THE LADY’S ARRANGEMENT by Colleen L. Donnelly / Released May 31, 2017 by The Wild Rose Press
Ben was tall, and he felt even taller as he took a step closer and leaned my way. “It takes two to bind a contract, and since I’ve just withdrawn, your arrangement is null and void. And just so you know, you can thank your lucky stars I’m not staying to marry you, because I take surprises a lot better than I take orders.” His eyes stayed on mine until his gaze traveled from my face down to my boots. “And wearing trousers doesn’t make you any more suited to giving orders than wearing a skirt would make me fit for giving birth.”
My nails dug into my palms as I rolled my hands into fists. A word I’d heard Ted say when a pail slid off his bad arm came to mind. The word was immoral, but probably not too immoral for Ben Miller. “Just so you know, Mr. Miller, I’ve been running this ranch for three weeks now, in pants. I find skirts get in the way of things you’d probably be surprised I can do.”
The half-smile returned. “I won’t argue that. Skirts surely do get in the way.” Ben straightened and slapped his hat tighter on his head. “Been my experience, too.
Fortunately, neither one of us has to put up with one, since you can keep right on doing things the way you have been. I’m giving you an early parting. I’m leaving.”
Romance / Fantasy – ghosts / Released May 5, 2017 by The Wild Rose Press
Blurb Jody has been a conduit for ghosts her entire life. Not only do they come to her for help, but at times she experiences what they feel when they die. This gift or curse comes at a high personal cost—especially when a child is involved. There’s not a man alive who is willing to compete with troubled spirits.
Jared, a wealthy and determined high-powered P.I., has lived without love his entire life. In business if he wants something, he goes after it with a vengeance and is usually not denied. His life experiences have taught him that believing and trusting in others is a dead end street.
But on one magical night Jared meets Jody, and they soon find themselves on the brink of falling in love. But will the spirits surrounding Jody relinquish their hold on her in order for Jared to stake his claim or will their love disappear in an ethereal puff of smoke?
Startled from a deep sleep, Jody opened her eyes to find a young child’s misty form sitting on the bed—tears streaming down her face. As it often happened with kids that cry for any length of time, the poor little girl’s sobs were punctuated with hiccups.
Groggy from sleep, her first instinct had her reaching out to embrace the small girl and offer whatever solace she could. Tendrils of unease spiraled through Jody’s body when her fingers unexpectedly encountered cold air instead of warm flesh. Her mind roused instantly. She knew at once this child was dead. Spirits had none of the warmth of the living—though they possessed all the same passions.
As she rose to a sitting position, her heart couldn’t help but break for the tiny, cherubic girl who somehow had found a way onto her bed. The heavy weight of the child’s despair settled squarely on Jody’s shoulders. As the realization of the spirit visitation hit home, she found herself in the unenviable position of having no clue how to appease the little girl. She’d just have to stay the course and watch as the child exhausted her pain-laden tears enough to calm herself and speak her mind. Maybe that was all the little angel wanted from her.
Waiting through the weeping and hiccups proved to be agonizing. Several tense minutes passed until finally this beautiful little girl with auburn hair raised her cobalt blue eyes to gaze into Jody’s soul. “I’m Fiona. I want to talk to my mommy and daddy.”
Stricken by the sad message, Jody’s breath caught in her throat. Her hand instinctively covered her heart, trying unsuccessfully to repel the grief radiating from this tiny apparition. The emotional turmoil Fiona expelled dampened Jody’s soul and weighed heavily on her. Anxiety rolled off the child’s spirit in waves and crashed into her body. Each new surge of emotion left Jody feeling battered as if being caught between an angry ocean and steep rock cliffs with no means of escape.
Warning bells blared in Jody’s head. Her empathic abilities were on high alert. Under these conditions, she’d never be able to distance herself from the onslaught of the little ghost girl’s crippling emotions. Unable to separate herself from the child’s grief made coming up with the appropriate response to soothe Fiona impossible.
“Oh, baby, I’m so sorry you’re hurting.” Her heart broke for this child as well as the mother and father who had lost her. She couldn’t imagine how parents found the strength to cope with the loss of one so young and sweet.
“I sit with my mommy all the time, but she can’t see me. She can’t hear me. When I try to touch her, she doesn’t feel me. I’ve tried to talk to my daddy too, but he’s so worried about mommy that he…he…” The poor little girl couldn’t continue.
Fiona’s bottom lip started to quiver as she fought valiantly to control her tears. Witnessing the sheer determination in that small gesture made Jody’s pulse race. The ghost girl caught her lip between her teeth to quell the tremors. The show of absolute strength in that gesture was duly noted. The young child trying her best to suppress her emotions alerted Jody to the importance of this visitation. It saddened her to see one so young digging that deep to gain the power needed to stabilize such debilitating emotions. The fortitude required for such a feat was impressive.
Nick arrived right on time, looking gorgeous in faded jeans and a plain white t-shirt. How did he always manage to start the butterflies fluttering in her stomach? Just by standing there with the setting sun framing him? She was in trouble.
“Hi beautiful, ready to go?” He clasped her face in his hands and planted a soft kiss on her lips.
Returning his kiss, Sophie wound her arms around his neck and deepened it. She couldn’t resist. His strong arms wrapped around her waist, hugging her close to his broad chest.
“Mmmm, feel free to greet me like that every time I come over,” he said, lips curved up into a sweet smile.
Heat washed her cheeks and she returned his smile. “Let’s go. Prepare to be blown away by the movie snack of the century.”
Determined to keep things light and enjoy the movie before “the talk,” Sophie thrust down the lick of panic bubbling in her gut. She’d accomplished next to nothing all afternoon, instead wrestling with whether she needed to tell him about Doug.
The angel on her shoulder whispered to tell him because if they were going to have any kind of relationship, even a friends-with-benefits one, honesty and trust were vital.
The devil urged her to zip it. They’d only known each other a few weeks. What if he lived up to his “Player of Laguna” reputation and expected only a fun fling? Even though he seemed deeper than that. What if she scared him off with a premature talk?
Claire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress. Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga. She teaches at studios, online for the international website http://www.yogadownload.com and also has a Yoga for Cancer Recovery DVD.
Claire is a sought-after speaker on the power of yoga and meditation for cancer survivors. She’s been published in numerous magazines with articles on wellness and has written a memoir on her experience as a breast cancer survivor. Her debut novel, Second Chance in Laguna, won best unpublished contemporary romance in the Molly and third place in the Maggie. The Wild Rose Press will publish it in March 2017. Check out a teaser here: Second Chance in Laguna. She’s hard at work on the second and third novels in the Finding Forever in Laguna series. Claire is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the San Diego Romance Writers.
For Women Only – Antonello Brothers 2
Publisher Romance Lives Forever Books
Author Kayelle Allen
Genre science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, sweet romance
In this scene from For Women Only, Khyff has received a notereader (a tablet-type device) filled with information about his mother, who died when he was three. More info is available, but at what price?
Khyff flung himself back in his chair. Every time he and his brother talked, they ended up arguing. He rubbed a hand across his eyes. The pleasant meal they’d started lay almost untouched and any appetite he’d had was gone.
It had taken seconds to read the all too short bio of their mother that his brother was perusing now.
Sileenya Antonello had run away from home on Trien at age ten and been arrested for theft at eleven. While still on probation, she’d disappeared at thirteen and been arrested at age fourteen for unlicensed prostitution. When her pregnancy test had come back positive, they’d placed her back on probation. She’d run away again and been fifteen when she’d given birth to Khyff.
Two years later she began living with an armada-enlisted man who transferred to Felidae, taking Sileenya and Khyff with him, but then he abandoned them. Her next boyfriend addicted her to drugs and prostituted her to newly recruited male Kin soldiers eager to spend their first pay to experience sex with a human female. When she became pregnant, he transferred off-planet, leaving them to fend for themselves.
An Elder of the Ruh clan found Sileenya huddled in an alley during a thunderstorm, holding the nearly lifeless Khyff in her arms. A scant month later, the Tzesar of the Kin ordered the halfbreed newborn destroyed, but the elder intervened and sold Senth to slavers to save his life.
Sileenya and Khyff had been cast into the streets.
Days later, she was dead by her own hand and Khyff was a slave. Senth ended up at an orphanage where he was later adopted by Luc Saint-Cyr.
Senth poked at the notereader’s buttons. “This thing is encrypted. What if the Empress knows who my father is? Don’t I have a right to know that? You have to talk to her. Find out what she wants. Maybe she’ll give you the key.”
“Destoiya’s not going to give me information without demanding a favor. I have nothing left to give that woman. She’s already taken way too much.”
“Khyff, that’s unfair. I need this. You can’t ice up and go all mental.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
His brother growled, a predatory cat sound that made the hair on Khyff’s neck stand up. He scrambled out of his chair and stepped back from the table.
“That”–Senth pointed a finger at him–“is what I mean. I do anything Kin-like and you freak. Get hold of yourself, Khyff. You’re falling apart. The brother I knew two years ago would’ve done whatever it took to find out who his father was. He would’ve helped me find mine.”
Khyff shoved his chair under the table and leaned over it. “Don’t lecture me about doing whatever it takes. If it wasn’t for me interceding with Destoiya, you’d be dead.”
“I’d be dead? I rescued you, in case you don’t remember.”
“NarrAy rescued me. You were unconscious. I carried you in my arms when we transported back aboard the ship. You had nothing to do with it.”
Senth stood. “If it hadn’t been for me, we wouldn’t have gotten in the palace and found you.”
“If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have been a captive in the first place!” He stepped around the chair and set a hand on the corner of the table. “I got my freedom and the next day Destoiya held me hostage to control you.”
This book is free on Kindle Unlimited and only 99 cents until March 31st
Science Fiction and Fantasy author Kayelle Allen is the winner of the 2010 EPIC award for Science Fiction and the 2008 Honorable Mention for Science Fiction Fantasy. She is the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers, a peer-mentoring group. She is married, has three grown children, and five grandchildren. Kayelle and her husband met and married while they were both on active duty in the US Navy. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.
KAYELLE ALLEN is a best-selling American author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.
How important is setting to your story?
In FOR WOMEN ONLY, the characters meet on a world alien to the heroine. They continue and bond their relationship on a world alien to the hero. Being alien, being different, is vital to the plot.
Which is more important characters or setting?
Unless you’re writing a travelogue, it’s the characters. They are what people rave about and what they remember about a book. I’ve had many emails from readers who said they loved this or that character, but setting is mentioned only in passing. “I’d like to live in the Tarthian Empire,” one wrote. But many have emailed and messaged me online about Khyff, Senth, Luc, Izzorah, and the other people in my stories.
Are any of your characters loosely based on people you know in real life?
I will claim the fifth on that. Of course not. (Batting my eyes innocently.)
Do you people watch for character inspiration?
It’s a hazard of the profession. I’ve come up with some great characters after a trip to the dentist, airport, grocery store, park, you name it.
Do you have a favorite fictional character by another author you’d like to meet?
Ooh, I would totally love to meet Roarke, from JD Robb’s In Death series.
What do you hope readers take away from your work?
That being yourself and accepting others is the best way to enjoy life. There are themes of betrayal as well. All of us have faced betrayal in some form. The thing is, how do you handle it? As my hero in Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas says “Enemies will never betray you. Betrayal is reserved for family and friends.” I deal with that in my books. But I also sprinkle in humor and hope readers will be caught off guard by a funny moment, and come away laughing.
Do you have an interesting quirk about your personality that you’d like to share?
I’m crazy organized with my writing and anything related to it. I will find the easiest way to do something and then organize it, label it, and stack it neatly where it belongs. But do not make the mistake of thinking I keep house the same way. Sad, sad, sad. Not the same world at all. I’m a writer. I’m entitled to be messy somewhere. It’s part of my inspiration. (You believe me, don’t you?)
Which book impacted you as a teenager?
Reading the Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov. That series made me think about how an effect now could change the future. I created the Sempervian race as a direct result of considering that. If you live forever, you would see the effect of what you did today. So that became the basis for many stories in which they’re found, including At the Mercy of Her Pleasure and For Women Only, books 1 and 2 in the Antonello Brothers series.
What social media do you participate in?
I love Twitter and follow the #Thranduil hashtag every single day. If you’ve seen the Hobbit movies you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, Google his name and you’ll get it. I also use Facebook every day, I actively host authors on my guest blog, Romance Lives Forever, and I share to Pinterest, G+ and my Tumblr. But the one that takes most of my time and attention is Twitter.
In this scene Anna has been living with Nic for 6 weeks now. He’s been kind and generous to her and her daughter, and he’s starting to awaken passions in her she didn’t think were possible to feel again. In this scene, she’s been having nightmares about her abusive ex-husband, and Nic’s presence soothes her, so he spends the night in her bed. When she wakes the next morning, she finds herself drawn to him and kisses while he sleeps. He wakes and catches her, then suggests she try again while he’s awake.
His gaze dipped for a moment before meeting hers again. “Kiss me, and I’ll show you what it’s like.” Her heart launched itself into her throat and beat like a hummingbird’s wings. Oh God. She jerked her gaze to the windows lining the wall, focused on the bits of sunlight peeking through the mini blinds, and shook her head. Every inch of her trembled.
“I’m not seducing you, Anna. You want to know. I’m willing to be your guinea pig.”
Out of Boundsis the first in the Out of Uniform series which centers on a group of naval aviators and the challenges they face after leaving the Navy. In Out of Bounds, Avery Madigan and Connor St. James are long-time competitors who reconnect at a retirement ceremony. Both have matured over the years and are ready to put their rivalry behind them. They even agree to a vacation fling. However, just as each considers something more, fate intervenes. Old wounds are reopened and trust is destroyed. In order to give their fledgling love a second chance, rule-follower Avery must learn to bend and Connor has to mend his maverick ways.
What led you to write this book?
I come from a military family, and the men and women of our armed forces are the ultimate heroes in my opinion. At one point in my life, I was friends with several naval aviators. I’ve never met a more arrogant group of people, but I’d be pretty cocky too if I could set a super-sonic aircraft on a spot the size of a postage stamp. I love their bravery and sacrifice as well as their confidence. Crafting characters inspired by those men and women has been my way of supporting their efforts.
Do you have a favorite fictional character by another author you’d like to meet?
I’d pay big bucks to meet any of the vampires in J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood world.
Do you have an interesting quirk about your personality that you’d like to share?
I like to be prepared for any possibility. You never know when disaster—or opportunity—might strike. Not only to I have a well thought out “bug out bag,” I never leave home without my passport and a pair of clean panties.
What is #1 on your bucket list?
I would love to be able to take my extended family on a vacation.
Have you ever written a scene that ‘creeped’ you out?
I wrote a murder scene for an upcoming book that gave me nightmares. It takes place in a hospital garden very similar to a meditation garden I’ve been in. It’s closed in on all sides by the different hospital wings and would be the perfect place for a villain to trap his victim. Now I can’t go into that garden anymore.