Category Archives: Guest Posts

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

Teaser Tuesday 2

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?

Beautiful african woman in the studio

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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AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B071P4SSH4

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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

FOOLINLOVE

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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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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List of participating authors: https://sirenallen.com/featured-blogs/

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Just A Fool In Love Blog Event #Authors #AmWriting #Giveaway

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All books have them… that dark moment when all seems lost for the couple we’ve come to adore. But, after they pull through whatever obstacle standing in their way, they come out stronger and more in love than before. We always celebrate the victories. In April, I’m highlighting the struggle. Without it, our beloved couples wouldn’t be the same.

Or, maybe they would. But the dark moments are a bit exciting, aren’t they?! All April long I’ll share those moments from some of our favorite books. So, authors, if you’d like to share your dark moments on my blog, please email me: sirenallen@gmail.com

Subject of email: Fool In Love
Include:
-Book cover and 1 teaser as an attachment.
-Blurb and your dark moment excerpt as an attachment. (Excerpt no longer than 2000 words.)
-Buy links, author links, author bio.
ALL ROMANCE GENRES WELCOME. POSTS NEEDED BY APRIL 4TH.

Join early because spots may fill up fast. Posts will be scheduled for every Wednesday and Saturday in April. There’ll be a giveaway provided by me and your social media links will be included in the rafflecopter. This event is FREE.

All I ask in return is that you share posts by the participating authors on at least one of your social media sites. Cross promo is key to having a great blog event. If you have a newsletter, I ask that you share the event in your newsletter also.

Oh, and feel free to leave out certain parts of the excerpt if you feel it’ll give away too much of the plot. All we need is a teaser to let us know that something dark is coming or happening to our beloved couple. Email me if you have any questions about this event!

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Our March event and giveaway is still going strong: https://sirenallen.com/featured-blogs/

Her Dream Lover by Siren Allen #InLust #Paranormal #Giveaway #TheDarkestLegion

madlyinlust1

Welcome to the Madly In Lust Blog Event. Today we’re featuring a seductive scene from my paranormal romance, Her Dream Lover. Enjoy this little bit of naughtiness. And it’s definitely NAUGHTY. You’ve been warned!

HDL NEW COVER

 
Every time she closes her eyes, he’s there…waiting for her.

Working night shift at a mental hospital was never Brandi Connelly’s dream job, but in order to pay her grandmother’s medical bills she’s willing to do whatever she has to. Her new job seems like a piece of cake, there is only one thing keeping her from enjoying it – Draken Barrand, a patient.

Thoughts of her patient haunt her night and day and she’s too embarrassed to tell anyone about the strange dreams she’s having about him. Partly because she’s afraid they will think she’s crazy…mostly because the things that go on while she’s sleeping make her blush.

As the nightly visions become all too real she’s afraid they’re not dreams at all. If these nightly fantasies are real, that means everything her dream lover has told her is real, which means that the little mating ritual she so excitedly participated in was real. Soon she will change into a demon and there is nothing she can do about it.

Claimed and marked, she now belongs to a creature of the night. There’s just one up side to this – he’s trapped behind the walls of a mental institution. That means she has time to figure out a way to stop the change… well, she would’ve had time, if her mate hadn’t broken out of his cell.

He’s tired of being alone.

Draken Barrand is determined to claim his mate. There’s just one problem – he’s unlawfully trapped behind the walls of a mental institution. The only way he can reach her is through her dreams, where he claims her and marks her as his own. But his mate’s life is threatened when the Leader of his Legion finds out about his unlawful mating.

Will Draken be able to break free of his cell in time to save his woman? If he does, will she finally accept him as the man of her dreams and her reality?
 
 
hdl2

She held her breath as he touched her between her legs. Arousal shot through her.
“So wet,” he mumbled against her navel. “So ready.” His tongue dipped into her belly button.
Yes, she was so ready. It had been two years since she’d made love and the only lover she’d ever had was her ex. He liked to do all the work, liked to feel in control. So usually she just lay there and enjoyed, somewhat, the things he did to her.
He was never this thorough or…
All thoughts of her ex were destroyed when Draken slipped a finger inside of her. Her hips jerked. There was no way she was going to be able to stay still while he did those things to her.
Her body was on fire, burning from the inside out. Draken slid his finger in deeper and Brandi moaned at the feel of him pushing into her. He used his thumb to apply pressure to her clitoris as he slipped his finger in and out of her.
“Beautiful,” he whispered, continuing to explore her flesh. Brandi rotated her hips. His fingers slipped deeper into her.
“So wet,” he said again. “Wet for me. Only me. I could watch you like this all day, every day.” Draken continued to work her body with his fingers while he kissed and nibbled his way from her navel to the red curls of her sex. “Open your eyes.”
Brandi barely heard what Draken was saying to her. His words didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was what he was doing to her body with his fingers. She loved it, she needed this. Her body needed this. Brandi lifted her hips, causing his fingers to delve deeper into her.
“Open your eyes baby.”
She heard him that time. Brandi opened her eyes. Breathe and swallow she told herself.
Her dream lover was between her open legs, mouth hovering above the entrance of her body. Draken inhaled her scent then closed his eyes groaning.
“I need to taste you.” He opened his eyes. Using his shoulder, he nudged her legs open wider. “I need to taste you here,” he pulled his fingers out of her and rubbed her juices over her clit.
There was nothing for her to say. The only thing she could do was watch, in anticipation of what was coming next. Draken brought his face closer to her heat. So close that she could feel his breath on her p*ssy.
He placed a kiss on her tiny bud then leaned back to stare at her quivering flesh. He leaned forward again and rubbed his tongue over her clitoris. One long swipe, that was all. It set her body on fire.

buy-links

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0170ME1Y6
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0170ME1Y6
Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B0170ME1Y6

madinlust2

Check back each week for a new Madly In Lust post from another steamy romance writer.

Other writers in the Madly In Lust Blog Event: https://sirenallen.com/featured-blogs/

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CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY.