Category Archives: Guest Posts

Book spotlight and review: The Diary by Melinda De Ross

 book-spotlight

Hello everyone! Since Halloween is getting close, I thought I’d treat you with a bit of creepy entertainment, and a 99 cents offer of THE DIARY, a suspense/gothic romance by international bestselling author Melinda De Ross.

I don’t know how many of you have heard of Countess Erzsébet Báthory, so I’m going to give you a little background.

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Erzsébet Báthory (1560-1614) is a known historical figure and was a Hungarian countess, also known as Elizabeth Báthory, The Blood Countess or Countess Dracula. She has been labeled the most prolific serial killer in history, being responsible for the torture and murder of hundreds of young girls. The exact number of her victims is unknown, but is estimated at six hundred and fifty. It is speculated that she kept a diary with the names of all her victims, but if such a document exists, it has never been made public.

Here’s what Melinda says about writing THE DIARY:

“Living in an Eastern European country, I’ve heard about the countess since I was a teenager, but have only began studying her in 2014, when I decided to write a book that somehow included this horrific historical character. I watched countless documentaries and even two fiction movies about Elizabeth Báthory, and I confess that getting into her head was a terrifying experience.

To me, it seems that evil, madness and all things that conjure up horror stories were festering inside this woman, who was allowed to indulge her demonic depravity simply because she was an aristocrat.

I thought I needed to understand her in order to write a book that included legends about her, even tangentially, but I soon discovered it was an impossible, maybe even dangerous ambition. That’s why I started the book by quoting Friedrich Nietzsche, who said that “When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”

So that’s how THE DIARY came to life. This is the blurb:

In the legendary Transylvania, a castle belonging to Countess Erzsébet Báthory is discovered. Cameraman Hunter Cole and broadcast journalist Serena Scott arrive to make a documentary about the discovery, and the sinister Hungarian noblewoman, known as the most prolific female serial killer in history.

The two Americans could cope with roughing it in a fifteenth-century castle, with no modern amenities. They can even cope with each other, despite their initial mutual dislike for one another, which gradually turns into a mind-blowing attraction.

But when two girls are tortured and killed in Báthory copycat style, the nearby village is shaken to the core. In terror, they wonder who will be next…
I’ll leave you with a short excerpt, and with the hope that you will find this post as compelling as I do.

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In the bathroom, I lit the three candles and placed the candlestick on the floor. It was lighter here because of the large balcony. There was an old-fashioned wooden tub in a corner, a few basins and some buckets. I turned one bucket bottom side up and put my towels on it, along with the soap and flashlight. Then I went outside onto the balcony and dipped my hand into one of the many containers. The water was still warm.

I went back in and dragged the wooden tub close to the balcony entry. I ran a finger over its bottom to check for dust, pleased to see that someone had cleaned it. When I lifted one of the water buckets and poured it into the tub, my shoulder screamed with pain. Irrationally, I cursed Hunter for not offering to help me, even though I had prohibited him to enter the room before I was done. I dragged another bucket to the edge of the tub and poured the water inside, deciding that should be enough.

I stripped off my jeans and T-shirt, then my bra and panties. I turned another bucket upside down and placed them on it. After I removed my makeup I stepped into the tub, enjoying the feel of the warm water. I didn’t quite fit in the tub, but complaining wouldn’t help. It could be worse, I thought. What if I were as big as Hunter? How will he manage to wash in this?

The thought of Hunter naked was making me uncomfortable, so I firmly pushed it away, feeling my cheeks grow red. I stretched to get my bath sponge and soap, then started to wash thoroughly. After that, I just relaxed for a few moments in the fragrant water, staring out at the moon. It seemed lost in the inky-black sky, much as I felt in this foreign, strange place. Everything had happened so fast that I’d nearly forgotten why we were here. And when I remembered, an unpleasant shiver crept up my spine.

Had Erzsébet Báthory bathed in this tub? Had she bathed in the blood of virgins as the legends said? There was no concrete proof of that, but why else would she have killed all those young women? The official documents regarding her trial were held secret. It was even said that she’d kept a personal diary, but no one could attest to its existence. I didn’t know much about The Countess, so I would have to do a lot of research to put this documentary together.

I’d read that the evidence indicated the number of her victims to be around eighty, but according to the three-hundred witnesses that had testified at her trial, The Countess had murdered more than six hundred and fifty girls. It was preposterous to think of such atrocities. Even in the historical context, in those times when cruelty was far from unusual and the Hungarians were known for their bestial cruelty, this woman was a stand out.

I’d seen a couple of movies about The Countess’s life, but considered them a waste of time. They’d tried to picture her in a humane way, as a woman, mother, wife and healer, diminishing the most important thing for which she was known: her monstrous cruelty, and perhaps madness.
Lost in these sinister reveries, I jumped when I heard Hunter’s voice.

“Hey, Serena, have you fallen asleep in there?”

The Diary Cover

THE DIARY is available in eBook and paperback format everywhere books are sold online, and this weekend you can order it for only 99 cents from Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes&Noble.

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: http://melindadeross.com/

FiveStars
My Review:

I give, The Diary, five stars.

First off, the author made me want to read the book just by having a gorgeous cover. Add history, murder, and suspense and I’m officially hooked. This book had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I admit, I was able to read this in under two days. That’s how captivated I was by this tale.

I loved the banter between the two main characters. I also loved how vividly the author described each scene. I could picture it all clearly and truly felt like I was there with the characters. I don’t want to give away too much. But if you enjoy stories full of intrigue, mystery, suspense, and romance that doesn’t feature insta-love, this is the story for you. And you should get it this weekend while it’s only 0.99. This weekend, cuddle up with The Diary. You won’t regret it.

#BeautifulVillains presents: Anna Black from the Chloe Daniel’s Mysteries series by Deidra D.S. Green.

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October belongs to the villains. All October, I’ve been sharing books that feature amazing villains. You know who I’m talking about – the bad guys/girls/creatures of the night who we love to hate. Or hate to love. Maybe both.

The next villain I’m showing love to is Anna Black from the Chloe Daniel’s Mysteries by author Deidra D.S. Green. First of all, let me say that I absolutely love this series and I LOVE Anna Black.

In my opinion, she’s one of those misunderstood villains. Like Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad or Regina as the evil queen from Once Upon A Time. You have to read the series to form your own opinion. Everyone say hello to Ms. Anna Black!

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Hush little baby, don’t say a word…

For years, Anna Black was the only child and the apple of her parents’ eyes. When baby sister, Angel, comes along, Anna’s life is quickly turned upside down. Anna will stop at nothing to win back her parents’ affection. When her tactics lose their efficacy, Anna’s desperate cries for help morph into something more sinister. Can anyone stop this angel of mercy? Find out in Sick, Sicker, Sickest… A Chloe Daniels Mystery

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Anna Black is an exceptional villain because she’s complex and simple all at the same time. Anna desperately wants the attention of her parents, simple, right? But the way she goes about trying to gain their attention is what complicates matters.

Anna is brilliant, I mean she is incredibly intelligent; however, people assume because of what she does that she isn’t all that bright. Anna proves over and over again that it takes a great deal of smarts to be an effective serial killer; although Anna regards herself as an Angel of Mercy.

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Baby Jane reminded Anna Black of Angel, her little sister.  Baby Jane didn’t stand a real chance at having a decent life, Anna thought to herself as she filled the syringe without measuring.  The teen mom, young, dumb, and immature, didn’t even realize she was pregnant (or that’s what she tried to tell anyone who would listen) until it was too late. 

Anna didn’t see the mother beforehand, but the buzz around the nurses’ station was that the girl didn’t gain a lot of weight with the pregnancy.  Her parents must have been stupid, too, Anna thought to herself as she found just the right spot behind the baby’s ear for the deadly injection. Who doesn’t know they’re pregnant, no matter how young they are? 

The girl is said to have had the baby at home sitting on the toilet.  She supposedly panicked and didn’t grab the little girl out of the shitty, bloody toilet water until it was almost too late.  The new grandmother heard commotion coming from the bathroom and fished the baby out of the toilet.  By the time they got the baby and the mom to the hospital, the baby had suffered brain damage. 

They weren’t sure if she would ever be right again. I’m doing her a favor, Anna mused as she pushed the piercing needle deep into the baby’s pink flesh.  The baby didn’t even cry, completely unaware of the assault of insulin about to take over her little body. First to die off completely would be her brain, then her main organs would start to shut down—her liver, lungs and finally her heart would fail to beat ever again. 

It was late at night in the nursery and Anna was one of only three nurses on rotation in the infant ward.  After recapping and placing the poison-filled needle back in the pocket of her nursing smock, Anna rubbed the baby’s back lovingly and began to hum and then sing her favorite lullaby.

Hush little baby, don’t say a word… Anna continued to hum as she went along.
The life supporting machines blared over Anna’s broken melody, alerting to the crisis the baby was beginning to experience.  Anna, being the savior that she was, ran to the alert button and slammed against it, signifying there was a problem in her unit.  Making her way to the entrance of her unit which spilled out into the main corridor of the infant ward, Anna went into full blown rescue mode.

“Help! Help! She’s Coding!”  Anna yelled into the hall for anyone in ear shot.  Doctors and medical personnel responded immediately, pouring into the unit and moving as quickly as possible to the aid of Baby Jane.  Anna stood back and let the madness unfold in front of her.  She hoped she had given Baby Jane enough to take her out of her misery.

If not, the baby would be worse off than when Anna started.  Besides, she was fucked up anyway.  Either way, Anna would be seen as the hero.  She was the one who found the baby in a compromised position.  She was the one who alerted staff to the medical crisis.  No matter what others did to try and save the baby’s life, Anna would be the one the parents would remember as the first to respond.

Anna moved closer to the action.  She had to.  She was a nurse and charged with the responsibility of aiding the sick.  Anna had taken the Hippocratic Oath just like the rest of the team working diligently to save little Baby Jane’s mediocre life.  Hands were moving swiftly—orders were being given from the lead doctor. 

They were almost frantic as the machines continued to blare the disaster that was happening right in front of their eyes. They had no idea that this disaster was man-made.  Anna had to hold back a smile as she saw just how much energy she created in such a short period of time. After a few moments of non-stop medical mayhem, the machines that indicated how well or how poorly the patient was doing started to utter sounds closer to normal. 

The height of the crisis was over, but Baby Jane was not out of the woods yet.  She would have to be moved to the neonatal intensive care unit where they would try and see if they could undo the things that had been done to her—the things they didn’t know had been done to her.

Baby Jane had a chance at survival if they found out about the oversaturation of insulin that had been so violently injected into her poor defenseless body.  If they got to her in time she would live, and her life would continue to be a waste. If they didn’t, Baby Jane would go to be with the angels.

The next step in the process was really what Anna lived for.  She lived for the thank you’s she got from her fellow medical practitioners for getting to the baby just in the nick of time.  Anna lived for the moment when the parents would be told what happened and who helped save their baby. 

Even if Baby Jane didn’t make it, for her parents, Anna would live in infamy as their hero—the one who got their first. Anna didn’t go with Baby Jane to intensive care.  That was not her job. She had done what she intended to do.  The rest of what happened would be left to others. Besides, there were more precious little babies for her to give her special kind of attention to.

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Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075MP5ZC3/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sicker-Sickest-Daniels-Mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00DIGO2N4/

Follow the author on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Deidra-D.-S.-Green/e/B0079LSQV8/

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Sign up for Deidra D. S. Green’s mailing list and get a free copy of Chloe Daniels: The Union. Click the book cover below to sign up!

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But wait, there’s more…

There’s still time to enter my giveaway!

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Siren’s Fairy Tale Giveaway:
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#BeautifulVillains presents: For Sparrow by Pandora Spocks.

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October belongs to the villains. All October, I’ll be sharing books that feature amazing villains. You know who I’m talking about – the bad guys/girls/creatures of the night who we love to hate. Or hate to love. Maybe both.

First up is For Sparrow by Pandora Spocks. For Sparrow releases October 3rd. Preorder it today at the special preorder price of .99 pennies. A deal so good… it’s scary. Enjoy this peek into the book.

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When Jessi Crenshaw’s husband Graham dies unexpectedly, she’s devastated. He’s the only man she’s ever loved. Just eighteen when she met him, she’s been married to him for twenty-five years. Now she’s lost her friend, her lover… and her Dominant.

But as it turns out, Graham had an inkling that his health was in decline, and he tapped his friend and protégé in the Lifestyle, firefighter and paramedic Judd Farris, to be Jessi’s Dominant until she gets back on her feet.

Judd is determined to fulfill his promise to his friend. But it’s a damn odd arrangement— a platonic Dom/sub relationship. With her fiery auburn hair, sparkling green eyes, and audacious spirit, Jessi captured his attention the first time he ever saw her. At her husband’s funeral.

A man could go to hell for the things he’s been thinking. But they’ve drawn a line, and he’s going to stick to it.

Judd’s sexy good looks and his gentle confidence aren’t lost on Jessi. She’s torn between loyalty to the man she loved, and desire for the man increasingly in her fantasies. In the letter Graham left for her, he mentioned that she might find Judd attractive. But that’s simply ridiculous. He’s five years younger than she is. He couldn’t possibly be interested in her. Could he?

Judd’s a Dom without a sub, and Jessi’s a sub without a Dom. It’s perfect for the time being. Could it be that Graham had more in mind than merely a temporary solution?

And could it all end at the hands of a madman?

FOR SPARROW is a contemporary erotic romance novel with a light BDSM theme. It’s the third book in the Dream Dominant Collection.

meetthevillain

The Villain—Gary Wayne Gentry

Gary Wayne Gentry is a nondescript little man with dreams of being someone important. He’s the guy who’s always on the outside, looking in.

He yearns to do a job that requires a uniform, but he was unceremoniously drummed out of the army for attacking a fellow recruit. And after they see the results of his personality inventory, he can’t land a job with either the police or fire department.

Tired of not being noticed, he embarks on a violent cross-country tour, targeting first responders along the way. He’ll show them.

excerpt

Gary Wayne Gentry stood watching as firefighters fought to extinguish the blaze in Parson’s Hardware on the main street of Baker City, Oregon. He was merely one in a crowd of lookie-loos that had gathered on the opposite side of the street, a guy so nondescript that no one would ever remark on the short, balding man with a slight paunch. No one would even notice him. Which used to bother Gary.

Used to. But he’d learned that being unnoticeable could be an asset.
He watched as the supervisor barked out orders to the firefighters on the ground. Hoses were deployed, plans were followed. Soon enough, thick black smoke turned white. Which meant the fire was out, there were merely a few hot spots that merited attention.

He knew this because Gary had always wanted to be a firefighter. Or a cop. Or a soldier. Some damn thing with a uniform. He’d actually been in the Army for a short time. Until he’d been involved in an altercation with a fellow recruit. It hadn’t been his fault. Gary Wayne Gentry didn’t take shit off of anybody. The cry baby had had his jaw wired shut for a few weeks, and everybody lost their mother-effing minds. To keep the bureaucratic wheels running smoothly, they’ve given him a General discharge, and Gary was adrift once again.

He’d tried the police and the firefighters, and gotten damn close, too. It was always when they saw the results of his personality inventory that they said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Watching the Baker City FD roll up their hoses and gather their other equipment, Gary snorted. Always so GD superior, like their shit don’t stink. Probably effing volunteer, sum’bitches.

He had a uniform, mind you. Like that was hard to get. There was a uniform store on every corner in America. Sometimes he’d dress up and go to a bar. It was usually enough to get a few free drinks. Gary would spin some yarn about the fires he’d put out, and the people he’d saved. That only lasted so long before people got tired of listening.

Firefighters probably got a lot of pu**y, too. Only so far, the fake uniform hadn’t yielded much of that. And the problem with small towns was, although he was reasonably anonymous, people would notice a man with a gun. That much he was positive about. A crowd that small, someone would definitely notice if he tried to pick off a firefighter or two.

Which was a pain in the ass, because that was the whole point of starting the fire anyway. What, did you think Gary Wayne Gentry was just a firebug, one of those pathetic bastards who got their rocks off watching fire? Please. The fire was simply a means to an end.

He used to listen to scanners and try to show up at fires and car accidents and such. But who has time for that, really? When you set the fire, you know exactly when and where they’re going to show up, it’s not rocket science.

Anyway, clearly, Baker City, Oregon was way too small for him to be able to indulge in his favorite sport. But then, you live and you learn, don’t you? He’d worked his way up the west coast with a moderate degree of success. Los Angeles and San Francisco had been goldmines for his little pastime. So crowded, so full of crazies.

When the odd firefighter here or there, and one cop, he was proud to say, ended up shot at emergency calls, the authorities always blamed gang violence or some such nonsense. Sometimes he wondered if he should be offended, gangs getting the credit for his work. But he wasn’t ready to stop, so the better for him if he remained unnoticed.

If someone, his mother for instance, bothered to ask him, “Gary, why do you do these things?” he knew exactly what he’d say. Because they think they’re better than me, that’s why. Because they think I’m not good enough, that’s why. G.D. mother-effers. I’m smarter than all of them.

As the last of the onlookers left the scene, Gary decided that remaining unseen was the best plan, so he mosied on back to his beige Chevy Impala and drove away slowly. There was one thing he was sure of. He sure as shit couldn’t go any further west. He laughed, imagining himself driving into the Pacific Ocean. So, east it was.

Heading off into the dark night, he considered his choice of hobbies. It was unorthodox, maybe. But it wasn’t his fault, not really. His name was Gary Wayne Gentry. Seriously, his mother should have known better.

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Universal Link for FOR SPARROW (Out Oct. 3) books2read.com/ForSparrow
FOR SPARROW launches on October 3, 2017.
Pre-Order it now for only 99¢.
After launch day, the regular price will be $2.99.

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Join Pandora’s Passionista Paradise group on Facebook for your chance to WIN one of three copies of FOR SPARROW to be randomed off at the end of October.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/PandorasPassionistas/

Stalker Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PandoraSpocksAuthor/
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Siren’s Giveaway:
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Villains need love too! #Villains #OctoberFun

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October belongs to the villains. All October, I’ll be sharing books that feature amazing villains. You know who I’m talking about – the bad guys/girls/creatures of the night who we love to hate. Or hate to love. Maybe both.

Authors, if you have a book that features an awesome villain, let’s celebrate them. Villains need love too. All genres welcome. Your villain can be a human, an alien, a mixture of both, it doesn’t matter.

rules

The rules.
1. I need all of your material by October first. No later. The earlier the better.
2. Each author has to be willing to share the event landing page on social media and in their newsletter. This is mandatory. Cross promo is key.
3. No giveaway required, BUT, it would be nice. 🙂

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Still interested? Great. This is what I need from you.

Please send me an email to sirenallen@gmail.com with the following material…

1. Book cover. (You may also include 1 teaser/promo image.)
2. Book blurb.
3. A paragraph or three explaining why your villain is awesome or why he/she is the way they are.
4. Excerpt. Please choose one with your villain in it.
5. Buy links.
6. If you’d like to offer up a giveaway for the October event, please add the giveaway link/info also.

7.  Also include your author links so fans can stalk you.

P.S. Please send me an initial email to let me know you’re interested, so I can keep up with how many posts I’ll be preparing.

Let’s have fun with the bad guys/girls/creatures of the night!

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#TeaserTuesday A steamy excerpt from Into The Darkness. #FdUpFairyTale #SirensTales #Paranormal

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Happy Tuesday! Today I’m sharing an excerpt from my novella, Into The Darkness. This story is part of the F’d Up Fairy Tales series – naughty fairy tales written by a group of awesome authors.

Be sure to read them all after you enjoy this excerpt from, Into The Darkness.

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. However, their time together has made him rethink his vendetta against witches. All of 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.

Yet, there’s one person he’ll never forget, the witch he left behind. He’s desperately seeking a way back to her. However, 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?

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They both grew silent. He could hear her moving around in the water. He tried not to, but he couldn’t stop himself from imagining what she looked like behind the curtain.

“Rip?”

“Uh, huh? Yeah? What’s up?”

“I’ve apologized. But you haven’t told me whether you forgive me or not.”

Oh that. “Do I have a choice?”

“Of course. Forgiveness cannot be forced.”

True. Did he forgive her? She’d kidnapped him, sent him into a coma and was forcing him to work in the forest. But, he’d destroyed the magic of some of her kind and killed others. If their deeds were placed on a scale, his bad would outweigh hers.

“Yeah, witch, I forgive you.”
He heard her sigh.

“Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.”

Rip shoved his hands into his pockets and stared around the room. So… was their conversation over with? He was no longer needed. She’d said what she’d had to say. He’d forgiven her. They were cool… for now.

“Rip, can I ask for one more thing?”

“What do you want now witch, my kidney?” He joked.

“Nothing that important. But, would you mind washing my back?”

Rip coughed. Why? He had no idea.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah…” he coughed some more. “I swallowed wrong.” He cleared his throat. “I’m good.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah, I’m good.”

“Okay. Will you wash my back for me, please?”

He knew witches. He’d studied them all his life. He knew this was a trick of some sort. That didn’t stop him from agreeing.

“Yes, witch, I’ll wash your back.”

He took a step back when he saw her silhouette pulling the shower curtain back. Down boy, he whispered to his body. She’s a witch. There’s no telling what she has up her sleeve. Proceed with caution.

She moved the curtain out of the way, revealing her back to him. She was seated in the tub and all he could see was her shoulders and upper back.

“You can’t do it from way over there,” she called over her shoulder.

Rip realized he’d taken three steps back. He took a deep breath then walked forward until he stood at the edge of the tub, staring down at her. Bubbles shielded her body from his view. Rip sent up a silent prayer, thanking his maker for bubbles.

He didn’t want to see her naked. Not one inch of her. She lifted her knees and part of her thighs peeked through the water. He balled his hands into fists. He could wash the back of one small witch without losing his shit.

She lifted this puff ball out of the water. A red loofah. Rip knelt behind the tub, bringing his face level with the back of her head. As he reached for the loofah, he closed his eyes and inhaled her scent. Intoxicating.

Their hands touched when he grasped the loofah. A jolt of electricity sizzled between them. His already hard cock jerked. Thankfully, with her back to him, she couldn’t see his reaction to her.

Rip pulled the loofah from her hand. She leaned forward and tilted her head down, revealing more of her back to him. He wanted to touch her, not with the loofah, with his hands. He wanted to rub his fingers over her skin to see if it was as smooth as it looked.

She lifted her hair from her shoulder. Droplets of water ran down her back then disappeared beneath the bubbles.

“Something wrong?”

“No.”

“Oh, okay.”

Rip dipped the loofah in the water then proceeded to rub it across her shoulders. The thing was so small in his grasp, more of his hand was touching her than loofah. She didn’t say anything, and he didn’t want to stop touching her, so he kept going.

He dipped the loofah into the water again and then squeezed it over her shoulders, allowing it to drip down her back. He rubbed it over her back, lathering her flesh, then dipping the loofah into the water and dripping it over her skin to remove the suds.

He focused on her neck as he worked, fearing if he stared anywhere else, he’d embarrass himself in front of her. Once he was done, he stretched his arm out.

“Done. Here’s your loofah.”

She didn’t take it. Instead, she stared over her shoulder at him, her brown gaze meeting his.

“You’re not done.”

“No?”

“You haven’t washed my whole back.”

“I can’t reach….”

She stood up in the tub.

He forgot how to breathe.

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US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071P4SSH4
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071P4SSH4
CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B071P4SSH4
AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B071P4SSH4

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Be sure to read all of the books in the F’d Up Fairy Tales Collection.
Click HERE to view the collection on Amazon.

But wait… there’s more.

Don’t miss out on the May giveaway!
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Excerpt from, Still Waters – what lies beneath will change you forever. @EKBennettAuthor

FOOLINLOVE

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 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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