Saturday, 3 December 2011

Welcome Camille Anthony!

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. Snow! Presents! Family! Snow!!! I love the season and the love you can almost touch at this time of year, when strangers smile and nod and we all take a moment to rejoice in our own ways. Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, Hunnuka, and all the celebrations that say mankind has once again managed to get through another year. We're still here and its time to PARTY! So sing, eat, play and especially, curl up before a crackling fire and read something HOT during these cold days and nights. I wish you the best! More joy than your heart can hold so it will spill over onto someone else. Merry, Happy...Yeah!

What is your favorite memory of Christmas?

I'm giving a copy of my White Hot Christmas: Santa's Treat to one lucky winner, and a winter wolf book cover set to another. (Trade size paper book and large size paper book) Name will be drawn from those who post. Good luck! 

Santa's Treat by Camille Anthony


Santa's been a little disenchanted with his job lately. Mrs. Claus ran off with Rudolph, who kept putting his nose where it didn't belong -- all Santa's reindeer are shifters. What? You didn't think he’d keep a herd of fat lazy deer around all year, eating their heads off, when he only needed them one night a year?

Anyway, the Mrs. ran off with Santa's ex-best friend, so he's been alone for a while now. So you can see why the idea of a special treat got his juices running. He thinks Plum's giving him a treat, but he read the note wrong. Plum's been a very good girl, and he's supposed to give her a special treat. But that's OK, because the treat Plum wants is Santa.


Excerpt from Santa's Treat:


“Plum, luv, you were delicious.”

The sentence rang in the still morning air, startling the crap out of Plum. She’d heard that voice in her dreams, but hadn’t expected to hear it in broad daylight. Was she still sleeping…? She pinched her arm to make sure. “Ouch!”

She sat up with a spring like motion of a Jack-in-the-box; hand pressed to her chest where her heart was trying to pound its way out. She wasn’t sure what emotion she was feeling when she gathered her courage and turned to look down at the being taking up most of the room in her double bed.

OMG! He looked scrumptious. His pale blue diamond-ique skin covered an impressive amount of muscular male goodness.  His head rested on his folded arms, naked body splayed in a lazy sprawl on top of the covers. Lively root beer colored eyes twinkled up at her from under droopy lids. White teeth gleamed in a self-satisfied grin as he leisurely licked his fingers.

Plum closed her eyes with an embarrassed groan. Hadn’t he just had those fingers buried knuckle deep inside her pussy?

“Sweetheart, I’ve never tasted such a special treat.” His voice dropped, and his eyelids drooped as he crooned, “I’m putting your name at the top of the Nice List because you were very, very good!”

It hadn’t been a dream. Plum grabbed two fists full of hair and screamed, “Oh my God, I’ve just fucked Santa Claus!”

Her land-line phone chose that moment to ring, interrupting Plum’s descent into panic. It could only be family calling this early. She scrambled for it, trying to hold the blanket over her exposed everything as she grabbed the handset “Hello?”

A disgruntled male voice growled, “You’re a grown assed woman Plum, but I’m your eldest brother, and didn’t enjoy hearing you uh…knocking boots all damned night. So be prepared for visitors. Broc and Bru and I will be there in an hour. Oh, and tell Santa not to go anywhere. We want a word or three with him.”

Horrified at her brother’s words, Plum wanted to curl up under the covers and never show her face again. How had she forgotten she’d put her cell phone on speaker before heading off to confront what she’d thought was a burglar? Her brother must have heard everything. “Oh my God!”

“I heard a few too many of those last night,” Arti drawled, dragging out the sentence to its full sarcastic potential. He slammed down his phone.

Plum flinched and slowly replaced her handset on its base. How in the world was she going to explain being with Saint Nick? Almost fearfully, she lowered her lashes, peeking from beneath them at the elf lying beside her, body boldly revealing he was still happy to see her.

He met her timid gaze with his calmly, not seeming at all worried. He didn’t know her brothers. Burying her flaming face in her hands, Plum tried to make sense of all this. The night before, she’d been innocently asleep in her bed when…
*****
Earlier

     T’was the night before Christmas and Plum was snuggled in her lonely bed with visions of hunky men dancing in her head, when out in her living room there arose such a clatter, she sprang out of her bed to see what was the matter. And that was where her story shifted from that anemic Christmas Classic…

Plum was instantly alert. When you lived in a neighborhood like hers you learned to sleep light. Her family was constantly nagging her about moving elsewhere, like in with one of her three brothers, but she liked her independence. Besides, the twins were married to women she’d never cared for and vice versa. Just thinking of living with Arti made her shudder.

She loved her tiny house--consisting of a living room, kitchen, and 2 bedrooms: one with an in-suite bathroom, the other a small room off the kitchen that she’d made her office since it got great morning light—it suited her and she was prepared to defend it.

Plum squatted by her bed and felt around for the hockey stick—a gift from Arti, her overprotective cop brother. Her fingers slid across the glossy cover of her Playgirl magazine—Oh, that’s where it had disappeared to—and she pushed it aside intent on the stick.

Plum was brave, but she wasn’t stupid. Remembering Arti’s instructions, she grabbed her cell phone, hit the emergency speed dial number and waited for it to connect before thumbing the speaker button. Once she heard the sound of quiet breathing on the line, she slipped the phone into the snug bodice of her wispy red baby doll nightgown.

Protection in hand, she started toward the door leading to her living room. The loud racket told her she was dealing with one of two things: either a thief so desperate they didn’t care about making noise or a newbie thug or druggie with delusions of invincibility.
Taking a deep breath Plum squared her shoulders, tiptoed to the door and eased it open. She peered through the narrow gap and immediately bristled with anger.

There was a man rifling through the stacks of her Christmas presents bold as he pleased. And he had the nerve to be humming Jolly Old Saint Nicholas under his breath.

The sight infuriated her. The gall of that punk! How sick is it that someone would dress up like Santa to steal people’s presents? So what if he looks fine from the back? Who the hell does he think he is…the Grinch?

Then again, if he was trying for the Santa look, he’d missed it by a mile. Sure, he was wearing the requisite loose red jacket trimmed in white, held together by a wide black belt over matching pants tucked into knee high black boots, but they were way too big on him. The loose fit made him look like a mischievous boy playing dress up in his father’s clothes. Normally she wouldn’t think that sexy; but on him the look was erotic as hell. His every movement teased Plum with glimpses of his naked chest from between the lapels of the casually draped coat. Damn, but she wanted to see more. Too bad he’s a stone criminal.

She peeked again and confirmed that, other than the clothes, he didn’t look a thing like the jolly fat elf. From what she could see from the back and side, there wasn’t an ounce of fat on him and even bent over, she could tell he was tall. He might even be taller than her youngest brother, Broc who played with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

His hair was a gleaming riot of glossy black curls spilling over broad shoulders and halfway down his back; the exact opposite of white. Her fingers itched to sink into that unruly mass. Too bad he’s a low-down, good-for-nothing-Christmas-present-stealing thief!

She’d seen enough. Tightening her grip on her hockey stick, Plum flung open the door and raced into the next room, screaming at the top of her voice. “Hold it right there, Mr. Grinch! You picked the wrong Who’s house to steal from tonight!”




To enter the drawing for Camilles' treats, answer her question above: What is your favorite memory of Christmas? Or comment on her post in some other way. Camille's contest will close at midnight tonight and her winner will be announced tomorrow morning on this thread.


One More Day to Party!

One of our favourite Changeling authors, Camille Anthony, had a family emergency yesterday and couldn't join us yesterday as planned. So I thought we could just extend our party by one more day and give readers the chance to catch up with Camille.

So very last day of the party today, and a huge thank you to all the authors who've joined us this week: Mari Carr, Shawna Delacorte, Jill Sorenson and the Changeling Press White Hot Christmas authors: BJ McCall, Cynthia Sax, Zenobia Renquist, Selena Illyria, Ayla Ruse and Camille Anthony.

And of course, many thanks to everyone who joined the party this week and made it such fun! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year when it comes. See you all in 2012 for at least one more party!

Watch out for Camille Anthony's post, coming very soon...

Marie

Friday, 2 December 2011

Welcome Ayla Ruse!

Happy December everyone!   This is my favorite time of the year: cooler weather, festivities going on everywhere, and wishes. What would life be without wishes?

In Emmy’s Wish, the dear little Workshop Elf is asking – no, begging - for a huge, um, male for Christmas. All the Workshop Elves are well, little, and Emmy wants a taste of something more.

Have you had your own Christmas wishes? Something you wanted more than anything?  One of mine, believe it or not had been to get a Kitchen Aid mixer. What about you? I’d love to hear some of your Christmas wishes.






Emmy's Wish by Ayla Ruse

Excerpt:

Emmy woke up Christmas morning hopeful, excited, and with eyes squeezed shut. She took a deep breath and peeked to her right.

Damn. No hulking male. Shrugging her shoulders, she bounced out of her bedroom. Her destination: the kitchen, and breakfast. Even though it was still early and not much sunlight filtered in, she didn’t turn on her lights. She’d decorated the high, open beams throughout her cottage with bright, twinkling, multi-colored rope lights, lending a festive glow throughout her home. Dancing a little to make her bell sing as she made her way into the living room, she didn’t pay attention around her, and her leg banged against something solid. Off balance, she fell over the obstacle and landed hard on the floor.

“Mmm, Merry Christmas to me,” a low, male voice resonated through the room.

Emmy froze with her forearms on the floor, and her waist caught over what she quickly realized was a male leg.

“Does that sweet ass come with a face?” the voice inquired seductively.

Her initial embarrassment fled and excitement poured through her. She pushed up to her hands, turned her head and became speechless at the sight of the male draped across her couch. As she looked up his length, his clothing stood out first. His pants and shirt shimmered a blue and white blend that reminded her of the frozen lakes out back. She smiled at the bulge growing under his pants, but moved her eyes up to his face. Lean yet formidable, his dark skin stood out starkly against so much white. It was difficult to pinpoint under the colored glow in the room, but she’d put his coloring at a light smoky gray. Like the first shadows to fall at dusk. His white hair was long, thick, and shaggy -- not in a derelict way, but more of a blending in with nature kind of way.

She stopped breathing when their gazes locked. His eyes were white, with icy blue irises and a brighter starburst of white for pupils. He tilted his head and her gaze averted to his pointed ears. Elf’s ears. It couldn’t be.

“You’re an elf?” she asked incredulously.

He nodded. “I’m a Border Elf.”

“The ones that protect and patrol the North Pole? I’d heard you guys were ugly.”

The Border Elf laughed out loud.

“You are definitely not ugly,” she said hurriedly, teetering on his leg as she worked herself upright. Once on her feet, she didn’t stay there for long. She crawled right up and over the male and straddled his hips as if she’d done so a million times before.

“Whoa.” He grinned. His blinding smile dazzled her. “What’s this about?”

“Santa sent you, right?”

“He did. He told me he had an elf who wanted to play with a Border for a day.”

She clapped her hands and, raising her head, whispered, “Thank you, Santa.” Looking back into the arresting face of the male underneath her, she said, “You’re my gift. I get to play with you all day!”


Today, Ayla is giving away an ebook from her backlist to one lucky winner. To enter, answer Ayla's question above about your Christmas wishes, or comment on her post in some other way. Her contest will stay open all day, and her winner will be announced tomorrow on the thread.

Welcome Selena Illyria!

Happy Holidays!

I just wanted to wish you and your family a Happy Holiday and a fantastic and prosperous New Year!

Se

White Hot Christmas: 
Holiday Paws  by Selena Illyria

     After dealing with the flu and missing her flight to spend the holidays with her family, Nessa thought she'd be alone for Christmas. When her mate Ben shows up at her door with the intention of giving her a holiday she won't soon forget, she knows this Christmas will definitely be the best yet.
Buy Link:





White Hot Christmas: Holiday Paws Excerpt:

She was going to focus on them, and what it meant to be a mated couple.

      First, they would connect physically and then talk. She felt they needed to get the sex out the way before any progress could be made. Talking wouldn't have any effect if they were both thinking about fucking or satisfying the need that had started an hour or so ago when Ben had shown up with cupcakes. They were a good start.

      With a sigh, she dug a fork into the cupcake. “Perhaps it's time I really show him that I'm committed to him, rather than the other way around,” she said to no one.

      Finishing her cupcake, she took her mug of hot chocolate into her. When she entered she found it set up for romance; candles were lit and soft music playing. She found him in the bathroom with the water running in the shower.

      “You shower and relax. I'll go get my bag.” Not waiting for answer, he left her alone.

      With nothing else to do but follow his direction, she stripped and got into the shower, allowing the water to run over her. She was thankful she'd gotten her hair straightened so there wouldn't be a huge curly, tangled mess, and it would be very easy to dry.

      The thought of Ben pampering her by drying her hair, sent liquid warmth through her belly. Ben always wanted to do things for her and pamper her in any way she would let him. He was her mate after all. Ben should be allowed to be involved in some of her more personal rituals and intimate moments -- not all of them, but some.

      The warm water sluiced over her body, chasing away some of the alcoholic haze and clearing her thoughts. She could say, in all honesty, that she appreciated him not taking advantage of her in her tipsy state. Even though she was very willing, it meant a lot that he wanted her in a clear state of mind when they did have sex again.

      As she washed her body, ripples of heat slid along her skin. Desire flared hot, raising goose bumps. Moaning, she cupped her breasts and gave them a squeeze before moving to pinch and roll her thick nipples between her fingers. Electric shocks shot straight to her pussy. Her inner muscles quivered as the throbbing of her clit became more demanding.

      She didn't want to come by her own ministrations. Nessa wanted Ben's hands her body and to feel him skin to skin. She wanted to feel the glide of his cock against the cleft of her ass, teasing her with his touch before he slid the shaft between her thighs to taunt the aching bundle of her nerves and then sink into her needy sheath.

      Moaning, she slipped a hand between her legs and flicked her clit. She thrummed the bud over and over again, setting off sparks deep in her vagina. Rocking back on her heels, she rested her bottom against the wall and slid down the wall to sit in her tub.

      Stroking and pinching her clit and massaging her breast, she brought herself closer to the edge while tingles raced along her legs and up and down her spine. Over and over again she brought herself to the edge but kept pulled back. Nessa wanted to wait for Ben.

      A small creak of the door hinge alerted her to her mate's arrival. A frisson of heat sliced down her spine to hum in her pussy. Her stomach muscles clenched as her heart pounded against her ribcage. Now she would get what she wanted. She was in a fog of desire and a need to connect with Ben physically.



Today, Selena is giving away a download of her Hellhound Detective Agency: Demon's Captive. To enter the contest, tell us who you'd most like to spend Christmas with, or comment on Selena's post in some other way. The contest will be stay open all day and will close at midnight tonight. The winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.
 

Welcome Zenobia Renquist!

My contribution to the White Hot Christmas multi-author series pretty much says everything I feel about Christmas. To everyone who celebrates (for whatever reason you celebrate), I wish you a very merry and stress-free Christmas. For everyone else, Happy Hanukkah, Blessed Yule, and a very happy gift-giving holiday season. 


Happy Reading,


Zenobia Renquist


Stripping Christmas by Zenobia Renquist

Genre: Erotic, Paranormal, Interracial
Release Date: 16 December 2011


Alex is firmly on the naughty list, and she wants Santa to join her.

Alex thought she was going to a job. Instead she ends up marrying the heir to the title of Santa Claus. The vows have been said and cannot be taken back, even if Alex isn't the ideal bride Kris was hoping for to re-energize the powers of the House of Kringle. But Alex is about to teach him that being a little naughty -- or a lot -- can go a long way.



“You are Alexanna Laurel Ford, are you not?”

“Yes. Why?”

Kris shook his head hard. “This cannot be. The website said you were a nice girl of a giving nature. It is the reason I chose you as my bride.”

“I'm not your bride, buddy. Stop saying that.”

“You agreed. Before witnesses, you agreed. The power of matrimony has bound us.”

Alex wasn't going to get anywhere arguing about the marriage thing. She tried a different tactic. “What website?”

Kris walked over to a large desk. Alex followed him. Kris pulled up the website in question and gestured to it. “It seemed the perfect place to find my bride after searching this past year to no avail.”


Alex rolled her eyes at the title of the site -- Finding Your Perfect Mrs. Claus. It was her boss's idea of getting into the holiday spirit. She said, “Show me what you clicked on to get to me.”

The page had two buttons -- one said Naughty and the other said Nice. Naughty referred to strippers who did full nudity, while Nice referred to strippers who went down to a string bikini.

Kris clicked the Nice button, which led to a page of pictures. Alex's picture was the last on the page. Kris said, “I looked through all of the girls and found you the most desirable as my wife.” He clicked on her picture and loaded a page featuring stats about Alex -- age, height, weight, likes, etc -- and a vid of Alex wearing a Mrs. Claus ball gown while handing out presents to a room full of happy men.

Gesturing to the vid, Kris said, “You are a bringer of joy. Looking at this video confirmed you would be my perfect wife. I paid the dowry and here you are.”

Alex snorted. “Dowry, huh?” He had to mean the private party fee to have her strip on location.

“It was a small sum, but I paid it gladly.”

“Did you click on the button that says more?” She pointed to the bottom right of the screen.

Kris clicked the button. Another page loaded, showing the second half of the vid that had started on the previous page. It showed Alex ripping open her Mrs. Claus breakaway dress to the hooting and hollering of the men who had just gotten her presents. She danced on and around a pole while men stuffed money down her bra and panties.

Alex watched as Kris turned pale and his ears drooped until they were almost folded in half. His look of horror returned.

“What… what are you doing? This is naughty. This is extremely naughty. No wife of the House of Kringle should do such things as this.”


Today, Zenobia is giving away a PDF of her Rite Men for Maya to one lucky reader who tells us who's the best Santa Claus you've encountered in real life, book or film :) - or who comments on her post in some other way. Zenobia's contest will stay open all day until midnight, and her winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.

Welcome Cynthia Sax!

Many readers ask me “Cynthia, why do you have demons in your Christmas stories?”

One of the reasons Christmas is so special to me is because I spend it with some of the people I love. That is what eventually makes Christmas special for my demons also.

In both Bitsy’s Christmas Demon and Clothing Optional, demons are assigned fairies to protect. At first, they see Christmas as merely another day, but as they fall in love with their fairies, Christmas becomes very special to them. It is the only time of the year, they see the females they love, and they come to associate Christmas trees and sparkling holiday lights and Christmas carols with that warm, happy feeling.

And that is what I wish for you. I wish you a Christmas full of love and hope.

What gives you that warm, happy, loved feeling? Is it hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows? A cuddly sweater? A belly full of turkey? I’d love to know!

By Cynthia Sax

Every Christmas, an ancient demon stalks and murders fairies. Until this killer is apprehended, each fairy is assigned a demon protector. Otho volunteers to protect Prism, the most uptight fairy on the face of the planet.


Or so he thinks...


When Otho arrives at Prism's house three hours early and spots his blue-haired fairy streaking down the street completely nude, he realizes his perfect fairy is only perfect for him.


Unfortunately, he is not the only demon with eyes on her bare buttocks.


Excerpt:

Otho twisted his wrist to glance at his watch. It was three a.m., and the demon council clearly stated that the fairy protection shifts didn’t start until six a.m. on the twenty-fourth. If he showed up at her door three hours early, Prism would ask why, and then he’d have to admit he’d been counting down the days to seeing her again.

She’d raise those finely plucked eyebrows.

He’d feel like a jackass.

So Otho stayed outside in the freezing cold, leaning against his winter-inappropriate 1957 Corvette convertible, sipping hot black coffee, contemplating his attraction to the most uptight fairy on the planet. She was a librarian, for fuck’s sake, and around him, her lips were constantly pursed with disapproval. God, they were soft lips though. He could imagine them pursed around his --

The door opened, and Otho ducked behind the car. A beautiful face peeked out, looking from side to side, her dark blue hair pulled back in a ponytail. He watched her with lust and keen interest.

What the fuck was she doing?

Prism stepped outside. She was wearing that white terrycloth robe he’d often seen hanging on the coat rack by her front door. On her feet were gleaming white sneakers, with matching socks folded neatly down to her ankles.

She took another look about her and nodded to herself as if mentally confirming a fact she already knew. Prism then turned around until she faced the open door, removed her robe, tossed it inside, and closed the door.

Otho’s mouth dropped. His eyes widened. His entire being stilled.

She was gloriously, wonderfully, buck-ass naked.

Sure, she’d been naked with him before, when they fucked last Christmas, after imbibing one too many glasses of spiked eggnog, but that had been a fast and furious fuck in the dark, under layers of concealing cotton sheets. He hadn’t had a good look at her body.

He did now.

Her breasts were small and firm, tipped with indigo nipples that tightened to mouthwatering peaks as they came into contact with the cold air. Her stomach was flat and indented with muscles he never thought he’d find attractive on a female. Her hips were shapely, with a triangle of closely cropped blue curls nestled between them. And those legs… He licked his lips. Those legs should be classified as a weapon. Normally concealed under loose black trousers or ankle-length skirts, they were long and lean and perfectly designed for wrapping around a demon’s thick torso.

              His cock showed his appreciation for her fit physique, pressing painfully against the zipper of his dress pants. Smoke curled around his flared nostrils. He stepped toward her.

And then she was gone, running along the street in a flash of blue.

             Every demonic cell in his massive body screamed to follow, to chase her, hunt her, claim her as his. “Fuck, yeah.” His brain agreed with that plan. Otho plunked the cup down on his car’s newly waxed hood, coffee splattering on the impeccable paint job, and he hauled ass after her.



Today, Cynthia is giving away any one of her backlist titles from All Romance Ebooks - winner's choice. To enter the draw, answer Cynthia's question above: What gives you that warm, happy, loved feeling? Is it hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows? A cuddly sweater? A belly full of turkey? I’d love to know! Or comment on her post in some other way. The contest will be open all day, and will close at midnight tonight. The winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Welcome BJ McCall!

The holidays are a special time of year when friends and families come together. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy, safe and warm holiday. Make memories and hold those you love close.

Merry Christmas to all,

BJ


Holiday Moon by B.J. McCall

Operation Holiday Moon sends Sgt. Sezri Adar and her werewolf team into deep into enemy territory. Wounded, Sezri orders her wolves to leave her behind. On her own, she must avoid capture and make it to the secondary pickup point.

Being the only human on the team has presented special challenges for Major Calix Klatt, especially when his second-in-command is the sexiest female he’s ever encountered. She’s brave and beautiful, but a relationship with Sezri would destroy any cred he’s built with the werewolves.

While Sezri is MIA it’s Calix’s duty is to wait out the holiday and hopes she survives. But the heart doesn’t always listen to the head and putting his career on the line is the least of his fears.

When these two come together the rules of engagement no longer apply.


Holiday Moon Excerpt

“Questions?” Sgt. Sezri Adar asked, concluding the final briefing for operation Holiday Moon. She eyeballed each of the seven highly trained male werewolves of Unit Four of the Paranormal Special Operations Group. Five would accompany her on the mission and the other two would serve as pilot and co-pilot of the chopper. Unit Four had successfully completed more than a dozen missions and had earned the nickname the Moon Soldiers. No one spoke.

She turned toward the only human on the team and the unit leader, Captain Calix Klatt. “Anything you’d like to add, Sir?”

“I think you’ve got it covered.” Although they planned every detail of every mission together, Klatt rarely spoke during briefings.

Satisfied, Sezri punched a key on her laptop, closing the satellite generated topographical map visible on the wall screen. She’d memorized every detail. If anything went wrong, it was her responsibility to get her team to safety. “We’re a go at sixteen hundred.”

Metal folding chairs scraped the scarred floor as her team stood and began to file out of the briefing room. The facilities on the foreign base had seen better days. The housing was rundown, but the plumbing worked and the satellite phone and computer connections were operable. Operation Holiday Moon was a black op and only a handful of people in the central command center, CenCom, knew what was about to go down.

A recent addition to the team, a werewolf with a family, groused about having to work on a holiday. A veteran of the team responded, “They’ll never expect us to light them up on Christmas Eve.”

Sezri agreed. Although difficult on the married members of the team, Captain Klatt had chosen the perfect time to execute the mission.

She turned to Klatt who had waited until the team left the room before rising from his chair. He was tall, a few inches over six feet and as physically fit as the other team members.

He moved closer, his gaze lingering on her face. These wordless pauses were becoming a habit, as if an unseen energy buzzed between them. The room shrank, the air heated and no one existed except the two of them. It was times like this when Sezri was aware of the breath of his shoulders, the rugged handsomeness of his face, the blueness of his eyes and the scent of his pheromones.

Her nose twitched. Her sensual senses instantly on alert, her heart rate leaped. Did Klatt have any idea of the sex attractant he was producing?

“Will CenCom call it off?” she asked, focusing on the mission instead of the way Klatt’s short black hair gleamed like a raven’s wing. Her team was ready, but often central command issued a stand down minutes before a mission, especially those being carried out in political hot zones.

“The op has top priority.”

She closed her laptop and began to gather her belongings. Her laser pointer slipped from her fingers.

Klatt caught it. Their fingers brushed as he handed it to her, his touch sending a frisson of heat through her blood.

“Be careful, Sezri.”

Her breath caught as he turned and walked away. He always called her Adar or addressed her by her rank.

“Sir, is there something you know that I don’t?”

He paused at the door and looked at her. “What I know, you know. When that weapons factory lights up I want you in the chopper, not on the ground.”

He’s worried about me.

“That’s the plan, Sir.”

His gaze swept over her, the heat in them a quick flash. “If things go south, get out of there.”

Then he was gone.

Sezri wanted to go after him, but what would she say. Do you feel it, too? If she became involved with Klatt, every werewolf on the team would howl in protest. They were already ticked off that CenCom had ruled that a human must command every team. A few hellhounds went haywire on one mission and every paranormal unit had been reorganized to prevent another transgression. Klatt was an excellent leader, a decorated soldier, but he wasn’t gifted with any paranormal power other than the ability to make her lycan blood sizzle.

Damn. She didn’t need the complication.


Today, BJ is offering another of her Christmas stories - Sugarplums: Canine Christmas to one lucky reader who answers the question: Should Sezri go after Klatt? Or who comments on her post in some other way. The contest will be open all day until midnight, and the winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.

White Hot Christmas from Changeling Press!

Today, by way of a Christmas Party finale, we're going to be hearing from several Changeling Press authors with  short, hot Christmas stories out this month as part of the White Hot Christmas series. We were going to have had six authors, but I seem to have mislaid a couple, so it may only be four! However, they are quite a four :).

BJ McCall
Cynthia Sax
Zenobia Renquist
Selena Illyria

So, if you like your festive stories with a paranormal/futuristic twist and a great deal of heat, sit back for today and allow yourself to be tempted! Each author will be sharing an excerpt and a giveaway...

Marie

Welcome Jill Sorenson!

Today's guest of honour is fabulous romantic suspense author, Jill Sorenson, who's sharing some of her favourite Christmas romances with us - as well as giving us a sneak peek at her own! Welcome to the party, Jill!

Jill’s Favorite Holiday Novellas

Who has plenty of time to read during the holidays? Not me! It seems like I’m always on a tight deadline in December. Novellas are perfect for a quick, relaxing pick-me-up. Here are some sexy winter stories guaranteed to keep you warm on a cold night:

1.      White Out by Linda Howard
I love Linda Howard. She writes to-die-for heroes. This one features a handsome stranger who stumbles in from a blizzard, incoherent. The heroine strips him down and cuddles him by the fire. Soon, they’re generating plenty of heat!

2.      Tangled Sheets by Lori Foster
I’m a big fan of Foster. This is her first Winston Brothers story, and it’s a hot little number. A bartender has a crush on his sexy cocoa-drinking customer. She pretends to be someone else and allows him to seduce her.

3.      Snow Blind by Virginia Reede
Warning—this one is extra naughty! Good friends turn lovers on a steamy winter vacation. After a few nights of illicit hookups in the hot tub, two couples end up swapping partners for the long term.

As you can see, holiday novellas aren’t always sweet or traditional. Some are sexy and suspenseful, like my story in the Risky Christmas anthology for Harlequin Romantic Suspense:

Two Christmas stories brimming with passion and danger…

Holiday Secrets by Jill Sorenson
After witnessing her husband's murder eighteen months ago, Leah is in hiding and has no plans to celebrate Christmas. Though she tries to resist, her handsome new neighbor awakens long-buried feelings of attraction…and brings a killer to her door.

Kidnapped at Christmas by Jennifer Morey
Chloe is a struggling artist and thoroughly bored with her life—until a rugged FBI agent pulls her into a fast-paced adventure…and a sizzling love affair! The only damper on their mistletoe madness is a vengeful mobster who won't stop until they are both silenced…forever.

Do you have a favorite holiday novella? Let me know in the comments and I’ll enter you to win a print copy of Risky Christmas.


Happy Holidays!





HOLIDAY SECRETS by Jill Sorenson
Chapter One

Brian adjusted the red stocking cap in an attempt to cover his dark brown hair.
 
            He’d bought the costume on a whim a few years ago with the intention to play Santa for his sister’s children.  Due to unfortunate circumstances, it had never been used.  The cheap red suit came with an itchy white beard, but no wig.  His own black rubber boots, which he used to wade through concrete, completed the look.

            Leaving the hat askew, he stepped back and studied his reflection.  He needed a haircut.  His costume was “one size fits all” and poorly made.  The fuzzy white cuffs of the jacket didn’t reach his wrists, the pants were too baggy, and the black plastic belt gaped at his waist.  He looked like Homeless Santa.

He grabbed a pillow from the mattress on the floor and stuffed it under his jacket, fashioning a jolly paunch.  There, that was better.  As he headed outside, he picked up the bag of gifts and put the “Dear Santa” letter in his front pocket. 

            At 9:00 a.m., the sun was already blazing.  It was going to be a hot Christmas in Oceanside, California.  There wasn’t a cloud in the perfect blue sky.  Brian had spent most of the morning on his surfboard, and the waves were in fine form.  He might go back later for an afternoon session.

            His pulse kicked up a notch as he approached the house next door.  He hardly knew his neighbors and wasn’t sure what they would think of his getup.  The single mom who lived there had never even spoken to him, and her daughters were quiet as mice. 

            If the girls hadn’t left a letter in Brian’s mailbox last week, he wouldn’t have considered buying them gifts.  When he found the envelope, addressed to the North Pole, he’d opened it to investigate.  At first he’d assumed that the girls had mistaken his mailbox for their own, because the two were side by side.  Then he read the letter and realized that they hadn’t wanted their mother to see it.  

            The girls had penned the note to Santa in simple words and neat sentences.  Judging by her careful signature, Mandy was the older daughter.  Her sister, Alyssa, had scrawled her name at the bottom of the page in pink crayon.  They asked for a couple of moderately priced toys that “Mommy can’t buy this year.”

            Brian could easily afford the extra gifts; he had very few family members to shop for.  But the last item on the list was something that no one could deliver—not even Santa.  He’d been touched by the request and felt a powerful compulsion to make his neighbors’ holiday a little brighter. 

They could all use some cheering up.

            Whistling the tune to Jingle Bells, he knocked on the front door.  “Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas,” he called out, preparing the leave the wrapped presents on the stoop.  Before he had a chance, the door swung open.

            Mandy and Alyssa stood there in red dresses, their dark hair shining.  Twin expressions of wonder lit up their well-scrubbed faces.  

            “Santa,” the younger girl breathed, fooled by his outfit.

            Brian winked at her.  “Have you girls been good this year?”

            The both nodded dutifully, eyes wide. 

He reached into his bag, finding a present for Alyssa.  She jumped up and down, delighted to receive it.  Mandy, who was at least five, probably knew he wasn’t the “real” Santa.  But she accepted the second gift with a shy smile, examining his ill-fitting suit.  If she found it lacking, she didn’t say. 

“We have cookies for you!  My mommy made them.”

            Brian glanced around, wondering where she was.  “Okay.”

            Mandy raced into another room, coming back with a loaded plate.

“Thanks,” he said, grabbing a bell-shaped cookie off the top.  He didn’t have much of a sweet tooth, and these confections looked almost too pretty to eat, with silver accents and delicate icing.  But they tasted like a dream, light and almond-y.  “Mmm.”

He was about to wish them a Merry Christmas and take his leave, along with a handful of those delicious cookies, when the girls’ mother appeared.  The moment she stepped on the scene, the cookie lodged in his throat.

She was wearing a short towel, secured over her breasts.  Her skin was wet, her dark hair dripping on her bare shoulders. 

Brian did a double-take, startled by her near-nudity.  He couldn’t help noticing that she had a great figure.  He hadn’t registered that before, but he’d never seen quite so much of her.  She always wore shapeless clothes and big sunglasses.

“What are you doing?” she gasped, staring at him.  She had frantic blue eyes and a smattering of freckles across her nose.

Brian tried to chew the bite of cookie, which had turned to sawdust in his mouth.

“You opened the door to a stranger?” she asked the girls.

Mandy set aside the cookies, appearing stricken.

“Go to your room,” she said, clutching the towel in a white-knuckled grip.  “Both of you!”

“Can we keep the presents?” Alyssa asked.

“No!”

They ran away, little faces crumpled in dismay. 

            Brian managed to swallow.  “I’m sorry.  I had no idea this would be a problem—”

            “Get out,” she said, pointing her finger.  Although her stance was strong and self-assured, her lips trembled, betraying her fear. 

            He retreated in surprise, unaware that he’d stepped over the threshold.  “I’m sorry,” he said again, tugging the fake beard down his chin.  “I didn’t mean to scare you.  I’m Brian Cosgrove, from next door.”


To be entered in the draw for a print copy of Risky Christmas, answer Jill's question above: Do you have a favorite holiday novella? The contest will close at midnight tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Ariadne and New Year

I suppose because they come so close together, the celebrations of Christmas and New Year are often lumped together. And New Year does come right in the middle of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Up until quite recently in Scotland, where I live, New Year was a much bigger celebration. In fact, Christmas was a normal working day when my mother was a child. I think that was a hangover from extreme Presbyterianism, and nowadays we certainly celebrate Christmas with as much gusto as anyone. Although New Year still holds a special place in our hearts :).

Again, though, New Year customs are changing, which I think is a bit of a shame. It used to be a very different kind of a night, when you dashed home from wherever you were in time for "the bells" (midnight), in order to bring in the New Year with your family. Your "first footer" (ie the first person to visit in the New Year) was always very important. To bring luck, he had to be dark (not fair - possibly a throw-back to fear of Viking raiders, I heard somewhere), and bearing a gift of some kind. So, to be on the safe side, my poor Dad got shoved out the door at a minute to midnight with a lump of coal in his hand, and he was let back in at midnight to be our lucky first footer!

After that, my Dad would take his bottle of whisky, and my mum her tin of shortbread or chocolates or something, and we'd go and visit the neighbours, the custom being that everyone you visited had a drink out of your bottle as well as us out of theirs, and then you moved on to the next house. It was great fun, because there were always people milling about the streets all night - usually in various stages of inebriation, though generally good-natured drunks, because it was that kind of a night.

Nowadays, you don;t see so much of the first footing. Instead, there are huge, organized parties, like the one held in Edinburgh's Prince's Street Gardens, with big name bands playing and other sorts of fun. Too many people for me, so I've never been, even when I lived ten minutes walk from Prince's Street. I prefer the community spirit of the old celebrations - or even the smaller scale ceilidh (party with traditional Scottish music and dancing) held in our village each year. But there's always fun of some kind going on!

So, for today's first contest, I'd like to know what your New Year traditions are - if any! And I'll draw one commenter to win an ebook copy of Ariadne's Thread, most of which takes place over New Year in the Scottish Highlands, among a bunch of eccentric characters, ghosts and villains.

To start you off, here's an excerpt from Ariadne's Thread. Here, when she should be escaping the scene of her crime, our heroine Addie is being enticed upstairs by her sexy host, who is unaware that his sister Tammy is being held by Addie's accomplices in a near-by room...


ARIADNE'S THREAD
By Marie Treanor
Available now at Samhain

It was supposed to be a simple burglary… but the ghosts had other ideas.

Glaswegian single mother Ariadne McSween is not having a happy New Year.Instead of celebrating with family and friends in time-honoured tradition, she's helping her scallywag brother and his even less savoury friends burgle a mansion in the Scottish Highlands. And nothing is going right.

First there's the bad weather and car breakdowns. Then, instead of a quick, quiet robbery under cover of a noisy party, Addie finds herself flirting outrageously with the house's owner, sexy concert pianist and accused murderer, John Maxwell. Worse, her violent and erratic accomplice, Shug, takes their hosts hostage.

Another complication: The house turns out to be haunted, and not just by the ghost of eminent composer Christopher Maxwell. Two randy spirits drawn to the lust of living want to join the party—along with the vengeful shade of John's murdered wife.

Soon Addie becomes entangled in a host of mysteries, like why are Ariadne and her cohorts being paid to rob a house that holds nothing more valuable than dusty musical manuscripts? And most of all, how does she avoid falling in love with the chief victim of her crime?

*

     They had reached the top of the stairs now. Turn right, please turn right, away from Tammy…

     He drew her to the left. Addie was sure she could hear the office door rattling. She coughed to cover up any shouting, then found herself whisked into the piano room and the door firmly closed.

     “What are we doing here?” she demanded.

     “I thought you might like to play the piano with me.”

     The lamp was still on. By its poor light, his face looked rugged and more devilish than ever. And he stood too close, much too close. With the door behind her, there was nowhere she could go. God help her, there was nowhere she wanted to go…

     “Though now we’re here, I find I don’t give a stuff about playing.”

     You could drown in the storm of those eyes. She so needed to be away from him…

     “Shit, Kate.” His breathing seemed suddenly uneven. “Remember what you said about the lucky bag?” She opened her mouth to deny that she’d meant any of that, but he didn’t let her speak. “You’re right. It would be a bloody unlucky dip that dropped me in your lap. Tell me to sod off. Tell me quickly, and mean it—right after this kiss…”

     His head swooped down and his mouth seized her parted lips before she could think, let alone react to his words. She wasn’t prepared for it. She had no time either to reject him or to savor the moment. He went from speaking straight to kissing, his hands on either side of her face while his body pressed her back into the door. Paralyzed, she hung there while his mouth devoured hers, moving across her lips with a strange, tender hunger she’d never encountered before. It astounded her, enchanted her. So when his tongue slid between her lips, she opened wider to him, meeting his tongue with her own. He wound it in his, danced with it, sucked it into his own mouth while he explored every nook of hers.

     Sensation rolled inward like a tidal wave. Every caress of his sensitive fingertips at the corner of her lips, every movement of his devastating mouth, dragged her further in. She clung to him, kissing him back with forgotten passion till he groaned into her mouth.

     His hands left her face, trailing down her neck to her shoulders, and down the sides of her body, just teasing her breasts on the way to her waist where they lingered, stroking. Her hard, needy nipples pressed into him through the thin camisole. She moved in his arms, rubbing them against his chest. His hands swept down her hips, holding her while he pressed his lower body into her, his sporran jabbing into her abdomen.

     With an impatient jerk, his hand pushed between their bodies, pushing the sporran aside so that he could grind his erection into her instead. Through the thickness of his kilt, she could feel it already hard and thick. Desire flooded her, soaking her jeans. Her pussy pulsed with need.

     This can’t be happening…how can I want him so much so quickly?

     Changing the angle of his mouth, he deepened the kiss even further. One questing hand found her breast, cupping and caressing, his thumb flickering back and forth across her rigid nipple, making her moan into his mouth. She pressed forward into the delicious hardness of his cock and obligingly he rubbed it against her. She wanted it inside her, pushing, thrusting. She wanted him naked, to feel his skin, every inch of the hard body pressed so beguilingly against her now.

     At last, as if it were a supreme effort, he dragged his mouth free. “Tell me now,” he whispered, touching his forehead to hers. “Tell me quickly… ‘Sod off, John Maxwell, you’re nothing but trouble.’ Kate…”

     His mouth found hers again, brushing back and forwards across her lips as reality flooded back, bringing shame and guilt and a pain so sharp it made her gasp aloud. She grasped his head between her hands to stop his devastating mouth.

     “Johnny… I… Johnny, I’m not…”

     Something bumped inside the room, crashing against the window frame at the same time. A body fell into the room, cursing in fluent Glaswegian.

     Appalled, Addie watched over Johnny’s shoulder as Big Malky rose to his feet, shaking his shaggy head as if to clear it.

     Johnny spun round. “What the…?”

     Malky blinked at the pair of them. “Aw right there, big man?” he said amiably to his host. “Happy New Year.”


:) So, to enter the draw for Ariadne's Thread, just tell me about your New Year traditions - or comment in some other way! The contest will close at midnight tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.

Marie

Welcome Shawna Delacorte!

Please welcome today's guest of honour at the Christmas Party, the very wonderful Shawna Delacorte, who has TWO Christmas stories to tell us about! Welcome, Shawna!


Hello. I'm Shawna Delacorte and I'm happy to be here today at Marie Treanor's Christmas Party. It's hard to believe that Christmas is only 25 days from now.  They say as we get older time seems to move faster, but this year has zipped by ridiculously quick!  :)

I'd like to tell you about two Christmas stories I have available, some fun Christmas facts I'd like to share, a prize giveaway, and a question of the day.

My Prize Giveaway:  As an early Christmas present, I'm giving away an autographed original print copy of THE MILLIONAIRE'S CHRISTMAS WISH by Shawna Delacorte, a Silhouette Desire that's one of my Harlequin backlist titles recently reissued in ebook and available at http://ebooks.eharlequin.com (do search for Shawna Delacorte ebook reissues). Also available at Amazon for Kindle and Barnes and Noble for Nook. Details of the giveaway listed below.

Blurb:  When millionaire Chance Fowler first kissed the pretty stranger in his arms, he'd only meant to dodge the photographers who'd tailed him. Then she ran off—but he couldn't forget her tempting taste on his lips. So he sought out the tantalizing woman who'd ignited his long-dormant desire….

Lovely Marcie Roper was the first woman to close her eyes to Chance's fortune. And though she'd captivated the jaded tycoon, Marcie yearned for what his wealth couldn't buy—a man who would say "I do" and mean it forever.  Could Marcie convince Chance that love—for the right woman—would last a lifetime?

Inside Cover Excerpt:  


She was certainly different from the type of women he usually encountered. Her eyes sparkled with the fire of emotion and her stance declared a very appealing independence. Yes, indeed. Marcie Roper was quite different—a breath of fresh air. He recalled the way she felt in his arms, the taste of her delicious mouth. He fought the almost overwhelming desire to pull her into his arms and kiss her again.

He watched her walk away from him—for the second time since he first encountered her. She had turned out to be a very intriguing woman. He already knew about the golden flecks in her hazel eyes, her soft pliable lips, her addictive taste and how good she felt in his arms. And now he knew she was certainly a challenge—and Chance had never been one to back down from a challenge.


My second Christmas offering, "The Ghost Of Christmas Presents," is a short story that's part of CHRISTMAS WARMTH, an anthology of Christmas short stories from XOXO Publishing  www.xoxopublishing.com, also available at Amazon in ebook. (Note: this was not yet available at the time I wrote this blog, but should be by the time it's posted on November 30).

Robert Carson was a man of habit, one who lived a very orderly and structured life…an admittedly lonely existence. But one snowy December day and a very special Christmas changed everything.

Excerpt:  


Gray clouds hung low in the sky, with the forecast calling for snow. Robert Carson emitted a weary sigh as he hunched his shoulders against the cold December air. Turning up the collar of his overcoat, he took his customary seat on the bench at the bus stop in front of the Yummy Cookie Factory, where he'd worked as an accountant for twenty-five years. The number nine bus took him within a block of the small studio apartment where he'd lived alone for the same twenty-five years. It was the procedure he always followed at the end of each workday.

But this week had not been the same. It had been a disturbing week, upsetting his normal work routine. He didn't like change, especially when it came as a total surprise. On Monday his supervisor had brought a woman to his cubicle and introduced her as Helen Winston, a new employee in the accounting department. She seemed to be a pleasant woman, about his age, but why had the supervisor foisted this new employee off on him? He had been given the task of showing her the ropes and familiarizing her with company procedures, definitely an unwanted disruption to his set routine.

The week had progressed without further incident, and he had gradually accepted her presence in the office environment. Finally Friday arrived, signaling the end of the work week. Then, just that morning, he'd been hit with another change at work. For years the company Christmas party had been cookies and punch, with the factory manager handing out the annual Christmas bonus check. Shortly before lunch, a company-wide announcement informed the employees that this year's office Christmas party would be different. For the first time, it would include a gift exchange. Each department would have its own party and draw names for a departmental gift exchange, without any of the employees knowing who had drawn his or her name. The plant manager had referred to it as a "Secret Santa" gift. Each worker would receive one gift with the recipient not knowing the identity of the giver.

Robert, who'd been the last one among the office personnel to draw, pulled the slip of paper from his pants pocket and stared at it again. The only name remaining had been Helen's. The knot of anxiety tightened in the pit of his stomach. Another heavy sigh of resignation escaped into the air. He had no idea what kind of present he should buy for a woman, especially one who was no more than a business acquaintance he had met only a few days earlier.


Question Of The Day:  Do you have a particular Christmas that holds special memories for you?

I have fond memories of my first Christmas with snow. Living in Los Angeles, a white Christmas was not part of the holiday. One Christmas Eve (spending the holidays in the mountains), it began to snow. Those big white fluffy snowflakes that are so pretty. There wasn't any wind, so they drifted straight down. Later that night the clouds parted and a full moon literally glistened off the new snow. It all had a very mystical feel to it, almost something ethereal or surreal.


To Win A Copy Of THE MILLIONAIRE'S CHRISTMAS WISH—the winner will be drawn at random from the comments left on this blog. Be sure to leave your email address with your comment so I'll be able to contact the winner.


And now for some Christmas Fun Facts:

Each year, 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States alone. There are 21,000 Christmas tree growers in the United States, and trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.

Today, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day it is believed that the three wise men finally found Jesus in the manger.

In the Middle Ages, Christmas celebrations were rowdy and raucous—a lot like today's Mardi Gras parties.

From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was outlawed in Boston, and law-breakers were fined five shillings.

Christmas wasn't a holiday in early America—in fact Congress was in session on December 25, 1789, the country's first Christmas under the new constitution.

Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870.

The first eggnog made in the United States was consumed in Captain John Smith's 1607 Jamestown settlement.

Poinsettia plants are named after Joel R. Poinsett, an American minister to Mexico, who brought the red-and-green plant from Mexico to America in 1828.

The Salvation Army has been sending Santa Claus-clad donation collectors into the streets since the 1890s.

Rudolph, "the most famous reindeer of all," was the product of Robert L. May's imagination in 1939. The copywriter wrote a poem about the reindeer to help lure customers into the Montgomery Ward department store.

Construction workers started the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition in 1931.


Wishing everyone a happy holiday season whatever your beliefs. And above all else…Peace On Earth.

Check out my website for additional excerpts www.shawnadelacorte.com and while you're there take a look at my two very short story free read mysteries on the Bits and Pieces page.  I post a new note on my blog each week at http://shawnadelacorte.blogspot.com


To be entered in the drawing for an original print copy of Shawna's The Millionaire's Christmas Wish, answer Shawna's question above: Do you have a particular Christmas that holds special memories for you? Or comment on her post in some other way. The contest will close at midnight tonight, and the winner will be announced tomorrow morning on this thread.