A Sneak Peek at Blind-Sided

 

As you can see, I’m working hard on the final rewrite of Blind-Sided, and yes I am a heavy drinker, when I work. coffee — hot and cold, iced tea and water. The clutter, well that’s just a part of my creative process, that and being too tunnel-visioned to notice. All that aside, I’m so excited with the rewrite of Blind-Sided. In addition to our usuals, Alonso, Susan, Michael, Reese, Magda, there’s a whole panoply of new players, and wow, are they fun … and scary.  I thought this weekend I would give you a shameless selfie that involves a bit of a tease from Blind-Sided, book 2 of the Medusa Consortium Series, a tease in which the plot seriously thickens. For those of you who haven’t read book 1, In The Flesh, be sure to check out my book page for a preview. Enjoy!

 

Blind-Sided- Now that I have Your Attention:

I killed someone tonight, Michael. I just snapped his neck. It wasn’t about blood, it wasn’t about losing control. I knew exactly what I was doing. He hurt a friend of mine – tried to slit his throat, so I killed him without remorse.

Susan paused, device in hand. She decided it best not to give details that it was Reese she spoke of and that his throat actually had been slit. She didn’t want to alarm Michael, if Michael actually even read her texts anymore. She continued.

My regret now is the constant reminder that I’m no longer human in that I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Sadly, Susan discovered that vampires couldn’t hide away in shock and sleep through their depression and trauma like humans could. Neither did sedatives or anti-depressants or alcohol work. A good topping up of blood, and lucidity, in all its ugliness, returned with a vengeance. For a long time she sat staring at the text on her iPhone. She could call him, but he wouldn’t pick up. She’d tried to call him, and she got only his voicemail. She didn’t want to trouble Alonso until she could talk to Reese about why he was here. She certainly didn’t feel comfortable bringing her problems to Magda Gardener. As for Desiree, well she’d made it abundantly clear that she wasn’t sympathetic. Susan had never felt more alone, nor more envious of Reese, sleeping peacefully and well healed on the wide four-poster bed she could easily imagine him sharing with Alonso. Desiree had them taken to Hawthorne House, which was in a secluded area on Long Island that felt a million miles from the hustle and bustle of the city. Susan had never been there before, but when she arrived a whole new staff of familiars and employees were there to serve, and Millie had already arrived with Doctor Carlson.

Once Susan was certain she’d get none of the easy rest and oblivion that engulfed Reese, once she had changed out of her ruined clothes and showered, she insisted upon staying with him, even though there was little she could do. He was drunk on her blood and sleeping like a baby – as for the wound at his throat, it had healed into a thin pink ribbon of a scar that looked as though he had done it years ago.

“Because he’s the familiar and the lover of a vampire,” Dr. Carlson had said, “he already has better healing abilities than the average human, but, there’s no way he would have survived what happened without your blood.”

Without her blood, her precious fucking blood – all of which she had taken from someone else, including the one who loved Reese, the one who had loved her too, in a different way. She stood and paced, device forgotten in hand. She was a thief now, as surely as Michael was for Magda but, unlike Michael, her survival depended on thievery. She deleted the text and shoved her phone in her pocket.

“You’re beating yourself up.” She turned to find Reese wide-awake watching her pace. “I’ve seen Alonso do it a thousand times. It doesn’t surprise me that his fledgling would do the same, though I suspect you were prone to it before you ever met Alonso.”

He made an effort to sit up, and she came to his side to help. As she rearranged his pillows, he eased his way into a sitting position. He moved slowly at first, as though he wasn’t sure everything would work okay. She realized she’d never seen him without a shirt before. The man wasn’t quite as big as Michael, but he was as well muscled, muscles he’d gotten from hard physical labor. As he shifted and the duvet fell back to reveal the hard ridges of his belly, an image of him feeding from Alonso’s heart’s blood, of him wrapped in her maker’s arms left her breathless with its power and its passion. How could Alonso not love him? She’d always liked and respected Reese, and she knew the extent to which he had fought to make sure their plan for the recapture of the Guardian had worked. He was worthy of Alonso’s love. In every way, he was worthy. Once he was comfortably seated, he cautiously lifted his fingers to his throat, which he cleared experimentally a couple of times.

“How do you feel?” She carefully sat down on the edge of the bed, as though she feared she might break him, strangely close to tears at seeing him like this. At least this one thing she had done right. Alonso would not lose the one he loved.

“Fine, I feel fine. A bit of a blood hangover, but then you know, that’s not a bad thing.” A blush crawled up his newly healed throat, and he rearranged the duvet in his lap to cover the more obvious symptoms. A blood hangover meant a buzz no drug could possibly match, and it made both the giver and the receiver horny as hell when it was shared during lovemaking. Fortunately the exchange had been only one way. She had been in no position to experience anything but the horror of the situation. At least he had been spared that. She’d leave him to take care of himself in a minute, but first she had to ask. “Do you remember what happened?”

“Of course I remember,” he said. “You didn’t shield yourself when you fed me.” His face darkened. “You had other
things on your mind, like saving my life. Oh God! Oh
Christ!” He caught a deep breath and his pulse hammered wildly in his throat just above the scar. For a second she thought he was having some sort of seizure. “It’s Alonso. That’s why I’m here. Alonso’s been taken, kidnapped!” He tried to shove his way out of the bed but she held him.

“Fuck! What? Who kidnapped him? Reese, who has Alonso?” At last she gave up trying to be gentle and shoved him hard against the headboard. “Calm down, and tell me what the fuck’s going on. I can’t help until you do.”

She had just managed to settle him and get him to drink some water when his cell phone rang and they both jumped. It lay on the bedside table where one of the servants must have tossed it when they undressed him. With a move surprisingly fast for a human, he grabbed it and switched it on. The color that her blood had returned to his cheeks left. He nodded to her and put it on speaker.

“It’s as I suspected then,” came a rough baritone voice on the other end, a voice that sounded like whoever it belonged to was a two packs a day sort of person. “Reese Chambers is alive and well in spite of my Myrmidon’s best efforts.” There was a chuckle that sounded more like a cough. “Which is more than I can say for him, from what I understand. Seems like our little scribe of a vampire is not so jealous of her maker’s lover that she wouldn’t move heaven and hell and pull the head completely off my poor unsuspecting servant to save him. But then unlike you, Mr. Chambers, she has another lover. Don’t you Ms. Innes? An angel named Michael, am I right?” Before Susan could respond he continued, “Never mind. You don’t need to answer that, I know all about your angel. You see he’s now keeping your maker company as my guest.”

Susan’s blood turned to ice in her veins, and her nails cut half moon circles into her fisted palms. “Who are you,” she asked, “and what do you want?”

“You may call me Cyrus if you wish. As for what I want, all shall be revealed to you in good time. I’ll expect you to meet me at midnight tomorrow. I’ll let you know the place. Though there have been rumors, Ms. Innes, that you are a vampire who’s able to walk in the daylight. While I’m intrigued by the idea, I prefer the mystique and the magic of the midnight hour, don’t you?”

“It isn’t going to be easy for me to get to the UK and be where you are by midnight tomorrow,” she said.

The chuckle was like a clearing of the throat. “Oh I’m not in the UK. I’m plenty close for you to sleep late, have a nice snack and still be there on time.”

“How do I know you have them? How do I know you’ve not killed them already?”

Susan’s phone rang. She nearly catapulted off the bed and yanked it out of her pocket. “Pick up, Ms. Ennis,” Cyrus said. “Lover boy is dying to talk to you.” There was the laugh again. “Well not actually dying, and he won’t be as long as you two do as I say.”

With fingers icy even for a vampire, she connected. “Susan, don’t worry,” came the blessed voice before she could speak, the voice she’d been desperate to hear, “I’m all right, Susan. Alonso’s all right too. Cyrus has us safe underground so Alonso won’t be caught out and –”

One didn’t have to have a vampire’s preternatural hearing to recognize the sound of a fist slamming against flesh. She roared, and Reese cursed, then Cyrus came back on the line.

“I’m curious, Ms. Innes. If while you’re here, I slit your angel’s throat and restrain you just long enough that your only alternative is to let him die or turn him, could you do that? Could you actually turn an angel into a vampire?” He chuckled to himself. “I would think that would be the ultimate abomination to your god, wouldn’t you?” Susan’s stomach clenched to a painful knot. “Can you imagine such a thing as an undead angel cursed to roam the earth and feed on the blood of those he is sworn to watch over and protect?

“I’m retired,” she heard Michael’s voice in the background, clearly struggling to breathe through the pain of what must have been a gut punch. She swallowed back a sob of a laugh. One of the things she loved about the man was his sense of humor.

And then anger threatened to strangle her. “If you hurt him, or if you hurt my maker, I won’t rip your head off like I did the vermin you sent tonight. I’ll make sure you live long enough to suffer for your deeds.”

For a moment there was silence, for a moment she thought she’d lost the connection, and then Cyrus spoke again. “You may have the blood of your maker in your veins, woman, but he’s such a civilized vampire. You’re not like your maker at all. No, I see you have the barbaric heart of the vile bitch who owns you.” This time there was no chuckle.

“So you know Magda Gardener?” With stealth she supposed came from living among monsters, Reese had moved to her side, holding the throw from the end of the bed around his waist with one hand and shoving his phone close to hers with the other. It was then that she realized he’d been recording the conversation, and her respect for the man, which was already high, went up still another notch.

“Let’s just say she’s … an old friend of the family – one we’d do anything to reconnect with. Which brings me back to our little rendezvous, Ms. Innes. You are to come alone and –”

“She’s not coming without me,” Reese interrupted, pressing in close enough for her to feel his body heat and smell the
scent of him, so like Alonso, and yet so different.

“You may come if you like, Mr. Chambers, though it’ll do you no good. It is only that I wish to meet face to face to tell you my terms. You’ll not be allowed to see your lovers, neither of you. Nevertheless, you will come to me, and the two of you will bring no one else, and you will tell no one. You will most especially not tell Magda Gardener. If you do, I’ll make sure your lovers are delivered back to you in pieces much too tiny for you to resurrect with your vampire blood, Ms. Innes. Do I make myself clear?”

“You’re clear,” Susan growled.

 

New from Award-winning Author Saskia Walker: Rex (A Stepbrother Romance) #eroticromance @saskiawalker #billionaire #stepbrother

Blurb:

Rex Carruthers can have any woman he wants, but he wants only one – his stepsister, Carmen Shelby. Their desire was once forbidden, and Rex walked away from his heritage as a result. Now, the reading of a will brings them back together, and Rex has something Carmen wants – his birthright, the stately home, Burlington Manor.

Carmen Shelby is haunted by her desire for her stepbrother, Rex – a dangerous, masterful player, the man who broke her heart. Then Rex makes an outrageous suggestion – he will give her the Burlington Manor Estate, in exchange for the affair they were denied.

Carmen must risk her fragile heart and explore a new, submissive sexuality with Rex, a natural Dom. She quickly discovers Rex may be her true master, but can he control the powerful family secrets that both drew them together – and threaten to tear them apart.

Buy links:

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2rNbHNR

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2qgxM52

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B071DCTDK3

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B071DCTDK3

Coming soon in print.

*****

HERE’S AN EXCERPT

Carmen’s attitude triggered something dark in Rex. Something that was hungry and demanding to be fed. “Crawl to me,” he commanded.

Carmen’s head dropped back as if she’d been physically slapped.

The urge to push her some more roared in on him, taking charge. He strode to the chair where his clothes lay abandoned from the night before.

Swiping up his jeans, he fished into the pocket. He tossed the key chain out across the floor, holding on to the end of the long chain. “Get down on your hands and knees and crawl over here for it.”

When the key landed on the Persian rug, she stared down at it.

Rex jerked on the chain.

The key flipped over on the floor between them, like bait. Like a lure.

“Show me what you want, what you came here for,” he said.

Carmen shook her head.

“I want to know exactly what you wanted when you stepped through the door. The truth.”

She stared up at him. “I can’t do this.”

“You can, because you want the Manor, and you agreed to do whatever I said to get it.” Would she use the safeword? Would this push her humiliation trigger just that bit too far? He didn’t care, as long as it got the truth out of her. He had to know. “Why are you here? What did you want? Just the property?”

“Yes.” She dropped onto her hands and knees. Her voice was weak, forced. “It’s a fair exchange, that’s what you said.”

The light outlined her body, drawing his eye to her curves.

She moved suddenly, jerking forward and crawling toward the key, but she was in turmoil. He could sense it. He could see it.

The sight of her that way made him painfully hard and yet his sense of frustration only grew. He wanted to understand this woman more than anything in the world.

When she got to it, her hand wrapped around the key, but she stayed there, shifting uneasily. The light from the window fell across her naked form, delineating the arch of her waist and the curve of her hip. Her soft skin glowed in the morning light. In contrast, her face was shadowed by her hair as it fell forward, and she looked up at him like a wild creature, her eyes blazing.

“Tell me why,” he demanded, and he held tight to his end of the key chain.

Her body rippled, her back arching. Her head swung to one side. She whimpered. Taking a deep breath she moved again, gathering the chain up in her hand as she went.

“Just the house?” he asked. “That’s all you wanted? You were that mercenary?”

She froze, then sat back on her heels. Her breathing was labored. She was battling inner demons.

He pressed her further. “Why is this so hard for you to talk about?”

“Because I’m scared.” She stared up at him, and her eyes looked wild.

Rex swallowed. “Why are you scared?”

Her eyes flashed shut. “Because I wanted you.” Her voice was scarcely above a whisper “I didn’t realize how much, at first, but I came here because I’ve always wanted you.”

Rex’s chest felt tight and restricted.

He let go of the key chain, throwing it down on the floor, and clicked his fingers. “Then come to my side.”

She moved fast, kneeling at his feet, her arms wrapping around his thighs. The key and its chain lay abandoned on the floor. Rex stared down at it, assuring himself of what had occurred.

She clung to him, and he felt damp tears against his skin. “Please don’t tease me about it.”

Rex let his head drop back, relief barreling through him.

Grateful, and empowered, he stroked her head possessively, admitting to himself that a month would never be enough.

Never enough.

*****

Author bio and links:

Saskia Walker is a USA Today Bestseller and award-winning author. Her short stories and novellas have appeared in over one hundred international anthologies and several international magazines, including Cosmo, Penthouse, and Bust. After writing shorts for several years Saskia moved into novel-length projects.

Fascinated with seduction, Saskia loves to explore how and why we get from saying “hello” to sharing our most intimate selves in moments of extreme passion. Her novels Double Dare and Rampant both won Passionate Plume awards and her writing has twice been nominated for a RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award. She has lots more stories in the pipeline! Saskia lives in the north of England on the edge of the Yorkshire moors, with her real life hero, Mark, and a house full of felines.

Sign up for Saskia’s newsletter to hear about her latest releases

or keep in touch using the following links:

Website

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Release blitz organized by Writer Marketing Services.

 

Exploring the Darker Side of Being Human through Paranormal Romance

I’ve got my head down at the moment working on the final rewrite of Blind-sided, the second of my Medusa’s Consortium novels, which is the sequel to In The Flesh. For me the rewriting of the final draft of a book has never been a hardship, but rather something I thoroughly enjoy. It’s the time when the story deepens, becomes more textured, more three-dimensional. And it’s the time when I get to know my characters and their motivations better. What’s not to love?

 

It’s the easiest thing in the world for me to get lost in my writing and enjoy the wonderful experience of letting my characters tell me what happens next. Characters are often so full of surprises when I let them tell the story. It’s especially exciting when I’m writing paranormal because a good bit of the time, it’s a vampire or a demon, or even Medusa herself whispering in my ear. (I always keep my eyes shut when she’s doing the talking, though.) I’m never thought I’d write vampires. In fact, I balked at writing paranormal in general until I realized that paranormal is the perfect place to explore the darker side of the erotic without all the rules and regulations that restrict contemporary erotic fiction. In fact, paranormal is a great way to explore the dark side of human nature, full stop! And it’s the perfect place to contemplate that age-old question: Who are the real monsters? I’m discovering that, quite often, it’s not who I think. Having said all that, there are several aspects of reading and writing paranormal stories with erotic elements that particularly intrigue me.

 

The first off, no one insists on vampires and shifters and other scary dudes wearing condoms. It’s pretty much a given that there is nothing safe about fucking a vampire or a demon, and if the whole idea doesn’t scare the reader as much as it turns her on, then it’s not proper paranormal, is it?

 

That brings me to the second reason I love to read and write paranormal — the very close relationship between fear and arousal. The iconic sex scene between the young and beautiful couple in a horror movie is always followed by the ghoul, serial killer or other baddie killing the lovers in a horrible way. I suggest that a part of what is so arousing about paranormal sex is the breaking of so many taboos, the attraction to something that the world says should horrify us. And it is horrifying – of course it is. Still, we Just. Can’t. Resist. That the boundary between what arouses us and what terrifies us is so permeable, that crossing that boundary can get us into all kinds of trouble and then some, means that the story of that boundary crossing is unputdownable, even as it gives us goose bumps and makes us want to hide behind the couch.

 

The rules of what is forbidden in erotica by most publishers don’t apply to paranormal. Some of the most erotic scenes I’ve ever read are of vampire taking blood from or giving blood to their lovers. Blood is the river of life. It contains the magic of who we are as individuals, and yet we don’t have to lose a whole lot if it until we die. That it’s all contained in such a fragile sensitive vessel as the human body only amplifies its preciousness and its power.

 

The final fascination for me is that paranormal is the perfect place to explore dubious consent and loss of control. When dealing with vampires, demons, witches and magic, is consent ever less than dubious? And is there any other place to explore safely that total loss of self-control that is giving oneself over to the forbidden? Add to it the very real possibility that, with all our human frailties, there’s no guarantee of survival, and how can the resulting story not be intriguing?

 

The truth is that while we might be happy to dabble in the darker side of our sexuality, on a fundamental level, the very act of sex is frightening. It is the losing of self in the other, the opening to the unknown. It is the allowing ourselves to be more vulnerable than we are in any other act. It is the giving up of control. All of these elements are, by nature, a
part of sex — sex that carries at its core both the possibility of conception and of death.

 

That all we fear and all we desire in sex can be raise to the nth degree when placed in a paranormal setting and examined from the intimately terrifying safety of a book gives us a vicarious experience that allows us to experience the darker side of our desires, of our humanity. I would suggest that there are few better ways to explore our humanity than taking an erotic journey with the monsters who are more like us that we can easily admit.

 

 

Making the Word Flesh

‘The word became flesh and dwelt among us.’

 
No, I’m not waxing Biblical on you this lovely spring day. It’s just that I’ve been thinking about the power of the word.
Duh! Writer here. 🙂 When am I not thinking about the power of the written word?

 

At the moment, I’m finishing the final rewrite of Blind-Sided, the second novel in the Medusa Consortium series. Like all the Medusa tales, it’s a big book and, as I work through the final draft, reading it out loud as I go, occasionally I find myself wondering how we writers can create something out of nothing, from the tiniest seed of an idea. As much as I love a good TV binge, there’s nothing like a good novel – whether you’re reading it or whether you’re writing it. Few things engage the creative process quite like a novel does. In the mind of both the reader and the writer, the word becomes flesh and the world of the story becomes as real as the world we live in … at least if the author has done her job.

 

The very best novels are the ones that pull us in to the point where the writer’s world seems more real to us than our own, to the point that we physically feel the story, not simply take it into our mind. That’s also true for the writing of a tale. If I’m not pulled into the story physically, if I don’t feel it in my gut and below, then I can hardly expect my readers to, can I?

 

You see, the thing about being a writer is that we’re entirely self-entertaining. The stories seemingly come out of nowhere, and expand to fill our days, and often our nights and any moment we can spare in our efforts to get them down, in our efforts to create something real. Even when I’m not plopped in front of the computer writing, the story, the characters, the next scene – they’re all going through my head. Some of the best, most creative writing happens when I’m not physically writing at all.

 

If you’ve read the Judeo/Christian creation myth in Genesis, then you know that God simply speaks the world into existence without any seeming order of plan. That’s writing in a nutshell. I have an idea. I shape it enough to anticipate what the ending might be … might be, and then I write and let the story unfold and surprise me.

 

Eeep! I guess I am waxing a bit Biblical, but you have to understand, there’s a whole lot of mythology going on in the Medusa books, and as a lover of myth, how can I not get pulled in and end up contemplating the connections and meanings?

 

While a writer brings her world into existence using nothing but words, she has to do a little more than that with the
characters. They can be created with words, but they need life breathed into them, they need chemistry, connection, personality, pasts, flaws, feelings, neuroses and a driving force that’s greater than themselves. The world unpopulated is a lonely and boring place. Let’s just say Magda Gardener’s world is anything but. And there comes a point when I’m not entirely sure if I’m breathing life into my characters of if they’re breathing life into me. Certainly my world is brighter, more textured, more three-dimensional because of the characters I’ve created to populate the worlds I’ve written. I guess that shouldn’t surprise me, since the stories we writers create are a part of ourselves yet to be discovered and the discovery is absolutely an adventure in creation.

 

 

New Release and Giveaway: Candi Fox’s Harlequin’s Deception

 

 

Harlequin’s Deception

The Naked Truth Series

By Candi Fox

 

Candi will be awarding 1 $10 Amazon GC, 2 Eooks of Harlequin’s Deception and 1 Print Copy of Harlequin’s Deception to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. You may find those locations here.

 

 

 

 

 

BLURB:

 

Ten years ago, the world as we know it changed. The shift is what it became known as. Overnight, paranormal beings came out of the proverbial closet. Something in reality had shifted. Those who had no idea they were paranormal were awakened to a new reality. Ten years in and Harlowe Lake Kelly, Harley to her friends, is back in her small Oklahoma town, widowed and striking out in a new career, namely, a successful magic agency. Her uncanny abilities at using potions, spells, and other means at solving supernatural crimes, thrust her into a partnership with local law enforcement. Things would be great if it wasn’t for the three sexy, but deadly, men who stand at all corners of her new life. Lucien, the ancient, alluring Vampire who has made it clear he wants more than Harley’s luscious curves. Cowboy, who wants to possess her in every way imaginable, and Aiden. The newcomer who has strict orders from his Vampire boss… but she senses has his own agenda. But in a world where things and beings are never what they seem, life isn’t promised and love comes with many strings. So what’s a girl to do to untangle those strings?

 

Amazon Buy Link

 

 

All About Candi:

 

Candi Fox, co-host of the wildly popular radio show Candi and Company with over 900 thousand listeners began her venture in the paranormal at the tender age of two, when she witnessed her first apparition. From that moment on the paranormal seemed to follow her. No matter where she moved, the house she lived in the house next door, or the house down the street always seemed to be haunted.

 

She often wondered if she drew the spirits to her. Little did she know that she was indeed a magnet of sorts. It wasn’t until she was in her late twenties that she found people who could not only explain her gifts, but would also help her hone them. Armed with this new knowledge she began to openly explore hauntings and other paranormal phenomena.

 

Growing up in Indiana lent her the opportunity to explore many famous haunted places including the Hannah House, which was once part of the Underground Railroad. A little over two years ago she moved to Tulsa, OK and has began to explore the haunted landscape in a new state.

 

Candi lives with her husband, and furry children in Tulsa. She is passionate about the occult, saving and rehabilitating horses, horseback riding, magic, all things mystical and has her Reiki Mastery.

 

She uses her own paranormal experiences as well as her own life traumas to write from a grounded and realistic perspective about subjects that are hard to talk about and even harder to feel for yourself.

 

 

 

Find Candi Here:

Facebook | Amazon | Website | Facebook Author Page | Blog | Twitter | Instagram

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 
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