Begin Again

I didn’t feel like typing last night so I did a short video blog about a movie I just watched. In the video I forgot to mention CeeLo Gren is in it too, and I love him! :)

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From IMDB.com

A chance encounter between a disgraced music-business executive and a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan turns into a promising collaboration between the two talents.

Director: John Carney
Writer: John Carney
Stars: Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine, CeeLo Green

Watch the Movie Trailer, and if after that you don’t want to see it, I give up. ;)

Burning Up with Delilah’s New release

Delilah Devlin is one of those authors that is just plain old fun to read. Which doesn’t surprise me since she’d fun to hang around with as well. *g* She’s got a new release from Samhain publishing, and I highly recommend you pick it up!!

 

Burnin’ Up Memphis by Delilah Devlin

She’s the one fire he may not be able to control.

Firehouse 69,BurninUpMemphis_600 Book 1

When a roof collapse kills his best friend and his girlfriend clears out his apartment and leaves, firefighter John Cooper knows he shouldn’t sit alone in his empty apartment. But when he accepts an invitation to Club LaForge, his feet get colder with every step he takes inside.

The sights, sounds and smells of the BDSM club make him sweat, and not because he’s turned off. Yet he can’t bring himself to admit—to himself, or to his luscious guide, Moira—that this lifestyle might just be what he needs.

An experienced BDSM trainer, Moira senses that Coop is not only a Dom in the making, but exactly what she’s been looking for. A man to be her lover and her Dom. The only problem is, Coop isn’t looking for anything complicated.

Moira’s willing to start slow and easy, but even once there’s enough trust to bring Coop into her world—and to her Dom—she’s still worried he’ll look for the nearest exit.

Warning: Do you smell smoke? Don’t worry, it’s just a hot and sexy firefighter getting down and dirty. Contains BDSM scenes, ropes, floggers, some spanking, some sharing, and some five-alarm sex.

Buy here:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Samhain | Kobo | iTunes 

 

Read a Raw  & Sexy excerpt!

 

So here she was, edgy and needy. So excited she was afraid she’d be a useless lay because she’d come like a rocket. And she wanted to be the best he’d ever had. Wanted him to want her even a fraction as much as she wanted him.

Watching him play with his friends, watching as he’d been hammered time and again for his inattention and then watching those spurts of power and speed had proved he was in some damn shape. All hills and hollows and oodles of stamina. And now she knew how hard the muscle was cloaking that tall, angular frame. She wanted everything he’d bring to bed.

When they reached the parking lot, he dragged her straight to his car. “We’ll get yours later.” All during the five-minute drive to his apartment, his hand remained on her thigh, anchoring her there, claiming her in a way. Something that kept her hot.

Moira waited silently beside Coop as he fumbled with his keys at the apartment door. Her whole body felt tight and hard. And she was shivering despite the heat.

He opened the door, shoved it wide and then stood back to allow her inside.

She stepped over the threshold. The soft bottoms of her flip-flops snicked on the floor, the sound echoing in the empty space. She glanced left into a bare living room, dark blond bamboo floors that looked dusty, a bundle of brown packing paper sitting square in the middle of the floor. “Wow. She cleaned you out.”

“Doesn’t matter.” A muscle worked at the edge of his jaw, tensing.

She stepped toward him, reaching up to soothe it, hoping the tension was for her, not that other woman. “You said she left a bed.”

His gaze flickered toward the ceiling. “There’s not any sheets or pillows.”

She arched a brow. “Baby, they’d only get in the way.” Taking a deep breath, Moira turned and lifted her T-shirt over her head. She let it fall from a fingertip as she began walking slowly toward the wooden staircase, Coop on her heels. She left her flip-flops at the bottom of the stairs and reached behind her to unclasp her bra. Midway up the staircase, she tossed the bra over her shoulder and smiled when she heard a slow inhalation, knowing he’d caught it and was sniffing at her perfume.

She wagged her hips, exaggerating their sway even as she undid the snap of her jeans shorts and pushed them halfway down her hips. At the top of the stairs, she paused, let them drop and then glanced over her shoulder.

He stared back, his glance sweeping over her ass, crushing her bra in his fist. Again, his sweatpants stretched over his erection.

“Which way?” she asked.

He jerked his chin to the left.

When she turned back and strode toward the door on the left, she felt fingers scrape the waistband of her panties. The elastic stretched and then gave, and he tore them away. Naked now, she walked faster as her chest rose and fell in deep, excited swells.

She walked into the room. There were no curtains hanging from the brass rods. Sunlight gleamed between the slats of the blinds. She noted the bed with its bare mattress, a closet with clothes spilling out onto the floor. Again, she glanced at the bed. Although the top looked pristine, it felt dirty that they’d fuck on a naked mattress. Their fluid would sink into the pale cream fabric. And he didn’t care.

How did she want this to begin? She knew she needed him. Needed to feel the stretch of him quickly because her knees were shaking, her chest and arms shivering. But she didn’t want to be in charge. Wanted him to take control.

Moira crawled onto the mattress and lay down on her belly. She pulled her hair to one side and stared at Coop. He was still standing in the doorway, curling his fists at his sides. The look in his eyes was predatory, feral. He needed a bath. Sweat glistened on his exposed skin. Dirt smudged his cheeks and arms. There were bits of grass on his clothes and hair.

The sight of him made her nipples so aroused she pushed up slightly to rub her chest on the bed side-to-side as she stared back at him.

At last, he moved, taking a step inside the doorway. “Aren’t you going to show me?” Coop said, his voice silky and deep.

“Show you what?”

“What you want fucked?”

 

About Delilah Devlin

Delilah Devlin is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with a rapidly expanding reputation for writing deliciously edgy stories with complex characters. She has published over a hundred thirty erotic stories in multiple genres and lengths. She is published by Atria/Strebor, Avon, Berkley, Black Lace, Cleis Press, Ellora’s Cave, Grand Central, Harlequin Spice, HarperCollins: Mischief, Kensington, Montlake Romance, Running Press and Samhain Publishing. Find out more about Delilah at www.delilahdevlin.com.

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SS: Winner

Missy Katano You are the winner of the Sensational Six giveaway. Please use the CONTACT link to email me to claim your prize.
You can have your choice of any available title from my backlist, or a $10 Gift Card from All Romance eBooks or Amazon.com.

Donna Antonio. You get a little something too. You win your choice of any available title from my backlist. Please use the CONTACT link to email me to claim your prize.

Prizes must be claimed by Tuesday, December 9th. or winners forfeit.

SS: The Night Beat by Gini Koch

SensationalSixboxset_3d_mediumFor this past week I’ve hosted an excerpt from each story in the Sensational Six Box set. If you’ve been following along, and you read those excerpts and comment on them, you have a chance to win your choice of book from my Backlist (Includes print books if available! Print books will only be shipped to North America) or a $10 GC from either All Romance eBooks or Amazon. TO be entered in the draw, all you have to do is simply say something in any of the posts comments this week. Ask the author a question, leave a comment, on their story, or simply say hi.

I’ve been running this all week, and the winner will be announced here on Sunday, December 6th. You’ll have 48 hours to claim your prize or I’ll pick another winner.Today is your last day to enter.

The Night Beat Promo and Excerpt
The majority of Prosaic City’s residents don’t know that their town exists on top of another place – Necropolis, City of the Undead. For the most part, the two planes of existence manage to remain separate. And when they don’t, Necropolis Enforcement has beings in place to ensure the general human population remains blithely clueless.

Victoria Wolfe is more than just a policewoman. She’s an undercover werewolf assigned by Necropolis Enforcement to work Prosaic City Police’s Night Beat. Victoria’s comfortable working the shift where all the weird comes out to play, especially since her partner is also her perfect man. Or would be, if Victoria could ever work up the nerve to tell him she isn’t like other girls.

It’s hard enough being a werewolf in disguise, but when a creature from the Depths of Hell shows up in an alley preferred by junkies, bums, and hookers, it’s going to take more than just Victoria’s special gun and werewolf skills to subdue the ancient Sumerian demon. Especially when the demon is merely the start of what appears to be a major takeover attempt by the Prince of Darkness.

Soon all of Necropolis Enforcement’s Undead Brigade is involved in the fight to stop the Prince’s Major Minions from taking over Prosaic City and the rest of the human plane. But it’s Victoria who has to face the Adversary and figure out what intricate plan Lucifer has up his wings before everyone she cares about is destroyed.

In other words, it’s just another day on the Night Beat.

Excerpt:
Chapter 1
We pulled up to the scene of the crime. Such as it was. An alleyway in downtown, filled with trashcans and darkness.
“What do you think?” Jack asked as we got out of the ugly sedan that was supposed to fool the criminal class into thinking we weren’t undercover cops. So far as I could tell, it had never worked in the history of law enforcement, but we kept on perpetrating the illusion.
I looked around. There was an amazing lack of activity. There was also a lack of anything that looked even slightly crime-like. Not that this meant anything. “See, that’s what I love about you. We haven’t even taken a look at the crime scene, and you’re already asking me what I think about it.”
He shrugged. “You have good instincts.”
Yeah, if he only knew. Then again, I didn’t want him to know.
I sniffed. “Something smells awful.”
Jack pointed. “Well, those overflowing trashcans might be the stench culprit. Can your tender senses take it? Don’t want you fainting on me again.”
“Like you didn’t love it.”
He grinned. “Yeah, well, I’ll admit getting to act all heroic was kind of fun. But, damn, you come out of a faint nasty.”
Jack had been lucky I’d come out of the faint feeling sick, not hungry. Then again, I was lucky, too. Good partners are hard to come by. Good-looking ones who are also single and might, possibly, one day be interested in a high-excitement relationship were as rare as virgin groupies. Which, per some of my friends, meant very rare to potentially extinct.
I shook myself to get my mind back on the matter at hand. What I’d smelled wasn’t trash. “Why are we alone here?”
“No idea.” Jack pulled his gun as he reached into the car to grab the radio. “Darlene, this is Detective Wagner. Weren’t we supposed to have a couple black and whites here?”
The radio crackled. “Yes. Two cars, four uniformed officers.” Darlene sounded mildly worried. I was already past that.
I sniffed again. I didn’t smell anything living, though the trash could be interfering. But the stench I was picking up wasn’t trash, and the odds of anyone alive being in this alley were slim moving to none. I moved into the alley slowly, all senses on the alert.
“Victoria, get your damn gun at the ready!” Jack didn’t make it sound like a suggestion.
He was right, and I knew it. But I took out the special gun I kept at the small of my back. It was smaller, but the projectiles were more effective. I sniffed the trash bins as I went by. I also activated my wrist-com. I was far enough away from Jack that he wouldn’t hear. “This is W-W-One-Eight-One-Niner.”
Gini-Koch-November2014BoxSet_NB-200x300“Good evening, Agent Wolfe.” The Count’s voice was silky as always. He had unperturbed down to an art form. In all the years I’d known and worked for him, he’d never once lost his cool. “Status?”
“Four uniforms and two squad cars missing. Downtown alley, loaded with trashcans and stink. Special stink.”
“We have so many varieties of special stink, Agent Wolfe. Truly, make a selection and advise.”
“Snacked on the uniforms as appetizers and ate the cars for roughage kind of stink.”
“Ah. Do you require backup?”
“Ya think? It’s just me and my partner here. My human partner.”
“Yes, the human partner you pant after.”
“Funny. The human partner I want to both keep alive and keep in the dark. I’d like to see the sunrise, too.”
The Count sighed. “It’s overrated. Fine. Aerial support on the way. Underground support already activated by Agent Goode.”
Good old Monty. I thanked the Gods and Monsters for his rebel attitude. He didn’t like to follow orders but he was all over following me. He said I always landed the best cases. If his parts didn’t fall off on a regular basis, we might be an item.
“Great news.” I was at the end of the alley. No more trashcans, no sign of anything. Murky darkness in front of me. I pointed my gun into the center of it. “This is Prosaic City Police, drop your weapons, put your hands up, and come out slowly.”
No movement, no noise. No surprise. I sighed. I couldn’t risk a look over my shoulder. I hoped Jack was still at the other end of the alley, covering me. “Fine, have it your way. This is Necropolis Enforcement. Drop any non-organic weapons, put your arms, flippers, claws, tentacles, or any other extremities up, and walk, slither, stomp, crawl, et cetera, out of the darkness or be exterminated with extreme prejudice.”
The murky darkness started boiling up and moving. It was still murky and dark, but it was forming into a shape. I stared at it as the hair on the back of my neck started to rise. My nails extended and so did my teeth. Some things you can’t stop, even if you want to. Fight or flight is in every living being that’s got mobility. And even beings like me have a fear of the dark, the old dark, built into us.
“Count?”
“Yes?”
“We are in so much trouble.”
Chapter 2
“Jack, stay back and take cover!”
I heard him shouting for backup. Great idea, but not under these circumstances. I tried to figure out how to tell him to belay that without explaining why, while at the same time backing slowly to keep out of reach of the monster in front of me.
The sound of large wings floated on the wind and I wasn’t alone any more. “Vic, what’s up?”
“Um, Amanda, I thought vamps had the best night vision and all that.”
“I was just being casual and human-like in my form of greeting.” Amanda Darling was both a vampire and my best friend. She was older than me and sometimes had trouble letting go of the old-speak. “I can see what’s in front of us. Unfortunately.”
Someone behind me snorted. “She’s so cute, isn’t she? Pathetic, but cute.” Maurice swished into view. He didn’t have to swish, but he really enjoyed it. Unlike his sister, Maurice adapted to whatever age and mores he was in without a blink or a twitch. We all envied and hated him for that ability. “What have we here? A big, manly slime monster from the bowels of the earth? I’m all a-flutter.”
“You know, Maurice, a gay vampire is so clichéd.”
“But, Vicki, I do it so well.” Maurice and Amanda looked alike. That was it in terms of proof of real blood ties. Then again, for our kind, blood ties were made as easily as born.
The slime monster was undulating. I didn’t think that boded well for us. “Someone needs to distract Jack.”
“Ooooh, I will!” Maurice said. “He’s so tall, dark and handsome.”
Amanda and I risked it and exchanged the “he’s such a jerk” look. “Maurice, Jack’s straight,” she said. “And he’s Vic’s.”
“Not yet,” another male voice said. Ken Colt was one of the younger vamps, but he was a natural. He did the whole turning to mist and hover invisibly thing as easily as breathing. Easier, all things considered. “But I agree, the human needs to be distracted. Who do you want to do it, Vic?”
“You.” Ken wasn’t gay, wasn’t female, and Jack knew him. He knew him as my ex-boyfriend, but that wasn’t important now.
Ken sighed. “Figures. Jealous to get you back or just chat sports?”
“Whatever, Ken. Kind of busy here.”
“Doing nothing. Fine, fine, going off to distract and protect the human. I think I’m going with mind-control, though. We want all those human snacks sent back to police headquarters.”
“Good, good. Carry on.” The slime monster was forming tentacles. “Count, we’re going from bad to worse.”
“Slime monsters are difficult, Agent Wolfe, but hardly worth the panic in your voice.”
“How about something that looks like a slime monster, but isn’t. You know, something with tentacles and no face and that sort of fun thing?”
“Ah. How big?”
“Pretty damned.” Amanda and I said that together. Because it was growing.
“I think we need to call in H.P.,” Maurice said in a small voice. Maurice didn’t scare easily.
The Count sighed. “The professor is resting.”
“This is his area and we’re not equipped for this,” I snapped. “Slimy here has eaten four of Prosaic City’s finest, eaten two of our snazzy squad cars and, most likely, several bums, hookers, and drug dealers. For all I know he has some pigeons in there, too.”
“Rousing the professor now. He’ll be to you shortly.”
“What about Edgar?” Amanda asked.
“Not his forte,” Maurice said dismissively. “He’s better with the human side of things.” This was true.
The slime monster that was more than a mere slime monster continued to form. I continued to shift into full attack form. Nails an inch long and razor sharp? Check. Fangs ready to rip and tear? Double-check. Eyes and ears altered to see and hear better? You got it. Damned fur all over my body, doubling as camouflage and protection? Sure. Problem was, in this day and age, fur wasn’t camouflage any more. Fur was a sign you were odd at best, and a werewolf at worst.
I was both. I was also out of options. The monster finished forming. It was twelve feet tall if it was an inch, and almost as broad as the alley. I aimed for what was likely either its head or its main organ area and fired.

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Gini Koch: The Night Beat, Necropolis Enforcement Files #1
It’s time to kick icky butt and take unpronounceable names… A routine patrol for undercover cop and werewolf Victoria Wolfe turns into an epic battle between the undead forces of good against the Prince of Darkness’ most powerful lieutenants and his Army of Evil – the outcome of which is dependent upon Victoria’s abilities to guess what plan fallen angel Lucifer set in motion centuries earlier.

Gini Koch writes the bestselling fast, fresh and funny Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series for DAW Books, the Necropolis Enforcement Files series, and the Martian Alliance series for Musa Publishing. As G.J. Koch she writes the Alexander Outland series and she’s made the most of multiple personality disorder by writing under a variety of other pen names as well, including Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch. Buy her books – her meds don’t come free, you know. You can reach Gini via her website: www.ginikoch.com

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Glimmer : Vivi Anna

SensationalSixboxset_3d_mediumSix Sensational Stories from award-winning and best-selling authors that include love with a psychic, trapping a saber-tooth tiger, a mercenary and a rebel, a fae and a werewolf, an ascended vampire and the darkening, and an epic battle between a werewolf cop and the Army of Evil. Dare to take this ride of action and adventure in sci fi, fantasy and paranormal romance!

Todays excerpt is from the kick ass Vivi Anna. I’ve been a fan of this woman’s work since Vanquished (Hell Kat) was first published back in 2006.

Glimmer is the first in her Nina Decker series..so it’s check it out!

Abandoned at the age of ten, to be raised by her father, Nina Decker has never forgiven her fae mother for that or for cursing her human father with fae-sickness. When her mother reappears with startling revelations about an upcoming war with the fae, Nina puts her trust in sexy as hell werewolf Severin Saint Morgan to help her safe her father and the world.

EXCERPT
Setting down my cup, I reached for one of the butcher knives from the wooden block. If the tiny fae were back, they would soon wish they’d picked another house to flutter over. Holding the knife, blade down, in a defensive position, I slid open the deck doors and crept outside in my bare feet. Heart pounding so hard it hurt, I moved toward the garden, searching the plants for any movement.

Every breath I took burned my lungs. Fear gripped me tight, but I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I wouldn’t let anything injure my father, no matter how big or how mean it turned out to be.

When I reached the edge of the garden, I scanned the area. Nothing moved. No breeze whispered. The only thing I heard were crickets chirping nearby in the grass.

I stepped into the dirt between the rows of night blooming moon flowers. Feeling the earth between my toes grounded me a little. I’d always possessed an affinity to the ground, the dirt, and the flowers and plants that grew in it. During my childhood years, I spent as much time as I could in our garden, running my fingers through the soil, touching the leaves of the plants. I didn’t realize why then, but I knew now my actions were because of my fae blood. I was connected to the earth.
As I continued through the garden, I trailed my fingers over the dark petals, feeling for anything out of place. Anything not of plant origin. When I reached the pond, I turned and looked over the path I’d just come. Nothing out here. Maybe my fatigue was playing with my mind. It wouldn’t be the first time.

As I let go the breath I’d been holding, something caused me to turn toward the pond. Normally, there were two frogs living in it. I eyed the rippling water, searching for the tops of their warty heads. I didn’t see them, but the water continued to ripple as if stirred by something beneath the surface.

While I stared into the undulating dark pond, I felt something tugging at my mind. A phantom hand pulling on a string attached to somewhere deep within my psyche. Resisting its lure, I tried to move away, but my feet wouldn’t obey. I stayed standing in that spot, watching the movement of the water.

Buzzing rang in my ears. Like static, sound hummed against my eardrums. Between the waves of nothingness, I heard whispering. The murmurs were seductive. I strained to hear more. I wanted to hear more.

Dropping the knife to the ground, I fell to my knees and leaned toward the pond. Was the whispering coming from the water? Something was trying to communicate with me. Something alien but sensual in its promise. What was it saying? I needed to know.

VA_glimmer-189x300Panic gripped me and I leaned even closer. I could see the moon reflected in the water. Something about the light urged me closer, tempting me to touch it, promising me that I could hold it in the palm of my hand. I’d always wanted to hold the moon. Knowing it would feel cool and pleasant on my skin like caressing porcelain.

Settling my hands on the water’s edge, I leaned even further, my nose nearly touching the dark ripples. I stared at my reflection, illuminated by the pale moonbeams. My eyes glowed green like the orbs on a traffic post. It might’ve been a trick of the light, but I felt like the luminosity was coming from within. Somewhere deep inside me burned bright with emerald fire.

My pale skin seemed even paler–as white as alabaster. That too could’ve been a deception by the moon’s rays, but from the same place that sizzled green flame radiated the white glow of my skin.

Wide-eyed and ferocious, my appearance startled me. I looked like a dark warrior not of this world. The cut on my cheek added to the battle-scarred effect. The fae blood coursing through my veins showed through my human façade. There was no mistaking it. Not now, with the glow of moonlight cascading over my flesh, urging the glow from within. I looked fierce, as if I could take down a man with one blow.
I liked that. A lot.

The whispering continued and I strained to hear the beautifully haunting words. Balancing on my knees and hands, I was close to falling into the water. But I didn’t care. The promises in the murmurs were too seductive to pull away from. My whole existence resided on those words, if only I could decipher them. If only I could understand.

Then the words stopped. Dead. Like a vacuum had sucked up all the sound around me. Even the crickets stopped chirping.

Frantic, I eyed the water, searching for the source of the whispers. I wouldn’t be denied the knowledge that I knew lay within the murmured words. A cold sense of dread crept over me. As if I had lost the warmth of a sweater during an icy winter storm.

So lost in my hunt, I never saw the thing that reached for me from the pond.
There was no time to take in a deep breath before it yanked my head under the water. Frenzied, I clawed at the thing clutching me. I felt hard cold flesh under my fingers and nails. Plumes of blood floated up from the wounds I had inflicted. Something, or someone, had a hand bound in my hair pulling me down, keeping me in the water, drowning me.

As I scratched and kicked against the hold on me, I wondered how I could drown in the shallow pond. When I looked down through the water now, I sensed it went on forever. As if I had an endless ocean in my garden.

I pulled and yanked back my head, fighting desperately to get away. Even as I struggled, I could feel the air pushing out of my lungs. Pressure on my chest made my head pound and my eyes bulge painfully. I wouldn’t hold out much longer… the urge to open my mouth and gasp for air burned through me.

With a last ditch effort, I clawed my nails across the icy flesh holding me, tearing divots into it. A faint cry of agony floated up in a bubble and the grip on my hair loosened. It was enough to raise my head and gasp for breath.

As I filled my aching chest with oxygen, gulping mouthfuls of air, I saw the hand that had grasped me coming for my neck. White flesh covered long bones and angles. On the end of elongated skeletal fingers were jagged nails, black and rotting under the cuticles. Gray and mottled scales dotted the skin.
What in hell was it? Before I could come up with an answer, I was pulled under the water again.

Dagger-like claws dug into my throat as I thrashed about trying to get free. But the grip was a solid one. I wouldn’t get away so easily this time. Wrapping my hands around the bony wrist, I yanked and pulled and scratched and clawed but to no avail. Another minute more under the water and I was going to die.

I thrust my hands out of the water blindly. Scrambling against the edge of the pond, I searched for the knife I’d dropped. If I was going to live, I needed a weapon. Fingertips brushed the handle but I couldn’t get a grip. Thoughts were fading from my mind, replaced by an eerie serenity. As if I was already dead and my soul was quietly slipping from my body. But I wasn’t ready to die. I had too much to live for. Too much to do still. I couldn’t slough off this mortal coil. It was too soon.
Hands reaching, I touched something metal. I wrapped my fingers around the handle and brought it down into the water. Without thought, I slashed at the arm holding me. Then I saw what I had in my hand–a small hand rake with three sharp prongs. The weapon had to be enough.

I slashed again and again, unsure if I met my mark every time, or at any time. Soon my vision was obscured by blood mucking the water. Like I was looking through crimson-colored glasses.

A high-pitched shriek pierced the muffled garbling of the water. As I felt the pressure at my neck loosen, I saw the fury-filled face float down into the black depths. The face of something non-human and alien, like from a fairytale. But not those told by Walt Disney, no these stories were from a more sinister venue where a happily ever after wasn’t on the menu— children were.

Lifting my head, I pushed up as hard as I could and rolled onto my back at the pond’s edge. Lungs burning like acid, I gasped for air, greedily taking in as much as I could stand. When I could think straight, I scrambled further from the water and rolled onto my knees, nearly retching from the pain that ripped through my chest. Reaching for the knife, I grasped it tight and pushed to a stand.

Blade poised, with my hair stuck to my forehead and water dripping into my eyes, I stood over the pond and waited to see if my assailant would follow me out of the water. After a few minutes, I realized nothing would come bursting out to attack me again. The thing was gone. For now, at least, it had failed its mission.

The water rippled again, and I raised the knife to strike. A green warty head broke the surface. The frog jumped out of the pond and landed near my bare foot, now caked in mud. Bulgy eyes blinked up at me expectantly.

I glared down at the fae ambassador and fumed with rage. I wanted to lift my foot and press it down onto the green mass, hoping to split open its skin and mash its insides until it twitched no more. Instead, I pointed the tip of the blade at the slimy frog.

“I will not be an easy target. Tell them I will kill any they send to harm me or my father.”

It croaked once as if in answer, then hopped back into the pond, disappearing beneath the dark water. I hoped after it delivered my message, it would drown in the return trip to this realm. From this point on, I had a real hate-on for frogs.

As I continued to stare down into the pond, I pondered how the portal worked. Because obviously that was what the water hole was–a gate between this realm and Nightfall. That was how the pixies arrived, and maybe this was the spot where my mother had disappeared all those years ago. The pond was a door. A way to travel back and forth. And it needed to be blocked forever.

Tucking the knife into the belt of my pants, I marched toward the tool shed. I opened the door, grabbed the long handled spade, and hauled it back to the garden. Unconcerned about the vegetable plants and flowers, I stuck the blade of the shovel into the ground and scooped as much dirt as I could lift. Without pause, I tossed it into the pond.

Two hours later, back aching and muscles quivering, I had filled in the pond. A sense of smug accomplishment filled me as I surveyed my handiwork. Although the rest of the garden was ruined, with the tomato plants in shambles and most of flowers ripped from their soil beds, I had closed the portal. No one from Nightfall could bother us again. Not unless they found another way in.

Too exhausted and sore to do anything but crawl up the stairs to my bed, I decided to think on that later. Right now, I just wanted to sleep. Despite the fact my hair was still damp and my shirt still clung to my body, muddy with bits of grass and plant stuck on, I knew I’d fall asleep the second my head hit the pillow.

I let the shovel fall from my hand and I shuffled, head down, eyes drooping into the house. Once I climbed the stairs, I pushed open the door to my room and ambled to the bed. But before I collapsed on top of the comforter, I had the presence of mind to slip the knife from my belt and slide it under my pillow. The fact I was dead to the world didn’t mean I had any intention of staying that way permanently.

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Vivi Anna Author Bio:
Vivi Anna is a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling and award winning, Canadian author in paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and scifi. She’s been writing since 2002, and since then she’s published over 40 books and novellas. You can visit her at http://www.vivianna.net.

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If you want a chance to win your choice of book from my Backlist (Includes print books if available! Print books will only be shipped to North America) or a $10 GC from either All Romance eBooks or Amazon, then simply say something in any of the posts this week. Ask the author a question, leave a comment, on their story, or simply say hi? You can have up to 6 entries. One for each day, if you comment every day.

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The Darkening: Caris Roane

1 GUARDIANS OF ASCENSION SERIES - 2A THE DARKENINGThe Darkening
Fearing that his newly emerged grayle power will kill innocent ascenders, Samuel Daman struggles to keep his distance from beautiful Vela Stillwell. But the breh-hedden has struck and her light floral scent tears at his restraint. When the enemy draws them both into the darkening, a place of secret travel for Third ascenders, will Samuel learn to control his power, or will he destroy what he desires most?

EXCERPT

Near dawn, Samuel Daman dragged air into his lungs, each breath like fire as he surveyed the Superstition battlefield. He’d been fighting death vampires for hours, like the rest of the Militia Warriors.
Sweat trickled from beneath his weapons harness and down his back. Blood seeped in a few places as well since one or two swords had found purchase.
He was a fucking mess.
But the death vampires kept coming, floating through the dimension on arctic air, fresh and ready to fight, dozens of them hour after hour.
He’d never seen so many pretty-boys at a Borderland before, which meant of course that the chaos leftover from Darian Greaves’s defeat in recent weeks, had turned up the heat. Maybe it was a good thing to have the Commander out of the way, but his generals had hauled the remnants of his army into pre-planned hiding places before Thorne, in charge of the Allied Ascender Forces, had been able to run them to ground.
Chaos now ruled Second Earth.
The fucking war was still game on.
At the very least, the current engagement required another eight squads of Militia Warriors. Thirty-two trained men. But what the situation really needed was another Warrior of the Blood who could handle up to eight pretty-boys at a time. Eight, while a squad of four Militia Warriors struggled to slay just one.
He extended his vampire vision and in the distance saw that Warrior Santiago battled, holy shit, thirteen death vamps, way beyond capacity even for a powerful What-Bee. Santiago fought with his back to the immense monolith of the Superstition Mountains, a Latin God in the moonlight, his sword moving like a silver streaks of lightning.
Samuel whipped his warrior phone from the slim pocket of his leather fighting kilt and thumbed over the surface. He kept his sword at the ready and turned in a slow circle keeping his eye sharp for more trouble.
“Central Command, Jeannie here. How can I help, Warrior Samuel?” He served as back-up to Section Leader Nathaniel. He didn’t like the job, but right now what anyone liked didn’t matter.
He explained the situation, that he needed another eight reserve squads called in and another Warrior of the Blood to the Superstitions on the double.
“Done.” He almost smiled as he thumbed his phone. The women at Central could handle anything. And no argument.
He took one last look at the field. The Militia squads were holding their own so he knew where he needed to go.
One problem remained. If he didn’t release his dark power, something he never did, how the hell was he supposed to support Santiago? In his current state, if even three turned on him, he’d be dead.
And he’d vowed never to allow that power to flow as it would, in smoky streams into the air.
His dark power possessed deadly, untried, and unpredictable qualities. Yet, from the time of his escape from a decade of captivity and torture, he’d had the capacity to battle at Warrior of the Blood level.
That he’d killed his captors hadn’t troubled his conscience even a little, but he still saw the faces of those guiltless men who had died despite his most strenuous efforts to corral the power and stop the deadly streams. He could still see them in his mind’s eye, hunched men, little better than slaves, who had cleaned his cell, bathed him while he was strung up in those heinous ropes, and who had fed him. More than once, one of those slaves had offered him a vein, which he’d taken greedily, as damn-blood starved as he’d been.
Their deaths lived like a terrible fire in his soul.
Thinking about the murderous sequence that had attended his escape brought more sweat trickling down his chest and back.
He flexed his sword in his hand, his gaze fixed on Santiago. The warrior’s situation hadn’t improved and back-up still hadn’t arrived.
Slowly he started to cross the desert in his direction. With thirteen pretty-boys still harassing him, and not one having yet fallen, it would only be a matter of time. Shit, a single misstep on the What-Bee’s part, and he’d be dead.
So, fuck.
Samuel needed to release his dark power, but if he did, would Santiago get caught in one of those terrible, uncontrollable energy streams?
He heard Santiago give a shout, calling for back-up.
Samuel couldn’t remember the last time a Warrior of the Blood had called for back-up.
Holy fuck, Samuel had just run out of choices.
If he didn’t do this, if he didn’t at least try, a Warrior of the Blood would die tonight and it would be on his head for eternity.
Settling into himself as much as he could, he reached deep into his soul, the place where he’d found all that power, that had helped him escape a decade of torture.
With his chin low to his chest, and his gaze fixed on Santiago, he allowed the power to take him over, to rise in a dark, possessive tide, up and up, building an excess of strength into every limb until his quads twitched, his biceps flexed, and his molars ground against each other.
The darkness moved straight up, invading his body, searing his muscles, power that didn’t belong in this ascended world, not on Second Earth at least. No, this had always felt like something greater, like a Third Earth manifestation.
And with the power, a smoky mist rose from his body, a dark thin cloud that swirled around him.
More power followed and the bloodied sword in his right hand no longer felt heavy from tedious hours of battling, but became light as a feather.
He held his position, however, waiting to see if the deadly streams of energy flowed from him. If they made even the smallest appearance, he’d fold himself to the middle of the desert in order to keep from killing his brothers-in-arms.
But he felt nothing as he had the night of his escape, when rage had flooded his heart and mind and delivered up this power for the first time.
In fact, he felt in control of what now possessed him and when Santiago shouted again, Samuel made his decision.
The time had come.
He folded three feet behind the arc of the black-winged bastards that kept Santiago pressed against the mountain wall.
“Hey, assholes,” he called out.
Two of the pretty-boys turned around, a big mistake for one of them. Santiago, who had battled at Warrior of the Blood level for most of his life, took advantage of Samuel’s move and drove his sword straight through the death vampire’s kidneys, sending his shriek into the air and his body lurching forward into cactus and dirt. Without missing a beat, his sword once more moving like lightning, Santiago returned to battling the rest of them.
The second death vamp offered Samuel a slow smile and in any other situation, he’d have reason to fear the significantly more powerful death vampire. A big motherfucker, this one definitely carried more muscle mass, though he matched Samuel’s six-five height.
But Samuel knew his strength, so he smiled in return, which gave the bastard a moment’s pause before he engaged.
Samuel’s sword met steel, the strike sending a heavy vibration up his right arm. He countered, and smiled as the pretty-boy took a step back. The death vampire was incredibly beautiful with long dark hair, a porcelain complexion, and an aligning of features that eventually made him and all his murdering buddies look alike.
Purpose?
Enthrallment, of course.
Bastards.
The death vampire finally lost all his good-humor and came back enraged that he’d lost his easy victory. He even whistled for back-up.
Samuel’s turn to smile. “Can’t do this alone? Bring it, pretty-boy.” The nickname sent color at last into the death vamp’s oh-so-lovely complexion as well as a series of reckless moves.
A few seconds later, as Samuel continued to match his slices and thrusts, one of his buddies joined him.
Samuel kept summoning the dark power and his muscles filled with all that incredible strength. He gave it free rein because these bastards needed to die. Death vampires drank the innocent to death in order to get at the euphoric nature of dying blood.
He folded, spun, and caught one of the death vamps straight across the hamstrings so that the pretty boy dropped to his knees.
Just as the other turned to engaged, Samuel folded again, but instead of landing on earth, he materialized in the air above his enemy, something rare in his world. He brought his dagger from his weapons harness into his left hand and as he came down on the vamp, drew the sharp blade in a clean cut across his throat.
Samuel folded once more, spinning mid-dematerialization then reappearing behind two death vamps still battling Santiago. The rest of the action became a blur of cutting tendons, running slices through wing-locks, and of course taking off the oh-so-beautiful heads of his enemy.
He breathed hard when the last headless corpse leaked blood over the dirt. He stood with arms wide, sword up, still on alert as his gaze searched for the enemy high in the air and into every crevice of the monolith.
“Samuel? Is that you, hermano?”
He heard his name and spun in Santiago’s direction. A metallic smell coated the dusty desert air.
The famous warrior looked at ease, wiping his blade down with a cloth he’d folded into his hand. His sword had a ruby set in the center of the cross-guard.
“Fuck,” Samuel spit. He’d meant to get the hell out of there before Santiago took stock of him, but the battle had kicked his fighting rage into high gear and all he could think about was being ready for the next round.
Santiago drew his thin warrior phone into his hand and called for clean-up. When he ended the call, he said, “Close your eyes.”
Samuel dropped his lids and a flash told him that Jeannie had orchestrated a full scale removal of disconnected debris including corpses, body parts, and blood. The process took only a couple of seconds, so yes, Central had power. He popped his eyes open and here was one miracle of their world, that they now had technology to leave a pristine desert behind after a battle.
“When were you going to show Luken this power of yours? Or Jean-Pierre? Right now I’m not sure which brother will be more angry with you.” Santiago still had a Spanish accent, even after several centuries, something that tended to stick for all ascenders, depending on place of birth. Santiago was from Mortal Earth Spain a few hundred years ago.
“Never.” Samuel’s voice sounded rougher than usual. His power had that effect.
He turned, ready to fold someplace else, away from the battle site in order to resume his natural state, but back-up had finally arrived.
Luken, the leader of the Warriors of the Blood, stood beside Jean-Pierre and both men glared at him.
“I’m not doing this,” Samuel said, meeting Luken’s gaze dead on. “You can’t have this ability for your Warrior of the Blood shit.”
Samuel had been a Militia Warrior, a Thunder God Warrior, almost from the day of his ascension to Second Earth in 1908. He didn’t want to leave behind the men who had held his loyalty all these decades. Besides, he couldn’t always control his dark power and more than anything he feared hurting or killing someone, other than the enemy, by using it as a weapon on a regular basis.
“You may not get a say in this,” Luken said. He was the leader of the What-Bees, as the Warriors of the Blood were known among the Militia Warriors, and built like a tank.
He had blue eyes and long blond hair, extra-long like all the What-Bees, and caught back in the required clasp called the cadroen. He had a huge following of women at the Blood and Bite who took care of his needs with little more than a snap of his fingers.
He opened his mouth to explain, but Jean-Pierre, usually good-natured, stepped into him and got right in his face. “You Goddamned motherfucker!” The words were so strange spoken in his French accent. “All these months that I have worked with the Militia Warriors, seeking to build up those with exceptional power, but you never said a word to me or anyone else. I suppose not even Duncan, who is your friend and who helped you escape.”
“Don’t blame Duncan. He knew, but he understood my reasons.”
“Fuck those reasons. Merde, how many times did I speak to your section and ask if any warrior had an emerging power that he wanted brought forward, developed? And this is what you have had all the time? Were you laughing at me, warrior?”
“No. Fuck, no.” Samuel took a step back, horrified that Jean-Pierre would accuse him of such low conduct.
“I am pissed past speaking the words!” Jean-Pierre’s nostrils flared. “How could you have held back this tremendous power that I have just witnessed, so dark and so beautiful, like a flow of smoke and mist around you? Or do you not understand that even though that bastard, Greaves, is gone, we still have a terrible war threatening our entire world?” He grunted his exasperation and without waiting for a response, he lifted his right arm and vanished.
Samuel turned to meet Luken’s gaze, wanting to explain, but the usually affable warrior shook his head, and muttered, “You’ll be hearing from us.” He also lifted his arm, the signal for a fold, and vanished.
He stood very still, distressed that he hadn’t been given a chance to explain. The warriors viewed him as having let down the war effort, but Samuel knew what he risked each time he released the dark power.
And how the hell could Jean-Pierre have described it as beautiful?
As his dark power began to recede, and the attending smoky mist that came out of his body, evaporated, Samuel pivoted to glare at Santiago. He waited for the warrior to say something, and so he did. “Incoming.”
The air turned arctic and Samuel shifted his gaze to the night sky as another eight more death vampires descended out of inter-dimensional trough, that nether-space between dimensions, sent by a Second Earth general of vast power.
“Hermano,” Santiago said. “You probably should summon that bad-shit of yours again because I have one slight problemo.” He turned slightly away from Samuel to show him the deep skin burn he had along the back of his left calf. The warriors, Militia or otherwise, called any cut a skin burn, unless it incapacitated movement. Blood still seeped from Santiago’s wound, trickling down his calf and into his leather battle sandal.
“Fuck.” Samuel reached down deep and once more let the darkness come. As the bastards landed in the dirt, all fresh and ready to go, Samuel added, “Bring it on, assholes.”
Santiago offered him a smile, full of white teeth. He looked back at the first beautiful death vampire and jerked a thumb in Samuel’s direction. “What mi hermano said, asshole.”

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Caris Roane is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-two paranormal romance books. Writing as Valerie King, she has published fifty novels and novellas in Regency Romance. Caris lives in Phoenix, Arizona, really doesn’t like scorpions, and has two cats, Gizzy and Sebastien.

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If you want a chance to win your choice of book from my Backlist (Includes print books if available! Print books will only be shipped to North America) or a $10 GC from either All Romance eBooks or Amazon, then simply say something in any of the posts comments this week. Ask the author a question, leave a comment, on their story, or simply say hi?

I’ll be running this all week, and the winner will be announced her eon Sunday, December 6th. You’ll have 48 hours to claim your prize or I’ll pick another winner.

PSSST: Don’t forget there will be a new excerpt every day this week. so come back often!!