Monday, July 28, 2014

SLAVE GIRL by Lisa Cach, REBORN by Nicole Camden, DECEPTIVE INNOCENCE by Kyra Davis Pocket Star-E Night 3rd Edition

Grab your e-reader and enjoy SLAVE GIRL by Lisa Cach, REBORN by Nicole Camden,  DECEPTIVE INNOCENCE by Kyra Davis and many more e-books this summer. Wherever you go, Pocket Star-E Nights are guaranteed to make your evenings shine!

 A sex slave who’s never been touched… National bestselling author Lisa Cach spins an erotic, passionate novel about a young Roman Empire slave who’s intended to become her king’s concubine—until a rugged barbarian prince takes her heart…and more.

Lovely Nimia is a slave to King Sygarius, who’s grooming her to be his consort as soon as she reaches full womanhood. And that time is very close. Nimia is forced to attend shocking lessons in the erotic arts; lessons that leave her body aroused and her mind conflicted. Because while she’s attracted to Sygarius’s power and eroticism, her spirit rebels at being his slave.

Then one of Sygarius’s allies comes to visit. Smart and ambitious, Clovis burns to take over Sygarius’s kingdom—and the beautiful Nimia. And though her virginity is meant for Sygarius, Clovis takes it with her enthusiastic consent.

When Sygarius learns that she is no longer a virgin, Nimia flees for her life. But can she find Clovis before the wrath of Sygarius—and imminent death—finds her first?
Darian blew upon his pipes, and I could sense, even from my hiding spot in the dark colonnade behind a curtain, that the notes of the music I’d written were casting their spell over the gathering. The melody was both calming and subtly strung through with anticipation; the peaceful beauty of the musical phrases ended, more often than not, one note short of where a listener knew they should.
Kina began to pluck a lyre, which was my cue to go in.
Gods above and gods below, I did not want to do this. It had been fun and bawdy, and I’d laughed so hard that I nearly wet myself when Terix and I had acted out the tale of Lotus—but that had been in private, with friendly eyes upon us. Eyes I had no need to impress, and whose owners would not judge me.
I didn’t understand how that which had delighted me so in one circumstance, threatened so much shame in this.
And yet Kina plucked on, and I had no choice but to perform.
Rebellion welled up inside me like a bubble, choking in my throat, and for one dangerous moment I thought I would flee. I’d run across the dark garden, through rooms, up stairs, ending in the quarters I shared with the other female slaves. I’d spend every moment in terror of my punishment for disobeying, and then either tonight or tomorrow, I’d be summoned before Lady Lydia, or Hermina, or perhaps the house steward, and berated, scolded, perhaps beaten. There would be no acceptable
excuses I could give. Sygarius would understand the quaking of my pride at performing in front of strangers, but he would not understand how I could believe my pride to be more important than following his command.
Flee, and salve my pride; or perform, and declare myself no better than a prostitute in front of Clovis.
“Make your choice,” I heard my mother’s voice saying.
Dreams, or reality.
I knew where my body lived, and who held the chain.
“Fuck them all,” I whispered, and with the harsh words I shoved aside my shame and the curtain and stepped into the room.
A space had been cleared for the performance, for which the only prop was a small couch. I wore a voluminous, transparent green gown, my heavy black hair loose down to my hips, and a large, fake lotus flower tucked behind one ear. I knew the men’s gazes would be searching through the filmy gown, looking for nipples and cunny; they probably thought they weren’t seeing either. The spiral tattoos over my breasts and loins confused the eye, and in uncertain light made it look as if I wore an ornate breast band and breeches beneath the diaphanous green silk. Neither the Franks nor the Roman nobles had probably ever seen the like, as they were a tradition of my vanished people, the Phanne. It gave me a perverse satisfaction to think that I flaunted my near-naked body in front of them and they did not know.
Truth be told, it sent a wicked thrill through me, and made my cunny swell.
I imagined I could feel Clovis’s gaze upon me. Did he know what he was looking at? I told myself he did; that he, of them all, knew that it was not a costume he was seeing, but my own skin.
It didn’t matter, though, for as Kina plucked the lyre, I became the nymph, Lotus, and the audience faded away. Music, dance, and song always transported me to a place beyond the present—or perhaps it was a place deep inside myself. All I knew was that the world around me disappeared, replaced by one of my imagination.
The lyre was my voice, expressing my emotions as I wandered through a meadow, picked a flower, and savored the warmth of the sun on my skin. An imaginary butterfly landed on my fingertip, and as it flew away I grasped two thin reeds that had been hidden in my full skirts, one on each side. Their bottom ends were attached to my hem, and when I lifted one reed in each hand, the flowing yards of fabric lifted into the air like butterfly wings. A sigh of delight went through the room, the soft echo of it barely piercing my trance.
I danced and spun to the music of the lyre and flute, flicking my wrists and looping my arms to make my fabric wings ripple and flow. As my body followed the choreographed moves that I’d practiced so many times before, my soul began to float free.
Yes. This is what I sought, this transcendence, this freeing from the bonds of the earth, my body, my thoughts. Though I still saw the meadow in my imagination, new visions began to flicker at its edges: a face I did not know; a stormy sea; a haze of shimmering gold.
The shimmering gold . . . there was something important about it. I strained toward it, trying to see it more clearly, but the dance was almost at its end. There was one more chance, one more moment when I might see it all.
I drew a gasp from the audience when I took a great leap into the air, wings outspread, seeming to hover there as if truly I could fly—while in my mind I sought that shimmer of gold only to have it fade away, a mystery still. I landed in a small crouch upon the floor, my wings together above my back, resting with the slightest of trembles like a newborn butterfly drying its wings in the sun.
One tense note played upon the lyre, plucked again and again.
The moment stretched, tension rising, and then a burst of music from the pipes—and of laughter from the audience—heralded the arrival of Donkey, played by a servant named Marcelius, in a plaster donkey’s head with laughably large ears and teeth. He lumbered into Lotus’s meadow and tried to eat her wings, his movable jaw champing loudly. Lotus laughed and shooed him away, and then nymph and donkey capered together, playing at chasing one another.
Then, oh, Lotus grew so sleepy and in need of a nap. And look, here was a lovely couch upon which to lie. I patted Donkey and then gracefully lay down on my back, twisting my lower body slightly onto my side to better show the dip of my waist and the swell of my hip. I lay my arms partially folded above my head, leaving my body open, vulnerable.
A feast for the taking.

 Newly single and loving every minute, Lille—a.k.a. the Fetish Queen—is unleashed and ready to dominate in the first chapter of the sexy, enticing Fetish Queen series.

Blond, buxom, and bold, pin-up girl Lillehammer Marceaux can get any man she wants, but she leaves her fiancĂ© to move to Florida and run a sex shop called The Fetish Box, owned by her best friend. She immediately clashes with Max Jobman, the rough-hewn tattooed Irishman who owns the local pub. Not a very trusting man, Max is convinced she’s a spoiled beauty who’ll stay just long enough to find a rich husband. He quickly learns that Lille isn’t interested in a husband; she’s focused on making the business a success—but that doesn’t stop her from thinking about what an excellent lover Max will make…

What neither Max nor Lille realizes is that her efforts to become the Fetish Queen, which include making a type of reality show, have caught the attention of a dangerous figure from Lille’s past. Will her troubled past come back and drag her down, or will the Fetish Queen get her way?
            Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, and Katharine Hepburn had been Sarah Wells’s babysitters when she was growing up—which explained a lot about how she turned out. She’d go to her neighbor Miss Gloria’s apartment in the afternoons and watch old movies while her mother entertained one of her “guests.” Mom’s guests could get violent sometimes; a couple of them had even suggested they preferred Sarah’s undeveloped body over her mother’s, so Sarah had learned to stay gone most of the time. Miss Gloria, an eighty-year-old black woman who’d grown up in Brooklyn, liked to drink black coffee wearing a muumuu and house slippers and watch the classics until she fell asleep on the couch. Sarah felt safe surrounded by the floral wallpaper and the old-fashioned images on the tiny black-and-white screen Miss Gloria wiped down with Windex every morning.
“That was true beauty,” the old woman would croon every now and then when she’d wake up and see Marilyn or Greta on the screen.
Sarah figured that if Miss Gloria was right, her mother qualified as truly beautiful. She had big eyes, big, pouty lips, and clear, flawless skin. Even after years of smoking, Sarah’s mother was still beautiful; but that didn’t stop her from getting pushed around by her clients every now and then, or drinking herself into oblivion. Those were the worst nights, the nights when her mother would get drunk and talk about Sarah’s father, about how he’d kill them both if he ever got out of prison. She’d made Sarah promise, over and over again, that if he ever got out, Sarah would run away, as far and as fast as she could. Sarah didn’t understand why her mother was so certain he’d come after them or why he was even in prison in the first place, but she knew well enough that if her mother considered him dangerous, he was someone to avoid.
Bad things happened all the time in their neighborhood; women and girls were snatched off the streets, stores were robbed, people were killed. Sarah was certain that the Desert Palms apartments had always been dingy and nondescript since they were first built in the fifties, but by the early nineties, things had gotten even worse. Graffiti covered most of the walls and the sign outside. The palms that had been planted around the buildings had long since died. Only one
lone cactus remained, which she admired for its sheer stubbornness. Even spray-painted with crude lettering, it somehow managed to look defiant.
When Miss Gloria was transferred to a nursing home, Sarah stayed at the library during the afternoons, and in the evenings her mother would take her to the club she worked most nights, a place with a large black man guarding the door, lots of bright purple lights, and women dressed in sparkles. The club, Dominoes, hidden pretty deep in the middle of nowhere, had always been a popular destination for wealthy foreigners. Sarah had loved the clothes the women wore there; she had wanted to wear feathers and diamonds and high-heeled shoes, too. Sometimes the strippers would dress her up and tell her that someday she would be a heartbreaker.
“Probably,” Sarah usually agreed, although she didn’t see how being beautiful had helped her mother, or any of the other strippers.
Some of them thought they had power when they danced. Sarah heard them talking about how all the men in the audience had been begging for it, and how much the strippers liked keeping it from them. Sarah could understand that. She supposed that if she were at the mercy of the vicious men who ran the club, she’d be looking for power any way she could find it, but she wasn’t about to spend her life taking her clothes off for money.
One night, just after she turned fourteen, she was doing her homework in the dressing room of the club when she realized that a couple of the dancers were looking at her and whispering. Sarah was used to this kind of behavior at school, where her rather large breasts and pretty porcelain skin were the subject of many hushed conversations, but the girls at the club rarely bothered to notice her.
“What’s up?” she asked, curious.
Colleen, a frowsy redhead, looked a little worried, chewing on her lower lip with her teeth.
“Nothing, honey. We just can’t find your mom.”
“What do you mean?” Sarah demanded. “She’s dancing.” She set her schoolbooks aside and stood. “Show me where she’s supposed to be.” Even though Sarah was only fourteen, people tended to do what she asked of them.
The girls, Megan and Colleen, led her out of the dressing room into the curtained-off area where the dancers waited for their cues.
Feathers were floating cheerfully in the air, the liberated plumage of a boa that had been used in one of the acts before a dancer had accidently ripped it in half onstage.
Colleen pulled her away from the center of the curtains where the girls stalked out onto a type of runway and led her down the side of the crescent-shaped waiting area to another opening in the curtain. Her long nails dug into Sarah’s arm.
“She’s supposed to be over there,” Colleen whispered, and pointed to the far corner. “She never misses a dance.”
Sarah knew that—that’s why she was worried.
 Kyra Davis, the New York Times bestselling author of Just One Night, returns with book one in the thrillingly erotic Pure Sin series featuring a beautiful young woman out for revenge—until she falls in love with the one man whose secrets are as dangerous as her own. (Note: this volume collects Parts 1 - 3 of the previously serialized Deceptive Innocence ebook series.)

Ever since Bell’s mother died while serving time for a murder she didn’t commit, Bell’s been focused on one thing: revenge. She knows her mother was set up by Jonathon Gable, the head of both the powerful Gable family and an international banking corporation. Now she’s determined to take him down—from the inside.

Bell needs access to the Gable home and offices, so she poses as a bartender to seduce her way into the bed—and life—of Jonathon’s rebellious youngest son, Lander. He’s not a typical Gable, spending more time in the dive bars of Harlem than the posh cocktail lounges of the Upper East Side. He has an attraction to danger, a vulnerability Bell isn’t shy about exploiting. It should be easy to uncover the secrets she needs to destroy his family and clear her mother’s name.

But it turns out Lander is much more complicated than she ever imagined. He’s enticing, intelligent, mysterious—plus their sexual chemistry is off the charts. Even though Bell knows he’s the enemy, she can’t help but be moved, both physically and emotionally, by the man she swore was just a target. When he finds out the truth she’s sure both their hearts and her plan will be crushed...until she begins to realize that Lander might be hiding his own secrets, darker than she ever imagined.

My heart’s beating a little too fast and my eyes keep darting toward the door. He’ll walk through there any moment now. There are only a handful of barflies to distract me, and the kinds of drinks they order don’t take a lot of thought to make. This is not a Mojito Sparkler type of crowd.
Most of the people who come to drink at Ivan’s are men. They come to lose themselves in alcohol and sports. The few women who show up are looking for a special kind of trouble. This isn’t the place you come to in hopes of picking up a nice guy.
I know these women. Maybe not personally, but essentially I know who they are and what they’re about: disheartened or damaged, looking for men who can inflict enough pain to help them forget the pain that’s coming from within. Screwing assholes, making themselves vulnerable to emotional predators—it’s just another form of cutting, really. Every time they smile at a Hells Angels type I can see the unspoken words hovering over their heads.
Here’s the knife. Hurt me so I don’t have to hurt myself. Take away the responsibility and just give me the pain.
I get it, I really do. But it’s not my game, not anymore.
So I just pour the beer, keep the whiskey flowing, keep my smile evasive, cold enough to scare away the more aggressive ones, warm enough to coax the tips out of the passive . . . and keep my eyes on the door.
And then it happens. At exactly seven fifteen, he shows up.
I feel an acute pang in my chest, right where my heart is.
Lander Gable. How many times have I seen this man walk into this bar while I was sitting across the street in a cab or rental car? But now, today, I’m in the bar, and he’s walking toward me, not away. I’ve never been so close to him before. I can almost touch him!
And soon I will.
The ringing of the phone momentarily distracts me.
I pick up and ask, “Ivan’s, can I help you?” The person on the other end mumbles an embarrassed apology for calling the wrong number and hangs up, but I keep the phone pressed to my ear long after hearing the click, pretending to listen while I study the perfect specimen in front of me: a clean-shaven face, bronze skin, a watch that’s worth more than everything I own . . . Only he’s replaced the suit he wore to the office today with a pair of Diesel jeans and a sweater. Less conspicuous, but still a little too clean for this place. His physique hints at time spent at a gym, not a dockyard.
You’d think some of the other guys would kick his ass just for entering their bar.
And yet absolutely no one gets in his way.
It’s not until he’s almost at the bar stool that we make eye contact. He doesn’t smile, but there’s something there—curiosity maybe, perhaps surprise at finding a woman bartending, definitely appraisal.
I’ve gotta give myself a major pat on the back for that one. I must have spent two hours putting myself together today for him. He’s why I’m wearing my wild black hair down, letting it cover my bare shoulders. He’s why I matched the loose, low-slung jeans with a fitted tank that subtly reveals the benefits of my new push-up bra. He’s why I’m wearing thick mascara and sheer lip gloss. I know this guy’s tastes.
He takes his seat, pulls out a ten, and gestures to the bottle of whiskey still in my hand from the last drink I poured. “On the rocks, please.”
“You sure?” I ask even as I fill a glass with ice. “I could make a whiskey sour if you like. Maybe throw in a cherry?”
He raises his eyebrow slightly. “Mocking a patron when you’re new to the job? Risky, isn’t it?”
“How do you know I just started?”
“I’m here a lot.”
“Every day?”
“A few times a week.” He reaches for his drink, brings it to his lips. Over the glass he offers a bemused smile. “I like your prices.”
“Really?” I ask. “Drinks more expensive where you’re from?”
“You make it sound like I’m visiting from some far-off land.”
“Are you?”
His light-brown hair looks darker in this room, his eyes brighter. “Upper East Side,” he says.
“Ahhh.” I take a step back and cross my arms over my chest. “That’s about a million dollars from here.”
He winces. “Not necessarily.” On the other side of the bar a few men burst into cheers as a UFC fighter’s arm is broken on live TV.
“You living at the 92nd Street Y, then?” I quip.
“No,” he answers, his smile returning. “I’ve managed to avoid that fate.” He studies me for a moment, trying to gauge what he’s dealing with. “How ’bout you? You live here in Harlem?”
“Occasionally. I’m a bit of a drifter.” I fiddle with a glass, playing at cleaning it. “So why do you really come here . . . I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.”
He gives me a quizzical look. “Considering how coy you’re being about what part of town you live in, I feel like maybe I shouldn’t volunteer my name just yet. That way we both have an air of mystery.”
“Oh, I’m only coy about inconsequential things.” I lean forward, put my elbows on the bar, and cradle my chin in my hands. Ever so slightly I arch my back. “I’m very straightforward about the things I want.”
“Really?” He takes another sip. “And what exactly is it that you want?”
“Tonight?” I pause for a moment, pretending to think. “Tonight I want . . . your name.”
His smile spreads to a grin. “You think you can coax it out of me?”
“Maybe.” Out of the corner of my eye I spot one of the regulars on the other side of the bar waving his empty glass in the air. “When I have the time.”
And I walk away to pour the next drink.
The foreman needing the refill is too drunk to notice that I’m trembling while taking his money.
God, is this working? Am I being too forward? Too much of a tease? My mother would have chewed me out for behaving like this.



Monday, July 21, 2014

HOW TO REPRIMAND YOUR ROCK STAR by Mina Vaughn, ATTACK THE GEEK by Michael R. Underwood and DRIVING MR. DEAD by Molly Harper and Giveaway

 Grab your e-reader and enjoy HOW TO REPRIMAND YOUR ROCK STAR by Mina Vaughn, ATTACK THE GEEK by Michael R. Underwood and DRIVING MR. DEAD by Molly Harper and many more e-books this summer. Wherever you go, Pocket Star-E Nights are guaranteed to make your evenings shine!

In this fun and saucy romance novel, all-star college basketball player Thea dominates on the courts—and off—with a rock star who is determined to win her over.
Thea is a star basketball player at UConn on track to be Rookie of the Year. That is, if she can stay focused on the game. Lately that hasn’t been going so well, as her knee has been bothering her. But that’s not the only thing on her mind…
Ever since rock star Keaton Lowe surprised her in the girl’s locker room, Thea can’t stop thinking about him. On top of his status and enticing ways, he seems to know everything about her. But some of his actions cross the line, and Keaton needs to be punished. Will Thea keep her head in the game, or get distracted by her other favorite pastime—reprimanding her rock star?

 The locker room welcomed me with the smell of freshly washed uniforms and leather workout equipment. The familiar scents tickled my nose and I envisioned my locker room back home. I remembered giving speeches to my team, rallying them against our foes. I felt like a general
sometimes. Here, I just listened. Sure, I liked everyone, but I really wished I could just be myself. I rolled my stiff shoulders and decided that tape wasn’t all I needed—a long hot shower would do my body a world of good. And I didn’t want to let the guards have the satisfaction of getting me out of their hair so soon.
I dropped my clothes at the threshold of the locker room and the adjoining shower room. I was never weirded-out by the team showering together. It was what athletes did. When you’re there, making jokes under the steaming water, splashing and commiserating, it was almost better that you were naked. It showed your trust. The team saw you at your most vulnerable. I wanted them to know they could trust me, so, therefore, I let them see my boobs. Common sense. It did kind of make me sad that even though we’d been playing together since September, I couldn’t really call many of them my friends. Except for my roommate, Callie.
The weirdest thing was the only person I had met besides Callie that I really felt a connection to was the team’s landlord, whom they had nicknamed the Red Devil. Her real name is Scarlett. I had actually never spoken to her, but something about her drew me in. She was intimidating as
hell—tall like us basketball folk, flaming-red curls that hung to her waist, and heels that could kill small animals that skittered into their path. The team hated her strict curfews and neat- freakery. I liked her. Powerful women were cool, and it pissed me off when they were labeled “bitches” just because they knew what they wanted. Plus, I liked that she owned a little new-age shop in town that, rumor has it, has a secret back room. So yeah, Scarlett was cool. Scary, but cool.
I made my way across the white tile floor, dodging cold puddles, and cranked my lucky showerhead number thirteen to a scorching blast. Every time I had picked this one, we won, so I never showered anywhere else. Except at home—my real home, that is. I stood under the scalding deluge and tipped my head up to feel the hot spray in my mouth. I had to singe off the thin layer of failure from last night’s game. I grabbed a loofah and scrubbed my skin to a near polish. Rolling my shoulders, I took a squirt of the lavender-scented shampoo and worked it into my long curls.
Sighing, I let my naked back slouch against the cold tiles as I worked my scalp. My ex, Ty, had loved giving me massages. But that was all he wanted, touching. College was supposed to be a fantastic dating scene, but all I ever got were guys who wanted me for the wrong reasons. Boys who were lazy and easy. Not that I had an ideal guy in mind, but I just wanted to work for it. I wanted the hunt. Lamenting my permanently single status, I watched the last few soap bubbles drop from my hair to the floor. Absentmindedly, I turned and reached for my towel and found nothing. I glanced around the empty room. Always, without fail, I’d put my towel within arm’s reach of my lucky showerhead. How could I forget that today? I really was off my game on several levels. Padding wetly, dripping like a mermaid, I made my way toward the locker room’s entryway where my clothes sat.
Only, my clothes weren’t there either.
I took a tentative step into the locker room and turned toward my locker, where at least a practice uniform would be waiting for me. Or maybe I left my clothes there. Get your head together, Thea.
Every time I saw that locker, I’d chuckle. My obnoxious Greek last name was too long to fit on the nameplate, or my jersey for that matter, so instead of reading PAPASTATHOPOULOS, it just said PAPAS. That’s why the team had taken to calling me “Pops.” But instead of seeing my truncated name or a pile of clothes, I saw a guy.
A side-quest novella in the bestselling Geekomancy urban fantasy series—when D&D-style adventures go from the tabletop to real life, look out!

Ree Reyes, urban fantasista and Geekomancer extraordinaire, is working her regular drink-slinger shift at Grognard’s bar-and-gaming salon when everything goes wrong. The assorted magic wielders of the city’s underground have come to test their battle skills via RPGs like D&D, V:TES, White Wolf, and the like. All the usuals are there: her ex-mentor Eastwood, Drake (the man-out-of-time adventurer), and, of course, Grognard himself (her boss and a brewer of beer that act as magic potions). However, it’s the presence of these and other “usuals” that makes all the trouble. For, a nemesis from Eastwood and Ree’s past decides to finally take her revenge not just on those two, but on every self-styled “hero” in the city who happens to have crossed her at one point or another. When wave after wave of monsters besiege Grogrnard’s store, if Ree & Co. are going to survive, they’re going to have to work together. And avoid the minotaur. That’s always a good rule of thumb.
 The mass of gnomes looked like a beehive. They were stacked on top of one another, falling and scrambling over one another to get to the group.
Uncle Joe raised several cards over his head, tore them with a whoop, and a wave of fire pushed forward, enveloping the gnomes. They screamed and scuttled backward, and the group stepped forward into the sewer. Eastwood tossed out a handful of industrial-grade glow sticks, which filled the tunnel with yellow light.
Ree did her best Steve Ditko Spidey-fingers, unleashing a net of webbing that pinned a handful of gnomes to the far wall. She jumped forward and swung up, the blue blade strobing across her vision. She caught two of the gnomes, but several more leapt out of the way. As soon as her blade swung past, more of the miniature monsters scuttled forward. Their nails clicked on the concrete floor with the strange familiarity of her golden retriever, Booster, trying to get purchase in the linoleum kitchen back at her dad’s place.
She let loose another dose of webbing, then jumped and stuck to the ceiling, leaving her sword arm free to continue swinging.
Ree’s spider-shtick attracted a dozen of the gnomes’ attention as they tried to climb over one another to get to her. Even with their considerable ups, they fell short, putting them just in range of her lightsaber.
From her vantage point, she saw the rest of the group as they fought, each in their own style.
Out front, Grognard tore through the creatures, swinging the glaive-guisarme around as easily as a broom at closing time.
Talon covered Grognard’s back, following his movements and keeping the gnomes from sneaking through legs and flanking the group as they formed a semicircle out from the door. She fought with practiced efficiency, the longsword always striking and blocking at once as her hands moved in concert, levering the pommel around for maximum precision.
On the other side of the group, Eastwood fought with lightsaber and blaster in perfect harmony, managing not to chop his hand off even as he wove and dove through the crowd at a breakneck pace. He was a jerk sometimes, but he’d earned his Badass bona fides years ago. Gnomes jumped at him by the dozen, like they’d all decided he was the most delicious dish on the menu.
Drake stood back, picking his targets quickly but deliberately, squeezing off shots that thinned the herd rushing at Eastwood.
Wickham hugged the side of the door, taking shots where she could. She wasn’t comfortable in a fight, but she’d logged plenty of practice time somewhere—range or arcade—so her shots connected more often than not. Trouble was, her peashooter only seemed to stun the gnomes.
A musty wind hit her cheek, and Ree looked down to see that the gnomes clustered beneath her had started to get smart. Two gnomes held their hands together, boosting up the others. Ree wanted to know where they’d picked up cheerleading techniques, but that would have to wait. She flattened against the ceiling to avoid a tall gnome’s swipe, which fell just inches short.
The magical energy from Spider-Man was waning, as she’d only gotten a quick dose of the film. Rather than spending the energy on another burst of webbing, she cut the arm off the next gnome that got a boost. The gnome crashed into its accomplices, which would scatter them for a bit. Ree pulled out her phaser and zapped a few more, then turned and dropped one that had managed to Xenomorph its way along the ceiling, just a few feet from Wickham’s head.
The sizzling gnome fell to the sewer ledge in a heap at Wickham’s feet, and the model looked up to Ree, who saluted.
“That’s two you owe me,” Ree said with a grin, then turned back to her cheerleader gnomes. She picked off the two boosters, hoping that they were the bearded brains of the operation. If Wickham responded, the sound was lost in the din. Gloating was hard to do when you were dead, so she could wait.
“How you feeling, boss?” Ree asked, her voice echoing in the sewer over the sound of clanging metal, exertion, and snarling.
“They don’t seem to be running out of friends! Somebody pour on the AoE!” he called.
“On it!” Uncle Joe flipped through a card binder, then pulled out several cards, which he tore in half and then threw, Gambit-style. The card shreds flew true, exploding on impact. The blasts engulfed a dozen gnomes, but as the dust settled, more had filled the space, hopping over their charred compatriots.
“I didn’t think there were that many in the whole city!” Ree said.
“Recent surveys put their numbers at under a hundred. We’ve seen at least twice that,” Drake answered, his voice level even as his firing routine had become more harried. He stopped as one of the crystals in his aetheric rifle went dark, and cleared the gem, replacing it with a ruby red one that Ree knew as his flamethrower mode.
“Clear!” Drake called, and Talon cycled right, opening up a space. The inventor knelt forward and the rifle belched a cone of flame that took another cluster of the gnomes. The repeated blasts turned the sewer into a sauna, including the concrete she held on to with Spider-fu. It was either burn her ass off or lose the higher ground, so she dropped from the ceiling, cleaving through several gnomes as she landed.
When she hit the concrete pathway near the group, the sewer shook.
“Someone needs to lay off the lagers,” Wickham said.
“That wasn’t her,” Grognard said, looking down the tunnel.
A roar shook the walls of the sewer, making it very apparent that the gnomes were no longer the worst of their problems. If possible, the smell in the tunnel got worse.
That’s never a good sign. In her nine months of hero-ing, she’d noticed a clear correlation between “smells bad” and “likes to snack on humans and suck the marrow from their bones nom nom nom” types of creatures.
“Boss?” Ree asked, closing ranks with Drake between one of the adventurer’s bursts of flame. The gnomes on the roar side of the tunnel parted. Even worse sign.
Grognard buried the head of his blade in a gnome’s shoulder, the butt of the haft held down with his foot. Then he used the weapon like a lever, slamming four gnomes into the wall with one heave. “Anyone got a land mine?” he asked.
“Let me check!” Uncle Joe said, flipping through his binder. “I just had a big order for a Direct Damage deck, haven’t had a chance to restock.”
A second roar gave way to the sound of charging and splashing sewage. The gnomes on the far side vanished into the shadows.
On one hand, it gave them a breather. On the other hand . . . “Faster would be better!” Ree said, quoting her favorite space cowboy.
Eastwood holstered his blaster and leveled his Green Lantern ring at the right side of the tunnel. Ree pointed her blaster in the same direction. The group formed their best imitation of a pike formation, reinforcing their position in the direction of the oncoming . . .
. . . Minotaur.
Really? Just what I fuckin’ need.
A standalone novella introducing a new side of Half Moon Hollow—featuring a freewheeling courier and the stuffy vampire she has to transport.

Miranda Puckett has failed at every job she’s ever had. Her mother just wants her to come home, join the family law firm, and settle down with Jason, the perfect lawyer boyfriend. But when Jason turns out to be a lying cheater, Miranda seizes on a job that gets her out of town: long-distance vampire transportation. Her first assignment is to drive vampire Collin Sutherland from Washington to sleepy Half Moon Hollow without incident—no small feat for a woman whom trouble seems to follow like a faithful hound dog! And she has to do it without letting her passenger—the most persnickety, stuffy, devastatingly handsome vamp she’s ever met—drive her crazy. As she and Collin find disaster on the roads, they also find an undeniable spark between them. Could Miranda have found the perfect job and the perfect guy for her? 


 I was used to far more pleasant interactions with vampires. I’d worked as a waitress at a vampire bar called Bite for six months. The nonbreathing clients were a lot friendlier than those with pulses, and they left better tips. And in the days after I’d accepted the assignment, Iris, an old high-school classmate, had had me do a series of test runs, ferrying local cross-country to drive her friend Jane from Half-Moon Hollow to Nashville for a booksellers convention. Jane had been downright sweet, keeping me entertained on the brief drive through Tennessee with her absurd life story. None of these experiences had prepared me for Mr. Sutherland’s hostile, monosyllabic reception.
In his absence, I saw that the house was comfortable and quaint. The open floor plan gave visual access to nearly everything, including the spectacular view afforded by the back windows. Rough-hewn polished pine stairs led to a bedroom loft. Comfy-looking leather chairs the color of melting caramel flanked a river-stone fireplace. Bookshelves stocked with leather-bound editions stretched floor to ceiling on the opposite wall. There was no stuffy furniture, no
useless dust catchers beyond a red and gold military insignia framed and displayed on the  mantel. A lion devouring a snake.
A thump from above snapped me out of my decor ogling. I focused on the little pile of luggage near the foot of the stairs, and I slung a dark leather designer overnight bag onto my shoulder.
When I bent to pick up a sleek silver suitcase, there was a blur of motion, the force of which swept my wet hair over my eyes. I lurched to my feet, pulling the damp strands out of my face, just in time to find Mr. Sutherland snatching the case out of my hands.
You do not touch this case,” he said sternly, shoving a pristine white towel into my hands. He swept across the room to blot my puddle from the floor with a clean cloth. “I am responsible for transporting this case to Ophelia Lambert at midnight four nights from now—a deadline that your tardiness has put in jeopardy, I might add. Therefore, only I touch the case.”
“Only I touch the case,” he said.
I was starting to suspect that he had unnatural feelings for that case.
I raised an eyebrow. “Are you going to be handcuffing it to your arm?”
“Very amusing, Miss Puckett,” he said, looking me up and down. “Of course, I’m forced to assume that you are the Miss Puckett described in Miss Scanlon’s correspondence, since you have not, in fact, introduced yourself to me.”
Something about the way his silky voice slid over my skin triggered my “authority figure” complex. And suddenly, I was having some very unwelcome, very naughty images of Mr. Sutherland and his hypothetical handcuffs.
“Oh, right, sorry. Hi, I’m Miranda Puckett. I’m the driver for Beeline.” I reached out my hand to shake, a hand that he pointedly ignored as he swept past me.
Shocked by his rudeness, I merely followed in his wake, muttering to myself. “Nice to meet you, too. Oh, yes, I’m sure we’re going to end up lifelong friends after this road trip. We’re off to such a great start. Feel like I’ve known you my whole life,” I grumbled, toting the bags to the car while he checked and rechecked the locks on his front door. “And I’m talking to myself again. Super.”
I stared at the warm, dry house with longing. A kinder client might have offered me use of the restroom or even coffee. But I was hardly in a position to ask for perks.
To add insult to injury, my tardiness and the weather ruined my plans to introduce Mr. Sutherland to the fabulous features of the Batmobile, which I’d thoroughly rehearsed with a very patient Jane. A decommissioned Council vehicle that Iris had purchased for a song at auction, the Batmobile was built for comfort and safety. While it looked like a mild-mannered SUV from the outside, the Batmobile boasted a light-tight cubby that took up most of the
rear compartment’s floorboard, like a compact coffin, allowing the passenger to ride comfortably while I drove us in full sun. Tucked between the front seats sat a cunning little cooler/warmer for blood. It worked a bit like a bottle steamer, using hot water on a timed switch to bring the blood to an even 98.6. The windows were tinted with SPF 500 film so that he would be safe inside the cab if necessary.
I’d become familiar with those features on the three- (OK, four-) day drive to pick up Mr. Sutherland. I’d planned to make him familiar with them before we started the drive back to Half-Moon Hollow so he could deliver a parcel to an official with the World Council for the Equal Treatment of the Undead. But clearly, Mr. Sutherland preferred that we just get on the road. I couldn’t blame him, I supposed. We absolutely, positively had to be back on time, or
Mr. Sutherland would not be paid . . . which meant that Iris would not be paid . . . which meant that I would not be paid . . . which would be upsetting.
Using the boatload of upper-body strength it took to close the rear door, I slammed it down. I noticed a pale flash out of the corner of my eye at the last minute. The gate came crashing down on Mr. Sutherland’s fingers with a sickening crunch.
This was a hallucination. I could not be looking at a vampire’s hand caught in a car door, crushed like something out of an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon. I clapped my hands over my mouth and let out a horrified shriek.
“Open the bloody gate!” he roared.
I scrambled for the key fob and clicked it, popping the door open. Mr. Sutherland groaned and flexed his mangled fingers, bent at bizarre angles, obviously broken in several places. Sure, they would fix themselves rapidly with his vampire healing, but it would hurt like a bitch.
“I’m sorry!” I cried, rushing forward to help him. He hissed like a cat and turned his back on me. “Shit! I’m so sorry!”
“Language, Miss Puckett,” he growled over his shoulder. “Did you not see that my hand was in the way?” He grunted as his fingers stretched and snapped back into their proper places.

“Not until the last minute,” I said. “Why didn’t you move your hand when you saw I was closing the door?”
“I thought you would stop the door,” he shot back.
“How was I supposed to do that? I don’t have vampire reflexes!”
“From now on, I will keep your limitations in mind,” he seethed, and pivoted on his heel toward the car door.


Want to win an e-book of one of these amazing titles? Well, you’re in luck!

To enter, leave a comment telling me the last book that kept you reading until the wee hours of the morning, as well as a valid email address. Winners will be announced next Monday!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Reads blog Hop

Summer's in full swing! Come in out of the heat and check out our favorite Summer Reads! Each blog will feature their favorites and a giveaway so visit them all! Plus there's a Grand Prize giveaway happening too!

Hello Lovelies!
I would like to thank Anna from Herding Cats and Burning Soup for coming up with this wonderful Summer Reads hop where we can share our favorite summer reads.
I’m sure we all have our I-will-read-these-books-until-their-pages-are-shredded summer reads. The ones we go back to year after year.
They’re stained. They’re tattered. There’s a copy stashed in your travel bag so you don’t forget to take it along with you when you go somewhere. There’s also another copy stashed in your beach tote, and it might have a few unidentified splotches and sand in the cracks—but it’s okay, it’s your beach copy and you’re perfectly fine with getting SPF 3,000 on it (okay, so sun block companies haven’t pushed the SPF # that high, but they need to, because this pasty girl burns like a lobster).
Here are a few of my Favorite Summer Reads
1-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte—How can you not love Rochester? And I’m not going to lie, during the summer I totally skip over the whole ordeal with Jane at her aunts and Jane at Lowood and go straight to the broody I-love-you-but-please-ignore-the-crazy-lady-in-the-attic-who-just-so-happens-to-be-my-wife parts. I also skip over the Jane finds her cousins parts, because honestly, it’s summer and I don’t want a whole ‘we are family, I’ve got all my new found cousins with me’ thing. I want dark and broody Rochester telling me not to go. (Seriously, I. WANT. ROCHESTER!)
2—Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte—Oh, Heathcliff. Why couldn’t you see that Cathy was not the saint you thought her to be? He was dark and twisted. And while I still want to slap Cathy with the book every time I read it, I still read it every summer.
3—Wallbanger by Alice Clayton—Everyone needs a little naughty in their summer reading pile.
4—Tangled by Emma Chase—Drew Evans should be on everyone’s summer reading list.
5—The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks—A perfect read for a summer storm.
6—Biographies or Non-fiction books—So, not an actual title but rather a genre. Usually at the end of July I will start a massive, chunky-monkey—will-break-your-foot-if-it’s-dropped-on-it non-fiction book. I have to read NF every once in a while so my brain doesn’t feel like it’s turning to mush.
7—Romantic Suspense—Once again, another genre, well sub-genre. I don’t know why, but over the last few years RS had become my Summer Romance go to. And honestly, how can you not melt for sexy spies?

First Prize will win:
A Leopard Print Tote
Searching for Someday by Jennifer Probst
Bound by Night by Larissa Ione
A Journal
Penguin Classics Mad Libs
As well as some author swag
Second Prizewill win:
3 Jane Burke E-books
To enter, please leave your name and a valid email address. Giveaway Ends July 23rd winner will be announced and contacted on July 24th


Don't forget to visit the other bloggers and check out their favorite Summer Reads!

Grand Prize Giveaway
There will be two Grand Prize winners one for a $100 Amazon Gift Card and a second for a $30 Amazon Gift Card