TJ and Eric update

Warning.  You will cry.  Make sure you have tissues.

http://sidlove.com/2014/02/23/unbrave-new-world-tj-klune/

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Chapter One from Space Love, a WIP

*cracks knuckles* *dusts off virtual desk* *looks around* *smiles*

Ok.  Since part of my New Year’s resolution was to actually post excerpts of my works in progress (affectionately called WIP in the writing world)–I have three– and maybe manage to finish one, I have written enough on one to post a couple of chapters or so. 😉  Maybe I’ll turn it into a blog-published story and see about wrapping it into a novel later. *shrug* Might get me to actually finish the darn thing if I post it here.  So, I will present the first Chapter of the novel, Space Love.   This Chapter, and the beginning poem I wrote for it, are also listed on Goodreads, but this is a newer version. The novel was actually started from the beginning and I mostly stuck with that.  I’m thinking of adding a prologue for the love interest of the MC explaining more of the “dreams”.  Let me know what you think and if you think that would be a good idea.  Also let me know if you think you would like to see this as a serial on my blog once a week or so.  This is a science fiction, paranormal, slightly angsty, and becoming more angsty the more times I work on it.  No sex, so safe for kids.  I have not worked on it in several months but will when I get my new iPad.  There are probably grammar errors.  I’m sure I need to rework the dream sequence, and probably misspellings.  It’s not edited so be warned…

 

Space Love

By Eloreen Moon

Chapter 1

2036 June 15, 0300, Julian Calendar

Near –Earth orbit, Space Station Cassiopeia

Ship UTASA Sydney

I snapped awake, panting.  Sweat dripped from my soaked hair and naked body. Shivering, I discovered I was tangled in my sheets and still in early morning.  Well, if I was on the planet anyway.  I slowly drew myself from the clinging sheets as I tried to slow my breathing.   I sat up facing the bathroom.  Looking at it and the slightly open track door with the light I had left on before going sleep, I remembered why I was awakened in the first place.

A Dream.  Really bad dream.  Yeah.  I remembered now.  Sort of.  Maybe.  Kind of.  Crap.  I didn’t want to remember.  I really, really didn’t want to remember.  But the dark night with the soft glow from the bathroom triggered the remembrance and my mind went back in time.  The same dream I’ve had all my life.

I’m running through green fields, so green it almost hurts my eyes.  I’m in tiger form with white and black strips, which is unusual in itself because my tiger sleeps within me. I know I’m dreaming because of this.  I feel the hunters coming.  I can taste their greed.  I can smell the lush field, an almost sweet honeysuckle smell, surrounded by a dense forest in the distance.  I don’t recognize the location, however beautiful it is.  I never have.  The grass feels good on my paws but that is a fleeting thought.  I’m running for my life and I have no idea why.  The fear eats at me.  I must run and continue to run as very bad things will happen should I stop.  I do not know the bad: It’s just a feeling. Horror fills me as I feel something breathing down my neck.  It’s getting closer. Closer. So close, that I feel as if it will consume me.  I must stay free.  I must.  It is an imperative that I am not caught.  I have no idea what will catch me but I cannot be caught, ever.

 

Something’s changed.  This time, it is slightly different.  Emotions are high and I almost feel someone else’s emotions.  I feel myself slip into the meditative state whereas I’m lucid dreaming, trying to control the dream to see something new.  With a slight distance, I feel the emotions and form of someone…different.  Almost, like, they are trying to tell me something.  I stretched for the tantalizing hint of a thread of emotion.  Fear, yes, but not for themselves.  Fear….for me?

As I slowly came to from the remembrance, I realized why I was startled awake.  The dream changed.  I’ve never had that happen before.  I briefly wondered why.  Shrug.  I’ll think about it later.  Right now, now that I’m awake, my bladder was making itself known.  I stood up, and walked to the bathroom.  Taking a deep breath, I walked up and the automatic door slid the rest of the way open at my approach.  I smirked a little as I thought about the hoops I had to go through to get that feature available.  As it slid open, I shakily walked to the toilet to relieve myself, washed my hands, and then threw some water on my face.  I looked up at the mirror.  My eyes were gold.  Not good, not good at all.  Shifting here would be a poor choice.  Not that I have ever shifted before but I knew the signs that my family told me to expect when it was time.  Time that seemed to be an unusually long time in coming.

“Casaen, you look like shit.”  My voice was harsh in the small room.  I hadn’t had much sleep lately.  The dreams were not helping.  Someone was trying to tell me something, I just knew it.  But I didn’t have a clue what was being said.  So much for me being a Dreamwalker.  You would think I would understand this kind of stuff.  But, Noooo.  I’ve been having dreams all my life and sometimes they were direct enough I could interpret.  And, sometimes not.  It was those nots that had me tied up in knots.

Great, I was making puns again.  Even in my own head.  Rolling my eyes, I sighed and looked at myself in the mirror.  The light on my face and hair was not especially harsh.  I never liked those halogen things and so went with anything that did full spectrum sunlight.  I had heard fluorescents were high demand back in the day, but I’ve never seen one.  They were outlawed when I was little in the latter part of the first decade of the 21st century.   I had a good face, I guessed.  My eyes were back to normal now.  They are brown-green eyes with a slight almond shape from some pan-Asian ancestor set in a slightly tanned face.  Wavy hair to just past my shoulders had multi-colored red, gold, brown, and some blond mingled together for a crown that covered my head.  Ok, maybe a lot of blond.  Alright, I’m mostly white blond with the rest accenting since I’m a White Bengal Tiger.  Well, I would be if I ever shifted.  Not that I really paid attention to my hair but people said it was cute.   And, it was probably too long for a guy.  Strong nose, high cheekbones, oval face, and an average forehead went with the rest of my features.  I had a long neck too.  I look almost like a girl.  I guess you would call me a twink in the old fashion vernacular.  Although that term referred to someone younger than I, I guessed as a body type, it would apply.   Five foot seven inches is not tall and with a muscular body that would be called lithe, I wasn’t in too bad of shape.  At least, that is what the ex-boyfriend told me.  At 30 standard years, I was not young by any stretch of the imagination.  Considering I just had a birthday last month, I started feeling my age.

With a wry smile, I looked at my face one more time and left the bathroom to my quarters.  Not much, but it’s my own.  With a brother and 3 sisters, you tend to find space anywhere you can.  Looking around the room, you have your basic gun-metal gray that all starships share.  I’ve not had time to decorate as I’ve only been on here only a few days.  My anti-gravity totes were stacked neatly against the far wall on the other side of the bed and next to the door to the kitchenette.  Wait, they don’t call it that here.  A food replicator?  I’ll have to ask Father.   Not that it wasn’t anything more than a cover over an alcove with a machine to synthesize food and drink.  Luckily, I had the version that would make whatever I needed without the chemical taste.   I waved my hand in front of the door sensor and it slid up into the top.  It never ceases to amaze me these new technologies.  Being someone on the far side of technology, I tend to be fairly grounded considering.

“Water with ice.”  I said to the room.

“Anything else, Mr Hagonsun?”  I startled a bit when the female voice of the Artificial Intelligence aboard the ship spoke.  Sandy, she was called.  She?  I wasn’t sure the protocol for referencing ship AI’s, let alone ships in general.  Heck, the closest I got to technology was my tablet computer and only then because I grew up with technology readily available.  Sure, I read Science Fiction being an avid reader.  You can’t get away from technology, or the reading, when everyone in my family worked there in some form or fashion.  I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.  You know that old adage? Truth is stranger than fiction?  Yeah, that’s the one.  Welcome to my world.

I never could get used to cutting-edge technology. My brain just went to mush when Dad start talking about his work on the creation of them.  Mom is an Astrogator; a space navigator if you will.  Mother and Father, Mom and Dad’s mates, also worked in space and technology.   Mother dealt with Rocketry and propulsion and Father dealt with nutrition and food replication.  Dad’s baby, AIs, were just emerging as viable ship cores when I was in my teens, thanks in a large part to Dad’s research and programming.  That was not too many years after the first learning AI was setup by the University of California named Wilson.  It was a big thing in my parent’s day and happened when I was a baby.  They told me about it when I told them I was leaving Earth for this trip.  Gods, was that a month ago?  Everything has happened so fast.  From the time the United Terra Aeronautics and Space Authority (UTASA) contacted me for this assignment some 3 months ago until now, I had been eating, sleeping, and breathing the training to go into deep space.

I guess I should have known I would end up on an extended mission in space.

“No Sandy.  Just the water.”  I said.  I still feel weird talking out loud to basically nothing and nobody in the room. 

Case, you ok?

I sighed.  I knew Cadmaen would contact me after the dream.  Since all of the Family could talk to each other with our telepathic link, talking was overrated.  I didn’t talk much unless there were humans around.  And with me being a Dreamwalker, I could send and receive emotions too.  I’m pretty sure Cade would wake up regardless considering we are littermates.  I was impressed that I could “hear” him this well though.  Hi bro. Yeah, I’m ok.  I guess.  I sent him my love, a little subdued since it was still “night” on the ship and I hadn’t fully awakened even with the dream and all.

Are you sure? Do you need me there?

NO!  You do NOT need to expend that much energy! I stood there, clutching my hands to fists and my heart thumping a mile a minute at the thought of Cade using his telekinesis ability to come up to the ship, or even the space station the ship was attached to.  That’s all I needed.  Explain a 500-lb white tiger randomly showing up in my room.  The Captain would surely want to know how that happened.  Considering she is human and does not know the extra traits our family has, I wasn’t in a hurry to enlighten her.  Not that humans don’t know, we just didn’t want our family’s heritage to be out there.  We have rather unique abilities that we don’t want to have to explain.  I’m ok, really. I’m getting water from the food replicator-thingy.  Um, what did Father call them again? And, how am I hearing you so well?  The short trips I took before for training gave me the impression that we couldn’t speak mind to mind while in orbit.

Cade snorted humorously. That was what Mom and Mother told you so you wouldn’t tax yourself while in training.  It’s never been tested as I think you are the first of our kind in space for any length of time but we think based on current psionic research that the distance doesn’t matter.  Thank you General Relativity and Albert Einstein. I suddenly had a mental picture of my brother smirking in his oh, so superior way.  Never mind that he was only 5 minutes older than I was and wasn’t superior, at all.

Our older sisters Cassandra, Crystal, and Carrie were from the litter of Mother and Father while Cade and I were the litter of Mom and Dad, officially anyway.  Since they were all mates, it didn’t really matter.  Human marriage laws have come a long way from the time when our parents were having us.  Gay, straight, lesbian, multiple partners: It didn’t matter anymore.  I know that the parental units breathed a lot easier these days as they don’t have to hide that part of their relationship.   Most humans we lived near thought we were incredibly fertile.  That’s true, just not the way they thought.  It’s because we are shifters and have litters make multiple births the norm.  We’ve kept a low profile since we didn’t want any one hunting us because we were different.  Story of our lives.  We are typically bisexual in general but some of us have a preference.  Cade and I are gay.  We just haven’t found our mates yet.  And with me in space, the likelihood of finding mine is slim and none and Slim left the solar system ages ago.  I wasn’t too worried about it since shifters tended to live longer than humans and I was only on this mission for 6 months.  I figured I had time to settle down.  Didn’t mean I wasn’t lonely though.  My last boyfriend was a year ago.

I sighed. Figures they would do that “for my own good.” I’m not 10 you know. I’m sure I wouldn’t have anyway.  Standing in the middle of training staring off to space while I talk to you probably would have been a poor choice.  I’m sorry I woke you though.  Are you ok?  You feel…a little strange…

Cade said quickly: I’m fine, really.

Why don’t I believe you?  I replied, concerned with a slight snort of my own.  He could never lie to me.  Nobody could.  It’s why I was probably here.

Crap, I could never get passed that lie-detector mind of yours. He did a mental shrug and started talking quickly. I have someone with me.  You know. In my bed.  Overnight and all.  Jeez.  Do I really have to spell it out?  My normally stand-up-and-take-charge brother was embarrassed, frustrated, horny, and…oh, damn.  My awakening him had become coitus interruptus.

I flopped on the bed.  Oh man, I’m really, really sorry.  I hadn’t expected the dream I had to change and it startled me badly.  Please apologize to your date…I assume it was a date and not your mate?

He answered: Yeah, it was only a date.  He’s human though so I had to send him off before I contacted you.  It would have been a little bit odd to explain to him that my brother miles over Earth caused me to freeze in the middle of getting off. Now he sounded annoyed.  Oh boy.  I’m going to be groveling for a bit on this one.

I’m really, really sorry? Really? I flashed him a mental smile with my dimple in place.  He always forgives me.  Well, usually forgives me.  This was no exception.

I know.  With a whoosh, I felt him send me his love, exasperation, and concern to me.  Pictured with it was someone identical to me but slightly beefier.  And – tapping his foot.  Typical Cade.  Cade continued, Are you sure you don’t need me up there?

I’m sure.  Go back to sleep Cade, I’ll be fine.  I’ve been up enough that I should be ok to go back to sleep before I start my day. Thank you, bro.  For being there.

Anytime, and I mean that literally. He sent me a wry smile, a little of his amusement seeping through, and a last parting request. Find someone, Case.  You need to get laid before taking off.  Your dreams were better when you are with someone, even when you were with what’s-his-name douche-bag-on-a-stick asshole.  You’ve been alone long enough.  At least find someone for the night.  I doubt you will find your mate in deep space but for one night, I would prefer that you slept without dreaming.

And he was gone.  A sense of a wave good-bye and the link closed.

“Well, that was entertaining.”  I said out loud sarcastically. 

“Sir?” Sandy queried.

“Never mind, I’m just talking to myself.  I do that a lot.”  With a snort, I rolled over and picked up my water, drank it down and left it on my utilitarian bed-side table.  I never did get an answer from Cade what Father called those new-fangled food replicators.  Sigh.  I’m going to have to unpack when I get back up and drifted off to sleep.  Thankfully, a dreamless one.

 

Blog Tour and 5 Star Review: Seeing Double by Algenon Lusch and GIVEAWAY!

Welcome to the Seeing Double Blog Tour!  I have the wonderful pleasure of hosting an excerpt and a review of Algenon’s new book, Seeing Double, Episode 3 in his 52 First Dates series.  The excerpt is steamy so only 18 and over please.  Review first.  Don’t worry, I don’t reveal any details in my reviews. 🙂  Don’t forget to enter to win one of three copies of Seeing Double or a copy of the Box Set (Episodes 1-3) at the Rafflecopter Giveaway at the end of the post.

Book Review: 

5 Stars

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First, I have to say, I’m not a fan of episodic stories.  There are a few authors I would read off their blog as they posted periodically, but that is about the extent I would go.  I have never been one for soap operas on TV, so why would I think to look at a book version of one?  Then I was asked to join this tour on the latest book in a series on 52 First Dates.  Intriguing.  Why not?  They are basically a serialized short story; which I do happen to like, and it based on real-life experiences.  Even more intriguing.  I read them all and now I’m hooked.  Before reading Seeing Double, you really need to read the first two: The Man PLAN and Friends and FRENCHMEN.  They build upon each other; and just like dating without a plan, real life intervenes and you get a sense of David’s personality as he decides and implements his plan of going on a date each week with a few rules in place.  The sex scenes are hot.  The writing provides David’s emotional highs and lows of his decisions and experiences in fine detail.  And, the stories gives great insight to the dating game, a la David, in London.  Overall, I give this a 5 star because even though you know there are twins, you don’t see it coming like David didn’t, and you wonder like he does: is this the One?  Cheers, and I can’t wait for the next episode.

Portrait of handsome man lying naked on bed.

Book blurb:

The man-hunt is under way, and David’s keen to a snag a husband without having to complete every date of his 52 First Dates challenge. With several successful meets behind him, there’s a growing feeling of confidence that his search could actually work. But now that the novelty’s worn off, finding the motivation to keep going is about to become harder.

David finds himself trying to juggle meeting new men and providing a shoulder to cry on his to battered and pregnant friends. And, with a plethora of hotties vying for his attention, things are about to get more complicated.

Seeing DOUBLE is a 13,000K SHORT STORY, or about 37 pages.

Seeing DOUBLE – excerpt – 18 and over

Warning! Steam level – high

 

I’ve always been a bit of a hermit. I have close friends that I see every few weeks. I had an actual proper boyfriend, rather than just a hook-up, but that was over a decade ago. I’m quite the happy singleton. However, as I lay here with the weight of a man on top of me, a safe and protected feeling flowing through me, I briefly worry that I’ve missed out on years of this sensation. My blood’s pumping, carrying adrenaline and excitement around my veins as the heady mix of pheromones arouses my senses. Rav shifts his position, and I feel his lips on my neck. He’s as hard as I’ve felt him, and he’s sliding back and forth over my arse cheeks, grinding slowly as if to purposefully tease me. Every thrust forward pushes my hips into the soft mattress below, squeezing my own hardness against the bed sheets so I feel, once again, the wet and sticky patch that’s a sign of my sexual desire. He thrusts forward again, but this time his extremely hard cock catches against my hole, and I gasp out loud as pleasure rushes through my body. Rav seems to realise my intense enjoyment, for he pulls back and uses his hand to align his throbbing dick into the right position so that it’s pushing against me, tantalising me, with each forward gyration. I moan again as he reaches out and puts his arm around my throat gently; nothing aggressive, but just enough to give me an extra ripple of excitement. I can feel my cock dripping with anticipation as he continues to grind against me, my hole feeling wetter by the minute.

“You have to fuck me,” I groan quietly as I can’t bear the touch of his cock against me any longer. It’s not enough to have his throbbing head gliding slickly over my hole. I need it in me. I reach out to the bedside table where I’ve already got a couple of condoms out of their wrappers and ready to go. There’s nothing worse than being in ‘the moment’ and then having to spend a few desperate seconds fumbling with rubbers in a drawer. He doesn’t stop grinding as I’m pulling the protection towards him, and I momentarily dream of the day when I have a husband to thrust his bare dick deep inside me without any cause for alarm. Uhh, God. Just the thought of such a scenario sends a quiver through me and I moan again.

“You sure?” Rav whispers in my ear, though the speed at which he snatches up the condom makes me realise that his question is more etiquette than actual concern. If it was our first time, I probably wouldn’t fuck. Good fucking, for me anyway, requires a degree of comfort; something not normally found when sleeping with someone for the first time. But I’ve been with Rav twice before now and I’m more than ready to feel his beautiful brown cock pushing deep inside me.

Release date:

February 10th, 2014

Book 1: The Man PLAN

Book 2: Friends and FRENCHMEN

Book 3: Seeing Double

Buy Links:

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA4ULNE/

B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seeing-double-a-lusch/1118399730?ean=2940045605786

ARe – https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-seeingdouble52firstdates3-1414844-149.html

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/402565

Google – https://play.google.com/store/books/details/A_Lusch_Seeing_Double?id=gCPNAgAAQBAJ

52 First Dates – Boxed Set

The boxed set contains all three books already released in the series, The Man PLAN, Friends and FRENCHMEN, and Seeing DOUBLE.

Buy Links

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA4LOBM/

ARehttps://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-52firstdatesboxedsetbooks13-1414849-149.html

Smashwords: – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/405816

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/A_Lusch_52_First_Dates_BOXED_SET_Books_1_3?id=pSPNAgAAQBAJ

About the author

A. Lusch lives in London and has been though much of the same path as David – in fact – this series is based around true events.

Of course, there is MUCH more to come in the tale, but, don’t worry, now the scene is set, there’ll be many more dates per book. Is there a happy ending in sight? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

A. Lusch fully believes in never settling, always striving for the perfect match, and never giving up on your man once you’ve found him – oh, and eating A LOT of donuts!

Social links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlgenonLusch

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlgenonLusch

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7191612.A_Lusch

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/A.-Lusch/e/B00EB6OWSU/

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ALusch

Rafflecopter entry

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 Star Book Review: From Johann to Tannenbaum by Ashlyn Forge

As promised, here is the review for From Johann to Tannenbaum from my previous blog tour post.  It’s still been a crazy year with snow, earthquakes, and being sick.  Let’s hope it will get better.
I was provided a copy of this from the author for the purpose of writing this review.  I had reviewed the first book in the Toys & Soldiers series and enjoyed it immensely.  This one is no exception.

5 Stars
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From Johann to Tannenbaum is a stand-alone story set in the same universe as In Liam’s Wake, Ashlyn’s first novel in the Toys & Soldier’s Series.  You will see a couple familiar faces while reading this story with the timeline along the same lines as In Liam’s Wake.  Just like In Liam’s Wake, it is a dystopia set in the underground Colony introduced previously.  This story is about Johann Andreas IV, a spoiled little rich kid trying to come into his own and failing, and a low-powered E (Empath) Tannebaum with an agenda of his own.  They start out working together and the sparks start to fly.  Each have their secrets and reasons for getting to know each other, but it builds slowly and weaves with the underlying Andrea family drama as we find out about secrets that were kept from Johann for most of his life.  You will be amused, you will cringe, and you will cry as these secrets, and more, are revealed and relationships between several characters break and reform.  Through it all, you can’t help but to keep rooting for Johann and Tanner as they find their bumpy, but happy, ending.  The interweaving of the characters and subplots provide a cohesive whole that makes this story 5 stars.

Below is an except and links to find From Johann to Tannebaum.  Thanks for reading!

Eloreen Moon

An Excerpt from From Johann to Tannenbaum:

 
Johann worked well into the night, having received a message on his interface around six o’clock from Kobal. Dinner was off, but they’d reschedule.
“Right.” Time and again he’d repeat that single-sentence text to himself and snort bitterly. “Yeah. Right.”
He was late in leaving the office, and, as anticipated, most workers had retreated to the area designated for staff by the time Johann arrived at the seemingly empty kitchen. When he saw the outline of someone sitting at the table in front of the food that had been set out for him, he approached with caution. It wasn’t a body he readily recognized.
Tanner sat hunched at the table, writing on a piece of paper.
Johann paused, thinking back to the days prior to figure out when or where the E had gotten that paper. He made a mental note to count his stack tomorrow.
“Hi.”
The E’s bald head snapped up, and he gave a weak smile. Tanner’s brown eyes settled on the paper once more. He studied what he’d written and pushed it forward.
Johann decided to sit and did so slowly as he picked the paper up. The very texture made him want to cry; it was from the office. By the Colony, how much more paper can be sacrificed for the good of communication? What he saw made him pause for some time. It was a picture. He’d seen E drawings before. Hell, when he’d called up Queen and Tanner’s profiles to see if they were single, he’d seen a few samples of Queen’s artwork. The man was a genius with a brush. Tanner, however…was much less sophisticated than the other E’s. When Johann lowered the paper and saw Tanner’s smug look, he focused on the picture again and finally laughed.
“So this is your way of giving me a message?” Johann pointed at the drawing. “I guess this is Queen?”
Tanner took the paper back, ran his thumb along the pen to change the ink color, and scribbled green hair on the stick figure.
“Ja.”
“Right.” Johann studied the message again and smiled in spite of himself. He turned the paper around to Tanner for inspection as he spoke. “So Kobal told Queen to tell me he wasn’t coming.” He pointed down to the second row of pictures to show Queen’s stick figure with a frowny face. He took on the same gruff tone the E was noted for. “So Queen said ‘hell no, I’m not going.’ So you’ve decided to come tell me. But that was a good three hours ago.” He got to the final image with the Tanner frowny face, made all too clear that it was Tanner because he’d drawn everyone else with exaggerated eyebrows, yet this stick figure was the only one without. “So you’re pissed because you waited out of the kindness of your heart and I took a long time to get here?”
Tanner only gave him that calm, pleasant look Johann had come to like. When the man folded his arms and sat back, Johann bowed humbly.
“So sorry.” He didn’t get a response, so he clapped his hands together and bowed. “So sorry. Sorry.”
In response Tanner pushed the tray of food forward and sat up with his elbows on the table as he pointed to what was on the tray.
There wasn’t much, but then again, Johann wasn’t surprised. Marian had brought the hammer down, and although Gulliver didn’t usually act all that servile to her, whatever Marian threatened to do must have convinced the cook to take heed.
The sight of the soup, bread, and yogurt caught his attention, and he nodded.
“Right. A hearty meal.”
With no way of making conversation, Johann waited for Tanner to leave. The E didn’t budge; he just sat and watched him. For an instant Johann missed Gulliver. Sure the man couldn’t talk, but at least he could understand.
Now Johann truly felt like he was talking to himself. He sighed and started on his soup. Halfway through, he noticed that Tanner had slouched lower to watch him, eyes on Johann’s mouth.
“Oh yeah, you guys don’t eat, huh?” At the curious look, Johann decided to offer some of his food. “Never? You just never eat? Not even for pleasure? Some of you eat for fun, don’t you? Here, try it.”
The gesture prompted Tanner to sit back and shake his head. He took interest in the bread roll next, and Johann studied him closely. As large as Tanner’s body was, despite all the power he exuded just by being there, he did appear harmless on many levels. There was a gentleness about him.
He didn’t think of it as much of a risk when he broke the bread and handed a piece over. Tanner looked at him cautiously and then took the piece. He seemed apprehensive, to say the least, but he took a bite and spat it out immediately.
Johann smiled and then laughed when Tanner looked from the bread roll to the paper he had scribbled on and nodded between the two.
“It does not taste like paper. Come on,” Johann mused.
When Tanner reached for the paper and threatened to take a bite, Johann sat up to snatch it from him.
“Stop already.” Johann chuckled. “Other than the fact that they both burn easily—”
Tanner made an attempt to snatch the paper back, but their fingers brushed, and a slight spark flickered between them at the contact.
Johann stood cautiously. “What the hell…”
He managed to catch a glimpse of Tanner’s eyes widening in fear before the paper caught fire.
No doubt in an attempt to shield Johann, Tanner pushed him back.
The very touch of the E’s hand on his skin made Johann howl.
Johann looked up from the burn mark on his chest. Tanner stood, both hands engulfed in flames, staring at the offending appendages, clearly at a loss of what to do.
A chime sounded, and the System’s voice boomed. “Fire. Oxygen depletion in five, four, three, two…
The kitchen door slid shut, and the lights dimmed. Tanner was the only light source then, his fists burning blue. Within a matter of seconds, there was no more air for Johann to gasp.
Amazon (Print)Amazon (Kindle)

Johann Andreas IV is a rich loser who has a raw deal in life. He is handsome, yet with a poor self-image, clever, but still uneducated, and despite being the heir apparent in his grandfather’s will, he’s about to be thrown out with nothing.In the underground colony of his birth, two things matter the most to its denizens: a name, which will guarantee his wealth and status, and a designated branding tattoo, the only thing allowing Colony-Dwellers to live safely underground. Johann has one year to secure both.His grandfather’s unexpected passing has propelled Johann to the foreground of his family. He must learn the family business within the year. He’s up to the challenge but one thing stands in his way; his mother has plans of her own…and they don’t include him.

About the Author

Ashlyn Forge has called four different continents home, America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Having spent most of her childhood staying out of trouble in upstate New York, she now lives in Japan. She is currently working on her “Toys and Soldiers” series, which is set in a Sci-Fi Fantasy underground world. The books of the series are released out of order with the debut (book 1) “In Liam’s Wake” and “From Johann to Tannnenbaum” released in 2013. Book 2: “Beyond Riley’s Slumber” as well as “The Stuff of Dreams” and “Erosions” are slated for publication in 2014.

Blog Guest: Dark Duke by Sabrina York

Please welcome to Moonbeams over Atlanta, Sabrina York!

The Third Book in the Scorching Noble Passions Series by Sabrina York Releases!

Fans of Sabrina York’s steamy Regency series have been eagerly awaiting the release of Dark Duke, the third book (following award winning Folly and Dark Fancy) in which Edward Wyeth, the Dark Duke of Moncrieff, finally meets his match in the form of a flame-haired Scottish spitfire.

Noble Passions: Follow the decadent exploits of friends and enemies as they find love and passion in the glittering world of the Regency—and its dark underbelly. Each book is a stand-alone read.

If you’re new to the series, download Sabrina’s free teaser book at http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ to read blurbs and excerpts for this popular series. Each book in the series is a stand-alone story.

Enter to win a signed print copy of Dark Fancy (Helena and James’ story—Book 2 in the Noble Passions Series) on Goodreads!  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17409083-dark-fancy

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Dark Duke

Sabrina York

Noble Passions, Book Three

Edward Wyeth, the Dark Duke of Moncrieff’s life has been turned on its end. His well-ordered home has been invaded. By destitute relatives. From Scotland. How on earth can he write Lord Hedon’s salacious novels with hellions battling in the garden and starting fires in the library? But with the onslaught has come a delicious diversion. His cousin’s companion, the surprisingly intriguing Kaitlin MacAllister. He is determined to seduce her. Using her desperate need for funds and her talents as an artist, he convinces her to draw naughty pictures for his naughtier books…and he draws her into his decadent web.

But Kaitlin has a secret. She’s fled Scotland—and a very determined betrothed. When Edward’s cousin is kidnapped and held in her stead, Kaitlin is honor bound to return to her homeland and rescue her—much to Edward’s chagrin.

Because suddenly he can’t bear the thought of Kaitlin marrying another man. He can’t bear the thought of losing her at all.

A Romantica® Regency historical erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

 

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, please exit this site.

An Excerpt From: DARK DUKE

Copyright © SABRINA YORK, 2014

All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

Edward skirted the mêlée in the garden and made his way to the far end of the estate, where there was nothing but flowers and trees and a placid little pond. Nothing to attract diminutive fiends bent on mischief. He would sit in the folly until his temperature returned to normal.

Perhaps until spring.

Dear God. He’d had no idea having the Wyeths of Perth take over his house would be such a nightmare. If he had suspected as much, he would have turned them away at the start. They would probably have crawled in under the door. Through the cracks in the flue. Vermin had a way of finding entrance.

But now. Now they were here.

Entrenched.

He had to get rid of them.

Perhaps he could send them back to Scotland.

Scotland would revile him for it, but he had little use for rocky tors, lochs and sheep.

Then he thought of Violet and his heart lurched. It would crush her to be trundled back to what she referred to as “the bleak wilderness.” She was looking forward to a glittering season in London. She was seventeen. She needed a husband. A husband of quality. That might be difficult to find in the wilds of Scotland.

And Ned. Ned was twenty. He was just starting to find his way with the ton. He’d made some friends—decent fellows. He’d even been receiving invitations to game at White’s.

The two of them—the normal two—deserved better than being lumped in with the rest.

He whacked at a rosebud as he passed. It exploded into a flutter of petals. He refused to feel any sympathy.

He couldn’t send them packing.

Then what?

Hell. He was a duke of the realm. He had six houses spread throughout the empire. Why hadn’t he thought to purchase a spare in London?

Aha!

That was brilliant.

He would. He’d buy them their own house. Move them all, lock stock and—well, maybe not the barrels, as the older boys did like to drink. He’d move them all into their own domicile.

With Aunt Hortense. Let her manage them.

His life would once again be orderly. He would be the master of his own abode. Free to pursue the life of a wealthy dilettante.

Perfect.

He rounded the bend with a satisfied smile on his face. The trickle of the fountain in the pond was a balm to his tormented soul. Birds sang in the trees. The sun—well, it almost shone. It was a beautiful day.

Soon, the world would be right again.

Soon, they would all be gone.

He skipped up the steps of the folly with a lightness of heart he hadn’t felt in ages. A book on the bench snagged his attention and his mood dipped, but only a bit. Someone had been here. But they were gone.

He picked it up and flipped through it and stilled.

Good God.

It was a sketch book.

The first page was an attempt at this scene. The flowers and trees, the pond and the little fountain. Not very good. But the second arrested his attention. It was a simple line drawing of Violet. And it was stunning. The artist had managed to depict her beauty, but also captured that glint in her eye, the particular quirk of her lips. Her soul.

The next sketch was one of Ned, showing a brash young man, standing insouciantly with his hands shoved into his pockets, whistling a silent tune. The next was of the twins—whatever their names were—dark heads together plotting some manner of mayhem.

It was so realistic Edward expected them to leap from the page and whack him with a cricket bat.

But it was the last sketch in the book that stole his breath. It was a portrait, in profile. His own face. But not an Edward he would ever recognize. This man was heroic, tragic, a solitary soldier. It was only a few lines drawn in charcoal, but it revealed so much about him. Things he didn’t want anyone to ever know.

It was horrifying. And remarkable.

“Your Grace.”

He snapped the book shut and spun around.

Of course. What’s her name. The girl. The owl. From last night.

“Oh, you found it.” She stepped into the folly and took the book from his hands. He did not know why he let it go.

“You left it here.” An accusation. Really? He hadn’t intended for it to come out like that.

She chuckled. “I had to go rescue Hamish. I was coming back.”

“What…why did you have to rescue Hamish?” This was her work? She saw him like that? And hell, she was a damn fine hand. How he would love to turn such talent to…darker purposes. What a pity she was such a prude. The kind of work he could offer her would make her rich—rich enough to quit serving as Violet’s companion.

But she would never do it. No decent woman would.

He must be crazed, truly crazed, to even think on it.

The gripping sketch of his wounded countenance lingered in his brain. If she could do that, if she could see through to his soul and bring it to life on paper—

“And then he got stuck. In the tree. So I had to rescue him.”

Lord. She’d been talking. He’d missed the entire explanation. No matter. The question had been purely rhetorical.

“How long have you been drawing?”

She winced, clutched the book to her breast. He recalled what fine breasts they were. “I… What?”

“How long have you been drawing? You’re quite good.”

“You looked at my book?” She squawked as though he’d just admitted to peering up her skirts. The lemony face returned. A beetled brow and pursed lips. It was, upon reflection, rather adorable.

“It was lying here.”

“You shouldn’t look at someone’s sketchbook.”

“You shouldn’t leave it where it can be found.” He crossed his arms over his chest and grinned at her. Damn, he loved her accent.

She sputtered. “I told you. Hamish and Tay—”

“Tay?”

“Taylor. Hamish and Taylor were building a fort in a tree—”

“Yes. Yes. I know. You had to rescue him. Tell me, have they always been this much trouble?”

She blew out a breath. “You have no idea.”

They both laughed. It was a nice moment, because it seemed, for that brief flash of time, they were friends, bound in mutual misery.

And then he went and ruined it by letting his lust intrude. “So tell me, what did you think of that book?”

She tipped her head. “What book?”

“The one I gave you last night.”

She blinked several times, as though she had to try very hard to remember. “Oh. That book. I didn’t read it.”

He stepped closer. “Ah. You like to look at the pictures, then?” He knew the sort.

“Look at the… What? No, your Grace—”

“Edward.” He infused his voice with a low thrum.

Your Grace. I didn’t have a chance to open it.”

Why petulance curled within him, he had no clue. “What do you mean you didn’t have a chance to open it?” She was supposed to have read it. Or at least looked at the pictures. She was supposed to be gazing at him, right now, with a dewy look.

She brushed an invisible speck from her skirt. “There was…a distraction.”

Well hell. “What kind of distraction?”

Her lips pursed. The look she shot him was not dewy in the slightest.

Still, he wanted to kiss her.

He wasn’t sure why. She was certainly not the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. But her face had character and charm—especially when she smiled. Her figure was full—the way he liked them—but she didn’t show it off to its best effect. In fact, if he hadn’t known what lay beneath the thick layers of crinoline and bombazine, he would have been fooled. She was prickly as a hedgehog and smacked him down at every turn.

So why did he want to pull her into his arms and smother her mouth with his?

Perhaps because of all those things.

Then again, perhaps just because.

So he did.

He took the girl—whose name he could not remember, whose face he could not forget—into his arms and kissed her. It was a gentle buss, as kisses went, but extremely sublime. Because he’d surprised her.

Her lips were open, as though poised to speak. He took full advantage, sweeping in his tongue to dab at hers, nibbling and licking and tasting her sweet breath.

The prick at his side was not a surprise. He’d expected it.

He lifted his head and stared down into her eyes. Her expression was dazed and determined and perhaps a little dewy. “Not this time, darling,” he murmured. He took the knife from her hand and tossed it aside and then pulled her more fully against him.

And ah. She was soft. Sweet. Her breasts pressed against his chest. Her hips molded the cradle of his groin. Of course, he was the one doing the molding, but she didn’t fight him.

No. She sighed and tipped her head to the side so he could deepen the kiss. She tasted like ambrosia. A tantalizing flavor of cinnamon and woman and surrender. His ardor rose, and with it, his cock. He rubbed it against her belly.

She stiffened and tried to push away, muttering something into his mouth that sounded like “No.”

He changed his tack, running his lips down her cheek and along the line of her jaw to nestle in the crook of her neck. She shuddered. Some groan-like sound emanated from her throat. She clutched at his hair.

Thusly encouraged, he sucked at the tender skin of her neck. Nipped.

“Oh! Saints preserve us,” she whispered.

“The saints don’t care,” he responded, switching to the other side of her neck. He found a spot that delighted her even more and feasted there. In her distraction, she didn’t stop the palm skimming over her ribs to cup a breast.

He encased her. Ah. Exquisite. Full and round and pliable. He thumbed a nipple, testing its rigidity. She dipped as her knees gave way. He caught her. Swung her up in his arms and carried her to the bench.

From long experience, he knew better than to give a woman a moment to think. So as soon as he had her settled across his lap and firmly braced against the wall of the folly, he kissed her again. With one hand, he stroked her nipples while with the other, he slowly drew up her skirts.

 

About Sabrina York

Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York is the award winning author of over 20 hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy erotic romance to scorching BDSM. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!

CURRENT PROMOS

Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/

Newsletter & contest: http://sabrinayork.com/sabrinas-contest-and-newsletter/

Enter to win a signed print copy of scorching Regency romance, Dark Fancy on Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17409083-dark-fancy

FOLLOW SABRINA

Like my Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/SabrinaYorkBooks

Follow me on Twitter @sabrina_york

Follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5817917.Sabrina_York

Check out my Pintrest boards: http://www.pinterest.com/sabrinayork/boards/

Like my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sabrina-York/e/B00856PDEO/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1382929432&sr=8-2-ent

Check out my Barnes & Noble Author page: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/sabrina-york

Follow me on Ellora’s Cave: https://www.ellorascave.com/index.php/authors/index/author/slug/sabrina-york/

Books by Sabrina York

Adam’s Obsession (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)

Dark Duke (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave) —Coming soon

Brigand (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave) —Coming soon

Dark Fancy (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave)

Devlin’s Dare: A Tryst island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary)

Dragonfly Kisses: A Tryst Island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary)

Extreme Couponing (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)

Fierce (One Night Stand, Decadence Press)

Five Alarm Fire (Erotic Contemporary for the High Octane Heroes Anthology, Cleis Press)

Folly (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave)

Heart of Ash: A Tryst Island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary)

Lust Eternal (Erotic Fantasy, Ellora’s Cave)

Pushing Her Buttons (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)

Making Over Maris (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave) —Coming November 6th

Man Hungry (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)

Rebound: A Tryst Island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary, Available on Amazon)

Rebound is now available on Smashwords

Rising Green (Erotic Horror, Ellora’s Cave)

Saving Charlotte (Erotic Contemporary for the Smokin’ Hot Firemen Anthology, Cleis Press)

Smoking Holt: A Tryst Island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary)

Training Tess (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)

Trickery (Erotic Contemporary with Magical Elements, Ellora’s Cave Hex Line)

Tristan’s Temptation (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)

Fireside Chat with Amy Lane, Charlie Cochet and Rhys Ford! Feb 22

Rhys Ford

FiresideChat_FacebookPost

Dreamspinner Press is having a Fireside Chat on
February 22, 2014 at 5 pm EST! (2 pm PST for me)!

I have the honour of being a part of a new Dreamspinner event called a Fireside Chat. It will be hosted on Google Hangouts by Ariel Tachna and feature Amy Lane, Charlie Cochet and me, Rhys Ford. I’ll be posting a link to the live chat as soon as I get it and it will be available on Youtube shortly afterwards.

What do I need from you? How about some questions? For any of the authors! We’ll be answering fan questions, maybe doing some readings and I’m debating moving one of the pictures in my living room so I can hang my jackalope head behind me. His name is Buck. He’s very lovely.

Leave your questions here at the DSP blog or below and I’ll forward them on… they can…

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Release Day: Seeing Double by Algenon Lusch

It’s release day for Algenon Lusch’s Seeing Double, Episode 3 of 52 First Dates:

The man-hunt is under way, and David’s keen to a snag a husband without having to complete every date of his 52 First Dates challenge. With several successful meets behind him, there’s a growing feeling of confidence that his search could actually work. But now that the novelty’s worn off, finding the motivation to keep going is about to become harder.

David finds himself trying to juggle meeting new men and providing a shoulder to cry on his to battered and pregnant friends. And, with a plethora of hotties vying for his attention, things are about to get more complicated.

SeeingDouble

Seeing DOUBLE is a 13,000K SHORT STORY, or about 37 pages.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA4ULNE/

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seeing-double-a-lusch/1118399730?ean=2940045605786

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-seeingdouble52firstdates3-1414844-149.html

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/402565

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/A_Lusch_Seeing_Double?id=gCPNAgAAQBAJ

52 First Dates – Boxed Set

The boxed set contains all three books already released in the series, The Man PLAN, Friends and FRENCHMEN, and Seeing DOUBLE.

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA4LOBM/

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-52firstdatesboxedsetbooks13-1414849-149.html

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/405816

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/A_Lusch_52_First_Dates_BOXED_SET_Books_1_3?id=pSPNAgAAQBAJ

52 First Dates Books 1-3

About the author

A. Lusch lives in London and has been though much of the same path as David – in fact – this series is based around true events.

Of course, there is MUCH more to come in the tale, but, don’t worry, now the scene is set, there’ll be many more dates per book. Is there a happy ending in sight? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

A. Lusch fully believes in never settling, always striving for the perfect match, and never giving up on your man once you’ve found him – oh, and eating A LOT of donuts!

Social links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlgenonLusch

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlgenonLusch

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7191612.A_Lusch

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/A.-Lusch/e/B00EB6OWSU/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ALusch

Guest Blog: Love’s Intensity by Cassandra Ulrich

Please welcome Cassandra Ulrich, today’s guest blogger as she talks about her new novel, Love’s Intensity.  Welcome!

I’m excited to introduce my latest and 2nd novel, Love’s Intensity, a teen paranormal romance novel, released on July 11, 2013.  I first plunged into writing novels with the release of my teen inspirational novel, A Beautiful Girl, on April 7, 2011.  Billiard Buddies, a New Adult romance novella, will mark my third release coming soon.  I enjoy writing characters with real life complexities. 

I started out as a poet, entering competitions.  I figured I’d write short stories, but I never thought I’d write full length novels.  Never letting go of a dream a 5th grade teacher had for me and giving in to the encouragement of friends, I began writing Love’s Intensity, which had progressed in my mind for two months.  It was challenging to create a beginning for a story where I met the characters already living out their lives, but after reading the first chapter, my friends asked for more.  Having gone through three rewrites, I’m happy to present this story to everyone else.  This novel is only the beginning.  A series of novels is sure to follow.  Because my characters are multifaceted, readers respond to them like they are real people.  See below for a blurb, excerpt, and sites where a copy may be purchased.

 

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Love’s Intensity Blurb: Brad loves fast horses, cars, and bikes.  Life would be perfect if his stepmother could only mind her own business.  Instead, his father hired a longtime friend and her family to work in their home, turning his world into a feudal mess.

 He wants to hate the new arrivals and it doesn’t help that Kressa, daughter of the newcomers, is the most gorgeous girl he’d ever laid eyes on.  With a scent that draws him to her, Kressa causes him more internal conflict than he ever dreamed possible.  He falls for her so deeply, he tells her a secret he’d never even told his best friends – that he’s training to be a ninja warrior.

 Kressa adores her country and loves hanging out with her many cousins.  News of the move to Massachusetts comes as a shock to her.  She refuses to be happy in this new place working as a servant for a rich man and his mean son, who had the nerve to be cute.  And why does her skin tingle every time her hand brushes against his?

 Despite her efforts, she finds herself desperately longing for a friendship with the one boy who scowls at her.  Matters are only made more complicated when his family and hers clash. When he goes on a dangerous mission, she wonders, will he return so she can tell him he’s won her heart or will their families manage to keep them apart?

Love’s Intensity Excerpt:

Brad had been standing in the doorway in time to see Kressa fall off the horse.  When he had gotten up and walked to the office to grab the key, he found it missing and figured Kressa must have already taken it.  Running to the stable, he hoped she was okay setting up her horse for the ride.  From the way she was sprawled out on the stable floor, he could tell she had a little difficulty.  Brad walked over to Kressa and gave her the boost she needed to sit properly on the saddle.

“Good job with the saddle,” Brad encouraged Kressa, “but next time you may want to use the stepping stool I got you yesterday.  Keep Gentle Rider tied up to this post until you get settled, then you can untie her.”  Moving the rake and pitchforks to the far end of the stable, Brad continued, “I have no idea what I would have done if you landed on these.  I should have made sure these were properly put way, so the horses wouldn’t knock them over.”  He picked up and brought the stepping stool over, placing it near Gentle Rider’s area.

“I suppose Papa would have had your head too.”

“Yeah, I’m glad you’re okay.”

Kressa rode her horse out the stable while Brad got his horse saddled, fed, and watered. After leading Silver Bullet into the yard, he asked Kressa, “Did you give her feed and water?”

****

Oh, no.  Now he’ll be upset.  He adores his horses.

“Sorry, I forgot. I was so eager to ride.  I can do it now,” Kressa said, embarrassed that she forgot.

“No.  It’ll take too much effort to get you on your horse again.  I’ll go get it.”  Kressa noticed Brad did not sound annoyed.  He spoke to her in a matter-of-fact tone.

After feeding and watering her horse, Brad and Kressa galloped around the large grassy area.  After riding for a half-hour, Brad pointed to the forest area.  “Would you like to go through there and see what’s on the other side?”

“Yes,” Kressa eagerly responded, “I’ve wanted to know where you go when riding your horse.”  Kressa realized too late she had exposed her secret.

“Have you been watching me?  One day, I felt like I was being watched.  I thought it might be you, but when I saw you in the dining room, I figured I must have been wrong.”

Kressa knew she ought to fess up.  “It was me.  I hid because I didn’t want you to know I was watching.”

“How did you run upstairs so fast?  You didn’t look out of breath.”

“I held my breath until you moved away.  I was exhausted.”  Kressa tried to smile while casting her eyes to the ground.  Brad laughed heartily.

“Let’s go,” he said, leading the way through a path in the forest, which had been created by much riding, to the grassy field on the other side.

When Brad and Kressa came out of the tree cover, the sun seemed to shine brighter due to the open space.  No shrubs or little trees existed here, only light green short cut grass which reflected the sunlight.  They raced the horses around the perimeter a couple times before coming to a stop.

****

Nina studied Julio while he watched Kressa during her riding lesson.  When Brad led Kressa into the forest, Julio turned to Nina and barked, “Where is he taking her?  I don’t like that boy.  He’s not trustworthy.  If he touches my girl…”

Nina interrupted, “He won’t touch her.  He has strict orders from his father.”

“Nina, he’s a young man with an active libido.  I don’t care what his orders are; he can’t be trusted to control what comes naturally.  Now, he’s alone with her and under the cover of those trees,” Julio fumed.

“Julio, Kressa is a smart girl.  She knows what we’ve taught her, what we expect.  Even if he tried something, she would push him away.”

“But only if she doesn’t want him, Nina.  He’s strong, good looking, and the only boy around to talk to.  I’m going over there.”

“Please wait a few minutes.  If they’re not back, then go, but please don’t hurt him.”

“You would elevate him over our daughter’s innocence?”

“No, Julio, of course not.  I just don’t want you to do something you can’t return from.  I love you.”

Julio shook his head and moved away from her.  He must hate me for bringing him here.  What can I do to change his mind?

****

Brad rode Silver Bullet alongside Kressa and Gentle Rider so the horses faced each other upon his approach.  He gazed into Kressa’s eyes, longing to learn something new about the girl who lived in his house.  Brad removed his riding glove and reached over to brush Kressa’s hair away from her face so he could touch her cheek.  She did not shrink away.  His fingertips tingled where her skin met his.

So beautiful.  Brad’s heart pumped a little faster and his mind swirled.  Does she feel drawn to me too?  He shook his head slightly.  “We should go back now,” Brad said tenderly, realizing once again that the warmth he felt when he touched Kressa also did something to his heart.  It was better not to remain alone.  He wondered if Kressa would ever admit whether she experienced any affection toward him.  He found her hard to read sometimes.

Brad pulled on his glove, led the way back through the forest, and headed for the stable.  After brushing, feeding, and watering all four horses, Brad and Kressa strolled back to the house.  “Great lesson today.  I think before long you’ll be able to go out on your own.”

“Really?  That would be great.  How many more lessons do I need?” She said eagerly.

“I would imagine one or two more.”

They both laughed at the good news.  At that moment, Kressa’s dad appeared around some shrubs at the base of the hill. His face held a fiery red glow.

“Kressa, get to the house right now,” Mr. Morales said grabbing her arm and pushing her toward their apartment.  “I don’t know what you were thinking today taking her through those woods, but I don’t like it.”

“Sir, there’s wide open space to run the horses on the other side of the trees.  I wasn’t trying to seduce her,” Brad said, feeling some guilt for touching her cheek earlier.

Mr. Morales shot Brad a fierce look and took Kressa away.  She followed, pleading with her father to let her go and trying to convince him nothing happened.  Kressa and her father began speaking in Spanish, so Brad could no longer comprehend what was being said.  Brad headed back to his room in anguish over what he just witnessed.  He picked up the handkerchief and rubbed it on his cheek.  He was sorry for causing her so much trouble.

Over the next few hours, Brad spent time on his laptop looking up home schooling rules.  He gathered all the information he could and went looking for his father.  Brad and his dad needed to do a lot of preparation if Kressa were to start school at home in a week.  Finding his father in the office, Brad presented him with the draft for a lesson plan needed. It had to be submitted to the school administration.

Dinnertime proved tense for Brad, and he didn’t doubt it was for Kressa as well.  He avoided looking at her as much as possible, not because he experienced nervousness concerning their interaction earlier in the day, but because he did not want Kressa’s father to take it out on her.  She seemed stiff whenever she served Brad a side dish.  He knew her reaction was due to her father keeping a close eye on them all evening.  Brad wanted to talk to his new friend, but knew it would be better if he waited until morning.

Cassandra’s Bio: Cassandra Ulrich was born on the beautiful island of St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands, located east of Puerto Rico.  Living in the tropics fueled her imagination and day dreams.  For years, she wrote poetry and entered competitions.  However, only many years later did she discover joy in writing stories longer than a few pages.

 cassandraulrich

 

She published her first young adult novel, A Beautiful Girl, in April 2011.  The inspirational novel has already touched many hearts ranging from teens to adults.

 

Her second novel, Love’s Intensity, is a teen paranormal romance and was released on July 11, 2013.

Website: http://cassandraulrich.com/

Blog Site: http://cassandraulrich.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CassandraUlrichAuthor

Twitter: @CassandraUlric1

Amazon: Author Page

Buy LinksWildChildPublishing | Amazon | B&N  | All Romance ebooks | 

 

 

Blog Tour: From Johann to Tannebaum by Ashlyn Forge

Welcome to Ashlyn Forge’s Blog Tour!  Moonbeams Over Atlanta is proud to host the second, stand-a-lone book, in the Toys & Soldiers series.  I had reviewed and posted about it last year.  It was a wonderful  dystopia m/m romance, and I expect this to be as good.  Below is the summary and excerpt. Look for a review by Eloreen Moon posted to Moonbeams Over Atlanta as soon as I am able to finish reading it.  🙂  The tour arrived faster than expected, but I had a heck of January.  Soon order will be wrestled out of chaos and I will be back on track.  More tours and guest posts coming your way!

 

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Johann Andreas IV is a rich loser who has a raw deal in life. He is handsome, yet with a poor self-image, clever, but still uneducated, and despite being the heir apparent in his grandfather’s will, he’s about to be thrown out with nothing.
In the underground colony of his birth, two things matter the most to its denizens: a name, which will guarantee his wealth and status, and a designated branding tattoo, the only thing allowing Colony-Dwellers to live safely underground. Johann has one year to secure both.
His grandfather’s unexpected passing has propelled Johann to the foreground of his family. He must learn the family business within the year. He’s up to the challenge but one thing stands in his way; his mother has plans of her own…and they don’t include him.
Ashlyn Forge has called four different continents home, America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Having spent most of her childhood staying out of trouble in upstate New York, she now lives in Japan. She is currently working on her “Toys and Soldiers” series, which is set in a Sci-Fi Fantasy underground world. The books of the series are released out of order with the debut (book 1) “In Liam’s Wake” and “From Johann to Tannnenbaum” released in 2013. Book 2: “Beyond Riley’s Slumber” as well as “The Stuff of Dreams” and “Erosions” are slated for publication in 2014.
An Excerpt from From Johann to Tannenbaum:
 
Johann worked well into the night, having received a message on his interface around six o’clock from Kobal. Dinner was off, but they’d reschedule.
“Right.” Time and again he’d repeat that single-sentence text to himself and snort bitterly. “Yeah. Right.”
He was late in leaving the office, and, as anticipated, most workers had retreated to the area designated for staff by the time Johann arrived at the seemingly empty kitchen. When he saw the outline of someone sitting at the table in front of the food that had been set out for him, he approached with caution. It wasn’t a body he readily recognized.
Tanner sat hunched at the table, writing on a piece of paper.
Johann paused, thinking back to the days prior to figure out when or where the E had gotten that paper. He made a mental note to count his stack tomorrow.
“Hi.”
The E’s bald head snapped up, and he gave a weak smile. Tanner’s brown eyes settled on the paper once more. He studied what he’d written and pushed it forward.
Johann decided to sit and did so slowly as he picked the paper up. The very texture made him want to cry; it was from the office. By the Colony, how much more paper can be sacrificed for the good of communication? What he saw made him pause for some time. It was a picture. He’d seen E drawings before. Hell, when he’d called up Queen and Tanner’s profiles to see if they were single, he’d seen a few samples of Queen’s artwork. The man was a genius with a brush. Tanner, however…was much less sophisticated than the other E’s. When Johann lowered the paper and saw Tanner’s smug look, he focused on the picture again and finally laughed.
“So this is your way of giving me a message?” Johann pointed at the drawing. “I guess this is Queen?”
Tanner took the paper back, ran his thumb along the pen to change the ink color, and scribbled green hair on the stick figure.
“Ja.”
“Right.” Johann studied the message again and smiled in spite of himself. He turned the paper around to Tanner for inspection as he spoke. “So Kobal told Queen to tell me he wasn’t coming.” He pointed down to the second row of pictures to show Queen’s stick figure with a frowny face. He took on the same gruff tone the E was noted for. “So Queen said ‘hell no, I’m not going.’ So you’ve decided to come tell me. But that was a good three hours ago.” He got to the final image with the Tanner frowny face, made all too clear that it was Tanner because he’d drawn everyone else with exaggerated eyebrows, yet this stick figure was the only one without. “So you’re pissed because you waited out of the kindness of your heart and I took a long time to get here?”
Tanner only gave him that calm, pleasant look Johann had come to like. When the man folded his arms and sat back, Johann bowed humbly.
“So sorry.” He didn’t get a response, so he clapped his hands together and bowed. “So sorry. Sorry.”
In response Tanner pushed the tray of food forward and sat up with his elbows on the table as he pointed to what was on the tray.
There wasn’t much, but then again, Johann wasn’t surprised. Marian had brought the hammer down, and although Gulliver didn’t usually act all that servile to her, whatever Marian threatened to do must have convinced the cook to take heed.
The sight of the soup, bread, and yogurt caught his attention, and he nodded.
“Right. A hearty meal.”
With no way of making conversation, Johann waited for Tanner to leave. The E didn’t budge; he just sat and watched him. For an instant Johann missed Gulliver. Sure the man couldn’t talk, but at least he could understand.
Now Johann truly felt like he was talking to himself. He sighed and started on his soup. Halfway through, he noticed that Tanner had slouched lower to watch him, eyes on Johann’s mouth.
“Oh yeah, you guys don’t eat, huh?” At the curious look, Johann decided to offer some of his food. “Never? You just never eat? Not even for pleasure? Some of you eat for fun, don’t you? Here, try it.”
The gesture prompted Tanner to sit back and shake his head. He took interest in the bread roll next, and Johann studied him closely. As large as Tanner’s body was, despite all the power he exuded just by being there, he did appear harmless on many levels. There was a gentleness about him.
He didn’t think of it as much of a risk when he broke the bread and handed a piece over. Tanner looked at him cautiously and then took the piece. He seemed apprehensive, to say the least, but he took a bite and spat it out immediately.
Johann smiled and then laughed when Tanner looked from the bread roll to the paper he had scribbled on and nodded between the two.
“It does not taste like paper. Come on,” Johann mused.
When Tanner reached for the paper and threatened to take a bite, Johann sat up to snatch it from him.
“Stop already.” Johann chuckled. “Other than the fact that they both burn easily—”
Tanner made an attempt to snatch the paper back, but their fingers brushed, and a slight spark flickered between them at the contact.
Johann stood cautiously. “What the hell…”
He managed to catch a glimpse of Tanner’s eyes widening in fear before the paper caught fire.
No doubt in an attempt to shield Johann, Tanner pushed him back.
The very touch of the E’s hand on his skin made Johann howl.
Johann looked up from the burn mark on his chest. Tanner stood, both hands engulfed in flames, staring at the offending appendages, clearly at a loss of what to do.
A chime sounded, and the System’s voice boomed. “Fire. Oxygen depletion in five,four, three, two…
The kitchen door slid shut, and the lights dimmed. Tanner was the only light source then, his fists burning blue. Within a matter of seconds, there was no more air for Johann to gasp.