Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Real and Wicked Wethersfield Witches

by Leigh Goff

For Halloween, I’d like to introduce everyone to a little American witch history. The first American witch trials took place in Wethersfield, Connecticut, a historic Puritan town near Hartford, in the sixteen-sixties. During this time, the Puritan population of Wethersfield was suffering from bouts of sickness and mental fits, for which they blamed the devil, who was surely acting through powerful female vessels who had succumbed to his evil charms.

Neighbors spied on one another and casted blame on women like Rebecca Greensmith. In 1662, several witnesses spied her dancing, drinking, and making merry in the woods with other accused witches. Then a neighbor afflicted with fits of blasphemy accused Rebecca of bewitching her. The Wethersfield witch hunts were followed by trials presided over by the Reverend Increase Mather (his son, Cotton, grew up to be just like dad and, a few decades later, had his own hands bloodied with the Salem Witch Trials). Rebecca, who was not afraid to hide her wicked side, admitted to having conversations with the devil, claiming to form a pact with him, as well as colluding with other witches in the woods. Her shocking confession along with, in the Reverend Mather's judgment, her lack of fear for God, her familiarity with the devil, and her involvement in unnatural events, was enough for him to condemn her to death by hanging.

The historical event left me to wonder…what if Rebecca's story did not end there? After all, she admitted to having an alliance with a powerful figure and she had a reputation for hexing neighbors. Who is to say she did not have time to take her vengeance on the Mather bloodline before the noose slipped over her neck?

This question along with the Wethersfield history inspired my newly released YA fantasy, Disenchanted, where Sophie Goodchild, my curious and impetuous sixteen-year-old half-witch protagonist, is a modern-day descendant of the aforementioned Rebecca Greensmith.

As Sophie struggles with her emerging magic and deals with a group of full-blooded witch frenemies, her impatience and curiosity lead her into trouble. She meets the mysterious Alexavier Mather, a descendant of Increase Mather who had a hand in hanging Sophie's ancestor at Gallows Hill. When he reveals his name, she immediately hates him, but senses he is hiding a dark secret and there’s nothing Sophie loves more than uncovering a good secret.

Danger finds her as she delves into the mysteries from both their families’ pasts. Then she begins to fall for the forbidden Alexavier who reveals that his bloodline is hexed with a true love curse that could destroy them.

Alas, there is hope. If Sophie can learn how to tap into the mysterious power of her blood-red diamond charm and find an ancient book of dark spells, she might be able to disenchant the Mather bloodline and save them both.

However, she must first deal with the deadly threat that is Alexavier’s father, Judge Mather, and he has a nasty secret of his own that will drive Sophie to make an impossible choice, one from which she may never return…

As the vision wore off, the glass jar tumbled from my fingers and smashed into tiny shards against the porcelain of the sink. I crumpled to the bathroom floor. The vision of Elizabeth’s last night was her final message. I cradled my face in my hands. My hatred for the judge was no different from Rebecca’s in its depth and darkness. I hated that it was, but I was going to need it. It would carry me through the ritual necessary to save Alexavier. I gripped the edge of the vanity and pulled myself to standing.

I touched my hand to my bloodcharm and dressed in the uniform then took a deep breath as I slid the ceremonial black robe off its hanger and tied the satin belt around my waist. I smoothed my hands against the front panels of fabric, feeling the cold silk against my fingertips. An icy trickle of darkness, the same liquid black ice I felt before listening to Judge Mather and Laney, traveled the length of my arm.

This time, I invited it in.

I felt the darkness tame my impetuous nature, allowing me to feed slowly on the hatred and control it. The coldness flowed through my veins and to the lengths of each limb. The icy darkness pooled in my chest and chilled my heart.

The change was beginning. “Elizabeth, I hope you’re right about the magic in me being able to change black hearts ’cause I’m going to need it for my own.”

The doorbell chimed, startling me to a more alert state. “Hold on,” I shouted. I opened the duffel bag and removed the knife and vial before tossing the robe in. I stuffed the small items in my skirt pocket and carried the bag with me downstairs, setting it in the foyer. I clenched my hands tightly together before opening the door. “Cal? What are you doing here?” I asked, shocked to see him on my doorstep.

“I was worried about you,” he said abruptly, entering the house and grabbing me by the hand.

“I don’t have time for this right now. I have a meeting with my aunt tonight,” I implored impatiently.

“A meeting?” He noticed the gray skirt and white shirt. “Not yet.” He led me to the kitchen and pulled a chair out.

He studied me and grimaced. “Sophie, I don’t know what’s going on, but I get the feeling you’re in trouble.” Perhaps it was his connection to tribal magic, but beyond his tough guy exterior, he was surprisingly intuitive.

“Cal, I’ll be fine. I’m a little stressed and tired, that’s all.” I blinked, feeling a strange weight on my lashes. I glanced at my hands, turning them over. My skin looked luminescent. Flawless. I smacked my lips together, feeling their plumpness.

He scrunched his face up as he eyed me. “Tired? You don’t look tired. Are you wearing makeup?”

I raced to the foyer mirror, out of Cal’s view. My heart-shaped lips bloomed a blood red, my lashes thickened and bowed upward like the arms of a goddess, a dewy glow radiated from my flawless ivory complexion, and as I watched, the messy knot unrolled down the length of my back into a wavy sea of glossy sable hair. My mouth fell open.

“I wasn’t finished.” Cal marched toward me. “Whoa. What is going on?”

I turned to him, having to act like I normally did. “Nothing.”

His eyebrows arched. “Something. Did you get a makeover in the last thirty-seconds?”

I gathered my silky hair and draped the long smooth tresses over one shoulder. “I’m trying something new. Don’t make fun.”

He shook his head, stupefied. “Whatever. I came here to give you something.” He took a breath as if to say something else, but he stopped. Our friendship had evolved and deepened into a mutual love for each other; a love between friends, but nonetheless sacred and forever.

I shook my hands at him. “Cal, don’t. It’s not...”

He reached into the pocket of his jeans and extracted a tangle of black leather string. Angst crossed his bronzed brow. “I want you to wear this.”

I glanced at the object resting in his open palm; a small wood carving attached to leather strands. The amulet was the size of a postage stamp.

“It’s a talisman carved from eucalyptus wood. It wards off evil spirits and will protect you.”

“Is this a white magic token?” He smiled without explanation. “Cal, it’s incredibly thoughtful of you. I love it. But I can’t take that.” I didn’t deserve to wear it at the moment, not as the darkness spread through me like the poison Romeo drank, silencing the warmth in my heart. My lips tingled. “Your mom wouldn’t like it.”

His lips twisted to the side and his expression was one of rejection. “I think she would be okay if she saw it on you.” He smiled, a hint of sadness seeped into the corners of his mouth. “Here...” He took my hand and looped the leather around so the talisman dangled delicately from my wrist. I could feel his gentle touch on my skin as he secured it. He placed his large hands on my shoulders and looked at me. “Promise you’ll be okay?”

A laugh cracked through my stress. “Promise.” Cal’s sentiment was deeply appreciated. He never failed to make me laugh, even as the temperature of my heart dropped.

He leaned in and kissed my cheek as a small tear escaped from my eyes. “You better be.” The doorbell rang again. It was too late to stop him. In one long stride, Cal turned the knob before I could move.

Alexavier stood in the doorway, glaring at Callum with disapproval and irritation. “Callum, what a surprise to find you here,” he said gruffly, sarcasm saturating his voice.

“I’m trying to take care of my girl.”

I didn’t want Cal to mess this up. I still needed one thing from Alexavier. Alexavier spoke directly to him. “Callum, I know you care about Sophie, but I can take care of her. She doesn’t need you.” He kept his voice low, but his tone was protective and threatening.

Callum stepped closer to him.

“Callum, this will not end well for you if you insist on challenging me,” Alexavier warned. His voice remained even, but his body was poised to fight if Callum insisted.

I wiped my cheek and stomped toward them. “Please, stop this. Please! I care about you both, but Callum, you need to go,” I pleaded, fearing Cal would snap. I pulled on Alexavier’s arm roughly to break the defensive eye contact he maintained with Callum.

“I’m not afraid, Mather. I also don’t need my fists to prove I’m the better man. Sophie will see that one day,” he snarled ferociously.

I flashed my eyes wide. My jaw jutted out. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This was the last thing I wanted to deal with or could deal with and I feared what I would do under the influence of my choice. “Callum... leave now!” I didn’t care about hurting anyone’s feelings at the moment. My emotions were shifting beyond that.

He pushed past Alexavier in a huff to leave. Alexavier ignored the action, focusing his attention on me. I was relieved he didn’t engage Callum in a fight. He stood before me, astoundingly handsome in a blue button down shirt. He grasped my hands and looked deeply into my eyes. “What was that all about?”

My blackening heart skipped a beat. “I’m sorry about Callum. I don’t know what got into him.”

“Jealousy, I would say. I warned you.”

“I don’t want to believe that’s it.”

His fingers gently pressed against my hand and wrist, lifting them to inspect the talisman. “Did he give you this?” A combination of regret and jealousy lined his voice.

“It’s to keep evil spirits away,” I replied as I touched the wood carving with my fingertips.

He sighed. Our future was under a black cloud from the past where Rebecca’s curse and his father’s mistakes affected us in the present. And after tonight, even if the ritual went according to plan, there was no guarantee things would be the same or better for us. I was risking my life and my soul. Even if I survived breaking the curse and the reconversion, I would be different, changed, tainted from the black magic I had already invited into my heart and it might all be for nothing.

Buy Links:
Mirror World Publishing - Amazon

Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it's also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area's great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch's Ring which is set in Annapolis.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Top-Notch Science Fiction

I'm happy to introduce you to Tom Olbert, a gifted science fiction/horror author with a devilish sense of humor. Tom and eleven other wonderful authors came together and created an anthology well worth reading. Visions II: Moons of Saturn is available in paperback and e-book.

Ice mining in space, colonization of extraterrestrial moons, war between interplanetary corporations, and time travelers bent on destruction, with mighty Saturn as the backdrop.

The theme, Moons of Saturn, provided inspiration for the creation of widely divergent tales centered about the mysterious planet and its system.

NASA’s Cassini Missions have captured stunning images of Saturn, its mesmerizing Rings of ice and rock, and its 53 officially named moons. These twelve authors present their visions of the Saturn System’s promise, as rich and diverse as the reality of Saturn, its Rings, and moons.

The second book of the Visions Series, this anthology features: Tom Tinney, W.A. Fix, Thaddeus Howze, Ami Hart, Bonnie Milani, Jeremy Lichtman, S.M. Kraftchak, Timothy Paul, Tom Olbert, Amos Parker, R. E. Jones, and Duane Brewster.

• In the depths of an ice mine on Dione, embattled troopers combat alien amoeba in the frigid tunnels.

• Wry humor combines with eccentricity in a tale of time traveling disaster.

• Enemies team up to complete a mission, in an intense tale of revenge.

• Security teams from opposing corporations, battle for possession of lunar mining operations.

The Visions Series tells of our urge to venture outward and to explore the Universe. Visions: Leaving Earth, describes our first faltering steps to rise from Earth’s surface. Visions II: Moons of Saturn confirms that we have left the Earth and are at home in our solar system. Visions III: Inside the Kuiper Belt proclaims humankind’s domination, from the Sun to the outermost reaches of the Kuiper Belt.

Beyond these volumes, we will explore outside our solar system: Deep Space and the Near Stars, Colonizing the Milky Way, and Understanding the Universe. Our vision is limitless.

BUY LINKS Lillicat Publishers - Smashwords - Amazon

Tom Olbert lives in Cambridge, MA, home of Harvard, M.I.T., liberals and wackos. When not writing science fiction and horror or working, Tom volunteers for candidates and causes he cares about, like the environment and civil rights. Tom’s father Stan Olbert was a fighter in the Polish resistance during WWII and later a professor of physics at M.I.T. Tom’s mother, Norma Olbert has self-published Stan Olbert’s life story: “The Boy from Lwow”, now available in paperback. Tom’s sister Elizabeth Olbert is an accomplished artist and now a teacher of art at the University of Maine.

Olbert's fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies, including “In the Bloodstream” by Eden Royce, “Torched” from Nocturnal Press and “Something Wicked Vol. II” from EKhaya.

Tom has a dark, cosmically-themed science fiction/psycho drama novel entitled “Black Goddess” now available at Mocha Memoirs Press in addition to two dark sci-fi shorts “Hellshift” and “Along Came a Spider” also available from Mocha Memoirs Press. He also has a vampire novelette entitled “Desert Flower,” a tragic tale of love, war and eternal darkness set in the midst of the Afghanistan war, available now from Eternal Press.

Learn more about Tom Olbert on his blog Other Dimensions.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Marci Boudreaux is in the House

I’m so thrilled that The Forgotten Path is now available! Some of you may know, I not only write contemporary romance as Marci Boudreaux, but I write steaming hot erotica as Emilia Mancini.

This book really was a labor of love. A very long, painful labor…

Most of my books just flow. The stories are there and ready for the telling. Annie’s story was not like that. And it drove me freaking mad!

This story, much like the main character, was stubborn, impossible to move along when it wasn’t ready, but absolutely worth the trouble.

Annie, the heroine, doesn’t much care for emotions. She thinks emotions make her weak…or worse…vulnerable. She’s tough. Strong. Independent. And head over heels in love with her employee.

She would have been perfectly content to keep pretending not to have feelings for him, but Marcus is going to have none of that. He is just what Annie needs—someone just as tough and willing to push her to accept that she is, much to her dismay, human.

Just when Annie and Marcus get on the same page and take the steps needed in order for them to be together without corrupting her moral fiber, tragedy strikes and their love for each other is tested in ways neither of them would have ever imagined.

He bit his lip. Hard. As if trying to stop himself from saying what he was thinking. “Annie, I’ve been…”

Oh, God, don’t say it, she silently pled.

He tried again. “For the longest time…” He a humorless laugh left him as he let his words trail again. Finally, he met her gaze again. “You’re probably going to fire me, but—”

She shook her head. “I can’t fire you, Marcus. You’re invaluable. Whatever it is, I’m sure you can work it out.” She took a step and tried to squeeze by him. “Just take a few days off or…” Great. Now she was the one who couldn’t finish a thought.

He dropped his hand to her hip, and she closed her eyes. His touch sent volts of electricity shooting through her, lighting every nerve. She wanted nothing more than to lean up and kiss the life right out of the man. For some reason, though, putting herself in a position where she could be sued for sexual harassment didn’t seem like a wise business move. Not that she thought Marcus would ever go that far, but people change. Situations get awkward and out of hand.

It was best to avoid the possibility of things going wrong between them and just ignore how much she wanted him.

“Marcus,” she whispered.

“I have been attracted to you for so long, Annie. I thought I was alone in this,” he said in the same hushed tone, “but lately I’ve started to think…you feel it, too.”

She licked her lips and lowered her face. Shit. He said it. The elephant in the room was out there now and neither could ignore it any longer. “I’m your boss.”

“I know.”

“I can’t. We can’t.”

“I know. But I swear to God, I’m about to lose my mind from wanting you.”

Oh, damn.

Her knees actually went weak, and she leaned back against the doorjamb to stay standing.

“I think about you all the time. I know it’s wrong. But all I can think about is how much I want to kiss you.”

A whimpering moan left her as he closed the distance between them. He stopped a fraction of an inch from her mouth and, goddamn it, the temptation gripped her so hard she could barely breathe.

“Tell me you don’t feel the same,” he whispered. “Tell me to stop. And I will.”

She should. She had to. But the words wouldn’t leave her.

“Tell me to go to hell, Annie.”


As a teen, Marci Boudreaux skipped over young adult books and jumped right into the world of romance novels. She's never left. Marci lives with her husband, two kiddos, and their numerous pets. Until recently, she was a freelance writer appearing monthly in a variety of local magazines. She now focuses on writing and her work as a content editor.

Romance is her preferred reading and writing genre because nothing feels better than falling in love with someone new and her husband doesn't like when she does that in real life.

Learn more about Marci Boudreaux on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, October 19, 2015


With the latest from USA Today best-selling author Sam Cheever. Slow Burner is just one scorcher in the multi-author box set anthology Into the Flames that is shown below.

A love that burns slowly burns longest, creating the greatest heat.

Though they haven’t seen each other for fifteen years, Duncan Yves has never forgotten Hilda Bennet, or the feelings of love and protection she engendered in him when they were kids. So when she becomes the target of a madman who kills with fire and calls his deadly work Art, it seems perfectly natural for Duncan to try to protect her. Unfortunately, he soon learns that protecting Hilda just might bring the past crashing back down on both of them.

Hilda was just a girl when she last saw Duncan, and her childish dreams of living with him behind a picket fence were squashed when he went away. But when they finally find each other again, the past that separated them all those years earlier still seems determined to keep them apart.

Can they nurture the embers of a love that was forged in childhood into the full-fledged inferno it seems destined to be? Or will the destruction of yesterday’s fire finally smother that blossoming flame, and leave their love in ashes?
Hilda Bennet swallowed down a cry of alarm, her hand tightening on the blanket she clutched against her chest.

The sexy fireman she’d been talking to raised his arm, waving a greeting to the man strolling toward them across the yard. The man’s serious green gaze was locked on hers, his square jaw flexed as the wide mouth tightened. A mouth she knew would have just the tiniest overbite, a sexy trait that made her want to nibble his upper lip.

She’d know that rolling gate anywhere. The broad shoulders, long, long legs, and fringe of dark brown hair across his forehead that always made him look like he’d just rolled out of bed.

She realized with a start that he probably had just climbed out of bed, and dueling sensations of lust and guilt formed a knot beneath her ribs.

“Here’s the fire investigator I told you about,” the fireman said. “He’ll get to the bottom of this, Miss. Don’t worry.”

She swallowed hard, her gaze skating guiltily away from the approaching man. Hilda clamped down on an irrational desire to make a run for it. Surely after all these years she had nothing to fear from Duncan Yves. Surely he’d lost his almost supernatural power over her.

But as he came within a few feet of where she stood, his sexy, green eyes narrowing slightly as if he’d just recognized her, Hilda realized the power he had over her hadn’t waned in the years since they’d last seen each other. In fact, she realized as he stopped in front of her, his delicious scent heating the air between them, that the years might as well have never happened.

Because she was still just as in love with him as she’d ever been.

“Ash.” Duncan’s deep voice rolled down her spine like hot oil, making her stomach clench with need.

“Dunc, this is Ms. Bennet. She was in the home when it went up in flames.”

Duncan smiled and her heart stopped beating. “Miss Bennet.” Her throat clamped down and she suddenly couldn’t swallow.

She waited for him to recognize her, torn between hoping he did and being mortified at the thought that he might. “Mr. Yves.”

He blinked. “You know me?”

Panic drew blood from her face and she felt momentarily faint. She’d screwed up…given too much away. He hadn’t given her his last name, yet she’d known it. Her thoughts flew, trying to come up with a plausible explanation. She shook her head, staring helplessly at him. If only he’d give some sign he knew her… Finally, his friend the fireman saved her.

“I told her I’d called the best fire investigator in the city.” The fireman clasped hands with Duncan. “Thanks for coming out at this ungodly hour on your day off, man.”

Duncan nodded, his gaze sliding over her. She could almost see his thoughts turning as he catalogued her condition… the soot covering her hair and skin…the skimpy nightgown beneath the borrowed blanket. “Is there someplace I can take you, Ms. Bennet? Family? Friends? We can talk about what happened along the way.”

She panicked at the thought of being alone with him in a car. Or anywhere. “Don’t you need to go over the scene?”

His smile was cool, detached. She realized with disappointment that he didn’t know who she was. “I’ll walk the perimeter before we go, but I can’t go inside until things have cooled down a bit.”

“Oh.” She cast around for an excuse not to go with him. “I…uh…”


He turned away and Hilda breathed a sigh of relief.

A beefy man in a police uniform strode toward them, his gaze sliding a little too comfortably over her. Duncan threw a set of keys toward Ash. “I have some clean sweats in my backseat. Can you make sure Ms. Bennet gets them? I’m sure she’s freezing.” He scoured a sizzling look over her bare feet and legs and the knot of need coiling in her lower belly tightened further.

She watched him move away, drawn toward her ravaged home by the other man, who was talking and gesticulating as they walked.

She was so caught up in watching his taut, round behind move away from her that the fact his friend was talking to her didn’t register until he placed a hand on her arm. Hilda jumped, blinking rapidly.

Ash lifted his hand, smiling at her like she was a terrified kitten in a tree. “Sorry to startle you. Let’s go get you some clothes. You’re starting to turn blue.”

She wanted to argue. The idea of wrapping herself in Duncan’s clothes…his scent…was almost more than she could bear on top of the night’s traumatic events. Unfortunately, Ash wasn’t wrong. She was so cold her skin had taken on a bluish hue and she knew all too well that shock was a danger. So she nodded and let herself be pulled toward the big, black truck on the street. But she couldn’t stop herself from glancing back in the direction Duncan had gone. Just to get one last look at him

Sam Cheever is a USA Today best-selling author who writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

If you haven't already connected, Sam would love it if you Liked/Followed her wherever you enjoy hanging out online. Here are her online haunts:
Newsletter - Website - Amazon Author Page - Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest - Tsu


INTO THE FLAMES: Firefighter Multi-Author Boxed Set Anthology
Release Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2015
ISBN: 9781626228832 (Seaside Publications)
Seven smoldering stories. One great price. Only .99!

Firefighters. The word ignites bold images of heroes in dust covered helmets and ash stained turnouts who defy the odds and press on in the presence of danger.

Men and Women of Valor. A dedicated brotherhood of first responders whose honor, strength, and courage overcome obstacles to save lives.

Into The Flames. Seven NYT, USA Today, bestselling and award-winning authors offer romantic suspense, contemporary, historical, and paranormal tales of tough, iconic heroes who risk it all for their communities—but at the end of the day, seek the tender embrace of the one they love.


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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Meal from the Heart

by Viki Lyn

I was raised in a family of chefs. My grandfather left his hometown in Italy as a young lad, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean during the early 20th century. From New York City, he boarded a train to California. He had work lined up in San Francisco as a sous chef in a prestigious hotel where he learned his trade.

My father inherited my grandfather’s love of food and was an excellent cook. My father never measured anything, so when he wrote down a recipe it was a pinch of this and handful of that.

This recipe is all about a pinch of this and a handful of that. You can add whatever you have in the fridge…be creative…and have fun.

Light Pasta Sauce

Start with simmering garlic in olive oil. Stir occasionally. Adjust heat as needed so you don't burn the garlic.

Snoop around your vegetable bin and decide which veggies to use. The only essential vegetable is the tomato!

I’m partial to my old standbys:

Fresh Tomatoes
Red Bell Peppers

Chop the veggies, but not too small.

Once the garlic is lightly roasted, add in the mushrooms and bell peppers first. After a couple of minutes, mix in the chopped zucchinis. After another couple of minutes, stir in the tomatoes.

This is when I like to include salt, pepper and Italian herbs. And, if you have fresh chopped basil, toss it in. It adds a nice taste to the sauce.

Cook the pasta and before you add the sauce: Toss the cooked pasta in a light coat of olive oil and lemon juice, and add the sauce.

Top with Parmesan or Romano cheese. Serve with a crisp salad and plenty of fresh Italian bread for dipping into the sauce.


And for dessert, here’s a peek into my latest M/M from Loose Id.

Rocker Leo needs a break. From the band, roadies, everything related to his present life. Wandering the streets of Vienna, he chances upon a poster that just might change his life. Andre Revele, renowned violinist, and Leo’s ex-lover, is performing in the city. It’s been years since Leo slipped out of Andre’s life in the middle of the night, but he's never forgotten their passionate love of music and each other.

Andre’s shocked when Leo shows up backstage after his performance. Hell yes, he’s angry, but he can’t walk away. Against his better judgment, he invites Leo to his hotel for a drink. Not sure what he wants from Leo, he knows what his body wants right now. A night of passionate sex leads to another, until he’s lost his heart to Leo again.

When Andre finds his trust in Leo tested, Leo must prove his loyalty by using their one common passion – music – to bind their hearts.

Leo finished his cappuccino. He needed a break. From the band, roadies, everything related to his present life. He tried to ignore the constriction in his chest. He hadn’t written anything in months, and that scared the shit out of him. His bandmates were like his brothers, but as much as he loved them, it wasn’t the same as having a lover who completely got him. He had no one to turn to when in a funk.

He hoped to God he still had more words inside him. For all of his flamboyance on stage, his real love was composing.

Leo paid the check and left. Too wound up to go back to his hotel, he roamed the streets, taking in the Vienna night. Stars sparkled above St. Stephen’s gothic spire. The wide boulevards twisted into narrow lanes perfect for getting lost in.

Happy to wander aimlessly, Leo slipped his hands into his fleece-lined jacket. Living in LA, he’d forgotten how cold winter could be in other parts of the world. He turned the corner and sputtered to a halt. Staring at the poster pasted to the side of a building, he didn’t need to read the name of the virtuoso to know who it was. He could never forget that face in rapture—when playing or getting off. Music and sex had invoked the same feelings in Andre Revele. Passion was passion, and that man had always had both in spades.

Numbness swept across Leo as he stared at the picture of Andre caressing the bow in those slender-fingered hands—such artistic hands on a large man. It had been love at first sight—or at least lust—when Leo had walked into the practice room.

He could still remember a youthful Andre, not quite grown into his robust physique, as he played the last stanza of Bach’s Concerto in E. The violin’s notes had faded, but the music had remained in the air long after the performance was over. Bright green eyes peered through dark lashes, and sensual, pouty lips morphed into a shy smile. Like an idiot, Leo had been at a loss for words at Andre’s performance and enamored by that handsome face. Until Andre laughed, breaking the spell.

From that day forward, they were inseparable. They both had insatiable appetites for music. They stayed up all hours talking about philosophy and musical composition, and arguing what was better, thin-crust or thick-crust pizza. They played music together, fucked, and enjoyed the simple moments that composed their insular world.

He scanned the poster for the dates of the concerts. Tomorrow night was the last performance. Leo shuffled his feet, unable to move away. He bit his lip and traced the image of Andre. Did he dare go? It had to be fate. He’d been thinking of Andre, talking about the past with Sid, and now this.

His heartbeat quickened. What if he went backstage and Andre didn’t recognize him? Or brushed him aside? Leo had purposely avoided searching the Internet for news of Andre, too afraid that his ex had a lover, or worse, had married. Their lifestyles were miles apart, and Leo could never think of Andre as a friend.

He drank in Andre’s image. Tall and broodingly dark, Andre had the body of a jock and the sensitive heart of an artist. Leo preferred men unlike himself. He’d been a skinny kid, and had a difficult time gaining weight. If he’d been born years earlier, he would have been the perfect face for a glam rock band. At least he’d outgrown the term pretty boy or twink.

Leo chewed his lower lip as he studied Andre’s picture. Tempting as it was to see his ex again, visiting the past was a bad idea. This wasn’t the time, not when Leo was restless and bored. His heart couldn’t take a rejection from Andre. There were other men, lots of men, and he’d had his share of quite a few of them. With his schedule it had become impossible to form any long-term commitment. Or at least that was what he told himself.

A big, fat lie.

He’d never met anyone who made him feel the way he’d felt for the violinist.

Leo kissed his fingers and pressed them to Andre’s lips. “Good-bye, Princess.” Andre hated that pet name, but Leo loved using the endearment. Andre had been born into wealth and privilege, and his family had expected great things from him. “You proved them right, didn’t you?”

Before Leo changed his mind, he hurried away, dismissing the memories of a love lost to his ambition.


Multi-published and award winner, Viki Lyn is a successful writer of gay paranormal and contemporary romance. After reading and collecting whatever she could get her hands on, she wrote her first male/male romance. And that was ‘it’ for her. She never looked back. Viki travels the world in search of inspiration. She considers herself blessed to have traveled to many of the mystical sites she had dreamed about as a child. Her travel experiences have been influential in creating her paranormal worlds. When she needs to relax, she calls a friend to meet at their favorite coffee house. When the chattering in her head goes off the charts, she plays one of her favorite RPGs on her PS4 and immerses herself in the world of dragons and magic.

Learn more about Viki Lyn on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, October 12, 2015

FREE for a Limited Time Only

Bon Appétit...Satisfy all your cravings at cooking school.

Determined to prove herself and shed her party girl image, Donatienne Dubois pins her hope on the exclusive cooking school in Nice, France. One by one her expectations are shattered by a foul-mouthed parrot, a bogus Michelin chef, and a headmistress with a heart of tungsten steel. Donni’s lifesaver is a bad boy too hot not to handle.

Mark Anderson is incognito and hating every moment. To pose as a student while keeping tabs on a rich wild child is his version of hell, until he partners with the dish of Crème Brulée good enough to eat.

Class takes on a whole new meaning as Doni and Mark heat up the kitchen when they discover honey has better uses than sweetening tea.

Mark pasted a cheery smile on his face. Hell, he was getting the hang of this cooking stuff. He tipped the mountain of cheese piled on his platter and leaned closer to the stove, eyeing the pan that looked too small to hold it all.

“Stop!” Doni held up her tiny hand. “You cannot toss all that in here.”

He stumbled backward. What the hell? He’d done exactly what she told him. She couldn’t blame him because the damn block of cheese grated up to Matterhorn size.

“Are you sure you’re in the right cooking school?” She threw in a handful of the white shreds and shuffled the pan until one side of the omelet flipped over the other.

“Are you sure it’s cooked?” He pointed at the pan. “Looks kind of pale to me.”

“Are you sure you know anything about food?” She glared at him while wiping her slender fingers on a striped blue towel. “Sebastien, this is the easiest dish we’ll prepare. What’s going to happen when we advance to boeuf à la mode and present it?”

Now she had him on this present thing, let alone whatever the hell kind of food she meant. If it even was food.

“No problem. I’m your man and ready to step up to the plate.” Dammit. How stupid was that, to make a baseball reference? Quick, change the subject. “What’s next?”

She handed him a coffee cup.

Good, a caffeine jolt would go good about now.

“Snip the chives.”

“Ah, sure.” He gingerly took the mug, wondering what the hell she expected of him.

“These, Sebastien”—she waved a handful of limp skinny green sticks at him—“are chives. From the onion family.” She shook her head, then slid the omelet onto an oval platter. When he didn’t move, she slapped a pair of scissors into his palm. “Do I have to do it for you?”

“You don’t have to be insulting.”

“I apologize.” She tossed her head to move a thick strand of hair from her cheek. He looped the blonde lock around his finger—pure silk—then curled it behind her ear. Her breath quickened and his heart swelled. He leaned into her, needing to taste her pink lips. The sweet aroma of flowers filled his lungs.


Before he could say anything, Chef edged between them.

“Interesting.” Chef took the platter from Doni. “Perhaps a bit plain, do you not think?”

She gasped when he grabbed a handful of some chopped green thing and plopped the wad on her omelet, obliterating the light-colored food.

Pierre flapped overhead, squawking like he had steak knives shoved up his ass. He hovered over the platter, then plop!

“We are always whipping up something new in the kitchen.” Chef sniffed and raised his fist to the bird. “This, however, can never be on a menu.”

He dropped the plate back into Doni’s hands and strolled on to the next pair of fledgling chefs.

Doni blinked rapidly as she pressed her lips tight. Mark slung an arm around her shoulder, feeling guilty as hell that he’d done nothing to stop...

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For those of you who don't know me, I'm an Award-Winning author who believes humor and sex are healthy aspects of our everyday lives. I carry that philosophy into my books. I write sexually explicit romances that take you right into the bedroom. Being a true romantic, all my stories have a happy ever after.

My books are set in Europe where the men are all male and the North American women they encounter are both feminine and strong. They also bring more than lust to their men’s lives.

I was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. Studly, my mate for life, and I now live in a small home in Indiana and enjoy the change from city life. I'm an avid cook and post new recipes on this blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, and I strive for easy.

Currently I have six erotic romance books and one box set either released or coming soon from Toque & Dagger Publishing. Excerpts from these books can be found on my website, blog, and all popular vendors.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Twenty Minutes to Mouthwatering Bliss

by HL Carpenter

Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it in a pot nine days old. Remember the Mother Goose “pease porridge” rhyme? While today we may think of porridge as cereal, in the sixteenth century, “porridge” was a derivation of “pottage” or “potage” meaning cooking pot. “Chowder” also comes from the word pot, via the French “cauldron.”

However you like your soup—hot, cold, or nine days old—combining savory ingredients in a pot and letting the flavors mingle is a time-tested menu favorite.

But what if you want your soup NOW? Well, you’re our kind of person, and we have just the recipe for you. Using already cooked ingredients makes this soup a quick lunch, ready in twenty minutes or less.

Corny Ham Chowder
1 cup milk
1 can cream style sweet corn
1½ cups cooked ham, cut into chunks
1½ cups cooked potatoes, drained and cut into chunks (canned works too)
1 tsp. onion powder
1 cup (4 oz) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Green onion or scallion slivers (optional)
Salt or chicken bouillon to taste

Mix milk, corn, ham, and potatoes in medium pot. Cook, be sure to stir occasionally until heated through.

Add cheese. Cover pot and let cheese melt completely.

Serve with a chunk of hearty bread.

Bonus Goodness:
Crave added richness? Substitute ½ cup of cream for ½ of the milk.

Are you a vegetable fan? Toss in the veggie of your choice, either frozen or fresh. We like frozen carrots for the added color—and the nutrition too of course.

No ham? Smoked sausage is a nice substitute.

Bland potatoes? Mix in sweet pickle juice. A teaspoon gives the soup zing.

Need more soup? Add more stuff. The converse works too.

Fighting off vampires? Switch out the regular salt for a teaspoon of garlic salt. If you have a bad infestation, add ½ teaspoon crushed garlic to the soup and serve with a wood spoon.

Looking for a no-calorie accompaniment? Read an e-book while you’re enjoying your soup! We recommend our young adult novel, The SkyHorse.

Fourteen year old Tovi thinks finding a flying horse is fabulous luck—until a mysterious stranger says finders aren’t always keepers.

When fourteen year old Tovi Taggert moves to Honeysuckle Hollow to take care of her grandmother, she has a hard time fitting in. For one thing, she’s been tagged with the hated nickname Too-Tall Tovi. For another, everyone at Honeysuckle Hollow High believes Tovi played the Choking Game with someone else’s boyfriend and made out with him besides.

As if she doesn’t have enough problems, after the latest stand-off in the school hallway, Tovi finds a gorgeous speckled egg nestled in a feather lined nest.

She takes the egg home. Mysterious visitors begin appearing almost immediately. Even more worrisome, whatever is inside the egg starts chipping its way out.

When the egg hatches, revealing a winged horse, Tovi’s troubles multiply.

As she struggles to return the horse to the magical land where he belongs, Tovi must make a courageous decision—and accept what that decision will cost her.

To read more of The SkyHorse, please click a vendor's name Amazon - Amazon UK - Smashwords

HL Carpenter writes sweet, clean fiction suitable for your entire family. Visit their website for gift reads and the latest Carpenter Country news.

Stay connected on Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, and their Amazon Author Page.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Love Your Fall Garden

by Emma Lane

Don your flannel shirts and work gloves! Fall is here and the garden is calling. There are four types of blossoms stand out for me at this time of year. And here they are!

1. SUNFLOWERS: For years I wondered why my plants came up with big gaps in the rows. Fat chipmunks, thieving rodents! Now I plant them inside and when they have four leaves, out they go. Plant dwarf sunflowers in 10 inch patio pots.

2. ZINNIAS: It’s easy to “over love” these plants with too much fertilizer or water. They need both, but moderate. The large ones grow up to 30 inches high, but all varieties are nice. For bedding, Profusion, Tiger in Performance, Mixed Colors.

3. DAHLIAS: Who doesn’t love these exquisite blooms produced from fat tubers planted in the spring? We plant in the soil in a ‘dahlia house’ to ignore early frosts. To over winter, the tubers must be dug and stored in a dry place inside.

4. MUMS: Pinched until the 4th of July for a bushy plant with multiple blossoms. Perennial? Yes, with a caveat--well drained and mulched for cold zones. When you buy a mum in full bloom, plant immediately and water every day.

Perennial News: Should I deadhead in the Fall? I save all those duties for Spring when it’s too early to plant. Birds love the seeds. (Goldfinch love Rudbecia and Echinacea especially.) Tidy gardeners make your own decisions; the plant isn’t harmed either way. During Summer, plants benefit from snipping spent blooms to keep them going.

Powder Mildew: What’s that white stuff on the leaves? Plants get all sorts of diseases when they are stressed—just like people. For example: too hot, too dry, too wet, not enough fertilizer, too much fertilizer, too much sun, not enough. Home gardeners should check for organic treatments. I strongly recommend harsh chemicals be left to experts.

Fall Sales: Prices may be great, but check for disease. Don’t introduce something to your healthy garden you’ll regret. Trust your local shop owners who live in the community.

Perennial for next year: Garden Phlox ‘Nicki’ Hearty with deep purple blooms.

Bulbs: Plant any day now. You’ll avoid straight lines of ‘soldiers’ when you plant bulbs in clusters. Best buy? Grape Hyacinths are very reliable year after year and inexpensive. Indulge yourself! Most fun? Early blooming red and yellow tulips.

Now that your garden is set for fall, enjoy a good book and relax. May I suggest my latest Regency?

Can an arrogant duke overcome his prejudice against a beautiful but managing female in time to find true love and happiness?

Miss Amabel Hawkins acknowledges her unusual upbringing, but she thinks James Langley, the Duke of Westerton, might be a tad unbalanced when he protests her efforts to right his badly managed properties. The duke, who has been away on the king's business, demonstrates no respect for the beautiful but managing Miss Hawkins. Amabel has taken refuge at Westerton, fleeing from a forced marriage to a man who claims to be her relative in order to gain control of her young brother's estate.

The Duke arrives home to find his estate under the firm control of a beautiful but managing female. His suspicions are fueled by his recent task of spy-hunting and he wonders if Amabel Hawkins is just who she seems. While a dastardly spy lurks, a wicked man poses as her cousin threatening to take over the guardianship of her young brother. Amabel might be falling in love, but she knows for certain the duke would never approve of a meddlesome woman, and she decides to flee his estate. Will the duke finally realize the true value of the woman he loves or will his prejudice ruin his chances forever?

Fatigue and the effects of the brandy on top of the ale now gave his gait a distinct wobble. He chuckled, amused at his condition.

As he reached for the portrait of great Uncle Barney, he lurched into the back of the red leather sofa in front of the cosy fire. “Deuce take it,” he exclaimed when a rounded arm rolled into view. He spotted the gentle curve of a hip and walked around to the front, where he spied a tumbled haze of dark curls hiding a face. It is indeed a female—a sleeping female.

Who was she? The gown was too rich for his household staff. Curious, he knelt beside the sofa.
“Only one way to find out,” he whispered and moved one dark curl. He sat back, satisfied when a handsome face swam into view. She sighed and rolled over, revealing a generous figure and a pair of rosy lips. She might be Sleeping Beauty—but not one of my relatives. He leaned over and kissed those tempting lips.

As he lingered there, she sighed and came partially awake. He could not resist. He deepened the kiss and sounds of satisfaction like yum and umm came from those delicious lips. Her hand stroked his face, then reached around his head to pull him closer. Delighted with this turn of events, the Duke of Westerton complied enthusiastically and extended an arm around a slender waist. How much of the ale and brandy had he imbibed? Dizziness overcame his senses as he slid down on the floor and knew no more.

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Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes under several pen-names. She lives with her patient husband on several acres outside a typical American village in Western New York. Her day job is working with flowers at her son’s plant nursery. Look for information about writing and plants on her new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma's face.

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