little did he know Robert Dubois would steal her away, and then destroy the beautiful spirit he still loved. Beneath the guise of clean-up man, the martial arts instructor never pushes his battered love but gives her silent support she deserves.


The Odyssey Mysteries Book One:

The Catalyst


Sandra Marshall

Authorized Excerpt:

Carolyn observed the mammoth oak trees that shaded them from the morning sun and the fake flowers in vases on the stones. The sweet smell of peony bushes planted around the graves and the scent of freshly cut grass provided a tranquil scene. What a peaceful spot to be put to rest.

It hadn’t surprised her that none of the people who were at the visitation last night were here. Most of those people were business associates, doing their duty. Robert’s funeral was a vast difference from her father’s, where hundreds of people from all over the country had shown up to pay their condolences.

Now there was just family and Walt. They’d even decided not to use the limousine; everyone was going their separate ways afterwards. Watching the event, the detectives stood several yards from them under an ancient green-branched tree.

The priest stood at the head of the casket, read the Twenty-third Psalm, and said a few words of prayer for Robert. Carolyn walked to him and thanked him for being there. He walked away with his head bowed.

She was glad she’d strong-armed Alan into coming to his father’s funeral, even though fury darkened his face instead of sadness. It was important for him to put in an appearance to allay the detectives’ suspicions.

Her concern was to get this charade over with and to hold her family together. Jolene stood beside Alan, and both presented a stoic profile.

Carolyn saw Melanie standing apart from them, her body taut, and realized she held herself together with iron control. Her heart went out to all of her children, but especially to this one. The father she’d loved had let her down—in ways that Melanie wasn’t aware of, and Carolyn hoped her daughter never learned of them.

The casket was lowered; Melanie moved forward to toss a red rose in her father’s grave, then stood forlornly gazing on the pale green casket. She swiped at the tears on her face, then backed away.

Jolene hovered near the grave, wiped the tears trickling down her cheeks. She mumbled, “How could you do it, Daddy?”

Carolyn cast a glance into the hole, then stepped back beside Melanie, putting an arm around her. Her daughter stiffened, and Carolyn dropped her arm. She knew her daughter must be thinking, ‘You don’t love him.’

She’d had the same thoughts about her father when her mother died. Although a beautiful woman, Carolyn remembered she’d been an alcoholic and difficult for him to deal with. She’d not understood what each had gone through then.

How time changed the way you think.

Jolene shifted to Melanie’s side, picked up her hand and held it.

Alan stooped beside the grave, snatched a handful of dirt and hurled it into the grave. Carolyn heard the ping of rocks against the steel coffin.

“Here, you old bastard, this is what I think of you.” Alan rose and stood there a moment, then muttered, “May you go to hell and rot,” before he walked away, stone-faced.

Carolyn darted after her son. “Alan, please wait.” How sad. Before his tenth birthday, he’d adored his father more than anyone else.

He froze, but when she drew abreast he faced her. “I won’t apologize.”

“I don’t expect you to. I just wanted to know if you’ll come to the house to eat.” Carolyn leaned in to embrace Alan, hugging him in an attempt to alleviate his anger. He withdrew from her, and she whispered, “Please.”

“No way. I won’t stand around and reminisce.” He marched across the green lawn.

Carolyn shifted around to walk slowly toward her daughters. Would her children ever get over this? As she came closer, she overheard part of the conversation.

“Alan didn’t mean it, Mel,” Jolene said.

Carolyn knew Jolene told a lie before seeing her fingers crossed at her side. Damn Robert, damn him for tearing their family apart.

“Yes, he did,” Melanie cried.

Walt stood in front of Carolyn and murmured, “I won’t offer condolences to you, Carolyn.” Turning to the girls, he placed a hand on Mel’s shoulder. “Miss Melanie and Jolene, I’m sorry for the lost of your father.”

Melanie shrugged him off with a look of contempt and swiped at her tears.

She watched helplessly as her daughter cried, and wished she could hold her, but knew Melanie wouldn’t accept her offer of sympathy.

“Our church will be delivering food to our house for the family, so please come and help eat it,” Carolyn said, anxious to move on.

“I can’t come. I need to be at work,” Jolene answered.

She thought Melanie was going to hug her when she leaned into her, but instead she hissed into her ear.

“Don’t pretend to be sorry. You weren’t even faithful to him when you were married.” Melanie turned and ran for her old clunker.

Shocked, she stared after her daughter. “I was too faithful,” she mumbled. What did she mean?

Jolene stood stiffly in front of Carolyn. “I have a meeting to go to. She turned away, then glanced over her shoulder. “You and Walt have lunch together.”

Swaying slightly, she tried to compose herself and turned to watch Jolene walk away with rare grace over the bumpy ground, then watched as Detective Martin ran after her. A shadow crossed her vision, and Detective Holmes rushed across the cemetery. She thought he was after Jolene, but witnessed another woman running from the scene as Holmes hot-footed after her.

Carolyn squinted at the female and recognized her, the woman in the red sequined dress at Robert’s apartment. How dare she come here after what she’d done to Kyria.

“I wonder what’s up,” Walt murmured.

Carolyn stared angrily at the scene. “She’s the woman who left Kyria at Robert’s apartment the night of the murder.”

“Her contempt for people is too much.”

She heard the hard edge to Walt’s voice and glimpsed his rigid jaw and stern expression. With a momentary glance Carolyn’s way, he strode toward the stranger and the detectives.

For a moment, she admired his long strides and athletic body, but determined not to miss out on the event taking place, she rushed after him. From the corner of her eye, she saw Jolene turn in the direction of Detective Holmes.

Carolyn drew near to Jolene, and her daughter asked, “What’s going on?”

“I-It-It’s...” Carolyn put her hand to her chest and breathed deeply before continuing. “She was at your father’s with Kyria.”

“Ooh.” Jolene’s dark-chocolate eyes widened and watered. “Could she be involved in killing him?”

“That’s what I intend to find out.” Thankful Alan wasn’t here, Carolyn scurried over to where Holmes and Walt stood over the woman with Jolene behind her.

She arrived in time to hear the tearful woman. “I’m sorry. I was afraid. I didn’t know he was going to be killed.”

“What was supposed to happen?” Holmes asked, angrily.

“I didn’t know, and I didn’t care. He raped my baby sister when she was only seventeen.” The woman raised her hands imploringly. “She was innocent, and she couldn’t live with what happened. S-she jumped into the Missouri River.” She covered her face with her hands and wept.

Oh, no. If only she’d come forward when Robert had raped her years ago, this could’ve been prevented. No--the police wouldn’t have believed a female saying her spouse raped her. It’d happened so long ago, and people didn’t know about such things then. Carolyn clenched her hands. Her own father might not have believed her then.

Walt’s face looked like storm clouds. Carolyn dug her nails into her palms, remembering the story he’d told her about the young girl who committed suicide. Was this the girl’s sister? Her daughter’s eyes filled with tears, and Carolyn wanted to scream or stomp on someone. Robert may be dead, but the scars he’d left behind would take years to heal.

“Please come with us,” Holmes said gently, holding the woman by the elbow. “We need to ask you a few questions.”

“Okay.” She gulped and asked, “Am I in trouble?”

“We only have a few inquiries for you at this point.” Holmes waved at Martin. “Drive our car, and I’ll go with Ms. Smith.”

“I’m coming in my car,” Jolene said.

“We’re going, too.” She looked at Walt, wishing she’d driven.

He nodded, his expression darker than before.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blogging today on RBA

I'm hanging out on the Royal Blush Authors blog, talking about characters and heroes. Swing by if you can.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Excerpt: Trusting Delilah

Published By: Tease Publishing LLC
ISBN # 978-1-60767-027-8

Word Count: 42,000
Heat Index (2)

Categories: Vampires/Werewolves Paranormal/Horror Shape-shifter

Available in: Adobe Acrobat

Price: $3.99

Roman Aiza is the second born son of the Aiza clan. He also owns and operates a private security company and has an ongoing contract with one of Florida's most influential residents. He is patrolling at a party when he encounters a woman who will haunt him. A woman who at their first meeting, manages to walk right out of his hands when he follows her for trespassing. She manages to do this without giving Roman a single reason why she is in the depths of the house he is protecting. When he does finally locate her days later, his goal is to prove that his instincts are wrong. She is not the woman that all of his senses are clamoring for.

Yet when the daughter of Roman's largest and closest account is kidnapped and held for ransom, will they be able to build a trust between them? Or will their own secrets keep them apart?

Buy it now!

Read the first chapter here!

Trusting Delilah kept my attention from first word to last. This is a story that grabs all the emotions and the senses.
 Judith Rochelle, Author of Cutter's Law and Redemption.


"Hey, did you even go home?" Roman asked, snapping her thoughts back to the present.

"How long have you been there?" she shot back, perturbed that she hadn't heard him come in. Again.

"Long enough to wonder." He stepped in and her annoyed mood deflated.

"Please tell me one of those is for me," she said, eyeing the large steaming coffees in his hold.

"If you admit to how much sleep you got. Truthfully," he amended. He cocked one of his dark brows at her and waited.

"Enough. Does it matter?" She tried to restrain the biting tone. She hated being questioned.

"Do you ever give an easy answer?" he sighed, holding the coffee back.

"It's ingrained. And no." When he didn't move to offer her one, she heaved a disgusted sound. "Fine," she snapped. "I got my usual—between three and five hours."

"Is there anything normal about you?" he asked as he handed her a hot cup of flavored caffeine.

She sipped gratefully, licking the warmth from her upper lip, savoring the mocha flavor. She watched as he sat down, his long legs dwarfing the chair, and had to remind herself that involvement was not going to happen.

"I'm sorry. What did you say?" she said, avoiding the question.

He shook his head as he chuckled at her softly. "Delilah, has anyone ever cracked you? You've got to be the toughest nut I've ever run across."

"Takes one to know one," she shot back playfully. His angular face lightened when she gave him a smile. "And again, the answer is no."

"You know, when you put it that way," he said in a quiet, teasing voice. "I could take that as a challenge."

She swallowed. This was becoming too easy, too comfortable. "It's better if you don't," she reminded him in a husky tone, the coffee warming her voice as well as her body, avoiding the dark hungry depths of his gaze. "I keep telling you, I'm not someone you'll be proud of. I'm not the kind to invite to dinner at Mom's. You'll be disappointed."

His gaze was intense when his equally rich voice reached her, bringing her vision back up. "Delilah, I don't know how to tell you this, but you're wrong."

Buy it now!

Raffle and prizes at Romantic Inks!

**Permission to forward **
On March 1st, Romantic Inks ( will be selling raffle tickets for various bundles. But we're in need of books, both print and e-book, to add to these bundles.
The goal:
Last year we held an auction to raise money for RWA Conference Scholarships and were able to send 3 aspiring authors to conference. Awesome right? Well this year we want to go with a raffle and we're hoping to send at least one person, but hey, 3 or more would great *again*.
We're having four raffling pools
1. E-Book bundle -- This will constitute of nothing but E-items. Nothing to be emailed to the winner of the raffle drawing.
2. A Book Basket -- Mostly of books donated by authors but can have other items, such as cover flats, book plates and bookmarks. This will be mailed to the winning raffle ticket holder.
3. A website design by Enchanted Web Style *cough my business cough*. A custom website design on the wordpress platform.
4. RWA Pot -- This will solely be for those wanting to win the RWA Conference Scholarship funds. They must enter this one to be eligible to win the Pot but are not required to enter any of the others.
If you'd like to donate, to the first two, please contact me at romanticinks (no spaces).
Donations will be accepted from now until Feb. 28th! The raffle will begin on March 1st and winners will be drawn on April 1st. What a great April fool's day right?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Information regarding 1099's

If a publisher has not issued, or is denying you a 1099, then you can file a complaint on that publisher. As of February 17th, there are two ways to do it. You can call their offices at 1-800-829-4933 and request the Tax Fraud office to make a verbal complaint. Or you can go to and in the search bar type in Form 3949A. Fill this out and send it to the IRS.

This information is readily available through the IRS.

ETA: A 1099 is required if you earned more than $10.00 in royalty in the calendar year, and a publisher is required to report earnings if they earned more than $600.00 in that same calendar year.

See page 4, box (section) 2 for the direct information regarding this tax law.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A contest from a friend

Today I have cross posted on three blogs, starting at and following through two others. I had a hell of a weekend and needed the three blogs to post everything I was feeling. So for your trouble, if you read and comment... a goodie might be yours... So start at the blog above and enter to win something pretty cool.

Have fun!


This Week: In Diana's Head


I'm bored.

I know, so exciting.

Well, it's that kind of a day. It's cool, windy and has been gray all day, overcast. The kind of day where you want to just curl up with a book or take a nap, or maybe both.

But that's part of my problem. I don't really feel like reading, feel even less like writing. I managed a mere 800 words so far today, the first I've written in almost two weeks of blah-dom. I have blog posts to prep for this week, and I don't have any idea of what to write about. I don't have any inclination to write on my books. Blah days, gray days, just wipe me out. I love them in early November, when the season is kicking into high gear and winter is coming. But not now, not in February when spring is right around the corner. They just sap my energy.

It's really a lame excuse. I've been like this for days. I've had this problem before. Just need to get back in the saddle, but it's not easy to do when there's nothing to inspire me to try.

What inspires you when you can't get your muse to work with you? What inspires you to write magical, wonderful tales?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday Book News

the object of romance2

Name of Book: The Object of Romance Anthology

Author: Karen Michelle Nutt, Christine DeSmet, Courtney E. Michel, Patricia E. Gitt, Linda L. Lattimer

Publisher: Beacon Books Publishing




Barnes and Noble: of+romance+ anthology&z=y&pers=n

Beacon Books Publishing:

Stolen Pleasures by Christine DeSmet

Iris Beale always dates the safe, temporary 'door mat' men--like those who make deliveries to her antiques shop. But danger lurks when Iris's boyfriend is murdered right before a burglar attempts to steal the famous 'Lady in Green' portrait. Iris comes under suspicion by her next 'door mat' man--the handsome but mysterious new cop in town, Jonathon Sparrow. Iris realizes that to break the case she may have to risk breaking her heart.

Summer Breeze by Linda L. Lattimer

A mother desires for her daughter to find love. A daughter desires her mother to stop mourning and begin anew. A young man carries a photo of the one girl he loves after all these years. Will the three be able to ease the other's pain?

Life's Choices by Patricia E. Gitt

When Elizabeth Barnes receives a coveted industry honor for outstanding leadership she finds her achievement an empty footnote to her dynamic career.  Running away to Vermont to reevaluate her life's choices, she runs into Jack Lawson who unleashes emotions long suppressed during her drive for success.

Mr. O'Grady's Magic Box by Karen Michelle Nutt

Aubrey Jules, a reporter from Unbelievable Finds is sent to investigate a box, which is reputably older than time and crafted by the wee folks.  Mr. O'Grady, owner of the bed and breakfast in Dana Point, California, convinces Aubrey to wish for a soul mate.  When Ian Quinn, who abandoned Aubrey ten years ago, walks in she's convinced the fairies have a wicked sense of humor.

Double Booked by Courtney E. Michel

Cullen Porter is finished with dating. He wants a quiet vacation in a rental at Lake of the Ozarks where he once worked as a landscape architect. Unfortunately, he is double booked into the same house with another couple. When Mina Tracey, a fourth guest, arrives with her cherished boat, De Dame Kaptien and daughter in tow, fire works will fly during this unexpected Fourth of July weekend.


Mr. O'Grady's Magic Box by Karen Michelle Nutt

Aubrey Jules slipped her purse over her shoulder as she stepped out of her car. She gazed up at the cheerful yellow and white Victorian mansion displaying its antiquity with a grand elegance. It was dramatically located on a bluff overlooking Dana Point in lovely Southern California. Couples flocked to the bed and breakfast to relax, renew their love, or reaffirm it, whichever the case may be.

Nelson Carr, her boyfriend of three years, was supposed to join her, but at the last moment, he bailed because he had too much work to do. It was perfectly fine with her, since she was here on business anyway. Romance would have gotten in the way.

Gathering what she could manage, she started up the carefully-tended walk and into the inn itself. The man behind the counter was beyond his prime with his thinning, gray hair, and spectacles. He wore a vested suit that was outdated, but it fit him well, as if he was left over from the Victorian era and placed among the other antiques. As she neared, his mouth spread into a grin and his Atlantic blue eyes twinkled.

“Well, aren't you a wonder for my sore eyes.” He spoke with a slight lilt to his voice, giving it a musical quality.

“Hello, I have a reservation. It should be listed under, 'Unbelievable Finds', the magazine I work for.”

He adjusted his glasses and looked at the computer screen. “So you do. The best that we have to offer, don't you know. Ah,” he sighed. “You'll be able to see the sunset over the ocean. It's a wonder.” He looked at the computer screen again. “Oh--this couldn't be so.”

“What is it?”

“It says here you're alone. Surely, this isn't the case. You being the prettiest lass I ever did see.”

“This isn't a romantic getaway. I'm here to see Mr. O'Grady's magic box.” She tried to remain serious, but sometimes what she was sent out to investigate was ridiculous. “Are you, Mr. O'Grady?”

“Aye, and you must be Miss Jules. Will you be starting the interview tonight, then?”

“The sooner the better so I can write the piece and have it drawn up for next month's issue.”

He studied her for a moment before he sighed with a shake of his head. She was a nonbeliever. “After you settle in, I'll show you the box. Will you be needing help with your luggage? My grandson's around here somewhere and will be glad to lend a hand.”

“No thank you, I can manage.”

“Well then, we'll be seeing you later on for tea and scones.”

“I don't think--”

“Oh sure, you'll be needing to relax and could use with a bit of nourishment before you become all business-like.”

She had a hunch he'd make it difficult to refuse, and she needed him to cooperate. “All right.”

As Aubrey made her way up the stairs, she admired the rosewood handrail with its lovely ornate carvings. The hotel, originally a home for the O'Grady family, was built in the late eighteen-hundreds. Later, it became a boarding house, a hotel, until finally a renowned bed-and-breakfast getaway. A lot of care went into the hand-picked wallpaper, antiqued furniture and decorative quilts depicting an era of long ago. It wouldn't be difficult for couples to imagine magic played a role in their romance. Ambiance was everything for a good story, and she could bet these walls had heard it all.

* * * *

Tea was served downstairs in the library. There were two couples already seated with their teas and scones before Mr. O'Grady arrived with a freshly brewed pot for her. “Is your room to your liking?” he asked.

“Yes, it's lovely.”

He poured her a cup of tea in the dainty, rosebud cup. “Give me a moment to tend to the other guests, and I'll sit with you a spell.”

“I'll be here.” She bit into a scone and instantly thought she'd died and gone to heaven. She'd have to see if she could finagle the recipe out of the cook.

After her second scone and two cups of tea, she decided to make herself at home, looking around the room, admiring the knickknacks and old books lining the mahogany bookcases. She leaned forward to peer into the curio cabinet. On the upper shelf, a fairy was forever posed with a bouquet of flowers in her hand. Below it, there was a replica of Bunratty Castle. She'd seen the real one in Ireland. The ruins were now restored to the castle's original splendor. Tourists could experience castle life with entertainment and elaborate banquets.

“Oh, I see you found it.”

Startled, she turned to find Mr. O'Grady looking over her shoulder. She wondered how he'd been so quiet on his feet. “I found it?” she asked.

“The magic box.”

She looked back to the cabinet, and there it was, stashed between the shamrock paperweight and Blarney Castle teapot.

Mr. O'Grady moved around her to open the curio cabinet. She watched him handle the item as if it were made of fine china instead of sturdy oak.

“Tell me a little about it,” she asked. “How does the magic work? What's the trick?”

“That there box isn't your average Tom Foolery with nothing but smoke and mirrors. No, the box is older than time--and crafted by the wee folk.”

Aubrey would have laughed but she could tell the old man was serious. She looked back at the box with its intricate Celtic knots and ancient carvings. She had to admit, there was something rather otherworldly about it. “Our sources told us it grants wishes.”

He glanced around him as if he feared they'd be overheard. Then he stepped closer. “Aye--that it does.”

She nearly had to swallow the smile. “Really?”

“You don't believe me. Don't go denying it, now. I can hear it in your voice. No matter, it's what it is.”

She could see she'd hurt his feelings and that wasn't her intention. It wasn't personal. She was here for her job, not on a quest, but it didn't mean she had to be rude. “I apologize. I'm not trying to be disrespectful. There's been very little magic in my life, and it's difficult for me to believe in the impossible. So, please forgive me.”

It took a moment, but his gaze softened. He gave her a nod. “A man by the name of Thomas was the one to wrestle it away. He was quick-witted and managed to outsmart a leprechaun.”

“I thought leprechauns were known to keep pots of gold.” She knew her Irish lore.

“And so they do, among other treasures. Now, Thomas being a smart man of twenty, knew the box be of more value than gold. It was a magic box with the ability to find what your heart desires, but only if one was worthy. Like a soul-mate perhaps,” he hinted.

Aubrey glanced at it again. It was no more than six inches by twelve. “I hope he doesn't appear in the box.”

Mr. O'Grady chuckled. “You're a corker, Miss Jules. The box doesn't conjure up what you desire. It's sort of mailbox to the wee folk who grant the wishes. You write what it is you be wanting. Then you place the note in the box and close the lid. You must chant the words and if you open the lid and your slip of paper is gone; your wish will be granted.”

“Just like that, like in that moment, in a week, or what?”

“The wee folk have no concept of time. It could be a day or it could take years, but you be knowing when the magic is there.”

“Hum.” She wasn't convinced. “What are the carvings down the side?”

“That's the ancient writing. Ogham, a prayer of sorts.”

“May I photograph you holding the box?” From her pocket, she pulled out her Canon digital camera.

“To be sure.” He held the box up for her, blinking as the flash went off.

“So, was Thomas granted his wish?”

“Aye, he wished to find his soul-mate. He was married fifty years, if not a day more.”

“You seem to know a lot about this Thomas.” She studied the carvings closely.

“I should. He was me own granddad.”

She looked at him now. “Oh. So this is a family heirloom.”

“Aye, I suppose it is. Do you want to give it a gander?” He somehow conjured up a pen and paper.

“Me? I wouldn't even know what to wish for.”

“Come now, Miss Jules. Don't you wish to find your soul-mate as Thomas did?”

Aubrey thought it was a sweet story, but she didn't believe in destined soul-mates, only well-chosen partners who shared in your fundamental beliefs. “I don't--”

“Do you remember your first kiss?”


“Do you remember your first true kiss that set your toes a-curling within your shoes?”

She was about to say she never lost herself that completely, but then a memory surfaced with vivid recollection. She had been nineteen, taking a break from college to travel. She ended up in Ireland, hiking, exploring the old ruins, and bike-riding through the beautiful countryside. She'd met a man, a boy really. Now that she was older and wiser, she knew the difference. Ian Quinn was his name. He'd been barely twenty, with hair wild and long, dark shades of brown naturally highlighted with gold and bronze. His eyes were blue, sparkling clear with a mischievous glint. He was breathtakingly handsome, so much so that she would say he was beautiful.

She should have known it was a mistake to start anything with him. He wasn't a local, just vacationing as she was before heading off to college somewhere in the states, the east coast she believed. What did it matter? They were in love, or at least she knew she was. They had traveled together, took in the Cliff of Mors; kissed the Blarney stone; and visited the cathedrals in Dublin.

It was in the park where Oscar Wilde's statue was displayed in a lackadaisical pose with his impish grin greeting the people who walked by. He had kissed her there for the first time, a sweet, slow drugging kiss she'd never wanted to end. She was in love with him.

They stayed at a hotel that night, wanting privacy the hostels didn't provide. He was her first and later, he confessed she was his. It was the most loving experience she ever had to this day, and the most painful.

Silly of her, she knew that now. She'd thought they would marry, maybe not soon, but eventually. However, in the light of day, he was gone, not a word, not a note, just gone. She'd cried for two days before she became angry with herself for being so stupid. He'd gotten what he wanted, hadn't he? Even thinking he'd used her, it was difficult to erase the time they'd shared. It had been magical and sweet, and she held onto those memories, not wanting to dwell on the cruel way he'd left her.

She frowned, surprised that her first thought had been of a boy she hadn't seen in a decade.

Mr. O'Grady was grinning at her, and she knew she'd daydreamed for a moment. “You remembered something,” he said. “Aye?”

“My first true kiss, the way it felt to be in love and the way it hurt.”

“The pain only reaffirms it was real. You wouldn't be caring otherwise. Go back and hold onto the blissful moment.” He handed her the slip of paper and pen. “Now write down what you wish for in a soul-mate.”

She decided--what harm could there be in playing along? She wrote and folded the paper in half. Mr. O'Grady held out the box. “Now put the note inside and close the lid. You must hold it when you make your wish.”

She held the box, and for a moment, she longed for the possibility of a soul-mate. Her eyes widened as she felt a jolt. It was as if an electrical current flowed from the box, coursing a path to her fingertips.

“You felt it, didn't you?” Mr. O'Grady inquired.

Her brows furrowed. She felt something. She opened the box and the note was gone.

* * * *

She wasn't that gullible. Of course, there was a trick to the box, a fake compartment. She turned it over and looked. Then she shook it, causing Mr. O'Grady to chuckle.

“Your request is being considered, Miss Jules. It's out there now written in the wind and it can't be taken back. The fairies are fickle that way. Whatever you asked for will be granted. Hopefully, it's something you're prepared to embrace.”

She handed him the box. “It was a lovely trick, Mr. O'Grady, but I have a difficult time believing in fanciful things as soul-mates and wishes in a blink of an eye.”

He placed the box back in the cabinet, locking it behind the clear glass. “Only time will tell.” He rested his hand on her arm. “You look to be needing a little magic in your life. It could be the reason you came to stay with us.” He left her with those parting words.

“Magic,” she said as she turned toward the box. She hadn't believed in magic for a long time.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday Book Review: Ecstasy by Jacquelyn Frank



Among the Shadow dwellers, Trace holds power that some are willing to kill for. Without a stranger's aid, one rival would surely have succeeded, but Trace's brush with death is less surprising to him than his reaction to the beautiful, fragile human who heals him. By rights, Trace should hardly even register Ashla's existence within the realms of Shadow scape, but instead he is drawn to everything about her - her innocence, her courage, and her lush, sensual heat.

After a terrifying car crash, Ashla Townsend wakes up to find that the bustling New York she knew is now eerie and desolate. Just when she's convinced she's alone, Ashla is confronted by a dark warrior who draws her deeper into a world she never knew existed. The bond between Ashla and Trace is a mystery to both, but searching for answers will mean confronting long-hidden secrets, and uncovering a threat that could destroy everything Trace holds precious.


A new branch in the Nightwalker tales, Ecstasy is the first book of the anticipated Shadowdwellers, a race of nighttime living "people". Not human, they do share some essential characteristics. With the exception of a high intolerance to any kind of light, they look the same, and in general act the same, but live within their own society and world, much as the other Nightwalker races do.

I was sucked right into the intrigue of the storyline. Trace is a formidable character, encompassing so many of the characteristics that I enjoy in an Alpha male. Ashla was strength personified in a wrapper no one expected. I think that was the best part of her.

Unfortunately the external conflict, the strife striking the society and their government, was left wide open, but it feeds right into the following planned sequels, which I am now all to eagerly looking forward to.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Eternal Kiss at a discount!

The Hanged Man: The Eternal Kiss *
Book one: Shadowed Souls

It's been almost a year since my vampire Diego has seen the light of night.... LOL

But I'm very happy say that he and his story is out by Tease Publishing as part of the Dark Tarot Imprint! I'm very happy to see this book be available once more!

Available in print now here!

Available now at Fictionwise. On Sale Now!

As part of the imprint series, the covers are representations of a true Tarot deck, and Diego's story is of the Hanged Man. The card reveals sacrifice, selflessness, and solutions to problems that then weren't obvious through his travels. These solutions becomes clear as he acts and reacts to his world. This card lends its meaning to both Diego and Titania.

Welcome to their world.........

Diego Viteri has lived for centuries with only one real goal, to avenge himself against the one who destroyed the man that he was and created the creature he is now. He is suffering a growing loneliness that is becoming impossible to ignore. His only reason for not ending his life is to see that Brakka is served his justice and then, Diego can rest.

The last thing he is expecting is to have an encounter with a human woman who is willing to jump between himself and Brakka during a harsh and bloody battle. Their one meeting changes everything for Diego, bringing to life emotions and wants that he has long believed to be as dead as he is.

As he follows Titania and her band, his needs reshape into something that he can't ignore. Before he knows what he has done, he bonds with her and sets into motion the very thing he swore he would never do to another person. He has shared his curse and in the process may have very well killed her. And there is only one choice to be made to try to save her.


He meant it only as a brush of skin, his lips to hers, an exclamation of his growing feelings for her, but the instant his lips found hers, all reasoning deserted him. She was sweet and hot, soft and seductive to his senses.

The earth moved beneath his feet, rocked him to his soul, and he held her tighter to keep himself from flying off into space. Her body matched perfectly to his, meeting his planes and hard angles with the curves and valleys of a woman's body. An unknown urge screamed in his head, and pounded at his temples. To claim her. To make her completely his. To be able to protect her, regardless of time or distance.

He shoved the thought far away. He would never pass on his curse. He would not condemn this woman of compassion to a life of death. Instead of dwelling on the impossible, he shifted his weight, bringing her flush against him. He pushed a hand through the thick weight of her hair, savoring every electric sensation on his skin.

He tasted her lips, nibbling at the corner of her mouth, feeling her breath against his skin, sipping at her lips until she gave in, and he burned.

For the full first chapter, please visit my site.

A little bit about the author:

With more than half a dozen ebooks currently to her credit and one book due to be released this year in print, Diana Castilleja has kept busy since she started writing professionally in late 2004.

Diana currently resides in central Texas with her husband and son. When not focusing her energy on her family and her writing, she loves to travel and haunt bookstores. She's lived in several states across the south and midwest, as well as traveling to Mexico. With moving every year or changing schools since the fourth grade to her sophomore year, she learned reading was a fast escape. The freedom to read about anything and everything has fueled her adult imagination. She also enjoys romance, horses, and yes, still loves to read. She is a proud co-owner in Sweeter Romantic Notions, as well as a member of the writing resource forum Romance Divas.

Monday, February 2, 2009

This Week: In Diana's Head

Well, suffice it to say, it's been one of those weekends. The boy has been sick since Saturday night. He had a blast staying his first night over at a friend's Friday night, and then played all day Saturday after I picked him up. By Saturday night he was "freezing" when it wasn't cold and exhausted.

Yep, saw that train coming a mile away.

So now we're looking at day three and a doctor's appointment in the morning, surprisingly enough for a totally unrelated to the virus illness, but hey, two birds/one stone. Why not? I'm hoping I don't get overly sick from it, but I feel a little worn down and a bit flushed, so I don't think I'm coming out from this unscathed. Oh, and no Karate this week because of it. So he'll have to make up the missed class to get his hours for the session. Oh, what fun! :s

On the writing front, I'm waiting on the edits of the second Shifter book, A Trust Earned by the end of February. Should be coming soon, and the book should be released around April, then printed as a Duet with Trusting Delilah. Both the first books are Novella length, under 50k a piece.

On a side note, I've really gotten hooked on Soduko. I had no idea what the strategy was. I mean, how am I suppose to know how the numbers go in a 3x3 box? Okay, I wasn't looking at the whole picture. Been known to happen. Now I'm completely obsessed with it. :)

Lastly, I got my hands on a free Ipod. Yes, I've been assimilated. OMG! I can't believe I never bought one before now. I was actually looking to get a small one to see if it would be something I'd go for. I listen to music constantly. Seemed like a no-brainer, right? Well... I'm cautious about spending money on electronics. I just always have been. But I love this...the capacity, the options. I hope to upgrade in the near future, maybe to an Itouch. I don't have a need for the Iphone. And I think MP3 shopping could be the greatest evil on this earth. One I could easily see myself doing-constantly. LOL!!

Well, that's the scoop for now. I'll update in a day or two on the boy (and myself). Thanks for stopping in.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Small brag

Below are the Top 5 Sellers at ARe for January

1. Holiday Affair Yvette Hines
2: TIE: Object of My Obsession by Cara North and Pluto's offering by
Selena Illyira
3:Runaway by Selena Illyria
4:Trusting Delilah by Diana Castilleja
5:Leading Her to Heaven by Kayleigh Jamison