Friday, February 13, 2009
An erotic urban fantasy romance
by Linda Mooney
Now Available from Red Rose Publishing!http://redrosepublishing.com/bookstore/product_info.php?products_id=397
He was a man angry at an accident which left him forever incapacitated.
She was a woman disfigured and empty.
Add one immense painting imbued with a magical ability, and the resulting enchantment changed more than just their lives.
It changed their world.
Excerpt - (rated PG)
Her feet splashed into the water at the lake’s edge. Quickly Johana did a little hop onto the embankment and pulled off her shoes to empty them. A glance over her shoulder at the reflection in the water told her exactly where she was. She had entered the painting where the forest met the lake, exactly what she had been facing on the other side. If she continued to follow the shoreline, she knew she would inevitably arrive at the castle depicted in the background.
Johana inhaled the fragrance of the woods. It was real. This was all real. All around her the sights and sounds and smells were exactly as she expected. Overhead the sun shone through the rustling leaves. The weather was warm, very spring-like. She could even hear birds chirping in the distance.
Bushes dragged against her pants legs. Small white flowers littered the ground along with dead leaves. Everywhere she looked the place breathed of reality. Whether it was an alternate world or some kind of time portal displacement was no longer important. What mattered now was that she was inside the painting, living within its boundaries as if she had traveled there via plane, car, or on foot, and not through a solid stone wall.
Something rustled to her left. Maybe caused by a creature like a deer or raccoon. It didn’t matter. For some strange reason Johana felt perfectly safe. Stranger still, she felt perfectly at home, as though she belonged there. As though she had finally come back to the land where she’d been born.
Following the curve in the lake kept the distant castle in view. In the painting the towering structure had sat slightly off-center, but now it filled her horizon like an immense crown of stone. The closer she approached it, the more breath-taking it became.
The artwork had also displayed a smaller stone building set apart from the castle and partially concealed by the forest. The lake looped near it. As Johana continued walking toward it, she could see jeweled glints of light coming from its windows. It was a church, she realized.
And the double doors stood wide open.
Stopping several yards away, she stared at the entrance. Despite the pleasant weather, she couldn’t remember if churches left their doors open in the middle of the day. Open where anyone, including animals, could enter, seeking something to eat or a place to nest.
"Doesn’t matter," she whispered to herself. "Open doors means someone’s inside. Either that, or Mr. Castle is pretty damn sure no one is going to be bothering the place."
She walked up to the church building and took the narrow stone steps up to the entrance. The interior was dark but not oppressive. As she slowly went inside an overwhelming sense of peacefulness filled her.
The altar was covered with a white banner sewn with golden threads. Pure ivory colored tapers stood on both ends. A basket of white lilies sat on the floor before it. The candles were unlit, but enough sunlight came through the multi-colored stained glass windows to throw artificial rainbows across the pews and aisle.
A man stood before the altar, his back to the doors. Johana stared at the tall figure dressed in jeans and a short-sleeved polo shirt. Long minutes passed as he remained in contemplation or prayer. Suddenly he turned to leave and gasped to see her standing mere yards away.
"Who the hell are you? How’d you get here?"
He was angry. Surprised and angry. Johana didn’t blame him in the least. His perfect paradise had been intruded upon and no longer belonged exclusively to him.
"My name’s Johana Reese, Mr. Castle."
Darkness suddenly seemed to descend outside. Clouds gathered to block the sunlight streaming in, and the building grew dimmer. However, Castle either didn’t notice the growing darkness, or he didn’t care.
"The reporter? You’re that reporter that’s been hounding me? What in hell are you doing here? Go back!"
"I can’t," she told him, glancing over her shoulder. Was that thunder?
"Why not? Just go back the same way you got in! Stick your hand through the wall and someone’ll drag you out. Now go!" His face was so flushed a vein stood out above his right eyebrow. The wind picked up outside, blowing leaves into the sanctuary.
"I can’t," Johana repeated. "I don’t think I could find the way out without help." It was the truth. She could find her way back to the approximate area where she entered the painting, but unless there was a clearly marked exit sign, there was no way she could find the exact place.
He frowned at her, but the anger on his face did little to mar the man’s dark good looks. Johana felt her breath catch in her throat. There had been no photos or pictures to prepare her for when she finally met the man. No way she would have known what Warren William Castle looked like before now.
The man was too damned good looking. And it frightened her more than his wrath or the storm brewing outside.
"How did you manage to get here in the first place?" he asked again, this time with a little more civility. But not by much.
"The same way you did...sort of. I walked through the painting."
"How?" she echoed. "Well, I picked up one foot and set it down, then I picked up—"
Castle gave a little growl of irritation and advanced toward her. At the same time lightning crackled above them. "I don’t have time for any smartass answers. Come on. I’m taking you back."
He strode toward her on perfectly strong legs, not legs weakened by lack of use or infirmity. Johana stood her ground, undaunted by the figure quickly coming toward her. People had tried to intimidate her before. It wasn’t a tactic she wasn’t expecting.
"They’re worried about you, you know," she managed to say just as he reached for her. Too late she realized he was reaching for her left arm, her bad arm. She tried to jerk it away but she wasn’t fast enough. His large, warm hand clamped around her upper arm and started to jerk her around. Johana gave a shriek of pain as she grabbed his wrist and tried to pry it off. Her reaction made him freeze.
"What’s...wrong?" she gasped, bent over slightly as she waited for the hot agony in her withered muscles to stop lancing up her arm.
"Dammit, woman! Why do you insist on repeating every fucking thing I say?" he practically roared, reaching for her again. He said more, but the nearly-deafening boom of thunder drowned him out.
Johana flinched. Too late she realized his intent. Castle snagged her arm again but this time he also grabbed the material at her shoulder with his other hand and jerked downward, ripping the sleeve. Dumbfounded, he stared at her thin, almost skeletal arm. His hesitation gave her just enough time to come around with her other hand and land a full-fisted blow to the side of his face. Castle gave a grunt in surprise, released her arm, and staggered back a couple of steps.
"You hurt me, you son of a bitch!" Johana yelled at him. "Touch me again and I swear I’ll kick you in the nuts so hard, you’re gonna need that wheelchair over on this side!"
Thursday, February 12, 2009
And it's on sale! Yep, so grab a copy!
Liquid Silver Books
Shar Brenna is a hard-working woman, a respected member of her witch Kin clan. At least until she's held under suspicion of arson by the local police for the demise of Mystic, a Kin hotspot for the witch clans in Granier Falls.
As clues bring dangers bearing down on her and more of her friends begin to look as though they are in jeopardy too, she must find out who was behind the fire and then face the hunters who are determined to capture a witch.
Fleeing has never been her style when fighting back is so much more satisfying.
Read the first full Chapter here!
Watch the video here!
A spicy read filled with heat and passion.
~Lauren Murphy, author
She nudged the wooden door open, slipping in without making any noise. She spotted him, his back to the door, hunched over a table. A blue light was illuminating his shape and a sound, like the hum of a bumblebee reached her.
He was crafting something. An awed shiver hit her skin. She'd rarely seen him do it, but there was something so beautiful in what he could do, how he could manipulate metal to any shape. Biting her lip, keeping quiet to stay undiscovered, she slunk in to watch him.
The piece he was working on was recessed in a well, held up by spokes on a rotating wheel so he could do different sections. There was a faint sheen along his hairline, sweat that attested to his concentration for perfection. Muscles rippled beneath his t-shirt as he moved ever so slowly, a dance of timed orchestration with his hands over the metal blank in the well. His boot heels were hooked to the bottom rung of the simple black stool he sat on, his thighs thick and taut in the press of his faded jeans.
This time she licked her lip rather than bite it, feeling her heart pick up in appreciation of the male form. Black hair was pushed back, nearly to his shoulders. Her fingers tingled remembering it, the way it felt, the heat that had seared her as she'd held on to him.
While he'd kissed me. Her lids fluttered closed, and more than the memory of her hands in his hair returned. She drew a steadying breath, surprised with herself. What was going on? Since when had the sight of Trajan in jeans ever made her feel gooey inside?
The immediate thought of him out of those jeans made her quiver. She swallowed. It had to be that damn kiss. Okay, all of them. The man had something going for him, that was for sure. She'd hoped after he'd left her that morning she'd ensured she'd located all her lost marbles misplaced from their first kiss in her kitchen. From the look of things, and damn but did they look good, her marbles were gone for the duration.
Biceps twitched. The light extinguished and he let out a breath. He reached upward stretching and Shar got a full side view of his torso. He stood and stripped the t-shirt, stretching once more then sat down. Adjusting the rim blank in the frame well then locking it into place again between the spokes, he focused again.
Blood pulsed against her skin, warming her as he began to work. He was beautiful. The sheen on his back made him look god-like. Muscle and sinew moved and danced in unity with the precise motions of his hands. The slow, graceful tension of his hands as they sculpted the image mid-air, coercing his magic to duplicate his wishes into the metal. It was mind over matter and there wasn't an ore or metal on the planet that wouldn't fall to Trajan's persuasion. Some could bend water, or even create heat or freezing cold like her own ability, yet what he did was phenomenally rare among their clan. The sheer creative genius was what created a demand for his work. She knew what he did was strenuous, but the visual looked effortless, as an edge, then a shape on the rim blank began to appear beneath his hands. Pieces fell free with a muted clang as cuts and trims created debris, falling into the basin of the frame.
She hated to disturb him, knowing she should have when he'd stopped. She didn't want him to have an error either because she had to break into his concentration.
Instead of calling out to him, she slowly walked up his side, where he'd see her in his peripheral vision. Closer and closer until she was sure he had to know she was there. His focus was relentless though. He never looked up.
"Trajan?" she whispered.
The light and the precise cutting stopped at the same time he shot out a hand and captured one of hers beneath his.
She squealed in surprise.
He yanked her to his side, pinning her against his taut body. "'Bout time you said something," he growled. The roughness in his voice sparked down her spine like a livewire. He found her chin with his other hand and tipped her up. Before she could speak, he claimed her lips.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Book one: Shadowed Souls
It's been almost a year since my vampire Diego has seen the light of ...er... night.... LOL
But I'm very happy say that he and his story is out by Tease Publishing as part of the Dark Tarot Imprint! I'm very happy to see this book be available once more!
Available in print now here!
Available now at Fictionwise. On Sale Now!
As part of the imprint series, the covers are representations of a true Tarot deck, and Diego's story is of the Hanged Man. The card reveals sacrifice, selflessness, and solutions to problems that then weren't obvious through his travels. These solutions becomes clear as he acts and reacts to his world. This card lends its meaning to both Diego and Titania.
Welcome to their world.........
Diego Viteri has lived for centuries with only one real goal, to avenge himself against the one who destroyed the man that he was and created the creature he is now. He is suffering a growing loneliness that is becoming impossible to ignore. His only reason for not ending his life is to see that Brakka is served his justice and then, Diego can rest.
The last thing he is expecting is to have an encounter with a human woman who is willing to jump between himself and Brakka during a harsh and bloody battle. Their one meeting changes everything for Diego, bringing to life emotions and wants that he has long believed to be as dead as he is.
As he follows Titania and her band, his needs reshape into something that he can't ignore. Before he knows what he has done, he bonds with her and sets into motion the very thing he swore he would never do to another person. He has shared his curse and in the process may have very well killed her. And there is only one choice to be made to try to save her.
He meant it only as a brush of skin, his lips to hers, an exclamation of his growing feelings for her, but the instant his lips found hers, all reasoning deserted him. She was sweet and hot, soft and seductive to his senses.
The earth moved beneath his feet, rocked him to his soul, and he held her tighter to keep himself from flying off into space. Her body matched perfectly to his, meeting his planes and hard angles with the curves and valleys of a woman's body. An unknown urge screamed in his head, and pounded at his temples. To claim her. To make her completely his. To be able to protect her, regardless of time or distance.
He shoved the thought far away. He would never pass on his curse. He would not condemn this woman of compassion to a life of death. Instead of dwelling on the impossible, he shifted his weight, bringing her flush against him. He pushed a hand through the thick weight of her hair, savoring every electric sensation on his skin.
He tasted her lips, nibbling at the corner of her mouth, feeling her breath against his skin, sipping at her lips until she gave in, and he burned.
For the full first chapter, please visit my site.
A little bit about the author:
With more than half a dozen ebooks currently to her credit and one book due to be released this year in print, Diana Castilleja has kept busy since she started writing professionally in late 2004.
Diana currently resides in central Texas with her husband and son. When not focusing her energy on her family and her writing, she loves to travel and haunt bookstores. She's lived in several states across the south and midwest, as well as traveling to Mexico. With moving every year or changing schools since the fourth grade to her sophomore year, she learned reading was a fast escape. The freedom to read about anything and everything has fueled her adult imagination. She also enjoys romance, horses, and yes, still loves to read. She is a proud co-owner in Sweeter Romantic Notions, as well as a member of the writing resource forum Romance Divas.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
If you haven't joined the Rites of Romance Reviews email loop, please do so here. Then go over to the polls and vote for me.
You have my utmost gratitude! :D
Monday, February 2, 2009
Hey all, one of my good writing buddies, Kimber Chin, hosts a contest each month in which she buys a book written by another author to give away in a monthly contest. What a great way to promote other authors!
Anyway, this month, she's giving away a e-book copy of Celestial Dragon. Ckeck out her contest at Business Romance.
And while I'm at it, I read the ARC of her upcoming release, Invisible and it was incredible. The way in which she wove the plot together and the interaction between hero and heroine kept me turning pages into the wee hours of the night.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Congratulations to Kimberly Ivey!
She's Texas ARF's February Author of the Month!
Check out what she's been up to over at our MySpace (www.myspace.com/texasarf )!