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N.J. Walters: Sibling Rivalry
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

I have a sister who is less than two years older than me, but we never really had any sibling rivalry. I think it’s because we were so totally different. She was outgoing, I was a quiet homebody. If she liked something in clothing or jewelry, chances were I hated it. So we never borrowed each other’s clothing. She was a night owl, I was a morning person. We actually got along well for sisters and often hung out with one another. We still do.

I also have a younger brother. He’s almost ten years younger than I was. There was never any resentment when he came along, even though I’d been the youngest for almost a decade. My sister and I were thrilled. We had a real live doll to play with. LOL I can remember my sister and I arguing over whose turn it was to take him for a walk in his carriage. Today, my brother and I are great friends. We often have breakfast out on Saturday mornings and hit the thrift stores together.

So although a lot of people talk about sibling rivalry, it’s really something I can’t relate to. I love my siblings. But as much as I love them, I can’t even begin to imagine what it must feel like to be part of a set of twins—the closeness, the connection. But that’s exactly what I’ve done in my Salvation Pack series.

Sage and Reece Gallagher are not only twins, they’re werewolves. Well, they’re half-breed werewolves. (Three-quarter-breeds if you want to get technical.) Reece can shift while his brother can’t. They have no idea why. That’s a huge difference, but it’s never come between them and the bond they share.

Will a woman be the one to come between them? Reece has finally found the woman he wants to mate with—a half-breed living on her own in the city who is being hunted by a killer. What will happen if she decides she can’t live with his pack? And then there is the not so little matter of the killer to deal with…

Wolf in her Soul

She’s ready to run, but so tempted to stay…

Salvation Pack, Book 8

Detective Reece Gallagher is a long way from Salvation, North Carolina. He’s spent a decade in Chicago searching for her—the elusive red-haired woman who haunts his dreams. He knows nothing about her, only that she’s in trouble. After ten fruitless years, he’s ready to give up and go home.

Hannah Burdette is burdened with a secret that won’t allow her to get close to anyone. She’s a half-breed werewolf, targeted by a stalker who wants those of impure blood eliminated.

There’s something different about the arson/murder case Reece and his partner are working on. His heightened senses tell him there’s a werewolf involved. Even more shocking, it’s related to an assault case involving a beautiful redhead in trouble. A scared, wounded woman his wolf wants to protect as his own.

But first Reece must convince her she doesn’t have to be alone anymore. And he’s going to have to talk fast, because the killer has upped the ante—and now they’re both in danger.

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B01MUFGTWR
Samhain Publishing:
https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5861/wolf-in-her-soul
Barnes & Noble: https://goo.gl/t50uEp
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/wolf-in-her-soul

About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Visit me at:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/N.J.WaltersAuthor
Website: http://www.njwalters.com
Blog: http://www.njwalters.blogspot.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/njwaltersauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/NJWalters
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/njwalters
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-j-walters

Come see me in San Antonio! If you can’t make it, have FUN WITH DICK AND JAYNE!
Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Okay, so my hair’s shorter than that now, but you’ll recognize me still, I think. Short, chubby blonde in glasses. Oh wait, there will probably be a ton of us there. How about look for the one who’s constantly smiling? I can’t help myself. I think I was told that smiling was less work than frowning when I was a kid… And I’m lazy like that…

If you can’t make the booksigning, or want something to read to tide you over until the weekend, read on!

Fun with Dick and Jayne

Love mfm menage? Like a little BDSM-lite? Does an uptight cop and a free-spirited woman with a very generous dude already in her life interest you? How about humor? Because you know, sex can be damn funny…

Well then, I may just have the perfect story for you to indulge in on a lazy afternoon…

Seattle cop, Garrett Masters, knows what he’s doing can get him into trouble, but he can’t help himself. Every night as he arrives home, the blonde across the alley gets busy with her boyfriend with the blinds open. He’s spent the past two weeks getting an eyeful and falling deep into lust. But when Garrett sees a man in a black ski mask sneak into his sexy neighbor’s bedroom, he doesn’t know he’ll be the one captured.

Jayne has a nice life with a wonderful lover who sees to her every need, but she’s still drawn to the lonely man across the alley. She’s been sharing her darkest fantasies with him from afar but wants more. When she talks Richard into enacting a dangerous scenario, everything works out as planned. Only Garrett’s not happy about being played. And he’s got reservations, because she already has a lover, and he’s not into threesomes. Now Jayne has to convince him otherwise.

Get your copy here!

Donna Michaels: Want more cow bell?
Monday, February 20th, 2017

Hi, everyone! I’d like to thank Delilah for hosting me again. It’s always fun to play on her blog! Today I thought I’d talk briefly about secondary characters and how they sometimes steal the show, book, movie…etc.  Don’t you love them? You know who they are. R2D2. Jack the monkey from Pirates of the Caribbean. And my favorite, Niffler in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

This past November, I released IN A RANGER’S ARMS, my first book with Entangled, and also the first book in The Men of At Ease Ranch Series. It’s part of their Lovestruck line, which is a romantic comedy. They thrive on fun meet-cutes, where the Hero and Heroine first meet. I already knew my heroine was sent to Texas to sell gluten-free vegan food to meat lovers, but when it came to the meet cute, I immediately had a flash of black and white. That’s right. A cow.

Enter Lula Belle who seems to have stolen the series. She is lovesick cow with a crush on my hero, and she does not want Jovy in the picture. Lula Belle has such a personality it is hard to curb it. So I don’t. :) She had free reign to trickle through Books 2 and 3 as well. And there may be more, so you can bet the cow will make an appearance in all of them.

Book one is currently on sale for only .99 cents. I’d love for you to get to see Lula Belle in action.

In a Ranger’s Arms

No amount of training could’ve prepared him for her.

Former Army Ranger Stone Mitchum doesn’t have time for sex. Since starting a company with his brother and two buddies, he’s had more important things on his mind. Like transitioning veterans back into society. But when his curvy new tenant falls into his arms—literally—his libido snaps to attention.

Jovy Larson has four weeks to prove she’s worthy of taking over the family business. Her challenge? Sell gluten-free, vegan food—in the middle of cattle country, Texas. It’s a tough task, but not half as tough as fighting her attraction to her sexy, surly landlord.

Before she knows it, Jovy’s tangling sheets with the hot cowboy, stalked by a jealous cow, and strategizing ways to help Stone’s ranch. But by the time her lease runs out and the test is over, she’s faced with a new challenge…competing against Stone’s sense of duty to win his heart.

Get your copy here!

Excerpt:

When Jovy Larson’s grandfather had sent her to the middle of cattle country USA to open a gluten-free, vegan café in a contest to test her business skills against her cousin, she knew she would have to deal with some tough, and often unexpected, situations. Becoming a hit-and-moo victim of a rampaging cow had never made the list. Bovines weren’t exactly a common fixture in the City of Brotherly Love, despite the fact that Pennsylvania was one of the top five U.S. dairy farm states with over eight thousand farms. She’d never seen one up close. The clanging of the bell grew louder.

That was about to change. And fast. Mad-cow-charging fast.

With a startled gasp, she tried to scramble down the ladder, but it teetered under her feet and her hands ended up windmilling instead. Jovy’s last thought as she flew backward toward the large plate-glass storefront window was if she didn’t die, her cranky landlord was going to kill her.

Fully expecting to smash through the glass, she was shocked to hear a deep, sexy, panty-melting baritone claim, “I’ve got you,” a second before a tall cowboy appeared out of thin air to catch her with his rock-hard body. Two strong, muscular arms clamped around her before the momentum knocked them both to the ground.

Her mind was processing the fact that she was uncut and still alive, sprawled over the sexiest man she’d ever seen, when the stranger rolled them over to shield her from the falling ladder. The impact vibrated through his stiff frame.

Holy cow. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” Warm breath rushed over her neck and shoulders as he drew back to stare down at her. During the tussle, his hat fell off to reveal short black hair that didn’t quite reach his collar. “What about you? Are you all right?” Gray eyes, the color of a child’s prized marble, blinked at her in a worried frown.

Increasingly aware that she was now underneath the tall, sexy stranger, whose big, warm, firm hand was cupping her ass—and she liked it—Jovy cleared her throat. “Define ‘all right.’”

“Are you hurt?” He removed his palm from inside her shorts, the warm, tingling feeling dissipated along with his touch, until he shoved the ladder aside, sat up, and began to run both hands efficiently over the rest of her body.

Her sorely neglected body. A body doing an all hail Mr. Gray Eyes tremor. Lord have mercy, her good parts hadn’t been in contact with a male like this in over a year. Not since…

“Hey, miss? Answer me. Are you hurt?”

Hurt? She stifled a hysterical giggle. “No.”

Aroused? Oh, yeah. Big-time. And completely embarrassed by her reaction to the total stranger. She could explain away the tremors racking her body as shock, but not the beaded nipples plainly visible through her bra and tank top.

If he noticed them, he didn’t let on as his hands skimmed over her chest, neck, and shoulders.

She gritted her teeth, enjoying the scrape of his callus-roughened hands on her skin, doing her damnedest not to embarrass herself further by moaning.

Dumb body.

“You feel okay to me.”

Sitting up, she snickered. “Thanks, but…shouldn’t you buy me dinner first?”

Her Secret Ranger

As much fun as book one was to write, I have an even bigger blast with book 2. HER SECRET RANGER releases right around the corner on March 6th!!  And as I said, Lula Belle makes an appearance in here a few times, too.

Kissing the sexy soldier was a dare she couldn’t resist…

By-the-book event planner Beth Brannigan’s best friend dared her to kiss a cowboy. She should have said no. Instead, she said please…again and again. If her brother finds out she’s dating—okay, kissing—okay, sleeping with—one of his military buddies, he’ll kill her. Assuming he doesn’t kill his friend first.

Former Army Ranger Brick Mitchum isn’t a relationship kind of guy. But then he meets Beth and starts to wonder if maybe it’s time he settled down. She’s mysterious. Unpredictable. Curvy in every way he needs… And hiding something. He’s just got to figure out what.

You can find all of these military cowboys at my website:
www.donnamichaelsauthor.com

Who are some of your favorite secondary characters? I’d love to know.

A big thank you to Delilah for hosting me!

Thanks for reading,

~Donna

ABOUT DONNA MICHAELS

Donna Michaels is an award winning, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of Romaginative fiction. Her hot, humorous, and heartwarming stories include cowboys, men in uniform, and some sexy, primal alphas. With a husband in the military fulltime, and a household of nine, she never runs out of material to write, and has rightfully earned the nickname Lucy…and sometimes Ethel. From short to epic, her books entertain readers across a variety of sub-genres, and one has even being hand drawn into a Japanese translation. Now, if only she could read it.

If you’re interested in keeping up with Donna’s news, and exclusive contests, please sign up for her newsletter here:  http://tinyurl.com/zaxbqe6

You can also find her here:
Website:  www.donnamichaelsauthor.com
Like my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DonnaMichaelsAuthor
Follow my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Donna-Michaels/e/B008J24XR2/
Follow me on Twitter: @Donna_Michaels  https://twitter.com/Donna_Michaels
Follow me on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/Donna_Michaels
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/donnamichaels/

Brenna Zinn: Unmasked Secrets – BDSM and Male Strippers Do Mix!
Sunday, February 19th, 2017

Here’s a little secret about Austin, Texas that one might not know about unless you’re a lady actually living in or around Austin… Austin does NOT have a strip club for women.  Yes.  You read that right.  There are zero, nada, zip, zilch strip clubs for women in Austin, Texas.  Sounds crazy, I completely feel you, but it’s true.

I found this information out the hard way.  It was late. I was at a big birthday party for a girlfriend, and we all decided that a trip down to the local strip club would be an excellent way to wrap up what had already been a pretty fabulous party.  After looking everywhere on-line for a club, we concluded we were SOL (shoot out of luck).  A true downer and quite a shocking surprise.  After all, Austin is a good-sized city loaded with women.  How could it be that the city would have several clubs for men to see women dancing, but none available for women?

From this experience, an idea was born.  Why not create a fictional strip club for women based in the heart of Austin – South Congress Avenue? Imagine the fabulous characters who can work in the club or visit the club, I told myself. Why, there would be enough characters and situations to write an entire series of stories!

And I was right. There ARE loads of interesting characters and situations that I’ve invented for a new series, the Iron Rods Strip Club Series.  In Unmasked Secrets, a standalone book (book 2 in the series), readers meet the masked stripper whose stage name is The Dom. He uses a riding crop in his act and gives out pink collars studded with rhinestones to those ladies who hire him for private lap dances.

What readers discover in this book is why our hero needs a mask, as well his journey into the world of BDSM.  Here’s a the blurb…

Hannah Armstrong, the new principal of Santana High School is a complete ball buster, so Mack Garner, her drama teacher, thinks. Her cutbacks to his department’s budget will force him to scrimp on his students—something he refuses to do. The stubborn woman won’t listen to reason so he’s taking matters into his own hands. He devises a plan to secretly replenish the money that is surefire, as long as he’s not found out. By stripping under the stage name The Dom and using an ironclad disguise at Iron Rods, Austin’s only strip club for women, he and his hard body will have his program flush again and soon.

But Hannah Armstrong has secrets of her own. The rigid, by-the-rules school administrator harbors dark desires to surrender to the titillation of BDSM. She needs a man—a real man—who can melt her inhibitions and master her. Exploring the lifestyle is a dangerous proposition for a small town principal though. Any whiff of scandal would destroy her career. She’s nearly given up on the dream until she meets a masked Dom at Iron Rods. The gorgeous male stripper so far away in Austin seems like the perfect solution. Is there a chance she can satisfy her furtive fantasies without being discovered?

**Warning – this book contains BDSM elements, graphic sex and touches of humor.

This series, the Iron Rods Strip Club Series, is truly one from my heart, as well as my imagination. Austin, Texas, one of my favorite cities in the world, is key to the series.  If you’ve ever been there, perhaps you can understand my love for the place I hope stays weird forever.

Click a link to order your copy Unmasked Secrets.
Amazon
Kobo
Smashwords
iTunes

Here’s an excerpt from Unmasked Secrets.  If this doesn’t get your engine revving, then seek emergency medical help because you might be dead. *grin*

Unmasked Secrets  by Brenna Zinn.  All rights reserved.

“Please tell me,” she articulated each word slowly, ignoring his comment. “What will it take to get you to agree to teach math classes this summer?”

“Now that is a very interesting question. Yes, indeed. I need to give this a little thought.” He raised his head and brushed at the light stubble under his chin. “Hmm… This may take a little while. When do I need to get back to you?”

Hannah flattened her palms on the top of her desk, pushing her face within inches of his. “Take as much time as you need.”

Garner tapped the pad of a finger on his ripe lips. “I think I know.”

“Yes?” She prepared herself for what he might possibly dish out. A raise? More money for his program?

Sex?

Her lower extremities spasmed at the inappropriate thought. The scandalous ache in her breasts returned. Aside from the silent scream from her nipples to be suckled and bitten, the muscles in her bottom flexed with the desire to be spanked. The handsome blond with enticing blue eyes must surely be phenomenal in bed. All rough handling and forceful thrusts…

Damn it. Damn it. Damn it!

Her fantasies were rising too close to the surface. In her office during school hours was not the place or the time for imaginings of teeth bearing down on her skin or having her backside reddened. She absolutely had to stop reading those erotic books. Either that, or she had to find the kind of man who could properly relieve her sexual misery. The sooner, the better.

Garner snapped his fingers in front of her face. “You okay?”

Hannah blinked several times and shook her head. Goodness gracious and heaven above. She’d zoned out. Zoned out at work! Things were worse than she’d feared. “Absolutely,” she lied, fighting both her headache and the erotic charges surging through body. “You were saying something about what you want.”

“I want you to beg.” He offered a sadistic smile. “I want you to beg me to teach math this summer.”

“Beg?” A wash of cream flowed way down below, soaking her already moist panties. Her blood, heated and charged with arousal, sprinted through her veins. Was she dreaming?

Was he serious?

Had Garner somehow divined her dark secret?

Impossible.

She’d been so careful, saying absolutely nothing to anyone, not even her closest friend or sister, about her wicked desires. Which was exactly how things had to be. If anyone discovered the principal of Santana High School had anything to do with the world of bondage and submission, she could lose not only her job, but her career.

“Yes. I want you to beg.” His gaze bored into hers. “I want you to know how I felt when I came into this office and pleaded for you not to take money from the theater arts program.”

Though his demand raised the hackles on the back of her neck—how dare he, her subordinate, think to challenge her—an odd sense of relief mixed with sexual awareness swept through her body. His demand, arrogant and self-righteous, was far better than his having guessed her hidden desires. It also had her legs quivering with excitement.

Would she give in to his extreme bidding?

Did she have a choice?

Yes, of course she had choices, but none that worked as well. And, truth be told, did she really she want one?

A full beat passed, feeling more like minutes than seconds.

“Tick-tock, Ms. Armstrong,” he pressed.

She licked her lips as her mental debate continued.

Garner pointed to his watch. “You’re wasting my prep period.”

“All right, “she said on a sigh. “As you wish. Please, please, please teach math this summer.”

“No, no, no. You have to put some heart behind it,” Garner insisted, his fist pounding her desk. “I won’t agree to do anything unless I believe you’re sincere. I’m a trained actor, so it had better be good.”

“Seriously?”

“I want to be convinced you really mean it. Otherwise, no deal.”

The muscles in her back and shoulders tightened. Oh, I’ll give you convincing, all right. You want me to beg? I’ll give you the begging performance of the century. You’ll hand me an Oscar when I’m through, you insolent son of a bitch. She regarded the man so many people adored and reminded herself of her primary mission—dig the school out of its “Improvement Required” status—then closed her eyes.

Drawing in a breath, she cleared her mind of everything except the one man who had already mastered her in many private fantasies. The elusive being to whom she would willingly submit. Willingly beg.

The Dom of her dreams.

He, the powerful male both strong and gentle, waited in shadowy relief in her mind’s eye. Though darkness masked his face, she could make out the flogger in his hand. Its many strips of leather dangled from a wooden handle.

Her Master raised the tool.

“Touch the tresses. Feel how soft they are.”

His voice, low and steady, enveloped her as if being wrapped in a comforting blanket, shielding her from any doubts and fears.

“Yes, Sir.” She leaned forward, her arm outstretched.

“On your knees,” he instructed. “When I hold this flogger, you must always be on your knees to touch it. You will show my most favorite tool proper and unfailing respect. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Sir.” Naked and unafraid, she fell to both knees before him, and then ran her fingers through the long pieces of lambskin. Unimaginably supple, the tresses were like velvet to the touch.

“Place your hands on the floor.”

Without a moment’s hesitation, she did so, splaying her fingers and bracing herself.

Her shadow Master moved behind her, trailing the ends of the leather strips down her bare back and onto her ass. Her nerves, heightened and tingling with expectancy, danced beneath every inch of her skin. Her body ached, truly ached, to feel the biting sting of the tresses.

“Now beg,” he ordered. “Beg me to do what I know you want. What I know you need.”

Hannah’s eyelids flew open, taking in Mack Garner. As though still in her dream, her mouth moved unbidden and gave voice to words originating from her very soul.

“Please. Oh, God, please,” she pleaded on an exhale, desperation tingeing her tone. “I want this so badly. I need this. Please, do this for me.”

The smirk on Garner’s face melted. His cheeks sagged. With the exception of the dazed look glazing his eyes, which were now the size of baseballs, his face transformed to a blank slate.

“Sincere enough for you, Mr. Garner?” she asked.

About the Author

Brenna hails from the Lone Star state where she lives with her husband and four dogs, three of which are as big as long horns.  She’s a fun-loving writer who likes nothing better than to explore while she travels (no planned excursions, please!), eat what others cook (it works out better for everyone that way), and avoid the gym whenever possible.

Her journey through life has taken her all over the United States, as well as many places throughout the world. Using her travel experience as a guide and peppering in interesting characters she’s met along the way, she loves nothing better than weaving tales of romance and leaving readers yearning for adventures of their own.

Click these links to follow Brenna!

Join my newsletter
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A Thank You Gift! (FREE READ)
Saturday, February 18th, 2017

I found out this week how generous authors and readers can be!

Maybe you heard… On Tuesday, Hard SEAL to Love, the 9th story in my Uncharted SEALs series,  released—with a glitch! The pre-order shell I’d initially loaded as a placeholder, but which I did replace with the full, finalized story, went out to everyone who had pre-ordered the book! As you can imagine, I was horrified. Some readers who received it, and don’t know me, immediately complained in the only way they knew how—by awarding the story a slew of 1-star reviews on Amazon. The file was fixed in Amazon, but those reviews will remain there in perpetuity. But thanks to authors and readers who answered my panicked call for help, my rating for the book now sits at 3.6. Not stellar, and I can only hope it will improve over time, because as sad as it sounds, most people do pay attention to ratings before they purchase.

To those who helped, all I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you. And as a small token of my appreciation, please help yourself to a free copy of this short story I published some time ago. Be warned. It’s erotica. Not a romance. But I hope you will find it satisfying. Enjoy!

DOWNLOAD NOW:
Textile Free

Jennifer Kacey: Elite Elements is Almost Here (Giveaway)
Friday, February 17th, 2017

Elite Metal, Elite Ghosts and Elite Elements are 3 HUGE labors of love a group of my favorite people and I have put together over the last three years. It’s a shared world of three groups of military men and women brought back from the “dead” to catch a wolf. Red Wolf. Revenge against the baddest of the bad is what drives them, and to take back the lives he stole from each of them.

Elite Elements will be the final book in this epic trilogy. This is the story of the men and women who saved Elite Metal on the snow covered ground in Moscow. These are the men and women from around the world who don’t exist and pulled Elite Ghosts into the shadows with them. These are the soldiers who gave up everything to take down a wolf. And in this book…everything you thought you knew reaches the point of no return.

Elite Elements will be on 2.21.2017. I. Can’t. Fucking. Wait.

AMAZON – https://goo.gl/M2qHyX
Amazon Print – https://goo.gl/FUqsdX
B&N – https://goo.gl/9BbvoB
KOBO – https://goo.gl/AKxh71
Smashwords – https://goo.gl/11yq7v
iBooks – https://goo.gl/T5TQo7
CreateSpace – https://goo.gl/U3ChJ1

Youtube link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_shWpKGkrW8

Book Three in the Elite Warriors Series

For most of their lives they’ve lived in the shadows, pulled from every nation and background, united by one common cause—an all-consuming hatred of Red Wolf. The unquenchable desire to rid the world of his very existence fuels them, drives them.

These men and women pulled the fallen Elite from the snow-covered wreckage of Operation Phoenix years ago. To some they’re called saviors. To others they’re called traitors.

As Red Wolf’s power grows, the end game they’ve sacrificed everything for may destroy them all. Or just maybe they’ll finally find the peace they’ve been hunting for.

Revenge is their salvation but is there enough humanity left inside them to save?

A new end. A new beginning. Elite Elements.

Giveaway

In honor of the above awesomeness I’m going to have a HUGE giveaway! Three print books and lots and lots of other swag and kinky goodies! Plus a mug and tea and a pretty WIP bag to hold it all!

**GIVEAWAY – US ONLY** – Look at all the awesomeness you could win!! So tell me if you’ve ever read any of the Elite Warrior stories!! And if you have – what you’re most looking forward to in Elements!!

I’ll pick a winner on Monday the 20th!! Good Luck!! PS –It’s always great to leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you! Hate not being able to give winners their goodies!!

Decadently Yours,
Jennifer Kacey

About the Author

Jennifer Kacey is a writer, mother, and business owner living with her miniman in Texas. She sings in the shower, plays piano in her dreams, and has to have a different color of nail polish every week. The best advice she’s ever been given? Find the real you and never settle for anything less.

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Katherine Eddinger Smits: Mermaids (Contest)
Thursday, February 16th, 2017

UPDATE: The winner is…Diana Tidlund!

* * * * *

I grew up in a magical realm where winter never comes, we find dollars on the seashore, stars in the water and mermaids in warm springs. Yes, of course, that place is Florida. The dollars are shells, the stars are fish and the mermaids are in Weeki Wachee. A state park that started out as a privately-owned tourist attraction in the 1940’s, it features natural springs that remain 74 degrees all year long.

Local kids could take swimming lessons there. Every morning for an enchanted two weeks in the summer, I waited beside Highway 19 for the repurposed school bus that transported me an hour away to Weeki Wachee. I wore my bathing suit underneath my shorts and carried my towel and a little cash for a snack.

When we arrived at the Springs, we entered the section roped off for lessons and set our bags and towels down on the white sand. Shivering, we tiptoed into the chilly water an inch at a time. I will never forget the first day when I put my face in the water and blew bubbles, then mastered floating on my back. By the end of the week, I was dog-paddling and within a summer or two, jumping off the high dive.

Along with my swimming ability, I developed a fascination with mermaids. I watched the Weeki Wachee sirens perform their show countless times over the years and never lost my admiration for their athletic skill and graceful movements. As a teen, I wanted desperately to become one of them. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.

I practically lived in the water all summer, and I gained a healthy respect for it. Many times, when we played in the Atlantic at New Smyrna or Daytona Beach, powerful waves snatched me and rolled me over and over until they spit me out on the sand, wheezing and sputtering salt water. Every year undertow or rip currents pulled a few people out to sea. Water has power and it can be marvelous or terrifying, or both.

When I decided to write my novel, Water Dreams, I chose mermaids for the primary paranormal feature. I wanted a different take on the myth and so I created the Nerei, a race of shapeshifting mermaids and mermen, whose form on land is indistinguishable from humans. They want one thing above all else: freedom from water. Until they achieve that, they must immerse themselves frequently to restore their bodies.

The heroine of my story is Nik, a young woman from Tarpon Springs, Florida, who is terrified of water. She doesn’t know how or why she fears it so much, but she won’t have anything to do with it, including going near the ocean or pools.

The Nerei contact Nik and tell her they believe she holds the solution to their problem because she shares their DNA and can stay away from water. She doesn’t believe them and refuses to have anything to do with them.

Bas is a young merman tasked with obtaining Nik’s cooperation. He doesn’t like humans much but he is fascinated with Nik. He can’t give up on convincing her to help the Nerei and he wants to keep seeing her. However, his people forbid relationships between their kinds and breaking the law is punishable by death.

Water Dreams is the story of how Nik and Bas bridge the gulf between them. It is also the story of how Nik resolves her water phobia. She experiences dreams about water throughout the book. They start as paralyzing nightmares and progress during the story, becoming less frightening as she grows stronger, giving her hints and clues about how to work out her problems. Eventually, she gains control of the dreams, as she conquers her fear of water and overcomes the dilemmas presented by the Nerei.

Water Dreams

Here is an excerpt from Water Dreams:

She waded in, appreciating the satiny water on her skin, enveloping her naked body from her waist down, a velvety embrace. She looked at the stars glowing above her, and the full moon lighting the sky, making a shining path on the cenote. She listened to the tree branches soughing in the breeze, the Whippoorwills calling. There was a sense of timelessness about the moment that made her feel like a twig in a river. She created a tiny ripple in the stream as it passed along. The cenote and the woods were there long before she arrived, and would endure long after she was gone.

Nik dove into the water, gasping at the cold. She swam several hard strokes until the blood sang in her veins, warming her inside out, then turned over onto her back and floated.

When she heard splashing behind her, Nik gasped, imagining an eerie creature shared the depths of this pond with her. However, Nik saw a familiar shape and realized Bas was swimming with her. He was in his Nerei form. His massive tail slapped the water, arcing radiant drops over Nik’s head and into her face. She spluttered, going under for a minute before surfacing behind him. She didn’t have a tail to splash Bas, but she surprised him, and dashed him with a handful of water to the face. They played for a little while, chasing one another and laughing.

Bas had a huge advantage. Because he swam so much faster, she couldn’t get away from him. Bas caught her, held her close to him, and looked into her eyes. In the moonlight, Nik could see Bas well. He smiled at her. He circled her waist with one arm. He used his other hand to stroke Nik’s hair. Bas’ chest pinned Nik’s naked torso against him and she wrapped her legs around his waist. Both hot and cold swept over her at the same instant, a tsunami of sensations she had never imagined, much less experienced. She feared she might pass out. Bas didn’t say a word, but he lowered his mouth to Nik’s and kissed her, first softly and then hard. Nik kissed him back, her head spinning.

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Contest

And now for the contest. For a chance to win a $5.00 Amazon gift card, please comment on this blog with something about mermaids. It doesn’t matter what it is, just share. I’ll put the names of everyone who comments in a list and draw one at random. I will announce the winner in a couple of days and will need that person’s email address to send the gift card. It’s just a token to say thank you for reading my blog, but you can get one or two eBooks, if you use it wisely.

About the Author

Katherine started making up stories in grade school and always intended to write novels someday but she put off creating fiction while she raised her family and worked as a clinical social worker at four different Veterans Affairs Medical Centers around the country. Although devastated to learn that her first career choice—mermaid, was not realistic, Katherine found helping veterans and their families fulfilling. She lives with her husband in Homosassa, Florida and Falling Waters, West Virginia. Water Dreams, Katherine’s debut novel, is a paranormal romance set in Tarpon Springs, Florida and is the first book in the Love’s Siren Song series. It is available in print or e-book from Foundations, LLC, Amazon, and other retail sites.

Please visit me at:
Website: http://katherineeddingersmits.weebly.com/
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