Urban Fantasy Author
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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Randy will be awarding an eCopy of Careful and a $25 Starbucks GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Enjoy an excerpt:
The boat came to a stop at a shallow riverbank. We were greeted by an olive-skinned man in his forties with shoulder-length hair and an unruly beard. He resembled a castaway, but with more muscle.
“Welcome to the Amazon,” he said, helping the ladies off the boat. “My name is Xavier. I will be your guide for the next two days. Please take only what you need for one night and leave the rest with the boatsman. He will take your things to camp by boat.”
“From here we will hike two hours to camp. There you can relax in the hammock, go swimming, and enjoy a nice dinner in the evening.” Xavier was very welcoming with his choppy English. We’d learn later that he was born in Bolivia and educated in Germany. His love for the study of biology would take him to exotic places all around the world. He was a charismatic free spirit.
“First thing first,” Xavier said. “Everyone needs to put on these boots.” He pointed to a line of knee-high rubber boots. “They are not the most ideal for hiking, but it’s been very wet, so the ground is soft. Do not be surprised if you sink one half . . . maybe one meter into the earth.” We were looking around in disbelief. “If this happens, do not panic. Just relax. Don’t wiggle. Signal for my attention. I will come and help you free.”
“Help us free?” I whispered to Peter.
“Yes, help you free.” Xavier’s ears were keen. “It is sometimes very difficult to free yourself from this earth, so use caution. Now we go.” He began walking up the bank and suddenly stopped.
“Also, you will see me eat things. Do not eat things unless I give them. If you do, you may die. I’m very sorry for this but it is your own fault. Don’t eat anything unless I give you,” he repeated. “I won’t give you everything I eat. Why? Because not all are good. Eating plant is not about good plant and bad plant. It is about good plant at good time. Not good plant at bad time. And there is never good time to eat bad plant. So no eating unless I give it. Okay? Now we go.” We all nodded and started following him up the hill. Once again he suddenly stopped.
“Also, do not touch things. Sometimes, plants have defenses that will make you very sick, or will make you die. Sometimes plants have insects on them that will sting or bite you. This can also make you very sick or die. Sometimes plant isn’t plant but insect. These are very cool and most won’t sting or bite you. If you see this, do not touch but alert me so that I can show you. Okay?” I was relieved that at least one thing wasn’t going to kill me.
“It’s like we’re marching into certain death,” Peter said as we laughed.
“Also,” Xavier said, “one last thing, and then we go. Sometimes, plants or bug touch you. This happens. Plants grow over trail, bugs fly through air and hit you. This will happen. Mostly you’ll be okay. Maybe, once in a while, this makes you sick or kills you. It’s very sad and I’m sorry. This is not your fault.” He paused for a second. “Oh, the animals. I almost forgot the animals! The jungle is full of many animals. Do not touch the animals. Some are very dangerous. Not as dangerous as the plants and bugs, but there is still danger. Watch where you step. The snakes and rodents will sometimes use our trail. The snakes are dangerous. The rodents are unpleasant. Either way, try not to step on them. Sometimes a snake will drop from the tree. This is bad. But not very often. If you feel pee, don’t look up. Monkey pee stings the eyes. Very bad. Okay, now we go.”
Finally Xavier’s disclaimer was over and we were off on our certain-death march. Whatever fear of the forest he’d put into our hearts vanished under the beauty of the canopy. The sounds of life we’d been hearing beneath the rumble of the bus amplified tenfold. The jungle was electrifying. Sunlight filtered down to the ground in ever-changing locations, spotlighting endless shades of green.
About the Author: www.onmakingoff.com, or on twitter @onmakingoff.
Careful is a coming of age story. Tyler Gibbons, from whose point of view the story unfolds, went on a journey. When he was 16 he became an exchange student to Ecuador. The reader discovers the experiences, human interactions and inner turmoil the teen encounters through flashbacks. The vehicle for these flashbacks is a revelation Tyler finally grants his mother. 20 years after his visit to Ecuador he reveals the life-altering secrets that turned a 16 year old boy into a man.
A literary piece, Anderson tells this story with clarity and an unvarnished exploration of the human spirit. The prose demonstrate good flow though the pace lags here and there. Overall a good book.
Book Bling gives this novel 4 STARS!
The second book in a deliciously sexy new series from USA Today bestselling and RITA award winning author Caroline Linden, in which an utterly shocking book--Fifty Shades of Grey for the Regency era-- has all of London talking and gives more than one young miss a mind for scandal.
Sometimes it takes a scandal . . .
Abigail Weston has everything: beauty, wit, and one of the largest dowries in England. Her parents hope she’ll wed an earl. Abigail hopes for a man who wants her desperately and passionately. But the money seems to blind every man she meets-except one.
Sebastian Vane has nothing. He came home from war with a shattered leg to find his father mad and his inheritance gone. He’s not a fit suitor for anyone, let alone an heiress. But Abigail lights up his world like a comet, bright and beautiful and able to see him instead of his ruined reputation. And it might end happily ever after . . .
Until Benedict Lennox begins courting Abigail. Ben is everything Sebastian isn’t-wealthy, charming, heir to an earl. Sebastian won’t give up the only girl he’s ever loved without a fight, but Abigail must choose between the penniless gentleman who moves her heart, and the suitor who is everything her parents want.
“If I don’t disgust you, why won’t you speak to me? There was only that one moment, when you told me about the lost grotto, when I felt we were cordial.”
He heaved a soundless sigh. “I’m speaking to you now, aren’t I?”
“Without saying anything,” she grumbled. “We are neighbors, sir. Surely we can have an amiable relationship.”
With unexpected speed and grace he whirled on her. Abigail nearly tripped as she leapt back once, then again until her back hit a tree as he stalked toward her. He loomed over her, so close she could see the lines around his eyes but not so close he was touching her. “Amiable,” he whispered. “We will never be amiable.”
“Why not?” she stammered. Her heart was beating a tattoo inside her chest.
He smiled, but there was nothing light about it. It was a black and bitter expression, and the sight made her eyes grow wide. “Because I am a wicked man, Miss Weston. Don’t you listen to the gossip? Madness runs in my family. My estate is utterly ruined. People call me a thief. They even say I killed my father. Ask anyone in town, and they’ll warn you to stay far, far away from me. To a beautiful, innocent young woman, I might as well be the devil incarnate.”
“Did you kill your father?” As soon as the words left her mouth, Abigail wished them back.
“What do you think?” he asked in the same soft, dangerous tone.
She frowned. “I doubt it.”
“But you don’t know. That should warn you to run away.”
She stared at him. “You intrigue me.”
He leaned closer. In confusion she closed her eyes. “And you intrigue me,” he replied, his breath stirring the hair at her temple. “That’s why I avoid you.”
Georgette Heyer lovers take heart! Linden must have been a fan, too, because she's got the mood and character-driven romance nailed.
But her "girls love the bad boys" theme has a modern tune, thankfully, and her heroine is not a milksop hero-worshiper as in the days of the infamous bodice rippers.
The heart-wrenching "what I want versus what everyone is telling me I should do," dilemma drives the plot, with heiress Abigail Weston as the spotlight spawnling of the typical ambiious parental units. Not only is she hopelessly drawn to the rakishly handsome Sebastian Vale (even his name screams sexy he-man) , but the very things that make him "off-limits" intrigue her rather than sending up red flags.
The story is well written, and though not a timeless classic it contains all the essential ingredients that keep an historical romance fan reaching for the Avon label. Once there, they will seek out Caroline Linden again and again.
Book Bling gives this historical romance 4 blings!
Caroline Linden was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer software before turning to writing fiction. Ten years, twelve books, two Red Sox championships, and one dog later, she has never been happier with her decision. Her books have won the NEC Reader’s Choice Beanpot Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and RWA’s RITA Award. Since she never won any prizes in math, she takes this as a sign that her decision was also a smart one. Visit her online at www.carolinelinden.com
From USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke comes the story of a bargain, a marriage of convenience…and the chance for love to last a lifetime
They had a deal…
From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she’s delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.
But deals are made to be broken…
By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family’s enormous debts, and Edie’s terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it’s time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?
The image of her moonlit face, as luminous and smooth as alabaster, flashed across his mind, as vivid now as it had been that fateful night at Hanford House—so vivid, in fact, that despite his many efforts over the years not to think of her, he’d failed more often than he’d succeeded. It had been her image that invaded his dreams during his delirium-filled fever, not the dangerous events that had nearly killed him. Even now, he could hear her voice clearly, so resolute and uncompromising. That you never, ever come back.
Well, as he’d told her then, never was a long time. Circumstances changed, and plans went awry. His certainly had. He turned on the carriage seat, grimacing as he shifted his weight onto one hip and stretched out his leg. The sea voyage from Mombasa to Constantinople hadn’t been too bad, even without Jones. He felt another grimace of pain that had nothing to do with his leg, and he put his valet out of his mind. Jones was gone, and there was nothing he could do about that. He focused on the pain in his leg instead. That was easier to bear. On the ship, he’d been able to move about freely, but trains and carriages were a different matter. The muscles of his thigh had knotted up before he’d even reached Rome, and by now they were so constricted that he felt his right leg must surely be at least an inch shorter than his left.
“What happened to your leg?”
Stuart glanced at the girl seated opposite him. “Do you always ask impertinent questions?”
That made her grin. “All the time. It drives Mrs. Simmons mad.”
“I don’t doubt it. But to answer your question, I was mauled by a lioness.”
Her brown eyes went wide. “Really? How exciting.”
Stuart settled back in the corner of his seat, giving her a wry look. He unknotted his tie and removed his collar stud, something he’d been longing to do ever since he’d put them on. Nothing like a stiff, tight collar to remind a man of all that was wrong with civilization.
Laura takes hot and sexy to a tantalizing height in this sexually taunt historical romance. Her characters are witty and interesting, sparring with words as well as kisses.
Her fiesty heiroine, the socially-ruined American heiress, Edie, dares to propose a marriage of convenience with a British Duke! Her only requirement? He has to leave England forever. After all, Edie figures, what could be better for a marriage than a forever-absent groom?
What indeed? How about a intimately present, heart-stopping sexy, and very possessive husband wannabe? His proposal? To have a marriage that is more than a sham, a wife that is more than a fleeting memory, and a life that is filled with love, passion and all the things "real" marriages have in common.
This is a great read. The author chose an American as a "strong," "Independent," and "opinionated" heroine.
Book Bling gives this historical romance 4 1/2 blings!
Laura Lee Guhrke spent seven years in advertising, had a successful catering business, and managed a construction company before she decided writing novels was more fun. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Laura has penned over twenty historical romances. Her books have received many award nominations, and she is the recipient of romance fiction’s highest honor: the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. She lives in the Northwest with her husband (or, as she calls him, her very own romance hero), along with two diva cats and a Golden Retriever happy to be their slave. Laura loves hearing from readers, and you can contact her via her website: www.lauraleeguhrke.com.
USA Today bestselling author Gayle Callen concludes her new series with a tale of generosity, passion, and the true kindness of the heart.
A duke who needs to be tamed…a lady who refuses to be rescued.
Adam Chamberlin was the third son of a duke, known for gambling binges and drunken nights. No one expected anything of him …until tragedy strikes. Now Adam is the new Duke of Rothford, determined to right the wrongs he’s done. Except a secret in his past means helping the one woman who doesn’t want his help at all…
It’s not every day that a duke introduces himself to a woman sitting by herself in Hyde Park. Faith Cooper is even more surprised when Adam offers her a position as a lady’s companion to his elderly aunt. Faith refuses to be beholden to a man again-certainly not this man, who both infuriates and attracts her. But with the simmering passion between them, will Faith surrender to forbidden desire?
Adam Chamberlin sat alone in his London study, preoccupied once again by the astonishing realization that he was now the Duke of Rothford—he, the youngest of three sons, who’d been called a scoundrel and a rake and worse by his own brothers. For many years he’d taken great pleasure in living up to that. He and his younger sister were the offspring of his father’s second marriage to a much younger woman who’d brought little but beauty to the family, not property or connections. Adam’s brothers had never let him forget it, although always out of earshot of their father.
He’d deserved Society’s scorn once upon a time; he’d even reveled in it—anything to prove to his brothers that their threats and their condemnation didn’t matter to him.
Before joining the army, he’d never been responsible for anything or anyone. But the Eighth Dragoon Guards had shown him that a man could be judged on his honorable deeds, not his ancestors or his money. He’d been able to start over, to support himself instead of holding his breath waiting for his father to die and his brothers to make good on their threats of cutting him off.
A hunka-hunka-burning man cake! The cover model for Redemption of the Duke looks the part of a crowded bookstore shelf attention-getter! I know I'd reach for it.
As to the content, Gayle Callen introduces stubborn to unmoveable. If that's not a setup for conflict, what is? Even the reformed third-son wastrel turned military reformed Duke Alan Chamberlin may not be a match for controlling-man-conscious Faith Cooper.
It's hard to help someone who doesn't want to be helped, and difficult to make society forget a troubled past. Titles and money do help. Always.
Alan is self-confident. Just entering a room he commands a presence,. It wasn't just the wealth and title though. With him it was the experiences and maturation of a man at war. Soldiers quickly learn to do what must be done and think of consequences to others. If only Faith didn't resent having a man supervise her. With quickly escalating sexual awareness, Faith seems unlikely to be able to resist him for long. But will he still want her if he finds out she's not the innocent he believes?
Some unexpected plot elements make this story stand out from the rest. A must read for those who love steamy, sexy reads
Book Bling gives this story 4 Blings!
After a detour through fitness instructing and computer programming, Gayle Callen found the life she’d always dreamed of as a romance writer. This USA Today bestselling author has written more than eighteen historical romances for Avon Books, and her novels have won the Holt Medallion and the Laurel Wreath Award.
Gayle lives in Central New York with her three children, her dog, Apollo, and her husband, Jim the Romance Hero.
Visit her website at www.gaylecallen.com.
Sonya Gou has a major issue. Her guardian keeps her safe from threats against her life and his heart. How can she survive being so close to the one man she cannot have?
Zihao Liang. Guardian. Warrior. Earthen. Blood sworn to protect the Gou's treasure, Sonya, he has put his love for her beneath a sacred vow to protect her at all cost.
Zihao and Sonya must put their love to the test when a powerful enemy threatens all they hold dear.
Meet Zihao: Guardian. Warrior. Dragon Shifter. Earthen.
Hello. My name is RaeLynn Blue and I’m an erotic romance author. I write primarily urban fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction sub-genres of erotic romance. Recently I had the distinct pleasure to score time with Zihao, a dragon shifter, guardian and warrior. He’s also the hero in my EARTHEN: A DRAGON’S KEEP STORY.
This is truly a treat. In light of events that happened recently, it was generous of Zihao to sit down with us to discuss what is often a hidden and misunderstood people—dragon shifters. You read that right. Dragon shifters.
Dragon shifters only surfaced or came out into the last few fifty years. Much is not known about them and even more is wrought with error, myth, and rumor. Although not a high-ranking official in the XingXan clan’s council, but any insight we can gleam about this often secret world, I readily took!
Below is the cusp of our interview:
RB: Thank you for meeting with us today. Alaska is often freezing this time of year.
RB: So, what can you tell our readers about dragon shifters?
Zihao: Dragon shifters shift into dragons.
RB: What are you eating habits? Where do you live? What are some of your customs? Tell us some information about the daily lives of dragon shifters?
Zihao: We are omnivores, but as to our customs, well those must remain hidden. My tribe lives in a keep where our clan members live, mate, and breed.
RB: How is your clan organized?
Zihao: Our clan is organized by abilities. I am Earthen.
RB: What does the mean?
Zihao: I am a warrior. I am charged with protecting someone, uh, important.
RB: Ah, you hesitated there! I bet this person is very important. Am I right? Give us the scoop. Are you sweet on your charge?
Zihao: *Shoots out of his seat to a standing position.* Speaking of charge, I have spent too much time here. I must return to protect her. Good day.
RB: Well folks, I think we definitely touched a nerve. Did you catch it too? His charge? The important person he’s protecting is a she.
Of course, Zihao is just the latest edition to a long line of sexy dragon shifter heroes. If you haven't read my Dragon's Keep series, please grab copies today. Thank you again for having me here today.
RaeLynn Blue is the author of numerous tales of erotic contemporary romance and speculative romance. With an imagination that's varied and diverse, her tales explores love in all its many shades, situations and scenarios. She fell into romance stories at the ripe age of eleven and has been writing stories ever since. A humble scribbler of tales, RaeLynn is actively writing another story of lust, love, and romance.
“You’re of age this year.” Zihao said.
“Don’t remind me.” She glanced at him from the corners of her eyes to see his reaction. Like usual, he didn’t have one.
Instead he said, “Mating is not a death sentence.”
“That remains to be seen.”
“I’m not worried.”
Oh, liar, liar. She battled back the pinprick of tears in her eyes. Zihao read her like an open book.
She hated the idea of mating to someone she did not love. Her inner dragon rose at the thought of being pinned to some arrogant shifter, but what could she do? Her clan’s power and prestige made her a trophy for others looking to move up the political ranks of the dragon shifter world. Her father made good use of this knowledge and accepted many gifts from other clans whose sons hoped to be mated to her.
Inside her dragon rumbled angrily, and she blew out a slow sigh to settle her down.
At the root of her heartbreak lay Ziaho. Her pride in her clan stood only to be challenged by her love for him. As an earthen dragon, a dilong, Ziaho could only control the earth and when his kind shifted, they tended to resemble more garden snake than dragon. To quote her father, Zihao’s clan lacked the grace of flight, the fierceness of firebreathing, or the elegance of seadragons. If earthen dragons ranked lower on the list of dragon abilities, Zihao’s family held up the rear.
“It’s an old fashion idea, using women as pawns in a modern day chess set. We live in a new millennium. I’m an independent woman. We’re long removed from the keep and into the human world. In this country, women have rights, freedoms…” Sonya turned to look at Zihao.
Would her words reach his heart? Damn it. She couldn’t keep her voice from trembling with unshed tears. Sighing, she caught her rant before it grew a tail and wrapped itself around her throat. Even the walls had ears and mouths in the keep.
They spoke to her parents about everything that occurred.
And her uncle, Elder Gou.
With a weary glance at Zihao, she realized the irony of the situation. Assigned to be her protector, he hailed from the origin country, China like most of the dragon shifters’ rulers and the royal court, to which her family had once belonged. Zihao’s flawless English hid his guardian rank. Most earth dragons never spoke at all—only guarded what they’d been ordered to protect or spent decades digging out mountains and hills, to create keeps for dragons of a higher caste.
“It may be traditional, but it is our way. It keeps you safe.”
“You have kept me safe.”
Hearing the sharpness of her tone, Zihao’s face hardened. Narrow eyes, flat nose, thin but kissable lips he resembled most of Longwei tribe. His dark burning eyes flashed, his own dragon rising at the bitterness in her tone, no doubt, but he quickly calmed. Falling into silence, he crossed his arms over his muscular chest and faded back into the cavern’s shadows.
“I’m sorry. I’m just annoyed. It’s a double standard and it’s inconsistent.”
“Shush, Sonya…” Zihao’s voice rumbled in warning just loud enough for her to hear.
“No, hear me out…” Sonya left the window’s light and ventured further into the room. Candles lapped at the quiet. “No one finds it odd that you are here alone with me, a single 28 year old woman—in my bedroom. I’m of mating age and you’re a dragon too.”
She stopped directly in front of him. Her chin came to the top of his well-defined adnominal muscles, a foot shorter. Taking a deep breath, Sonya looked up and like always her heart whirled in joy.
Hands on her hips. “See my point?”
“I am your dilong. You are the Gou’s treasure. I am blood sworn to protect you.”
She touched his face, cupping his cheek in her open palm. His new growth scratched her palm.
“Does that mean you wouldn’t lay down with me, in that bed?” She inclined her head to her king¬size bed draped in seafoam green linens. It had become her only saving grace in the sparsely¬furnished space, the one piece of furniture no dragon’s nest went without—a mating bed.
Zihao became more still. Only a year older, he’d been charged with her protection since she turned 16. Her older dilong died during yet another assassination attempt on her life. He’d been Zihao’s father.
After the violent loss of his father, he’d been made her protector, her earthen wall, her mountain.
“To do so, Son, is death,” he croaked.
“Zihao…” She tiptoed and tried to kiss him.
He gently held her shoulders and moved her back a few steps before returning to his original position. “We cannot be as we once were.”
“Why?” She bit her lip to stem the sob of regret in her throat.
“Because we are not what we once were. I am your dilong. Nothing more.”
Tears gathered but she did not let them fall. Anger burned them away within seconds. They had been young, but they were in love. She loved him still. Her parents forbid it, but they loved anyway. When Zihao’s father died, they took pleasure in making him her bodyguard. They wanted it to be a lifetime of torment and torture—to be so close to what he could not have—all because she and Zihao had defied their orders. Her parents believed themselves to be protecting her, but in fact they had only succeeded in making her resent them more.
Zihao shook his head as he dusted off her dress. “You had to push it.”
Sonya swallowed the remnants of pain. The burning sensation had gone now that its source had
left too. How could she make him understand that she loved him and no other dragon would ever do? Ever?
Her dragon only glowed and warmed for him—at the sound of his voice, at the thud of his steps, and the glance from his eyes and the sound of her name on his tongue.
She didn’t say any of those things, but instead gave the answer that would invoke the least amount of emotional anguish.
“I had to stand my ground.”
“So you did.”
Sonya nodded. “No matter how many breaths I take, I still feel like I’m drowning here.”
“I would never let that happen,” Zihao vowed.
Zihao is a dilong, a dragon who does not breath fire or fly. Instead, he has powers over the earth. I have not read any of the previous books, but Air and Fire seem to have been addressed. The earthen dragons are considered a lower caste, and are assigned as guardians to other dragons or other valuables.
Zihao is Sonya's guardian, and unfortunately for them both, he is in love with her, but is forbidden to be her mate. Enter sexual tension. He would, however, lay down his life for her, and for a while it looks like he might have to.
Blue has a strong voice, and I was very happy to see that there is a strong plot line, and the characters are fleshed out as real "shifters" with real "human" problems and needs.
The descriptions and language immediately develops the setting and mood of the piece, and readers who are looking for something more in an exotic story will not be disappointed.
Book Bling gives this story 4 blings!
Coming or Going Marshmallow Fondant is Yummy!
Easy Cookie Monster Favorite!
Chicks Love Coconut, Molded Chocolate & Rolled Fondant Too!
Face It, Frosting Is Always A Favorite For Everybunny!
Chocolate Covered Almonds?!!
Edible Grass? Why Not?
Chocolate Shards & Easter Malted Eggs
I blog there the 18th of each month!
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