Posts Tagged ‘Pink Petal Books’
Bad Boys vs Assholes
There are all kinds of heroes in books. I write just about every type you could think of from the good guy to the tormented hero. However, there’s a breed of hero out there that I think is gaining a lot of momentum with readers: the heroes who aren’t all that sterling. Of these not so wonderful heroes, the two I like most are the bad boy and the asshole (jerk.)
The bad boy is the guy who appears to be not squeaky clean, not the boy next door, and definitely not the sweet, good guy. The bad boy may not be all that bad in actuality. He may not have a criminal record or have done anything that could remotely be called bad. He may be a bad boy simply by virtue of the fact that he’s unconventional. He wears biker boots or work boots instead of wingtips. Faded, ripped Levis instead of a suit. He may ride a motorcycle or drive a beat up truck instead of a sports car or fancy sedan. These guys are bad boys by virtue of their appearance.
Then there are bad boys who actually aren’t all that nice. These guys could be suit wearing corporate raiders or leather jacketed ex-cons. Their commonality is that they do what they want and brush aside the feelings of others. In other words, they are arrogant assholes.
In my series Tales of the Darkworld, I have both bad boys and assholes. In Ride the Lightning, the hero Vahid Delrey is a total asshole. He spurns his destined mate in favor of moving in with his boss’s sister. He’s horribly rude to his mate, judgmental and uncaring of her feelings. Eventually, he begins to change his attitude and his feelings about her. In the end, he takes responsibility for his poor behavior and the detrimental affect it’s had on Emily. He realizes that he needs to put her and her needs first and his attitude does an about face.
Seth Dylan who first appears as a secondary character in Common Ground gets his turn as the bad boy hero in Sunstroked. He’s the boot and jeans wearing, scowling and dour Scots werewolf who doesn’t recognize his mate when he finds him. I think Sunstroked’s readers found Seth to be pretty much a classic bad boy. He admits that his sexual relationships with men aren’t relationships. He admits to using those men to get off with complete disregard for whether they might be interested in more from him. When the man who took his virginity appears in his life after nearly two years, Seth realizes he’s held himself distant from other men because it’s Corey he wants, needs and loves.
The penultimate bad boy in my series is black dragon Sean Antaeus who won’t have his own book until the very last book. Sean is both bad boy and asshole. The arrogant, take no prisoners head of the Antaeus family and the conglomerate Antaeus International can be ruthless when he needs to be with family, friends, and in business. But a good portion of his bad boy image is just that, an image. One that equals the leather, ripped jeans and motorcycles of other bad boys. Sean uses it to hide how much he loves his family and how much they mean to him.
Whether you’re a fan of the bad boy hero or not, you can’t be indifferent to them. They always bring out some sort of emotion in you even if it’s annoyance. But I see more and more readers of my series calling for Sean’s story and exclaiming over Vahid’s redemption. The asshole and bad boy heroes are gaining ground on the nice guys. I like to think it’s because we all admire a man who is strong and forceful but still caring and loving. We all want to believe that everyone has good qualities. And who wouldn’t want to be swept away by a primal man with a fiercely loving heart?
An award winning, multi-published PAN author, Lex is a member of Romance Writers of America and EPIC. Her publishers include: Ellora’s Cave, Pink Petal Books, MLR Press, Liquid Silver Books, and Cobblestone Press. She is published in both ebook and print. The Tales of the Darkworld series can be found at Pink Petal Books.
Born and raised on California’s Central Coast, Lex moved to Southern California in 1992. She lives in Orange County with her daughter Nikki and Rott, her long haired, tattooed DH. She loves loud music, builds her own computers, and has very weird dreams about Nikki Sixx. Lex works full-time at a cemetery as the network administrator.
Does Length Matter?
What do you do when you write 55K words and someone says that’s shorter than it looks? Does that mean they were so into it that the end came before they realized it? Does it mean there wasn’t enough of the story for them? Does it mean I packed a lot of meaning and story into those 55K? More than most people would?
The first two Tales of the Darkworld were novella length. Oddly, each book I write in this series is longer than the last. I guess all those fans who want more just keep getting it with each subsequent book! *wink*
Fire Season is my first full length M/M novel. I found myself incredibly nervous about it. So much so that I enlisted Ethan Day and Jason Edding as betas to calm my fears. Jason was positive that my men sounded like men and not like women. Ethan had some bits of common sense and logic regarding men that made the light bulb go on over my head. Why didn’t I think of that? The answer was simple, of course. I’m not a man who is sexually attracted to men.
I like the same stuff gay men do for the most part. The difference is that I don’t mind watching those gay men together while they are so not interested in seeing me with my hottie of the moment. Yet that strange desire to see men making out is what fueled Fire Season. Fueled it to the tune of 55K instead of the 40K I thought it would go. That’s a lot of words about men making out.
So is 55K too short for a story like this? Personally, I think it was just right. I told the story I had to tell in the framework that I created for this story. If I did my job right, if I vested you in my characters, you did not want it to end. I know when I read an Elizabeth Hoyt book that I feel that way. More Viscount Iddesleigh! While you might think it’s a bad thing to be left wanting more, authors know it for a good thing. Because you will be back for the next book, and the one after that, and the one after that? Length only matters when you’re left unsatisfied afterward.
Huh? Isn’t wanting more and being left unsatisfied the same thing? Nope. You want more when it was so good you don’t want it to end. Unsatisfied means you were left with unfulfilled expectations and desires and you’re really not interested in having that repeated. See how easy it is to figure out what you want from men? The theory is the same for M/M novels.
For now, I’ll just tease you with a taste of Fire Season. If I’m lucky, that taste won’t be enough. You’ll want – no, need – the whole 55K. When you’re done with the whole book, feel free to email me and tell me you want more. I’ll take that as a huge compliment.
Fire Season – Tales of the Darkworld Book 3
by Lex Valentine
RELEASE DATE 07/09
genre: erotic paranormal romance
Cover art by RottNRoll Productions
Black dragon Holden Antaeus isn’t looking for a mate. His life is filled with family, work, and dating. Women adore him and he’s never short of offers for sex, but a relationship isn’t something he’s interested in. When Holden’s brother Sean hires a new executive for Antaeus International, Holden’s whole world, and everything he’s ever believed about himself, is blown to bits. Garret Renquist is a green dragon, intelligent, witty, bi-sexual, and hot for Holden. Despite the fact that Holden is positive he’s heterosexual, the moment he meets Garret, something happens inside him. What follows is a journey through stereotypes and ingrained beliefs as Holden struggles with the fact that his destined mate is a man.
Holden wanted to look over his shoulder to see Garret’s reaction. He didn’t. He returned to the main room of the suite and picked up his water, wandering out to the balcony to watch the sun rise. It couldn’t have been more than ten minutes later that he heard a soft sound that told him Garret had joined him.
?Holden, I’m sorry.?
The softly spoken words caused Holden to release his breath on a sigh. ?I am too, Garret.? He turned, his gaze caught and held by Garret’s. A wave of emotion, mostly indefinable, rose within him, causing an ache in his chest.
Garret swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing slightly. ?I shouldn’t have done that.?
Holden sensed Garret’s discomfort, but stayed silent, waiting for him to finish. He gave the man points for holding his gaze when by rights he probably wanted to look anywhere else.
?I was angry and disappointed and confused. When Rob came on to me in the bar?? Garret broke off and swallowed again. ?I didn’t think you would care what I did, but that is no excuse. It’s just an explanation of my motivation. I know it was wrong of me to bring him back here on the day I found you. I’m so sorry.?
It had been a long time since Holden had met someone with the level of integrity that Garret had just shown. ?I’m sorry too, Garret,? he replied in a low voice. ?This whole thing was such a shock. And I know that’s not an excuse for my behavior. It’s just an explanation.?
He smiled as he repeated Garret’s words. The British man’s eyes lightened as a smile curved his lips. Holden caught a glimpse of brilliant white teeth as Garret’s smile flashed out and he suddenly felt sucker punched, his gut twisting with emotion. The urge to reach out and touch Garret overwhelmed him, just like the man’s scent filled his senses, until all he could think about was asking him to repeat yesterday’s kiss.
Garret’s eyes flickered. ?You realize that a lot of what you think and feel bleeds out to me now,? he murmured. ?Despite your natural shielding.?
Holden sucked in a breath. ?If you know what I’m thinking then just do it, Garret, ’cause the gods know I can’t yet,? he said in a shaky voice, feeling his heart begin to race.
Garret took the three steps needed to bring their bodies within inches of each other. Holden began to shake a little with fear and anticipation. The first kiss had been a surprise and filled with anger on both sides. This would be their first real kiss. They both acknowledged that they were mates, and that they felt some emotion pulling at them along with a steadily growing attraction. Regardless of the previous kiss, Holden didn’t know what to expect and when Garret’s hand came up to wrap around the back of his neck, he stiffened a little at first. Then fire licked through his veins at the feel of Garret’s warm palm on his bare skin. He shook harder.
?Don’t be afraid, Holden. It’s just a kiss.?
Garret’s soft whisper accompanied the press of his thumb against the underside of Holden’s jaw. Reflexively, he tilted his chin up and Garret’s mouth came down on his. Lust swept through his body as Garret expertly parted his lips. Holden gasped a little opening his mouth wider as Garret’s tongue glided easily against his own, the wet heat sending lightning bolts of desire shooting through him. This time when Garret’s hips brushed his, he didn’t move, letting the man press his growing erection against him. His own cock started to respond, twitching inside his shorts.
Just as Holden was about to let go and kiss Garret back, the British man broke off the kiss on a long shuddering sigh. ?I think we need to go downstairs before I forget that you’ve never been with a man before, Holden,? he said in a shaken voice.
A Damsel Without A Dress is #1 Romantic Comedy at All Romance Ebooks
Stacey agreed to be her half-sister’s Maid of Honor in spite of the fact that the Best Man, Alex Brandelman, pushes all her buttons. He’s a major flirt, and worse, he’s decided that she’s the one he wants. But an encounter with a determined spider leaves her nearly naked in the elevator and in need of rescue.
When the doors open, Alex can’t believe his eyes. The woman of his dreams is standing there in her underwear! He may be playing the role of gentleman by scooping her up and taking her to his room, but there’s nothing gentlemanly about his desires. With the help of his sisters, he can provide a dress for this damsel, and maybe show her that he’s the best man for her.
Stacey noticed something black on a fold of her skirt and reached down to brush it off. It moved. Her hand stilled. A scream froze in her throat. A spider, the size of a quarter, crawled up her side. Her whole body trembled with fear. She knew it was irrational to be afraid of something so small, but she was. Gut-churning, scream-inducing, scared-out-of-her-wits, scared. She grabbed the skirt and gave it a hard shake, hoping the spider would fall off. It climbed higher. And faster! Damn its eight legs!
In a panic, she reached for the zipper under her arm and yanked it down. Whipping the dress to the floor, she kicked it away from her. She edged around the puddle of fabric towards the door in an attempt to get out of the way. The spider crawled into view, and she let out a little squeak. Trapped in the elevator, Stacey couldn’t get away. She had to squish the spider. Knowing there was nothing else she could do, she tentatively stretched out her leg. As if it sensed her movement, the spider dashed to the right and disappeared in the fold of shiny material.
Emitting a noise part growl, part whine, she stepped on the material. The little bugger slipped out of one fold and into another and her steps became stomps, each one emphasized with a grunt. The spider obviously wasn’t intimidated. It somehow managed to get on to the tip of her shoe.
?Ewww,? she squealed, waving her hands vigorously as she shook her foot. Luckily, the spider fell off.
The eight-legged beast scurried back into the pile of cloth. She resumed her stomping, harder this time. The elevator door chimed as the spider surfaced again, this time charging towards her. With one final stomp on the dress, she backed out of the doors into the hall.
?That’ll teach it.? A familiar deep voice said from behind her.
Stacey spun around, coming face-to-ruggedly-handsome-face with Alex. Standing with him was a group of older people obviously waiting for the elevator.
?Good Lord!? An old woman said another chimed in with a not so whispered, ?Well I never!?
?I know,? said an elderly man with a chuckle.
Stacey searched for a place to hide. Deciding Alex was her best and only option, she ducked behind him and used his body as a shield. A loud symphony of whistles had her looking over her shoulder at a group of young men coming down the hall from the other direction.
Check It Out
The Marksman by Mary Winter
Nanook Warriors Book 2
Erotic paranormal shape shifter romance (polar bear)
M/F (with one m?nage scene)
Cover art by Valerie Tibbs
Release Date: 07/09/09
Cameron Sommers has always worked just past the borders of right and wrong. A military sniper, she retired to work on adventure tours, mostly in the Arctic looking for polar bears. When an accidental shooting left her shaken, she went back to the military, this time as a consultant for a European Forces General, and he’s sent her to the Arctic, where she has come face-to-face with the biggest, most dangerous, and the sexiest bears she has ever known.
Kjell Tivet thinks the new sharpshooter is going to endanger the mission and get herself killed. How one curvy, sexy woman who is wicked good with a rifle can help them track down the Russian corporations dumping in the Arctic, is beyond him. But Kjell knows the mission, and he trusts his commanding officer to know what he’s doing. All he needs to do is keep one hot sharp shooter safe and make sure he’s not left wounded by her lethal charm.
Once inside, they shed snowsuits and protective outer clothing, silent the entire time. He reached for her and tucked her against him as they walked down the hall. To his room or hers, she wondered, and didn’t have long to wait before Kjell opened the door to his room. It had been closer.
He closed the door behind him, and Cam’s heart thudded. She flattened her palm against his chest, expecting him to turn and pin her against the door. He didn’t. Instead, he led her to the bed, sat down, and then pulled her into his lap. Kjell ran his fingers through her hair and pulled her to him for a long, leisurely kiss.
Cam snuggled against him. Closing her eyes, she opened her mouth beneath his and invited him deeper. No walls. No barriers between them. Just her, and him, together, naked, and loving each other. That sounded so good, and until he knew the truth, she’d cling to the illusion that created.
His heavy shirt bunched beneath her hands. Curling her fingers around the olive drab fabric, she tugged at it until she freed it from his pants. A bit of fumbling and her palm flattened on his smooth, bare back. Cam gave a tiny moan.
The kiss deepened. Kjell cupped her breast, his thumb massaging her nipple. Leaning into his touch, Cam gave herself over to the magic of his hands and mouth. Though she remained clothed, each caress drew her sensual pleasure higher. For long moments, she simply kissed him, reveling in his human form, in the fact that he held her. The fact he allowed her to see him as a bear moved her. Deep inside, she knew he probably hadn’t done that for any other woman.
At last their lips parted. ?Kjell,? she sighed his name as she shifted on his lap.
He lay back on the bed, taking her with him. A bit of adjustment, and she straddled his lean hips. Rearing back, she pulled off her sweater and silk camisole then reached behind her to unhook her bra.
Kjell groaned as the pale blue silk fell away, leaving her torso naked. He reached for her, using both hands to cup her breasts and brush his thumbs across her nipples. Such a soft action, one that made her feel wanted and cherished. She tugged at his shirt, getting him to bend enough so she could pull it over his head. When his chest was naked, she leaned forward to press her bare breasts against his skin.
A happy sigh bubbled from the back of her throat. Cam rubbed against him, working her way down his body until her knees slid to the floor. She knelt between his legs and flipped open the buttons on his pants. Sitting back, she untied his boots. She pulled first one, then the other, off, before sliding his pants down his legs. His underwear followed until he lay there naked.
?Shouldn’t you do the same?? Kjell gestured to her pants and boots.
Cam shrugged. Being dressed while he was naked put the power in her hands, and she planned to use it. She stood over him, her hands braced on either side of his hips. His cock jutted at her, thick and hard. A drop of fluid emerged from the head, and Cam lowered herself to lick it off.
Kjell groaned. He reached for her, his fingers tangling in her hair for a moment, before falling back to the mattress. ?Do it. Suck me.?
His order vibrated through her body, settling low in her sex. Her clit throbbed. Her slick labia ached for his touch. Cam drew a harsh breath. She waited, wanting to draw out this moment. Her gaze caught and held his, the arousal in the vivid blue depths of his eyes making her give a little moan. Slowly, so slowly that she thought she might shatter from it, she lowered her mouth to his shaft. She covered the head with tiny licks, wanting to drive him as crazy as he did her.
Kjell held himself still, not reaching for her or clenching his fingers in the comforter. Instead, he watched her, his gaze hot enough to tighten her nipples into tiny points.
Her harsh, panting breaths echoed in the room around them. Finally, she wrapped her lips around the tip of him and took him into her mouth. The salty heat of him rested on her tongue, filling her, making her think of a deeper penetration.
Fondling his balls, Cam continued taking him until her lips rested against his base. She relaxed her throat, allowing him to just slip past, and this time, he groaned. His hips flexed and pushed him deeper.
Cam pulled back. She lost track of the motion, only knew drops of his salty essence fell onto her tongue and tasted like ambrosia in her mouth. Somehow, she had to find a way to show him how much his revelation meant to her. Not that she figured a blow job would, but it was a start, a very delicious one at that.
Love is Scary by Cheryl Dragon
m/m erotic contemporary romance
length: short novella
Ryan’s brain child of an adults only haunted house with club attached is big risk?he needs Wes’s genius to make it real. But when the men meet, it goes way beyond business.
Off relationships, Wes can’t handle another high maintenance man half in the closet. Ryan has so much in his work life that sex only sounds good to him. When passion overflows into their common goals, love has a way of sneaking through.
Setting his sketches out on the coffee table, Wes checked the logic in his flow and it worked. His creativity took over and went all out. The vision and scope came together well.
Wes sat back on the sofa and took a deep breath. It felt great to be on a design project instead of demolishing an abandoned, or condemned, home. The creative work had dried up in the Big Easy and even building was slow.
Ryan’s image crept back into his mind. Wes tried to ignore the stab of arousal. Long distance, their business plans matched up perfectly. They were on the same page and it all clicked. He should’ve known that’d spell trouble.
No way would Wes screw up this job by hitting on Ryan, no matter how hard Ryan stared. The chemistry was hard to ignore. Besides Wes had sworn off relationships. Ryan didn’t seem like the random, or casual, sex type.
Wes’s cell phone rang a Vegas tune and he grabbed it. At some point he’d given Ryan his own ring tone and Wes felt like an idiot with a crush. ?Wes Taylor,? he answered like any other business call.
?It’s Ryan. Too late to look at your samples?? he asked.
Wes almost said no just to keep his self-control. But business had to come first. ?Never too late for me. Come over whenever you want.?
?Okay, I’ll be there in ten minutes. Can I get you a coffee?? he offered.
?Nope, I’m good. See you soon.? Wes ended the call. Vegas prices were crazy. Wes had made a run to a discount store and stocked up on water, soda, beer, and snacks.
Wes straightened up the hotel room a little and grabbed himself a bottle of water. Ryan knocked on the door and Wes’ stomach knotted. This high-strung ad exec with a dream somehow had gotten to Wes.
He opened the door and Ryan smiled, sexy as ever. Those hazel eyes fit Ryan perfectly, a mix of things in which someone could get lost. ?Come in,? Wes said.
Ryan entered, still toting his travel mug of coffee. Wes noted that Ryan’s light brown hair was a bit more mussed than earlier and his sleeves were rolled to the elbow. Just what Wes needed to see, lean muscled arms. ?I’ve got water, beer, and soda.? Ryan had to be overdosing on the coffee now, it after eleven.
?I’m good.? Ryan sat on the sofa and looked at the sketches.
?Did you go to some fancy steakhouse for dinner with the clients?? Wes asked.
?Yeah, at the hotel the clients are staying. I didn’t really eat much. These sketches are perfect.?
Wes sat down next to Ryan. ?Glad you like them. I’ve got some leftover chicken stripes in the little fridge if you want. They’re spicy.?
Ryan scooted back a few inches. ?No thanks. I don’t eat much in general. Coffee and work.?
?You’d never make it in New Orleans. Food and fun is our business.?
?I like New Orleans, just not a big eater. Vegas has a ton of food but I live here. I don’t even notice it anymore.? He grabbed one of the sketches. ?She’s topless??
Wes chuckled. ?Yeah, a topless zombie blackjack dealer. I don’t draw breasts a lot. The players are transfixed on her assets and when people get closer to look the players turn on them and they’re disfigured. They try to pull the people in to take their places.?
?Perfect.? Ryan leaned closer.
?And there are more people who jump out from behind and guide them to the roulette wheel.? Wes inhaled Ryan’s subtle aftershave and the scent of coffee. Fighting this attraction would really be impossible.
?What happens at the roulette wheel?? Ryan looked up at him.
Wes’ brain stopped over-thinking things.
?People keep their hands on their bet and all the losers get their hands chopped off. You’ll like the craps table. A hot naked guy lying on his stomach is the table. His back’s painted and they throw dice on it.?
Ryan stiffened. ?Why would I like that? It’s good to have something for the women to enjoy as well. It needs to be balanced but why would I care??
Grabbing Ryan by the shoulders, Wes suppressed a chuckle. A closet case. At least there was no pressure. ?Don’t worry. I’m not after a relationship. I’ve been screwed too many times. But you’re driving me crazy.? Wes yanked Ryan’s dress shirt opened and pushed him back on the couch.
Ryan held onto Wes’ shoulders. ?What are you doing?? he asked.
If that was his idea of fighting off a man, Wes knew he’d win in seconds. Stretching out on Ryan’s lean form, Wes cupped the back of Ryan’s head and pulled him closer. Wes kissed him, no finesse or subtly. He possessed Ryan’s mouth.
Ryan’s hands pulled on Wes’ T-shirt as his mouth opened eagerly. Just sex! Wes reminded himself as the warmth of Ryan’s hard body melted any resolve left. This was no club hook up.
Kissing down Ryan’s lean chest, Wes could feel every muscle with his tongue as he teased Ryan’s nipples and let the crisp chest hair graze his cheek. He unbuckled Ryan’s belt and opened his fly over the hard cock. His boxers tented and Wes teased him through the slippery fabric.
Stranded by Jasmine Aherne
Contemporary sweet/sensual romance
Cover art by Valerie Tibbs
Release Date: 05/07/09
When Rachel Coles flew to New York to surprise the man she thought was her fianc?, coming face to face with his wife broke her heart. She needed a shoulder. So, she turned to a man she met by chance–handsome carpenter Will Norton. Together they turn her disaster into a short but magical holiday.
Will was attracted to the pretty brunette he met on the plane, and the fun sightseeing day they share only deepens his feelings for her. He’s just starting to regret never seeing her again when he learns Rachel’s had all her suitcase and purse stolen.
Now, as he offers her his guest room while she waits for a new passport, Will and Rachel find themselves struggling against a deep-rooted attraction that shows every sign of making itself permanent. The only trouble is, Rachel’s stay in New York will be anything but?
Rachel poked about in Will’s kitchen shortly after six. She had insisted that he sit on the couch and relax with a beer while she cooked. He’d offered to help, but this was her treat and she wanted him to feel spoiled.
On the counter sat two paper grocery bags filled with a stick of French bread, garlic butter, tinned lentils, spaghetti, red and white wine, mincemeat, rosemary, tinned tomatoes, onions and carrots, along with daily staples of wholegrain bread, jam, eggs, apples and oranges. As she emptied the bags, she saw that he really hadn’t had much in the way of supplies.
The kitchen was what she, and most other women, probably thought of as ?man clean.? The shiny black counter, damp from a recent scrubbing, held a coffee maker and a chrome-effect toaster. Two plates sat in the sink, along with a few recently cleaned mugs dried on the draining board.
She washed her hands, then set out onions to chop.
As she went about the task, she found herself slowly relaxing. I really feel I can be myself with Will.
Thoughts like that weren’t wise. Letting her guard down around a man she hardly knew would be stupid and Rachel had done quite enough stupid things for now.
Not for the first time, her mind wandered to his job. She’d be interested in seeing his workshop, except it was in a different part of town. She would love to see him at work, watch each piece as it went from an idea to a sketch to something that would be used and loved for years. Something that Will had made with love and care and patience.
Will rose from his position on the couch and selected a book from the crammed shelf. He sat and flicked through a few pages. ?What sort of stuff do you like to read??
?When I was little, I’d read anything that had writing on it.? Rachel dumped the chopped onions into a pan already simmering with oil. She began to chop carrots. ?I used to eat up kids’ adventure books, you know the ones, six siblings who solve mysteries with the help of their Labrador.?
?I know the ones,? he agreed, a smile in his voice. ?And do you still eat them up??
She moved on to a new carrot, slicing quickly and competently. ?I still like mysteries. Big fan of historical fiction, and I love to read a fluffy chick lit novel now and again. You??
He gestured with the paperback he held. ?Science fiction. Anything where the world ends and we have to start over. It fascinates me. But again, I’d read pretty much anything when I was a kid. My parents were big on reading and stuff. Sometimes I’d go to turn on the TV, and get handed a book instead.?
Rachel felt her lips curve. ?I always preferred books. You can see the pictures in your head, and they’re whatever you want them to be. You know??
She lifted her gaze to look at him. He sat on the couch, his caramel gold hair tousled. The soft overhead light picked out strands of light and dark in his hair.
?I know,? he replied softly. ?How’s dinner? You sure you don’t need a hand??
?I’m fine.? Her gaze drank him in, trying to imprint each and every line and curve to her memory. Because I’m never going to see him again after tonight. ?And I’m not sure we’d both fit in this kitchen at once,? she joked.
He saluted her with his beer. ?You make a valid point.?
For a long moment, silence wound around them in the room. Rachel let herself spend a happy moment gazing at Will and his golden hair, strong jaw, mist-grey eyes, and long legs. He’d changed into dark jeans and a sky-blue T-shirt. The casual clothes clung to him, outlining a body that looked long, lean and muscular in a lithe way.
She swallowed, her mind wandering underneath his casual clothes instead of focusing on the food. ?What’s that book about?? she asked.
He smiled over at her. ?Same end of the world deal, but with vampires thrown in. The odd explosion is thrown in too, which only serves to cement my enjoyment.?
?Sounds like a film.? As they spoke, she became aware of an odd sense of domestic intimacy settling around them, and it bothered her that she rather liked it.
?Maybe it’ll be a film one day,? he said wistfully. ?Any films out at the moment that you like??
She told him about a couple of period dramas due to be released at the end of the summer and confessed that she liked her fair share of explosions and fast-paced action. ?I love the whole movie experience. You know, you sit down, you’re entertained and you get to worry about someone else’s problems for a few hours. And you forget your own.?
?Maybe we could watch a movie or something after dinner,? he suggested
A smile touched her lips. Maybe he’s trying to prolong the evening. Like I am.
Their eyes met then, and she felt something leap between them, a sort of quick little jolt of heat.
Visit Jasmine: www.jasmineaherne.com
King of Cats
By Jessica Quinn
Pink Petal Books
Genre: erotic paranormal romance (feline shifter)
Melody Young is fighting a losing battle to keep her no-kill animal shelter open in the face of opposition from casino developer Stephen Merritt. But her life changes when she rescues a cat that is more than it seems, and meets Ty Felix, who will prove to be both the helping hand she needs in her fight and the lover of which she’s always dreamed.
Ty came up behind her as she slipped her shoes off, wrapping his arms around her waist from behind. ?You’re tense,? he murmured, his breath tickling against the back of her neck like a feather.
?Lots to worry about,? she said, nodding stiffly, trying to push away the thoughts of Merritt and the casino, as well as the shelter’s other woes–dwindling supplies of antibiotics and other medications, a dog brought in this afternoon with the worst case of mange she’d ever seen, a cat dumped at their doorstep that was so malnourished and dehydrated it had died before they could even get a needle into it for a saline drip. She was used to the usual highs and lows of the shelter trade, but lately there had been far too many lows, and almost no highs at all.
?Then sit, and let me fix that.? He guided her over to the couch and eased her down into a sitting position, then began to knead the tight muscles of her neck and shoulders. She closed her eyes and tried to relax into the sensuous warmth and strength of his touch, feeling the tendons and muscles unknot ever so slightly.
?Mmmm…that feels good,? she murmured, feeling him unclasp the thin golden necklace she wore and set it aside, then resume his careful ministrations. His touch was gentle without being too weak, firm without being painful, and she let herself melt into his hands, a shiver running through her. As the pain and tension drained out of her slender frame, heat began to kindle in its wake, swirling along the curves of her hips, waist, and breasts. She moaned, arching back against him, and his hands stilled for a moment.
?Don’t stop,? she whimpered, and heard Ty chuckle as his fingers slid up the slim stem of her neck to slide through the flowing strands of her scarlet hair, fingertips dancing along her scalp in loose, easy rhythm. He knew exactly how firmly to press and where, chasing away the headache that had been building at the base of her skull, at her temples, and along the meridians of muscle that swept up from her spine to curve up and over the top of her head. She sucked in a breath as the pain dissolved under his attentions, and the release only added to the exquisite heat building everywhere else.
Without pausing to think twice, Melody turned and wrapped her slender arms around his broad shoulders, pulling him down to sit on the couch next to her so his head could rest against her chest. One hand lifted to stroke his silken bronze mane, wanting only to touch him as he had been touching her. His arms came up and locked around her waist and shoulders, and he slid down to kneel on the floor next to her, nuzzling his face deeper into the soft curves of her body, eyes closed to seek out her scent and heat. She crooned to him as he took a deep breath, visibly trying to keep control of himself. He ran his fingers through her fiery hair before reaching up to brush his face against hers, exactly like a cat, his flesh warm against her skin.
His fingers were unbuttoning her blouse before she realized it, but she didn’t even think of telling him to stop as he slipped the cream-colored shirt down her arms. A second later, his hands slid downward to undo her slacks, then let them drop aside. Left only in panties, she kicked them off as well. She writhed against him, completely nude, and reached down to unzip his jeans, in a hurry now to make sure he was as naked as she. Ty pressed his face against the smooth, heated flesh of her belly, the stubble on his cheeks and chin sending little shivers through her. Melody shuddered as he parted his lips to scrape his teeth against the taut skin of her abdomen, causing giddy little ripples to eddy through her stomach and slide down to her pussy, instantly wetting her labia with cream. Her nipples peaked to an almost painful hardness at once and he grinned at her gasp, unhooking her bra and tossing it aside before fastening his mouth over one of her tight pink peaks.
She dug her fingers into his shoulders, feeling the muscles ripple as he suckled, his tongue circling the little bud in slow, hot circuits. She could smell the sweet scent of her own juices as he nibbled at the curve of her breast, his mouth sliding slowly from one proud, perky globe to the next. She groaned and released her grip on his shoulders, flopping back on the couch, heart jittering like popcorn in a pan. His eyes glowed in the dark, flashing with luminescence as he gave her nipple one last soft kiss and then leaned back, pulling her legs up over his shoulders before bending forward again.
She was glad, now, that she hadn’t quit her usual routine when she’d broken up with Jason; her mound was neatly shaved into a Brazilian, the brick fur only a little darker than that on her head. When his mouth closed over her heated core, her hips bucked, a low whine emerging from her lips. His tongue flicked her clit — slowly at first, and then faster. She clawed the couch cushions, head thrown back, trembling with every lick and thrust.
Pink Petal Books, an imprint of Jupiter Gardens Press
Pink Petal Books publishes romance novels in all heat levels and sub-genres of romance. Our belief is that love is a beautiful thing, and numbers, genders, species, or even the spirituality of people doesn’t change that fact. I like to think of us as a boutique publisher, because we carefully select each story and craft it with love and dedication to the art of good storytelling. We are an imprint of Jupiter Gardens Press, a publisher that offers metaphysical fiction and nonfiction, along with science fiction and fantasy. Jupiter Gardens Press has two imprints, Pink Petal Books, and KittyHorse Publishing, a Young Adult imprint coming in January 2010.
We have several themed submission calls and also accept general submissions. With the exception of the themed calls, our minimum word length averages about 25,000 words. I’ll admit, I prefer a longer story, so any shorter novellas really have to sing. Check out our writer’s guidelines for full details, including royalty rates, our print plan, and any/all themes.
What do we want when you submit to us?
First of all, follow our submission guidelines. If you have questions, ask! We have a live customer service button on our website where you can talk to a live person (that’d be me) usually in the evenings and during the overnight hours (for those night owls). Or send an email to email@example.com.? We now have an automated submission form. We prefer submissions on this form, but if you want to just send an email the ?old fashioned way?, you can do that too.
Provide me with a concise cover letter. It’s okay if you don’t have any publishing credits. Give me a synopsis that details all major plot points, and the first three chapters. I’m looking for characters and an author voice that draws me into the story. I want a plot that makes me wonder what’s going to happen next. And if your book is erotic romance, I want heat and sexual tension throughout the entire manuscript, not just?an explicit love scene tacked on the end. If it’s not erotic, don’t despair. I am a sucker for a well-written sweet romance that’s filled with coy glances and lingering kisses. Remember our tagline? Love is beautiful no matter the heat level, too.
We do not accept simultaneous submissions. Ever! And yes, I am quite serious about this. Our turn time is two to four weeks for initial contacts, which is pretty quick in this industry. I promise you that your manuscript will receive full consideration. If we request more material, we try to respond to that in two to four weeks, too. So if you can give us a little of your time, I promise we’ll respect it and get back to you as promptly as possible.
We try to provide some sort of feedback if we can’t publish your work, but please don’t use this as a critique service. We want to see clean manuscripts.
In return, we can tell you that we will work with you to craft your manuscript into the best form possible. You’ll get significant input into cover art, unless the work is for one of our lines where you receive a series cover (like our Pink Petal Books presents series). We’ll support you as much as possible, share information about marketing opportunities, and help you grow.
So what are you waiting for? We want to see your manuscripts!
Pink Petal Books?because love is a beautiful thing!