November 19, 2017

Pick up FOR EVERLY by Raine Thomas for $0.99 until 6/23! #NewAdult #Romance

Today is the first day of my Sizzlin’ Summer Solstice Sale! I’ve decided to offer my latest release, For Everly, for just 99 cents between today and Sunday the 23rd. This is the season for hot summer reads, so I hope you’ll pick it up and spread the word!

In the spirit of the big sale, I’d like to share a previously unreleased excerpt from the book. I hope you enjoy it! If you do, the links to purchase the books are at the end of the post. Happy reading!

Excerpt from For Everly

Everly felt Cole’s gaze on her as she greeted the new guests at table eighteen. She couldn’t say she had ever actually felt her pulse in her neck before then. Her heart beat so wildly in her chest that she could feel it with every breath.

Cole Parker was sitting in her station.

She couldn’t decide what amazed her more…that a super-hot Major League ballplayer was sitting in her station, or that she had been friends with his brother for a couple of years without knowing of their relationship. Wyatt would have some answering to do when she next worked with him. He loved to talk baseball with her, but he’d never mentioned the connection.

Of course, she wasn’t exactly one to go into her personal life during school and work time either. She couldn’t be too hard on him.

Passing Wyatt as he returned to his table, she smiled at him and headed to get table eighteen’s drinks. Once she was out of sight of the diners, she pulled the payment folder from table nineteen out of her apron pocket. She feared they had walked without paying, but Rowan forbade the servers to look in the folders until they were in the back of the house, not wanting the guests to be offended.

Five crisp one hundred dollar bills sat on top of the signed credit card slip. Everly stared down at them for a full minute. She picked them up and verified that they looked and felt genuine. Then she realized the credit card slip was signed in a feminine hand with the words, “If I could tip negatively, I would,” written across the gratuity line.

Clearly, Blondie hadn’t left her the largest tip of her life.

Following a hunch, Everly eased her head just beyond the etched glass barrier that separated her from view of the dining room. Cole met her gaze.

She knew in an instant that he had left the tip.

Stepping back behind the barrier, she stuffed the money into her pocket. Now wasn’t the time to wrestle with how she felt about the fact that Cole Parker had just given her a five hundred dollar tip…and she fully intended to keep it.

She made a decent amount of money in other tips, too. By the time her shift ended and the restaurant was empty of customers, she knew she’d be able to pay for her grandpa’s in-home nurse for another week and possibly cover her car insurance to boot. It was a good night despite the wretched guest at table nineteen.

And soon she was going to meet with Wyatt and his little brother. As she collected salt and pepper containers from the tables and carried them to the back for refilling, she wondered what they wanted to discuss with her.

“Everly, I’m gonna give you a pass on side work tonight.”

She looked up upon hearing the New York-Italian accent and spotted Rowan Ferullo as he emerged from the kitchen wearing an apron. Although he had hired the best staff in the city to run his restaurant, he often had a hand in the kitchen. Everyone affectionately called him a fireplug. He stood only an inch or two taller than Everly’s own five-foot, nine-inch height and didn’t carry an ounce of fat on his wide frame. There was no need for a bouncer with Rowan in the house.

“Thanks boss,” she said.

“No, thank you for dealin’ with Lady of Bel-frickin’-Aire. I still wish you’d a let me ban her from my place of business.”

“That would have only made her night complete. This way, she gets to burn by knowing we weren’t at all affected by her behavior.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Rowan’s dark eyes crinkled with mischief. “But just let her try comin’ back in here.”

Everly smiled. She could admit to herself that she’d pay money to see that woman try to go head-to-head with her boss. Blondie had no idea what she’d escaped thanks to Everly’s intervention.

“Go on back to my office,” Rowan said. “Wyatt and Cole are in there waitin’ for you. Wy’s bein’ very secretive about all this. Maybe he’s tryin’ to hook you two up, eh?”

He laughed when Everly’s face started burning. Then he turned and headed back into the kitchen.

Everly stopped to get her coat and purse before heading back to Rowan’s office. She considered his words. Could Wyatt be playing matchmaker? Why would he need to do that? Cole surely had access to all kinds of women. Wyatt knew that she didn’t have a social life. School, work, and caring for her grandpa took up her time.

Good Lord. Was he setting her up with Cole?

She paused outside the office door and tried to decide how she felt about that possibility. Insulted? Flattered? Horrified? Giddy?

Her pulse thrummed as she knocked once and then opened the door. Wyatt turned from where he stood looking out a window and smiled at her. She’d always found his smile delightful and engaging, the perfect complement to his Prince Charming looks. Now she found herself wondering what that smile masked.

Glancing at the small couch in the ten by ten office, she saw Cole sprawled across both cushions, his long legs stretched halfway into the middle of the room. His dark hair was more tousled than it had been when he first arrived. She found herself thinking he must be grateful he could wear a ball cap over it half the year so he didn’t have to style it. His dark suit jacket was folded over the arm of the couch and his white shirt sleeves had been rolled up enough to reveal his muscular forearms.

Her mouth went dry. She supposed that was better than drooling, which is what she was doing in her mind.

Okay, she thought, taking a deep breath. Remember you’ve dealt with some of the worst life can hand you. You can handle anything.

Then she squared her shoulders and pulled the door closed behind her, bracing herself for whatever Wyatt had up his sleeve.

~     ~     ~

Buy For Everly for 99 cents on:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble

Book & Author Spotlight: SQUALOR, NEW MEXICO by Lisette Brodey

It’s my pleasure to introduce my blog readers to a wonderful author, Ms. Lisette Brodey. Lisette and I connected on Twitter and quickly realized we share a love of reading, writing, and supporting fellow authors. First I’d like you to get to know her better through a brief Q&A session. Then I’d love for you to read the excerpt from one of her popular novels called Squalor, New Mexico. You’ll find lots to love about this amazing writer!

Please read on and and show some comment love…

About the Author:

Lisette Brodey is originally from Philadelphia and moved to New York after high school. It’s a really long story, but she is now residing in Los Angeles. She’s published three novels, Crooked Moon, Squalor, New Mexico, and Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! Her fourth novel, in the YA paranormal genre, is due out this summer.

Now tell us something about you that your bio doesn’t include. Feel free to make us laugh!

As a lifelong writer, you’d think I’d be a member of a writer’s group or two. But I like to be different, so I’m a member of SAG-AFTRA. I lurk in the background of TV shows and movies once in a while. Oh, and I really despise beets.

Tell us about some of the unique elements in your book. What inspired you to write them?

I don’t know that my style of writing is unique to the world of writing, but that said, every author’s product is uniquely theirs.

I write character-driven novels with multilayered plots. Even if there are one or two main characters, my books will always contain several characters who have their own story arcs. And I love secrets and revelations, so there are always plenty of those. I’m inspired by people and by ideas that stick in my head and stubbornly refuse to leave.

Who is (or has been) your favorite character to write and why?

That’s always a tough question. It’s hard to choose just one. In Crooked Moon, I most enjoyed writing one of the two main characters, Frankie, and her mother, Ruby. Both women were in such deep pain, but they were funny, vulnerable, and most of the time, each woman expressed herself without reservation.

With Squalor, New Mexico, a coming-of-age story that spans seven years, I really loved writing the main character, Darla McKendrick, who doggedly pursues the truth about her mysterious aunt Rebecca while growing into her teen years. This book was special to me because Darla grew up before computers and cell phones were a part of our world, so her sleuthing and her mystery solving were done without the aid of technology.

With Molly Hacker Is Too Picky!, Molly and her coworker Randy were just a delight to write. I had so much fun with them both.

In my YA paranormal (title yet to be released), there is a young teenage boy who really makes me laugh. He’s out there somewhere, and I’ve just channeled him.

What is something you think people should know about your book before they start reading?

I spent a lot of time writing and editing whatever book you are reading. To answer a FAQ, none of the characters are me, but there are certainly bits and pieces of me in many of them. I cannot write any story without humor in it. As you read this book, I’m somewhere working hard on the next one.

When you have time to read, who are some of the authors whose books you have to have on-hand?

My reading time is limited, so when I do find time, I’m almost always reading books by indie author friends who have supported me. I don’t like to name them only because there are far too many, and I would hate to leave anyone off the list.

If I had a lot of reading time, I’d like to read many books by classic authors, especially Charles Dickens, Sinclair Lewis, and Wilkie Collins.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received regarding your writing/books?

I appreciate all of the many kind words that have been said, but here is part of a review of Crooked Moon by author Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick that truly honored me:

Crooked Moon remains intimate, by showing us people who want to cry—and we want to cry with them—because sometimes a weary heart cannot help it. Ms. Brodey’s wonderful story remains intimate, by giving us such very small joys, which nonetheless make us rejoice when we find them. From such writing we celebrate characters for our lifetime, characters like Willy Loman, Tom Joad, Martha Hill, and Melanie Hamilton. Crooked Moon’s Frankie Cavalese—Mary Frances to her brother—is one such unforgettable character. She breaks our hearts as she succumbs to the weariness in her soul. Lisette Brodey lets us put our arms around this character, to embrace her and help her find strength again.

Okay…quick response time. What is your fave:

Food? – Thin crust pizza

Guilty pleasure? – Going to the movies every weekend

TV show? – Scandal

Beverage? – A fine cognac accompanied by some dark chocolate

Place to be? – Anywhere I can be with the people I love. And if those people are in cool, exotic places—all the better!

Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers?

There are a lot of wonderful books out there to read, and I appreciate each and every reader who chooses to read one of mine. I hope you enjoy my novels and the characters. Thank you very much.

Where can we stalk find you?

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Website for Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon Author Page

EXCERPT FROM Squalor, New Mexico

(To see the first part of this excerpt, visit my post on The Writer’s Voice)

Today, with my youth far behind me, I realize that my childhood perceptions, though surprisingly accurate at times, were also severely hampered by my limited time on earth. Observing my father’s quintessentially dad-like behavior back then (because of the profound effect it had on me), I assumed that God had repeatedly pressed his dad mold into a giant slab of dough, thus creating an abundance of men just like my father and dispersing them at random throughout the world. Like a baker who has baked too many cookies, God had made too many dads just like mine. They were everywhere: my friends had them for fathers, they appeared on television sitcoms, and they modeled men’s clothing in Spiegel catalogs.

My father was a complex man who hid behind a stereotype well into his forties. And even after that, he never really let go of it. For a long time, I was too young to understand the pain that he carried in his baggage. Deathly afraid of confronting his past, he clung tightly to society’s perceived notions of fatherhood and husbandhood, obfuscating reality as if doing so would somehow ensure an error-free existence. He seemed content to exclude spontaneity and risk-taking from his life, thereby eliminating a great deal of the reward that can come from living each day like a new adventure. Don’t misunderstand me: our home was not without mirth or joy, but most of it was like prescribed medicine, safe if taken in controlled doses. And sadly, my father’s fears and regrets were echoed by my mother, only she had the added burden of trying to keep all of our lives free of malice and discontent: as if anyone, no matter how smart or skilled, could really accomplish that.

A real dilemma for Mom was when someone unwittingly asked her a question (especially when Dad was around) that required her to take a stand. No matter how Mom chose to handle the situation, her answers were always very calculated and clichéd, leaving little room for spontaneity or originality. Often afraid of expressing herself, or of discussing matters with me that Dad might not approve of, Mom would preface her remarks with “Between you, me, and the lamppost, Darla,” a temporary absolution that would then allow her to proceed with whatever “secret” was on her mind.

Aunt Didi, on the other hand, didn’t mind being outspoken or controversial at all, but like Mom and Dad, she didn’t reveal a lot about herself or the family.

One night, a few weeks after that day when I had heard Mom and Aunt Didi discussing Aunt Rebecca, my curiosity got the better of me, as it often did. It was a Saturday night, and Aunt Didi and Uncle George had come over for dinner with their three girls. Aunt Didi was in the kitchen helping Mom prepare dinner, and I sat in the living room with Dad, Uncle George, and my cousins. Suddenly, I just had to know, so I said to my father, “How far are we from Squalor, Dad?”

“Just a hop, skip, and a jump if we’re not careful, Darla.” He laughed. “What kind of thing is that to ask?”

“No really, Dad,” I pressed. “How far are we from Squalor?”

“I really don’t understand your question, sweetie,” he replied in all sincerity.

I was getting frustrated. My voice got louder. “Come on, Dad. How far are we from Squalor? You know, where Aunt Rebecca lives?”

Dad and Uncle George turned quickly to look at each other. And as she seemed to do on so many occasions, Aunt Didi burst forth from the darkness, a virtual Johnny-on-the-trouble spot, to diffuse an unpleasant situation before it got out of control.

“I’ve explained this to you before, Darla,” Aunt Didi said, wiping her hands on her apron. “Squalor is in New Mexico and that’s very far away from here.”

“Is that why Aunt Rebecca never visits?” I asked. “And how come we never visit her?”

“She lives very far away,” she repeated, looking angry and uncomfortable. “Why don’t you just forget about Rebecca?”

“But why?” I persisted. “And how come we never talk to her on the phone?”

“Darla,” she said impatiently, “there are far more important things for you to concern yourself with than Rebecca.”

“Like what?”

Aunt Didi looked despairingly at my father.

“Like…the tickle monster!” Dad shouted as he lurched toward me with his rapidly moving fingers. “The tickle monster is going to get you…and your cousins, too!”

The four of us reacted appropriately and ran screaming out of the room. Dad’s quick thinking was an effective, albeit temporary, solution to the problem. But I’ve always been persistent when I want to know something. An hour later at the dinner table, I had not forgotten my original curiosity.

“I don’t understand why Aunt Rebecca can’t come visit us,” I blurted out.

Uncle George, who had been quiet on the matter up to this point, looked extremely agitated. He was a far less patient man than my father, and when the going got tough for Uncle George, the tickle monster never came to save the day.

“Darla, listen to me,” Uncle George barked. “We don’t see your aunt Rebecca because, well, as your aunt Didi says, she lives in Squalor, and knowing Rebecca, you can be damn sure there’s no way she’ll ever get out. That’s it now!”

“She could screw her way out!” I said helpfully.

My cousins giggled and covered their mouths.

“Jesus! What’s going on here, Maggs?” Dad asked my mother.

“What the hell did you tell this kid?” Uncle George asked Aunt Didi.

“Darla, a lady doesn’t use those words,” Dad admonished me.

“But Aunt Didi—”

“I knew it,” Uncle George said, nervously rattling the ice cubes in his glass.

Aunt Didi remained uncharacteristically quiet.

“Jesus, Maggs,” Dad said again.

“Won’t everybody please calm down?” Mom asked sweetly.

Aunt Didi rolled her eyes and stuck her chin in the palm of her hand.

“Darla,” Mom began, “we all feel very bad that Aunt Rebecca lives so far away—in New Mexico—and it’s very upsetting to talk about it, for many reasons. So please, dear, let’s forget about it until—”

“Until I’m older?”

“Well, yes,” she said, breathing a little easier. “Until you’re older.”

“Much older,” Uncle George mumbled under his breath.

“Okay,” I said. “Could you pass the butter, Dad?”

Book Spotlight: ATONE by Sarah M. Ross

I’m very happy to help a friend and fellow author, Sarah M. Ross, celebrate the release of her latest exciting novella, Atone. Be sure to check out the first two books in Sarah’s Patronus series, Awaken and Avenge! Today, we’re highlighting the release of Atone, the third book in this series. This novella is available at Amazon and Smashwords (coming soon to Barnes and Noble!). Please read the series and let me know what you think!

Synopsis:

Before there was Awaken, before there was “Lucy and Max”, there was just Max. And he had some issues.

A lot of issues.

Max Kensington’s death haunted him for years. The guilt of his sins tormented him. Unable to let go, he was sure he’d never be able to atone for all of them. But that didn’t stop him from trying.

When his reason for being is suddenly thrust back into his life, he vows to protect her at all costs. He’ll do whatever it takes to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself. And this time, he’ll fight to the bitter end to capture the one thing that has alluded him—happiness.

Excerpt:

My fingers finally got the knob to turn. I opened the door and stepped inside, holding my breath. I pulled the curtain back, but kept my eyes closed for a moment longer. I could hear a hiss of air being pushed and knew she was probably on a ventilator. The knowledge made my heart clench, but hearing the steady beep of her heart monitor—knowing it was strong and constant—helped ease it a little.

I took a deep breath. Bitter iodine and antiseptic swirled in my nose, but underneath it was another scent. Soft lilac emanated around me, and though it was faint, it overtook everything else. It was her. The beautiful, flowery aroma somehow clung to her and caressed my senses, making my heart pound in my chest.

I opened my eyes and took my first look at her. If I had a thousand books filled with a thousand pages each, it would still not be enough to describe how beautiful she was. I knew that she was broken, bloody, and bruised, but I didn’t see any of that. All I saw was perfection. I took a few steps forward and reached my hand forward. My fingertips gently grazed her soft, creamy skin as I brushed her hair out of her face.

As my fingers grazed her skin, a sizzle of electricity passed between us. Her monitors beeped like crazy, letting me know that even in this state, she was just as affected by me as I was by her. I pulled back, double checking that she was alright and I wasn’t inadvertently hurting her. After all, she was in a very precarious state right now and I couldn’t risk anything happening to her. After a few moments, the monitors resumed their steady rhythm and I tried again, this time taking her tiny, delicate fingers in my own.

Her eyes fluttered behind their closed lids. I hoped she was having good dreams. I pulled up a chair and sat down next to her, leaning in to whisper in her ear. “I can’t believe I found you. I didn’t even know I’d lost you, and yet here you are. But I promise you this, I’m never leaving you again. So just rest now; let your body heal. We’ll be together very soon.” I brushed my lips against her temple, inhaling her sweet lilac smell as I did.

A quiet knock at the door drew my eyes away from her, but not my hands. They refused to let her go. “You guys can come in,” I whispered. I wasn’t sure why I was whispering; I knew it wouldn’t wake her, but it just seemed like I should.

James pulled back the curtain, allowing access for Cassie and Adam to slip in around him. James crossed the room, carrying a thick three-ring binder in his hands.  That binder held the key to unlocking the mystery of who this woman was—I still didn’t even know her name, but I yearned to know everything about her. What was she like? Where was she from? What happened to her? I wanted to know it all.

About the Author:

I started my obsession with reading at an early age, getting in trouble for sneaking BabySitter Club and Nancy Drew books into math class in elementary school. I would read any fiction book I could get my hands on. I knew it was an addiction when instead of grounding me from TV or music, my mom would take away my books as punishment (The Horror!). My love of all things paranormal was inspired by my good friend Laurie, who convinced me that books with vampires, witches, and all things shifter were amazing. After a little reluctance, I gave it a shot with the Sookie Stackhouse books, realized she was right, and the rest was history.
I grew up in Pittsburgh, graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with my degree in English, and taught 8th graders to love reading as much as I do for several years. I will always be a proud member of the Steelers Nation, but I couldn’t take the cold and moved my frozen tush to Florida where I now live with my family and two cats. You will find me now with my trusty Kindle in hand and toes in the sand!

Please feel free to contact me!

Website- http://www.sarahmross.com
Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/SarahtheAuthor
Twitter- http://twitter.com/#!/SarahtheAuthor

Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5447785.Sarah_M_Ross

Sneak Peek: ELDER (Firstborn Trilogy #3)

It’s been far too long since I posted, and for that, I apologize. Life has been blasting by with my personal life and wedding planning career taking the front seat. Fortunately, I’m back in writing mode and still plan to have Elder released by the end of the year. [Insert raucous cheering here].

I don’t want my fans to go too long without something to whet their Estilorian appetites, though, so I decided to share a sneak peek at the first chapter of Elder. I normally prefer to wait until after editing to do this, but I’m making an exception this time. You can read the uncut Elder prologue here. Also, if you missed the deleted scene from Shift that I posted on The Writer’s Voice earlier this month, you can read it here. (Hint: it involves Tate and Zachariah!).

Without further adieu, please enjoy this excerpt from Elder!

With a little tweaking, this could be Ini-herit!

Chapter One

“Clara Kate. Wake up, Clara Kate. C.K.?”

Blinking away the memory that haunted her dreams, Clara Kate responded to the prodding of her cousin, Sophia, with a low moan. She’d only slept for a couple of hours. She felt like she needed to sleep for a couple of months.

“It’s time to get up,” Sophia said, rubbing Clara Kate’s arm. “Tate and Ariana need us.”

That had Clara Kate pushing herself into a sitting position and rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She realized it was still hours before dawn. Her breath floated in a white vapor around her head as she tried to get her bearings.

Archigos Sebastian is preparing some food for everyone if you’re hungry,” Sophia said. She reached over and removed a dead leaf from Clara Kate’s hair. “And I’m sure we can get him to help you feel more…refreshed before we go.”

“I look that good, huh?”

“You look like you traveled almost three days without sleeping. Oh, wait. You did.”

“Hah. Guess that explains this persistent headache,” Clara Kate said, rubbing the bridge of her nose. “It’s been nagging me.”

“We’ve all pushed ourselves hard these past few days.” Sophia reached over and touched Clara Kate’s forehead with the back of her hand. “You do look a little pale. Maybe you should have Ini-herit—”

“I’ll be fine,” Clara Kate interrupted. She offset her rudeness with a small smile. “I’m just exhausted. Using my abilities to imbue so many weapons and then fighting all of those Mercesti really took it out of me. The lack of sleep leading up to that sure didn’t help.”

“Yeah.” Sophia lifted one corner of her mouth, but her eyes continued to reflect her concern. “Some food will probably help, too.”

“Sure. I’ll get some in a minute. I’ve got to find a bit of privacy first.”

“Okay.”

Clara Kate got to her feet, fighting back a groan of discomfort. She seemed to hurt everywhere. She staggered as a wave of dizziness hit her. Sophia reached out and offered her a steadying hand.

“Hey…I know we tease you about your lack of grace and all, but don’t go trying to earn extra credit,” Sophia joked. After a brief hesitation, she added in a quieter voice, “You know, Quincy could always do a little checkup, just to make sure—”

“Thanks, Soph, but I’m really okay. I’ll join you shortly. Save a piece of bacon for me, okay?”

Sophia nodded. “Sure.”

A twinge of guilt struck Clara Kate as she watched Sophia turn and walk back to rejoin Quincy, who stood conversing with a number of other beings near a small campfire. The pair had just avowed themselves to each other a few hours ago. It had been many years coming, even if the timing was odd, what with them in a race to try and save Tate and Ariana and recover the pieces of the Elder Scroll stolen by the Mercesti, Eirik.

Clara Kate was thrilled for Sophia and Quincy, though. They should be off celebrating, not dealing with all of this.

Sighing, she moved deeper into the forest so she could see to her personal needs. She made sure to stay where she could see some Waresti scouts through the trees. Their group had made camp within a thick forest not far from the ancient Estilorian library, which meant there was always a possibility that some of Eirik’s followers skulked about in hopes of taking one of them unawares. Clara Kate was far from defenseless, but after everything that had occurred over the past nine-plus weeks since she returned from the human plane, she knew all too well to expect the unexpected.

Once she finished relieving her full bladder, she rose to cleanse her hands and face with a cloth she’d been provided by Sebastian. Just standing up made her entire body hurt, including parts of her that had no business hurting. As she told Sophia, she was sure it was her extreme exhaustion that had worn her down.

Her cousin’s concern was thoughtful, but Clara Kate knew that if Quincy did examine her and decided she needed treatment for her exhaustion, he would tell her to have Ini-herit heal her. That wasn’t an option. She truly couldn’t bear the thought of Ini-herit touching her.

Even if he did have the power to heal, it wasn’t worth the pain of enduring a touch that was no longer filled with love for her, but with no feeling at all.

 So…what did you think?

An #Estilorian Teaser: the ELDER Prologue (Uncut)

It seems hard to believe that Shift has already been out for three weeks! I told myself that I would share a teaser from Elder well before now, but as it always seems to do, life got in the way. Now that I’ve started writing Part 3, I realized that I had to get an excerpt out to my fans.

At the end of Shift is the prologue for Elder. However, it isn’t the full prologue! Today I’ll leave you with the uncut version for your reading pleasure. Oh…and a shameless pic that captures my vision of Ini-herit. Enjoy!

Prologue for Elder (Firstborn #3)

“Let me get this straight. Your dad is Gabriel? As in, the Gabriel mentioned in the Bible?”

“Yep.”

“And he and I were once the equivalent of best friends?”

“Yep.”

“Holy crap.”

Clara Kate stifled a laugh as she watched Ini-herit process this news. His gray eyes were wider than she’d ever seen them. The only sound was of the rain pelting the roof of the large tree house located in the backyard of their guardian, Mrs. Clara Burke. Despite the fact that they were eighteen and the tree house was meant for younger kids, it was a place they visited whenever they wanted some time away from everything else. They’d even camped in it a few times.

Now, they sat against one wall with their legs sprawled in front of them and their hands joined. He studied her carefully for a moment. When she just quirked an eyebrow, he let out a long breath.

“Wow.”

Her lips curved upwards. “You believe me.”

He continued to look at her without responding. She knew his features as well as her own after these past few months spent with him on the human plane, but that didn’t make her less interested in gazing at them. His aristocratic nose, long-lashed eyes and full lips would have made him what others called a “pretty boy” if not for the rough, honed edges of his cheekbones and jaw line. He wore his dark hair longer than Mrs. B would have liked, but he usually pulled it back into a ponytail out of deference to her. At the moment, he had it unbound and it brushed his shoulders in beautiful waves.

“I do believe you,” he said at last. “Though heaven knows why.”

“Well, you’re the Corgloresti elder. It’s a class founded on faith. Even though your Estilorian self has been suppressed while you re-learn human emotions, you retained your core characteristics.”

“So when I call you Angel, it’s not so much a nickname as a fact.”

Shaking her head, she nudged him with her elbow. “I told you we’re Estilorians, not angels.”

“What if I want to be an angel?”

“Oh, you’re no angel,” she said. He grinned wickedly, making her heart work overtime. “Angels are just one of the mythical creatures humans created based on their memories of Estilorians. When we separated the planes a couple of thousand years ago, humans documented their experiences with us in a variety of ways. Art, literature, music…you name it. In essence, we became human myths and legends.”

“Being a legend doesn’t sound so bad.” He paused, looking thoughtful. Then he asked, “And I’m how old?”

“Oh…several thousand years.”

“Get out.”

“It’s true,” she said, laughing at his expression. “On the Estilorian plane, you’ll look about the same age you are now, though. Maybe a few years older. Estilorians don’t age, and many of the elders are the youngest in appearance.”

“You said I’ll look different when we transition. How different?”

She was pleased by his apparent acceptance of what she’d shared with him. They had been discussing this for hours, ever since she received word that they had to return to the Estilorian plane. She knew she wouldn’t be commanded back unless something big had happened. Maybe her mother had gone into premature labor or something. Whatever the reason, she couldn’t refuse the command.

“I don’t know,” she responded. “We don’t have photographs on the Estilorian plane, and you left right before I was born. I’ve never seen your Estilorian form.”

“Well that kinda sucks.”

“Why? Do you think you’ll end up looking like Brent?” She batted her eyelashes at him.

He shoved her shoulder. “Ha. You can have that blond Viking with the IQ of a sock puppet. Who needs enough muscles to lift a car, anyway?”

“Yeah.” She sighed dramatically. “Who needs ‘em?”

He rolled his eyes and swung an arm over her shoulders. She felt the taut muscles there and knew he didn’t really have a complex about Brent’s steroid-induced physique. It was Brent’s unwanted attention toward Clara Kate that had brought her and Ini-herit closer together, so he was a frequent butt of their jokes.

“But you’ll look the same?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said. She’d already discussed this, but didn’t mind reviewing it if it helped ease his worry. “I’ve been able to transition between the planes without changing forms since I was three.”

She didn’t bother describing the uproar she’d caused the first time she did it. She barely remembered the experience. One moment she’d been sleeping in her bed at home. The next she was in a hospital on the human plane answering a million questions from the humans who found her. As a result of her impromptu transition, the protections around her homeland had been strengthened considerably.

“You’ll look similar to how you do as a human,” she explained. “Archigos Zayna, the Scultresti elder, did her best to mimic your Estilorian features in your human form to make the transition less psychologically stressful on you. Your eyes will be more silver than gray, and you’ll have a bunch of silver markings on your body from past pairings with Gloresti. I believe your hair will be longer, too, based on what I’ve heard.”

“Based on what you’ve heard?” he repeated. He reached over and traced the line of her jaw, causing her to shiver. “You were curious about me before you ever came here, weren’t you?”

“Yes,” she said a bit breathlessly. His touch always did this to her. “I couldn’t wait to meet you.”

“And now that you have?”

“You’re everything I ever dreamed of and more. You know that by now. I love you, Harry.”

He leaned down and kissed her. It was every bit as potent as the first time. She reached up with her left hand and wove her fingers through the soft hair at the nape of his neck. Her tongue pressed eagerly against his as he deepened the kiss. Bliss such as she had never envisioned coursed through her.

Eventually, he pulled away from her. They both had to catch their breath. His eyes were dark with passion.

“I love you, too, Angel.”

Her heart soared. This wasn’t the first time he’d said it, but it never got old. She caressed the side of his face, enjoying the feel of stubble beneath her sensitive fingertips.

“What will we tell Mrs. B?” he asked.

She sighed. “We’ll have to tell her some form of the truth. She won’t see you again…at least, not in this form. She went through this nineteen years ago with my parents. She’ll understand.”

“I’m worried about her,” he confessed.

“I know,” she said. “Me, too.”

They’d both observed how tired their guardian seemed lately. She had told them that she was retiring once they left for college in the fall. She’d been a foster parent for nearly forty years, ever since her beloved husband, Henry, was killed in the line of duty when she was twenty-eight. She’d been unable to have her own children, so she decided to raise those kids who needed a good home. But the time had come, she said, to hang up her hat.

“She’s been going to the doctor more frequently,” he said, running his fingers through her hair. “She won’t tell me what they say.”

“We’ll get some answers after we transition,” she promised. “We have contacts in the human medical field. My friend, Quincy, will probably be coming back here soon to harvest more souls. He usually transitions after the Kynzesti are born. I’ll ask him to look into it.”

“Okay.”

They sat in silence for a moment. Clara Kate rested her head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat. “We have to leave soon,” she said eventually. “Within a day or two.”

“That soon?”

She nodded. “There’s something going on. They wouldn’t tell me what, but we’re both needed right away.”

“Wow.”

“Yeah.” Lifting her head, she looked again at his lips, then caught his gaze. “Harry, when we transition…things might be different. We’ll both have responsibilities, and I’ll have my family around me every moment of the day. And, well…I’ve decided that I want our last bit of time here on this plane to be memorable.”

He lifted a dark brow. “Memorable?”

“Yeah.” She shifted and ran one hand slowly up his chest, following the lines of his well-toned midsection through his T-shirt. When he drew in a sharp breath, she smiled. “Memorable.”

Before he could say anything else, she rose up and turned to face him, straddling his thighs. Then she kissed him, long and deep. His hands soon began to roam, causing unbelievable flares of pleasure.

What she wanted was reckless. Foolish. Unlike anything she would normally do.

But she wouldn’t be swayed.

“I don’t—” he managed to say as she pulled away from his mouth and ran the tip of her tongue along his sensitive ear lobe. “I’m not prepared for—” he stopped again when she bit down lightly on his neck. Then she reached under his shirt, producing a tormented groan. “My wallet’s—in the house.”

“Do you want this?” she asked, pulling back so she could catch his gaze.

“Dear Lord, yes.”

“So do I. This feels right, Harry. I haven’t ever, you know…menstruated.” She blushed after that confession, but purposefully ignored it. “I can’t—”

He reached up and gently touched her lips. “Thank you. I promise you, Angel…no matter what occurs when we transition to the other plane, I’ll never forget this moment. You’re everything to me. Whatever happens, we’ll always have each other.”

So…what did you think?

Prepping for SHIFT’s Release: an All New Teaser Tuesday!

We’re in the final countdown to the release of Shift this coming Friday! It’s only appropriate that I set the stage with an all-new teaser for your reading pleasure. Oh…and the book trailer debuted last week! I’ll include it here, too.

As always, thanks so much for the support. Happy reading!

Excerpt: Shift (Firstborn Trilogy #2)

Chapter 1

Quincy started down the hill as soon as Sophia loped away. He had seen Olivia’s grimace when she stood up after speaking with her daughter. As both a friend and the Estilorian who served as the obstetrician for Olivia and her sisters, Amber and Skye, he was concerned by her obvious discomfort.

“Do you need any assistance, Olivia?” he asked.

He stopped a couple of feet from her, studying her for physiological indicators of how she felt. He knew that these last days before the projected due date were particularly wearying on the expectant mother. Her energy and abilities weakened as she prepared for the birth. It was one of the reasons that Olivia and her sisters had remained behind when their firstborn children recently ventured away from the protected homeland.

Her pupils and breathing were normal now, he was pleased to note.

“I sure do,” she answered with a grin. “Can you get Sophia to quit skipping out on her training sessions?”

His lips twitched. “Are you sure you don’t have something less challenging for me? Maybe a previously unknown pain, or a dire threat to your person I could possibly avert?”

“I can hear you,” Sophia called out.

The irritation in her voice had Quincy grimacing. “Sorry,” he said loudly toward the open door of the house. Then, more quietly, he said, “Oops.”

Olivia smiled and waved it off. “Sophia deserves the knock. She’s terrible about participating in the training sessions and she knows it.” Her voice rose in volume when she added, “I’ll never let her leave home again if she doesn’t start taking this more seriously.”

“Yeah, yeah…I get it,” Sophia replied in a grumble.

Quincy shook his head. “Well, let me know if you experience any signs of the baby’s impending arrival, okay? If you’d be more comfortable with me sticking around here instead of joining the others at the waterfall, I’d be happy to.”

“You’re very sweet, Quincy. Thanks.” She once again ran a hand over her belly. “But I think we’re still okay for now.”

“All right. Then I’ll go wait for Sophia and the others near the training paddock. You know how to find me if you need me.”

“Absolutely.” Olivia smiled and turned to walk back into the house. “And if you happen to give Sophia another lecture on the importance of learning to defend herself in hopes it might penetrate her hard head, I wouldn’t mind a bit.”

“Sure thing,” he said.

As he walked toward the training paddock, he considered Olivia’s concern for Sophia’s well-being. It very closely mirrored his own. He clearly remembered the challenges he and Sophia faced together in their pursuit of Tate all those weeks ago. Sophia had nearly been killed. The fear and anguish he’d experienced while treating her injuries surely reflected what Olivia would have felt in his place.

Why wouldn’t it? he mused now. After all, they both loved her.

He supposed the biggest difference was that Sophia didn’t have any idea how he felt about her. And he had yet to figure out how to change that.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~

Want more? Check out the amazing trailer by Flatline Films!

#TeaserTuesday and a #FabulouslyFree Short Story!

Today begins the promotion for my Estilorian short story, The Prophecy, on Amazon.com! From today until Friday the 16th, The Prophecy is free! For those of you who don’t know, this story serves as a prequel to my Daughters of Saraqael trilogy. Thus, it’s a great way to get your feet wet if you’re not yet familiar with the Estilorian world.

Here’s the story blurb for a little more enticement:

“Saraqael hadn’t intended to fall in love with Kate. It shouldn’t have even been possible. His kind didn’t experience emotion, and they certainly weren’t supposed to become attached to humans.

When he discovers that Kate’s dying and there’s nothing he or her human doctors can do for her, Saraqael realizes how deep his feelings for her run. And he understands just how far he’s willing to go to save her.

He vows to search until he finds a way to save her life. With the help of his best friend, Quincy, he embarks on a quest spanning the Estilorian plane…a quest that will forever change the future of his kind.”

Now, on to the teaser!

The first book in my upcoming Firstborn trilogy, Defy, releases on April 30th. I’m organizing a cover reveal blog tour on March 29th, so be on the lookout for that. Today, I thought I’d post another new excerpt from Defy to tide my Estilorian fans over for a while. Visit these posts to check out the prologue, chapter one, and part of chapter two. And now we’ll continue Tate’s story…

Defy (Book One of the Firstborn Trilogy)

Part of Chapter Two

Quincy walked with her out to the training paddock with his packed satchel. Tate realized that all of her family members were nearby, despite the early hour. A number of them were stretching or completing their cardio warm-ups before the weapons training ahead.

Tiege stood with Aunt Amber and some of their cousins performing tai chi. Her dad and Uncle Gabriel spotted for her brothers, Nick and Alex, as they lifted weights. Her mom glided around the side yard with her younger sisters and cousins, instructing them in dance. Aunt Olivia and Uncle James watched the littlest of the children as they played with the family of panthers before beginning school for the day.

Sophia sat on a large rock about twenty yards from the paddock, looking quite glum as she awaited the day’s flight efforts. Tate’s heart went out to her. She knew how discouraged Sophia had been to fail again and again at bringing forth her wings during the lessons her parents started after her eighteenth birthday several weeks ago.

Plastering an encouraging smile on her face as she and Quincy approached, Tate said, “Hey, Sophia! You’re looking particularly pretty today.”

She heard Quincy mumble something under his breath and fought a giggle even as Sophia gave her a baleful look. The comment was true enough, though. Sophia’s turquoise sundress flattered her petite frame. The long skirt of the dress, pooled around her slim legs, made her look very delicate. She had secured her golden hair at the nape of her slender neck in an intricate knot, drawing attention to her wide blue-green eyes and the blue-green butterfly wing patterns around her eyes, indicating her second power. Although her small size and fair coloring differed from the rest of the Kynzesti, Sophia managed to outshine them all, in Tate’s opinion.

“Thanks, Tate,” Sophia said, barely glancing at Quincy. She looked irritated about something and Tate wondered if one of the scientific experiments her cousin so enjoyed was giving her trouble. That always tended to spoil her mood. Of course, she could have just been nervous. With Sophia, it was a little hard to tell.

“I can’t wait to hear how everything goes today,” Tate ventured, keeping her tone light.

“Hmm,” Sophia responded, shifting and getting to her feet. Now, she spared Quincy a glance. “Well, let’s get this over with.”

“Ah…” Quincy said when she caught his gaze. He didn’t manage anything more.

“Your parents are coming to send you off,” Tate threw in, trying to help. Quincy gave her a grateful look.

Uncle James and Aunt Olivia approached, trailed by a group of giggling and bouncing children. Tate smiled as her aunt pulled Sophia into a hug, then passed her over to her uncle so he could repeat the gesture.

“We’re proud of you, honey,” Aunt Olivia said, her light green eyes damp. “I wish we could be there, but…I’m sure Quincy’s right. We were inadvertently restricting you in our lessons. Without us there, you’ll have the faith in yourself that you need to extend your wings.”

Sophia shifted uncomfortably and looked at the ground. Her father gave her a gentle smile.

“We look forward to hearing all about it when you get back,” he said.

She looked up and nodded. Quincy adjusted the satchel he wore across his body. It rattled as the items inside shifted. Although Uncle James raised an eyebrow over the obviously full bag, he didn’t comment. He did, however, catch Quincy’s gaze.

“Take care of her,” he said.

Quincy nodded. Then he looked down at Sophia. “Ready?” he asked.

“Sure,” she said.

Tate saw the lie resonate in the word. Sophia caught her gaze in warning, not that Tate was going to call her on it. She smiled and stepped forward to give her cousin a hug.

“Try to have fun, Soph. I know you’ll do great.”

As she watched Quincy lead her cousin into the forest toward adventure, Tate felt the desire to go with them like an ache in her chest. Instead, she turned with her aunt and uncle and headed to the training paddock. And the mundane.

The tai chi session came to a finish as she neared. Aunt Olivia led the children to their lessons as Uncle James joined her father and Uncle Gabriel near the weights. Aunt Amber watched her approach as she wiped her face with a towel.

“You need to stretch?” her aunt asked. She was never one for idle chit-chat.

“Nah,” Tate replied. “I did my warm-up routines earlier.”

“Cool. Why don’t you and Tiege pair up? I’ll get everyone else set up with their weapons and then we’ll see how you’re coming along with your new form.”

“Okay.” She glanced at her brother as he finished drinking some water and strode toward her. “Ready for some hand-to-hand?” she asked.

“You mean am I ready to kick your ass?” he returned with a grin. “You bet.” When she didn’t return his smile or give a snarky rejoinder, his grin faded. “You’re still upset that Mom and Dad said no?”

She shrugged. He already knew the answer. They knew each other as well as any two individuals possibly could.

“You know it’s a lousy idea, Tate,” he pointed out pragmatically. “We have no idea what things are really like away from home.”

That was exactly her point, she thought in growing frustration as she glanced at the break in the trees where Quincy and her cousin disappeared. She didn’t have any idea what it was like out there. And she very much wanted to.

“You’d only get yourself into trouble,” Tiege continued as he twisted sideways in another stretch. “Your skills aren’t sharp enough.”

That set her temper to a fiery pitch. She was sick and tired of the lack of faith in her abilities. How on the entire Estilorian plane could anyone know she would fail to protect herself if she’d never been given the chance to prove it?

Guest Post and #TeaserTuesday – Bethany Lopez’s xoxoxo

I’m very excited to welcome YA contemporary author Bethany Lopez to the blog today! I first met Bethany through Twitter, and we developed a rapport over our equal love of YA literature. Now we’re also Triberr mates and fellow members of YALITCHAT, and Bethany was kind enough to write up a wonderful guest post to share with you all today.

Even more, Bethany has graciously offered to give away one copy of her book Ta Ta For Now! to one lucky reader (just comment for your chance to win), and she has shared the very first sneak peek at the second entry in her upcoming release, xoxoxo. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I did! If you missed the first entry, check it out on Bethany’s blog here.

For now, I’ll hand it over to Bethany. Please show her some love by letting her know what you think of the post and excerpt! Take it, Beth…

“First, I would like to thank Raine for inviting me to do a guest post. I am a fan of her work and consider her a friend. Funny, when I started on my writing journey, I had no idea how many friends and allies I would make, without ever having a face to face meeting. It is one of the many delightful surprises that I have encountered.

I have always loved to read and write. I used to make up stories for my friends and relate the tales with such conviction that my friends were truly scared. I remember one time in fifth grade; a parent told me that I was no longer allowed to sleep over at my friend Jessica’s house because she was afraid to sleep without the light on.

I was a pretty mature reader, and was reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz when other kids my age were reading Judy Bloom. There was one series that I read which was more age-appropriate, and that was Sweet Valley High. I was always fascinated with the idea of being a twin, and I loved the fact that the series was long. As soon as I would finish one, the next one was ready for me to begin.  These books were entertaining and they dealt with real issues that kids my age faced. I actually learned good life lessons, which stayed with me as I grew older.

When I decided to sit down and write a book, I wanted to write something that my teenage daughters would be able to find relatable. I wanted them to learn “lessons” without feeling like they were being lectured… So I started writing Ta Ta for Now!. I did not plan to write a series at that time… I didn’t even know if I would finish it, but the girls stayed interested, so I kept writing.

Once I completed Ta Ta for Now!, I decided to try sending queries to Agents. After about thirty-five rejections, I started to question my decision to try and write professionally… Then I found out about self-publishing. One thing I know about myself, is that I have very little patience and I can be a bit impulsive. Once I decided to self-publish, I just went for it. I should have waited…

Six months later I had learned so much by interacting with other writers through Twitter, goodreads, and various blogs. During those six months, I finished the second book in what became the Stories about Melissa Series, xoxoxo. I knew that I would take more time polishing this book and that I would work with my new network of writers and bloggers to do a blog tour to launch xoxoxo. I also decided that before xoxoxo was released, I wanted to re-edit and re-format Ta Ta for Now!, and release the book that I had always meant for it to be.

I am really happy with the way both of my books have turned out and I have started the third book in the series. Like Raine, I have a family and a full time job. Writing is my passion. It is what I do when I want to relax or take some time for myself. I don’t write because I think I will be rich and famous, I write because there is nothing like the rush I get when someone tells me they love my work; That what I wrote brought back a memory or a feeling for the reader or that they could really relate to my characters.

I am absolutely having the best time doing something I have always wanted to do, but never imagined I could. My advice to my children, and to anyone who will listen to me, is to follow your dreams. Even your imagination isn’t as wonderful as the real thing. (Oh… I am also a huge cornball!)

I released the First Entry (The Stories about Melissa are written in Journal form) of xoxoxo on my blog. Here is the Second Entry… Only available here!”

ENTRY TWO

 TGIF:

Okay, it’s the Friday before Spring Break, and I just wanted to write a little before school.

Now that I have a new journal, I want to make sure I am using it. I really enjoyed writing last time, I don’t know why I stopped, but I am eager to get back into writing.

We are gearing up for a fantastic Spring Break! It is still only about 60 degrees here in April, but compared to what it has been, it will feel like a heat wave! Jess, Jimmy, and I plan to hang out at each other’s houses (Jimmy’s is the best, because he is an only child, and they have a Wii, air hockey and a pool table in the basement), go to the movies, and hang out outside as much as possible. And maybe take some cool pictures for Yearbook.

I spent some time with my Mom last night. She was hungry, so I got her some Rocky Road ice cream and sat down in the den with her while she ate. We talked a little bit about the baby.

“I am sooo ready for this baby to come out!” She said as she spooned the ice cream into her mouth. “It feels like I have been pregnant forever and I am just so tired. I cannot wait to see my feet again!”

“You should be an old pro at this Mom.” I said with a smile. “It’s not exactly your first time!” I picked up her foot and began to rub it.

“Oh my gosh! That feels wonderful, Mis.” She sighed, closing her eyes a little. “This is nothing like any of my other pregnancies. It has been a lot harder. I was so sick the first few months, and now I am tired and everything aches. Since the baby is still breech, I have to go in Monday so the doctor can try to turn the baby. I am really not looking forward to that!”

“I know, but I am sure everything will be fine. And before you know it, we will have another rug rat running around the house.” I grabbed her other foot and started massaging it. I have gotten pretty good at this over the years. My Mom’s feet always swell and hurt when she is pregnant.

“This weekend Dad will finish putting the crib and changing table and stuff up in Monica’s room, so it will start to feel more like the end is near,” my Mom said with a slight smile. “Monica is not too happy about sharing her room, but the baby will be in the bassinet in our room for the first few months, so it shouldn’t be too much of a change for her right away.”

We talked a little while longer until my Dad came in and took over foot massage duty. It was nice talking to Mom for a bit; I know once the baby comes it will be hard for me to get any time alone with her. It has been like that every time, so I know what to expect, but I miss her during those first few months. It’s funny because we are in the same house together, and she is home on maternity leave, so you would think I would get to see her more, but that is never the case. Babies just take up so much time, and Mom is always exhausted. I know I will be expected to step up and do more around the house. I really do want to make life easier for her, but to be honest, it sucks!

xoxoxo

Valentine’s #TeaserTuesday: Five Times the Estilorian Love!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

As I sit here admiring the flowers that my husband probably paid waaay too much for and eagerly anticipating enjoying a caramel-filled chocolate or two (okay, five), it occurred to me that I needed to put up a Valentine’s Day blog. Say what you want about this being a “Hallmark Holiday,” as a YA romance author, I couldn’t let February 14th go without a post and a set of romantic teasers for my readers!

I’ll also mention that Becoming is presently on sale for 99 cents as a Valentine’s promotion. If you have a “valentine” with an e-reader, you can hook them up with some romance in the form of a book through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever e-books are sold!

For your reading pleasure today, I’ve decided to include excerpts of a romantic nature from Becoming, Central, Foretold, Defy and Shift.  I thought this would offer something fun for new and existing Estilorian fans alike. I hope you enjoy them…let me know if you have a favorite!

Without another thought, she leaned forward while using her hand to guide him toward her lips. She sensed his hesitation, knew she had caught him off-guard and his brain was trying to catch up, but she didn’t let it deter her. As though they had practiced it a hundred times, her mouth found his.

His response astounded her. There wasn’t so much a spark as a lightning strike when they connected. If she had thought the feeling of his hands on her back earlier that day had been amazing, the touch of his lips against hers now had rockets firing in her synapses. He kissed her with such intensity she wondered how she could stand it.

In that moment, she knew all that he held in his heart for her and wondered how he had kept it from her all this time. Even more, she understood her own heart in glorious, almost painful clarity.

She moved her lips against his, teaching him without words what he needed to know. Ever the ardent student, he lifted his hands to cradle her face, slowly moving his mouth against hers. Once. Twice. Then again, and yet again, varying the positions and the amount of pressure exerted.

When she opened her mouth beneath his, he followed her lead without a thought. Somehow, although he probably should have found it at least mildly shocking, he was unsurprised when she gently touched her tongue to his. It just seemed to him as though that was a perfectly logical transition for this amazing experience, and he responded in kind.

He savored the taste of her. It absolutely defied description. She made soft sounds indicating her pleasure as her hands caressed his back and shoulders. His body felt as though it was going to erupt in a rapturous flare of pleasure.

He had been prepared for the entire experience to be awkward. He had even been prepared for it to be mildly repulsive.

He had not been prepared for it to feel so good.

Everywhere she touched started tingling. Pulsing sensation coursed through him at the touch of her fingers as well as where he felt her warm breath against the side of his neck. He felt her body pressed against him, felt the heat from her skin warming him through their clothes, and instinctively reached up to hold her at her waist, enjoying the feel of the feminine curves of her hips beneath his hands.

Then he felt her lips move along the outer edge of his ear, taking his sensitive earlobe gently between her teeth for one teasing, incredible moment before she slowly rained tender kisses along the side of his neck and jaw. He realized when his brain finally kicked in that her particular position exposed the slender line of her neck to him. He didn’t have to move at all to breathe in the scent of her. He registered that she smelled like jasmine, sweet and bit mysterious.

Of course she did.

~ DEFY ~

“When you want to kiss someone,” he said, making her realize she had been speaking her thoughts again, “do not talk it to damn death.”

And then he pulled her against him and captured her mouth with his.

He didn’t kiss her. No, that was far too sedate a term for it. He claimed her.

This was no gentle brushing of lips against lips. This was an undiluted assault of the senses. This was lips and tongue and heat and urgent, roaming hands. This was erratic breathing, bodies pressed together, skin touching skin, bursts of unbelievable and unexpected pleasure. This was beyond her wildest imaginings.

~ SHIFT ~

At first, he stiffened in shock. But he quickly sank into the kiss, making her realize just how little she knew about this particular activity.

His warm lips moved tenderly against hers, telling her that her urgent pressing of her mouth against his wasn’t quite right. She deliberately relaxed, focusing on every sensation as his hands moved to cradle her, one hand against the small of her back and the other at the base of her neck beneath her hair. Every touch sent waves of heady sensation pouring through her. It was even more potent than the charge of energy she experienced when she shifted.

A soft moan built in her throat as his lips moved against hers. She felt his hand move from around her neck to the side of her jaw. When he traced the delicate skin there, it sent another shiver through her.

Six Sentence Sunday: #Central (Book Two of the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy)

Last week was my first attempt at a Six Sentence Sunday post on my blog, and I found it a lot of fun! Since I featured a snippet from Becoming last week, today I figured I would present something from Central, the second book in the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy. Here we go:

Central - Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy Book Two- a young adult fantasy romance novel by Raine Thomas The thought was intensely compelling. She was surprised to find her feet moving to obey. She took five full steps closer to the forest before she caught herself. Realizing she was now only about six feet from the tree-line, she shook her head as if to clear it and turned to slowly move away, hoping not to provoke whatever creature it was into charging after her.

“James,” she said, glancing carefully over her shoulder as she backed up a step, “There’s something—”

That was all she got out before she was violently yanked off her feet and the world flipped sideways.

What did you think? I’d love your comments!

I’m also very happy to let you know that tomorrow, I’ll be featuring a post with an awesome cover reveal for the very talented J.C. Martin. J.C. designed a “Mystery Blog Tour” to promote her upcoming book, Oracle, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it! Please be sure to drop by and check it out.