Monday, July 21, 2008

Cold Fire by Nicole Gestalt

Running for your life can lead to some interesting situations...just ask Alice. This Alice has nothing on the Alice of Wonderland that's for sure. Running for her life, Alice attracts the attention of someone very special, so special in fact he saves her from the hoards of dogs and men wanting to punish her for disobeying their lord. Only in the end they end up saving each other from the different circumstances of their lives.

This is a Terrific story that will take you away for a quick trip across the universe in just a matter of hours. Kevalan found his mate when he wasn't looking, let him show you how to look for the unexpected.


by Nicole Gestalt

Publisher: Phaze

ISBN #978-1-59426-828-1

Genre: Fantasy

In his ice palace Kevalan spends his time visiting different planes bringing cold and ice at certain times of the year. On a brief visit to one he rescues a young woman. He carries her to his palace for her safety all the while worried about his feelings for her. He only has one night on this world is it enough to form a strong enough bond, and why does she look upon him so fearfully?


The trail ahead was dark. Now that she was in the forest, she could no longer see the ground in front of her. Stumbling, she fell, her foot catching on a tree root. Crying out in pain, Alice forced herself to get back up and continue to run. In the distance dogs barked, and she could hear the sounds of her pursuers breaking through the undergrowth.

Straining to breathe, Alice ran on, stumbling at almost every step. Moving through the forest was hard going, every movement causing sharp pains to shoot through her bare feet. Sweat dripped into her eyes, making them sting and her vision blur. Wiping it away didn’t help, yet she kept on running.

Alice had no idea how much time had passed as she ran, nor in which direction she was headed. It was a moment before she noticed that the forest in front of her was beginning to thin and grow lighter. Running towards the area, she felt the earth underfoot quickly become wet and soft, then grow hard and bitterly cold. She began to lose all feeling in her feet as they pounded against soil that steadily became frozen the further she ran. The dogs sounded closer and she heard the men shouting. Turning, she caught a glimpse of their torches before her foot caught on an unseen obstacle, twisting underneath her. She hit the forest floor hard. Pain shot through her foot and up her leg, as she clawed at the remains of the fallen leaves, writhing in the cold. She rolled over to face the men as their shadowy forms moved through the trees towards her.

The dogs burst out of the surrounding trees, closely followed by the men. The burning torches lit their faces, twisted with hate and bitterness. Using her good leg, she pushed herself backward and continued to crawl slowly onward. Her heart raced, and she knew it was all going to be over soon. One of the men moved closer, barely holding his dog back, allowing it to bark and growl at her face. The beast’s saliva dripped onto her shoulder and she flinched away as it snarled at her. Alice closed her eyes as the rest of the men approached, not wanting them to see the fear that glimmered there in her unshed tears.

The dogs’ barks echoed, making them seem to be everywhere at once, and Alice waited for what was to come. She wasn’t sure how long she sat, nor could she say when everything went still, only that she slowly became aware that she was encircled by a deathly silence. Sitting still, the only noise Alice could hear was her heart beating. A shiver ran through her, and when she dared to breathe in, the air was icy cold. She felt chilled to the bone, and as Alice listened nervously, trying to hear anything, she thought she caught the sound of a gentle tinkle that reminded her of watching the frost forming on her windows in the dead of winter. The ground around her froze and grew icy under her fingertips. Alice couldn’t say what it was, but something didn’t feel quite natural about the whole situation. Scared, she blindly tried to back away from the peculiar noise, but as she began to move her hands slipped and she fell, causing her head to connect with the frozen ground. The last thing she heard as she slipped into unconsciousness was the tinkling growing deafeningly loud.

* * * *

Kevalan heard the commotion before he could see it. He waited, hidden by the foliage, as a panicked woman fell through the trees closely followed by a pack of baying hounds and many men. He knew of the village that they had come from, but it was the first time he had seen any of the people in many years. Anger filled him as he watched them chase the woman. When she fell, the men and their dogs quickly surrounded her. Only then did he step forward from the shadows. He gained a small amount of satisfaction at the fear and panic that flashed briefly across the men’s faces. As one, they all turned and ran, their hounds following closely behind, though it seemed more out of obedience than fear. Once they had gone Kevalan turned his attention to the young woman, now unconscious on the ground. He picked her up, noticing her blood-coated feet and the scratches covering her body. She weighed almost nothing in his arms and carried her easily as he carefully walked back to his home.

Over the years, many visitors had taken up brief periods of residence at his palace, but never anyone he had had to rescue. As Kevalan took her to one of the guest bedrooms, he wondered why she was running. Her clothes seemed nothing but rags, and readily fell apart at his touch. Laying the young woman down, he moved to clean her wounds and then gently bound them with soft cloth. Her skin was slightly tanned, and she had the look of someone who had worked outside her whole life, although she was painfully thin.

Kevalan looked upon her. He had pulled the covers up over her so she wouldn’t get cold. Hopefully she would wake after receiving the rest she apparently needed. However, as he gazed at her, he felt a stirring deep inside.

Kevalan was an immortal being. His task, since time immemorial, was to travel to different planes, bringing the ice and snow that the worlds needed. The plane he was currently on, he visited only once a year, at their winter solstice. He kept to himself, and although occasionally village elders would attend a meeting with him to discuss a problem they were having. In more recent years, with magic fading, this had become an increasingly rare occurrence. Most of the people he met were in fear of him, or thought he would do them harm in some way. Now, as he watched the woman sleep, he felt a longing to be touched, a need for companionship and a fear that he would once more be left alone.

Filled with the urge to lay down with her and keep her safe, but frightened at the thought of scaring her and being left alone once more, Kevalan left the room. He walked around the palace for a time, unable to get the image of the woman out of his mind. He found everything about her tantalising; when he had picked her up she had smelt of the trees, her warm body had caused tingles to run through his own, her breasts had pushed up against him, causing his body to react to her closeness. Without realising it, Kevalan found that he had stopped just inside one of the central rooms in the palace. The walls were lined with mirrors through which any and every room could be seen, heard, and even scents smelt at will. Kevalan wasn’t sure of the purpose of this room exactly, just that it had always been this way. He rarely entered this room since he was on his own and it only served to remind him of that loneliness. However, now, as he looked over the mirrors, he located the one that portrayed her room and his heart leapt at seeing her.

At the furthest point from the mirror he could see her sleeping form. She had obviously been moving in her sleep; the covers had slipped a little from her body and he could just make out the gentle curve of her soft breasts. He could just smell the trees and her own warm scent as if he was still holding her. He wanted to kiss her ruby red lips, to take away the pain from her injuries and to hold her in his arms before lying her down and making love to her.

Visions of her naked body swam in front of him. Their bodies entwined as he pushed his cock deep inside her. Unconsciously, his hand had slipped into his breeches and he had taken hold of himself, as the images consumed his mind he began to move his hand up and down, pumping it faster.

She screamed out his name as they made love, raked his back with her nails and thrust her breasts up for him to suckle. Keeping her in his tight embrace, he pushed himself deeper into her; with each thrust, their passions overriding anything else, forcing them to act solely on their desires and physical needs. He kissed her passionately as he exploded inside of her, his body tensing before they collapsed and held one another lovingly on the bed.

Kevalan let out a cry of pleasure as he came, then a swift wave of guilt at losing control and playing with himself to her image flooded through him. Still, he stood for a short while, looking at the mirror. His eyes prickled with tears as he thought of her leaving. He knew it was strange to see her as part of the palace ,since she had been unconscious and hadn’t even seen him, but he hoped perhaps she would stay. There was just something about her that made him feel complete and he knew that he would feel more acutely alone if she left.

He wanted to be there when she woke up, to try to explain how it was that she came to be in a palace of ice. Once he had sorted himself out, he swiftly made his way to her room.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

An Arrangement Among Gentlemen by Jennifer Mueller

Looking for a hot little adventure? Perhaps with a historical twist? How about something with a flair of the dramatic of an arranged marriage? Upon the death of her father, our heroine learns he has arranged a marriage with the son of an old friend. Said son has recently returned from the horrors that is WWII and selling his fair share of wild oats along the way. His father agrees to the arragement thinking his son needs a stable influence in his life. Needless to say when Olivia arrives neither are getting what they expected!

If you're looking for a quick read with a different look at the past this is the story for you! The details and characters are written wonderfully and take you along for a fun ride.


publisher: Phaze

ISBN #978-1-60659-004-1

Genre: Historical, Erotic

Purchase Here

Left with just enough to make the trip after her father dies Olivia travels across a dangerous ocean during WW1 to marry a man she never met. Even worse, Cort was never told until the morning they went to go pick her up at the train station that an arrangement has been made. Now the entire family seems to be trying to keep her from even talking to the man they want her to marry while a younger brother just wants her for himself. All that changes when a blizzard traps them together with no family to interfere. With a childhood accident leaving Olivia to walk with a cane she finds Cort has no problems with her scars but his own black past. Then it's time for them to make an arrangement of their own.


Late in the winter of 1916, a train rolled to a stop in the snowbound rail station in the middle of Alberta, Canada. The station was small, but of picturesque brick with a slate roof. Two men in heavy wool shirts and pants and thick fur coats stood waiting for the train. They looked nervous. No, on second thought, one looked nervous. The other looked furious.

"Please, Miss Olivia, let me help you down the steps?" The porter asked after several people had disembarked. The two men perked up at the name and watched as she took the porter's arm. The younger man watched not her face, but the foot that emerged from under the skirt that was lifted for descent. Once down the stairs, the porter handed her a stout silver-capped walking stick. Both men could only stare. Olivia had thick black hair and dark eyes that made her pale skin stand out. Under a full-length seal coat, she was dressed in the latest fashion.

The men walked over to the train. "Olivia Thatcher?"

She raised her eyes. They weren't black as they first thought, but a deep blue-gray that reminded them of a horrendous storm over the mountains. It didn't bode well for the present situation.


The older of the two men walked forward and offered his hand. "I'm George Garrett and this is my son, Cort. I'm glad you could make it in this weather."

"Funerals make no plans concerning the weather."

"I'm sure you won't find my son so much trouble we need to worry about funerals."

Her eyes flickered annoyance, and the storm in them grew. "I'm rather surprised, seeing as you arranged this fiasco that you wouldn't consider my being here as proof that my father died last month. I won't have his death thought of so lightly. Martin, could you show Mr. Garrett where my things are?"

George could only stare in disbelief at the way she had spoken to him.

"Of course, Miss Olivia. Come with me, Mr. Garrett. I'll have you out of here right away," the porter answered.

She was alone with Cort as they rounded the building. Olivia began to walk away to get some exercise after being on the train for so long. She had made it only a few feet before she began to fall. A strong arm caught her easily. She looked over and saw Cort clearly for the first time through her anger. He had longer, sun-streaked light brown hair, and a hint of stubble on a rugged and quite handsome face. He was tan and staring at her with bright green eyes. Olivia suddenly felt very uncomfortable with the position she found herself in and tried to pull away from him.

"Careful. This snow is slick if you're not used to it," Cort warned.

"It's not the snow. I suppose my father forgot to write that this stick isn't just for show. Not being able to walk much the last few days has made it worse than normal."

Cort ignored her attempts at leaving his side and slipped her arm in his to keep her from falling again. "We'd best walk a bit then. The ranch is another three hours by car in this weather." There was a strained silence as they made their way down the station platform.

Olivia opened her mouth several times to say something, but she finally had to force it out. "I'm going to get this out of the way now. If I don't meet your expectations, tell me now, and I'll head home, consider this a tour of your beautiful country, and inconvenience you no further. I have no intentions making either of us miserable with this blasted arrangement."

Cort started to smile, and Olivia's heart caught in her throat as she waited for an answer. That smile was disconcerting. He was either smiling because he approved or because he was glad she gave him an out. He stopped walking and turned to her. His hand gently traced her cheek, the calluses of his hands rough against her skin. Then he kissed her cheek gently in welcome.

"If you're worried about my expectations, never fear. You've already greatly exceeded them."

"And, if I remember the letter I read, all that means is I have a pulse and some semblance of looks," she snapped, annoyed. She was not one to be won over so easily, despite his looks. Or maybe it was that her heart betrayed her and pounded furiously in her chest. She only hoped he couldn't tell her voice had become huskier since his kiss, peck on the cheek that it was.

There was only that smile again. "My father did me a great injustice then, as he never met any of my women. Their semblance was anything but vague, and their pulses quite rapid." His hand found her wrist and searched out her own pulse. "Like yours is just now." He started walking again, half-grinning at her annoyance. Then the grin faded. "I'm sorry I shouldn't joke when you're still grieving your father."

"Thank you," she murmured.

"Your father's letter was rather wrong as well. Fine looking doesn't begin to describe you properly. Magnificent is what comes to mind."

"I'm a cripple." Olivia announced, as a matter-of-fact.

"Crippled is my mother who spends her time in a chair all day because it hurts too much to move. Do you mind my asking how you came to need the stick?"

She kept her face straight ahead. Her jaw tightened; she was not sure she could say it out loud, even after all those years. Then, to her amazement, her voice broke the silence. "I fell off a horse when I was eleven. That's not quite descriptive enough. It rolled on top of me with my leg pinned between it and a tree. My leg was shattered badly. They thought, after it happened, that they would have to remove it completely. I was back on a horse as soon as I was able. It was the only way I could get around. They told me I would never walk again. It took me two years to work up to just walking across the room. I'll probably always have this limp, slight though it looks after nine years. The main problem is my knee gives out quite easily. It's easier to walk with the stick than to fall on my face twenty times a day." The silence returned as the wind blew fiercely. Her clothes were not suited to the weather. Olivia pulled the coat around her tighter.

"I just can't figure out why a woman would have to have a marriage arranged. I can understand it even less now that I've seen you. You're not plain by any means, your eyes match, and your fingers aren't webbed."

"For that matter, why do you? If your experience is as well rounded as you claim, you should need it less than I." Olivia saw that one hit home, and Cort flinched.

"I was told only this morning that I was engaged. I thought my father had more respect for me. I guess I know how he feels about me after this."

"Then we're both thrilled with this arrangement, aren't we?" she snapped. His jaded father had written a reply without ever telling Cort of the decision, just as her jaded father had written the letter claiming she was in need of a knight in shining armor.

As they slowly made their way to the car, letting her get the full enjoyment of being off the train, they said little. Perhaps they both knew at that moment that, if they said much more, they would begin fighting over something that was neither of their faults.

"Took your own sweet time now, didn't you? We've got to get back," George snapped as they reached the car.

"Just shut up and leave us be, now that the damage is done," Olivia hissed as she climbed in. Cort was grinning, trying not to let anyone see. Somehow, from that small gesture, she knew she wasn't the woman anyone thought she would be: she was headstrong, opinionated, determined, even tough. It was best George learn early that she was able to take care of herself; if the look on his face at her tongue was any indication, he wasn't happy about the real Olivia Thatcher.

They headed out of the station and town without another word. Despite the bumps in the country roads before they were barely a few miles out of town, Olivia's head fell to Cort's shoulder. She was sound asleep. It was the end of a long journey, and coming from England was no small feat in these times of war. Even though the United Stared had threatened Germany against sinking neutral ships after the Lusitania, it was still not uncommon for them to be blown out of the water.

Monday, July 7, 2008

No Strings Attached by Devyn Quinn

The print book anthology titled Trio was purchased as research for the Aphrodisia/Kensington line. Little did I know that two days later I would be scheduling Devyn Quinn to be my first guest blogger on my blog. Oh, and did I mention that she has a story in this particular book? Small world, huh?

Anyway, there's this warning on the back under the blurbs that says Warning! hsi is a REALLY HOT book. (Sexually Explicit) The publisher wasn't lying. As we traveled this weekend, I read Devyn's story, No Strings Attached. LOVED IT!!!

Okay, when I opened to the first page of the story, I almost groaned. The location was Reno, Nevada. What is it about the books I've been reading lately that take place in big gambling towns? lol

Seriously. I wasn't sure if I'd like Lara or not. The beginning finds her not in a good position and I was really wodering if she was going to allow that ass (pardon my language) take advantage of the situation her ex put her in (grumble about that piece of dirt). She got Kudo points for lashing out at DiMarco.

But that's not the good part. That comes later when she meets and agrees to spending a week with Nick and Jared. (Hmmm, I have two main characters by those names that I absolutely loved too.) See how they distract me? :-P

Those to men were delicious. And the things they did to Lara...*sigh* Could I trade places with her?

Needless to say, Ms. Quinn had me well entertained with this very stimulating, sexy story. Her words were expertly written, drawing the reader into the story as if we were actually watching the scene unfold live. Oh, and let's not forget the little twist at the end. But I won't spoil it for those who haven't read it yet *evil laugh*
I'm still reading the other two far so good. But I'm also in the middle of Ms. Quinn's other menage book from Ellora's Cave...Three To Dance. Loving it.

You know the saying - You had me at hello. Well, Ms. Quinn had me at "God, you're perfect in every way:. :-D

Anthology Title: Trio
No Strings Attached by Devyn Quinn
Publisher: Kensington Aphrodisia
Genre: Contemporary/Menage a trois

This book can be purchased from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Kensington Books

Dancer Lara Green stands to make a cool million if she agrees to be the main attraction at Nick Conway's scenic mountain getaway. All expenses paid, her job is simple: Fulfill his desires and that of his best friend in any way they desire. Easy money, hot sex, and two delicious guys? She says yes...

Also featuring Hot Pepper by PF Kozak and Bring It On by Jane Ledger.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

High Stakes by Erin McCarthy

This was not my first Erin McCarthy book to read. I believe I have My Immortal somewhere around here. However, I’d never read any over her Vegan Vamps series. As I’ve said in another post, I’m not huge on Vegas stories. I don’t choose books because that’s the location. This one just happens to be located there.

However, I’m glad I read this book. Alexis is a spunky, protective woman. I enjoyed her determination to save her sister from some bad people, even while her sister is determined to save the vampires’ souls from hell. Ethan is a charm. Easy to fall for and sexy as hell. I think I’d tell him to Bite Me many times in a day. ;-)

This story is full of wit and humor. The antics of Alexis along with Ethan’s reactions actually made me laugh out loud. There were times that I actually felt sorry for poor Ethan as Alex literally burst into his life like a storm.

I highly recommend this book. Even the subplots are fun and intriguing. It’s summer time. Pick it up and get drawn into the world of Vegan Vamps!

High Stakes
By Erin McCarthy

Publisher: Berkley
ISBN-10: 042521978X
ISBN-13: 978-0425219782

Genre: Paranormal romance/light comedy

Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores

Book 1 of Vegas Vamps series

He’s a bloodsucking freak of nature. But, unlike other politicians, Ethan Carrick is a nice guy – and a hot, casino-owning vampire. It’s election year for vamps, which means he’ll first have to escape his opponent’s hit men and then find a First Lady, like the smart and sweet Brittany Baldizzi. But when her protective sister, Alexis, steps in with a message for Ethan – Bite me – he realizes it’s no-nonsense Alexis who raises his stake. And as much as she denies it, she wouldn’t mind a romp in a coffin with him. But can a mere mortal make a centuries-old womanizer feel something new?
See other books available from Erin McCarthy at her site -