UPDATE: The winner on the Collections website is…flchen!
If you didn’t know, we’ve been running nearly daily contests over on my Delilah’s Collections website to celebrate the release of the latest Boys Behaving Badly anthology. I invite you to head over there and enter as many of the contests as you can! Many are still open, some of the older ones, not for much longer—and be sure to read the snippets from the Silver Soldiers stories! You’ll be hooked!
And remember, I also have my newest book—Book #1 of the WE ARE DEAD HORSE, MT series—ready for you to read: COLD HARD CASH!
Star Diplomacy by Kimberly Dean With the threat of an interplanetary war looming, a hardened military negotiator must find a way to connect with the enemy’s beautiful ambassador.
When I saw Delilah’s call for proposals, I’d just finished a sci-fi space opera romance titled FALLING STARS. It was a new genre for me and so much fun to write. I conceptualized a whole galaxy with alien (yet very human-like) races. One of the planets was Terrene. It had a patriarchal society, and its inhabitants were known for their physical rigor, determination, and adherence to rules and order. Their unique trait was striped skin. Another planet was Maelstrom, the water planet with an egalitarian society. Inhabitants were known for their empathy, foresight, and adaptability. The galaxy was on the verge of war throughout the book as the alien races struggled to coexist.
Delilah’s theme of SILVER SOLDIERS fit right in with that world. I immediately knew what I wanted to write, and it was also my chance to fix a loose thread I hadn’t been able to tie up in the original book!
So, my picture is of Colonel Stone Evren, a former Terrene soldier turned negotiator. (Do you like my mad Photoshop skills with those stripes? 😊) He’s looking up at the planet of Maelstrom, getting ready to “negotiate” with the beautiful enemy ambassador.
A snippet from “Star Diplomacy”…
These talks weren’t going to be easy.
He gave a nod, and the soldier opened the door.
The guard on point entered first, automatically evaluating the room for threats. He did the same, even though the all-clear had been given. Old soldier, old habits. They were meeting in a hotel conference room, and the Maelstromian contingent was already present. He mapped out the personnel in his head and finally focused on his counterpart.
He’d known where she was the moment he’d stepped into the room.
“Colonel Evren,” the facilitator said, announcing his arrival.
The ambassador flinched as if caught by surprise. She turned swiftly, and her colorful skirt flared. Her eyes were wide when they locked with his, and Stone stopped where he stood.
Beautiful. He’d gotten that right.
The material of her dress swung like a pendulum against her legs before settling into place, but the look in her eyes lasted a split-second longer. He frowned. What was that? Resolve? Uncertainty? Fear? Instinctively, he took a step forward, but the emotion quickly cleared.
He dipped his chin in acknowledgment. “Ambassador Nova.”
Of course, she was on edge. They were adversaries.
Kimberly Dean has been published by Avon, Black Lace, Ellora’s Cave, HarperCollins: Mischief, and Samhain Publishing. She’s known for creating strong emotional connections and sizzling chemistry between her characters. She’s the author of over forty published stories including the Storm Chaser Alliance sci-fi alien romance series.
Silver Soldiers: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology is the 7th BBB anthology! And I think it’s the fattest, too! That’s over 81,000-words of hot goodness! The release date is May 9th—so that means, tomorrow at midnight, you can have this book in your Kindle or iPad and you can hop around to read the stories you know you’re going to love before reading the ones you didn’t know you’d love (but you will!).
Take a look at the list of stories below. There is truly something for everyone.
So, for a chance at getting a FREE copy of one of the previous BBB anthologies, tell me TWO things: 1) Have you already pre-ordered your copy of Silver Soldiers? 2) Which stories listed below are you most interested in diving into first?
This collection features “silver soldiers”—those salt-and-pepper hotties with crow’s feet earned through rugged training and years of combat. Former soldiers finding their footing after their first careers, or current soldiers nearing the end of their military careers.
Table of Contents
Fight Like Cats and Wolves by A.J. Harris – After their helicopter is forced down by a rogue war machine, an Army veteran must use wits and fangs to survive with his mysterious pilot
Handfasted to the Highlander Warrior by Aurora Russell – A hardened warrior reluctantly prepares to release his vivacious bride from their handfasted union…until a sweet, sexy surprise changes everything.
SNAFU—Situation Normal, All F***ed Up by Ava Cuvay – A sidelined Army cyborg’s only joy is the dimpled smile of a curvy Pentagon admin until she offers him a proposition he should refuse
Operation Purple Sparkle Diamond by Brenda Margriet – A resolute Afghan veteran deploys on his most desperate mission yet—wooing the hesitant heart of his daughter’s kindergarten teacher
Ripples by Delilah Devlin – A former Special Forces soldier, looking forward to the peace and quiet of his new houseboat, finds his solitude shattered by the arrival of his neighbor and her kid.
SEAL in Distress by Denise De Marco – While dealing with an unwanted inheritance, a former SEAL confronts his toughest battle yet against an unexpected woman
Storm on the Bayou by Elle James – A retired Navy SEAL and a pretty parish deputy hole up in a bayou fishing shack, weathering a violent meteorological and unexpectedly passionate storm
Star Diplomacy by Kimberly Dean – With the threat of an interplanetary war looming, a hardened military negotiator must find a way to connect with the enemy’s beautiful ambassador
Take Me to the Water by Michal Scott – An unexpected dare holds the key to a second chance with the disgraced Buffalo soldier she’s never stopped loving
This Time Forever by N.J. Walters – A retired Delta Force operator thwarts a holdup, saving the life of the woman he left behind twenty-seven years ago
Weathering the Storm by Natasha Moore – During a violent storm, a stranger walks into a woman’s bar who reminds her of the lover she lost who died behind enemy lines years ago
Sarge in Charge by Reina Torres – When lowlifes threaten the curvy bar owner in his Arizona town, the president of the Broken Arrow MC proves he’s the sarge in charge
Broken Trust by Rhonda Lee Carver – A retired SEAL must protect an old flame who’s feisty and more dangerous than any criminal—and dead if he can’t earn her trust
Clear to Engage by Sukie Chapin – One struggling bookshop owner, one hot-as-hell former SEAL-turned-carpenter, one line drawn in the sand—until the job is done, they’re not clear to engage
The third steamy seasoned romance in my Silverberry Seduction Series released yesterday. An Instagram reviewer recently commented that the whole series is themed around found families, and Turn the Next Page definitely does. Here’s the blurb:
Turn the Next Page
High school sweethearts, their marriage was shattered by tragedy. Thirty years later, a startling confession reignites long banked embers.
On the outside, politician Aubrey Windt is assured and assertive. On the inside, she’s a confused tangle of nerves and regrets. A lost election is the perfect opportunity to reset her life, and she’s going to take it, no matter what anyone says. This time, she means it.
Everything’s fine with Philip Church. Just fine. His second divorce was amicable, his twin sons are grown, and his landscape business runs itself. The fineness is driving him crazy. But reconnecting with his first love provokes an upheaval more potent than he’s ever imagined.
When Aubrey and Phillip learn a startling fact that will forever link their lives, they set out to find the brother Aubrey didn’t know she had. To do so, they must forge a new path, unexpectedly abetted by a stray cat and the eclectic members of a unique book club.
Aubrey (52) is a single child who learns that she has an older half-brother who was given up for adoption sixty years ago and sets out to find him. Phillip (53) lost his parents at a very young age and was raised by his aunt. Aubrey has a beloved stepdaughter, and Phillip has a mature, friendly relationship with his second ex-wife. Even the stray cat finds his forever family!
I am drawn to this theme as a writer in part because of my own found family. On my mother’s side, there are eleven grandchildren (including myself). Of those eleven, six are adopted, including my two brothers. Growing up, we knew this fact, but it was a non-issue. We were cousins and siblings, plain and simple.
I write romance because I need the happy-ever-after (and the hot sex. Don’t forget about that LOL!). I write found families because, in the end, isn’t that what every romance is? Whether it is by blood or love, we all crave connection, and exploring this theme satisfies my soul.
Here’s an excerpt from Turn the Next Page:
Phillip didn’t look at her. Tying the handles of the bag together seemed to require all his attention. Aubrey wondered if she’d gone too far. He couldn’t be angry that she wanted to be friends, could he? That was a pretty innocuous wish.
“Only if you want to, I mean.” The hamburger she’d eaten congealed in her stomach, the meal solidifying with nerves. “I’ll understand if, once this is over, you’d rather we didn’t see each other. Except with Marjorie and Clarence getting married, I don’t suppose we’ll be able to avoid it completely.”
He lifted his chin and gave her a level look. “What exactly have I done that suggests I want to stop seeing you any time soon?”
“Nothing!” Oh, god, now she’d offended him. “You’re much too polite.”
His eyes narrowed. “Polite? You think I’m only doing this to be polite?”
She spread her hands, bewildered. “It’s not an insult. Why are you upset?” Where had she gone wrong? She’d only been trying to give him an out, explain to him—and remind herself—that this new connection between them was temporary.
He jerked to his feet, dropped the trash bag, and kicked it under the desk with suppressed violence. “You sit there, looking like that, and tell me we should be friends?” His pointing finger slashed up and down as if dissecting her.
Her hand flew to the messy knot on the top of her head. “I know I’m a little untidy right now, but what does—”
He leaned over, one hand on the desk, one hand on the arm of the chair, his face lowered to hers. “You look like dessert.” His brown eyes flared with amber coals. “Sweet and luscious and delectable.”
Her mouth dried. Sweat sprang up on her palms. She swallowed, hard, and could think of absolutely nothing to say.
“I could never feel anything as bland as friendship for you.” His conversational tone was at odds with his looming stance. His arms caged her, his gaze trapped her, but she had no urge to break free. She sat rooted in her seat, curled like a seed in its shell, mesmerized by his voice. “Not thirty years ago, not now. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed, for me at least. We can’t erase the past. But that doesn’t mean we’re doomed to repeat it.”
“What do you mean?” She’d meant to sound firm, confident, but the words came out in a hesitant whisper.
He answered with questions of his own. “Is that really all you want, Aubrey? To be my friend?”
Her heart pounded high in her chest, choking her. Her breasts and belly buzzed with tingling heat. His scent dizzied her, warm and potent and male. She wrapped her arms around her bent legs, rocking slightly.
“I don’t know if I can be anything more.”
He leaned in closer as she spoke. Her eyes closed briefly, her senses overwhelmed. “Why not?” It was a challenge, a dare.
“No reason.” Her pulse scurried like a mouse on snow, fast and frantic. “And too many reasons.”
Surprisingly, he nodded as if agreeing to this befuddled sentence. “If, when we met a few weeks ago, that had been the first time…if there was nothing between us but the thoughts and actions and feelings of the present…would you still deny what’s happening right now?”
How many times had she wished she’d never fallen in love with him? How many times had she wished the heartbreak and grief they’d shared, the same heartbreak and grief that had torn them apart, had never happened? Only to feel searing guilt that those same wishes would have erased Samantha’s too short appearance in this world?
“That’s not a fair question. It’s impossible to answer.” Her eyes traced the lines bracketing the corners of his mouth, the grooves dug into his cheeks—proof of just how many years had slipped away. “You said it yourself, we can’t erase the past.”
“But we can use it to nourish the future.” He knelt, tucking in close to her chair, so close his chest brushed her crossed arms where they clasped her knees. “The roots of things often live on, dormant and waiting, even when the plant appears withered, is given up for dead. All that’s needed to bring it back to life is a little attention, a little care.”
She knew he was talking about their marriage, their relationship—but he could have been talking about her soul. For years she’d felt like a dried husk, blown in random directions by whatever wind was strongest. He was telling her it wasn’t too late to find fertile soil and start to grow again.
Could he be right?
Releasing from the closed, compact ball she’d formed, she laid her palm on his cheek. The scruff of his whiskers rasped her skin, ruffled along her nerves. She stroked the curve of his jaw, tracing his bottom lip with one fingertip. His eyes grew diamond-bright and she shuddered when his tongue flicked out to taste her touch. She laid her other hand on his chest, shyly pleased to discover the frantic thump of his heart.
Still, uncertainty frayed the edges of her desire. “What happens if—”
“No.” He tilted his head, resting his cheek in her palm. “No what ifs. Answer me this. Do you want me? Tonight, right now?” He asked the questions confidently, as if he had no doubt of her answer, but his eyes watched her warily. She took heart at this sign of vulnerability.
“Yes.” Her heart swooped into freefall. His hands lay on the cushion of her chair and she lowered her feet, feeling the stiffness of her joints and ruing the aches and pains of age. Spreading her knees just the tiniest bit allowed her to feel his fists like heated embers on either side of her thighs. “But—”
“No.” He was stern. “If you have any doubts at all, tell me now and I’ll go to my own room. If you want me to stay, you have to promise me one thing.”
“That you won’t regret it in the morning. That you won’t feel guilty or ashamed or any other emotion that might taint something so lovely as desire.”
He was right. Desire was lovely, and even more beautiful when felt for someone so honest and trustworthy and genuine. He didn’t deserve to be the subject of her insecurities.
She spoke slowly so he would know she meant every word. “I promise you. I will not regret tonight. No matter what happens.”
“And what’s going to happen, Aubrey?” He leaned closer, their breath mingling, the heat of their bodies entwining. “Am I going back to my room?”
Brenda Margriet writes savvy, slow burn, contemporary romances with ordinarily amazing characters. In her own ordinarily amazing life, she had a successful career in radio and television production before deciding to pilfer from her retirement plan to support her writing compulsion.
Readers have called her stories “poignant,” “explicit and steamy,” “interesting, intriguing and entertaining,” and “unlike any romance you’ve read before” (she assumes the latter was meant in a good way).