Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Thursday Threads: Souls Entwined by Anne B. Cole

Souls Entwined
By Anne B. Cole
A Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Scheduled to Release April 30, 2014
By Soul Mate Publishing
Heat Level: Sweet Romance



Souls Entwined is Anne B. Cole’s debut release, combining sweet romantic suspense, time travel, and paranormal elements in a New Adult novel attractive to a wide range of readers.

In addition to writing, Anne teaches preschool and is raising three very active teenagers with her husband of twenty-two years. Her love for making fresh baked goodies, running, hiking, historical fiction, and her three pet cats continue to be her inspiration while she pens the sequel to Souls Entwined.

Blurb

When a cursed family heirloom sends Gretta Dobbs back in time, a hunky construction worker, Sam Daggett, suddenly finds himself love struck and joins her adventure. Their souls entwine within the bodies of young lovers on a Greek island in 1829, where they begin to unravel the mysteries behind Gretta’s ring all while avoiding a bloodthirsty pirate who is determined to seek revenge. Gretta and Sam must find the secrets needed to save her and her relatives from an afterlife in purgatory and return to their own lives---or risk becoming prisoners of the past, continuing the evil cycle of the ring’s curse.

Excerpt
From Chapter Two

Not a sound was heard as Sam’s eyes snapped open. Under the branches of the downed tree, Purple Shorts began to stir.
“Sorry, are you okay?” Sam gently lifted his weight off her.
“I think so,” she replied faintly. Sam released his hold on her shoulder, amazed her face wasn’t scratched. He wondered how bad he appeared.
“Do you think you can stand?”
She nodded. Together they rose to their feet, easily stepping out from the tangle of branches. Eyes growing wide, she began to sway.
“Sit,” Sam commanded, steadying her.
“No, look!” She pointed.
Sam gazed over his shoulder. His mouth fell open. Beneath the tree, their bodies lay, motionless.
“Are we . . .” Purple Shorts began, but Sam shook his head slowly.
Before she could say more, he interrupted, “I don’t know. Do you feel—”
“Dead?”
He scanned the area for help. Everything around them was still, as if they were watching a movie and someone hit ‘pause.’ No wind, no sound, no movement. He flinched when cold fingers clutched his hand.
Squeezing gently, he lifted her hand in front of their faces. “Can you feel this?”
Purple Shorts nodded.
“I don’t think we’re dead,” Sam whispered, gazing into her blue eyes.

Connect With Anne

To follow Anne’s publishing journey and connect with her, check out her blog site and find her on Twitter and Facebook.


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Friday, April 11, 2014

Thursday Threads: Jesse's Girl by Char Chaffin

Jesse’s Girl
Char Chaffin


Heat Rating:  Sweetly Sensual
Genre:  Nostalgia Romance
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Jesses-Girl-Char-Chaffin-ebook/dp/B00JK0DUD0/


Blurb:

In 1965, Tim O’Malley returns to his home town of Skitter Lake, Ohio, to clear his name and get the girl: Dorothy Whitaker, the love of his life since eighth grade. Blamed for a destructive fire he didn’t set, only Tim and Dorothy know the truth; that Jesse Prescott, Tim’s best friend and Dorothy’s boyfriend, did the deed that changed an entire town. But Jesse died in that tragedy and seven years later, Skitter Lake still honors him as a hero, rather than Tim, the boy from the seedy side of town whose father was a drunk . . . and whose quick actions saved six people from perishing in that horrendous fire.

In trying to set the record straight and finally claim Dorothy as his own, Tim—and Dorothy, too—will discover that in some small towns the legend often outweighs the truth . . . and their family and friends will forever see Dorothy as “Jesse’s girl.”


Excerpt:

Dorothy Whitaker. Good Lord, almighty.
Tim had almost crashed his car when he saw her, sitting in the sun with her ice-cream cone. Of all the people in Skitter Lake he figured he’d see, she was at the top of his ‘hope to run into’ list. He’d had to pull over right on the side of the road and look his fill, before summoning enough courage to step out of his car and approach her.
She hadn’t changed a bit. Still the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen, and that included all the California girls he’d met after he moved from Skitter Lake.
In grade school, they’d been inseparable. They’d played together during recess, spun on the merry-go-round, paired off on the seesaw. Dorothy was the first girl he’d held hands with, the first girl he’d ever taken to a Saturday matinee, back in seventh grade. They’d stuffed themselves on popcorn and thrilled to the adventures of Peter Pan. He’d walked her home, shyly brushed her mouth with the briefest touch of his lips. And trembled, needing more. He dreamed that night, how someday they’d be old enough and when they were, he’d kiss her the way a boy kisses his girlfriend.
But by eighth grade, Jesse had noticed Dorothy, and after that, Tim didn’t stand a chance.
Well, that was then, and Jesse no longer stood between them.
“You let your cone get away from you.” Was that his voice, hoarse and deep? He cleared his throat, offering the damp towel. Slowly, her hand reached out, and her fingers touched his. The spark between them seemed immediate and powerful, at least to him.
“Thanks.” She wadded the towel and wiped at the stain on her dress. Her downcast face couldn’t hide the flush that rode high on her cheeks. Dorothy had always been a blusher, her creamy skin revealing every emotion. A coil of loose, silky hair slipped over her shoulder as she worked at the smear of chocolate. If anything, the color had deepened over the years. ‘Strawberry blonde,’ he’d heard it called in California, but back in school she’d simply had the loveliest hair he’d ever seen.
Silence stretched between them as he waited for her to raise her head and she seemed hell-bent on fussing with her damp skirt. Finally, nothing remained for her to clean, and she had to look up. She laid the towel on the picnic table behind her, started to speak, hesitated, then her lips curved into a sweet smile. “It’s good to see you, Tim. When did you get to town?”
“About two hours ago. I’ve just been driving around.” He couldn’t take his eyes off her. He had to shove his hands in the pockets of his pants to keep from touching her. “I wasn’t sure I’d see you. Guess I thought you’d have left by now, moved somewhere else.”
She shrugged. “No, I decided to stay. After my dad died, Mom’s health problems got worse. And I work at the bank now. It’s pretty good money.”
Yeah, and it doesn’t hurt that Bob Prescott owns the bank and still thinks of you as his honorary daughter-in-law. The thought tasted bitter to Tim, even after seven years and moving a dozen states away.
As if she could read his mind, Dorothy’s face flamed brighter and she looked away, out over the lake. He didn’t know what the hell to say to her, which infuriated him. Once, a lifetime ago, words flowed between them so easily. Even after Jesse had claimed her, Tim still had these incredible conversations with Dorothy about music, movies, books, dreams. He could tell her about how boxed-in he felt, living on the rougher edge of the blue-collar side of town with a father who thought the world owed him a living, and a mother who silently endured her unhappy marriage.
In turn, she confided the difficulties of life as the daughter of Preacher Whitaker, professional Bible-thumper. Tim knew she’d loved her father fiercely. He also knew her childhood had been knotted up in Christian duty, an often heavy burden for a kid.
Now, Dorothy released a quiet sigh and picked up the soiled bar towel. “Well, I should be going, I suppose—”
“Stay.” He laid his palm on her shoulder, fought a losing battle with the need to caress her baby-soft skin, and ran careful fingers along her slender forearm. When she didn’t move away, he took at as a good sign, and murmured, “It’s been seven long years, Dorothy. We were friends once.” He watched the emotion flicker over her face. “I missed you, a lot.”
She released a broken little sigh. “I missed you, too. But I wasn’t the one who moved away, Tim. I wasn’t the one who left.”
“I didn’t have a choice, you know that.” He bit back the familiar frustration, a feeling he’d thought had finally left him after years away from this town. “I paid the price for leaving. Everyone still blames me. Don’t they?” He caught her fingers, which trembled in his grip. “I paid, and it wasn’t my fault.”
Tears formed in her pretty hazel eyes, and even his instant remorse at hurting her yet again couldn’t keep him silent a second longer. “It wasn’t my fault,” he repeated. “You know it. Hell, Bob Prescott knows it, too.”
“What’re you talking about? What are you saying?” Now her hand pressed against his, holding him steady when he would have turned from her. “What’s Mr. Prescott got to do with anything?”
“Ask him, Dorothy.” Tim gently disengaged her hand and gave it a quick squeeze before he let her go. “I’m in town for a while.” He paused, his gaze roaming over her with a yearning he didn’t attempt to hide. “I’m staying at the boardinghouse. I’d really like to see you.”
He could feel her eyes on him as he headed to his car.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Modest Proposals?

I originally posted this here, on the Soul Mate author blog; hence, the call for authorly suggestions. However, I welcome your input, too. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Like a lot of people, I’ve spent an approximate total of thirteen months of my life daydreaming about that perfect marriage proposal. Sometimes the fantasy involves firelight and chocolate, while other scenarios feature a stage, hot spotlights, and five hundred people chanting “Say yes, say yes!” Oh, and I’m not gonna lie – there’s been a flash mob or two in there. And maybe Mary Lambert.

However, rereading my novels, I realized my characters aren’t quite so creative when they broach the topic of nuptials. At the end of Hunted Past, my shero tells my hero it’s about time they got hitched. Hunted Dreams ends with my hero gently popping the question after stumbling upon a big ol’ secret. Sweet, but, you know, not that creative. I mean, where are the circus clowns, the fireworks, the dancing chickens? Where’s proof of all the brain power I devoted to this?

Apparently I lack the ability to spin my wild, wacky, and occasionally tacky plans into usable fictional situations. Sure, I know thirty make-believe people dancing to Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” while the novel’s hero brandishes a two-carat emerald is just the tiniest bit cheesy, but honestly, who hates a little bit of cheddar in their romance? Besides, if movies can do it, so can romance authors, amiright?

That said, I turn to you, my sister and brother writers. Can you think of any fabulous, romantic, creative proposal ideas? Was your own proposal a living poem, a veritable Hallmark© moment, or like me, have you instead spent an indecent amount of time concocting silly, sigh-worthy, sugary scenarios?

Below I’ve listed a few ideas, but I’d love to hear some of yours, whether lived, written, or imagined.

1. The Classic: This involves all the usual suspects: Candlelight, music, flowers, and chocolate. Set the scene, complete with a trail of candles and/or rose petals that lead to a ring. 
2. The Mile-High: Flying is super miserable. The only thing that can rescue a flight? Asking a flight attendant for permission, grabbing the mic, and popping the big question. Yeah, okay, I totally stole this from The Wedding Singer. 
3. The Delicious: Create a fortune cookie that features The Question. Pop it on
Not the story you wanna tell your future kids.
a plate after nomming some tasty wontons. That said, please never have your characters stick a ring in food. Am I the only one who finds that nauseating?
 
4. The Performance: Anywhere a microphone exists is an opportunity. Attending a local musical performance? Watching a play? At a rally? Ask someone beforehand if you can nab some stage time. I admit this comes directly from one of my fantasies. I publicly perform poetry, and it’s occurred to me that a super nifty proposal could involve a public performance of a romantic poem that ends with some magical words. 
5. The High-Tech: I have a couple of ideas in mind. One involves making a website that details the couple’s love story and leads to a proposal. Yeah, all right, I researched and it’s been done, but that doesn’t diminish its awesome geekiness. The other plot involves something like writing a short story that mirrors the couple’s, one that ends on a particular cliffhanger, uploading it to a Kindle, and then asking the other partner to take a gander at this awesome new story.

Kitschy, cheesy, and gimmicky? You betcha. Too much for fiction? What about real life? Your thoughts: Bring ‘em!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Five Line Friday: The Tithe, take 2

These five lines reflect some of the humor of the book rather than the spookier or more philosophical elements. Enjoy!





She licked her lips, hesitated, and then blurted, “So it’s not like we can court or anything.”
Blue did not respond for a moment. Finally, he said in his colorless voice, “I’ve never courted, but I don’t think I want to court you.”
Oh. Well. Good. It wasn’t as though… “What’s wrong with me?” Josh snapped. “I’m perfectly court-worthy.”

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thursday Threads: Highland Deception by Meggan Connors


Highland Deception
by Meggan Connors

Heat Rating: Sensual
Genre: Historical Romance
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J3D2JS6/



Blurb:

When Kenneth Mackay, long-banished rogue and thief, returns to the Mackay holding at the request of his brother, he has no idea what he might find. He certainly doesn’t expect to be confronted with his twin’s imminent death, or with the plan his brother has concocted.
Ten years before, Malcolm made a tragic mistake, and, to preserve the family name—and his own skin—he allowed Kenneth to take the fall. Now that he is dying without an heir, Malcolm plans to atone for his mistake: by giving Kenneth his life back. All Kenneth has to do is assume his brother’s identity. But complicating matters is the unexpected return of Lady Isobel Mackay, the daughter of an English marquess and the wife Malcolm didn’t want.
Isobel barely knows the husband who abandoned her even before their marriage, and she’d long since given up hope on having a real marriage with him. Yet when she returns to the Mackay holding far earlier than expected, she finds her husband a changed man. Despite the hurt between them, Isobel’s heart responds to this man who cares for his entire clan as if there were family. Who, for the first time, cares about her as if she is, too.
Falling in love with her husband had never been part of Isobel’s plan. But when their future is suddenly in peril, Isobel must find a way to save him—from himself and from the deception threatening to tear them apart.


Excerpt:

She ignored Grant’s angry protests behind her and ran for her husband’s bedchamber. Slamming open the door, she stumbled inside.
Malcolm lay in the great bed. Alone.
Alone. She tried not to speculate about what meant.
His breathing was shallow, as if he’d been running. As the door bounced back and closed, his sky-bright eyes shot up and met hers.
No, not sky-bright. Darker, the color of the forget-me-nots that bloomed in the gardens in spring. The color of the night sky as it lightened with the first rays of dawn.
“Milord.” She gasped for breath.
Malcolm had never looked at her like he did now. This time, when he studied her, it was as if he didn’t dislike what he saw.
Being honest with herself, Malcolm had never disliked her. After all, the term dislike implied a depth of feeling he almost certainly lacked.
“Wife.”
Isobel flinched.
Grant was suddenly at her back. “Sir, I apologize. She’s faster than you’d think.” He laid a hand on her shoulder, as if to steer her from the room.
She shook him off.
“Indeed.” Malcolm smiled, and a charming dent in his cheek appeared.
How had she not noticed that before?
“We will leave at once.” Grant took her by the arm.
She wrenched out of his grasp. “I’m not going anywhere. Not until I have my audience.” She glanced around the room and saw no sign of Malcolm’s mistress.
“Lady Mackay,” Grant began.
Malcolm held up his hand. “‘Tis fine, Grant. I can always make time for my lady wife.”
Isobel barked a hollow laugh, alleviating the ache, just a little.
“Are you certain?” Grant’s eyes shifted from Isobel to Malcolm and back again. A wrinkle formed between his brows, and the muscle in his cheek worked as he ground his teeth together.
He’d only ever done that when he was agitated or anxious.
But there was no reason for that, as Malcolm had never truly cared enough to keep secrets from her in an attempt to spare her feelings. Nor had he ever forced others to do the same.
Malcolm’s eyes met Grant’s, and something passed between the two men. Her husband gave Grant a clipped nod. “If you’ll excuse us, Grant.”
Grant released his breath slowly. His eyes narrowed first at Malcolm, then at Isobel. Scowling, he bowed his head. “Mackay,” he said stiffly. He turned to Isobel. “Lady Mackay.”
Isobel watched him go then waited until the door had closed behind him. “So, where is she?”
Malcolm arched a dark brow. “Where is who?”
“You know. Her.”
He lifted a single shoulder, as if she didn’t have a right to know. “I doona ken.”
The silence that fell between them was deafening, damning.
Finally he said, “Your arrival was unexpected.”
She breathed a mirthless laugh. “I have no doubt.” She expected him to look ashamed, but his expression didn’t hold even the slightest hint of remorse. She swallowed against the betrayal rising in the back of her throat and tried again. “Why are you abed?”
“I’ve been ailing. Naught to fash yourself over.”
She approached his great bed tentatively. “Ailing how? Has your cough worsened?”
He glanced down at his coverlet and then brought his gaze back to her face. “For a time, aye. I believe I’m on the mend now.”
Isobel pressed her hand to his forehead, then his cheek. His skin felt cool beneath her palm, if a little damp.
His breath hitched, then he cleared his throat. “Satisfied? As you can see, I am on the mend.”
“Perhaps,” she whispered. She ran her hand around to the back of his neck, then descended to his back.
He wore a thin linen shirt, unsuitable for the cool nights of the Highlands in late fall. She placed her hands between his shoulder blades. He was thinner than she remembered, but there was no mistaking Malcolm’s unique strength.
“Breathe,” she said, and then reminded herself to do the same.
Malcolm.
“I hardly think—”
“If you want me to leave you be, you will appease my curiosity. Breathe.”
Malcolm tilted his head up and studied her.
She fought the desire to look at him for as long as she could before meeting his gaze. Her heart skipped a beat as she saw something in his eyes she hadn’t seen before.
Curiosity.
“Breathe, milord.” Heat spread up her neck to her face, and, to keep her free hand from shaking, she clenched a fist. The warmth of his body seeped through his nightshirt, scalding her hand not with fever but with something else.
The corners of his lips tilted upward before he smoothed his features. He paused for a moment too long, then held her gaze as he took an extended, deliberate breath.
She shoved the raging emotions aside and forced herself to view him as a person who needed her help.
She felt no hint of the cough that had been nagging him before she’d left.
Swallowing hard, she slid her hand between the linen and his skin, against his chest.
His heart rate kicked up.
“Breathe.” She struggled to force the word out.
I feel nothing. Nothing. He needs my help.
She closed her eyes and listened to his breathing, feeling the rise and fall of his chest beneath her hands, the steady beating of his heart. His skin scorched hers.
Her mouth dried, her tongue thick and heavy. She removed her hand. “You seem to have mended nicely.” Even to her own ears, her voice sounded strangled.
His gaze searched her face. “Aye.”
Isobel cradled her hand against her chest and stepped back from the bed, nearly tripping over her own feet. “I will leave you now, sir.”
Malcolm gave her a clipped nod. “Very well, my lady wife.”
“I—I will be in my chambers should you require me.”
He didn’t laugh, as he normally would have. “Then I shall find you there if I do. Or I will send for you.”
She backed up a few paces, bumped into a trunk, and immediately turned her attention to her skirt, trying to smooth wrinkles undoubtedly permanent from long days of travel. It was better than looking at Malcolm.
“By your leave.” Her eyes locked on the floor as she dipped into a hasty curtsy and fled.
The moment the door closed behind her, she put her back against the cold, stone wall, cradling the hand that had touched him as if she had injured it.
She’d touched his skin, felt the heat of his body, and the responding heat of hers.
He hadn’t forced her hands away. He hadn’t mocked her.
Instead, for the first time since their marriage, he’d called her wife.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Poetry Corner: Hieroglyphs

Hieroglyphs


There exist many ways
to draw a square:
five, maybe eighteen
sides that twist
inside and out,
touching, teaching,
tasting.

My skin spreads,
pages, notebooks,
maybe binders
of white.
Blue currents guide
eyes and sticky fingers.
Sharp spiky ink, soaking
like a hungry, black perfume,
negative eruptions from
swords seeking to dominate,
to colonize.

Go ahead.
Bounce on my belly,
jump so high the ceiling
tangles in your hair
while words spew outward,
double-jointed and loud.

Whirls, lines, and dots.
My hair and eyelashes scroll.
Long lists, and wide,
bracket this gentle body
that jiggles and waves.
You measure it with plastic
and springs.
Categorize it with 
upside down words
on a calculator.

I am what you say.

You.
I don’t know you.
What words snag
between your legs,
steal into your mouth
at night,
crawl across your tongue
and nest in your belly?
Could you,
are you,
might you be
an answer
to a question
I no longer care to ask?

Am I what you say?

I speak.
I write.
I scream my name
into empty,
hungry mouths.

Taste the tang
of my skin:
pressed, pale paper
on which lies secrets 
written in words
and Morse code.
Watch your fingers:
stained with colors, rhymes,
and sweet-smelling sweat.
I am a tattoo
on your skin,
hieroglyphs too big and bright
for you to decipher.