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Want an excerpt?  of course, if you just want to buy… *G*

Candy Houses
Candy Houses

Blurb:

So you think you know fairy tales? Guess again.

Grimm’s Circle, Book 1

Greta didn’t get her happy ending her first time around. And now that she’s a Grimm—special kind of guardian angel and official ass-kicker in the paranormal world—romance is hard to find. Besides, there’s only ever been one man who made her heart race, and the fact that he did scared her right out of his arms. Now Rip is back. And just in time too, because Greta needs his help.

On a mission he knows is going to test all of his strengths and skills, the last person Rip expected to see is the one woman who broke his heart. Working together seems to be their only hope. But, when faced with a danger neither of them anticipated, the question is, how will they face the danger to their hearts—assuming they survive, of course.

_______________________________________

It came at me, a silent rush of death. At the very last second, I spun out of the way and felt the blast of air as it swiped out at where I’d stood only a heartbeat earlier. The thing’s hands ended in claws that measured close to three inches long.

The skin along the back of my neck prickled as I once more started to circle away from the bocan, weaving around it in nonsensical patterns. It made another rush and this time, instead of moving aside, I went down and sliced upward. Black, bitter blood covered me as I managed to break skin. It shuddered, but I figured out very quickly that while I’d hurt the demon, I hadn’t slowed it down. It slashed out as I scrambled away. Those claws got closer that time.

And then again. This time it caught me. I bit my lip to keep from screaming as the claws managed to get me in the belly, slicing me open. Blood flowed.

Shit—

A hand came out of nowhere and grabbed me, hauling me aside.

Dazed, I fell against the crumbled rock wall at my back and watched. I was in a state of shock, I think. I didn’t recognize the man at first…well, not consciously. My body probably would have, if I hadn’t been losing huge quantities of blood through the gashes in my belly. I whimpered and shrugged out of the blood-soaked jacket I wore and balled it up, pressing it to my wounded stomach.

The flesh was already knitting back together. I could literally feel it, deep, deep inside. It was a bad injury. If I was still wholly human, I’d be dead already. As it was, I was losing a lot of blood. Even us pseudo-immortals get weak when we lose too much blood.

Sinking to the ground, I watched as the man fought the bocan.

He was a lot more equipped to handle the thing than I was, that was for sure. The bocan tried to gut him with those lethal claws but the man moved away, quick as a wish. I saw one hand disappear inside the long coat he wore—something about that coat, the way it stretched over his shoulders, tickled a memory. I wouldn’t look at his face. Thinking about it now, I know why I wouldn’t look, because I knew in my heart who he was, and I needed to prepare myself a little bit more before I actually looked at him.

Instead, I focused on his hands…and on the very awesome weapon he’d drawn from inside that long, black coat. It was a black cylinder, maybe two, two and a half feet long. Yeah, I know, that doesn’t sound too flashy. It would do some serious damage to a human, probably even a number of manifested demons.

But a nine-foot-tall bocan?

Nope. Right up until he twisted it, I wasn’t impressed. But then he twisted it. I heard the whisper of metal as two edged blades appeared, one out either end of the metal cylinder.

Now it was five feet long, and bladed on both ends.

He used it like an artist. He moved like a dancer of death. The silver flashed through the air. His body barely seemed to touch the ground before he was moving off again. Eerie, deadly and oh so lovely to look at. In a rather morbid way, of course.

Black blood stained the metal as he sliced through the bocan’s scales.

The bocan hissed.

The man just laughed. That laugh. I knew that laugh.

Rip…

Just before I passed out, I finally let myself look at him. I found myself staring at his familiar profile. An ache settled in my heart and it followed me as I went under.

*

Rip had problems.

He had all sorts of problems. He had one dead demon on his hands. He had one unconscious, young adult female on his hands. He had one unconscious, not-so-young adult female on his hands—and she was injured.

His body screamed at him as he crouched beside Greta. Along his left arm, he had a series of gashes, three of them, each one of them a good seven inches long and deep. Very deep, because they weren’t healing fast. The bocan had managed to tear into his muscle, and the muscles had to knit together before the skin could. So he was still bleeding.

But not as bad as Greta.

She was pale, even paler than normal. That milky, fair complexion was ghostly and even though he knew she couldn’t die from the injury she’d taken, his heart skipped a few beats and then took up residence in his throat. To reassure himself, he laid a hand on her neck, felt the warmth and the life of her.

It didn’t help much.

He was going to relive the night’s events a thousand times over in the years to come—the nightmare of seeing the bocan come this close to gutting her, and he had been too far away to do a damn thing.

What were you thinking?

She had faced down a bocan with pretty much her bare hands. She’d had a knife. A paltry blade in her right fist as she’d circled around the demon. Bocans were too fucking big, too fucking strong, and that hide of theirs was like armor. Knives just didn’t cut it.

He shot the dead creature a nasty look and wondered where in the hell it had come from. Bocans were uncommon in the world because they didn’t have the abilities a lot of other demons had—they couldn’t manifest, couldn’t possess. They just killed.

A bocan. The paraisei he’d faced earlier. Something weird was going on. Demonkind didn’t ever gather together in one place for long—it attracted too much attention, the sort of attention that ended up them being sent back to the netherplains.

What in the hell was going on?

Greta shifted under his hands. Under her breath, she whimpered quietly and Rip, without even thinking about it, bent over her and pressed his lips to her brow. “Hush, angel. You’re safe now…you’re safe. Sleep…heal.”

His heart broke a little as she burrowed close to him.

buy (looks like it’s live at Samhain’s store front now)

If you have an Amazon kindle, you can preorder now.

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I’m not here today.

You can find me here. Over at the Raven blog, talking about psychics.  Or here, at Wickedly Romantic, talking about fave paranormal series.

And I do believe there is a contest for at least one of the guest blogs.  Maybe both.

Did want to mention, though, that my new book, THE MISSING, is now out.

The Missing

From a bestselling author whose stories are “exhilarating [and] action-packed”* comes a sinfully sexy novel of romantic suspense about a woman whose psychic gift drives away the man she loves—and years later draws him back to her…

LOVE LOST

As a teenager, Taige Branch was able to do things with her psychic gift that others couldn’t understand—except for Cullen Morgan, the boy her stole her heart. He did his best to accept her abilities, until his mother was brutally murdered—and he couldn’t forgive Taige for not preventing her death.


PASSION FOUND

Now a widowed father, Cullen Morgan has never forgotten Taige. But what brings her back into his life is another tragic event. His beloved little girl has been kidnapped, and Taige is his only hope of finding her.

A LOVE THAT NEVER DIED

Working together against the clock, Cullen and Taige can’t help but wonder whether—if they find his daughter in time—it isn’t too late for the overpowering love that still burns between them…

Borders

Powell’s

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

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Okay, now I’m gonna say right up front, this book really put my short story skills to the test. When I was asked to write a short vamp story, short as in 6000-8000 words, I was thinking…uh, man…can I do that?

Novellas, I can do. The occasional quickie 12-15k, I can do. But 6000-8000? Not so easy. I managed, though. How well I managed…eh, I’ll leave that up to the readers.

Hunter’s Choice, my story in this collection, as some of you probably guessed is set in the Hunters world.

A short excerpt is below, and I believe the anthology releases in the States in late July or August. FYI, some of you might notice different covers…the book was originally released by a UK publisher so the UK and the US versions have different covers.

(more…)

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Photobucket

~*~

Here’s an excerpt…

Her body ached.

It wasn’t anything new. Although Lee was only twenty eight years old, she already felt ancient. Exhausted even upon awakening,with stiff aching joints, and bruises that seemed to appear out of nowhere.

Lee slowly flexed her muscles and tried to hold together the fragile wisps of the dream. But as always, it faded away, out of reach, out of mind. He faded away.

She didn’t know his face. But each night he came to her. Each night, they found each other again. He would look at her with eyes that made her burn and want and wish and for that brief period of time, she felt whole, complete and that sensation lingered with her as she drifted from sleep into awareness, but the minute she opened her eyes, all memory of her dreams started to fade. All that remained was an ache in her chest, a knot inher throat and a body that felt as though somebody had tried to beat her death.

Today, the ache was worse. The memories were fading fast although she tried to hold onto them. Like smoke, though, they faded away even as she grabbed the notepad by her bed and started to scrawl down what little she remembered. She didn’t look down while she wrote—instead she clenched her eyes tightly shut and focused on him. Even if she couldn’t remember his face, she could remember how he made her feel inside. Focusing on that instead of trying to recall the dream made the words flow easier.

Blood. Screams. Smoke. The cries of the wounded. Ugly snarls and fetid breath. People clamored around her and they had needs that she couldn’t even begin to understand. And him—

Always him. Everything seemed to revolve around him and everything inside of her yearned for him. As much as Lee dreaded closing her eyes and facing the weird dreams that assaulted her while she slept, she yearned for them as well. Because her dreams led her to him. He would make her laugh, even when the dreamswere dark as death. There was a warmth in his presence that filled an empty ache.

But not this past night. There had been distance, anger, and disgust. He’d yelled at her. His fury had been so great even now she felt chilled with it.

She opened her eyes and stared at the notepad in front of her. She hadn’t just written words. She’d sketched out faces of people she’d never met and monsters the likes of which she’d never seen.

She stared at each of the faces she’d drawn, studying their features for something that would trigger her memories again. The notebook was filled with sketches and none of them meant anything to her. Allof them set against twisted, scarred landscapes.

Some of them appeared more than others, like the old woman and the two guys. Even on paper, the woman’s smile had a decidedly mischievous bent to it, as though she was laughing and Lee had no idea why. The men were polar opposites, one pale, one dark. One looked like an angel and the other had the devil’s smile. Both of them were enough to make a girl’s heart skip a beat but if the man she dreamed of was one of them, she didn’t know which one he was.

Furious with herself, Lee hurled the pad of paper across the room and watched as it hit the wall. It slid to the ground, several of the pages bent and crumpled. With a scowl, she climbed out of the bed and stalked to the bathroom.

“He isn’t real,” she told herself as she turned the hot water on full before turning to tug off her t-shirt. “He isn’t real.” He’s not, her mind insisted, even though something inside her heart argued.

Her reflection caught her eye and she stilled, fighting the impulse to turn and look. Damn it, she was going to take all the mirrors down. She couldn’t not look, when the mirrors were there.

But every time she saw a bruise, a chill ran through her. It was no different this time. Her eye was black, swollen, raw looking it. It had been fine last night. And today,she looked like she had a bruise that had been healing for days. Her mouth trembled as she tried to make sense of what she was looking at.

The doctors had tried to tell her she was doing it to herself. They had even done a sleepstudy, and watched her all night long to determine what caused the bruising.

The study had revealed nothing. And everything.

For when she walked out of the room where they had monitored her body all night, her ankle was swollen, twisted and discolored. It had been fine the night before.

The tape of the study had shown her laying quietly on the narrow bunk, never once rising in the night. She didn’t toss. She didn’t turn. The only weird thing was a blip in the middle of the tape that lasted no more than a few eye blinks. For that brief span of time, the bed was empty. But she hadn’t gotten out of thebed. The probes and lines weren’t long enough to allow her to leave it without one of the attendants disconnecting them. They hadn’t done it.

Odder still, an attendant had been in the room during theblip. They could see him at the edge ofthe screen. But he’d never seen her move. She hadn’t done any more studies after that. Even though the doctors tried to urge her to agree, it had simply unsettled her too much. So no more studies. She’d just deal with looking like the loser of a boxing match.

Lee leaned forward and probed her eye, touching it gently,wincing at the tender flesh she encountered under her fingers. The eye itself looked fine, which was a relief. There had been one morning when she woke up and her pupil had been blown. Her vision had been blurred and the sickening pain made her think she had a concussion. By nightfall, though, the pupil had returned to normal and her vision was fine.

Today, her eyes seemed a little more bloodshot than usual and the red looked unnaturally bright against the nasty mottled blue. Almost festive, the red, white and blue.

There was another bruise on her knee, like she had fallen down. The flesh was sensitive and each step she took sent pain shooting through her knee. Much as the knee hurt, it was actually a rather light night. Lee knew from experience, though, that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. Light nights seemed to be followed by bad ones.

Her gut churned as that thought circled through her head. Bad ones came with concussions,broken bones—even burns. It had been awhile since she’d had a real bad night and it was like a little mental clock was ticking away the time. It wouldn’t be much longer before she woke up one morning hurt so bad that she’d wish for death, just to get away from the pain.

Even if she did heal fast, pain was still pain and she was tired of feeling so much of it.

“Morbid, much?” she muttered as she turned away from her reflection. She climbed into the shower with one goal in mind. Shower…then caffeine. With caffeine, she could face almost anything.

* * * * *

Through the Veil, Kalen could see her. Stubborn little bitch. He could still just faintly smell the sweet scent of her skin and his hands still itched to feel that satiny skin under his hands, to feel the silk of her hair brush against his body. The vivid bruise on her face infuriated him,even though her rapid ability to heal was already lessening the vivid color and the swelling.

The demon that had attacked her was dead. Dust in the wind. Not that Kalen had anything to do with it. Lee had taken damn good care of it herself. She was good at that. Always had been. Scowling, he wondered if maybe she was a little too good at it. Good at taking care of herself, good at rationalizing away problems, good at everything.

Clenching his jaw, he turned away from the Veil and prepared himself to face the coming day without her. It was a frightening thought. But it always had been. One never knew what the day might bring. Not in this world.

There had been another demon attack, this time high up in the mountains, striking the small settlement of families living there. They had refused to come down into the valley. Too close to the Roinan Gate. It was as if they thought a few miles would protect them. They had been wrong, terribly wrong and Kalen had to live with the guilt of not trying harder.

Raviners had killed the few men and taken their time with the women and children. It brought back memories too ugly for him to dwell on, staring at the their remains. He couldn’t even take a little bit of comfort in knowing that his men had slaughtered the Raviners. If he had taken them down himself, filling their bodies with the dangerous power of the pulsar he carried at his hip, it wouldn’t have been any comfort.

They were losing a little more ground every day. The demons were breeding in his world now and they didn’t just have to wait for the Roinan Gate to open for more of their numbers. There had been a time when finding a clutch of demons had been a rare occurrence and they were killed quickly, if not always easily.

They might have a ghost of a chance if they could shut down the fucking Gate.

Order

You can read a Dear Reader letter & a nice long excerpt here at Berkley’s site.

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It’s a hodge-podge sort of day.

I’m getting ready for the release of Through the Veil, setting up contests. guest blogs, interviews and other forms of madness. I also had some ebooks out in May-so weirdness there, and an excerpt below.

So far, I’ve got several different ‘stops’ planned on a little whirlwind virtual book tour I’m doing. They include….

Yes. All of this was very, very last minute. *G* My specialty. You can find me at these places if you really want to spend time in my weird presence. 😉 And it’s possible there are a couple of others. But my brain has gone to mush. Two ebooks out this month, the baby bratlet turns two next month, a release next month, finishing up two books and a novella this month, not to mention school lets out, something going on family-wise (no emergency, but still….)

Oye. I’ll be surprised if I’m even coherent.

Anyway. Onto the Excerpts!

PhotobucketHunter’s Edge

Some love can last a lifetime—their love was destined to last longer.

Angel’s first words to Kel were I’m going to marry you. She was seven at the time. He was eight. And he didn’t laugh when she spoke the words.

Best friends as children, lovers as young adults, they had an unexplainable bond. Their future looked set. Until the night they were attacked by a creature that couldn’t exist.

Angel survived the attack—barely. But Kel didn’t. Or at least, nobody thought he did. His body was never found and Angel’s life would never be the same.

The attack might not have killed Kel’s body, but it sure as hell killed his heart. Twelve years later, there’s one part of his former life that he can’t move past. Angel. He can’t let her go, but he can’t have her either. She doesn’t even realize he is still alive.

But when a threat surfaces, Kel’s willing to do whatever it takes to protect Angel. Even if it drives them both to the edge of insanity and back.

Warning: Some violence. Some sex. Some bloody violence. Even a little bit of bloody sex. Not all of the sex is between the hero and the heroine, even though every time that happens, the hero closes his eyes and thinks of England Angel. Not exactly a traditional romance, but I promise it does end HEA.

–>Buy

Excerpt

Kel felt something moving in there.

Something living and hungry…

His skin crawled.

Foreboding choked him.

The scent of blood and pain colored the air around him in vivid, dark shades. The scent of blood didn’t call to him at all, the stink of fear and pain drowning out what might have once been appealing.

Under the sour, bitter stench of violence, there was something disturbingly, distressingly familiar. It tickled his memory until Kel had no choice but to work past the abhorrence and make himself focus, make himself drag in a deep breath of the fear-tainted blood.

He went cold and for just the briefest of moments, he couldn’t move. Denial wrapped itself around him, followed by some futile hope he wouldn’t even allow himself to cling to. Hope was such a bitter, ugly disappointment.

Instinct took over, instinct that hadn’t existed until twelve years ago. It wasn’t just the instincts of a vampire-the fear coming from that place was enough to have the typical civilian vamp backing away damn quick. Definitely not vamp instinct-it was the instinct of a Hunter and while he’d do damn near anything not to have it, ignoring it hadn’t ever been an option.

It pushed him into action. Without consciously realizing it, he slid into the shadows and cloaked himself within them. He pulled the darkness around him and used its cover as he made his way inside the warehouse.He heard a broken, tortured moan. It was a pitiful, faint sound and as it faded into the air, there was a laugh-icy and amused, so damn evil it made Kel’s skin crawl. The part of his brain that wasn’t controlled by instinct was screaming to get the hell away.

That kind of evil wasn’t anything he wanted to look at, anything he wanted to face, anything he wanted to fight.

A fucking failure, that was Kel. Hunter instincts, Hunter drive, and he still didn’t want this fight. But he didn’t turn around. He didn’t leave. There was no way he could, even when he heard her heartbeat falter, heard the rattle of her breath. It was the sound of death edging closer and Kel could even feel the chill of it looming near.

A man’s voice broke into the silence, underlined by a dry edge of humor. “I told you that it was pointless to fight, darling girl. And yet…still you fight. Why is that? Unless it’s to amuse me.”

Kel’s lips peeled back from his teeth as he heard a familiar sound, a wet thwack as a fist struck flesh. The only sound she made was a distant, almost non-existent moan. He emerged from the shadows just as the feral bent down and fisted a hand in her hair.

“Let her go,” he said in a flat voice. As he spoke, he also released his control on the shadows, an illusory talent some vampires had. It was all a trick of the mind, but it came in handy-muffled his presence, could cause an aversive effect where people avoided something without even realizing why.

And apparently, it worked on this one, because when his brown eyes cut towards Kel’s, there was surprise in his gaze. His eyes widened and the faint, bored smile on his lips widened. Dropping his victim to the ground, he stepped over her…like she was so much garbage. Something about the feral’s features, the way he moved, was disturbingly familiar but Kel didn’t know where he had seen this guy before. Hunters didn’t let ferals live-if this was one Kel had fought and not killed, then Rafe would have sent another Hunter to do the job.

But he’d seen him before-

No time to worry about the past though, because the present was bearing down on him, hard and fast. Kel wasn’t about to go hand-to-hand with a vampire that probably had a good century on him. Shit, if he’d known he was going to be dealing with a feral this strong, he would have enlisted help.

For vampires, strength came with age and in relative terms, Kel was just a baby compared to this fuck. As the feral circled around him, something about the man’s moves, something about that ugly sneer on his face, kept tickling at Kel’s memory.

“A bit young to be out here trying to tangle with me, aren’t you, boy?”

He slid a hand inside his shirt and closed it around the Beretta. Drawing it, he leveled it at the feral’s brow and smiled. “I’ll manage.”

The feral paused, cocked his head as he peered at Kel. Something flashed in those brown eyes, curiosity. “Hmmmm…You’re a cocky one, aren’t you, boy?”

“Yeah, I keep hearing that.”

“The Council really should be more careful.”

Something cold slivered through the air. The temperature seemed to drop twenty degrees. But it didn’t affect Kel. The fear that might have had some sway over him was one Kel had been trained to resist. As the temperature dropped and fear rolled through the room like a river, all Kel did was tighten his finger on the trigger.The feral lunged to the side. Kel moved with him and when the vamp tried to circle around behind him, Kel echoed his moves.

Deja vu…

I’ve done this before, he thought.

The feral across from him stilled, narrowed his eyes as he peered at Kel. Something measuring…

They both figured it out at the same time.

Releasing 5.20

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