I’m Sierra Brave, author of the Horse Mountain Shifters series. I’m excited to be back on Delilah Devlin’s blog today to share an excerpt from my upcoming paranormal romance. Scarlett and the Big Bad is a fantasy Red Riding Hood retelling but also the first in a three-book series filled with magic, romance, danger, and angst.
Most everyone knows the original story of Little Red Riding Hood, but Scarlett Capuche, the heroine in my book, is a young woman, who in some ways is as naïve as the original. Imagine being raised away from society and only being taught what your captures want you to know?
I imagine everyone remembers the old lines of “What big eyes you have, Grandmother!” The only elderly matriarch in Scarlett and The Big Bad isn’t exactly on her side, but the (were)wolf is much more open with his intentions. He does reveal something huge to her though…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Here’s a fun little compare and contrast:
Scarlett and the Big Bad
Fated Fairytales 1
What if Red Riding Hood invited peril, and the big bad wolf was the only hero who could save her?
Promised power and position, Scarlett Capuche left her tiny village to join the prestigious Order of the Phoenix.
Monty Blackwolf never wanted a mate, especially not a human raised on a hidden farm for blood-ritual sacrifice. But his werewolf’s heightened sense of smell drew him to Scarlett’s sweet fragrance from miles away.
Duty-bound to protect her, he will break her of her religious devotion to the magical terrorist group responsible for the murders of his parents and older brother, even if he has to put her over his knee and turn her bottom as red as her hair.
She belongs to him now, and he will claim all of her despite his affliction with a unique, third shifter-form he doesn’t fully understand and isn’t able to control.
Will Monty save Scarlett, or will he prove more dangerous to her than anyone else?
Author’s Note: If you’re offended by steamy fairytale retellings with graphic language, explicit put-you-in-the-moment love scenes, elements of power exchange, and domestic discipline, you might want to look for a different book.
As she relaxed against him, his heart drummed against her back, the beat syncing with hers. The lump in her throat dissolved as her chest rose and fell with his.
She stared at the ceiling. The lights appeared to blur as she mewed and groaned. His hands, big and rough, worshiped her skin, every inch touched, washed, tenderly explored but never exploited. After a while, Scarlett blinked and stretched, realizing the naked girl staring at her was her reflection. Monty patted her dry as she sat on the edge of the tub.
“What happened?” Her heart pounded as confusion nipped at her brain.
Standing with only a towel wrapped around his hips, his six firm abdominals close to her eye level, he shrugged. “We had a bath. I think you might have dozed off a little. It’s been a long day.”
She tapped her finger against her lip as he hung up the wet towels before grabbing a fresh one. She most certainly had not been asleep. Now back in her right mind, she remembered every slight movement of his hand, every turn of his fingertips, the coiling in her stomach as the tantalizing sensations coaxed forth primal feelings she’d never imagined she’d possessed. She recalled breathing in his scent so deeply she could taste it even as they laved the fragrance away, and she had fantasized about him manhandling her, forcing her legs open and entering her even though he had not.
Sierra Brave is a multi-published author of heart-pounding, blush-inducing romance with put-you-in-the-moment love scenes. She enjoys writing about a variety of gorgeous alpha males who can’t resist head-strong heroines. Curvy girls have a special place in her heart and often grace the pages of her books. Tales of shifters, cowboys, twisted fairy tales, space pirates, Amazon warriors, and vampires capture her imagination as do tempting spanking and ménage scenarios, but she also engages in more down-to-earth themes such as office romance. You’ll find lots of unique characters and humor in all of her stories.
UPDATE: The winners are…Misty, AnnaMarie, and Jennifer Beyer!
Before I wrote bounty hunters, I wrote about vampires…
Answer me this for a chance to win your choice from among my many Night Fall titles!
Bounty Hunters or Vamps and Werewolves?
P. S. And be sure to check out the list of open contests you still have time to enter at the bottom of this post!
Wolf in Plain Sight
“A wickedly funny and passionate series, fans of paranormal erotic romance will enjoy [Wolf in Plain Sight] tremendously. Ms. Devlin has done it again!” ~ Romance Reviews Today
To Super-cop Max Weir, the only good vampire is a dead one. Since his special police unit integrated with vampires, he’s had to suppress his natural hatred to work side by side with the undead to hunt down and terminate the deadliest killers. Now the unit’s hot on the trail of a new menace in town, a pack of werewolves prowling for vampires who don’t care whether humans get in their way.
When a stakeout goes awry, Max enters a bar looking for a fight or woman to help him blow off a little steam. What he finds is a winsome siren whose sexual appetites match his own.
Vampire Pia D’Amato is on a secret mission to take out Max–either by seduction or turning him. He’s become a liability to the Masters’ Council setting up jurisdiction in southern Florida, and she’s not leaving until she’s done the job. But Max is more man than she bargained for with a deadly secret of his own.
Excerpt from Wolf in Plain Sight…
Max pushed through the door of the bar determined that tonight he’d either get shit-faced or fucked. Which, didn’t matter so long as he could blow off the steam that had been gathering a head since the botched mission hours before. The bar was a regular haunt—only a block from his house. If need be, he could crawl home. The smoky air, the loud grinding music, and the smell of stale beer appealed when he had an axe to grind.
The SU had swept the area for signs of the wolves that killed the vampires before turning on the humans in a mutilating frenzy. Their bloody paw prints lead beyond the house to a gravel road where they’d disappeared. The pack had made their getaway in cars. This hadn’t been a roaming band’s target of opportunity, but a takedown.
The grim faces of the vampires telegraphed their worry. He hoped they were shaking in their boots. Not that the thought of a rogue wolf pack wasn’t just as unsettling to Max.
But seeing the cock-sure Quentin lose his perpetual smirk was gratifying. Dylan had been grim-faced and pale. Perhaps the bastard saw his own fate in the house.
However, Joe’s silence had been the most telling. He hadn’t looked the least bit surprised.
Max made his way through the tables ringing a small dance floor. The place was nearly empty, save for the men hovering near the bar for the night’s last drinks. The tension in his shoulders knotted tighter. All it would take would be one smart-ass comment. He hungered for an excuse to drive his fist through something.
The crowd parted, and a flash of a slim white ankle snagged his attention. Every trace of anger, bitter regret, and frustration coalesced into a single, burning need.
The men blocking his view shifted, and the ankle drew his glance upward to a bare knee. The woman’s legs parted, and one slid atop the other. Her foot sawed up and down, and a slender, functionless sandal dangled from the tips of her painted toes. God, he wanted to help her lose the shoes altogether.
He advanced toward the men standing between him and his goal. Their faces registered annoyance for only a moment before they stepped aside. The hard hunger that rode his belly must have turned his face into an implacable mask.
As he drew near, her shape was revealed one tantalizing curve at a time. Sweetly turned hips were clothed in a stretchy black skirt that ended at the top of her thighs—not a hint of underwear marred the smooth fit. Conveniently tied behind her neck, a miniscule top bared the gleaming, supple skin of her back and midriff—again, no sign of a bra. Her nipples puckered invitingly against the black fabric that barely contained the apple-like curves of her small breasts.
Finally, his gaze rose to her face. She could have been a whole lot less than appetizing, and he’d still have wanted her on the merits of that ride-able frame. But her face only made him more determined to have her.
Large, doe-like eyes, framed by thick lashes, blinked as she caught his stare. Her upper lip was a fraction fuller than the lower and inspired delicious, succulent fantasies. Her face was round, her jaw small, and a thumbprint dimple carved her chin into two delicious halves. His tongue itched to slide along that little notch.
As he reached the bar, he drew a deep breath, eager to catch the scent of her perfume. He wasn’t disappointed. The woman smelled like sex. Hot, nasty, spicy sex.
His body hardened along with his intentions. With only a fleeting thought for how aggressive he might appear, he loomed over her, his gaze sweeping downward. When he glanced back up to her eyes, he schooled his expression into something shy of predatory. He didn’t want to frighten her away before he’d even learned her name.
UPDATE: The winners are…Eniko, Misty, Colleen, bn100, Debra, and Fedora!
I’m a Sci-fi Romance Writer. Or, at least, I was.
But then an Earth-bound dragon-shifter story idea knocked at my brain, and I had to write it. Because, you know… dragon-shifters!
The idea was a Viking shifter and a Chinese shifter come together to battle a prophesized World Destroyer. An East-meets-West story with a strong emphasis on the concept of yin and yang (and fortune cookies) and rich with references to the two cultures.
No biggie, right? Except for the small detail that, aside from my avid support of a local Chinese restaurant, I know nothing about that culture. And even less about Vikings. Or Minnesota, where the Viking clan now live. Or LA, where my story takes place…
When I write my alien-planets-filled-with-alien-creatures books, I get to just make stuff up for the most part. But not with What a Dragon Wants. Oh, my… I was going to have to research for my story. Not just a quick Google of a few details, either. This was gonna involve intense research. I had to be thorough. I had to be accurate.
And most importantly, I had to be sensitive.
I wasn’t crafting some culture from the weird synapses in my brain; I was trying to convey cultures that actually exist (or have existed) on this Earth. The suspension of disbelief would be narrower and the readers less forgiving if I got it wrong. And there are soooo many ways to screw up!
Critique Partners were important, and Sensitivity Readers were crucial. I inquired around my small network and found several kind souls willing to help in this endeavor. Heck, one day subbing at the local High School, I walked into the Mandarin teacher’s room during passing period and did the whole “you don’t know me, but I have a huge favor to ask” awkwardness. Probably not my finest five-minutes, but I was desperate to get the Chinese culture right.
I’m so grateful for all the comments and suggestions I received from my Critique Partners and Sensitivity Readers. I always am, as they help make my story the best it can be. And in the particular case of What a Dragon Wants, they certainly caught several places where I had proverbially stepped in it.
Did we catch everything? Probably not.
Will someone with a greater or more astute knowledge of these cultures find fault in my story? Possibly.
Did I attempt to craft an interesting, sexy, multi-cultural paranormal story that is entertaining, sprinkled with humor, and not grossly offensive? Absolutely.
The theme of yin and yang—of balance—runs through my story. The same theme also applies to how well I incorporated the aspects of my various cultures with the made-up story of my dragon-shifters and their world-ending-prophesy. And, while only time (and my readers) will tell if I accomplished this balance, it was a fun challenge and an exciting, somewhat nerve-wracking, endeavor.
G I V E A W A Y!
Comment on this blog, and I’ll pick five random winners to receive either a Kindle ebook or a signed paperback (US only) of my What a Dragon Wants novella. Then you can tell me how well I managed to balance it all. 🙂
Ava Cuvay writes out of this world romance featuring sassy heroines, gutsy heroes, passion, and adventure… often set in a galaxy far, far away. She resides in central Indiana with her own scruffy-looking nerfherder and kiddos who remind her daily she’s not as cool and hip as she thinks. She believes life is too short to bother with negative people, everything is better with Champagne, and Han Solo shot first. When not writing, Ava is thinking about writing. Or wine. And she’s always thinking about bacon.
Nearly twenty years ago, a white doe roamed the forests south of Raleigh, NC. A true albino, the deer was a ghost bounding through the trees. She walked the miles around the protected lake, the pride and joy of the town in which she wandered.
But life is never safe. Humans paved roads, mowed down trees for houses, and children filled the air with their screams and squeals. One night the white deer tried to cross the road but never made it with her two babies.
This doe had been named the town mascot. As such it was a beloved member of the community. The town raised funds to stuff and eventually house the deer. Before a permanent home could be built, it was located in the local high school and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
In time, the deer returned to her natural habitat. But she still wasn’t safe. Vandals burned the structure and the deer’s body. Once again the town raised funds to repair the stuffed animal and eventually it found a home at the Nature Center in White Deer Park.
When my family bought our current house, we were told the tale of the White Deer. She became the inspiration for my Capricorn character in my final Zodiac Shifters story. There aren’t many myths surrounding red-tailed deer, but the White Stag is one of the most well-known.
Whether he is a part of the Fae’s Wild Hunt, the Guardian Protector of the forest, or a messenger of the Gods, the White Stag is very powerful. But what happens when humans cheat and use magic to hunt? Will the stag be able to outrun them, even injured? Find out in Sundered, the third and final story in my Willows Haven series.
For years, reluctant earth witch Daphne Lowe has feared the strength of her powers. When she loses control, people are harmed. She already ruined Deputy Sheriff Stanford Morgan’s life once, when their relationship ignited his dormant magical powers and turned him into the legendary white stag. Getting involved with him again would just hurt him more. She has to ignore her feelings for him, and hope that someday he’ll stop loving her too.
Except the paranormal sanctuary of Willows Haven needs Daphne and Stanford together—she must anchor the town’s mythical willow trees, and he serves as guardian. Only then will the town’s supernatural residents be safe from the outside world. Trapped together by a snowstorm, Daphne and Stanford have a second chance at happiness if they can resolve their past issues.
When a dark witch invades the town, a final test of their commitment emerges. To succeed, they’ll have to truly trust in each other and embrace the power of their love.
Can a second chance at love survive vengeance from the past?
A print version will be available in the new year.
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, leave a comment telling me your favorite character from Disney’s Bambi.
About the Author
Although Beth grew up in West Virginia, she currently resides in North Carolina with her husband, two sons and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who makes an excellent lap warmer. Blending the analytical and creative sides of her brain, she delights in creating fantasy worlds for others. She loves fairy tales, fantastical creatures, and stuffed animals.
One of my earliest Christmas memories was my aunt’s gingerbread cookies. I was born and raised in Hawaii, but there were a number of Thanksgivings and Christmas Holidays that were spent in California. My father was the baby of six children, and four of them lived in Southern California. Aunty Dot is a great baker, and her gingerbread makes the whole house smell like heaven. I may or may not have snuck a few extra cookies and eaten them on the sly. (Guilty)
They really made that Christmas holiday a memorable one, and since that time, thoughts of Christmas bring to mind the taste of those cookies.
When I decided to write Gingerbear Christmas, it was because of two reasons. 1) I had the most amazing cover image of a tall, gorgeous, ginger model (can’t turn that down); and 2), since it was a shifter, “gingerbear” popped up in my head because… yummm.
What is one of your most enduring Christmas Memories? I’d love to know!
In the chilly Christmas Season, a Bear Shifter is the perfect thing to keep her warm…
If there was one simple truth about the town of Allaway, it was that they took care of their own. Bear shifter, Clancy Rhodes, couldn’t remember his parents, but he remembered all of the kindness shown to him by the other residents in the valley and up in the mountains. He’d never wanted for a roof over his head or food in his stomach, and when he was old enough, they’d helped him build a house of his own. This fall he built an extra room onto the original structure with his own hands. Why? He really didn’t know, except his bear had thought it a good idea.
Haley Woodward hated being alone in the big city. She had friends, but no one too close and instead of being stuck in a cubicle all day, she longed to spend more time on her art. When she found herself the recipient of an artist-in-residence grant in the small town of Allaway, she jumped at the chance. The woman who arranged her trip had also arranged her lodging, in a tidy cottage with the largest and sexiest man Haley had ever seen.
Even with the heavy snows in Allaway, Haley didn’t find herself in need of a fire to keep herself warm, but would this seemingly effortless relationship continue beyond her time in the valley? She had a life she was supposed to return to in the city. Right?
Clancy had never had any intention of finding a mate. The community of the town was small. Small enough for him to know that no one there was the one to complete his soul, both halves of it. And yet Haley had made her mark on him in so many ways and before it was her time to leave, he had to make her see that what they had together would carry on for the rest of their lives, not just Christmas.
I’ve noticed something. Something freakish. Everywhere I go I see dragonflies. Not just cute pictures or shirts, but actual flying bugs.
Multiple symbolisms and legends surround the history of the dragonfly. The dragonfly is seen as a symbol of change since it transforms, much like a butterfly. 2020 has been a year of change.
My prince suggested I notice the insects because I’d been working on my newly released novella Dragonfly Wishes. Since it was in the forefront of my mind, I saw dragonflies everywhere, like when you get a new car, and suddenly, there seem to be a million on the road like yours.
One large dragonfly flew up to me in the parking lot at a home improvement store. I was out of town in the mountains, nowhere near water or warmer temperatures. However, I learned one nickname for the dragonfly was the “Globe-skimmer.” It can fly long distances and each of its four wings can move independently. The dragonfly is a beautiful creature with a colorful body and iridescent wings.
Fall 2019, I was asked to join a fairytale anthology. “I can do this,” I told myself and accepted the offer. As time wore on, my confidence eroded. Writing Dragonfly Wishes was a big change from my romcom comfort zone. “I don’t write fantasy” and “how can I be funny?” were my two biggest arguments. Was it too much change? But in the spring Kyan began talking to me. Yes, my characters do speak to me. Ideas started scrolling through my head, and I fell in love with the story concept.
In my Grimm fairy tale retelling, Kyan is a dragon shifter who enters our world through a magic portal. When he visits he transforms into a dragonfly. Talk about change: from the largest beast to an itty bitty bug. He has to learn to cope with his other-worldly, gargantuan surroundings. Kyan also wants to help Arianna resist her overlording uncle, but he finds it hard to do as a small insect.
Change can be a good thing, sometimes scary, too. Like Kyan, I had to overcome my self-restricting ideas and strive to rise above them.
Be on the lookout for dragonflies on the winds of change. I’m watching for them and more good things on the horizon.
Dragonfly Wishes (and 8 other fairy tale retellings) in Who’s the Fairest? A Sisters Grimm Anthology: https://books2read.com/whostheFairest/
Once upon a time, there was a fisherman and his wife… scratch that…
Once upon a time, there was a fashion designer and a dragon shifter from another world…
Arianna Travers creates clothing that brings joy to others. Haunted by her mother’s disappearance and tormented by her overlording step-uncle, Arianna desires to escape reality even if it’s only through the tip of her charcoal pencil.
A royal of Ellehcor, Kyan the dragon shifter spies the forlorn beauty through a magical window to another world. To meet her face to face, he leaves the sanctuary of his home realm and enters the portal, transforming into a dragonfly.
Things don’t go as planned when Kyan becomes entangled in spider silk. Arianna discovers the little blue dragonfly and rescues him. As a reward, Kyan offers to grant her wishes, but before Arianna can make a wish, the Overlord steals it from her.
As Kyan and Arianna’s relationship blossoms, so does the breadth of the Overlord’s wishes. Kyan strives to save Arianna from her uncle and his devious plans, but what can a dragonfly do?
About the Author
I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio but now live in Dayton. I live with a big black kitty and an orange tiger kitty, a plated lizard, my daughter, son and my prince.
I write fairytale retellings and romantic comedies because the world needs more laughter and love.
Ever since I was a kid, I have loved music. I remember having a radio in my room and being amazed at the new songs I heard. I noticed how each song told a story with not only words but rhythm and instruments as well. When I got a tape player, I listened to “Africa” by Toto over and over. It’s still one of my favorite songs. More than anything else ever has, the notes of a song can soothe me when I’m upset. A good, fast-paced song can energize me when I need to get things done. I can turn up the volume and sing when I’m alone, especially when I’m driving down the road. The energy of a crowd at a concert can be inspiring. The connection to everyone around me singing the same song is incredible and beautifully impermanent.
The soothing power of music is an important part of Tiger’s Last Chance. In the story, Sean Whitman had a rough childhood and endured a brutal interrogation that tore apart his life and career, but he survived. In spite of everything he endured, his empathy for others never faltered. But he’s not perfect either. He is a recovering alcoholic and music is his lifeline when things get too intense for him to bear.
The song “Ball and Chain” by Social Distortion is playing in his truck in the first chapter of the story because that song kept popping up in my head as I wrote his character. For Sean, music is the temporary armor that gave him strength and peace while he healed. I think music is a temporary armor for many people. The rhythm and sound give us joy and comfort in the darkest times.
Tiger’s Last Chance
While working a case, Sean Whitman is tortured for information, drugged, and bitten against his will by a shapeshifter. The fallout leaves him jobless, friendless, and dumped by his girlfriend. Needing a fresh start, he leaves town and opens a private investigation business. Learning to live life sober isn’t easy, but he makes it to the two-year mark.
When Detective Nikki Jackson with the Great Oaks, Virginia Police Department calls him, accusing him of breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s house, Sean can’t help but like the sound of her voice, despite her ridiculous accusations. He’s shocked when she calls him back with an apology then asks for his help as a consultant on a case. On the phone, her sweet, slightly Southern voice captivates him. In person, she’s unlike any other woman he’s encountered, and nearly impossible to resist. But could the sexy detective ever want a man like him?
After Nikki’s last dating disaster, the mountain lion shifter has sworn off men. Then she meets Sean, and with every second she spends around the tall, dark-eyed man, her resolve crumbles. But for some reason, despite the undeniable attraction between them, Sean seems determined to push her away.
An investigation into missing refugees leaves Nikki with more questions than answers. Her refusal to let the matter drop leads her to the discovery of a radical political group’s horrifying plot for dominance. Traitors are embedded within the very organizations meant to keep shifters safe. As the list of people she can trust dwindles, Nikki calls on Sean to help her unravel a web of deceit.
As Nikki and Sean fight for survival, his fear of losing her could become a reality. Will he get one last chance to show her he loves her?
For the briefest moment, Nikki felt the depth to which Sean might be capable of pushing her. His kiss was crushing and brutal. His tongue pushed past her lips and his grip in her hair tightened. If desire were a vine, it would have wrapped itself around her veins and encased her heart. The heat between them flooded her. There was a sweetness, too, in his kiss, and the sweetness made her burn hotter.
A polite cough from inside the waiting car put a quick end to things. Sean pulled away and met her gaze. No words, but she got the message. She wasn’t alone. Comfort and friendship; he’d probably meant the kiss to comfort her and had gotten carried away in the heat of the moment. He’d carried her away with him, and she wanted to take him so much further into the unknown.
With each second, each step towards the waiting car, she tried to find reasons and more reasons to ignore her growing attraction to Sean. The number one reason to forget about the kiss they’d shared—relationships were trouble. She had plenty of other amazing things in her life, including her career, her volunteer work, and her band, even though the band rarely played anywhere because the members had trouble aligning their schedules. She didn’t need a man. Besides, he was probably still messed up over Sydney. Also, he was a regular. Or mostly regular. Not to mention he lived over a thousand miles away in Texas. She should tell him the kiss was a mistake. One look at him and she couldn’t bring herself to say the words. The kiss they shared had been anything but a mistake.