Vampires can’t enter unless invited. Lock your doors and windows, quick.
Vampires don’t have reflections.
I get that mirrors supposedly reflect the soul. But shouldn’t their clothes show?
Vampires can be killed by a stake through the heart.
Vampires can’t stand sunlight.
This is a modern myth that started in the film Nosferatu. Before then, they could walk in daylight. Ha! And you thought you were safe when you were sunbathing.
Vampires can be repelled by garlic.
There’s nothing worse than garlic breath before you bite your dinner. Besides, it alerts the victim to the vampire’s presence. They’d run and the vampire would still be hungry.
Since my latest release, Taken as Theirs, features twin werewolves, why am I blathering on about vampires?
Well…guess who the bad guys are…? There’s kudos in being bad. Think about Jessie James or Butch Cassidy. They are the true anti-heroes. I can’t name any of Cowboy heroes, but do know the villains.
Taken as Theirs
As a fertile woman in an infertile world, no wonder she was TAKEN AS THEIRS.
As a breeder–one of the few fertile women left in a ruined, plague-ravaged world–Cassie would fetch a handsome price at auction, and selling her to the highest bidder was exactly what her captors had in mind… until two fearsome beasts decided to take her for themselves.
Eli and Dane have chosen Cassie for their mate, and when she makes a foolish attempt at escape she quickly ends up tearfully promising obedience as her bare bottom is soundly and shamefully punished. Her body’s response to their stern dominance cannot be denied, however, and it isn’t long before she is screaming out her intense, helpless pleasure as she is roughly and thoroughly claimed. But will Eli and Dane’s pack accept a human girl or will Cassie be an outsider forever?
Publisher’s Note:Taken as Theirs includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.
Goosebumps covered Cassie’s flesh. Tingles raced between her legs, tiny electric sparks that warmed her blood. One kind word and her good intentions would crumble—just like her sisters’ chance of freedom if she told this drop-dead gorgeous pair about them.
What with the vampire auction and that nightmare descent of the cliff, she couldn’t take much more. Cassie had been a fool to think she could escape. Completely drained, she was at the werewolves’ mercy
Her imagination worked overtime. Wolves were pack animals. Suppose they decided to share her around the crew? The vampires certainly would have, and she didn’t expect werewolves to behave any better.
She cowered when Eli pulled a knife, but he sawed through the wet rope binding her to his brother. Her legs folded, and only Dane’s strong grip kept her upright. Sheaving his knife, Eli swept her into his arms.
He gave her his best Pepsodent-white smile. “Foolish little princess, so eager to return to the vampires who will abuse you. You’re safe here, despite the unconventional start to our friendship.”
Like a half-drowned kitten, she dripped water onto his trousers. He smelled of summer breezes and crops ripening in the fields. So cold her teeth had stopped chattering, she let go of her fears and let Eli take charge. Heat flowed from his chest to hers, but it wasn’t enough. She felt like an ice cube lost at the back of a freezer.
He carried her through a narrow galley, and into the captain’s cabin. She’d expected twin bunks and a tiny space. Instead, this room reminded her of Nelson’s cabin on the HMS Victory. The back wall consisted of window panes, giving her a view of the distant cliffs. The view fascinated and delighted her but the cabin’s four-poster bed terrified her. It covered more than half the room and had enough room for three if not four.
Dane pulled towels from a trunk then tossed her one of his brother’s jumpers. “Get dry, princess then get into bed and warm up. We’re going to lock you in while we get underway in earnest, but we’ll be back with hot stew and a hot coffee soon.”
After living on half rations for a week, her mouth watered at the thought of a decent meal. That these dominant werewolves cared for her welfare stunned her. Then they offered her a coffee. Utter luxury.
Emotions set in, and tears filled her eyes. She broke into a cold sweat that turned her forehead clammy. She’d never felt so weary in her life—not even when she’d swum marathons.
Dane lifted her chin and gazed into her eyes. “Don’t cry, little human. You’re safe now.”
The intensity in his gaze felt like a shot of energy for her soul. It made her feel hot and tingly inside. She craved his touch, and maybe his kiss. A fresh set of shivers beset her. This time, they were more about her forbidden attraction for the werewolves than the cold.
About Kryssie Fortune
Kryssie lives by the beach and loses track of time when she writes. Her days are full of dashing regency rakes, former soldiers so handsome they make her drool, and the sexiest werewolves ever. The odd vampire makes it in there too, but when he does, he’s drop dead gorgeous.
Her pet hates are unhappy endings and cliff hangers. She guarantees you won’t find either in her books. Her books sizzle with sensual heat, but story always comes before sex. Even when part of a series, her books can be read as stand-alone romance.
UPDATE: The winners are…Colleen C and Debra Guyette!
Being someone who has issues with anxiety… correction… I have anxiety issues… everything is a minefield. I don’t like to pick up the phone unless I know exactly who is on the other end of the line. I’m an extroverted introvert, meaning I hide by being outgoing in public situations. I can be the life of the party as long as you don’t look beyond the jokes and see the person inside who is hoping I’m not making a complete idiot of myself.
So what does this have to do with writing and romance?
For me, EVERTYHING!
Finding love is putting yourself ‘out there.’
And OUT THERE is a scary, scary place. Holding out your hand (metaphorically) means that someone can take hold of it or slap it away… and sometimes ignore it completely.
What happens when the most anxiety-ridden person opens themselves up to speak their minds to another person?
What happens when the most self-assured person opens themselves up to ask someone out?
Both situations can end up happy or devastated. It doesn’t matter who you are. Life can be a joy or painful. Ecstatic or tormented.
Life… and love, by extension, are a gamble.
And those insecurities are a big part of “Justice for Miranda”
JUSTICE FOR MIRANDA
Texas Game Wardens don’t just protect the natural resources of the Lone Star State, they protect the people as well. Trace Carson considers every warden as more than just fellow officers, they’re family.
Especially, Miranda Jimenez. She’d gone through the academy when he was on staff, and he was her first in-field training officer. There was no denying that she was a beautiful woman, he’d worked side by side with her and knew that her dedication to upholding the laws of Texas was second only to caring for wild animals and natural resources.
When she decided to leave her job as a game warden to open a wild animal rehabilitation it made perfect sense, but he couldn’t explain the sudden ache he felt at the thought of her leaving. It wasn’t going to be out of sight, out of mind, because he went to her ‘retirement’ party and he kissed her, changing everything.
When her connection with Trace puts Miranda’s life in danger, the law enforcement community in San Antonio pulls together to get her back where she belongs… in Trace’s arms. Will they find her in time to save her and get Justice for Miranda?
Trace is a man driven by duty. Responsible to a fault. He’s the guy that folks are always leaning on. The leader. The one who has trained more than his share of new Game Wardens out of the Academy.
But under all of that buttoned up, efficient, straight-laced law enforcement zeal is a man who’s fallen in love with someone he thinks is out of bounds.
And it takes a few beers and the thought that she’d be out of his life to make him cross that line and kiss her senseless… all before his normal constraints pull him back into his shell. Make him back off. Make him shut off that longing and put it away.
But we all know that’s not going to be enough to keep it in that shell now that he’s let it out.
Trace needs to decide if the dangers of opening himself up and putting his heart on the line are worth the possible failure of that chance. What if she shuts him down right away? What if she allows him in and then decides that a man who had once been her teacher, her trainer, isn’t the man who can hold her heart… keep her interest?
And the absolutely crazy thing about it… what if it works? Having what you want… the woman you want… can be even more scary than not having her.
That’s one of the things I love most about writing and reading romance. When it comes right down to it… the heroes and heroines are brave! They show real courage!
Physical pain is horrible, but emotional pain can drop you to your knees with a look or a careless word.
So, tell me… which characters have you read about that have shown the most courage in reaching out for love… taking that chance to reach for something more… something better?
Two commenters will receive their choice of a single-title ebook from my Amazon list – winners selected July 1, 2019!
While her cousin was trying not to spray soda all over her aunt’s countertop, Miranda slipped out of her parents’ kitchen to the porch and leaned back against the wall with a sigh. Lifting the cold beer she had in her hand, she dragged it across her forehead and then pressed it to her cheek.
“I bet that feels good.”
The soft Texas burr came out of the darkness, startling her. She had a good hold on the bottle and didn’t worry about dropping it, but she did worry about the warm flush of color in her cheeks. She knew exactly who it was walking out of the dark.
“Hey, Trace. I didn’t think you were comin’ to the party.”
His laugh was warm and slow and poured over her like honey.
“How could I miss it?” He stepped into the light beside the back door and stepped up against the side of the house, looking down at her. “Especially when you didn’t give me a chance to talk you out of leaving.”
“I didn’t think you’d have much of an issue with it.”
A wind trailed through, lifting the ends of her hair and she felt the subtle touch as some of the strands stuck to her neck. The humidity wasn’t doing her any favors and she knew that after the heavy press of bodies in the house and the rising summer heat, her dress was probably stuck to her in any number of unflattering ways.
“It’s not too late,” his voice was lower, deeper, “I have a bit of an in with the guys in the administration office. They could be convinced to lose your voluntary termination papers.”
If she hadn’t been leaning back against the house, she probably would have fallen back against the wall. The way his voice seemed to curl across her skin made it hard to breathe. Trace Carson ticked off all of the boxes on her dream list for masculine perfection.
Tall, lean muscle, strong hands, handsome like the devil, and that voice. There was something about a man with that deep purring Texas drawl that made her insides shiver and shake and other parts of her… well, she bit into her bottom lip as if she was still thinking through his offer, but she knew she wouldn’t change her mind.
“Why didn’t you come talk to me?”
She laughed and felt a drop of condensation splash against her collarbone. “To be honest,” she tried to keep from sighing but it was hard when she could smell his cologne and see the silver-grey of his eyes, “I knew if I did talk to you I might have let myself be talked out of leaving.”
Miranda saw the happy surprise in his eyes.
“But it wouldn’t have been for the right reasons.”
“So, what are the wrong reasons, Miranda?” He shifted closer, crossing one leg over the other so she could hear the butter-soft rasp of one boot against the other. And set a hand on the wall, less than a foot from her shoulder. “I’m curious.”
She wanted to brush it all off and escape back into the house, but her knees were suddenly weak and the way his scent mingled with the sultry heat of the night air had her breath catching a little each time.
“Miranda?” His arm folded and his forearm pressed against the wall, bringing him closer to her. “What did you think I’d do?”
Close enough that his height blocked out the light from the single bulb shining from the wall.
Her tongue wet her bottom lip before she swallowed and sucked in a breath on a gasp. “I… I-” she laughed, a throaty little sound that made her feel flirty and needy at the same time.
She’d seen other women use their wiles to draw men in, but she wasn’t like them. She was the kind of girl that loved jeans and baggy shirts. And wiles? Ha! She could spell the word and knew the definition, but she had no idea if she could use them, or even if she had any. All of her life she’d spent most of her time in jeans and t-shirts. Even the dress she was wearing had been her mama’s idea.
“Well,” he sighed and she wasn’t sure, but it didn’t sound like he was very disappointed at all, “there’s one good reason that I can think of for letting you leave the service.”
She turned and leaned her shoulder against the wall, clutching the bottle against her chest. That close, she had to look up to see into his eyes and even then, the light was mostly behind him, so she couldn’t see much of his expression. “Yeah? What’s that?” Read the rest of this entry »
I fell in love with masks after seeing Labyrinth for the first time. If you haven’t seen the movie there’s a ballroom scene with David Bowie, where all the guests are wearing masks. As a young girl, I found this scene fascinating (and a bit romantic). However, it was the idea behind the mask that intrigued me. Masks carry a sense of magic with them, as if there is mystery built into their very essence.
Used for protection, disguise, entertainment and rituals, masks have been intertwined in our history for centuries. Although I love the brilliant colors of the New Orleans masquerade masks, the ones I found most interesting were the ones used for medical purposes. These so-called “beak masks” were stuffed with dried flowers, herbs, and spices in order to cleanse the disease from the bad air. If you pay attention, these masks also appear in Labyrinth.
In An Imperfect Engagement, Samantha and her family attend the masque in the hopes of cornering the killer, Franklin Morris, and his unknown accomplice. Each character has their own personal reason for donning a mask that evening, including Samantha, whose desire to hide the injuries she suffered at the hands of Franklin is surpassed only by Franklin’s desire to attack her a second time. Franklin’s use of the headpiece to hide his identity allows him to sneak into the gathering and corner Samantha in the center of the maze.
A clap echoed in the night—once… twice… thrice. From the reverse side of the fountain, hidden behind a large statue, a masked man appeared, shuffling slowly toward Sam. He bared his teeth, gnashing them slightly and flashed a pistol which glinted threateningly in the moonlight.
“Miss Hastings,” he purred, “I am delighted to see you again and so quickly after our last meeting. I feared it would be some time before we would be able to rekindle our acquaintance.”
“Franklin,” gasped Sam, stumbling backward. Edward underestimated Franklin’s desperation.
He approached slowly, favoring his right side, holding the weapon in his left hand. Sam wondered about the marksmanship of his less-dominant appendage. She kept her eyes focused on the barrel of the gun, suspecting the pistol was the same one employed in the demise of Mr. Walton.
Inclining his head in a tiny bow, Franklin removed the black mask, an audible groan accompanying the movement of his right arm. His greedy eyes swept over Sam’s delicate throat and the necklace which decorated it. “I see you have found my inheritance.”
AN IMPERFECT ENGAGEMENT is available on all platforms and on sale this week for $1.99.
USA Today Bestselling Author Alyssa Drake has been creating stories since she could hold a crayon, preferring to construct her own bedtime tales instead of reading the titles in her bookshelves. A multi-genre author, Alyssa currently writes Historical romance, Paranormal romance, Contemporary romance, and Cozy mystery. She thoroughly enjoys strong heroines and often laughs aloud when imagining conversations between her characters. When she’s not writing, she’s in the kitchen making dessert, because that’s the only course she ever cared to learn how to cook.
When you reflect on freedom, what comes to your mind? What helps you keep your vision alive?
During a heated exchange in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, Lena Younger says to her son Walter Lee, “Once upon a time freedom used to be life—now it’s money.” He responds, “It was always money. We just didn’t know it.”
There’s a world of truth and hurt expressed in what each says to the other. I must admit there are times when I lose my way and side with Walter’s cynicism. I make myself find things to think on that are “true and honest and just and lovely and of good report and virtuous and praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8) so I can stand shoulder to shoulder with Lena’s idealism. One of the things I think on is FDR’s “Four Freedoms” and Norman Rockwell’s depiction of them. (https://rockwellfourfreedoms.org/).
In a 1941 speech Roosevelt gave to Congress as part of the rationale for taking on the fascism then engulfing the world, he urged his listeners to help secure a world founded on four essential human freedoms: Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Worship and Freedom of Speech. In 1942, Norman Rockwell was inspired to paint them. In 1943 they were shared in the Saturday Evening Post. The paintings then went on a sixteen-city tour. I get teary as I study Rockwell’s portraits of people with their heads reverently bowed in Freedom of Worship and of the young man standing to speak his mind in Freedom of Speech. My heart yearns for a world where everyone is able to tuck their children into bed or partake of a Thanksgiving meal in safety like those painted in Freedom from Fear and Freedom from Want. I hope I share my longing for and my beliefs in the four freedoms through my art as Rockwell did.
While I lived in NYC, whenever I was tempted to let Walter Lee win, I could go to Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island (https://www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/#). There on the tip of the island I sat with the United Nations in view on the Manhattan side of the river, gazed out onto the water and reflected on FDR’s words until I could say “Amen” to the truth in Lena Younger’s declaration, the truth that freedom is life. On your next trip to NYC, take the subway or the Roosevelt Tram to Roosevelt Island and experience Four Freedoms Park yourself.
Eleanor Roosevelt referenced the four freedoms as she helped craft the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I’m in the process of writing a set of romance novellas using each of the four freedoms as a theme. For me, justice tempered by love is the driving force in creating a world founded on the four freedoms. I, like FDR, believe that having a world based on them “…is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation.”
I hope the romances I write will inspire readers to believe so too.
One Breath Away
Sentenced to hang for a crime she didn’t commit, former slave Mary Hamilton was exonerated at literally the last gasp. She returns to Safe Haven, broken and resigned to live alone. She’s never been courted, cuddled or spooned, and now no man could want her, not when sexual satisfaction comes only with the thought of asphyxiation. But then the handsome stranger who saved her shows up, stealing her breath from across the room and promising so much more.
Wealthy, freeborn-Black, Eban Thurman followed Mary to Safe Haven, believing the mysteriously exotic woman is his mate foretold by the stars. He must marry her to reclaim his family farm. But first he must help her heal, and to do that means revealing his own predilection for edgier sex.
Hope ignites along with lust until the past threatens to keep them one breath away from love…
Sheriff Ambrose and his posse arrived in a thunder of hooves. Although he assured Mary he and his men were there to insure justice be done, she still worried.
Twilight filtered through the windows as she sat at her kitchen table, wringing her hands. Only the fact that she had saved Eban’s life brought her peace. He sat beside her. His warm, comforting hands clasped hers. Her lips wobbled in an attempt to smile.
“You don’t have to pretend with me.” He patted her hands. “Tell me what you’re thinking.”
“What if Denton dies?”
“There’ll be a new face in hell for breakfast.”
She inhaled deeply to keep the tears back. “No Black who kills a White will be allowed to live. When they hang me this time, they’ll make sure I’m dead.”
Eban took her by the chin, made her face him. “You and I will head for the safety of the border and ports beyond before that happens.”
She closed her eyes. “I don’t want to make you a fugitive because of what I’ve done.”
“If I had killed him, wouldn’t you flee with me?” He pulled her into his arms. “The real shame is this oppressive society makes us fugitives for defending ourselves.”
Mary burrowed against his shoulder. “Will we ever be free?”
While attending a writing retreat several years ago, Sir Stephan MacQuistan woke me up, told me that he was a Knights Templar, and demanded that I write his story. I wasn’t surprised to be awoken by a strong character, Alexander MacGruder, the hero of, His Captive, book #1 in the bestselling MacGruder brothers woke me up ordering that I write his story as well.
Stephan’s story turned out to be, Forbidden Legacy, the first of five books in The Forbidden Series. As I began my research, incredible events began to happen, the first discovering that it was the 700th Anniversary of the Scottish victory of the Battle of Bannockburn, which was rumored to be aided by the Knights Templar. In addition, information about Knights Templars appeared in numerous articles as well television programs.
Regardless if hundreds of years have passed, questions remain of where the Knights Templar fled, what treasure they took, and how so many valiant knights were able to disappear without a trace. As a major plotter, I enjoyed weaving in my character’s journey, where they face challenges and in the end fall in love, around these mysteries and more along with my speculation as to where their fleet and many of the Brotherhood could have escaped to prior to the arrests beginning in France on the 13th of October, 1307.
While creating The Forbidden Series, the most incredible thing happened. Whenever I struggled with writing one of the Templar stories, I’d see a “sign” of a cross in nature that I interpreted as encouragement.
And, while writing the final book, Forbidden Realm, release date April 2020, I was honored to learn that Red Hot Adventures wanted to design a tour in Scotland taking readers to story settings along with where the characters in the Forbidden Series may have traveled. My deepest thanks to Konnie Oviatt Stykel and everyone at Red Hot Adventures for creating the “Diana Cosby’s Forbidden Scotland Tour.” To readers who chose to go, I sincerely hope that you enjoy!
What sign of inspiration have you received?
About the Author
A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Books in her award-winning MacGruder Brothers series have been translated in five languages. Diana has spoken at the Library of Congress, Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC, and appeared in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happy Ever After,” MSN.com, Atlantic County Women Magazine, and Texoma Living Magazine.
After her career in the Navy, Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. With 34 moves behind her, she was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people she’s met throughout the world. After the release of the bestselling MacGruder Brothers series, The Oath Trilogy, and the first two book of The Forbidden Series, she’s now working on book #5, Forbidden Realm, of the five-book series, which will be released April 2020.
Diana looks forward to the years of writing ahead and meeting the amazing people who will share this journey.
***ONE winner will be drawn from everyone who posts on my guest blog post about, ‘When A Knights Templar Wakes You,’ on Delilah’s blog between 27 June 2019 – 4th July 2019. The winner will receive one of Diana’s mugs and a tote.
My family has long been fond of road trips. Whether it was the pilgrimage to Disney World, or a visit to a new city, my family usually took the trip in cars.
We’d load up with snacks, pillows and books. Sometimes, Mom and Dad would wake us up at four in the morning to start the drive, so we’d sleep through most of it. Other times, we’d make the journey part of the trip, stopping to see various sites along the way.
When I got older and went away to college, I continued to go on road trips, this time with my friends. We’d drive to other cities for festivals and concerts, homecoming games and other sporting events. Sometimes, we’d drive someplace just to figure something out, or prove each other wrong.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that when I write, some of my favorite stories to tell involve travel. The hi-jinx that comes with travel is a fun vehicle for stories. No trip is ever one hundred percent smooth, how people respond to the craziness is where the memories – and the stories – lie. What would you do if you got lost in Delaware? If your luggage went to more places than you did? If you got stuck at a road stop for a few hours? What if you forgot someone at a pit stop?
All of these scenarios can be a challenge for the best of trip planners, but they could also be a ton of fun for someone who’s willing to roll with the punches. For example, on one road trip, my dad asked a store clerk for a breakfast recommendation for his family. Turns out the recommendation was a bar. What did Dad do? He found us a table away from the booze, ordered up a big family breakfast, and left the barkeep an excellent tip. Years later, my parents visited that city again and they found the bar. They took a picture of the sign and had it framed, hanging it in a place of honor.
Rolling with the crazy of a trip isn’t always easy, but sometimes it opens the doors for fun adventures. I am definitely looking forward to some road trips this summer when I head to the mountains. I know what we’ve got planned, but I have no idea what we’ll find and that excites me.
Need a read for your next road trip? The Girl U Wantwill be out this summer!
The Girl U Want
Sue Douglas loves her dream job as a publicist for an up-and-coming rock band even though…
The bass player hates her
The lead singer wants her
The drummer is trying to fix her up with anyone but the lead singer
The band’s record company has set her up to fail
And if she does, she could lose everything.
Sue’s used to working under pressure, but it reaches epic levels when she goes on tour with the band. Doesn’t matter though, she’s determined to get them all the publicity they can handle, and then some.
Join my newsletter to get the first 3 chapters, free, plus be among the first to know when the book is live.
About the Author
Elaine Reed has something to say.
All the time.
Since it’s not reasonable or productive – two things she occasionally tries to be – to talk twenty-four hours a day, she channels most of that into books. Her stories focus on adventurous and ambitious women and the men who love them.
When she’s not reading or writing, Elaine can be found exploring the Low Country of South Carolina and looking for her next adventure.