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Wednesday, March 3, 2010
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Please note this is straight erotica.
If you are looking for a short story to set the mood, this is it. The story line is believable, unlike a cheesy porn. Two people highly attracted to each other, but at different places in life. The emotion is there. The sex is there. The writing is there.
The only issue I had was a few editing quirks that might have been the authors or house style. I'm not sure since I haven't read any other stories from this publisher, but they were a bit jarring. Other than that, I enjoyed this little tale.
Only a vampire is man enough to teach werewolves how to fight.
Pretty librarian Sugar wants her life to stay quiet. That’s hard enough when friends and neighbors turn into furry wolves every full moon. But when a hot vampire gets involved, life’s bound to get complicated.
The Omega have always been the pansies of the paranormal. Now Chicago’s top werewolf pack has issued them a life or death challenge. Their only option: hire a vampire warrior to teach them the moves.
Daedalus has been a powerful vampire for ages. Intrigued by the chance to train the geeks of the underworld, he wasn’t bargaining on losing his heart to a human. Can he make the Omegas a success, fit into Sugar’s quiet life, and avoid being ripped to shreds in the process?
When I first picked up this book to review it, I said, "Great, another vampire book". Mind you, that's not a good thing for me. I'm not into vampires, but I give every book I receive a try.
By the time I was a couple of pages into the story, I couldn't put it down. I mean I was really enjoying this story. The whole plot and all. Truly wonderful. I'm a real root-for-the-underdog kind of gal and this story spoke to me. I liked the world in which vampires and shifters were free to roam without fear of being found out and humans trying to kill them.
I do have an issue in that I wanted to see a bit more interaction and depth in the relationship between Sugar and The Omegas. She'd been best friends with Eric for years, but yet I didn't feel that strong of a connection between them. And the same goes for Daedalus and the Omegas. I wanted to see a bit more of him training them, him showing off his strength and intelligence while preparing them to fight. Of course the romance is between Sugar and Daedalus, but I was just looking for a bit more character development with the Omegas.
I grew up surrounded by books and have always loved reading. I count my blessing for the opportunity to write what I love - steamy hot romances with soft-centered alpha heroes and sensual heroines who know what they want. The lovely county of Kent, England is where I call home with my husband and two adorable kids and where my heart will always remain. Much Love, Nyla.
This year Maxine's Christmas present has arrived two weeks early. Only it's not full of glad tidings or great joy. She's facing bankruptcy.
Turning to her Grandpa for help, the last thing she expects is an ultimatum - marry by Christmas or lose her inheritance. Her ex-lover, attorney Gabe Fenton offers his help, but he has his own strings - a repeat of the mind-blowing nights they spent in Vegas five years go.
Will Christmas end with a blissful explosion of fireworks, or will her world crash and burn?
The very word sent a chill down Maxine’s spine.
This time last year, she’d been sharing pre-Christmas champagne with her staff to celebrate their third and best year.
Her cell phone vibrated on her desk, then startled her with the shrill ring tone her airhead secretary had programmed into it.
Maxine Gray Designs, how may I help you?” She tried to inject as much gusto into her voice as she could, but missed by a long shot. Closing her eyes, she prayed whoever was at the other end wouldn’t take their business elsewhere due to her lackluster tone.
You may help me by explaining what that garbled message you left on my phone was supposed to mean!” a deep male voice grumbled down the line.
Oh. It’s you.”
Thanks for that upbeat response. It’s perked me right up!”
It amazed her how her best friend, Will Fenton, had lived in London for over twenty years and not lost a single trace of his American accent.
Listen, Will, I don’t need your brand of humor right now. Not today.”
Why? What’s happened?”
She sighed. “Didn’t you get my message?”
Since you seem a little slow today, I’ll start again. Your message was about as clear as mud mixed with a ton of concrete.”
Right.” Her attention wandered over her desk to the papers her lawyers had couriered over, her breath catching all over again when her gaze landed on the bright letters that spelt urgent. She hadn’t bothered to open the package, seeing as her very thorough lawyers had also sent the bad news by email.
How could things have gone from great to abysmal in so short a time?
Okay, if you let me know how long we’ll be playing the silent game, maybe I can get comfortable. Right now I’m freezing my ass off at a bus shelter, it’s pissing down rain, and there’s a nutter next to me trying to feed me bananas.”
Maxine started to tell him, but paused. She didn’t want to say the word bankruptcy aloud. Her Catholic headmistress had once told her words, once spoken, hung in the air around you, waiting to become reality. Whether she’d intended at the time to scare Maxine into not saying the word shit in case it literally rained down on her was something she’d never been brave enough to test. To this day, only variations of the word passed her lips.
Maxine! For fuck’s sake. What’s going on?” Even concerned, Will’s voice held a brisk snap that broke through her maudlin thoughts.
I’ve lost my business,” she finally mumbled, feeling numbed by the whole situation.
You’ve what? That’s absurd!”
A hysterical cackle burst from her lips. “Believe me, I wish it was. Come Christmas, I’ll be out of business.”
But why? How come?” His genuine puzzlement touched her. If anyone knew how hard she’d worked to make Maxine Gray Designs work, it was Will.
Does the name Lady Satchel-Worthing ring any bells?”
Are you serious? Are you telling me Lady Starch carried through with her threat?”
Maxine’s lips twitched at the name Will had coined for the septuagenarian aristocrat who’d had so many facelifts her features seemed starched into place. “Yes. The letter came through three days ago. I met with my lawyers yesterday—”
What did they say?”
The burden of her dilemma settled like a heavy cloak over her shoulders. “They advised me to settle.”
Bullshit. You fight, Max. You fight her hard. This isn’t like you to just bend over and take it up the ass. What’s wrong with you?” Irritation sharpened his voice even further.
Her fingers tightened around her BlackBerry. “Because it’s hopeless, Will. I can stand on principle and spend every last penny I don’t have fighting a battle I’ve been advised I’d lose, or I can settle and at least ensure my employees have half a turkey instead of ashes for Christmas. You know as well I do, Lady Satchel-Worthing has an astonishing amount of clout in this city. In the last thirty-six hours alone, six of my clients have withdrawn their commissions.”
At the other end of the line, Will swore hard. “Can they do that? Didn’t they sign a contract?”
Oh, come on. What do you want me to do, force them to let me decorate their homes? That’ll certainly go down well.”
Listen, I can see the last free cab in London coming my way. If I catch it, I’ll be there in ten minutes, okay?”
Before she could respond, a loud whistle pierced her ear, and the line went dead.
Aubrie Dionne is an author and flutist in New England. Her writings have appeared in Niteblade and Silver Blade ezines, Emerald Tales, Wyvern Publication’s Dragtontales anthology, and the Night Bird Singing in the Dead of Night Anthology. Her young adult fantasy book, Dreams of Beauty, is published by SynergEbooks and her short story collections are published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing. Her Space Opera, Nebula’s Music, is coming out in 2010 at Lyrical Press. Her pirate story will be published in Bedazzeld Ink's Skulls and Crossbones anthology in January, 2010 and her short story, Song of the Bard, will be featured in Mindflights ezine in 2010. Aubrie teaches flute at Plymouth State University and the Manchester Community Music School. Please stop by and visit her blog.
Carnival of Illusions: Chameleon's Colors
Ever since she stumbled into her father’s lab and drank a cocktail of his experiments, Kaylee has had the ability to change color, blending into her environment like a chameleon. Named a freak at school, she runs away and joins the Masquerade Carnival. Her life takes on a routine and she enjoys performing in the shows until she falls for a young man hired to run the rides.
Coincidentally, an old, roving gypsy offers a potion to restore her body to the way it once was to win his heart. Now she must choose between her unique powers or a chance at love.
The bulky velvet curtain rose inch by inch in a ponderous black sunrise. Kaylee surveyed a sea of glossy eyes, all staring eagerly in anticipation. She stood gracefully from her stool on the ancient night-shrouded stage and released the clasp on her black cloak. The fabric fluttered behind her like a bat’s wings before drifting to rest in a linen puddle on the stage. Music filled the tent, heightening to an ominous swell of mysterious chimes with the surge of ocean waves.
Kaylee could feel her skin burning, as if the sun were all around her, within her, flowing like liquid gold through her veins. The screen behind her was a deep scarlet, and so that’s what her skin became.The audience watched in a silent hush of awe as spirals of burgundy and bursts of dark crimson blossomed on her naked torso, spreading to engulf her body. In an instant, she was invisible. Every inch of skin blended with the backdrop, except the small snakeskin bikini that clung to her body and the glowing whites of her eyes.
Next the screen softened to an iridescent indigo, and the music diminished to a lull of birdsong and the patter of rain. Kaylee danced, twirling on tippy-toe as a refreshing calm spread through her like a breath of sweet wind on a stifling day. She felt her body grow cool as swirls of cobalt and explosions of azure littered her back in fireworks. Each time she changed color was a different experience, setting off capricious patterns of hued rainbows on her skin. All at once, she was a visual masterpiece before she disappeared into oblivion.
Once totally invisible, she crept up to the front of the stage and approached a handsome young man in the front row. When the screen turned again, he cried out in surprise to find a cobalt beauty perching inches from his face. She laughed lightly and swept herself up onto her feet, lilting to the liquid flow of music and colors of the digital tapestries that flickered behind her.
It was time for the glorious showstopper finale. The music took on a tribal beat, ancient drums pounding like bones on dried skin. Kaylee shouted a war cry and spun around to a screen of multicolored rainbows, every hue imaginable. Her body changed from gold to silver, dappled salmon to stripes of jade and back again. She somersaulted, jumped, and then spun around, urged on by the audience’s claps on each throbbing beat.
With a clash of cymbals and timpani, the screen flashed and went black. Kaylee froze in an Egyptian stance, her arms zigzagging out in front of her and her breath heaving from the exertion. A thunder of applause erupted and she released her pose and bowed ceremoniously. Before her skin turned again, she snatched the cloak and spread it around her body, the hood casting shadows on the rose-colored patterns that withered on her cheeks.
Kaylee walked offstage quickly, ignoring the audience’s cries for more. Her skin sizzled and she needed to rest. A bodyguard guided her down the hall and into her dimly-lit dressing room at the back of the performer’s tent.Plopping down in the make up chair, Kaylee smiled to herself, satisfied. It was another show down, another audience enthralled. She was a born performer, and had found her calling in the grand scheme of the universe, a place where she was accepted, honored, and glorified. Her life was complete.
This was a big improvement. A year ago she was nobody, an ordinary teenager with no one to care about her, and she had risked everything to get someone to notice her. Even now the desperate scene plagued her dreams; the fateful day, the one instance of choice that would decide the rest of her life.
Carnival of Illusions: Sheer Destiny
Carnival of Illusions: Jester's Folly