Nadia Spiceland works in the business of temptation. The confections she crafts at the Sugar and Spice Bakery and Café lure in the locals. But one customer is interested in more than just her delectable sticky buns…
Kane Sullivan teaches human sexuality at the nearby college, where coeds are clamoring for seats in his lectures. Nadia is reluctant to his advances, yet she also has needs. Who better to fulfill them than the man who’s referred to as “Dr. Sex” by his female students?
Soon Kane creates a hunger in Nadia that nothing can satiate. It weakens her, and that’s something she cannot risk. Not again. But Kane’s masterful touch might just be powerful enough to melt her heart—and free her to trust again…
Coming November 4, 2014
Available for preorder
“There, that should do it.” Rana smoothed the bandage in place, then smiled up at the jackal shifter. “You can take the wrap off tomorrow morning and apply the ointment again. After lunch, feel free to shift.”
“Thank you, priestess.” The young jackal smiled, holding his bandaged forearm. “It feels better already. You surely have a magical touch.”
“You’re welcome,” she said, grabbing her chart to make a few final notes. The young guard—at least, he seemed young—had entered the infirmary with a six inch gash in his arm, given to him by another guard during combat training. “How long does it normally take you to heal from your wounds when you shift into your jackal form?”
“Well, usually—” Suddenly he stiffened, eyes widening. A whimper seeped from his throat as he dropped his gaze.
Concerned with his abrupt change in demeanor, Rana reached out to touch his carotid artery. “Are you all right?”
Power rolled through the infirmary a split second before a warning growl did. Rana dropped her hand, suppressing a shiver as she recognized the distinctive signature of the magical energy weighing down the air. He was here.
She turned to see Hector, the jackals’ second-in-command, filling the doorway. The large jackal growled again. “Remain away from your post for much longer and I can guarantee you will be in desperate need of a healer.”
The words were soft, almost negligent, but only a fool would ignore the threat woven in them. The young guard was no fool. “My apologies, captain, I’ll return straightaway.” He beat a hasty retreat, Hector’s glower boring into him.
The shifter captain stepped into the exam room, turning the full weight of his silvery-green gaze to Rana. She stopped, stared, her duties forgotten.
Hector was stunning—in looks, in effect. Six feet, three inches of solid, sleek muscle, olive skin highlighting his Greek-Egyptian heritage, and gray-green eyes beneath thick brows and dark brown hair that seemed perpetually wind-tossed. She knew that he was roughly two thousand years old, and his power was potent, heady.
Awareness tingled along her nerve endings, awareness of him. Every time she saw him, her breath caught in her throat, her blood heated and her palms grew damp. A month into her stay at the jackal compound and she was still struck mute by his nearness. He made her feel like a girl in the first blush of womanhood, not a priestess over three hundred years old.
Most of the Sons of Anubis were politely distant in a could-rip-your-throat-out sort of way. They all seemed fiercely protective and focused on their duties, something that she, a Daughter of Isis, could appreciate.
Hector, however, was…more. Large and lethal, he radiated danger and intensity even when standing still. The infirmary, six large beds and two cages flanked by new state-of-the-art equipment, seemed too small to contain the full force of his energy. She only had to look at him to know that he fiercely committed to everything he did and accepted nothing less than a successful outcome.
He wore a simple white t-shirt and dark cargo pants, but on him they were a king’s raiment. The white cotton emphasized his broad shoulders, defined arms, taut abs. Isis have mercy.
For this Teaser Tuesday, we revisit The Sharpest Edge, my novella in the Carnivale Diabolique anthology!
If you like it, you can get the Kindle version for $4.99!
Here’s the cover and blurb for Shadow Chase, the second book in my Shadowchasers series, releasing July 27th: (I’m continually blessed by the cover gods)
As a Shadowchaser, Kira Solomon has been trained to serve the Light, dispatch the Fallen, and prevent the spread of chaos. It’s a deadly job, and Kira knows the horror of spilling innocent blood. But now she has a new role, as the Hand of Ma’at, the Egyptian Goddess of Truth and Order, and an assignment that might just redeem her.
A fellow Shadowchaser has gone missing, and so has a unique artifact imbued with astonishing magic. Unless the Vessel of Nun is returned, it will cause destruction beyond anything the modern world has seen. Kira’s got a team at her back, including Khefar, a near-immortal Nubian warrior who’s already died for her once. But as complicated as her feelings for him are, they’re nothing compared to the difficulties of the task she faces. And the only way to defeat the enemy is to trust in a power she can barely control, and put her life—and her soul—on the line.
Here’s an excerpt from Rode Hard in the What White Boyz Ride anthology AVAILABLE NOW in eBook and Kindle with the paperback releasing next month. In this teaser, Gina’s gone to visit her grandmothers. Enjoy!
Nana Maria Ortiz strutted up the hallway in her crisp white capris, sandals and screaming red top. “How was the wedding?”
“Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. Kat looked radiant.”
“Good.” Nonny led her over to the Tiffany-colored couch and its fantastic view of the bay. “Did you catch the bouquet?”
Right to the point. “I did,” she admitted, dreading their reaction.
Nana O flanked her on the couch, effectively caging her in. No one had thought the two would get along much less live together after their respective husbands died, but the women hit it off fabulously well, traveling, shopping, cooking together. The only problem Gina could see was that their favorite hobby was pestering her about marrying again—or actually for real, since neither had considered Paul that much of a catch.
Nana O made the sign of the cross, then clapped her hands together. “Thank you, Mother Mary, for hearing my prayers.”
“Louisa, don’t scare the girl,” Nonny admonished. “But if you met someone nice at the reception, we’re all ears.”
“I catered the reception, remember? I didn’t have time to meet anyone.” She’d been too busy dodging Pietro’s very drunk and very married younger brother.
“Well how are you going to find a nice young man if you don’t look?” Nonny wondered. “Our David needs a real father, not that sorry, jet-setting excuse of a sperm donor.”
“Don’t mind Hannah,” Nana O said, patting Gina’s hand. “But she’s telling the truth. We’ve talked to some of our friends and think we’ve come up with a list of good men who are much better than Paul. Once you get settled in, we can call—”
“I met someone!”
Did she really say that? Looking from one hopeful face to the other, Gina realized that she actually had. She put her head in her hands. “Oh God.”
“Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain,” her grandmothers admonished in unison. “Tell us about this someone instead.”
Well, she’d stuck her foot in it. Might as well get into the hoo-hah up to her neck. Better to let them think Matt has potential than to suffer through their attempts at matchmaking. “His name is Matt. Matthew Ryan. I knew him in high school.”
Nonny L sniffed. “Doesn’t sound like he’s Jewish.”
“He’s not,” Gina said, then told them something she’d knew would make them happy. “He owns his own business up in Daytona. He wants me to cater an event for him.”
“Is he a doctor?”
“Is he a lawyer?”
Gina lifted her chin. “He designs custom motorcycles.”
Nonny frowned. “Like Pimp My Ride or American Chopper?”
“Pimp My… what do you know about those shows?”
“Sweetie, I’m retired, not dead.”
Nana leaned closer. “Is he hot?”
Gina shot to her feet. She’d forgotten how dizzying it was to be double-teamed by her grannies. Most of the time she loved it, but it wore her out. “Do you both say stuff just to shock me?”
“It’s a valid question,” Nana said. “He owns a business, that’s good. And designing motorcycles, that means he rides them too. But for you to be interested, he’s got to be hot.”
“You do like them pretty, dear,” Nonny added. “Paul was nice looking, but didn’t have the common sense God gave a palm tree. His only talent is his ability to attract pretty women with money.”
“Which explains why he’s with Janice,” Gina said, not bothering to hide her bitterness. She’d been amicable about the divorce until she’d found out Paul had been seeing Janice while still married.
Nana coughed. “So, this Matthew, he’s not going to crack any mirrors, is he?”
“No, he won’t.” Gina pulled out her phone and showed them Matt’s picture, then told them just about everything she’d discovered about her old friend over the last several days. “He’s a good guy that had some bad stuff happen to him, but it’s all behind him now. He’s completely different from how I knew him in high school. I mean, he’s still funny, still a little geeky, but my God, did he grow up fine.”
Nonny leaned over to Nana O. “She’s got that look in her eye.”
“I know. I’m so glad.”
Gina folded her arms. “Do I even want to know what look you’re talking about?”
Nonny shrugged. “Probably not.”
“That’s the look of someone who’s had really good sex,” Nana explained. “I know that look.”
“So do I.” They both sighed.
Gina felt her mouth open and close several times. “That’s what I get, it’s totally what I get for asking. I really don’t want to think of either of you with my granddads.”
“Who’s talking about your grandfathers? I’m talking about Silas down in 12-A. He’s a bit younger, but he keeps up okay.”
Nonny nudged Nana O. “Louisa, I don’t think the girl wants to hear about our dating lives.”
“Especially not when you’re getting more action than I am,” Gina added. “I think I’m jealous. In fact, I know I am.”
“Then you should invite your Matthew down for the weekend. Show him around Miami. Let us meet him.”
“Don’t even try it, Nana,” Gina warned, wagging her finger at them. “Matt’s coming down so we can go to the reunion together, but I don’t think I want to let him anywhere near the two of you.”
Here’s another sneak peek into The SHARPEST EDGE, coming in the Carnivale Diabolique anthology from Parker Publishing, releasing in print in July! To add to the excitement, one of the three stories is by the very talented Dyanne Davis, known for her sexy and psychotic vampire, Adam Omega.
“The demons that killed your friend and our former Mistress are under the direction of another demon, named Kolliadon. He’s trying to get through. If he can find a weak point, he will come through. With the death of your portal guardian, we can only assume he means to try to break through here.”
“You’re kidding right? This is unbelievable.”
“You see demons. How can you think this is unbelievable?”
That slammed her lips shut. She pried them open again. “You’re saying that Miss Bessie Ann guarded a portal to hell. She was killed because demons wanted to be able to use it, and that’s why there are so many more of them around.”
Delki nodded. “With the death of the Guardian, the locks on the portal have weakened. We’re sure that Kolliadon will try to break through the seals here, sooner rather than later. The fact that you’ve seen so many demons around suggests that the time is short, possibly on or before the longest night.”
The thought of Elberton overrun by demons at the winter solstice almost brought her funnel cake back up for a return engagement. “Okay, so in less than a week, there might be a full-out demon fight in my town. But you guys are here now. You’re going to stop this, right?”
“We can only kill the demons congregating in town,” Anaru explained. “Only a guardian can make sure the doorway remains blocked.”
“But with Miss Bessie Ann gone, who’s going to… wait.” The light bulb clicked on as she noticed their expectant expressions. “No. Oh, hell no. Y’all have been inhaling the helium for way too long.”
Here’s the first two unedited pages of The Sharpest Edge, coming soon in the Carnivale Diabolique anthology from Parker Publishing:
A man and a demon walk into a bar…
“Well, will you look at that.”
Cam looked, and almost dropped the coffee carafe. Everyone had turned to stare at the towering, bronze-skinned man with black tribal markings etched into the left side of his face. Definitely not a common occurrence in Elberton, Georgia.
The demon that came in behind him? She’d seen plenty of those, unfortunately.
She forced herself to resume pouring Willie’s coffee. “I’d heard that a carnival was coming to town. Looks like it’s here.”
“Is he the strong man or the side show?”
“Those tattoos mean he’s Maori, from down by New Zealand way. Ain’t you ever seen Whale Rider?”
Willie frowned. “Is that some kind of interracial porno?”
Cam shook her head. “There are times when I’m glad you can’t contribute to the gene pool, and this is one of ‘em.” She returned the carafe to its warmer, then moved behind the counter to greet the new arrival. She stood an even six feet barefoot, but this guy had at least five inches on her. Man, they sure grow ’em big Down Under. “Welcome to Cam’s Café.”
“Thanks.” His voice, a surprising tenor instead of a bass rumble, held just a bit of an accent. He slid onto a stool as she held her breath, but the seat took his weight. Her peripheral vision caught the demon sliding onto the stool to his left. “Seems like a nice place.”
“We do all right.” She reached beneath the counter for a menu, placed it in front of him. She so wasn’t getting out a menu for a demon. “You with the carnival, I guess?”
“Yes. We pulled in about an hour ago.” He picked up the menu with large hands covered in black swirling patterns, like a masculine version of lace. It made her wonder if his entire body was marked, but she was too polite to ask. Just like she wouldn’t ask if he knew he had a demon for a shadow. Sticking one’s nose into other folk’s business could get you killed, and Cam liked her life just fine.
“I don’t suppose you have hot tea?”
“I do. It’s the closest you’re going to get to unsweet tea around here. I got a bunch of different herbal kinds you can choose from.”
“Excellent. I’ll take tea and a cup of coffee, black. Oh and if you have tomato juice, I’d like a glass of that with a bottle of Tabasco sauce.”
Cam raised an eyebrow but didn’t say anything. Did the guy know he had a demon—and was actually buying it a drink? If so, he was dangerous. Maybe the entire carnival had demons and humans who could not only see them, but wanted them around.
Big problem. She suppressed a shudder as she moved off to fill his drink order. Too many demons running free. Part of the reason she’d come to Elberton and stayed was because the town was full of honestly good people of different faiths, a mysterious tourist attraction called the Georgia Guidestones, and absolutely no demons. That had been two years ago. Just when she’d finally gotten past being “the outsider” and had made her café one of the main congregation spots, demons started appearing.
It was enough to make her wonder if she was the magnet that drew them.
Instead of an excerpt, I thought I’d post the Coming Together: At Last book teaser put together by editor Alessia Brio:
Here’s the first page from my short, Independence Day, which is in the first volume of the Coming Together: At Last anthology. Two anthologies of stories and poetry will be released by Phaze in ebook and print, and proceeds benefit Amnesty International.
“I told you he wouldn’t come for you.”
Ananda Perez-Smythe refrained from wincing at the pain Jack Nelson’s words caused. Barely. “Kee’s been busy. You know, that whole thing about forging a new republic for his homeworld.”
Nelson’s sandy good looks sneered at her through the holovid. “We do them a solid, help them kick Imperial Earth’s ass, and what thanks do we get? Booted off-planet, without even a word of acknowledgement from their fearless leader.”
It had taken two years for the Taurins to win their independence from the Imperial Earth Alliance, but win they did. After signing the treaty that ordered most non-Taurins off the planet, they’d released the political prisoners, including Taurin Kee, the father of the rebellion. Ananda knew the moment he’d been granted his freedom—it was the exact moment that he’d stopped “sending” to her mind.
“Is that what you did it for, Nels?” she wondered. “So you could be lauded as a hero and have statues erected in your honor? I did it because it was the right thing to do.”
“Tell that lie to everyone else all you want,” he retorted. “We both know you did it because you wanted Kee.”
“I will always consider Taurin Kee a friend, a compatriot,” she said evenly, gripping the holovid display in an effort to keep from shouting. “But make no mistake, Nels—even if Kee hadn’t been there, I would have still fought for the Taurins.”
“I lived on the plains with Kee’s tribe for three years. I lived and learned and laughed with the Taurins. It may be stretching it to say they became my family, but they did become my friends. Imperial Earth made a mistake in assuming that because the Taurins preferred to live simply that they were primitive. Don’t make the same mistake by assuming things about me.”
Nels blew out a breath. “I’m sorry, Ananda. I just want you to come back with me. This place isn’t for you.”
Somehow she dragged up a laugh. “If this place isn’t, then which one is? You know I’d be arrested the moment I stepped onto an Imperial ship. As far as Earth is concerned, I’m a traitor. I certainly wouldn’t make it to the Inner Nine or a court martial—they’d immediately execute me by blowing me out the closest airlock.”
“Then forget Earth. Come with me to the Outer Planets. These Taurins obviously don’t care how much you’ve sacrificed for them, they haven’t once tried to repay you or give you a place here, so I say so long and good riddance!”
Ananda stared at the holovid, grateful that she’d never fallen for the pretty surface that hid such an ugly interior. “I think I’ve heard all that I need to hear from you, Nels. I wish you safe journeys.”