Bottoms Up by Kate Deveaux – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kate Deveaux will be awarding a $10, $25 or $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thank you so much for having me as your guest today. It’s so fun to stop by and chat about my latest release BOTTOMS UP. It’s a Naughty Cock Tale book. In the spirit of the book, which is flirty and playful and downright sinfully sexy, I thought I’d share with you a few things I learned from the sexiest bartender I’ve ever known. Justin of course in Bottoms Up. Pull up a bar stool and stay a while…he’s got some toe curling indulgent bartending skills.

Kate Deveaux stops by Bottoms Up to learn a thing or two from her hunky hero:

I’m not much of a cocktail connoisseur I confess, but I sure found my attention to detail and appreciation of a good cocktail (or cock tale) as Justin might call it with usual devastatingly alluring provocation.

One hot Tuscon night, I sidled up to Bottoms Up, taking my cues from the drop dead sexy bartender hovering behind that slick shiny counter flanked with glistening bottles of temptation. My eyes ran the length of the bar and then of course they rested on Justin.

“What’ll you have?” he asked, reaching to grasp a martini glass.

“You” I murmured under my breath. Apparently loud enough to catch a smile forming in the crook of his lips. “I mean, a dirty martini please,” I said with more confidence than I felt. This guy was seriously hot. I knew exactly how Lexi had felt perched on that same barstool being treated to a view of Justin and his legendary drink making skills. Searching for something to say to break the awkwardness I felt at the thoughts that were racing through my mind that really shouldn’t be, I blurted out, “How about you give me some bartending tips while you mix that drink…”

‘Sure thing.” He agreed and began pouring vodka into a frosty shaker. Suddenly it was very hot in that bar as my cheeks flushed warm.

Five things Justin told me:

1 No point crying over spilled Vodka. Or Amaretto or Gin or Tequila.

2 Never judge a book by it’s cover. Justin handed me his bartending guide and I found the dirtiest drink recipes tucked inside the plain black leather bartender’s guide.

3 There’s more uses for a pool table then playing pool. Just ask Lexi.

4 Sizzling Tucson July nights are perfect for cooling off in Bottoms Up. Or heating up as Lexi found out behind the bar.

5 The best way to shake a martini is to wrap your hand around the barrel of the shaker firmly and gyrate your wrist with a rhythmic shake like you really want to bruise the vodka (or the gin depending on what liquor you’re using). No wimpy grasp, firm and in control. To illustrate Justin wrapped his hand over mine. I don’t remember much of what happened after that….


A bartender with a penchant for naughty drink recipes is well known for crafting the perfect concoction for his clientele. Justin meets his match when down on her luck Lexi walks into his bar and he whips up a cocktail especially for her.

It’s not just the booze talking when Justin and Lexi explore his list of naughty drink recipes in more detail — after hours. Night after night, Lexi is drawn back to Justin’s bar for another deliciously dirty creation and another night of extreme fantasy when he shows her how to let go of her inhibitions — One tantalizing drink recipe at a time— Seems it’s definitely Bottoms Up for these two!

Enjoy an Excerpt

Standing in the doorway streaks of the fiery Tucson sun blazed into her back. Lexi propped the heavy door open with her hip. Something Arizonians did in July. They knew better than to grab a metal door handle in the heat of summer. Squinting, she poked her head inside. The air conditioning was a welcome blast. And way too tempting to refuse.

Stepping inside, the thin scent of sweat and alcohol singed her nose. The door closed behind her. Lexi’s eyes adjusted in the dim light.

The bar slowly came into focus.

Taking a few steps further she was relieved the place was not as seedy as she’d expected. The bar’s décor surprised her. Not that she frequented bars in the middle of the day. Ever.

Lexi surveyed the handful of customers. A few were couples with their heads bowed together. The rest were singles. Drinking and then looking at their phones for entertainment. Loners. The kind of people who went into a darkened bar in the middle of the afternoon. Their loneliness echoed hers. She fought the urge to turn on her heels and bolt. But then what? Back into the baking heat and back to real life?

Several unoccupied tables dotted her pathway when she ventured forth. Her focus narrowing, she took in the deep blue color scheme, from the tufted leather curved booths and club chairs to the intricate Moroccan style light fixtures that hung from the low coved ceiling. Something she’d come accustomed to in her travels overseas but unusual in the southwest.

Passing by the clusters of patrons gathered closer to the bar, Lexi passed a waitress serving drinks to a couple.

Lexis’s attention quickly turned to the good-looking bartender. Soft lighting and sheers engulfed the impressively lit bar area in a wash of amber and midnight blue almost framing him. He stood behind the shiny blue countertop with his hands braced on the bar. Looking at Lexi as if she were the only person in the room.

She eyed the tattoo on his forearm. Letting her gaze linger a little too long before meeting his. Quickly, she glanced back towards the door, as if still debating if she was going to be staying or not.

“Hi, can I get you something?” the bartender called out to her.

Lexi forced a nod of acknowledgment in his direction, then moved closer. With every step she took, the myriad of liquor bottles labels came into view. That and the bartender’s blue eyes, the same stunning shade of deep midnight blue as the décor. She focused on the scar just above his jaw. An imperfection on his otherwise perfect five o’clock shadow.

His lips turned upward when he grinned. Caught red handed staring at him, she blushed self-consciously at his encouraging glance. Damn. Good-looking bartenders, that was the last thing she needed after the day she’d had. After the year she’d had.

“Have a seat…” He patted the counter hard enough that it made her jump. “Whoa. Didn’t mean to startle you,” he apologized, reaching behind the bar and plunking a frosted martini glass on the counter.

Lexi’s cheeks flushed. She was embarrassed by her skittishness, but also sobered by the fact that a simple action like the stranger plunking the glass on the counter made that her jump. A dead end relationship with Deakin had not only proved to her that rebound lovers were a bad idea, but also the bruises he’d given her. Once. And only once. Before she’d told him they were done. And then she was left to head back to her empty apartment. To ache for the love she really longed for. Scott.

Overcome with a sinking feeling, she felt more alone than ever and reached for the bar stool to steady her. Her lip trembled, tears stinging her eyes.

The pain was fresh once again. Shit. Why had Scott had gone and died on her?

“So what’ll it be?” the bartender asked.

Lexi was instantly dragged back to the present.

“Uh…I don’t know,” she offered, wondering how a drink could possibly dull the emptiness inside her.

He gave a smile and a confident shrug. “Well then, you’re in luck.”

“How’s that?” she asked half-heartedly, not really in the mood for banter
but realizing she was in need of a drink but with no clue what drink she wanted. Just something to make her forget the shitty day she’d had. And the even shittier year. 

The bartender with the soul-searching eyes and the cute little smile that even Lexi had to admit was a bit of a mood lifter, leaned on the bar so his eyes were level with hers.

“You’re in luck because it so happens my drink picking skills are legendary.”

“Legendary?” She repeated his claim, aware some would consider her response a flirt, but she felt it was more of a challenge. A challenge to see if he could pick something for her that would make her feel…feel…What the hell did she want to feel anyway?

“Legendary,” he repeated.

Okay, he was definitely flirting. Lexi couldn’t help but crack a smile.

About the Author:Kate Deveaux is a contemporary erotic romance writer and die-hard romantic. A former wedding planner, she has always been “in love” with love! Kate is currently working on several fictional stories – each filled with sexy romance, heroines who are no shrinking violets and heroes who make your heart skip a beat. She currently resides with her husband in the U.S. When Kate is not busy writing, she can be found on the tennis court –yes, there’s even ‘love’ in that game too.

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Of Frustration and Temptation by Lisabet Sarai – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Lisabet Sarai as she celebrates the release of her newest book Damned If You Do. Lisabet will be giving away three $10 bookstore gift certificates during her release blitz, and three free ebook copies of her BDSM erotic romance The Gazillionaire and the Virgin. The blitz ends June 1st.

To enter, readers must:

Sign up for her VIP email list AND/OR leave a comment with their email address on her release day announcement page.

Of Frustration and Temptation

Being an author is not for sissies. You pour your heart and soul into your stories. You spend hours of your scarce time and more money than you can afford on marketing. With each new release, you hope you’ll finally grab the attention of the book-buying crowd, that you’ll get the readership and the remuneration you deserve.

If that doesn’t happen (and given the number of people publishing books these days, odds are that it won’t), you’re stuck with the bitter knowledge that all your passion and effort were for nothing. This can be deeply demoralizing, even if you’re not trying to make your living as an author. If you depend on your writing to pay your bills, you’ve got financial anxiety added to your frustration.

I know this frustration only too well. My books receive consistent five star reviews, but somehow I’ve never been a commercial success. Thus, Damned If You Do is a rather personal story.

What would I do if I could magically turn my books into best sellers? How much would that be worth to me? That’s the question my romance author heroine faces when a mysterious stranger shows up waving a contract and promising her fame and fortune, sensual pleasure and the fulfillment of her most secret desires.

All he asks in return is her soul.

Crazy. Dangerous, maybe. But so, so tempting!

Wendy Dennison is tired of being a starving author. The royalties from her critically acclaimed romance novels barely pay her bills. Her devoted agent Daniel Rochester may be smart and sexy, but he can’t get her the sales she needs. Then a charismatic stranger appears at her coffee shop table, promising her fame and commercial success, as well as the chance to live out her dreams of erotic submission. But at what cost?

Nothing you can’t afford to lose, my dear.

Seduced by the enigmatic Mister B, she signs his infernal contract. He becomes both her Master and her coach, managing her suddenly flourishing career as well as encouraging her lusts. Under her mentor’s nefarious influence, she surrenders to temptation and has sex with Daniel. The casual encounter turns serious when she discovers her mild mannered agent has a dominant side. As the clock ticks down to her blockbuster release and Mister B prepares to claim her soul, Wendy must choose either celebrity and wealth, or obscurity and true love.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The limo deposited her in front of her little house and floated away. A bit weary from the lengthy ordeal at the salon, Wendy almost tripped over the figure sitting on her front steps.

“Dan! What are you doing here?”

Her agent looked rumpled and haggard. He didn’t even bother to stand, though his eyes were hungry as he surveyed her.

“You don’t answer my calls. You ignore my emails. I figured the only way I could get through to you was to show up at your door.”

“Emails? I haven’t heard from you in months! I figured you were mad at me…”

“Every day, Wendy. I’ve sent you a message every single day. I’ve called again and again. That damned personal assistant of yours answers every time.” He rose to his feet finally, looking around with a scowl. “Where is the bastard, anyway?”

“I—um—I’m not sure. I think he’s doing some errands.” She rummaged in her bag for her key. “Come inside. We’ll talk.”

“No. You come with me.” He grabbed her sleeve, pulling her down the walkway toward a gray Taurus with a Steelers Rent-a-Car decal parked across the street. “You’ve got to get away from that guy. He’s dangerous.”

“Dangerous? What are you talking about? He’s been great for my career.”

Dan grabbed her shoulders and shook her, hard. “Wake up, Wendy! He’s got you under some kind of spell. You’ve become a totally different person.”

She tore herself free. “Yeah, I have. Instead of being a loser, I’m finally a successful author.”

“You’ve cut yourself off from everyone. I got an email from Jenna the other day. You do remember Jenna, right? Your old friend Jenna Martin? She was worried. Said she hadn’t been able to get in touch for weeks.”

Jenna. How odd. Wendy hadn’t even thought about her, not since that afternoon in the coffee shop when her crit partner sent the link about Sapphire Sands. The afternoon Mister B had come into her life. In the old days, they communicated nearly every day.

“I’ve been busy. Busy writing.”

“Is that all you’ve been doing? That slimy character Bent loves to suggest you two have been involved in other activities…”

She tried to take his arm. He shook her off. “Please, Dan, calm down. I’m fine. I’ve finally found my writing groove. Everything is going great.” She flashed him what she hoped was a charming smile. “I’m going to be on the Breakfast in America show later this week.”

“I wondered why you were all gussied up.” His bitter tone made her wince.

“You should be happy for me. After all, I’m making plenty of money for you, too!”

“Forget about money for once. What about feelings?” He grabbed her with both hands, pulled her close and held her tight against his body.

About the Author:LISABET SARAI occasionally tackles other genres, but BDSM will always be her first love. Every one of her nine novels includes some element of power exchange, while her D/s short stories range from mildly kinky to intensely perverse.

You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website, along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance, she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads and finally, on Twitter.

Driven by Passion’s Destiny by Bobbi Cole Meyer – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Bobbi Cole Meyer will be awarding one electric pink beach tote bag. (U.S. giveaway only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Lee Harris’s life of championship wrestling, gorgeous women and trekking all over the world to manage his chain of gourmet restaurants is over. A spinal injury puts him in a wheelchair. Despite a will of steel that has seen him through numerous injuries, there is no getting up and walking away from this one. Confused, bitter and angry, Lee resists all efforts of rehabilitation to help him adjust to his new life. Frustration is added to the mix when he meets Cassie, the first woman he wants since his accident. Wants and can’t have.

Cassie Sheppard has never gotten over her crush for the green-eyed, charismatic wrestler, Lee Harris. Now fate puts him within her reach. She is assigned to be his live-in physiotherapist. Despite his coldness toward her she finds herself falling for him more each day. She is determined to break through his stubbornness to help him regain his mobility, sexuality and self-esteem. Even if it costs her a broken heart.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The wrestling crowd exploded in a deafening, reverberating chant, “Wild Man Harris” as Raymond Lee Harris sauntered toward the ring.

His red, white, and blue cape swung backwards, caught in the draft of wind generated by two huge, rafter-mounted fans, turned on per his instruction. He stood with a slight smile, eying the crowd from lowered lids, his green eyes made more noticeable by the dark eyeliner he’d applied. It was all part of his signature presentation, hyping his motto of “Wild Man Harris, always ready to fly into action.”

His skin-tight purple trunks hugged his six-foot-four frame, leaving little to the imagination, emphasizing the obvious—Lee “Wild Man” Harris was definitely well endowed.

He lifted a hand in a wave. The gesture exposed the perfection of his muscled upper torso, his broad chest, ripped abs, and perfectly tapered body. He flashed his famous, white-toothed smile to the ladies in the front row, pausing briefly to tease them by flexing his pectorals before blowing them a kiss.

One, a pretty, blonde girl he guessed to be in her late teens, struggled to unhook and wiggle out of her bra. She surprised him by tossing it to him as he drew near her. Laughing, he caught it mid-air, kissed it, and gave her a sexy wink before tossing it back to her.

This kind of over-the-top accolade still astonished him. Ever since he’d won the championship title the year before, it had been this way. Drinking in the adulation, he wondered what his rabid fans would say if they knew this on-stage persona, which he’d worked hard to perpetuate over the years, was contrary to his true personality.

He was actually shy in his everyday world. He preferred reading a good book and cooking a gourmet meal to enjoy at home with his family—his three best friends, or “co-husbands” as he liked to refer to them, and the one lady they all loved and shared in their polyandry nirvana, Kayla.

Yet here, in the midst of this adoring crowd of strangers, his shyness disappeared. He preened as was expected of him, donning that unrestrained personality as easily as he had his cape, to give his fans the show they anticipated. The show he knew they had paid to see. And tonight, he wanted the show to be the best ever, because after this performance, he was retiring from the ring.

He executed his usual agile and flamboyant flip over the ropes to enter the ring. He smoothed his long, chestnut-colored hair back from his face, unhooked his cape, and tossed it to his designated corner before bowing low to the audience.

With his second glance at the upturned faces, he frowned as he spotted Kayla and her other “husbands”—Harm, Luke, and J.J. He wasn’t surprised to see Luke and Harm because he knew they enjoyed wrestling, but Kayla and J.J.? This didn’t make sense. He knew that J.J., the youngest to have been invited into Kayla’s home as part of their alternate lifestyle, preferred ice hockey or boxing or any other sport to wrestling. And Kayla had said more than once she considered wrestling to be barbaric.

Something was wrong—very wrong! He knew it as the bell rang. He stood confused, not moving as the bell rang again.

This time, the ringing was followed by a jarring rendition of his adopted theme song, Hail to the Chief. Everything began to waver as that pulsating, persistent ringing morphed into a sharp pain.

Shaking his head, he glanced down at his friends again, only to discover they had all vanished. Even the crowd was gone. Nothing was left but that damnable ringing and the pain that throbbed behind his eyes.

Lee awoke from the dream with a start, his heart rate accelerating with anxiety. Struggling back to the present, reality hit him with brutal force.

His glory days in the wrestling ring were far behind him. As was his life with Kayla, the woman he had loved. And he no longer was even in contact with the men who had once been not only his co-husbands with Kayla, but his best friends.

The final kicker, the hardest blow of all in this stark, awake reality was that he was now living in the aftermath of a plane crash he had miraculously survived. But that survival had carried a high price.

He was paralyzed.

About the Author:Bobbi Cole Meyer is the pen name for Barbara Meyer, who relocated from her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a career as a lyricist. Over the years Barbara has had numerous songs she co-wrote cut by major artists such as Tom Jones, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Barbi Benton, Stella Parton, The Soul Shakers, the Poppies, Bandana, Mason Dixon, the Wright Brothers and several others. She also co-wrote the theme song for the Italian movie, Summer Affair, with well-known guitarist and composer, Bucky Barrett.

Now residing in a small town outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Hank, Barbara is busy pursuing a second career, writing fiction, which she claims is her first love.

Barbara’s slogan is, “grab them with the first paragraph and don’t turn loose until the last period.”

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Stay After Class by A.C. Rose – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Find out why the author wrote this book.

A passionate professor. A smitten student. An attraction that cannot be denied.

Amanda Slade has a major crush on her sexy art professor and wants his help with an important extracurricular activity: Project VirgEnd.

Professor Jem Nichols knows falling for his beautiful student is a bad idea but he just can’t say goodbye as the semester ends. But the professor refuses to hastily take her virtue. Instead, he wants to slowly teach her the most important lessons of lovemaking. As she experiences first-time pleasures and passions, love blooms.

By the time they’re done, he’ll know every inch of her body. But as her deadline for deflowerment looms, will the professor be the one to take Amanda all the way? This is a sweet yet steamy love story.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Amanda’s First Experience with an Art Model
By A.C. Rose ©2017

I was in the front row of the class in my usual seat, when a gorgeous, robed man walked into the art classroom, stood on a small platform, untied the sash to his robe and let it fall on the floor. He was naked.

Turning to take an innocent glance at the model, I nearly gasped out loud when I found myself eyeball to eyeball with his penis. He seemed so unashamed, so unaffected, as he stood there gazing out at all who studied his naked form.

I looked at my friend Tara and she looked at me. It was the tenth week of the semester in our Basic Art course, but we had no clue what was going on until the professor stepped in front of the room.

“Today we’ll be working with a live nude model so we can learn to translate the human form to paper,” he announced. “We’ll be working with charcoal, so remember, we’re looking for the essence of the human body—the shape, not details.”

With that, Professor Jem Nichols passed around the box of charcoal crayons and handed out huge sheets of drawing paper. As he got closer to me, a rush of warmth flowed through my body and ended in a nervous tingle in my stomach.

Maybe it was wishful thinking, but when he reached my desk to distribute the supplies, I could swear his hand lingered an extra moment near mine as I claimed my two pieces of charcoal from the box. And that he looked at me a certain way.

When he moved on to the next student, I breathed a sigh of relief, only because I worried my physical reactions to his presence would reveal I had a crush—a big one—on my teacher.

About the Author:A.C. Rose is a sex and love journalist who also loves to write very steamy romance books.

As a former editor of an iconic women’s magazine, sexy stories and beautiful men have long been her beat.

She has written extensively on sexuality, relationships, female desire, and the “kissing book” industry.

Has real life provided fodder for her fictional worlds? She’ll never tell.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), Passionate Ink (PI), and the Author’s Guild (AG).

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Illicit Relations by Lucy Felthouse – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Lucy Felthouse. Lucy Felthouse’s almost-but-not-quite taboo M/M erotic romance novella, Illicit Relations, is now available in audiobook format. Narrated by voice artist Nick Dee, you can now listen to this coming-out romance on the go!

Terry’s had a crush on his second cousin Justin for what seems like forever. He’s hidden it as well as possible, knowing that the other man is out of bounds, forbidden fruit. Second cousins getting together isn’t actually illegal, but for Justin the relationship is too close—he just can’t contemplate them being together.

But when some new information comes to light about Terry’s birth and his place in the family, the whole game changes. Suddenly the relationship isn’t so impossible, and things soon begin to get hot and heavy.

About the Author: 

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller) and The Persecution of the Wolves. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 150 publications to her name. She owns Erotica For All, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. You can also subscribe to her monthly newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

Audio links:

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2ocNNeZ

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2oLWJ98

Audible UK: http://adbl.co/2obmWfM

Audible US: http://adbl.co/2pxXthN

iTunes UK: http://apple.co/2oDrjUD

iTunes US: http://apple.co/2p0K99s

The Dangerous Billionaire by Jackie Ashenden – Spotlight


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release of Jackie’s newest release The Dangerous Billionaire.

Navy SEAL Sullivan “Van” Tate has been called home to reluctantly inherit an empire and finds himself facing the most difficult mission of all: love.

Nothing about Sullivan “Van” Tate is what it seems. A Navy SEAL raised among the New York City elite, Van prefers heart-pounding action over a Wall Street corner office. But when his adoptive father dies and his business rivals move in to overtake his empire, Van must suit up to save the company and protect the one woman most forbidden to him…and the object of Van’s most dangerous desires.

Chloe Tate is as ambitious as she is gorgeous. With a newfound independence, Chloe is no longer a prisoner on her father’s ranch. But everything changes when losing her father may also mean losing her life. Even with her survival on the line, Chloe can’t deny the burning attraction she feels the moment she locks eyes with Van, her rich, rough and ready, foster brother and the new head of her father’s company. Tall, dark, and muscled, he’s the one man who she has no business being with. But how can she resist a Navy Seal Warrior when he’ll do anything to protect her?

About the Author:Jackie Ashenden lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband, the inimitable Dr. Jax, and their two kids and two cats. When she’s not torturing alpha males and their stroppy heroines, she can be found drinking chocolate martinis, reading anything she can lay her hands on, posting random crap on her blog, or being forced to go mountain biking with her husband.

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Characters and Conflict by Anni Fife – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Anni will be awarding $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Read our review of the book here.

CHARACTERS AND CONFLICT
Luke’s Redemption is my debut novel, so when I started to flesh out my characters, I understandably experienced a steep learning curve.

MY HERO AND HEROINE – Luke and Katya
I started by drafting a comprehensive Character Questionnaire, which included lists of questions that went on for pages—what were Luke and Katya’s physical attributes? Their likes and dislikes? Where did they go to school? Who were their best friends? I included more complicated questions like how did their friends describe them? What were their most valued possessions? My questions were relentless. And a total waste of time! Because I realized I hadn’t asked the most important question of all. In fact, I hadn’t asked the only question that mattered—WHO was Luke? WHO was Katya?

My novel was about betrayal—a daughter betrayed by her beloved father, a naïve young woman betrayed by her new lover. The question I found myself asking was WHY? Why would Katya’s father betray her? Who was he? Where did he come from? Why did he make such a horrendous decision? The same questions arose when I turned to Luke. Why would Luke betray the woman he fell for at first sight? What could possibly be going on in his life, that it would motivate him to betray her?

I’d slammed into the wonderful world of CONFLICT.
I fast discovered there is no single conflict in a story. On a simple level, there is Outer and Inner Conflict. Outer Conflict is easy. What is physically stopping Luke and Katya from getting it on? Answer—the protagonist. I even added in more than one outer conflict and created an unexpected plot twist.

But Inner Conflict—now that is a whole other story and as far as I’m concerned, the guts of a story that make or break a novel. The more I dug into my characters, the more I found layers and layers of burdensome conflicts. And unraveling them brought me face to face with the inner demons stalking Luke and Katya.

We all carry emotional baggage of one sort or another. And although we might be lucky enough to escape a difficult start in life or a trauma wrought upon us, we rarely escape the damage a trauma burns into our psyche. Luke and Katya’s inner conflicts begin years before their love story ignites, and even years before they are born. It starts with their parents and the pain these damaged people inflicted upon themselves, and then upon their children. I built intricate family trees for both Luke and Katya that outlined their intriguing family dynamics. I knew most of what I wrote would not make it into my novel, but without it, the true nature of my characters would never be understood and their stories would lack authenticity and for the reader, would be thin and weak.

I cannot emphasize enough how much this background work enabled me to add fullness and richness to the story of Luke and Katya. My clear understanding of the pain they faced as children and then as adults, dictated every move they made, especially how they responded when under stress. It even extended to my secondary character, Nicu, Katya’s father.


Character development is also tightly interwoven with plot development. One does not proceed successfully without the other. Often, a character’s growth arc can take precedence over a broader story arc. I often adapt my story structure to accommodate my character’s growth pattern. I loved making Luke and Katya respond to each other in unexpected ways while ensuring their responses never contradicted the true nature of their individual characters. I also discovered I was a sadist. MAKE YOUR CHARACTERS SUFFER. I read this in more than one article and it made so much sense, I wrote it out and stuck it on my wall. I still have it on my character pin-up boards as a constant reminder.

When I started the second book in my King Security Series, Gray’s Promise, I adjusted my approach. I kept my Character Questionnaire but tossed out a ton of innocuous questions. I decided that the little things that make us who we are, like—I love pizza but hate green pepper on the topping, or I have a habit of scrunching up my nose, or I cry when I watch Gray’s Anatomy—all these kind of little traits I let develop at their own pace during the writing process. It’s great fun to experience characters develop weird and wonderful peccadillos I never planned.

Tip: When writing a series, keep track of all your characters’ habits, language usage (including the type of curse words), style of inner voice, wardrobe, everything important that stands out as key character indicators. It’s vital to keep continuity throughout your series. Being a film editor, I am quick to notice a lapse in continuity and it jars me out of a story. I compare it to when you are watching a film and a microphone drops into the frame. That drives me nuts. (One of my peccadillos!)

I would love to read your thoughts or comments below.

Happy writing.

Chased by her criminal kingpin father, Katya Dalca runs to New Orleans and straight into the arms of Luke Hunter. Sucked into the carnal world of the French Quarter, she succumbs to Luke’s potent sexuality. He not only steals her breath, he steals her heart and the only leverage she has against her father. She is left with no choice except to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life alone.

Undercover DEA agent Luke Hunter thought his newest assignment—recover a stolen flash drive to gain the trust of the Russian mob—was like any other. But his target brings him to his knees, and after one taste of her intoxicating beauty, he’s in too deep. Doing his job means walking away, leaving his heart behind with nothing but a promise to reunite. It’s a promise he can’t keep.

When Katya’s past reaches out and her world unravels, her only hope is the one man she is most vulnerable to—Luke.

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The smell of beignets wafted up and distracted, I lifted the bag and took a deep breath. Whoosh! Fine sugar blew up out of the bag and coated me.

“Shit, honey, you look sweet all over.”

Oh, just great.

Blinking sugar out of my eyes I looked up. And up. He was tall, well over six foot. Midnight-blue eyes rimmed by a deeper blue-black smoldered lazily down at me. “You’re holding the best beignets in the world. You gonna stand there or you going to take a bite?”

“Umm.” Jeez, Katya. Say something.

“Here, let me hold that for you.” He took the coffee from my hand. “Go on, babe. Take a bite. It’ll be the best thing you’ll ever taste.”

Still struck dumb, I did what he asked and lifted a beignet out of the bag and took a big bite. Oh! It was like sinking my teeth into a sweet pillow of ambrosia.

“Good huh?”

I nodded and stared back at him. Then, without uttering a word, I stuffed the rest of the beignet into my mouth. He grinned at me, shaking his head. “Want to wash it down with this?” He held out my coffee.

My fingers brushed against his. Yikes! I couldn’t stop the slight tremor caused by his touch. I took a gulp of coffee – half rich chicory, half hot milk – and finally found my voice. “Would you like one?” I offered the bag of beignets to him.

“Would be like taking candy from a baby,” he grinned. “But don’t worry, I’ve got my own.” He dangled a packet like mine in front of me.

Then we both stood there and smiled at each other while we gorged on sugary donuts. He would reach for my coffee to free my hand. Then after I ate some fluffy yumminess, he’d hand it back to me so I could take a sip. We swallowed the last of our beignets and licked our fingers.

I didn’t even know his name, yet I was more turned on than I had ever been in my life.

About the Author:Last year, Anni Fife closed the door on a twenty-year successful career in television production, to fulfill her lifelong passion, writing. In the space of one month, she closed her business, packed up her city life and moved to a small seaside village. ‘My writing has always been constrained by client briefs,’ Anni says. ‘Now, I finally have the opportunity to write to the beat of my own heart.’ LUKE’s Redemption is Anni’s debut novel and she hopes you enjoy it as much as she loved writing it. Anni loves to spend hours walking on the beach searching for pansy shells, more hours drinking red wine with her gal posse, and the most hours writing romance novels filled with women you can relate to and men you love to dream about. She is currently working on her second novel, GRAY’s Promise.

Anni is published by The Wild Rose Press.

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A Day with Ember Leigh Behind the Scenes – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ember Leigh will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A DAY WITH EMBER LEIGH…BEHIND THE SCENES

Hey folks! If you don’t know me, I’m Ember Leigh, erotic romance author. But that’s not it—oh no. Most of us authors wear enough hats to be mistaken for the discount rack at a department store, so I thought I’d give you all a little peek into what life is like for me behind the scenes.

We’ve all got different approaches to structuring our days, and I for one have always been very interested in what works for some people and the why of it. Personally, I’ve experimented with a lot of different set-ups, and at this point, I’ve tried it every which way, from waking up at 5:30 a.m. for years to working second shift for a long time, and then everything in between! I left the corporate world and began working remotely in 2012—which allowed me to play with a lot of new combinations.

I’m now officially a full-time creative without children (though we’re starting our family this year!), so this schedule will be completely different in say, oh, nine months’ time! But for now, here’s what it’s like…

NOON: WAKE UP. Yes, seriously—noon. It sounds sacrilegious in today’s world to start the day at noon if you’re not 17, but there it is. Also, I hit snooze at least three times. It’s been impossible for me to wake up on the first go unless there’s an emergency or I hear a strange voice on an intercom saying “Come out with your hands up”, which happened once at 7:30 a.m. because there was a police stand-off and snipers perched on my roof (aimed at the neighbor’s house, I should add!). Though it’s a story for another time, it’s also an example of something that wakes me up on the first try.

Noon-1pm: This first chunk of the day usually sees the morning ritual, which is coffee and juice and yoga. I start every day with a fresh made vegetable juice. I was gifted a juicer a couple years ago and, well, it changed my life. I usually mix beets, apples and celery, but some days I get crazy and mix cucumber, apple and lemon. One never knows. I like to drink the rainbow, and gosh darnit, it tastes amazing. And apparently keeps me looking fresh, because the other day I was guessed as a teenager. A TEENAGER! That’s not really flattering—I don’t want to look like a middle schooler. I am in my thirties, people.

1-8pm: This large chunk of the day is reserved for external business activity, which can range from my part-time job working as a bilingual coach for a client services company (remotely, because I refuse to wear pants!) or tending the various activities involved with running my food truck, a joint venture with my husband (I’ll wear pants for this one). As spring is gearing up, this is about to be full food truck, all the time. We sell Argentinian/American food, and cook a LOT of homemade, super fresh stuff. We love feeding people! Other business activities include expense tracking, ordering supplies, marketing, and the dreaded account reconciliation *cue spooky music*.

9p-4a: WRITING TIME. That’s right, once the darkness falls, I go into CREATE MODE. My real peak occurs from about 1a-4a. I wish, with all my heart, that I was a morning person—but you know what? I’m not. I’ve tried it every which way from Sunday. People tell me it’ll change, that I’ll get used to it, that kids will flip my clock. I dunno—it hasn’t changed yet, though the kids should be happening soon (and we’ll see!). All I know is this: my grandma, who’s almost 80, is STILL a night owl, and she had five kids. I think it’s in our blood…Can you tell I don’t have my hopes up?

4:30a: BEDTIME. Collapse next to my sweetly bearded hubby, who has been sleeping since midnight since he wakes up at 6:30 am everyday…*evil cackle* Silly day-shifters…

In a nutshell, my day can be reduced to “Juice, coffee, and write”, but there are a few other things in between, I suppose. Stay tuned for an update in a year, when a baby gets added to the mix and we see how tenaciously I’ve stuck to the second shift lifestyle! *wink*

Rose Delaney is a baby bounty hunter, rescuing children from fugitive ex-spouses. All she wants is to return a recovered child to its mother and get back to her regimented solitary life. But when a snow storm leaves her and baby Emmy stranded, Rose has no choice but to lean on the ruggedly handsome rescuer, who thinks the baby is hers. Holed up in their mountain resort-under-construction and unable to contact Emmy’s mother, Rose’s priority is hitting the road—even if Garrett’s erotic touch entices her to ride out the storm.

Construction boss Garrett Galo loves his job, but he never imagined a perk like being snowbound during a whiteout with the sassy brunette he just rear-ended. He’s learned to stay away from women who want a family, especially when they come with a kid in tow. When passionate nighttime encounters flare between them, Garrett begins to question what he’d risk to keep Rose.

This isn’t the time or the place for romance—but will five days on a mountain make these loners reconsider giving in to love?

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Inching the door open further, she poked her head in. Garrett’s body silhouetted against the translucent shower door. The image of his chiseled, naked body seared through her mind. Her mouth went dry.

She crept inside and eased the door shut, body rigid as she watched his shadow move inside the shower. The fogged mirror hid her reflection as the soft mesh shorts slipped to ground, followed by her undies and T-shirt.

Garrett began humming, out of tune, something that sounded suspiciously like a children’s song.

Rose grinned, excitement roiling beneath her skin. This not only was going to happen, it needed to happen. Her heart thumped in her chest as she reached for the shower door.

The door opened a few inches before Garrett’s humming turned into a gasp. He whipped around and pulled aside the shower door, eyes wild.

“Rose.”

She grinned up at him, loving the swirls of shock and appreciation in his eyes as he took her in.

“Can I join?”

His mouth hung open a moment, gaze sweeping over her naked body, lighting fires on her skin. He grabbed her around the waist and yanked her inside the shower, slamming the door shut behind her.

The water hit her body in a pleasingly warm rush. He pinned her to the shower wall with his hips. Her breath hitched.

“I don’t even want to ask why you’re naked in my bathroom,” he said, kissing her neck, “and I don’t even care. Fact is, you’re here, and you’re mine now.”

About the Author:Ember Leigh has been writing erotic romance novels since she was far too young. A native of northern Ohio, she currently resides near Lake Erie with her Argentinean husband, where they run an Argentinian-American food truck. In addition to romance novels, Ember also writes travel memoirs and occasionally updates a couple of blogs. In her free time, she practices Ashtanga yoga, hops around the world, and eats lots of vegetables.

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Nowhere to Hide by Louise Lyndon – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Louise will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Forty years ago the Australian rural town of Burrawang Bend was the scene of a brutal murder, and the townspeople are still calling for justice. Marlee Moore, the suspect’s and victim’s granddaughter, is fighting to clear her grandfather’s name. And no one is going to stand in her way. But when things take a dangerous and deadly turn, Marlee must turn to the one man she was determined to run out of town.

Devon Reilly, investigative journalist for his hit TV show, Justice Served, is in Burrawang Bend to solve the forty-year-old cold case murder. But, he didn’t bargain on Marlee keeping him from investigating the case and he soon questions where her loyalties lie. With the living? Or with the dead? But when Marlee and her son’s life are put in danger, Devon knows he is the only man who can keep them alive. But what happens when he soon realizes he is the bigger threat to the woman and kid he loves?

Enjoy an Excerpt

He took his time drinking from his bottle of water. He rubbed the back of his hand across his lips and exhaled. “Well, if her death was deemed an accident, then he stood to gain financially. A hundred thousand dollars in the early seventies was a considerable amount of money. And that is called motive.”

“It’s still considered a considerable amount of money. At least by me it is.” When she couldn’t loosen the lid of her water, he reached for it. Her gaze lingered on his. “When you were doing your piece to camera, I heard you say Pops had told people Marion had terminal cancer. Surely this would lead people to infer she might have committed suicide. If that was the case, then the insurance wouldn’t have paid out. There goes your motive, Reilly.”

He slid the opened bottle of water toward her.

“If Marion had cancer, then surely Pops is innocent.”

“It would certainly have the investigation looking in another direction. But, Marlee, there are no doctors or nurses or other health care professionals to support Saul’s claim Marion had terminal cancer. None of Marion’s friends confirmed she had cancer either. Surely, that would have been something she would have confided to her family and friends. It doesn’t make sense she would want to keep that toherself. Especially since she had a kid. She’d want to make preparations for her daughter.” He looked pointedly at her. “Your mother. And then there is the issue of the selective autopsy. If a complete autopsy had been performed, then we would have definitive proof of whether or not she had cancer.”

“Why wouldn’t the coroner examine all of Marion’s organs?”

“That’s the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question. Within a day of the autopsy report being provided, Marion was cremated. An inquest was held, but the coroner could not make a decision as to whether or not Marion was murdered, if she committed suicide or if her death was an accident. Saul and other witnesses refused to give evidence. Hence, the open findings ruling. I’d like to question the coroner but I believe he died a couple of years after Marion.”

Meet the Author Louise grew up in rural Victoria, Australia, before moving to England, where for sixteen years she soaked up the vibrancy of London and the medieval history of England. She has since returned to Australia and now lives in Melbourne.

In 2013, Louise won first prize in the historical romance category of the Crested Butte Sandy Writing Contest for her story, The Promise, which has since been retitled and is now known as, Of Love & Vengeance. Her second novel, Of Love & Betrayal is available now.

When not writing, Louise can be found covered in mud, crawling under barbed wire and hoisting herself over twelve foot walls! She is also a self confessed nail polish addict and you can check out her nail art designs on her Instagram account.

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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XCBYT91

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Beautiful Liar by Zara Cox – Q&A and Giveaway


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How do you personally distinguish between pornography, erotica, and erotic romance?

Wowsa, okay, let me put my thinking cap on! Pornography has one purpose and that’s to induce sexual excitement for those who want to read or watch two people copulating. In a way erotica is a variation of that, in my opinion. Erotic romance has sex at its heart, sure, but it also has strong emotions that eventually lead to love—at least in my books. My characters are super hot for each other, sometimes right from the moment they first meet, and sex plays a huge part in how they navigate the often turbulent waters of finding their happy ever after.

What authors do you think write excellent erotic fiction?

My go-to authors for great erotic fiction are Sylvia Day, CD Reiss, Whitney G, JA Huss and Alessandra Torre. There are tons more I could name, but I’ll be here all day!

How do you judge what makes a good erotic story when writing your own fiction?

The emotions that propel my characters to act the way they do. Emotion drives my characters’ every thought, every word, every sex scene. Without emotion it would just be two people having sex.

What are the biggest public misconceptions about erotic romance?

That it’s porn. 

Who is your favorite erotic author and why?

Sylvia Day. And, sorry to repeat myself, because she writes emotional stories that grab you and don’t let go.

People call me many things: CEO, billionaire, bastard. Q.

I love women. I love sex. I love money. I love hot, wild nights with no promise of a future, because a future is one thing I don’t have. I’m twenty-eight years old. I won’t live to see thirty, and I don’t care. Or I didn’t, until her.

Nobody plans for a life like this. Some of us just end up here.

They call me Lucky, though luck has never been on my side. Before I met Q, my life was a big, twisted mess. Never enough money, never anyone to trust. No way out. With Q, the shame and fear disappear. Instead I feel pure pleasure, and that’s something I’ve never had before. But if what I’ve just learned is true, we’d better enjoy every second together while we can…before our time runs out.

BEAUTIFUL LIAR was previously published as Porn Star

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BEAUTIFUL LIAR Blitz Excerpt

“So it’s true? It’s not a con? This job really pays a million dollars? For…sex?” she rasps.

“You think I’d admit it if it was a con? What did the ad say?”

Her delicate jaw flexes for a second.

“One million uninhibited reasons to take a leap.
One million chances to earn a keep
One million to give in to the carnal
Are you brave enough to surrender,
For a payday to remember?”

It speaks even more to her desperate state of mind that she remembers the ad verbatim.

I remain silent and wait for her to speak.

“So…assuming it’s not a con, how will this work, then?”

“If you pass the next few tests, and I decide you’re a good fit, you get the gig. You’ll receive one hundred thousand dollars with each performance.”

“So…ten performances…over how long a period?”

“Depending on how many takes are needed, anywhere between three weeks and a month. But I should warn you, it’s hard work, Lucky. If you think you’re just going to lie back and recite the Star Spangled Banner in your head, think again.”

Her fingers drum on the table, the first sign of nerves she’s exhibited. “I…I won’t be doing anything…skanky, will I?”

“Define skanky.”

“This is going to be straight up sex. No other…bodily stuff? Because that would a firm no for me.”

My mouth attempts another twitch. “No water works, waste matter or bestiality will be involved in the performances.”

Her fingers stop drumming. “Okay.” She waits a beat, stares straight into the camera. “So when will I know?”

I hear the barely disguised urgency and I rub my finger over my lip again. “Soon. I’ll be in touch within the week.” I’m not sure exactly why I want to toy with her. But I sense that having her on edge would add another layer of excitement I badly need.

When she opens her mouth, I interrupt. “Goodbye, Lucky.”

A passing thought about the origin of her name is crushed into oblivion. I press the remote to summon the bodyguard to escort her out, and I leave the room.

In my study a few minutes later, I bring up the screen on my desk and activate the encrypted service I need. I open the application and within minutes, the members of my exclusive gentlemen’s club are logging in.

My email is short and succinct.

The next Q Production is scheduled for release on 20 May 2015.
Limited to ten members.
Bidding starts in fifteen minutes.

I start the countdown and rise to pour myself a neat bourbon. I swallow the first mouthful with two prescribed tablets, which are meant to keep me from going over the edge, apparently, and stroll to the floor to ceiling window. I look down at Midtown’s bumper-to-bumper traffic. This mid-level penthouse is one of many I own in this building and around New York City.

Technically, I don’t live here. I only use it when volatile pressures demand that I put some distance between the Upper West Side family mansion and myself. I would never stray far for long. For one thing, I’ve accepted that my family would never leave me alone.

I know what I know. So they’ve made it their business to keep me on a short leash. But with over three hundred properties in my personal portfolio, and a few thousand more under the family firm’s control, there are many places to disappear to when the demons howl.

Today, the Midtown penthouse is my temporary haven.

I turn when the timer beeps a one-minute warning.

I return to my desk and adjust the voice distorter. When the clock reaches zero, I click the mouse. “Gentlemen, start your bids.”

My words barely trail off before the first five bids appear on the screen. Sixty seconds later, the total bid is at a quarter of a million dollars. I steeple my fingers and wish I were more excited. The money means nothing. It never has. It’s the end game that excites me.

My mind drifts back to Lucky. I turn the gem of her elusiveness this way and that and admit to myself she has potential.

I want to take a scalpel to all her secrets, bleed them and soil my hands with the viscera. I also want to fuck her until her body gives out. Right in this moment, I’m not sure what I want more.

So I concentrate on the numbers racing higher on the screen.

Half a million. One million. One point five.

My phone beeps twice. I pick it up and read the two appointment reminders on the screen.

7pm – Dr. Nathanson. My shrink.
9pm – Dinner with Maxwell.

I re-confirm the first and delete the second.

Cancelling dinner with Maxwell will bring a world of irritation to my doorstep. No one cancels dinner with Maxwell Blackwood. For a start he’s one of the most powerful men in the country.

He’s also my father.

Yeah, my name is Quinn Blackwood, heir to the Blackwood Estate, only child of Maxwell Blackwood and Adele Blackwood (deceased). My family owns a staggering amount of property across the eastern seaboard of the United States and a few in the west. According to the bean counters, I’m personally worth twenty-six billion dollars.

But tangling with my father in hell is what I live for. Have done since I was fifteen. So I ignore his summons and watch the stragglers fall away until I’m left with the top ten bidders. The bids wind down, and within the space of half an hour, I’m just under two million dollars richer.

I spot the familiar name of the top bidder and I sneer. Taking his money on top of everything else is darkly satisfying.

Once bidding ends, I close down the application and call up another list. Dozens of charity websites showing pictures of starving children flood my screen. Within minutes, fifty charities are the grateful recipients of two million dollars.

I may be Quinn Blackwood, occasional user of prescribed meds to keep the demons in check, who moonlights as Q, porn star to an exclusive few who pay millions for my work.

And I may be an unhinged asshole with serious daddy issues.

But no one said I wasn’t a giver.

About the Author: Zara Cox has been writing for almost twenty-five years but it wasn’t until nine years ago that she decided to share her love of writing sexy, gritty stories with anyone outside her close family (the over 18s anyway!).

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