Excerpt from, Still Waters – what lies beneath will change you forever. @EKBennettAuthor

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Sometimes the road to happily ever after is bumpy with lots of twists and turns. This month, I’m highlighting all the struggles couples face in Romanceland. Today’s excerpt comes from Still Waters, a novel by Ellen K. Bennett. Enjoy!

Still Waters Cover (2)

What happens when the nice guy meets the quiet girl? Still waters run deep, they say … Greg, the ultimate nice guy, and shy, beautiful Maura, should have made the perfect couple. But Maura has a dark secret. A secret buried so deep that she has never told anyone. Until now. Greg and Maura first appeared in Chemistry – A novel about love and attraction. Now Still Waters tells their heartbreaking story.

***INCLUDES ‘ICE QUEEN’ – BONUS POSTSCRIPT TO STILL WATERS AND A FREE PREVIEW OF CHEMISTRY – A NOVEL ABOUT LOVE AND ATTRACTION***

Still Waters Teaser

Maura
Greg didn’t say a word to me on the way home the night that we bumped into Gary. But his jaw was grinding and he gripped the steering wheel so hard I thought it would break. Meanwhile I was trembling like a leaf, my hands clasped between my knees to stop them from shaking. When we got to my place, he walked me up to the door, but instead of leaving me there, he followed me inside and went and sat on the couch.
‘Yes, please do come in,’ I said, a little sarcastically. ‘Coffee?’
‘Maura, please come here.’ He spoke calmly enough, but his voice was fraught with tension. ‘I want to talk to you.’
This was so not a conversation I was ready to have, but what could I do? He obviously expected some explanation for Gary’s behavior and cruel words. So I went and sat down on the opposite end of the couch, and folded my arms defensively, refusing to meet his eyes.
‘Do you want to tell me who that was?’ he asked, breaking the silence.
‘No, I don’t,’ I replied curtly.
‘Can I assume then, that he had something to do with what we were talking about last night?’
‘No, you can’t. I told you I don’t want to talk about it. He’s nobody. Just a guy I went out with a few times.’
‘And by the sound of it, a guy who was unable to respect your boundaries.’
I snorted. ‘That’s a nice way of putting it.’
‘Are you telling me,’ his voice was shaking with barely suppressed rage now, ‘that that fucker is the one that hurt you?’
I just looked down and said nothing.
‘Answer me Maura!’ he barked.
I jumped with fright at the sharpness of his tone, and it broke the spell. I was no longer able to hold onto my self-control.
‘No, I will not!’ I shrieked. ‘How can you judge him for not respecting my boundaries when you do the same thing? I told you I don’t want to talk about it!’ and I jumped up, ready to flee the room.
But Greg was having none of it. Mr Nice Guy was now all business. He grasped my arm firmly but gently, and made me sit.
‘That is the most insulting thing anyone has ever said to me,’ he remarked, sounding calm. ‘I have never in my life forced anyone, let alone a woman, to do something that they don’t want to do.’
Now the floodgates opened. I couldn’t hold my tears back any more.
‘I apologise,’ I whispered, hanging my head. ‘Please forgive me. I know it is not the same thing.’
‘I care about you Maura. I would never do anything to hurt you, no matter what happens between us. But I really do want to understand why you feel the way you do. Now, please, if you are able to, tell me what that man did to you.’
‘You will laugh at me.’
‘I assure you sweetheart, that I don’t think there’s anything funny about this.’
‘It sounds so stupid, but it’s not what he did, so much as what he said. What he called me. You heard him.’
‘I heard a man who can’t take no for an answer and whose pride had been hurt because he was rejected by a woman who, frankly, is far too good for him. You’re going to have to fill in the gaps for me here.’
‘Oh, Greg,’ I sighed. ‘Really, why do you need to know? It will only embarrass me and make you angry.’
‘Because it’s important,’ he replied. ‘Because you’re important and you are hurt. I don’t know if I can do anything about that, but I want to at least try to understand. Please trust me enough, at least as your friend, to do that.’
So I told him the story, but I lied about, or rather omitted, the most important part. Some scars just run too deep. I told him some of what had happened, but conscience was heavy with the knowledge that I hadn’t told him the whole truth. Because that truth would come out, and when it did, I was worried that he would never be able to look at me the same way again.

Greg
Jesus, no wonder the poor girl didn’t want anyone to touch her. On the other hand, I was relieved to hear that the prick hadn’t actually gone through with his assault. How I itched to drive my fist into his face hard enough to crunch bone. Did that mean she was a virgin? I supposed it did. I guess I knew that anyway, but hadn’t allowed myself to dwell on it. Running around deflowering virgins wasn’t something nice guys like me did.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear from Maura on Thursday evening when she got in from her appointment with her therapist, Viviane.
‘Hi, sweetheart. This is a nice surprise. How was your day?’
‘It was good. Busy. Actually it was hard to concentrate, because I was thinking about you.’
This made me smile.
‘I was thinking about you too. Did your appointment go well?’
There was a pause.
‘Yes. And no. Viviane would like to meet you. Would you be able to come with me next week? I am sorry to ask, and I hope it is not presumptuous of me, but she thinks it’s important.’
‘Sure, I can do that. We’re not in some kind of trouble are we?’
I couldn’t help snickering a little at the thought of the two of us, at our age, being scolded by Maura’s sex therapist.
‘No, but there are some things she thinks you should know. And it will be easier for me if you hear them from her.’
That didn’t sound too bad. She probably just wanted to impress upon me how sensitive Maura was, and to caution me to take things slowly. But if it would make Maura feel better, and help us to move forward, then I was all for it. Turns out that what I didn’t know would change me and our relationship forever. Ignorance really can be bliss.
After that meeting, I felt like I was going to be sick. In the bathroom I was overtaken by dry heaves. I sat on the floor, shivering and shaking, playing what she had told me over in my head. That she had actually asked for help, and instead of being protected, as she should have been, she was rejected and made to feel even worse. I was beginning to see now that the depth of the psychological damage might well be beyond my capacity to understand. How much more of this could I take? How much more of this had she been forced to endure? The damage to her body was monstrous, but it was the assault on her mind that caused the damage that she endured to this day.
Goddammit, I was crying again. Maura’s story made me want to scream and rail and beat my fists. It made me want to find those who had hurt her and torture them slowly. The thought of her as a girl, used, hurt and humiliated, and then a sad, lonely teenager, broke my heart. And that is not just an expression. I had a sharp pain in my chest, while I tried to choke down my sobs, so that she could finish her story. But when she was finished, I gave in and completely broke down.
I sat with my head in my hands and howled. I hadn’t cried like that since I was a boy. I thought I would never be able to stop. I feared that I would, and would have to face her. Face her hurt and her courage. Face the trust she had placed in me, and face how hopeless I now felt about a relationship with her. Nobody could be expected to overcome that kind of trauma and it was completely nuts for me to expect it from her.

Maura
Disgust. Of course that was what he would feel. After we left Viviane’s he didn’t say one word to me, and he could barely look at me. When he dropped me off at the ballet studio, he curtly bit out that he would see me later, and drove off. So this was how we would end, I reflected. I supposed it was better that it happened sooner rather than later, and I was no stranger to this feeling of nauseating misery. Some degree of it had been my companion for most of my life. But dancing has always been my refuge, and I threw myself into it now, using the music and the movement to blunt the edge of my despair.
While I danced, apprehension was creeping in. I wasn’t apprehensive about confiding in Greg anymore. I knew now that I could trust him completely. But I knew the part that was to come could shatter that, and make him unable to ever touch me again. Even if it didn’t, it would make him sick and sad, if his reaction to the first part of my story was anything to go by. I wanted to spare him that.
How sad that as my confidence grew, his had declined. Greg’s doubts were completely natural, and I was no stranger to what he was feeling. I had had those doubts about myself for nearly my whole life. But I couldn’t unsay the things I had told him, and he couldn’t forget what he now knew.

Still Waters Cover Paperback

Buy links:

Amazon (e-book and paperback)

Kobo
https://www.kobo.com/za/en/ebook/still-waters-53
B&N Paperback
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/still-waters-ellen-k-bennett/1125256082?ean=9781538006825

Author links:
https://www.ellenkbennett.com/
https://www.facebook.com/EKBChemistry/

https://www.amazon.com/Ellen-K.-Bennett/e/B01JOR3LZK
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15582295.Ellen_K_Bennett

Author bio:
Ellen K. Bennett is a pen name under which I write my books of erotic adult fiction. This subterfuge is necessary to avoid causing embarrassment to my scientific colleagues, who may be searching for the more serious work that I publish in real life. I have lived in the UK, Canada, and South Africa, and I now live on the West Coast with my fellow-scientist husband and our two children. We are dedicated wine drinkers, beach bums, and dog lovers. Writing is my joy and my passion, and I love hearing from readers.

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A Peek Into ‘Claimed By The Succubus’ #NewRelease #SciFi #IRromance


Sometimes the road to happily ever after is bumpy with lots of twists and turns. This month, I’m highlighting all the struggles couples face in Romanceland. Today, I am happy to share a dark moment from my new release, Claimed By The Succubus. It is available today on Amazon. In this excerpt, our heroine has just learned that our hero is not the man she thought he was. Enjoy!

~The Half-Breed~
She is Izeria’Ahzul, the long-lost daughter of my king. She was raised away from our people and knows nothing of her heritage. Our kind are a myth to her. She doesn’t believe we exist and there’s no way she’ll believe she’s one of us.

~The Beast~
I am Shun’Uhl, the soldier ordered to return her to my king’s side so she can marry a royal and produce an heir to save our people. To get her to trust me, I shed my beastly form and took on the form of someone she knows. I chose unwisely. The form I’ve selected is a male she despises.

~The Forbidden~
The more time I spend with her, the more she comes to like me. And though I’ve tried to resist, I find myself falling for her also. Her feelings for me will change once she learns of my deception and sees how I really look. Part of me wants to complete my mission and return her to her father. Another part of me wants to remain in this form forever and spend my life with Izeria.
I have a choice to make: be honest with the woman I love and risk losing her, or lie to her for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, the choice is made for me when we come under attack and I have to release my beast to protect her.
Now it is she who has to make a choice: Me and my beast or a kingdom?

“Who are you?”

He takes a deep breath. “I am Shun’Uhl, the king’s first soldier.”

“First soldier?”

“His most trusted friend, his right hand, the king’s weapon.”

“So, you’re a weapon?”

“When I need to be.”

Pieces of this weird puzzle is falling together. Jacob wouldn’t own a warship. Jacob wouldn’t fight gray creatures nor would he teach me how to fight like a warrior. All of those red flags that I ignored. I’m such a fool.

“And this dragon king of yours has ordered you to come and get me?”

“Yes.”

“Because I’m the only one who can save his world?” I repeat the lies he’s been spewing to me for the last two hours while his brother and Blue monitored my vitals and drew blood from me.

“Yes.”

“You all have yet to tell me what I have to do to save this world.”

There’s a tick in his jaw. It must be something he knows I’m not going to like.

“Tell me.”

“Our king needs allies.”

“Okay.” I shrug my shoulders. “And what does that have to do with me?”

“He will explain it to you when you arrive.”

“Or, you can tell me now.”

“I’d… rather not.”

“You owe me this truth. Especially after all the lies you’ve fed me.”

There’s that tick again.

“I didn’t want to lie to you…”

“Really? I don’t believe you.”

“Princess…”

“You had plenty of chances to tell me the truth. Like, when you first took me from my homeworld.” I’m yelling now. I can’t help it. “Or when I helped you escape from that outpost. Or when we were first attacked by those rebels. Or maybe when you were fucking me senseless.” Tears pour down my cheeks. Moshika wipes them away. I’d almost forgotten she was there.

“Izeria, I promise I never meant to hurt you.”

“And yet you have. Just tell me how am I supposed to help save your world. Please.”

He nods. “The king needs allies.”

“You’ve said that.”

“He has no other sons and daughters, only you.”

“I’m not his daughter, but continue.”

“An alliance requires the bonding of two families.”

I don’t think I like where this is going. “Okay, and?”

“The king is going to marry you off to form an alliance.”

“But…”

I don’t know what to say. This is barbaric. No one gets married to form an alliance any more. Females and males marry for love. They marry when they find mates. They marry because they choose to.

I refused to be forced into marriage. Especially to someone I don’t know, someone who doesn’t love me or respect me. I can guess who it is this king intends on marrying me off to. Not happening.

“I don’t want to marry you,” I tell him.

His jaw tightens. I can tell my words has angered him.

“Good, because I’m not the one he’s marrying you off to.”

My mouth falls open. He’s not the one. Who the hell do they expect me to marry? The tears I’ve been trying to hold in spring to my eyes.

“You mean you knew your king was going to marry me off to someone else this whole time?”

Claimed By The Succubus is available on Amazon and FREE with Kindle Unlimited. This weekend it is only 0.99 cents. Price changes Monday.

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XDHQ5YL
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XDHQ5YL
CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06XDHQ5YL

~COMING SOON: A F’d Up Fairy Tale – Into The Darkness.~

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Excerpt From Of Beasts and Bonds: Death and Destiny Trilogy, Book 2 By N.D. Jones #Paranormal

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The ‘Just A Fool In Love’ event continues with a dark moment from N.D Jones’ book, Of Beasts and Bonds. Enjoy!

ndj2

In a paranormal world of mystery, mythology, and magic, sometimes old bonds must be broken before new ones can be formed. Who knew that finding one’s soul mate would test bonds and unleash beasts?

Mami Wata and Oya are now free from their watery prison and ready to wage a battle five hundred years in the making. Special Agent Assefa Berber and Dr. Sanura Williams are the prophesized Cat and Fire Witch of Legend. To save the world from Mami Wata, a water goddess with a bloody thirst for power and an insatiable appetite for death and destruction, they must defeat her beasts and the Water Witch of Legend.

Assefa and Sanura are fully in love but possess only a partial mate bond. While Sanura has merged their auras, bonding Assefa’s cat spirit to her, she has yet to accept his claiming bite. Their incomplete mate bond and their new relationship are tested when Mami Wata sets her malevolent eyes on them, manipulating beasts, sacrificing humans, and creating heartache. Can their bond survive, or will they drown under the vicious tide of godly might?

excerpt

Realm of the Gods

“Oh, but they are most delicious, sister.” Mami Wata stroked the warm tropic scales of her Titanoboa, its tan-and-gray head between her large breasts, the remainder of the snake’s twenty-foot body coiled about her naked form. The snake’s head rose, nuzzled her neck, and then burrowed its face in the sea of her crinkled black hair. “Particularly the were-cat. I think I will enjoy devouring him most of all. What do you think, sister?”
Mami Wata lowered the polished metal disc she held in her hand, an ancient looking glass crafted of gold, pearls, diamonds, and water goddess magic. Through her scrying glass, she observed all—the mortal battlefield of play upon which her well-laid plans would unfold.
Layer by layer by beastly layer.
She turned to her sister. On the other side of the room, a structure designed by Ra and placed in the center of the realm, Oya reclined on a Mngwa print bench. Plush and elegant, Oya all but sank into the luxurious piece of furniture, purple silk draped over her nude form, and emerald eyes staring up at Mami Wata with arrogant, willful familiarity.
Mami Wata smiled. “I will feast on that kitty of yours, sister.”
As Mami Wata had done to her Titanoboa, Oya laid a hand upon the Mngwa print bench and stroked. “I think not. He will be the one to feast upon your pets.”
Mami Wata’s warm smile never wavered, although freezing ocean water ran through her veins, cooling her temper and slowing her immortal pulse.
“He should not even exist.”
“Yet he does, and he is mine.”
“No, sister, what you should have said is that he is mine. For the next few weeks, I own him. And your pathetic fire witch.”
Mami Wata peered into the scrying glass. The fire witch no longer cried, nor were the mortals huddled together outside. They had retreated to their bedroom. From a chaise lounge in the corner of the darkened room, the little witch, legs pulled to chest and arms around knees, watched the were-cat through the glass balcony doors. Though, in human form, he prowled the wrought-iron enclosure, back straight, chin held high, but eyes a savage gold. The first fissure in his chainmail of self-control.
“They are stronger than you think.”
“You speak with such confidence, sister. But that will soon change, for I intend to break the were-cat.”
A hand blown glass statue of a Mngwa appeared in Mami Wata’s hand. She let it slip onto the stone floor, shattering upon impact. “Break him.” A second figurine materialized in her hand, made of stone resin. That too tumbled out of her hand and onto the floor, cracking into a dozen pieces. “Break him.” She opened her left hand, in the center slept a newborn Mngwa. She tossed the cub into the air.
“Snack.”
Her Titanoboa opened its mouth and caught the cub, devouring it in one smooth gulp.
Mami Wata grinned at Oya. “Break him.”
The Titanoboa slithered its massive frame down and off Mami Wata. It hissed at Oya, coiling its lower half and rearing up in a show of aggression and solidarity with its mistress.
Reaching out a hand, she stroked the head of her pet. Such a beautiful and loyal creature. All her pets were, even her mortal pets. They would do her bidding whether they wished to obey or not. No one refused a goddess and lived.
“You and your consort have done much to aid my war cause. The sentimental fools that you are. Thank you, sister, for making my efforts that much easier.”
The purple silk cascaded from Oya’s body when she stood, her eyes glowing murderous red.
The Titanoboa opened its mouth wide, razor-sharp fangs white and dangerous. It attacked, lunging at Oya with an unnatural speed and grace.
Up in flames her magnificent and stupid pet went. A hissing, writhing snake driven to extinction in the mortal realm, but alive here due to Mami Wata’s grace. Now scales of ash and charred flesh befouled the cruel air between the goddesses.
A space where love and sisterhood should have been but where bloody competition had only ever existed.
She could make another Titanoboa. But there was only one cat of legend. Once he was gone …
Mami Wata laughed. “I will destroy his loving heart. It is the were-cat’s greatest weakness. And without her lover’s heart, the fire witch will succumb easily to my water witch. The wheels of his defeat are already set in motion. Now return to your spectator’s bench, dear sister, and watch the destruction of Sekhmet’s Mngwa of myth.”

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/p1_YWkNL7II

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Beasts-Bonds-Paranormal-Romance-Destiny-ebook/dp/B01FWLXNJG/

ndj

N. D. Jones lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. Having earned a M.A. in Political Science, she is a dedicated educator. She taught high school social studies for nine years. Currently, she is a professional development teacher specialist with a local Maryland school system, working on increasing student achievement through teacher and administrator efficacy. N.D. is also a continuing education student who is pursuing her doctorate in education in Community College Leadership.

A desire to see more novels with positive, sexy, and three-dimensional African American characters as soul mates, friends, and lovers, inspired the author to take on the challenge of penning such romantic reads. She is the author of two paranormal romance series: Winged Warriors and Death and Destiny. N.D. likes to read historical and paranormal romance novels, as well as comics and manga.

Website: http://www.ndjonesparanormalpleasure.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ndjonesparanormalromanceauthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/NDJones

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NDJonesauthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ndjones001

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A Dark Moment From Chemistry By Ellen K. Bennett #Romance #BDSM

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The road to a happily ever after in Romanceland is never an easy one. This month, we’re highlighting the dark moments of our favorite romance novels and novellas. Enjoy this excerpt from Chemistry by Ellen K. Bennett.

Chemistry pic already used as cover

Chemistry – a novel about love and attraction

He’s a tough city cop, and she’s a brilliant graduate student. They meet under impossible circumstances, and they can’t stay away from each other.

In 1992, 22-year-old Nell Russow arrives in Calgary from Auckland to begin a Masters degree in Biochemistry. She and her fellow graduate students frequent a bar near to campus where, unbeknown to them, after hours, girls are drugged and raped by a group of regular punters and some of the staff. One night, Nell is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

During the course of a police investigation into the use of date-rape drugs, Nell meets Mark Shore, an undercover investigator, posing as a customer. After the case is successfully prosecuted she encounters Mark again. Unable to deny her attraction to him, Nell finds in Mark both passion and compassion, and an as yet unexplored sexual connection.

Reckless, carefree Mark, and calm, rational Nell begin to explore the limits of their sexuality and tolerance, with him leading the way in some of their darker experiments.

excerpt

The cab from the airport pulled up in front of Mark’s apartment building in the early morning sunlight. I raced up the stairs, and then I was outside his door pounding on it, jiggling up and down impatiently, so excited to see him I could hardly wait. The door opened and there stood Lisa. She was dressed in her uniform (she worked in a beauty salon, which I would nastily refer to as a massage parlour), ready for work. I have to hand it to her, she dealt with it perfectly.
‘Oh! Hello Nell. What on earth are you doing here at this hour? I thought you were only coming back tonight. You look exhausted. Why don’t you come in and have some coffee with us?’
Us? Who was ‘us’? I actually pushed her out of the way as I barged into the apartment, calling out for Mark. I was so tired and confused, I just couldn’t make out what she was doing there. I think I would rather have found an alligator in Mark’s apartment than this perfectly groomed and made-up nightmare.
Mark came out of the bedroom, a towel around his lean hips, towelling his hair from the shower. He looked adorable but I was in no mood. Still, I didn’t want to lose my cool and jump to conclusions. There could, after all, be an explanation for this, although I couldn’t imagine what it could be.
Keeping my voice as level as possible, I asked him,
‘What’s going on here Mark?’
‘Oh, my God, Nell!’ he exclaimed, but I couldn’t tell if it was because he was shocked or because he was excited to see me. ‘When the hell did you get in?’
‘A little earlier than you were expecting me by the looks of things.’ I jerked my head in Lisa’s direction.
She was now in the kitchen, making coffee as if she belonged there. I felt like I was going to be sick. Mark played it cool.
‘Oh, baby come here and give me hug. I’ve missed you so much,’ he said, bearing down on me.
I took a step back and said,
‘Have you.’
I said this calmly and quietly, but it wasn’t a question, and there was now no mistaking my demeanor. If I had burst in on the two of them, then I was not going to take it on the chin or look the other way.
‘Oh, Lisa just came by to pick up some CDs on her way to work, eh Lisa?’
Mark was clearly hoping that this would get him off the hook and she would play along. The bitch, she dropped him right in it.
‘Yes, I just popped in for a coffee and to pick up some things that I left here the other night.’
‘I see.’
I didn’t but I wasn’t going to say so. I decided to let them do all the talking.
We stood there, facing each other. I was aching to touch him, hold him and tell him how much I had missed him. I was so sorry that I had come here now to be confronted with my worst nightmare. On the other hand, what if I had just gone straight home? Would he have told me about it?
‘Sweetheart please don’t jump to conclusions. You know we’re just old friends.’
‘Yes Nell,’ chimed in the blonde coffee maker. ‘You don’t need to get upset. It’s really no big deal.’
‘Mark, I don’t know what to think. I just dropped by to say hello to you on my way in from the airport. I thought it would be a nice surprise. Clearly it isn’t. I’m going home now and maybe I’ll see you later.’
And I left, with Lisa calling out a cheery goodbye as I slammed the door behind me. Round one to you Barbie, I thought. Mark didn’t come after me – he wasn’t dressed – so I hailed another cab and went home, where I took a long shower, took the phone off the hook and went to bed with some sleeping pills. The jetlag was taking its toll on me, and as upset as I was, I was exhausted and just wanted to enter oblivion.
In the late afternoon the downstairs buzzer rang, and then rang again insistently, stirring me from the fog of sleep. My suitcase, which had gone astray, had been tracked down and was now downstairs, delivered by the airline. The bell for my apartment’s front door rang a few minutes later, followed by loud knocking, just in case I hadn’t heard it. This guy obviously wasn’t pleased at being imperiously ordered to carry heavy bags around the building when all he was being paid to do was deliver them.
I opened the door to find Mark standing there with my suitcase. He had left work early and arrived as my luggage was delivered. I slammed the door hard in his face, narrowly missing his fingers and yelled,
‘Oh, will you just bugger off!’
‘Don’t you want your luggage?’ he asked through the door.
‘Please just leave it there and go away.’
‘No. I want to talk to you.’
I wrenched open the door again.
‘Really? About what?’
‘You know about what.’
‘I don’t think I need anyone to join the dots for me Mark. I hope you had a good time, I really do, but I can’t cope with you and your childish infidelities right now, so please just leave my luggage and go.’
But he didn’t. He dragged it inside for me and went and sat on one of the couches, cool as you please, just looking at me. He wasn’t smiling, or trying to pretend nothing had happened, but he wasn’t looking too sheepish either.
‘Please come here Nell.’
I was standing over in my kitchen, arms folded tightly around myself and huddled inside my pajamas, a ball of fury.
‘Mark, I am not taking instructions from you, least of all in my own home. I have just flown half way around the world, and all I wanted to do was come and see you. You cannot possibly be so unimaginative and selfish as to think that finding Lisa of all people with you this morning, in cozy domesticity, acting like she owned the place, was going to make a nice welcome home for me.’
‘Please let me explain.’
‘I will do no such thing. I am not interested in the details, which will only hurt me more than you have already, and please don’t insult me by trying to make excuses. You will only make things worse.’
‘How have I hurt you?’
‘Don’t ask me stupid questions. I am tired, I am jetlagged and I am going back to bed. You can sit there and twiddle your thumbs if you have nothing better to do with your Friday night, which I am sure is not the case. I would prefer it if you left.’
‘I’d rather stay. You must be hungry. Knowing you there’s no food in the house.’ There wasn’t. ‘Why don’t you let me go out and get some things and then cook you a nice meal and we can talk about what’s going on?’
‘Oh, Mark,’ I was now close to tears. ‘Please just leave me alone. I really cannot deal with you right now.’
I went back to my bedroom, closing but not locking the door, and went back to bed and eventually fell asleep again. I could hear Mark, who wisely left me to simmer, moving around next door, turning on the TV or the radio, opening and closing the kitchen cupboards, no doubt inspecting my poor supplies with disapproval, and then the front door closed with a click.
When I woke up it was dark. My face was haggard from the trip, puffy bags under my eyes, and I was without makeup. I didn’t bother to change out of my pajamas either. I wasn’t going to make an effort for him tonight. He would have to confront me as I was, if he had had the courage to stay.
Mark was lying on one of the couches, comfortable, relaxed, feet up and reading a newspaper. The TV was on with the sound low, tuned in to one of the news channels. He looked up as I came out of the bedroom and gave me a tentative smile, but I didn’t smile back. I ignored him completely, not even mumbling a response to his,
‘Hello sweetie. Feeling better?’
I went to the kitchen to get some water and Mark sat up and put the newspaper aside, following me. He put his arms around me from behind as I was standing at the sink drinking, resting his chin on the top of my head. I held myself stiffly, rigid and unresponsive and then I pulled away and went and sat on a kitchen stool and stared at him. I wasn’t going to give him any help at all.
‘You look really tired darling,’ he ventured.
‘Travelling around the world in one day does that. But thank you for the compliment,’ I replied with sarcasm.
‘Look, would you please just settle down and eat something and let me talk to you. You really have blown this right out of proportion.’
‘Yes, I’m sure it’s because I’m so unreasonable that you felt you needed to fuck that tart while I was away for just a few weeks.’
I didn’t raise my voice, but Mark was going to have to work hard for this one.
‘I didn’t fuck her, and she’s not a tart.’
That’s what you think, I thought.
‘I don’t believe you.’
‘Look darling, you know I get a bit carried away from time to time, but it’s you I love, and Lisa’s engaged to André.’
‘So what?’
‘So, it didn’t mean anything.’
‘So you did fuck her.’
‘No, I didn’t. She came over to watch some movies the other night. She was worried that I was lonely. I may have had a bit too much to drink, and she kissed me. But I swear that was all.’
‘Is that supposed to make me feel better?’
God help me, I was going to forgive him as usual, but Lisa better stay out of my way if she wanted her perfect face and hair to stay that way. There was no doubt in my mind that she had planned the whole thing, and had been at his place that morning deliberately, hoping that I would arrive and walk in on them. How could Mark be so stupid and so blind to her manipulation?
Had this been the end of it, maybe things would have been okay. But things were not okay. The case Mark was working on was making him quite dangerously disturbed, and he was moody and distracted, tired and drawn. My heart ached for him, but I didn’t want to add to his pressure, so I tried to go along with him and do what he wanted, wanting to make him happy. He needed help, and I didn’t know it and neither did he.
Things went back to what, on the surface, passed for normal, but towards the end of August, Mark was sent out of town for two days to work on the case. He was by now in such a state of emotional frustration, a state which he could not share with me, that he was seeking something else, something darker and more destructive. Something in him needed the sad, angry release that I was unable to give him. Afterwards he was even more sad and depressed than before.

Chemistry Teaser

Buy links:

Amazon  (e-book and paperback)

Kobo
https://www.kobo.com/za/en/ebook/chemistry-78
B&N e-book
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chemistry-ellen-k-bennett/1124923412?ean=2940156762170
B&N Paperback
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chemistry-ellen-k-bennett/1124923412?ean=9781503013698

Author links:
https://www.ellenkbennett.com/
https://www.facebook.com/EKBChemistry/

https://www.amazon.com/Ellen-K.-Bennett/e/B01JOR3LZK
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15582295.Ellen_K_Bennett

Author bio:
Ellen K. Bennett is a pen name under which I write my books of erotic adult fiction. This subterfuge is necessary to avoid causing embarrassment to my scientific colleagues, who may be searching for the more serious work that I publish in real life. I have lived in the UK, Canada, and South Africa, and I now live on the West Coast with my fellow-scientist husband and our two children. We are dedicated wine drinkers, beach bums, and dog lovers. Writing is my joy and my passion, and I love hearing from readers.

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A dark moment from Forever and Always by Susanne Matthews #Romance

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The road to a happily ever after in Romanceland is never an easy one. This month, we’re highlighting the dark moments of our favorite romance novels and novellas. Enjoy this excerpt from Forever and Always by Susanne Matthews.

Forever and Always

Ballet is the only thing Brandi Alexandra Jameson has ever known. When an accident leaves her dance partner dead and herself unable to dance again, she tries to accept the situation, but some pain goes too deep to be set aside so easily. Lost, alone, frightened, all she wants to do is hide away, but her family has a different idea.

Jarrett Sullivan has been in love with Brandi from the first day he saw her and blacked a kid’s eye for calling her names. Shy, unsure of himself, he stayed in the background, looking out for her, but before he could make his move, she left Victoria for the stage in Toronto. Now that she’s back, he’ll do whatever it takes to win her heart. After badgering her sister, he earns the right to escort the woman he’s always wanted to the event of the year.

When Brandi discovers Jarrett paid an exorbitant amount for an Alexandra Jameson poster, she assumes he’s lied to her and is nothing but another crazed fan. Her heart broken she flees Victoria and ends up in Geneva where she hopes to learn to cope with what’s happened to her.

Can Jarrett find her and explain what happened or will a spiteful woman’s half-truths keep them apart forever?

excerpt

“Hi, Brandi,” a woman who looked vaguely familiar sat down on the chair beside her. “It’s so nice to see you again.”
“I’m sorry,” Brandi answered, aware of the woman’s barely, suppressed annoyance even if the plastic smile only faded for a second. “I’m afraid I don’t remember you, and I apologize for that. I’ve learned tonight that I missed an awful lot while I was in school.”
“Well, you were always on the go. You had to be otherwise you’d never have made it in the dance world. I’m Celia Miller Larkin, the chairperson of this year’s fundraising committee. I wanted to thank you personally for donating that signed poster.”
“Not a problem,” Brandi answered, sensing an undercurrent in the woman’s tone. Anger? Jealousy? No, it was insincerity, an emotion that after nine years in the theater, she could spot a mile away. While she’d made wonderful friends as a dancer, there were others she’d learned to avoid. Cats were the same no matter where they were. You had to recognize them to sidestep the claws.
“I just wanted to say how much the committee appreciates you spending time with the man who purchased your poster. He’s always been generous, but Jarrett’s donation tonight goes above and beyond. Of course, we all know he’s had a bad case of hero worship for years. He papered his locker with pictures of you in various ballet costumes even in high school. Did he tell you about selling his car so he could afford to buy a ticket to see you dance in that very ballet in Vancouver?”
“No, he didn’t mention it,” she said, keeping her face carefully neutral although the world was reeling around her. It couldn’t be true. If he’d bought the poster, why hadn’t he said so? He’d paid an exorbitant price for it, too, even if it was all for charity. He mentioned he’d seen her dance here, but selling his car? That went way above friendly interest in her career. Foreboding filled her.
“That’s strange. When he came back to Victoria, all he could talk about was the great Alexandra Jameson and your performance… but you must be used to fans by now who’ll do anything to get your attention. So what if he bought your company tonight? I’m sure it’s not the first time you entertained a patron in exchange for a large donation. That’s the way these things work. It’s all for a good cause, and the hospital can really use his money.”
My God, she makes me sound like a whore.
Celia turned and looked at Tom coming toward the table. “Here comes your brother-in-law. Well, if you have any other mementoes from the past you’d like to get rid of, please consider donating them to club’s spring auction, especially if it’s something more personal like slippers or a tutu. I’m sure he’d snap them up.”
“Celia,” Tom said, his tone heavy with sarcasm. “Never a pleasure to see you. Isn’t there a rich man nearby you can fleece?”
The woman scowled at him, not a good look on her overly made up face. “You know what you can do to yourself,” she said before turning back to her. “As I said, it was a pleasure to see you again. I’m glad we had this opportunity to chat. And don’t forget what I said—if you’ve got something truly personal…” She glared at Tom and walked away.
Brandi’s fingers gripped the table and she swallowed, praying she wouldn’t be sick and disgrace herself. What a fool she was. Jarrett was no different than the other star-struck fans who’d followed her around for years. Why hadn’t she seen it? Everything he’d said to her tonight came back to her filtered by this new information. She looked down at the roses on her shoulder. Suddenly, they meant no more than the countless bouquets the cleaning staff had thrown out each evening after the performances.
“So, what did the Victoria Viper have to say?” Tom asked, taking the chair Celia had occupied.
Too hurt to acknowledge how stupid she’d been, she smiled and chose her words carefully. No one could know how deeply this betrayal had upset her.
“Nothing much,” she said, keeping her voice even. She was good at hiding pain. “She wanted to thank me for donating the signed poster.”
“That’s it?” Tom said, disbelief evident in his voice.
“More or less. She added the committee would be pleased to accept any other memorabilia I’d like to donate in the spring, especially something of a more personal nature. It seems the man who purchased the poster is an avid fan of mine. From the look on her face, he’d probably pay a fortune for a pair of my used, ballet tights.”
Tom reddened, about to say something but the others came back to the table, and he sighed loudly obviously considering himself off the hook. So he knew this “date” was payback for the big donation, too. How much more humiliating could this get? How much lower could Jane sink, pimping her out this way? And Jarrett? Wanting to be friends? What would that be? Stalking with permission? Just what payback would he expect when he drove her home? Before he could sit down, Celia snatched him up for a lady’s choice, and Brandi was grateful. She needed to get out of here before he returned.
After a few more minutes of chitchat, smiling so hard her face hurt, she could take no more. When Tom got up to dance with Jane, she stood. “Dad, can you take me home now? I’m exhausted.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to wait for Jarrett?”
“No, he’s having a good time, and he’s done more than enough tonight. Besides, I think I’ll need help getting up the stairs and into bed.” It was a lie but one she knew he’d buy and act on quickly.

Buy links:
http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca/books.php?book=forever-and-always

S. Matthews 2016

About the author:

Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She is of French-Canadian descent. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but with a penchant for happily ever after romances. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Follow Susanne on social media:
Website: http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca/
Blog: http://mhsusannematthews.wordpress.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SLMauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jandsmatt
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Susanne-Matthews/e/B00DJCKRP4/
Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7009276.Susanne_Matthews

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#CoverReveal and excerpt from Into The Darkness – A F’d Up Fairy Tale By Siren Allen #FairyTales #SirensTales #Paranormal

fdup

Ever heard the story of Rip Van Winkle?

Well, I bet you haven’t heard the story of his descendants. In my new fairy tale, you’ll meet Rip Van Warren. Yes, the family has changed their last name to keep from being ridiculed by those who don’t believe old man Rip’s story.

However, a changed name can’t protect them from a centuries old curse. Rip Van Warren is about to make a decision that will have him sleeping for a very long time. Proving that you can change your name, but you can’t change your destiny.

Into The Darkness is part of a F’d Up Fairy Tales collaboration. You don’t want to miss any of these fairy tales. Coming May 19th: bit.ly/2mXkjkw

Castle in the swamp.

Once Upon A Time…

There lived a witch by the name of Celeste Dubois, who was tired of her sister witches disturbing her eternal slumber with their cries. Lately, they all called out to her with the same plea, ‘stop Rip Van Warren, the witch hunter’. Unable to ignore their cries, she lures Rip into her world, where she keeps him as her prisoner for twenty years. She had every intention of torturing him for those twenty years. But the heart wants what the heart wants.

For twenty years Rip Van Warren is held captive by a beautiful bayou witch. He should hate her. But their time together has made him rethink his vendetta against witches. All his life he thought magic was evil. Celeste has taught him that it’s a gift to be treasured, almost as much as he treasures her.

When an unexpected threat enters their lives, Celeste is forced to send him back to his own world in order to protect him. He awakens in the middle of the swamp, confused and dazed. His memories of the last twenty years are foggy. But there’s once person he’ll never forget, the witch he left behind. Desperate to get back to her, he searches for a way to return to her world. But the witches of New Orleans aren’t willing to help a famous witch hunter.

Will the dark witch and the dark hunter have their happily ever after?
Or will he return too late to save the witch he loves?

Beautiful african woman in the studio

 A PEEK INTO THE BOOK….

Water dripped from the cracks in the cement ceiling. Chained to the wall, Rip tilted his head back and opened his mouth. Drop after drop of water landed on his tongue. It wasn’t enough. But it was more than he’d had over the last two days. Or had it been three? Maybe ten. It was hard to tell time in this place that wasn’t supposed to exist.

Where was his captor? Was she truly prepared to allow him to starve to death? After their last encounter, he’d thought he’d won her over, convinced her that he was no longer a threat to her and her sister witches. She’d allowed him to touch her, to caress her soft skin and bring her to the brink of an orgasm.

Then she’d pushed him away and ordered her guards to return him to his cell. He was getting tired of her mood swings. Either she was going to torture him or she was going to let him show her how good it could be between the two of them. She couldn’t have it both ways.

She couldn’t spend her days smiling at him then force him away from her each night. Hell, who was he kidding? He was her prisoner. She could do whatever she wanted. She’d reminded him of that countless times. He was the fool for wanting more.

He was done playing these games with her. Witches were evil. He was a witch hunter. It was his job to eradicate them from the face of the Earth. One sexy bayou witch wasn’t going to convince him otherwise. As soon as he figured out a way to free himself, he was going to teach her a few rules about torture. Rule number one: never let your enemy know your weakness.

He knew exactly what to do to make Celeste Dubois weak. He wasn’t going to let his growing feelings for her keep him from doing his job. He was a witch hunter. And his prey wasn’t that far away. It was time for Rip Van Warren to hunt.

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C6t7kIdU8AApAt_

Can He Love Her AND Her Past? Our Hero Has A Hard Decision To Make In ‘The Plot’ by @Melinda_De_Ross #FoolInLove #Romance

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The road to a happily ever after in Romanceland is never an easy one. This month, we’re highlighting the dark moments of our favorite romance novels. In The Plot, our hero has a decision to make.

melindatheplot

He didn’t know how many hours had passed since he was staring sightlessly at the ceiling, alone in darkness with only his thoughts as company. It had been more than a week since he and Yoko had been together in this bed, ready to make love for the first time. A week since she’d told him she loved him, and he’d said the same to her. Then her sordid confession had been like the hit of a bus.

He still couldn’t take it all in. Whenever he imagined his sweet, innocent Yoko in bed with some other man—or men—he felt he would go mad. When he thought of everything she must have endured, of how brutally she had been robbed of her innocence, he cursed God, fate and whatever monster was responsible for that. If he knew, he would kill him or them with his bare hands—because surely there was more than one person involved in this kind of crime.

But what about her? Had there really been nothing she could do to stop it? Why hadn’t she gone to the police, to the consulate? His mind circled around these questions and always returned to the same point: the threats against her family. How could he judge her when he would do anything to protect his family from harm? What choice did she have? The bastards knew exactly how to control and manipulate her.

He’d read and heard about such things in the news, but tragedies like these seemed far away, things that happened to ignorant women from underdeveloped countries. What a shallow fool he had been! Just like everyone around him, he didn’t stop to think twice about this kind of atrocities. Never had he considered he would meet a victim of human trafficking. Or fall in love with one of the troubled, tortured women whose existence seemed only a theory.

Was he truly in love with Yoko? He’d said so when he didn’t know about her past. But did he love her now? Did her past make a difference? He thought about everything he liked and admired about her: her seriousness, her rare, child-like smiles, her determination, her intelligence. Her beautiful face and enticing body. God, could he love her without thinking of all the men who’d had her?

He rubbed his hands hard over his face. He would have said a real man wouldn’t hold her past against a woman, especially since she’d been forced into it. But was he man enough to love Yoko, to forgive and forget?
His eyes opened and he stared into the blackness, stunned at his selfishness.

Listen to him! Forgive and forget. Who was he, a former thief and breaker of too many laws too count, to judge anyone? Yoko was a victim. She didn’t need his forgiveness, but his love and support. She needed someone to help her get over the horrible traumas and memories that had scarred her soul forever.

Yes, forever. He didn’t fool himself. He knew an experience like hers could never be forgotten. She might have learned to live with it, but the wounds were burned into her mind. Now he understood so many things he hadn’t comprehended before: her reactions, her reluctance and initial suspicion, her reserved nature. She’d suffered terribly, endured things no woman should endure, especially a young girl.

When he recalled her telling him about the first rape—there was no other word for it—that had stripped away her virginity and dignity, he felt tears stinging his eyes. She’d needed comfort, love, healing. Instead, he’d sat there like a statue, unable to move, unable to utter a sound, numbed by shock. She’d left thinking he thought her dirty, as she felt about herself. She never knew the pain that torn his own heart. He ached for her with every cell of his being.

Why then hadn’t he gone after her? Why had he needed all this time to exist like a zombie, day after day, to realize he did love her and wanted her in his life, despite everything? He’d said to himself he needed time to absorb what she’d told him, but truth be told, he was a damned coward. A stronger, better man wouldn’t have brooded all this time, wouldn’t have doubted the feelings he’d professed so ardently only a week ago.

He flung the sheet aside and stood. He hadn’t managed to sleep more than a few restless hours these past days. He descended the stairs and went to the kitchen, where he poured himself a large whiskey. He’d done nothing but drink, moon around the shop and haunt the streets in search of answers. Actually, the answer had been in his heart all along. His head just needed to catch up. He loved Yoko. No matter what her past was, whether she’d had a choice or not, he wanted a future with her.

He wasn’t sure he had the patience and tenderness necessary to help her heal, but he was determined to do his best to try. If she was still willing to accept him. But what if she wasn’t? What if it was too late and he’d lost her because of his gutlessness and hesitation?

Tossing back his drink, he went in search of his phone, praying she would answer. She hadn’t returned to the shop since the fateful day of her graduation, and he couldn’t bring himself to even call her. Now he frantically dialed her number, ignoring the fact that it was nearly three a.m. But when the connection was made, his mouth went dry.

Her number had been disconnected.

the-plot

REALITY IS NOT A FAIRYTALE. CAN A VICTIM OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING HAVE A HAPPY ENDING AFTER YEARS OF ABUSE AND DEGRADATION? ESPECIALLY WHEN HER ONLY FOCUS IS GETTING PAYBACK…

At eighteen, Yoko Hirano falls into the tentacles of a human trafficking organization and is forced into prostitution. Her first sexual experience is close to a rape, so she becomes traumatized and her opinions about men are low and unflattering. She uses her charms only as means of manipulation.

Four years later she meets the tall, dark and charming antique dealer Mark Chandler. They both acknowledge reluctantly the complicated chemistry between them, but Yoko’s grand scheme of things doesn’t involve falling in love, nor does she think Mark would want her if he found out about her past. To get revenge and prevent other girls from sharing her fate, she plans to ruin the Chinese triad that has destroyed her life and innocence.

However, she doesn’t realize that Mark can be an asset in her plans of bringing down the powerful mobster Michael Chen and his interlopers. Together, they make a quite formidable pair…

buy-links

Amazon: http://goo.gl/de9zDn
Barnes&Noble: goo.gl/XHaxko
Kobo: goo.gl/CJtlLz
Google Play: goo.gl/j7eMTi

Meet the author

Melinda De Ross is an international author of Romanian origin. She writes in two languages, and her books combine the elegance specific to the European style with the modern appeal of the American culture. She has a Law degree and has been a professional target shooter for over a decade. Her favorite genre to read and write in is Romance, and anytime she prefers to watch a classic movie instead of going to a noisy club.

She loves to hear from her readers, and you can find her at:

WHO’S THAT GIRL?
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Melinda-De-Ross/513999791983330

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7163748.Melinda_De_Ross

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