Sloane Taylor - Sweet as Honey, Hotter Than Hell

Archive for the 'Author Friend New Releases' Category

April 24, 2017

NEW RELEASE for RISING STAR DIANNA GUNN

Dianna Gunn is a young Canadian author who just release her debut novella Keeper of the Dawn. This is a passionate story of new beginnings, second chances, and the endurance of hope. And a damned fine read I recommend yo everyone who enjoys well written and well plotted stories.

All Lai has ever wanted is to become a priestess, like her mother and grandmother before her, in service to her beloved goddess. That’s before the unthinkable happens, and Lai fails the trials she’s trained for her entire life. She makes the only choice she believes she can: she runs away.

From her isolated desert homeland, Lai rides north to the colder, stranger kingdom of Alanum – a land where magic, and female warriors, are not commonplace.

Here, she hears tales about a mountain city of women guardians and steel forgers, worshiping goddesses who sound very similar to Lai’s own. Determined to learn more about these women, these Keepers of the Dawn, Lai travels onward to find their temple. She is determined to make up for her past failure, and will do whatever it takes to join the sacred order.

Falling in love with another initiate wasn’t part of the plan.

EXCERPT
Lai practiced until well after dark, ignoring the call for supper. She tore a massive hole into one of the dummies with a training sword in her rage, but it didn’t make her feel better. She had spent most of her life training for this day, and Kaiden ruined it with a few words about their father.

Eventually she gave up and collapsed in a heap on the ground, pulling her knees up to her chest so she could rest her chin on them. She forced herself to breathe deeply, using all her willpower to push the rage into the ground. Bit by bit it drained into the soil around her, dispersing harmlessly.

She sat like that in the clearing until clouds engulfed the stars and rain started pouring, one of the last rains before the dry weeks of summer. Lifting the hood of her robes to cover her head, she rose and hurried towards the temple.

Her left foot caught on something and Lai flew through the air, losing her grip on her sword and landing face first in a puddle. Her nose shattered when it smashed into the tough ground, and when she grabbed it to feel the damage her hand came away covered in equal parts mud and blood. Her stomach churned as she picked herself back up, her whole body aching.

Something sharp pierced her back, tearing into her skin and muscles like sharp fire. She screamed and fell face first to the ground. She caught herself on her forearms, avoiding bashing her head against the rocky path.

Lai’s attacker pulled the knife out of her shoulder. She screamed as warm blood flowed freely down her back, mixing with the rain. Fiery agony filled her body, blurring her vision. She gritted her teeth and flipped over to face her attacker.

She froze at the familiar sight of white robes with golden cuffs. Another initiate. Her hood hid her face completely.

Lai gathered her strength with a deep, ragged breath and reached for her training sword. The initiate kicked Lai in the back then stomped on her wrist, grinding bone under her boot, sending sharp waves of pain up Lai’s arm.

“You understand, it has to be me.”

Lai knew that voice, but she couldn’t focus on it through the pain, couldn’t remember who it was.

The initiate seized a clump of Lai’s hair and yanked her head backwards. She knelt and raised her knife towards Lai’s exposed throat.

BUY LINKS
AMAZON
E-bookPaperback
GOODREADS EbookPaperback
GOOGLEKOBOSMASHWORDS

Dianna Gunn is a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. She had known she wanted to be a writer since she was eight years old. Dianna wrote her first novel for Nanowrimo at the age of eleven years old, but quickly discovered that writing books is not an easy way to make a living. So she decided to broaden her horizons, seeking another career that still allowed her to work with words.

Her freelance writing career started when she became a marketing intern at Musa Publishing(now defunct) in September 2011 and quickly became a staff writer in charge of multiple imprint blogs. Since then she has worked with a variety of small businesses and non-profits to improve their online brands and create long term marketing strategies. Some of her most notable work has been for the tech education non-profit STEAMLabs and natural dog care company ProPooch. She is dedicated to helping her clients build successful brands and making their dreams come true.

Need help creating awesome content for your business? Send an email to diannalgunn@gmail.com explaining what your needs are, and she will help you.

When she isn’t helping her clients bring their dreams to life, Dianna can be found working on her own dream of being a successful fantasy author.

Dianna blogs about writing, creativity, and books at The Dabbler.

Learn more about Dianna on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Sloane said @ 1:01 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments

April 17, 2017

ABRACADABRA LET THERE BE LOVE

Beyond Magic is the first book in the Magical Love series from award-winning Lizzie T. Leaf. This imaginative series mixes a variety of realms and worlds. Throw in chocolate, the food all the heroines crave, add a few hunky heroes, and of course villains we love to hate, then mix with a dash of humor and spice. Now let the fun begin!

Following the Powers directive to unite soul mates, a Scottish Cailleach’s magic will have repercussions in several realms.

Mixed-blood author Ian McCabe, grandson of Fae and gods, tries to deny his powers while hiding his true origins from the human world. When he discovers mortal, Emma Grant unconscious at his front door, his world starts to change.

Tour director Emma Grant leads a group of senior ladies through Scotland. The breakdown of their bus on a rural Scottish backroad has her sloshing through the rain and mud on foot. Her efforts to seek help results in a fall that knocks her unconscious. She awakens to find the man of her dreams staring into her eyes.

Both feel an instant attraction, but will his secrets and her distrust of men keep them apart.

A few lines that tweak a grin.
Yep, at this rate, a long three weeks lay ahead. No one had told Emma that the dozen school teachers ranged in ages from sixty-nine to eighty-eight. Good grief, what happened to women at this age sitting on the front porch and enjoying their rocking chairs?

Mildred waved away the correction “Of course, dear. Whatever you say. I just want to know, will we see any men in kilts soon? I want to see what they wear under them.”

Dirty old woman. She asked that question at least half a dozen times before we got on the bus and stated the reason just as often.

Read the first chapter on Amazon.

To read excerpts from other books by Lizzie T. Leaf please click onto Amazon.

Lizzie T. Leaf loved books since she opened her first one. Her dream was to write them herself. Lost in the hectic day to day world of family, job, laundry and housework, writing became a distant memory. When the twinkling ember did spark, it was usually doused by someone demanding their share of her time.

Lizzie’s life went full circle. The desire to put the stories that continued to play in her head on paper emerged stronger than ever, and at a time when there was someone who encouraged. Now she lives her dream.

Learn more about Lizzie T. Leaf on her website and blog. Connect with Lizzie on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Sloane said @ 1:00 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments

April 3, 2017

NEW RELEASE for the Queen of Regency

The talented and ever reigning Queen of Regency, Vonnie Hughes, just released her new Historical Romance novel that definitely isn’t sweet. This unique book begins in Portugal as the Peninsular Wars rage on, and moves to England where the hero and heroine expect to find peace. They’re in for a surprise.

Both of them are scarred by war; she because of the shattered men she nurses; he because of the loss of friends and the horrors he must endure daily.

Colwyn Hetherington has a chance to put it all behind him and return to England. Juliana Colebrook desperately wants to go to England to seek out her relatives. They take an almighty chance and travel together, setting in train a series of events that neither could have anticipated.

With only their love to sustain them, they clash head-on with the reality of England, 1813.

BUY LINKS
Amazon
Smashwords

Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.

Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.

All of Vonnie’s books are available at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

Sloane said @ 1:40 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments

March 27, 2017

TODAY’S REALITY

Anne Montgomery brings to light the physical and emotional abuse too many young people are forced to suffer on a daily basis. Her well written novel is a no holds barred work of fiction that creates a myriad of emotions in the reader. Even though this book is in the Young Adult genre, I recommend it to everyone who has the courage to face reality.

Two Arizona teens find their fates intertwined. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?

Rose Madsen will do anything to keep from being married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) community, even endure the continued beatings and abuse of her mother. But when her mentally handicapped baby sister is forced to strangle the bird she loves at the behest of the Prophet, Rose frees the bird and runs away.

Adan Reyes will do anything to escape the abusive foster care system in Phoenix, even leaving his good friends and successful high school athletic career behind him. Ill-prepared for surviving the desert, Adan hits the road only to suffer heat stroke. Found by a local handyman, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious girl—Rose—running through town, and follows her into the mountains where they are both tracked and discovered by the men of the FLDS community.

With their fates now intertwined, can Rose and Adan escape the systems locking them into lives of abuse? Will Rose be forced to marry the Prophet, a man her father’s age, and be one of dozens of wives, perpetually pregnant, with no hope for an education? Will Adan be returned to the foster home where bullying and cruelty are common? Is everyone they meet determined to keep them right where they belong or are some adults worthy of their trust?

Amazon Buy Link

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Sloane said @ 1:58 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments are off

March 20, 2017

NEW RELEASE for ERIS FIELD

Amazon Best Selling author Eris Field leads us into an exotic world seldom experienced by Western women. Abbey’s Search for Sanctuary is book one of the Destiny: Choice or Chance Trilogy. This contemporary international romance was released by Soul Mate Publishing March 15, 2017. This is one well-written novel that sweeps you away. A definite must read.

Honor killings aren’t common in Buffalo, NY. But Turkish-American nurse Abbey knows she must protect her dead sister’s infant daughter, Jenny. Abbey’s sister was murdered by her Muslim husband for leaving him when she learned his mother would perform the cruel ritual of female circumcision on Jenny.

Once a fighter and medic with the Kurdish forces in Iraq, Rami now works with the refugees in Buffalo. Shunned by his grandfather for failing to demand retribution when his arranged marriage failed, Rami has mastered the art of avoiding emotional attachments. That is until he meets Abbey.

Warning Abbey that honor killings are family affairs and she and Jenny are in danger, Rami offers her a way out: a marriage of convenience and a safe place to live–his homeland, Kurdistan where they’ll be protected by the clan.

Abbey has vowed to do what it takes to protect Jenny. Can she face going back to the world of her childhood, a world of headscarves and submission, a world she escaped once?

AMAZON BUY LINK

Eris Field was born in the Green Mountains of Vermont—Jericho, Vermont to be precise—close by the home of Wilson Bentley (aka Snowflake Bentley), the first person in the world to photograph snowflakes. She learned from her Vermont neighbors that pursuit of one’s dream is a worthwhile life goal.

As a seventeen year old student nurse at Albany Hospital, Eris met a Turkish surgical intern who told her fascinating stories about the history of Turkey, the loss of the Ottoman Empire, and forced population exchanges. After they married and moved to Buffalo, Eris worked as a nurse at Children’s Hospital and at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

After taking time off to raise five children and amassing rejection letters for her short stories, Eris earned her master’s degree in Psychiatric Nursing at the University at Buffalo. Later, she taught psychiatric nursing at the University and wrote a textbook for psychiatric nurse practitioners—a wonderful rewarding but never to be repeated experience.

Eris now writes novels, usually international, contemporary romances. Her interest in history and her experience in psychiatry often play a part in her stories. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Western New York Romance Writers. In addition to writing, Eris’s interests include: Prevention of Psychiatric Disorders; Eradicating Honor Killings, supporting the Crossroads Springs Orphanage in Kenya for children orphaned by AIDS, and learning more about Turkey, Cyprus, and Kurdistan.

Learn more about Eris Field on her website. Stay connected on Facebook.

Sloane said @ 1:50 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments are off

February 20, 2017

NEW RELEASE for C.D. HERSH

Step back in time with C.D. Hersh to an era when free love, hippies, and Woodstock filled a generation with hope for a better world. Can’t Stop the Music is contemporary romance, with just the right touch of paranormal, will bring back memories both sweet and a little painful. So grab your love beads, turn up the volume, and settle in for one hellova a good read.

For college senior and hippie wannabe Rosemary—Rose for short—a teaching job is within her grasp, but she wants more. She wants love, the kind of love that has bound her parents for so many years. When she’s dumped by her current boyfriend because her morals can’t bring her to give in to free love, she finds herself at Woodstock in the middle of the biggest free-love music festival of the Sixties. Alone, again. Until a magical tree grants her wish and she finds the man of her dreams—and loses him before she really knows who he is.

Dakota meets the girl of his dreams at Woodstock, but a jealous wannabe girlfriend drives them apart before he can discover Rose’s last name and where she comes from. After he sees a disappearing tree that promises him true love, a frantic search to find Rose comes up empty-handed.

Magic and music bring them together at Woodstock in 1969. Misunderstandings tear them apart. Will two flower children find one another again, or live with missed opportunities?

EXCERPT
As they made their way to the festival site, Rose and her friends grooved to the music coming from the stage. When they reached the makeshift bridge over the road, someone yelled, “Hey beautiful! You with the red hair.”

She looked around to see if there was anyone else with red hair. Then she glanced up and spotted two guys, one blond and the other dark-haired, leaning over the side of the bridge.

“Yeah, you,” the blond called out as he caught her gaze.

Willow halted beside her. “He’s cute. How about him?”

Rose looked away, her gaze landing on the other guy.

He jabbed his companion in the ribs. “Quit trying to pick up every girl you see.” Then he leaned farther over the rail. “Don’t pay any attention to him. He’s high.”

“So she’s not beautiful?” Willow yelled to the hippie.

She poked her friend. “Stop it, Willow, you’re making a scene.” In spite of her protest, her gaze remained on the dark-haired guy.

He rested his elbows on the rail and stared back at her. The intensity of his expression shot heat into her belly.

“I didn’t say that, just that she shouldn’t pay attention to him.” He flapped a hand at his blond buddy, then tapped his own chest with his thumb several times as if to say, ‘Choose me!’

Does he want me to pay attention to him? Her heart thumped in rhythm to his jabbing thumb.

“Take that one,” Willow whispered. “He’s the real cutie.”

Before she could respond, the crowd pushed them forward. When they reached the other side of the bridge, she looked back, searching for the dark-haired hippie, but the spot where he’d stood was empty.

Just my luck. I see someone who’s intriguing and he disappears.

With a sigh, she continued the trek to the festival grounds

AMAZON BUY LINK

Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

The books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available on Amazon. They also have a short Christmas story, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow: Soul Mate Christmas Collection, with seven other authors.

They look forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.

Learn more about C.D. Hersh on their website and their Amazon Author Page.

Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Sloane said @ 12:33 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments are off

January 30, 2017

IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE

The incomparable Janis Lane has stretched out of her comfort zone into a new genre with her delightful new release Angels Abound with Love. Here is a brief introduction for your reading pleasure.

In a small town, a series of mysterious coincidences tests and strengthens the faith of a group of friends and neighbors. Love is in the air.

A coincidence is an angel-delivered message from God vows her vivacious nurse to young Doc Cathy. To a science educated person, this seems a bit far-fetched. On the other hand, is it? The doctor is in as episode after episode tests her faith and her education. To her delight, love enters her life in depths she could never have imagined.

A handsome detective is too busy with his good works to ask for help either from his church, friends or his God. When he encounters the lovely Doc Cathy his horizons expand beyond his wildest imagination, and he suddenly remembers to include his most powerful partner. Love is the message.

EXCERPT
“She’s a doctor just like Doc Smitty. I’m sure you can trust her. She probably goes to hockey games too.” Mark Mallory turned his attention to the delicate face gazing solemnly down at him and felt a slight jolt to his constitution as if he’d put his finger near an electric outlet. He hastily stood, tugged on his well-worn t-shirt and brushed his hand over his close-cropped hair. It immediately sprang back into curled disarray.

“I’m standing in for his mom,” he stated quickly. “She called and asked me to bring Robbie to you. She’s on her way.

“Oh, sorry–Detective Mark Mallory. I volunteer on Tuesday’s at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club.” He wiped his hand on his jeans and reached it out to her.

“How do you do,” the doctor returned.

“I heard there’s a new doctor taking over for Doc Smitty. Welcome to town.” He shook her hand, feeling foolish as she looked steadily up at him; her calm gray-blue eyes, heavily fringed with dark lashes, seemed to be taking his measure. She was a little bit of a thing, he thought absently, but somehow her height failed to diminish her authority. He hadn’t expected such an attractive young woman to be standing in for old Doc Smith and belatedly regretted his sweaty T-shirt and well-worn jeans. Was that his big toe peeking out of his sneakers? How did that happen? He tried to tuck one shoe behind the other and hoped she wouldn’t notice.

*

Driving home to Aunt Serena and little Elisa, who was hopefully to be her new foster child, Cathy reviewed her day–a quite extraordinary day. Meeting the congenial policeman put a smile on her face—he was one handsome hunk and… now was no time to be distracted by a good looking detective even if it was obvious he spent time working out. Policemen probably needed well developed muscles to help them catch criminals—and to keep themselves healthy. She, a new, and maybe temporary foster parent (she didn’t know yet) needed to keep her thoughts centered. No time for flirting with the local police.

She was still astounded by her impulsive offer this morning to take charge of a four year old orphan in need of a foster home. She almost gasped at her own temerity, but the thought of providing urgent shelter to the tiny girl-child pleased her. She knew her aunt would welcome the tot as well. There was lots of room in that comfortable, rambling older and well-lived-in home where she and her brothers had grown up.

*

“Where there is love, there also shall be God,” she sang softly, the tone of her voice pealing like the soft, tinkling tones of a far away, crystal bell.

Inside the woman leaned forward, her heart filled with empathy for the misery of the child. As the doctor spoke impulsively to the social worker, the angel smiled and floated upwards, the halo around her head fading as she ascended into the clouds and turned into a shining pallet of colors, which disappeared into the arch of a distant rainbow.

Inside the building the doctor wondered at her uncharacteristic and impulsive boldness, but would not rescind her offer. She had love to give and this little girl needed to be loved. Cathy became cognizant of an extreme sense of serenity and well-being. Briefly she wondered at it, but not finding a particular cause, blithely and casually accredited it, quite correctly, as a gift from God and went on with her work.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Read more about the books by Janis Lane on Amazon.

Janis Lane is the pen-name for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

Sloane said @ 12:31 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments are off

January 18, 2017

A HOT BEVERAGE FIT FOR THE QUEEN

by Suzanne G. Rogers

Whenever I’m writing Victorian-era English romance, I will often consult Mrs. Beeton’s The Book of Household Management (1861), for ideas on how things were done. Mrs. Isabella Mary Beeton was the Martha Stewart of the age, writing a highly-plagiarized cookery column for “The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine.” Her book covers diverse topics such as household duties, dining, kitchens, servants, doctors, and the rearing of children, as well as detailed recipes for everything from soup to nuts. I’ve downloaded the manuscript onto my computer from Project Gutenberg, which makes it available to everyone in all different formats HERE.

Since it’s winter, I thought I would share one of Mrs. Beeton’s recipes for Hot Punch, which sounds perfectly delicious and terribly intoxicating.

TO MAKE HOT PUNCH

INGREDIENTS.— ½ pint of rum, ½ pint of brandy, ¼ lb. of sugar, 1 large lemon, ½ tspoonful of nutmeg, 1 pint of boiling water.

Mode.— Rub the sugar over the lemon until it has absorbed all the yellow part of the skin, then put the sugar into a punchbowl; add the lemon-juice (free from pips), and mix these two ingredients well together. Pour over them the boiling water, stir well together, add the rum, brandy, and nutmeg; mix thoroughly, and the punch will be ready to serve. It is very important in making good punch that all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated; and, to insure success, the processes of mixing must be diligently attended to.

Sufficient.— Allow a quart for 4 persons; but this information must be taken cum grano salis; for the capacities of persons for this kind of beverage are generally supposed to vary considerably.

Enjoy the punch over a copy of my latest sweet Victorian romance, Spinster.

Staring down life as an old maid, newly jilted Clare flees to a country home she’s inherited from her grandmother. She doesn’t count on clashing with her handsome neighbor, whose gentlemanly manners and education are at odds with his workingman’s image. As their relationship unfolds, however, she discovers the mysterious Meriweather Holcroft is not what he appears to be.

Suzanne’s historical Victorian YA book is available January 31, 2017 for your Kindle at Amazon.

Suzanne G. Rogers lives with her husband and son in romantic Savannah, Georgia, on an island populated by deer, exotic birds, and the occasional gator. She’s owned by two Sphynx cats, Houdini and Nikita. Movies, books, and writing are her passions.

Learn more about Suzanne G. Rogers on her historical romance blog and her fantasy blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. Also, be sure to check out the website for the Sweet Romance written by Suzanne G. Rogers.

Sloane said @ 1:34 am | Author Friend New Releases,Cooking | Comments are off

January 16, 2017

ACTION, ADVENTURE, FANTASY – HOT DAMN!

I am pleased and proud to bring you a new release by Elliott Baker, an exciting author who weaves fact with fiction to create a thrilling swashbuckler that plunks you right in the middle of the action.

Kirkus Review says it best.
“Alexandre Dumas meets Horatio Hornblower and The Mummy in this sweeping, swashbuckling tale.”

For three thousand years a hatred burns. In seventeenth century France two souls incarnate, one born the child of a prosperous merchant, the other, determined to continue an incarnation begun long ago.

In ancient Egypt, there were two brothers, disciples of the pharaoh, Akhenaten. When the pharaoh died, the physician took the knowledge given and went to Greece to begin the mystery school. The general made a deal with the priests and became pharaoh. One remembers, one does not.

The year is 1671. René Gilbert’s destiny glints from the blade of a slashing rapier. The only way he can protect those he loves is to regain the power and knowledge of an ancient lifetime. From Bordeaux to Spain to Morocco, René is tested and with each turn of fate he gathers enemies and allies, slowly reclaiming the knowledge and power earned centuries ago. For three thousand years a secret sect has waited in Morocco.

After ages in darkness, Horemheb screams, “I am.” Using every dark art, he manages to maintain the life of the body he has bartered for. Only one life force in the world is powerful enough to allow him to remain within embodiment, perhaps forever. Determined to continue a reign of terror that once made the Nile run red, he grows stronger with each life taken.

Bordeaux, France

Three men bled out into the dirt.

René stared at the hand that held the bloody rapier. His hand. Tremors shuddered through his body and down his arm. Droplets of blood sprayed the air and joined the carmine puddles that seeped into the sun-baked earth. He closed his eyes and commanded the muscles that grasped the rapier to release their tension and allow the sword to drop.
Years of daily practice and pain refused his mind’s order much as they had refused to spare the lives of three men. The heady exultation that filled him during the seconds of the fight drained away and left him empty, a vessel devoid of meaning. He staggered toward an old oak and leaned against its rough bark. Bent over, with one hand braced on the tree, he retched. And again. Still, the sword remained in his hand.

A cloud shuttered the sun. Distant thunder brushed his awareness and then faded. Rain. The mundane thought coasted through his mind. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve and glanced down hoping to see a different tableau. No, death remained death, the only movement, that of flies attracted to a new ocean of sustenance.

The summer heat lifted the acrid blood-rust smell and forced him to turn his head away. Before him stretched a different world from the one in which he had awakened. No compass points. No maps. No tomorrow.

The Maestro.

The mere thought of his fencing master filled him with both reassurance and dread. René slid the rapier into the one place his training permitted, its scabbard. He walked over to where the huge black stallion stamped his impatience, and pulled himself into the saddle.
Some impulse caused him to turn his head one last time. The sunlight that surrounded the men flickered like a candle in the wind, and the air was filled with a loud buzzing sound. Although still posed in identical postures of death, three different men now stared sightless.

Their skin was darker than the leather tanned sailors. Each wore a short linen kilt of some kind that left their upper bodies naked. As strange as the men appeared, their weapons were what drew René’s eye. The swords were archaic; sickle shaped and appeared to be forged of bronze. These men wore different faces and yet their eyes—somehow he knew they were the same sailors he had just killed. René blinked and there before him the original three men lay unmoved. Dead.

For an instant his mind balked, darkness encircled the edges of his vision.

Do not anticipate meaning. The Maestro’s voice echoed in his head. Meaning may be ignored, but it cannot be hurried.

The darkness receded, and he reined the stallion’s head toward home.

René approached the linden shaded lane to the château. The stately trees, their clasped hands steepled over the gravel drive, had always welcomed him. Now they were just a faded backdrop that moved past the corners of his eyes. Could it have been only hours ago that the anniversary of his sixteenth year had presented itself like a gaily wrapped gift waiting for his excited appreciation? The day had dawned as grand as any he had yet experienced, and he had awakened early, eager for the morning’s light.

“Henri,” he yelled, as he charged down the marble staircase and into the dining room. Breakfast was set and steaming on the polished mahogany table. Burnished silver platters and cream colored porcelain bowls held a variety of eggs, sausages, fruits, and breads. How Henri always seemed to anticipate his entry amazed René.

Oui, Master René.” Serene as always, the middle-aged major domo entered the dining room. Henri walked over to the table and poured a cup of tea for René. “ S’il vous plaît, be seated, sir.”

“I cannot. Maybe a roll and a link of sausage. Henri, do you know what today is?”

Henri paused as if deep in thought. “Thursday. Oui, I am quite sure ’tis Thursday.”

René took a still sizzling sausage from a tray and did his best to fold it within a baguette.

Non, ’tis my birth date,” he managed around a mouthful of sausage and roll.

“Which one is that, sir?”

“How do you not know? You were there.”

“Well, I remember ’twas after the end of the war. Let me see. The war was over in…”

“Very droll, Henri. Your memory works fine, ’tis your humor that leaves room for improvement. Today is… so… I cannot explain, it feels like anything is possible today.”

“Given that there is still plenty of day left, perhaps you might sit down and eat. I expect you will need all your strength for a day so filled with possibility.”

“I cannot be late.” René gulped his tea and shoved the rest of the roll and sausage into his mouth.

“Happy anniversary, Master René.”

Merci, Henri.” René checked his appearance in one of the grand foyer mirrors, and then strode toward the courtyard. The time had come to present himself to the Maestro.

René vibrated with excitement. He paused just inside the entrance to the training area. This was no way to face the Maestro. He sucked in a deep breath, exhaled, and reached for that quiet center. The torrent of chaotic thought stilled and that unique calm of intense focus settled around him. His friends Marc and Anatole sported their weapons in public. René had yet to earn that privilege. Disarming the Maestro was the only way, and since that possibility seemed as remote as the ability to fly, it generated a great deal of frustration.

Today, however, might be the day.

Amazon Buy Link

Award winning, international playwright Elliott B. Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. With four musicals and one play published and done throughout the United States, New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to offer his first novel, Return, book one of The Sun God’s Heir trilogy.

A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his beautiful wife Sally Ann.

Learn more about Elliot Baker on his website. Stay connected on Twitter and Facebook. Like Elliott’s Author Page on Facebook to learn all his latest news.

Sloane said @ 12:18 am | Author Friend New Releases | Comments are off

December 28, 2016

Sweets for the Sweet

from Dominique Eastwick

Candied Cranberries

2 cups sugar, divided into 1½ cups and ½ cup
½ cup of water
1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
thinly sliced oranges, optional

Combine ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. For those of you who mix your drinks this is simple syrup for those of you from the south this is the Sweet in your tea 🙂

Remove from heat. Let the cranberries/fruit soak. I have heard some people soak the berries for a couple of minutes, other a few hours. I prefer a few hours. Just stir occasionally.

Working in batches, roll cranberries in remaining sugar until well coated. Allow the berries to dry on rack for at least 1 hour.

Use how the mood fits. Give as a gift, top a cake as we did above, or put on the table for a friendly gathering as a munchy.

The Twins are Back


Sometimes one infiltrator isn’t enough. When a long lost Tao pack member is located in Europe, D and 7 accept the challenge to rescue the missing wolf. But sometimes, it takes crossing thousands of miles to find what your soul most desires.

Natalia remembers nothing of her life before being enslaved in a traveling circus. When tall, dark and mysterious strangers show up to help her escape, she feels a connection she’s never experienced before. Should she trust her heart to follow them, or will it land her in another case of captivity.

Danger may be in the blood of infiltrators, but what will D do when his soul mate is the one threatened? And how will two twins, who have shared everything, deal with a female who comes between them?

EXCERPT
Natalia awoke alone and without a blanket to find D closing the gate.

“Sorry, they have just awoken above us. I didn’t think it would bode well for me to be there with you. At least not until we can get that blasted collar off you.”

Well-rested and colder than she had ever been after a night of warmth, she felt the chill more acutely. She also had a sense of loneliness accompanying his retreat. “Why do I desire to touch you when all other men make me want to hit them?”

“We don’t have enough time right now to go into a conversation you will have a ton of questions about, but I promise if we haven’t figured out how to get you to safety by this evening, as we sit here in this cage again, I will tell you anything you want to know.”

“And if we get out of here? What then?”

“I will sit in a safe, warm room and tell you anything you want to know.” He indicated the small brown bag beside her. “Eat quickly before they come. Don’t eat or drink anything they give you. I will return for you later.”

“Where will you be?”

“Within hearing distance.” He reached through the cage and cupped her cheek. “I will never be far, even if you can’t see me.”

“I can sense you, why?”

“Because, we are mates.” He put a finger to her lips. “No time.”

He shifted and gave her one last long glance before he left seconds before the cover was pulled off and sun flooded in. She wanted to asked what the hell he’d meant by mate? Needed to know why they seemed connected.

BUY LINKS
AmazonKoboARe

Award-Winning author Dominique Eastwick currently calls North Carolina home with her husband, two children, one crazy lab and one lazy cat. Dominique spent much of her early life moving from state to state as a Navy Brat. Because of that, traveling is one of her favorite pasttimes. When not writing you can find Dominique with her second love…her camera.

Learn more about Dominique Eastwick on her website, blog, and Amazon author page. Be sure to join her Newsletter for up to the minute info on new releases, contests, and more.

Stay connected on Twitter, Tublr, Tsu, and Pinterest.

Sloane said @ 12:33 am | Author Friend New Releases,Cooking | Comments are off