Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Guest Post: My Journey to Publication by Sage MacGowan, Author of Through Fire #NALit #WritersLife

My Journey to Publication

by Sage MacGowan

I guess you could say my writing career had its beginnings in junior high. While the short story (VERY short) Murder on the Second Floor received a disappointing grade, the cover was a blast to create. It featured an elevator overlayed by die-cut construction paper featuring a blood-filled, dripping syringe.

I followed MSF up with Chocolate Chip's Adventure, a story of an Appaloosa colt that goes exploring his environs and gets lost. Don't worry; the other animals on the farm help him get back to his mother. This book was, in a manner of speaking, published (by the teacher and her laminator).

Fast forward umpteen years to college. I finished my Bachelor's degree later in life, and was taking a class on the history of Britain, up to the late 1600's, I believe. One of the final assignments was to write a short story set within the time frame of the class. I had gotten hooked on romance novels by this time, specifically historical romance, so that is what I wrote. Luckily, inspiration struck and I wove a tale of a midwife who dabbled in the mystical. It didn't have a true HEA – at the end the midwife was still searching for her soulmate – but I had great fun describing her visions in the smoke of a fire. The instructor was blown away (his words, not mine). I think his jaw actually dropped when he asked my major, and I replied Animal Science.

I spent two decades following my dream of being a veterinary nurse, all the while reading, but not even exploring writing. I found myself bothered by aspects of the storylines – not in an I-can-do-better sort of way, more of a general this-isn't-right mindset. Specifically, I didn't like that people with physical challenges were all healed by the end of the books. Nowadays, this is no longer true, but in the nineties and earlier... It was as if the authors were saying that HEA's were only the domain of people with fully-functioning eyes, legs, and what have you, and people with disabilities were not capable of finding love and fulfillment. (Danielle Steel's Palomino is an exception.) And yet I still wasn't moved to put pen to paper.

It was only seven years ago that the urge was inescapable. One night it just hit me. A scenario filled my head and I just HAD to get it outside of myself. I had no serious thoughts of publishing; I just needed to write. Through Fire is the third story I have begun, but the only one to reach “The End.” And in fact, it was only after I finished that I gave weight to the idea of sending it to publishing houses, hoping for, but not expecting any, bites.


It was a convoluted journey, yet I have made it here.

~~~oOo~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Growing up, and for quite some time after, Sage was a reader and a dreamer, but didn’t often put pen to paper. After becoming addicted to romance novels, she would often rewrite the stories in her head. Then late one night, while listening to music, with story ideas dancing in her mind, she was overcome with an undeniable urge to actually write.
Sage is a nature-worshiper and spends a fair amount of time hiking and camping ( realcamping, not the wussy RV kind) with her family. She also rides horses as often as she can (which isn’t often) and gets her horse fix by volunteering at the local therapeutic riding center. Her other volunteer gig is a non-profit group that helps military veterans train dogs as support animals and service dogs. In her previous life (former career) she was a veterinary nurse for over 20 years, and has always had a passion for medicine, which is behind the presence of “medicalese” in her stories.

Links:
Website: Druidessepona.wixsite.com/sagewriter


Monday, December 4, 2017

New Release: IT'S COMPLICATED #Contemporary #Romance by Joyce Holmes



HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO 
IT'S COMPLICATED!



It's Complicated
Contemporary Romance
by Joyce M. Holmes
Release date: December 4, 2017

He wants a real relationship, she's afraid to love. It’s complicated, but is it impossible?

She’s a children’s counselor devoted to helping others; he’s a stubborn client reluctant to accept her assistance. He wants a warm and loving relationship; she prefers to keep things physical. Professional boundaries dictate neither of them can have what they want.

Having grown up with no one but herself to count on, Maggie Lapage carefully guards her feelings. Professionally, she goes above and beyond to give others the support she wishes she'd had as a child. When she develops a forbidden attraction to a client’s father, she does what she thinks is necessary, to save his family, and to protect her own heart.

Tom O’Shay finds his life caught in a nightmare when he risks losing custody of his daughter. It goes against his character to seek help, but he doesn’t have a choice. That doesn’t mean he has to like it. Everything changes when he falls hard for his daughter’s counselor, and he suddenly has two fights on his hands. One for his daughter, and another for the woman he loves.

It’s complicated, but is it impossible?


~~~oOo~~~

EXCERPT:


“That’s a big gallery, with lots of people going through it. Just think of the exposure your work would get.”
Tom did take a moment to consider it. The Langquest Art Gallery was highly reputable, and the show Tom had done with them had been a sell-out. But to have Maggie go on his behalf to seek out representation, that was too much.
 “What makes you think I want or need to sell my pieces in his gallery?”
“Because, excuse me if I’m wrong, but I had the impression you could use a little financial help at the moment.” The sympathetic look in her eyes made him squirm. No bloody way did he want her wasting any sympathy on him.
“The offer of support is nice, but seriously, my professional life, at least, is doing fine. You don’t have to fix it for me.” Which was the honest, if optimistic, truth. Business was passably good. It could always be better, but it wasn’t on life support yet, and he sure didn’t need Maggie out there drumming up customers for him.
She threw a hand up. “Look, maybe I’m interfering and you didn’t ask for help, but,” she hurried on, gaining speed as she went, “I spoke to this man with the best of intentions. You have lawyer fees and counseling fees, and heaven only knows what else with this court case. They can start to add up—”
“Okay, just stop. You’re making my head hurt.” He folded his arms across his chest. He had no intention of discussing the precariousness of his financial situation with Maggie. “This conversation is over.”
Her eyes sparkled with the love of combat. “Not if I keep talking, it isn’t.”
He glared at her, making it clear he didn’t appreciate her interference. She met his accusing gaze without flinching.
“Know what your problem is?” she asked, after an uncomfortably long stare-down.
“I only have one?”
She reached out and clutched at his hand, those long slender, talon-tipped fingers curling themselves around his, distracting him with their touch. Then she started yapping again, effectively killing the moment.
“You put on a good show, and sometimes I think you even believe it yourself, but you’re not invincible. You can use a helping hand once in a while.”
He shook his hand free and swung away from her, pacing off his frustration. “Contrary to what you believe, I’m not a charity case requiring someone to rescue me. I’ve always maintained if you’re looking for a helping hand, check the end of your own wrist first. I don’t need your pity.”
She moved in front of him, forcing him to stop, returning his impatient glare with an impressively irate one of her own. “It’s not pity, damn it. And it’s not charity. It’s a practical solution to your financial situation. Excuse me for caring.” Both arms flew into the air. “Excuse me for trying to help you out. For going out of my way to come up with some creative ideas to increase your income. This is a winning proposition for you, one that can pay dividends for years to come. Why are you so stubbornly against it?”
Her logic was infuriating, and it fueled his temper that he didn’t have a reasonable comeback. “Please, just shut up already.”
“Come on. We both know I can’t do that.”
He threw his head back and laughed, more out of exasperation than amusement. “You really can’t, can you?”
“I was only trying to help.” Her tone contained a pout, but her expression remained fierce.
“I don’t want your help. I didn’t ask for your help. Anyone ever tell you how maddening you can be, Maggie Lapage?”
The force of his words didn’t make her retreat. She stood her ground in front of him and poked a finger into his chest. “And you’re the most pig-headed man I’ve ever met.”
He smiled. “Thank you.”
“That was not a compliment.”
“Sure it was.” Even though he was still pissed off, it wasn’t hard to let the smile stretch into a smirk. She looked so damn exasperated, and for some perverse reason he found it amusing.
“You’re infuriating!” she yelled and wheeled away from him, flailing her arms in the air again. “Why can’t you see my intentions were good?”
He let his smile twist cynically. “Have you heard about the road to hell?”
“I…give…up.” She emphasized the words by drawing them out slowly.
“Wish I could believe that.”

~~~oOo~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joyce Holmes lives with her husband and very small dog in the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia. Photography and blogging about her travels are two of her passions, along with visiting her kids and grandkids. When she's not dreaming up stories in her head or planning her next great adventure, she’s off enjoying the great outdoors.

Links:

~~~oOo~~~

GIVEAWAY!

A $10 Roane Publishing gift card!


Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use a RoanePublishing.com Gift Code.  No purchase necessary, but you must be 18 or older to enter. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter, and announced on the widget. Winner well be notified by emailed and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Roane Publishing's marketing department.

Friday, December 1, 2017

#FlashFictionFriday LAST NIGHT by J.M. Williams #Paranormal #Suspense


LAST NIGHT

by J.M. Williams

Nothing could ruin this night. The lights flashed a rainbow of electric colors. The thumping techno-house bass line pulsed through the club like a heartbeat. The dark room stank of life and energy. Shane was hungry for it. This was his first night out after arriving home on leave. Having endured six months of virtual confinement to a training base in Africa, he felt the uncontrollable urge to let loose. So he had gathered his buddies and went out to party. The moon was full; everyone and everything was crazy. Shane shimmied up next to an attractive brunette on the dance floor. She smiled at him in a flirty way, twisting her body to the rhythm of the music. Alcohol ran through Shane’s veins like the oil in some grand war machine, driving him towards conquest. The girl glanced to the side and frowned, making angry gestures to someone at the bar. She turned back and kissed him on the cheek. “You’re cute,” she said, straining to be heard over the melodic racket. “But I have to go. Maybe I’ll see you around?” “My name’s Shane, by the way.” “Angie.” The girl smiled one last time then rushed to her frantic friend. Shane could almost see the scent trail of her flowery perfume lingering in the air. Angie’s eyes locked on his for one last moment, as her friend dragged her out of the club. Shane felt dejected. But soon the swirl of music and intoxication again took hold and he let himself get lost again in the euphoria of the storm. After several more hours of drinking, dancing, and failed conquests—continuing late into the night—Shane and his two friends stumbled out into the dark, midnight silence of the city. Bathed in moonlight, his muscles felt tense all across his body. He shook it off as a side effect of the drink and exertion. One of Shane’s friends lived close by, so the group wandered off in that direction. They chatted noisily as they approached the wide park that led to the apartment. Shane only hoped they wouldn’t meet any homeless people squatting on benches there. Shane had seen enough poverty—and violence—in Africa during the last six months to fill a lifetime of suburban American experience. He didn’t want to be reminded that some places in his own country were little better. There was no honor in the willful ignorance that passed for politics in this town. The park was dark, lit only by the full moon and the few tall lamps that remained functional. The shadows of the trees painted some parts of the brick path a darker shade than others. These shadows moved across the brick floor, like bodies in a wild dance. Shane felt his skin start to crawl, but wasn’t sure why. Maybe it was just the chill of the night air. He almost stumbled into the men before noticing them. There were three of them, in worn clothes and standing tough in the path of Shane and his friends. The fight was over before Shane realized it had started, the mental numbness of the alcohol having slowed his reaction speed to a debilitating level. He found himself on the ground, his entire body aching, as one of the men starting digging for his wallet. Shane’s head throbbed, but slowly the pain expanded across his body. His back arched. His body felt as though it were tearing itself apart from the inside. The torment covered his body like a blanket of flame. His vision turned crimson. His senses flared—sights, scents and tastes bombarded him. He could smell the grungy men around him, smell their sweat and the salt of their blood. He could hear every footstep, every breath they took. His mind was overcome with rage. The emotion pulsed through his muscles and bones. He was losing control of his body, and even his thoughts. He wanted to hurt these men for what they had done. He wanted to rip them apart. One of the men stared down at Shane, terror on his face. Shane saw a hairy paw reach out and claw at the man. He felt his body rising, out of his control. He took heavy steps forward, sniffing the air. He smelt the salty scent of sweaty flesh and hungered for it. He heard himself growl... Shane woke to the sound of sirens, the noise stabbing at his aching head. He felt the cold firmness of stone beneath him. Opening his eyes, he realized he was still the park. Then he saw the blood, trails of it. And he saw the bodies—strangers and friends alike—scattered around the clearing. The rising sun cast pink and orange beams onto the blood-stained ground. He tried to remember what had happened. All he could grasp were images—red and violent—and urges—feelings of unnatural hunger and fury. It was surreal. He saw terrified faces screaming at him. His muscles recalled the blows they had delivered. Had he caused this…this carnage? The police came upon Shane in a screaming swarm, their guns pointed down at him. He let them pile on and bind his hands. Two officers lifted Shane to his feet; he glanced in numb horror at the blood that rubbed off onto their bright blue uniforms. Shane’s heart shattered. His mind went numb. He was unable to come to terms with what, clearly, he had done. It was impossible to believe. Yet, the evidence was thick and red on his hands. The truth it revealed was contrary to his very being, and the contradiction broke him. He felt a tug on his hand-cuffed arms, but Shane did not resist. He let them take him. He sat quietly in the back of a waiting police car. The morning was as silent as death, as the police took Shane away.
~~~oOo~~~


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author, teacher, historian, veteran. J.M. Williams is a Fantasy and Sci-Fi author who is unabashedly into anything pulp. In the past year alone, he has had more than twenty-five short fiction pieces accepted for publication in venues including Flash Fiction Magazine, Bards and Sages, and the Uprising Review. He lives in Korea with his wife and 10 cats—teaching, writing, and blogging at www.jmwilliams.site.

Click on image for more information

Friday, November 24, 2017

#FREEBIE #FRIDAY Excerpt from Eye of the Soul by Terri Rochenski #Fantasy


Today's excerpt is from Eye of the Soul by Terri Rochenski.
We hope you enjoy today's tease!

~~~oOo~~~

Cursing her arthritic fingers, Miri squeezed out a rag and draped it over the human man’s hot forehead.
“I’ve seen a lot more harvests than you, old goat,” she muttered, lifting his eyelids. “I’m thinking you’ll never catch up either. Doubt you last another half-moon’s phase.”
Miri pushed to her feet and stretched her hunched back. A heavy sigh slipped past her wrinkled lips as she glanced around the sick house. Keeping the night watch wasn’t too bad—she’d volunteered often since her old bones wouldn’t allow much sleep.
“Joints wasted, hearing all but gone…” Miri yanked on the long white braid lying over her shoulder. “I’m the old goat.”
She shuffled down the aisle, woolen kirtle swishing in the silence. A cool, autumn breeze rustled the crimson leaves of the magnolia and palm fronds overhead, drawing her gaze upward. Violet streaks lit the pre-dawn sky.
A dog barked, yipped, and fell silent.
Miri peered across the village green to the thatched buildings beyond. A shadow passed between two cottages. Another three hurried toward the neighboring dwelling.
“Sight fading or my mind, too?” Miri rubbed her watery eyes, blinked, and leaned forward. Light flickered through the palm trees behind the outlying homes.
Torches?
The flames drew closer, weaving between the trunks.
Humans from the mainland? Miri’s hand clutched at her throat. Soldiers. Fadir have mercy.
The men crept through the village, taking up positions at every doorway. Two brutes, more horse-like in size than human, approached the sick house. Sputtering torch held high, the first strode forward, dark eyes intent upon Miri. A green surcoat covered broad shoulders and fell to his thighs. The golden wheat sheaf of the city of Varosh adorned his chest.
Cold sweat beaded upon Miri’s brow. Breath burst from her lungs, and she moved back, clutching the door jam.
The second soldier stepped closer, chains and shackles clanking in his hand. He stopped two paces away from Miri, and a smile stretched his stubbled cheeks, revealing rotted teeth. “Good morning pointy-ears.”
Miri stared, heartbeat thundering. She’d been called worse in her eighty-three birth passings but never with such malice.
A single cry rang out across the village, and doors crashed inward. Screams rent the air.
“Don’t fight Native woman,” rotten-teeth sneered, shackles outstretched.
“W-why?” Miri whispered, taking a step backward.
A scowl narrowed his gaze, and his fist shot forward.
Bursts of light and pain exploded through Miri as she crumpled to the floor.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Cover Reveal: TRUST by Avery Woods #Contemporary #Romance @RoanePublishing


Trust
Contemporary Romance
by Avery Woods
Release Date: March 5, 2018


Why does society treat you as an outcast when you're single? Is it not bad enough that I have my two best friends pressuring me to date every chance they get. It's probably because I still haven't told them the reason I've avoided dating: The fact that I am HIV positive. It's this dirty little secret I've been keeping to myself for the last two years. I've tried telling my friends and family numerous times, but something always gets in my way. At least that's what I tell myself. Don't worry, I'm ninety percent sure you can find my picture under the word cynical in the dictionary.

Since my ex-boyfriend basically called me a walking disease, I've lost a bit of my self confidence you could say. I mean, how am I suppose to tell my friends and family? I guess writing a letter to my parents won't cut it.

 More importantly, how is Travis, the new guy I like going to take the news? He is perfect, and I am far from it. I have to trust him, but trusting someone is easier said than done.

If dealing with HIV wasn't enough, the bombshell my mom decided to invoke on my sister and I sure takes the cake. At least that's what I thought, until I attended Lauren's birthday party. Who knew that would be a night I would never forget.

Who would have thought ripping off a band aid would be the most painful route to take?

~~~oOo~~~


Sign ups for Trust release blitz are now open!
If you're interested in hosting, please click on the image above or fill in the form.


Friday, November 17, 2017

#FREEBIE #FRIDAY Excerpt from SKYDREAMER by Sheryl Winters #PNR #Dragons


Today's excerpt is from Skydreamer by Sheryl Winters.
We hope you enjoy today's tease!

~~~oOo~~~


I concentrate on the griffons circling outside the ice walls.
They move back and forth in high-legged, stiff strides, with all four paws prancing. Green and blue plumage flash in the summer sun, slightly blurred through the frozen barrier. Every now and then one or two meet, their wings spread, and their large eagle heads create a loud, raucous burst of noise. After a brief and furious pecking spree, one of them backs off and the fight is over.
I begin to believe either we are either sitting on top of some ancient nesting site, or we must have an invisible beacon hidden in our clothing. The original flock has become considerably larger.
"How long can you hold this?" Ra’von’s voice echoes around the small enclosure.
"Until I fall asleep, which—considering how hyped up I am—could be the day after tomorrow."
"Ah." He narrows his eyes, surveying the area outside.
"How you feeling?' I can’t resist a quick sideways glance, taking in the soft white hair on his chest. My cheeks heat up and I return my gaze to the birds.
"Sore,” he admits. “I need to change, but I need more space for that. Plus, I can’t take on more than three griffons at a time." A feral light burns in his intense blue eyes. The pale white face of his dragon self-shines, craving release. He mutters under his breath, as if debating internal strategies.
The dead griffon on the ground stirs the twinkling of an idea in my head. "We can do this one of two ways,” I say, hoping I'm right. “We can sit in here and wait it out, or—"
We turn at the sound of a huge griffon pecking at the ice. The creature easily dwarfs us and he's making a good sized hole, which I'll have to repair soon.
"What do you have in mind?"
I stand and dust off my jeans. "I just need to know one thing before I show you."
A snarl erupts from Ra'von's clenched teeth and I can't help wondering what he'd just uttered in dragon. I don’t think it was very nice.
"Show me what?"
"Do I get to be an honorary Dragon if I kill enough griffons?" I sink my fist into the wall and pull out a four-inch chunk of ice.
He looks surprised by my question, then nods. His hand is clamped over his injured shoulder, eyes intent on the hunting prey outside the walls. "You can have all the credit you want for killing griffons."
"Good." I avert my eyes and hand him the chunk of ice.
"What's this for?"
"Your shoulder." I slide my fingers through the hole again and this time, I wiggle them until they poke outside the thick wall.
Leashing Icia to my will, we encase the nearest Griffon in a block of solid ice. I don’t let go until the light leaves the beast's eyes. Water streams out of my fingers as I entomb beast after beast, smothering them in nice, neat blocks of ice. When I have killed all the beasts surrounding us, I swallow the ice back into my system and let their corpses flop to the ground.
Another flock of Griffons hovers in the distance. They take off in a flurry of loud squawks and flapping wings.
A loud bark of laughter startles me and I look back at Ra'von.
He's not chuckling or snorting with amusement. He is laughing so hard his head is thrown back and the sound booms off the ice walls.
“What?”
He wipes tears from his eyes, still bumping with laughter. "You win. You are more of a Dragon than I am."

Thursday, November 16, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Roane Publishing contracts Ellen Devlin and KISSING MICKEY #Erotic #Romance

Roane Publishing is pleased to announce that we've contracted a new author, and we are privileged to be able to bring you a new erotic romance novel, KISSING MICKEY, by Ellen Devlin. The novel is slated for release in April 2018.

More information regarding the release, including the Cover Reveal and Release Blitz will be made available shortly. If you are a book blogger or reviewer interested in participating in the marketing events surrounding the release of KISSING MICKEY, please take a moment to join our Blogger Reviewer team by visiting our website and completing the interest form.

~The Roane Publishing Team

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Self-help Books and Why They Became so Popular #GuestPost

Photo courtesy of Canon EOS 5d on Pixabay

Self-help books and why they became so popular
by Stefan Simonovic


The publishing industry can be an intimidating place indeed. Especially for young, non-acclaimed and inexperienced authors who often don’t know how to set things in motion and follow the rules imposed by the industry itself. The truth is that a writing a self-help book is just a half-way down to success while one should put equal efforts in publishing and promotion of their literary work as well. Fortunately, the Internet gave us the choice to self-publish an eBook rather easily these days, which is probably one of the main reasons behind the birth of the entire “self-help” cultural phenomenon.

Still, self-publishing has its pros and cons, same as the traditional publishing. So, without gilding the lilies, let’s talk about some of the main benefits and risks that come with self-publishing a self-help book, or any other book for that matter (publishing poetry or a biker dating romance is basically the same!), and then we will tackle other important aspects of the publishing world and also try to analyze one great example of the best-selling, self-help book later on.

Self-Publishing - Pros and Cons

Despite the fact that self-publishing can be a great way to publish the book, everyone agrees that a thorough research can be a great way to get familiar with possible self-publishers who are actually honest and will deliver what they promised in the beginning. It’s also important to stress out the importance of a proper Internet promotion of your book because let’s face it - many self-published books are rarely seen in typical brick-and-mortars bookshops.

This means that you’ll have to play clever and set up a proper online marketing campaign that typically includes advertising and reaching out the audience of potential readers on multiple social networks simultaneously. The second option is to hire a professional to do it on your behalf. Keep in mind it’s not recommended to be excluded from the process should you opt for the latter because being in touch with your prospective buyers on a regular basis may turn out to be essential for your success. And just in case you are wondering - yes, it’s basically the same as with any other business. The social media absence equals zero results, no matter how good you are and it’s the harsh reality of the digital world we live in.

What makes a self-help book a successful one 

What people expect from self-help books, in general, is not to help them realize what they can get from their lives but how to actually have a life that is meaningful and thus worth living. And while psychologists of various narrow specializations continue to discuss whether or not such books are actually helpful or not, especially in terms of giving fast results they promised in the beginning, the good news  - at least for those entrepreneurial writers among us - is that an average reader is ready to take the risk and make a purchase of a self-help book.

We can analyze the example of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People from Stephen R. Covey, for instance, which is currently holding the number 7 position on Amazon within the self-help category because it can provide us some useful conclusions.

Firstly, Covey’s book success allowed him to become a leader of his own corporation that recorded massive sales back in 2015. He was able to make an extension of his literary works through various self-improvement programs that were tailored for individuals and companies alike. What Covey did well was that he expanded his social media reach that allowed him to make a solid brand and earn a massive number of followers. The entire publishing-social media circle was complete.

On the other hand, he made sure to offer a competitive price that is only 5.99$ per digital copy. This has brought him approximately 5k mostly positive reviews on Amazon, which is a truly an impressive number in comparison to some other similar titles from the category and we’re guessing it continues to grant him steady incomes even the moment as we speak.

In conclusion


Publishing a self-help book can potentially become a great source of incomes and even a primary source for that matter. And even though the sales of self-help books continue to grow, backing up the fact this is a unique postmodern phenomenon we are talking about here indeed, we have to notice that path to success is rather thorny, as one is supposed to take numerous steps in order to publish, promote and offer an affordable price on their book since it’s often a deciding factor for reader to buy a book of this kind.

~~~oOo~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stefan Simonovic is a writer for First Beat Media and a blogger in his spare time. His favorite topics are dating, health, lifestyle, sports, fashion, fitness, and anything related to it. Find him on Twitter at @Simple_Stefan.

Friday, November 10, 2017

#FREEBIE #FRIDAY An Exclusive Excerpt from GARDEN OF SOULS by Michelle Ziegler #Romance


Today's excerpt is from Garden of Shadows by Michelle Ziegler, part of the Spooktacular Seductions anthology.

We hope you enjoy today's tease!

~~~oOo~~~

“You look beautiful. Then again, you always do.”
Her heart fluttered. “Thanks. You don’t look too bad, yourself. You know for someone who’s dead.” She smiled and flicked the light off in her bedroom.
The early harvest moon streamed in through the over indulgent French doors she’d installed. Someday she’d repair the balcony behind them. “I like you in this lighting.”
He came to her swiftly, just a whisper over the floorboards and  stopped in front of her.
“You look almost human.” Miranda’s fingers traced his face. “I can feel you. I can feel the stubble. It’s not quite right, but it’s still you I feel.”
“It’s magic,” he teased.
Her fingertips explored his lips, and his eyes fluttered shut.
“One more night,” he said, his voice just above a whisper.
“You keep saying that.” Her hand dropped to his chest. The muscles she’d admired pressed against her hand. Firm, but there was a cold, almost misty quality to him.
“Can I try one thing before you go on this…date.” He almost growled the last word.
“Of course. Whatever you need.”
His left hand brushed aside a strand of hair. It slowly trailed the length of her face, caressing her ear, and tickling her jaw line.
Their gazes locked. Her breathing hitched. She willed him to kiss her, her eyes pleading with him. Her body ached and she pressed against him. The chill began seeping into her bones. She was about to pull away when his lips met hers.
The cold disappeared. Warmth wrapped its magic around her body and her lips were on fire. The moment was brief.
Thomas pulled away, his boyish grin firmly in place.
“I can’t make it too easy on him.”
A moment later the doorbell rang and Thomas was gone again.

* * * *

“You seem quiet,” Sean said from across our semi private booth at the upscale restaurant he’d taken me to.
“Um. I’m just admiring the place. It’s nice.”
“Glad you like it. Have you never been here?”
She smiled. “I’ve never been anywhere in town. I spent the first few months making my house a home, redoing it as best I could with little help. It was hard to find contractors for what I could pay. That and finding someone who would work in a haunted house.” She let out a nervous laugh.
Moving there had been purely accidental. A random news story about her carriage house being torn down after years of vacancy. She couldn’t have said why, but Miranda was compelled to save it. She’d packed up her meager life, gathered the small inheritance she’d been left and left.
“Well I am glad I finally get to take the mystery girl out.” Sean took a sip from his draft beer.
“Mystery girl?”
He frowned. “Well. Beth named you that when she first met you at the coffee shop. She said you barely talked to anyone.” He shrugged. “I think it’s intriguing.”
A nervous grin touched her lips. She twisted her napkin, wringing it between her hands.
So, I’m not normal. What’s new there?
[rh1] Sean’s lips were mesmerizing. She studied him. He was handsome. She should be pretty happy that a guy like him overlooked her social awkwardness. The fact he’d hung around surprised her. Their previous interactions had seemed rather high school.
Rolls filled a small basket. Abandoning her tortured napkin, Miranda gently plucked one up and started to pinch at it, slowly tearing at its meat.
Her gaze returned to Sean’s lips to find a plate obstructed her view.
 What had she ordered? She was all nerves. She loved Thomas.
Why am I even here?
Miranda was ashamed to admit the physical feelings ignited with each touch from Sean might have been why she finally gave into Thomas’s pleas. A shiver jarred her body. Anticipation, or dread of the reality? She didn’t know.
“Miranda?” Sean’s brows knit together.
“Oh. Sorry. What were you saying?”
“I, uh, well, I wanted to know what you were going as, you know for the Halloween party?” He quirked a brow. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Just um…” Her gaze fell to her plate. “I was enjoying the smell. The spaghetti smells amazing.” Fire crept up her neck.
I’m an idiot.
Sean’s right eye narrowed a bit and the corner of his mouth twitched. He seemed thoroughly unconvinced.
“Um. Halloween. Right. Beth picked out my costume. It’s an angel.”
He smiled. “How appropriate.”